Topography and General Features | Early History | Criminal Matters|
The Grasshopper Raid | Organization | Other County Affairs
Elections | Progress of the County
Fairmont: Early History | Churches and Schools | Societies|
Business Interests | The Press | Biographical Sketches
Geneva: Early History | Present Condition of the Town|
Grafton: Biographical Sketches|
Fillmore City | Manleyville | Exeter
Biographical Sketches: Hamilton Precinct | Bryant Precinct
Bell Prairie Precinct | Momence Precinct
Fillmore County Names Index
FILLMORE County is located about twenty-four miles north of the southern boundary of the State, and ninety miles west from the Missouri River. It is in extent twenty-four miles square, and lies between York and Thayer, Saline and Clay Counties.
The natural water-courses of the county are but few. The West Blue River flows along its northern boundary for about half its breadth from the northwest corner, and affords an excellent water-power. Turkey Creek rises in Clay County, and flows across Fillmore from west to east, a little north of the center of the county. In the eastern part of the county, the flow of water is sufficient to afford a fair water-power. Indian Creek flows across the northeastern part; School Creek across the northwestern part; Sandy Creek across the southwestern and Walnut Creek across the southeastern. The four last-named streams are but small ones.
The valleys along the streams are very narrow, and from them the surface of the land rises gently to the upland prairies. In but few places is the rise so abrupt as to form bluffs or hills. The upland divides are broad in extent, with an almost level surface, rolling just enough to afford perfect drainage. So perfect is this natural system of drainage, that there are but few places so wet as to prevent successful cultivation, and these, except in very wet seasons, can be drained very easily. The percentage of waste land in the county is very small.
There never was much timber of a natural growth in the county. The greater part was along the banks of the West Blue River and Turkey Creek, with a narrow belt of small trees skirting the smaller streams. In the early years of settlement, the greater part of this was cut off and used by the early settlers for building purposes and for fuel, but it is again growing up rapidly. There is in the county, however, a large acreage of cultivated timber. From the earliest date of settlement, much attention has been given to the culture of forest trees, and the result is that to-day there are few farms in the county that have not more or less timber growing on them. These groves vary in extent from one to forty acres. From almost any point on the prairie, large groves of trees may be seen on every side. The trees are principally of the following varieties: Box-elder, ash, honey locust, cottonwood, maple, willow and black walnut. All these varieties grow very rapidly, the soil being well adapted to their development, and Fillmore County ranks among the first in the State for the number of forest trees under cultivation. In many of these groves, the trees have already attained sufficient size to furnish the owners with an abundant supply of fuel, fence posts and small timber for various building purposes. Besides this as the groves increase in size, many kinds of birds, before unknown in this part of the State, are coming in and rapidly increasing in numbers. It is said that fifteen distinct species of birds common to the timbered regions of other Western States are now to be found in the groves of this county.
The only line of railroad in the county is that of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska, which crosses from east to west through the northern tier of precincts. This railroad secures the shipments from the northern and central portions of the county, while the St. Joseph & Western Railroad, a short distance south of the southern boundary, affords a market for the southern part.
The first settlement in the county was made in June, 1866, at which time William Bussard and William Whitaker entered homestead claims and made a settlement on the West Blue River, in the northern part of the county, near where the Fillmore Mills now are. These men were stock-raisers and had a large number of cattle. This location was chosen from the fertility of the soil and the extraordinary richness of the wild grasses that covered the prairies. But these settlers were not long to remain alone, for the next fall several persons selected and entered homestead claims along the same stream. Among them were James Whitaker, Nimrod Dixon, J. H Malick and J. A. Werts. Fearing the severity of the winter in a new and comparatively uninhabited country, and, being so far away from any point where supplies could be obtained, all who had located here, except J. H. Malick and J. A. Werts, went farther East to spend the winter. Though alone, these two inhabitants of what is now Fillmore County, passed a very pleasant winter and amused themselves with hunting and trapping, as the country at that time abounded in wild animals of all kinds common to the Western prairies. Of the larger game, buffalo, elk and antelope were numerous, and for the first two or three years after the date of the above settlement, the selling of meats, hides and furs formed quite a profitable source of income for those then living in the county.
In the spring of 1867, the parties who left the settlement the fall previous, returned, and with them came the first white woman to form a residence in the county. She was Mrs. E. A. Whitaker, and was then about seventy years of age. She entered a homestead near the West Blue River, in what is now West Blue Precinct.
