Topography and Geology | Natural Productions | The Indians|
Early Settlement | Hard Times | Organization | Railroad Bonds
Facts and Figures | Crimes and Casualties
The Dixon County "Volcano"
Ponca: Early History | Local Associations | Biographical Sketches|
Wakefield | Martinsburgh | Biographical Sketches
Other Towns | Biographical Sketches
Ponca, the county seat is advantageously located in the Aoway Valley, at the confluence of the South and Aoway creeks. The Aoway Valley is here about half a mile wide, the town site of Ponca being mostly level. Towards the north the hills rise to a height of nearly one hundred feet, and are in places irregular and precipitous. Towards the south they are not so high, and are of more gentle ascent. The Aoway Creek furnishes excellent water power at Ponca.
The town was surveyed and platted in 1856, by Dr. Stough and Frank West, who were then its chief proprietors. It was named Ponca, after the Ponca Indians, a large tribe generally friendly to the whites. This portion of Nebraska was their ancient home, and their principal city was located near the present site of Ponca. Many of their tepees were standing as late as 1856. The town site consists of 320 acres. The first building erected upon it was built by Henry A. Fuller, in 1856, and stood for many years at the corner of fourth and Iowa streets. The second building was erected by Frank Ricker & Bros., and occupied in 1857 by D. T. Bramble, as a grocery. In the fall of 1857 this building was used for a court house, by E. Arnold, firs Justice of the Peace in Ponca (to whom we are indebted for many items connected with the early history of Dixon County.) At this first term of court, the Justice's seat was a beer barrel, his desk a whisky barrel, and the strictest order and respect for the dignity of the court was rigidly enforced. Stough Bros., built their flouring mill in 1858. In this mill, before the machinery was put in, the first term of the district court was held by Judge Wakely, the term commencing May 24, 1859. In 1861, a saw mill was erected in connection with the grist mill. In 1862 the first Fourth of July celebration was held in this mill. Esq. William H. James, of Dakota County, was orator of the day, E. Arnold read the Declaration of Independence, and Gustavus Smith and his wife and son supplied the music for the occasion. This was the first flouring mill erected in the county, though in 1856, there had been put in operation a mill for grinding or cracking corn in connection with the Dexter & Whitcomb saw mill mentioned above as the first saw mill in the county. The mill of Stough Bros., was built for the purpose of inducing farmers to raise wheat, is two stories high with two run of buhrs. The first hotel was built in 1860, by Henry A. Fuller, who kept in connection with it a small grocery.
The first birth of Ponca was that of Elizabeth Barrett, August 14, 1859, the first marriage that of D. T. Bramble to miss Lucinda Brown, in the year 1858, and the first death that of Mrs. Bramble, a few months after being married.
During the decade from 1861 to 1871 the growth of Ponca, in common with that of the county, was very slow. During this latter year three churches were organized or incorporated according to the requirements of the State laws; the Methodist Episcopal, January 28; the "Presbyterian Church of Ponca," February 8, and the "Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ponca," August 20th. The first Lutheran missionary in the county was Rev. Henry Kuhns, of Omaha, in 1866. In 1868, Rev. Samuel Aughey, located at Dakota City, organized a congregation at Ponca, of about twenty members. He preached here until 1870, when the congregation built a very neat, frame church, costing about $2,000, and dedicated it to the worship of God, Rev. Henry Kuhns and J. F. Kuhlman officiating. At the time of the incorporation five trustees were appointed. The membership was sixty. Rev. Mr. Kuhlman was succeeded in 1879, by Rev. G. H. Schnur, who resigned in 1881. The membership is now about 200.
The Presbyterians built their church in 1871, at a cost of about $2,000, and the Methodists theirs in 1873, at a cost of about $1,000. They now have a membership of fifty.
A Catholic church was built in South Creek Valley in the spring of 1875, at a cost of about $800. Rev. Father O'Toole was the first regular priest.
