Part 2: Political History
Part 3: County Roster | Seward County Schools
Death of a Pioneer
Seward: Incorporation | Societies | Religious
Part 4: Seward (cont.): Schools | Driving Park Association
Part 5: Seward: Biographical Sketches (cont.)
Part 6: Milford: Location and Natural Features
Early History | Churches
Societies | Biographical Sketches
Part 7: Utica: Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches:B Precinct | C Precinct
Part 8: Biographical Sketches: F Precinct | G Precinct
I Precinct | J Precinct
Part 9: Biographical Sketches: K Precinct | L Precinct
M Precinct | N Precinct | O Precinct | P Precinct
List of Illustrations in Seward County Chapter
Seward County Names Index
Seward County is located in the famous Blue Valley, at a point approaching the center of the wealth and population of the State, forty miles south of the great Platte River and sixty miles west of the Missouri River. It includes a territory of 576 square miles, rich in agricultural resources, from end to end a beautiful alternation of graceful, billowy prairie and winding valleys, that drift with the timber-fringed streams away to the horizon. There are no commanding bluff lines or table-lands, but the entire surface is gentle and undulating, rich in the softer and more peaceful phases of rural scenery.
The climate conditions are most favorable. It is in a most healthful latitude, and lies above the humid and malarial influences, at a mean elevation of 1,475 feet above the tides.
The Big Blue River flows through the county north and south, a little east of the center. Plum Creek, one of the principal tributaries, on the east side of this stream, enters the county on the northeast, flowing in a southeasterly direction, uniting with it at Seward.
East of the Blue, in Range 4, the different branches of Middle Creek take their head, and on the west, Lincoln and Beaver Creeks and the West Blue River, all important streams, and affording an abundant water supply.
Numerous smaller streams flow into these, in many instances furnishing a good supply of water for many of the farms during a greater part of the year.
Native timber, including walnut, elm, cottonwood, oak, ash, maple and white willow, are found scattered along the banks of the larger streams in small groves and an occasional belt, and many fine groves, of all varieties, are being brought to a successful state of cultivation, some of fifteen years' standing.
The soil is uniformly a rich black mold, varying in depth from fifteen to twenty-five inches, and below it is the famous Loess deposit, running to a depth of from twenty-five to 200 feet, interspersed with strata of clay, which forms the water-beds, which is found at a depth of sixty feet on the uplands, and at twenty and thirty feet in the valleys.
The soil has a wide range of production. It is well adapted to grazing.
Wheat, corn, oats and all the small grains grow with an abundant yield, and the cultivated grasses, such as millet and Hungarian grass, are an important crop.
The broad, grand prairies lying between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains were, as late as the year 1840, described by geographers as "the Great American Desert, a vast, unexplored region, inhabited only by the buffalo, antelope and other wild beasts, and a people who have left little trace of their pre-historic life, known as the red men, or savages."
Indeed, for more than ten years later, the west side of the Missouri River was the abode only of the red man and the wild game that offered him an irregular support. Vast herds of buffalo, elk, antelope, "the wild gazelle with silvery feet" of romance and song, still roamed in happy freedom over the trackless ocean of rolling, billowy prairie and mighty meadow. The various Indian tribes, then in the ascendency of their power, and not reduced by the encroachments of another and more powerful race, spent their time in the hunt and the chase, or in measuring their war prowess in battle with an enemy.
But the race is fast dying out, together with their traditional history, leaving nothing behind but the meager and insufficient gleanings of the great book of rocks. The force of mind is pressing on, and mere physical supremacy must yield to its overmastering domination.
The decade preceding the great rebellion was marked by the settlement of Nebraska.
With the immigration in the good old days of 1849 and later, the great exodus to Pike's Peak from all the Eastern States, which swelled the gold excitement that brought such bitter disappointment to so many thousands, and particularly in 1859, many a weary pilgrim found the shrine of his Mecca of idolatry a mere phantom, and resolved to pursue it no more. Many had advanced no further than the famous Shinn's Ferry, in Butler County, and being disappointed and disheartened, and nothing left of the former home to return to, turned their steps to the beautiful valley of the Blue and its many tributaries, and commenced life anew in its solitude and wealth of nature.
