Organization | Crime, Schools, etc. | Statistics
Part 2: Blair: History | Churches | The Press | Business and Trade
Societies | Biographical Sketches
Part 3: Arlington: Biographical Sketches
Cuming City: Biographical Sketches
Fontenelle: Biographical Sketches
Part 4: Fort Calhoun: Biographical Sketches
Hiland | Herman: Biographical Sketches
Admah | Kennard | Desoto: Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches: Richland Precinct | Grant Precinct
List of Illustrations in Washington County Chapter
Arlington, formerly Bell Creek, was laid out by the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad in 1869, they having purchased of several citizens, in the aggregate, 440 acres of land for town purposes. The first improvements were made the same year, the Railroad Company erecting a large depot, also a large store building, and Samuel A. Francis, one of the early settlers of Fontenelle, and John Waynick, of Chariton, Iowa, built two residences and opened a lumber yard. A grain warehouse was built by L. H. Jones, a blacksmith shop by John Butler in 1870, and E. K. Gilbert opened a shoe shop in 1872.
The first birth was of a son to Mr. John Butler: the first marriage that of Mr. Joshua G. Benster to Miss Cora Jones; and Miss Kate Parker taught the first school. A fine public school building was erected in the fall of 1876, at a cost of $5,000, and in 1877 a neat Methodist Church.
Arlington is situated on the Sioux City & Pacific railroad, near the mouth of Belle Creek, about sixteen miles southeast of Blair, and is surrounded by a beautiful and fertile country.
The name of both post office and town was changed to Arlington early in the year 1882.
[Portrait of W. J. Crane.]
W. J. CRANE, banker, and dealer in real estate and insurance, is a native of Tioga County, N. Y.; came to Bell Creek in 1870 and at once engaged in real estate, collections, etc.; two years later he was appointed postmaster, which office he still holds; he commenced the banking business in 1878; has been agent for the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad about three and a half years, and has held various other offices.
H. D. DODENDORF, Agent Sioux City & Pacific Railroad, is a native of Luzerne County, Pa. In October, 1878, he came to Nebraska and worked as telegraph operator at Missouri River; afterwards he came to the Missouri Valley where he held the position as assistant train dispatcher during Mr. Shields' absence; he then went to West Point as assistant agent, thence to Battle Creek; was appointed agent at that station; in June, 1881, he removed to Fremont, there was operator and clerk; soon after came to Blair, and held the position as cashier for this company; August, 1881, he came to Bell Creek, where he has since been agent of this company.
DR. S. J. HADLEY, physician and surgeon, is a native of Knox County, Ohio; came to Indiana in 1860, and there commenced the study of medicine; since 1864 has been in constant practice; he attended lectures at Rush Medical College, Chicago; in the fall of 1879 he came to Bell Creek, where he has since resided, and followed his profession.
JOHN HAMMANG, blacksmith, wagons and agricultural implements, is a native of Walworth County, Wis. In 1854 he removed to Minnesota and there commenced to learn this trade; came to Washington County in 1869 and opened a shop, which he ran about eighteen months; afterwards he followed farming till 1874, when he came to Bell Creek and started a blacksmith shop. In 1878 he added to his business agricultural implements.
A. S. MORLEY, farmer, Section 5, post office Arlington, is a native of Steuben County, Ind. When a boy he came to Michigan with his parents; in 1859 they removed to Washington County, Neb., where he has since resided; he owns 120 acres of land; seventy-five are under cultivation; married in 1875 to Miss Ada Hendrick, a native of Michigan. They have three children--all sons.
JOHN MATLES, farmer, Section 26, post office Arlington, was born March 12, 1823, in Wurtemburg, Germany; he came to America in 1854; located at Clinton, Iowa, in 1856; came to Washington County, Neb., where he has since resided, and is one of the oldest settlers in this locality; he pre-empted 160 acres, after owning it four years, and afterwards sold it for $100; his first crops he raised with a hoe and spade; three years later he had earned sufficient to buy a yoke of oxen; he cut hay for the first cow he owned, having no money then to buy anything with. Altogether his experience has been one of the most severe of any in the State. He has now the satisfaction of owning a good farm, consisting of 320 acres, with a good supply of stock; married in 1847 to Mary Matles, of Wurtemburg. They have eleven children--five sons and six daughters.
