NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Produced by Dick Taylor.

Part 1


    PAWNEE County is in the second tier of counties from the east and the first to the south. It is bounded north by Johnson, east by Richardson and west by Gage County. In area, it is eighteen miles north and south and twenty-four miles east and west, containing 276,480 acres of land. The surface of the country is well watered by three large streams and over a dozen smaller ones. The altitude is from 900 to 1,000 feet above the level of the sea. The principal streams, referred to above, are the North and South Forks of the Great Nemaha River and Turkey Creek. The North Fork flows in a southeasterly direction across the northeast corner of the county, and the South Fork takes a northeasterly course across the southeastern corner. The central part of the county is abundantly watered by Turkey Creek, which also takes, in general, a southeasterly course. The tributaries of these principal streams add to the abundant water supply. Mission, Plum and Wolf Creeks flow southwest into Big Blue River, draining and watering the western portions of Pawnee County. These streams furnish power to three mills in the county, the Nemaha Eagle Mills being four miles north of Humboldt; proprietors, Simon, Luthy & Co. The other mills are mentioned elsewhere.

    Along the large streams lies the fine valley land, which comprises over 10 per cent of the county. The land is fertile and easily cultivated. The uplands and bottom lands are generally separated by ranges of low, undulating hills. In the northern portion of the county the uplands are more broken. The correct inference is that a very small per cent of Pawnee County consists of untillable land.

    Of the soil and climate of Nemaha Valley, Prof. Aughey, of the State University, speaks as follows:

    "The charm of beauty is not the only recommendation that this valley possesses. The land is of unsurpassed and rarely equaled fertility. Its wealth of soil and excellence of climate assures a rich future. The settler can select from three varieties of soil. First, because modifying all the others are the Loess deposits. Those range from two to fifty feet in thickness. Now, by universal admission among scientific men, these Loess soils are the best in the world. The ever-famous plains of Burgundy, the valley of the Rhine and the valley of the Nile, in Egypt, are among the remarkably rich soils of the world, but those all, like these soils of Nebraska, are made up of these Loess deposits. The following is an analysis of a specimen of this soil: Insoluble (silicious) matter, 80.01 per cent; ferric oxide, 3.81; alumina, 1.91; lime carbonate, 6.01; lime phosphate, 3.70; magnesia carbonate, 1.30; potassa, .37; soda, .21; organic matter, 1.09; moisture, 1.05; loss in analysis, 54. Still other analyses of mine, of this deposit, from other portions of the State, are given in the Hayden reports for 1874.

    "It will be seen from these analyses that about 80 per cent of this Loess soil is composed of silica, but it is so finely pulverized that the grains can only be seen under a good microscope. The carbonates and phosphates of lime that are present are the substances that are artificially added to the soils in the East to restore their fertility. Other fertilizing elements are also present, such as iron, potash, a small quantity of soda, alumina and some organic matter. In fact, this soil has such a combination of elements that it could not be well improved, even theoretically, by the scientist. Owing to their yellowish color, these deposits are frequently called clay beds, especially beneath the point where they are intermingled with the organic matter and vegetable mold, which gives the soil for several feet from the top its black color. Owing to its great depth, this soil is practically inexhaustible. Because of its peculiar constitution, it has the best possible drainage, and, in dry seasons, the moisture slowly, but surely, ascends to the surface, so that with good cultivation it can neither be drowned out nor dried out.

    "As would naturally be expected, this soil, for the cultivation of the cereal grains and grasses, and for orchards and vineyards, is the best in the world. I have myself gathered nearly one hundred species of grasses in the Nemaha and adjacent valleys. And it has already been demonstrated by practical experience that wherever apple trees, grapes and peaches adapted to the climate, are properly planted and cared for, the richest results will be realized. In some few of the counties along this valley, some of the lands are partly made up of Loess modified by drift. But such soils have such richness that in practice they will not be found to vary from the best soils in the State. The bottom lands are made up of a mixture of alluvium and Loess, but so blended together that only chemical analysis can determine their true character. But it is easily seen that such a mixture cannot detract from their value.

    "It is yet an unsettled question whether the bluff or the bottom lands are the most desirable. Some hold that the latter are best for corn and the former for wheat and fruit. But since, with deep cultivation, fine corn crops are obtained from the former and some good orchards have been produced on the latter, the question remains an open one. Many who have had some experience in Nebraska aim to get farms which have some of both bottom and bluff lands on them. Both the uplands and lowlands are so filled with vegetable mold near the surface that they all look like vast gardens after cultivation.

    "The climate of the Nemaha Valley is genial. The mean temperature for January, February and March is 20o Fahrenheit above zero. Severe storms only occur at long intervals, and rain rarely falls in winter. The atmosphere is remarkably clear and dry, and, owing to this peculiarity, combined with the silicious character of the soil, roads are exceptionally good. Roads for long seasons almost impassable for mud, which characterized so many sections of our country, are unknown in the Nemaha Valley. There are not two months in the year when driving on the public roads is not a pleasure. The mean temperature for June, July and August is slightly above 72o Fahrenheit. This is a temperature sufficient to ripen the finest grapes that are grown in this latitude. Every year there is rainy season in the last of May, or during June, and this coming when crops need it the most, they rarely suffer for lack of moisture."

