NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Nemaha County
Produced by
John McCoy.

Topography | Pre-Historic | Early Settlement

First Fourth of July | Reminiscences | Jayhawking
Organization | County Seat Troubles

War History | Official Roster | County Buildings | Railroads | Ferries
Farmers' Clubs | Grasshoppers | Agricultural Society

Nemaha County Mills | Bridges | Educational | Religious | Progress
Statistics of Property | National and State Officials
Brownville:   Early History | Pioneer Incidents | Surveys and Additions


Brownville (cont.):   Incorporation | Official Roster
Nemaha Valley Insurance Company
The Brownville Stone and Stone Coal Company
The First Telegraph Line | The First Train of Cars | Storm and Flood
Express Robbery | Educational | Religious | The Press


Brownville (cont.):
United States Land Office | River Improvements | Post Office
Masonic And Other Organizations | Library Association and Lyceum
Hotels | Banks | United States Express Company
Walnut Grove Cemetery | Manufactories | Attorneys and Physicians
Carson | London

 8 ~ 10:

Biographical Sketches:

PART 11:

Peru:  Early History | Societies | Education | The Press
Railroads and Business Interests | Personal and incidents

PART 12:
Peru (cont.):  Biographical Sketches
PART 13:

Nemaha City:  Early Settlement | Organization | Education
Religious | Societies | The Press | Business Interests

PART 14:
Nemaha City (cont.):  Biographical Sketches
PART 15:

North Auburn:  Early History | Religious | Educational | Societies
Press | Hotels
South Auburn:  Religious | Societies | The Press

PART 16:
North Auburn & South Auburn:  Biographical Sketches
PART 17:
Brock:  Biographical Sketches
PART 18:
Aspinwall:  Biographical Sketches
PART 19:

Johnson & Clifton:  Biographical Sketches
St. Deroin - Febing - Bedford:  Biographical Sketches

PART 20:

Other Towns:  Biographical Sketches

List of Illustrations in Nemaha County Chapter

Part 11


Peru, an important town of Nemaha County, is beautifully located on the west bank of the Missouri River, six miles above Brownville, on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad. The original survey was made by W. H. Dunbar May 11, 1857, and the original proprietors were S. A. Chambers, R. W. Frame and Jacob Norfsinger. The location was the southeast quarter of southwest quarter, and northeast quarter Section 16, and southeast quarter of Section 21, Town 6, Range 16. Soon after the surveys were made, S. A. Chambers disposed of his one-third interest to S. F. Nuckolls, reserving a few eligible town lots, on one of which he still resides at the advanced age of eighty-five years. The town site of Peru was entered at the Brownville Land Office September 9, 1857. A few months prior to this time, H. C. Carpenter, Henry Sessions, Jr., J. B. Gridley and Henry McKinney surveyed and platted a town, called Mt. Vernon, on an adjoining piece of land--a part of Section 15, Town 6, Range 15. Mt. Vernon obtained the post office, but, after a feeble attempt to make a town, the attempt was abandoned, and Peru obtained the post office and soon made a thrifty growth. The first addition to Peru was surveyed by Hudson George April 18, 1859, for T. M. Green, John McNown, A. T. Chambers, John P. Baker and S. G. Daily. Another addition was made August 30, 1859, by J. H. Rickards, surveyor, for the town authorities, on a part of Section 16, Town 5, Range 15. Still another addition was surveyed by J. M. Hacker September 10, 1866, for J. F. Neal and wife, and known as Neal's Addition. This consisted of seventy-seven acres off the northeast quarter Section 21, Town 6, Range 16.


Among the first settlers of Mt. Vernon and Peru town and precinct are the names of C. W. Chambers, one of the original proprietors of the town of Peru, and still a resident there at the advanced age of eighty-five years; William Compton, William Tate, R. W. Frame, W. H. Denman, John Patterson, John W. Hall, Harman Rhay, D. C. Cole, Samuel Pettit and A. Medley.

On Honey Creek, the Medleys and the Headys settled in 1855.