The growth of Ponca continued slow until 1876, when the Covington, Columbus & Black Hills Railroad was completed to that place, from which time to the present, it has made considerable progress. Population has increased, and numerous dwellings and stores have been erected. Stough & Mikesell built, in 1876, a large two-story brick store, at a cost of $8,000. In 1878 a large two-story frame schoolhouse was built, at a cost of $4,000.
In the summer of 1878, the Ponca Coal & Mining Company was organized for prospecting purposes. It was known that coal existed in small quantities, and it was believed to exist in larger quantities. This company consisted of twenty members, each of whom was to contribute $100, for the purpose of prospecting. A Mr. Leach contracted to drill down into the earth 600 feet, for $1,950; but on account of differences in the company, failed to fulfill the contract. In 1879 Stough & Welty took the contract off Mr. Leach's hands, a Board of Trustees was elected consisting of John Stough, president; O. P. Sullenberger, secretary; E. M. Bisbee, Treasurer: W. E. Gantt, T. J. Welty, R. H. Knapp, J. P. Hingtgen, A. M. Wilson and J. W. Jones, and the work of drilling was prosecuted with vigor. In February, 1880, a company was organized with a capital of $100,000, designing to develop the coal deposits of the county. In drilling, a layer of coal seven inches thick was penetrated at a depth of 100 feet. Under this was a layer of sandstone 200 feet thick; then came rock of extreme hardness, intermixed with iron pyrites and iron ore. At a depth of 340 feet was found a thin layer of cannel coal. At 408 feet, a vein of coal of fair quality was found two feet five inches thick. November 12, 1880, the miners struck a vein of coal four and a half feet thick, at a depth of 580 feet. This vein of coal was analyzed by Prof. Samuel Aughey, and presented the following constituents:
Moisture - - - - - - - - - 12.01 Volatile Matter - - - - - - - - 37.00 Fixed Carbon - - - - - - - - - 46.02 Ash - - - - - - - - - - 4.97 _______ 100.00
This analysis exhibits its economic value.
In the following month (December) drilling below this four and a half feet vein was continued with the hope of finding a still thicker one, as had been the case in Iowa, but before proceeding far the drill was broken, and it was found impracticable to get the broken drill point out.
Since this time no further efforts have been made. There has been some talk of putting down a shaft. The company have leased for ninety-nine years, 15,000 acres of land, have an authorized capital of $1,000,000, and abundant faith in the value of the deposit of coal, but have not sufficient actual capital to prosecute the work of mining. If Dixon County is to supply Nebraska with coal, as she only a short time since had high hopes of doing--such is still believed by some to be practicable, and which if done would be of incalculable benefit to both the county and State at large--it will probably be done with the aid of extraneous capital and enterprise.
Ponca now contains six general stores, two groceries, two hardware stores, two drug stores, two agricultural implement dealers, four hotels, one grain and one cattle dealer, one lumber yard, one harness shop, three blacksmiths, one boot and shoe store, five physicians, four law firms, two newspapers and a graded school employing four teachers--the principal a man, assistants, ladies. The population is estimated at 900. The railroad company has a commodious depot here, engine house and water tank. The bank of Dixon County was established August 23, 1881. Besides conducting a general banking business, it pays interest on time deposits, thus affording to the people of the county the advantage of a savings bank. A creamery is one of the institutions of Ponca, managed by R. H. Knapp, who purchases the cream from a large number of farmers in the vicinity.
Ponca Cemetery Association.--In 1881, twenty citizens of Ponca and vicinity organized a cemetery association and incorporated it under the laws of the State. This association is taking proper measures to beautify and embellish the cemetery, which in the future will be an object of pride to all and exhibit proper respect for the dead.
Dixon County Teachers' Institute was organized at Ponca, October 28, 1878.
Dixon County Agricultural Association was organized in the spring of 1882, and it is its design to hold a county fair hereafter annually.
The Northern Nebraska Journal.--This paper was established January 16, 1873. At first it was a seven column folio, but was changed to a nine column folio in 1876. Numerous changes of size were made, and experiments tried in the succeeding years. Finally April 1, 1882, it was made a nine column folio again. In politics the Journal had been independent up to January 1, 1882, when it became Republican. It has always labored steadfastly to subserve the interests of the people of Dixon County, and has met with gratifying success.
