Phelps Helps Newsletter Summer 2001

Phelps Helps Newsletter
Holdrege Area Genealogical Society

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

Vol. 10-2
Summer 2001
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!


Eight Holdrege Area Genealogy members attended the Nebraska State conference on May 4th and 5th at Grand Island. We were privileged to have excellent speakers Dr. Arlene Eakle and Curt B. Witcher on subjects of Immigration, Civil War, Family Skeletons, Surfing the Internet and Early Ohio Genealogy to name a few. Karen Tippets from the Omaha Genealogy Society gave a very informative program on researching family medical history and how it could save lives.

Our Club has published "Harlan County, Nebraska Marriages 1873-1936", our seventh research book for Phelps and Harlan County, Nebraska. Holdrege Genealogy member Ben Boell has compiled and edited this book for publication. The price of the book is $20 plus $1 Nebraska Sales tax.

Club member Patti Simpson has compiled and published "Franklin County, Nebraska Homesteads". Congratulations on the work you have done in getting this publication ready. Patti also maintains our Phelps Helps page on her web site at

Harry Stuart has updated our obituary book index, which now includes 13,000 names. This index is one of our most sought after indexes, saving us hours of research time. Our work at the Don O. Lindgren Library at the Nebraska Prairie Museum has increased, as we will now have volunteers in the Library on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and someone on call Monday through Friday. We enjoy our visitors and try to be of assistance as much as possible.

Thanks to all our club members who put in so many volunteer hours to make our organization so successful.
Your President, Sandra Slater


Donated by Holdrege Area Genealogy Club
Research Guide to Genealogical Data in Webster County, NE
Early Pioneers of Nebraska (With Allied lines taken from Information taken from the Family Recognition Records)
Harlan County Marriages Vol. 1 1873-1936 compiled by Ben Boell
Bishop Hill, Swedish American Showcase (History of Bishop Hill, IL Colony)
The Map Reference Guide of Ohio
Sarpy County, Nebraska Cemeteries, Vol. 2
Franklin County, Nebraska Homesteaders compiled by Patti Simpson
Donated by Ara Sanders
The Schuylerite quarterly from Schuyler County IL 1991-1999
Tree Climber, Smoky Valley Genealogical Society, Salina, KS
Donated by Dick Dyas
Mascot, Nebraska High School Alumni Class Rolls 1933-1958
Donated by Virginia Lindstrom
The New England Historical and Genealogical Register Oct. 2000 & Jan 2001, Nebraska Prairie Museum, Metropolitan St. Louis in MO
Donated by Roy and Carolyn Brown,
from Vienna, VA
Love Letters of Bertha Alice Haug and Ora Oscar Haymen, 1903-1905 (Mr. Haymen was Principal, in charge of the Holdrege Business College in the early 1900s)

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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Elizabeth Schlatz has always been interested in genealogy. She seriously started to research in 1962 and has found many records from family members. She first researched her own Ashley and Rhoades surnames and is now locating records on her husband's Schlatz and Sawyer families.

Last summer Elizabeth's cousin came to the Nebraska Prairie Museum to search the Rhoades family. The library staff recognized the Rhoades surname and called Elizabeth to see if this was some of her relatives. Elizabeth had not seen the relative since she was 6 months old. They spent several days sharing family records, visiting cemeteries and comparing their research. She said, " I felt very lucky to have met them. It was an accident, we managed to meet as she didn't know my last name or where we lived."

"I have helped a cousin do research for the Rhoades family and she has now published a book on our family back to 1656 starting in Switzerland and through 3 name changes."

We, the members of Holdrege Area Genealogy Club appreciate the projects she has done for our club and appreciate her enthusiasm for genealogy.

Many thanks, Elizabeth for sharing your knowledge and expertise with us!

Holdrege Area Genealogy Club


Ben Boell has done more than search his own family tree. One day he received a query on a Harlan County, NE pioneer and decided to go to Alma Cemetery and find the grave. He thought it would be an easy find as the cemetery has a cemetery directory. When he checked for the burial he found it was not listed. He mentioned this to the local librarian and she stated that many names had been left off the directory. Ben decided to go back to the cemetery and look again. He found two whole sections of burials that were not on the directory and decided to make a list. Later, he decided to transcribe the entire cemetery. Then he decided to do all the cemeteries of Harlan County.

