NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Lancaster County
Produced by Debra Parminter.


Physical Character | Early Settlement | Indian Troubles
Salt Basins


County Organization | Official Roster | County Statistics
Railroads | District Schools | Taxation
County Poor Department | County Societies


Lincoln:   Early History | Incorporation | Official Roster
City Institutions | Post Office

Lincoln (cont.):   University of Nebraska
Lincoln (cont.):   University of Nebraska (cont.)

Lincoln (cont.):   Insane Hospital
Nebraska State Penitentiary | The Second Revolt


Lincoln (cont.):   Public Schools | Fire Department
The Press | Churches


Lincoln (cont.):   Societies, Associations, Etc.
Temperance Societies | Musical Societies
Business Interests | Banks | Hotels


Lincoln (cont.):
Wholesale and Manufacturing Establishments
Biographical Sketches- ABBOTT~ALLEN

10 - 24:

** Lincoln Biographical Sketches ** (cont.)

PART 25:

Bennet:   Churches | Societies |
| Biographical Sketches - ALLSTOT~GRIBLING

PART 26:
Bennett:   Biographical Sketches - HANSON~PIPER
PART 27:
Bennett:   Biographical Sketches - RHEA~WILSON
PART 28:
Waverly:   Biographical Sketches
PART 29:

Firth:   Biographical Sketches
Roca | Other Points
Biographical Sketches
Grant Precinct | Saltillo Precinct | Stockton Precinct

List of Illustrations in Lancaster County Chapter



The first steps toward perfecting a county organization were taken in the fall of 1859, when a public meeting was held under the "Great Elm," on the east bank of Salt Creek, near the northwest corner of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad grounds, to consider the advisability of such action. As a result of the meeting W. T. Donavan, J. J. Forest and A. J. Wallingford were appointed a committee to select a site for a county seat. They chose the site of a part of the present city of Lincoln, which was laid off in 1864 and named Lancaster. An election was ordered by the County Commissioners of Cass County, to which the unorganized county west was attached for judicial and elective purposes, to be held at the house of William Shirley on Stevens' Creek, October 10, 1859. At this election the following officers were elected: County Commissioners, W. T. Donavan, J. J. Forest and A. J. Wallingford; Treasurer, Richard Wallingford; Clerk, L. J. Loder; Recorder, J. P. Loder. A general election for Lancaster County was held October 9, 1860, at the house of Capt. W. T. Donavan, twenty-three votes were cast and resulted as follows: For Delegate to Congress, J. Sterling Morton received 11 votes and Samuel G. Dailey, 12; for Councilmen, W. R. Davis 2 and T. M. Marquette, 13; for Joint Councilman, Samuel H. Elbert, 15; for Representative, William Gilmore 16, Louden Mullen 15, W. R. Davis 16, William Reed 16, E. W. Barnum 12 and J. N. Wise 6.

In 1863 a part of Clay County was set off to Lancaster, giving this county its present proportions of thirty-six miles in length by twenty-four in width.

The first election under the State Constitution was held June 2, 1866. The number of votes polled at this election was 165. For Governor, J. Sterling Morton received 53 and David Butler 112; 53 votes were cast against the Constitution and 95 for it; John Cadman was elected Senator to the first State Legislature; James Queen was returned as elected Representative from Lancaster, Seward and Saunders counties, but his seat was contested by J. L. Davidson and no decision had been reached when the Legislature adjourned; Ezra Tullis was elected Representative from Lancaster County.


The following roster shows the county officials and their respective terms:
Treasurers.--1859, R. Wallingford; 1865, William Guy; 1867, M. Langdon; 1869, John Cadman; 1871, R. A. Bain; 1873, C. C. White; 1879, Louis Helmer.
Clerks.--1859, L. J. Loder; 1861, J. P. Loder; 1863, M. Langdon; 1867, S. B. Galey; 1869, R. A. Bain; 1871, R. O. Phillips; 1875, W. A. Sharrar; 1877, Robert D. Silver; 1879, L. E. Cropsey.
School Commissioners.--1867, F. A. Bidwell; 1869, A. M. Ghost; 1873, J. W. Cassell; (called Superintendent) 1875, S. G. Lamb; 1877, A. G. Scott; 1879, Louis Lamb; 1881, H. S. Bowers.
Probate Judges.--1861, Festus Reed; 1863, J. D. Main; 1865, Luke Lavender; 1867, John Cadman; 1869, S. B. Pound; 1871, A. L. Palmer; 1875, A. G. Scott; 1877, J. S. Webster; 1879, J. D. Marshall; 1881, J. E. Philpott.
Sheriffs.--1861, J. L. Loder; 1863, Josiah Chambers; 1867, J. H. Hawke; 1869, S. McClay; 1879, J. S. Hoagland; 1881, Granville Ensign.
The popular vote in 1860 was 23; in 1865 it was 125; in 1870, 1,116; in 1875, 2,360.


