Surface and Natural Products | Early Settlement | Events and Items|
War Record | County Organization | County Roster|
Court House and Jail | Railroads | Ferry and Transfer Companies|
Otoe County Fair Association | Otoe County Medical Society
The Old Settlers' Association | Assessments for Taxation
Nebraska City: Early Settlement | Selling Town Lots | A Judicial Joke|
An Incident of the Panic | An Era of Speculation
Nebraska City (cont.): Transportation and Telegraphs | Incorporation|
Official Roster | Criminal | Education
Nebraska City (cont.): Religion|
Nebraska City (cont.): The Press | Government Offices|
Fire Department | Fires | Societies | Wyuka Cemetery
Nebraska City (cont.): Public Buildings | Hotels | Banks|
Board of Trade | Elevators | Nebraska City Gaslight Company
9 - 14:
** Nebraska City Biographical Sketches **|
| ADLE~DILLON | DRAKE~KEES | KINNEY | KOHN~NEILSON |
| NORTHCUTT~SCHMITZ | SEYMOUR~ZIMMERS |
Syracuse: Education | Religion | Societies | Railroad Interests|
The Press | Biographical Sketches
Syracuse (cont.): Biographical Sketches (cont.)|
Palmyra: Education | Societies | Religion | Business|
Dunbar: Events and Items | Education | Religion | Societies|
Railroad Interests | Delaware Precinct (biographical sketches)
Unadilla: Religion | Societies | The Press | Events and Items|
Wyoming | Camp Creek | Other Towns|
Biographical Sketches: North Branch Precinct | Hendricks Precinct
Osage Precinct | McWilliams Precinct | Berlin Precinct | Minersville
List of Illustrations in Otoe County Chapter
The story of the press is that of civilization. Its history is that of the locality in which it is situated. It is the antiquarian, the historian, and the prophet. It makes or unmakes parties; establishes or destroys reputations; perpetuates, or by its sin of omission, allows to perish, the records of the day. What then can be more interesting than a history of the press itself--a history of histories? And when, as is the case with the newspaper press of Nebraska City, this history extends back to a period almost preceding the civilization of the locality; when it almost antedates the days of the generation and touches upon the lives and actions of those who established the community, their social doings and business pursuits, then is it necessarily of a historical interest, second to nothing which can be written. It is to be regretted that space will not permit of an extended collation of extracts, touching upon the origin or the foundation of the things that exist to-day, the objection to such a presentation being that it would necessarily involve repetition of much of the early history of the city and county treated of in, possibly, a more appropriate place.
The Nebraska City News.--The printing material with which the Nebraska City News was published, was purchased in Sidney, Iowa, by S. F. Nuckolls, H. F. Downs and A. A. Bradford, owners of the town site, the press work of the first number being done in that place, November 14, 1854, with Dr. Henry Bradford as editor. The office was immediately removed to Nebraska City and placed in the old block house, where it remained for some years. In 1855 Thomas Morton purchased the outfit from the town company. J. Sterling Morton being at that time editor; receiving for his services fifty dollars a month. Subsequent editorial changes have been as follows: R. Lee Barrowman, April 13, 1856 to April 15, 1856; J. Sterling Morton, April 15, 1856 to August 26, 1857; M. W. Reynolds, August 26, 1857 to October 19, 1861; Augustus F. Harvey, October 19, 1861 to August 25, 1865; J. Sterling Morton, August 25, 1865 to August 20, 1877; J. Stilson Potter, August 20, 1877 to November 1, 1879; E. D. Marnell, November 1, 1879 to date. The proprietorship has been wholly or in part vested in Thomas Morton ever since his first purchase of the paper. The editorial management has been remarkably able and the paper is now a daily and weekly sheet, Democratic in politics from the first. During the Kansas war of 1857 its utterances were decisive, so far so that its office was threatened with destruction and its editor with lynching by Lane and his lawless associates.
