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     Since early in the 19th century most post offices established have been the result of petitions. While there is no definite record of a petition being circulated for the establishment of a post office in this community, tradition tells us that S. G. Latta, Anderson Root, William Morrow, James Walker, Lee Oldham and others did circulate such a petition. The Murray post office was established in 1884 when the Three Groves office, which was in the John Allison home four miles southeast of Murray, was discontinued. The first office was in the blacksmith shop of William Loughridge and was on Star Route No. 34,115, the contractor of the route being C. C. Morse.

     William Louridge (sic) was born in Cullbackey, County Antrim, Ireland. During early pioneer days he came from Pennsylvania to engage in the blacksmith trade at Factoryville, where he was located for several years. Later Mr. Loughridge moved to Fairview, which was later re-named Murray. He was considered one of the best steel workers in the state. Mr. Loughridge was the first postmaster at Murray, being appointed September 22,1884.
     The law in effect at this time fixed the compensation of fourth class postmasters upon the basis of the whole amount of box rental collected, commissions on cancellations and the amounts received from waste paper, dead newspapers, printed matter and twine sold at the following rates:

100 %

on the first $50.00 per quarter.

60 %

on the next $100 per quarter.


on the next $200 per quarter.


on the next $350 per quarter.

     When the post office was established the village of Murray consisted of the school house, the united Presbyterian church, the Lee Oldham and S. G. Latta homes, and the blacksmith shop. Therefore it can he assumed that the first postmaster's compensation was not very large. The first mail into Murray consisted of one letter.
     Mr. Loughridge served as postmaster until January 1886 when he moved the office to the S. G. Latta store. As Mr. Loughridge moved the office without proper notification from the Post Office Department, he was fined the sum of $40.00
     While C. C. Morse was contractor of this star route into Murray, Frank Fitzgerald carried the mail. This route started at Plattsmouth and went to Rock Bluffs, Murray, Factoryville and Eight Mile Grove. At first this trip was made twice a week and finally every day, being made either on horse back or in a two wheeled cart. As the roads were often impassable It was necessary, at times, to cut the fence wire and go through the fields.
     Mr. Fitzgerald was born in Sterling, Ill., in 1867, and was only 17 years of

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age at the time he operated this star route. He carried the mail until 1885 when he was succeeded by Frank Benfer.
     The second postoffice was housed in the general merchandise store newly erected, on the southwest corner of block 15, by S. G. Latta. This was across the street north of the school house.
     Samuel G. Latta was born July 2, 1838, in Pennsylvania. He was one of the earliest Murray settlers. The village of Murray was platted in 1890 by Mr. Latta, the survey being made by R. M. Lewis and the plat filed for record May 5, 1891. Mr. Latta was appointed postmaster January 29, 1886.
     April 26, 1887, Samuel F. Latta, a nephew of "Uncle Sam," was appointed postmaster. As these two men were in business together the office remained in the corner of the store building. Samuel F. Latta was born at Rock Bluffs, living there until the death of his mother five years later. He then lived with relatives until, at the age of 16, he was sent to Valparaiso, Ind., to school.
     Dr. Benjamin F. Brendel was the next postmaster and the post office was moved to his office, one block east on the south side of the street on lot 13. Dr. Brendel was appointed postmaster May 15, 1888.
     Dr. Brendel was born at Big Springs in Boone county, Ind., December 14, 1854, He attended Physio-Medical College in Indianapolis, Ind. After practicing in his native state for three years he moved to Murray on September 3, 1885. He engaged in the medical profession until his death December 26, 1922.
     John W. Edmunds was appointed postmaster December 16, 1889, and as he had purchased the Latta store, the office was again moved to the corner store building. Mr. Edmunds had, as his assistant, Charlie Root, who brot (sic) the mail from Rock Bluffs to Murray, using a horse and a two-wheeled cart.
      Mr. Edmunds was born at Schoolcraft, Mich., November 29, 1849. While operating the store and post office he and his three daughters lived in the rear of the building,
     While Mr. Edmunds was postmaster the Missouri Pacific rail road was constructed. The lines between Union and Plattsmouth being completed on September 9, 1891. The first train carrying a Railway Post Office car to exchange mails at Murray was train No. 8 out of Omaha, passing at 2.20 p. m. October 16, 1892.
     December 29, 1893, Mrs. Sarah Oldham was appointed postmaster. She erected a smal (sic) building in the southeast corner of her yard, section 15, which served as her office.
     Mrs. Oldham was born in Jimtown. Pa . April 11, 1848. With her parents, the David Storey's, she came to the Territory of Nebraska in 1857, settling on a claim in Cass county about one mile southeast of Murray. After her marriage to Lee Oldham, November 9, 1871, she lived in Fairview, later renamed Murray,
     Fred W. Crosser was appointed post master March 14, 1898. He purchased the Oldham office building and equipment and maintained the office in that location for about sixty days. Thinking to serve the patrons of the office to better advantage, Mr. Crosser purchased the third lot west of the present bank building and moved the Old-


