NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Dodge County
Produced by Karen Elliott.


Location and Natural Features | Water Powers
Grain and Fruit Raising | Early History

PART 2: Early History of Fremont | A Reminiscence

Organization | Means of Communication
County Schools--County Poor
The County Agricultural Society


Fremont:   Corporate History | Schools | City Park


Fremont (cont.): The Press | Fire Department | Fires
The First and The Last Murder | Societies
Business of Fremont | Banks | Shed's Opera House


Fremont (cont.): Hotels | Board of Trade
Manufactories | Biographical Sketches

Fremont (cont.): Biographical Sketches (cont.)
Fremont (cont.): Biographical Sketches (cont.)
Fremont (cont.): Biographical Sketches (cont.)
PART 10:
Fremont (cont.): Biographical Sketches (cont.)
PART 11:

North Bend:  Early History | The North Bend of Today
Biographical Sketches

PART 12:
North Bend (cont.): Biographical Sketches (cont.)
PART 13:

Scribner:  Biographical Sketches
Pebble:  Biographical Sketches

PART 14:

Hooper:  Biographical Sketches
Cuming Precinct:   (Biographical Sketches)

PART 15:

Biographical Sketches:
Everett Precinct | Maple Precinct

PART 16:

Biographical Sketches:
Union Precinct | Webster Precinct | Elkhorn Precinct

List of Illustrations in Dodge County Chapter



[View of Fremont.]

This city, the county seat of Dodge County, is one of the most important business points of Nebraska outside of Omaha. It is situated forty-six miles west of the metropolis and fifty miles northeast of Lincoln, the State capital. The grain and stock products of the rich Platte and Elkhorn Valleys find here at the union of the Union Pacific and Elkhorn Valley roads an outlet to the east. In addition to the advantages which the city derives from being a great shipping point, it is becoming quite a manufacturing center in many lines. Its general trade is, therefore, very large, and prosperity and contentment rest on most faces. Substantial business blocks, first-class hotels, comfortable, and, in some cases, costly, private residences, well supported newspapers--all unite in testifying to the "good times" which Fremont has so profitably improved. What is surprising, too, is that the city has made most of its progress while localities farther east were depressed in business and really moving backward. The total value of its real estate is $300,000, which figures are significant when it is remembered that Fremont has a population of only about 3,700.

The following article, taken from the columns of the Daily Herald, shows as fairly as anything can the business activity of Fremont:

The year just closed has been a most prosperous and eventful one, judged by the material advancement of our beautiful city. During no other single twelve months has there been an equal aggregate of substantial improvements, which add to the appearance, solidity and wealth of the city. This year has witnessed the completion of one of the finest business blocks, outside of Omaha and Lincoln, in the State--that of May Brothers' wholesale grocery house, which is transacting a business only approached by that of two wholesale firms in the metropolis, with its population of 35,000 inhabitants. It has seen the completion of the most elegant private residence, in all its appointments, in interior Nebraska--that of Geo. W. E. Dorsey, a residence which has cost in the neighborhood of $15,000 and is the pride of every citizen of the "prettiest town in the State." It has brought to completion the extensive creamery building, which in extent and perfection of details has not a superior in all the West, if in the Union, an enterprise whose walls cover the expenditure of about $17,000, and which is destined to be one of the most extensive and valuable of all the productive enterprises of the State; and following close upon this, it has secured the erection of a foundry building which is only second the manufacturing interests of Omaha, which has grown up within a score of years and which is turning out work whose demand reaches all over the State and is growing beyond its limits; now employing more than twenty-four hands and turning out all classes of work in this line. These are only a few of the improvements in the several branches of permanent growth, whose other indications are seen on every hand, as detailed in the items of outlay and improvement collected in our table following. These items, which are of course imperfect in the aggregate, as it is impossible to collect all the details of improvement within this past year, show that there has been expended and added to the material growth of the city during the year the sum of at least $175,000. These are all visible improvements, which stand out as bright landmarks to note the material prosperity of the city, and which go to make up its claim as one of the most prosperous and enterprising of all the communities within the State borders. When we mention that there are business houses in Fremont doing from a quarter to three quarters of a million dollars of business annually; that there is another business house which has recorded a business of more than $1,000,000 during the past twelve months; that we have half a dozen wholesale houses, in the line of groceries, dry goods, hardware and liquors, that are only second to those of Omaha; that we have half a dozen store buildings which in dimensions and elegance are only equaled by the finest in Omaha and Lincoln; that we have the largest hotel buildings and the best hotel facilities in the interior of the State; that we have the most ample school accommodations, soon to be supplemented by the addition of another $7,000 building, now under contract; that the denominations and societies are all represented and flourishing; that we have four banks in successful operation; that there is more money invested in live stock, sheep and horses in Fremont than in any other city in Nebraska; that we have the largest elevators and the most extensive lumber establishments in the interior of the State; that we have more and finer buildings now under contract than any other city--Omaha alone excepted; and that almost without exception all this capital is the accumulation of business enterprise in our own midst; when all this is taken into consideration, we think we can afford to congratulate ourselves upon the stability of foundation and the future outlook of the city in which we all have so much pride and of which we have such well-founded anticipation for the future.

