Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Butler County
Produced by John McCoy.

Part 1:
Geographical and Physical Features | Early History
Part 2:

Organization | County Statistics | Official Roster
Schools | Railroads | Historical Incidents

Part 3:
David City: Schools | Religious | Societies | The Press
Part 4:
Biographical Sketches
Part 5:

Ulysses: Local Interests | Banks | Schools | Press | Societies | Religious | Biographical Sketches
Part 6:
Rising City: Biographical Sketches
Part 7:

Brainard: Biographical Sketches
Bellwood: Biographical Sketches
Miscellaneous Biographical Sketches

List of Illustrations in Butler County Chapter

Part 6


Rising City is an enterprising business town of 300 inhabitants, a station of the O. & R. V. Branch of the Union Pacific Railway, situated near the western boundary of the county, twelve miles west of the county seat.

The town site was originally owned by A. W. and S. W. Rising and A. F. Farpenning, and was surveyed as a town in the fall of 1878, by the Union Pacific Railroad Company, who purchased the land from the original proprietors. Although still in its infancy, it has become an important shipping-point for grain and stock, and, by its location, upon the extreme western edge of the table-land, it has a tributary territory of one of the best portions of the county, and also claims a part of Polk County.

The principal business interests are stock, grain and general merchandise, but all branches of business are well represented It is supplied with good hotels, a comfortable hall, a church edifice costing $4,000, and an excellent school.

On November 1, 1878, J. C. Paxton opened the first store with a stock of general merchandise, and, a short time after, Messrs. J. O. Hurd and A. Cash located here and opened a similar store, and, at the close of the year, A. P. Day built the first hotel.

In the spring of 1879, the present schoolhouse was erected and a school established. Mr. E. Gregg taught until the close of the school year, and was succeeded by the present incumbent, Rev. D. A. Shoulty. Prof. Shoulty is assisted by Miss A. E. Walker, and the school registers 138 pupils.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. C. G. Lathrop, in 1871, who became the first pastor of the church. The places of worship at this date were the dugouts of the settlers, and the timber groves of the Big Blue. His ministration to the society covers a period of two years, when he was succeeded by Rev. A. J. Combs, who was stationed here for the same length of time. During the years 1875 and 1876, Rev. D. S. Davis was in charge, and was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Leach in 1877, who remained but one year, being succeeded by Rev. Dayton Andrus in 1879. Rev. G. W. Selby, the present incumbent, commenced his labors in 1880 succeeding Rev. Dayton Andrus, and is now serving his second year. The church, which has just been completed at a cost of $4,000, is a model in architectural design, and adds very much to the attractive appearance of the town.

The Congregational Church at Summit was organized in 1874, by Rev. Amos Dresser. The society has a membership of twenty-six, and the pulpit is supplied by the church at David City. The church property is valued at $300.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized through the efforts of Rev. D. H. Sholtz, June 5, 1881, who has since become settled as its pastor. The society has a membership of thirty-two, and is attached to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Nebraska.

Composit Lodge, No. 81, A., F. & A. M. was instituted under a dispensation granted March 20, 1880, with the following officers and members: Frederick E. Wilson, W. M.; Aurelius Roberts, S. W.; Joseph L. Cyphers, J. W.; James O. Hurd, Secretary; Luke L. Pearson, Treasurer; Ambrose H. Jones, S. D.; Jesse H. Rising, J. D.; Arthur R. Quick, Tiler; Samuel W. Rising, Henry W. Chase, John W. Rodgers, Roland Jones, Alexander Miller, Miles M. Warren, William M. Thomas. A charter was granted, June 22, 1881, to the following charter members and officers: Frederick E. Wilson, W. M.; A. Roberts, S. W.; J. L. Cyphers, J. W.; Luke L. Pearson, Treasurer; Lucius Warren, Secretary; James W. Combs, S. D.; Jesse H. Rising, J. D.; Arthur R. Quick, Tiler; David G. Haskin, William M. Carnes, Henry W. Chase, Charles G. Combs, John W. Hart, Nelson T. Holderness, James O. Hurd, Ashley Jackson, Ambrose H. Jones, Roland Jones, Samuel W. Rising, John W. Rodgers, George S. Shrader, William N. Thomas, Miles M. Warren, Charles E. Wilcox. The lodge owns a fine large hall, well furnished, and has a membership of twenty-tour.