When we found out what Ben was doing, we asked if he would allow us to publish the book. He hesitated because he was afraid we would not sell enough books. What we found out was, Ben had done an enormous favor for all the many genealogists across the country that needed such information and the book is almost sold out.

His newest project of "Harlan County Marriages", has just been published. We are confident that many more genealogists will again be very grateful someone has gathered this information.

Ben Boell became interested in family research about 1990. Ben has said, "It's very interesting to trace back through ones ancestors and see how they lived their everyday lives. I like helping others in their pursuit of building their lines and seeing the smile on their faces."

Ben keeps busy repairing the library's microfilm reader, volunteering in the Genealogy Library once a week, doing Harlan County research and being secretary of our Club.

We, the members of Holdrege Area Genealogy Club appreciate the projects Ben has done for our club and appreciate his enthusiasm for genealogy.



MOSER/POLLY/PALEM/PALEY I am looking for information regarding Samuel P. Moser and Rebecca Alice Moser (Maiden name Polly/Palem/Paley). They were my ggg grandparents. They moved to Phelps Co., NE in 1873 with their children and homesteaded there. I have not been able to locate their place of birth, death or burial, even though I have made numerous attempts to do so. Nor do I know who their parents were. They were both born somewhere in Pennsylvania between 1817-1819. Their children were George W. Moser, Sara (Moser) Dale, Catherine Ann "Katie" (Moser) Foster, Jacob Jake Moser, Cordelia (Moser) Whitney, Josephine (Moser) Steward, and Nancy Moser. Samuel and Rebecca were found in the 1860 Darke Co., OH census, the 1870 Warren Co., IA census, and the 1880 Phelps Co., NE census. Samuel was then found in the Doniphan Co., KS 1895 census without Rebecca and then was not found in either census for 1900. Since much of their family remained in Phelps Co., I would presume that they may be buried somewhere in Phelps Co. I would appreciate any help anyone can offer. Thank you. Toby Williams Tokyo, Japan All correspondence to be sent to Mrs Robert L Williams, Box #119, and RR#2, LeRoy, Illinois 61752

WILLIAMS/FULLER I am trying to find the parents of William H. Williams born in 1836 in Ohio and died in Holdrege, NE in 1901. William married Mary (Fuller) Williams in Illinois. They had one child Ann(e), who married Arch White in Logan County, IL in 1878. Both families moved to Phelps County, Nebraska in the about 1885. Contact: Mrs Robert L Williams, Box #119, and RR#2, LeRoy, Illinois 61752

WESSON/JOHNSTON/SAFLY/SKEWES/ WINTHER I would appreciate hearing from anyone else who might be researching Parilee Wesson, Cannon Johnston, Ephraim Cannon, Mary Jane Safly Cannon, Stephen F. Safly, Nancy A. Prunk Safly, Morely Orlanda Skewes, Mary Winther Skewes, Peter Winther or Caroline Winther. I have recently uncovered some interesting facts about Ephraim Cannon's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather that others might also be interested in. Contact: Cathy Spude, 2 Alcalde Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Email me at:


(Also referred as Phelps and Phelps Centre)
This information below from the
1882-1883 Nebraska Gazetteer:

Phelps, the county seat of Phelps county, nearly at the geographical center of the county, is a town of about 100 inhabitants, some 15 miles from Elm Creek, on the U.P. Railway and about 25 miles from Arapahoe on the B.&M. R.R. Wm. Wilcox has a hotel, which accommodates the public. Phelps is in the midst of a good agricultural country, and in the near future, must become a good-sized town. There is a good school, several churches and lodges of some secret societies.

