NEGenWeb Project
Kansas Collection Books

Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Nemaha County
Produced by
John McCoy.

Topography | Pre-Historic | Early Settlement

First Fourth of July | Reminiscences | Jayhawking
Organization | County Seat Troubles

War History | Official Roster | County Buildings | Railroads | Ferries
Farmers' Clubs | Grasshoppers | Agricultural Society

Nemaha County Mills | Bridges | Educational | Religious | Progress
Statistics of Property | National and State Officials
Brownville:   Early History | Pioneer Incidents | Surveys and Additions


Brownville (cont.):   Incorporation | Official Roster
Nemaha Valley Insurance Company
The Brownville Stone and Stone Coal Company
The First Telegraph Line | The First Train of Cars | Storm and Flood
Express Robbery | Educational | Religious | The Press


Brownville (cont.):
United States Land Office | River Improvements | Post Office
Masonic And Other Organizations | Library Association and Lyceum
Hotels | Banks | United States Express Company
Walnut Grove Cemetery | Manufactories | Attorneys and Physicians
Carson | London

 8 ~ 10:

Biographical Sketches:

PART 11:

Peru:  Early History | Societies | Education | The Press
Railroads and Business Interests | Personal and incidents

PART 12:
Peru (cont.):  Biographical Sketches
PART 13:

Nemaha City:  Early Settlement | Organization | Education
Religious | Societies | The Press | Business Interests

PART 14:
Nemaha City (cont.):  Biographical Sketches
PART 15:

North Auburn:  Early History | Religious | Educational | Societies
Press | Hotels
South Auburn:  Religious | Societies | The Press

PART 16:
North Auburn & South Auburn:  Biographical Sketches
PART 17:
Brock:  Biographical Sketches
PART 18:
Aspinwall:  Biographical Sketches
PART 19:

Johnson & Clifton:  Biographical Sketches
St. Deroin - Febing - Bedford:  Biographical Sketches

PART 20:

Other Towns:  Biographical Sketches

List of Illustrations in Nemaha County Chapter

Part 13


Nemaha City, situated upon the Missouri River, four and a half miles below Brownville, undoubtedly occupies one of the finest possible sites in the Mississippi Valley. Located upon a wooded bend in the river, surrounded on all sides by valleys whose marvelous fertility is unquestioned, and by hills unsurpassed for the culture of the grape and for horticulture generally, it not only affords a rare view to one who chooses its highest hill top for his observatory, but is itself, from whatever side it may be surveyed, a thing of beauty. It possesses a good landing, its gentle slopes afford all that could be asked, as regards natural drainage, and at the same time preclude the possibility of miasma or of a destructive overflow.


Among those who crossed from Missouri into the future Territory and State of Nebraska, during the spring and summer of 1854, previous to the vesting of the Indian title, and immediately subsequent thereto, were A. L. Coutt, A. D. Skeen, H. Russell, William Weddle, Nathan Myers, Dr. Wyatt and Dr. Jerome Hoover, all of these locating in what is now Nemaha Precinct, of Nemaha County, and upon, or in the immediate vicinity of, the present site of Nemaha City. Allen L. Coutt is believed to have been the first actual settler upon the town site, making no claim, however, and being followed very soon, and during the same summer, by Dr. Wyatt, who at once took 160 acres to himself, so far as driving claim-stakes could accomplish that end. In October, 1854, Dr. Jerome Hoover, being upon his way to Texas to look for a location, was met by Dr. Wyatt, at Rockport, Mo., and, upon the latter's representations, crossed the river to see what advantages its western shores offered. So pleased was he with the location that he at once purchased the claim of Dr. Wyatt, entered his claim in the land office and recorded it as a town site, in the office of the County Clerk, as soon as that functionary had an official existence. The Legislature of 1855-56 duly incorporated the new city, granting, also, by special act, a charter to establish a ferry across the Little Nemaha River, to William Finney, and one to build a dam across the same river, where Rowe's mill is now situated, to Henry Hoover. The ferry privilege was subsequently sold to Dr. Jerome Hoover, who transferred it to Henry Elliott, who built a toll-bridge in 1863-64, which was sold some three years later to the county for $2,000, and was immediately superseded by an iron structure, costing $4,000, which is still in existence. The dam referred to was constructed in 1856, a mill being erected by Henry Hoover, which was sold to J. G. Melvin, and subsequently passing into the hands of various proprietors, as follows: Samuel Bennett, K. Skeen, Rowe & Trowbridge and Rowe & Son. The mill structure was almost entirely demolished by the high waters of 1881, but was rebuilt by the present owners and is now in active operation, with three run of stone.