The Nebraska Press.-- The People's Press was established as a weekly paper in the spring of 1858, by C. W. Sherfy, who still resides in Greggsport. Within a few weeks the office was sold to O. H. Irish and L. L. Survey, the last named dying about the time the first number was issued. Col. Irish continued to conduct the business of the office until 1860, when it passed into the hands of Alfred Mathias and Joseph E. LaMasters. In 1861 the office was sold to W. H. H. Waters (now a resident of Salem, Ore.), and Royal Buck. Mr. Mathias soon after received a commission in the Union army and withdrew from the firm. Under the management of Buck & Waters the name was changed to Press and Herald. In 1862 Mr. Buck withdrew, leaving Mr. Waters sole proprietor. At this time the "Herald" portion of the title was dropped. In 1863 the publication of the Daily Press was commenced, but the experiment soon proved a failure and a semi-weekly was issued in its stead. During the winter of 1864-65 the office was purchased by D. J. McCann and others, and the Press Printing Company organized. In 1865 W. H. Miller took charge of the paper as editor and publisher for the company, and conducted it until October, 1866, when it again passed into the hands of Col. Irish. In the winter of 1866-67 the name was changed to the Nebraska Press. In August, 1868, Col. Irish disposed of an interest in the office to S. B. Price and W. H. Miller, and in November of that year, Col. Irish withdrew, and Thomas McCulloch became a partner in the firm of Price, Miller & Co. In June, 1869, McCulloch withdrew, and in October Price was obliged to withdraw on account of ill health. This left Mr. Miller entire control of the paper until the summer of 1870, when financial difficulties caused a temporary suspension. In the spring of 1872 the publication was resumed under the name of Press and Chronicle by John Roberts and W. A. Brown. Mr. Roberts withdrew early in the summer and the name was again curtailed by dropping the "Chronicle." From that time to the present the publication has been continued by W. A. Brown and his successors, Brown Bros. The Press has a good circulation and a very large advertising patronage.
In 1861 the Nebraska Deutsch Zeitung was established by Dr. F. Renner. In 1867 the name was changed to Staats Zeitung. In November, 1868, Mr. John A. Henzel became part owner and the business contined several years under the firm name of Henzel & Renner, with Dr. Renner as chief editor. In 1871 Mr. Henzel withdrew from the firm and Dr. Renner removed the office to Lincoln, where he published a German paper for two years. In 1873 he brought his material back to Nebraska City and resumed the publication of the Zeitung, which he continued until 1876. At this time Dr. Renner received an important and lucrative government appointment, and suspended the publication of his paper. During his editorship the Zeitung attained a large circulation, claiming subscribers in every township in every county in Nebraska; 100 subscribers in Germany and a goodly number in the Eastern States. Through its influence many worthy Germans were induced to emigrate to Otoe and other Nebraska counties. In July. 1871, W. A. Brown & Sons, of the Daily Press, resumed the publication of the Staats Zeitung and two years later disposed of the office to Messrs. Young & Bentler, who have added a well appointed job office and are doing a prosperous business. The paper meets the demand for a well conducted paper, printed in the German language.
In the spring of 1859 O. J. Nickerson came from New York, bringing with him material for a newspaper, and started a small paper in Otoe City (now Minersville), Otoe County, naming it the Star of the West. Within four weeks Mr. Nickerson's ambition was satiated and the office was sold to the News and removed to Nebraska City. Within one week the material was destroyed by fire.
The Phunny Phellow, George N. Sroats' humorous paper, the only humorous paper ever published in Nebraska, was started May, 1880, and is regularly issued. It has a good circulation and Mr. Sroat has secured a fair share of jobbing patronage.
