Topography and General Features | Produce | Early Settlement|
Indian Troubles | Club Law | Early Schools
Organization | County Seat Troubles | Official Roster | War History|
Court House and Jail | Railroads | Ferries
Cass County Agricultural Society | Cass County Medical Society
Pioneer Association of Cass County | Hard Winters and Storms
Plattsmouth: Early Settlement | City Government | Educational|
Religious | The Press
Plattsmouth (cont.): The Medical Profession | The Bar|
Government Offices | Missouri River Improvement | Societies | Banks
Hotels | Public Halls | Manufactories | General Business Interests
5 ~ 8:
ADAMS ~ GUTHMANN | HARTIGAN ~ MERTENS
MILLER ~ SHAFER | SHANNON ~ YOUNG
Weeping Water: Early Settlement | Organization | Educational|
Religious | Societies | The Press | Business Interests | Railroads
Louisville: Religious | Educational | Manufactories | Business Houses|
Railroads | Biographical Sketches
Greenwood: Religious | General Matters
Rock Bluff City
Biographical Sketches: Rock Bluff Precinct|
South Bend: Religious | Educational | Biographical Sketches
Factoryville: Biographical Sketches|
Avoca: Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches: Eight-Mile Grove Precinct
Biographical Sketches: |
Mt. Pleasant Precinct | Elmwood Precinct | Center Precinct
List of Illustrations in Cass County Chapter
Upon the organization of Nebraska Territory, following the transfer of the Indian title to the Government, Francis Burt was appointed Governor, and Thomas B. Cuming, Secretary. On October 10, 1854, the new Governor arrived at the old mission house at Bellevue in ill health, continuing to fail until October 18, when he died. Thomas B. Cuming thereupon became Acting Governor, and, with characteristic energy, immediately set about securing proper Territorial organization, one of his first official acts being the appointment of Marshals to enumerate the population, such enumeration to commence October 24, and returns made on or before November 1, 1854.
There were then but comparatively few actual residents in the county, many who expected to be such still living upon the Iowa shore, and it is said to be a fact that Marshal Murphy, who took the census, actually crossed the river and secured the most of his material for the returns upon the other side. Twenty-six Representatives and thirteen Councilmen were allowed for the Territorial Legislature by the organic act, of which the result of the enumeration was to apportion Cass County one Councilman and three members of the Lower House, a general election being ordered for December 12, 1854.
In the proclamation of Gov. Cuming, calling this election, Cass County was described as "the county lying between the Platte River on the north and the Weeping Water on the south, and from the Missouri River on the east to the limit of the ceded lands on the west "--a distance of about one hundred miles. It was divided into two precincts--Martin's, comprising the northern part of the county, and Kenosha, the southern part. In Martin's Precinct the polls were at the "Old Barracks," with James O'Neil, Stephen Wiles and Thomas G. Palmer as Judges, and T. S. Gaskill and Levi G. Todd, Clerks. In Kenosha Precinct, with the polls at the house of Col. Thompson, I. S. Griffith, Thomas B. Ashley and L. Young acted as Judges, Benjamin B. Thompson and William H. Davis officiating as Clerks. The following is a list of the voters in the former precinct: C. H. Walcott, Calvin C. Green, Wheatley Mickelwait, John Watson, Robert Colnes, Henry Watson, John P. Slain, Gardner Powers, Jackson Cardwell, Joshua Murray, Alvers Murray, Elias Gibbs, George Gibbs, Giles Panmon, Hugh Slain, Andrew J. Todd, Edwin R. Todd, Hiram Napier, William E. Gentry, John Jackson, John Simpson, Chaucer A. Lloyd, Moses R. Jackson, Samuel Hahn, Josiah Howdeshell, James L. Berger, Jacob Adams, Silas Green, William W. Craig, Andrew Slain, Archibald Napier, William Stephens, Matthew Hughes, Benjamin F. Phelps, R. B. Case, M. B. Case, Luke Wiles, Wilson Chivett, John P. Shafer, Columbus Nuckolls, Erastus McCune, Edward Rogers, William Shafer, Calvin Hammond, Reuben Pettit, Broad Cole, Ellis Sniffen, L. Scott, William W. Gullion, William Ballou, William H. Obison, Solomon T. Cook, Philip E. Channon, M. Hayden, John Hudgens, Elijah O'Neil, William O'Neil, John Johnson, Welcher Cardwell, Seth Johnson, Lewis Johnson, H. Queen, John Lathan, Jonathan Murray, Levi Todd, John Murdock, Levi Walker, Martin Keplinger, Thomas G. Palmer, Stephen Wiles, James O'Neil, Timothy T. Gaskill, George W. Kelly, Jonathan Kerns, David C. Brannon, Oliver Phipps, Samuel Martin and Joseph Rawls.
