Early Settlements | Indian Troubles
Military Experience | Indian Relics | Mound Builders
Part 2: Organization of the County | County Seat
B. & M. R. R. R. Lands | Other Retarding Influences
Crimes and Casualties | General Topics
Oakdale: The Elkhorn "Pen and Plow."
Oakdale Seminary | The Grand Army of the Republic
Part 3: Neligh: The Land Office | Gates College | The Neligh Mill
The Press | Societies | Biographical Sketches
Burnett | St. Clair | Clearwater | Willowdale | Glenalpine
Clear Spring | Orchard | Other Towns
List of Illustrations in Antelope County
The town of Neligh is situated on the north bank of the Elkhorn River, on a small plateau or table land, from which there are slight descents to the east and west, and considerably more descent to the south. To the north as a background are the hills which limit the Elkhorn Valley, rising to a height of fifty or sixty feet.
The land of which the town site of Neligh forms part, was originally granted to Nebraska by the United States Government. Subsequently, the Omaha & Northwestern Railroad Company received it as a portion of its grant of 50,000 acres from the State. In 1872, Hon. John D. Neligh and a few others came up the Elkhorn Valley on a tour of observation. Being well pleased with the locality, they decided to purchase a tract of land here of sufficient extent for a town site, and, as it was near the geographical center of the county, make the prospective town the county seat. Accordingly, Mr. Neligh went down to Omaha without unnecessary delay, and bought of the Omaha & Northwestern Company 520 acres of the land north of and forty south of the Elkhorn at $6, Herman Kountze, then President of the company, signing the deed under a misapprehension as to the identity of the land he was deeding away. This was on Friday preceding the October election. Mr. Neligh then hastened home to West Point, reaching there Saturday night, On Sunday morning, he started a young man, Anton Psota, for Neligh, with the intelligence of his accomplishment and designs. Psota lost his way and so did not reach his destination until noon of Tuesday, the day of election. The electors of the county being generally ignorant of the existence of a design to make Neligh the county seat, cast the majority of their votes for Oakdale, that being the most considerable town within its limits at the time.
The town was started by Hon. John D. Neligh, William B. Lambert and John B. Thomson, in 1873, having been platted in February of that year by Neils Larson, Surveyor of Cuming County. Mr. Thomson built the first house in March, and Mr. Lambert the first store. D. V. Coe built the first hotel, which was opened March 5, 1874, with a dance. H. M. Cox came here as the first physician, in September, 1874. The first schoolhouse was completed in January, 1875, and Isaiah B. Miller was the first teacher.
The Congregationalists organized a church in 1875, having held religious services the year previous, Rev. Henry Griffiths being their first minister. Rev. J. M. Wolfe preached the first sermon to the Methodists, who also organized a church in 1875. Rev. John E. Kellogg first preached to the Old School Baptists, who organized a church in 1878, with eleven members. The Episcopalians also have an organization, but no church building as yet.
This is the oldest land office in the State. It was established at Omaha March 1, 1857. It was moved thence to West Point, in April, 1879; thence to Norfolk, in the summer of 1873, and finally to Neligh, July 1, 1881. Hon. William B. Lambert, the present agent, was appointed January 1, 1880. The north half of Antelope County is in the Niobrara District; the south half in the Neligh District. There is considerable Government land yet in the county, subject to homestead and pre-emption, which is rapidly chosen by settlers.
The Columbus Association of Congregational Churches met at Oakdale, in May, 1881, and offered to maintain a college in the town that would subscribe most toward its establishment. The largest bids were made by Neligh and Oakdale, the former offering $7,000 the offer including forty acres of land near Neligh, to the northwest. This being the largest offer, secured the college. A board of fifteen Trustees was appointed, which organized by electing M. L. Holt, President; J. J. Roberts, Secretary, and William B. Lambert, Treasurer. The college was named in honor of H. N. Gates, Superintendent of the Congregational Churches of the State. A two-story brick building has been erected on a hill northeast of the town, affording a fine view of the Elkhorn Valley and surrounding country. This building cost $6,000, and is designed for the use of the preparatory school; a larger more costly one is to be erected for the purposes of the college proper.