The publication of the Nebraska City Daily and Weekly Chronicle was commenced in August, 1868. It was started by W. H. H. Waters, without a single subscriber or advertisement, but soon obtained a prominent rank in point of circulation and influence in Southern Nebraska. The Chronicle was an able exponent of Republican principles. At different times Joseph E. LaMaster (now of Johnson County, Neb.) and George R. McCallum, present Sheriff of Otoe County, were associated with Mr. Waters in the publication of the paper; in 1872 the Chronicle united with the Peoples' Press and became the Press and Chronicle. This name was continued for a few months, when the "Chronicle" part of the name was dropped.
The first number of the Nebraska City Daily Sun was issued April 27, 1879, by T. J. Pickett & Sons. They brought a large office, and published a thirty-two column paper, and devoted both time and money to making the Sun a success, but as the field was already pretty fully occupied by two well established dailies (the Press and News), the experiment proved unsuccessful, and at the end of one year, the paper was suspended, and the material removed to Lincoln, where a daily journal named the Capital was commenced.
The Land Office.--The first land office in the State was located at Omaha in 1855; very shortly after this, an effort was made to secure another at Nebraska City, a correspondence taking place between Hon. J. Sterling Morton and Gen. Lewis W. Cass, to whose interest in the welfare of the new Territory, Nebraska was greatly indebted. Through the efforts of Gen. Cass. and others having the matter in charge, the second land office in the State was established at Nebraska City, in 1856, with Andrew Hopkins as register, and E. A. Deslond as receiver. In 1868, Lincoln. having been made the capital of the State the year previous, secured the office, there being few unpreëmpted claims left in what was known as the Platte Valley District. At this time, Stewart McConiga was register, and Howard Kennedy, receiver.
Surveyor General's Office.--Immediately after, or in the midst of the panic of 1857, the surveyor general's office for Kansas and Nebraska, was ordered located at Nebraska City. It was at that time under the able management of Gen. John Calhoun, the accomplished gentleman--much maligned as he was--whom Stephen A. Douglas had declared the ablest and fairest political speaker in Illinois. From the time of its location until June 29, 1861, when it was removed to Leavenworth, Kan., its disbursements for surveying and for contractors' supplies, materially assisted the community, struggling to recover from the troubles early speculation had left them.
River Improvement.--As early as 1872, a survey was made of this section of the Missouri River, preparatory to commencing the work of its improvement. But little else was done, however, until in 1877, the reach extending from Rock Bluffs to Minersville, received $15,000 as its share of a congressional appropriation. In 1878, an office was established at Nebraska City, under charge of L. E. Cooley, who at once began experimenting as to how the channel could be most easily straightened, and the banks confined. In August, 1880, Mr. Cooley was succeeded by Mr. A. S. Potter, who at once put men at work, constructing wire-netting to catch the drift, and create bars. This work is now being rapidly pushed, and with the larger appropriation of 1882, it is expected will do considerable good.
Post Office.--As has been said, the first post office established at this point, was called Table Creek post office. This was in 1852, and it was under charge of John Boulware. In 1853, Hiram P. Downs assumed control. In 1854, C. W. Pierce was appointed Postmaster, the name of the office being changed to that of Nebraska City in the same year. In 1855, W. P. Walker became the incumbent; in 1856, Miles W. Brown; in 1857, George G. Gillette; in 1862, J. J. Hochstettler, who retained the office nine years. On July 1, 1871, David Brown was commissioned, under his administration it was, that the post office fire occurred, and through his prompt action the mails were saved. This was on the night of July 27, 1872, what was known as the post office block being entirely destroyed. On July 1, 1875, W. A. Brown succeeded to the office, being in his turn, superseded by Hon. Paul Schminke, September 13, 1877. Mr. Schminke receiving a reappointment February 14, 1882.
The first--in any sense--permanent location of the post office was on Fifth street, near Main, being moved in 1870, under Postmaster Hochstettler's administration, to the building on Main street, between Seventh and Eighth, which was destroyed by fire in 1872. Its next location was the building between Seventh and Eighth, now occupied by N. S. Harding & Co., whence it was moved to its present location in the "Union Block," in 1875.
