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
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:
ARMSTRONG~HARRIS | HAWKS~MAXWELL
Peru: Early History | Societies | Education | The Press|
Railroads and Business Interests | Personal and incidents
Peru (cont.): Biographical Sketches|
Nemaha City: Early Settlement | Organization | Education|
Religious | Societies | The Press | Business Interests
Nemaha City (cont.): Biographical Sketches|
North Auburn: Early History | Religious | Educational | Societies|
Press | Hotels
South Auburn: Religious | Societies | The Press
North Auburn & South Auburn: Biographical Sketches|
Brock: Biographical Sketches|
Aspinwall: Biographical Sketches|
Johnson & Clifton: Biographical Sketches|
St. Deroin - Febing - Bedford: Biographical Sketches
Other Towns: Biographical Sketches|
List of Illustrations in Nemaha County Chapter
On May 26, 1861, the first war meeting in the county was held at Nemaha City, being presided over by E. T. Grubb. The object of the meeting was explained by R. W. Furnas, and stirring addresses delivered by Col. J. D. Thompson, T. W. Tipton, Dr. McPherson and Dr. A. S. Holladay. On the 27th, a meeting was held at Peru, and on the 28th, one at Brownville. On June 8, 1861, the organization was effected of what was afterward known as Company C, the First Nebraska Volunteer Infantry, with the following officers: Captain, J. D. N. Thompson; First Lieutenant, Thomas J. Majors; Second Lieutenant, Reuben C. Berger; First Sergeant, W. A. Polock. Soon after the organization of the company, it was ordered to Omaha, Neb., and with its regiment to the seat of war. Prior to this, however, several home organizations had been efected --Home Guards, that afforded valuable protection to what was practically a border county. The first of these, the Brownville Union Guards, was organized January 12, 1861, under R. C. Berger, Captain, and J. H. Morrison and A. W. Mathews, First and Second Lieutenants, respectively. In the early part of May of the same year, a company known as the Brownville Home Guards was formed with the following officers: Captain, O. B. Hewett; First Lieutenant, P. M. Martin; Second Lieutenant, W. H. Hoover. During the year succeeding, the farmers of the county effected a cavalry organization, known as the Nemaha Cavalry Company, with John S. Minick as Captain, George Crow as First and J. Standley as Second Lieutenant. The Paddock Guards, named for the Secretary of the Territory, Hon. A. S. Paddock, organized August 17, 1861, the officers being: Captain, A. W. Mathews; First Lieutenant, R. F. Barrett; Second Lieutenant, W. H. Hill. Other home companies were the Nemaha City Guards, Peru Union Guards and the Governor's Guards.
In the fall of 1862, three cavalry companies were formed in the county, for the Second Nebraska Regiment, Company C, officered as follows: Captain T. W. Bedford; First Lieutenant, J. W. Coleman; Second Lieutenant, R. M. Atkinson. The officers of Company E were: Captain, R. W. Furnas; First Lieutenant, Lewis Hill; Second Lieutenant, J. H. Mann; Dr. C. F. Stewart was Post Surgeon of this latter company, which was stationed for a few months at Nemaha City. Company M had for Captain S. F. Cooper; First Lieutenant, O. B. Hewett; Second Lieutenant, F. M. Chaplin. Of these companies all their members were from Nemaha County, except for six men in Company C, twenty four men in Company E, and fifteen men in Company M.
The first and only military burial was that of a Mr. Halanan, September 19, the ceremonies being in charge of the Paddock and other Home Guards.
Of the companies mentioned, the three in the Second Cavalry Regiment went on an expedition to the northern borders, did good work against the hostile Indians, and, after serving thirteen months, were honorably mustered out. Company C, of the First Nebraska, re-enlisting at the expiration of the first term of service, in July, 1866, with the following commissioned officers: Captain, T. H. Griffin; First Lieutenant, David Smith; Second Lieutenant, W. E. Majors. Of its first officers, Thomas J. Majors had attained the rank of Major, and W. A. Polock had been mustered out as Captain of the company, October 3, 1865. Total number of men in the company, 169. Twenty three of these died in service, nine in the field, and fourteen by disease.