The Independent, a weekly journal, issued its first number September 17, 1880, under the management of its present proprietors, Messrs. D. O. and C. E. Verity. In size, it is a five-column quarto, and in political sentiment, upholds its name.


MRS. ANNA E. Bruce, formerly proprietress of the Bellon House at Rising, is widow of W. J. Bruce, who died in 1868, from disease contracted while serving as soldier in late war of the rebellion, leaving her in rather poor circumstances. The year 1868, she came to Nebraska with her only child, Miss Louie, took up a homestead in Seward County on Section 18, Town 12, Range 3 east. Here she resided, holding her claim for five years, making such improvements as was necessary, and engaged at teaching school, sewing, etc. To make her way through the world with the rest of old settlers, she taught the first school at her own house in District No. 34 of the county, and that was a sod house. After the expiration of years, she accumulated some means, then moved to Seward and built a residence to rent, she then rented the hotel known as the Farmers' Home; this she kept until 1879, when she came to Rising, and built the Bellon House, which was burned to the ground on the morning of March 5, 1882, with a loss of $3,000. Insurance amounted to $1,500. She was born in Summit, Schoharie Co., N. Y., December 10, 1841.

WRIGHT W. CATLIN, marble agent for C. B. Parker & Co. of Lincoln, located at Rising, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska in fall of 1871 from Michigan, and took up homestead on Section 4, Town 14, Range 1 east. Here he resided until January, 1882, when he sold his farm and bought the hotel property in Rising, known as the Commercial House, which he now makes his home, is member of Congregational Church society at Rising, and was among the first settlers of Reading Precinct; is also member of A., F. & A. M.

JAMES W. COMBS, druggist and apothecary, Rising, was born in Clay County, Ind., January 14, 1848. He made his first visit to Nebraska in 1867, looked the country over, and returned to Iowa a happier and wiser man. His parents had moved to that State when he was but a small boy. In 1874, he returned to Nebraska, locating in Seward County, and started to farm. This did not prove a very prosperous enterprise, as it was the critical year of the grasshopper pest. He returned to Iowa a still wiser man, but with less capital. In May 1880, he returned to Nebraska for the third time with full determination to make it his future home, settled at Rising, starting in his present business. He is a member of the A., F. & A. M.; is charter member of Composite Lodge, No. 81, was married to Miss Allie V. Redden of Greeley, Iowa, November 27, 1881.

ALEX P. DAY, of the firm of L. B. Mack & Co., dealers in agricultural implements, Rising. Mr. D. came to Nebraska in 1871, and took up a homestead on Section 14, Town 14, Range 1 east. Here he made small improvements at first for ordinary comforts of the first settler. He continued to work his farm until October, 1879, when he moved to Rising; this being about the time the town was started. He erected the first hotel, known as the Commercial House. This he operated but a little over one year, when he became connected with the above firm. In 1881, they did over $8,000 worth of business. He served as Assessor of Reading Precinct two terms. Was a soldier in the late war, serving one year in the Fourteenth Michigan Light Artillery. Is a member of the G. A. R. Is a charter member of Lincoln Post, No. 10, David City; and is also a charter member of E. M. Stanton Post, No. 20, Rising. Is a member of the A., F. & A. M., Composite Lodge, No. 81. Was married November 13, 1865, to Miss Mary Wolfe, of Cass County, Mich.; was born March 24, 1844, in Westmoreland County, Penn.

