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 2


   The manufacturing industry of the county is just but imperfectly begun. The comparatively recent date of its settlement, however, fully accounts for this, and the success which has attended those that have been started clearly demonstrates that no reason exists why the business of manufacturing may not be prosecuted extensively and with profit in Adams County.

   There are now three flouring-mills in the county--one on the Little Blue River, in the southern part of the county; one at Millington, in the eastern portion; one at Juniata, and another at Hastings. These institutions, with the extensive Lewis Header Works at Hastings, are the leading manufactories in the county. Besides these, however, there are several smaller establishments, a more detailed account of which appears elsewhere in this history.


   The locating of the county seat in this, as is generally the case in most new counties, is a matter giving rise to much dissension and spirited contests. At the time of the organization of the county, in 1871, the trouble began upon this question. The majority of the settlers living toward the central and southern part of the county favored its establishment in that vicinity, while those living in the north part of the county favored Juniata as the place to locate the seat of government. But for an oversight which occurred, the place desired by the southern residents, who, in numbers, were vastly in the majority, would have been selected. They were, however, legally disqualified and prohibited from voting on account of having failed to be registered as voters, in compliance with the law then in force. Thus, by accident, it might be said, Juniata became the county seat of Adams County. But the thing was far from being permanent or conclusive. The prominence which Hastings began to assume gave the people living in that district a consciousness that they had not only the power, but likewise the just right and title, to have the seat of government established with themselves, while Juniata hoped and struggled to retain the same.

   An effort toward removal was made in 1875, the fight being between Hastings and Juniata, the one attempting to drag it away, and the other holding on tenaciously to restrain its removal from them.

   The election was held and the vote counted, and Juniata came out victorious in the contest. The final result was disputed, and a board was called to canvass the vote. In the prosecution of their duties, the board deemed it in accordance with the justice of the case to throw out in toto the vote of Cottonwood Precinct, on the grounds that the Election Board of that precinct had taken their oath of office before one of the County commissioners. A mandamus from the Supreme Court was sued out, compelling the Canvassing Board to count the vote of the rejected precinct.

   In compliance with this order of the court, the vote was counted, and with the result as stated above.

   Hastings was not satisfied with this effort, however, and was determined, after accumulating additional strength and power, to new the struggle. The attempt was again made in 1877, resulting in a victory in favor of Hastings, which, therefore, was declared the county seat. The selection, however, was but the natural sequence of favorable position and convenience. Being a center for diverging lines of railroads, and the commercial metropolis of the county, conveniently located and all, renders it an extremely wise and polite selection, and one which is more than likely to become permanent and settled.

   The election was quite an exciting one. A number of citizens from Hastings went up to Juniata to "superintend the casting of the vote." As party feeling ran high on the county seat question, this produced some excitement, and a disturbance was apprehended, which, however, did not occur, the election passing off quietly, and resulting, as we have said, in a victory for Hastings.

   Juniata, however, did not yield her claim without a struggle. The vote was canvassed and the matter taken into the courts to be contested. Referees were commissioned by Judge Gaslin, then district Judge; depositions were taken, and all evidence gathered bearing on the case. The papers were in the custody of the Judge in his office at Kearney, awaiting his examination and judgment. In the meantime, the office occupied by the Judge was burned, and all the papers destroyed. There was then no evidence before the court except the election returns, which of course, were in favor of Hastings. The matter was not re-investigated, and Hastings was declared to be the county seat.

   The most noticeable want in the county government is its not having provided suitable buildings for its offices. There are no county buildings at all, the offices and court rooms being in such places as can be rented suitable for such.

   Judging, however, from the public spirit and enterprise in public concerns manifested by the people throughout the county, it is safe to predict that it is but a question of brief time when the county will have provided large and suitable buildings in which will be located all its offices for the transaction of the public business.