The lovely country of the great Platte Valley spread out before them on every hand charmed them, and their dejected spirits at once began to revive. They concluded to take a survey of the surrounding country, and, if it were like this, determined to make themselves permanent homes. Pursuing their course down the valley of the Blue River as far as the largest tributary in Seward County, the West Blue, they located on that branch at what is now known as West Mills. Here the grand old prairies stretched out before them in all their grandeur as far as the eye could reach. The stream coursed its winding way through a thick foliage of oak and cottonwood, and the prime necessities of pioneer life were in abundance. The sighing of the wind seemed to echo the tramp of incoming thousands, and foretell, in their mysterious whisperings, of an age in the near future, when cities and villages should spring up as if the beautiful prairie had been touched with a magic wand. The graceful, placid river should turn the wheels of busy mills and carry out the purpose of an all-wise Providence. The path of the iron horse should wind its way into this beautiful garden of nature, and, with its advent, the coming of thousands of anxious hearts should be heralded, whose skillful hands should transform the trackless ocean of grasses into a sea of golden grain and tall, waving corn.
Innumerable cottages, the dwellings of husbandmen, should dot the broad expanse in place of the secluded haunt and favorite feeding-ground of the buffalo, elk and antelope, and their place should be filled by contented flocks and herds of sheep and cattle.
On this spot the early pioneers were content to dwell, and here coveted to make their graves.
The original name of the county was Green, but, shortly after the commencement of our domestic conflict, it was changed to that of Seward. This was done because of the course taken by the Senator from Missouri, in whose honor it had been named. Senator Green took an active part in the rebellion against the Government, and sought to use his influence against its overthrow. The Legislature promptly removed from the page of history a name that had become tarnished with the dark stain of treason, and placed in its stead that of the distinguished statesman and advocate of freedom, William H. Seward.
With the history of J Precinct, begins the history of Seward County. In the fall of 1858, Daniel Morgan and his sons, William, Thomas and Lewis, made the first settlement in the county, taking up a pre-emption claim on Section 26, Township 10, Range 3, and receive the honors of the historian. Mr. Morgan continued his residence until 1878, at which date his death occurred. At this period, Nebraska was a wilderness. Hardly a settler had pushed his way west of the Missouri River, which was the nearest point of obtaining supplies--a distance of fully seventy miles, with many unbridged streams intervening, making it a long and perilous journey.
Five years later, in the fall of 1863, Job Raynolds, Thomas L. Rodgers, Samuel Long and C.J. Niehardt made settlements in this precinct, taking up homestead claims--Mr. Raynolds, on Section 10; Mr. Rodgers, on Section 22: Mr. Long, on Section 15; and Mr. Niehardt, on Section 15 -- all in Township 10, Range 3.
No further settlement was made till the spring of 1866, when Samuel Brown settled on Section 35; Josephus Brown, on Section 26; William Hageman, on Section 10: and G.V. Hageman on Section 14 -- all in Township 10, Range 3. The following fall found Berry Davis settled on Section 14, John Graybill, on the same section; and Peter Graybill, on Section 22, same town and range. Henry Palmer arrived in the spring of 1867, and took up his claim on Section 14.
In the year 1868, quite an emigration found its way to J Precinct, among whom were Mathew Hackworth, who located on Section 14; Henry Michaels, on Section 24; Joseph Michaels, on Section 12; James Devore, on Section 12, Harold Chambers and Walter Chambers, on Section 2 -- all in Township 10, Range 3.
An orgainzation of the church of the United Brethren was effected in the winter of 1866-67, by Rev. E.W. Johnson, with fourteen organizing members; a class of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1872; also a society of the Adventist faith; and Rev. Mr. Foreman organized a society of the Christian Church during the fall of this year.
In the month of June, 1859, Thomas West and his son, Thomas West, Jr., and Orian Johnson, made the second settlement in the county, at West Mills, in O Precinct. Thomas West settled on Section 31, and Orian Johnson on 32, Township 9, Range 3.
In the month of April, 1864, J. L. Davison settled upon the town site of Milford, and, the following fall, established his well-known ranch. In July, 1864, S. B. Douglas settled on Section 12, Township 9, Range 3.
The next settler was William Collier, who came in the winter of 1865-66, and was followed, shortly after, by Andrew Rouse. Mr. Collier took up a claim just west of Milford, and Mr. Rouse a short distance south of the town.
In the spring of 1866, William Ried, Abram Courtright, Alexander Frisby, Charles Smith, William C. Smiley, arrived, and, during the summer, Judge Henry Wortendyke, Henry Brown, David Tifft and Joseph Stockham.