Dixon County Courier.--This paper was established in August, 1877, by J. D. and W. B. Smith, as a seven column folio. In the fall of 1877 Dr. Porter and J. W. Wigton bought it, published it about a year, and sold it to J. W. Wood and Frank Wigton, who published it about two years. They sold to Wilson & Welty. Shortly afterward Welty bought out Wilson, published it about eighteen months, and in July 1881 sold it to Stuart Munn, who in time sold it to J. D. Smith, one of the original proprietors. The Courier has always been Republican in politics, and has a large home and foreign circulation.
EDWARD ARNOLD, the subject of this sketch, was born in the vicinity of the City of Cork, Ireland, on the 1st of May, 1822. Emigrated to America in 1845, and landed in New York on the 25th day of October of that year. After a brief stay in the city, he moved to Hampden County, Mass., where he was engaged for several years at cotton manufacturing. Moved with his family to Dixon County in the spring of 1857, where he has since permanently resided. Was elected County Superintendent of Common Schools, and appointed Justice of the Peace the fall after his arrival. Was elected County Clerk on the organization of the county in 1858. Taught school in Ponca in the spring and summer of 1862. In the fall of that year he enlisted in Co. I, Second Nebraska Cavalry, in which he served twelve months, until mustered out. Engaged for a brief time in the hotel business in Ponca, from whence he moved on to his farm, two miles west, in the spring of 1869. There he owns 240 acres of land, on which he has built a substantial dwelling house and other improvements. Was invited by the citizens to write up the Centennial History of Dixon County, which was read to a large assemblage of citizens in Ponca on the 4th day of July, 1876. The fall previous was elected the first County Judge under the new constitution. Admitted to the bar of Nebraska in 1880, at the fall term, but does not practice, preferring farm life as being more conducive to health and longevity.
JOHN B. BARNES, Judge of the Sixth Judicial District. Is a native of Ashtabula County, Ohio. There received his preparatory studies, taught school and took up the study of law. In 1863 enlisted in Co. E. First Ohio Light Artillery. Served to the end of the war, returned to Ohio and continued his studies at Grand River Institute, and Austinberg, Ohio. He then came West, and continued the study of law; was admitted to the bar in 1873. Two years later was elected District Attorney; served two terms. He was then appointed by Gov. Nance District Judge, to fill the vacancy caused by the election of Judge Valentine to Congress in the fall of 1879. He was elected to this position by a majority of 1,320 over Mr. Crawford, of West Point.
E. M. BISBEE, County Clerk. Is a native of Chautauqua County, N. Y. In 1857 came to Jackson County, Wis.; the following year came to Dixon County, followed farming and millwright business several years. In 1864 was elected County Clerk and ex-officio Clerk of the District Court and Recorder; re-elected in 1870; again elected to this office in 1876, which he has since held.
THOMAS J. CANON, livery and sale stable. Was born in Licking County, Ohio. Came with his parents to Jones County, Iowa, where he assisted in farming. In 1880 came to Ponca, engaged in live stock; the following year commenced this business; is now running fifteen horses. Married January 19, 1872, to Jane Barnhill, of Jones County, Iowa. She died September, 1879, aged twenty-six years. Have two children, Joseph E. and Lottie. Second Marriage December 15, 1880, to Mary E. Barnhill, also of Jones County, Iowa.
W. T. CHAPMAN, Postmaster. Is a native of Fulton County, Ill. After finishing his education, he entered a store at Lewiston as clerk; remained in this capacity about seven years. In 1880 came to Ponca and opened a grocery store; continued this business until December 16, 1881, when this business was disposed of. August 22, 1881, he was appointed Postmaster.
M. V. COATS, general merchandise. Is a native of Darke County, Ohio. In 1856 came to Iowa County with his parents. In 1869, came to Ponca, made a homestead of 160 acres of land, which he improved. In 1874 he returned to Iowa County; engaging in farming till 1878; went to the Black Hills, remaining there one year, in the fall returning to Ponca and commenced this business. Married January 22, 1882, to Miss Nettie Mershon, of Jones County, Iowa.
