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 6


Brownville was organized by the Territorial Legislature on the 23d of February, 1856. The first meeting of the Town Council was held at the house of H. S. Thorpe. The first officers were: Dr. A. S. Holladay, Mayor; Richard Brown, H. S. Thorp and William Thurber, Aldermen; Oscar F. Lake, Recorder (R. T. Rainey had been chosen, but declined); Joel M. Wood, Treasurer. The following is an official transcript of the proceedings of the first meeting:

"February 23, 1856. According to previous meeting, the members of the Brownville Town Council, consisting of the Mayor and three Aldermen, met at the residence of H. S. Thorpe. The meeting was called to order by the Probate Judge, who proceeded to administer to the Mayor the oath of office. The Mayor having taken the required oath, proceeded to qualify each of the Aldermen. On motion, the Council adjourned, to meet on the third Monday of March, at 7 o'clock P. M.

Recorder pro tem."

On the 9th of February, 1857, the Territorial Legislature passed an act "To amend an act incorporating the town of Brownville," declaring, first, that all the territory within the geographic limits of Brownville, with the additions thereto, is hereby declared to be the city of Brownville; second, said city was declared to be a body corporate and politic; third, vested city authority in the Mayor and four Aldermen; fourth, all persons who had resided in the city thirty days and were legal voters in the Territory were given the elective franchise; fifth, all legal voters were declared entitled to hold city offices; sixth, provided the manner of holding elections: seventh, provided for giving certificates to persons elected to city offices; eighth, defined the powers of the city government.

The first election under the new city charter resulted in the election of the following offices: A. S. Holladay, Mayor; J. T. Whyte, J. D. N. Thompson, George W. Bratton, Aldermen; B. B. Thompson, Recorder; Homer Johnson, Marshal; J. T. Dozier, Treasurer; A. L. Coates, Surveyor. The first ordinances for getting the young city into running order were passed at two or three meetings held during the latter part of February, 1857.

February 25, 1864, the Legislature passed an act incorporating "the city of Brownville." This enactment greatly extended the powers of the city authorities, especially in the matter of taxation. Prior to the passage of this act, a large amount of city property in the hands of non-residents was non-taxable, owing to defects in previous enactments, but under the law of 1864 the defects were remedied, and non-resident property-owners were compelled to bear a portion of the burdens of the city government.


Since the organization of the city government in 1857, the following-named persons have served as Mayor: A. S. Holladay, Luther Hoadley, O. B. Hewett, Theodore Hill, Jesse Johns, Thomas K. Fisher, C. G. Dorsey, H. C. Lett, Jarvis S. Church, G. W. Fairbrother, E. E. Ebright, Charles S. Stewart, F. A. Tisdel, A. P. Coggswell, F. E. Johnson, J. S. Stull, W. T. Rogers, J. L. Carson, John C. Bousfield, W. W. Hackney. Present officers: Maj. J. C. Bousfield, Oscar A. Cecil, Treasurer; L. A. Fort, Clerk; S. M. Rich, Police Judge; Timothy McLaughlin and W. W. Hackney, Councilmen First Ward; Alex Robison and Franz Hilmer, Councilmen Second Ward; Charles Neidhart and D. E. Douglas, Councilman Third Ward.


The Territorial Legislature, at its session of 1857-58, granted a charter for the "Nemaha Valley Insurance Company," to be located in Brownville and controlled by the following-named Directors: John L. Carson, L. Hoadley, A. S. Holladay, I. T. Whyte, R. W. Furnas, B. F. Lushbaugh, J. M. Hughs, H. W. Mayhew, R. W. Frame, W. C. Johnson, John Grant. A meeting of the board was held, and I. T. Whyte was chosen President, John L. Carson, Treasurer, and R. W. Furnas, Secretary. A subscription was raised to defray a few legislative expenses, such as a copy of the act of incorporation, etc., and no subsequent meeting was ever held. As the company's charter provided that the President, Treasurer and Secretary should continue in office until their successors were duly elected and installed; the officers of the N. V I. Co. are now veteran insurance officers.


