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Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Produced by Diana Busing.

Part 8


Freemasons.--A preliminary meeting of the Masonic fraternity was held in the hall of what is now known as the Clark House, but not finding a suitable room in town, no action was taken to organize a lodge. Nothing more was done toward an organization until late in the fall of 1873. Meetings were held to arrange matters of organization at the court house. The first regular communication of this lodge was, U. D., at Melvin's Hall December 23, 1873. Evening Star Lodge, A., F. & M., U. D., was the name adopted. The officers at that time were J. Arnot, W. M.; M. W. Wilcox, S. W.; J. C. Merrill, J. W. June 28, 1874, the lodge received a charter from the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, A., F. & A. M. The charter members were R. L. Garr, J. B. Dinsmore, A. K. Marsh, C. L. Henny, F. M. Brown, J. C. Merrill, M. W. Wilcox, C. M. Turner, James Arnot, M. J. Hull, William D. Young, M. V. B. Clark, J. M. Gray, J. J. Melvin, I. N. Clark. In June, 1874, the lodge moved from Melvin's Hall to their present hall over I. N. Clark and Co.'s store. At the session of the Grand Lodge of the State, in June, 1876, M. W. Wilcox was appointed Grand Orator. The growth of the lodge has been steady and now numbers about fifty members. The loss of members by death is extremely small, numbering but two. These were A. L. Lamont, who died August 12, 1879, and James Thompson, who died in February 1881. The present officers are J. C. Merrill, Worshipful Master; M. V. B. Clark, Senior Warden; F. M. Brown, Junior Warden; F. A. Alexander, Secretary; George Honey, Treasurer; H. Lehrman, Senior Deacon; Charles S. Miller, Junior Deacon. The lodge meets on the second and third Thursdays of each month and is in a flourishing condition.

Lebanon Chapter.--The first regular communication of the chapter took place at the hall of A., F. & A. M., December 23, 1875, M. J. Hull, G. H. P.; A. K. Marsh, G. S. W.; George VanDuyne, G. J. W. The society existed under a dispensation until December, 1876, when it became chartered, with Milton J. Hull, George H. VanDuyne, W. D. Young, A. K. Marsh, John C. Merrill and Frank A. Pyle as charter members. Regular meetings have since been held in the Masonic Hall, and the chapter has at present a membership of fifty. During the year 1881, the chapter was represented in the Grand Chapter by F. A. Pyle. At the last election, the following officers were chosen: Frank A. Pyle, High Priest; M. V. B. Clark, Scribe; R. G. Merrill, Captain of the Host; J. C. Merrill, Principal Sojourner; R. G. Brown, Royal Arch Captain. Only one death has occurred among the members--that of William A. Farmer, in October, 1880. The present membership is fifty; is well supplied with a full set of emblems and a very handsome wardrobe, costing about $250.

Independent Order of Odd Fellows.--Sutton Lodge, No. 53, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was instituted at Grosshaus' Hall, in Sutton, on the evening of November 15, 1874, by the Grand Master, Ira A. Gallup, assisted by brothers from Crete, York and Fairmont Lodges. Charter members were W. A. Way, George Stewart, J. F. Evans, I. B. Tyrrell, E. P. Church and George Kreiger, all fifth degree members; Evans and Church, Past Grands. W. A. Way was elected N. G.; I. B. Tyrrell, V. G.; George Stewart, Secretary, and George Kreiger, Treasurer. Following the installation of officers by the Grand Master, came petitions from R. G. Merrill, S. B. Montgomery, W. J. Keller, S. Carney and J. Grice to join by initiation, and D. J. Towslee as an Ancient Odd Fellow, all of whom--a dispensation permitting--were elected, initiated and made members the same evening, and Sutton Lodge started on its mission of "friendship, love and truth" with twelve members. It now has a membership of sixty-five. The Grand Master assigned Clay and Hamilton Counties as District No. 28, appointing E. P. Church District Deputy. In the summer of 1878, the lodge began the erection of a building, which was completed in the spring of the following year and is a handsome two-story brick, the second story being occupied by lodge rooms. It is the finest building in the town. The society is in fine condition and has given considerable aid toward both its own and also members of other lodges, particularly during the grasshopper years. The present officers are J. W. Shirley, Noble Grand; G. W. Bemis, Vice Grand; J. B. Royce, Secretary, and A. G. Sherwood, Treasurer.