In 1864, Thomas West erected the first saw and grist mill in the county, on the Blue River, at West Mills, and opened a small store with a stock of general merchandise, and, in the spring of 1867, Messrs. William Reed and J. L. Davison commenced building their mill at Milford.
In the summer of 1862, William J. Thompson settled on Section 32, Township 9, Range 2, and has the honor of being the first settler in N Precinct. He established his ranch during the same season, which stood on the southwest corner of the section, on the line of the old freight road.
In the spring of 1863, J. R. Johnson settled on Section 25, and David Barton on Section 26, Township 9, Range 2. Two years later, in the spring of 1865, Samuel Englehaupt made his settlement on Section 22, and, in 1868, Martin Wambold and David Croy and Edward Walklin, on Section 32, all in Township 9, Range 2.
In the spring of 1868, the Burlington & Missouri Railroad made its preliminary survey, which passed through the precinct, and a large number of settlers located here.
Pittsburg was laid out as a town, on the southeast quarter of Section 7, in 1873 by Christopher Lazenby and S. M. Boyde, of Lincoln. A store building was erected and an effort made to start a town, which failed, and the store was converted into a church. A Methodist Episcopal society was organized in the spring of 1873, and a sod church erected.
Rev. Mr. Oliver was the first missionary to labor in this vicinity, in 1869, being stationed at Milford.
In the spring of 1862, Daniel Millspaugh made the first settlement in M Precinct, on the line of the old freight road leading from Nebraska City to the Platte River, about two and a half miles east of the old Beaver Crossing. Mr. Millspaugh made settlement for the purpose of farming, but also established the Millspaugh Ranch. The following spring of 1863, John Larned took up his residence at the site of Beaver Crossing and made the second settlement.
Two years later, in the year 1865, E. L. Clark took up a claim just east of Beaver Crossing, and, a little later in the same year, he was followed by the Buzzard family, who settled about two miles northeast of the crossing. In the spring of 1866, Ross Nichols settled at the crossing and commenced tilling the soil, and, the following autumn, Thomas Tisdale opened the first store with a stock of general merchandise, and a short time after, Messrs. Dimeney & Tydeman opened a second store, stocking it with general merchandise.
Smith's grist-mill was also built during the season, and a Mr. Mall established a blacksmith shop.
In 1867, settlers poured into the precinct, taking up nearly all the land, attracted to this portion of the county by the promise of a railroad.
In the summer of 1866, Miss Agnes Henderson taught the first school held in the county. William J. Thompson was Director; Daniel Millspaugh, Treasurer; and E. L. Clark, Moderator. The schoolhouse was a small log building, and stood near the residence of Mr. Clark. During this year, Rev. Mr. Oliver preached the first sermon at the schoolhouse, and organized a small class in the interest of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
In the summer of 1867, Miss Alice Skinner taught the school in the old log building. This was a very rainy season, and, the schoolhouse not being provided with a floor, it was with much difficulty the regular sessions were maintained, on account of the water which flooded the interior. The following spring of 1868, a frame schoolhouse was built, and the summer session taught by a Mr. Perry.
John E. Fouse has the honor of making the first settlement in L Precinct, in the year 1862, at which date he established the famous Fouse Ranch. It was situated in the extreme southwest corner of the precinct, near the line of York County, near the site of his present residence, on the course of the old trail of the western crossing of the Beaver. In the old building occupied as the ranch at an early date, Thomas Tisdale opened the first store in the county, and the first post office was also established, with Mr. Fouse as Postmaster. No further settlement was made until the spring of 1867, at which date Samuel McManagel settled on Section 30, and William McManagel upon Section 28, Township 10, Range 1. Two years later, in the summer of 1869, Norman Casler made settlement on Section 22, same town and range, and the spring of 1870 brought Harvey Winchel, E. R. Johnson, George F. Hurlburt, Paul Peterson and Martin Hanson. Winchel settled on Section 18, Johnson, on Section 12; Peterson, on Section 20, Hanson, on Section 28; and Hurlburt, in the immediate vicinity --all in Township 10, Range 1. The first school was organized in 1870, and held in the old log building built by John Fouse. The old ranch was a favorite stopping place of the freighters, and flourished until the building of the Great Continental Railroad, which superseded this pioneer way of travel.
