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Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Produced by Jeanne Walsh.

Part 7


This town, named after Davenport, Iowa, was laid out in 1872. It is located on the St. Joe & Western Railroad, in the northwestern corner of the county.

The country surrounding the town is the least broken of any portion of Thayer County. It is being quite rapidly settled, although it has no water-power and but little timber. For farming purposes the land is well adapted, resembling the prairie of Illinois. The population of about 200 has gradually increased and characterized by enterprise and intelligence.

The school is in good condition, although the house is too small. They are contemplating the erection of a large one soon.

As yet, none of the denomination represented have erected a church or organized. But the Evangelical, Presbyterian, Dunkards and Methodists have occasional preaching. They all unite in the Sunday school work and are carefully looking to the training of the rising generation.

The prospects are good for Davenport, as it is sufficiently removed from county seats and large towns to have a large and permanent trade.


GEORGE W. BEARNES, general merchant, was born in Licking County, Ohio, February 19, 1842, and was reared on a farm in Poweshiek County, Iowa. He enlisted August 9, 1862, in the Twenty-eighth Iowa Infantry, serving three years. In 1866, he went to Linn County, Mo., and was for three years engaged in the livery business. He came to Nebraska in August, 1869, and for eighteen months engaged in the livery business at Brownville, Nemaha County, with George S. Phillips; then in the same business in Falls City for eighteen months, and nine months after that period also carried on a hardware business. In 1873, he removed to Nuckolls County and erected a mill, in company with John Schuyler, and shortly afterward moved it to the Blue River, south of Edgar, where they ran it until November, 1879. Mr. Bearnes then sold out his interest and came to Davenport, Thayer County, and in the following February engaged in this business. He carries a fine stock and is popular and enterprising. He owns a one-half interest in the elevator here, and is also engaged in dealing in live stock.

CHARLES W. EATON, farmer, was born in Cortland County, N. Y., in March, 1835, and reared on a farm and educated at Oneida Conference Seminary, after which he was employed as a school teacher. In 1859, he removed to Tippecanoe County, Ind., where he followed teaching and farming for some twenty years. He came to Nebraska in June, 1879; purchased 200 acres in Davenport Precinct, Thayer County, and has since been engaged in farming the same. Since August, 1879, he has been correspondent of the Hebron Journal. He was appointed Justice of the Peace in May, 1879, and elected in 1881, and is Adjutant of the G. A. R., Post No. 88, at this place.

ORSON V. KNOWLTON, furniture and undertaker, was born in McKean County, Penn., February 26, 1848, and a year later removed to McHenry County, Ill. In the summer of 1863, he enlisted in the Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Cavalry; was wounded on the frontier in the right hip, November 18, 1865, and discharged in the following December. He then went to Pennsylvania, and was for seven years employed in the oil regions. Returning to Illinois, he learned the trade of cabinet-maker at Marengo, and followed it for several years. In 1879, he removed to North Branch, Jewell Co., Kan., where he carried on business as a contractor and builder, and also as a cabinet-maker. Mr. K. came to Davenport January 15, 1882, and engaged in the implement business, adding furniture and undertaking goods in May. He is a practical man in the business, and, although a new-comer. is doing well.

EUGENE L. LYONS, general merchant, was born in Louisville, Ky., April 10, 1855. In 1878, he engaged in mercantile business as a clerk at Plattsburg, Mo., following it for five months; he then entered the employ of Tootle, Hosea & Co., wholesale dry goods merchants, at St. Joe, Mo., and has for the past three years been employed by them as traveling salesman in this State. On September 15, 1880, he engaged in this business at Davenport in company with L. Mason; in February, 1882, he bought out his partner's interest, and now continues the business alone. He still retains his position with Messrs. Tootle, Hosea & Co. Is an active, pushing salesman, and the business here is a success.

McSHANE BROS., drugs, oils, etc. Alonzo and Charles McShane came to Davenport in March, 1881, and at once established this business. The only one in this line in the place; they carry a fine stock, and are rapidly increasing their trade. Alonzo returned home to Iowa in August, 1880, and the business is conducted by Charles. He was born in Springville, Linn Co., Iowa, November 4, 1853, and was reared on a farm; he came to Nebraska in 1878, and engaged in the drug business at Davenport, continuing it for eight months; he then sold out and went to Monument, Colo., where he followed freighting; was for some months in the employ of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company, as a teamster in New Mexico. He returned to his home in Iowa in June, 1880, and there remained until he came here.

CHARLES G. PEIL, hardware and implements, was born in Sweden, August 7, 1844; here he learned the trade of blacksmith. Immigrating to America in 1864, he settled in Houghton County, Mich., and worked at his trade for about fourteen years. He came to Davenport in September, 1878, and at once engaged in this business. He carries a large and fine stock for the place, and is rapidly increasing his trade. He was appointed deputy Postmaster in February, 1880 , and still holds that office, and has been Director of the School Board for the past three years. Mr. Peil was married in Houghton County, Mich., July 3, 1871, to Caroline Anderson. They have four children--Frederick, George, Henry and Frank.

BENJAMIN F. STUMP, general merchant, was born in Eaton, Preble County, Ohio, in 1845, and reared on a farm, residing there until twenty-four years of age. He came to Nebraska in March, 1870, located in Richardson County, and carried on mercantile business at Elmore for three years, after which he farmed in Thayer County for several years. In 1876, he engaged in grain business at Carleton, remaining there for a year. He came to Davenport in the fall of 1877, and at once engaged in this business, and has the oldest establishment in the place. Is also engaged in dealing in grain and live stock, and owns some 400 acres of land in Thayer and Nuckolls Counties.