The census of 1880 gives the entire population of the county as
 28,090, distributed among the different precincts as follows:
Buda Precinct. . . . . . . . . 565 | Panama Precinct, . . . . .  549
Capital Precinct . . . . . . 8,583 | Rock Creek Precinct. . . .  661
Centreville Precinct . . . . . 601 | Saltillo Precinct. . . . .  865
Denton Precinct. . . . . . . . 381 | South Pass Precinct. . .  1,012
Elk Precinct . . . . . . . . . 464 | Stevens' Creek Precinct. .  357
Grant Precinct . . . . . . . . 623 | Stockton Precinct. . . . .  557
Highland Precinct. . . . . . . 522 | Waverly Precinct . . . . .  652
Lancaster Precinct . . . . . . 667 | West Oak Precinct. . . . .  337
Lincoln Precinct . . . . . . . 250 | Yankee Hill Precinct . .  1,111
Little Salt Precinct . . . . . 493 | Malcolm Village. . . . . .   53
Middle Creek Precinct. . . . . 467 | Nemaha Village . . . . . .  214
Midland Precinct . . . . . . 4,860 | Hickman Village. . . . . .   83
Mill Precinct. . . . . . . . . 627 | Roca Village . . . . . . .  115
Nemaha Precinct. . . . . . . 1,024 | Firth Village. . . . . . .  229
North Bluff and Oak Precinct 1,113 | Waverly Village. . . . . .  132
Olive Branch Precinct. . . . . 749 |

The value of the real estate and personal property in the county, as returned by the assessors for the years 1864-81, inclusive, is as follows:

      1864 . . . $  36,616     |     1873 . . . $4,269,865
      1865 . . .   145,612     |     1874 . . .  4,359,685
      1866 . . .   202,647     |     1875 . . .  4,405,913
      1867 . . .   466,855     |     1876 . . .  3,836,124
      1868 . . .   466,425     |     1877 . . .  3,651,156
      1869 . . .   973,309     |     1878 . . .  3,801,342
      1870 . . . 1,529,099     |     1879 . . .  3,768,626
      1871 . . . 3,184,036     |     1880 . . .  4,934,130
      1872 . . . 4,482,118     |     1881 . . .  5,189,790


There are five railroads in the county, and to them more than to any one other artificial cause, is due the rapid development of the resources of the county. They so cross the county as to give all parts a near market. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska, whose termini are Omaha, Plattsmouth and Kearney, connecting at Kearney with the Union Pacific, enters the county about three miles below the northeast corner, and runs diagonally across, passing through Lincoln, and leaves the county about five miles north of the southwest corner. This is the principal road of the county, and has the main portion of through traffic, together with its local business.

The Nebraska Railway, running from Central City, Merrick County, where it unites with the Union Pacific, via Lincoln to Nebraska City at which point it connects with the Nemaha line, and the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad, from Atchison, Kansas, to Lincoln, a distance of 146 miles, afford the southern portion of the county an outlet to the markets. The latter road has been extended from Lincoln north, to Columbus, in Platte County, where it connects with the Union Pacific. This gives it a length of over 200 miles and, together with a branch of the Union Pacific, which runs from Valley, in Douglas County, to Lincoln, supplies transportation and facilities for the northern portion of the county.