But there are other evidences of progress and improvement in our city, in the way of elegant and substantial buildings, which have not gone into our figures, but they belong to the records of 1881, and, as the enterprises are already under way, should be credited to the progressive achievements of the year. First of all we will mention the elegant new building to be erected on the corner of Main and Sixth streets, the excavation for which has already begun, and which is to be completed for occupancy by the 1st of July next. This building is being erected by George W. E. Dorsey, who, during the past year, has already added some $20,00 to the permanent wealth of Fremont in his new residence and elevator. This building is to be three stories in height, with basement five feet above the sidewalk, and is to include three business fronts. The corner room will be occupied by Messrs. Dorsey & Toncray as a banking house, the west room will be occupied by Miss Emma Fries, milliner, the center room is not yet engaged. The second floor will be divided into offices, with a stairway entrance on Sixth street. The third floor will be occupied as the Masonic Hall and doubtless will be the finest room for the purpose, outside of Omaha, in the State. The building covers an area of 59 by 62 feet, the hall occupying the entire upper floor, which will be built with high ceiling, and arranged and furnished in the most convenient and elegant manner. The basement (or what we may be permitted to call the first floor proper) will be occupied by what will be probably the best arranged and most convenient printing establishment in the State of Nebraska--which shall be here nameless, but which we shall know more about hereafter. This structure will be built of pressed brick, with marble trimmings, windows of plate-glass, and with a rich cornice extending around the north and east fronts, It will have a "cutaway" corner in which will be the bank entrance, and it is also contemplated to put in a tiling floor--the first in the city. Mr. Dorsey doesn't do things by halves, and there will be nothing left undone to make this building complete in every respect, and the pride of the city.

The Excavation has also been made for another of the finest business blocks in the city--the new wholesale building of Meyer & Schurman, which will be completed during the year. This building will be located just west of their business corner on Fifth street. It will be 44x100 feet, three stories high, with basement--the same dimensions as May Bros.' building, and will be built with pressed brick front, stone trimmings, plate glass, and in all respects a first class building, worthy of the city, of the firm, and of the year in which it is built. It will probably cost $15,000 or $20,000. When completed, it will make a handsome cluster of buildings on Fifth street, taking in the new Hammond building (one of the finest yet erected in the city), in which will be located the post office.

The streets of Fremont are neat in appearance, all of them being sixty-six feet wide, except Military avenue, which is 100 feet; Broad street, eighty feet; F and H streets, seventy feet each. Lots are 66x132 feet, except around the city park, where they are slightly over forty-six feet width. Military avenue was fixed by the Government as the old military road to California by Salt Lake City. The fact that the survey was not quite with the points of the compass accounts for the platting of Fremont, the military road being taken as the basis of the village survey. But the streets present a cleanly appearance and the principal avenues are broad, so that it seems to make little difference to the present generation that they do not run true to the points of the compass. The work of the early surveyors was but a minor evidence of the general confidence that the people have in all that the Government does.

