Phelps Helps Newsletter Spring 1997


Phelps Helps

Vol. 6-1

Spring 1997

The Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
P.O. Box 164
Holdrege, Nebraska 68949


Meetings held at the Phelps County Historical Museum on the first Monday of the month at 2:00 PM.

The public is welcome!


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President - Sandra Slater

Vice President - Mary Louise Freed

Secretary - Al Achterberg

Treasurer - Ada Hinson

Editor of the Phelps Helps - Patti Simpson


Phelps Helps Newsletters can be found on the Internet at


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Dear Members,

I received a letter from my friend Ingred Gunnerson from Skillingaryd, Sweden. There is much interest in genealogy in Sweden. In 1996, they celebrated the migration year, meaning it was 150 since the first Swedish immigrants came to America. Several Swedes came to Minnesota last June for a special celebration of this event which was broadcast in Sweden. From Ingred's parish they have documented 254 persons left to go to America between 1853 and 1895. Several of them came to Nebraska. They have not yet counted the later years.

She has read in her Swedish newspaper that the Swedish government and EU are starting a project which will put all the Swedish church records on the internet. A Swedish news article she has sent me reports that in the future you will sit down and see all your relatives church membership information on the internet. There is tremendous interest in this gigantic project that will take many years to complete. It will cost 600 million Kronen (their dollars).

I have been busy answering queries coming in the mail and on the internet. Per Samuelsson found our club's information on the internet and he is our first member who is a Swedish resident living in Sweden. We also have just received a membership from another Swedish resident, Kjell Nordqvist.

It is exciting to see new things happening in our organization.

Your President

Sandra Slater


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Mary Louise Freed has made an index for all the old Phelps County Probates stored at the museum. We appreciate hours you have spent doing this.

Sara Firehammer has completed a subject index for our Phelps Helps newsletter form 1992 through 1995. We will have a printed copy in the library and hope to get this information on the internet. We thank you for both for a job well done.

Thank you Bernice Anderson for the Swedish translations you have done for us.

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~New on Our Bookshelf~


From Dale and Lillian Samuelson, Guilderland, NY


Holdrege Daily Citizen

Nov. 26, 1897 to Aug. 31, 1900

The Holdrege Progress

Sep. 3 1897 to 5 May 1900

From Keven Olson, Leavenworth, KS

Genealogy History of the Olas Olson Family.

Part of this family lived in Phelps County.

From Dorothy Richmond

The Brownsville Story -

The Meaning of Brownville

Ancestors and Descendants of John Blackburn

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For those of you who are on the Internet and using email - below is a list of current members who have an email address. If you have an email address, and you're not on our list, please let Sandra Slater know so we can add your name.


Dale and Lillian Samuelson of Guilerland, NY

Dick Dyas of Sun City West, AZ

w0jcp@juno. com

Art Viren of Agoura, CA

Patti Simpson of Hastings, NE

Sandra Slater of Holdrege, NE

Rosey Gleason of Holdrege, NE

Per Samuelsson of Sweden

Dean Leopold, Loomis, NE

Kevin Olson, Leavenworth, KS

Kjell Nordqvist

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1. Per Samuelsson - Varmdo Sweden

2. Ardella Brand - Holdrege, NE 68949

3. Kjell Nordqvist - Sweden

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Includes all Phelps County Cemeteries except Prairie Home Cemetery. ($15.75 tax included plus $2 postage and handling)



Includes Prairie Home Cemetery. (15.75 tax included plus $2 postage and handling).


IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CEMETERY, Harlan County, NE ($3.50 tax included plus $1.25 for postage and handling)

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PHELPS COUNTY CEMETERIES, VOL 3: This publication will be an addition to our other cemetery books. Will include corrections and additional burial found since our last publication.



Will include all known cemeteries in Harlan County, NE. Please notify us if you know of any unmarked graves in Phelps or Harlan County so we can add them to our records.

