Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Adams County
Produced by
Diane Dietl and Connie Snyder.


Adams County | Early Settlement | Indian Troubles | Organization
Criminal | First Things | Railroads


Manufactures | County Seat Removals | County Poor Farm
Grasshoppers | Agricultural Society | Farmer's Alliance
Public Schools | Towns

Hastings:  Banks | Manufactures | The Press

Hastings (cont.):   Societies | Religious | Liberal Hall | Schools
Fire Department | Telephone Exchange

 5 ~ 8:

Biographical Sketches:


Juniata:  Banks | Flouring Mill | Societies | Religious
The Press | Schools

PART 10:
Juniata:  Biographical Sketches
PART 11:
Ayr:  Biographical Sketches
PART 12:

Kenesaw:  First Things | Religious | Educational | The Press
Biographical Sketches
Hansen:   Biographical Sketches
Other Towns

List of Illustrations in Adams County Chapter

Part 12


   In the summer of 1871, the South Platte Town Company laid out a town site on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad at a point nine miles east of Juniata, and gave the town the name Kenesaw, after Kenesaw Mountain.

   As was the custom of the company in matters of this kind, the town site was situated on the section of Government land surrounded on all sides by the railroad land.

   The land came into the possession of the company by means of their procuring parties to settle upon it as a pre-emption, and, after a patent was issued by the Government to these parties, the property was immediately turned over to the company, who footed all expenses connected with the procuring of the title, and also remunerated those who settled upon the lands.

   The first person to locate in the town was Mrs. M. S. Norton, who came in the spring of 1872 and took up a residence in one of the small houses built by the Town Site Company.

   The post office was established in the place during that year, and Mrs. Norton was appointed Postmistress. The duties of the position, however, at this time, were not burdensome, the mail matter being somewhat limited, as was also the salary, which was $1 per month. At first, the post office was kept in a sewing machine box, that being of sufficient size to accommodate the mail.

   Josiah Hodges moved to Kenesaw in the following spring and opened the first business house, consisting of general merchandise. Hodges was also successor to Mrs. Norton as Postmaster. In the winter of 1873-74, he sold out his business to Edward Moore, who was the next settler in the town, and also successor to the office of Postmaster.

   An implement house was the next business establishment, belonging to E. Steinan, of Hastings, and run by S. S. Dow as his agent.

   In the spring of 1878, J. G. Hayzlett started a grocery and hardware store, and in the following year, G. B. Crandall began business with a general stock of goods.

   A blacksmithing shop was built by G. W. Baldwin in 1877, in which he carried on his trade, doing all kinds of work connected with the business.

   J. G. Reichard built a house in the summer of 1879, which he used as a boarding house.

   In the following year, Edward Moore disposed of his business to A. S. Thompson, and during that year Thompson also became Moore's successor as Postmaster.

   Later in the fall of the year, J. H. Roberts started a general store, being the last business established in the town.

   The comparative growth of the town has been exceedingly slow, the population being only about one hundred. The reason for this may be found in the fact of its not being the favored town in the county, and for this reason must await a slow and natural growth, the result of the settlement and development of the surrounding country. As regards settlement and development, the country surrounding the town is comparatively new. Not later than two years ago, the shipment of grain did not amount to a single carload, while during the last year, the shipments amounted to eighty-six cars.


   The first death in the town was Jesse Hodges, one of Josiah Hodges' children, which occurred in the winter of 1873. The first and only grown person to die was Maria Moore, wife of Edward Moore, occurring in 1875.

   The first birth was in 1875, a child of S. S. Dow's.


   The first religious services were held in Kenesaw in 1873, by the Rev. R. H. Crane, a Methodist preacher. The services were held at the residence of Josiah Hodges, and afterward were held in the school building.

   In the following year, a congregation was organized by the Methodists, who were ministered unto in holy things by Rev. Crane.

   During the year 1877, the Rev. Giffin made his advent into the town as a "messenger of peace and goodwill," in the calling of a missionary, sent under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, and in the same year effected an organization of the Presbyterian body at Kenesaw. The meetings of the congregation are held in the school building, and Giffin still continues his ministrations with the flock.