The public school system is well under way, and the school buildings would be a credit to a place of twice the size of Fremont. The edifice on Broad street is especially handsome and imposing.

Being the county seat, Fremont has also the county buildings--a substantial court house and jail, of brick, which adds to its attractiveness and general metropolitan aspect.


Under the provisions of the act to incorporate cities of the second class, passed by the Legislature in March, 1871, the Trustees of the town of Fremont called a special meeting for June 17. The city government was then adopted by ordinance and wards established as follows: That part of the city lying north of Sixth and east of F streets to be the First Ward; north of Sixth and west of F, Second Ward; south of Sixth and west of F, Third Ward; south of Sixth and east of F, Fourth Ward. By the legislative act, the officers were made to consist of a Mayor, Police Judge, Marshal, Treasurer, Clerk and eight Councilmen--two from each ward. The qualification for voters were the same as for county elections, ten days' residence in a ward being required in addition.

The first election, which occurred July 15, resulted as follows: Mayor, Theron Nye; Treasurer, F. W. Hayes; Marshal, Robert Gregg; Clerk, William Martin; Police Judge, S. W. Hayes; Councilmen, James G. Smith, Allen Marshall, M. J. Tompkins, A. C. Jensen, William Thomas, D. B. Short, E. H. Barnard, M. H. Hinman. The present officers are as follows: Mayor, Charles Sang; Treasurer, John E. Shervin; Clerk, George Looschen; City Engineer, O. Smith; City Attorney, C. Hollenbeck; Police Judge, James Huff; Policeman, Tom Wilson; Councilmen, First Ward, W. T. Munger, J. V. N. Biles; Second Ward, Robert Bridge, E. N. Morse; Third Ward, Claus Plambeck, John F. Haman; Fourth Ward, T. S. Cole, James Murray.


Miss Charity Colson taught the first school in Fremont during the summer of 1858. The following summer Miss McNeal taught the first district school. E. H. Rogers was one of the early educational instructors. Among the early lady teachers were the Misses Van Anda, McCarn and Goff.

Among the early educational institutions were St. James Hall, which was organized in 1869. It afterward passed into the hands of a Board of Trustees, and was regularly incorporated. With the effective organization of the district schools, St. James Hall was discontinued. In its day, however, it found plenty of employment, and well-filled its chosen field of education.

Since Fremont was incorporated in 1871, its schools have been under the control of a Board of Education, who appoint a Superintendent of Instruction. The board serving for 1881-82 is as follows: President, Ernest Schurman; Vice President, A. P. Hopkins; Secretary, E. N. Morse; other Directors, James Gray, Andrew Bothwell and John Grunkranz. The Superintendent of Instruction is A. E. Clarendon.

The public schools are now thoroughly organized, the present enrollment being 750. The methods of grading and of instruction are in accordance with the most advanced educational thought of the day.

The Central School building on Board street is of brick, three stories high, with a tower, and presents as fine an appearance as any structure in Fremont. It was built in 1870, at a cost of $28,000. With site, furnishings, etc., this sum would be increased to $32,000. The dimensions of the building are 60x75 feet. It contains nine rooms. The high school and grammar department are in this building. The Principal of the former is Miss Emma Ely; of the latter, Miss Lucy Griswold. The five assistants are Misses Fannie Maxwell, Evaline Clark, Ollie Harmon, Mary Davis and Sarah Rogers.

The East School building was erected in 1876, at a cost, with site, of $8,800. It is also of brick, 55x60 feet, commodious and well arranged, being two stories high. As is the case with the Central School, its grounds are spacious, and ornamented with shade trees. Miss Estes, the Principal, is assisted by Misses Peirce, Emma Gillette and Lizzie Blanchard.

