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 9


   The village of Juniata lies in the northern part of Adams County, on the line of the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, and six miles west of the city of Hastings. The place is favorably located on a beautiful level prairie country, splendidly adapted to agricultural pursuits, the soil being fertile and productive and the surface smooth, even and unbroken and easy of cultivation.

   In 1871, S. L. Brass and A. H. Bowen located a colony of Michigan people here, the colony consisting of about one hundred families. The section of Government land upon which the town was laid out, and which was surrounded on all sides by lands included in the grant made by the Government to the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad, was entered as homesteads by John Stark, Titus Babcock, C. C. Babcock and Isaac Stark. After they had procured patents for these lands, they disposed of them to the South Platte Town Company by sale. In 1871, after the Town Company came into the possession of the lands, they proceeded to lay off one-fourth of the section into town lots, including in the site a fourth of each of the quarter sections, joining at the center of the section, calling the new town Juniata. After the town had been laid off, John M. Jacobson came in, put up a building which he used as a storeroom and hotel.

   A newspaper, the Adams County Gazette, was started in 1871, by C. C. and R. D. Babcock, which they continued for about nine years, when they removed the paper to Hastings, and soon after sold out to A. L. Wigton & Co., editors of the Journal, and the two papers became consolidated into the Gazette-Journal. In the spring of 1872, C. R. Jones opened the second business house, embracing general merchandise. During the same year, W. Birdsall and Frank Mitchell opened another general store, W. L. Van Alstine started a lumber yard and Nathan Platte opened the first drug store.

   The end of the first year found the promising little town containing about fifteen houses of all sorts, with about fifty of a population.

   In the month of June, 1872, the railroad was completed to the place, and trains plied to and fro bringing in supplies of men and material for the further construction of the road, and also settlers, merchandise, wares and other materials. Everything was at this time all astir, the people were happy and prosperous and the new town promising.

   This being the pet town of the railroad, they bent every energy to make it the chief commercial emporium and metropolis of Adams County. Every favor possible was shown it by the company and which they withheld from other towns. These advantages operated very greatly in attracting settlers and business men to locate here, and from which the town grew with great rapidity. Besides this the town had the advantages of arising from being the seat of government for the county.

   Among the improvements in the place following the building of the railroad was the establishment of a grocery by A. V. Cole, in 1873. In 1872, a large school building was erected, costing about $3,500, and, in the following year, a large flouring-mill was built, being the first grist-mill in the county. The growth of the town began to increase in rapidity daily, and it is not wonderful that, from the prospects presented, men of judgment and sound business sagacity were ready to pronounce Juniata the future metropolis of Adams County.

   But, in this, were they not to be deceived? Was Juniata to continue in the ascendency and eventually maintain the pre-eminence over other places in the county?

   Across the broad level prairie, to the east of Juniata, only a distance of six miles, and almost within sight, had sprung up a little town--a rival. This was Hastings. Little notice was at first taken of this attempt to establish a town. None, except the brave, fearless spirits who were instrumental in locating the place, ever dreamed for it more than a small and unimportant future. But in the midst of disadvantages--hampered by the influence of the railroad company, who sought to crush its existence, in their efforts to build up Juniata, and, in opposition to other adverse circumstances, it continued to grow steadily. It was not without a feeling of jealousy that the people of Juniata watched the progress of their despised rival village. They heard with dismay the ceaseless clatter of hammer and saw, wafted to their ears on the wings of the fresh morning breeze, and saw, with wounded pride, as tipped in the light of the early dawn, the towering church spire glisten in the sun. In the spirited struggle between the two places for the superiority, Hastings began to overbalance, and rose with surprising rapidity over her antagonist. But this was not without its cause. The building of the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad, making a junction with the Burlington & Missouri River road at this point, brought with it fresh and important advantages, from which the town received a new impetus in its growth. Hitherto the Burlington & Missouri Railroad had no interest in Hastings, except to impede her progress in favor of their own town. But, seeing their ends practically defeated, they turned their attention to Hastings, in which they became pecuniarily interested and now set to work to aid in its advancement to the neglect of Juniata. From this time, a check was thrown upon the advancement of Juniata, and her progress became wearied and slow.

   Not until January, 1880, was Juniata incorporated as a village. A Board of Trustees, consisting of I. G. Dillon, C. R. Jones, E. M. Allen, L. F. Pickard and S. L. Brass was elected to take charge of the village government. At a meeting of the board, the following officers were elected: H. E. Wells, Treasurer; Charles Kilburn, Clerk; W. G. Beall, Attorney.