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ham office to this location. At this time Murray was receiving mail twice a day. Mr. Crosser added confectionery, stationery and a soda fountain.
     He also operated an independent telephone exchange which was owned by Plattsmouth people.
      Mr. Crosser was born two miles southeast of Murray November 21, 1871. He lived in that vicinity until 1901, when he resigned the office to move to Alva, Okla., where he now resides.
     Arthur L. Baker was appointed postmaster October 9, 1901, while engaged in the hardware and implement business. His first location was in the E. S. Burton store, which was just east of the Latta store.
     Mr. Baker was born at Logan, Ia., July 22, 1875, coming to Murray on March 3, 1891. He now makes his home in Lincoln, Nebr.
     Rural free delivery was established at Murray October 15, 1902, with Walter Snodgrass as the first rural carrier. At that time the salary per annum was $600.00.
     Backstamplng of ordinary mail was discontinued during Mr. Baker's term of service, the benefit accruing both to the public and the department.
     James M. Manners was appointed rural carrier November 1, 1902, after the death of Walter Snodgrass. He served until December 31, 1906, when he resigned to move to Longview, Wash., where he still resides.
     The postoffice remained in the Burton building until 1904, when Mr. Baker moved to the Swearingen confectionery building, just west of the bank.
     March 20, 1905, the office was robbed of a small amount of cash. The robbery was investigated by Inspector D. J. Sinclair, who reported that entrance was effected by breaking a pane of glass in a rear window of the building, enabling the burglar to reach the catch of the window and raise it. Mr. Baker had left a box containing perhaps 400 pennies and about $4.00 in nickles (sic) and dimes on top of the post office safe. The contents of this box was taken but nothing else disturbed. The robbers were never intercepted as there was no positive evidence.
     After 18 months here a new brick building was erected on the same location, which served as post office and hardware store,
     Thomas J. Brendel was temporary carrier after Mr. Manners resigned and served until March 15, 1907.
     Thomes H. Nix was appointed regular carrier March 16, 1907, and served until November 10, 1908.
     December 1, 1908, William Seybolt was appointed temporary carrier until January 15, 1909.
     William Rex Young was appointed regular carrier January 16, 1909, and served until June 10, 1911.
     Henry H. Sands, a temporary carrier, served from June 12, 1911 until August 7, 1911.
     Louis H. Rice served as temporary carrier from August 8, 1911, until September 30, 1911.
     Kingsley Lee Kniss was appointed regular carrier October 1, 1911, and served until February 25, 1925, when he was transfered (sic) by the Post Office department to Los Angeles, Calif., where he is still with the department.
     William S. Smith was appointed postmaster October 12, 1914. The office was moved to the McDaniel building which housed the Smith grocery