The South School building, erected in 1881, at a cost of $2,400, is two stories in height, 35x40 feet. Miss Inlay, Principal, is assisted by Miss E. Kerr.

The Fifth Street School is a rented building, Miss C. S. Kelley being Principal.

The fine new West Side building, to cost $7,000, now under contract, will be of brick, two stories, two rooms each, with a capacity of ninety scholars, though seats will not be put in for this number until demanded. The building, from the drawings, presents a very fine appearance. It will have a front east of 53 feet 8 inches, and a depth of 46 feet 4 inches. The school-rooms will be each 25 feet 4 inches by 32 feet. Each room will be provided with a wardrobe and teacher's closet. This building will be built in the most substantial manner, with a sixteen inch wall, with interstices t o prevent dampness, and will be a creditable addition to the architectural beauty of our city, and supply at least, for the present, the pressing demand for school accommodation.


In January, 1857, the Town Company of Fremont reserved the land across Broad street, bounded west by H and east by F streets, for public purposes. In the summer of 1859, E. H. Rogers, Chairman of the Town Board of Trustees, entered at the United States land office the tract now included in the city park. In 1860, he received a patent in trust for the citizens of Fremont. The boundaries of the park were changed by the board, that portion west of Broad street and on that thoroughfare being vacated, and adding block 96 on the east. The park was thus moved one block east, its area being left about the same. When the boundaries were changed, the park was ornamented with shade trees and otherwise much improved. It now contains five acres, bounded by Broad, Main, Seventh and Eighth streets.


The churches of a new community walk hand-in-hand with the schools--so with Fremont. The first settlers had hardly time to breathe before the Gospel was being preached in their midst.

First Congregational Church.--The Congregational was the first religious organization in the county, and Rev. I. E. Heaton was the first pastor. On November 2, 1856, soon after his arrival from Wisconsin, he preached the pioneer sermon from Psalm iii, 10: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." Some twenty-five people had assembled at Seth P. Marvin's house, a mile and a half west of Fremont, and the meeting passed off to the deep satisfaction of all. Perhaps, even, the feeling was mixed with a little worldly pride at the manner in which the impromptu choir acquitted themselves, assisted by Miss Heaton at the melodeon. On the following Sabbath, services were held at the house of Robert Kittle, and from that time onwards they have continued to be held regularly at Fremont. On August 2, 1857, a regular church organization was effected, with seven members. Rev. I. E. Heaton continued his pastorate. Two years after a house was purchased. The house, still standing, is occupied by Thomas Wilson, being on Eighth street, between C and D streets. For twelve years the society remained under the care of Mr. Heaton. The dedication of the present neat and commodious edifice, corner of Broad street and Military avenue, took place August 2, 1868. Additions to the building were made in 1874 and 1881, so that now the structure is one of the best in the city. For a long time its fine bell, of over a thousand pounds, not only rung out good tidings but the fierce alarum of fire, or the noisy news of political and local victories. It was, in fact, public property and a public benefactor. To return to the pastors who have had charge of the church up to the present time: Rev. I. E. Heaton was succeeded, in 1869, by Rev. James B. Chase, Jr., who served until 1871; Rev. Roswell Foster from 1871 to 1875; and Rev. George Porter from 1876 to August, 1877. Rev. Albert T. Swing, the present incumbent, assumed the charge February 1, 1878. The comfortable parsonage connected with the church was erected in 1873. A fine $1,000 organ adds to the harmony of the church, which is one of the leading religious organizations of the city. The entire value of the church property is placed at $7,000, the resident members numbering 114. Its large Sunday school, composed of over three hundred children, is in charge of Superintendent E. H. Barnard.

