NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Richardson County
Produced by
Pam Rietsch.


Natural Resources | Early History | Stephen Story | A Severe Winter
Pioneer Hunters | Lynch Law for Horse-Thieves
The Half-Breed Line | The County Seat Troubles
The Killing of Davis and Meek | County Roster | the Epidemic of 1860


Claim Jumping | The Jayhawkers of '62 | The Underground Railway
The Grasshopper Scourge | Defunct Towns | War Record
Milling Interests | Railroads


Falls City:   First Permanent Residents | City Officials
Postal Business | The Press | Fire Record | Societies
County Buildings


Falls City (conts.):   Banks | Manufacturing Interests
The Grain Business | Pork Packing | Falls City Hotels
Hinton's Driving Park | Public Schools | The Public School Building

 5 ~ 9:

Biographical Sketches:

PART 10:

Humboldt:   Early Events | Railway Interests | The Public School
Churches | The Press | Societies | Hotels | Banks and Bankers
Manufacturing Interests, Etc.

PART 11:
Humboldt:   Biographical Sketches
PART 12:

Rulo:   Charles Rouleau | Elie Bedard
Early Events | The Press | Business Interests | Churches
Societies | Biographical Sketches

PART 13:

Dawson:   Early History | The Cyclone | Societies | Churches
Business Interests | The Old Mill | Biographical Sketches

PART 14:

Salem:   Early History | Hotels | The Public Schools
Churches | Societies | Business Interests | Biographical Sketches

PART 15:

Arago:   Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches:
Porter Precinct | Ohio Precinct | Franklin Precinct | Liberty Precinct
Speiser Precinct | Barada Precinct | Preston

List of Illustrations in Richardson County Chapter

Part 13


   The town of Dawson is so called rather by common usage than by exact accordance with the law. At the time of the arrival of the graders of the Atchison & Nebraska Railway in 1871, the town was laid out by W. F. Draper on his farm adjoining the track. This town was named Noraville, and to this day it has never legally had any other name, though, as already mentioned, it is now known as Dawson. To explain this apparent discrepancy, we must go back to the time a number of years prior to the starting of Dawson. In 1868 Joshua Dawson built a flouring and feed mill on the North Fork of the Nemaha, opposite where the town now lies. Shortly after the building of this mill Mr. Dawson obtained a postal service, and his office was naturally known as Dawson's Mill. Shortly after the laying out of Noraville the post office was moved to that place, but the old name of Dawson's Mill was retained up to a short time ago. The first Postmaster was E. C. Dawson, who transacted the business of the office until it was removed to Noraville. It was then taken by Mr. William Till, who was followed by B. S. Chittenden. Mr. S. C. Barlow, who now holds the office, succeeded Mr. Chittenden. The Post Office has been successively in the Dawson mill, in William Till's store in the town, in Chittenden's store south of the railway track and near the depot, and finally in Barlow's store near the center of the town.


   The land first designated as the site of Noraville covered thirty acres. Of this sixteen acres were purchased of the owner by the citizens of the town and donated to the railway for station and other facilities. To the fourteen acres remaining a fresh plot containing thirty acres was added, so that now the town site covers forty-four acres. This land lies in a level spot encircled on three sides by bluffs, and running on the fourth to the bottom lands of the Nemaha.

   The first store opened up in the town, as also the first building, was that of William Till, who had for some time done business in the same building which had been located near the railway. This store building, in fact, considerably antedated Mr. Till's business experience in the place. As early as 1871 Knight & Lappius, who had contracts for grading on the Atchison & Nebraska Railway, started business south of the railway track, but after six months sold out to W. F. Draper, who in turn sold the building and business to Mr. Till.

   The first blacksmith, Daniel Tigner, commenced working at the blacksmith's trade in 1869 at Dawson's Mill on the Nemaha. In 1873 he removed to town and started in business in the place where he has ever since labored.

   The first school taught in the town was opened in 1878 by D. W. James, who taught six months. He was followed by Miss Ellen Burr, who taught three months, M. G. Jones, who taught four months, and Miss Verda Waggener, who taught three months. The last school term was taught by M. G. Jones and Miss Joanna Ryan, and closed in March, 1882.

