The Franciscans in Nebraska

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Chapter VI


Of the score or more town sites dreamed of and started within the past seventy years, but nine, besides Columbus, are in existence today. There is one second-class city among them, Humphrey, the other eight consisting of Cornlea, Creston, Tarnov, Monroe, Platte Center, Oconee, Lindsay and Duncan.


Humphrey, located twenty-six miles northwest of Columbus, in the midst of Platte County's richest agricultural section, was platted November 25, 1880, by the County Surveyor, James E. North, at the wish of S. H. H. Clark, proprietor of the land, and the Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills Railroad Company. 'The new town was named Humphrey, after a town in New York whence came a pioneer woman, Mrs. Wanzer, who homesteaded nearby. The town was incorporated in 1883.

The Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad, now a part of the Northwestern System, was built through Humphrey in 1886, running east and west.

In 1886 the Northwestern endeavored to start a town a mile east of Humphrey, to be located on the farm now occupied by Chas. Herzberg. They had constructed a platform there, but when they had built their tracks to Humphrey this failed and they built their depot on the present site.

The first merchants of the new town were, for the most part, farmers, later giving up agriculture to seek a more promising livelihood in the new settlement. Soon after the Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills Railroad went through in 1879, a depot was built and Mr. William Eimers erected a warehouse and store close to the depot, thus becoming the first merchant of Humphrey. The place rapidly received momentum. An enterprising saloon man, W. Eschelbacher, built his emporium; a drug store by Doctor Norwood, the Commercial Hotel, another saloon by Jacob Ripp, and a livery stable by a Mr. Sherwood, all appeared the same year.

The rich land around Humphrey was soon purchased by a colony of thrifty German immigrants, most of whom were of the Catholic faith. St. Mary's Church, four and a half miles south of Humphrey and the Church at St. Bernard's Settlement nine miles northwest of town, served these people for several years, but St. Francis Catholic Church was built in 1882 and 1883. Today the congregation is one of the largest in Mid-Nebraska. A modern grade and four-year high school is also maintained by the congregation while the monastery was erected soon after the building of the first church. The Presbyterian and Methodist Episcopal faiths were represented at one time, but were forced to abandon the congregations for lack of members. The Lutherans worship at St. Peter's church since 1884.

The German Baptist Church was organized in 1892 and is prospering today. Humphrey is not only a growing city, but a wealthy one as well. Since 1905 it claims the honor of having one of the finest city halls in the county; its volunteer fire department is equal to any for a place its size, the Humphrey City Band ranks among the top-notchers in Nebraska, repeatedly walking off with prizes. Most of its streets are paved, there are electric light and waterworks systems, and the city supports one strong and growing bank.

Tracy Valley was settled in 1871 or earlier, especially by people from New York and Wisconsin. Among them were: E. H. Leach (1872), Warren Potter, Byron S. Dayton, Charles Moore, Rufus Leach, Lavinus B. Leach, Riley Leach, Daniel T. Dickenson, John Van Blaricom, Daniel Brooks, T. D. Robison (1876), E. T. McGehee, Mrs. Wanzer, J. N. Wilson, W. Adam Alderson, Tom Alderson, John Alderson, John McGehee, Edward Graham (Wisc.), C. H. Graham, Ben Harper, Robert Harper, William Tieskoetter, Loman Porter, James A. Sloan, Leonard Widhalm, Lute C. LaBarre, H. C. Bender, Robert Uhlig, Herman Prange, Edward Steinhaus, L. S. Martin, John Ternus, Crabtree, Aloys Kosch, Henry Lohaus, Mathew Fuchs, Horton, Adam Rollman (1873), Jacob Steffes, Walter Mead.


One day in 1878, Mr. Mathias Classen, of Kalamazoo Precinct, Madison County, had been marketing some produce in Columbus and stopped at the home of Henry Lohaus north of the present Humphrey.


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The conversation turned to the railroad soon coming through the valley. "Nonsense," the guest replied: "In winter when the farmers have nothing to do, they talk about railroads and churches and when spring comes, they forget all about it." "Well," said his host, "I want to tell you something; but you must not laugh at me." "Well, what is it," replied Mr. Classen. Mr. Lohaus then told him that his wife the other day cried out to him: "Listen, do you hear something?" "Hear what?" he said. She replied: "Don't you hear the whistling of the railroad?" "Why," the husband said, "you cannot hear that; the railroad is at Columbus." But Mrs. Lohaus insisted: 'Yes, I do hear it whistle just west of our home." This was near the curve, west of the Lohaus home farm.

Strange to say, a year later the railroad contrary to all expectations, was actually passing that way. And with it came the birth of a new town.


(Correspondence to Columbus Journal) Editor Journal:

"Humphrey Precinct is located in the north part of Platte county and comprises two townships:, one east and one west of the Sixth principal meridian. Three years ago it contained not a single settler. I, L. C. L. (Lavinus C. Leach) came first alone. I worked one week without seeing one single human being. Than came my neighbor, John M. Alderson. We resolved to use our influence to induce a few more to come, that we might enjoy the social privileges of a neighborhood, although small; hut we expected to wait a good many years before homes dotted the prairies as thickly as now. The progress of the precinct you may judge from the following statistics which I gleaned while assessing: No. of acres assessed, 26,487. Assessed value, $132,435. Amount of assessable personal property, $10,050.80. Number of acres under cultivation, 1,700; sown to oats, 200. Balance to be planted in corn, potatoes and garden stuffs. We have a population of 250 and can poll over 60 votes at the next election. If there is any other precinct that has made greater progress in the same time, let us hear from them." L. C. L. (Probably Lavinus C. Leach).


The History of Nebraska, (Andreas Company of Chicago, p. 1082, A. D. 1882) speaks of it as follows: "Humphrey Station is situated twenty-one miles above (north of) Columbus, on the Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills Branch. It contains about 100 people, its business consisting of two grain elevators, two lumber yards, two general stores, two saloons, one drug store, a blacksmith and wagon shop, a shoe shop and a hotel kept by Herman Tieskoetter. Humphrey is situated in the midst of a rich hay country, and has a press in full operation."


About December 7, 1879, the first train came as far as the Frank Brockhaus farm, just as his mother was dying. The real building began the next year. Mr. Wm. Eimers built the first dry goods store and warehouse in 1880. He also opened an elevator. Mr. Eimers retired from business in 1890. His sons, W. H. and F. B., continued the store. Thomas Ottis came in 1880 and opened a general store, an elevator and a lumber yard. He retired from business in 1889.


In Humphrey Village the pioneers were: William Eimers, Wendelin Eschelbacher, Herman Tieskoetter, Jacob Ripp, Newell South, Thomas Ottis, Mr. Coleman (Teacher), Martin Bloedorn, Mr. Arlt, E. H. Leach, Dr. Geer, C. D. Murphy, Herman Wendt, Jacob Steffes, William Ripp, Charles Sampont, Dr. Trout, Dr. Norwood, Joseph Gehr, T. J. Sherwood, Joseph Anselme, Chris Reisch, Louis Schroeder, P. H. Bender, Carl Brandt, Henry Lemmer, Joseph Lachnit, George W. Clark, Daniel Drebert, Ira Briggs, E. A. Stokslager, F. A. Baker, William Duesman, F. M. Cookingham, John Partsch, Kaul, Peter Fedderson, A. H. Cotter, Dr. William M. Condon.


The Humphrey post office had been established on August 28, 1871, with Nancy D. Leach as first postmistress. She was succeeded by C. E. Roscoe in 1873 and by Walter Mead, the crippled blacksmith. Humphrey is named after a town in New York. William Tieskoetter owned the present site of Humphrey. From him Thomas Ottis purchased forty acres, laid out two additions to the original plat and gave ten acres to the Catholic church. The condition or the vicinity of the present Humphrey in 1875 is well described in the following letter.

Of Judge Robinson's Additions we have already spoken.


The following Directory conveys a fair idea of the character and number of the churches, schools, fraternal societies and business institutions of Humphrey.

Saloons: Capitol, Joseph Lachnit; Klondyke, George M. Smith; Midway, Joseph Gilsdorf; Palace, H. J. Herbes; New Saloon, Jacob Ripp.

Stock Dealers: Crowell Lumber Co.; E. H. Leach; J. T. Steffes; Smith & Gehr.


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The Former Hunker Bros. Lumber Yards in Humphrey


Richard Olmer.


Mr. and Mrs. Mathias Fischer.



Mr. and Mrs. Fred J. Pratt.


Prof. A. Wolf.


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       Veterinary Surgeon: L. B. Leach.

Railroads: Fremont, Elkhorn, Missouri Valley & Northwestern; Union Pacific System.

Telephone: Nebraska Telephone Company, long distance connection with all outside points.

Churches: St. Francis' Catholic Church; St. Francis' School; Methodist Episcopal Church; The Baptist Church (German); The Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Attorneys: Cookingham & McAllister, R. P. Drake, P. E. McKillip.