   In perfect keeping with the custom of other parts of the county, the people of Kenesaw wisely saw fit to give early attention to the education of the youth. With the earliest settlement of the place, therefore, a school was established, and W. V. Miller was employed as the first pedagogue in town. Even before it was found necessary to establish a school, a building was in readiness for the purpose.

   The building was erected in 1872, and is a large two-story frame, containing three large recitation rooms, with study and cloak rooms. The house is constructed with a two-story wing entrance, built upon the front of the main building and surmounted with a neat and showy belfry. The cost of the building amounted to some $4,000.

   The project attending the erection of the house seems to have been the result of attempted sharp practice on the part of the interested parties.

   At that time, the only property in the district subject to taxation, excepting what little personal property there was, was the railroad property, consisting of lands, road-bed, etc., the total valuation of which was about $36,000. For the purpose of raising money with which to build a schoolhouse, the district issued its bonds to the amount of $5,000, and which were sold to New York parties for $4,000 in cash. With this money the building was erected.

   It was the design, in the first place, to defray the indebtedness incurred by the erection of the building by a tax levied upon the property of the district, consisting of railroad property, mainly, which fact accounts for the erection of so large and expensive a building.

   About $2,000 of the debt had been discharged, and a failure to pay up the balance, with interest, resulted in the bringing of suit against the district by the bondholders. A mandamus was served upon the County Commissioners, under the direction of the people of the district, compelling them to lay a sufficient tax on the property of the district to equal in its proceeds the amount of the indebtedness. The rate of levy required to do this was 47 mills on the dollar.

   The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad found reason to object to this measure, and at once sued out a writ of injunction restraining the County Treasurer from collecting the tax. The injunction still holds, and judgment was taken against the district, amounting, with principal, interest and costs of suit, to about $3,200.

   Thus did the people of the district, in attempting to profit from unfair means, involve themselves in the slough of unnecessary indebtedness.

   The schools at present, numbering eighty pupils, are in an excellent condition, under the instruction and control of Prof. A. W. Giffin.


   There are at the present time no news journals published in the town. A paper was started here June 8, 1876, by A. D. Williams, called the Kenesaw Times. After running for about two years, it was removed to Hastings and issued under the name of the Central Nebraskan. A further detailed history of the sheet may be found under the history of the city of Hastings.

   The month of April, 1874, will be ever remembered by many people of Adams County, and particularly those who had taken their abode in the village of Kenesaw.

   It was at this date that what was known as the "April storm" took place, followed by such dire results to the residents of the town. During a pleasant afternoon in the month of April, a dark cloud was seen moving slowly above the horizon. No notice was taken of its appearance as it gradually moved across the face of the heavens, shadowing the earth beneath with darkness and gloom. The nearing of the storm-cloud was heralded by the now stiffening breeze. At length, the storm broke, the winds blew in whirlwinds with terrific force, sweeping to destruction whatever came in their course; the wild thunders bellowed in deafening peals, while momentarily, with blinding glare, flashed the fierce lightnings, and the rain poured in stifling sheets.

   The little village, standing out unprotected on the bleak prairie, succumbed to the ravages of the storm. Buildings were shattered to atoms and the fragments strewn far and wide, and household goods were scattered broadcast over the prairie. The terrified inhabitants, drenched with the rains and blinded by the constant flashing of the lightning, sought refuge from the storm. The storm passed by, leaving the scene of destruction complete. But a single house, belonging to A. D. Williams, was left standing in the village. Into this lone structure most of the people had congregated, to obtain shelter from the storm of drifting snow that followed. Others found shelter as best they could. Three parties, E. G. Knapp and his wife and W. V. Miller, crept into a little sod hen-house, about five feet long, three or four feet wide and about three feet high, in which they remained three days and nights, their only sustenance being a can of peaches and two raw eggs which one of the men had gone out and procured among the fragments which lay scattered about.