Phelps County Officers
Treasurer - Peter Peerson
Clerk District Court - P. O. Hedlund
Sheriff - L. A. Newman
Judge - H. D. K. Whitcomb
Supt. of Public Institution - Minnie Hopwood
Surveyor, W. E. Bishop
Commissioners - P.A. Brodin, D. M. Case, and E.M. Palmer
Phelps Business Directory
Banta, Lafayette - Blacksmith
Carter, T. J. - Attorney at Law
Charleston, C. O. - Justice of the Peace
Dravo, S. A. - Attorney at Law
Hazelett, Harry, Justice of the Peace
Hopwood, J. M. - Druggist
Hopwood, T. M., Agricultural Implements
Hymer Brothers - Hardware and Implements
Hymer, Jos. P. - Postmaster, Hardware, etc.
Murphy, Thos. N., Dry Goods, etc.
Rittenhouse Brothers - Attorney at Law
Wilcox, William - Hotel


Phelps County News was one of the earliest newspapers in our county and was located in Phelps Center, Nebraska about 1881. Phelps Center was Phelps County's Second County seat and was located in Laird Township, before the town of Holdrege was created to accommodate the railroad's need for another town location.

March 15, 1882: Trees! Trees! If you want ash, box elder or cottonwood seedlings, call on Rolf Johnson, Phelps Center, NE

Rolf Johnson at Hymer Brothers will sell you goods in English, Swede or Spanish. Our lively friend Rolf Johnson, smiles behind Hymer Brother's counter.

April 5, 1882: Talking about dull times, we've been seventeen miles out in the prairie and that was lively to what it is in town, these busy days among farmers. There are no jackrabbits to run down, no one to quarrel with unless it is a landlady. Everything appears death-like, primitive and crude. Occasionally, to break the intense monotony, gulls fly around the village or you may see, leaning against a hitching post two or three men swapping lies, and praising their profession for being so honest in making statements regarding the good qualities of their machinery. Even the postmaster has no postals to read, and Mrs. Grandy is at her wits end for a sly piece of gossip to retail to Hannah Jones.

Pat Murphy has become so grave that a horse took him for a Hard Shell Baptist preacher.

Sam Dravo was so absent minded that he charged a man ten dollars for writing a letter; while Charley Backman, in the absence of the stir and bustle made his first legal plea before a covey of chickens. George Rittenhouse fell asleep Sunday evening and hasn't awakened yet; George Hymer has plenty of time to count up his undying loves; Ole Hedlund has bleached his hair white, and Peter Peerson had figured up the entire indebtedness of Phelps County, but some man trusted for a codfish at Pat Murphy's which completely upset his calculations. Don Mexicana Johnson was the happiest fellow in town. He had a boil--where deponeth saith not. He had plenty to occupy his mind.

William Wilcox, the coroner, sat on the town yesterday and pronounced it too dead to bury and nothing but a blast for the old "war horse" down the Lake will awaken it.

Oscar Charlston puts most of his time Williamsburg, and Jim Hymer meanders to Oscar. So there are times that try men's souls.

By Harry Hazlett - Apr 19, 1882

Friday last, Carl Carlson, aged seventy-five, was brought before the commissioners. He has endeavored on two or three occasions to kill himself. The last attempt was made with a razor. He says that there are several snakes in his heart and he wanted to cut his throat--make a hole-- to let them out. Religion is the cause of his insanity as the witnesses testified. He refuses to eat, because, as he alleges "the less he eats the less pains he will have in hell." He has been living with Rev. Danielson for three years, who has been more of a brother to him--in administering to his wants and in various other ways. Mr. Carson has lived in this county between five and six years and if we have correctly informed has 160 acres of land. The board of commissioners decided to send him to Lincoln insane asylum for treatment. Constable Brunzell left with him for that place last Monday.

Moot court was held in the courtroom, last Wednesday evening. Peter Peerson was arrested upon a warrant issued by Judge Charlston, charging the said Peerson with having disposed of property not belonging to him, fraudulently. S. A. Dravo appeared on behalf of the prosecution and H. Hazlett for the defense. A jury was impaneled. Several witnesses were examined to length. The attorneys summoned up, and the case was given to the Jury. The Jury, after five minutes deliberation returned the following verdict: the sheriffs killed the attorneys, hamstring the witnesses and placed a chunk of ice upon the judge's head; that the prisoner is not guilty. Whereupon, the judge set aside the verdict of the jury, and sentenced the said Peerson to ten years in the penitentiary and to pay a fine of $1500. Counsel for the defense has filed motion for appeal and the bill of exceptions will be laid before the Honor at an early day. On next Thursday another trial will take place. It is a case of slanders, in that Don Rolf Johnson has been circulating stories detrimental to the good name of one of our fellow citizens.