The number of these voters is seventy- eight, many of them not being actual settlers in Nebraska until 1855 and 1856, two of them registering upon the books of the old settlers' association at having come in 1857, and very many of them remaining as permanent residents in Iowa.
The poll-books of this election for Kenosha Precinct cannot now be found, but it is inferred from the total returns that about sixty votes were there polled.
The result of the election was to send as Representatives from Cass County I. M. Latham, J. D. N. Thompson and William Kempton, Lafayette Nuckolls going as Councilman. All of these were at the time residents of Glenwood, Iowa, and none of them ever became settlers in Nebraska, although Lafayette Nuckolls subsequently had business interests in Cass County.
The first Legislature, which convened January 16, 1855, further defined the boundaries and established the seat of justice in the county, by an act approved March 7, these boundaries being the same as before, on the north and east, a line twenty-four miles in length running directly west from a point one and a half miles north of the mouth of the Weeping Water, for the southern limit, and another at right angles with the first, proceeding north to the Platte, constituting the western boundary. On March 30, 1855, Gov. Cuming appointed Abraham Towner Probate Judge, an office at that time of considerable importance in county affairs. Thomas J. Palmer, Register of Deeds, A. C. Towner, Sheriff, and Thomas B. Ashley, Justice of the Peace for Kenosha Precinct. On the same day, Judge Towner, by the authority vested in him, divided Cass County into two precincts, lines being drawn, "Beginning at the mouth of Rock Creek, then up the creek to the main fork, near John Clemmons, thence up the north fork to the old emigrant road, and thence westward along the same to the west line of the county"--north of this line to be Plattsmouth Precinct and south of it Rock Bluffs. The name of the former precinct, giving the county seat its name, is said to have been suggested by Col. I. L. Sharp.
The first county election was held on April .10, 1855, with James O'Neil, Elias Gibbs and Stephen Wiles as Judges, and Charles Walcott and P. Shannon as Clerks of Plattsmouth Precinct, and Thomas B. Ashley, Frank McCall and Curtis Rakes, Judges, and William H. Davis and John Griffith, Clerks of Rock Bluffs Precinct. Levi G. Todd and Allen Watson were elected Justices of the Peace for Plattsmouth Precinct, and Thomas B. Ashley and Thomas Thompson for Rock Bluffs. Bela White was elected County Treasurer, the only general office not already filled by appointment.
The first suit brought before Justice Todd, of which we have any record, is one in which James O'Neil was plaintiff and James Raines defendant, the case one of forcible entry and detainer, being called April 16, 1855. The decision was in favor of the plaintiff, and an appeal was entered on April 21; the first docket of the District Court being lost, it is impossible to be certain, but it is probable that this was the first case, also, in that court. What the decision then was is unknown.
On May 1, 1855, Thomas J. Palmer was superseded as Register of Deeds by William H. Davis, the former not being a resident of the county. On June 4 of the same year, Sheriff Towner was ordered to assess the county. Of this assessment there is no record, beyond the fact that an enumeration of the inhabitants appears to have been made, the result showing a total population of 712.
At the second general election, held this time on the first Tuesday in November, as provided by the statute, being November 6, 1855, Samuel M. Kirkpatrick and Wheatley Mickelwait were candidates for the Council, the vote standing eighty-three to forty-two in favor of the former. John McF. Haygood, John F. Buck and William T. Laird were elected to the Lower House; Henry C. Wolph, Probate Judge; Joseph Longsignaut, Register of Deeds; Welcher Cardwell, County Treasurer, and William Young, County Surveyor. The vote on Sheriff stood sixty-five for Lois Lucas and sixty five for William Ellington, necessitating a special election on November 17, 1855, at which there was again a tie. At the third election, on December 1, William Ellington was successful.