In addition to the companies named, very many citizens of Nemaha County enlisted in Kansas, Missouri and Iowa companies; also a large number received various appointments from the Government and from Nebraska. Prominent among the former were Fred Moore, George Hodkins, John S. Minick, George W. Fairbrother, Frank Hunt, B. B. Thompson, John Bousfield, William McIninch and H. O. Minick. Among the latter were Theodore Hill, appointed Adjutant General by the Governor; R. W. Furnas, appointed Brigadier General, Second Brigade Nebraska Militia, by the Governor, and the following year appointed Colonel First Regiment, Indian Home Guards, a position which he retained until the fall of 1862, when he resigned and accepted a commission as Colonel of the Second Regiment Nebraska Cavalry, United States service. The fidelity of the county to the Union was unsurpassed by that of any in Nebraska, and while, as her citizens drifted back to her borders to convert the sword into the plowshare, they received no loud-voiced public demonstrations, they had the proud consciousness of never having let the colors which they surrounded and aimed to protect trail for one moment in the dust.
Early in 1858, the National Government, having determined on a military expedition to Utah, the people of Nemaha County evinced their willingness to aid in quieting the ardor of the Mormon saints by the tender of a full company. A meeting was held at the county seat on Saturday, January 30, 1858, and a full company enlisted, with the following officers: Captain, M. A. Clark; First Lieutenant, W. A. Finney; Orderly Sergeant, B. B. Thompson. The local papers vouched for the company as men of "true grit" and "pure metal." Their services were not required at that time, either in subduing Mormons or Indians, but their zeal probably caused the early organization of a regiment to fight Indians in the great rebellion some three years later, of which R. W. Furnas, of Nemaha, was chosen Colonel.
The first officers of the county were appointed by the Territorial Governor, T. B. Cuming, and are recorded as follows: A. J. Benedict, Probate Judge; H. W. Lake, Register of Deeds and County Clerk; Thomas B. Edwards, Sheriff. These held their respective official positions until December, 1855, when the first election was held in Brownville (then the only precinct in the county), with the following result: A. J. Benedict, Probate Judge; W. H. Hoover, Register of Deeds and County Clerk; J. W. Coleman, Sheriff; W. Hoblitzell, Treasurer; Allen L. Coate, Surveyor. At the first election the following were also chosen: Richard Brown, State Council (under State organization this title was changed to State Senate); Joel M. Wood and William A. Finney, Representatives. The tally lists of the elections are not to be found, but at the election held November 4, 1856 (with the result indicated below), the names of all the voters in what now constitutes Nemaha and Johnson Counties are given. What is now Johnson County, was then Tecumseh Precinct, Nemaha County. The judges of election were Henry Pilcher, Cyrus Wright and B. S. Radly; C. A. Goshen and James Bishop, Clerks. The names of the voters were: Lyman Rockwood, N. T. Hallock, Lyman Miller, Henry Pilcher, Cyrus Wright, , B. S. Radley, James W. Briggs, John Cochran, Andrew H. Hixon, Israel Loomis, William J. Brewer, W. H. Strong, N. B. Strong, John Sears, John B. Sharrett, Robert Price, John Welch, David Spurlock, David McClure, Joseph W. Root, C. A. Goshen, Seymore Holmes, James Bishop, John Maldon, Thomas Ames, J. C. Lawrence, W. P. Walker--twenty seven votes, all told. For State Councilor, Robert W. Furnas received every vote. In Kennison Precinct (now comprising the northwest half of Nemaha County), L. Kennison, Barnard Minnig and John G. Reiken acted as Judges, and Asbury W. Burns and John Delay, Clerks. The names of the voters were: Henry Harroting, T. Reeder, George Sroup, David Kinneson, J. B. Sweet, J. Hickey, J. K. Cook, John G. Reiken, Barnard Minnig, John Delay, A. W. Barns, Daniel Beatty, Shadrach Croxton, George Burley. To prove that everything was conducted "decently and in order" without any modern invention of stuffing the ballot-box, the officers gave the following certificate: "At an election held at the house of Lawrence Kinnison, in the Kinnison District (Precinct) in Nimehaw County, Nebrasky Territory on the 4th day of November, A. D. 1856, the following persons received the number of votes annext to there Respectable Names on the following Described offices." Then follows the averment of the official gentlemen: "We do certify By us the above is correct." In Mt. Vernon Precinct (now Peru), Jeremiah Lyons, William Tate and B. F. Rolston served as Judges, and William S. Hall and A. Medley, as Clerks. Sixty one votes were cast.