A higher order of Odd Fellowship was instituted in May, 1877 when the Wildey Encampment became organized. The charter members were J. W. Shirley, J. W. Keller, George Stewart, Fred Hoerger and Dr. A. O. Kendall. The present officers of the lodge are W. J. Keller, Chief Patriarch; H. Lehrman, High Priest; W. D. Young, Junior Warden; J. S. LeHew, Senior Warden; Paul Braitsch, Treasurer; H. Nagle, Sentinel.

Grand Army of the Republic.--This society was established on the 28th of April, 1879, with twenty members. The first meetings were held in the Odd Fellows' Hall. The officers elected at that time were W. S. Randall, Post Commander; J. C. Merrill, Vice Commander; A. K. Marsh, Junior Vice Commander; Dr. M. V. B. Clark, Post Surgeon; I. N. Clark, Quartermaster; I. B. Tyrrell, Post Chaplain; E. H. White, Quartermaster Sergeant; W. T. McKnight, Adjutant; E. E. Howard, Sergeant Major. In about two years after the society began, they removed from the Odd Fellows' Hall into their present armory. The organization is known as the Geo. G. Meade Post, No. 19, and now numbers forty-two members in good and regular standing. The present officers are C. W. Walter, Post Commander; Dr. M. V. B. Clark, Senior Vice Commander; C. Newman, Junior Vice Commander; I. N. Clark, Quartermaster; R. A. Hawley, Post Chaplain; R. H. Stewart, Adjutant; W. J. Keller, Officer of the Day; Dr. M. V. B. Clark, Surgeon.

Knights of Honor.--The Grove Lodge, No. 1,477, of the Knights of Honor, was instituted at Sutton on the 19th day of March, 1879. The preliminary meeting and organization took place in the hall of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which place they have since remained, holding meetings regularly on the second and fourth Friday nights of each month. The first officers elected in the control of the society were W. J. Keller, Dictator; F. J. Hoerger, Reporter; J. W. Johnson, Financial Reporter; E. H. White, Treasurer; J. T. Mollyneaux, Past Dictator and also representative of the Grand Lodge of the Knights of Honor. At the organization, the lodge had a membership of twenty-two. Many changes have been made in the membership of the lodge since it began, sometimes falling below the original number, and again increasing above it, and at this time it contains nineteen members in good standing. The officers chosen at the last election were as follows: Paul Britsch, Dictator; I. D. Smith, Vice Dictator; R. H. Stewart, Assistant Dictator; J. M. Ramsey, Reporter; J. W. Shirley, Financial Reporter; F. J. Hoerger, Treasurer; J. B. Dinsmore and A. C. Clyde, representatives to Grand Lodge. Only one regular member of the lodge has died since it was instituted. This was Thomas Davis, Jr., who died October 25, 1879, to whose widow the lodge paid a benefit of $2,000. The total expenditure for each member, including all dues and assessments, for the past three years amounts to only $46, or an average annual tax on each member of $15.33 1/3. The lodge at present is in good working order, and has among its members many live and energetic business men.

Military Company.--Company B, of the First Regiment of the State Guards, was formed November 15, 1878. A meeting was held in Odd Fellows' Hall by those of Sutton's sons whose proclivities bent in the direction of the chivalrous and heroic, and the company made up, numbering forty members. The officers chosen were W. J. Keller, Captain; J. S. LeHew, First Lieutenant, and G. W. Bemis, Second Lieutenant. Of these officers, Keller is now Lieutenant Colonel of the First Regiment, and LeHew Judge Advocate General on the Governor's staff. As a mark of the worth and merit of this company, it was awarded the title of the Governor's Guards by special commission of the Executive of State. The company is supplied with a complete outfit of equipments--guns, uniforms, accouterments, etc., each member owning a separate wardrobe for the storage of his private equipments. It was the first uniformed and equipped company in the State. They have also a large armory, in which the munitions are stored. The company was ordered to arms in the summer of 1880 to quell the riot at the smelting works in the city of Omaha. They remained in waiting for three days, when the matter subsided and the order was countermanded and the company discharged. On March 8, 1882, they were again called out to put down the strike among the graders on the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, at Omaha. At this time the company was on duty for twelve days, guarding the graders' camp, and, although subjected to much abuse, which, as soldiers, they could not resent, yet no occasion was presented for opening hostilities. As an indication of the merit of this body of men, they were specially appointed to remain in the suppression of the strikers, and were the last company to be discharged from duty. At present the company is officered as follows: W. D. Young, Captain; F. C. Matteson, First Lieutenant; George C. Roys, Second Lieutenant; J. H. Johnson, First Sergeant. Meetings for drill are held on Saturday nights of each week and target practice once each month.