    Hundreds more of just such testimonials could be produced as to the exceeding attractiveness and fertility of the section of country of which Pawnee County is the most favored portion. It is believed the following pages understate, rather than overstate, the prospects of her glorious future"

    "Fine timber is found on the banks of the Nemaha, Turkey, West Branch and Johnson Creeks. The width of the timber land varies from twenty rods to half a mile, the most productive varieties of wood being oak, elm, hickory, walnut, maple, hackberry and cottonwood. Since prairie fires have become less frequent throughout the county, and more attention has been given to the cultivation of timber, the fuel problem is becoming less serious. There are at present over 600,000 forest trees to aid in solving that problem, not taking into account the fact that Pawnee County has within her limits, and is now working, the best coal deposits in Nebraska. The history of their discovery and development is thus given by a prominent citizen, who lives in the vicinity of the coal fields:

    "About the year 1856, a vein of coal, from eight to sixteen inches in thickness, and of good quality, was discovered on the farm of Robert Turner, about a mile and a half east of Cincinnati, and a few years afterward the same vein was discovered at several places near Cincinnati. For several years, there was but little demand for coal for fuel, consequently the vein was not very extensively worked. Four or five years ago, however, there began to be a demand for fuel, and the vein was opened and worked at several points. It is called the Cincinnati coal, but, in fact, the vein underlies nearly the whole of South Fork Precinct. Last winter there were in the neighborhood of Cincinnati between seventy and eighty miners at work, all making good wages. But, notwithstanding the vein has been worked as stated, it has not yet been fully developed, for at no place where it has been worked has it been penetrated over one hundred feet, and it is the opinion of many that when penetrated farther it will prove to be thicker. During the latter part of last winter another vein still thicker, from seventeen to twenty-two inches, was discovered about four miles east of Cincinnati. It is what is called block coal, and is considered a higher vein than that of the Cincinnati coal. Two miners leased it and are now working it, getting out from 400 to 600 bushels per day. It is the opinion of many that the same vein will be discovered near Cincinnati and other places in the precinct and county, in which case Pawnee County will far surpass any county in the State in point of fuel. In fact, with the present vein of coal, to say nothing of the discoveries of more coal, that will, no doubt, soon be made, and to say nothing, either, of the large amount of timber, South Fork Precinct alone can supply the county for years to come, not only with fuel for the masses, but for manufactories of any and all kinds, that may be started in Pawnee City or county. This winter, so far, it has been difficult to get miners to work the Cincinnati coal, as most of them go to the thicker vein farther ease, where a little better wages can be made, so at present it is worked at only a few places. Near Fries' mill, some twelve or fourteen miners are at work, and a few at several other places around Cincinnati. One farmer has nearly eighty acres of coal land, had the vein opened and ready to work, but cannot get the miners, which is also the case with several others who have coal land. So to any and all who contemplate settling in Pawnee County, I will say, come right along, and don't let that great bugaboo, scarcity of fuel, deter you, for, as stated above, there is coal enough in South Fork Precinct alone to supply the county for years to come, for any and all purposes, to say nothing of the discoveries that will yet be made in the county, for it is the candid opinion of the writer, and many others also, that there is coal in and under many hills throughout the county."

    It may be added to the above, which was written some time ago, that the coal fields are now supplying Pawnee City, Humboldt and Falls City.

    Beds of soft, but durable, limestone of a beautiful cream color also crop out in different portions of the county. The layers are from six inches to two feet in thickness, and the stone is readily worked into any desired form. It is called the fusuline limestone, the best specimens being eight miles west of Pawnee City. Builders are especially partial to it. Sandstone is also abundant.



    With abundance of fuel, good building stone and a fertile soil, Pawnee County is truly favored. It is a splendid corn country, and stock-raising is extensively carried on, the prairies furnishing excellent pasturage and an abundance of hay. Pawnee County holds just claim to being a banner section for sheep-raising, there being about 25,000 animals, who are doing finely. Climate, soil, water -- everything is favorable for sheep-raising, and such men as R. T. Scott, Bookwalter & Hibbert, Frank Bennett, William Ticnor, Button Bros. and others have demonstrated that the business can be made profitable. A majority of this stock is owned in Mission Precinct. The average clip is about nine pounds. Hogs are also a profitable investment, there being some 20,000 head in the county. Poland China and Berkshire are the favorite breeds.

    Of late years, blooded cattle have been introduced by W. B. Bull, John Blacklaw, M. K. Walker, W. J. Halderman, Samuel and J. M. Hamilton and others.

    In regard to the crops, corn is most prolific. Over 25,000 acres are under cultivation, much of the yield going to feed stock. South Fork, Clay, Sheridan and Miles Precincts are good corn-growing sections. Barley and rye also yield well. For several years past, considerable attention has been given to fruit-raising, and peaches, apples, grapes and cherries have been cultivated with success.