Jesse Noel, Simon H. Clayton, and Richard S. Hannaford served as Judges, and Thomas L. Ricketts and Charles F. Ricketts were appointed Clerks of the election in Brownville Precinct.
In 1856, Robert W. Furnas was elected Councilman; William A. Finney, S. A. Chambers , Isaac C. Lawrence, Representatives; John W. Hall, I. L. Knight, County Commissioners; William H. Hoover, Clerk and Register of Deeds; J. W. Coleman, Sheriff; A. J. Benedict, Probate Judge; William Hoblitzell, Treasurer; A. L. Coate, Surveyor.
1857--S. A. Chambers, John S. Minick, A. J. Benedict, Representatives; Jesse Cole, I. L. Knight, County Commissioners; E. E. Parker, Clerk; W. H. Hoover, Register of Deeds; D. Plasters, Sheriff; R. J. Whitney, Probate Judge; R. T. Rainey, Treasurer; T. W. Bedford, Surveyor; William Thurber, School Superintendent.
1858--Robert W. Furnas, Councilman; M. F. Clark, Samuel G. Daily, Jesse Noel, Representatives; Allen Phillips, D. C. Sanders, Jesse Cole, County Commissioners; W. H. Hoover, Register of Deeds; E. E. Parker, Clerk; R. J. Whitney, Probate Judge; R. T. Rainey, Treasurer; T. W. Bedford, Surveyor; H. S. Thorpe, School Superintendent.
1859--John P. Baker, Jesse Noel, George Crow, W. W. Keeling, Representatives; C. W. Wheeler, Probate Judge; D. C. Sanders, Allen Phillips, Jesse Cole, Commissioners; W. H. Hoover, Register of Deeds; T. W. Bedford, Clerk; Jacob Strickler, Treasurer; A. L. Coate, Surveyor; J. B. Wells, Sheriff.
1860--T. W. Tipton, Councilman; Thomas R. Fisher, Jonas Hacker, George Beane and J. P. Baker, Representatives; C. W. Wheeler, Probate Judge; D. C. Sanders, Charles Brochers, Allen Phillips, Commissioners; W. H. Hoover, Register of Deeds; T. W. Bedford, Clerk; Jacob Strickler, Treasurer; A. L. Coate, Surveyor; J. B. Wells, Sheriff.
1861--John McPherson, Councilman; A. S. Halliday, George Crow, William Reed and John P. Crother, Representatives; C. W. Wheeler, Probate Judge; Charles Brochers, John Barnes, William Denman, Commissioners; W. H. Hoover, Clerk; John H. Morrison, Treasurer; E. L. Grubb, Surveyor; John W. Coleman, Sheriff.
1862--Thomas R. Fisher, Councilman; John P. Crother, A. D. Skeen, Jesse John, W. B. Phillips, Representatives; S. W. Kennedy, W. S. Horn, Charles Brochers, Commissioners; W. H. Hoover, Clerk; John H. Morrison, Treasurer; E. L. Grubb, Surveyor; J. W. Coleman, Sheriff; C. P. Richardson, Coroner.