   The storm, in the form of a mild cyclone, was about a mile wide, but seems not to have done much damage outside of the village of Kenesaw.

   In the following May occurred another instance long to be remembered by the inhabitants of the village. This was in the shape of a rain-storm. For some time the rain poured incessantly and in torrents. The earth was unable to drink in the mighty cataract, and the floods sought the lowest levels. The town of Kenesaw, being located in a basin-shaped prairie, became submerged in the shallow lake. The water accumulated in the town to a depth of over three feet, and the country was submerged for a distance of a mile around. Cellars became solid pools, and houses were partially filled with water, from which resulted considerable damage.


   H. D. EINSPAHR, farmer and stock-raiser, was born in Germany, in 1845. At about fourteen years of age, he began life as a sailor, and followed it on the ocean for some four years. He came to America in 1863, locating in Cook County, Ill., and was for a year employed in farming. In 1864, he enlisted in the United States Navy, serving on the Monitor Osage for thirteen months, after which he farmed for a year in Whiteside County, Ill., and for four years in Cook County; subsequently moving to Chicago, and was for four years engaged in the tallow business. Mr. Einspahr came to Nebraska in February, 1876, and located in Kenesaw Precinct, Adams County. Homesteading 160 acres of land, he has since been engaged in farming, raising stock, etc., making a specialty of breeding horses, and using in all, 520 acres of land. He was appointed assessor of the precinct in March, 1882. Mr. Einspahr was married in Cook County, Ill., in 1866, to Annie Einspahr, a native of Germany. They have seven children--Charles, Henry, John, George, Elizabeth, Herman and Annie.

   JOHN G. HAYZLETT, dealer in groceries, hardware, queensware, etc., was born in Western Virginia, in 1830, and when quite young, moved to Hancock County, Ind., residing with his parents there until 1851, when he was married to the only daughter of Judge Hatfield, and, in 1854, removed to Linn County, Iowa, and engaged in the mercantile business in Mt. Vernon. In 1862, he was commissioned as First Lieutenant in Company F, Twenty-fourth Iowa Infantry Volunteers; in 1863, resigned, and in 1867 was elected Sheriff of Linn County, Iowa, and had the office for three terms by election. In the fall of 1872, Eleanor K., his wife, died, leaving him with seven children--Mary E., Alice E., Emory, Rasey, Jessie, Eddie and Nettie, and in the spring of 1876 he was married again to Mrs. Jennie L. Platner, of Independence, Iowa, and in the fall of 1877 moved to Kenesaw, Neb., and engaged in the business above referred to, and has held the office of Justice of the Peace for three years, and is still the incumbent of the office.


   In the northeast part of the county, one-half mile from the Hall County and six miles west of the Clay County lines, is the village of Hansen. It is beautifully located in a rolling prairie, surrounded by fine and well-cultivated farms

   The place, having been recently started, has not, as yet, attained to any considerable size, having only a population of thirty-two.

   Hansen was laid out in 1879, by A. B. Ideson and J. J. Wemple, on grounds purchased from Charles and William Haines.

   The first building to mark the new town site was that erected by the railroad company for a station and telegraph office. This was in the fall of 1879, and, during the same fall, and in order of time, S. L. Loucks built a hotel, the Hansen House; J. L. Evans put up a storeroom, in which he placed a small stock of goods, consisting of general merchandise and B. F. Ford also put up a storehouse and engaged in the sale of groceries and hardware. Some time afterward, Ford sold out his stock to Evans. The next business establishment was a lumber-yard, started by James McGregor, in the interests of Paine Brothers, of Wisconsin, lumbermen.

   In April of 1880, B. F. Fisher erected a shop, carrying on the trade of a blacksmith; but Fisher's sojourn in the town was extremely brief; he, and also his wife, becoming dissatisfied and homesick, soon after returned to the scenes of their childhood in Illinois. In the following spring, Fisher was succeeded in the business of blacksmithing by Jacob Countryman.