Four Protestant Methodist clergymen, to wit: Redick Horn, J. W. Hall, Hugh Doyle and W. S. Horn, were among the early settlers, and to their teachings and example the neighborhood has been greatly indebted for its enviable record for temperance and morality generally. A man named Still built a shanty and ran the first ferry in Mt. Vernon, early in 1855. Mr. Alfred Medley opened a little blacksmith shop not far from Still's shanty in 1855, and John C. Wyne (now the veteran blacksmith of Peru), was his journeyman and striker.

The first child born in the settlement, November 19, 1855. was Mary Medley (since deceased) Soon after, R. W. Frame, one of the original proprietors, had a child born unto him, but the death of the infant occurred soon after. Sarah Medley, now Mrs. Baler, was born May 25, 1857.

The first Justice of the Peace was Lewis Reade, and the second John McNown.

The first death was that of a son of William Tate, who was killed by the fall of a tree in 1857.

The first parties married were Decatur Cole and Mary Bauchman, in the summer of 1857.

One of the early Protestant Methodist preachers (Hugh Doyle), took a violent dislike to the name selected by the proprietors for their future city (Peru), and by his influence the first post office was named Mt. Vernon, and it was not until two years later that the Peruvians were recognized by the post office department, and the name changed to Peru.

The first storehouse, on Fifth and Main streets, now occupied as a meat market, was built by R. W. Frame in 1855.

A Mr. Manktello taught the first school in 1856.

The first Mayor was W. F. Ball, who was killed in the war.

In 1855, two men named Walker and Wheat engaged in a bloody street fight, and Walker was badly wounded in the leg. What became of the victor is not known. Walker joined the Union army during the war of the rebellion, and was killed in battle.

The first merchants were Compton & Medley, who kept a store on the river bank, but the building was soon after swept away by the Missouri River, and they removed up town.

In 1858, Lyford & Horn built a storehouse on Main street, now occupied by the post office. This house has always been used as a storehouse.

In 1859, Peery & Brother built a storehouse on Main street, and occupied it for two years; then sold to Charles Gaede, who continued business three years and opened a tavern in the building. For this purpose it has been used ever since.

Among the early merchants, in addition to those already mentioned, were Majors & Glasgow, Burdick & Etlinger, John Patterson and G. A. Brown.

There are five practicing physicians in Peru.

The first post office was known as Mt. Vernon, and established in 1855, with J. E. Haycook as first Postmaster. Postmasters since: R. W. Frame, Miss Hodges, J. S. Chamberlain, William Munson, J. W. Bliss, D. C. Cole, W. F. Wright, D. C. Saunders, G. A. Brown, the present incumbent.

The money order system has been established in the Peru office since 1871.

The first Notary was J. W. Bliss.

Moses Stanley was the first wagon maker (1857), and Neuhemeyer & Wyatt the first carpenters (1857).

The first physician was Dr. Russell Peery, who settled in Peru in 1857.

The first hotel was kept by a man named Meigs, in the brick building on Main street, now occupied as a drug store.

The first sermon preached in Peru Precinct was by Rev. W. S. Horn, a Protestant Methodist, in 1855. This denomination erected in 1859 the first church edifice in Peru. The house was burned in 1861, and since that time they have not held regular meetings.

The Methodist Episcopals organized a class at the house of George K. Pettit early in 1857, and during the same year a church was organized and placed in charge of Rev. J. T. Cannon (though it is claimed that Rev. J. W . Taylor delivered the first sermon). The early meetings were held in the schoolhouse. The following-named preachers have been in charge of the church since Mr. Cannon: J. Spurlock, Martin Prichard, Hiram Birch, J. W. Taylor, W. S. Blackburn, Alexander Britt, J. Roberts, F. M. Gardner, F. M. Estabrook. J. W. Chapin is now preacher in charge. The church edifice was built in 1868, and has a seating capacity of 200. A Sunday school was opened in 1869. In this school, of which John H. Miller is Superintendent, there are eleven teachers and 125 scholars. The Baptists of Peru erected a house of worship in 1877, at a cost of $1,600. The first pastor was Elder G. W. Reed, who preached two years, and was succeeded by Elder J. C. Jordan, the present Pastor. There are fifty-six members of the church, and sixty scholars in the Sabbath school; J. Evans. Superintendent. St. Mary's Church (Episcopal) was built in 1869, at a cost of $2,500. Rev R. W. Oliver dedicated the church. Rev. Messrs. Oliver, O'Connell, Raymond and others, have held services at various times, but there has never been a regular rector.