These early legislators, reference not now being made to those of the Second General Assembly more than those of others, were frequently men of more sturdy common sense than of education and culture. It is related of a delegate from Cass County that upon being invited to a reception given by the Governor, he helped himself liberally to chicken salad, to him a new dish, and, after tasting it, leaned over to his near neighbor, asking, "Don't you think this hominy is just a little sour?" It was another one who moved that the vote be taken vice versa, but it was one from another county, who, in the Fourth or Fifth Assembly, asked that Cass County be requested hereafter to send legislators who knew enough to spell keg with two g's.
On March 3, 1856, H. C. Wolph, in his capacity as County Judge, divided Rock Bluffs Precinct into Cassville and Kenosha, and also appointed a grand and petit jury preparatory to the holding of the District Court. The first session of this court in Cass County was held in April of 1856, Judge Edward Harden presiding. All records of this term appear to be lost, but it is doubtful whether any business of importance was transacted, as a number of cases which were appealed prior to this time do not seem to have been taken up until the September session.
In the year 1861 began a contest for the county seat, located at Plattsmouth by an act of the first Territorial Legislature. A special election was called for April 15, at which Plattsmouth received 368 votes, Rock Bluffs 223 votes, and Mt. Pleasant 109 votes, an additional 28 votes being polled for various other places. This phase of the controversy, as between Plattsmouth and Rock Bluffs, was concluded with this election, the latter decreasing in population in about the same ratio as the former increased. On October 18, 1875, however, another election was held to consider relocation, Plattsmouth receiving 856 votes, Weeping Water 1,034 votes, Louisville 147 votes, Rock Bluffs 93 votes. A majority of three-fifths being required to make a change, this contest had no other result than to encourage Weeping Water to renew its efforts to secure what they so much desired, a third election being held May 14, 1878. This Plattsmouth 1,061 votes, Weeping Water 1,391 votes, Louisville 64 votes, and scattering, 81 votes. Shortly after this time, Plattsmouth began to increase very rapidly in population, and it is probable that the controversy will not be renewed for some years.
The last regular election, which has been referred to, was that of November 6, 1855. Since that date, the various county offices have been filled as follows:
Register of Deeds--1857, James R. Porter; 1859, William Spratlin--each holding office for two years.
County Clerks--1857, I. N. Wise; 1859, D. H. Wheeler; 1861 B. Spurlock; 1863, B. Spurlock; 1865, B. Spurlock; 1867, B. Spurlock; 1869, Isaac Pollard; 1871, D. W. McKinnon; 1873, D. W. McKinnon; 1875, C. P. Moore; 1877, J. D. Tutt; 1879, J. D. Tutt; 1881, J. W. Jennings--each elected for two years.
Sheriffs--1857, W. D. McCord; 1859, W. D. McCord; 1861, C. H. King; 1863, P. P. Gass; 1865, A. B. Taylor; 1867, J. W. Johnson; 1869, J. W. Johnson; 1871, J. W. Johnson; 1873, M. B. Cutler; 1875, M. B. Cutler; 1877, R. W. Hyers; 1879, R. W. Hyers; 1881, R. W. Hyers.
Treasurers--1857, J. D. Simpson; 1859, J. D. Simpson; 1861, S. Duke; 1863, S. Duke; 1865, S. Duke; 1867, S. Duke; 1869, W. L. Hobbs; 1871, W. L. Hobbs; 1873, J. C. Cummins; 1875, J. C. Cummins; 1877, J. C. Cummins; 1879, J. M. Patterson; 1881, W. H. Newell.
County Surveyors--1857, William Young; 1859, William Young; 1861, A. B. Smith; 1863, A. B. Smith; 1865, A. B. Smith; 1867, George W. Fairfield; 1869, George W. Fairfield; 1871, P. C. Patterson; 1873, William Young; 1875, William Young; 1877, George W. Fairfield; 1879, George W. Fairfield; 1881, George W. Fairfield.