   Previous to this, and in the fall of 1880, W. L. Baker took charge of the grain elevator belonging to O. Oliver, of Hastings, and, in November of the last year, also took charge of the elevator built by Hansen, Gregg & Co., in August, 1879.

   During the next fall, John Honeywell came and took possession of the Hansen House, in place of Loucks, who removed to Iowa. Directly following, Honeywell's father and brother came. His father opened a small grocery store, and the brother started a shoe-shop.

   At this time, Evans sold out his business to Jacob Smith and went back to Iowa.

   After the railroad station was completed, the business of the road was taken charge of by E. A. Maurey as agent, who remained till the fall of 1881, and was succeeded by W. H. Smith.

   In the summer of 1880, a schoolhouse was built, and in the fall of that year the first village school was held in Hansen. The school has an average attendance of twenty pupils, and, almost from its first establishment, has been under the control of Miss Sperry, of Hastings.

   A post office was established in December, 1879, and James McGregor was commissioned to take charge of the office. At this time the business of the office was light, and McGregor appointed Mrs. Maurey, wife of the station agent, to act as Deputy, and the office was kept by her in the railroad station.

   Owing to some difficulty between the railroad company and the Post Office Department at Washington, the road declined to carry the mails over their road, and while this lasted, McGregor acted as mail-carrier, transporting it to and from Hastings on his back, walking up in the morning and back again at night. His residence, however, was at Hastings, and his business being at Hansen necessitated his making the trip at all events. McGregor resigned the office in April, 1881, and J. L. Evans was appointed in his stead; and again, in December of that year, Evans resigned, and was succeeded by Jacob Smith, the present incumbent.

   Religious services were first held at Hansen in the summer of 1880, by the Rev. Mr. Wessels, a Presbyterian minister. The congregation was organized in 1878, and meetings were held in a country schoolhouse about a mile south of the town, but the place was afterward changed, and services were conducted in the school building at Hansen.

   Wessels remained with the congregation till the fall of 1880, and was superseded in the charge by the Rev. E. A. McCullum.

   The first death in the town was that of John Honeywell's little boy, Johnny, in February, 1882.

   The first child born was Maud Maurey, daughter of E. A. Maurey.


   W. L. BAKER, manager for H. M. Oliver, dealer in grain, etc., was born in Tioga County, N. Y., in 1850, residing there until eighteen years of age, when he went to Hannibal, Mo., where he was employed in farming for eighteen months, then in same capacity for five years in Barton County, Mo. In 1876, he went to Texas, and was for two years employed in cattle driving, etc.; he came to Nebraska in July, 1878, locating at Glenville, Clay County; entered the employ of H. M. Oliver, dealer in grain, and in August, 1880, came to Hansen to take charge of Mr. Oliver's business at this place. Mr. Baker has charge of two elevators here, having an aggregate capacity of 23,000 bushels; he also carries on a coal business on his own account, and in March, 1882, erected a stone building at this place, and in connection with other business pursuits engaged in hardware business; he carries a stock from $7,000 to $10,000. Mr. Baker was married in Clay County, Neb., December 15, 1880, to Ida Lamb; they have one daughter--Cecil May.

   JOHN G. HONEYWELL, proprietor of Hansen House, was born in Summit County, Ohio, in 1844, removing four years later with his parents to Eaton County, Mich., and three years later to Lawn Ridge, Marshall Co., Ill., residing with his parents until he enlisted in August, 1861, in the Forty-seventh Illinois Infantry, and served two months; on August 27, 1862, he re-enlisted in the Eighty-sixth Illinois Infantry, serving in that regiment until June, 1865. After the war, Mr. Honeywell attended the Northern University at Henry, Ill., for a year, and subsequently engaged in farming in Marshall County, Ill., for some eight years; he came to Nebraska in January, 1876, homesteading 160 acres in Hall County; was engaged in farming the same until October, 1881, when he came to Hansen and purchased his present hotel building, etc., from Samuel Louks. He has a good barn and livery attached to the hotel, and accommodation for thirty guests. Mr. Honeywell was married in La Salle County, Ill., March 25, 1868, to Frances B. Parker, a native of Washington County, Ill.; they have three children--Athaliah, Fannie B. and La Roy Garfield.