C. MORELY, farmer, Section 5, post office Arlington, was born May 5, 1822 in Washington County, N. Y. He came to Indiana in 1839 and followed farming; in 1854 he came to Michigan, and in 1859 he came to Washington County and to this farm; he owns 238 acres of land which he has well improved; he has been Justice of the Peace, Assessor, and held other local offices; served eleven months in Company K, Second Nebraska Cavalry; married January 8, 1845, to Maria Masters, of Pennsylvania. They had seven children--but one son now living.
R. E. ROBERTS, grain and coal, is a native of England. He came with his parents to New York in 1844; removed to Chicago in 1853, and worked at the carpenter trade there till 18_5, when he came to Nebraska; located at Omaha, where he made his home about ten years; he was engaged in freighting across the Plains from 1862 to 1866; then came to Bell Creek, where he has since resided; he owns 1,100 acres of land, 500 acres of which he cultivates; he commenced the grain business in 1871, and is now the largest grain dealer in this locality.
SHEPHARD & BADGER, dealers and shippers in hogs, cattle, grain, wool, etc. L. B. Shephard is a native of Erie County, N. Y.; went to Wisconsin while a territory; lived in that State until 1859, then came to Chicago and was engaged in the hide and leather business there about fifteen years; July, 1877, he came to Bell Creek and established this business here and at several different stations along the line of the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad. W. D. Badger, of the above firm, is a native of Berrien County, Mich.; came to Sydney, Neb., May, 1879; December, 1880, removed to Bell Creek, (now Arlington); June, 1881, this firm was established, and are now the largest stock shippers in the State.
O. N. UNTHANK, grain, is a native of Wayne County, Ind. In 1855 he came with his parents to Jo Daviess County, Ill. In the spring of 1857 they came to Omaha; the following year removed to the Golden Gate; his father built the first elevator, and handled the first grain in Bell Creek, and is one of the oldest residents of the locality; he owns about 480 acres of land, also property in town. In 1866-7 he had charge of the telegraph office at Little Sandy Station. Since 1880 he has been alone in this business.
R. A. WHITFORD, farmer, Section 29, post office Arlington, is a native of Noble County, Ind. In the spring of 1855 he came to this locality, where he has since made his home; since coming here he has visited Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Indian Territory, etc.; also Florida; he owns 280 acres of land; married in 1876 to Miss Augusta Schulze, of Indiana. They have two daughters. He formerly pre-empted another farm which he improved and afterwards sold.
Cuming City was claimed by P. G. Cooper and "two others" in September, 1854, but no settlement was made until the next spring, when a site was mapped and surveyed, and named in honor of Acting Governor Cuming. Cuming City, like many another Western town, "aimed high," but has failed to reach the coveted elevation. A ferry charter was granted P. G. Cooper, in January, 1856, and in the same month the Legislature incorporated "Washington College," and located it at Cuming City, at the same time appointing a board of eight Trustees, consisting of the following distinguished gentlemen: B. R. Folsom, James C. Mitchell, T. B. Cuming, Mark W. Izard, P. G. Cooper, William B. Hail, John C. Campbell, and J. B. Radford.
In 1856 the Nebraska Pioneer was started , under the editorial management of a Mr. Dimmick, and in 1858 the Cuming City Star was started, and flourished for a while, conducted by L. M. Kline.
Cuming City was frequently represented in the Territorial Legislature. In 1856, James S. Stewart, who was one of the earliest settlers, was chosen Representative. In 1857 Mr. Stewart was re-elected with P. G. Cooper, and of Cuming City, as colleague. In 1858 Mr. Cooper was re-elected, with L. M. Kline as colleague.
NATHAN BAILEY, farmer, Section 17, post office Blair, is a native of New Brunswick. At the age of twelve he came to Wisconsin with his parents, where he assisted on their farm; in 1859 he came to Washington County, Neb.; remained here three years, then returned to Wisconsin in 1868; he again returned to Washington County where he has since resided; he owns about 200 acres of land, about 100 of which are improved; he enlisted in 1864 in Company E, Forty-Sixth Wisconsin Infantry; served to the end of the war; married in 1853 to Maria Bailey, a native of England.