   Prior, however, to this teaching in the town, there had been a long series of school terms at various points near the place. A district school was taught as early as 1862, in a log house one mile east of the town, by a Mr. Thompson. Miss Mollie Pool was the next teacher in this place, and was followed by Oscar Sloan, who wielded the ferule for three terms.

   In 1869 a frame schoolhouse was built near the log house, and exercises held in it until the building of the schoolhouse at Dawson. The schoolhouse was built at a cost of $500, and was intended to serve for all church and other exercises as well as for school purposes. The school occupies the lower story of the building, and the Enterprise Lodge of Odd Fellows the upper, for the building of which they paid $700.

   Prior to the opening of the public school in the town there was a select or paid school kept by Miss Ellen DeWese, in 1877, Miss DeWese was succeeded in 1878, by Miss M. Hathaway, who taught one year, but after that date the pubic school engrossed all the scholars of the town.

   The first dwelling in the town was that of William Till, and was erected shortly after the removal of his store from the track to the town. The first child to see the light in the village was C. Till, born in 1873, and the first death that of Mrs. Till, which occurred in 1874.

   The Warner House was the first public hostelry and was erected in 1876, by Christopher Warner. This building cost $700 and was a one-story affair, sixteen by thirty-six feet on the ground floor, with an ell eighteen by twenty feet. This house was run until 1878, and was followed by the Commercial House, built in 1877, by J. H. Hanna, at a cost of $1,200. This structure was sixteen by thirty-six feet in the main part and sixteen by forty in the ell. The main part was two stories in height. This hotel was run by Mr. Hanna for one year and then sold to W. A. Albright, who still runs it.

   The first lumber yard was started in 1873, by E. P. Tinker of Humboldt, who sent material and men from that place. In the nine years of its existence this yard has had a checkered ownership. E. P. Tinker sold it to M. Riley, in 1874; he to J. H. Hanna, in 1875; he to W. D. Easley in 1876, and he to Hosford and Chittenden, who ran it together until the spring of 1882, when Mr. B. S. Chittenden purchased the entire interest of is partner.


   On the 29th day of May, 1879, the village had the exclusive benefit of a violent cyclone. Clouds were seen gathering in the north, northwest and southwest and while the people stood watching them they suddenly joined just northwest of the town and poured out a flood of water accompanied by a wind, against which nothing could stand. At the time of the arrival of the gust, about forty persons were in the nearly completed Catholic church, in attendance upon mass. When the cyclone struck the house it pushed it rapidly half-way across its foundations, and then broke it in two, but before the break occurred, fully two-thirds of the congregation were out of doors. Near the church was a performance of some sort going on under canvas. When the tenting took winds, it is stated that the owner, a very obese man, clasped his arms around a post and swore he would stay, but was seen rolling merrily down hill not many minutes after, still clasping the post. The average reader, who has never seen a cyclone in full swing may doubt this fact, but it is nonetheless true that men who ventured into the street were invariably blown down and rolled along with the wind until they found refuge in the lee of some stalwart unwrecked building. After moving the church the wind caught the store of Mead & Riley and racked it to the south so heavily as to jam both doors and cut off egress. Mr. Meade, who was holding the front door partly open, succeeded by the aid of two others in tearing it from the upper part of the frame, when all jumped into the street and rolled until blown into the shelter of a corn bin. A party of men who were sitting in the rear of the store were unable to force the door and threw two twenty-five pound kegs of nails through and made a breach through which they pitched themselves without staying on the order of their going. When this building first felt the full force of the blast four rows of shelving loaded with crockery and glassware came crashing down, making noise enough to lead to abrupt evacuation, if nothing worse had followed. This store is still standing and any observer can see the finger marks of the cyclone.