A post office was established July 1, 1856, with Jerome Hoover as Postmaster. The report for the first quarter shows a sale of stamps to the amount of $1.14. The official incumbents have been as follows: Jerome Hoover, 1856 to 1857; Daniel Campbell, 1857 to 1859; Jonas Hacker, 1859 to 1863; J. P. Crother, 1863 to 1867; George R. Davis, 1867 to 1868; J. B. Hoover, 1868 to 1870; James A. Titus, 1870 to 1873; John Titus, 1873 to 1875; James A. Titus, 1875 to 1882. The present Postmaster is Philip Crother, who assumed the position January 1, 1882.

The first school was taught by D. C. Sanders in 1857. The first religious organization effected was that of the Methodists, in 1857, under the ministration of Rev. Philo Gorton. The first child born in the precinct was a son of Alexander Waddle, who made his debut June 23, 1855. The first newspaper established was the Nemaha Valley Times, published by Seymour Belden, commencing in January, 1858, and continuing about one year. The first sawmill in the precinct was one brought across the Missouri River by Willis Hill, in the spring of 1857, the owner dying before it was unpacked; that operation was performed by L. P. Hiatt, who set it up and continued to run it until the summer of 1858, when it was sold and removed to Pawnee City. The next saw-mill was that of C. E. L. Holmes, its subsequent owners being Tidwell Bros., C. E. L. Holmes, B. F. Lushbaugh, Levi Sprinkel (who changed it to a flouring-mill), John McPherson, and finally, J. M. Graham, who restored it to its original condition and subsequently removed it to South Brownville. The first store was opened in 1856 by McAllister & Co., afterward McAllister & Kite; what became of the senior partner is not known. Kite went back to Virginia, whence he came, entered the rebel army and died in service. The first hotel was that of L. P. Hiatt, a large frame building erected early in 1857, and destroyed by fire in 1863; later in 1857 put up a substantial building for hotel purposes, which was also burned in 1862. The second store was opened in the fall of 1856 by Moore & Brownlee, both of Indiana, the stock being taken by Cincinnati creditors within a short time. In the spring of 1857, J. R. Davis opened a stock of general merchandise, which was closed out in 1860, the proprietor returning to Missouri. The stock of Moore & Brownlee was purchased from the creditors by W. L. Thurman, succeeded by Thurman & Argabright, in 1858, who, about 1860, removed their establishment to Aspinwall.

The first drug store was opened in Nemaha by Dr. Crim, in 1860. It continued a few years and was closed out by the proprietor. During the same year, Allen L. Coutt placed on sale a stock of genuine merchandise in a brick building erected by him and now occupied by J. S. Minnick, the intermediate proprietors having been Hoover & Tynan, Hoover & Minnick and J. B. Hoover. In 1859 occurred the first fire, resulting in the destruction of John Shook's dwelling. In 1862, Strong's Hotel was burned; in 1863, the Hiatt House, and, in 1864, the residence of Stewart McConiga. The two hotels referred to were, as has already been said, the first ones erected. Another one was opened, known as the City Hotel, by David Lockwood, in 1860, being subsequently sold to David Caldwell, and finally, in 1871, to Levi Johnson, who erected a new building for hotel purposes on the same site in 1880. The Hoover House was opened in 1868 by J. B. Hoover, and still continues in active operation.

Nemaha City was always a place of strong abolition proclivities, being, by virtue of its near vicinity to Missouri, a station of the underground railroad and the frequent resort of John Brown's men. It was here that the hero of Ossawottamie crossed a load of Sharp's rifles, bound for Civil Bend, Iowa, at the conclusion of the Kansas war, late in the fall of 1857; it was here that Leaman, one of Brown's heartiest coadjutors, wintered during 1857-58, and, when the clouds that had been gathering so long, burst at length, no place upon the banks of the Missouri responded more promptly, or for its size, more efficiently, than did Nemaha City. Part of Company E, and all of Company K, of the Second Nebraska Volunteer Infantry, were recruited at this point.

Early in 1877, Nemaha Precinct voted $18,400 in bonds to the Nebraska Railroad, on condition that the said road was to be fully completed from Lincoln to Nemaha City by December 1 of the same year. The grading was at once commenced and practically finished during the summer, whereupon one-half of the bonds were issued. The road made no further progress, and, after paying interest on $9,200 for a year and a half, the case was taken to the courts, and, as the bonds still remained in the hands of the original holders, they were declared to be of no value. In December, 1879, the Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska succeeding the old Nebraska Railroad, and using the same road-bed, made its entrance into the city amid the rejoicings of her citizens.