(From 1886-1961 Souvenir Historical Booklet, Loomis, Nebraska Diamond Jubilee)

I came to Phelps County when I was a little babe, but can remember many incidents that occurred after I was three years old. I remember the old sod house I lived in for a short time and many other sod houses belonging to the neighbors with whom we visited. Some of them were very cozy with their whitewashed walls. Often the ceiling was just white muslin stretched neatly across the top of the room. Houseplants bloomed in the deep windows.

When blizzards swept over the prairies, as they frequently did in those days, the old sod houses were warm and comfortable. In the summer, they were cooler than frame houses. Sometimes on summer evenings we would build a small fire to smoke the mosquitoes away so we could sit out in the yard and enjoy the beauties of the twilight hour. When we moved to the farm with its new frame dwelling, I longed to return to the sod house.

In those pioneer days we didn't wait for formal invitations to dine with friends. We simply hopped into the lumber wagon and angled across the prairies to our destination. Sometimes three or four families would "drop in" to spend Sunday with us. The menu usually consisted of home cured meat, potatoes, gravy, raisin pie and stewed dried fruit of some kind and layer cake put together with jelly that was purchased in pails at the grocery store. Vegetables grew in abundance on the newly broken sod. Game was plentiful. Sometimes father would see a flock of wild geese flying over and would get the gun and slip out in the yard and shoot several. He often hunted prairie chicken and seldom returned from a hunting trip without bringing me a quail.

We often attended literary or revival meetings at the neighboring school house. Dances were held in some of the homes and old and young joined in dancing the round dance and waltz while the "fiddler" played a lively tune.

In the early days of the history of the village of Loomis, Sunday school was held in the billiard hall, as there were no other building available. A wheezy old wagon taxed the strength of a young lady organist while she played the old familiar hymns. Sometimes the Sunday school teacher seated himself on the billiard table while instructing his class and the young people amused themselves laughing at the misspelled sign which the old proprietor of the place had hung where all might read. The object of the sign was to discourage the use of the tables for practice games, which brought in no revenue to the owner. The sign read. "No practicing aloud."

A spirit of friendliness prevailed. We were all strangers in a strange land. As God commanded Abraham to "Get the out from the kindred and friends and go to a land which I will show Thee," so our pioneers left homes and loved ones to build new homes for their children and gave them greater advantages than they ever enjoyed. Their dream has come true, but who can say whether we are any happier than they.


1886 - 1961

As many early settlers of the Loomis Community as is possible by information relating to dates, families, etc. are included here. The lack of sufficient time for lengthier research before publication has necessarily limited the number of these biographies.---Irene Hanson

Albert Sunblade at 19 years of age came to Phelps County in 1877 from Illinois. He homesteaded and lived on his place for 50 years. The first home was of sod until 1897, when a frame house replaced the building. Mr. Sunblade used oxen on his place and hauled provisions with them from Kearney where they also took their produce. Nine children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Sunblade, four of which were living and reside in Loomis. They are Carl Sunblade, Mrs. Carl (Olga) Thorell, Mrs. Arney (Ruth) Anderson, and Carl (Signe) Young.

Wallie Johnson came to Phelps County in 1888 and lived west of Holdrege two years, then moved to Loomis in 1890. He lived on different places the first two years in this community, then bought his own farm and erected half a house and added the rest later. Mr. Johnson, originally from Sweden, moved here from Iowa, where he and his wife lived five years. Harold and Walter Johnson, former resident of the home place now live in Holdrege.

In 1880, Gustav R. Charleston arrived in the Loomis community from Illinois. They lived in a part sod, part frame house eight miles north and one-half mile east of Loomis where they homesteaded. Of Thirteen children born to this couple nine are still living. The eldest now 79. Mr. Charleston made two trips to Sweden to visit relatives. His son (Carl A.) Johnny Charlston resides in Loomis. By legal process he deleted the "e" in his name, hence the different spelling.