This company was incorporated in March, 1857, under very flattering auspices, and the capital stock, $50,000, was subscribed within forty-eight hours after the company's books were opened. The following-named persons constituted the Board of Directors: A. S. Holladay, W. Hoblitzell, O. F. Lake, J. W. Coleman, G. W. Bratton, H. Johnson, R. W. Furnas. A. S. Holladay was chosen President, W. Hoblitzell, Treasurer, O. F. Lake, Secretary. On the 21st of March, 1857, a code of by-laws was adopted. Large dividends were expected by the stockholders. The universal belief prevailed that millions of tons of coal in heavy veins underlaid the town. Prof. Swallow, State Geologist of Missouri believed it, and the Brownville Advertiser from week to week proclaimed it as a fixed fact. On the 5th day of July, 1856, the Advertiser announced, under the head of "Stone Coal," that "the workmen, in digging a well for Col. Thompson, within one square of Main street, have come to a strata of a fine quality of stone coal, twelve inches in thickness. The person digging the well is an old miner, and says he has no doubt that ten feet farther down coal can be found in sufficient quantities to pay well to work. As we have no need at present for coal except for mechanical purposes, no one has opened up the coal trade here. There is plenty of coal anywhere about this place." Experiments were made in several localities, but if the coal was thick-veined and in abundance, it is probably still there, as it has never been brought to the surface. The rapid and liberal manner in which the capital stock of $50,000 was subscribed is thus explained by the first (and last) President of the company: "Other new towns were working and bidding for a big boom, and we wanted to call the attention of immigrants to the many advantages of Brownville, and thus induce strangers to make homes with us. One of our Directors, whose worldly possessions might possibly have reached $500, liberally subscribed the handsome sum of $25,000."


On August 28, 1860, Stebbins' line of telegraph, from St. Joseph, Mo., to Brownville, was completed by the contractors, Messrs. Ellsworth & Porter, and on the following day the first telegram ever sent from Nebraska was transmitted to the Associated Press in the States. It read as follows:

BROWNVILLE, Neb., August 29, 1860.

Nebraska Sends Greetings to the States: The telegraph line was completed to this place to-day, and the first office in Nebraska formally opened. Our citizens are jubilant over the event, and now realize the advantage of being connected with their Eastern friends and the 'rest of mankind' by means of a 'lighting line.' 'Onward!'

" 'Westward the star of empire takes its way'


The following dispatches passed between the Nebraska Advertiser and the St. Joseph Gazette, the latter of which was the first telegram received in Nebraska:

"BROWNVILLE, Neb., August 29, 1860.

"Editors St. Joseph Gazette:
"The Advertiser sends greeting. Give us your hand. Hot as blazes; thermometer 104° in the shade. What's news?

"R. W. FURNAS."     

"ST. JOSEPH, Mo. August 29, 1860

"Editor Advertiser:

"We are most happy to return your greeting. Thermometer at 100°, and rising like h--l. You ask for the news: Douglas stock fully up to the thermometer, and rising as rapidly. St. Joe drinks Nebraska's health.


On Wednesday evening, the 29th, the citizens of Brownville participated in a general jollification. Bonfires, illuminations, fire balls, music, burning gunpowder, speeches and toasts, were the order of the day. After thirty-five rounds were fired--one for each of the States, one for Nebraska and one for the telegraph line--Col. Nixon delivered an address, and was followed by Mayor Hill, Dr. McPherson, Dr. Holladay, Richard Brown, Judge Whitney, Col. Smith, H. M. Atkinson and T. W. Bedford, who, as it is related, all together, entertained the assemblage for a couple hours. A procession was then formed under command of Col. G. H. Nixon, and, preceded by the Brownville Band, marched through the principle portions of the city, when the crowd dispersed. The telegraph office was opened in one of the upper rooms of the Hoadley building, on Main street, and it is said that a barrel of wine was carried up the stairs during the evening, its head knocked in by Dr. McPherson, and that those got drunk who never drank before, and those who drank now only drank the more, not many of those who celebrated the occasion going sober to their beds.


After laboring for many years and expending a large amount of money, the people of Brownville were rewarded on the 1st day of February, 1875, by the arrival of the first train of cars over the Midland Railroad, from Nebraska City. The train reached Brownville about 11 o'clock A.M., with a large delegation of prominent Nebraskans on board. Hundreds of people from town and country gathered on the levee to see the cars come in; nearly every person closed their respective places of business and made a holiday of it, and went shivering in the chilly weather to the banks of the ice-bound Missouri, to await the coming of the cars. The schools were dismissed, and the happy children helped to swell the crowd. At 11 o'clock the train arrived. The cannon thundered, the band played, the flags waived, the people cheered, and the excursionists were greeted with hand-shaking and introductions. Silas Garber, the newly-elected Governor; Mayor Tuxbury, of Nebraska City; and T. P. Kennard, of Lincoln, were among the excursionists. After a short time spent in greetings and welcomings, H. C. Lett gave notice that the guests would proceed to the Union Hotel, where a bountiful repast awaited them, and to which ample justice was done. About 2 o'clock, the excursion train started on its return trip. The day was pronounced the happiest ever known in the history of Brownville.