In the days when freighters' laws and customs held their sway, many an interesting scene occurred at this historic point.
The old ranch, a log building thirty-six feet by sixteen feet, stood on the bank of the Beaver, close to the present residence of Mr. Fouse, between the forks of Beaver Creek and the Blue River. In the rear, in the bank of the creek and adjoining the ranch, was an underground stable, the entrance being hidden from view, and facing the creek. A trap-door communicated with this stable from the ranch, which provided a means of escape by flight in case of an attack from Indians.
On many a day, fully two hundred wagons have rested here to enjoy the hospitality which the old ranch held out to the traveler, and the scene of many a pioneer incident is laid here. It was for a long time a station of the old overland stage coach, and many a weary passenger bound for the far West or the Golden Gate has received entertainment from "mine host" Fouse.
In the year 1865, a party of 700 Pawnee braves camped near the ranch and partook of a royal feast of water-melons through the generosity of its genial host. Near the close of this year, a war party of fourteen Pawnee braves camped here, purchased a large fat dog from one of the settlers, and held their usual preparatory feast and war dance. About two weeks later, they returned, with several of their number shot and wounded, built a large fire in the shape of a circle, and sat around it for two days and nights without partaking of food, in silence and with bowed heads, evidently mourning over the unsuccessful issue of their expedition. When questioned as to the cause of their misfortunes, they replied, "Heap Sioux."
One evening, when a party of about two hundred Pawnees were camped in the grove while returning from a buffalo hunt, Mr. Fouse thought he would play a little joke upon them for the amusement of his guests. So, gathering together his shot-guns, he ran over to the grove shouting "Sioux! Sioux!", and gave them his guns. They all scattered pell-mell over the prairie, feeling sure that their enemies were about to pounce upon them. In the course of an hour, they found out the joke and returned to camp, expressing their dissatisfaction by saying, "Ugh! John no good. Heap lie."
William Jackman and his son, John Jackman, made the first settlement in the northwest portion of the county, in D Precinct, taking up claims on Section 34, Township 12, Range 1, in the spring of 1867. Charles Dack, Oscar Reagan, Henry Harris and Jesse Horton came in during the fall of this year and settled on Section 28, and Frank Birins on Section 22, all in Township 12, Range 1. The summer of 1868 found James B. Raynolds, Timothy and William Johnson, settled on Section 32. James B. Raynolds built the first frame house in the precinct, in the month of August, 1868, and on the 6th day of this month, the first child was born in the precinct--a daughter of R. A. Raynolds (Hattie).
Just across the township line, in E Precinct, Joseph Jones made the first settlement in the fall of 1869, on Section 6, Township 11, Range 1. The following winter, Antius Keefer and Frank Johnson made settlement on the same section, and the spring of 1870 was ushered in with quite an emigration of settlers. L. E. Morgan took up a claim on Section 22, Elisha Babcock, on Section 21, Benjamin Colden, Section 14; A. J. Oliver, Section 10, Louis Larson, Section 24; and James Mickleson, Section 10. In the organization of the first school district in this part of the county, the two precincts united, the schoolhouse being built on the township line, and included all of D Precinct and the north half of E. It was organized in the summer of 1870, and the following School Board elected: R. A. Raynolds, Director; Joseph Jones, Moderator; Oscar Ragan, Treasurer. A schoolhouse was immediately erected, and school opened, with Miss Sarah Bushnell in charge.
An organization of the Baptist Church was effected in April, 1870, by Rev. E. L. Clark, and in the following fall, a class of the Methodist Episcopal Church was formed, both organizations taking place at the schoolhouse.
In the spring of 1864, William Imlay, David Imlay and R. T. Gale took up claims under the homestead act, in G Precinct, and are honored as being the first settlers.
William Imlay settled on Section 17, Township 11, Range 3; David Imlay, on Section 15, Township 11, Range 3, and Mr. Gale, who has the honor of entering the first homestead claim in Seward County, on Section 21, Township 11, Range 3. Mr. Gale continued his residence in the county until 1867, at which time his death occurred.
The last settler who arrived during this year was W. W. Cox. He located on Section 8, Township 11, Range 3, December 1.
Early in the spring of 1865, John Roberts, Jr, E. L. Ellis and Richard Sampson made settlements --Mr. Roberts, upon Section 19, Township 11, Range 3; Mr. Ellis, upon Section 8, Township 11, Range 3; and Mr. Sampson, upon Section 17, Township 11, Range 3.