As at first established, the powers of the Probate Judge were almost unlimited as to county affairs. This authority was largely curtailed by the second Territorial Legislature, a Board of County Commissioners being provided for, three to be elected in 1856, two of whom were to hold office one year, and one two years, elections to be held each year to fill the vacancy created, and all future Commissioners to remain in office three years. At the general election of November 4,1856, J. Vallery, Jr., Robert Palmer and W. D. Gage were elected as the first board. They have been succeeded in office as follows: 1857, William Young and R. B. Davis; 1858, George Mayfield; 1859, John Mutz; 1860, L. G. Todd; 1861, J. Vallery, Jr.; 1862, William L. Thompson; 1863, Issac Pollard; 1864, M. L. White; 1865, D. Cole; 1866, A. Carmichael; 1867, James O'Neil; 1868, J. B. Moore; 1869, Benjamin Albin; 1870, J. Vallery, Jr.; 1871, L. H. James; 1872, T. Clark; 1873, M. L. White; 1874, W. B. Arnold; 1875, B. S. Ramsey; 1876, E. G. Dovey; 1877, James Crawford; 1878, Samuel Richardson; 1879, Isaac Wiles; 1880, James Crawford; 1881, Samuel Richardson.
The following is a list of Probate Judges following H. C. Wolph, elected in November, 1855: 1857, Charles L. West; 1859, Robert M. Clarke; 1861, Robert M. Clarke; 1863, E. T. Harmon (succeeded, at his death, which occurred almost immediately following his election, by D. H. Wheeler); 1865, J. W. Marshall; 1867, W. D. Gage; 1869, A. L. Child; 1871; H. E. Ellison; 1873, H. E. Ellison; 1875, W. H. Newell, 1877, A. N. Sullivan; 1879, A. N. Sullivan; 1881, A. A. Laverty. It may be well to add that in 1861 the office of Register of Deeds as a distinct incumbency was abolished, the duties of the position being assumed by the County Clerk.
Until 1869, the County Clerk was ex officio County Superintendent of Public Instruction. At this time, the two offices were rendered separate and distinct, and W. A. Patterson elected as the first regular Superintendent. In 1871, he was superseded by U. W. Wise, who continued in office until 1875, when he was succeeded by G. B. Crippen. Following him, the incumbents have been: D. D. Martindale, 1877 to 1879; E. H. Wooley, 1879 to 1881; and Cyrus Alon, elected in 1881 for a term of two years.
Early in the spring of 1861 came the news of the firing upon the "Star of the West." There were many who still thought that war might be averted, but of these pacificators few could be found in Cass County. The news reached Plattsmouth just as the Platte Valley Herald was going to press. Its editor was away, and Dr. R. R. Livingston in charge. He had the press stopped, a brief announcement of the facts inserted in the forms, and, when issued, scattered the papers broadcast. He had dodgers printed and distributed, and that very night a meeting was held, and, so far as could be under the circumstances, the organization of what was afterward known as Company A, of the First Nebraska Volunteers, effected. From this time, and for the next three months, additions to the number of enrollments were made constantly, meetings were held, arms were procured from Omaha, being brought down by boat; speeches were made, and, on June 11, 1861, the company was mustered into the service of the United States.
Prior to this, however, and while the company was yet in Plattsmouth, the ladies of the city, prominent among them being Mrs. J. D. Simpson, Mrs. Moses Dodge, Mrs. O. F. Johnson, Mrs. Dr. Donelan, Mrs. Clements, and Misses Sarah Baker, Mollie and Sadie Minshall, made and presented to the company two beautiful flags, the presentation address being made by Rev. Philo Gorten, of the Methodist Church, and the response by Dr. Livingston, then Captain, the entire company kneeling, swearing ever to cherish, follow and protect the standard given. A sharp rivalry existed as to which company in the Territory should receive the honor of the name A, the Cass County organization being successful, chiefly through the efforts of Dr. R. R. Livingston. The further history and complete roster of the company will be found in the proper place.
In addition to the above organization, very many of Cass County loyalists entered other Nebraska regiments, arid the names of others may be found in the rosters of Iowa and Missouri companies. Altogether, she contributed her full quota of men to the Union cause--men who did their duty nobly and well in the heat of battle, on the wearisome march, in the murderous prison pen. Their deeds are not forgotten; nor are their names lost.