    And yet, notwithstanding all these agricultural and stock-raising advantages, there are fully 150,000 acres of unimproved land in Pawnee County. A general summary of the last reports of the Assessors shows that there are 15,000 cattle in the county, and 60,000 head of stock of all varieties. The improved land is valued at about $400,000, and the unimproved at about $625,000. The entire assessed valuation of the county is $2,010,000; estimated at $6,030,000. According to the latest estimates, the population of Pawnee County is 7,616. Its floating indebtedness is only $5,000.



    This heading is meant to include all means by which the county and its citizens were thrown into communication, such as postal facilities, county roads, bridges and railroads. Judge Christian Bobst was the first Postmaster, and the "post office," over which he and son, George T., were the guardian spirits, was called Pleasant Valley. It was in the extreme southeastern portion of the county, and for some time Pawnee City was entirely dependent upon it. Mr. Bobst (George T.) relates that the duties of the position were quite a tax upon the average man's patience, as they necessitated the looking over of several bags of through mail to Fort Kearney, just for the sake, perhaps, of extracting two or three epistles belonging to the good people of Pawnee County. In 1881, Table Rock obtained a post office, and, in 1862, Pawnee City a tri-weekly mail, which put a partial embargo upon the inconveniences of post office service as suffered in early days. Territorial and county roads had also been located, as is noticed elsewhere. It was not, however, until 1868, that the county really began to pay sufficient attention to the building of good bridges across Turkey Creek and South and North Fork. During this year, one was built south of Pawnee City, a second across South Fork, near the Fries Mill, and a third across the North Fork, near the Table Rock Mill. The county is now abundantly supplied. But the great need of Pawnee County -- a railroad -- was not met until December, 1881. Table Rock and the northeastern part of the county was accommodated in 1871-72 by the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad, but Pawnee City and the flourishing country to the south was apparently left out in the cold. And yet this section prospered amazingly and was well prepared to take advantage of the road when it did come. The construction of the road was placed by the Burlington & Missouri in the hands of the able and well-known firm of Elisha P. Reynolds & Co., who have built more railroad in Nebraska than any other firm. They began work in the winter, but the exceedingly bitter weather prevented much progress. The late spring also retarded work. Then came the exceptionally hot summer, and with it the impossibility to push work rapidly. Another drawback was the difficulty in getting laborers. Wages were gradually raised until they reached $1.75 for men and $4 for teams. Yet with all these inducements they never had as large a force as they wished. Then, too, the work was unusually heavy, passing as the line did through the roughest part of the county. It is pronounced the heaviest piece of work in the State. Nevertheless, with all these hindrances, the work was completed by the time specified in the contract and finished well.

    A passenger and freight depot and section-house were built; and Pawnee City really took on metropolitan appearances. The extension has been made to Wymore, thirty miles distant, the branch being known as the Wymore Division of the Republican Valley Railroad, and is but the beginning of the ultimate extension of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad to Denver. The road is controlled by the Burlington & Missouri Railroad Company. The survey through the county toward Topeka will also tend further to develop this growing region of the State.



    The earliest settlers of Pawnee County located in the vicinity of Cincinnati, a little village situated in its extreme southeastern portion, about fourteen miles from Pawnee City. In the spring of 1854, Christian Bobst, Robert Turner, Jacob Adams and Robert Archer started from Ohio with a view of settling in Missouri, on the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad. They found, however, that the lands were not in the market, and pushed on into Nebraska. On the

[Gov. David Butler's farm]

4th of April, they arrived on the South Fork of the Great Nemaha. Mr. Bobst, the leader of the party, selected the northwest quarter of Section 25, Town 1, Range 12, one of the finest timber claims in the State. Mr. Turner located on the southeast quarter of Section 25; Mr. Archer, upon the southwest quarter of the same section; and Mr. Adams upon the southwest quarter of Section 94. George T. Bobst arrived shortly afterward, and settled upon the remaining quarter of Section 25. The party thought at first that they were within the limits of Kansas. The survey had not yet been made, and, to protect themselves in their claims, after the lines had been run, the settlers of what it; now Nemaha County, Kan., and Pawnee, and a portion of Richardson County, Neb., formed a claim club. The first meeting was held July 4, 1851, at the crossing of the old Mormon trail and the Nemaha River. The President of the club was J. R. Cassel; Secretary, George T. Bobst. From the old torn pages of its record book were taken the following dates of when the claims of several well-known, citizens of Pawnee County were made: Christian Bobst. George T. Bobst, Joseph Fries and Robert Turner, April 12, 1854; H. Shellhorn, August 12, 1854; J. P. Love and H. G. Love, August 18, 1854; Jerome Shellhorn and John Shellhorn, August 19, 1854. After locating their claims, the party, headed by Judge Bobst, returned to St. Joe, where they had left their goods, Mr. Bobst having erected a house -- the first in the county. Before they returned, Joseph Fries and William Barnes also located in the same neighborhood. John Morrison and Martin Fisher settled on the South Fork, and James M. Hinton on the North Fork. Mr. Hinton erected a small dwelling house, E. J. Shellhorn, Jacob B. Shellhorn, the Abrams and two or three farm hands, assisting to raise the frame. Mr. Hinton held land upon which the Table Rock Mill was erected.