The following summer marks the date of settlement of Lewis Moffitt, the pioneer and founder of the city of Seward. On the 17th of June, 1865, he entered the northwest quarter and the north half of the southwest quarter of Section 21, and the southeast quarter of Section 20, all in Township 11, Range 3. Rev. E. L.Clark was the last settler who made settlement during this year, arriving in the fall. He took his claim on Section 28, Township 11, Range 3, and upon his arrival, preached the first sermon ever listened to in the precinct, at the pioneer residence of W. W. Cox. A few settlements were made in 1866. John Roberts, Sr., settled on Section 20, Township 11, Range 3, early in the spring; J. A. Brown on the same section, during the summer; and the following autumn, Rodger Cooper settled near Seward, on Section 12, Township 11, Range 3.
Dr. Leland Walker was the next settler, arriving with his family in the month of December, 1867, taking up his homestead just northeast of Seward. Dr. Walker's dwelling was the first frame house erected in the precinct, the lumber being hauled from Nebraska City.
During the season of 1868, W. R. Davis and J. N. Beatty settled in the city of Seward, and opened the first store, and W. H. Tuttle also located at Seward and opened the first hotel--the Blue Valley House. Samuel Stevenson settled upon his homestead north of Seward and established the first blacksmith shop in the north part of the county. Cyrus and Charles Fetterman took up claims on Section 12 and commenced to till the soil.
On the night of the 27th of May of this year, a severe wind passed over this locality, and completely demolished Dr. Walker's residence, and came very near being attended with serious results. Nearly all of the family had retired for the night. When the storm struck the house, Mrs. Walker hurried to the bedside of the children, in the upper part of the house, and succeeded in reaching it just as the full force of the storm rent itself. After the crash came, the Doctor found himself standing on the floor of the house, with every other portion of it blown away. Mrs. Walker and the children were carried a number of feet up in the air, and were found by the Doctor some six rods away from the house, underneath the roof. All escaped with a few slight bruises.
The first school district was organized in the winter of 1866-67. A log schoolhouse was built, which stood just north of Seward. W. W. Cox taught the first term during the winter, with about thirty scholars in attendance.
The town of Seward was surveyed and laid out as a town by Hon. Thomas Graham, in June, 1868, the original site including the northwest quarter and north half of the southeast quarter of Section 21, and the southeast quarter of Section 20, Township 11, Range 3. It was entered by Lewis Moffitt as a town in the same month, who was the pioneer and first settler.
John Roberts built the first frame building, in which Messrs. J. N. Beatty and W. R. Davis opened the first store and brought the first stock of general merchandise to the town, in the summer of 1868, hauling it from Nebraska City.
The second building erected was the residence of J. N. Beatty, immediately after; while the third was the pioneer hotel of the city, the famous Blue Valley House, erected by W. H. Tuttle, and owned and operated by him a number of years.
Dr. Walker gathered together the remains of his first residence, and built him an office on the site of the Walker Opera House building, completing the fourth building erected.
In the winter of 1868-69, Samuel Manly put up a small frame building and stocked it with groceries, making the second business enterprise. Samuel Stevenson established the following spring, and a Mr. Humphrey opened a drug store in the same building with Samuel Manly. F. M. Ellsworth opened his law office in the fall of 1869, and in the spring of 1870, Joel Tishue built his first store and commenced his successful business career.
In the fall of 1867, H. L. Boyes & Son commenced building the City Mills, which were in successful operation the following spring of 1868.
The first Fourth of July celebration in the county took place at Seward, July 4, 1868. A flag-pole was planted in the center of the public square and the ladies of the town, with patriotic hands, made a banner of the stars and stripes, which were unfolded to the breeze. Squire Ward, the Justice of the town, delivered the oration of the day, and at mid-day, the festivities were concluded and the happy participants, about twenty in number, including the entire population of the town, had returned to their several homes.
The first school organized in the town was a private school, held in a building owned by Dr. Walker, in the summer of 1868. Miss Martha Boyes taught the school, and was paid by subscription. In the summer of 1869, the school district was formed, and a school held in a small frame building that stood on the corner of Seward and Sixth streets, with Mrs. L. G. Johns as teacher.