Mr. and Mrs. Arch White, the parents of Mrs. Lambert Sunblade, arrived in 1885. Mrs. Charlie Gassoway is anther daughter of this couple. (Additional research revealed that Arch White married Annie Williams. They lived on the southeast edge of Loomis, Nebraska in 1888.)

John August Carlson in 1876 moved into a two room sod house in Phelps County. After disastrous prairie fire later, three families lived there and one family in a cellar.

Mr. Carlson was one of the earlier pioneers to have a bucket well. Mr. and Mrs. Carlson were the parents of Alfred, Shelby and Charlie Carlson, Christin and Mrs. August Hanson whose husband was a brother to Gustave (Gus) Hanson and Bert Hanson

The August Bergmans, pioneer newcomers of 1882, lived in a sod house and later one of frame construction. They were the parents of five children.

Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Bloomquist came to the Loomis area in 1884. In 1885, they moved to a farm and in later years moved into Loomis. Their children were Mrs. Ernest Abramson, Marie, Ruth and Signe, and David and Gust.

In 1883, John W. Jackson came to Loomis. There was no railroad at that time. He lived one year, three miles east of Bertrand, NE., then he moved to Loomis into a building that he built to house his store, family, and post office. The Jacksons came from Lincoln, Illinois. Their Children were Alfred Albert, Andrew, Lodi, Ada, Nellie, Anna and Lina.

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Nelson were early settlers coming to this community in 1879. There homestead was located where the former Orphan's Home stood, not the Christian Homes. Andrew Nelson helped in the construction of the railroad. Later he sold his homestead and bought a farm north of Loomis. The children of these pioneers are Lou, George, Edward C., Frank, Mrs. Henning Thorell, Mrs. Earl Hanson, Mrs. Dave Nelson and Mrs. William Johnette.

C. J. Dahlstrom was one of the "first colony" of Swedes to come to this Nebraska community. At that time, the nearest post office and trading center was Kearney, Nebraska. This was before 1884. Elmer (or E. E.), a son and minister, resides at the Christian Homes.

In 1886, Fred Kaufman came with his mother to Phelps County. His father had been killed on the trip out, and he and his mother moved in with Mrs. Kaufman's parents, the Gepfords in their sod home across the road from the McClymont place. Later a frame house replaced the soddy. A sister was born in September of 1866.

In 1882, Solomon Johnson took possession of his farm four miles north of Loomis, which later became his son Reuben's home. The first house was a sod in 1883. In 1893 a farmhouse was built. The Solomon Johnson's had seven children.

In 1884, Richard and Elizabeth Morrison moved into a dirt-floored sod house near Atlanta until August of that year. They moved to a two-story sod house on the Whitcomb place where they stayed for fifteen months. Later, Mr. Morrison bought a section of land from the U.P. at four dollars an acre. When the railroad came through Loomis, stakes were set in the corner of their house so they had to relocate their home. Mr. Morrison died in 1887. R. G. (Dick) married Jesse Marshall and lived on the home place until 1957. Five sons and three daughters were born to Richard and Elizabeth Morrison. Robert, Jim, Richard, and Tom are the sons, and Mary, Ann and Elizabeth, the daughters.

Henry G. Thorell was one of the earliest settlers arriving with his family in 1871. They had suffered the loss of their belongings except a few clothes and a large clock. They homesteaded on a quarter of land where the town of Loomis now stands, but lack of water caused them to move near a pond in the same section. There were no well tools available to dig the deep well necessary. Trees for a timber claim were planted and a sod house built three miles northeast of Loomis. Water was hauled from neighbor, A. P. Anderson's well. At this time there was no post office, so they got their mail from Phelps Center. There were six children in the Henry Thorell family: Simon, Henning, Hilda, John, Jennie and Fingel. Fingel Thorell is at present a resident of Loomis.

In 1886 C. D. McAfee bought a quarter of land one mile south of the present Loomis School. In 1892, the family of parents and four children moved there from Lincoln in Logan County, Illinois. The five children were Howard, Mabel, Ethel, Clifford, and Frances. Frances was born in Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. McAffee lived on this farm until 1910, when they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska. Mabel married John R. Nylander and continued to live on the McAfee place until 1943. Mabel Nylander lived in this same home for fifty years.