Scientific Association.--A scientific association was formed by a few of the citizens of Sutton, which has for its object the advancement of science and the pursuit of technical knowledge. The association organized by electing M. V. B. Clark, M. D., President; E. H. White, Vice President; U. H. Malick, B. S. Secretary, and H. W. Gray, Treasurer. Dr. Clark, President of the association, is a practical chemist of excellent ability. Among the important discoveries within the fields of scientific research and investigation is that made by Dr. Clark, President of the society, in ascertaining the first inventor of the lucifer match and the date of its invention. Among the records and papers of the association are documents of authenticity in proof of this discovery, which Dr. Clark has carefully detailed in a carefully prepared paper. The discovery, not yet published to the scientific world, shows that the lucifer match was invented by Zuleina Platt, afterward Mrs. C. B. Evans, June 27, 1828, at Waterford, N. Y., which antedates and overthrows the acknowledged theory that it was first discovered by John Walker, chemist of Stockton-upon-Tees, in 1829.


William Shirley came from Lincoln, Neb., December 7, 1871; in February, 1872, he built the first hotel in the place. The part built then was moved back, in June, 1874, and is now used for the kitchen, and in its place was built the present Central Hotel, which was formally opened for guests June 22, 1874, the event being celebrated in the evening by toasts and speeches. The house is now occupied by M. Wittenberg with a stock of dry goods.

The building now known as the Clark House was used, up to January 1, 1873, by Clark Bros., for the sale of hardware and drugs. At that date it was opened as a hotel, by Dudley Hoisington, until the 10th of August, 1873, when it passed into the hands of E. P. Church, Mr. Church is a native of New York, but came to Sutton from Beatrice, Neb., and was engaged in the hotel business up to November, 1881, at which time he removed to Harvard and is now engaged as proprietor of the Metropolitan Hotel at that place.

The Occidental Hotel was built by R. G. Brown in the spring of 1878. It is a large two-story frame, containing twenty-five rooms, and has capacity for the comfortable lodgment of about thirty guests and cost $4,500. The house was run by W. J. Abbot about six months, when it was taken charge of by J. T. Mollyneaux, who has since continued proprietor.


Among other of her institutions, Sutton numbers two banks of deposit. The first of these and the earliest of the kind in the place was started on January 1, 1877, by L. R. Grimes and J. B. Dinsmore. The firm at that time occupied a room since used by A. H. Keller for a drug store, in which they remained for about ten months, when they removed into their present quarters, in a small brick banking house, erected in November, 1877, for banking purposes specially. After running for about three years, the firm was changed to that of J. B. Dinsmore and F. C. Matteson as the firm of J. B. Dinsmore & Co. The cash capital of the institution is $20,000, with a reserve capital of $15,000, the deposits amounting to $35,000.

The Sutton Bank began business in April, 1880, under the control of L. D. Fowler and George H. Cowles; the latter gentleman is a non-resident of the place, being interested in a similar establishment in the State of Iowa, the business here being under the management of L. D. Fowler. The capital stock of this bank is $30,000, with deposits amounting to $65,000. Both are private institutions and are engaged in general banking business, making loans and collections and dealing in foreign and domestic exchanges.


Lawyers.--The following is a list of lawyers in the order in which they settled and commenced practice: Robert G. Brown, a native of Illinois, settled April 10, 1871, the first lawyer in the county. His first case and the first lawsuit in the county was before John R. Maltby, Probate Judge, November 2, 1871. The case was about a well, James S. Schermerhorn, plaintiff, vs. David P. Jayne, defendant. Mr. Brown was attorney for the plaintiff and won the suit, receiving a fee of $10. He is a Notary Public and was a delegate to the National Republican Convention, at Cincinnati, Ohio, June 14, 1876.

Hosea W. Gray, a native of Pennsylvania, settled May 4, 1871, and commenced practicing law November 2, 1871, having been consulted in the Schermerhorn vs. Jayne case. His next case was before A. K. Marsh, Justice of the Peace, where he appeared for the defendant in the case of Ellison vs. Hull, and won the suit.