WESLEY TETER, dealer in implements, was born in Ross County, Ohio, in 1844, and reared on a farm, in Christian County, Ill. He enlisted, August 12, 1862, in the One Hundred and Thirtieth Illinois Infantry; was taken prisoner at Sabin Cross Roads, La., on April 8, 1863, and held for fourteen months at Tyler, Texas. He served three years, after which he farmed in Bond and Montgomery Counties, Ill. He came to Nebraska in September, 1872, homesteaded 160 acres in Fillmore County, and was engaged in farming until he came to Davenport, in June, 1879, at which time he engaged in this business. He is agent for all the best harvest machines and agricultural implements manufactured. He was married, in Bond County, Ill., August 12, 1865, to Martha A. Beanblossom. She died in May, 1880, leaving four children--Albert, Emily F., Norah A. and Carrie E.

JAMES G. VAN DE WALKER, physician and surgeon, was born in Cherry Valley, Otsego Co., N. Y., January 31, 1831; moved to Indiana when eight years old; studied medicine with Dr. E. Pierce at Momence, Ill., during 1852-53-54; studied law in Crown Point, Lake Co., Ind., during 1856-57; enlisted in Company B, Twelfth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, August 11, 1862; served two years and ten months, till the close of the war, and during twenty-seven months of that time did duty as Assistant Surgeon; he began the practice of medicine in 1866, Noble County, Ind. In 1868, moved to La Fayette, Ind., and remained in medical practice till 1875, when he moved to Medaryville, Pulaski County, of same State, during several years continuing the study of law; was admitted to practice in District Courts at Winamac, Pulaski Co., Ind., at May term, 1876, came to Davenport, Neb., in 1879.


Chester was laid out by the Lincoln Land Company the 29th of July, 1880, on the land owned by H. Thompson, M. O. Croop and J. D. Kelley. It is located on the Republican Branch of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, in the southern part of the county near the Kansas line, in the midst of some of the most picturesque land to the eye of a farmer that can be found in Nebraska. It is the most level portion of the county, but sufficiently undulating to have thorough drainage. Although but two years old, the town has a substantial trade and a population of about 245. There is great thrift and enterprise among the people, and the improvements in the business and residence portion of the town are characterized by neatness and solidity.

The school is graded and the school building just erected, at a cost of $2,500, is commodious and exceedingly neat in its appearance. The schools are in fine working order. This is greatly due to the patrons, as they take great interest in them.

The town supports a first-class bank, established in October, 1880, by Thompson & Dinsmore. They do a good business in general banking and farm loans. They are old citizens, well known, and enjoy the confidence of the people.

The Methodists organized in October, 1881, with a small class, which has increased to twenty-four. Rev. M. J. Goodwin is their first pastor. They are contemplating the erection of a church building, but at present they worship in the schoolhouse.

The Christian Church was organized in December, 1881, and have at present twenty members. Judge George Lobingier, of Hebron, now fills their pulpit. They will shortly take steps toward building.

Chester is still growing rapidly and its prospects are exceeding bright. Being situated on what is expected to be the main line of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, they will soon have the benefit of two great markets--the East and West.


CHARLES B. KYSER, of the firm of Gregg & Kyser, dealers in grain and stock, was born in Akron, N. Y., in September, 1850. He resided with his uncle, and was for some years engaged in company with him in dealing grain and live-stock. He subsequently learned the trade of practical tinner. In 1872, he went to Blue Rapids, Kan., where he followed his trade for two years. He then went to St. Joe, Mo., and was for a year or so employed as "commercial traveler" in hardware and stoves, and finally settled in Belvidere, Neb., in August, 1875, where he engaged in this business, in the firm of H. Gregg & Bros, remaining there some five years. He came to Chester in August, 1880, formed a partnership with Mason G. Gregg, of Fairbury, Neb., and built an elevator, which has a storage capacity of 12,000 bushels, and has since followed the grain and live-stock business at this point. The firm also opened a lumber yard at this place at that time, and carried it on until July, 1881, when they disposed of it to O. L. Brown.

JAMES WILSON, of the firm of Malowney and Wilson, dealers in hardware, furniture, implements, etc., was born in Scotland in 1849, and emigrated to America in 1853. He settled with his parents in Ontario, residing there some nine years, then in Houghton County, Mich., where he was employed by one firm for nine years as an engineer. Mr. Wilson came to Nebraska in March, 1878, located in Hebron, and joined J. J. Malowney in the implement business. In September, 1880, they opened a branch business at Chester, under the management of Mr. Wilson; here they also carried furniture, hardware, and tinware, and have a harness and shoemaking establishment, in which they employ practical men. Their stock at this point is worth about $13,000 or $14,000. In the spring of 1881, they opened a branch store at Hubbell, where they carry hardware and implements, and have now three establishments in Thayer County.


Friedensan, situated near the Little Blue, about eight miles northwest of Hebron, is the center of a large and flourishing German settlement. It is a post office, has a good school and a Lutheran Church. As farmers, these Germans are the most successful in the county. They are strong and exceedingly industrious. They are used to farming in a country with a crowded population, and where the farms were necessarily small, and they are exact and tidy in their broad farms as they were with their smaller ones. They are practical and are a good pattern to a great many American farmers, who depend too much upon the richness of their soil and too little upon their labor. There are several stores and shops necessary to a farming community, and they enjoy most of the trade of the settlement.


Harbine is an embryo town about eight miles west of Chester, on the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, half in Nebraska and half in Kansas. It is owned principally by the Lincoln Land Company and Col. Thomas Harbine, of Fairbury, for whom it was named. It is surrounded by a fine agricultural country, but Hardy, west, in Nuckolls County, and Chester, east, have so got the start of it that for some time they will retard its growth.

Kiowa, Prairie Star and Gazelle are post offices in the county not on railroads.

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