    On July 20, 1854, James O'Loughlin, Charles McDonald and Arthur McDonald came up Turkey Creek and looked over the ground which afterward became the site of Pawnee City. The locality is said to have originally been the site of a large Pawnee Indian village, and upon this particular day the three white men observed a large body of natives beyond where the cemetery grounds now are, and retreated to the South Fork of the Nemaha in dismay.

[Portrait of David Butler]

    Settlers of 1855 -- L. G. Jenkins, Elisha Kirkham, Elijah Markee and Daniel Powell, on the North Fork; H. G. Love, W. S. Love, J. P. Love and families, on the South Fork; A. A. Jordan, L. D. Jordan, Eben Jordan and Charles McDonald, on Turkey Creek.

    Settlers of 1856 -- P. M. Rogers and family, Rufus Abbott, J. C. Peavey, Rezin Ball, Levi Ball, Garrett L. Pangburn, E. W. Fowler, Josiah J. Lebo, Noah Lebo, Archibald Young, Calvin Horr, Matt Halls and John Kiner, on Turkey Creek; Joseph Steinauer, Nicholas Steinauer, Antoine Steinauer, Joseph Kauffman, Joseph Muchmore, Frank Muchmore and Oliver Muchmore, on Upper Turkey Creek, now Steinauer Precinct; John Williams Hiram Billings, John W. Brock, George Plumb, Widow Kelley (sister of Mr. Plumb), David Butler, C. V. Dimond, John Fleming, Charles Huntley, William and Dent Cunningham, Bedgood and Peter Foale, on the North Fork; G. G. And Andrew Thallimer, Absalom Walters, Dr. A. F. Cromwell (first physician in the county) and family, and W. B. Arnett, on South Fork; William McClintock, Richard Wade and Ed Hogin, James Cotter and Samuel Taylor, on what is known as Taylor's or Hogin's branch; John Jordan and Branick Cooper on west branch Turkey; James B. Robertson, on Jake's Run; and the Messrs. Buckner, two colored gentlemen, on Nigger's Branch.

    What hardships these early settlers had to endure in their battle with nature is best told by an extract from the Centennial History, prepared by Judge J. L. Edwards, from which many of the facts connected with the early history of the county are taken:

[Portrait of J. L. Edwards]

    "The settlers during these first years of settlement were compelled to go to Missouri for a great portion of their provisions. The reader, on reflection, can readily realize that for the first few years little or nothing but sod corn could be produced, and that for meat, flour, groceries. etc., they necessarily must depend upon some other locality. This, too, was especially hard when these trips had to be made in the winter. And it was not always that these winter trips could be avoided. On one occasion, Messrs. Rezin Ball, G. L. Pangburn, Abner A. and Eben Jordan were compelled to make a trip to Missouri in the winter, leaving their families, those who had any, to shift for themselves. And on their return, more than one of their number came near freezing before they reached home. This is only an example of what they all had to endure. Many times the outlook for the future was indeed disheartening. Indians frequently passing through the county; scarcity of provisions and clothes; poor protection against the inclemency of the weather; new farms to be made, and a support to be had in the meantime; the distance from one neighbor to another contributing to the feeling of isolation and loneliness -- and all together would he a terrible strain upon the courage and self-reliance of any ordinary man. The hardest winter, perhaps, ever known in Nebraska, came right in the midst of those, hardest of times, as if to strain to the utmost the spirit of endurance of these truly courageous men. The winter of 1856-57 is one, that will readily be recalled by those who passed through it in Pawnee County. Its terrific nature will be suggested by the following incident: 'It began to rain about December 1, 1856, coming from the southeast, but soon changed to the northwest, and then set in the heaviest snow-storm,' says Mr. Nicholas Steinauer, 'ever seen in Nebraska.' In this storm, about twenty head of Joseph Muchmore's cattle were lost -- driven before it from above Steinauer's, the Robert Harrah farm, clear to the head of Ball's Branch, about ten miles. They were driven down within the banks of this stream and so walled in by the snow that it was impossible for them to get out, and so hidden away that they were not found for about two months -- in February of 1857. When found, most of them had been killed by the wolves. Some two or three had succeeded in browsing enough to barely keep them alive. The snow-drifts were simply terrible, rendering the country almost impassable."