On the night of Friday, May 11, 1866, a tornado swept over Brownville, destroying property to the amount of $6,000. Hailstones of enormous size fell, and it was considered certain death to venture out. The streets were completely flooded, and during the continuance of the storm, the utmost consternation prevailed among the inhabitants. On the bottom near the river, the flood rushed headlong to the depth of several feet. The damage done foots up thus: Christian Church, corner of Fourth and Atlantic streets, unroofed and southwest walls blown down; loss $1,500. Loveless' house, above culvert on Main street, unroofed; loss $50. Hill & Co.'s warehouse on levee, unroofed; loss $200. Dens' warehouse, demolished; loss, $400. Grist-mill damaged; loss, $500. First Presbyterian Church, blown from foundation; loss, $600. Polock's brick kiln, badly damaged. Foster's residence, unroofed and one end of a levee house blown into the river. Much other damage was done in both town and country; fortunately, there was no loss of human life.

April, 1881, will long be remembered by the citizens as the time of the great flood in the Missouri River. The public journals state that no such rise was ever known by the oldest inhabitant. Not a railroad on the Missouri River was in operation during its continuance. The two roads in which Brownville is most immediately interested--the Kansas City and the Burlington & Missouri--were flooded for weeks. For miles they were under water. For several weeks there were no trains on the Burlington & Missouri. The town of Phelps, on the opposite side of the Missouri--in fact, the wide bottom for many miles--was covered with water. The Brownville steam ferry boat, and every available skiff and yawl, was brought into requisition to rescue the unfortunates and bring them to dry land in Brownville. The work was nobly done. On Tuesday, April 26, 1881, a public meeting (called by Hon. John L. Carson, Mayor), was held at the Opera House, to provide means to help those who had been driven from their homes by floods. A working committee, consisting of W. H. McCreary, James Stevenson, A. H. McGee, Charles Neidhart, Mrs. J. Hetzel, Mrs. T. C. Hacker and Mrs. E. Huddart was appointed to secure funds. Messrs. Burnett, Crummel and Don Arnold were appointed a committee on skiffs, and all went to work vigorously in rescuing the sufferers and then providing for their necessities. Hundreds were rescued and provided for. The people of Brownville did their whole duty; nobly and unselfishly.


On the 28th day of August, 1869, the office of the United States Express Company was robbed of $15,000 by the local agent, J. K. Bear. On the day of the robbery, he went about the city, paying his debts; even after bedtime, he paid a note of $200. On Saturday morning he was missing. Just before his departure, he wrote the following letter to the editors of the Brownville Democrat:

"Holladay & Calhoun:
"GENTLEMEN--I suppose before you read this, you will have heard the rumor that I have absconded with a large amount of money, which you can believe is true, and no mistake. The amount is about $12,000. Suppose you will get a job of printing circulars, giving a full description of me, when the Superintendent (Mr. Quick) comes down. You can show him this, and I recommend you to get up as good a poster or handbill as he will need to distribute over the country. Wonder how much reward they will offer for my arrest? Expect it will be pretty large, though. There is one thing, however, that you can give me credit for, and that is this: I don't leave Brownville owing different parties any money, not even the printer, as I have paid all my just debts. Well, I expect when you hear from me next, it will be to the effect that I am in the hands of an officer, as I know there are ninety-nine chances that I will be caught to one that I will escape; but I prefer to take the one chance for $12,000. There is only one thing that I feel sorry for, and that is my wife, but I do not think she will trouble herself much about me (at least I would advise her not to). Won't this make a splendid local for you!

J.K. BEAR."     

The General Agent was not long in coming, and a reward of $2,000 was offered for the apprehension of the robber. As he had predicted, the ninety-nine chances were too strong for the one hundredth, and he was brought back. On the 14th day of September, he was indicted by the grand jury, tried the same week, and given the enormous (?) sentence of one year's imprisonment in the penitentiary! The light sentence was thought to be an outrage, but the Governor of the State capped the climax by pardoning the prisoner at the end of three months! After his arrest and during his imprisonment, his wife secured a divorce, but as soon as he was released, he returned to Brownville and remarried his wife. He then departed for parts unknown.