For more information or to purchase any of these publications, contact

The Holdrege Area Genealogy Club

P.O. Box 164

Holdrege, NE 68949

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6TH DEC. 1936





Phelps County's only surviving Civil War veteran, Landy A. Walker and Mrs. Walker will this week celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary. The loved elderly couple will receive all their friends Friday, March 6 from one to five O'clock in the afternoon at their home at 711 Sheridan street in Holdrege, NE. Any friends from a distance will be welcome in the evening, says Monday's Holdrege Daily Citizen.

All the children will not be here for the sixtieth wedding anniversary this week for they had all gathered here to spend the last Christmas holiday with their parents.

The children are Mrs. N. A. Louthan and Mrs. Dave Slater of Atlanta, Mrs. A. L. Collier of Hardin, Montana, Mrs. C. F. Wagner of Moore, Idaho and Charles and Fay Walker of Alliance, Nebraska.

Mr. Walker who will be 87 years of age June 27th of this year, is a most familiar figure about Holdrege. Still hale and active he walks to town almost every day the weather permits and visits with his many friends.

Days and events of the Civil War are easily recalled by Mr. Walker, who delights in telling many interesting tales regarding his enlistment and service during the war.

Landy had passed his 13th birthday in June and the following January, 1863, he enlisted in the service with the Union Army. His enlistment was from Rancelear, Jasper County, Indiana. His father had been the first settler in the township of Jasper County and the township is known as Walker Township.

Landy was still a school boy when President Lincoln issued the call for moor troops. It is interesting to hear him tell now how he hopped out of bed one cold January morning at about four o'clock and ran over the snow covered ground. He was hardly a hundred yards from the house, when his brother informed his parents that Landy was gong to enlist. Three older brothers were already in the war.

As he was standing in Rancelear, waiting for the wagons that were to transport them to Bradford where they were to catch a train, his father came up from horseback. He caught me, "I'll never forget it," relates Mr. Walker. His father said, "I've got you, I'm going to take you back home." Landy, however, convinced him that he would run away from home anyway and so his father asked if he had any money. "Yes, I have twenty-five cents and I won't need any more for Uncle Sam will take care of me.

When the wagons came, all the soldiers climbed in but rode only about a mile. It was bitter cold, so the captain ordered the men out to march on their own and sent the wagons back to Rancelear. From Bradford they were sent by train to Michigan City, Indiana, where they camped in the depot three days and two nights, having only the chairs as their beds, until some blankets were obtained and they slept on the floor.

"I tell you, I thought of home then, I had a good bed at home" says Mr. Walker now. At Bradford they underwent their physical examination and according to the record Mr. Walker gave his age as 18 years. He weighed 141 pounds and measured 5 ft. 1 in. height.

Walker enlisted to go where his brothers were, but was informed the regiment was already made up so Landy was sent to the 15th Indiana Co. H. By registering from county and township other than his own he was able to collect a bounty of $370, whereas if he had registered from his own, he would have only collected $14. The $350 he sent back home, and kept the $20 for himself.

When handed out his uniform after the examination, Landy says he got a suit that would fit an elephant. However, by trading about with the others, he managed to get a fairly good fit.

He had about five or six weeks drilling at Camp Carrington at Indianapolis before being ordered to Dixie and into the lines. Going there they had to cross the Ohio river at flood time, an experience that is related interestingly by Mr. Walker. After about six months at Talahoma, Tennessee, the company was sent to Chatanooga where they took both the city and Lookout Mountain.

From there the company was sent to join Sherman's army at Huntsville, Alabama. There were numerous skirmishes and then they were ordered to Gettysburg and the battle is related realistically by Mr. Walker. The grand review at Washington city followed and then Mr. Walker was in Sherman's March to the Sea.

After that he was sent to Nashville, Tennessee and taken to Indianapolis from where he was discharged in 1865, lacking just six months filling out three years of service.

Returning to Rancelear, he worked there by the month until going to Delphi, Indiana, where he was for two years. He then went to Melroy, Illinois, where he had a brother and worked on a farm for him.