1863--Charles G. Dorsey, George W. Fairbrother, Joseph Lash, Lorenzo Rice, Representatives; W. S. Horn, S. W. Kennedy, Herman Utecht, Commissioners; Jonas Hacker, Treasurer; W. H. Hoover, Clerk; James M. Hacker, Surveyor; W. G. Glasgow, Sheriff; David Gwinn, Coroner; D. C. Sanders, Probate Judge.
1864--A. S. Holladay, Councilman; George Crow, Samuel Pettitt, William B. Phillips, J. W. Taylor, Representatives; S. W. Kennedy, F. H. Amsden, Henry Steinman, Commissioners; Jonas Hacker, Treasurer; W. G. Glasgow, Sheriff; James M. Hacker, Surveyor; W. H. Hoover, Clerk; David Gwinn, Coroner; D. C. Sanders, Probate Judge.
1865--W. A. Pollock, W. B. Phillips, John Greene, Representatives; W. H. Hoover, Clerk; Jonas Hacker, Treasurer; G. W. Fairbrother, Probate Judge; W. G. Glasgow, Sheriff; S. W. Kennedy, Henry Steinman, F. G. Holmes, Commissioners; William F. Wright, Surveyor; C. P. Richardson, Coroner.
1866--T. J. Majors, Council and Senator; W. Daily, Louis Waldter, C. F. Haywood, George Crow, Representatives; W. H. Hoover, Clerk; Jonas Hacker, Treasurer; G. W. Fairbrother, Probate Judge; W. G. Glasgow, Sheriff; F. G. Holmes, S. W. Kennedy, Philip Starr, Commissioners; C. P. Richardson, Coroner.
1867--S. M. Rich, Senator; G. W. Fairbrother, W. G. Glasgow, D. C. Sanders, W. A. Polock, Representatives; A. W. Morgan, Probate Judge; James M. Hacker, Clerk; George W. Bratton, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; B. Ottens, Coroner; W. F. Wright, Surveyor; O. B. Hewett, School Superintendent; F. G. Holmes, Phillip Starr, James McGee, Commissioners.
1868--T. J. Majors, State Senator; J. S. Church, H. Steinman, G. R. Shook, George Crow, Representatives; A. W. Morgan, Probate Judge; J. M. Hacker, Clerk; G. W. Bratton, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; B. Ottens, Coroner; W. F. Wright, Surveyor; O. B. Hewitt, School Commissioner; Phillip Starr, J. L. McGee, A. J. Ritter.
1869--William Daily, Senator; H. O. Minick, Representative; A. W. Morgan, Probate Judge; James M. Hacker, Clerk; G. W. Bratton, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; M. M. Conner, Coroner; Julius Gilbert, Surveyor; J. L. McGee, A. J. Ritter, C. Harmes, Commissioners; S. W. McGrew, Superintendent.
1870--E. W. Thomas, Senator; William Daily, S. P. Majors, G. R. Shook, D. C. Sanders, Representatives; before meeting of Legislature De Forrest Porter was elected at special election to fill vacancy caused by the death of Sanders; A. J. Ritter, C. Harmes, H. O. Minick, Commissioners; J. M. Hacker, Clerk; G. W. Bratton, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; M. M. Conner, Coroner; Julius Gilbert, Surveyor; S. W. McGrew, Superintendent.
1871--J. M. Hacker, Clerk; D. Plasters, Sheriff; G. W. Bratton, Treasurer; E. M. McComas, Probate Judge; A. J. Ritter, H. O. Minick, C. Harmes, Commissioners; C. M. Hayden, Surveyor; E. E. Ebright, Coroner; S. McGrew, Superintendent.