    Settlers of 1857 -- Andrew Fellers, Joseph Steel, Charles Tucker, John Morley, Thomas Entwistle, Fred Parli (who afterward removed to Johnson Creek), Hamilton Cooper, Rev. G. L. Griffing, Joseph Griffing, Asa E. Haywood, M. J. Mumford, Richard Brown, William Haywood (with their father, Mr. Haywood), Benjamin Ball, H. N. Gere, William McNeal, Clark Alexander, William Fellers, Lyman Rockwood, John C. Wood, Mr. Beishline, Henry Boomer, William Richards, James Dobson, James Brim, Guilford Lee, R. V. Muir, Richard Collison, Tack Carter and Richard Carter settled on the North Fork of the Nemaha and its tributaries; F. F. Liming, William F. Fowler, Archibald C. Dean, E. C. Shannon, Joseph S. Woods ("Uncle Joe"), William Harris, Ed Harris, John East, John P. Sutton, Robert B. Sutton, Matt Dodge, Allen McCoy, William East, Isham East, Elisha Loveland, Fred Shafer, John Burge, Davis M. Galligher, Louis M. B. Kennedy, R. H. Hammond, Isaac Taylor, Nathan Biddlecome, Joseph B. Morton, P. B. Beebe, Uriah Sullivan, Isaiah Sullivan, James Goins, Eli Crampton, C. C. Roberts and Mr. McCall, settled on Turkey Creek and its lesser tributaries; E. L. Selfridge, Sylvester Fisher, George E. Downing, William Boock, John Vanier and James K. Adamson, on South Fork; Silas Z. Waters, Stephen Waters and Mr. Gillan, on the West Branch of Turkey Creek; John Edgerton, Samuel Edgerton and John Flanagin, on Johnson Creek; David Neil, George Tanner and Jacob Tanner, on Mission Creek; Leonard Wenzler, David Straub, Vincent Straub, Antoine Zimmerer (now Grand Master of the I. O. O. F. of this State), John Suter, Leonard Suter and Capt. Corey, settled on Turkey Creek, Steinauer Precinct, and Rock Creek; James Spray, on Plumb Creek; Timothy Dewey, on Wolf Creek.

    In November of this year, as will be narrated elsewhere in detail, Pawnee City had been permanently selected as the county seat, the first buildings being erected during the spring of 1857. The next year, two saw-mills were erected near Pawnee City, and the steam grist and saw mill of John Fries went into operation at Cincinnati, which had been already surveyed as the northeast quarter of Section 25, Town 1 north, of Range 12 east. Table Rock had been partially laid out by the Table Rock Company in 1855, but was not regularly surveyed and platted until June, 1858.

    Settlers of 1858 -- J. W. Cochran, Mr. Zeke, Washington Allen, Dr. J. N. McCasland, William Horn, Abraham Clayton, William B. Raper, A. D. Liming and Daniel Liming, on Turkey Creek; C. W. Giddings, John A. Jones, William Smith, Julius Tyler, Peter Gartner, George P. McMahon, Samuel McMahon, L. M. Mumford, Samuel Spece, Luke Bradley and Nathan G. Hand, on the North Fork; Horace Bemis, William Carkey, R. G. Cowperthwaite and John Colony, on Jake's Run; Mr. Burg (father of John and William Burg), John Tillotson, George W. Welsh, William Scott, Andrew Oliver, William Oliver, John Turnbull, Robert Fairbairn, William Fairbairn, J. L. Wymore, Fred Wymore and Isaac Lockand, on Johnson Creek and its tributaries John W. Gregory, Mark Killeen, John Connolly and the Bailes family, on Plumb Creek; Buell Woodruff, Lucas Covert, W. W. Denney and John A. Butler, on Ball's Branch; John W. Manning, on the West Branch of Turkey Creek; Robert Taylor, on Taylor's or Hogin's Branch; and William and Gottifried Burrow and Christian Frank on Long Branch.

    Hon. David Butler, one of the most prominent citizens of this portion of the State, and a native of Indiana, moved to Pawnee City in 1858. In 1861, he served in the Territorial Legislature, and in 1862 was elected to the Senate for two years. In 1866, Mr. Butler was elected the first Governor of the newly admitted State of Nebraska serving a second term in 1868-69. In 1870 he was again honored but impeached on purely political grounds, the Legislature of 1876-77 expunging the record. It was during ex-Gov. Butler's first term that the State capital was removed from Omaha to Lincoln.

    Judge J. L. Edwards thus narrates how it was that he came to settle in Pawnee County:

    "On the 9th of June, 1860, I arrived at Pawnee City. About three days previously, in company with two teams headed westward, not far from Hiawatha, Kan., I met with Hon. W. B. Raper and Uncle Joseph Woods, drawing goods from St. Joseph to Pawnee City, Messrs. Butler & Raper having started the third store located at this point the year previous. Through the representations of these gentlemen, we were induced to change our destination from the country on the Little Blue River to Pawnee City, a step I have never regretted, and if it has been a matter of regret to the good people of this county, all I have to say in extenuation of my own act in this respect is, Mr. Raper is mainly to blame.

    "When I attained the highest ground on the divide between Turkey Creek and Jake's Run, the prospect presented to my view what I conceived to be the loveliest country I had ever beheld. No farms were then to be seen on the uplands. On every hand, as far as the eye could reach, stretched the prairie, covered with waving grass, which, with the gently sloping divides and intervening but scarcely perceptible valleys and ravines, it required no very vivid stretch of the imagination to convert into a beautiful green sea, constantly agitated by the ever undulating motion of its sleepy billows. But, so attractive as the country was, the genuine frankness of the people, their unfeigned kindness of heart, together with the high moral tone which pervaded society generally, had the greater influence in terminating my travels and casting my lot with the people of Pawnee County."