F. ENGELHARD, M. D., of Rising, came to Nebraska in the summer of 1871, and pre-empted a claim on Section 2, Reading Precinct. Here he resided, improving his farm until the fall of 1878; then moved to Rising, and opened the first drug store, which is now operated by Mr. Thelen. He received his literary education at Marburg College, Germany, his native country, graduating in 1866, from the medical department; was an employe of the German Government, practicing his profession in the war of 1866; emigrated to the United States in 1867, first settling at Wheeling, W. Va., remaining there but one year; then went to Wisconsin: thence to Putnam County, Ill., where he resided until he came to Nebraska. Was born December 21, 1843. Was married in Illinois to Miss Louisa Boyrhoffer. The Doctor represented Butler County in the Legislature in 1879.

STEPHEN W. FERGUSON, Station Agent and operator, Rising, for O. & R. V. R. R., came to Nebraska with his parents in 1859, the father being appointed Chief Justice of the Territory by President Buchanan. In 1861, he was elected United States Representative from Nebraska Territory and died before the expiration of his term. Stephen W. was first engaged with the U. P. R. R. Co., on the preliminary survey in 1866, and has been with the company since except two years, when he was in Texas, engaged with the Trans-Continental R. R. Co., as Inspector of construction material; then returned to Nebraska and re-engaged with the U. P. R. R., on the Utah & Northern Branch as Civil Engineer, where he remained until he came on the present line, and took charge of the station at Brainard, where he remained one year; then came to Rising. Was born in Calhoun County, Mich. April 15,1849, was married January 7, 1879, to Miss Lizzie B. O'Hara, of Fremont, Neb.

ERASMUS GRUBB, loan and collection agency, of the firm of Engelhard & Grubb, Rising, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska in the spring of 1877, and bought a farm on Section 9, in Reading Precinct. Here he resided operating his farm and teaching school at Rising, also clerking for J. C. Paxton until May, 1881, when he formed a partnership with F. Engelhard. Was born August 4, 1850 in Pennsylvania. Is now Clerk of Congregational Church society, and a member of that society at Rising.

JAMES O. HURD, of the firm of Cash & Hurd, general merchandise, P O. Rising City. This firm purchased the first business lot on the south aide of the railroad track, and are now doing the largest business of any firm in the town; they have a fine stock of goods, and their building is 40x20, two stories high. Mr. Hurd has served as Justice of Peace two years at Rising. He is a member of A., F. & A. M. Composite Lodge No. 81. Was born in Erie County N. Y., January 16, 1837. Came to Kane County, Ill. with his parents in 1856, where he resided until he came to Nebraska which was in the fall of 1879.

AMBROSE H. JONES, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 32, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska in the spring of 1871, and located on the same farm where he now lives, which he homesteaded. Enlisted in the Sixty-first Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company H, at Chicago in 1864, and served until the close of the war. Has served three years as County Commissioner of Butler County; was also State Register of Sales two years, receiving his appointment by Lieut. Gov. James; also was Assessor of Olive Precinct three terms, and is now Justice of the Peace. Is a member of the Christian Church, and also belongs to the Masonic order, and is a charter member of Composite Lodge, No. 81, at Rising. Was married in Warren County, Ill, to Miss Elizabeth Richey in 1857, by whom he has nine children. Mr. J. was born March 27, 1838, in Onondaga County, N. Y.

JOHN C. PAXTON, dealer in general merchandise, Rising, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska in May, 1871, and took up a homestead on Section 20, Olive Precinct. Here he resided until March, 1876, when he was appointed Postmaster of Summit P. O.; November 1, 1878, the post office was moved to Rising and the name changed to Rising City P. O. January 1, 1879; this position he held until February, 1880, when he resigned, and has since given his attention to merchandising. Mr. P. had the honor of starting the first store at Rising, selling his first dollar's worth of goods to Dr. F. Engelhard, November 1, 1878. Is one of the original members of the Congregational Church society at Rising. Served three years in the late war, enlisting in the Seventy-eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company D. Was married in August, 1861, to Miss Laura J. Camren in Hancock County, Ill. He was born in Randolph County, Ind., June 16, 1839.