   This institution for the care and support of the infirm and destitute was established in 1873. The land, comprising a tract of 300 acres, was procured by the county authorities from the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, and is situated near the central part of the county, about four miles south of the village of Juniata. Buildings suitable for the purpose, consisting of a story-and-a-half frame, and stabling. The entire cost of the first buildings was about $1,200. Improvements and enlargements have since been made, in which was expended, in the aggregate, the amount of $3,000. The farm, consisting of the fine prairie land, is in a fair state of cultivation.

   Owing largely to the industry of settlers and their abilities to make provisions for themselves, the number of inmates is comparatively small. The establishment of the institution, however, is one among the many marks of generosity of the settlers, able-bodied and strong, to so contribute of their means that the weak and helpless may not suffer.


   By far the greatest misfortune which the people of Adams County have been called upon to experience was that of the grasshopper plague in 1873. During the latter part of the month of July, and the first part of August of the year, the country was appalled by the presence of swarms of these pestilential insects. Their coming was forestalled at times by the dark cloud-like haze, which the swarms caused as they passed through the air, obscuring the sunlight of the clearest day. Dropping from their flight to the earth, they were a thick seething mass of devouring insects. No sooner had they reached the ground than they began upon the work of destruction. All green vegetation, except grasses, was rapidly consumed, and fields of corn were entirely destroyed and the whole crop practically eaten up. Some wheat which was pretty well ripened remained unharmed by the greedy devourers. The work of devastation lasted only about forty-eight hours and was complete. The satiated insects, after finishing in one place, again rose upon the wing and sought other green fields and again fell to devouring.

   Little can be judged of the effect this had upon the country. It was yet new and practically an experiment of the untried lands not yet fully tested. Men whose sanguine dispositions had led them to invest their all, full of faith in the result, looked out with dismay upon the barren fields. Many, depending upon their crops, were left totally destitute. Business was discouraged and slack, for a time. But it did not remain so long. Those having a little means left were forced to buy of the merchants and traffickers, who grew rich in bringing "corn from Egypt" to supply the farmer and those whose destitution and want the plague had caused.

   The experience was a trying one, indeed, and one to test the mettle and courage of settlers. With whatever resources they had left and with some little contribution from the Eastern States, the majority stood the scourge like men of spirit. Some, unable to endure, grew sick at heart, and, silently folding their tents, returned to the "old fireside at home." The fall and winter passed and the spring of the next year saw once more the sturdy yeoman, plowing, sowing, planting and delving, hopeful of the coming harvest. Neither were they hopeful in vain. A reasonable crop was the result of their faithful toil. The country was not again visited by the grasshoppers till the year 1876, when they again made their appearance. This time however, they caused but slight damage, appearing to be weak and unable to carry on, as previously, the work of annihilation.

   With having passed through trials like this and drouthy seasons, it would seem that no misfortunate could frighten the bold settler to abandon his claim or desert his homestead. Such, however, is the character of those whose names and labors are identified with the development of this new country, that they are not dismayed with misfortunes or frightened with dangers. Brave, courageous, dauntless, they cope with difficulties without dismay, and meet misfortunes without being terrified by them.


   An agricultural society was formed by the leading and most enterprising citizens of the county in 1872. The object of the organization, as with all similar ones, was the promotion and advancement of the agricultural interests of the county, and in exciting and interest and spirit of improvement in those engaged in the business; to foster and encourage, by throwing before the farming community incentives to progress, and using all such measures and endeavors as would assist in giving greater elevation to the system and methods of agriculture in all its various branches. The officers now in control of the organization are: A. D. Yocum, President; David Doty, A. N. Hall, C. R. Powers, George W. Moore, S. L. Saulsbury, J. A. Powers, V. Darling and B. F. Munsen, Vice Presidents; A. B. Ideson, Secretary; J. N. Lyman, Treasurer; Directors, William Van Allen, A. J. Orendorf, Andrew Beal, Robert Ash, D. Dillenbeck, W. H. Hopper, Cordon Edgerton, James McElroy, T. C. Fleming, George T. Hutchinson, J. D. Van Horton, L. A. Bowley, J. G. Hazlett, John Shellhamer, H. Graybil.