In the year 1868, a very few settlers came to the county. On the West Blue, Henry L. Badger, the pioneer land surveyor, accompanied by a few families, made a location. The same year, D. H. Dillon settled in the eastern part of the county on Turkey Creek.
During the year 1869, there were but a very few additions made to the settlements on West Blue and Turkey, but quits a large settlement was made in the extreme southeastern part of the county, on Walnut Creek. Among the Walnut Creek settlers were M. Walker, J. F. Snow, John, Charles and Henry Eberstein and Cyrus Mcpherson.
The settlements above named formed a nucleus, around which new settlers were fast selecting farms. The year 1870 is noted for the large immigration to Nebraska, and now there was a rush of settlers to Fillmore County. The settlements were generally made around those already started, but by far the greatest number located in the southeastern part of the county, and, by the close of the year, the settlers here outnumbered those of the rest of the county. Among those to locate on the West Blue, in 1870, was E. L. Martin, who laid out a town and called it Fillmore City. This town was located where the Fillmore Flouring Mills now are.
Immigration had been kept up during the winter of 1870-71, and, in the spring of 1871, there began a grand rush of settlers to Fillmore County, which continued during the year. The greater part of the better quality of Government land, in all parts of the county, was now taken up, and a great deal of railroad land was sold. The original land grant to the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska, conveyed to them each alternate section of land, for fifteen miles on each side of the railroad. The heaviest settlement, in 1871, however, was near the original settlement before mentioned.
In the grand rush of the spring of 1871, several professional men came to the county. The first attorneys to make a location were C. H. Bane, near the center of the county, and J. W. Eller, in the northeastern part. The first physicians were G. R. Hart and H. F. King, who secured homestead claims near the center of the county.
The first ministers of the Gospel to form a residence in the county were Elder E. R. Spear, a Baptist minister, then about seventy years of age, who located on Turkey Creek, northwest of the present town of Geneva, and Rev. G. W. Gue, a Methodist minister, who located where the town of Fairmont now is. It is impossible to say which of these gentlemen preached the first sermon in the county, though it is generally credited to Elder Spear, who preached at the residence of N. McCalla, on Turkey Creek, early in May, 1871. About the same time, and it is said by many, a little earlier, Rev. G. W. Gue preached a sermon at the residence of Warren Woodard at the present town of Exeter.
The first store in the county was opened February 10, 1871, by J. E. Porter, at Fillmore City, on the West Blue River. This was also the place where the first farm in the county was opened up, in 1867, by Nimrod G. Dixon, who broke forty acres that year.
The first post office was established at Fillmore March 10, 1871, and E. L. Martin was appointed Postmaster. The post office was kept at J. E. Porter's store, and he had charge of the office, having been appointed Deputy Postmaster. The salary for the first year amounted to $12.
The first school of the county was taught on Walnut Creek, in the extreme southeastern part of the county, in the fall of 1871.
In the fall of 1871, the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad was completed through Fillmore County, and the towns of Exeter and Fairmont were surveyed and platted, and at once began to be built up rapidly.
In the history of Fillmore County, the year 1872 is noted for the rapid settlement over its entire area. During the year, nearly every acre of Government land had been entered, a large amount of railroad land sold, and a very large acreage brought under cultivation. There had been a large acreage planted to crops, and the yield was good.
The spring of 1873 opened with a heavy immigration to the county, and, by the end of the year, all parts had become quite thickly settled. The large acreage already under cultivation had been planted, which yielded an abundant crop. Besides this, there was a great deal of breaking done during the summer.
In the fall of 1871, William Smith had been arrested for larceny and was confined in the Pawnee County Jail at a great expense, awaiting trial; therefore, upon a request from the County Commissioners, Judge O. P. Mason ordered a special term of the District Court, to be held on February 28, 1872. The first jury in the county was drawn on February 7, and the first term of District Court was held on the appointed day at the residence of Mr. Pangle, on Turkey Creek, a short distance northwest of the present, town of Geneva. Smith was convicted and sentenced to sixty days imprisonment in the Otoe County Jail.