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and meat market.
     Mr. Smith was born July 27, 1867. at Davenport, Ia. Mr. Smith moved to Murray in the spring of 1903, establishing a grocery and moat market, which he is still operating.
     October 10, 1920, burglars entered the post office by opening the window overlooking the street. The robbery was investigated by inspector W. M. Coble who reported that the safe was blown with nitroglycerine and about $59.14 in stamp stock was taken. Also some blank money order forms. Mr. Smith suffered loss of some valuable papers. A clock in the office was disturbed by the concussion when the safe was blown and it stopped at 3:05 a. m. However, the robbery was not discovered until the office was opened Sunday morning, October 10. The thief was never caught.
     Harvey E. Kniss was appointed temporary carrier after the transfer of his brother and served until March 7, 1925.
     Mr. Kniss was the first rural carrier to use the automobile for transporting the mail at Murray:
     March 9, 1925, Ernest Millbern was appointed regular carrier and served until December 31, 1933.
     June 9, 1927, the post office was destroyed by fire of unknown origin. Hastily an emergency office was established in the Holmes building at the south east corner of block 15. This served as the Murray pest office until the new brick building was completed by Mr. Smith.
     October 16, 1928, B. Harry Nelson was appointed acting postmaster, serving in that capacity until December 18, 1928, when he was appointed postmaster. Mr. Nelson's post office was in the newly erected brick building just east of the bank. Mr. Nelson also operated the Murray Hardware Store. Later he moved the office and store to the building west of the bank, which had served Mr. Baker as post office several years before.
      Mr. Nelson was born at Weeping Water, Nebr., May 30, 1881. He moved to Murray in 1926 from Nehawka, where he had been engaged in the Sheldon store for a number of years. Mr. Nelson lived in Murray, operating the hardware store and post office until his death, December 18, 1933.
     A. Lucian Carper was appointed acting postmaster January 22, 1934. and continued in the same location. Mr. Carper was born February 20, 1906, at Nehawka, Nebr., moving to Murray in 1930.
     Harry Albin, a temporary carrier, was appointed January 1, 1934, and served until March 31, 1934. Since that time he has been serving as the substitute carrier.
     April 1, 1934, Eugene Ruddy was appointed regular carrier, being transferred from Union, Nebr., after serving as rural carrier in Union for ten years. Mr. Roddy is the rural carrier at the present time.
     October 13, 1934, Charles D. Spangler was appointed postmaster, moving the office to the Seybolt building on the south side of Main street, and is serving the patrons of Murray at the present time.
     Mr. Spangler was born at Plattsmouth, Nebr., August 15, 1872, moving to a farm near Murray in 1901.
     During the early morning hours of January 27, 1937, the Missouri Pacific station was entered and robbed of the mail pouches. The robbers were soon


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apprehended and were sentenced to the federal prison at Leavenworth. Kan., where they are now serving time. The Post Office Department celebrated the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of the regular air mail service on May 15, 1918, by observing the week of May 15, 1938, as National Air Mail Week. Any town, providing a suitable landing field, was given the privilege of having a special pickup flight one day during this National Air Mail Week. Mr. James L. Hurst of Lincoln, Nebr., was pilot of flight No. 8, which included Weeping Water, Murray, Plattsmouth and Louisville. The mail was flown from these towns into Lincoln, Nebr., May 19, 1938. There were 127 letters dispatched on this first air trail pick-up flight from Murray, going to 26 different states and two foreign countries.


The First Postmaster of Murray, Nebraska.





     The human race depending on the products of the soil has lead them to seek newer and more fertile land and the opening of the Territory of Nebraska for settlement by the proclamation of President Pierce, June 24, 1854, caused a rush of settlers to the eastern border of the Indian country, the new Territory of Nebraska, to establish new homes. No form of government existed and claim clubs were organized in each community with rules regulating the taking up of land claims, and while there was a strong feeling of justice in these organizations, there were at times an apparent biased decision.
     The land in Cass county was not surveyed until 1856, and each claim was staked off by "metes and bounds,"

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and a claim club committee was appointed to adjust difficulties. The claim boundaries were very obscure and confusing. My father, wishing to settle near the river, bought a claim which is recorded as the twelfth deed in Cass county:

No. 12, Page 6, Book A

     "For and in the consideration of the sum of One Hundred Dollars to me in hand paid by John Gilmore of the County of Cass, Nebraska Territory, have bargained and sold quit claimed unto John Gilmore all my right, title, interest and claim to the following described land as follows, "(viz)", Commencing near the Northwest corner of Kanosha, running in a north direction with the Swaps line to a burr oak tree on the north side of the branch, thence about ( ) rods northwest direction to a stake near a small burr oak marked with a blaze, thence south to a stake to Isaac Flethers Northwest corner, from thence a straight line to the place of beginning. In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this 15th day of May, 1855.