   Just below the town, Mr. Riley, assisted by A. Helmick, was unloading grain, the latter standing in the wagon, when the blast struck the wagon it turned wrong side up and Mr. Helmick was neatly boxed within it, but a second puff whirled the wagontop further ahead and the prisoner was released. Many other incidents of peril and loss in the furious wind and deluging rain are a part of the folk-lore of the town, and the year of the cyclone will be the memorable year till some second marvel may come that way and furnish a dear-bought theme for the new generation.


   Enterprise Lodge, No. 43, I. O. O. F., was chartered on January 29, 1874, and was opened in the third story of Dawson's mill-building, and continued there until the building of its own hall. The charter members of this lodge were: M. L. Libee, John C. Draper, G. A. Allen, R. B. Burges, John A. R. Ellis. The first officers were: M. L. Libee, N. G.; George Allen, V. G.; J. C. Draper, Secretary. The present membership of the lodge is forty-six. The following is a list of the present officers: L. B. McMahan, N. G.; S. C. Barlow, V. G.; J. A. Waggener, Secretary; E. T. Libee, Treasurer; W. L. Bennett, I. G.; Thomas Hilburn, O. G.; W. J. Enfield, P. S.; The lodge meets each Saturday evening.

   Rebekah Lodge, No. 7, I. O. O. F., was chartered on July 4, 1874, with fourteen constituent members. The membership has increased somewhat since the date of organization, and now numbers twenty. The meetings of the lodge are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. The following are the present officers: Mrs. M. L. Libee, N. G.; Mrs. N. E. Libee, V. G.; Mrs. W. J. Enfield, Secretary; Mrs. Emma Allen, Treasurer.

   Hebron Encampment, No. 14, I. O. O. F., was organized on May 15, 1880, with seven charter members. It now has a membership of over fifteen, and the following officers: W. S. Allen, C. P.; M. L. Libee, Scribe; E. T. Libee, High Priest. Meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

   Dawson Lodge, No. 183, I. O. G. T., was organized in April, 1879, with twenty-three constituent members and the following officers: E. D. Webb, W. C. T.; W. S. Allen, L. D.; Mrs. C. Mead, W. V. After holding meetings for about one and one-half years and acquiring a membership of thirty-five, the society fell into decay and now holds no communications. The following were the last officers: W. A. Albright, W. C. T.; C. S. Draper, Secretary; Miss Ella Pigner, W. V.


   The only church edifice in this village is that of the Catholic. The present house of worship of this creed is the third erected by the society since 1879. In the cyclone of May of that year the nearly completed building was ruined. Nothing daunted by this misfortune the society again began work and by the following spring had replaced the wrecked church by a second. On the ninth of March, 1882, this building was destroyed by fire, supposed to be of incendiary origin. The present structure was completed in March, 1882. From the laying of the corner-stone of the first on July 4, 1878, to the completion of the third building the society has expended $6,700. The services of the church are under the charge of Rev. Father John T. Lee, resident in Falls City.

   Other Church Societies.--It is a singular fact, that, although members of almost all orthodox beliefs, are to be found in the town, and there are meetings under the charge of some licensed preacher nearly every Sabbath, there is no church organization, except that of the Catholic, already referred to.


   During the year 1881, Dawson shipped 245 car-loads of grain, fifty car-loads of hogs, thirty car-loads of hay and sixteen car-loads of cattle.

   The town now has one elevator, the property of Mr. B. S. Chittenden; a stock yard, run by Mr. M. H. Van Deventer; two general stores, one each of drugs, confectionery, furniture, hardware, one wagon shop and two blacksmiths. The only physician in the town is Dr. J. A. Wagener, who came on April 19, 1879, and has succeeded in establishing a good practice.


   The Mill from which the town or rather the post office takes its name is still at work on the Nemaha. Many improvements have been made in it since the building of the town and at present it is valued at $8,000. The building is 36x40 feet on the ground floor, and two and one-half stories in height. Two run of buhr-stones are used and power is supplied by a thirty-six-inch Leffel turbine water-wheel.

   The lands immediately surrounding the village are among the richest of the many rich farming lands of this part of the State, and are watered by various small streams that flow into the Nemaha. The class of farmers settled upon these tracts is noticeably that of the wealthier sort, which is a very material aid to the growth of any town near which it is located.