Public Schools.--The earliest school in Nemaha County, of which the old settlers have any recollection, was taught by Miss Angelina Cole, in the summer of 1855, three miles west of Brownville, in what is now London Precinct. The schoolhouse was built of logs. She taught thirty scholars for three months. The first teacher in Brownville was H. S. Thorpe, who taught twenty scholars in the autumn of 1855, in a cottonwood edifice 18x18 feet, located on Main street, between First and Second. His first term was of three months' duration. W. F. McKinney, Amelia Davis, Minerva Nelson, S. C. Danforth, Sarah Brockman, J. M. Graham and William Thurber, also taught schools in Brownville prior to 1857. The first meeting to organize the system of public schools in Brownville, was held at the County Clerk's office, June 21, 1856, Judge A. J. Benedict acting as Chairman, and R. W. Furnas, Secretary. William Thurber, the County Superintendent, was present, and stated the object of the meeting to be to organize School District No. 1, for Nemaha County, and read the Territorial law, which provides that at this meeting "shall be elected a President, Secretary and Treasurer of the district, who shall constitute a Board of Education for the district, and shall hold their office until the next annual election, and be elected annually thereafter." The following school officers were elected: A. J. Benedict, President; R. W. Furnas, Secretary; Homer Johnson, Treasurer. The power was delegated to the board to levy sufficient tax, collect the same, select a site, and erect a school building as they may deem proper.

The first house erected in the county, designed especially for school purposes, was completed October, 1857, and built corner of Sixth and Atlantic streets, at a cost of $950, including lot. The lot was purchased, and the house erected by the order of the above-named Board of Education--Benedict, Furnas and Johnson. District No. 1, organized at the meeting June 21, 1856, embraced Brownville and the farms of Judge Benedict, William Furguson, Thomas L. Ricketts, Joel M. Wood and James W. Coleman. The Territorial School Law was of a liberal character, and empowered Boards of Education to select and purchase sites, erect buildings for school purposes, and levy taxes not exceeding 1½ per cent on the taxable property of the district to defray expenses.

On Monday, July 18, 1859, the High School of Brownville was opened, with T. W. Tipton, President of Brownville College, in charge. It was designed to receive scholars from a distance, and arrangements were made with private boarding houses to receive pupils at reduced rates. Monday, February 20, 1860, the second term of the High School commenced with T. W. Tipton in charge of the advanced classes. The Congregational Church building was used for the school. Public notice was given that tuition was free again to all actual residents of the Brownville School District, of proper grade. Non-residents admitted on moderate terms. A large and commodious boarding house was erected in the vicinity of the school for the accommodation of scholars, and kept by a Mr. Swan. During the year 1862, owing to carelessness of the officers and taxpayers, the school fund was so nearly exhausted that only one month's tuition was paid from public moneys. The people were comforted with the assurance, however, that if they would pay their school tax promptly, a seven months' free school would be vouchsafed the following year.

To show the deep interest manifested in the cause of education by devoted friends of the cause, in the early days, the following from a Clerk of the Board of Education, dated November 20, 1860, is quoted: "One of a deep, comprehensive and refined mind, places the cause of education before any other. None of the learned professions can compare in dignity and importance that of a common school teacher; for books cannot render him competent, though they may assist that natural tact so essential to a successful development of the youthful mind. And, now I am on this subject, permit me to say that the modern method of crushing the energies of the mind by a multiplicity of studies, is most disastrous in its consequences, and prevents that healthy development so requisite to the full display of the fire of genius. It is like polishing a gem while yet encrusted with the crudity of extraneous substances. It is calculated to render pupils superficial, and I hope the practice may be reprobated. Permit me to mention another matter connected with the cause of education--I allude to the institution of libraries in every school district. They need not be large, but the books should be well selected. In my experience, I have never found an auxiliary more effectual to stimulate the young mind to deeds of noble enterprise; and I contend that these libraries should consist principally of historical and biographical works, with a few voyages and travels; and, to create in some minds a taste for reading, some standard works of fiction might be added. I would not advise many works of an abstruse character--the pupil finds sufficient intellectual toil in his daily labors, and it is to give a healthy, vigorous tone to the mind--a relaxation tending to induce him to enter with renewed vigor into his studies. I contend that no youth of any aspiration can read 'Plutarch's Lives' without having his genius fanned into a flame--without being animated in the various pursuits of life--without a determination to leave his mark behind him--a comet's blaze to excite the admiration of the world. There are within our territory many rustic youths that, by judicious stimulants and proper training, would roll the lightning power of their eloquence through Congress shall, grace the learned professions, add dignity to labor, prove themselves the benefactors of their country, and secure for themselves an everlasting memorial?"