1872--George R. Shook, Senator; C. Blodgett, C. W. Wheeler, Representatives; A. J. Ritter, Henry Hockemeyer, H. O. Minick, Commissioners; J. M. Hacker, Clerk; D. Plasters, Sheriff; G. W. Bratton, Treasurer; E. M. McComas, Probate Judge; C. M. Hayden, Surveyor; E. E. Ebright, Coroner; S. W. McGrew, Superintendent.
1873--E. M. McComas, Probate Judge; W. E. Majors, Clerk; A. H. Gilmore, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; E. E. Ebright, Coroner; J. Gilbert, Surveyor; A. J. Ritter, H. Hockemeyer, Alexander McKinney, Commissioners; D. W. Pierson, Superintendent.
1874--J. B. Fisher, Senator; Church Howe, C. M. Hayden, Representatives; Alexander McKinney, John H. Shook, Jonathan Higgins, Commissioners; W. E. Majors, Clerk; A. H. Gilmore, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; D. W. Pierson, Superintendent; E. E. Ebright, Coroner.
1875--J. S. Church, County Judge; W. E. Majors, Clerk; A. H. Gilmore, Treasurer; D. Plasters, Sheriff; E. E. Ebright, Coroner; J. M. Hacker, Surveyor; Alexander McKinney, John H. Shook, Jonathan Higgins, Commissioners.
1876--Church Howe, Senator; J. J. Mercer, J. G. Ewan, John Frerichs, Representatives; J. H. Peery, Commissioner.
1877--John H. Shook, Commissioner; W. E. Majors, Clerk; A. H. Gilmore, Treasurer; R. V. Black, Sheriff; John S. Stull, Probate Judge; J. M. Hacker, Surveyor; Phillip Crother, Superintendent of Schools; C. B. Parker, Coroner; O. B. Hewett, Representative. [This year the county voted against township organization.]
1878--Church Howe, Senator; W. A. Pollock, Nathaniel Johnston, Emor Lash, Representatives; J. H. Pohlman, Commissioner.
1879--J. S. Stull, Probate Judge; J. M. Kleckner, Sheriff; C. B. Parker, Coroner; A. H. Gilmore, Treasurer; Samuel Culbertson, Clerk; J. M. Hacker, Surveyor; Phillip Crother, Superintendent of Schools.
1880--William Daily, Senator; Church Howe, M. B. Reyman, T. L. Schick, Representatives; John H. Shook, Commissioner.
1881--V. P. Peabody, Representative (to fill vacancy caused by death of T. L. Schick); Joseph B. Docker, Clerk; John B. Bousfield, Treasurer; John S. Stull, Probate Judge; George W. Tate, Sheriff; Mrs. E. T. Schick, Superintendent of Schools; George P. Shook, Surveyor; A. Opperman, Coroner; J. H. Pohlman, Commissioner.
The first term of the Territorial District Court was held in Brownville in May, 1856. Officers: James Bradley, Judge; J. W. Coleman, Sheriff; William McLellan, District Attorney; E. H. Clark, Clerk; W. H. Hoover, Deputy. The term was held in a log cabin on part of Lot 2, Block 2, between First and Second streets, and also used for school and church purposes and public meetings. The two succeeding years, M. W. Ryden served as Clerk. In the fall of 1858, A. W. Pentland was chosen, but after a few months, he gave way to Allen Blacker. In 1862, Corbin Blacker was elected and in 1864, Rienzi Streeter was chosen, and held the office until the organization of the State Government in 1867. At that time, William H. Hoover was elected, and is still retained in office. Mr. Hoover has served either as Clerk or Deputy, almost continuously, since the first organization of the State Government.