On November 28. 1861, a meeting was held on Kearney Heights to organize a Hook and Ladder Company. In 1865 Nebraska City Company No. 1, organized at McLellans' hall and elected the following officers: . A. H. Hickey, captain; Thomas Wymond, first lieutenant; Thomas Thomas, chief engineer; M. Bauer, first engineer; John Volkhart, second engineer; W. R. Hickey, chief of hose; Peter Smith and Miles Holliday, assistants; Samuel Dorsey, first pipeman; William Dorsey, second pipeman ; John E. Hickey, secretary, and J. D. Lauer, treasurer. This company was sustained but a short time and faded out without making any disposition of its possessions.
The Great Western No. 1 was organized in 1869 with the following officers: Samuel Dorsey, captain; James McFarland, director; Robert Elvin, treasurer; James Jones, secretary. The pipemen were H. L. Harvey, William Padgett, W. F. Dorsey and Samuel Goldman. The present officers of the Great Western are: G. F. Kregel, foreman ; B. H. Noelting, secretary. The company has twenty-four members and is in a healthy condition. In addition to their other appliances they have a large Babcock fire extinguisher.
The present officers of Otoe Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, are: John M. McIlreevy, president; J. M. Taylor, captain; M. Henry, first assistant; Louis Satory, second assistant ; J. M. Taylor, secretary and V. Felthauser, treasurer. The trustees are John McIlreevy, J. N. Wright and W. Roach.
Nebraska City Fire Company No. 1 is officered as follows: Michael Bauer. foreman: Charles Parker, first assistant; Peter Freas, second assistant; Frank Eccleston, engineer; James Riley, assistant engineer; B. Parker, first pipeman ; Louis Prue, second pipeman; James Riley, third pipeman; August Spangler, fourth pipeman; John Ott, president; F. Foss, vice-president; Frank Carman, treasurer; Frank Eccleston, secretary; John Ott, Charles Parker and Frank Carson. trustees. The company has twenty-seven members.
The City Council contracted November 21, 1867, for a steam fire engine to serve the increasing needs of the city. The machine was manufactured at Seneca Falls, N. Y., by H. C. Silsby, weighs 4.000 pounds and has a rotary engine with a rotary pump on the same shaft. This engine, named R. H. Dickey, after the Mayor of that year, arrived in Nebraska City in June, 1868, and was at once tested by G. N. Gould, N. R. Pinney and H. F. Harvey, who had been appointed a committee for that purpose by the City Council. Upon the completion of their test the committee reported the work complete and satisfactory, and the Dickey was at once accepted and housed ready for duty. The Babcock fire engine, Jennie Carr, was purchased in 1874 and cost $2,600. It is located in a fine one-story brick opposite the court house on Main street, also the headquarters of the Great Western Hook and Ladder Company.
The first destructive fire in Nebraska City of which there is any record, was also the greatest. On Saturday, the 12th of May, 1860, a fire was kindled, nobody knows how, though many believe it to have been the work of an incendiary, in a butcher shop south of Hawke & Nuckolls' store, near Sixth and Main streets. A strong south wind was blowing, and in less than three hours no less than forty-one buildings, both brick and frame, store rooms and residences, were entirely consumed. The loss was estimated to be $107,300, $61,I75 of insurance was recovered, of which sum less than $3,000 was reinvested in Nebraska City or in Otoe County, and of the amount thus reinvested, two-thirds was placed in a new office and fixtures of the Nebraska City News, by Thomas Morton. The era of speculation was over. The days of slow but steady growth had come. The first issue of the News subsequent to the calamity, a three-column folio, twelve inches in length, says regarding it : "Nebraska City still lives; a loss of $100,000 or more can by no means impede the growth and development of our city. The great fire has apparently served to arouse our citizens to renewed energy and activity. Progress and improvement is still the watchword in all parts of the city."
And so it was. An era of building at once commenced, not by the insured, but by others who had faith in the future of Nebraska City, and very soon little trace of the devastating element could be seen, except in the aspect of newness perceptible in the rebuilt burnt district.