The Methodist Episcopal Church.--A class formed in Fremont during the summer of 1857, consisting of E. H. Rogers, Lucy J. Rogers, Mary Flor, Wealthy Beebe and L. H. Rogers. Rev. Jerome Spillman was appointed to take charge of it, presenting his credentials to E. H. Rogers in the following letter, written by the Presiding Elder of North Bend, and Fontenelle Missions, of the Kansas and Nebraska Conference:

"OMAHA, June 22, 1857.   
"E. H. ROGERS, ESQ.--Dear Brother: This will introduce to you Rev. Jerome Spillman. I have employed him on the Fontenelle and North Bend Missions. He is a young man, as you will see; still he is full of fire and will do you good service. He is now just from the Indiana Asbury University (of the junior class), is a good scholar, and will prosecute his studies until he graduates. Board him if you can. I will be out on the 11th day of July. Kind regards to yourself and family.
"Yours truly,          J. M. CHIVINGTON."   

Soon after, meetings were held regularly at E. H. Rogers' house. After they had been maintained about a year, the Platte Valley Mission was established, excluding Fontenelle, and extending over the region lying west of the Elkhorn River and north of the Platte. This mission was placed in charge of Rev. Jacob Adriance, who remained about two years, being succeeded by Rev. L. D. Smith. From 1861, when the Nebraska Conference was established independent of the Kansas Conference, until 1866, when the church building was erected, Fremont remained a mission station and was supplied by Rev. David Hart, Rev. Theodore Hoagland and Rev. Jacob Adriance. In 1966, Rev. Joel Van Anda was appointed to Fremont as local pastor. Then succeeded Rev. James McChesney, Rev. Charles McKelvey, Rev. G. W. De La Matyr, Rev. L. W. B. Long, Rev. J. W. Shank, and Rev. W. F. Warren, the present pastor. During this period, a strong organization has been effected, the present membership of the church being 115. The Sunday school has 125 scholars. The church property on Broad street, including the building, lots and parsonage is valued at $4,000.

St. James' Episcopal Church.--On July 14, 1865, Bishop Talbot and Rev. O. C. Dake held the first Episcopal services in Fremont, from which time Mr. Dake because the settled pastor. For some time, the services were held at the residence of Robert Kittle, who was the earliest member of the church. The others who formed the body of the wardens and vestry were Theron Nye, J. F. Reynolds, B. F. Turner and J. G. Smith. Mr. Kittle's house soon becoming too small, services were held in the public schoolhouse. In January, 1866, two lots were bought for $200, and in 1867, a church was erected at a cost of $2,250, most of the money being furnished by St. James' Church of Chicago. In 1870, Rev. Mr. Dake was succeeded by Rev. J. May, who remained during the summer. Following him was Rev. Mr. Sorenson, who remained only a short time. In September, 1871, Rev. Frank Bullard assumed the rectorship, and remained until 1874, in which year he was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Goodale. From April, 1877, the time when Rev. Mr. Goodale's rectorship ceased, until January, 1878, the parish was vacant. At the latter date, Rev. Dr. McNamara took charge of St. James at Fremont, and also of Holy Trinity at Schuyler, continuing his rectorship until March 1, 1881. Since that time, services have been held regularly by Rev. Mr. Doherty, of Omaha. In June, 1879, the church building was found to be unsuitable for use, and was taken down and rebuilt an expense of $1,400. The present value of the church property, including church, parsonage and lots, is estimated at $6,000. There are at present thirty-four communicants. In the Sunday school, there are nine teachers and ninety scholars.