S. GAMBLE, real estate. Was born in Westmoreland County, Pa. In 1856 came to Dakota County. Was the first County Commissioner; served two terms; also six years as Sheriff. He enlisted in 1862 in Co. I, Second Nebraska Cavalry. Served thirteen months in the capacity of Quarter-master of the company. In 1867 came to Ponca; opened a general store, this being about the first store started here; carried on this business about ten years. He is now engaged in attending to his real estate interests, being now the largest property owner in Ponca.
W. E. GANTT, of the firm of Gantt & Norris, attorney at law, was born in Perry County, Pa., in about 1845. Commenced the study of law in New Bloomfield, Pa. Continued his studies about three years. He then took up civil engineering, which he followed about four years. In 1873 he resumed the study of law at Elk Point, D. T. Was admitted to the bar in Vermillion in 1875. Soon after came to Ponca, where he has since been actively engaged at his profession. In 1863, he entered the Signal Service. Was discharged August 1865. December 1, 1880, Mr. Norris became a member of this firm.
DENNIS HURLEY, firm of Hurley & Radford, live stock, grain and farm machinery. Was born in Ireland. When about one year old came with his parents to Watertown, Jefferson Co., Wis., where he was raised. In 1866, came to Dixon County. About two years later he made a homestead claim of 160 acres of land which he improved. In the fall of 1875 he was elected County Treasurer. Has since held this office three terms.
WM. HUSE, editor of the North Nebraska Journal, was born in Binghampton, N. Y., July 7, 1828. After completing his common school and academic education, he studied law at Fowler's Law School, Cherry Valley, N. Y., and also at Balston Springs, when the institution was moved there. After studying law seven years, as was then required, he was admitted to the bar in 1849, and was for four years law partner of M. B. Champlain, Attorney General of New York. In 1865 went it Bowling Green, Mo. In 1865 to Owatonna Minn. In 1869 to Janesville, Wis., practicing law there four years. In 1873 moved to Ponca, Nebraska, and started the North Nebraska Journal, and continued the publication of that paper to the present time.
E. H. JONES, Sheriff. Is a native of Licking County, Ohio, in 1852 came to Tazewell County, Ill., with his parents. In 1854 they removed to Warren County. In 1871 came to Dixon County and engaged in farming. He owns 160 acres of land, mostly improved. Mr. Jones is now serving his second term as Sheriff of Dixon County.
R. H. KNAPP, County Treasurer, was born in Chautauqua County, N. Y., in 1842. Brought up in Cattaraugus County. In 1856 came to Delaware County, Iowa. In 1873 came to Dixon County and followed farming till 1877, when he was elected County Judge. Held this office two years, also Justice of the Peace one year. In the summer of 1881 he was engaged in the hardware business. Was elected County Treasurer in the fall of 1881. He owns 400 acres of land, now rented, also a residence in Ponca, also the Ponca creamery which is making the butter from nearly 1000 cows.
S. P. MIKESELL, firm of Stough & Mikesell, general merchandise. Is a native of Indiana County, Pa. In 1864 he was appointed clerk in the Ordnance Office, War Department at Washington D. C. He held that position for two years. In 1866 he came to Nebraska and became a resident of Ponca in 1869, and became a member of the firm which has kept apace with the growth of the country and is now the leading mercantile house in Northern Nebraska.
T. R. ORR, druggist. Was born in Fremont, Ohio. Raised in Cass County, Mich. In 1875 came to Port Huron and there entered a drug store where he was employed one year. He then removed to Chicago and entered a wholesale drug house. Continued two years. In 1878 came to Ponca and established this business.