    The first settler of the county was Judge Christian Bobst, who, on April 4, 1850, settled on the northwest quarter of section 25, Town 1, Range 12. He also built the first house in the county, and his son George T. Bobst, constructed the first boot-jack, which is still in existence.

    John Barnes died in the fall of 1855, and his funeral was the first which occurred in the county.

    Rev. David Hart preached the first sermon in the county during the spring of 1855, at the house of Henry Shellhorn, South Fork.

    Andrew P. Liming, the first child born in Pawnee City, dates his life from October, 1857.

    The first deed recorded is a quit-claim, dated February, 21, 1857; Mary F. Barnes to Joseph Fries, the southwest quarter of Section 35, Town 1, Range 12 east.

    L. M. B. Kennedy brought suit against Stephen Waters for the value of certain hogs found dead upon Mr. Waters' premises. The trial came off September 14, 1857, and Mr. Waters was mulcted in $50 damages.

    In 1859, the first camp-meeting held in the county was in charge of Rev. W. King, at Table Rock. The first church organized in the county was in 1857, a Methodist Episcopal Society, by Rev. C. V. Arnold.

    Table Rock also claims the first frame house, the first frame bridge, the first brick-kiln, the first brick house and the first cistern in the county.

    The first District Court held within the county, as far as any record kept shows, was at Pawnee City, September 8, 1859. Present, Hon. Joseph Miller, Judge; District Attorney, William McLeenan; Clerk, Allen Blacker; Sheriff, Eben Jordan. At this term of court, Dr. J. N. McCasland was appointed Deputy Clerk for this county, which position he held until 1864.

    On March 13, 1856, James O'Laughlin and Lydia Adamson, Richard Clency and Priscilla Adamson, were united in marriage -- the first joining together within the present limits of the county. Thomas Entwistle and Mary M. Williams, on March 27, 1857, took the same step, after the county was organized.



    A number of citizens from Pawnee County enlisted in the fall of 1862, to serve against the rebel element and wandering bands of desperate white men and Indians who were stirring up the whole country. The Little Blue region was the scene of a terrible massacre, and the people in the western part of this county were badly scared. It was discovered. however, that there was no real danger to Pawnee County, and they returned to their firesides. Among those who served in this campaign were Dr. A. S. Stewart and Col. W. B. Raper, Lieuts. G. D. Shannon, T. H. Shannon, M. A. Shannon, William Shannon, J. D. Gallagher, L. M. Rogers, L. F. Rogers, John Edgerton, J. T. Wymore, Peter Shellhorn, E. J. Shellhorn, A. Johnson, Fred Parli, Andrew Scott, William Fairbairn, Civilian Waters, G. G. Gere, Polk Wesley and George Nesbit, James O'Laughlin, Samuel Bobst, James Earley, Jacob Adams, Abraham Adkins, Uriah Sullivan, Isaiah Sullivan, G. L. Pangburn, Fred Wymore, William Woods, J. F. C. McCaslin and David Butler (North Fork). Although the Indian war amounted to but little, a mighty conflict continued against "rebel sympathizers." Every horse-thief in the country considered that he had cleared himself from all guilt when he explained that he was only "jay-hawking," stealing from the common enemy of the Union. After several years of this sort of business had passed away, these bands of thieves became splendidly organized, numbering often among the members citizens who warn not suspected of anything but the utmost respectability, and, acquiring boldness by strength, they extended their depredations to all classes of society, "irrespective of party lines." About the middle of November, 1864, Andrew Fellers of Table Rock, missed a fine team of horses, "jay-hawkers" being on the wing north, south, east and west. A few weeks before this, Dr. McCasland, of Pawnee City, had dressed the wound of a man from Iowa, whom it had been ascertained was a horse-thief. Isaac Riley, of Table Rock, had given the "jay-hawker" shelter and sympathy. The regulators came to his house; and made him believe that his brother had been killed for refusing to reveal all he knew, and Isaac put the pursuers upon the trail of the thieves. John C. Peavy, Captain of the Regulators, assisted by two of his man, captured the "jay-hawkers" in Iowa and brought them back to Table Rock, where they were confined in a sort of hotel, owned by Elder Giddings. The leader of the gang was a fine specimen of physical manhood, named Cotheran, a Texan. Isaac Clifton, his companion, was a native of Iowa. In the meantime, a large crowd of citizens had assembled, gathered principally from the western and southeastern parts of this county and Richardson County. They clamored loudly for dealing out summary justice upon the offenders, and, despite the protests of Elder Giddings and others, Riley and Clifton were taken from the guards and hung to a tree until they were dead. Cotheran managed to slip his shackles and leap through a window, but two well-directed shots brought him to the ground, and he was recaptured. His wounds were probed by Dr. J. N. McCasland, the man being shot through the shoulder, and suffering also with a ball which passed into the chest and followed one of the ribs. The Doctor gave it as his opinion that Cotheran could not live. The next day, also, at a kind of a mass meeting, Elder Giddings, Gov. Butler and John Whaley earnestly appealed to the people to desist from further violence; notwithstanding which, the Texan was mounted upon a horse, and, in the afternoon swung into eternity.