The first homicide in the county occurred in August, 1872, at which time Orlando Porter shot and killed George A. Day. Porter lived on a farm east of Geneva, and Day, who had a homestead near, but had not yet brought his family West, was boarding with him. He frequently complained of being too unwell to work, and remained at the house. One day, while working in the hay-field, a neighbor told Porter that Day had been guilty of criminal intimacy with his wife. Porter went to the house, and, taking his wife on his knee, made her confess to the truth of the report, upon which he rose, with the exclamation, "He shall die." Just at that moment, he saw Day riding up on one of his own horses, which he had loaned him, and, in a moment of anger, caught up a loaded musket at his side, thrust the muzzle out of the window, fired, and Day rolled from the horse dead. An inquest was held and Porter held for trial on the charge of murder. At the regular term of court, in November, held at the Manleyville Hall, he was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to one year of imprisonment in the penitentiary. The jury at once signed a petition for his pardon. After serving a few months, he was released, and returned with his wife to Ohio.
During the fall and winter of 1873-74, everything passed along in the usual manner, without any remarkable events. With the increase of population, the towns of the county had progressed rapidly, and the spring of 1874 opened with bright prospects for the entire county. Farms had been opened in all parts of the county, and, though it had consumed nearly all the means of the greater number of them to pay living expenses and bring their farms under cultivation, the farmers and business men were in the best of spirits. Crops had in previous years yielded fairly, and now a much larger acreage than ever before had been planted, and, during the early part of the season, grew with astonishing rapidity. But their hopes were soon to be blasted. Early in July, came a protracted dry season, and this was followed in the latter part of the same month by myriads of grasshoppers that devastated the entire State. So thick did they come that the light of the sun was obscured, and it was but a few hours until everything that was not yet ripe and gathered was destroyed. With the exception of a few late fields, the harvest of small grain was nearly completed, but the destruction of corn and vegetables was complete.
The greater number of the settlers had spent their all to get a start, and, unable to stand the loss of so great a part of their crops, it now looked as if their ruin was complete. For a time, all progress in the county came to a stand-still. Many left the country to spend the winter in their old neighborhoods in the East, and some went never to return. But the greater number remained. Many of them had to practice the most rigid economy and endure many privations, but, though there was a great deal of suffering, there were no cases of actual starvation.
A project was started to vote county bonds to aid the sufferers, but, on the 16th of January, 1875, the proposition was voted on and defeated. The vote stood 200 for and 532 against. After this, one precinct--Bryant--voted relief bonds, and N. Anderson, J. W. Ireland and A. J. Williams were elected Trustees. The amount was small, and it cost so much to negotiate the bonds that, when distributed, the amount of money each received was very small.
Aid societies had been formed, and a large quantity of provisions and clothing sent to Fillmore County for distribution. There is no doubt that many needy families were assisted materially by these contributions, though a great part of what was distributed went to those who least needed it. Besides this, many needy settlers were compelled, when going to the distributing officer for assistance, to sign a receipt for quite a large quantity of goods before leaving the office, and, upon arriving at the cars or store house, they could get but a small portion of the goods they had receipted for, and if satisfaction or the return of the receipt were demanded of the distributing officer, he refused to give them up, stating that some one had stolen the goods, and that he must hold those receipts that his own accounts with his superior officers should balance. His course was condemned by the settlers, but it has never been known who stole the goods. It is evident, however, that a most diabolical theft was perpetrated that robbed starving and half-clad women and children of food and clothing.
The summer of 1875 was a dull one, and many saw hard times. Owing to the grasshopper raid of the year before, it was difficult for the farmers to obtain seed. Their teams were in a half-starved condition. They secured what seed they could, however, and went to work manfully to put out another crop. In spite of all privations, their courage never failed, and, in the fall, their labors were rewarded by a fair yield of crops. In 1876, the grasshoppers appeared again in some parts of the county, but did very little damage. During these two years, however, there was comparatively little immigration, owing to reports of the great injury done by these predacious insects.
Early in the year 1871, steps were taken to secure a county organization. At this time the county existed only in name, and was attached to Saline, for judicial, revenue and elective purposes. A petition for organization was prepared, and forwarded to Acting Governor William H. James, who, on the 15th day of March, 1871, issued a proclamation, ordering an organic election--for the purpose of electing county officers, and selecting a county seat, to be held on Friday, April 21, 1871, at the residence of Nathaniel McCalla, on Section 30, Town 7, Range 2 west. This was on Turkey Creek, a short distance northeast of the present town of Geneva.