Richard Fletcher (Seal)

Witness, W. H. Davis.

     Wm. H. Davis who served as Recorder of Deeds lived two and a half miles east of Murray in the woods in a log cabin. These records at that time were kept In his cabin.
     The following claim certificate was written in long hand and on cheap paper by Edward Cook:
     "This is to certify that the undersigned, Edward Cook, having this day taken up and located a claim on the public lands in Cass county, Nebraska Territory, known and described as follows: Commencing on the South side of Rock Creek, on a small oak, about 20 rods southwest of a spring in the head of a deep ravine, which empties into Rock Creek a short distance above where Wilson dug for coal, running from said oak corner one-half mile east to stake, from thence north a half mile to a stake, thence west one half mile to a stake, from thence south one-half mile to the place of beginning including one hundred and sixty acres, more or less. Given under my hand and seal this 11th day of June, A. D.. 1855.

Edward Cook."

Witness: Wm. Young.

     While the spring in the ravine has disappeared and the place where Wilson dug for coal has been covered by erosion from the hill side, yet John Clemmons in describing his claim west of the Rock Creek School house locates this claim to the east.
     Claims were sold and traded for in the fifties for a trival (sic) consideration. A yoke of oxen or a horse for a quarter section of land. The Henry Schomaker old home which is now owned by Fred C. Schomaker, his son, was transferred for a mere song. Here is a copy of the original deed:
     "For the consideration of Forty Dollars to me in hand paid by John Sturm of Cass county and Territory of Nebraska, I hereby sell, convey and quit claim to said Sturm, my claim on the public lands of the United States embracing the following numbers to-wit: The south east quarter of section one in Township number ten, north of Range twelve, east of the sixth principal meridian and situated in said
     Cass county and Territory of Nebraska and containing one hundred sixty acres, to have and to hold until the said Sturm, his heirs and assigns forever, and I do warrant the said claim to the said Sturm and his assigns


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against the claim of all persons claiming the same through, by or under me.
     Given under my hand this 11th day of September, A. D., 1857

N. D. Pool."

In the presence of
S. M. Kirkpatrick.

     John Sturm was a cousin to Andre Sturm, another well known pioneer on the Weeping Water. Coming from Alsace-Lorraine, Andre Sturm retained the French spelling of Andrew, but to his son he gave the American spelling and Andrew F. Sturm who has served the county in the legislature and county offices is well known to the people of the county.
     The following document setting forth the status of Andre Sturm as a citizen and his dwelling shows the pioneer spirit:
     "In the matter of the right of Andre Sturm, of Cass county, N. T., to pre-empt the S1/2 of NE1/4 and the W 14 of the SE1/4 of section eleven, in township number ten, north of range 12, east of the sixth principal meridian in the district of lands subject to sale at the Land Office at Nebraska City in said Territory, I George Hansen of the same place, do swear that I am well acquainted with the said Andre Sturm, that I know him to be over 21 years of age and that he has filed his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and he did on or about the first day of September, 1857, settle and improve said land by laying a foundation for a house, and that since that time he has erected a house thereon of sawed lumber, about 12x14 feet in size, with a good roof and floor, one door, one window and a fire place, and that he now resides therein.