The year 1870 brought with it an era of fires. On the 25th of November of that year, a fire was discovered in the rear of the buildings between Seventh and Eighth streets, occupied by R. C. Elvin, George Clingin, Morrison & White, Cornell & Gantt and others. The buildings were owned by Messrs. Shoff, Morton and Darley. The loss was about $18,000. The next month three buildings between Ninth and Tenth streets were burned. the loss falling on Mr. 'Dill, Messrs. Mulholland & Co., Thomas McLaughry and others. Dr. Pearson's residence, an old landmark. corner Franklin avenue and Table street, was burned during: the same month.
On January 16, 1871, a cold wintry day, a fire originated in Balderston's bakery, on Main, between Fifth and Sixth streets, communicating itself to four other buildings, three of which were destroyed, and the Otoe County Bank badly damaged. The loss was over $10,000. On the 22nd of the same month Charles Keegan's liquor house was burned, and in the following August, Price & Allan's drug store went the same way.
On July 27, 1872, occurred what is known as the postoffice fire, the block, known as the postoffice block, being entirely destroyed. The mails were saved by the prompt action of Postmaster David Brown. Those suffering were: Seigel & Brother, clothing merchants; N. S. Harding, dealer in books and stationery, and the owners of the buildings, Jacob Shoff, F. C. Morrison and Mr. Darley. The loss was $50,000, partially insured.
On the night of March 6, 1875, the extensive and very complete works of the Reed Plow Company. were almost entirely destroyed, little remaining but the bare walls that yet stand, a monument of the sorrow that fell upon the city. The fire threw out of employment a large number of mechanics and laborers, and would have been a much more serious blow to the interests of Nebraska City had not the factory been rebuilt within a short time. The direct loss was $30,000.
Two weeks later, on March 20, the fine edifice, known as the Third Ward School Building was consumed. The amount of the insurance, $7,000, was immediately paid for the erection of the present handsome structure, which is yet a distinguishing ornament to the Ward.
Western Star Lodge, No. 2.--This lodge under name ante-dates both the Grand Lodge and the organization of the State Government. On the 10th day of May, 1855, in answer to the prayer of the petition of Charles A. Goshen, Lewis Hax, William Anderson, W. D. Gage, J. W. Hight, A. B. Woolsten and N. B. Giddings, the Grand Lodge of Missouri, granted a dispensation and named N. B. Giddings as First Worshipful Master; C. A. Goshen, Senior Warden. and Lewis Hax, Junior Warden. On the 26th of May, 1856, the Grand Lodge of Missouri granted a charter as Giddings' Lodge, No. 156. There is no record of the names of the charter members. The lodge continued to work until the 23d of September, 1857, when the Grand Lodge was formed, when it was placed as No. 2 and the name changed to Western Star. At that time David Lindley was W. M.; H. N. Cornell, S. W.; and William Anderson, J. W. In February, 1859, William E. Hill, who afterward served as W. M., for several years and also as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, was initiated. Western Star is probably the wealthiest Masonic lodge in Nebraska, thanks to the wisdom of her early leaders. The lodge owns a valuable three-story brick (valued at $8,000) in which the several Masonic bodies meet, and from which a rental of $1,300 is derived. In addition to this the lodge owns 320 acres of land in Nuckolls County and a valuable lot on the corner of Otoe and Eighth streets in this city. The present officers of Western Star are: Henry Brown, W. M.; Lewis Dunn, S. W.; J. C. Schminke, J. W.; S. J. Faris, Treas.; E. F. Warren, Sec.; James S. Reed. S. D. J. C. Davis, J. D.; J. S. Place, Tiler. Regular meetings Fridays, on or before the full moon. Number of members eighty.