The first session of the District Court was held in the first schoolhouse in Plattsmouth, erected very early in 1856, by James O'Neil, on Gospel Hill in the southwestern part of the city. The September term of 1856 was probably held in the same place, the court business being then transferred to a frame building situated just across the Branch, near the river; then to the Thomas and Bradford building, in the same vicinity; then to a building standing on the south side of Main, near Fifth street, erected in 1858, by Buttery & Barnes; then to the old Masonic Hall on the north side of Main; and finally in 1863, to its present location, on Main, between Third and Fourth streets--the first court house built and occupied for that purpose, although previous to this a frame structure had been erected, which was blown to pieces in a high wind before completion. The present court house, built in 1862 and 1863, is a two-story brick building, almost too limited in size for the purpose for which it was designed. It will undoubtedly soon be superseded by a more pretentious building, as it would have been long before this, had it not been for county seat troubles. The first floor of the building is used as offices by the County Clerk, Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Instruction, the second story being used as a court room, and as the office of the Clerk of the District Court. It may be mentioned in this connection that, until 1875, the county was in the Third Judicial District, with Douglas County. In the year mentioned, the Platte River was taken as a boundary, and Cass County placed in the Second District, with Nemaha, Otoe and Lancaster Counties.
Until 1865, the county had no regular jail building, various rooms being used for the purpose prior to that time. In 1864, action was taken by the County Commissioners, and, during the following year, the present jail building, a small but substantial structure, situated on Third, near Main street.
The Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska.--In September, 1869, the Burlington & Missouri Railroad, having been voted $200,000 in bonds by the county, and $50,000 in bonds by the city of Plattsmouth, entered upon Nebraska soil, extending itself to the western borders of Cass County in the succeeding year. Its course was directed along the extreme northern boundary, reaching Oreopolis Concord and Cedar Creek Stations, and causing to be established Louisville, South Bend and Greenwood--the last three being organized subsequent to the entry of the road, and prior to 1873. The general headquarters of the Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska were placed at Plattsmouth, in accordance with the stipulations of the contract made with that city, and the shops of the road erected there. A description of these will be found in the proper place.
The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, of which Ottumwa had been the terminus for some time, took a new start in 1879, and, under State legislation of ten years before, constructed a bridge across the Missouri, uniting it with the Burlington & Missouri in Nebraska. This bridge, the finest on the river, may be briefly described as follows, from data secured from Mr. George S. Morrison, the Chief Engineer, by Mr. J. A. McMurphy, of Plattsmouth, at the tine of its construction: It consists of two through spans, of 400 feet each, over the main river; three deck spans, of 200 feet each, over the adjacent sand-bar; and 1,560 feet of iron viaducts, of which 1,440 feet, in forty-eight spans of thirty feet each, are on the east side. The five main spans rest on six piers, numbered in order. Pier 1, on the west shore, is founded on the rock, thirty feet below low-water mark, excavation being made in an open coffer-dam through blue clay and bowlders. This coffer-dam was filled with beton and rubble stone, and masonry was begun at two feet below low water. Pier 2, in the middle of the river, is founded on the rock, thirty-two and one-half feet below low water, by sinking a pneumatic caisson twenty-one by fifty-one feet through about fifteen feet of sand, the caisson being surmounted by a timber crib-work filled with beton, and masonry begun at two feet below low water. Pier 3, on the east shore, is founded on the rock, fifty-two feet below low-water mark, in a similar way to Pier 2, the chief difference being the greater depth of sand lying on the bed rock. The masonry begins a little over six feet below low water. Piers 1, 2 and 3 are of the same general form, and are finished at sixty-two feet above low water. Under the coping courses, they measure eight by thirty-three feet, the ends being semi-circles of four feet radius. They are built with a batter of one-half inch per foot, on the sides and ends, the ends being changed to a pointed form at thirty-four feet below the coping courses, the lines being arcs of circles struck from points seven feet apart. At the foot of the battered work, these piers are thirteen by forty-four feet. Pier 4 is founded on the rock, fifty-four feet below low water, by sinking a pneumatic caisson, eighteen by forty feet, through sixty-five feet of sand. The masonry of this pier begins one foot above low water, the intermediate space between it and the caisson being occupied by a