Agricultural Implements: Bodewig Bros., H. J. Breunig, M. Myers & Son., Jos. Nienaber.

Baker: Jacob Ripp.

Banks and Building Association: First National Bank, Bank of Ottis & Murphy, Building, Loan Association, organized 1883; The First National Bank (Successor to the Citizens State Bank found 1886).

Barbers: Herman J. Gebeke; Robert Lewis.

Blacksmiths: A. J. Bethscheider; M. C. Bloedorn; Jos. Nienaber.

Bicycles: Humphrey Cyclery, J. H. Mayberger, Prop.

Dressmakers: Mrs. E. L. South; Mrs. Sweeny; Misses Weber; Mrs. A. Wolde.

Druggists: Joseph Anselme; M. F. Grass.

Doctors: J. C. McKinley; P. H. Metz.

Dentist: W. M. Condon.

Dray and Expressmen: John Glick, Sam Lang, Joseph Stevens.

Express Companies: American Express Company; Pacific Express Company.

Furniture & Undertaking: Wm. Duesman.

Grain Dealers: O'Shea & McBude, on U. P.; Crowell Lumber & Grain on G. E. & M. V.; Omaha Elevator Co. on U. P.; Humphrey Roller Mills on U. P.

Hardware: H. J. Breunig; M. Myers & Son.

Harness: Krenz, H. W.

Hotels: Commercial Hotel, W. H. Tieskoetter, Prop.; Granville Hotel, Frank Benge & Co.

Insurance & Real Estate: A. R. T. Anselme; Bank of Ottis & Murphy; First National Bank; G. W. Clark.

Justice of the Peace: Chas. Schueth, Sr.; E. A. Stockslager.

Lumberyards: H. Hunker & Boorther, John Hugg, manager; Walrath, Sherwood Company, F. Heider, manager.

Livery Barns: Commercial, Jacob Steffes, proprietor; Granville, A. Fangman, proprietor.

Meat Market: Smith & Gehr.

Manufacturing: Humphrey Cigar Factory, H. Kersch, Propr.; Humphrey Roller Mills, G. W. Conrad, Propr.; Humphrey Steam Brickyards, Kettelson & Bones, Propr.; Humphrey Creamery Company, J. Pflaum, manager; Humphrey Bottling Works, Joe Hockenschneider, Propr.; Wood Working Shop, John Eggers, Propr.

Merchandise: P. H. Bender; W. Eimers; F. B. Eimers; Schulte, Weidner & Feaser; J. A. Smith.

Millinery: Mrs. P. H. Bender; W. H. & F. B. Eimers.

Musical: Humphrey Cornet Band, Maennerchor.

Newspaper and Printing: The Humphrey Democrat, C. H. Swallow.

Painters: J. H. Mayberger, C. U. McNeill; F. T. Klebba, Joseph T. Walker.

Photographer: Joseph Bethscheider.

Pumps, Windmills and Wells: Humphrey Well Works, B. J. Stock, Propr., F. J. Herbes, manager; A. Wilde.

Watchmakers and Jewellers (sic): Wm. Cochran; J. C. Graves.

Restaurants and Confectionaries: Gus Blessing; R. Gandy; H. C. Herbes; Jacob Ripp.

Shoe Store: F. A. Fisse, the Shoeman.


Churches: St. Francis' Catholic Church; the Baptist Church; St. Peter's Lutheran Church.

Two Depots: The Union Pacific (Columbus-Norfolk branch) in the northeast part of town. The Northwestern Depot, in the southeast part (Fremont-Albion-Oakdale division).

Two Elevators: The Farmers' Elevator and Lumberyard, The T. B. Hord Elevator.

Bank: Farmers State Bank.

Dry Goods Store: Steffes Bros., Duesman Bros. & Walters, each carry groceries.

One Hardware Store: J. C. Krebs.

Electric Shop: Iowa, Nebraska Light & Power Co. and D. W. Petersen.

Telephone Exchange: Northwestern Bell.

Two Barber Shops: H. Rotter; H. Machmueller.

Two Beauty Shops: H. Rotter. Mrs. Margaret Zavadil.

Theater: Discontinued in September, 1930. To be rebuilt, modernized and leased by Mrs. Elizabeth Llewejohan, and managed by Mr. Youngclaus, of Madison.

Architect: E. Christensen, designed this theater.

Newspaper and Print Shop: John A. Zavadil, publishes the "Humphrey Democrat", having best circulation of any weekly in Platte County; he also prints the "Platte Center Radiogram" and does Job Printing.

Three Physicians: Dr. Harry Elston; Dr. D. J. O'Brien; Dr. F. A. Neisius.

Two Dentists: Dr. J. F. Albers; Dr. W. J. Busch.

Two Drugstores: The Corner Drugstore, owned by O. A. Windolph; the Nyal Drugstore owned by Wm. Gadke.


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       Harness Shop: Hugo Krenz, Frank Hodgins.

Veterinarian: Dr. O. H. Leenerts.

Shoe Repair Shop: Frank Hodgins, Fred Stapf.

Garages: John Eckholt; M. J. Dober, Ford Garage.

Oil Stations: Sinclair Oil Station; Uptown Station; Triple L. Station.

Tailor: Anton Polanka.

Lawyers and Insurance Agents: Clarence Stone, Chas. Thielen, lawyers; E. C. HoIm, Chas. Pfeifer, J. J. Miick, insurance agents.

Mill: Humphrey Mill.

Music Teacher: Mrs. W. J. Busch, Sister of St. Francis, Miss Margaret Miller.

Meat Market: Gehr & Gehr, also groceries; City Meat Market, A. Detlefson, Prop.

Billiard and Soft Drink Parlors: J. B. Weber; Wm. Groeger.

Variety Store: V. Sedlacek.

Hotel: Commercial Hotel, Mrs. E. Llewejohan, Prop.

Bakery: E. Schmid.


"One point the founders of Humphrey have overlooked when they platted the town: No provision had been made for a public park or square. The public spirited Dr. W. M. Condon had made a park on his farm just east of the U. P. R. R. track; but the place was considered too low and the mosquitoes too obnoxious. Hence about nine years ago, a number of public spirited citizens, 35 men chipped in $100 each and purchased a site, in the south part of town, for the sum of $3,500. One hundred more citizens also chipped in $100 each, and work on a swimming pool was started, most of the labor being done by those interested in the project."

The pool is approximately 150 feet in length by about 60 feet in width. The depth of the water runs from one foot to twelve feet, with the shallow end of the pool being partitioned off for the kiddies. It has concrete walks for the bathers, a sand beach, and two diving boards and one diving tower. Water is pumped from a deep well and is changed every ten days with a cascade system to purify the water as it is being used. The bath house is constructed so that the women folks occupy the west side and the men folks the east side. It is equipped with booths, so that there is a great deal of privacy. The kiddies generally take their swims in the afternoon the older people t night. A life guard is always present at the pool at all hours and is especially watchful of the children."--Humphrey Democrat.

One of the draw backs are large shade trees. But a good many have been already planted and in a few years these ought to afford excellent shade. According to the last meeting of the stockholders the indebtedness has been reduced to $2,000.


Humphrey has had some kind of brass band or other for the past forty years or more. In the early years they disbanded and reorganized repeatedly.

In 1896 the band membership was composed of the following: M. C. Bloedorn, president; Albert Wilde, vice president; F. B. Eimers, leader and treasurer; Louis A. Lachnit, secretary; John Schmid, M. C. Bloedorn and Geo. W. Eimers, trustees; Jos. F. Zuerlein, Peter N. Pederson, Ed. Perrenaud, John Sehi and Jos. F. Tieskoetter.--(See page 144).

At various times the band was under the direction of F. A. Fisse, a man by the name of Gabriel and Warren Forsaith. The present organization had its beginning under the direction of W. E. Schmid, who was an exceptionally fine musician, and it prospered under his guidance. When he left town to engage in business at Cedar Rapids, C. A. Sheppard, of Clinton, Iowa, was engaged as director, and under his leadership the band has gained fame in Nebraska and adjoining states. He has been here continuously since 1919, with the exception of two years spent in California.

At the Diamond Jubilee held in Omaha in 1925 the organization took first prize for the state bands, and in 1929 in the state contest they were awarded second honors, their competitors scoring only five more points.

During the summer months the band entertains with concerts on Wednesday evenings and large audiences gather here to enjoy their interesting and well rendered programs. Practice is held twice a week, Wednesday evening and Sunday morning. The band is supported by popular subscription and a small city tax.