Nebraska City Lodge, No. 12.--This lodge was chartered in 1867 with the following: list of officers and charter members: George D. Foglesong, W. M.; J. W. Chadduck, S. W., and R. H. Dickey, J. W.; W. J. Miller, Treas.; B. W. Knott, Sec.; J. B. Burks, S. D.; F. S. Moore, J. D. Members--N. S. Simpson, J. A. Hollingsworth, R. M. Hill, D. K. Mills, W. J. Shackelford, M. Rice, David Shackman, N. C. Roshnell, J. A. Abney, J. W. Moodie and C. B. Hodges. The present officers are: J. W. Chadduck, W. M.; D. R. Thompson, S. W.; William Brown, J. W.; G. W. Brinker, Treas.; W. F. N. Houser, Sec.; J. B. Northcutt, S. D.; C. B. Nickel, J. D. ; J. S. Place, Tiler. Regular meetings Tuesdays, on or before the full moon. Number of members, forty-six.
Keystone Chapter, No. 2, R. A. M.--This body was organized March 23, 1860, under dispensation issued by Ira A. W. Buck, General Grand King of the Grand Chapter of the United States, with Wyllis C. Ransom, as Most Excellent High Priest; F. Redford, King; Henry Brown, Scribe. Number of members, seventy.
Alpha Council, No. 2, was instituted November 10, 1868. by John H. Brown, 33rd degree, Special Deputy of the Supreme Council, of said rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States. By recent action of the Grand Chapter and the Grand Council of Nebraska, the Council degrees have been merged in the Chapter.
Mount Olivet Commandery, No. 2, Knights Templar, effected an organization under dispensation issued by Sir Henry L. Palmer, M. E. Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the United States, bearing date January 25, 1867. The present number of members, forty. The present officers are: Edwin F. Warren, Eminent Commander; Henry Brown, Gen.; N. B. Larsh, C. G.; Edward F. Thorpe, Prelate; Samuel H. Morrison, S. W.; Alexander Calmelet, J. W.; William E. Hill, Treas.; Charles L. Potts, Sec.; Granville L. Stevenson, Recorder. Regular meetings on the first Thursdays in every month.
Frontier Lodge, No. 3.--The first organized lodge of Odd Fellows was in Nebraska City, No. 1, organized in May, 1855, and after an existence of about one year was merged in Frontier Lodge, No. 3. This is now the most wealthy and one of the largest lodges in Nebraska. On the 1st of January last Golden Era Lodge, No. 16, surrendered its charter and the members, thirty in number, joined Frontier Lodge. The only person living in Nebraska, who was connected with Nebraska City Lodge, No. 1, is John Hamlin, a Past Grand Master and still in vigorous health and an active worker in the cause. The lodges and encampment of the city meet in the fine building owned by Frontier No. 3 and its revenues from rentals amount to nearly $1,000 annually. The corner stone of Union block, owned by Frontier Lodge I. O. O. F., and Western Star Lodge, A., F. & A, M. was laid on the 7th of July, 1861, and the building finished the same year. The membership of the lodge now numbers eighty-five. Frontier Lodge, No. 3. was organized on the 14th of March, 1856, with John Hamlin as Noble Grand. The present officers are: J. J. Hochstettler, N. G.; J. Koon, V. G.; Dr. Mathews, Recording Secretary; J. Simons, Permanent Secretary; Hugh Aird, Treasurer; Samuel Harris and J. B. Watson, Trustees.
Nebraska Lodge, No. 1, organized March 10, 1871. There are at present forty members connected with it. The officers are J. G. Kees, N. G.; F. Sellhorn, V. G;.; F. Beyschlag, Recording Secretary; L. Levi, Permanent Secretary; William Bischof, Treasurer; L. Majors, E. Reis and William Bischof, Trustees.
Ridgley Encampment, No. 1, was organized May 3, 1862, and has a membership of thirty-three. Present officers: L. Majors, C. P ; L. Levi, H. P.; H. Bachler, S. W.; S. E. Harris, J. W.; A. Zimmerer, Treasurer; E. Reis, Scribe; W. Bischof, S. E. Harris and Hugh Aird, Trustees.