crib filled with beton. Pier 5 rests upon seventy-eight piles, driven inside of a crib eighteen by forty feet, to an average penetration of thirty feet below low water. These piles are capped with a grillage, and surrounded inside the crib with beton; the masonry is begun at low water. Piers 4 and 5 measure seven by twenty-seven feet under the copings, have semi-circular ends, and are about thirty feet high. Pier 6 is founded on concrete, three feet thick and twelve feet wide by thirty-three feet long. All the piers are of first-class rock, faced masonry laid in Portland cement, the first three being backed with beton, and the last three with rubble. Piers 3, 4, 5 and 6 carry the three deck spans, each 200 feet long between centers of end-pins, thirty feet high, and sixteen feet wide between centers of chords. They are Pratt trusses, with single intersection webs and inclined end-posts, and have each eight panels of twenty-five feet. The floor beams rest on the top chords, and the track-stringers are riveted to the web of the floor beams. There is a grade of one-half per cent on three spans, made by placing each span at a different elevation, the second and third being respectively one and two feet higher than the first, and the grade in each span being made by varying the depth of the floor beams on the chord. The third span rests in recesses left at the proper elevation in the masonry of Pier 3. The 200-feet spans are entirely of iron, except the pins, which are of steel. Piers 1, 2 and 3 carry the 2,400-feet spans. These are each 400 feet long between centers of end-pins, fifty feet high and twenty-two feet wide between centers of chords. They are pin-connected, Pratt or Whipple trusses, with inclined end-posts, the web being arranged with double intersections. Each span has sixteen panels of twenty-five feet. The ties are in two lengths, and couple on pins passing through the centers of the posts. Attached to the pins at the middle of the posts a strut extends between each pair of posts, and a system of diagonal wind-bracing connects these struts with the top lateral struts. The middle of each inclined end-post is supported by a horizontal lattice-work strut which reaches to the first vertical post. The floor beams are riveted to the posts immediately above the bottom chord, and act as lateral struts, the lateral ties being coupled on pins passing through jaw-nuts, screwed on to the ends of the lower chord pins, the stringers being riveted to the webs of the floor beams. In these trusses the top and bottom chords, inclined end-posts, main and counter ties, lateral rods pedestals, rollers, and all chord and lateral pins, are of steel. The intermediate posts, end-suspenders, lateral struts, portals, stringers and floor beams are of iron. The floor system is uniform on the iron viaduct and the five spans. The track stringers are spaced nine feet between centers. On these rest nine by nine inch oak tires, spaced fifteen inches apart centers. These are generally twelve feet long locked by oak guard-rails ten by ten inches in size. Placed on the ends of the ties, at intervals of five feet, ties sixteen feet long project, carrying a foot walk of two-inch oak plank on each side, and at twenty-five feet intervals, ties eighteen feet in length are inserted to carry an iron stanchion, through which passes a wire cable for a hand-rail. Between the rails are placed two, four and five inch angle irons for inner guard-rails, bolted to each tie, and distant six inches from each rail. The cost of the bridge, as reported for taxation, was $600,000. Its superstructure and substructure were designed by Chief Engineer George L. Morrison, and it was completed and tested by severe tests on August 30, 1881, the first train crossing it at that date.
The Missouri Pacific.--A branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, extending from Atchison, Kan., to Omaha, Neb., was constructed in 1881 and 1882, passing through the center of Cass County from north to south, without assistance from the county, entering it at a point one and a half miles west of the old post office of Avoca, and leaving it by means of a substantial wooden bridge at Louisville. The towns most directly benefited are Weeping Water, Louisville and Avoca, a new town laid out in January, 1882.
As has been already stated, a ferry was established at or just below Plattsmouth as early as 1848, by Libeas T. Coon, a Mormon, who was succeeded by Wheatley Mickelwait and James O'Neil early in the '50's. In 1855, the Legislature granted a charter to Wheatley Mickelwait, James O'Neil, J. L. Sharp, J. G. Palmer, Lafayette Nuckolls and their associates. A flat-boat was run until 1857, followed by the Emma, the Survivor, the Paul Wilcox, the Mary McGee; then a wire cable ferry, succeeded by the Luella, and finally by the Belle Morgan, still in use. The history of these boats will be found in detail in the early history of Plattsmouth. The original incorporators under the laws of the Territory, successors by purchase to the charter granted by the first Legislature, were Thomas K. Hannah, Thomas E. Tootle, E. G. Dovey, Henry Amison, W. H. Anderson and Charles Staude. This was about 1860. In 1868, the franchise was sold to the city, and the ferry is now under the management of Miles Morgan.