   JAMES McGREGOR, agent for C. N. Paine & Co., lumber, etc., was born in Mifflin County, Penn., in 1828, and began business life as a clerk in mercantile business at fifteen years of age; was employed in that capacity in the towns of Reedsville and Lewistown in Mifflin County until 1860, when he removed to Earlsville, La Salle County, Ill.; was engaged in the grain business there for about a year, afterward at Altona, Knox Co., Ill., in grain and live stock business until 1868; afterward he removed to Iowa and followed farming in Johnson and Washington Counties for about eight years. Mr. McGregor came to Nebraska in the spring of 1876, and entered the employ of C. N. Paine & Co., at Fairmont, where he was employed as general salesman for two years, then as bookkeeper for the same firm at Hastings, remaining there until he came to Hansen in November, 1879, and opened a branch yard for the firm at this place, since which time he had charge of the business at this point. The firm of C. N. Paine & Co. carry a stock from $12,000 to $15,000 at this place.

   JACOB SMITH, dealer in general merchandise, was born in Germany July 11, 1845, and emigrated to America with his parents when two years of age. He resided in St. Louis, Mo., and in June, 1861, enlisted in the Seventh Missouri Volunteer Infantry; in December, 1864, this regiment was consolidated with the Eleventh Missouri Infantry, and Mr. Smith served in that regiment until mustered out in January, 1866; his service was in the band and he held the rank of Drum Major for three years; after leaving the army, he went to Sangamon County, Ill., where he was engaged in farming for about seven years. Mr. Smith came to Nebraska in March, 1873, homesteading 160 acres in Hamilton County; he resided there and was engaged in farming until October, 1881, when he came to Hansen, purchased the general merchandise business of James Evans, and has conducted it since. Mr. Smith was appointed Postmaster at this place in October, 1881. He carries a stock in his store of some $2,500. The subject of our sketch was married in Sangamon County, Ill., in April, 1866, to Mary Crame; she died in 1868, leaving one daughter--Hattie. Mr. Smith was married a second time in Sangamon County, in December, 1869, to Hattie Gould, a native of that county; they have four children--Jay, Carrie, Cora and Annie.


   Millington.--About three miles northeast of the town of Ayr, on the Little Blue River, is a small point called Millington. It was so named from its being selected as the site of a grist and flouring mill. The erection of the mill began in 1872 by John Dyer, and was completed and in operation in 1874. Before the completion of the establishment, Dyer connected with him in the enterprise his nephews, Elbridge and True Dyer. The mill is a large wooden structure, constructed with three run of buhrs, and is run by water-power taken from the Little Blue River. A store was begun at the place, but survived but a short time, and the building in which it was kept was afterward moved by Keith & Kress to Ayr.

   Ludlow.--This is a country post office located about eleven miles northeast of Hastings. The office was established in January, 1880, with G. L. Huff as Postmaster.

   Hazel Dell.--This is a post office situated eight miles south of Juniata. The country in which it is located is thickly populated with German settlers. The post office was established on April 7, 1879, and F. M. Thompson was appointed Postmaster. A congregation was organized by the Congregationalists, in 1877, at Hazel Dell Schoolhouse, but, owing to a lack of means to carry forward the work, the attempt soon proved a failure. Rev. M. F. Platt was the chief instrument in its establishment.

   Mayflower.--This is a post station in the western part of the county and about seven miles south of Kenesaw. It was christened in honor of the historic vessel, the Mayflower, in which the Pilgrim fathers sailed to the new world.

   Kingston.--It is a post office located about five miles east of Ayr, and Little Blue, also a post station, lies about the same distance south of Ayr, while to the west of Little Blue, a distance of about three miles, is Silver Lake, also a country post office.

   Morseville and Rosedale.--These are post offices situated in the southwest corner of the county, and distant from each other about four miles.

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