This mill is located in the south part of town, on the north bank of the Elkhorn, which is here 120 feet wide. It is two and a half stories high, and has four run of stone and one set of rollers, and a capacity of 250 bushels per day, doing first-class work. The brick of which it is build are of excellent quality, and were made by John J. Crawford, of clay found near Neligh. They were the first brick made in the county. The mill stands about 250 feet from the river bank; the power is supplied by a sixty-four inch Leffel Turbine wheel, and is transmitted to the machinery by a Roebling wire cable. Grinding commenced at this mill October 10, 1874, and during the first two and a half months, amounted to within a fraction of 7,500 bushels of wheat, having at that time but two run of stone.
M. S. Bartlett published the first paper here, moving the Oakdale Journal, Which he had established and maintained at Oakdale from twelve to eighteen months, to Neligh October 8, 1875, where it became the Neligh Journal. He continued its publication until November, 1877. The second paper started here was the Neligh Independent, by Field Bros., January 1, 1878. At the end of four months it was discontinued. The Neligh Republican was started here Oct. 3, 1879, by C.F. Bayha, he having moved the material of his office here from West Point, Cuming County. Just one year afterward, he sold the paper to S. A. Saunders, who conducted the paper about six months, when he sold it to Beecham & Huxford, the present proprietors, who changed it from a Republican to an Independent paper, with Greenback proclivities.
The Antelope County Eagle was started in Neligh by Wellman & Leake, January 1, 1881, who, after publishing it six months, sold it, July 1, 1881, to Judson Graves, who had chosen Neligh as his new field of newspaper enterprise, after having had his office at Vermillion, Dak., swept away by the flood in the spring of that year. The name of the paper was changed by him to the NelighAdvocate.
Neligh at the present time contains four general stores, two hardware stores, three groceries, five agricultural implement depots, two blacksmith shops, three hotels, seven lawyers, two newspapers, two banks, two clothing stores, two jewelers, one gunsmith, about 600 inhabitants and 165 children of school age.
The Neligh Lodge, No. 72, I. O. O. F., was organized and chartered April 23, 1879, with twelve charter members. The first officers elected were: L. A. Boyd, N. G.; William Lawrence, V. G.; A. F. Wilgoike, Secretary; V. W. Krise, Treasurer; the lodge now has thirty active members.
Trowel Lodge, No. 71, A., F. &. A. M., was organized January 28, 1878, with thirteen members. The officers were: A. M. Coole, W. M.; Jacob M. Miller, S. W.; J. H. Snider, J. W.; R. C. Eldridge, Secretary, and H. M. Cox Treasurer; the lodge has now thirty-eight members.
Grand Army of the Republic.--John C. Fremont Post, No. 68, G. A. R., was organized here August 18, 1881, with fifteen charter members, whose names with the officers elected, are as follows: E. S. Butler, Post Commander; R. V. Coe, Senior Vice Commander; A. Belmer, Junior Vice Commander; Judson Graves, Adjutant; G. F. Wink, Quartermaster; F. H. Trowbridge, Chaplain; J. L. Lewellyn, Surgeon; I. Howell, Officer of the Day, and M. H. Shobe, Officer of the Guard. The membership is now thirty.
C. Giles settled near where Giles Creek empties into the Elkhorn, in 1869. In April, 1870, W. H. Livingston and Christopher Livingston, brothers, and Ralph Livingston, their cousin, settled where Burnett now stands, and in the same year James Scott and C. A. Olescligle.