Nebraska City Lodge, No. 925, K. of H., organized March 2, 1878. The officers are: H. R. Wodehouse, P. D.; C. W. Seymour, D.; R. P. Draper, V. D.; Rev. J. B. Green, A. D.; T. D. Haydon, G.; A. M. Smith, C.; C. W. Phillips, R.; S. B. Eastman, F. R.; H. Wales, T.; G. Hail, G.; L. Levi, S.
Otoe Council, No. 159, Royal Arcanum, organized September 8, 1878. The officers are: C. H Smith, R.; L. Levi, R.; J. Reed, O.; C. W. Phillips, S; Max Kohn, C.; John Steinhart, T.; Rev. J. B. Green, C.; S. Blum, S.; W. F. N. Houser, P. S.
Eureka Lodge, No. 7 K. of P., organized in 1872. Officers: J. W. Waldsmith, P. C.; S. J. Stevenson, C. C.; F. N. Lawrence, V. C.; S. H. Fields P.; F. Mutton, K. R. S.; Edward McCallum, M. E.; J. M. Taylor, M. F,; H. M. Kock, M. A.; M. S. Campbell, J. G.; N. Anderson, O. G.
Schiller Lodge, No. 23, K. of P.--This body was organized in August, 1878. Present officers: Joseph Sheer, P. C.; H. H. Fass, C. G.; William Butt, V. C.; D. J. Thomerus, Prelate; P. W. Eiser, M. E.; Paul Schminke, M. F.; E. S. Oppenheimer, K. R. and S.; Fred Brauer, M. A.; C. Dittenbrandt, J. G.; R. Frolich, O. G.
Endowment Rank, K. of P.--Edward McCallum, president; Hermon Fass, vice-president; Samuel Stevenson, secretary and treasurer.
Nebraska City Lodge, No. 58, I. O. G. T.--Officers: B. F. Morden, W. C. T; Miss Carrie Fraker, W. V. T.; Miss Lizzie Zimmerer, W. S.; E. P. Koontz, W. F. S; Miss Nellie Pinney, W. T.; Daniel Zimmer, W. C.; John Cook, W. M.: Miss Kate Harris, W. G.; E. Thorpe. Jr., W. S. Regular meetings Friday evenings of each week.
The Young Men's Literary Association was organized in November, 1867, and the following year consolidated with the Nebraska City Mercantile Library Association. The library room occupied an apartment in David Brown's block. and the books were subsequently removed to Judge Adle's office, in the court house. The original movers in the association were Gay A. Brown, now of Lincoln, and N. S. Harding. An organization is still maintained with the following officers : N. S. Harding, president; Phillip Potter, secretary and treasurer. The membership numbers twenty.
The Round Table Club, composed of ladies, was started in the summer of 1881. The well chosen library of the Mercantile Library Association, is now in possession of this club. A regular course of study is pursued, and essays delivered from time to time on the great men and women of the past, taking century by century. A public lecture room will soon be fitted up by the energetic and intelligent ladies connected with the club. Persons not members of the association can obtain the privileges of the library of the club by the payment of $1.50 per annum.
Otoe Gun Club.-- E. S. Hawley, president; R. H. Miller, vice-president; C. L. Potts, secretary; Robert Lorton, treasurer, The club was organized in 1879, and numbers thirty members.
Oriental Archery Club.--Organized in 1880. Officers: Mrs. H. Sheldon, president: Miss Ella Spencer, vice-president ; Miss Lena Powell, secretary.
The Nebraska City Cornet Band was organized in 1860, and has lived through varying fortunes ever since. It now has a full membership with the following list of officers: S. J. Thomas, business manager; M. W. Neihart, secretary; Jesse McCallum; treasurer; J. C. Iverson, musical director.
