History of Nemaha County, Kansas
There are books and books, each purporting to fulfill a mission. Since remote times man has endeavored in some manner to leave behind him the story of his accomplishments during his brief sojourn on earth. Primitive man first chiseled on imperishable stone in various crude ways the messages which he desired transmitted to his descendants; the ancients inscribed history on tablets of clay; in all parts of the known world are found the stories of its peoples inscribed in some form on crumbling monuments, on the walls of forgotten, buried cities the messages telling in graphic detail the story of the ancient peoples of the earth in the only manner which was possible to the inhabitants thereof.
As enlightenment came gradually through the ages, the crude methods of transmitting knowledge in vogue for untold centuries gave way to the written and printed pages which we have today, when the ability to read is universal throughout the land.
Books have multiplied until their number is incalculable. A good book is a friend and companion. A book of history is not only entertaining, useful, enlightening, but it is valuable and stimulating. We are inspired by the tales of accomplishment by our forefathers to do even greater things than they. We likewise take a just pride in our own deeds and successes. Macauley once wrote: "Show me a country whose people take no pride in their ancestry; they will produce no posterity worth while."
It is well to delve into the past; strive in the present, and to look forward into the future. This volume of Nemaha County History tells of the past, which covers a brief span of three score years since the all-conquering American pioneer came into the prairie wilderness to create a home; its pages likewise speak of the present all of which is recorded for the benefit and inspiration of posterity.
While Nemaha county is but a small plat of earth, it is very dear to all of us, and is an Empire builded by the hands of brave and hardy men and women, whose composite achievement is one of the wonders of the age. Created and grown beyond the wildest dreams of its creators from an unpeopled wilderness into a populous, wealthy, and thriving community during the memory of living men, Nemaha county occupies a proud and enviable place among her sister counties in Kansas.
The story of Nemaha county's settlement and growth is faithfully and entertainingly told in the succeeding pages. The facts herein set forth are not the result of mere guesswork; they are taken from available records and transcribed as coming from the lips of old settlers who know whereof they speak. Many of these facts are necessarily "recollections of pioneers." All written history is founded on personal knowledge and observation. In my experience of twenty-eight years in the profession of writing for the public, I have found a wide variance in these "recollections." It is seldom that two persons "recollect" alike. This curious phase of "recollecting" is easily explained from a psychological stand-point, and is attributive to the fact that any incident or occurrence affects each of several persons witnessing it in a different manner. Each may tell a story differently but that divergence does not alter the historical value of the narration. It will be found that the facts set forth in this volume are essentially correct, and it will be "invaluable as a reference work.
This volume is issued not a day too soon. The men and women who made the history contained herein are rapidly passing away, and it is meet that their composite arid individual records be recorded. The book really represents the work of eight years, for we (my wife and I) have had a history of the county in mind for that length of time, and have been gathering material with that end in view.
Were it not for the faithful and unremitting labors of Mrs. Tennal in making historical researches and transcriptions of our joint efforts during the many months which were required for the preparation of the text, I fear the task would not have been accomplished. Sincere and deep appreciation is acknowledged for assistance and contributions from Judge Rufus M. Emery, Ira K. Wells, Prof. W.R. Anthony, Roy Hesseltine, Capt. Lewis Miller, Jacob Mohler, Dr. S. Murdock, Mrs. V.A. Bird, Mrs. Alice Gray Williams, Rev. P. Joseph Sittenauer and an endless number of kindly folk, including the newspaper men of the county, who contributed their assistance and support freely, to the end that the people of Nemaha might have a history.
Table of Contents
GEOLOGY AND THE PREHISTORIC PERIOD.
Scientific Terms "Pliocene" Evidence of Coal and Oil Brick
Clay Cretaceous Niobrara Formation Fossils Loess Soil
Elements of Soil Plant and Animal Life Evolution Carboniferous Age Rock Formations Upheavals Glacial-
Theory... Pages 33-37
Significance of Name Nemaha County Visited by Coronado in
1541 Coronado's Report Fremont's Expedition in 1841
Mormons "Forty-Niners" Freighters H H. Lynn Joseph Griffin Edward Avery Travelers' Graves Majors
and Russell Old Trails Stage Lines Overland Traffic
Early Day Prices Fares Route from Atchison... Pages 38-44
At Baker's Ford Early Settlers Settlers Hold Meeting First
Bridge Other Families Come Election Held -Boundaries
Defined First Townships Settled Samuel Magill David
Locknane First Negro Settler Settlement in Rock Creek
Other Townships Formed Neuchatel Home Township
Seneca, the County Seat Ferry Election District First
White Child Born in Seneca Early Day Postmasters... Pages 45-50
FOUNDING OF TOWNS.