The Roman Catholic Church was erected in 1869, in which year also the congregation was organized. Both were the results of the efforts of Rev. John Lonergan, who by his own exertions secured money from leading citizens of all denominations, and who for eleven years remained as pastor of the charge. The property upon which the church was erected was donated by Messrs. Blair and Turner. The structure itself cost $2,000. Of the twelve original members of the organization, the names of Andrew Bothwell, Baltes Dunkle, Michael Cauley, Peter Flanigan, John Delaney, John and James Moackler and Patrick Hanlon alone are recorded. Rev. Father Lonergan was assisted in his work by Rev. Fathers Rauch and Shoff. In March, 1880, the charge was given to Rev. T. W. O'Connor, who has since remained as pastor, assisted by Rev. John F. Quinn. In 1880, the church was rebuilt and enlarged, and as it now stands, including vestments, statuary and ornaments, is valued at $3,000. In addition to this, the church owns a lot on First street, valued at $250, and a half-block on Fourth street valued at $2,000. Work has already been begun on a parsonage at an estimated cost of $3,000. In 1871, a lot of five acres was donated to Father Lonergan for use as a cemetery. This has already ceased to accommodate the wants of the Catholic people of the Fremont parish, and new grounds are about to be purchased. Besides the church work in the city, mission stations have been established in Pleasant Valley and at Tillman's, where services have been held once a month. The later mission is now under the charge of Rev. John Mueller. At Pleasant Valley, the church owns a cemetery lot of forty acres, purchased at a cost of $428. The membership of the city church is at present 300 adults and sixty children. In connection is a Sunday school having five teachers and a membership of sixty. All property is held in the name of the Right Rev. James O'Connor., D. D., Bishop of Dibona, Vicar Apostolic of Nebraska, residing at Omaha.

First Presbyterian Church.--This society was organized November 23, 1873, under the pastorate of Rev. E. Scofield. The latter was succeeded by Rev. A. B. Byrum. Rev. P. S. Hulbert, present pastor, assumed charge of the church in May, 1882. The church edifice of the society is situated on Fifth street, between C and D streets, and was dedicated January 3, 1875; cost of property, $3,500. The present membership of the church is forty. J. Rogers is Superintendent of the Sunday school, which numbers over one hundred scholars. Present officers of the society: Elders, James Smails, Manley Rogers; Trustees, M. H. Hinman, Col. William Marshall, Manley Rogers, William Porterfield, John McCarn, Judge S. Maxwell.

The German Evangelical Church was established in 1873. Prior to this time, meetings had been held on various occasions by Revs. Rall, Knoche and Lochle, but 1873 marks the time of the first settled pastorate. The first minister, Rev. J. P. Just, was sent by the Iowa Conference, and the church building was erected under the same auspices before any local organization was effected. The following names were the first enrolled upon the church record: Ernst Smith, Augusta Smith, Jacob Sanser and wife, Anna Froeshle and Lizzie Harding. Since the expiration of Mr. Just's appointment, the pulpit has been filled by Rev. Fred Bachemeyer, Rev. W. F. Schwerien and Rev. August Haas, the latter being the present occupant. The church is in a flourishing condition, owning its building, lot and parsonage, valued at $1,500, and having a membership of twenty-five names enrolled upon its register. Besides the regular work in this parish, Mr. Haas fills two appointments, the one in this county being at Logan Mills, where a regular organization exists with a fair membership. In connection with the city church is a fine Sunday school, having a membership of seventy scholars. It is carried on and managed by twelve officers and teachers. This is the only German church in the city, and at present belongs in the Nebraska Conference of the Evangelical Association of North America.

First Baptist Church was organized December 19, 1869. The church building, corner of Fifth and C streets, was dedicated December 31, 1871. Rev. J. C. Lewis is the present pastor. The church has a membership of about fifty. Rev. J. W. Osborn, the regular pastor, had charge of the church for four years.

There is also a small Danish Lutheran Society, Rev. Mr. Andersen, of Omaha, presiding.

The Fremont Cemetery Association was first organized in 1862. On December 1, of that year, the following officers were elected: President, Rev. I. E. Heaton; Vice President, Robert Kittle; Secretary E. H. Barnard; Treasurer, Theron Nye. The first cemetery consisted of a block of about two acres, donated by the Town Company. These grounds were used until 1877, when the association bought forty acres of the State, which has since been tastefully laid out in convenient lots and broad avenues. Its present officers are: President, E. H. Barnard; Vice President, Dr. L. J. Abbott; Secretary, Arthur Gibson; Treasurer, L. H. Rogers.

Top of Page   First Page   Back   Next

County Index