On the 12th of July, 1866, the citizens of Mt. Vernon (now Peru) Precinct, met at the shop of A. Medley, on Honey Creek, for the purpose of forming a township protection society, to protect their claims from intruders. S. A. Chambers was called to the chair, and W. S. Horn appointed Secretary. The subject was discussed by several persons, after which W. S. Horn, R. W. Frame and S. A. Chambers were appointed a committee to draft rules and regulations for the society, and present them at the next meeting. On motion, adjourned to meet at the house of R. W. Frame, on Saturday, July 26, at which meeting the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

1. The society shall be called Mutual Protection.
2. All male inhabitants of Township 6 over twenty-one years of age, shall constitute a committee whose duty it shall be to attend to their own business.
3. Should any person fail to be governed by Article II, then it shall be the duty of said committee to see that the offender comply with said Article II, or be expelled from the company of gentlemen, and discountenanced by the same.
4. Any person wishing to become a citizen of said township, and a member of said committee, can do so by making his wishes known and complying with Article II.
5. The citizens of Nemaha County are hereby requested to form similar socities.
6. Should the inhabitants of said Nemaha County fail or refuse to form similar societies, then it is made the especial duty of the editor of the Nebraska Advertiser to give them the latest and best news, in reference to their best interests.
7. It is hereby recommended (in order that each inhabitant of the Territory may become acquainted with the doings of the committee), that the head of each family subscribe for the Nebraska Advertiser and pay their subscription in advance.
8. All who fail, or refuse to comply with Article VII, as recommended, shall forfeit the pleasure of knowing the doings of the committee.

Resolved, That the proceedings of said committee be published in the Nebraska Advertiser, and that W. S. Horn be appointed to see the editor for that purpose.

The meeting, then adjourned to meet at the house of R. W. Frame, on the last Saturday in August, 1856.

              S. A. CHAMBERS.Chairman.
                W. S. HORN, Secretary.


The first lodge of Good Templars in Nebraska was organized in the town of Peru, nearly twenty years ago. It has maintained a healthy organization ever since, and at present has a large membership. Mainly through the instrumentality of the Good Templars' Lodge, no saloon license has been issued for the past seventeen years. The present officers of the lodge are: Elder J. C. Jordan, W. C. T.; Miss Ina Cole, V. T.; F. M. Ingalls, Secretary. Peru Lodge, No. 14, A., F. &; A. M., was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, June 19, 1867, with M. S. Peery, W. M.; Robert Sears, S. W.; A. H. Gillette, J. W.; M. S. Peery, John W. Swan, S. P. Majors, A. J. Richardson, Jacob Zaring, A. H. Gillette, John F. Neal, W. Bagley, Robert Sayer. The present officers are: J. H. Miller, W. M.; O. P. Root, S. W.; Jacob Zaring, J. W.; B. W. Knott, Treasurer; Thomas S. Horn, Secretary; D. C. Cole, S. D.; George W. Haywood, J. D.; J. H. F. Scott, Tiler. Number of members, twenty. Regular meetings, Saturdays on or before the full moons. Nemaha Lodge, Knights of Honor, No. 2,377, was organized February 4, 1881, with J. H. Miller, Dictator; S. R. Sroaf, Vice Dictator; J. P. Burdick, Assistant Dictator; Peter Carey, F. R.; E. F. Guernsey, R.; I. Bedell, T.; A. Skinkle, P. D. Twelve charter members. Present officers: H. H. Nicholson, Dictator; S. H. Sroaf, Assistant; J. P. Burdick, Vice Dictator; Peter Carey, T.; O. J. Bradford, R.; R. A. Skinkle, F. R.; J. H. Miller, P. D. Membership, twenty-two. Meets first and third Fridays of each month.