On the 15th of April, 1867, the Brownville High School commenced a six months' term in the large, new building, under the supervision of Charles A. Baker, an experienced Principal, with an efficient corps of assistants. The Principal was a graduate of Harvard University. The new building was supplied with all the modern improvements in the way of desks, etc., with a capacity to comfortably seat 500 pupils. The entire cost of the building was $30,000. The main building is forty by sixty feet, three stories high from the basement, with a vestibule in front, ten by twenty feet, from ground to roof. The basement and first floor are laid off into four large rooms, twenty-four by thirty feet each, the upper story contains two rooms twenty-four by thirty feet on the west, with one room on the east, thirty by forty-eight feet. The stairs leading to the second story are in the vestibule, having a large space for hanging hats, satchels, cloaks and bonnets of the pupils. The building is lighted by twenty-four large windows on the east and west, and twenty on the north and south. It is seated with patent iron framed desks and seats, heated from basement, and contains ample ventilators in each room. A large cupola is constructed near the front on top, and contains a large bell. It is not out of place to give due credit to Dr. McPherson for the completion of this enterprise. He was the earliest and most stanch friend of the school, and to his unceasing labors the citizens are largely indebted for the fine edifice that is still the pride and main ornament of Brownville. With him labored Luther Hoadley, J. H. Morrison, John L. Carson and others. They all worked with zeal and energy. Long may the high school building stand as a monument to the liberality and persistent labors of its early friends.

The first term of the High School in 1867 opened in the new house, under very flattering auspices. Within a few weeks of the beginning, over two hundred scholars were enrolled--several from abroad. Among the text books in the advanced classes were Harkness' Latin Grammar, Andrews' Latin Reader, Cicero's Orations, Virgil, Horace's Odes and Satires, Cæser's Commentaries, Arnold's Latin Prose Composition, Hadley's Greek Grammar, Xenophon's Anabasis, Homer's Iliad, Arnold's Greek Prose Composition, Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon, Andrew's Latin Lexicon, Smith's Classical Dictionary. The services of Prof. J. M. McKenzie and wife were secured for the fall term, and the affairs of the school under their management were in the highest degree satisfactory. The schools of Brownville early took high rank in the State of Nebraska, but it was not until April, 1868, that the system of graded schools obtained a firm foothold. At that time, Mr. George B. Moore was the Principal, with John S. Schenck, Miss M. Morey and Miss D. Johnson, assistants. To Mr. Moore and his corps of assistants the people of Brownville are greatly indebted for their present excellent system of public schools. At the organization of the High (or Graded) School in 1868, there were 261 pupils in attendance. In 1880, the number of pupils enrolled in the public schools of Brownville, according to Prof. Wilson's report, amounted to 365. Prof. Wilson was assisted by a corps of eight lady teachers. In the Primary Department (which includes the first three years in the school), are three teachers and 170 pupils. In the Intermediate Department (extending over three years), are two teachers and 100 pupils. In the Grammar Department (occupying two years), are one teacher and fifty pupils. The High School course occupies three years and a preparatory year for pupils who require extra training in elementary subjects. The Principal and an Assistant are the teachers in this department, and forty-five pupils are in attendance. The School Board and the people are liberal in the support of the schools, and many of the pupils give bright promise of success in school and in life. The school aims to afford to all the children of the district the opportunity of getting as much and as good education as possible. It is especially sought to teach all pupils, as early as possible, to read intelligently, and to write legible and correct English. It is not the aim of the school to finish scholars, but to teach them some important things thoroughly, and to do some things well. In the High School, the first thing taught is thoroughness in the fundamental and directly practical subjects of a common-school education. After this is secured, pupils are encouraged to go on to the higher subjects, and are aided in preparing for higher institutions or for life's business. Since the commencement of these schools by Mr. Moore, the following-named gentlemen have had charge of the city schools: W. Rich, J. McKenzie, H. M. Wallace, Miss Ada Irvin, W. E. Wilson, A. R. Wightman. The last-named gentleman is the present Principal, with the following corps of teachers: Emma Morgan, Assistant; **   Mrs. T. H. Dey, Grammar Department; Mr. Edward Dey, Higher Intermediate; Miss Anna McDonald, First Intermediate; Emma Clark, Secondary; Mrs. F. J. Ebright and Mrs. Caroline Johnson, Primary. The School Board is at present constituted as follows: J. C. McNaughton, Moderator; George D. Carrington, Director; A. H. Gilmore, Treasurer; John L. Carson, S. A. Osborn, T. C. Hacker. The School Boards of Brownville have never believed in the policy of employing cheap teachers, but have always allowed liberal salaries to teachers. At the present time, the Principal receives $1,000 for nine months services, and the Assistants $42.50 per month each.