   The present Board of Trustees and officers are: I. G. Dillon, C. R. Jones. A. V. Cole, E. M. Allen and S. L. Brass, Trustees; D. H. Freeman, Clerk; George T. Brown, Treasurer; B. F. Smith, Attorney.

   A post office was established at the place in April, 1872, and Titus Babcock was commissioned Postmaster, at a salary of $1 per month. Babcock continued to hold the position of Postmaster up to October, 1881, when he was succeeded by William Knickerbocker. Knickerbocker's term of office as Postmaster was extremely brief, having held the position only one month, when, owing to some difficulty between the Stalwart and Liberal factions of the party, he was removed and S. J. Shirley was appointed in his stead. At first, Babcock held the office in his own dwelling.

   The first religious services in Juniata were held by the Rev. Clarkson, in the residence of S. L. Brass, in the early spring of 1872. In April of that year, the Methodists effected the first Congregational organization in the place, with the Rev. R. H. Crane as pastor, and, in the year following, began the erection of a church building, which was completed in 1875, as the first church house in the town. The first school was held in the spring of 1872, and was taught by Miss Lizzie Scott.

   At the election held December 12,1871, Juniata was chosen as the county seat for Adams County, where it was retained until 1878, when it was removed to Hastings. After repeated and severely contested efforts, and through much fraudulent scheming on all sides, a more detailed account of which will be found elsewhere, in the history of Adams County.

   As a commercial point, Juniata holds considerable prominence. Surrounded as she is by a large and thickly populated farming country, gives the place a correspondingly extensive trade. Until recently, the territory whose supply was derived from Juniata extended for long distances, reaching as far as twenty-five and thirty miles to the south and west and for eight and ten miles to the north and northwest. Besides being the point of supply for this large scope of country, it was likewise the reservoir into which poured vast quantities of grain and other produce, and which from here found shipment to Eastern markets, bringing wealth and business prosperity to the merchants and people of the brisk town. But this was not to last. New villages and trading-points came into existence, and thus the heretofore extensive trade of Juniata was somewhat curtailed. This, in part, will explain why that in previous years larger shipments of grain and produce were made from the place than at present, thus showing that while the country becomes developed to a greater degree, yet the trade and export of products are less since the territory from which it is derived has been reduced. During the year 1881, the shipments of freight were 231 cars of wheat, seventy-one of corn, thirty-seven of barley, thirty-nine of flour, fifteen of broom corn, one of oats, one of flax-seed, three of lumber, one of cattle, sixteen of hogs.

   The receipts were sixty-seven cars of lumber, 131 of coal, thirteen of stone, eight of agricultural implements, seven of emigrants' movables, four of salt and one of lime. This embraces simply such freight as was shipped and received in carload lots, and represents but in part the annual shipments.


   The first and only banking institution in Juniata was started in August, 1879, by C. R. Jones and J. M. Sewell, under the firm style of C. R. Jones & Co. The members of the firm first came to Juniata in 1872, and engaged in general merchandising, in which they continued until 1879, when they sold out their store and opened a banking house. The bank is located in one of the rooms in the Thorne Block. It is a private institution, and the firm carry on a general banking business in making loans, collections, buy and sell exchange, etc.


   The only manufacturing establishment at present located at Juniata is a flouring-mill. The mill was built in 1874 by R. S. Langley, D. H. Freeman & Co. In order to secure the advantages of the institution the people of the precinct voted bonds to the amount of $6,000 in aid of its erection. The project, however, seems not to have resulted fortunately for those directly interested. The bonds which the precinct voted were not paid, and, in attempting to collect them, the matter was taken into the courts to be litigated, and the bonds were decided by the District Court to be illegal, on the grounds that the precinct superseded its authority in issuing bonds in aid of a private enterprise. The matter was carried to the Supreme Court and awaits final determination.

   The mill is a large four-story building, and is equipped with all the necessary machinery for the production of an excellent article of flour. The cost of the mill was about $12,000. After its completion, it was placed under a mortgage of $8,000, held by the firm of Nordyke, Marmon & Co., of Indianapolis, from whom the machinery was purchased. The mortgage was foreclosed and the property sold at Sheriff's sale and was bought by S. W. Clark, the present owner.

   The mill contains three run of buhrs and has a capacity for grinding 100 barrels of flour per day, and feed, etc., to the amount of 100 bushels per day. The motive power is a sixty-five horse-power engine. Shipments are made of the flour to Kearney, Indianola and other neighboring points.