Original Townships Present Townships Original Towns Free
State Towns Present Towns and Villages Central City, the
First Town First Mill First School Richmond Incorporated Temporary County Seat - Ash Point Urbana Pacific City Granada A. B. Ellit Capioma County Seat
Election Seneca Won Court House Burned... Pages 51-55
FIRST EVENTS AND INSTITUTIONS.
First White Child First Marriage First Bridge First Teacher
First Piano Indians Perplexed The Whittenhall Family First County Commissioners First Census Dr. String-fellow and Jim Lane Judicial District Judge Horton, First
Judge Election Political Meeting An Emigrant Band
Mormons First Store at Fidelity The Wempe Family... Pages 56-62
Traditions of Great Dakotahs Treaty of 1806 Believed in a
"Great Spirit" Treaty With the Government Ceded Lands,
Pottawatomies Aunt Lizza Roubidoux Barrada Pawnee
Burial Ground Characteristics Vanished Race Treasure
Relic An Indian Tragedy No Resident Indians a Modern Incident An Indian Burial Modern Conditions Reservations Soldiers Pensioned... Pages 63-69
Early Day Methods The Ox Team Early Trails Advancement
Slow Railroad "Talk" Bonds Voted St. Joseph and Denver St. Joseph and Grand Island Rock Island Missouri
Pacific Branches How the Railroads Affected Towns
"Railroads on Paper" Automobiles St. Joseph and Grand
Island the Pioneer Railroad A Trading Post Freighting
Ferry on the Big Blue Government Lays Out a Military
Road California Emigration Stage Lines Marysville, Palmetto and Roseport Railroad - Other Railroad Companies... Pages 70-78
SENECA, THE COUNTY SEAT.
Selected for County Seat Town Founded First House and Store
Second Structure A Literary Blacksmith Hotel and Mill
Other Buildings and Early Day Enterprises Business
Booms Growth of Town Advantages of Seneca Progress Business Enterprises and Professions Guilford Hotel
A Colony Comes from England Their Early Struggles
Interesting Citizens Jake Cohen Civic Improvement Community Church Tabernacle High School Building Municipal Light and Waterworks City Hall... Pages 79-91
SENECA SHALE BRICK INDUSTRY.
An Agricultural Community The One Exception Important Invention The "Klose Continuous Tunnel Kiln" A Visit to
the Seneca Shale Brick Company's Plant Interview With
Mr. Klose Organization of Company Beginning of Industry Period of Uncertainty Present Capacity Capitalization... Pages 92-97
Unlike Other Towns Name Sabetha Excels A Healthful Climate Model Town Prosperous Citizens Farm Products
Shipped Prominent Men An Incident of Honor Sabetha
People Everywhere How Named Town Located Town
Company Organized Organization The Library A Rare
Host Industries and Business Houses Albany, the Mother
of Sabetha Reminiscences of the Late J.T. Brady... Pages 98-111
Its Peculiarities A Solid Town Founded By a Colony from
Galesburg, Ill. Dr. McKay Named in Honor of Erasmus
Corning Postoffice Established in 1867 First Store
Location of Town Changed When Railroad Was Built
First Hotel Jacob Jacobia First School Present
School Dr. Magill Modern Corning Highest Point in
County Nathan Ford and the Drouth of 1860 Population and Business Houses... Pages 112-115
Town Founded in 1886 Controversy Over Name Altitude
Natural Advantages Statistics Churches Societies and
Lodges Business Enterprises Mineral Springs As a
Trading Point Above the Average Business Men... Pages 116-120
A Shipping Point A Railroad Town Named for W.T. Wetmore Postoffice Established in 1867 Early Business Enerprises First Events A Hanging Earliest Citizen
Pony Express and Overland Stage Schools A Jesse
James Incident Pioneers and Their Descendants First
Settler in Township Prospecting for Coal Bancroft
W. F. Turrentine Cardinal Points of Compass Disregarded... Pages 121-126
Third Town in County Townsite Selected Moved to the Rail-
road Located by a Maine Colony A Would-Be Seminary
Progress Incorporated Library Becomes City Proper
in 1906 Dr. J.S. Hidden Prominent Newspaper Men
Schools Vital Statistics Home Association Early Settlers... Pages 127-133
OTHER TOWNS AND VILLAGES.
