Phlps Helps Summer 2000

Phelps Helps Newsletter
Holdrege Area Genealogical Society

For a full hard copy issue, email:
Holdrege Area Genealogy Club

Vol. 9-2
Summer 2000
The Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
meets 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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Susan Thompson, Cottonwood, AZ 86326. Susan's Grandparents, Louis and Elis Johnson, had a homestead near Holdrege, NE. Their daughter, Signe married Has Peter Johnson who had a daughter, Corola and eight other children, all born near in Phelps County.

Marilyn Danielson Whittaker, Longmont, CO 80503. Marilyn's great grandfather was Swan Peterson and her grandmother was Christina Albertina Peterson Danielson .

Glenn Harrington, Canon City, Colorado 81212. Wanting information about Charles A. Erickson who died in Phelps County in 1881. He married Ida Johnson before 1875. Ida Johnson Erickson then married Andrew Dahlquist about 1882 and resided in Prairie Township, Phelps County Nebraska until 1894.

Agnes Johnson, Robinsdale, MN 55422.

Charlie Moore, Arkansas, WI 54721.


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I am looking for descendants of Albert Youngquist and Ida Maria Peerson. Their children were Christina who married Oliver "Jay" Miles; Vera who married a Kirwain; Corrine who married a Williams; Emil Youngquist; Myron Youngquist and wife Lourine. Carloyn Olson, 1260 50th Dr. SE, Everett, WA 98208. Only1bntby@seamet/com

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We are seeing more members and visitors coming to the Don O. Lindgren Library at the Nebraska Prairie museum. It is rewarding to see the library is being used by so many. You will notice we have added some new publications to our shelves. Hopefully, some of these publications will further your genealogy.

We had twelve members attend the Nebraska State Genealogical Conference May 5th and 6th at Kearney, Nebraska. It was nice to have participation from our Club.

We will be publishing new Phelps County Cemetery Books in the very near future. This will update our cemetery information through 1999 and a few additions of 2000. Other additions and corrections have been made and a special section has been added for the 1880 and 1885 mortality schedules of Phelps County, NE. A special thanks to Dick and Margery Dyas for getting our publication print ready.

Congratulations to Virginia Lindstrom and Dorothy Richmond for receiving Appreciation certificates for their contributions to our Club and the Nebraska Prairie Museum. It is wonderful to have these dedicated members.

Everyone have a good summer.

Your President, Sandra Slater

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We, the members of the Holdrege Area Genealogy Club, wish to thank Dorothy Richmond for the outstanding contribution she has made to our organization.

Dorothy is an avid genealogist for over 30 years. She is always willing to assist everyone with family research.

She has contributed to many genealogical publications of our organization and has assisted many genealogical researchers visiting our library.

We thank you for your contributions to our library and appreciate your support to our club.


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We, the members of the Holdrege Area Genealogy Club, want to honor Virginia for her outstanding contribution to our organization and to the community.

Virginia is a retired schoolteacher who volunteers for her church, the hospital and several other organizations.

She enjoys her hobby of genealogy and has found some of her missing State of Virginia relatives by researching in our museum genealogical library.

She faithfully comes to work in our library one afternoon each week. She is currently creating a card file on the numerous records that are housed at the Nebraska Prairie Museum including the files of the Phelps County Court records that are housed in the Records Room. She assists with research, as well as any project needed to be done. Her contribution is immeasurable and her work will aid genealogists many


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On Loan from Dorothy Richmond:
An Atlas of Appalachian Trails to the Ohio River
An Atlas of Southern Trails to the Mississippi
Mayflower Birth and Deaths, Vol. 1 and 11
Mayflower Deeds and Probate
Given by the Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
Tombstone Reading from Franklin County Nebraska Cemeteries
Mimnen Och Bilder (Memories and Pictures) 1889-1909 ­ Don Frew
(This is a early History of Christian Children's Home near Holdrege NE in Swedish language.
A Research Guide to Genealogical Data in Chase County, NE ­ Sandra Slater
Lancaster County, Nebraska Probate Records 1884-1887
Books from Eileen Schrock to Historical Society
1957 Atlas of Gosper County, Nebraska
Ownership Plat map of Gosper County
1951 Atlas of Kearney County, Nebraska
Plat map of Kearney County, Nebraska
Plat map of Frontier County, Nebraska
1971 Plat Map of Harlan County, Nebraska
Plat map of Custer County, Nebraska
1969 Ownership map of Custer County, Nebraska
1934 Phelps County Directory
Pearl Harbor Story
1959 School and Library Atlas of the World