   Grand Army of the Republic.--The organization of the society of the Grand Army of the Republic took place on October 24, 1881. The first officers were: B. F. Smith, Post Commander; S. L. Salsbury, Senior Vice Commander; A. H. Brown, Junior Vice Commander; J. W. Liveringhouse, Adjutant; George T. Brown, Quartermaster; A. Stever, Surgeon; William Spade, Chaplain; A. V. Cole, Officer of the Day; H. H. Ballou, Officer of the Guard; G. S. Guild, Sergeant Major; Moses Van Buskirk, Quartermaster Surgeon. The society meets every Saturday in Wells' Hall. There are at present about thirty-five members. The list of official members remains unchanged, except that S. L. Brass has been elected Senior Vice Commander in place of S. L. Salsbury.

   Odd Fellows.--On the 16th day of February, 1880, the society of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows became organized in the village of Juniata, with an initiatory membership of eighteen. The organization was effected by the Deputy Grand Master, D. M. McElhinney, of Hastings, assisted by the Grand Secretary, D. A. Cline, of Lincoln. A delegation from the Hastings Lodge was also present to assist in the work and take part in the exercises. Those leading in the effort at Juniata were S. L. Brass, James Laird, B. F. Smith, George T. Brown, Horace Gable, William Spade, George O. Angel, R. S. Langley. The first officers elected to control the society were: B. F. Smith, Noble Grand; Horace Gable, Vice Grand; S. L. Brass, Recording Secretary; H. A. Moreland, Permanent Secretary; George T. Brown, Treasurer; Josiah Hodges, Warden R. S. Langley, Conductor; D. Manzer, Outside Guard; J. F. Kelley, Inside Guard; William Spade, Right Support Noble Grand. Upon the completion of the organization, a grand banquet was served and a general good time was enjoyed by all present. The present officers of the lodge are: G. H. Hartsough, Noble Grand; B. F. Kellogg, Vice Grand; P. B. Hungerford, Secretary; E. F. Walker, Permanent Secretary; B. F. Smith, Warden; George O. Angel, Treasurer; A. V. Cole, Conductor; John Tomlin, Right Support Noble Grand; A. H. Brown, Left Support Noble Grand; W. O. Woods, Right Support Vice Grand; W. G. Beal, Left Support Vice Grand; R. H. Nowlan, Right S. Support; W. G. Beal, Left S. Support; Josiah Hodges, Inside Guard; George T. Brown, Outside Guard; R. S. Langley, Post Guard. The lodge has continued to steadily increase in membership until at present it numbers thirty-five. A number of those belonging to the lodge are insured in the Chicago Odd Fellows Benevolent Society. Meetings are held on Thursday evenings of each week in the Masonic Hall.

   Masons.--The Juniata Lodge, No 42, A., F. & A. M., was established at Juniata July, 1873. The charter members and first officers were: Edwin M. Allen, Worthy Master; William White, Senior Warden; W. L. Van Alstine, Junior Warden; R. D. Babcock, Secretary; George Kuder, Treasurer; I. G. Dillon, Senior Deacon; B. E. Swift, Junior Deacon; Andrew Clute, Tiler. At the present the lodge is officered as follows: H. A. Guild, Worthy Master; W. D. Sewell, Senior Warden; L. B. Thorne, Junior Warden; E. M. Allen, Treasurer; Ira G. Dillon, Secretary; Pliny Allen, Senior Deacon; John H. Spencer, Junior Deacon; J. E. Adams, Tiler; E. N. Crane, G. S. Guild, Stewards. The first place of meeting was in the school building, were the lodge continued up to May, 1877, when they purchased a two-story frame building, about forty feet long by eighteen feet wide, at a cost of $600. The second floor of the building is fitted up for lodge room and is used by both the Masons and Odd Fellows. There is at present a membership of forty-five live and active workers, and the society is in a very flourishing condition.