C. F. BAYHA, attorney at law and real estate agent, was born in Wheeling, W. Va., in 1863, and came to Dakota City, Neb., and was engaged in contracting and building about five years. In 1866, he established the Dakota Mail, and published this paper about six years. This was the first paper published north of Omaha. The printing material of this paper was used in publishing the Omaha Arrow, the first paper published in the State. October 1, 1874, he removed the press to West Point, and there published the West Point Republican about five years. He then sold out this paper and came to Neligh, and published the Neligh Republican. The first paper was issued October, 1879. He sold out this paper October 6, 1880, and has since been engaged in law and real estate, also manager of the Commercial House.
[Portrait of Edward S. Butler.]
EDWARD S. BUTLER, Register United States Land Office, was born in Saco, Me., September 15, 1831. At the breaking-out of the war, he enlisted in Company F, First Maine Regiment. In the fall of 1861, was commissioned First Lieutenant Company F, Tenth Maine Regiment; was Provost Marshal of Winchester, Va., in May, 1862; was on the staff of Gen. Crawford in June; was relieved in August to act as Regimental Quartermaster, and was afterward detailed to organize and command the First Division Ambulance Corps of the Twelfth Army Corps; was mustered out in 1863. The regiment again returned to the field, as the Twenty-ninth Maine. He followed afterward as Captain of the first company of Maine Independent Volunteers, to be attached to the Twenty-ninth Maine Regiment in the field, and took the place of Company A, which was mustered out for expiration of service. Later, he was detailed as Acting Assistant Quartermaster First Brigade, Dwight's Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, and was mustered out at the close of the war. In 1867, came to Stanton County, Neb., made homestead entry, covering the southeast quarter of Section 25, Township 24, Range 3 east, and made a continuous residence thereon for over five years. January 1, 1874, was appointed County Commissioner to fill vacancy; held this office until March, 1874, when he was appointed County Treasurer to fill vacancy. In the fall of 1874, he was elected Treasurer of the county, and held said office successively for about five and one half years. In the fall of 1879, he was elected County Clerk, which office he resigned after holding three months, on account of being appointed Register, which office he took charge of April 1, 1880.
CHENEY & ADAMS, bankers. George E. Cheney is a native of Worcester County, Mass., came to Nebraska City, Neb., in 1855. He soon after removed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was engaged in the hotel business several years, then removed to Adair County, Iowa, engaged in merchandising, and later engaged in brokerage in Creston, Iowa. In the fall of 1880 came to Neligh, and has since been engaged in banking. They have also a branch bank at O'Neill City and at Creighton, Neb. W. W. Adams of the above firm, was born in Union County, Ohio. In 1870 came to Adair County, Iowa, and engaged in surveying and law. In 1875, removed to Creston, Iowa, and engaged in the law and real estate business; came to Neligh in 1880, and has since been engaged in banking.
D. V. Coe, lumber, was born in Knox County, Ohio. In 1856, came to Independence, Iowa; there was but one store there at that time. He engaged in farming till 1861, when he enlisted in Company C, Ninth Iowa Infantry, and served nine months. In 1870, came to Neligh, and took a homestead, which he improved and after sold. Mr. Neligh boarded with Mr. Coe during the time he was here laying out this town. Mr. Coe built a hotel here which he ran about six years. This house he still owns, known as the Commercial House. He was the first County Judge in Antelope County, and held this office about six years. The past two years he has been engaged in lumber.
F. FISCHER, wines and liquors, is a native of Prussia. In 1864, came to New York City, where he remained about eight months, then came to Chicago, and afterward to Waterloo, Iowa; followed the grocery business there about twelve years. In 1879, came to Niobrara, there ran a billiard hall; came to Neligh in 1880; has since been engaged in this business, also at Oakdale
W. C. GALLAWAY, firm of W. C. Gallaway & Co., Neligh Mills, is a native of Loudoun County, Va. In the fall of 1869, came to West Point, there engaged in merchandising about four years. His goods were the first consignment received by railroad at West Point. In 1874, he came to Neligh; he, with Mr. Lambert, bought this mill from Mr. Neligh, and put it in running order. This structure is of brick, is supplied with all the latest improved machinery, and is probably the best and most complete mill in the State.