PATRICK SCOLLARD, farmer, Section 6, P. O. Ponca, Otter Precinct. Is a native of Ireland. In 1847 came to Canada. In about 1852 came to Boone County, Ind., and followed railroading. In 1859 came to this locality where he has since resided. He entered 160 acres of land in the spring of 1860 and now owns 240 acres which he has improved equal to any in this precinct. He winters from 100 to 130 head of cattle, about sixty hogs, and fourteen horses. Enlisted in 1862, Company I, Second Nebraska Cavalry. Served thirteen months. Married in 1875 to Isabella Tracy, of New York. They have three children, William A., Patrick Henry, and Martin E.
FRED W. SIMS, harness, saddles, etc., is a native of Oneida County, N. Y.; there raised, and worked at this trade about five years. In 1868 came to Dixon County. Took a homestead claim of 160 acres, which he improved. In 1879 removed to Ponca and opened this business. Now employs two hands. He enlisted in 1862, Company E, Ninety-second Illinois Infantry. Served to the end of the war.
J. D. SMITH, editor of the Dixon County Courier, was born March 25, 1851, at Tonawanda, N. Y. He received his education at the common school. At the age of eighteen, having learned the printer's trade at Independence, Iowa, he went to Missouri, serving as civil engineer two years, and in 1871 returned to Independence. Was married in 1873, and in 1874 moved to Cedar County, Neb., where he started the Cedar County Advocate at St. Helena. After publishing this paper nearly a year, he sold it in January, 1875, to L. W. Chandler, and went to Osage, Iowa, where he purchased a half interest in the Mitchell County News. In 1876 sold out, and started the St. Ansgar Register. In July 1877, sold the Register, and moved to Ponca, Neb., and started the Dixon County Courier. Has been connected with this paper most of the time since, and is now its editor.
JOHN STOUGH, firm of Stough & Mikesell, general merchandise, is a native of Westmoreland County, Pa. In 1852, came to Ohio. In the fall of 1856 came to Dixon County. Pre-empted 160 acres of land. In 1860, he, with his brother, built the Ponca Mills, which they operated until 1877, when they sold out to Sheffel & Drager. This firm was established in 1869, and is the leading store in the county, doing a business of about $48,000 a year. They own and occupy this brick store, 27x80 feet, two stories and basement, built in 1875; cost about $7,000. He with his brother also own about 2,000 acres of land, with about 500 acres under cultivation. They own about 300 head of cattle, 800 sheep, and forty horses. Has been a member of the Village Board since its organization.
JACOB THUM, proprietor Central House, was born in Bayern, Germany; there learned the trade of weaver with his father. In 1870 came to Dubuque, Iowa; carried on this business there about nine years, employing three hands. In 1880 came to Ponca: bought this house, which is now the best kept hotel in this county. married, May, 1873, to Helena Felen, of Chicago. They have five children. Members of the Catholic Church.
T. C. WEST, groceries, grain, flour, feed, etc.; was born in St. Clair County, Ill. There raised. In 1846 he enlisted in the Mexican War, from Nashville, Ill.; served about one year. In 1848 came to Delaware County, Iowa. In 1851 removed to Jones County, and assisted in erecting the first buildings in Monticello, and sold the first goods there. In 1865 removed to Cass County, Iowa; in 1877 came to Ponca, opened a furniture store, which was continued a short time. His business in butter, eggs, and produce, in 1881, was about $40,000. He shipped to Denver the first car-load of butter ever shipped from Ponca.
T. J. WELTY, real estate: is a native of Westmoreland County, Pa., came to Ponca in 1869; was engaged in merchandising, firm Gamble & Welty; continued about two years. In the fall of 1871 he was elected County Clerk, held this office four years. Was a partner in the banking house of S. B. Stough for six years prior to 1880. He is the oldest real estate merchant in Northern Nebraska, having established this business in 1870. He has for sale a large amount of improved and unimproved land.
T. R. WILLIAMS & CO., dealers in general merchandise. This firm was established May 10, 1881. Mr. Williams is a native of Wales. In about 1866 he came to Marengo, Iowa; there engaged in merchandising. Also at Vinton, Cherokee and Sioux Rapids, Iowa. Since coming to Ponca this firm have done a large and prosperous trade, formerly carried on by T. C. West.