Of the members in the organization before the World war only seven are left. They are: Jack Fuchs, Elmer Hittner, C. A. Lewis, W. E. Gehr, Ed. Foltz, Victor and Jack Zavadil. At that time the organization was composed of Wm. Fehringer, W. E. Bering, Jack Fuchs and Victor Zavadil, cornets; Jack Zavadil, Elmer Hittner and Ed. Foltz, clarinets; Lawrence Groeger, Jos. Duesman and Frank Hittner, Jr., trombones; Arnold Lachnit, saxophone; Jerome Karthaus, Tony Duesman and Henry Zuerlein, altos; Earl Lewis, baritone; Carl Lewis, bass; Carl Schmidt, bass drum; W. E. Gehr, snare drum; W. E. Schmid, director and baritone.

The above picture was taken at the time the band won the state contest at the Omaha Diamond Jubilee and the following have since re-


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moved from town: Ralph Black, Leonard Fangman, Chas. Stapf, Elmer Pfeifer, Lester Miick, Edward Miick and Eugene Fangman.

The present members of the organization are C. A. Sheppard, director and cornet; Jack Fuchs, Dale Alderson, Leander Lohaus, Patsy Sheppard, Morris Ternus, Math. Boesch and Vincent Stephens, comets; Jack Zavadil, Jerome Pfeifer, Elmer Hittner, A. Sedlacek, Elmer Foltz, Eugene Walters, Arthur Veik and Louis Veik, clarinets; Harold Lewejohan, Leonard Thiem, Jos. Widhalm and Carrol Kruse, trombones; Ernie Walters and Martin Werner, baritones; Carl Lewis and Julius Weidner, bass; Victor Zavadil, Wayne Zavadil and Chas. Pfeifer, altos; Francis Steffes and Francis VanDyke, saxophones; T. A. Schaecher and W. E. Gehr, drums.

During recent years a school band has been organized, pupils from both the St. Francis and Humphrey Public schools being members. This band is also under the direction of Mr. Sheppard and as fast as its members become proficient they are placed in the senior organization.


The first settler on Shell Creek, Carl Heinke, was born, 1828, in Europe, came in fall, 1856, with the original Columbus pioneers and died in 1906 and was interred in the Columbus City cemetery. His first home was a sod house, and a team of oxen, costing $200, was used to break the virgin prairie soil. The winters in the early period were very severe, blizzards lasting three to four days were very dangerous to travelers and to stock. Flour had to be freighted in from Fort Calhoun, near Omaha, till the Rickley mill was built. But this was soon destroyed by fire.

As more settlers came, the first school, a log affair, was erected in District 4 (near St. Patrick's cemetery), and taught by Mr. John Kern. About 1868, J. B. Becker built a grist mill on Shell Creek. While some poisonous snakes were found, the settlers suffered little from their bites. For many years, however, the depredations of the wolves were very annoying. In February, 1871, James Carrig killed a huge mountain wolf that had long terrorized the neighborhood. The joyous event was celebrated by a dance. James Carrig was a typical pioneer--a hard fighter and a man able to stand almost any strain. He died about 1915 at Kearney, being 84 years old at the time of his death.

In February, 1870, Lost Creek Precinct was established, and when Oconee Township was organized, Lost Creek was deprived of part of its territory.

Some of the oldest settlers in these parts were: E. D. Fitzpatrick in 1870. He was born at Cleveland, enlisted in the civil war, taught school, came west, located on a farm in this township


Anthony Cauley, M. D., Humphrey. Nebr.


Mr. and Mrs. M (Letjens) Daniels,
Seward. Nebraska


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for two years, sojourned in California for a few months, removed to Columbus, opened a small store, gradually met with success, started a larger store and was in 1898, elected mayor of Columbus.

C. H. W. Dietrichs settled in 1868 in Lost Creek Township, where for four years he and family endured very great privations. Patrick Carey came in 1870. John W. Early was another pioneer settler since 1867. James E. Moncrief came in 1875. He served later as county superintendent of schools.

A long list of Irish pioneers along Shell Creek will be mentioned in connection with the church history.


The land on which the village is now situated was once the property of Michael Upton. The Union Pacific Railroad acquired it and had it platted through Sidney Dillon, vice president, and I. W. Gammet, secretary of the railroad, acting as its agents. The territory, including the corporate limits, is as follows: "Commencing at the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 1, township 18, range 2 west and running thence west one mile to the northwest corner of the southwest quarter of said section 1, thence south three miles to the southwest corner of the northwest quarter of section 24, township 18, range 2 west, thence east two miles to the southeast corner of northeast quarter of section 19, township 18, range 1 west, thence north three miles to the southeast corner of the northeast quarter of section 6, township 18, range 1 west, thence west one mile to the place of beginning."

The railroad reached Platte Center, December 9, 1879. The postoffice was established soon after.


The first building put up was opened as a saloon by George Scheidel and Frank Stracke in the early part of 1880. T. C. Ryan, a brother to the Rev. James M. Ryan, of Columbus, soon opened a general merchandise store. Dr. Edwards moved his little office and drug store over from Silver Creek to Platte Center. William Bloedorn, who had a blacksmith shop on his farm six miles from town, moved it to Platte Center and opened the first forge in the village; soon, also, a wagon shop and hardware store were opened. Mr. Wm. Bloedorn later on built the brick store now occupied by Schumacher & Laun. Carrig & Fox conducted a hardware store; John Macken, a saloon; John A. Kehoe had a grain and implement business (died 1905), continued by his widow, who afterwards conducted an implement store and finally a drug store. Carrig and Lynch, too, opened a store. D. P. Mahoney clerked for them. R. L. Rossiter, grain dealer, later county surveyor, and banker at Silver Creek, died at Columbus.

One of the first residences erected was by Wm. Bloedorn. The first hotel, still standing, was on Main Street and was opened by Albert Fields; another, by John Dugan. M. E. Clother also conducted a hotel known as the Clother House. Since 1886, Charles Herrguth (later in partnership with Mr. Nay), had charge of his wagon shop. Among the first carpenters at Platte Center were: William Rogers, Paul Nelson, Levi Harman, Thomas Pinson, Michael Doody and George Harman.

Dorr Brothers and Lynch and Carrig were the early bankers.

The new public school was erected in 1886 at a cost of $8,500. It burned down about January, 1904, on a bitter cold night.

The Platte Center mill was erected in 1910 at a cost of $16,000, and enlarged in 1915.

The fine brick postoffice was put up by the Platte Center Improvement company in 1925. The Catholics put up their first "combination" building in town in 1884 to 1885. They erected a frame church in 1899, fine brick school and convent in 1912, and a fine new brick church in 1924. The present two story brick public school and high school in the northwest part of Platte Center was erected in 1905. The present postmistress is Miss Margaret Gleason.

The Platte Center Water Works was established in 1901. It was enlarged and extended on two occasions. In 1913 the village spent about $4,000 to place a new well and pump and to install an air pressure tank. Bonds to the amount of $2,100 were voted and in all about $8,000 was spent to improve the service.

In 1923 the village purchased a strip of land from the Catholic church, northeast of town, and erected there a large tank which has several times saved the village from serious damage from fire.

In 1913 Siems brothers secured a franchise for a lighting system and invested about $4,000 to erect a concrete building and supply Platte Center with all-night service. About three or four years ago a contract was made with the Northwestern Public Service company to supply the village with electric service over its transmission lines.

A volunteer fire brigade was organized in 1907 or 1908 with headquarters at the village hall. The latter is in a very dilapidated condition and no doubt will soon be replaced with a splendid new building.

In February, 1931, the A. C. Andersen store building and stock were destroyed by fire


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Platte Center had two banks. The Platte County Bank was organized in 1879 with a capital of $10,000 with the following officials: H. S. Dickinson, president; David Thomas, vice president; C. M. Gruenther, cashier. In 1910, the capital was increased to $25,000. The present officers are: Wm. Schelp, president; Anton Glodowsky, cashier. The first building was a frame building; the fine brick structure was erected in 1901 at a cost of $3,500 and fixtures and furniture costing about $2,500 more. On November 22, 1904, a bold attempt at robbing the bank was made and B. H. Schroeder was severely wounded. The robber was caught near Oconee.

The Farmers State Bank was organized in July, 1910, with a capital of $20,000. It closed its door in December, 1930.


Wm. Bloedorn, hardware and farm implements.

Bruckner & Greisen (Max Bruckner & Hilger Greisen), general merchandise.

Miss Annie Busch, millinery.

C. C. Carrig, manager Omaha Elevator Company.

David H. Carrig, saloon keeper.

Chicago Lumber Company.

Carrig & Gentleman (C. J. Carrig & N. J. Gentleman), livery and livestock shippers.

Henry Carrig, real estate, loan and farm lands.

Chicago Lumber Company, lumber and coal, W. E. Kent, manager.

Clother House, hotel, M. E. Clother, proprietor and postmaster.

Considine Hotel, J. C. Considine, proprietor.

Engelhorn, George, wagonmaker.

Farmers and Merchants Bank, capital $12,000. Fred Jewel, president; D. D. Lynch, cashier.

Farmers and Merchants Union Elevator Co., George M. Hopkins, president; Thos. H. Gleason, manager.