   Good Templars.--The people of Juniata are unmistakably a temperance people. Their efforts in the suppression of the liquor traffic have been crowned with unbounded success. A society called the Juniata Lodge, No. 20, of the Independent Order of Good Templars, became established in March, 1876. They at first met in the second story of a building over the Star Billiard Hall, where they continued for nearly two years. They then removed to their present quarters in Wells' Hall. The lodge contains about thirty-eight members, and was said by Col. Woodford, a celebrated temperance lecturer, of Illinois, to be the best working lodge in the State. The charter members were W. C. Reilley, J. Bradner, F. Hall, W. H. White, N. Maxon, A. V. Cole, Isaac Vandervart, Mary Robertson, Emma Hiller, Etta Maxon, William Bradner, J. Spindler, Frederick Brown, A. B. Hall. The first officers elected by the society were: A. H. Brown, Worthy Chief Templar; Mrs. Bradner, Worthy Vice Templar; J. H. Hall, Worthy Chaplain; J. W. Bradner, Worthy Secretary; J. Williams, Worthy Financial Secretary; A. B. Hall, Worthy Treasurer; W. C. Reilley; Worthy Marshal; E. Hiller, Worthy Deputy Marshal; J. Robertson, Worthy Inside Guard; J. Vandervart, Worthy Outside Guard. The following is the present official corps: H. A. Guild, P. Worthy Chief Templar; A. H. Brown, Worthy Chief Templar; Lucy A. Robertson, Worthy Vice Templar; M. E. Robertson, Worthy Recording Secretary; Mattie Robertson, Worthy Financial Secretary; Eliza Ovitt, Worthy Treasurer; Lizzie Twidale, Worthy Chaplain; William Spade, Worthy Marshal; A. H. Pritchard, Inside Guard; William Ovitt, Outside Guard. Some idea of the effectiveness of the society in fighting the monster of iniquities--Rum--may be had when it is known that of the several saloons that were in the place not a single one remains. From this, too, it will be seen that Juniata is strictly a temperance town, and her people moral, civil and law-abiding. Nothing speaks better for the people of this village than the absence of the rum shops.

   The Degree Temple.--In connection with the society of the Good Templars there is another organization, known as the Juniata Temple, No. 20. This society was instituted March 22, 1877, with H. A. Guild, A. H. Brown, W. White, A. H.. Bowen, Georgia Guild, I. W. Stark, G. H. Hartsough, D. H. Hill, D. J. Johnston, Ella Brass, Della Babcock, D. V. Stinchcomb, I. D. Wadsworth, George W. Lindsey, Florence Thorne, Mrs. A. V. Cole, Sophia Harris, F. H. Hall, A. B. Hall, Geo. T. Brown, Nellie Babcock, Julia S. Bowen, Geo. W. Carter, I. Vandervart, Lizzie Twidale, J. H. Spencer, Mary E. Robertson, James Harrish, Lizzie McIntosh and W. A. Nash as its charter members. Officers were then elected to complete the organization, as follows: H. A. Guild, Degree Templar; Lizzie Twidale, Degree Vice Templar; L. B. Partridge, Degree Secretary; W. E. Ovitt, Degree Financial Secretary; Mrs. Ovitt, Degree Treasurer; A. H. Pritchard, Degree Chaplain; William Knickerbocker, Degree Marshal; M. E. Robertson, Degree Deputy Marshal; O. Stever, Degree Guard; W. D. Murray, Degree Sentinel; A. H. Brown, P. D. T.

   National Guards.--Company F, of the First Regiment of the Nebraska National Guards was organized at Juniata in May, 1878. The officers of the company were: E. J. Shirley, Captain; E. L. Dutton, First Lieutenant; A. V. Cole, Second Lieutenant. The company has a membership of forty-five men, able-bodied and subject to military service. The company took part in the decoration at Hastings in 1880, and at a celebration at Juniata on the 4th of July were engaged in a sham conflict with parties disguised. to represent the Indian warriors under the chieftainship of Sitting Bull. The display was good and the company exhibited marked qualities of disciplined soldiery, and, in the face of unloaded pieces, fought with courage and bravery. They also took part in the State re-union, at Central City, in September, 1880. The commissioned officers in charge of the company at present are: A. V. Cole, Captain; E. L. Dutton, First Lieutenant; William Spade, Second Lieutenant.


   Methodist Episcopal Church.--The organization of those residents of Juniata and vicinity who espoused the faith and doctrines of Methodism, as taught by Wesley, as the right road to eternal glory, was effected in April of 1872, with the Rev. R. H. Crane, as pastor. Services were held in a building erected by I. G. Dillon and E. M. Allen, to be used as a schoolhouse until the school building, then under contract by Dillon & Allen, should be completed, and the same house is at present occupied by A. H. Brown as a dwelling. Efforts were put forth in the summer of 1873, looking toward the erection of a regular church house, and, in the fall of that year, they began upon the building. The work progressed slowly and was not finished till the summer of 1875, and, in July of that season, the house was dedicated to religious uses. Prof. E. Thomson, now Principal of a Methodist educational institution at York, Neb., preached the dedicatory sermon. The church building is a one-story frame, 30x60 feet, and was erected at a cost of $3,000. It is constructed with a very nice altar and platform, inclosed by railing. The windows are of stained glass of tasty designs, and the auditorium is comfortably seated with chairs. The congregation numbering about fifty members is under the charge of the Rev. Charles Reilley. There is also a Sunday school in connection with the church. The school was instituted in 1877, with fifty members, and T. J. Adams was chosen as Superintendent. The school has increased liberally and has 100 members, and is superintended by Miss Nettie Winter.