SAMUEL W. RISING, farmer, Section 9, Reading Precinct, Rising City. He came to Nebraska in the fall of 1870, and pre-empted the land where he now lives. He was formerly an old settler in Hillsdale County, Mich., settling there in 1837. Is the son of John and Lucinda Rising, he being of the old English stock; his grandfather was soldier in the Revolutionary war; also in the war of 1812. Samuel was born in Oneida County, N. Y. July 1, 1820, was married to Miss Polly Rising, Hillsdale County, Mich., in 1842, who was born in the same county in 1826. Both of them are of the original (1877) members of the M. E. Church society at Rising City, and have ever since been among its most active members. He is also a member of the A., F. & A. M., and was a charter member of Composite Lodge, No. 81, at Rising; was the first Chaplain of said lodge. It will be proper to say here that it was to Mr. R.'s influence that the village of Rising is partially indebted for its existence and for the intelligent class of people that now inhabit its corporation and vicinity, as he only solicited this class of people to come there and settle.

ALBERT W. RISING, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 10, Town 14, Range 1 east, Rising. He came to Nebraska in the fall of 1870, and entered the land where he now lives; has the honor of entering the first land in Reading Precinct. In April of the following spring, he moved his family, and located on his claim where he still lives; the village of Rising being situated on the west half of his farm, from which it derives its name. He and wife are both members of the M. E. Church, and were original members of that society at Rising. Mr. R. was born in Hillsdale County, Mich. October 24, 1844, was married in Michigan May 11, 1867, to Miss Nellie Wright, who taught the first district school, in District No. 32, Butler County, in a sod schoolhouse, which was on Section 11. They have one son--Dorr.

COL. AURELIUS ROBERTS, dealer in grain, live stock and farm machinery, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska in March, 1868, and took up a homestead in Butler County, Read Precinct, Section 18. Here he resided, improving his farm until the fall of 1878, then opening the grain business, and was among the very first to engage in that business at that station. He represented his district in the Legislature in 1871 and 1872. Was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in April, 1861, in the First Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company E, at the first three months' call. Served his time in that, then returned home, and in November, 1861, re-enlisted with the Eleventh Regulars, United States Infantry. In July, 1862, raised a company of volunteers at Burlington, Iowa, and was made Captain, which was mustered in the Thirtieth Iowa Regiment. In May, 1863, was promoted Lieutenant Colonel of the Thirtieth Regiment, and served in that capacity until the close of the war, and had command of the regiment from November, 1863, until mustered out at Washington, D. C., in June, 1865. Was one of the original members of E. M. Stanton Post, No. 20, of G. A. R., Rising, and has served as Commander one term. He is also a member of the A., F. & A. M., and was charter member of Composite Lodge, No. 81, at Rising. Also charter member of the Oliver Lodge, No. 39 at Seward and Fortitude Lodge, No. 69, at Ulysses. Was married to his first wife Miss Elsada McCray, August 28, 1862, at Burlington, Iowa, who died June 24, 1866. Was married to Miss Lizzie A. Brooks, his present wife, March 28, 1869. The subject of this sketch was born in Washington County, Ohio, July 15, 1835.

WILLIAM N. THOMAS, farmer, Section 6, Town 13, Range 12, Read Precinct. P. O. Cottonwood, came to Nebraska in June, 1869, and took up a Government homestead where he now lives, and was among the very first settlers in that precinct. He hauled his lumber from Nebraska City, a distance of 100 miles, to build his first house. He has continued to live on his farm since, passing through the grasshopper pests, and all the ups and downs of pioneer life. Was a soldier in the late war of the rebellion, enlisting at Darlington, Wis., May 1, 1861, in the Third Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Company H. Was afterward commissioned Second Lieutenant of Company D, of the Thirty-second United States Colored Regiment, and afterward to First Lieutenant of Company C. Was mustered out in 1865, and the same year entered the service again as First Lieutenant in the Eleventh United States Colored Regiment, and was in the reserve of Gen. Sheridan that was ordered to Mexico. Was born in Luzerne County, Penn., February 14, 1842. Is a member of A., F. & A. M., Composite Lodge, No. 81.