Fred H. Gilmore, painter.

Julius Held, hardware and tinware.

Henry Opera House, Frank Hughes, manager.

Hopkins & Mahoney, manufacturers of harness; furniture and undertaking.

Leonard Hoffman, barber.

Hughes, Frank, groceries, crockery, hardware.

Joseph B. Jones, depot agent.

Kehoe, John A., grain, coal, agricultural implements.

Charles Lusienski, shoemaker.

Don C. H. McNeil, drugs.

George Mack, saloon keeper.

John Moffett, real estate, loans, county supervisor.

Mokler, A. J., publisher Platte Center Signal.

Mr. Nay & Chas. F. Herrguth, blacksmith and wagonmakers.

Lewis J. Niemoeller, watchmaker, justice of the peace.

Okey, A. E., physician.

Olson, Soren, blacksmith.

Omaha Elevator Co., grain.

Joseph H. Perkinson, billiard hall.

George Scheidel, saloon.

Scott, H. A., W. S. Austin, manager, general merchandise.

Wm. Steinbaugh, carpenter.

Henry Zingg, meat market.


"Thursday evening, October 29, 1914, about 7:45 o'clock, our town was thrown into a panic by the frightful news that several boys and at least one grown person were buried under tons of dirt in a cave which the boys had built in the bank in the dry part of Elm creek, south of the business part of town. Instant help came to the rescue, and within a few moments, Earl Burke, who was only slightly covered near the entrance, was extricated and he escaped with painful but not serious injuries. Clarence Greisen, the second victim to be recovered, fared less fortunate. He was near the center of the cave and was covered with two or three feet of death-dealing dirt. Medical assistance failed to detect any life, or resuscitate him. He was dead. His right leg was badly broken below the knee and other evident injuries had caused instant death. Mr. E. H. Walters was next recovered near where Clarence Greisen was found. Hopeful signs of life soon appeared and Mr. Walters escaped death, although badly injured. Jerome Macken was the last of the buried victims to be recovered. It was evident that his young life was extinct, because his neck was broken and he probably had sustained other fatal injuries.

"It seems that a number of boys had been working on this cave some five days. They had hollowed out an underground room about seven feet wide, ten feet long and seven feet high, with the ceiling of the cave about four feet from the surface of the ground. On this fateful evening, Mr. Walters was making suggestions to the boys about bracing and boarding up the cave, when several tons of earth came down in and near the center, dealing death and injury to the unfortunate victims. Clarence Engelhorn, who was in the very rear of the cave escaped uninjured, while Irvin Scheidel, who was near the entrance, was caught and partly buried, but rescued himself quickly. A number of boys were near the entrance on the outside and immediately screamed for help, which came


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at once. Among those who came first and began the heroic work of digging and rescuing the unfortunates from the still dangerous cave were Marshal Burrows, Art Wolf, Adolph Ludwig, Willie Greisen, Will Mylet, Jack O'Neill and Chris Martens.

"Jerome Macken was the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. D. V. Macken. He was born in Platte Center, October 16, 1899, and spent his entire young life in our village. Likewise, and by a strange coincidence, Clarence Greisen was the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Hilger Greisen. He, also, was born in Platte Center, October 29, just 13 years ago on the day of his untimely death.


Bird's-eye view of Platte Center, Nebraska. Courtesy of Clark Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois


Bird's-eye view of Platte Center, Nebraska, in 1916. Courtesy of Anton Glodowski.
Looking east from the Herd Elevator.

"The funeral of Clarence Greisen was held Saturday morning at 10 o'clock, from St. Joseph's church, with burial in St. Anthony's cemetery, where he rests beside his departed two brothers and one sister. The remains of Jerome


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Mr. and Mrs. John McPhillips, Joliet Township.


Jos. Mateya, Tarnov.



Mrs. L. Schroeder, Sr.


Miss Marie Lachnit.


Mr. F. Lachnit.



Ignats Zach.


John Weber,
Teacher at St. Anthony's,
Burrow's Township.


Pat O'Neill, Battle Creek.


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Macken were taken to St. Joseph's church Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock, and burial was made in St. Joseph's cemetery.

"This lamentable double tragedy was a blow, so sudden and crushing to the relatives in both families, that it seems almost unbearable. We know, in a measure, how to sympathize with the parents in their utter agony, and we extend that sympathy in its fullest measure. But none of us know what is for the best. These young lives were taken at an innocent age, and who of us, in the years to come, would call back to earth, if we could, those loved ones who departed when their souls were young and unblemished."--The Platte Center Signal.

As early as 1895, already over 400 carloads of grain were shipped from Platte Center. Like all other towns in the county, a great part of Platte Center's business wealth is obtained by the marketing of small grains and livestock. Accordingly, Hord and other grain companies of Nebraska are represented in this grain section. Competition being keen, equitable grain prices have been received since the establishment of Farmers' Elevators. The condition of the market since the war is too well known to be restated.


Denis Regan, 91, one of the well known retired farmers and one of the oldest pioneers of Platte County, died at the family home, 2517 20th street at 11:30 February 23, 1928. Mr. Regan had lived in this county fifty-seven years. His death was due to infirmities incident to his extreme age. His strength had been slowly ebbing away the last three years and his weakened condition had rendered him bedfast for more than a year.

Mr. Regan was a native of Ireland. He was born in the parish of Ratoo, County Kerry, on September 8, 1836. He grew to manhood there, his boyhood home being on a small tract of land owned by his parents. He assisted with the farming and his interest in agriculture, which had its beginning there, gave him a spirit of restlessness and the urge to follow that pursuit on a more extensive scale. Accordingly, in 1856, he came to America and located in Bureau county, Illinois.

He was married to Miss Margaret Holland at Mendota, Illinois, on October 10, 1862. They established their home on a farm in that county and resided there until 1871, when the Fascination of western prairies lured them to Nebraska.

Coming to Platte county, Mr. Regan, with his family, homesteaded twelve miles northwest of Columbus, in Shell Creek township, taking up the homestead immediately after their arrival there. The stock, machinery and household goods that had been in use during their residence in Illinois were shipped to Council Bluffs and the remainder of the trip was made overland, since freight by rail was not carried farther west than that point. Mrs. Regan and the children made the trip by train.

The homestead, where they located then, still remains in the family name and was the residence of Mr. Regan until 1917, when he moved into the home at Columbus, where his death occurred on February 23, 1928.


Mr. Regan was one of the pioneers who took the initiative in organizing school district number 22 in Shell Creek township. It was formed in 1872 and he was chosen unanimously as its first director. He served in that capacity for 23 years, retiring from the board in 1895.


A devout member of the Catholic Church, Mr. Regan was numbered among the original members of St. Patrick's parish, which was formed in the Shell Creek community in 1871, shortly after he came to the county. In 1884,

St. Patrick's church was discontinued and St. Joseph's church erected at Platte Center. Mr. Regan became a member of St. Joseph's parish then and continued his membership there until he moved to Columbus and became identified with St. Bonaventure's parish.

Mr. Regan was a Democrat of the old school, but aside from his service as school director, he did not aspire to public office. In the years when he was active, he often represented his home community in the Democratic county conventions.

A man of quiet nature, Mr. Regan was a lover of books and was an inveterate reader. Historical and biographical books were his favorites. An outstanding fact about him too, was his remarkable memory. His friends often remarked that Denis Regan never forgot anything that he ever knew.


Funeral services were held at St. Bonaventure's church at 9 o'clock a. m., Monday, Rev. Father Isidore, pastor, officiating. Burial was in St. Patrick's cemetery.

Surviving Mr. Regan are four sons and three daughters-State Representative, Richard C. Regan, Miss Tess Regan and Dee Regan, all of Columbus; Thomas H. Regan, of Norfolk; John G. Regan, of Adel, Iowa; Mrs. John C. Cahill, of St. Edward, and Mrs. O. V. White, of Rockford, Illinois. He also leaves eleven grandchildren.


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Mrs. Denis Regan, one of the sturdy pioneers of the west and one of the most devout Catholics of St. Joseph's parish (Platte Center, Nebraska) died Friday, March 3, 1911, at her home northeast of town. Mrs. Regan had been ill for several weeks with a severe attack of pneumonia, which in spite of all the loving care and attention that medical science and loving friends did bestow, proved fatal. Surrounded by her devoted husband and loving children and fortified by the ministrations of the church, Mrs. Regan sank to her long rest. Her dying moments gave evidence of the great faith that was in her.

Margaret Holland (such was her maiden name) was born in Castletown-Beara, Cork County, Ireland, December 5, 1839. Her parents and grandfather O'Neill emigrated to America in 1849 and settled at Fall River, Massachusets (sic), where they lived until 1857, when they moved to Bureau county, Illinois. She now rests under the turf on the hill side, almost in sight of the old home she had loved so dearly.