The organic election was held on the day appointed, and resulted in the election of the following officers: Elisha L. Martin, Charles H. Bassett and Jesse Lee, County Commissioners; Henry L. Badger, Clerk; Wilber Deuel, Treasurer; J. F. Snow, Sheriff; William H. Blain, Judge; Henry L. Badger, Surveyor; G. R. Wolf, Superintendent of Schools; and T. E. Barnett, Coroner. The county seat was voted to be located on the southeast one-fourth of School Section 36, Town 7, Range 3 west, in the geographical center of the county. There were eighty-one votes cast at the election.
The first meeting of the County Commissioners was held at the residence of N. McCalla, on Turkey Creek, on the 27th day of May, 1871. The newly elected officers qualified for their respective offices. The county was divided into Commissioners' districts, by lines extending east and west, making each district eight miles wide and twenty-four miles long. As the county seat had been located on school land belonging to the State, it was decided that before erecting public buildings, the county should wait for a survey, and confer with the proper State officers, regarding the purchase of this land. Therefore, the temporary county seat was designated at McCalla's residence. Judge Blain was given permission to hold his office at his own residence, on the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 20, Town 7, Range 2 west. C. H. Bassett was ordered to confer with the Saline County officers, to gain possession of the assessment books and tax list of Fillmore County property. This completed the business of the first meeting.
Though McCalla's residence was designated as the county seat, none of the county records were kept there, but were carried to the homes of the officials, and only brought to McCalla's at times when the Board of Commissioners met. Owing to the delay in the purchase of the school land, there were several points near the center of the county, trying to secure the seat of government. At the meeting of the Commissioners, on July 3, Maj. Williams, acting for James Mar, owner of the north half of Section 25, Town 7, Range 3, west, offered to donate at the option of the Commissioners, either forty acres of said land, or to donate ten acres and erect a court house at a cost of $2,500, provided that the county seat be located on the above-described land. This offer was refused by the Commissioners. About the same time, A. J. Manley tried to secure the location of the county seat on the southwest quarter of Section 27, Town 7, Range 3 west. He built a large hall, twenty feet wide and sixty feet long, and offered to donate this to the county should they locate the county seat there. A town was surveyed, platted and named Manleyville.
On July 6, 1871, the county was divided into four voting precincts, and J. W. Eller was appointed attorney for the county.
The survey of the school section, where the county seat had been located by the election in the spring, was made on the 7th, 8th and 9th days of July, 1871, by Henry L. Badger. The town site was first named Henry, which name it retained until July 2, 1872, when it was changed to Geneva.
Though Henry had been surveyed, the county seat was not established there until the year 1873, as provision had to be made by the State Legislature for the sale of the land, which was done by an act passed in 1872. After the land had been purchased, county buildings were to be built, so that it was not until May, 1873, that the county seat was permanently located at Geneva. Before this was done, meetings of the County Commissioners were held at McCalla's, until March 16, 1872, a meeting was held at the residence of David Lee, near the town site on the school section. After this, until May, 1873, Commissioners' meetings were held at the residence of the County Clerk, J. E. Spear, a short distance northwest of the site of the county seat.
On the 10th day of October, 1871, the first regular election was held and resulted in the election of William H. Blain, Judge; J. G. McFadden, Sheriff; A. T. Hager, Treasurer; J. E. Spear, Clerk; H. L. Badger, Surveyor; and G. W. Gue, Superintendent of Schools. H. G. Smith, W. T. Burnett and T. E. Barnett were elected Commissioners. In the election of these men arose some complications that had to be settled by the courts. It was understood by the old board that two of their body having the largest number of votes at the organic election in April, should hold over, one for two and the other for the full term of three years. T. E. Barnett was elected in the place of Jesse Lee, whose term of office, it was admitted, expired on January 1, 1872. Bassett and Martin claiming the office on the grounds of the election of the spring before, were not candidates for re-election. In Martin's district, H. G. Smith was the only man voted for, but as he refused to qualify, E. L. Martin was allowed to retain the office. In the second district, W. T. Burnett was elected, and he began a suit before the courts to depose Bassett, which was done by a decision of District Judge Mason in February, 1872.
On April 15, 1872, G. W. Gue resigned his office as County Superintendent of Schools, and J. A. Dempster was appointed in his place.