Nebraska City Male Quartette.--Dr. Caldwell, first tenor; Frederick Mutton, second tenor; Augustus Waddington, first bass; Samuel Davis, second bass. This quartette was organized under the direction of Prof. Walter Harding, and forms the nucleus of a male choral society.
Prior to the year 1855, the remains of the few, in the new settlement, who had died, were buried in the square bounded by Laramie and Main, and Eleventh and Twelfth streets. In the year mentioned a cemetery was laid out by the town company, named Wyuka Cemetery in 1856, the name signifying in the Indian vernacular, "resting place." The first interment was that of the body of John Clement. The cemetery is situated southwest of the city, and immediately adjacent to it, occupying a low knoll. It is well fenced, abundantly shaded by forest trees of various kinds, and in it are to be found very many appropriate and tasteful memorials, noticeable among which are the monuments erected to the memory of Mrs. J. Sterling Morton, and to that of Judge Daniel Gantt.
The former of these stands near the middle of the cemetery. The enclosed ground is about nine yards square, though the square is not regular. The bounding wall is stone--hard and durable, with qualities for resisting weather--truthfully carved in the similitude of logs cut from the timber. The design shows the walls of a log cabin, on the west side of which, facing Arbor Lodge, the home Mrs. Morton helped to establish, are the threshold steps, and part of the lintel posts. The stone of the steps roughly squared as wood under the pioneer's ax. In the center is the main feature of the monument. It is in the shape of a trunk of a mighty elm, the top torn off, one fragment of a limb broken, but still adhering to the trunk--a dead tree, erect in death, and twined about by the clasping ivy which, though gray stone, is instinct with the suggestion of green life in the strength with which every detail is cut. At the base of the decaying trunk, stones are piled as a heap of rock; and through a space in the stones, spring a cluster of truthfully carved fern fronds, in seeming growing as the natural ferns grow among the rocks in a wood. On the base also is an overturned flower vase, in which is a calla lily--the plant broken, and the flower fading, and the other vegetable forms chosen, being those which Mrs. Morton most loved. On the west side of the tree trunk, resting on the stonework is a sheet of music--"Rock of Ages," with every note of the music cut deeply in the stone. There is also a palette, with the word "mother" carved thereon, the brushes, which have passed their use, and tubes of oil paint laid beside it--mementoes of the art spirit in Mrs. Morton; and besides these, and holding equal place with them, the "mother s knitting," without which and that which the knitting expresses the art work, at its best, could make but half a life. On the highest point of the blasted tree sits a mother bird. Under one wing is a young bird whose attitude suggests shrinking from the void around. The mother peers anxiously into a little hollow in the trunk below her, made by the breaking off of a bough. The eye follows the bird's wistful look, and becomes aware, in the hollow, of three other young birds who have been trying their wings, as young birds must, and who now seem as doubtfully anxious as the mother, though their anxiety is about the space they propose, yet fear to try, while the mother bird's anxiety is for them. This is an exquisite touch of nature in art that needs no words to draw the moral--a touch of nature at a point where the whole intelligent creation is bound in one. At several points on the tree trunk, which is about twenty feet in height and weighs eight tons, being three feet in diameter at the base, and twenty inches in diameter at the top, the thick bark is peeled off, leaving spaces on the under surface of the tree. On one of these surfaces is cut "Cynthia E. French, wife of David, foster-mother of Mrs. J. Sterling Morton, died at Arbor Lodge November 18, 1857, aged seventy years. On another surface is the inscription, "Caroline, wife of J. Sterling Morton, died at Arbor Lodge, June 29, 1881, aged forty-seven years. She was the mother of Joy, Paul, Mark and Carl Morton"--paucity of words, good when the story is otherwise told, as it is in this monument, for words are not sole media of ideas, and there are songs without words.
The cemetery, which has heretofore been under the charge of the City Council, is now, in 1882, under the controlling administration of Hon. J. Sterling Morton, who has devoted, and is giving sufficient attention to its improvement to justify a prediction that it will very soon he one of the finest places of burial in the West.