JACOB CARTER, farmer, Section 16, post office Blair, was born in Scioto County, Ohio, April 24, 1826; came to De Soto, October 16, 1856, and has since been a resident of Nebraska. On reaching Council Bluffs, he had but $70. Through his industry and attention to business he now owns 400 acres of land. About 250 of this is well improved, and well stocked with about sixty-five head of cattle, and one hundred Poland-China pigs; he was County Commissioner three years; moderator of district school thirteen; married November 20, 1845, to Miss F. E. Harris, of Kanawha County, Va., who was born April 5, 1828. At the age of twelve years she came to Ohio with her mother. They have five children living--two sons and three daughters. They have had ten children. Four of them died in infancy. The fifth died in his fourteenth year. Left Ohio for Nebraska September 4, 1856, with a one horse team; was six weeks on the road; arrived in De Soto October 16, 1856, and lived in this county ever since.
L. R. FLETCHER, farmer, Section 16, post office Blair, is a native of Waldo County, Maine; came to Juno County, Wis., in 1855; four years later he came to Nebraska and settled in Washington County; he owns 200 acres of land, about 120 are improved; he has been eighteen years School Director, Justice of the Peace two years, Assessor nine years; was elected to the Legislature in 1861; married in 1862 to Mary A. Lippincott, a native of Indiana. They have six children--four sons and two daughters.
N. N. GOULD, farmer, Section 5, post office Herman, is a native of Washington County, Ind.; came to Washington County, Neb., in 1867, where he has since lived; he owns 400 acres of land; about 160 acres are improved; married in 1857 to Elizabeth Cornwell of Washington County, Ind. They have nine children-- five sons and four daughters.
J. C. LIPPINCOTT, farmer, Section 21, post office Blair, was born March 7, 1811, in Gloucester County, N. J.; came to Virginia in 1832; removed to Indiana in 1839; in the spring of 1857 came to Washington County, Neb., where he has since resided, and engaged in farming; he owns 160 acres of land, with other lots; when in Virginia he worked at the trade of coach making; married in 1835 to Martha Pelley, who died in 1837, aged twenty-five years; his second marriage was to Mildred T. Wood of Virginia. They have eight children--four sons and four daughters.
GILES MEAD, farmer, Section 15, post office Giles, is a native of Tompkins County, N. Y. Born June 6, 1824. In 1854 he came to Iowa; removed to Washington County in 1856, where he has since resided; he owns about 280 acres of land; was a member of the Territorial Legislature in 1860, and again a member of the Legislature in 1878-9; was appointed postmaster at Giles, October, 1881; enlisted in 1862 in Company B, Second Nebraska Cavalry; serve eleven months; married in 1848 to Louisa Fish, of Cortland County, N. Y. They have eight children--five sons and three daughters.
SAMUEL WARRICK, Section 27, post office Blair, is a native of Wayne County, Ind. In the spring of 1857 he came to Washington County, where he has since resided; he owns 360 acres of land, 200 of which are improved; married in 1861 to Miss Amanda J. Stewart, a native of Indiana. They have six children--one son and five daughters.
A. S. WARWICK, farmer, Section 27, post office Blair, is a native of Clearfield County, Pa. Born August 10, 1824; came to Indiana in 1846; followed farming there till 1856, when he came to Nebraska and settled in this locality; he now owns about 500 acres of land, about 300 of which are improved; he built the first farm house in the locality, and did the first farming in this district; he represented this county in the Legislature one term; was married in 1848 to Sarah A. Betts. Born in Scott County, Kentucky, 1823; moved to Indiana with her father in 1834, her mother being dead. They have eight children-- four sons and four daughters.
This is one of the oldest towns in the county. Some say the oldest, but this is probably an error. The earliest settlement of which we can find a record, was made by the "Nebraska Colonization Company," in the fall of 1854. This company had been organized at Quincy, Ill., a few months previously, with Jonathan Smith as President, and Rev. W. W. Keep, Secretary. The company included among its members J. W. Richardson, J. C. Barnard, O. C. Barnard, H. Metz, John Evans, J. Armor, James A. Bell and others. In July a few of the members came to Nebraska to locate the colony on behalf of the company.