   ALLEN BROTHERS, general store. Firm composed of G. A. and C. H. Allen; organized July 6, 1882, succeeding Barlow & Allen. Business originally established by Hosford & Chittenden in 1874. G. A. Allen, senior member of the firm, was born in Oneida County, N. Y., June 27, 1847. His parents settled in Dane County, Wis., in 1854. From there they moved to Lafayette County, and in 1866 settled in Richardson County, Neb. G. A. was educated in Wisconsin. In Nebraska he engaged in farming until 1875. He then engaged with Hosford and Chittenden. Two years later he returned to the farm, where he remained until the present firm was organized. Mr. A. is a member of the Lodge and Encampment of the I. O. O. F.

   C. H. ALLEN of Allen Brothers, general store, was born in Dane County, Wis., August 19, 1855. Removed with his parents to Lafayette County and from there, in 1866, to Richardson County, Neb. Engaged in farming until the spring of 1882, when he entered the firm of Barlow & Allen. Mr. Allen was married in Richardson County, February 1, 1880, to Miss Emma Iliff of Richardson County. They have one child--Lotta May. Mr. A. is a member of the Lodge and Encampment of the I. O. O. F.

   S. C. BARLOW, dealer in heavy and shelf hardware and agricultural implements, established in 1882. Mr. Barlow was born in Polk County, Iowa, January 15, 1843. Was educated at the Des Moines High School. In the spring of 1861 he enlisted in Company E, Fourth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Was at the battles of Vicksburg, Atlanta, and took part in the march to the sea, and the grand review in Washington; was mustered out in 1865 and returned to Iowa. His father was engaged in mercantile business, and S. C. was employed in his store until the fall of 1866. He then settled in Richardson County, Neb., and engaged in farming. In 1877 he moved to Dawson and engaged in mercantile business. Selling out in 1882. Mr. Barlow was married in Polk County, Iowa, April 15, 1866, to Miss Ruth Draper of Polk County. Mrs. Barlow died in Richardson County, leaving four children--Eugene, Louis, Elvon, and Ada. Mr. B. is a member of Enterprise Lodge, No. 43, I. O. O. F., and of the G. A. R. of Humboldt.

   B. S. CHITTENDEN, dealer in lumber, building materials of all kinds, and prepared paints. Succeeded D. T. Easley in 1879. Mr. C. was born in Hancock County, Ind., May 6, 1837. He was educated in his native county, and when about eight years old commenced clerking in stores. In 1862 he enlisted in Company D, Ninety-seventh Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He served one year, and was then detailed to raise volunteers for colored regiments. In 1863 he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Fifty-ninth Regiment United States Colored Infantry. At the close of the war volunteer officers of the colored regiments were examined by a board composed of regular army officers and a board composed of volunteer officers. Lieut. Chittenden passed both boards, and was commissioned Captain in the regular army. Was mustered out in 1866 and returned to Indiana. Shortly after he moved to Andrew County, Mo., where he engaged in farming until 1871. He then moved to Richardson County, located at Rulo a short time, and then settled in Dawson, where he engaged in the sale of general merchandise and also grain, dealing under the firm name of Hosford & Chittenden, selling out in 1882. Mr. Chittenden was married in Greencastle, Putnam County, Ind., October 10, 1862, to Miss Amanda Hosford of that county. They have two children--Horace Z. and Lottie E.

   ISAAC L. MEAD, Postmaster. Appointed to present position August 1, 1882. Mr. Mead was born in Frederick County, Va., May 11, 1846. His parents moved to Morgan County in 1861. During the war Isaac L. was attached for some time to the Quarter Master's Department under Col. Morford. In October, 1868, he located in Salem, Neb., where he engaged in clerking with Lincoln & Holt. In 1874 he moved to Dawson and organized the firm of I. L. Mead & Co. They were succeeded by Mead, Riley & Co. three years later, and this firm by Mead & Riley, the latter continuing till January, 1882. Mr. Mead is turning his attention to the breeding of Jersey cattle. His present farm consists of 171 acres, to which he is about adding 130 acres. Mr. Mead was married in Richardson County, November 30, 1870, to Miss Clara J. Lincoln, of Richardson County. They have two children, Edwin Cass and Lillie Thay. Mr. M. is a member of Enterprise Lodge No. 43, and Hebron Encampment No. 14, I. O. O. F.