J. G. Hansen."

     Andre Sturm and George Hansen lived in a cabin on the Weeping Water during the winter of 1856-57, one of the severest winters in the history of Nebraska. Their hardships were well borne and game was plentiful and easily taken. Deer breaking through the crusted snow were captured without a rifle.
     The land office for Cass county was located at Nebraska City in the fifties and it was here that disputes over the title of land were discussed and settled. The quarter section of land a half mile west of Mt. Pleasant cemetery was taken up for consideration by Henry Kropp in the following notice to Fredrick Bates:
     "Fredrick A. Bates:- You are hereby notified that I will appear at the Land Office at Nebraska City on the 15th day of July, 1858, at 10 o'clock A. M., to prove my right to pre-empt the NE quarter of Section Seven, Township ten, North of Range 13, East of the Sixth Principal Meridian.
     July 12, 1858. Henry Kropp."
     This tract of land is still in the Kropp name.
     The absolute control of land sharks in a frontier country is impossible and "Shylock and his pound of flesh," always appears in the settlement of a new country with mortgage foreclosures and rates of interest beyond the possible point of payment.
     The Cass County Sentinel, published at Plattsmouth in the issue of October 2, 1862, gives three columns of foreclosures. The eighty acres of land in which the Scotia school is located in Liberty precinct and the eighty just east of it were foreclosed in October 1862 for $280 with the rate of interest at 60 per cent. This was the property of Rhoda Long, Calvin Stew-

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art, Mary Stewart, Jacob Gish and Rebecca Gish. The two eighties just north of these were foreclosed at the same time for an incumbrance (sic) of $132.25 and the rate of interest at five per cent per month. Several are listed at four per cent per month, 48 per cent per annum.
     In 1866 a law was passed limiting the rate of interest to 15 per cant by contract and again in the 70s to ten per cent.
     Another way in which the shrewd shark preyed upon the innocent settlers in Cass county and the gullable (sic) in the eastern states was to sell lots and blocks in beautifully named paper towns and cities in this county and this continued until laws were passed driving this type of trickster from the territory.
     While crime did enter in a limited way in the formation of the statehood
     Nebraska, the early pioneer did stand firmly for equity, fairness and brotherly helpfullness (sic) and in concerted effort was made to develop Cass county. The Nebraska Herald, Plattsmouth, of April 21, 1870 carried an encouraging sketch:
     Which is being organized to settle five miles northwest of Weeping Water Falls will he a great benefit to Cass county and Plattsmouth. The settlement will add many thousands of dollars to our taxable property, and will add largely to the general industry and thrift of the state, it will add to the general product of the state and to the surplus of grain, cattle, etc. which will seek a market at this or some other city in the state."




     The O'Neill family was an Irish clan tracing descent from Naill, king of Ireland, early in the fifth century, and known in Irish history and legend as Naill of Nine Hostages. This king had fourteen sons from whom the O'Neills of later history descended. Daniel O'Neill of the 17th century was a member of the Clanaboy branch of the family, and spent much of his early life at the court of Charles I, and became a Protestant. In 1649, he was made a major-general, and but for his Protestantism would have succeeded Owen Ross O'Neill as chief of the O'Neills. Approximately one-third of the Protestant population of Ulster migrated to America during the half century preceeding (sic) the Revolutionary War. Among this migration, James O'Neill, the father of the subject of this sketch came to Pennsylvania, settling in the vicinity of Harrisburg, and later moved to Hocking county, Ohio, where the James O'Neill, subject of this sketch, was born, September 24, 1815.
     He spent his early boyhood and