Brownville College was organized in December, 1858, with Rev. T. W. Tipton, President; D. C. Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Trustees; R. W. Furnas, Secretary; R. Brown, Treasurer; A. L. Coate, R. W. Furnas, K. Brown, D. C. Sanders, Trustees. The Medical Department of the college was organized at the same time, and a course of lectures delivered to a class of twenty five. The officers were as follows: Luther Hoadley, President; A. S. Holladay, Treasurer; W. C. Johnson, Secretary; Faculty--Jonas Crane, M. D., Professor of Surgery; A. S. Holladay, M. D., Professor of Theory and Practice; John McPherson, M. D., Professor of Theory and Practice; William Arnold, M. D., Professor of Anatomy and Dean of Faculty; W. C. Johnson, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence; E. D. Allen, Professor of Chemistry. But one course of lectures was delivered.

** Miss Morgan recently resigned, and Miss Celia Furnas has been elected in her stead.


The first sermon preached in Brownville was one delivered by Rev. Joel M. Wood, a Campbellite minister, who came to Nebraska in 1854, and was one of the Brownville town site proprietors. This sermon was delivered in the same year, but no church organization was effected until 1855, occasional services, however, being held in the interim in private houses in, and in the immediate vicinity of, the city.

The Christian Church was, as has been said, the first religious body in the Territory--except the Indian Mission--and was organized in Brownville in January, 1855. Elder Joel M. Wood was the first pastor, and preached the first sermon in a schoolhouse. Services were held quite regularly in the schoolhouse, and at a later day, in the Baptist Church for several years. Elders Hawley, Connoran and T. B. Edwards ministered to the church for several years after the departure of Elder Wood, and, in 1877, the members, feeling that from carelessness or want of energy the denomination was losing ground, In November of that year a new organization was effected, and measures were taken to wipe out the reproach of using schoolhouses and the buildings of other sects. Funds were raised, and a neat, substantial frame building, 36x66 feet, was built on Main street, at an expense of $2,300. The church numbers ninety members, and Elder Rowe is now preaching on his second year. The Sabbath school numbers seventy-five scholars, with seven teachers. The Elders are George Carrington and James Zook; the Deacons, T. M. Dryden, D. O. Cross, William Zook, and William Berger.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in Brownville in February, 1858. Rev. Mr. Gordon was first preacher in charge. Soon after the delivery of the first sermon, a protracted meeting was held, in which the pastor and Rev. Messrs. Goode, Cannon, Powell and Horn officiated. A membership of forty or fifty was soon gathered together, and since that time Methodism has continued to prosper. The congregation now worship in a well-built brick church, 35x60 feet, erected by the Congregationalists and afterward purchased by the Methodists. Since Mr. Gordon was transferred to another field of labor, the following-named ministers have been stationed in Brownville: Revs. Hiram Birch, Hart, White, Blackburn, May, Martin, Colt, Birch, Slaughter, Richards, Rodebaugh and Wilson. Rev. Mr. Esterbrook is now pastor in charge. The records show seventy-five members. The following persons constitute the official board: B. M. Daily, T. F. Seaton, A. W. Nickell, John Bauer, John Bath, Thomas Bath; A. W. Nickell, Superintendent of Sabbath school. The school has twelve teachers and 125 scholars.

The Congregational Church was organized on the 23d of June, 1858, with Rev. Thomas W. Tipton as pastor, but as an organized body it ceased in 1860, the most of its members joining the Presbyterian Church. The church was purchased by the Methodists.

The Presbyterian Church was organized October 31, 1858. Rev. Amos S. Billingsley, a missionary of the Board of Domestic Missions of the Old School Presbyterian Church, was the first pastor. First officers: Luther A. Williams, Elder; John Barnes, William Arnold, Deacons. Number of members, fourteen. Their church edifice--the first built in the city--was erected on the corner of Second and Atlantic streets, and designed for a Union Church. The house has a seating capacity of 300, and is 40x60 feet. Luther A. Hoadley was the moving spirit as well as the financial backer in the matter of organizing the church and erecting a building. Rev. J. T. Baird was the second pastor, and remained ten years. He was followed by Rev. Mr. Ellis, who, after a pastorate of eighteen months, was succeeded by Rev. S. R. Warrenden. Next came Rev. W. J. Weeber, who withdrew, and the vacancy was filled by Rev. H. O. Scott, who is now in the second year of his ministry. The present Elder is A. H. Gilmore; W. H. McCreery and J. C. Deuser, Deacons; Delos Smith, Leader of Choir. Number of members, eighty. The Sabbath school (formerly known as the Union Sabbath School) has eighty scholars. A. H. Gilmore is Superintendent; W. H. McCreery, Secretary; and James Dort, Treasurer.