The organization of this society was effected in 1857, with Thomas Patterson, President; J. D. Simpson, Secretary; W. H. Davis, Treasurer; and W. D. McCord, General Manager. Three exhibitions were made, of which no record is to be found, and of which little can be remembered, except that they were attended with interest, and fitly displayed the products of the new country--products as yet not cultivated to the degree of perfection they were afterward destined to reach. In 1861 came the war, and more vital interests absorbed the attention of those chiefly concerned, the result being that the society suspended its operations entirely.
In 1869, as the result of an effort of the best citizens of the county, a re-organization was effected, Maj. D. H. Wheeler being elected President, a position he now holds.
Various grounds have been used for the purposes of the society, it owning none of its own. Since 1875, it has, by a special arrangement, made use of the elegant and beautifully situated property of the Plattsmouth Driving Park Association, treated of in its proper place.
The fifteenth annual exhibition of this society, held September 7, 8 and 9, 1881, offered and paid premiums on six kinds of graded cattle, and on all kinds of live stock, there being also a manufacturers' exhibit, and one of horticultural products. The present officers are as follows: President, Daniel H. Wheeler, Plattsmouth; Vice President, Harmon Bestor, Plattsmouth; Secretary, J. W. Wise, Plattsmouth; Treasurer, S. L. Thomas, Plattsmouth. Board of Directors--J. Vallery, Jr., H. E. Palmer, J. B. Meisinger, F. R. Guthmann, B. W. Briggs, A. B. Todd, J. C. Cummins. General Superintendent, Joseph C. Gilmore; Assistant Superintendent, Ami B. Todd; Chief of Police, R. W. Hyers. Vice Presidents--J. E. Morrison, Plattsmouth City; J. H. Burnett, Plattsmouth Precinct; Levi Churchill, Rock Bluffs Precinct; William Eikenberry, Liberty Precinct; O. Tefft, Avoca Precinct; James Hall, Mt. Pleasant Precinct; J. M. Craig, Eight Mile Grove Precinct; Ben Ward, Louisville Precinct; F. M. Wolcott, Center Precinct; Timothy Clark, Weeping Water Precinct; Cyrus Alton, Stove Creek Precinct; W. H. Pool, Elmwood Precinct; Jason Streight, South Bend Precinct; Edwin Jeary, Salt Creek Precinct; M. B. Cutler, Greenwood Precinct; J. M. Higgins, Tipton Precinct.
This association was organized December 20, 1866, with John Black, President; F. B. Reed, Corresponding Secretary; R. R. Livingston, Recording Secretary; W. E. Donelan, Treasurer. A few meetings have been held, but no other election has taken place, the Treasurership being now vacant, made so by the death of W. E. Donelan, an old citizen and a fine physician. The society is still living, but dormant.
Pursuant to a call issued by a few of those who were interested, a meeting of old settlers was held at the court house in Plattsmouth on November 29, 1875, the following persons being present: G. H. Black, A. L. Child, Julia Child, E. Donevan, P. P. Gass, J. W. Haines, R. R. Livingston, C. P. Moore, Conrad Ripple, Thomas Thomas, William S. West and D. H. Wheeler. A committee was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws, reporting on the 7th of the following month. This constitution provides that the society shall be known as the Pioneers' Association of Cass County, Nebraska; that its leading objects shall be the procuring of a record of statistics, history, privations, incidents and adventures of the first settlers in the county, thus reviving the recollections and sympathies of the past, strengthening the old bonds of union, and transmitting the record of the hardships of those fast passing away; to future generations.
It was further established that the oldest member, as to date of settlement, should act as President; the next oldest, First Vice President; and that any one who located in Nebraska prior to 1861 might become a member of the association upon payment of an initiation fee of $1, ladies to be exempt from such payment.
By the provisions of this constitution, W. H. Shafer, who located in Cass County May 25, 1854, assumed the Presidency, William Young and Benjamin Albin being First and Second Vice Presidents, respectively--positions that have been retained by the original incumbents. William L. Wells was elected Secretary, an office in which he was soon after succeeded by John A. MacMurphy. Thomas Thomas has been the Treasurer of the association since its institution, and Dr. A. L. Child was elected the first Recorder on December 9, 1876.