The Court House and Jail of Nemaha County were built in 1866-67, and located in Brownville on the south side of Main street, between Second and Third. It is a two-story and basement brick structure, and erected at a cost of $4,000. Whether the then Commissioners, Phillip Starr, Henry Steinman, and S. W. Kenneday, thought the seat of justice might some day be changed to another locality, is not known, but in choosing the most central part of the town, and arranging the building so that it might be used for a storehouse, on the first floor, and arranged for offices above, they certainly acted wisely, although Brownville remained the county seat. One of the Commissioners, S. W. Kennedy, acted as superintendent in the construction of the house; Beckell & Gates, contractors, and James Medford, carpenter. The basement is used as the county jail; on the first floor are the offices of the County Clerk, Sheriff and Treasurer. On the second floor the court-room and a roomy office for the County Judge. The Clerk of the District Court is comfortably fixed on the opposite side of the street. Previous to the erection of the present jail in court house block, the county prisoners were confined in the city calaboose.
The County or Poor House Farm, located three miles southwest of town, contains 150 acres of rich land. This was purchased by the county in the year 1872 for $2,000, and the same year a large and comfortable brick building, capable of accommodating thirty or forty persons, was erected at a cost of $6,000. Bousfield & Gates were the contractors. As evidence that the Commissioners have acted wisely in the selection of superintendents, the fact is pointed to that the farm is self-sustaining, and has been for several years. John Maxwell, the present incumbent, has faithfully served in that capacity for twelve years.
As early as February 23, 1857, the following-named gentlemen formed themselves into an association for the purpose of building a railroad from Brownville to New Fort Kearney. The incorporators were I. T. Whyte, Robert M. Stewart, James M. Hughes, Robert Holladay, Andrew S. Holladay, Robert W. Furnas, Oscar F. Lake, William H. Hoover, Henry S. Mayo, John G. Telford and William Barbee. Section 2 of the articles of incorporation provided the business of the association should be to construct and build a railroad, with double or single track, from the Missouri River at Brownville, in Nemaha County, or at any point on said Missouri River, within fifteen miles above or below said town of Brownville, to New Fort Kearney, and thence to the west line of the Territory of Nebraska, with power to connect with other road or roads, or extend this into other States and Territories where the laws of those States or Territories permit. Section 3 declared that said company should have the power to make, adopt and be governed by such rules and regulations as the interest of the company may require, not incompatible with the laws of the United States or this Territory, and might connect with or consolidate stock with other companies, provided always that nothing in the article of incorporation be so construed as to give them the power and privilege of banking. Section 5 fixed the capital stock of the company at $5,000,000, to be divided into shares of $100 each. The immediate government and direction of the said company to be vested in the persons named in the articles of incorporation, who were to hold their office until a board of seven directors should be elected by the stockholders of the company and be qualified; the directors to be elected annually. Other sections provided that the company should commence the construction of the road within ten years; should transport the United States mail upon such terms as may be agreed upon by the Post Office Department and the company; that the principal place of transacting the business of the corporation should be Brownville, at which place the office of the corporation was permanently located; and lastly the incorporation was to continue in full force for the period of fifty years, or until February 23, 1907. From this time, however, railroad schemes were allowed to rest more than ten years, or until May, 1867, when the Brownville, Fort Kearney, & Pacific Railroad Company was organized. The sum of $100,000 was subscribed within the city of Brownville. The first meeting was held May 28th, at which John McPherson was chosen President, and C. G. Dorsey, Secretary. A committee, consisting of Messrs. Dorsey, Thomas, Hewett and Church, was appointed to draft articles of incorporation, which having been reported and approved, the following-named persons became incorporators: John McPherson, John L. Carson, Luther Hoadley, O. B. Hewett, B. F. Lushbaugh, H. C. Lett, R. W. Furnas, H. M. Atkinson, J. W. Blackburn, C. W. Wheeler, C. G. Dorsey, W. H. Hoover, J. S. Church, E. W. Thomas, John L. Colhapp, Evan Worthing, Theodore Hill, T. W. Bedford, A. P. Coggswell, and A. S. Holladay. After the meeting, the articles of incorporation were filed, as required by law, and the people were confident of the early completion of the road. The Advertiser of August 29th said: "The company is now one of the institutions of the country, composed of the solid men of this city; men of energy and capital, determined to strain every nerve to make the road west of Brownville a success."