Nemaha Precinct was created by the Board of County Commissioners January 5, 1857. On the 22d of the same month, at a meeting of the legal voters of Nemaha City, A. J. Benedict was appointed President and J. M. Mullin, Secretary, the meeting then proceeding to determine what officers were necessary to the organization and government of the new city, incorporated a year previous. This formal organization was effected by an election held February 2, 1857, resulting as follows: Mayor, Jerome Hoover; Aldermen, William Corn, E. M. McComas and John Hiatt. On October 24 of the same year, a special election was held to fill vacancies, the result placing Joel W. Wells in the Mayoralty, and A. Melick and Hiram Barnes in the Aldermanic positions occupied by E. M. McComas and William Corn. In April, 1858, Joel W. Wells was re-elected, resigning March 2, 1859, and being succeeded by W. W. Keeling, who resigned March 30, Jerome Hoover being appointed to fill the vacancy. The election of April, 1859, placed C. E. L. Holmes in the chair, since which time, and until 1877, the incumbents have been as followers: 1860, Jonas Hacker; 1861, Frank Chaplin; 1862-64, J. P. Crother; 1865-67, J. P. Hoover; 1868-69, J. P. Crother; 1870, J. P. Hoover; 1871-72, Peter Ault; 1873, William S. Clarke; 1874-77, Levi Johnson. The election of April 2, 1878 resulted in a tie between Levi Johnson and Kenyon Skeen, decided by lot in favor of the latter. In 1879, J. P. Crother was elected, and in 1880 the State law having changed Nemaha City into a village, doing away with the Mayoralty, five Trustees were elected as follows: J. B. Hoover, E. Cummings, A. J. Scoville, John Blair and Peter Kerker, the last named of whom being chosen Chairman of the Board. In 1881 the Board consisted of Theodore Hill, Chairman; B. Bell Andrews, Raburn Elliott, J. J. Bender and Henry Williams--Raburn Elliott resigning, was succeeded by W. H. Rhodes, since deceased, the position being vacant at this writing. The Clerk of the Board and City Attorney is M. P. Hanegan, and the Police Judge, J. P. Crother, both holding under appointment.


The first school was taught by D. C. Sanders in 1857-58; no records are in existence as to the attendance or course of study. From this time until 1870, a moderate interest was displayed in the cause of education, the principal difficulty as regards the diffusion of knowledge being that of securing efficient teachers. In 1870, however, a new departure was taken, a large brick schoolhouse erected at a cost of $4,000, and the schools were graded. The Principal now in charge is B. F. Lorance; the assistants, Eva Hagadorn and Mollie Fisher. The attendance during the school year of 1881-82 averaged 100 pupils.


As has been said, the first religious organization in Nemaha City was that of the Methodists, effected in 1857, under the pastoral influence of Rev. Philo Gorton, who remained with the flock for about a year and a half. Rev. Mr. Giddings preached thereafter at irregular intervals, but the next regular incumbent was Rev. David Hart, who assumed charge in 1859, continuing two years, and being superseded, in 1861, by Rev. Hiram Birch. From this time, the church had various and irregular supplies until 1873, when it practically lost its organization and passed out of existence.

St. John's Church.--The first regular services of this denomination were held September 18, 1860, under the ministration of the Right Rev. Bishop Talbot, Missionary of the Northwest. On June 2 of the succeeding year, Rev. Isaac A. Hagar, as missionary, assumed charge, retaining the same until March 26, 1865, when Rev. George C. Betts became associate missionary at large with Rev. Isaac Hagar, relieving him of a portion of his duties. On May 3, 1865, Rev. George R. Davis assumed exclusive charge of the church in connection with that at Brownville, and on May 26 of the same year, the legal organization of the parish took place, steps being immediately taken toward the building of a church structure. At this time the following officers were elected: Frederick O. Holmes and George Hodkin, Wardens; Hezekiah B. Strong, Edward S. Burns and John B. Hoover, Vestrymen.

The corner-stone of the projected building was laid with impressive ceremonies on July 18, 1865, and on May 6,1866, the structure was consecrated to the service of Almighty God by the Right Rev. Bishop Clarkson, sucessor to Bishop Talbot.

On February 25, 1872, Rev. Mr. Davis was succeeded by Rev. J. E. Roberts, also in charge at Brownville, and in May, 1877, Rev. Matthew Henry assumed pastoral control of both churches, devoting himself exclusively to the Nemaha church after October, 1879. At this time, measures were taken to erect a parsonage, not wholly completed until the fall of 1881. The society has experienced many vicissitudes, has at various times almost ceased active work, but has never lost its legal organization. The present number of baptized members is fifty, the average attendance forty, and the financial condition of the institution fair. In connection with the church is a Sunday school, organized at the same time as the society and with a present attendance of twenty-two.