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Off the Internet from Ada Hinson
"One of the more unusual customs that came to America was the SMOCK WEDDING. Under English common law if a widow remarried and brought any of her late husband's property to the marriage, the new husband became liable for any and all debts of the previous husband. Women owned nothing in their own right, and this included their clothing. So it became the custom for indebted widows to get married in their underwear, or smocks."

"The SMOCK WEDDING was triple-fold. It was a bankruptcy proceeding; it was a marriage ceremony; it was an investiture because the bride then got a new wardrobe from her new husband".

In theory the ceremony was held for all to see, on the public highway. But in practice may smock weddings were indoors."

"When Major Moses Joy married Widow Hannah Ward of Newfame, Vermont, in 1789, she was stark naked. She was in a closet, her hand extended through a hole cut in the door. Then she put on a fine set of clothes and emerged from her closet in style, to the general admiration of the assembled'. Source Ancestors and Descendants of Lewis Ross Freeman with related families by Patty Barthell Meyers.
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H. T. Wilson, Who Founded "The Progress" Writes of His Fondness of the old Home

Dear Progress: As one of the early settlers of Phelps county (landing there June 5, 1879) I am always glad to read of the happiness within its borders and therefore the visits of the "Progress" are very much like "letters from home." Even though the hand of time has made and is making many changes, there are yet many familiar names among those who from time to time are mentioned in the columns of the "Progress" Very many of my old neighbors and friends of pioneer days have crossed the "Great Divide" and others like myself have sought homes in other localities.

When the writer first settled at Sacramento, Lake township, it was; a broad and boundless expanse of beautiful, prairie and although the tillable land was confined to very few scattered patches and fire-guards, yet the year 1879 was a lovely season although, splendid gentle showers of refreshing rains falling at just the proper intervals to keep vegetation popping. The blue joint, bunch grass and buffalo grass grew in great luxuriance and there was hay enough (had it been
out) that year in Phelps county to supply the demands of several states. Well do I remember how we trailed diagonally across the prairie to attend the first county fair, held at old Phelps Center and it was easy to discover and follow our trail by the track our vehicles made in the heavy growth in the above named grasses.

The writer indulges the hope that we may soon offer a few letters upon the early settlement of Phelps, County, and how, even in the midst of great inconveniences that always beset the paths of pioneers, we were a happy and very hopeful class of people. How very often in recent rears I have heard the expression that our old homestead days, when sod houses were the prevailing fashion, were the happiest and best days of our lives. Our wants were few, our living plain and yet generosity and hospitality were unbounded.

With greetings to all my old friends and neighbors I remain fraternally and cordially yours, H. T. WILSON

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Scandinavians IN NEBRASKA
September 22, 1910
Total Population of State Found by Census of June Was 1,066,300.
Scandinavian Element In The Population of Nebraska Is Second of Foreign
Elements--- Exceeded Only By Germans.

The total population of Nebraska as found by the Census of June, 1900 was 1,066,300. Of these 603,336 had either the father or mother foreign born and 398,553 had both father and mother foreign born. It will be noted this classification includes those who came from a foreign country to America and their children. As a rule the first generation of children born in America but whose parents came from other countries, retain in considerable degree the language, customs and characteristics of the country from which their parents came. The second generation of children born in America is rapidly Americanized and the third generation is, except in case of dense colonies, thoroughly American in language, customs and thoughts. Accordingly the census groups together whose parents were foreign born in order to show the strength of different, elements in the complex American population. The Scandinavian element in the Population of Nebraska is second of foreign elements, being exceeded only by the Germanic. There are in round numbers 100,000 Scandinavians in our state at the present time, including as such all whose parents were born in Sweden, Norway or, Denmark. This is probably one-twelfth of the total number of people now in Nebraska and is larger than commonly reckoned. Its presence now makes certain that Nebraska will retain throughout the future centuries-marked evidences of the
Norse blood and Norse temperament. Its distribution by counties makes an interesting social study. The census of 1900 shows the following location of persons born in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark and living In Nebraska:

Adams 350
Antelope 391
Banner 91
Blaine 13
Boone 775
Box Butte 109
BOYD 293
Brown 40
Buffalo 1,273
Burt 313
Butler 273
Cass 508
Cedar 261
Chase 28
Cherry 104
Cheyenne 224
Clay 695
Colfax 103
Cuming 6361
Custer 586
Dakota 235
Dawes 155
Dawson 652
Deuel 194
Dixon 644
Dodge 932
Douglas 8,378
Harlan 322
Hayes 11
Hitchcock 53
Holt 181
Hooker 8
Howard 1,155
Jefferson 74
Johnson 32
Kearney 1,644
Keith 58
Keyapaha 26
Kimball 1291
Knox 764
Lancaster 1,582
Lincoln 438
Logan 2
Loup 14
McPherson 9
Madison 545
Dundy 36
Filmore 333
Franklin 282
Frontier 76
Furnas 174
Gage 206
Garfield 31
Gosper 116
Grant 11
Greeley 197
Hall 221
Hamilton 868
Merrick 316
Nance 316
Nemaha 21
Nuckolls 298
Otoe 304
Pawnee 19
Perkins 41
Phelps 2,225
Pierce 178
Platte 813
Polk 1,466
Red Willow 77
Richardson 16
Rock 45
Saline 110
Sarpy 182
Saunders 2,028
Scotts Bluff 32
Seward 1,227
Sheridan 102
Sherman 237
Sioux 66
Stanton 175
Thayer 33
Thomas 5
Thurston 205
Valley 2311
Washington 1,0371
Wayne 613
Webster 173
Wheeler 37
York 344

Total 40,5881

The total of forty thousand given above represents only those born across the ocean. Those who had both parents born in Scandinavia were as follows in 1900:

Sweden 49,292
Denmark 23,898
Norway 5,837
Total 79,027

The increase by birth and migration, during the past ten years, will bring the total number of Scandinavian people in our state up near 100,000 at the present time. Phelps county is one-fifth Scandinavian, Kearney county one-sixth, Polk county one-seventh, Saunders, one tenth, Douglas county has one eighteenth of her total population of this blood and Lancaster one-fortieth. Scandinavian migration to Nebraska came largely at the start from northern Illinois and began about 1869-70. The centers of Swedish settlement in Polk, Saunders and adjacent territory were well established in 1875. The later ones in Phelps and Kearney counties were made in the early eighties. Danes had a good foothold in Howard, county at an early date in her settlement and have strengthened it every year since then. Omaha and Lincoln are several well-defined areas of Scandinavian settlement, besides many scattered throughout both cities without regard to grouping. Scandinavians are alert, progressive and industrious, becoming Americanized Perhaps more rapidly than any emigrants not speaking the English language. As a class they are deeply religious and also strongly opposed to intemperance. There are over 20,000 Scandinavian voters in the state. Their attitude upon public questions will be an important factor this fall and in, future elections. Their influence in forming the future Nebraska is great now and will grow.
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Holdrege Progress, October 6, 1910

Barney Wilson of the City Writes of His Visit with Other Pioneers of That County.

My wife and were visitors at the Old Settlers Picnic at Orleans last week and I want to tell you what a nice time we had and how well we were treated there. We were made to feel that the entire celebration and it was a good one, had been planned for our special benefit and I guess every other old settler felt the same way about it.

All persons who settled in Harlan County before 1870 and 1880 were guests of the picnic management and every attraction was free to them. Of course many of the old timers have moved away but there were a good many of them there too and you can imagine what a treat it was for us to get together and talk over the old pioneer days. Everyone was your friend and it seemed like meeting members of your own families and talking things over as you often do it in your own family circle. All the old settlers who were reunited at the Orleans fair passed through all the hardships of those early days when it was many miles to market and when building material of any kind was a great luxury.