JUDSON GRAVES, the present editor of the Neligh Advocate, was born December 20,1833, at Vienna, Oneida Co., N. Y. His father was a farmer, and the names of his father and mother were respectively Horace S. And Hannah Graves. At the age of thirteen, Judson went to Little Falls, N. Y., where he remained five years in the office of the Mohawk Courier, serving his apprenticeship to the printer's trade. After leaving the Courier office he worked in various newspaper offices in New York State, mainly in Oswego and Syracuse. In 1855, he went to Chicago, and was there engaged on the Democratic Press, which was afterward merged in the Tribune. Then, after having been in Davenport, Iowa, some time, he went to Peoria, Ill., and for six months had charge of the mechanical and news departments of the PeoriaTranscript. From Peoria, Mr. Graves went to numerous Western cities, and at length reached Chicago again, and was employed on the Republican (afterward the Inter-Ocean) and on the Tribune until 1868, in the meantime having served one year in the Fifty-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, being honorably discharged at Montgomery, Ala., in 1865. Leaving Chicago, in 1868, he went to Henderson County, Ill., and published the Henderson County Plaindealer for two years; removed it to Young America, Ill. (now Kirkwood), where the paper was published three years as the Young American Plaindealer; thence removing it to Galesburg, Ill., he published it as the Galesburg Plaindealer seven years. He then went to Vermillion, D. T., and published the Vermillion Standard fifteen months, when the floods of 1881 came and wrecked his office with the town. Gathering up and disposing of the debris to the best possible advantage, he moved to Neligh, Neb., and commenced the publication there, July 1, 1881, of the Neligh Advocate, a stanch Republican paper, as have been all the papers published by Mr. Graves.
N. D. JACKSON, of the firm of Adams, Jackson & Holmes, attorneys at law, is a native of Woodstock, Me. He attended the law department of the State University of Iowa, and graduated from this institution in 1879. He then came to Nebraska, establishing a law office at Oakdale--the firm of Jackson & Holmes. In the fall of 1881, he came to Neligh and established this office
[Portrait of William B. Lambert.]
WILLIAM B. LAMBERT was born in Nockamixon, Bucks Co., Penn., May 6, 1843. He received, with the exception of one term at an academy, merely a common-school education, and in early life taught school for about one year. In 1860, he removed with his parents to Hunterdon County, N.J.. And engaged at farming for his parents, at which he continued for about two years; served for some time in the Quartermaster's Department during the war of the rebellion, and in the spring of 1866 removed to Nebraska, settling first in Omaha, where he was engaged in various pursuits, among others, clerking for the period of eighteen months. In March, 1869, he removed to West Point, Cuming County, and again engaged in clerking, in which he continued until January 1, 1870, when he entered into the hardware and agricultural implement business at that place. In the spring of 1870, when West Point was incorporated, he was appointed and served on the first board as one the Trustees of that town. In 1871, he sold his interest in the hardware and implement business, and engaged once more at clerking, and in connection with W. C. Gallaway in the buying and shipment of grain. In the fall of 1872, he, in connection with Hon. John D. Neligh, and John B. Thompson, founded a new town in Antelope County, which he named "Neligh," in honor of Hon. John D. Neligh, the prime mover in the entire enterprise. During the early part of the summer of 1873, he erected the first store building on the new town site, hauling all of the material used in its construction ninety miles, from West Point. In August following, he brought the largest stock of goods to the new town that had ever been offered for sale in the Elkhorn Valley, at any point west of Norfolk. In the fall of 1874, he received the appointment of Notary Public from Gov. Furnas, being the first notarial appointment ever made for Antelope County. About the 1st of April, 1875, he, in company with W. C. Gallaway, bought the greater part of the interest of Hon. John D. Neligh and John B. Thomson in the town site, and their whole interest in the saw-mill and grist-mill, which was in course of erection. They immediately finished the grist-mill, and started the same into operation September 10, 1875. In the summer of 1875 he was appointed Postmaster, and served as such until January 1, 1877. In November, 1876, he was elected to the State Legislature, being the first resident of Antelope County who had ever been thus honored. While in the Legislature, he took an active part in the fierce senatorial struggle which culminated in the defeat of Hon. P. W. Hitchcock, and the election of ex-Gov. Saunders to the United States Senate. In the spring of 1879, he closed out the store business owing to ill health. In January, 1880, he received the appointment of Receiver of the United States Land Office at Norfolk, Neb., from President Hayes, which he accepted with the sole purpose of getting the Land Office removed to Neligh, in which he succeeded in September, 1881. Always taking a lively interest in educational enterprises, through his instrumentality, more than anyone else, the Congregationalists were, in August 1881, induced to locate Gates College at the town of Neligh, of which institution he was elected the first Treasurer. In politics he is a life-long Republican, casting his first vote for the re-election of President Lincoln, and serving at various times as a delegate to the State Conventions of his party. He was married on January 2, 1875, in Cuming County, to Sarah Katharine Gallaway, a native of Loudoun County, Va. And has two children--Schuyler Colfax, born August 30, 1876, and Grace Virginia, born January 25, 1879.