   The first fair was held at a place called Kingston, situated on the Little Blue River, and annual fairs have since been held at different places. The next two were held at a point about midway between Juniata and Hastings. As in the selection of a site for the county seat, some controversy seems to have existed as to the point where the county fairs should be held. For the next four years, it was held at Juniata, then the county seat, and the last one took place at Hastings. The society have procured and fitted up grounds on which exhibitions are made, all necessary buildings, stabling, etc., being provided for the convenience of exhibitors.

   Adams County is also included in the boundary of the territory covered by a district association of agriculture. The association was organized in 1878, with A. N. Hall, President; Charles Walker, Secretary; C. C. Ingalls, Treasurer, and A. D. Yocum, General Superintendent.

   The territory included in the district comprises all the western part of the State that lies west of a line running along the east line of the counties of Clay and Nuckolls, to the north line of the State. The purpose of the organization is similar to all agricultural societies. Fairs have been held annually at the city of Hastings.

   The present official management of the concern is in the hands of the following officers: Louis A. Kent, President; L. B. Palmer, Secretary; C. C. Ingalls, Treasurer; A. D. Yocum, General Superintendent.

   The grounds belonging to the Adams County Agricultural Society are made use of by the association. Special attention is given by the association to the exhibition of speed in horse-racing, etc.


   The association known as the Farmers' Alliance became organized in Adams County, February 26, 1882. The society elected for its officers A. N. Hall, as President, and William Van Allen, Secretary. The especial object of the organization and that for which it was created is avowedly for the protection of farmers, mechanics and the poorer laboring classes against the oppression of railroads, national banks and monopolies of whatever sort; to oppose and restrain the injurious effects upon them and the revolutionary tendencies produced by the moneyed classes of the land, in influencing class legislation, by the law-making powers of the States and nation, and in seeking to concentrate official power and control in the hands of the wealthy few to whom the laboring hordes must pay tribute as doth the oppressed subject under allegiance to his tyrannical sovereign.

   Much spirit and zeal is manifested in the work, which is potent in the control of the political affairs of the county. From present indications, the effort is likely to prove successful, and no doubt will work out a mighty revolution in the political situation of the State and nation.

   There are in the county twenty-five subordinate alliances, having an aggregate membership of about 600. The county organization is composed of delegates sent from each of the subordinate alliances. Each subordinate alliance is entitled to one representative at large and one for every ten members. The officers of the county alliance are: W. C. Weaver, President, and H. B. McGaw, Secretary. The association numbers in its membership men of the different political affiliations, uniting upon the universal platform of mutual self-protection.


   Whatever else might be said to the discredit of Adams County, no intimations of that sort could, with any degree of justness whatever, be made concerning her public schools. No truer index can be found, pointing as the great indicator on the dial face of time, exhibiting at once both the wisdom of those who bravely set their faces toward the descending sun, and halted upon these lovely plains to develop, beautify and utilize them to their own profit and satisfaction, and also pointing out toward the coming future to a high and superior educational status and to a general dissemination of intelligence among all classes. The spirit of enterprise in the people of a community is not more surely evidenced than by the condition of its schools and the interest manifested in them. Beginning with the earliest settlement of the county, and following it up to the present time, the establishment of the school will be found almost contemporaneous with the settlement of the land, and it has kept even pace with it at every stage of its progress.

   The rapidity with which the educational advantages of the county have advanced and the superior excellence they have attained are truly surprising. This fact will be more easily understood by a proper knowledge of the character of settlers. Instead of being of that class who must themselves be civilized and taught habits of culture and enlightenment, they are those, who, already cultured and imbued with a spirit of its uses and importance, undertake to exert the same benign influences upon the rising generations.

   The first school taught in Adams County was in the year 1872, by a Miss Emma Leonard. The place where the school was kept was about a mile south of the village of Juniata. Miss Leonard was also the first in the county to receive a teacher's certificate. This was the germ from which sprang in so brief a time the scholastic supremacy of the county. In the fall of 1872, another school was held at Juniata. Miss Lizzie Scott being employed as teacher. During this and the year following, the work of establishing schools went on as settlements were made, and, by the 1st of October, of 1873, the county numbered thirty-eight organized school districts.