In these pioneer days, Dr. Walker's drug store was the place of public assembly. Services were held in it regularly every Sunday, impromptu seats being made by laying long boards upon chairs. The Baptist Church was organized here by Rev. E. L. Clark in 1870, and nearly all the churches held their first services, as also many of the public meetings of the town.
The elevator of S. W. Little & Co. was erected in 1875; Walker's Opera House, 1876; the Baptist Church, 1875; the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1876; the United Brethren Church, 1881; the Presbyterian Church, 1870; St. Johana's Lutheran Church, 1878, the high school building, 1874; and the Windsor House, in 1881.
The Midland Pacific Railway ran its first train into Seward March 1, 1873, and the Lincoln & North-Western Railroad's first train reached Seward December 1, 1879.
It was made the county seat at the October election of 1871, and the county records and offices were removed here from Milford October 21, 1871.
The first term of the District Court was held at Seward, Judge Post presiding.
Thomas Skillman has the honor of making the first settlement in F Precinct, taking up his claim in the year 1864, on Section 13, Township 11, Range 2. He was followed by Joseph Sampson during the summer of this year, locating on Section 25. Rev. E. W. Johnson made the next settlement, in the spring of 1865, on Section 24. D. H. Fegard arrived in the fall of 1866, and the following spring of 1867, George Rodgers settled on Section 14, Russell Rodgers on the same section, while Charles and Joseph Thurman made claim on the two remaining quarters of the section. Henry Creighton, Charles Harvey and D. E. Lyon took up claims on Section 34 immediately after, and, during the summer, Levi Hafer and Samuel Smith made settlement on Section 26.
During the season of 1868, about twenty-five families came into the precinct, among whom were Messrs. Neal, Dutton, Kimball, Richtmyer and Foster. The town of Tamora was laid out in 1879, by Messrs. Scott, Chapman, Russell and Beadle.
William Butler opened the first store in the fall of 1879.
Rev. E. Benson organized the Presbyterian Church society in the fall of 1880, and a frame church was built valued at $300.
The first school district was organized in 1870, and the first school taught by Miss Sarah Bushnell.
The northeast portion of the county, in A Precinct was settled by John Owens in 1864, taking up his homestead on Section 22, Township 12, Range 4. Ex-Judge J. D. Maine was the second settler, locating upon the same section in 1865. He was followed by John Scott and Asa Munn, Mr. Scott settling on Section 17, and Mr. Munn on Section 21. In the fall of this year, Warren Brown took up his claim. John D. Olney was the only settler who came in 1866, taking his claim on Section 22.
The year 1867 marks the date of settlement of W. C. Darnell, on Section 22; S. W. Darnell and William Clapp, on the same section; W. R. Waddles, on Section 18; and R. H. Dart, on Section 30.
A subscription school was organized in 1868, and maintained until the organization of the district, in 1871. The School Board consisted of W. C. Darnell, Director; ex-Judge J. D. Maine, Treasurer; J. D. Olney, Moderator. A log schoolhouse was built on Section 22, known as the Oak Grove Schoolhouse, in the summer of 1868, and school opened, with Miss Sarah Scott as teacher.
An organization of the United Brethren Church was effected by Rev. Mr. John in 1874. It took place at Oak Grove Schoolhouse, and was the first religious society formed in the precinct.
The Methodist Episcopal and Predestination Baptist societies were also organized at the Oak Grove Schoolhouse --the former in 1877, by Elders Cammel and Rowbotham, and the latter in 1879.
William Clapp built the first frame house in the precinct in the fall of 1869.
The Fluge Bros. erected their saw-mill on the West Branch of Oak Creek in the spring of 1871. It was situated on Section 21, and was in operation until the spring of 1872.
W. C. Darnell laid the first lime-stone kiln in the precinct in 1879, in which was burnt much of the lime used in the building of the capitol at Lincoln.
The northern part of the county was settled in the month of April, 1866, by J. W. Shields. He homesteaded on Section 15, Township 12, Range 2, on Lincoln Creek, in C Precinct, and was followed shortly after by Frank Shields, who made settlement on Section 10. John Dereling, Frederick Hartman, John Schoepf and August Dachland settled in this precinct in 1867--Dereling upon Section 22, and the others upon Section 32.
Daniel Driscoll and Walter Hoops arrived in 1868, Driscoll locating on Section 3, and Hoops upon Section 22. In the fall of 1869, William H. Dobson, P. G. Dobson and John Dobson made settlement on Section 8, and Robert Dobson on Section 2.