The present district schoolhouse was built by subscription in 1858 by J. Manktello, who had previously taught a private school, and, in 1859, the property was deeded to the school district. In the same year, an addition was built, giving accommodations in the whole building to 217 scholars. The contractors were Mears & Cole. The following-named teachers hare had charge of the school since the day of Mr. Manktello, the pioneer instructor: Isaac Black, Mrs. Sayre, J. W. Swan, Anna Joy, Hattie Morgan, Anna Dailey, Anna Ball and D. C. Cole.


The Normal School, an institution supported by the State, is located adjoining Peru. From small beginnings, the Normal has grown to be a school of great usefulness, furnishing as it does skilled and trained teachers for the State of Nebraska. On the 16th of June, 1863, John M. McKenzie, a practical educator, settled in Peru, and with the assistance of zealous friends of education in the village, measures were started for the organization of Mt. Vernon College, a school under the auspices of the Methodist denomination. William Daily, Rev. Hiram Birch, Dr. J. F. Neal, Giles Reeder, Jonathan Higgins and others gave liberally, and soon the building, now used as a dormitory, three stories high and 40x80 feet in size was erected at a cost of $10,000. John M. McKenzie was chosen the first Principal of the new college, and he not only labored zealously in the erection of the edifice, but promptly opened, in the fall of 1864, a preparatory school in the village, in the house now used by Mr. Prouty as an agricultural store. His rolls show fifty students during the first term of the school, a few of the number from abroad. In the early spring of 1866, the dormitory was occupied as a school, although unfinished, and the school continued until June. Messrs. William Daily and T. J. Majors, members of the State Council and House of Representatives for Nemaha County, in the winter of 1866-67, tendered the property--valued at $10,000--to the State for a normal school. The proposition was promptly accepted, and the Legislature appropriated the sum of $3,000 to finish the building, and also gave an endowment of twenty sections of saline lands lying in Lancaster County. The act to locate, establish and endow a State Normal School was passed June 21, 1867. Section 1 provides that the school shall be established at Peru in Nemaha County, "the exclusive purpose of which shall be the instruction of persons, both male and female, in the art of teaching, and in all the various branches that pertain to a good common-school education; also, to give instruction in the mechanical arts, and in the arts of husbandry and agricultural chemistry, in the fundamental laws of the United States, and what regards the rights kind duties of citizens:

"Provided, That a tract of land, not less than sixty acres, adjacent to said town of Peru now known as the grounds of the Peru Seminary and College, the title of which is now vested in the Trustees of said Peru Seminary and College, be donated and secured to the State of Nebraska, in fee simple, as a site for said Normal School, together with all buildings and appurtenances belonging to said Peru College and Seminary, within six months after taking effect of this act; and the Governor of the State is hereby empowered, and it is made his duty to see that a good and sufficient deed be made to the State for the same." Section 2 provides that the Normal School shall be under the direction of a Board of Education. Section 4 provides for the appointment of the Board--five to be appointed by the Governor and the State Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Instruction to be members of the Board ex officio. Section 4 empowers the Board to appoint a Principal, etc. Section 6 authorizes the Board to provide buildings. Section 7 gives the Board the power to ordain rules. Section 8: "Any person may be admitted a pupil of said school who shall pass a satisfactory examination.