Take my own case, I settled in Harlan county in 1879 on the homestead ten miles south of Holdrege and I can tell you the country was pretty much like a wilderness in those days. We were often snowed in our dugout and went for many days without food except barely enough to keep body and soul together. I had been following the life of a sailor for about fifteen years and Thought that about the roughest line a man could engage in, but homesteading on the Nebraska plains in the seventies was an experience just a little worse than the life of a sailor. Still I stayed with it through the good and bad years and made pretty well on the advance of my land. But in the old days my place was a long ways from market and neighbors were few and lived at a considerable distance and it was a lonesome, hard sort of a life. The men and women we met at Orleans last week had all been through just the same sort of experiences that we had and when we got together down there to talk things over it was a pleasure which I for one will not forget very soon.

While at Orleans we stayed at the home of August Sandine, another pioneer and another Orleans man who, did, great deal to show us a good time was Nels Olson. Both men came to Harlan County in the old days and treated me like a long lost brother. Everyone who had anything to do with the reunion was thoughtful and attentive and the old settlers surely feel as I do that the management of the affair gave us the treat of our lives. Mr. McGeachin, the merchant of Orleans, had a prominent part in the arrangements and deserves a lot of credit for his good work in planning such a fine entertainment for the old settlers. I would like some time to get these Men up at Holdrege and show them some kind of a good time in return. It is the old settlers who have made it possible for western Nebraska to be such a pleasant place to live in and it doesn't make any difference, so, far as I can see, what county they live in as they all had the right stuff in them. Yours truly, BARNEY WILSON, Holdrege.

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This story won second prize and was printed in a "Phelps County Senior Citizen" newsletter several years ago. The story is about the flood that came to Cambridge, NE in the 30's


I remember when the flood came down the Republican River in 1935, it was in the spring when we had several rains, and the day before the flood people were saying the river was raising and bank full. But the older folks and the real old timer's didn't think that amounted to much as they had seen the river higher.

Then by mid-day they were telling the people to move out of the south part of town, and for farmers in the valley to leave, and get everything to higher ground. For a huge bank of water was coming and had passed McCook, Nebraska; also several men were stranded on top of the light plant there.

Still, lots of people did not believe and most all of the good people just thought it was nothing.

In the meantime, I had a friend who became afraid and she came to our house, with her baby and the baby's needs as her husband was out of town working and she did not want to be alone.

By now the water was completely out of the banks, and just flowing everywhere along the river. But still did not excite people too much. If they had only known, they would have run for their lives.

About 4:00, Ellen decided to return home and asked my mother if I wanted might go with her, and help carry the baby and it's things. Mother said, "She guessed it would be all right, but for me not to stay to long as he wanted me to set the table for supper, as my parents ran a rooming and boarding house in Cambridge.

When Ellen and I got to her home we saw this huge silver and grayish object being unrolled. Then we heard the roar and the water, houses would lift up like a card board box, and bobbing up and down in that rolling water, and some burst into pieces, like kindling wood, some would burst in two. Some horses were running ahead of the water, but it caught them and the horses hit the light wires and were electrocuted.

Ellen and I ran into the house just before the flood hit the house. First that dirty water came in at the tops of the windows, the windows burst, and the door fell in, the water gushed in. We flew to the stairway and up the steps, it just seemed to follow us. It seemed like the water stopped, but was spilling over on the upstairs floors. Then we saw a house floating toward ours from the upstairs windows, we both knew if it hit the house we were in, the flood would knock it off of
it's foundation, or over, so we both prayed while we tightly hung on to the baby.

Ellen could not swim and she wanted me to take the baby, I did, and I climbed out on the roof with the baby. I could hear Ellen crying and praying for the house not to hit ours. Her prayers were answered as the house caught into another one and stayed. I knew that the baby and I could never have made it if I'd had to jump into the flood waters, as the water was so full of debris of dead animals, telephone poles bobbing up and down like toothpicks, just everything. The water rose even more, so Ellen crawled out on the roof with us. As the sun was going down and the darkness made us so sad as we huddled together on the roof.