Gus Hanson was born in Sweden in 1862 and came to the U. S. in 1876. He worked as a boy in Illinois until he moved to Kearney in 1879, where he lived with a brother Charles. In 1882, he moved to Phelps Center and sold windmills. In 1886, he worked for an Implement dealer in Holdrege. His mother and 12 year old sister, Carrie came over from Sweden after his father's death and lived with him for a time on the homestead which he proved up in 1890. He also obtained his citizenship papers in 1890. He ran a store in Loomis and also bought broomcorn. Later he entered into the implement business in Holdrege with L. O. Olson. In 1893 he married Abby (Darlie) Barnum and in 1895 they moved to the farm one mile south of Loomis. Mr. Hanson engaged in a buggy and implement business here and also a grocery store and farmed until his death in 1930. The Hansons had two children, Easton, who passed away in 1950 and Pauline of Grand Island, Nebraska.

Hans Nylander came to Holdrege from Sweden in 1892. He had lived 280 miles north of Stockholm. Mr. and Mrs. Nylander arrived with their six sons in a hard rain and when they reached Hans brother John's sod home they found it almost flooded as John Nylander, a son of Hans, then ten years old, recalls the incident. The six boys were Charles, Herman, John B., Robert, Hans and Newt. A sister, Jennie, was born in Phelps County. The family first lived on what is known as the Latimer place for seven years, then twenty-one on the F. A. Morgan place before buying a farm southeast of Loomis, the old Derby farm.

Gustaf Johnson came from Sweden to Lockport, New York in 1869. He worked there in a stone quarry to send money to his wife and four children in Sweden and bring them to be with him. On April 24, 1876, they arrived in Phelps County where they homesteaded. The nearest post was Kearney at the time. Their home was a frame house, where Gus lived later and Joe lived across the road. The four children were Gus, Joe, Emma (Mrs. Solomon Harris) and Anna (Mrs. Peter Pearson). Gus and Joe were present when Williamsburg was moved to Phelps Center and also present at the first burial in Moses Hill Cemetery. Joe trained a white steer to ride and he guided to right or left and to lower his head to allow Joe to dismount by sliding down this way. At the fair held in Phelps Center, Joe won first prize with his performing steer.

Aaron Johnson came from Sweden by way of Joliet, IL in 1876. He built a sod house on his homestead and later a frame one. In 1904 he opened a lumber business in Loomis and lived in what in later years was known as the Bruner home. The lumberyard was in the family until 1928, located west of the east elevator. There were eleven children in the family. Ida (Mrs. Gus Carlson), Joseph, Frank, Walter, Victor, Julia, Justus, Henry, Lloyd, Mabel and Henry, who died in 1917. Mr. Johnson was instrumental in founding and locating the town of Loomis as shown in Loomis History.

John Morrison came to Loomis from Illinois in 1889. His family preceded him and stayed with relatives until he arrived with the freight car containing their goods. A Mr. Hanna came with him. His daughter, Mrs. Jennie Weissenfluh, recalls seeing three yoke of Oxen on the Streets when she arrived with her parents.

John Abramson came to Phelps County in 1884 with his wife and daughter and lived with his father on his homestead which has in later years been known as the Bert Talbert place. In 1888 John's father sold out and both families went to Kansas where both homesteaded. Here, the rest of the children were born. Mrs. Alfred Anderson, Malcom Ernest, Sexton, Dave, Hugo, Esther, and Julia. In 1902 John and family came back to Loomis.

L. M. Larson arrived in Phelps Center in 1884. He farmed later near Loomis and had a blacksmith shop in town, walking daily from home to work and back to farm in the evening. In 1885 he and his brother, Gust Larson, operated a shop on the farm. In 1888 L. M. Larson moved to Loomis. His shop burned in 1915 and a new shop later replaced the one destroyed by fire. Four children were born to the Larsons, Simon, Dave, Elmer, and Ester (Mrs. Walter Johnson of Loomis.)