    J. L. Edwards was Sheriff of the county at the time of the lynching, but did not suspect any such proceedings on the part of the hitherto law-abiding citizens of Pawnee County as actually did take place. Several of the aforesaid citizens supposed to be models of respectability abandoned the county when an investigation was put on foot among others, a clergyman; and it was thought best not to push the matter any further, for, if the law had punished both the lynchers and the citizens connected with "jay-hawking," it is the opinion of many now living that Pawnee County would have been almost depopulated.

    The above data is made a matter of brief record, so, that the general chain of early events and the growth of the county may not be lost sight of. The details of this period, and the narrative which carries particular sections up to 1882, may be found under appropriate heads, and conveniently arranged for reference.



    For the first few years after May, 1854, when the organic act was passed creating the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas, Pawnee County was attached to Richardson for political, judicial and revenue purposes. The county was divided into townships in 1855; and into sections in 1856.

    It at first consisted of four townships, being twenty-four miles square. Before 1856, one township was taken from the north and added to Johnson County. During this year, John C. Miller, Probate Judge of Richardson County, issued an order for the holding of an election on the 25th of August, 1856. Its object was to select the county seat. John Fleming, James M. Hinton and Charles McDonald pressed the old town of Table Rock as a favorable location it being near the center of the county. John Tarbull, who had purchased the quarter section on which the Table Rock Mills were located, supported his pet, and was seconded in his endeavors by L. G. Jenkins. Their proposed county seat was situated on the high ground across the Nemaha River, just east of the mill site. Table Rock Town rested its chances of success on the support of the voters of Turkey Creek (Pawnee City), not suspecting that the dark horse itself was to spring up from that section. But so it was. P. M. Rogers, Eben, A. A. and. L. D. Jordan, J. C. Peavy and Rufus Abbott championed the south west quarter Sec. 26, Town 2, Range 11. When the votes were counted upon the important day, neither place had a majority, but the Table Rock poll-books were not signed by the Judge of Election, and were therefore thrown out. Judge Miller, however, when the matter came before him, "reversed the decision of the lower court," and ordered another election for November 4, 1856. These few weeks between the August and the November elections were considered by the enterprising citizens of the southwest quarter, etc., quite in the light of "days of grace." They so improved the time and guided the "flood of emigration " that when the contest of November 4, 1866, was at an end. the southwest quarter Sec. 26, Town 8, Range 11 had scored a majority of sixteen over its other competitors. At this election the following county officers were chosen: Probate Judge, H. G. Lore; Commissioners, John C. Peavy, E. W. Fowler, Joseph Fries; Sheriff, Rufus Abbott; Treasurer, W. B. Arnett, Judge Christian Bobst afterwards qualifying; County Clerk, G. O. Thallimer; Superintendent of Common Schools, Rezin Ball; Surveyor, John J. Lebo; Register, William S. Lore. The two Lores qualified on the 26th of the month; Messrs. Abbott and Lebo on the 22d; Messrs. Ball and Rogers and the Commissioners on the 20th, and the others subsequently.

    N. J. Sharp, County Clerk of Richardson, had previously made the following declaration, in regard to the election of August 25: "To all whom these presents shall come, greeting: This is to certify that the southwest quarter of Section 26, Township 2 north, of Range 11 east, was, on the 25th day of August, 1856, duly selected as the county seat. In territory [testimony?] whereof, I have hereunto set my name and attired my private seal, there being no public seal yet provided for the county."

    The first meeting of the Commissioners of Pawnee County was held January 5, 1857, and the county divided into three districts -- No. 1 comprising the northern half thereof; No. 2, Township 2, Ranges 9, 10, 11 and 12; and No. 3, Township 1, Ranges 9, 10, 11 and 12. It was also ordered that after any portion of the county seat should be surveyed, lots might be sold in quantities to suit purchasers, either on time or for cash. This first meeting occurred at the house of Rufus Abbott.

    In April, the Commissioners met at the house of E. W. Fowler, and issued $212.70 in county orders, to pay for surveying the county seat, which event had taken place during the preceding January. A number of county roads were also laid out during the spring and summer of this year, among others being those which ran from the county line, near Adam's Ford, to Pawnee City, and from Table Rock to Cincinnati.