We spent the night kicking big mud turtles back into the water, as they tried to climb on the roof. Water snakes tried to get out of the water, as part of the roof was submerged in the water, so we took a shoe off and would hit them to scare them away. We listened to screams of frightened people. We were so thankful when the sun came up, it warmed us and we thanked God because we had milk for the baby and a warm blanket around her. Yes, we were so much better off then some of the people. The sun gave us hope as it had been so dark.

A man came in a boat; he asked us if anyone could swim, as it would make more room in the boat. I said, "I could swim" and another man got out of the boat and said he'd swim back with me." We stopped often and rubbed the trash off our backs as it weighted us down. We rested at the tops of standing telephone poles and finally got back to my mother's home and love.

Lola Mae Hollingworth
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A Montana Cow Puncher Has Been Informed of His Good Fortune But He Isn't Much Interested.
March 4, 1910

After about a two years search for a missing heir, Albert Erickson, administrator of the August Swanlund estate, has been successful. The fortunate individual of Gus Swanland, a middle-aged cattle of Huntley, Montana, but he is not much interested in the matter. Mr. Swanlund was here the first of the week and will return about April 7th, at which time the sale of the Swanlund property is to be confirmed and if he is willing he will receive his share of the estate, about $1000.

Thirty years ago he homesteaded for several months on the Ludwig Swanson farm in Center township but found the life to unattractive and went to Montana where his relatives lost trace of him. By corresponding with relatives in the old country, Mr. Erickson was finally able to locate and communicate with the missing heir. Mr. Swanlund does not seem to be in need of the money and thought he would give his portion to his sister when ready for him. There are a number of heirs and the share of each will be large.

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April 21, 1910
Supervisor S. A. Dravo Has Strong Appeal From a Dutch Father to Find If Possible His Son Dirk.

The United States Census is to do more than number the population if the different varieties of petitioners which address letters to the supervisor's office are to have their way. The most interesting and worthy request which has come to Census Supervisor S. A. Dravo of this city is from a Dutch father of Mammoth Springs, Ark., who seeks through the census to locate his lost son. The contents of the letter are interesting and its peculiar diction is even more so. It says:

Mammoth Springs, Ark, April 15, 1910.

Samuel A. Dravo, Esq., Supervisor of the Census for the Fifth District of Nebraska, Holdrege, Phelps County, Nebraska.

Sir---The Honorable E. Dana Durand, Director of the Census, gave me your address to enable me to invoke your important service, and through you, the rare help of your enumerators, to find the address of our son, born at Sinallinge, Community Baflo, province Groningen, Netherlands, on September 15, 1868. His name is Derk Stollingqa, but he may spell it "Derrick" and he may soften the final syllable to "ger", Stollinger. A familiar name is Derk. The old angle Saxon pronunciation is "Stollin-gaw," with a hard G. and the a as in Omaha.

Our son is well educated, sober, polite, a good talker and is at home anywhere in the central west. Hoping that you will have a fatherly sympathy with old parents past seventy, and grant us graciously your unique help.

Respectfully, Teunis Stollinga, Mammoth Springs, Ark.

P.S. For pity sake let my son be told to write at once, as our worry about him, by day and night breaks us down. This cannot be divulging secrets of the census.

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From Holdrege Daily Citizen
Centennial Newspaper in 1883


Considerable amount of the early newspaper history of Phelps County, is interwoven in the life of B. O Wilson more familiarly known as "Berto"

Mr. Wilson came of Nebraska in 1879. He walked from Kearney to a "mecca" labeled Sacramento, this was a crossroads where O. C. Sands was building a store on one corner. Mr. Wilson had met Mr. Sands in Kearney and hearing the possibilities of the crossroads as the foundation of the future city, he decided that here was the place to "grow up with the country".