"Provided, That the applicant shall, before admission, sign a declaration of intention to follow the business of teaching primary schools in this State, and Provided, further, That pupils may be admitted, without signing such declaration of intention, on such terms as the normal school board shall prescribe, and each county shall be entitled to send pupils in the ratio of their Representatives in the State Legislature, to which it may be entitled not to exceed such number as the board may prescribe." Section 10 provides for lectures in chemistry, comparative anatomy, the mechanical arts, agricultural chemistry, and any other science or branch of literature that the board may direct. Section 11 provides that persons who have attended the Normal School twenty-two weeks and passed a satisfactory examination, shall receive a certificate to teach a common school in the State for the time, and in the branches stated in said certificate, afterward amended and a longer term of schooling required. Section 12 authorizes the State Treasurer to pay out the proper funds, orders, and drafts for money ordered by the board of education. Section 14: "For the purpose of endowing said Normal School, the Governor, Secretary of State, and Auditor shall, within six months after the passage of this act, select and set apart for the endowment of said Normal School, twenty sections of land belonging to the State, which lands shall be selected from any lands not otherwise appropriated; Provided, That if said lands shall be selected from those selected by the State as saline lands, there shall not be selected for such endowment, any section or part of section, on which any salt spring may be located, or a section adjoining to the section on which said salt spring may be located; Provided, further, that the land so selected shall not be sold or otherwise disposed of until the next session of the Legislature. If the next Legislature should fail to provide for the sale or lease of said lands, the Governor, Secretary of the State and Auditor, shall, after advertising three months, in at least four newspapers published in the State, sell said lands to the highest bidder at public sale, said land to be sold in quantities not exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to any one person at one bid." Section 15 provides that the proceeds of such sales shall form a school fund, and how it may be invested. It is further enacted by Section 15, that the State Treasurer shall invest the funds paid into his office, to the credit of the State Normal School Fund, in the purchase of United States Bonds or Government Securities, having due regard to those deemed the safest and yielding the best interest. Section 16 appropriates $3,000 for finishing the school building, purchasing apparatus and putting the school in operation.

The first Board of Education consisted of S. P. Majors, President; D. C. Cole, Secretary; Dr. J. F. Neal, A. B. Fuller, William Daily, James Sweet (State Treasurer), S. B. Beals (State Superintendent of Public Instruction). The first meeting of the board was held in August 1866. Arrangements were made for finishing and furnishing the college building (now used as a dormitory). John M. McKenzie was elected first Principal. No provision having been made for the payment of teachers' tuition fees were exacted for the first two years. The first regular term of the Normal School commenced October 24, 1867, with Mrs. Charlotte McKenzie as assistant. In April, 1868, S. P. Martin was employed as an additional teacher; 120 pupils attended the first term; of this number twenty-five received instruction in the Normal Department and the remainder the Seminary Course. In 1869, the second term commenced with Miss Anna Alcott as a teacher, in place of Mrs. McKenzie. This term 150 students were enrolled, fifty of this number in the Normal Department. In 1870, Miss Carrie Fuller took Miss Alcott's place as Preceptress, and Miss Mary E. Osborn was appointed a primary teacher. The number of pupils about the same as the preceding year, with a gradual increase of Normal scholars and of students from abroad. At the State election of 1870. Mr. McKenzie was elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, but remained in the school as Principal until the fall term, when H. H. Straight was elected Principal, and the same faculty continued. William Smith was added as teacher of music; number of students this year 200, 100 of them in Normal department. At the commencement of the fall term of 1871-72, Dr. A. D. Williams was elected Principal, and Prof. Straight chosen for the chair of Natural Science; Miss Kate Elliott was elected to take Miss Fuller's position, and Miss Emma Dickerman in place of Miss Osborn. Number of pupils 200, 110 Normal students. In 1872, Gen. T. J. Morgan was elected Principal, Miss Eliza Morgan in place of Miss Elliott, Mr. James Bellangee in place of Mr. Martin; Miss Mary H. Burt was appointed as Teacher of Methods. This year a primary department was added, and the rolls show 271 pupils, of this number, 170 were normal scholars. During the year, Albert Nichols was elected to the Preparatory Department, W. E. Wilson, Natural Sciences, and Miss Lydia Bell as Teacher of Methods. In 1873-74, there was no change in the faculty, and the number of students the same as in the preceding term. In 1874-75, W. E. Wilson was acting Principal, H. H. Nicholson Professor Of Mathematics. At commencement of the winter term, Rev. H. Freeman, D. D., was elected Principal, and Mr. Wilson resumed his former position. Number enrolled, 288; Normal, 81; Preparatory Normal, 146; Primary, 56. At the close of 1875, Rev. Mr. Freeman resigned, and A. B. Nichol was elected Principal, D. B. Stone, was chosen Professor of Mathematics in place of Mr. Wilson, Miss Josie L. Dowden, Principal of Model Department, Prof. S. R. Thompson was elected in place of Mr. Nichols, who had lost his health; 192 students enrolled, all in Normal School; no lower grades this year. In 1876-77, Prof. Thompson was elected State Superintendent, and at the end of the fall term Robert Curry, A. M., Ph. D., Deputy State Superintendent of Pennsylvania, was elected Principal, and has held the position ever since. The same year, Miss Sallie J. Triplett was chosen as an assistant, and Prof. D. B. Worley as music teacher. Number of pupils 265; of this number seventy were in the Primary Department. During 1877-78, the same faculty continued to serve, except that Mrs. Jennie B. Curry took Miss Lydia Bell's position as teacher of methods, and Miss Alice Daily became teacher of drawing, reading and penmanship. Whole number of students (exclusive of model school), 242. In 1878-79, the same faculty except that F. L. Snodgrass was elected in Miss Dowden's place. Number of students 232; pupils in model school not included. In 1879-80, Prof. Stone resigned, and Prof. J. M. McKenzie was appointed to fill the vacancy. Henry M. Blake took Mr. Worley's place as Professor of Music. Miss Ollie S. Olson was chosen to fill vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. Snodgrass; normal students, 276. Miss Jessie Bain and Miss Mary Emerson were added to the faculty as teachers. In 1880-81, Prot. Lippitt took the place of Prof. Blake. No other change in the corp of teachers. Number of students, 274.