THOMAS O'DAY, attorney at law, was born in Litchfield County, Conn. When a boy he came to Henry County, Ill., with his parents. In 1872, he came to Page County, Iowa; then took up the study of law; graduated from the Iowa State University in 1877, and has since been actively engaged in the practice of his profession. He came to Neligh in 1879.
P. D. S. ROMIG, dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, hats and caps and gents' furnishing goods. Was born in Lehigh County, Penn., in 1858; came to Seneca County, Ohio, in 1870; came to West Point, Neb., and followed milling about four years; this business he had learned in Ohio; he continued milling in Neligh about three years. In 1878, he opened this store, commencing with a small stock; he has now worked himself up into a large and prosperous business.
A. F. WILGOCKI, law and real estate agent, was born in Poland. At the age of 17, he entered the military service; was first in the Prussian, after the Polish revolutionary army; here he studied the profession of civil engineer; remained in the service about ten years. In 1864, he came to Pennsylvania; was employed as civil engineer by the Lake Shore Railway two years. In 1866, he came to Chicago; was employed as engineer on the public works; in 1867, he was employed as engineer on the Sioux City and Pacific Railway; the latter part of the year, he became Assistant City Engineer and City Engineer at Omaha. From 1869 to 1873, he resided in Sioux City; was County Surveyor of Hall County from 1873 to 1876; was engineer of the Missouri River improvements during 1877-78. April 13, 1878, he came to Neligh; in the fall of 1879, he received a call from the Union Pacific Railway to take charge of new surveys. He was admitted to the bar in 1878, at Madison, Neb.; is now engaged in this profession and real estate.
The town of Burnett is located on the line between Antelope and Madison Counties. The most of the town and the railroad station are in Antelope. The town was named in honor of Mr. Burnett, first Superintendent of the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad.
A. M. Burnham was the first settler, and opened the first store in March, 1880. F. Dilts came here in October 1880, and William Childers, V. B. Lewis and James Childers in 1881. April 1, 1882, Burnett contained forty inhabitants. It is pleasantly situated in the Elkhorn Valley, a short distance south of the river, and is surrounded by a very fertile agricultural region.
The first schoolhouse in the vicinity of Burnett, in Antelope County, was built in 1880, about two miles to the west, Miss Anna Hussie being the first teacher. Previously, however, a schoolhouse had been built in Madison County, about one mile east of Burnett, in 1873, in which Mrs. Alice Livingston was the first teacher, in the same year. In Burnett and vicinity there are a number of church organizations--United Brethren, Baptist, Congregationalist, Methodist and Christian. The first sermon that was preached in the town of Burnett was by the Rev. Mr. Kidder, of Norfolk, in the depot building, very near the close of the year in 1879. The first Postmaster in Burnett was Charles Washburn, in 1880. There are now three general stores, two drug and one hardware store, one blacksmith shop and one hotel.