Mr. Sands needed such a man and Mr. Wilson joined hands with him. The crossroads became a post office. Then a Mr. Hymer settled there and opened up a hardware and implement business. Mr. Ruby came to deal in livestock and established a livery stable, where the cross-country stagecoach was accommodated. More settlers came, a sod schoolhouse was built and the town appeared to have a good start.

Mr. Wilson's first thoughts were of a newspaper and on one of his trips to Kearney he brought back the nucleus of the first Phelps County print shop which he had brought from Illinois on his trip west. The whole shop equipment comprised a wheel-borrow load, and after arriving at Sacramento built his own press. With this outfit, he established the "Phelps County Pioneer".

The editor made his bow on March 22, 1879, and Vol. 1 No. 1, a tiny sheet about 5 by 8 inches in size, had this to say. SALUTORY

"Here we are. Our paper is behind the time appointed for this first appearance, we know, but fate has been against us. In the first place, we could not procure a building or build one. In the second place, our partner, Mr. Jelf, was disappointed by parties owing him back east, and he has withdrawn and left us to manage it alone. Thirdly, we thought we had newspaper face enough to get out a paper but when we got down to business we found we had miscalculated and "lacked some," and up to the present have been unable to procure any, but by our next number, we hope to be able to give you a nice five paper, full of news, both home and foreign."

"Our object in starting a paper here are several: to make a living! To advance the interest of our country and propound the virtues of the Republican Party, for that is our politics, and we will tell you why from time to time. We ask you as a favor, not to judge our ability as a journalist, or the quality of the Pioneer by this number, as it was issued under very discouraging circumstances."

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~Harlan County Nebraska~
The Phelps Helps Newsletter highlights Harlan County Nebraska in this section. With many of our subscribers interested in and from Harlan County, and since Harlan County is a connecting county to Phelps County, the Phelps Helps will publish history information on Harlan County.

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Harlan County Ranger,
Republican City
July 22, 1904
S. 0. Bakes announces that he will run his mill and grind whenever a day's work accumulates. Prices are as follows: cracking corn 6 cents per hundred pounds; small grain for feed 8 cents and corn meal and graham 10 cents.

The Burlington railroad offers another series of low rate excursions to St. Louis and return on Mondays, July 11, 18 and 25. Tickets are $12.25 for the round trip. Tickets good in coaches and chair cars.

Orleans Courier
Oct 21, 1904

Some of the names mentioned in the Mt. Zion news were E.N Berry, Will Scott, Tina Garrison, Ed Richards, Mr. Gaddis, John Bolton, Art Garrison, Alex and Gavin Murray, George Wheeler and Wm. Farlee.

The Valley Beacon, Alma
October 10, 1890

Mrs. Margaret Jane (Welliver) Bailey passed away at her home Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1890 and was buried in the Long Island, Kansas cemetery. She was one of the earliest settlers in the Prairie Dog Valley, locating near Granite Bluffs.

Harlan County Journal July 14, 1899
Jas Kirkpatrick is putting up a windmill this week; all covered over with fresh paint, and will glisten in the sun like a brilliant plumed bird.
News from Albany Township:
Grandpa Krasomil passed away last Friday, July 7th after a long illness with cancer of the stomach. He leaves a wife and six children.
News from Freewater Township:
W. E Pettys has recently erected a commodious barn on his farm. Willard is a progressive up to date farmer who believes in keeping things in ship-shape.
News from Ragan Township:
A team belonging to Harry Strohm of Huntley, and attached to a buggy took a swift spin through the streets Saturday evening. Aside from a broken single tree and a misplaced tug no other damage was done.
News from Republican City:
The Reynolds yard is delivering the first 50,000 brick for the new hall.

The school board met last Monday Night and reorganized by electing J. B. Forbes, moderator: W. E. Bragg, director and L. W. Lamphere, treasurer.

Harlan County Democrat
Republican City October 19, 1900:

F. C. Poore was closing out his business in Alma and offering his entire stock of merchandise at wholesale cost.

J. E. Demotte & Co. are offering 7,000 yards of cottonades, draperies, dress goods, percales, prints, satines, shirtings, tickings and flannels at a close out sale in Republican City.

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