Crossing the Missouri River at Omaha, they met Logan Fontenelle, Chief of the Omahas, who conducted them to the present site of the town. Being well pleased with the location, they purchased of the chief, who had accompanied them, a tract twenty miles square, for one hundred dollars, and named the place in his honor, Fontenelle.
The party then returned to Quincy to make a report to the company. J. W. Richardson was immediately returned as their agent to occupy the town site on their behalf. He was accompanied by his wife, now Mrs. William Kline, and until within a year a resident of Fontenelle. She now resides in Fremont, Dodge County.
Settlement was commenced on September 20th, by Dr. M. H. Clark and William Kline, who had joined Judge Richardson at Council Bluffs on his first trip to Fontenelle. There were also present at this settlement Russell McNeely, Christian Leiser, William Taylor, William Keep and a German named "Fred." Col. Doyle and the family of Christian Leiser arrived at Fontenelle on October 21st.
In accordance with the proclamation of Acting Governor Cuming, William Kline and William Taylor, as deputy United States Marshals, took a census of the so-called "Western District," extending from Bell Creek to Fort Kearney, for the purpose of determining the apportionment of Councilmen and Representatives for Dodge County, in which county Fontenelle was then located. Dr. M. H. Clark was elected Councilman, and J. W. Richardson and Col. E. R. Doyle, Representatives, at the election which was held at Fontenelle on the 12th of December, 1854. Fontenelle became the county seat of Dodge County on March 6, 1855. In the meantime Fontenelle entered the lists as a contestant for the prize of the Territorial Capital, but failed after having exhausted every expedient known to the politics and diplomacy of those times. She, however, was incorporated and became a city, by legislative enactment, Monarch 14, 1855. She also succeeded in securing a charter for a college, named "Nebraska University," to be located there; so she was not altogether destitute of consolation. A building, suitable for an academy, was erected in 1856, as preliminary to the University, and a school opened under the auspices of the Congregational Church, which was a flourishing institution for a number of years. Professor Burt was the first principal.
Fontenelle continued to be the county seat of Dodge County until January, 12, 1860, when the western boundary of Washington County was redefined, and extended to the Elkhorn, thus "taking in" Fontenelle in a double sense. For at the moment of her being taken into Washington County, she lost her dignity as a county seat, and also her bright future metropolitan prospects.
During the year 1855 many immigrants settled in the town and its vicinity. William H. Davis opened the first stock of goods, and kept the first hotel, the "Fontenelle House."
The first child born in the town was Mattie Francis, October 2, 1855, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Francis; and the second on the same night to Mr. and Mrs. William H. Davis.
The first marriage was that of Henry Whittier and Miss Emily F. Strickland, in the fall of 1856.
Miss Strickland, the winter previous, taught the first school.
The first deaths that occurred were those of Mr. Porter and Mr. Demaree two young men who, while breaking prairie one mile east of Fontenelle, were on July 16, 1855, shot and killed by a wandering party of Santee Sioux. After scalping the slain, the Indians beat a hasty retreat.
They were pursued by a party of volunteer citizens, but without result. The people of the surrounding country were considerably alarmed, and two volunteer companies of soldiers were raised for their defense,--one company being from Omaha, commanded by Captain William Moore, the other composed of citizens of Fontenelle. As the Indians made no attack the duties of the soldiers consisted only of patrolling, scouting, hunting and fishing--mainly the latter--fish being abundant in the Elkhorn. This military period has been facetiously termed the "Catfish War."
It had an effect, however, on the new industries of the county, for in that summer, Harlow Carpenter, John Cramer and Isaac Underwood, after having ten thousand brick ready for the kiln, suspended their labors to join in the general defense.
The first saw mill was erected by Samuel and Silas Francis, in the summer of 1856.
Fontenelle is now a village of some two hundred inhabitants. It contains a church, schoolhouse, a general store, besides a blacksmith and wagon shop; and is surrounded by a beautiful and fertile country.