The present board of education is constituted as follows: W. W. W. Jones, State Superintendent; J. M. Bartlett, State Treasurer; J. W. Spencer, William Daily, Manly Rogers, B. E. B. Kennedy, C. W. Kaley.

In the winter of 1871, Hon. S. P. Majors and Hon. William Daily. then members for Nemaha, secured from the Legislature the passage of an act, giving a one-fourth of one mill tax (amounting to $30, 000) for the erection of a normal school building. With the proceeds of this tax the present normal school building was erected. The building is constructed of brick, three stories and basement, 90x63 feet, has a limestone foundation. The exterior walls of the three stories are twenty inches thick, and consist of ranged courses of pitched faced ashlar, with vertical band sixteen inches thick, and reaching entirely through the wall, thereby making it much more substantial than if faced with ashlar and backed up by marble work, in the usual manner. The superstructure is of brick, trimmed with cut limestone, of very superior quality. The exterior walls are hollow, for the greater protection against cold and dampness. The main front is toward the west, looking out upon one of the principal approaches to the village of Peru, which lies to the north. Another entrance, on the side of the town, looks down one of its principal streets. The approach on this aide is to be terraced, and all about the building, which is surrounded by a beautiful growth of timber, lawns are to be extended. A third entrance on the east, looks out upon the grounds of the school, which comprise, in all, some sixty acres. Passing to the interior, we enter a vestibule twelve feet square, from which doors open to a commodious cloak-room and the main hall. This is nine feet wide, and extends through the building, with a branch hall leading to the north entrance. In each end of the building a stairway leads to the upper story. On the right of the hall are the principal's office, and a reception room for the use of visitors, and the meetings of teachers and board of education. On this floor are situated also rooms for the accommodation of the primary and junior departments of the model school and three recitation rooms. On the second floor are found three recitation rooms, a cloak room and two rooms 26x38 feet, one for the Philomathean Society and the other for the preparatory department. On the third floor are two recitation rooms, a lecture room and a laboratory for the classes in science, and an assembly room for the use of the normal department. This last is the finest room in the building, sixty feet long by thirty-eight in breadth, and seventeen in height. The ceiling is carved and ornamented with two large center pieces. The acoustics of this room are excellent. In the attic is a well lighted room, 18x25 feet, set apart for a museum of natural history. This room communicates with the mezzanine story of the tower, from whence a flight of stairs leads to the top, some ninety feet from the ground. Here is afforded a fine view of the surrounding country, which, with the Missouri River and the bluffs on the north, the rolling prairies and the wooded ravines on the south and west, presents to the eye an attractive landscape.