It is the delight of every community to sing the praise and perpetuate the memory of all its public or private benefactors, and it is no less a privilege than a pleasure to accord to the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska great credit in building up Lancaster County, and developing so thoroughly and so soon, the wonderful resources of this region. The rich endowments of nature are now accessible to those desiring pleasant homes. That the railroad has a permanent and mutual interest in the State, is proved by the number, permanency and value of its improvements all along the many lines, and especially in the city of Lincoln, where are located its round-house and machine shops. Its passenger depot at Lincoln is the finest depot owned by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, and is deserving of especial mention here. It is a brick structure, with limestone ornamentation, of the Greeco-Italian style of architecture, 57x156 feet in size, and three stories in height, including the lofty mansard roof. The finish is very fine; the wood being pine, and the walls rough float. The internal arrangement is very convenient. The first floor is devoted wholly to the comfort and convenience of passengers. The second floor is occupied by the offices of the land department, together with the telegraph and the different superintendents' offices. On the third floor are the electric generators for 907 miles of telegraph line, consisting of 240 cups. The most noteworthy addition is that of a very commodious and neatly furnished reading room, provided with books and periodicals, for the exclusive use of employes, and open at all hours, both day and night. The road has about 300 employes at Lincoln, where its business amounts to several hundred thousand dollars annually. Besides aiding in populating the city of Lincoln, it is now one of its chief means of support. The sale of the B. & M. lands in this county has been very rapid, and to illustrate how rapidly the county is settling up, the following statement has been prepared.

         The B. & M. Railroad owned in Lancaster County:
      July 1, 1877   -   -   -   -   -  110,000 acres of land
      July 1, 1878  -   -   -   -   -   100,000   "    "   " 
      July 1, 1879   -   -   -   -   -   75,000   "    "   " 
      July 1, 1880  -   -   -   -   -    67,000   "    "   " 
      July 1, 1881   -   -   -   -   -   33,000   "    "   " 
      July 1, 1882  -   -   -   -   -    11,800   "    "   " 

The price has ranged from $4 to $12 per acre for the land. Improved farms sell from $18 to $35 per acre.

It is thought that by 1883, Lincoln will have received four additional roads, which will make it the "Indianapolis" of the west.


The public schools of Lancaster County are now in a flourishing condition, under the superintendency of H. S. Bowers. The long process by which the system developed is explained below.

W. T. Donavan, former Moderator, has the following in regard to the early history of the district schools: "The first district school was organized at the 'Colony,' afterwards called Lancaster, in the latter part of the year 1864, embracing six miles square. The directors were Jacob Dawson, John M. Young and M. Langdon. Some months afterwards School District No. 2 was organized at Yankee Hill--John Cadman, W. R. Field and W. T. Donavan, directors. The first school in the county was opened in the latter district, in a dug-out, on the farm of Hon. John Cadman at Yankee Hill in the winter 1865-'66. This was some months previous to the opening of the school in District No. 1, the building of the latter not having been completed. This school was taught by Robert F. Thurston--number of scholars about fifteen. The school opened a few months later in Lancaster was taught by H. W. Merrill--number of scholars about thirty. Schools were continued in both of the above places with such varied success as the Indian excitement would allow. But very few settlers remained after this raid, although quite a number who left returned in the course of the next summer, and still retain their homes. In the fall of 1865 there was a school taught by Miss Alice Carter in a house built by W. T. Donavan on his farm at Yankee Hill--school children in attendance, from ten to fifteen in number. School was also continued in the stone house, or Lancaster Seminary, as it was then called. This building was burned down in the early part of 1867, and, therefore, Lancaster was left without a place for school. This was the situation of affairs when the capital was located in August, 1867, and the place called Lincoln. In the fall of 1867, soon after the first sale of lots, the school directors built a small stone schoolhouse on the corner of Eleventh and Q streets, and the school was taught by George Peck--average number of scholars about thirty-five. This was the first school taught in Lincoln. In the spring of 1869 there was a select school opened by Miss Griswold, the late Mrs. S. B. Galey. School was continued in the little stone schoolhouse, taught by Prof. James, during the winter of 1868-'69--number of scholars increased to about sixty-five. In the spring of 1869 the school directors purchased the Methodist Church building on the corner of Tenth and Q streets, and divided the school. It was opened on May 5, by T. L. Cantlin, teacher, both schools being well attended. From that time our schools have gone on with rapid strides. At the present time the scholars number nearly 800, the school being under the management of Prof. I. W. Cassell."

S. G. Lamb, County Superintendent in 1876, gives the following information: "The house in which the first school in Lancaster County was taught and which is spoken of in Mr. Donavan's report as Lancaster Seminary, was built of brown sandstone and stood on the same lots on which the Atwood House was afterwards built, the walls of the schoolhouse being used in the rear building of the hotel. The site was on the corner of Ninth and P streets. Since the formation of the first district in 1864, the county has been settled quite rapidly and new districts have been added from time to time until at present they number ninety-five. Seven new schoolhouses have been erected between April and October, and others are to be erected during the fall and winter."