HON. JOHN A. CUPPY, farmer and stock raiser, Section 36, post office Fontenelle, is a native of Montgomery County, Ohio. In 1865 he came to Washington County, Neb., where he has since resided; he owns over 5,000 acres of land, about 1200 acres improved, and is one of the largest land owners in the State; he gives employment to twelve tenants, located on his lands. Mr. Cuppy was a member of the Senate in 1878.
W. R. HAMILTON, farmer, Section 24, post office Bell Creek, was born May 24, 1821, in Washington County, Pa.; removed to Kentucky in 1845, followed farming two years; then came to Illinois and carried on a steam saw mill and farming; in 1857 came to Nebraska and settled on his present farm; he owns 360 acres, a large part of which he has improved, was a member of the first State Legislature; was six years County Commissioner, serving his third term as Assessor; has been for the past ten or twelve years a member of the School Board; married in 1847 to Miss Louisa Doyle, of Lewis County, Ky. They have seven children--two sons and five daughters.
JOSEPH HAMMANY, farmer, post office Fontenelle, was born in Spring Prairie, Walworth County, Wis., October 4, 1844. In the spring of 1854 his parents moved to St. Paul, Minn., living there nearly two years. They then moved to the vicinity of Northfield, Minn., where the subject of this sketch resided until October 1873, when he moved to Nebraska, locating on Section 17, Town 19, Range 9, in Washington County. He has a farm of 280 acres, 180 acres in cultivation, seventy acres in meadow, and the rest in pasture, under fence; he is also engaged in stock-raising to some extent, keeping on hand forty head of cattle, one hundred head of hogs, which he markets annually, and several head of horses. He married at Faribault, Minn., in September, 1873, Miss Barbara Wonderlick. They have five children--Harry Joseph, Samuel P., Lulu Matilda, Louisa Belle and an infant. He is a member of the Masonic Order. In politics he is a Democrat.
A. D. LEWIS, firm of Lewis Bros., general merchandise, is a native of Cattaraugus County, N. Y.; came to Burlington, Iowa in 1844, with his parents; in 1852 he crossed the Plains and visited Oregon and other points West; in 1871 his brother Osmer had commenced this business in Fontenelle, and in 1872 he joined his brother in this business; from a small beginning they have worked into a large and flourishing business. Their trade amounts to about $30,000 per year. Osmer Lewis was appointed Postmaster in 1879.
HERMAN SCHEER, farmer, Section 18, post office Fontenelle, was born in Prussia, August 23, 1834; came to St. Louis in 1848, thence to Quincy, Ill.; followed contracting and building, having learned this trade in St. Louis; March, 1874, he came to his present farm; he owns 500 acres of land, partly improved; married in 1855 to Reacke Gnuse, of Prussia. They have six children--five sons and one daughter.
HON. HENRY SPRICK, real estate and farming, is a native of Prussia. On March 1, 1826, he came to Quincy, Ill.; there he engaged in farming; in 1855 he came to Nebraska and located at Fontenelle, where he has since resided; he is one of the largest land owners in this county, now owning over 3,000 acres. Mr. Sprick is a member of the Legislature, and now serving his third term. This vast amount of property Mr. Sprick has acquired since coming to America by his strict attention to business. He was married in 1858 to Miss Sophia Wilking, of Prussia. They have seven children--three sons and four daughters.
WEBER & LEWIS, merchandise. L. C. Weber is a native of Louisville, Ky.; came to Washington County, Neb. in 1869, and followed farming till 1881, when this business was established; he owns 200 acres of land; he enlisted in 1862 in Company H, Sixty-Fifth Indiana Infantry; was wounded at Bean Station, East Tennessee, December 14, 1863, for which he receives a pension. O. K. Lewis, of the above firm, was born in Cattaraugus County, N. Y.; came to Iowa with his parents in 1844, and assisted on the farm; he then engaged in teaching, which he continued seven years; in the spring of 1876 he came to Fontenelle, Neb.; was employed in his brother's store till this business was established; enlisted in 1861 in Company K, Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, and served three years; was taken prisoner at the battle of Shiloh, April 6, 1862.