The officers of Saline County had refused to give up the tax lists for Fillmore, and on October 16, 1871, the Commissioners ordered the County Attorney, J. W. Eller, to begin a suit before the District Court for their possession. Eller urged the suit, agreeing to pay the costs if defeated, which certainly required considerable assurance, for the young man had just begun the practice of law, and at the time his only possessions were two or three law books, his homestead claim and 50 cents in cash. To attend the meetings of the Commissioners as their attorney, he had to walk about fifteen miles, and get trusted for his dinner, but on going to attend the District Court, in Saline County, to make a little better appearance, he borrowed a pony, and managed to scrape enough money together to pay his hotel bill, but he secured the tax lists.
On February 6, 1872, J. S. Le Hew, N. McCalla and John A. Williams were appointed to appraise the school lands of the county, which they did in due time, and made their report April 29.
On June 17, 1872, at a public sale appointed, the county purchased a tract of land in the town of Henry, now Geneva, for the county buildings, for the sum of $135, and on the 27th of the same month, received a deed for the land, from Acting Gov. William H. James.
On July 2, the name of the county seat was changed to Geneva.
At the regular election on October 8, 1872, J. E. Cramer, of Fillmore County, was elected Representative in the Legislature from his District. J. A. Dempster was elected Superintendent of Schools, and E. L. Martin, Commissioner. At this election 540 votes were cast.
On December 2, 1872, the contract for building the court house and jail at Geneva, was let to Jesse P. Thompson, for the sum of $3,075. Work on these buildings was commenced at once and pushed rapidly to completion, and they were formally accepted by the Board of Commissioners on May 5, 1873. The county records were then removed there, where they have ever since remained.
On January 7, 1873, the county was again divided into precincts, making altogether sixteen in number, each comprising a township. There has since been no change made in their boundaries.
A large number of the citizens of the county were determined, though their court house was large enough for all present purposes, to have that used for a county poor house, and to build a large and imposing brick court house. On July 7, 1873, the County Commissioners, on account of a vote in October, 1872, to build a new court house, advertised for plans and specifications for a building to cost $37,500. These were furnished by different builders, and one selected, but on October 11, 1873, an injunction was served upon the Commissioners forbidding the building of the house, on the ground that the county had no power to vote such bonds. Their reasons were sustained and the new court house was never built.
The regular election on October 14, 1873, resulted in the election of J. E. Spear, Clerk; A. T. Hager, Treasurer; W. H. Blain, Judge; C. A. Warner, Sheriff; James Shepard, Coroner; V. A. Jones, Surveyor; J. A. Dempster, Superintendent of Schools, and W. T. Burnett, Commissioner.
At the election of October 13, 1874, E. Shepard had been elected County Commissioner in the place of T. E. Barnett, whose term of office had expired.
A new State Constitution was to be framed, and on April 6, 1875, J. V. Hamilton, of Fillmore County, was elected a delegate from his district, to the Constitutional Convention.
At the regular election of October 12, 1875, J. W. Eller, of Fillmore County, was elected Prosecuting Attorney for the First Judicial District of Nebraska. The county officers elected were: J. Jensen, Clerk; J. M. Fisher, Treasurer; C. A. Warner, Sheriff; C. M. Northrup, Judge; W. C. Henry, Commissioner; J. A. Dempster, Superintendent of Schools; H. L. Badger, Surveyor, and R. H. Wirts, Coroner.
On September 14, 1875, the contract was let for building a County Poor House, at a cost of $1,473. In a few months the building was completed. It was located on the southeast quarter of Section 16, Town 6, Range 3 west. This tract of land had been purchased for a poor farm, July 2, 1872.
At the annual election on November 7, 1876, E. D. Place was elected Commissioner; C. M. Northrup was elected Representative to the Legislature for Fillmore County; J. O. Chase, Representative for the combined district of Fillmore and Clay, and J. P. Manle, Presecuting Attorney for the First Judicial District of Nebraska.
On November 6, 1877, the following county officers were elected: Clerk, J. Jensen; Treasurer. J. M. Fisher; Sheriff, C. A. Warner; Judge, J. D. Hamilton; Superintendent of Schools, J. B. Lewis; Coroner, R. M. Cotton; Surveyor, H. L. Badger.
On November 5, 1878, William Ramsdell was elected Commissioner; J. D. Jenkins, Representative to the Legislature, and John F. Coulter, State Senator.
November 4, 1879, Charles Barnett was elected Commissioner; George P. Wintersteen, Clerk; S. B. Camp, Clerk of District Court; P. D. Sturdevant, Treasurer; W. J. Carrier, Sheriff; B. F. Shickley, Judge; W. S. Crawford, Surveyor; J. B. Lewis, Superintendent of Schools, and G. W. Whipple, Coroner.