Charles Olson, a single man, arrived in Loomis in 1881 from Collinsville, Connecticut. He came from Sweden to Connecticut 18 months before this to be near relatives. Here he worked at a tool sharpening factory handling axes and knives. He homesteaded southwest of Loomis, later sold this place, and bought the farm now farmed by Leland Thorell. In 1884 he married. His wife's first name was Mathilda. Their five children were Albin, John, Oscar (who died as a baby), Jennie and Eldon. Mathilda died when Eldon was but seven months old in 1894. In 1895 he married Carrie Carlson and they had seven children, Lillie who died at three years of age, Carl, Rose (Mrs. Carl Sunblade of Loomis), Myrtle, Frank, Clarence, and a baby that died when very small.

The Edwin Barnam Family lived near Grand Island for a time, then moved to Loomis where they homesteaded. Their house was of sod. In 1889 they moved to Loomis and in 1890 erected a fine hotel of three stories. Their 18-year-old daughter, LaVanche, married that summer in the hotel. Mr. Barnum, who was the postmaster, had his office in the front of the hotel. The next year the hotel was destroyed by fire. Mrs. Barnum moved into a building vacated by the Dave Johnson Store and here served meals. The Barnums built two brick buildings on the site of the former hotel; one of these is the present Loomis Municipal building. Mr. and Mrs. Barnum in their later years moved to Missouri.

Solomon Linder came to Loomis in 1876 and constructed a sod house to shelter his two horses. In 1877 he brought his family from Chicago. The Linders have five children, Adolph, Leonard, Anna, Ellen (Mrs. Henry Lundberg) and Esther.

John Linder came from Sweden in 1871 with his brother Solomon and stayed with him near Loomis in 1876. John's children were Charlie, Aaron, Frank and Emil.

Fred Bacencamp arrived in the Loomis community in December 1884. He hauled lumber from Kearney to build a barn, which sheltered his family while the frame house was built on what is now the Elliot Davis place. The grandfather and uncles of Harry Backencamp also lived on this one section. They lived here 14 years. There were four children in the family, Harry, Ira, Dora, and John.

Sebastian R. McElhiney came to Loomis about 1889. He taught school in Lincoln, Logan County, Illinois previously and C. D. McAfee had been one of his pupils. Mr. McElhiney farmed for awhile near Loomis. Next he ran a boardinghouse located where the Loomis Park is now situated. He later ran a livery stable before purchasing the newspaper, the Loomis Sentinel from Mr. Flickinger.

In 1879 C. A. Staberg settled in Westmark constructing all the buildings of sod. Fifty years later the Stabergs celebrated the anniversary of the date of their arrival.

John S. Lappart came to live on a farm he had bought earlier from the railroad. He paid $11 an acre for this place one mile south of Loomis. Mr. Lappart, though born in Germany was of French descent. The Lapparts first lived on the Andrew Jackson farm in the Keystone neighborhood for two years, then in a sod house on the Hatfield place from March to October while a new frame house was constructed on their own place. Mr. Lappart had farmed in Illinois and brought his livestock to Nebraska. Six children were born to the Lapparts, Jacob, Charlotte (Lottie), Anton, Katherine, Johnny and Edward. Johnny recently bought out the last co-heirs to the place and still owns the place.

Gus Dahlstedt arrived in Holcomb in 1880 from Sweden by way of Illinois. He was 18 years old on the arrival in this country. He worked on farms of neighbors and relatives from 1880 to 1896. At this time supplies and groceries were hauled by lumber wagon from Kearney. From 1896 to 1903 he acted as superintendent and farm manager. In 1903 he married a young lady who had been matron at the home since 1901. They moved to a farm and built a frame house in the same year. Their children were Ruth, Alice, Carl, and a baby David who lived only a few days. Mr. Dahlstedt was at his brother-in-law, a Mr. Dankstrom's at the time the historic move of Phelps Center to Holdrege, Nebraska.

Axel Veegert, one of our later settlers, came in 1893 from Sweden. He worked on farms in the summer and in stores in the winter until he became the first rural mail carrier out of Loomis in 1902. In 1916 he married. His daughter Nema lived in Loomis where he also still lives. Mr. Veegert retired from the Rural Mail Service in 1932.