    The county having been fairly organized, "court house" was the next official topic of discussion. At the January term of court (1868), the Commissioners proclaimed that "a court house shall be built in Pawnee City the coming season." But such a fiat is not equivalent to performance. In August of this year, the contract for the erection of a two-story frame structure was awarded to E. W. Fowler for $1,600. By January, 1859, it was found necessary to extend the time of its completion a year, both for lack of funds, and because Mr. Fowler was proving himself to be the "wrong man in the right place;" for there was no dispute over the bet that the county needed a court house. The finishing touches were never put to the structure, and the Commissioners never occupied it, but it was left to the mercy of the shrill and sturdy winds of Nebraska, which leveled it to the ground in 1860. It was during this year (1859) that the Territorial road, running through Pawnee County. was located by Thomas Tostivan, and was the commencement of a bitter contest over the building of such thoroughfares, the early settlers arguing, as in the later case of railroads, that they derived incalculable benefits when placed along these routes of travel. In April, 1868, Gage County was detached from Pawnee for revenue purposes.

    To return, however, to court house topics, from which a slight deviation has been made. It was not until February, 1869, that the county really took up the matter in earnest of obtaining a permanent abiding place. The advertisements for bids called for the erection of a court house, 40x60 feet, two stories high, to be built of the beautiful limestone supplied by the county. The contract was awarded to Messrs. Curtis & Peavy, who completed the building at a cost of over $15,000. It presents a clean and tasteful appearance, and is an addition to the city. The plans were prepared by J. L. Edwards.

    Thus the county officers were at last furnished with a home. The present set of officials are as follows: County Clerk and Clerk of the District Court, W. B. Raper; Treasurer, W. J. Halderman; Sheriff, B. H. Fuller; Judge, G. T. Belding; Superintendent of Public Instruction. O. D. Howe; Surveyor, J. A. Wallace; Commissioners, Chairman, J. Blacklaw, J. A. Cope, R. T. Scott.

    Pawnee County has no poor house or poor farm, and has not more than a dozen people depending upon it for support, which certainly speaks well for Pawnee County.

    In 1856-57, Dr. A. F. Cromwell represented the Territory in the Legislature; 1857-58, P. M. Rogers; 1859-60, A. C. Dean; 1859-60, Dr. J. N. McCasland; 1860-61, Capt. W. B. Raper filled out an unexpired term of W. F. Wright. In the Upper House, Col. John Sharp served the county first in 1866-67. In 1862, Hon. D. Butler was returned, and in 1864, Dr. J. N. McCasland. Col. A. J. Cropsey, A. S. Stewart and Rufus Abbott also, were Representatives of the county in the Upper House. Since these dates the political record of the citizens of Pawnee County is of comparatively recent record.



    "Rosin Weed" Seminary was the first school opened in the county, being taught by Miss Sarah H. Ball (now Mrs. J. L. Edwards). It was situated in the district just west of Pawnee City. In 1869, Dr. A. S. Stewart taught the first school in Pawnee City.

    The following statement made March 4, 1861, shows the condition of school moneys over twenty years ago: Table Rock, Territorial fund, $16.77, county fund, $16.77; South Fork, Territorial fund, $12.19, county fund, $12.19; Pawnee City, $36.04, Territorial fund and county fund also $36.04. The total amount to be raised for school purposes was $180, estimated to be a sufficient amount to maintain the cause of education in the three townships. As a contrast to these figures is presented a statement of the present condition of the county schools made by O. D. Howe, Superintendent of Public Institution: Number of school districts in the county, 60; number of children of school age, 2,779; whole number that attended during the year, 1,961; value of school properly, $42,598; total resources for the year, 17,672.



    The Agricultural and Mechanical Association was organized February 12, 1880. Its officers are: M. L. Waller, Mission Creek, President; R. A. Kennedy, West Branch, Vice President; J. N. Eckman, Pawnee City, Treasurer; G. M. Humphrey, Pawnee City, Secretary. J. W. Moore, Pawnee City, is the General Superintendent. The association has forty acres of ground near the depot, an exhibition hall, a half mile track, and other improvements are in progress. Its property is valued at $6,000, the premium lists amounting to $1,200. The association has already held two fairs, during the last four days of September. It is out of debt, and as the county grows in the ways of agriculture, the association will increase in usefulness.

    The Cemetery Association was organized in 1863. Five acres of ground were secured in the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of Section 26, Town 2, Range 11. Each owner of one block of the land was allowed to full membership and one vote. The organization was effected under the corporation laws of the State, and the grounds have since been improved and neatly laid out. Present officers of the association: W. H. Curtis, President; J. L. Edwards, Secretary; S. H. Cummins, W. J. Aikins and Enoch Duer, Trustees; Enoch Duer, Treasurer.

    The Musical Association. -- Organized the fall of 1874. Its first officers were: W. H. Curtis, President; E. J Shellhorn, Vice President; J. W. Hollinshead, Musical Director; P. Shellhorn, Assistant Director; Mrs. G. M. Humphrey, Organist; Mrs. J. L. Duer, Assistant Organist. From July, 1875, to May, 1877, no regular organization was maintained, but during the latter year it was revived. Present officers: F. R. Joy, President; R. B. Wallace, Secretary; Mrs. J. L. Duer, Organist; Mrs. Elma Edwards, Assistant Organist. Prof. A. K. Goudy, Director; J. H. Kennedy, Assistant Director. The association has presented several finely patronized musical entertainments to the public, particular attention being given to vocal culture.

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