B. W. WOOD, law and real estate; born in Morrow County, Ohio, 1842. Served three years and a half in the Federal Army during the War of the Rebellion. Moved to Powesheik County, Iowa, in 1868. There studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1876. In the fall of 1878 moved to Dixon County, Neb., and was there connected with the Dixon County Courier, published at Ponca, in that county, for eighteen months; since which time he has given his attention to law, loan and real estate business, having prepared a complete abstract of all lands in Dixon County.
This town is situated on the south side of Logan Valley, on a slight elevation of land. Towards the north, and east is the valley, stretching out about two miles, to the uplands on the other side; towards the south and west is fine rolling prairie extending over into Wayne County. The main branch of the Logan here furnishes excellent water power facilities, which will doubtless, in time be utilized.
One of the first, if not the first settler in the vicinity of Wakefield, was C. T. Barto, who landed here May 3, 1869, with his family, and C. I. Blake, from DeKalb, Ill. In the succeeding fall, George Fenton moved in with his family. In 1870, A. F. Hinds and family; in 1871, Pitt M. Hinds and family; in 1872, William Park, Irvin Packer and G. W. Packer; and in 1873, T. I. Poslethwaite. The first child born in this part of the county was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Phillips, on Section 33, Township 27, Range 5, east, May 31, 1869. The first death in this vicinity was that of Oscar Harmon, May 5, 1870, who died, probably from exposure, in a terrible storm of rain and hail. The first death known to be natural was that of Mrs. Pitt M. Hinds, July 3, 1872. The first school teacher was Miss Lucy Morey, who commenced teaching January 7, 1875.
The town of Wakefield was started in August, 1881, by the building of a hotel by D. D. Lash, though Mr. Skinner had previously built a barn, which was the first building. Mr. Skinner built a dwelling house in October, 1881. John T. Marriott built the first store, and became Postmaster, October 31, 1881. A neat frame schoolhouse was completed about May 1, 1882.
Rev. F. H. Calder, a Methodist Minister, was the first preacher, conducting religious services in Mr. Marriott's store. The first child born in Wakefield was William T. Jones, son of David and Mrs. Jones, January 12, 1882. Wakefield has two general stores, one hardware store, one blacksmith, one agricultural implement dealer, one hotel, one lumber yard and one bank. The railroad was completed to Wakefield about December 1, 1881, and the depot, a neat and commodious frame building was completed about January 1, 1882.
The town was named after Mr. Wakefield, engineer in charge of the surveying party which located the line of the St. Paul & Sioux City Railroad, through from Emerson to Norfolk. The population of the town is about 100.
This thriving village is beautifully situated near the junction of South and Dailey Creeks. Both these valleys are wide at this point, and South Creek is skirted with timber. The first settlement in the vicinity of Martinsburgh was made by Jonathan Martin, in 1872. In June, 1873, a flouring mill was completed, and shortly afterwards a great freshet destroyed both mill and mill-dam. In 1874, the town was laid out, and named Martinsburgh, in honor of the oldest settler. In 1874-74 the mill was rebuilt, and is still doing a good business. In 1874, Martin Lockwood, William Lockwood, G. Wright, B. O. Smith, and some others moved into this part of the county. The first marriage was that of B. O. Smith and Miss Mary Glisson, in 1874. The Lutheran Church now in Martinsburgh was built in 1875. A store was opened in 1875 by Frank Bartlett, in a building intended for a hotel. The post office was established in 1879, and at the time named Justice; but in 1881 it was changed to Martinsburgh. Dennis Hurley was first Postmaster.
Martinsburgh is a pleasant town, is quite rapidly improving and exhibits in its buildings energy and good taste. It contains a store, a grist-mill, schoolhouse, church, hotel and blacksmith shop, and the town proper about seventy-five inhabitants. It is about centrally located about eight miles southwest of Ponca, and entertains hopes of becoming the metropolis of the county.
JOHN DUREN, firm of Duren, Wright & Co., Martinsburgh Mills, is a native of Prussia. In 1874 he came to Dixon County, worked in the Ponca Mills. Soon after removed to Martinsburgh and worked in this mill In 1876 he bought an interest here and has since been connected with this mill. He was married in 1861 to Mary Kohl, of France. They have three children--daughters.