On the 7th of January, 1868, an election was held on the question of voting $350,000 to assist in the construction of the road, which resulted in 523 votes for the proposition and 483 against it. Through ignorance of the law, many persons who had not resided in the Territory six months and unregistered persons were allowed to cast ballots.
Soon after the election, Col. R. W. Furnas and Dr. McPherson, on the part of the city, and Dr. F. G. Holmes, on the part of the county, were appointed to visit Washington, to endeavor to secure a land grant for the benefit of the B., Ft. K. & P. road. To defray the expenses of the representative of Nemaha County (Dr. Holmes), the sum of $500 was voted by the County Commissioners, Dr. Holmes, a member of the Board, voting in favor of the expenditure. This caused a storm of indignation. Public meetings were held at Nemaha City, Aspinwall, Glen Rock, and other points, and the action of the Commissioners denounced. Nemaha City was especially caustic, resolving that "the whole official career of our fellow townsman, Commissioner F. G. Holmes, has shown a want of judgment, consistency and a proper appreciation of the rights and interests of the people, which merits for him at least a speedy retirement to private life." In addition to the precinct meetings, a county convention, with all the precincts but two represented, met in London and denounced the railroad election as a cheat and a fraud on the people. The committee labored zealously in Washington, and secured the hearty co-operation of one at least of Nebraska's Senators (Hon. T. W. Tipton, of Brownville), but their efforts were not successful.
About this time or a little later, other railroad schemes in which Nemaha County was interested loomed into importance. The first was a road from St. Joseph, Mo., to Council Bluffs, Ia. This was promptly constructed, and passing within two and a half miles of Brownville, on the Missouri side, afforded the people of the city an outlet north, south and east. But a closer connection--a railroad bridge across the Missouri River--was desirable, and for a long time, the people of Brownville thought the hoped improvement would come by the construction of a road from Quincy, Ill., via Canton, Mo., to Brownville. The road was built a part of the way, and the people are still hopeful of its ultimate completion. Nemaha County's first and favorite project, after the expenditure of a large sum of money, seems to have been finally abandoned, leaving only a few miles of cuts and fills, even the ties and iron laid for several miles from the starting point on the Missouri were "borrowed" by a sharp and enterprising railroad builder, to be used in the construction of another line; but she can at least console herself with the reflection that she deserved success. Her people did all that men of their means could do, their time, energies and money being freely given.
In 1866, the Midland Pacific Railway Company, afterward known as the Nebraska Railway Company, was organized, composed entirely of citizens of Nebraska City. Beginning without a dollar of surplus capital, they were compelled to draw upon their private business resources for the first $50,000, which they spent the following spring on the grade of the first ten miles of the road. Nothing further was accomplished until the winter of 1868-69, when an act was passed providing that the 500,000 acres of internal improvement lands accruing to Nebraska in pursuance of the pre-emption law of 1841, should be given in aid of railroad companies by whom ten miles of road should be constructed within the State prior to February 15, 1870, at the rate of 2,000 acres per mile, to the extent of 100,000 acres. With this advantage gained and a fair prospect of a Congressional land grant, the company was able, in the spring of 1869, to make a contract with a company of ten capitalists and railroad men of Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, to build immediately the first fifty-eight miles of the road, connecting Nebraska City and Lincoln, the new State capital. This road, the history of which is now as much of Nemaha County as of Otoe County, was extended to Brownville in 1874, and shortly after to Nemaha City, being carried to the interior of the county in 1881, Calvert being its terminus at the time of this writing. The road is now being graded west to Beatrice, in Gage County.
In 1881, a branch of the Missouri Pacific, extending from Atchison, Kan., to Omaha, Neb., entered Nemaha County, touching at Howe, Sheridan, Glen Rock, and Brock (formerly Howard), thus giving the county a more direct northern and southern connection. To this road nothing was given by the county, except, in the case of a few precincts, the right of way.