It was March 6, 1876 that he was married at Clinton, Illinois and the young couple made their home at Chestnut, Illinois until they moved in a covered wagon to Clay County, Nebraska. They farmed there until moving in 1889 to Atwood, Kansas and nine years later moved back to Gosper county, Nebraska where they resided until 15 years ago when they moved into Holdrege.

Two children Rachel and Landy preceded their parents in death and are Buried in Bertrand, Nebraska.


Landy Walker, our last Phelps County Civil War veteran died 12 January 1937. He is buried in Highland Cemetery near Bertrand, NE.

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From the Citizen - 1940




For convalescent patients, Mr. and Mrs. Joel Peterson of Orleans have recently opened a hospital of this type at 811 East Avenue.

Mrs. Peterson will take full charge of the management while he plans to spend his time between the hospital and his Orleans farm.

For the past few weeks, Mrs. Peterson, who has completed a CSN course has been owrking in convalescent hospitals in Denver, Colorado.

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From First Week in November 1901

Holdrege Citizen Newspaper

Deisher & Kronquest have been busy this week packing up their repairs and getting ready to move their offices and warehouse. These buildings are on the B & M right of way and the railroad company wants this ground for their freight depot and for additional trackage.

This enterprising firm purchased several days ago three lots just south of Hufford Bros. Coal yards and facing the livery barn. Since then they have bought the lot occupied by Peterson's paint shop and the lot next south of that. This will give them a fifty foot frontage of East Avenue. The first has not fully decided on their plans in fixing up their new property, but it can be depended upon that the firm will fix things up in good shape so that they can conveniently take care of their immense business.

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From November 1901

Holdrege Citizen Newspaper

Find Their Horses and Buggies

On last Sunday night a horse and buggy belonging to Joe Young disappeared form the hitching rack at the M. E. Church. Mr. Young was not able to get any trace of it till Wednesday, when it was found at McClay's below Ragan. The horse was found there one morning eating at a hay stack. The horse and buggy was all right, but Mr. Young's overcoat was gone, and in the buggy was a lap robe. The buggy was traced form Mr. McClay's place tow or three miles towards Wilcox. It looks as if parties for some reason had driven the horse over towards Wilcox and then turned her loose. We hear that on Monday night Felix Johnson had a horse and buggy disappear and a couple of morning later the horse appeared at home and the buggy was found out in the corn field. Strange proceedings seems to be going on of late.

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From the Holdrege Republican

of June 3, 1885

Memorial Day at Industry 1885


The Memorial day program previously announced in the Republican was carried out fully. In the morning at the bugle call to fall in, the people commenced to gather at the courthouse in crowds and at 10 o'clock a.m. the procession, fully one half mile long paraded through the main streets and then marched out to the cemetery at Industry, distance of 4 miles. Arriving at the grounds the members of Glover Post No. 111, dismounted, formed in line and after the floral committee, Mrs. Cone and Groham had distributed bouquets among the veterans, they marched to the graves led by the Brigade band where the impressive services of the grand army were conducted by Commander Cone and his staff, Mr. J. R. Patrick was then introduced and in glowing terms and eloquent language held the attention of the audience for half an hour. He was then followed by J. Wilkes Moore who outlined the establishment of the custom of honoring the nation's dead. The military salute of three rounds was then fired over the graves and the procession reformed and returned to the city.

It is a matter of the utmost importance to the present and future generations that the cornerstones set by the government surveyors be carefully preserved. It will save much costly and vexatious litigation, if our farmers and land owners generally would hunt up the exact location of theses corner stones and where they are decaying or have crumbled away, replace them with good material. It is but a light piece of labor while the locations are easily identified, and it will be of incalculable benefit to them and their descendants in the years to come.

On last Monday we moved into our new office on West Avenue where we will be glad to extend to card of greeting to all of our old, and we hope many new friends in the future. We request our businessmen and citizens generally to all and make an examination of our present facilities for executing every kind of work in our line.