November 2, 1880, G. H. Bomgardner was elected Commissioner, and W. B. Gray and Nathan S. Babcock, Representatives to the Legislature.
The election of November 8, 1881, resulted in the choice of Nils Anderson, Representative; G. P. Wintersteen, Clerk; P. D. Sturdevant, Treasurer; W. G. Hannes, Sheriff; B. F. Shickley, Judge; J. B. Lewis, Superintendent of Schools; Cyrus Macy, Commissioner; W. S. Crawford, Surveyor, and T. C. McCleery, Coroner.
In politics, Fillmore County is Republican by a very large majority, on all questions of a State or National issue, but in county politics, ever since its organization, there has been one continuous struggle for the offices. There have always been a number of candidates for every office, and all factions have ever been ready to take advantage of every little circumstance that will turn the tide in their favor. During the campaigns there have been some very bitter personal fights made between rival candidates for public favor, but until the fall of 1881, these had been settled at the polls. But now, those out of office had combined to overthrow those then in power, and, as a result, the Republican candidate for Clerk, only received a small majority over the combination candidate, who proceeded to contest the election. After a bitter fight before the courts, extending over a period of about six months, the Republican candidate, George P. Wintersteen, was declared elected.
For the five years succeeding the year 1876, the county has continued to progress steadily in the increase of population and of improvements made. No remarkable events aside from this uniform progress have taken place. The farms have been well improved. Groves have been planted and have grown rapidly. Orchard trees have been planted, and where properly cared for are doing well, with the exception of cherry trees, have not yet attained sufficient size to yield much fruit. The smaller fruits have been quite extensively planted, and their yield is prolific. Neat and comfortable houses have been built, and large farms brought under cultivation. The population, according to the census of 1880, numbered over ten thousand, and as it has been constantly increasing since that time, it may now, at a fair estimate, be said to be nearly 12,000.
During the past five years the crops have averaged a fair yield. Some years they have been cut short by dry weather, but there has not been a complete failure during that period.
Some localities have been visited by severe hail storms, which have completely ruined all growing crops in their path. These storms, however, have not been general, but local in their effects. The last of these swept over the extreme southwestern part of the county on the morning of July 10, 1882, and though narrow, it swept along with terrific force, hurling down large jagged lumps of ice that in places entirely demolished the growing crops. This was notably the case on the farms of Peter Gergen, M. Tower and E. R. Howe. Outside of a belt about three-quarters of a mile in breadth the crops were but slightly injured.
Crop-raising alone has been found not to pay very well, and the more enterprising farmers are fast getting herds of sheep and cattle. There are all the natural advantages here that can be found anywhere for stock-raising, and this industry affords greater profits than any other that can be carried on in the county.
In the material growth of the county. the cause of education has not been neglected. In the settlement of the country, as soon as a place to live in could be built, and sometimes before, steps were taken to organize a school district and provide for a school. As the result of this, every community now has its comfortable schoolhouse, and from three to ten months' school every year.
Church societies are organized in every precinct of the county, and religious services are held in almost every community. In Franklin Precinct, in the southeastern part of the county, are two German Lutheran Churches, both built in 1878. One of these was built at a cost, when furnished, of $700, with a parsonage worth $450, and has a large and prosperous membership. The other church was built at a cost of about $500, with a parsonage worth $250. Around these churches is a large German settlement.
In the eastern part of the county, in Liberty and Glengary Precincts, is a very large settlement of Bohemians, and they have a church, known as the Bohemian Catholic Church, which was built some years ago, and has a large and strong membership. Meetings are held every alternate Sunday, and on all the principal Catholic holidays.
In the western part of the county, in Momence Precinct, is a large settlement of Germans, and here they have a large German Catholic Church, which was erected in 1879. The interior is decorated and fitted up in a neat and expensive manner. Services are held regularly by the priest.
In Bryant Precinct, in the southwestern part of the county, is a large settlement of Swedes. They are all religious people, and at an early date they organized religious societies. In 1881, a large and neatly designed Church was erected by them, and is known as the Swedish First Lutheran Church. It has a large and constantly increasing membership.
The Fillmore Agricultural Society was organized in 1872, with C. H. Bane, President, and J. Jensen, Secretary. They own sixty acres of land, have good buildings and some money on hand. For 1882, J. Jensen is President, and J. E. Spear, Secretary.