Goff A Railroad Center Named in Honor of Edward H.
Goff Location Judge Donaldson Mr. Abbott, First
Merchant Kelly A Shipping Point "The Kelly Booster" A Beautiful Church The Kelly Bank School
Business Enterprises Pioneer Families The Villages of
Dorcas, Clear Creek, Sother, Price, Etc. The Town of
Baileyville... Pages 134-138
Founded by Col. Cyras Shinn Election of Name Liquor Restriction Supported Governor St. John^ - Postoffice
Early Enterprises Churches Substantially Built School
"Real Estate Journal" New York "Tribune" Reports
of "Bleeding Kansas" First Religious Service Lodges
and Woman's Clubs... Pages 139-143
NEMAHA IN THE BORDER WAR.
Anti Slavery Sentiment Underground Railroad John Brown
Here Rev. Curtis Graham Recollections of William Graham Nemaha Not Seriously Affected Quantrill Slaves
Here Jim Lane Here Mexican War Veterans... Pages 144-148
NEMAHA IN THE CIVIL WAR.
Nemaha Responded Promptly A Company Organized Here
George Graham Organized a Company "John Brown's
Body" Belonged to the Seventh and Eighth Regiments
Real Warfare - Troops Return on a Furlough Nemaha
Soldiers in Important Engagements Nemaha Boys in the
Ninth Cavalry Eleventh Regiment in Campaign Against
Indians Nemaha Soldiers Saw Much Service Prominent
Nemaha County Men in the Civil War Grape Shot Found
Here War Relics... Pages 149-161
THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR.
Nemaha Responds Promptly-Company K, Twenty-second Regiment Equipment of Company To Camp Alger, Va.
Drilling Efficience Foraging Camp Mead, Pa. Mustered Out at Ft. Leavenworth Captain Miller Nemaha
Always to the Front A Sham Battle... Pages 162-165
Marvelous Resources Improved Methods Evolution in Crop
Raising Live Stock Comparative Statistics, 1875 to
1915 Increase of Land Values Scientific Farming Improved Stock Prominent Breeders Beef Cattle Model
Farms Irrigation States and Countries Represented
Survey of County Cheese and Butter Other Statistics
The Tractor as a Labor Saver A Big Grain Business... Pages 166-179
Apple Orchards Honey Cattle Shipments Prize Crops
Agricultural and Horticultural Society First Annual Fair
Board of Trade Repaying New York A Freak Peach
Tree Prize Winners Pure-Bred and "Scrub Corn"
Fletchell and Wright's $67,000 Grain Crop Harvesting
the Crop As a Health Resort Age of Nemaha Jacob
Fleisch's Quarter Section Tree Farm... Pages 180-187
The First Newspaper The Nemiaha "Courier" Its Policy
John P. Cone, Editor The "Courier-Democrat" "Mercury" The Seneca "Tribune" Other Newspapers Sabetha Newspapers Centralia, Corning and Goff Newspapers The Bern "Gazette" The Wetmore "Spectator" A Rare Newspaper Collection... Pages 188-196
BENCH AND BAR.
A Lawyer and Judge The Lawyer and Necessity of Law Its
Application The Bench Judicial Power Vested Albert
L. Lee Albert H. Horton Robert St. Clair Graham
Nathan Price Perry L. Hubbard Alfred G. Otis David
Martin Reuben C. Bassett John F. Thompson Rufus
M. Emery William I. Stuart District Clerks Sheriffs
County Attorneys Probate Judges... Pages 197-204
THE BENCH AND BAR, CONTINUED.
The Bar - A Lawyer's Duty His Work Resident Lawyers
Nernaha Attorneys Who Have Attained Distinction Experiences of Lawyers Senator Ingalls Cases Early Juries
Important Cases Louis Lorimer and Regis Loisel Titles
Railroad Bond Case Noted Criminal Cases State vs.
Carter and Winters State vs. Wilton Baughn State vs.