Creston saw its birth about the same time as did its neighbors, being laid out by the Western Town Lot company, a land firm, on August 23, 1886. This was shortly after the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad went through.

The year following the platting of Creston, S. T. Fleming and Theodore Wolf, two farmers of modest means, joined in founding the Bank of Creston. The capital for this institution was borrowed money and the partners were obliged to put up ten per cent interest for it. The firm was doomed to a premature death. Its building was destroyed by fire a few years later, and, in 1898, the Citizens State Bank of the Buhmann Brothers, capitalized at $6,000, made its appearance, About this time Fleming must have seen the handwriting on the wall, for he sold his interest to Wolf. Mr. Wolf struggled along in competition to the newer and luckier bank and finally gave up the ghost. Later, Fleming, then a substantial land owner, bought an interest in the Citizens State Bank.

In 1897 the entire north side of Main Street was, destroyed by fire and some of the buildings were not rebuilt. The United Brethren Church was formed a few months after the town was started and grew to considerable size, but went out of existence about 1900. The Presbyterian Church of Creston is the outgrowth of visiting pastors since 1878. The church building was first located a short distance into the country and later moved to Creston. The Methodists organized about this time and for a while used the same small building, erecting their own edifice in 1892. The first Baptist Church Society was organized in 1910 and used for its first structure the building left vacant by the United Brethren when they disbanded ten years before.


Like most of the other towns in the West of those decades, the village of Duncan was laid out by a railroad company, or persons acting in conjunction with one. In Duncan's case the Union Pacific Railroad Company platted the village along its right of way, October 24, 1871, naming it Jackson Junction. It was then the start of the Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills Railroad going north to Norfolk.

The first postoffice was instituted there on June 17, 1869, and at that time the government gave the station the name of Cherry Hill, allowing it to be changed, first to Jackson Junction, and finally to Duncan. The Columbus firm of Jaeggi and Schupbach erected, in 1885, an elevator of 30,000-bushel capacity; O. S. Webster already had a general store; Martin Borowiak, a similar institution; one Maler operated the Commercial Hotel, and another gentleman named Weissenfluh conducted a jewelry shop.

Duncan's Baptist Church was the outgrowth of the missionary labors of Rev. Franklin Pierce, the well-known early day preacher of Columbus, who organized the society in 1881. St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church made its appearance in 1883, and St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in 1886. Duncan was incorporated as a village, March 7, 1913, by the action of several of her citizens, led by Henry Micek.

Early settlers of Butler township.

Guy C. Barnum, of Vermont, who had come west via the Mormon town, Navoo, Illinois, and later to the Winter Quarters at Florence, Nebraska, came to Butler township at an early date, being one of the very first settlers. He pre-empted 160 acres of land south of the Loup River. Barnum Creek is named for him.

Later other hardy men settled in Butler township. These were Wm. Braun, Robert McPherson, James Haney, Charles Rickley, John Eisenmann, John Smocker and Chris Wuethrich.

Jacob Ernst had come to Columbus in 1857 and moved to the farm in the following year. From Canton Bern, in Switzerland, to Duncan came John Ernst and wife about 1866. In 1868 he planted ten acres of trees and in about ten years not only had enough fuel for himself, but for the neighbors as well.

George Berney, another Swiss, who had just come to Columbus in March, 1857, and left after a year or so for Colorado, returned to Platte


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St. Bonaventure's School, Columbus.


Mrs. A. M. Weidner,
nee Stibley


School and High school, Platte Center.


Peter Noonan, of Shell Creek


Mr and Mrs John Gorka, Tarnov


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county and settled near Duncan. This was in the beginning of 1865. Other pioneers were Henry Ehlers, Henry C. Bean, Frank North and J. E. North, Charles Morse, A. J. Arnold, P. Diefenbach, A. Benson, Tasker Brothers and John Kyle. These people were all mentioned prior to 1878.


Attracted by the prospect of cheap homesteads in Nebraska, the Polish settlers began to come by way of Omaha into Platte County. The first appearance of these people was in March or April of 1868. The first Polish families to come to the Duncan neighborhood, as far as we can ascertain, were: Walenty Jarecki, Joseph and John Rosno, Lawrence Kujawa and Anton Nicolajczek, probably in 1868. Some or all of these seem to have tarried at Chatsworth, Illinois. Then came Mike Lassek, probably in 1869, and, in 1871, appeared John Krzycki and Martin Borowiak, both from Posen, Prussia. Joseph Borowiak (married) and Frank Wozniak (single); the latter came in 1872 or 1873 and settled across the river in Polk county.


"We were told in Germany that in America one could grow rich, quickly, because land could be obtained gratis. Talking about this, my husband and myself, being both young and strong, resolved to try our fortune in the New World. Upon our landing in New York, we were directed to far-off Nebraska. After several days of weary travel, we arrived at Columbus, and were led to a sandy desert, about six miles from Columbus. Full of dismay I cried out to my husband: 'The Lord help us!' But necessity knew no law. Here we were and must make the best of it. And we went to work at once. When the men had staked off our land, we were left alone under the open vault of heaven. Our first care was to provide a sleeping place. We dug a hole and covered it up with branches and brushes. Next we put up three poles and hung our pot on it, in order to prepare our meals. As soon as possible, we erected a sod house. It was without windows. We now had to cultivate the soil, my husband plying the spade and I the hoe. In spring we purchased a yoke of oxen and a plow and sowed the newly furrowed ground to grain. Soon after Mr. M. Lassek arrived as our first neighbor. Whenever we wished to sell anything, my husband and the ox team left on Monday morning for Omaha, and returned about Saturday. In the mean time I remained all alone with the children. Many a time the Indians paid us a visit."


An amusing story is told of a certain gentleman, who, as his neighbors positively claimed, and which he stoutly denied, that to save money, he was sent by a friend in Chicago to Columbus in a box. The box was addressed to himself. When the train was moving, the living freight, so humor had it, unhooked his box and got out to stretch his limbs; as soon as the train slowed up, he got back into his box for another siege. Thus, he finally got to his destination. The person involved claimed that this was wrong, as he came to the Duncan neighborhood in February, and would have frozen to death enroute. Nevertheless, he at first helped the story along by pointing out the box he came in when people asked him about this.

This story is probably exaggerated, but the poverty of the new arrivals, in a great many instances, was pitiful, and many had to be given food and money by their countrymmen (sic) when they first came to Columbus, looking for employment.


We have already alluded to John Krzycki. He was born January 21, 1847, in the town of Uscie, in the Prussian province of Posen. After finishing his elementary course, he attended a Teachers' Seminary, corresponding to our Normal School, at Kcima and, at the age of twenty-one, obtained a teacher's diploma. After that Mr. Krzycki taught three years at the village of Wyszyny.

Hearing a relative, who had returned from the United States, praising that land as the country of opportunity, and possibly more so, because his sweetheart had gone on to the New World some time before and because of rumors of an impending war, John Krzycki made up his mind to leave Europe and seek his fortune in America.

From New York he hastened to his brother in South Bend, Indiana. In July, 1871, he set out for Nebraska to take a homestead here. Stopping at Morrison, Illinois, with former friends of Wyszyny, he was privileged to cast his lot for life with the young lady of his choice, Miss Barbara Borowiak.

The wedding ceremony over, the young couple set out for Nebraska and at Fremont met John's brother, Felix Krzycki, who had come from South Bend by wagon. After looking around for several days for a suitable location, they moved on to Columbus, Nebraska. A lot in the south part of the city had on it an abandoned, forlorn-looking barn. They used the lumber to put up a two-room hut near the present Seventh Street and 26th Avenue.


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In Columbus, the two families were soon joined by other arrivals, among whom were Martin Borowiak, Mrs. John Krzycki's father, and Joseph Krzycki, brother to John and Felix. The entire winter of 1871 was spent in abject poverty in Columbus.

While attending Father Ryan's church to fulfill their Sunday duty and seeking heavenly aid, they overheard some people conversing in Polish. The group proved to be no other than the Jareckis, Kujawas, Rosnos and Lasseks, mentioned as the first Polish arrivals in Butler township.

Learning of the poverty of the newcomers, these older pioneers provided their countrymen with a sufficient supply of potatoes, the only food they could possibly spare.

As soon as the winter relented, the men scattered over the countryside, working at various farms, in order to support wives and children. John Krzycki first worked for a certain Mr. Brauner, some four miles southwest of Columbus. Later on he helped to construct the Union Pacific tracts near Elm Creek.

Meanwhile, his wife had moved to a farm which her father, Martin Borowiak, had rented for her. This was the present Nyffler farm, about four miles southwest of Columbus. Here, in July, 1872, their oldest son, Frank Krzycki, was born.

In the fall of the same year the John Krzycki family took out homestead papers on the so-called"Island", between the north and south channel of the Platte River, about five miles southwest of Duncan.