In the basement are apartments for the janitor's family, four furnace rooms, and rooms for the use of the primary department of the model school, when the growing wants of the school shall require it. The woodwork of the interior is grained in imitation of oak, and varnished, and a zone of blackboard extends entirely around all school and recitation rooms.

The workmanship throughout is excellent, and reflects great credit upon the contractors, William R. Craig & Sons. The cost of the building was $28,500, and the money was well expended. The main hall is seated with the "bent wood" seat, manufactured in Indianapolis, Ind. There are three Mason & Hamlin organs in the normal building, and one piano in the dormitory. The normal edifice was designed by Roberts and Bellangee, architects, of Lincoln. The dormitory is three stories in height, built of brick, 36x80 feet in size and accommodates forty boarders, all ladies. The other students board in the town, and pay on an average $3 per week. Board in the dormitory $2.70 per week. The new normal building was opened with appropriate ceremonies in 1873, and is a school of which Nebraskians should be proud. Since the beginning, sixty-four ladies and gentlemen have been graduated. Of the graduates six are lawyers, one a minister, one a physician and forty-five are teachers. Of the students now in attendance 157 are ladies and 117 are gentlemen. Counties represented, 38; States represented, 4; number of students from other States, 14, number from Nebraska, 260.

Present faculty: Robert Curry, A. M., Ph. D., Principal; Teacher of Psychology, Ethics, and the Science and Art of Teaching; Eliza C. Morgan, Preceptress, Teacher of Literature, Rhetoric and General History; H. H. Nicholson, A. M., Teacher of Physical Science and Chemistry; J. M. McKenzie, A. M., Teacher of Mathematics and Book-keeping, Mrs. Jennie B. Curry, M. E. D.. Teacher Of Language and Methods; Miss Alice E. Daily, N. G., Teacher of Reading, Drawing and Penmanship; Miss Jessie E. Bain, N. G., Teacher of U. S. History and Geography; Miss Mary Emerson, N. G., Teacher of Oral and Written Arithmetic; Prof. E. M. Lippitt, Teacher of Vocal and Instrumental Music.


As early as 1857 Mr. Martin Stowell, who had been sent to Kansas as an agent of the Free State party, came to Peru and advanced the cause of which he was a zealous advocate, started a small monthly paper, the aim of which was to inform his Massachusetts friends of the progress of his mission in the anti-slavery cause. The paper was printed abroad and had no local circulation or support. After diligent search a copy of the paper could not be found. A few years later an attempt was made to publish a monthly in the interest of the horticulturists and fruit-growers. A few numbers were issued, but the sinews of war were lacking and the Orchardist died. In 1866, a campaign paper, printed in Brownville, was issued for two months. The first regular newspaper published in Peru was the Herald, an eight column journal, established in 1875, by Mr. Ferre. He was succeeded by M. J. Fenn, who continued the publication of the Herald until June, 1880, when Dr. F. B. Reed purchased the office, and in company with F. D. Reed, published the paper until August 17, 1881, when it was suspended.


The business men of Peru are enterprising, and they have no fears of a withdrawal of their large trade to rival towns. The stock-shippers are Majors Hart and J. S. Resseguie. The population of the town exceeds 500, while the bonded railroad debt of the precinct is but $28,000, on which the interest has been regularly and promptly paid. The following statement of railroad receipts and shipments for the past, unmistakably show the importance of Peru as a business point: Receipts, 13 cars of coal, 65 of lumber, 4 of salt. Total receipts, 83 car loads. Shipments, 76 cars cattle, 198 of hogs, 36 of brick, 125 of grain, 53 of wood. Total, 477 car loads.