Miss Agnes Jones, the blind songstress, is training a class of pupils with the intention of giving a grand concert in the course of a couple of weeks. From an acquaintance of ten years with Miss Jones we predict one of the finest entertainments ever given in Holdrege.

The bursting of a water spout ten miles east of Indianola last week occasioned the loss of 9 lives, 3 women and 6 children, and $1,300 in money. Immense damages was also done in the vicinity of the cloud burst.

Samuel S. Powell of the Eureka bakery purchased R. D. Meads' farm on last Monday, paying $2,000 cash for it. Both parties ought to be satisfied because we think both have fair bargains in exchange.

It is certainly a compliment to our assessor, Mr. Urobm, that during the sitting of the township board of equalization not a complaint was entered.

We notice by our exchanges that the work of taking the census has been commenced at several points. Who are the enumerators for Phelps county and why are they not at work?

The framework for the new livery barn in course of construction on the lot adjoining the new hotel went down in the wind storm Monday night. F. Johnson, our thorough going dry good merchant, has gone to Chicago to purchase his summer stock of goods.

We understand that Mr. Bradley one of Phelps County's pioneers will start a drug store here soon.

B. S mith, the B & M surveyor called on us this week. Lock out for a sale of lots in the new town shortly.

One year ago we knew every man, woman and child in Holdrege. Now we cannot recognize one in fifty.

Dr. Porter was called upon last week to reduce a dislocation of the jaw for Mrs. John Bloom, who lives about four miles from Holdrege. It was dislocated while laughing at the antics of an infant child.

We notice in the Omaha Republican's want column an advertisement for 100 teams to work up the branch road from this place to Ogallalla.

The county buildings at Phelps Center will be sold at the county clerk's office this afternoon at 2 o'clock.

Several of our merchants will open branch stores at the new town of Bertrand.

Our congressman, James Laird shook hands at the depot with a lot of friends Monday evening.

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From the Holdrege Republican

of July 1, 1885

Mrs. Whitman of Belvidere is visiting with her sons, S. A. Dravo, Esq.

The track layers are hard at work on he Ogallalla branch of the B. & M. and it will be but a short time until the cars are running to Bertrand.

We learn that one of our well known young g implement dealers and a well known milliner slipped the cable for San Francisco last Wednesday morning.

Mr. Fredricks and family of Altona, Ill., accompanied by Mr. P. Gibson, are visiting with the family of Mr. Engstrom. They arrived just in time to participate in the festivities (?) of the Fourth. They expect to remain a short time only and then return to Altona.

One man wended his way home on the night of the fourth with one ox drawing his wagon and family, the other having strayed off during the evening. Another went home in similar manner Sunday morning with one mule, the other also having strayed away form its owner.

As announced in the program published in the county papers, Holdrege celebrated "in a manner never before excelled in western Nebraska." On the morning of the Fourth just as the procession had made a tour of the town and reached the public square, when Hoskins' and Hymer's battery had fired their last gun, the heavens opened fire with a salvo of artillery, fireworks and wind that totally eclipsed the efforts of the puny mortals. Flimsily constructed stands erected for catch-penny purposes, went down amid the roar and rumble of the elemental battle, frightened women and children and blustering men sought refuge in every conceivable nook and corner where shelter could be found from the copious tears dropped by nature in her agonized struggle for preeminence. This part of the celebration occupied fully an hour and completed the morning exercises. After dinner, when nature had resumed her wonted calm, the Brigade Band soon called the scattered hosts together. In the absence of the president of the day Hon. D. M. Case assumed the duties and the program was carried out. Addresses were made by Hon. E. D. Einsel, Geo. P. Rhea, and W. P. Hall. The races, ball game, etc., were held as advertised and during the evening a splendid display of fireworks supplemented by another deluge closed the day. The Atlanta delegation carried off the prize banner and their baseball team won the game. The public square was duly presented to the people by the Lincoln Land Co., and received in an appropriate manner.

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