This post office was so named after George St. Clair, the first settler in the county, as elsewhere stated. It is pleasantly situated on the prairie, and surrounded by a fine farming country, the soil being adapted especially to corn and oats.
The first permanent settlers here were Sarah Fields, Orville Fields, Orson Fields, May 11, 1870; and Henry Eichkoff, July 1, 1870. S. P. Blankenship, Jonas P. Irish, Augustus and Charles A. Oelsligle and David Cossairt came in on March 20, 1871.
The first child born here was James Cossairt, in January, 1873, son of David and Mrs. Cossairt; the first marriage, that of Orville Fields to Miss Alice Bliss, February 1, 1874; and the first death, that of an infant child of Mr. and Mrs. Masters.
In the summer of 1873, Miss Alice Bliss taught the first school in St. Clair Valley, in a schoolhouse which had been built the preceding spring. A. D. Blankenship preached the first sermon, in 1872, at his residence.
The first post office was established in August, 1876, and named St. Clair, with E. M. Blackford for Postmaster, who has held the office ever since.
This town was named from the creek upon which it is located. The first settler was Robert Marwood, in 1870. Other settlers followed in the summer and fall of 1872, in the persons of S. P. Grow, N. A. De Camp, G. H. McGee, A. J. Wright, E. Stevens and Jacob Garbough.
The first child born was a daughter of Robert Marwood, in November, 1871; the first marriage, that of Calvin Stevens to Elvira Prosser, February 14, 1876, Rev. J. R. Wolfe officiating; the first death, that of a small child of James Choat, accidentally scalded to death in November, 1871. Charles Grow was killed by falling on a circular saw in McGee's mill, April 27, 1874, and on May 1, immediately following, W. S. Metcalf died from the effects of being kicked by a horse about a week previously.
The first public school taught in Clearwater was in the summer of 1872, in a log schoolhouse, by Mrs. Susan De Camp. Rev. Keith, a Methodist minister, preached the first sermon in the fall of 1871. The post office was established in the spring of 1872, and named Antelope, with James H. Smith for Postmaster. The name of the post office was changed to Clearwater in 1880.
G. H. McGee's saw-mill was built in the spring of 1871, and the first store was opened by Dr. Tubbs in 1878.
The Clearwater Congregational Church was organized in 1873, by Rev. H. Griffiths.
This post office is nicely situated at the head of Willow Creek, and is surrounded by a fine farming and stock-raising, gently rolling prairie.
The first settlers in this section were A. W. Waterman and John Jarmin, in March, 1874; John N. Storey and Andrew and Levi Minkler, in May; Lewis Bitney and Francis McEvony, in June; E. R. Andrews and Eli Bitney came in 1875. The post office was established in 1874, with A. W. Waterman for Postmaster. A store was opened in 1879, at the post office, by E. R. Andrews. The first school was taught by Mrs. A. W. Waterman in 1876. A sod schoolhouse was built here in the spring of 1879. It is a commodious building, still used as a temple of learning. A Congregational Church was organized in June, 1881, by Rev. Henry Griffiths, and a Presbyterian Church, July 17, 1881, by Rev. George Williams, with twenty members.
The first child born here was Myrtle A. Storey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John N. Storey, in November, 1876. The first death was that of Mrs. McEvony, mother of Francis McEvony, in August, 1876. At Willowdale there is now only the post office and a blacksmith shop, the store having been moved to the railroad station at Plainview, Pierce County.
This is a country post office, situated at the head of one of the branches of the Verdigris, hence its name. The first settler was Lucius Kibbee, in 1876. Other settlers came in in 1878--William Campbell, R. Hill, W. H. Silers and A. Miller. The first child born was Julia A. Silers, in 1879. The first marriage, that of S. R. Swetland to Maria Burck, in the fall of 1879; and the first death, that of Lucius Kibbee, the fall of 1880.