On August 19, 1877, a meeting was called, at which it was resolved to hold a re-union on September 16. The association met accordingly, it being recorded on the minutes of the occasion that "the contrast between these tables and those of early days could not but produce deep feeling and comment." One or two meetings have been held since, considerable interest being manifested, and a number of papers read by those "who came in early days."
The following are the members of the society who came in 1854: B. Albin, Mrs. N.J. Edgerton, William Gilmour, Lucy E. Gilmour, William Gilmour, Jr., J. McF. Haygood, Mrs. Elizabeth Herold (née O'Neil), Joshua Murray, George E. Pronger, L. W. Patterson, Mary Patterson, W. H. Shafer, E. S. Sharp, Mrs. Eliza Siebold, Mary Sullivan, Thomas Wiles, Levi Walker and William Young.
Those who record themselves as having arrived in 1855 are: J. W. Berger, H. C. Chubbuck, William Herold, Amanda M. Miller, Mrs. Nancy E. Patten, Mrs. E. M. Walker, Lewis H. Young, F. H. Young and Mrs. Sarah Young.
The old settlers of 1856 are: George D. Amick, V. M. Beaver, F. M. Dorrington, R. G. Doom, Henry Eikenberry, George W. Fairfield, Joshua Gapen, Mrs. Maria Gapen, J. G. Hayes, L. F. Johnson, L. C. Johnson, W. Jean, Mrs. M. M. Richardson, J. F. Stohl, Mary J. Taylor, W. L. Tucker, Mrs. S. F. Tucker, Mary E. Todd, Samuel L. Thomas, Thomas Thomas, George W. Thomas, J. W. Thomas, Mrs. Susannah Thomas, Jacob Vallery, Sr., Isaac Wiles, J. N. Wise, Parker L. Wise, William S. West and Daniel H. Wheeler
In 1857 came A. L. Child, Mrs. Cora W. Child, Julia E. Child, M. B. Cutler, Shadrach Cole, E. E. Cunningham, Mrs. G. W. Fairfieid, Abram Hull, John W. Haines, Mrs. Mary Haines, J. W. Marshall, W. H. Smith, A. B. Taylor, A. B. Todd, E. R. Todd, T. J. Todd, William L. Wells and Charlotte A. Wheeler.
In 1858, of the members of the association there arrived F. A. Bates, J. C. Gilinore, Mrs. J. C. Gilmore, A. L. Sprague and Mrs. F. C. Streight.
In 1859 came Thomas Creamer, Mrs. M. C. Dorrington, Ben Hemple, Mrs. Lou S. Johnson, C. H. King, F. D. Lehnhoff, Thomas A. Sullivan, Mrs. S. A. Thomas and Jennie R. Wells.
As coming in 1860 but two names are recorded--those of E. J. Craig and Anna M. Craig.
In addition to the above are John W. Jennings, who settled in Sarpy County in 1855, and removed to Cass County ten years later; and John A. MacMurphy, one of the earliest settlers in Burt County, and for the past twelve years a resident of Plattsmouth. All of the others are and have been since the dates mentioned, residents of Cass County.
The winter of 1856 was an unusually severe one, its rigors being felt more keenly in contrast with the pleasant winters preceding it. Much suffering was necessarily occasioned, very many of the settlers being but poorly provided with the necessaries of life, either as regards food or shelter. Deep snows covered the whole earth, and many lives were lost. From this time, however, the winters for many years were unmarked by any great severity, while the summers were healthy and pleasant and the crops good. In the '70's, from 1871 to 1876 more particularly, came the grasshopper scourge, devastating very much of the West, but causing a loss to Cass County at no time of more than a small per cent of its agricultural products. The severest loss from this cause was in 1875, when the estimated loss was about one-third of the whole.
In 1871, a hail-storm, traversing the northern tier of precincts, cut and damaged the grain very badly, and in 1875, a tornado swept the county from northwest to southeast, beating down the grain just as much of it was ripe for the harvest.
The winter of 1880-81 was an unusually hard one, the latter part of it, and the early spring being marked by heavy rains, which prevented the planting of corn until a late date, and which left the ground so cold and damp that much of that which was planted did not come up. The high water in the Missouri during the spring of 1881 affected the county comparatively little; the banks on the Nebraska side of the river being generally high. On the whole, the county has been, during the twenty-eight years of its settlement, remarkably fortunate in all that contributes to its material wealth and prosperity. Its future is unclouded.