The progress made since 1876 will be at once recognized by reference to the last report of H. S. Bowers, County Superintendent of Schools. There are now 108 districts in the county, and 7,982 children of school age--4,070 males and 3,912 females. The teachers employed number--184, the number of school buildings, 113, and value of property, $77,392. A $10,000 school building is about to be erected in the southern portion of Lincoln, Second Ward. District No. 111 is also about to have a new building. It may be added, incidentally, that for the past six years summer institutes have been held in Lincoln, by Prof. S. G. Lamb and H. S. Bowers, the average attendance being about seventy. For more particular information in regard to the establishment, progress and present condition of the schools in Lincoln, reference is made to the history of that city.


The first tax levy was about $25, while that of 1881 amounted to $134,419.31, distributed as follows:

State General Fund    5 mills.............$15,925.965
  "   Sinking  "    1-8 mill..................398.15
  "   School   "      1  "  ................3,185.193
  "   Univ'ty  "    3-8  "  ................1,149.447
       Total                                          $20,703.755
County for general purposes and support
  of the poor 8 mills.................... $27,711.179
County Sinking Fund, to pay interest and principal on
  bonds 12 8-10 mills.....................$40,770.470..$68,481.648
County Road Tax 3 mills.....................9,555.579....9,555.579
District School Tax.........................21,870.99
   "        "  Bond Tax.....................6,411.535
   "        "  Division Tax...................477.413...28,282.525
Poll Tax....................................6,867.000
Town of Firth..................................51 396.....7,395.809
       Grand total                                      $134,419.31


Fortunately the condition of Lancaster County is such that few need to be thrown upon public charity. She, however, has made the usual provisions, erecting a two-story frame building for a poor house, ten years ago. The poor farm of 240 acres and the buildings upon it are situated five miles northwest of Lincoln, on Oak Creek. There are at present but twenty inmates of the poor house, only a few families, in addition, receiving outdoor relief. The property, with improvements, is valued at $10,000. The wants of the deserving needy are met by E. W. Smith, Superintendent of the Poor.


Lancaster County Agricultural Society.--On the 28th of May, 1870, this society was organized with the following officers: J. M. Young, President; J. M. Prey, Vice-President; Paren England, Secretary; and Hon. John Gillespie, Treasurer.

The object of the organization is shown in the following preamble.
"We, the undersigned citizens of Lancaster County, believing that we have a soil susceptible of a very high state of cultivation, and suitable for all the cereals, fruits and vegetables grown in the same latitude, and a country unsurpassed for stock raising, with a good demand for all kinds of mechanical and farm implements, and for the encouragement and better development of these interests, do hereby form ourselves into a society, and agree to be governed by the following constitution."

Its constitution is a very liberal one, any person may become a member by signing the constitution and paying $1. There is often objections made to these organizations, that they are mere money making schemes, and do not materially aid the industry under whose name they exist. But in this, if there are profits to be divided for a very small amount, any person may secure a share. Its aim is also to promote horticulture and the mechanic arts.

Their fairs were for some time held in conjunction with the State Fair, but their success was very limited, and it was found necessary to reorganize, which was accomplished the 14th of September, 1876, since which time they have held annual fairs, with good success. In the fall of 1881, it was financially injured by the Soldiers' Reunion, which was held at the same time, on the opposite side of the city.

But at the Omaha fair held afterward, Lancaster County took the first premium on her agricultural products, in competition with five other counties. This enabled the society to pay all its premiums, without which it would have financially failed.

The society owns the commodious grounds just north of the city. They are provided with halls, stalls and a half mile race course. The county gives the society annually, three cents for each inhabitant, counting five inhabitants for each vote cast for representative at the previous election, provided they have held a fair the year before, and collected from its members at least $50. This is allowable by the State statutes. The officers for 1882 are: A. Humphrey, President; Anson Williams, Vice-President; J. Z. Briscoe, Secretary; T. P. Quick, Treasurer.

For a time there existed the Nebraska Exposition Association.

The Lancaster County Bar Association was organized June 14, 1872, with a membership of sixteen. The first officers were: S. B. Pound, President; Seth Robinson and N. S. Harwood, Vice-Presidents; D. G. Hull, Secretary, and L. W. Billingsley, Treasurer.

The original members, in addition to the above were: C. C. Burr, A. S. Baldwin, C. J. Dilworth, S. B. Galley, L. A. Groff, H. S. Jennings, W. J. Lamb, J. E. Philpott, C. M. Parker, J. C. Shurts and S. J. Tuttle.

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