Christ Church (Episcopal).--The first Episcopal service was held in Brownville by Rt. Rev. J. C. Talbot, the second Missionary Bishop of the Diocese, in the fall of 1863. In the early part of 1864, the Episcopalians, through the kindness of the Presbyterians, held monthly meetings in the church of the latter, and two years later, a few friends of the church met at the residence of E. W. Thomas, Esq., to devise ways and means for the erection of a church home of their own. They at once subscribed $500 for fitting up McPherson's Hall in a manner suitable for divine worship, and a Sunday school was organized. The first service was held May 7, 1866, by Bishop Clarkson, assisted by three clergymen. On the 4th of August, 1867, Bishop Clarkson visited the mission. After service, a subscription paper was started, headed with $1,000 from Christ Church, Hartford, Conn. In a few days, the friends of the church and citizens of Brownville, by their liberality, had pledged nearly $2,000. Services were continued at McPherson's Hall by Rev. George R. Davis, missionary, until the completion of the church building, corner of Atlantic street, July 26, 1868, on which day it was consecrated by Bishop Clarkson. The cost of the building and rectory was $5,000. Rev. James E. Roberts succeeded Rev. Mr. Davis as missionary February 25, 1872. The following year, Rev. F. M. Nash became missionary, and in 1874, Rev. E. B. Richardson assumed the rectorship. Three years later, Rev. Matthew Henry became rector, and remained in charge until September, 1879. An arrangement was then made with Rev. Thomas Dickey, President of Nebraska College, who continues to minister to the parish every other Sabbath. Number of communicants, eighteen. D. Campbell, Senior Warden; John Chapelon, Junior Warden. Number of scholars in Sabbath school, twenty-five. George B. Moore, Superintendent. Three teachers in school.

The Baptist Church--What is now called the Baptist Church building was first erected by the Christians in 1858, and by that denomination occupied until the great storm of April, 1866, in which the building was destroyed. The lot and ruins were then purchased by the Baptists and at the present house, 35x50 feet, erected. An organization had previously been perfected, and Elder S. L. Collins, preached in school and dwelling houses until the completion of the new edifice. Since that time, Elders Collins, Rowe and Morgan have been the preachers. Two years since, Elder Reed, of Peru, had charge of the church for a period of eight weeks, holding meetings every other Sabbath. Since that time, no regular services have been held. Many of the members have removed to other localities. At present the house is used by the colored people, who hold meetings, but have no church organization.

The Roman Catholics gained a foothold in Brownville in 1870, and on the 24th day of July of the same year, the corner stone of their church edifice was laid by Rev. Father Curtis, of Omaha. The church has steadily maintained its organization and at the present time numbers ten families. Rev. Father Fitzgerald, of South Auburn, holds services every fourth Sunday.

The Colored Baptist Church of Brownville was organized in February, 1882, with nine members, under charge of Rev. Daniel Walker. They hold public worship every other Sabbath in the Baptist meeting house.

The Brownville Union Sabbath School was organized November 15, 1858, with the following list of officers: Rev. J. B. Wells, Superintendent; L. Hoadley, Assistant; J. M. Graham, Librarian; R. T. Rainey, Secretary; J. L. Carson, Treasurer. After an existence of less than two years, the school was merged with the Presbyterian school.

Nemaha County Bible Society.--This society was organized in 1859 and the constitution adopted October 13 of the same year. The first officers were: Rev. A. S. Billingsley, President; Rev. T. W. Tipton. Vice President: L. Hoadley, Secretary; John L. Carson, Treasurer. This society has maintained its organization from the start and continues to spread the Gospel. The present officers are: A. H. Gilmore, President; D. O. Cross, Secretary; A. W. Nickell, Treasurer and Depositor; B. M. Bailey, Kenyon Skeen and W. H. McCreery, Directors. Annual meetings are held in the last month of each year.


In the autumn of 1855, Dr. John McPherson came to Brownville, and, pleased with the town and its prospects, determined to remove his printing material from Tippecanoe, Ohio, for the purpose of engaging in the newspaper business. He traded one-half his establishment to R. Brown for Brownville town lots, stipulating to publish a weekly newspaper one year. On the 9th of April, 1856, Robert W. Furnas, who was to have editorial charge of the office, John L. Colhapp and Chester S. Langdon, printers, arrived with the material, and on the 7th day of June, 1856, appeared the first number of the Nebraska Advertiser. From that time to the present the paper has been regularly issued. One of the earliest contributors to the columns of the Advertiser was Dr. A. S. Holladay, who occasionally occupied the editorial chair during the absence of Mr. Furnas. Soon after the publication of the first number of the Advertiser, Dr. McPherson donated his one-half interest in the office to R. W. Furnas, on condition that it should be published as an independent or neutral journal. The restriction was rigidly observed. At that time the Territory was strongly Democratic. The office was opened in Lake's Block, on Second, between Main and College streets; was afterward removed to McPherson's Block, on the south side of Main between Second and Third streets; at a still later day, to the north side of Main, between First and Second streets.