   Baptist.--An organization into a congregation of those belonging to the Baptist persuasion was effected at Juniata in 1872. The Rev. D. H. Babcock was the minister in charge at that time. Services were conducted in the public school building, in which place they were continued until the building of a regular church house, in 1877. During that year, the edifice was completed, at a cost of about $1,200, and in size is forty feet in length by twenty-four wide. The church was formally dedicated by the Rev. E. H. E. Jameson. The congregation numbers thirty-five members, who are at present without a pastor, as they have been for nearly two years, the Rev. O. A. Buzzell being the last to minister in holy things to the people of this flock. A Sunday school is run in connection with the church, and has a membership of 113, and is superintended by Prof. G. G. Sill. A library is provided for the school, containing 317 volumes.

   Congregational.--During the fall of 1873, a number of the residents of the village of Juniata and surrounding country, whose religious views were consonant with those proclaimed by the Congregational denomination, banded together for the purpose of establishing a congregation and church at this place. The congregation held worship in the Baptist Church, the Rev. M. F. Platt conducting the services. Since July, 1880, they have been without any regular pastor. As yet the congregation is not provided with a church edifice of its own, but continue in the use of that belonging to the Baptists. The congregation has a membership of forty-five, all in full standing in the church. Rev. Mr. Platt continued in the services at this place for about seven years, he being the only regularly employed pastor they have had. Efforts are strenuously put forth by the leaders in the church to arrange matters so as to secure a minister so that regular services may be had.


   The attempts at journalism in Juniata are confined to two instances. The first of these to become established in the order of time was

   The Adams County Gazette.--This journal, the first in the county, was started January, 1872, by C. C. & R. D. Babcock. After running it for about four years at Juniata, they removed to Hastings and continued in its publication. In November, 1880, they sold out to J. W. Short and Charles Kelley, who ran it for about one month and disposed of it to Wigton Bros., and it was consolidated with the Journal into the Gazette-Journal

   The Juniata Herald.--The first issue of this paper was made October 25, 1876, and was established by A. H. Brown. After running for nearly one year, Brown sold out to G. S. Guild, September 13, 1877, who retained it and continued in its publication for almost three years, and, on July 23, 1880, it again changed hands and became the property of William Knickerbocker, the present editor and proprietor. At first, the size of the paper was an eight-column folio, but in June, of 1877, it was changed to a seven-column folio. In December of the same year, another change was made in the size of the sheet, and it was increased to a five-column quarto. In 1877, at the time the paper came into the possession of Guild, the circulation amounted to about 400 copies, from which number it has since varied but little. Only four pages of the paper are of home print, the remainder being printed by a publishing house in the city of Omaha. The paper is alive to the interests of home and the farm, and adheres to its political creed to the doctrines of Republicanism.


   To Miss Lizzie Scott belongs the honor of having taught the first day school in Juniata. This was in the spring of 1872, and the school was kept in a small building erected by I. G. Dillon and E. M. Allen to be used as a schoolhouse until they should completed the regular school building, which they had then under contract. The first School Board was composed of H. H. Ballou, Moderator; S. L. Brass, Treasurer, and Titus Babcock, Director. A large schoolhouse was completed in 1872. It is a two-story frame from the main part, being thirty feet wide by forty long, with one large recitation room below and two in the second story, with study rooms attached. The building is constructed with a wing entrance, in which are stairways and hall, cloak rooms, etc. The cost of the building was about $3,500. Arrangements for the grading of the schools were perfected in the spring of 1880, but were not put into effect until the fall of that year. They are arranged with three departments, the primary, intermediate and high school. The high school and intermediate departments are divided into three classes, named A, B and C. The schools at present have an enrollment of 124 pupils, under the general charge of Prof. G. G. Sill, Principal, and also instructor in the higher department; the other departments are taught by Misses Lucy A. Robertson and Nettie Winter.

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