   M. RILEY, jr., general store. Business established in 1874 by I. L. Mead & Co. Succeeded Mead & Riley in January, 1882. Mr. Riley was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, August 2, 1847. His parents came to the United States in 1853, and settled near Salem, N. J. About 1857 they moved to New London County, Conn. The subject of this sketch received his schooling in New Jersey. In Connecticut he was employed in manufacturing establishments. In the spring of 1867 the family settled in Richardson County, Neb., where Mr. R. engaged in farming until 1876, when he moved to town and entered the firm of M. Riley & Co. Mr. Riley was married in Richardson County, April 29, 1873, to Miss Bridget M. Ryan, of that county. They have five children, Bryan, Daniel J., Mary E., Ellen C., and Thomas R. Mr. R. is a member of the Catholic Church and President of the Dawson Land League.

   T. J. RYAN, proprietor "Dawson Elevator." Building erected by Hosford & Chittenden, and was bought by Mr. Ryan in August, 1882. It has a capacity of about 10,000 bushels. Mr. Ryan was born in County Roscommon, Ireland, April 15, 1847. His parents came to the United States in 1853, and settled in New London County, Conn., and in 1867 they moved to Richardson County, Neb. T. J. was engaged in farming until he organized present business. He still retains his farming interests. Has some 304 acres devoted to grain and stock, making a specialty of breeding fine stock. The head of his herd is a full blood "Rose of Sharon" bull, and in addition he has seven head of full blood short-horns. Mr. Ryan was married in Dawson, Neb., February, 1872, to Miss Bridget Riley, of Dawson. They have three children living, Thomas, Mary and Annie. Mr. R. is a member of the Catholic Church.

   D. W. SCOTT, proprietor Dawson's Mills. The mill was built about 1868 by Joshua Dawson, and taken charge of by Mr. Scott in October, 1881. The building is of frame, 40x36, two and a half stories high, and contains three run of stone; is operated by water-power, and is engaged in merchant exchange and custom work. D. W. Scott was born in Licking County, Ohio, Jun 28, 1836. Learned the milling business in Utica, Ohio, and engaged at it until the outbreak of the war. He enlisted in 1862 in Company G, Fourth Missouri Cavalry, and served three years and four months, being mustered out in 1865. He first came West in 1857 and settled near Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he engaged in farming. In 1865 he moved to Richardson County, Neb. Located at Rulo for a time. Was afterward engaged in milling at Pony Creek, Sabetha, Kan., and Salem, Neb., then moved to Dawson. Mr. Scott was married in Putnam County, Ohio, November 6, 1855, to Miss Plumb, of that county. They have five children--Charles S., James W., Mary J., (now Mrs. M. B. Miller), Emma G. and Ella. He is a member of Salem Lodge, No. 47, A., F. & A. M.

   DR. J. A. WAGGENER, physician and surgeon, was born in Cumberland County, Ky., October 6, 1852. His father was a prominent citizen of that county, having held the office of Sheriff some sixteen years and of County Clerk about twelve years. J. A. assisted in the latter office several years. After studying medicine at home some eighteen months, he entered Louisville Medical College in 1874 and graduated in 1876. He then engaged in practice in Cumberland County. In the fall of 1878 he settled in Dawson, where he has since engaged in the practice of his profession. Dr. Waggener was married in Metcalf County, Ky., in March, 1878, to Miss Annie L. Grinstead, of that county. They have two children--Hewitt and Willie. Dr. W. is a member of Enterprise Lodge, No. 43, I. O. O. F.; of the Richardson County Medical Society, and Southeastern Nebraska Medical Society.

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