The beginnings of the farm were exceedingly trying, the father hardly having enough to buy the bare necessities of life. Finally, a two-room house was erected, one of the rooms serving as a granary. When the family increased, a sod house was added for a bed-room; later, a real granary was built.

Krzycki's first cow was donated to the struggling family by his father-in-law, Martin Borowiak, who was somewhat better fixed. The calf from this cow, on which they had placed much hope, died.

An old wagon and yoke of oxen was purchased on the installment plan. After some years a team of horses was acquired in a similar manner. To save wear and tear on the wagon as much as possible, sleds were used even in summer, there being tall grass and lot of sand, and the sled would pull as easily as on the snow.

Many other incidents of pioneer life on the prairie might be told: How packs of wolves would rove about the banks of the channel, a few blocks away, yelping and howling, often coming up to the very door of the house to carry off some prey; how the wandering Indians, .who were mostly Pawnee, would appear suddenly as if out of the air, to frighten the children, especially when the father was away. The colder the morning, the earlier their knock was heard on the door, calling "Ho, Charley! Ho, Charley!" and, always hungry, begging for food.

In 1885 the island farm was sold for $13.00 per acre, and a farm of 160 acres, on the present Lincoln Highway, about three miles southwest of Columbus, was purchased. Here the family lived until 1918.

Of the many children in the family, John became a Franciscan priest, two daughters, now known as Sister M. Loretto and Sister M. Seraphia, are Franciscan nuns, some died and the others married, moving to various places. Phillip, the youngest, served in the World War, while Anthony, another son, served as County Treasurer of Platte County for several years.

Mr. and Mrs. John Krzycki had the extreme happiness of celebrating their Golden wedding anniversary at St. Bonaventure's Church, Columbus, Nebraska, on August 1, 1921.

After five years more of wedded life, death came to Mr. Krzycki, on February 1, 1926. It was caused by a stroke of paralysis. An estate of $50,000 was left by the deceased.

(Gathered by Mike Lassek).

The Krzycki, Borowiak and Wozniak families settled on the Island in Polk county. All of them took homesteads. They had no money and could hardly get any. If it did so happen that they got a little money by selling eggs, butter, etc., to tourists on the trains, this was used to buy cows and other stock.

But after the first year's crop, things looked brighter. The country abounded in fish and game, prairie chicken, quail, duck, geese and deer. The trouble was, however, to get a gun and ammunition.

Then the grasshoppers and drouth worked havoc.

At this turn of affairs, the Polish settlers were discouraged and home-sick, and many, no doubt, would have gone back to Illinois or Indiana, or even back to Poland, if they could have gotten rid of their farm lands. Bare necessity kept them here.

Gradually, however, they grew more accustomed to the new surroundings and began to like it. Then came the grasshoppers, to take the new courage out of their hearts, for these voracious pests ate off the heads of the wheat,


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Four Generations of the Jan Jaworski Family of


Mrs. John Reisinger, Madison.


Mr. Thomas Malone, Madison.


High School at Lindsay.


Mr. John Wehling Madison
Teacher for 43 Years in
Several States.


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devoured the corn, the vegetables and ate holes into the very bed-sheets and coats that had been spread to save the garden vegetables. These grasshoppers were so numerous that, at one time, they stopped a Union Pacific train east of Columbus until the track could be cleared of them,


Blizzards were many, and usually lasted two or three days, the snow drifting into the barns, and sometimes covering horses and cattle. The hogs, especially, had to often root themselves out of the snow or to be dug out. Drifts were sometimes twenty feet high and the cold was extreme. As there were no trees to hold the snow, it easily drifted into the sod houses, and shovels were kept busy and constantly within the house in fair weather, to guard against a sudden storm.

Logs, found drifting down the Loup River, or timber already shaped which drifted along in the stream, were used to build log houses. Roofs of the sod houses were very leaky affairs, and often a pioneer would awake, finding himself dripping wet in bed and they would try in vain to find a dry spot within the house. Next morning, bed clothes had to be hung out to dry.

Nor did the walls of the sod houses keep out rodents and serpents. One morning, Mrs. Walenty Lassek found a three-foot bull snake coiled snugly about her one-year old daughter, now Mrs. Mary Nitkowski of Ashton, Nebraska.

After the log houses had been built, the pioneers surely thought that they had comfortable homes, since their beds remained dry when it rained at night, and no snakes were creeping around the house.

The driftwood in the river furnished a good supply of wood and fuel for the cold season. The long winter nights were spent reading the books which they had brought along, and, on moonlit nights, they would lift the window and shoot rabbits cavorting in the yard.


One of the first cares of a father of a family was to purchase a cow (then costing $100 to $150) to get milk for the little ones. Once a Pole was dealing with an American for a cow and was about to conclude the bargain when he noticed that the cow had no teeth. He called the American's attention to this fact. But the shrewd seller said, and made it plausible to the Pole, that while in Europe the cows may be in need of good teeth, in America this is a different thing, since the grass is so soft and juicy, while in Europe cows with the best of teeth were starving. He sold the old cow.

Others bought cows and, after a short time, some of them noticed that the cow gave no more milk, contrary to all expectations. They could not comprehend. It was never thus in Poland. Something must be wrong in America. Some concluded that there must be witchcraft doing its baneful work; others, more intelligent watched bossy and followed her up when in the morning, as soon as turned loose, she would run up the pasture, and, if they were quick enough, they saw a bull-snake coiling around bossy's leg and milking her.

Many snakes were to be found, often seventeen, sometimes fifty and more, in a load of hay. On some warm spring day as many as fifty snakes were seen coiled up and basking in the sun. Rattle snakes were seldom seen in the Platte valley near Duncan.

Skunks fooled many a green immigrant, who wanted to take the kittens home for his children. Also, if the hen house happened to be in the skunk's path to the water or slough, the cackling hens would cause the proprietor many an hour of lost sleep until, growing wiser, he changed the location of the hen house.


A few Irishmen also belonged to the parish of Duncan, such as Mr. Larry Byrnes, who was for many years section boss, and Mr. and Mrs. John Kyle and daughter Marie. Mr. J. Kyle is a native of Buninadden, County Sligo, Ireland, where his birth occurred on the eve of Whitsunday, 1851. In 1871, he left for the land of liberty and opportunity, the United States. He and his wife established their home at Omaha. Soon after, Mr. Kyle began to work for the Union Pacific R. R. and was sent by Mr. Lane, the chief engineer at Omaha, to Columbus to drive piles, for the ice and floods were hard on the bridge, which crossed the river two miles and one-half east of Oconee township. At the offer of $25,000 bonus on the part of Columbus, "provided the railroad make Columbus instead of Duncan its terminal," the railroad accepted the offer and thus the bridge over the Loup was no longer needed by the railroad company. This was about 1881. While working with a bridge gang as time-keeper, Mr. J. Kyle came near being murdered by an impulsive Mexican, without the least cause of provocation. This incident and the constant danger of railroad work--nearly all his Kyle's fellow workers gradually met with fatal accidents--finally induced Mr. Kyle, who rather liked the thrill of his railroad work, to give in and permanently farm his homestead purchased of Mr. Sheehan in 1874. His faithful wife passed away on December 12, 1901. Mr. Kyle bought out Mr. Joesl (?) and moved his residence to their farm


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about 1883 and resided there until in 1911, he took up his abode at Columbus.


When Mr. Kyle began farming, a pessimistic neighbor sought to dissuade him, because "the wild onions would spoil the butter, the coyotes would eat the chickens and the grasshoppers would consume the grain." Ox teams were the rule in pioneer days and when Mr. Kyle acquired a team of horses, the same nagging neighbor pestered him with "What are you going to feed the horses on?" He was made to feel half in jest, half in earnest, that his was a very foolish investment and that the net gain of the farm would not feed the horses. Mr. Kyle, however, used them to great advantage both on the farm and at his occasional railroad work.

A standard institution of the days, prior to the advent of the wire fences, was the herd boy, whose duty was to watch the stock in the pasture and to help with the chores. Often the young lad, of hardly twelve to fifteen years, would get home-sick and allow the charges to make inroads into the corn fields, etc., or he would even run home and leave his master in a lurch. Mr. B. Caffrey was an excellent herd boy at the Kyle farm for a number of years. Once when Mr. Kyle tried to catch a horse, the horse he was riding caught one foot in a prairie dog hole, threw off its rider and Mr. Kyle was unconscious for hours. On another occasion, the French Indian half-breed, Jean Baptist Deroin (according to others he was a full-blooded Indian), and Captain Jim and Captain Jack, probably the Pawnee chief, "Curly Hair", and another brave came to visit Mr. Kyle for some hours. They were perfect gentlemen. Many a time after their removal to Indian Territory, did the Pawnees come back to hunt in this vicinity.