Blancett State vs. John Craig State vs. Mrs. Frank McDowell State vs. Thomas Ramsey State vs. Fred Kuhn... Pages 205-215
COUNTY ORGANIZATION AND OFFICIAL ROSTER.
First Election Bogus Legislature County Created First Officers Members Elected to Second and Third Territorial
Legislature County Officers Elected in 1859 First Court
House First Term of Court District Judge Grand Jury
An Important Case Townships Council State Senators Territorial Representatives State Representatives
Sheriffs County Clerks Registrars of Deeds County
Treasurers Probate Judges Superintendents of Public
Instruction Clerks of District Court County Commissioners County Surveyors Coroners County Attorneys
County Assessors... Pages 216-222
BANKS AND BANKING.
First Bank in the County The Sabetha State Bank Wetmore
State Bank First National Bank in the County Bank-
ing Interests Develop Banks Organized Changes and
Consolidations Farmers Bank of Morrill Organized
Present Banks The National Bank of Seneca First National Bank of Seneca Citizens Bank of Seneca The National Bank of Sabetha The Citizens State Bank, Sabetha
Other Nemaha Banks... Pages 223-234
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION.
Prior to 1860 Early Day Doctors Dr. Anderson, Dr. Hidden Well Known Physicians First Medical Society Organized Now a Part of the American Medical Association Present Organization - Requirements to Practice
Hospital Prominent Physicians and Surgeons... Pages 235-238
SCHOOLS AND EDUCATION.
The Pioneers' Interest in Schools First County Superintendent Other Superintendents Establishing Districts Records Destroyed by Fire^The District School Number of
Districts Candidates for Certificates in 1877, 1885, 1900
and 1915 Officers and Teachers in i886 - School Officers, 1915-1918 - Joint Districts County High School
Plan Rejected Consolidation School Centralization
Notable Teachers The Albany School A Beloved Teacher... Pages 239-266
LODGES AND SOCIETIES.
Masonic, the First to Organize Royal Arch Masons in 1877
Grand Army of the Republic Women's Relief Corps
Masonic Odd Fellows Knights of Pythias Knights and
Ladies of Security Modern Woodmen Royal Neighbors Ancient Order of United Workmen Degree of
Honor Fire Department C.M.B.A. Organizations
and Officers Clubs and Social Gatherings... Pages 267-275
Calamities Great Drouth of 1860 Grasshopper Visitation
The Cyclone of 1896 John P. Cone's Experience Indian
Massacre of Argonauts An Exciting Buffalo Hunt Reminiscences of Alfred Stokes The Orphan Population The County Hospital... Pages 276-287
NEMAHA'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF RENOWN.
Dr. Benjamin L. Miller Mrs. Ethel Hussey Ex-Gov. W.J.
Bailey E.G. Stitt Mrs. Nannie Kuhlman Senator W
H. Thompson Mrs. Virginia Greever Walt Mason
Frederick Gates Rev. A.G. Lohman Col. H. Baker
And Others... Pages 288-296
THE CHURCH IN NEMAHA COUNTY.
First Sermon Seneca Baptist Church Organized Here Methodists in 1857 Presbyterian Church in 1863 Congregationalists Universalists Roman Catholic St. Mary's
Church of St. Benedict Sts. Peter and Paul's, Seneca
St. Bede's Catholic Church Seneca Church Meetings Sabetha Churches Centralia Churches Wetmore Churches
Oneida Churches Corning Churches Churches of
Other Towns... Pages 297-321
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Nemaha, "No Papoose," in its English significance, county, Kansas, bears the distinction of having been trod by the foot of white man long before the original thirteen colonies of the United States were touched by any but aborigines. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, coming up from Mexico, marched through Kansas leaving what is now the northern boundary of that State, which then was but an untried wilderness, by the way of Nemaha county. This was in the month of August, 1541. The Smithsonian Institute contains records of this famous expedition. A Nemaha county man has written the story of this expedition into a book of charm and interest, and Nemaha county has passed into literature as well as ancient history. John C. Stowell tells the story of the expedition of Coronado. Nemaha county at that time, with all the country north of the Kaw river to the fortieth latitude, by which Nemaha county is bounded on the north, was called Quivera. It was then occupied by the Pottawatomie and Fox Indians. But today Nemaha county, bearing its Indian name, is the one county in the northeast corner of Kansas having no Indiana reservation, and no resident Indians.