~Harlan County Nebraska~
First Pioneers to settle in Freewater, Harlan County, Nebraska, From the book
"Freewater, Where I Grew Up"
By Lester Golter (1987)

ELIHUS FIELDS was born March 9, 1816 in New Hampshire moving to New York State with his parents. He married Elvira Scott and for eighteen years engaged in the lumber business in New York State, then seven years at Henry County Illinois before coming to Nebraska. In 1874, he took a homestead and timber claim on the west half of Section 24, Township 4, Range 17 in Antelope Township. He later sold the timber claim but retained the homestead on the SW 1/4 of Section 24.

Elihua Fields first lived in a dugout; then he built a sod house and after four years he brought his family west to live with him. For about six months he had to haul all the water he used from a distance of 10 miles, all his trading was done over 30 miles away in Kearney. When Mr. Fields settled at Freewater only a few families lived in the township but the settlers kept coming until the entire government lands were claimed. In 1885, Mr. Fields built and moved into a comfortable frame house, with good neighbors, a well-improved farm and a naturally beautiful area. At age 74 he was still hearty and did all his farm work. Mr. and Mrs. Fields had two children Lurana, wife of John T. Petteys, and Lucretia who died in New Hampshire on December 12, 1843. Today in 1987, six generations of this family rest within a few feet of each other at Freewater cemetery.

Elihua Field 1816-1897 age 81 years, 9 months and 21 days
Elvira (Scott) Fields 1820-1897 age 77 years, 8 months and 18 days
John T. Petteys May 3, 1883 - October 10, 1910
Lurana (Field) 15 Aug 1839 - 15 Sep 1893
Willard Petteys September 14 1862- 1848
Cora (Swan) 1862-1942
John Alden Petteys August 7 1889-November 10 1979
Thelma (Lewis) January 16, 1904 -December 5, 1983
Virginia Petteys, daughter of John A. and Thelma Petteys February 22, 1930 - May 30, 1930
Paul Edward, son of John A. and Thelma Petteys February 2, 1930 -May 30, 1930
Donald Rohrer, grandson of John A. and Thelma Petteys, November 30, 1957 - September 30, 1975

JOHN ELLIOTT came to the Antelope Township in Nebraska from New York State in 1874. He opened the Freewater post office in 1875. He opened the Freewater post office in 1875 and dug the first well on the prairie in 1874, as Mr. Field biography stated that he hauled water first six miles. The name Freewater was derived from John Elliott's generous gift of water to all those who passed by his home.

The gravestone at the Freewater Cemetery gives us the following information:

John Elliott, father, died May 21, 1891 age 54 years, 10 months 7 days Mahalia Elliott, mother, died October 18, 1889, age 45 years, 4 months, 10 days Howard K. Elliott, son died January 7, 1880, age one month, 2 days

John Elliott received his patent from the U. S. Government for the NW 1/4 of section 13 on June 1, 1881 and his patent was for the SW 1/4 of Section 13 on June 6 1889. His sister Hannah Holmes received her Patent from the U. S. Government for the NE 1/4 of Section 14 on April 10, 1882. This tract of land lies just across the road from John Elliott's homestead. She also received a Patent for the SW 1/4 of the same section on March 10, 1883.

1875, PATRICK ELLIOTT, a native of Ireland, married Catherine Hawksby. They emigrated from Ireland to Nebraska in 1875. Patrick died on March 2, 1880 at the age of 67 years, as recorded on the gravestone at Freewater Cemetery. The biography states he died in 1875.

Catherine Elliott received her Patent from the U. S. Government for the SE 1/4 of Section 14 on March 1, 1883. Later she deeded two acres of her land to Freewater Cemetery Association. Her gravestone records her birth on March 15, 1815, her death on December 15, 1894.

Hannah Holmes, daughter of Patrick and Catherine Elliott and sister of Allan and John, died on August 31 1887 at the age of fifty-two years, 8 months and two days. Her sister, Mary Chaffin died February 1 1878 at the age of 23 years, eight months and four days. Frank D. Elliott was born October 22, 1882 and died October 18 1967.


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