Christian Church.--In 1865 Elder T. K. Hansberry, succeeded in gathering together a little congregation of the Christian sect, who for a time worshiped under his leadership in the old frame schoolhouse, and subsequently in what was known as the Larkin Schoolhouse, situated across the Little Nemaha River, in Aspinwall Precinct. This move was made in 1871. In 1879, a commodious frame building was erected for church purposes in Nemaha City, at a cost of $1,500, and dedicated in May, 1880. The pastors since Elder Hansberry have been as follows: 1866, Revs. R. C. Barrows; 1869, William Shurtliff; 1870, William Smith; 1871, R. C. Barrows; 1873, Thomas Edwards; 1875, D. B. Coryell; 1876, T. L. Cartwright; 1877, D. B. Coryell; 1880, G. D. Mullis. The present incumbent is Elder Charles Rowe, who assumed charge January 1, 1881. The church now has a membership of 120. and the Sabbath school in connection an average attendance of forty.

Presbyterian Church.--A Presbyterian organization was effected February 15, 1880, and services held in the schoolhouse under the preaching of Rev. Mr. Weber; succeeded in June of the same year by Rev. P. A. Wessels, who remained in charge of the society until June, 1881 since which time the church has been without a pastor. Its highest membership has been forty; its present enrollment, thirty-eight.


Hope Lodge, No. 29, A., F. & A. M., was instituted at Hillsdale, November 18, 1868, with the following officers: W. M., Richard Burge; S. W., Z. T. Evarts; J. W., J. P. King; S. D., T. J. Collins: J. B., H. J. Barnes; Secretary, H. W. Shubert; Treasurer, D. Fraker; Tiler A. L. P. Thompson. In July, 1879, the lodge was transferred to Nemaha City, occupying the schoolhouse for its meetings. The present officers are: W. M., J. P. King; S. W., J. J. Bender; J. W., J. A. Titus; S. D., R. Elliott; J. D., D. Tourtellotte; Secretary, Phillip Crowther; Treasurer, H. A. Brand; Tiler, L. M. Weddle.

I. O. O. F., Nemaha City Lodge, No 40, was organized October, 1873, with William S. Hacker, N. G.; William V. Shook, V. G.; Morris H. Griffiths, R. S.; Phillip Crowther, F. S.; J. H. Drain, Treasurer. The meetings have always been held in the schoolhouse. The present officers of the organization are as follows: R. Elliott, N. G.; J. A. Titus, V. G.; F. H. D. Hunt, R. S.; Phillip Crother, F. S.; Peter Ault, Treasurer.

I. O. G. T., Nemaha City Lodge, No. 109. The first officers of this organization, instituted in March, 1873, were: W. C. T., Phillip Crowther; W. C. S., D. A. Morton; W. V. T., Mrs. Carrie Crother; F. S., Emmett Toll, L. D., Lewis Brown. The present officers are as follows: W. C. T., T. B. Finch; W. C. S., A. J. Baldwin; W. V. T., Nora Scoville; F. S., G. W. Martin; L. D., Phillip Crother.


The first newspaper published in Nemaha City was the Nemaha Valley Journal, first issued in January, 1858, by Seymour Belden, and continued by him for about one year, when it suspended publication. Its proclivities were Democratic. In October, 1859, George W. Fairbrother and T. C. Hacker established the Nebraska Herald, a Republican paper, which, also, was continued for about one year. No other efforts were made at journalism in Nemaha City from this time until 1880.

The Nemaha Times commenced publication in April, 1880, under the editorial charge of B. F. Sanders. Its present editor. W. W. Sanders, assumed control in November of the same year. It is a seven-column folio paper, ably conducted, and Republican in politics. Its editor, born in Nemaha County in 1857, has been a life-long resident in the section which he aims to educate, and is fully conversant with local matters of the past as well as of the present.


The grain interests of Nemaha Precinct are represented by Warren's Elevator, built in 1879, by N. H. Warren & Co., of Chicago, and managed by Henry Carse. It has a storage capacity of 17,000 bushels. A grain warehouse was erected in 1878, by William E. Hill, and is now used by Theodore Hill. The shipments of these two, and minor dealers, during 1881, were 259 cars of corn, forty-six of wheat, three of barley, and one of rye. The shipments of stock, comprising 116 cars of hogs and fifty-six of cattle, demonstrate the extent to which that interest is fostered.

In addition to these industries, Nemaha City has five general stores, one hardware and furniture store, one agricultural implement warehouse ,one grocery store, one drug store, two millinery stores, two harness shops, three blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one barber shop, one confectionery store, two butcher shops, one livery stable and one lumber yard, established in 1878 by the Chicago Lumber Company.

The professions are ably represented by three doctors and two attorneys.

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