The first school taught at Glenalpine was by Rachael Burck, in the summer of 1880; and the first sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Porter, at the residence of R. Hill, in the fall of 1879. The post office was established May 25, 1880, with William Campbell first Postmaster.
Glenalpine is located on rolling prairie, and is surrounded by a country well adapted to dairying and the raising of cattle and sheep. It is well watered by the tributaries of the Verdigris, and has numerous springs. The valleys are a rich, black sandy loam; table-lands, a clay loam, underlaid with magnesia limestone. The settlers are mainly Scotch, English and Americans.
This post office is at the farmhouse of J. A. Douglas, and was established in 1880, with Mr. Douglas for first Postmaster. The first school was taught in this vicinity by S. S. Murphy, in the winter of 1880-81, and the first sermon was preached by Rev. Mr. Emmerson in 1879, at the house of J. Davenport.
This post office is situated in the northwest part of the county. D. L. Cramer was the first settler. September 17, 1880. Soon afterward, J. M. Wadsworth, George Buffington and S. P. Cramer came into this vicinity. The first marriage was that of Frank Wood to _____ ____, August 1, 1881; and the first death, that of S. S. Cramer, January 25, 1882. During the winter of 1881-82, D. L. Cramer taught the first school at his own house, the schoolhouse not being completed; and at the same place, Rev. Mr. Pollox preached the first sermon January 22, 1882. The post office was established here July 1, 1881, S. P. Cramer first Postmaster; and it was named Orchard, because an orchard of apple trees had been set out in the immediate vicinity. The first store was opened by W. E. Cramer July 1, 1881. Orchard is surrounded by prairie, for the most part level, and a fine grazing country.
Jessup is situated in the extreme northern part of the county, on the main branch of the Verdigris. The country is well watered by that river and its branches, and is well adapted to dairying and stock-raising. It was named in honor of ex-Gov. Jessup, of Iowa, and is situated about six miles northeast of Glenalpine.
Frenchtown is situated in the western part of Antelope County, on rolling prairie, gently sloping toward the streams. Farther back, the land is somewhat hilly and devoid of timber, but along the streams some timber grows. The place was named Frenchtown on account of the predominance of French people among the early settlers. The first settlement was made here on August 9, 1869, by Louis Patras, Martin Freeman and Louis Contois. They were soon followed by Frank Patras, Andrew Thibault and James Grenier. The first child born in Frenchtown was Freddie Patras, in 1870; the first marriage, that of Joseph Lessard to Miss Emma Thibault, in January, 1875; and the first death, that of J. O. Grenier, by drowning.
The first school taught here was by Mrs. Buoy, in her own house, in the fall of 1870. A schoolhouse was built in 1871. A Catholic Church was built in the town in 1874. The post office was established in 1871, J. Saxton being appointed first Postmaster. A store was opened in 1874, by Charles W. Graham. The surrounding country is beautiful, well adapted to farming, and inhabited by a peaceful and contented people.
Royal Post Office is situated in the northern part of the county, near the source of the east branch of the Verdigris, which flows northward through Knox County into the Niobrara. The surrounding country is level prairie. It was named Royal after Royal Thayer. The country in this vicinity was settled in 1879, by C. H. Bligh, Henry Dailey, W. H. Couch, J. M. Bennet and Robert Smith--the first two arriving June 3, the others later in the year. The first birth here was that of Samuel Couch, son of W. H. And Mrs. Couch, July 14, 1879; the first marriage, that of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Swetland, February 15, 1880; and the first death, that of Mrs. E. W. Allie, August 20, 1879. The first school taught was in the winter of 1881-82, by Jonas I. Houston, in a log house owned by Robert Smith. The first sermon was preached in the spring of 1882, at the residence of J. P. Anderson, by Rev. Mr. Brown. The post office was established in July, 1880, named Royal, and C. H. Bligh appointed Postmaster. At Royal was organized the first Farmers' Alliance in the county, and it is today the strongest, containing forty members.