"At first the grain was cut with a sickle, then with a scythe and cradle, next with a mower succeeded by the harvester. This was considered a very great improvement in farming. The driver guided the machine and two men stood on a small platform and made bands of straw, bound the sheaves and threw them off on the stubbles. While the harvester was an improvement, the self-binder was considered a wonder. While Mr. Lute North had purchased one of the first threshing machines (harvesters) at Omaha, and threshed for J. B. Senecal and others, Kyle got one of the first self-binders. It was delivered on a Saturday, but the putting it together consumed all Saturday and no grain was cut that day. On Sunday afternoon, a large concourse of people came to see the wonderful machine and the agent explained it to them.

The people could hardly believe that the machine would tie knots; they wanted to see it work. For lack of horses to pull the self-binder, the men took hold of the tongue and whipple-trees and pulled, while others pushed and so they began to cut the grain and tie the knots and throw the sheaves off with a noise that sounded like 'Get out'. Later a bundle-carrier was added to the self-binder, that dumped the sheaves in rows. That year our harvesting was done by Friday, while we were laboring under the impression that it was Sunday. When we rode to town, we saw the people working in the fields and gradually realized that we were mistaken in the day of the week; so quick had been the work done by the self-binder." (Adapted from Miss Kyle's Reminiscences).


The Union Land Company laid out the present town of Tarnov, July 25, 1889, on the line of what was then the Sioux City and Columbus Railroad. It was first named Burrows, after two early prominent farmers of Platte County, John and Joseph Burrows, after whom Burrows Township was named. Tarnov is a principal city of Poland, and the early settlers were soon replaced by a population of Polish immigrants, mostly from around that city. At their instigation the name of Burrows was eventually changed to Tarnov.

It is commonly said that, in the period between 1860 and 1870, every second man in Nebraska was a land agent. While somewhat jocular, the saying is not far from the truth at that. All of Platte County's towns are the work of these indefatigable gentlemen.


Old settlers in this vicinity were Johnny Smoker, John Walker, William Connelly and family, Pat Ducey, Peter Galligan, Dan Holloran.

Lindsay was plotted by the Western Town Lot Company on November 8, 1886, and was incorporated as a village March 7, 1888. It was always a busy place, and received much grain from the start. Within three years of its commencement there were three elevators running, maintained by Ney and Morehouse, Crowell Lumber and Grain Company, and Peter Galligan and Thomas Howard. One J. P. Morrison became the first merchant of the new town, shortly after the Western Town Lot Company laid out the place. Lindsay is on the Scribner and Oakdale branch of the old Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad, now part of the Northwestern System, and was served by two banks, the Lindsay State Bank, incorporated in


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Mr. and Mrs. Mike Lassek, Duncan


Mr. and Mrs. N. P. Meysenburg, Luxemberg.


N. Meysenburg, Luxemborg,
Father of N. P. Meysenburg.



Bernard Eiting of Center, Neb.


Mrs. Bernard Eiting of Center.


John Meysenburg.


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1889 and the Farmers and Merchants Bank of 1901. The former failed in 1928.

In February, 1887, F. J. Smith and Simon Brown opened the first furniture store at Lindsay. An undertaking establishment was added later. The first physician and druggist was Dr. Henry E. Ayars. Dr. Stevens, too, located here about the same time. Samuel Painter conducted the first hardware business. Mr. J. Rausch, in 1894, put up the first hostelry known as "The New England Hotel". It was for 10 months pressed into service as a temporary Catholic church, then served its intended purpose. It was finally cut in two, one part serving as a meat market, the other as a residence. The present hotel was built by D. B. Kochenderfer. John Busselman was the first village blacksmith. The depot was erected in 1887.

The business street was originally one block west of the present site. The removal was inaugurated by the famous Israel Gluck, a Columbus merchant.

A frame school building erected at an early date eventually gave way to the present two-story brick-veneered building.

The incorporation of Lindsay, March 7, 1888, was petitioned for by the following men: Miles Canon, Fred J. Smith, Charles E. Fields, Henry Ehlers, Wm. M. Connelly, Max A. Jaenash, Patrick Hegan, John Gogan, Julius Hnaowz, Patrick Galligan, Samuel Connelly, Martin Mogan, John McAuliff, Aloys Hauck, James Fay, Sam K. Painter, J. P. Morrison, J. H. Rausch, J. P. Mathius, John Busselmann, J. W. Caldwell, J. H. Gogan, Anton Loeffler, J. E. Tibbals, John Shanahan, John Eggers, Peter Galligan, James Ducey, Jr., Bernard Hawk, E. T. Hayward, Mathis Adams, John C. Freshhauf, W. E. Acker, F. A. Connelly, John Wachter, M. J. Griffin, Jr., Wm. Connelly, John Galligan, James Connelly J. H. Milslagle John Walker, John Mason, James Ducey, John P. Retterath, Joseph Ottis.

The commissioners appointed J. D. Morrison, Jas. Ducey, Sr., Pat Galligan, Sam Connelly and S. K. Painter as hoard of trustees for said village.


Numbered the following business firms:

General Merchandise: P. A. Paulson; Connelly & Mogan; Wm. Reeber (where the Farmer's Union Store stood later on); Henry Ehler.

Meat Market: John Rausch.

Store: H. H. Wood.,

Implement Store: Swan Johnson; Sullivan & Schroeder.

Hardware: Samuel Painter; J. H. Conley.

Blacksmith: John Busselman.

Harness Shop: John Purtzer (his successor M. J. Lebens).

Carpenter: Peter Riede and Hugh Williams.

Livery Barn: Griffin & Winkler.

Lindsay Hotel: David Kochendorfer.

Saloon: Peter Schad, Sr.

Bank: Lindsay State Bank (in the north store room of F. J. Smith store).

Drugstore: Dr. Henry E. Ayars.

Station Agent: J. C. Carret?

Furniture Store: F. J. Smith.

Grain Dealers: Nye, Schneider Fowler Co. George Villings, agent; Crowell Company Elevator and Lumber Yard, George Marshall agent; Galligan Howard (Grain) on site of the present Farmers' Elevator.

Electric Light Plant: F. W. Edwards.

Postmaster: W. H. Deegan (1885).

Banker: M. J. Ramaekers.

The School Board: Fred Smith, E. A. Brodball and G. P. Billups.

The building cost about $3,000. The teachers were: J. E. Paul and Miss Lizzie Sheehan.

The Methodist Episcopal church was erected in 1893 by F. W. Edwards.

Lindsay also has a newspaper of its own.

The Lindsay Post Office was established before the town existed, December 14, 1874, with Terence Brady in charge. He was succeeded by John Walker on December 23, 1879. John Purtzer was postmaster March 17, 1911, to August 21, 1914; J. W. Connelly, August 21, 1914. The present incumbent of the post office is Mr. Petersen.


The fire department was established in the year 1915. It had two carts and a hook and ladder wagon and several hundred foot of hose which were preserved in a frame structure or top of the hill at the foot of a cross street Most able bodied men belonged to the fire department. The firefighting apparatus is now housed in the basement of the Community hall.


In 1904, the citizens voted water works bonds to the amount of $5,000; but, owing to some technical error, no action was taken until another election was held on April 2, 1907. There were 55 votes for and 19 against the issue of $8,000 bonds. In the same year, the system was built and in operation by January 1, 1908 A 100-foot deep well, eight inches in diameter was to supply the water. This was pumped by electricity into a steel tank ("stand pipe") and 100 feet high and having a capacity of 60,000 gallons with a mean pressure of fifty pounds Owing to a severe frost, this tank became top-heavy and fell to the ground. Luckily, no lives


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were lost. The new tank was installed in another part of town. This was in January, 1920.


Mr. Paul Van Ackeren procured a franchise in 1906, or the beginning of 1907, to install an electric light plant. He sold out to F. W. Edwards about 1912. In 1929, Lindsay was connected with the High Power Line of Norfolk-Fullerton. In an emergency electricity can be obtained either from Norfolk or from Fullerton.


In the year 1917, a number of progressive citizens of Lindsay formed an association to give the town a community hall, 40x120 feet, a one story brick building with a finely equipped stage, opera chairs, etc. In the basement there is room for a fire engine, a room for the meeting of the village council, etc. Few communities of the size of Lindsay can boast of a finer hall. It cost $17,000.


For many years the Lindsay community was served by two banks.

The Lindsay State Bank was organized August 29, 1889, with a capital of $10,000. Messrs. Edward A. Brodball, E. A. Stockslager, W. A. McAllister, Andrew Anderson and Otto Roen were the organizers. The bank did business in a one-story frame building erected in Block Seven, until 1901, when it removed to a frame structure occupied (in 1915) by Peter Johnson. In 1904 the capital was increased to $20,000. This bank closed its doors in 1928.

The Farmers and Merchants Bank dated back to June, 1901, when it was organized with a capital of $10,000. George Hau was elected president; P. E. McKillip, vice-president; Mr. M. J. Ramaekers, cashier. On January 25, 1909, the capital was increased to $25,000.