H. W. Gray and A. A. McCoy, both from Marion, Iowa, commenced their law, collection and real estate business March 12, 1874. Mr. Gray was formerly a member of the Constitutional Convention of Iowa. The firm has since dissolved and McCoy has moved away.

J. S. LeHew, a native of Ohio, came here from Fillmore County in 1874; was admitted to the bar in February, 1875, and commenced the law, pension and collection business. He has been Town Clerk for two successive years.

John E. Bagley, a native of Iowa, came form Falls City, Neb., to this place September 4, 1874, and commenced practicing law. He is now in the firm of Bagley & Bemis.


E. H. White, a native of Ohio, and G. W. Bemis, a native of New York, were admitted to the bar May 23, 1874, and commenced practice together, continuing so for about seven months. Mr. White is alone in the law and collection business. He was the founder of the York Monitor, the first newspaper in York County, and settled here in July, 1873, and, for a short time, owned a half interest in the Sutton Times; he was also editor and proprietor of the Clay County Globe, a newspaper published weekly in Sutton, but afterward sold the paper to I. D. Evans. G. W. Bemis is a Notary Public, and is now in company with Mr. Bagley in the law business. J. S. LeHew and J. W. Shirley are Justices of the Peace.

Jeff L. and W. F. Stone came to Sutton August 1, 1879, and engaged in the practice of the law as the firm of Stone & Stone. Both gentlemen came from Marion, in the State of Iowa.

Physicians.--Following is a list of physicians in the order in which they settled in town: Martin V. B. Clark, M. B., M. D., a native of Cuyahoga County, Ohio; graduated from the College of Pharmacy, of Baldwin University, Ohio, February 28, 1867, and in medicine at the Cleveland Medical College, Ohio, February 4, 1869; was Professor of Pharmacy four years in the former college, and a member of the convention to revise the United States Pharmacopoeia of 1870; commenced the practice of medicine at this place November 1, 1871, the first physician in the county.

Markus W. Wilcox, M. D., a native of Genesee County, N. Y., took his first course at the Eclectic School, Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated at the Ohio Medical College in 1850, and took an ad eundem degree at the Chicago Medical College in 1864; commenced practice in this place in July, 1873; he was Commissioner of Insanity for this county and United Stated Pension Surgeon, both positions having been previously held by Dr. Clark, from 1873 to 1875; he left Sutton in 1878, taking up his location at Harvard.

W. M. Sammis, M. D., a native of Illinois, took his first course at the Kentucky School of Medicine and graduated at the Louisville Medical College early in 1875; was for some time thereafter in the Louisville City Hospital; settled here and commenced practice July 26, 1875.

R. M. Cotton, M. D., Ph. D., a native of Portage County Ohio, graduated in Technology, with the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and in medicine at the University of Michigan, 1875; settled here and commenced practice March 1, 1876. Both of the latter gentlemen have since sought other fields of labor.

A. O. Kendall came to Sutton August 26, 1876, and engaged in the practice of the healing art, and has attained considerable repute as a practitioner. Dr. Kendall is a graduate of Bellevue Hospital, New York, having finished a course at that institution in 1869, and was engaged in the practice of his profession at Middleton and Lafayette Mills, Wis., prior to his coming to Nebraska.


As yet but a single attempt has been made to establish a manufactory at Sutton. This was a brick-making institution, which was begun on June 1, 1876, by I. N. Clark, J. S. LeHew, Jacob Case and Paul Britsch. During the first year's operations, they manufactured 120,000 brick. In the following year, a change in the firm was made, the business coming into the exclusive possession of Clark & Case. The firm began the use of a patent brick press in 1880, and in that year made 300,000 brick, the largest production they have yet made in any one year; the product of the last year's operation was 130,000. The brick used in the construction of the court house, at Clay Center, the Methodist Church, at Sutton, and also several residences, was made by this firm.


Born in a fierce storm, like our common country over one hundred years ago, to-day Sutton stands forth a bright example of what can be accomplished in eleven years by the resolute efforts and persevering industry of Western Americans. In these days, the growth of cities and States is measured by events, not years. And so to those who have been actors in the scenes here portrayed, the span of time seems full twenty years. What the future great city, Sutton, shall be when our forms shall have gone back to dust, let others tell. Its past has been told. Established and builded by brave-hearted men and women, whose names here committed to the imperishable page, are so wedded to deeds that the historian can scarce separate them. May the memory of their struggles be kept ever green by posterity.

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