October 2, 1857, Chester S. Langdon was admitted as a publisher, making the firm Furnas & Langdon. On the 15th of May, 1858, R. W. Furnas assumed control again, and continued in entire charge until November 24, 1859, when L. E. Lyanna became a partner. On the 28th November, 1861, the Union office was consolidated with the Advertiser, and T. R. Fisher was taken in as a partner. May 8, 1862, Furnas & Fisher were proprietors, with Fisher & Hacker as publishers. [R. W. Furnas had enlisted and gone to the war, as Colonel of a Nebraska Regiment.] December 6, 1862, T. C. Hacker withdrew from the office as one of the publishers. July 16, 1863, the names of proprietors of the paper was dropped, only the name of T. R. Fisher appearing as the publisher. In the autumn of 1863, Fisher & Colhapp (the last named came with office to Brownville in 1856), became publishers. September 14, 1864, W. H. Miller became the publisher, and was succeeded December 22, 1864, by George W. Hill and J. H. Colhapp. July 18, 1867, R. V. Muir entered the firm. November 17 of the same year, Jarvis S. Church bought the interest of Hill & Muir, and the firm name became Church & Colhapp. January 23, 1868, T. C. Hacker entered the firm as a junior partner and business manager. January 6, 1870, the original publisher, R. W. Furnas, bought out Church, and the firm name became Furnas, Colhapp & Hacker. January 5, 1871, Church & Hacker became the publishers, and, July of the same year, Maj. Caffrey purchased Church's interest, and the firm name became Caffrey & Hacker. The firm remained unchanged until January 22, 1874, when G. W. Fairbrother bought out Maj. Caffrey, and the firm of Fairbrother & Hacker continued until December, 1881, when G. W. Fairbrother became sole proprietor. In March, 1882, the material was removed to Calvert, where, under the same name, the Advertiser continues to be published. It is now published by G. W. Fairbrother & Co. The Advertiser is Republican in politics, and has been so since 1860.

For a few weeks in 1857, a small daily sheet named the Snort, was issued from the Advertiser office, under the editorial supervision of Langdon & Goff. "Old rye" was a legal tender in payment of subscriptions. A score of issues was enough to send the little paper to "the tomb of the Capulets."

In September, 1860, a four-column daily paper, entitled the Bulletin, was issued from the Advertiser office, but proving unremunerative, was suspended in August, 1861.

In 1870, a campaign Daily Advertiser was published for a few months.

The first agricultural journal in the State was established in Brownville, in January, 1859, by R. W. Furnas, and its publication continued for three years.

In 1859, the Nemaha Valley Journal office was removed from Nemaha City to Brownville, but, after a brief existence, the material was purchased by the publishers of the Advertiser, and the office again removed to Nemaha City.

The Aspinwall Journal, of which Dr. A. S. Holladay and John H. Mann were publishers, was removed to Brownville in 1861, and, under the name of Journal, its publication was continued a few months, when the establishment passed into the hands of the publishers of the Advertiser, and the material was sold and taken to Illinois.

The second Nemaha Valley Journal was commenced in Brownville, by Hill & Blackburn in 1867. At the end of four months, the material was removed to Falls City, Richardson County.

In July, 1868, Messrs. Holladay & Hill established the Brownville Democrat. These gentlemen continued its publication until the spring of 1873, when the establishment was sold to Calhoun & Vancil. These gentlemen continued its publication, and, for about one year, issued also a daily edition. In 1874, an arrangement was made by which the paper was made the county organ of the granger organization, and its name changed to the Nemaha Granger. At this At this time, A. S. Holladay and B. F. Sanders were publishers and proprietors. In the autumn of 1874, George B. Moore purchased the entire office, and has continued its publication ever since. The Granger is not a party organ; but, while its publisher claims to hold strong convictions on all public questions, he avows his independence of dictators and cliques. He avows his main design in the publication of his Granger to be the upbuilding of Brownville and Nemaha County.

April, 1882, J. Thompson, a young man who learned the printer's trade in the Advertiser office, purchased an office in Fullerton, Neb., and established a Republican paper in the old Advertiser office, on the north side of Main street, between First and Second. He has named his paper the Brownville Republican.

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