In the eighties The Sentinel was published at Lindsay by Charles Field. He published it for two years or longer. His successor as editor was George Camp, who soon discontinued the publication. After some time the "Lindsay Times" presented itself to the reading public, Mr. Kranz, editor. It suspended publication after one year. W. E. Moore, in 1896, published "The Lindsay Post". Succeeding editors were: John Hassman, Peter Johnson, H. A. Backhaus, A. W. Hagemann, F. A. Gerrard, John Foley, E. R. Teft, W. A. Nutt, J. A. Zavadil, Mr. de Buck, W. J. Herbes, H. J. Whitacre, the present editor and proprietor.


Excepting Columbus, Monroe is the oldest town in Platte County and the richest in tradition. The Gerrard family was long identified with its early history. About the time the Morman (sic) settlement was made at Genoa, which has been referred to in earlier pages, the Gerrards erected several houses on their land, near the present site of Monroe. This was in 1857. The California Stage Line ran through at this point and the company promised continuance of its service providing the people of the community would erect a ferry or bridge across the Loup River. An earnest attempt was made to raise the necessary capital for this work but squatters were too few and the movement had to be abandoned. At the same time the settlers at Columbus were able to induce the State Line to use the ferry at Columbus and thus Monroe lost its first march to prominence.

Nothing daunted, Monroe became the first county seat of Monroe County and, in 1858, elected a full set of county officers. The state saw fit to annex Monroe County to Platte in 1859, and Monroe again lost a bid to prosperity. The Gerrards, especially Edward A., struggled along with their Monroe until 1878, until the last of them removed to Columbus. The railroad went through in 1879 and ten years later Edward A. Gerrard retraced his steps to lay out the present site of Monroe on the old Gerrard Homestead, almost at the place where the earlier attempt was made. Edward A. Gerrard always held a deep regard for prohibition and was a lifelong crusader against intoxicating liquors. In all legal papers pertaining to his new town, Gerrard always saw to it that the manufacture and sale of all intoxicating drinks would be forever forbidden within its limits.

About 1905 a farmer living south of Monroe experimented with an acre of cucumbers. When he announced the following winter that he had made over $200 on the sale of the seed, other farmers took up the idea. Many seeds were tried out, but the biggest money was found to be in cucumbers, squash and field corn. So successful has this industry become that there are now over 2,000 acres around Monroe used in the commercial production of these three seeds. When ready for market, the products are largely sold in the surrounding territory and to seed houses of Nebraska and neighboring states.

(COL. TEL., FRIDAY, AUG. 8, 1924)

Monroe will perhaps never be quite the metropolis that was the dream of its first advocate, the late John Gleason, who, in the eighties, homesteaded two miles northwest of the present town, and whose wife, Mrs. Mary Gleason, still lives on the home place. He chose


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St. Bonaventure's Franciscan Missionary Union, Columbus.
Rev. Frs. Isidore and Erwin, O. F. M.


The John Malone Farm Home, Madison County, Nebraska.


Bird's-eye View of Lindsay, Nebraska.


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the site and interested many others in the project of getting a railroad spur laid at the present location. Trip after trip was taken to the U. P. headquarters at Omaha with others to beseech the railroad officials to lay the spur. Among those who made the trip beside Mr. Gleason, were: H. B. Sutton, F. H. Gerrard, Peter Ericson, Wm. Hollingshead, of this place, Hon. Mike Maher, Platte Center, and station agent G. H. Meagher, of Columbus, all now deceased. J. E. Dack, who is now a resident of the town, purchasing the first residence lot sold, but at that time living on his farm six miles northwest, and Mr. Gleason had the honor of being the first to stop the train at Monroe with passes to the town from no other than Superintendent T. L. Kimball, of the Union Pacific. It was on a Friday that they won his consent, in December, 1888, to build the spur at Monroe, provided the farmers would pay all cost and do the grading. As they told the conductor their destination, he told them that no stops were made at that place, which was but a country post office. With the drollery characteristic of the man, Mr. Gleason, in his rich Irish brogue, asked: "Would you be looking at the back of that pass and be tellin' that you won't be stoppin'." The sight of the signature of Mr. Kimball himself, quickly altered the conductor's views and they alighted. To properly christen the village, in lieu of the wine which is part of the launching of the ships at sea, Mr. Gleason sprinkled a little whiskey upon the ground, with happy remarks as to its destiny (of the town to be). This part might be omitted, but history is history, and the prohibition clause in the land deeds by the temperance advocate, E. A. Gerrard, perhaps atoned for something that was not considered amiss at that time by the great majority. There was a time proviso in the agreement that the money was to be raised by the Monday following their return on Friday. Though times were hard, the farmers rallied in unison and on Saturday the money, over $900, was placed on deposit at the Columbus State Bank. Not only that, but as fast as the surveyors placed the stakes, they had the ground turned over. That is the spirit that built Monroe and we are glad to see it go forward. The story was printed in rhyme in the Platte Center Argus on December 28, 1888, by the pen of the late Mr. Osborne, the Monroe correspondent of the paper.


The postoffice at Oconee was established in 1879 as the Lost Creek station, the town being laid out in 1880, abandoned, and again commenced in 1883. Being located near the north end of the Loup River bridge over which the northbound trains of the Omaha, Niobrara and Black Hills Railroad from Jackson Junction ran to Norfolk, Lost Creek enjoyed a mushroom growth of its own in those years. It boasted a hotel, general store, grain elevator, livery stable, blacksmith shop, a church and school. In 1885, Lost Creek's name was officially changed to Dorrance, but that seemed unsatisfactory, also, as the name was eventually changed to Oconee. Its proximity to Columbus and the rebuilding of the railroad track directly from Columbus instead of the old route across the river from Jackson Junction, after the bridge was washed away, caused Oconee's decline.


Cornlea was platted by the Western Town Lot Company, September 30, 1886, along the right of way of the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad. It was incorporated as a Village on October 28, 1902. Like Humphrey and Tarnov, Cornlea has a predominating Catholic population and as a result has an equally imposing Catholic church. In the vicinity we find St. Bernard's and St. Mary's, both substantial Catholic parishes. The Cornlea State Bank was organized by Howard Clarke and M. Brugger of Columbus and Peter Bender of Cornlea, January 13, 1905.


This completes the official list of Platte County's existing cities and towns. A word might also be said of the country settlements and inland postoffices of another day. Of these, St. Bernard Settlement is still prospering as a country church site. It was laid out in June, 1878, by H. L. Rossiter, then Platte County's Surveyor, at the invitation of Bernard Schroeder, a land owner there, and the Franciscan Brotherhood of Nebraska, which organization built the Church and school there the same fall A hotel was opened by Schroeder, followed by a blacksmith shop and general store. The settlement was all German. St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded a few years later and for many years a postoffice was maintained there.

The Locking Glass Swedish Methodist Church was organized about 1880, and about this healthy community of Swedish immigrants grew the settlement still enthusiastically known as Looking Glass.

Woodville, in Woodville township, was also an early postoffice, some thirty miles northwest of Columbus, and not far from the present town of St. Edwards.

Of these inland postoffices already mentioned,


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and those few yet to be spoken of, none exists at the present time. All did, however, as late as 1915, and at that time were known as "towns" by the people living in the vicinity. These inland postoffices grew out of the custom of early settlers to build their houses close together to afford companionship as well as frontier protection from savages and the destruction of the elements. They indicate, then, as a rule, the first settlements made in a community. In the early days these inland postoffices served a real need. The free rural mail and parcel post delivery system did not come until years later, and the first farmers came to these postoffices to receive their only connection with the doings of the outside world.

Thirty years ago there were almost thirty such stations in Platte County. Among them might be mentioned Boheet, fifteen miles northwest of Columbus; Postville, twenty-six; Neboville, twelve; Palestine, thirty-two, and President, twenty, all in the same northwesterly direction and located in fine agricultural sections. West Hill postoffice was twenty-five miles northwest of the county seat, and Woodburn, four miles from Monroe. Hill Siding, Kay, Oldenbusch, and Rosenburg are similar reminders of a period of Platte County that has already passed into history.


These few items complete a rapid Sketch of Nebraska and Platte County. An attempt has been made to furnish a picture of seventy years ago, and demonstrate some of the progress made by an enterprising people who gathered from the four corners of the world to find happiness in a new land of milk and honey. The successes of these sturdy men and women are about us everywhere. We see prosperity and plenty smiling from every end of our county. And while we lift our hearts to the Almighty Giver in thanksgiving for our health and homes, let us offer a requiem to the memory of those who fought and bled and died so that we, their children, might live in peace and happiness.


Jas. Noonan


Chas. Schueth.


Mrs. Catherine Rosno






Hon. Judge Post


lgnatz Zach


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Mr. and Mrs. Michael Ebel, Columbus.


The Jos. Rosno Family of Duncan.


Mr. and Mrs. John Torczon, Tarnov


Mr. and Mrs. John (Cath. Golus) Silva


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