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young manhood on his father's farm near Lancaster, Ohio. He was educated in the country schools of his native county. Though he never learned a trade, he was very proficient in the use of tools, and did most of his own carpenter work. He married Miss Rachel Avery, who was born in Belmont county, Ohio, October 27, 1824. Mr. O'Neill acquired a farm near his father's farm, where he and his wife resided, and two of his children were born, a daughter Elizabeth, and a son, John Henry. In 1848 he sold his farm, and with his wife and children, came west in a covered wagon and first settled in Mills county, Iowa. He established his new home near Kegg creek, where he acquired a large tract of land. The first winter was a severe one and the family endured the greatest hardship. His wife and family were greatly discouraged and wanted to return to their Ohio home, but when the spring came, the crops were planted, which brought forth an abundant harvest, this pioneer family become established as a part of the Great West. He subsequently moved to a point on the east bank of the Missouri river in 1850, from which point he and Wheately Mickelwait operated flat boats to transport imigrants (sic) across the river.
      In 1853, James O'Neill and Col. J. L. Sharp assisted Samuel Martin in bringing logs across the river on the ice from Iowa, with which they built a substantial two-story building on Lots 6 and 7 in Block 31. This was known as the "Old Barracks" and for several years it was the outstanding trading post of the new town of Plattsmouth.
     In 1855, the Territorial Legislature granted a charter for a ferry to James O'Neill, Wheatley Mickelwait, J. L. Sharp, J. G. Palmer and Lafayette Nuckolls, and he continued to operate the ferry until 1857. In the latter part of 1853, he built a small house near the 'Old Barracks" to which he moved his family in 1854. He took up a claim of a considerable tract of land just south of where the Burlington shops are now located, and later a portion of this land was platted and laid out as O'Neill's Adddition (sic)
     On this claim he found a spot where the limestone was near the surface and a spring was flowing from the rocks. This was the very spot chosen by him on which to build his homestead. With pine lumber purchased from the lumber yard at Bellevue, he began the building of a very substantial residence, the foundation of which was laid on the solid rock, the interior was finished in walnut, the stairway being built of solid walnut brought from his own sawmill in Mills county, Iowa. The old fashioned doors were made of the same kind of wood. He being a carpenter this house was his handiwork and was one of the outstanding residences in its day. He dug out and walled up the spring that flowed from among the rocks, over which he built a stone house with a stone passageway leading to the residence. There always was an abundant flow of pure cold water. To the hundreds of weary travelers and settlers who stopped to quench their thirst at this spring, this place became "a place by the side of the road and a friend to man." To the hungry his wife gave food and milk for drink. Among those weary travelers was Nicholas Halmas, who stopped and remained, for some time with the family.
     James O'Neill was a man of modest education, but was a man of great

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energy, force and capacity to do things. He was a hard worker and he wanted everybody around him to work.
     On October 28, 1854, James O'Neill, Samuel Martin. Columbus Nuckolls, I. L. Sharp, Manly Green and Lafayette Nuckolls organized the Plattsmouth Town Company. In November 1854, O. N. Tyson, the surveyor of the company, assisted by O'Neill, laid out and platted the original city of Plattsmouth, which was approved by a special act of the Legislature incorporating the City on March 14, 1855. At the same time the Legislature by special act fixed the boundaries of Cass county and designated Plattsmouth as the seat of justice. Early in 1856, James O'Neill built the first school house on gospel hill, where the fine school system of Plattsmouth held its first session of school, also the first county, was held in this same school house. He also served as a member of the school board and justice of the peace, as well as a member of the city council.
     His wife was of sturdy Virginia stock, whose wise counsels strengthened and encouraged him, while her helping hand was never withheld when he needed her assistance. This pioneer family was endowed with eight children who grew to maturity, namely, Mrs. Elizabeth Herold, John Henry O'Neill, W. A O'Neill, Lafayette O'Neill, George O'Neill, Mrs. Lydia Bodien and Frank and Louis O'Neill,
     At the old homestead James O'Neill in 1880, passed on to the great beyond, leaving those with whom he had toiled to biuld (sic) a city in pioneer days and to future generations to reverence his name as one of the founders of Plattsmouth.




     The atmosphere surrounding the activities and social life of the early settlers in a new and unknown country with but few facts at hand regarding its history and resources may cause these pioneers to seemingly draw many grotesque and fantastic conclusions regarding the country in which they live, and yet some of their ideas are well founded. The many viewpoints taken by the pioneers on any subject has been well recorded in the first newspapers published.
     Across the Missouri river east of Platssmouth (sic), and four miles west of Glenwood, Iowa, was in the 50's a flourishing town of over 500 inhabitants, Pacific Coty (sic), which has dwindled away to a few houses and a corn field. In this ghost town was published The Pacific City Herald, edited by Alfred Thomson with his motto: "Independent in all things--neutral in nothing." This paper carried more news and advertisements for Nebraska Territory than it did for the Territory
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