MARTIN LOCKWOOD, real estate, is a native of Washington County, Vt. In 1856 he came to Whiteside County, Ill., with his parents. In about 1860 he came to Allamakee County, Iowa, there married Miss Mary Wright in 1864. She was born in Michigan, daughter of P. G. Wright. They have three sons and two daughters. He followed farming a few years. They then came to Battle Creek, Mich. He was engaged in the sash and blind business about three years. In June, 1870, he came to Nebraska, settled at the head of South Creek, and established the first postoffice there. In 1875 he came to Martinsburgh, bought the undivided half of the town, with the mill. He also was engaged in merchandising about three years. The past two years he has been in the drug business at Ponca with the firm of Orr & Lockwood, but has withdrawn from the firm and engaged in the drug business at Martinsburgh.
J. MARTIN, general merchandise, is a native of Bristol County, Mass. He came to New York at the age of seventeen. In the fall of 1838, he came to Cook County, Ill., where he followed the trade of carpentering fifteen years. In 1860 he built a distillery in Peoria, Ill., and run it till 1866. The following year he came to Nebraska, located two miles east of Ponca, there he built a saw mill. He also build the Martinsburgh Mill in 1872, which he sold in 1875. In 1878 he bought out Wright & Lockwood, and has since been engaged in this business. His trade amounts to about $10,000 a year. He has been Postmaster the past two years, and has also been County Commissioner.
DAVID MURPHY, farmer, Section 21, P. O. Martinsburgh, was born in Ireland. In 1856 he came to New York, and in 1859 came to Chicago, Ill., then traveled South visiting Louisiana, Mo., Memphis, Tenn., and other points. July 4, 1863, he came to Quincy, Ill., where he worked on a farm one year, thence to Kansas and St. Joe, Mo. In the summer of 1865 he came to Nebraska City, and in 1867 came to Omaha. The following year he came to Dixon County where he has since resided. He owns 280 acres of land, mostly improved, is School Treasurer of District No. 10. In 1880 he was a candidate for County Commissioner, but was defeated by a small majority.
WILLIAM WITHAM, hotel, is a native of Morrow County, Ohio. In 1856 he came to Jefferson County, Iowa, farmed there about eight years. January 1865, he came to Dixon County, Neb., where he has since resided. He owns his house, with four acres in Martinsburgh, also a farm of forty acres. He was married in 1856 to Miss H. M. Frost, of Morrow County, Ohio. They have two daughters.
Logan Grove.- This post office is located in Clark Precinct in the western part of the county on rolling prairie. It was established in 1877; W. W. Crain, first and present Postmaster. The first settlement in the vicinity was made by Capt. J. A. Burdick, in 1871. J. W. Jones, William Cowie and W. W. Crain were among the early settlers. The first schoolhouse was built and the first school taught in 1872. Rev. W. H. Clark, after whom the precinct was named, preached the first sermon in 1873, at Capt. Burdick's house.
Parkhill P.O. was discontinued about January 1, 1882.
New Castle.- This little village is pleasantly situated in the Aoway Valley, about twelve miles northwest of Ponca, and on the grade of the Covington, Columbus & Black Hills Railroad. The Hoese Bros., William, Henry and Frank, came here in 1856 and built the first house, a log one with a dirt roof. In the spring of 1857 Gustavus Smith moved in with his family. A little later William and Englehart Phister, with their father and mother, arrived. Alexander was first Postmaster, when the post office was about five miles down the valley. The first marriage here was that of James Smith to Miss Eliza Ross, January 16, 1876. The Catholic church was erected in 1873, at a cost of about $1,500. A new frame schoolhouse was completed in the spring of 1882. New Castle now contains the post office, one general store, and about thirty inhabitants.