EDMUND THELEN, proprietor of the City Drug Store and furniture store at Rising City, emigrated to the United States in 1873. The same year came to Nebraska; settled in Polk County on a farm on Section 9, Town 13, Range 1 west. There he remained improving his farm until the winter of 1878, when he moved to Rising City, where he started the first drug store. He was born in Prussia January 20, 1851; had his education in the college in the city of Bonn, on the Rhine, where he left in 1867. Was married to Miss F. B. Bayrhoffer, daughter of Prof. Ch. Th. Bayrhoffer, of Wisconsin, in 1880.

CHARLES E. VERITY, editor of the Independent, Rising City, Neb. In Mr. Verity we have, what is common in Nebraska, a young man of enterprise, possessed of thrift, energy and a character bound to win. Though not yet twenty-one years of age, he has managed the Independent for two years, during which time it has won a place in Nebraska country journalism second to none. The Independent, under his care, is bright and newsy, and eagerly watched for by its readers. Mr. Verity is a model for the Eastern young man, who, possessed of ability, dare not strike out and try the world single handed and alone. There are many in Nebraska of the same mold, who, having the ability, force its acknowledgment, which comes, in the East, only by years of painful labor. He was born in Syracuse, N. Y., January 15, 1862, and received his education in the excellent high school of Kalamazoo, Mich., coming fresh from that school to his present situation; he is still unmarried.

DAY O. VERITY, family grocery, etc., at Rising, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska in the spring of 1872, and took up a homestead on Section 32, Summit Precinct, where he resided, improving his farm until the fall of 1879, when he moved to Rising, and in September, 1881, started his present business. Was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., December 1, 1831. Was married, in Michigan, to Miss Sarah A. Ocker, in 1856, by whom he has four children--James E., Manerva A., Eunice E. and Benjamin O.

LUCIUS A. WARREN, dealer in hardware, Rising. This gentleman came to Nebraska in 1871, and located on a farm of 320 acres in Read Precinct, Section 13, Butler County. Here he resided until he moved to Rising, which was April 18, 1879, and engaged in the hardware business in company with C. E. Wilcox, under the firm name of Warren & Wilcox, Mr. W. buying out his interest January 23, 1882. This firm did about $5,000 worth of business in 1881. Mr. W. is a member of the A. F. & A. M., and was a charter member of Composite Lodge, No. 81. Is at present their Secretary. Was born in Windham County, Conn., April 15, 1850. Was married to Miss Esther Thomas, his first wife, December 31, 1877, who died December 20, 1878. Was married to Miss Jennie M. Carpenter, his present wife, April 6, 1881.

FREDERICK E. WILSON, farmer and stock-raiser, Section 18, Town 14, Range 2 east, Union Precinct, P. O. Rising City, came to Nebraska first in June 1871, and established his claim where he now lives. He has served as Assessor of his precinct one term. Was a soldier in the Mexican war serving over one year. Enlisted in the war of the rebellion at Hamilton, Butler Co., Ohio, in the Sixty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company E, as Sergeant. Was soon afterward commissioned Second Lieutenant of Company F in 1863. This same year was promoted First Lieutenant of Company H. Was recommended as Captain after the battle of Mission Ridge, but was compelled to resign and return home on account of the death of his wife in September, 1864. He is now a member of E. M. Stanton Post, No. 20, of G. A. R., at Rising. Is also a member of the A., F. & A. M., Composite Lodge, No. 81, and was the first Master of that lodge, was also the first Master in Butler County. Was born in Middlebury, Vt., November 15, 1829. His parents, Calvin and Maria Wilson, settling in Butler County, Ohio, in 1836. Was married, March 15, 1849, to his first wife, Margrett McCann; died August 20, 1864. Was married to his present wife, Pamelia Jarrard, November 9, 1866.

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