   There were in the county, at that time, 467 children of school age; of these, 251 were males and 216 females. Of qualified teachers, there were fourteen males and eighteen females, only twelve being in employment. In the thirty-eight organized districts, there were twenty-five school buildings, one of these being log and the remaining twenty-four frame, which were fitted out and furnished with patent desks and seats, and eighteen were supplied with improved apparatus.

   The total value of the school property was $32,621. During the year 1873, the entire expenditures of school purposes was $10,850.46, while the total receipts were $72,972.78. The average cost of tuition for each child attending school was $6.60. There was at this date an accumulated school indebtedness of $44,045. There was paid to teachers, during the year, $1,199.50, the average monthly wages being $39.71 for males, and $32.09 for females.

   A comparative statement of the number of organized districts for the years 1872 and 1873 shows the rapid extension of school advantages, and as well shows a corresponding increase in the population of the county from the influx of settlers and other causes. On the 1st day of April, 1872, there were in the county thirteen organized school districts, while, on October 1, 1873, the number was thirty-eight, or an increase of twenty-five in a period of eighteen months.

   From these first few years in the history of the schools of the county is seen all along, up to the present time, the same degree of progress, together with a steady and marked improvement in their efficiency and methods of imparting instruction.

   In 1880, from the report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for that year, there are given sixty-six organized districts and fifty five school houses. The value of the school buildings was $31,492.20; the value of the school-house sites was $911; the number of children of school age was 3,275, of which number only 2,115 attended school, 1,083 of them being males, and 1,032 females. There were seventy-three teachers employed, thirty-two males and forty-one females, to whom was paid respectively, for services, the sums of $4,865.32 and $7,640.29, or a total sum of $12,505.61.

   During the year, there was expended for building, repairs and for other purposes, $20,327.64, and the amount of the school fund on hand was $8,569.24. The bonded indebtedness of the county incurred for school purposes was, on the 4th of April, 1880, $55,786.78; all other indebtedness of schools was on the same date, $8,071.87, making a total indebtedness of $63,858.65.

   There are but two graded schools in the county--one at Hastings and one at Juniata. The Hastings school consists of four departments, the primary, intermediate, grammar and high school. Besides these, there is the division into grades, of which there are twelve. There are eleven instructors employed. Prof. O. C. Hubbel is the Principal and is assisted by a corps of ten competent and efficient lady teachers.

   The Juniata schools are divided into three departments-- the primary, intermediate and high school. The higher department consists of three grades denominated as classes A, B and C. The same divisions are also made in the intermediate department. The attendance on all the departments for the month of January, 1882, was 121. The schools are under the charge of C. C. Sill as Principal, who is also engaged in instructing the higher department. Miss Lucy A. Robertson has charge of the instruction of the intermediate department, and Miss Nettie Winter that of the primary.

   There are forty-four pupils in the primary department, forty-two in the intermediate and thirty-five in the high school department.

   The educational standard of the county is constantly being improved, special attention being given to the employment of good teachers, whose qualifications and efficiency in the art are advanced under the influence of teachers' institutes, that are held at different times in the year for the special drill of teachers in the work.


   The first attempt at town building in the county was made in the northeast corner of the county, on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad. The town of Inland was laid off in 1871, by the South Platte Town Company. The town site was located on a section of Government land, which it is well understood was settled by parties at the instigation of the company and from whom, after they had secured the title, the company procured the land. Those thus settling upon the land embraced in the town site were George Sluyter, William Janes, Volney Janes and George Knapp.

   The town had grown to be quite a village, containing several houses, stores, etc., also a large two-story frame school building, costing about $5,000. In 1878, the town was removed from the original site to a point on the railroad about three miles to the east. The entire place was taken away and nothing now remains to mark the site of the village but the old caving cellar excavations and the solitary school building. Other towns were laid out later in the season, Juniata being the next in order of time, followed by Hastings and others in the course of time. A detailed account of the more important of these may be found in the following history:

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