Martin V. Mitchell took up the first claim on the uplands on Section 6, in the summer of 1871, and, by the close of 1872, all the Government land was taken up.
The first school district was organized in the spring of 1871, with the following official board; William Crosby, Director; George Streeter, Treasurer; Marian Graham, Moderator. A log schoolhouse was built the following summer, on the northeast quarter of Section 28. Marian Graham taught the first term during the summer of 1871 with seven scholars in attendance.
The district in which the McCrossan Schoolhouse was situated was organized in the fall of 1872, with the following School Board: Robert McCrossan, Treasurer; Daniel Driscoll, Director; J. W. Shields, Moderator.
A class of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the summer of 1872, as also a Sabbath school at the Salem Schoolhouse. The organizing members were William Crosby, George Streeter, Robert Hitchcock, Marian Graham.
J. D. Hickman made the first settlement in B Precinct in the spring of 1868, taking a homestead on Section 32, Township 12, Range 3. T. J. Poor was the second settler, taking up his claim on Section 28 during the summer, and the ensuing fall brought William Hickman, J. W. Hickman and Joseph Hickman. The last-named gentlemen settled on Section 30; the others, on Section 28. There came, in the spring of 1869, F. M. Timblin, W. W. Moor, John Peer, Amos Coleman; and, in the fall of this year, William Knight. Messrs. Moor and Timblin took homesteads on Section 32; Peer, on Section 8, Coleman, on Section 28; and Knight, on Section 20.
A subscription school was organized in the spring of 1869, with J. D. Hickman as Director. A sod schoolhouse was built on Section 32, near the residence of William Hickman, and the school was taught by F. M. Timblin. The first district in the precinct was organized the following winter, and Miss Ella Knight was the first teacher employed.
K Precinct was settled by James Hillemy, William Bivins, Andrew Snider and Messrs. Stevens and Walker, in the spring of 1869, and the following year, quite an immigration settled in this precinct, taking up nearly all the Government land.
In the fall of 1874, the Methodist Episcopal Church organized a class at the residence of Mrs. Stevens, and also one at Occidental Schoolhouse, and the following year, a class was organized at Prairie Schoolhouse, on the west side of the precinct.
Louis Leibrock is honored as the first settler in J Precinct. Mr. Leibrock made settlement on Section 28, Township 11, Range 4, early in the spring of 1866.
A little later he was followed by Conrad Grotz and Diedricht Grant, locating on Section 32. Two years later, Fritz Ropke and William Leppe made settlement on Section 30; Conrad Rohrkaste, on Section 32; Jacob Indrana, on Section 20; and Diedrcht Wilkens, on Section 26.
In the spring of 1869, Jacob Thomas and John C. Thomas settled on Section 18; John Westerhoff and C. C. Davis, upon Section 8; and Charles Ruckstashel, on Section 20.
The first school was established in 1869, when the organization of the district took place. The district officers were Wolsey Wyandt, Louis Liebrock, Conrad Grant. A schoolhouse was erected on Section 28, in 1870, and the first teacher was Thomas Cowen.
District No. 32 was the second, organized in 1873, and a schoolhouse built on Section 8. Joseph Loose was elected Director; J. C. Thomas, Moderator; and J. D. Luft, Treasurer. Mrs. J. Loose, née Miss Kate Miller, taught the first school.
Rev Theodore Grhueber organized the first church in the precinct, a German Lutheran Society, at the Grant Schoolhouse, in 1872. A fine stone church was erected during the same year, valued at $3,000. Mr. Grhueper also became Pastor of the organization, officiating until 1881, when he was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Boden, the present incumbent.
The cemetery was laid out in 1868, the land being donated by Louis Liebrock. The first deaths occurring in the precinct took place in the persons of Henry and Gerhart Grotz, sons of Conrad Grotz, who were killed by being struck by lightning, July 14, 1869. The first birth in the precinct was a son to Diedricht Grant (Charlie), in 1868.
Germantown was laid out as a town in 1874, by Highland Frazer and the Burlington & Missouri Railroad Company. Frederick Bick opened the first store during the same year, stocking it with general merchandise, and the post office was also established, with John Westerhoff as Postmaster. Four years later, in 1878, Charles Howland opened a second store with a stock of general merchandise, and also engaging in the grain business.
Conrad Grotz built the first frame house in this precinct in 1870.