Railroad Indebtedness.--On October 30, 1872, Nemaha County made a free gift to the Brownville, Fort Kearney & Pacific Railway Company of $40,000, in 8 per cent twenty-year bonds. About the same time, the precincts of Brownville and London voted $100,000, and the city of Brownville $59,500, in 8 per cent twenty-year bonds to the same road. The legality of the $100,000 portion of the above is to be tested in the courts, not on the issue, but on the legality of the consolidation of the Brownville, Fort Kearney & Pacific Road with the Midland Pacific. The precinct of Peru, the same season, voted $28,000, in 8 per cent twenty-year bonds to the Midland Pacific. The precincts of Aspinwall and Nemaha City have voted $4,500 each for the benefit of the Midland Pacific. In addition to the gift of $40,000, these figures show the entire railroad bonded indebtedness of Nemaha County, Brownville City, Peru, London, Brownville, Aspinwall and Nemaha City Precincts to be $196,500.
The first flatboat ferry in Nemaha County was put in operation in the spring of 1855, by the founder of the city of Brownville, Richard Brown. On the 2d of August, 1856, Davidson Plasters and Hugh Baker took charge of this ferry, selling out in December of the same year to W. A. Finney, and in February, 1857, a half interest was purchased by W. Coddington.
On November 4, 1857, the first steam ferry-boat, the Nemaha, arrived from St. Louis, and her Captain, W. A. Finney, was received with all the honors. The Advertiser of November 5, 1857, said: As she rounded the bend below the city, her arrival was heralded by her stentorian whistle and the booming of cannon, which, of course, brought to the landing a general turn-out of citizens. As she neared the wharf, she was welcomed by three times three as hearty cheers as ever went up from Nebraska soil. The boat was large and commodious, and had a large influence in bringing emigration by the Brownville route to the West. The Nemaha was built at Wellsville, Ohio, by Gisse & Co.; was eighty-six feet in length, thirty feet beam and drew only sixteen inches of water. A grand dance was given at Johnson's Hall in honor of the great event.
In March, 1858, Finney sold his interest to Hugh Baker, one of the old proprietors, the firm being announced as Baker & Coddington. On April 28, 1859, this title was changed to that of Coddington & Co., and in September, 1861, the ferry was sold to Thorn, Coleman & Co., who advertised their steam ferry-boat as one of the best in every respect on the Missouri River. In May, 1863, the ferry property passed into the hands of Theodore Hill. On the 10th of June following, R. V. Muir took charge. In August, 1866, the arrival of the new steam ferry-boat, Idona, was warmly welcomed by the people. The boat was eighty feet long, thirty-three feet beam, and cost $13,000. The owner, C. J. Yantis, was warmly congratulated by the citizens. This boat was succeeded by the Nemaha, which was sunk in 1867. Then came the Mary J. Arnold. This boat continued regular in the ferrying trade until she sunk, in 1880. Next came the Belle of Brownville, the present ferry packet, a fine stern-wheeler of 110 tons burthen. Both the Mary J. Arnold and the Belle of Brownville are owned by Bailey, McGee & Harmon, who bought out Muir & Yantis, fifteen years ago, and have owned the franchise ever since.
At the session of the Territorial Legislature of 1856-57, a ferry charter was granted to Jackson Peters. He sold to Samuel McBride, who started a ferry in the spring of 1857 "across the shute" at the head of the island above Brownville. McBride sold to Uriah Smith in June, 1867. Smith put in an excellent flatboat, and used every means to make his enterprise a success, but the season Coddington & Finney, as has been said, purchased a steamer for the Brownville crossing, and the "shute" ferry lingered awhile and finally shot out of existence.
In addition to this, a flatboat ferry has been run at occasional intervals at Nemaha City, the history of which is not entitled to special mention.