Ionia was at one time a flourishing town. It was situated on the bottoms of the Missouri, but has been moved back up on the bluffs, on account of the washing away of the town site by the Missouri. John J. and H. M. Pierce were the first settlers, in 1857. Henry Hill was the first child born in 1860. A school was taught in 1865 by C. H. Smith. For some years the town grew and prospered. In 1870 a large two story frame hotel was erected, and in 1872, when it was at the height of its prosperity, it contained one general store, one hotel, one blacksmith shop, W. H. Gasline, who started his shop in 1870, one grist mill, one saw mill, one saloon, one shoe shop, a school, and about 100 inhabitants. In addition to the inroads of the Missouri, the high price at which village lots were held, has prevented Ionia from growing, and now the houses have been mostly moved away onto farms and elsewhere, there is but little left except the post office, a few dwelling houses, a blacksmith shop and a schoolhouse.
Lime Creek.--This post office is situated in Lime Creek Valley, about three miles from the Missouri in the northwestern part of the county. The surrounding country is quite rugged and the valleys well timbered. The first settlement was made in 1867 by John Maskell and H. Farsnoy. Other early settlers were Ole Nelson and O. K. Anderson, in 1870. The first school was taught by Miss Frederica Wells, in 1872. A schoolhouse was built in 1874. The first sermon was preached in John Maskell's house in 1870, by Rev. Mr. Coleman. A store was opened by John Walter in 1878, and in 1879 the post office was established, Christian Nelson the first Postmaster.
South Creek. This post office is located in the southern part of the county, near the head of South Creek, which determined its name. It is surrounded by rolling prairie. The first settlement in the vicinity was made by William Withern in 1859. The first birth was that of Alice Withern in 1861. The post office was established in 1869; Martin Lockwood, Postmaster. The first school was taught in 1872, by Mrs. Mary Lampha, and the first sermon was preached in the same year by Rev. W. H. Clark.
Aoway Creek is a post office situated in the northwestern part of the county, about eight miles west of New Castle, and near the source of Aoway Creek, on high rolling prairie.
Dailey Branch is a post office in the western part of the county, also on high rolling prairie, near the head of Dailey Creek, and about four miles south of Aoway Creek.
Ellis is a post office in the southern part of the county, at Emerson Junction, on the line of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, and the Norfolk branch of the same road.
Silver Ridge Seminary. This institution of learning is situated at Silver Ridge P. O., six miles west of Ponca. Its location is elevated, sightly and healthy, retired and free from village distractions and influences. It was opened n October 1870, and is conducted on the plan of the co-education of the sexes. Rev. Walter H. Clark, A. M., is Principal of the Seminary, and Mrs. Clark has special charge of the young ladies in attendance.
Hawkeye is a country post office in the eastern part of the county, about ten miles south of Ponca, the county seat, in the Elk Creek valley.
Spring Bank is a post office in the southern part of the county, about ten miles south of Martinsburgh, on gently rolling prairie, near the source of Elk Creek.
R. BURGESS, farmer, Section 3, P. O. Springs Bank, is a native of Weathersfield, N. Y., was raised in Macomb County, Mich., there engaged in farming. He enlisted in 1861, Company L, First Michigan Cavalry, served his enlistment three years, then came to Ridgeway and opened a blacksmith shop, continued about five years. In 1871 came to Nebraska, located on this farm, owns 200 acres. He has held various offices in this precinct, has been Judge and Clerk of election, Assessor, etc., he suggested the name of this precinct and post office, which was submitted to the County Commissioners, by the surveyor, and approved.
C. M. CROWELL, farmer, Section 9, P. O. Hawkeye, is a native of Chenango County, N. Y., born in 1827, raised in Chautauqua County, in about 1858 came to Henry and Jefferson County, Iowa, in 1869 came Dixon County, Neb., made a homestead claim of 160 acres, now owns 320 acres, his improvements are the best of any in this precinct, has been County Commissioner two years, Treasurer of the school since its organization. Married in 1850 to Thankful Bush, of Chautauqua county, N. Y. She died in 1857, aged twenty-three years; have two children, one son and one daughter; second marriage in 1859, to Sarah A. Marquiss, of Virginia, they have one daughter.