Hon. Samuel G. Daily came to Peru Precinct in 1857, from Indiana, bringing with him machinery for a saw-mill, which was "set up" on the bank of the Missouri. In a year or two the mill was sold to Green & Baker, who added a grist-mill and after running it for three years the encroachments of the Missouri River compelled its removal to a spot where it was safe from the encroachment of the Big Muddy. The business was continued until 1871, when the proprietors failed and the machinery was sold. In 1858, Mr. Daily turned his attention to politics. Although he had been deprived of the advantages of a liberal education, his natural talent enabled him to fill creditably the several positions he was called on to fill. He took a firm stand in opposition to the Pro-slavery party, then all-powerful in the Territory. In 1858, he was elected to represent Nemaha County in the Territorial Legislature by a larger majority than any other candidate on the ticket. In the Legislature, he was the only member, as his friends state, who "dared avow himself a Republican." In 1859, he was elected Delegate to Congress over Hon. E. Estabrook. He was re-elected, in 1860, over Hon. J. Sterling Morton, and, in 1862, he was again returned, defeating Judge J. F. Kinney. In 1864, he received the appointment of Deputy Collector of the port of New Orleans, and on the 15th of September, 1865, he died of congestive chills. The body was brought to Nebraska for burial. June 13, 1866, a meeting was held in Brownville, at the office of W. H. Hoover, and an association effected to erect a monument over the remains of Mr. Daily in Walnut Grove Cemetery in Brownville. The following-named persons were chosen officers of the association: S. P. Majors, President; H. M. Atkinson, Secretary; John L. Carson, Treasurer. Directors, Hon. E. S. Dundy, Richardson County; Hon. John L. Carson, Nemaha; Hon. David Butler, Pawnee; Capt. Prosson, Johnson; Hon. N. Blakely, Gage, Rev. Young, Lancaster; Hon. Royal Buck, Otoe; Hon. Hannah, Cass; Hon. J. Q. Gross, Sarpy; Hon. A. S. Paddock, Douglas; Hon. T. Kennard, Washington; Col. R. W. Furnas, George B. Graff, for Burt, Cuming and counties north of Reserve; H. M. Sydenham, Kearney; Hon. O. B. Williams, for Platte, Hall and Buffalo. A Precinct Committee was also appointed as follows: Brownville, J. L. Carson, E. Worthing; Peru, T. M. Green, D. C. Cole; Nemaha, D. C. Sanders, John Barnes; Aspinwall, J. M. Paulin; St. Deroin, A. J. Ritter; Glen Rock, F. Redford; La Fayette, P. Starr; Washington, Barney Otens; Burton, Henry Steinman; Bedford, A. T. D. Hughes; Douglas, John Long. Although so fairly begun, the plan has not been consummated, and it is a reproach to Nemaha County and Nebraska, that no monument marks the resting-place of Samuel G. Daily.

In the month of February, a man named John Clark removed to Peru, and signified his intention of becoming a permanent citizen. Within a few days he was seized with a violent form of insanity, and murdered his wife and a resident named Sargent--a much respected man. The murderer was arrested, and for a time there was danger of mob violence but wiser counsel prevailed. The prisoner was taken to Brownville. He was tried and sentenced to the State Insane Asylum.

During the troublous times of the Kansas-Nebraska fight, John Brown, who had zealous adherents in Peru, made frequent visits to the place, on one trip bringing with him fourteen fugitives. They were placed in charge of his trusty Lieutenant, Martin Stowell, who conveyed them to the next station on the road to the land of liberty--Canada. During Stowell's stay in Peru, a brace of town boys, F. M. Medley and T. J. Majors, now contingent members of Congress, blacked their faces, donned ragged suits, and presented themselves to Stowell as fugitives from slavery, seeking the promised land of freedom. Medley gave a pathetic picture of his sufferings from the lash of the task-master, the days of toil and nights of hunger. His eloquent words aroused all the humanity and pity of Stowell's nature, and a few minutes more saw the young scape-graces in the back seat of the carry-all and going in the direction of the North Star. The joke was too good; the mirth of the youngsters aroused the agent's suspicions, and he recognized them through their coat of lamp-black. They "stood not upon the order of their going," but hurried back home on foot. When the rebellion broke out, Martin Stowell found a better field in which to display his hatred of slavery. He enlisted in the Fifth Iowa, and fell fighting for the old stag.

Top of Page   First Page   Back   Next

County Index