Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Douglas County
Produced by Liz Lee.

Part 1      Part 2

Other Towns and Communities


Florence:  Early History | An Era of Prosperity | Biographical Sketch
Millard:  Early History | Schools | Business Interests
Biographical Sketches


Waterloo:  First Things | Associations | The Press | Churches
Hotels | Biographical Sketches


Valley:  First Things | Biographical Sketches


Elkhorn Station:  Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches:  Elkhorn Precinct | Union Precinct

List of Illustrations in Douglas County Chapter

Other Towns and Communities 2


The town of Waterloo was laid out in 1871, upon the lands of J. H. Logan and G. A. Kelsey. At the same time the Union Pacific Railroad Company was given a half interest in the town, in return for facilities, and erected a neat depot twenty-four by forty feet.

Although the town was laid out as late as 1871, there had been a settlement for a number of years previous, homesteads having been taken by J. H. Logan, William Short and others as early as 1862. A post office was established in 1864, with J. H. Logan as Postmaster, and the business of the office was transacted in his house as late as 1870. In this year, E. A. Kelsey received the appointment, which he held until 1875, when M. W. Purchase, the present incumbent, received his commission. Kelsey followed Logan's example, and used his house as a post office, but with the change of 1875, the mails were given special quarters in the store of Purchase & Barber, where they are still handled.

The first school in Waterloo was taught in the summer of 1865, by Miss H. H. Thomas, who had an audience of six scholars, and kept school in the sod house of a homesteader. In 1871, the present schoolhouse was erected at a cost of $2,000. To meet the outlay necessary for this building, bonds to the amount of $1,800 were issued, the necessary money above that amount being raised by subscription. These bonds, which had eight years to run, and bore ten per cent interest, were taken up at maturity.

In the summer of 1881, a new schoolhouse, for the use of the primary department, was begun, and is now (April, 1882) nearly completed. The cost of the new structure will be about $1,100. To meet this, bonds to the amount of $1,300, running five years, and bearing seven per cent interest, have been issued.

The report of 1881 shows an enrollment of fifty-one males and fifty-six females, a total of 107. There are two departments under the charge of Mr. G. G. Burton and Mrs. E. J. Burton. A third will be established in 1882.


The first store in Waterloo proper, was opened in 1869, by W. A Denton, and has been the scene of many business changes, Donahue Bros., J. C. Weston, R. R. Watts, L. B. Williams & Co., and Purchase & Barber, having successively occupied it. It is now operated by the last named firm.

In 1879, J. G. Herrington started the second store of the town, and in March, 1882, Smith, Thompson & Co., commenced business.

The first blacksmith was M. L. Weaver, who began work in 1869.

The first drug store was started in 1876, by C. H. Clark; the first carpenter shop by John M Hopper, in 1880.

The first physician of the town was J. W. Agee, who came to the town in 1864, and still remains in practice. He was followed in 1875, by J. McLaughlin; in 1876 by C. H. Clark; in 1878, by A. B. Elwood; and in 1879, by R. H. Huddleston. Of these, all but Clark and Elwood, are still residents of Waterloo.


The Waterloo Mill.--In 1872 Elam Clark and sons built a dam across the Elkhorn at the point where the Waterloo Mill now stands. No complete plan was carried out, however, and the mill was run on a small scale until the last part of 1875. Early in 1876, the building, in its present form was completed and new water wheels of an improved form were put in use. The structure is forty by sixty feet and has three and one half stories and a basement. The water wheels are five in number; one forty-eight inches, one forty-two inches and three thirty-six inches each in diameter. They are of the American form, and are rated at 100-horse power. The capacity of this mill is estimated at 100 barrels of flour and 200 barrels of meal or feed. The first cost of the building and machinery was $20,000 but recent improvements swell the total to $30,000. During 1881 the sales of the mill footed up to $90,000. A side-track leading directly to the door of the mill is now being built by the Union Pacific Railway and will greatly facilitate the increased business, which will naturally come from the larger crops consequent upon multiplying acreage under cultivation.


The Waterloo Immigration and Improvement Association, having for its object the growth of the town, was organized on February 17, 1880. The following day nineteen persons signed the constitution as charter members and the following officers were elected: Dr. R. H. Huddleston, president; J. R. Watts, vice-president; W. H. Clark, secretary; J. G. Harrington, treasurer. A board of directors consisting of E. Messenger, E. S. Stout, J. H. Logan, J. B. Silvas and F. G. Clark was chosen. The officers for 1882 are the same as those first elected, but there have been slight changes in the board of directors, which is as follows: E. Messenger, president; L. W. Denton, vice-president; J. H. Logan, secretary; George Johnson, treasurer.

The Waterloo Loan and Building Association is an important organization incorporated under the State Laws of Nebraska, in September, 1881, with an authorized capital of $100,000. The prime object of the society is to encourage building in the town by advancing funds to those desirous of obtaining homes of their own. Its officers are: W. H. Clark, president; J. McLaughlin, treasurer; G. A. Bryant, secretary. The association has, during the five months which it has been in operation, sold four loans of $200 each, and has been the means of erecting several buildings, among which are George Campbell's residence, corner of Second street and Washington avenue, S. A. Kopp's residence on Lincoln avenue and C. A. Colvin's residence on Madison street. The association is gaining strength and will aid many of our mechanics and laboring men to secure homes by their savings in this association.

Lodge No.-- A., F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation, in March, 1882. Fifteen members signed the charter roll and the following officers were elected: I. A. Arnold. W. M.; Charles H. Harrier, S. D., W. H. Clark, J. D., Meetings are held each month, on or before the full moon, in the second story of the newly completed schoolhouse, which has been leased by the society.

There are a number of members of the I. O. O. F., and A. O. U. W., in the town, and efforts have been made to form lodges of each, but so far unsuccessfully.

The Waterloo Brass Band.--This band was organized in September, 1881, and has, by careful practice under the leadership of Mr. George Johnson, attained an enviable position. It has twelve pieces and the following officers: W. H. Clark, president; G. C. Royce, treasurer; H. A. Huddleston, secretary; George Johnson, leader.

The Ladies Library Association on Monday, February 5, 1882, elected officers as follows: Miss Lou McLaughlin, president; Mrs. Hopper, vice-president; Mrs. Purchase, secretary; Miss Lucy Royce, treasurer; Mrs. Hagenbuck, librarian.


In 1876 Mr. C. H. Clark started the Waterloo Centennial, a four page twenty-four column paper. This was a wide awake sheet but failed to secure the needful amount of moneyed patronage, and died at the age of five months.

The next candidate for newspaper honors was the Eklhorn Valley News, which was started in 1879. This was a very modest affair, about nine by twelve inches, and was short-lived, succumbing at the completion of its third month. It was published by F. G. Crawford.

The Waterloo Sentinel was published in 1880 by E. J. Messenger and survived until June, 1881, when it followed the example of its predecessors.

With the summer of 1881 came a new feature in publication at Waterloo. Prior to that time the papers claiming this place as a home had been forwarded ready printed from Omaha, but in June of that year Mr. G. A. Bryant started the Weekly Gazette and set up the first printing press.

The Gazette is a five column, eight page paper and has a circulation of 400 copies weekly. A good job office is run in connection with the paper.


Presbyterian Church.--The first services of the Presbyterian Church were held in 1875 by Rev. Mr. Foster, of Fremont. He was followed in the work by Rev. C. H. Crawford and Rev. S. B. Neilson, the latter of whom came in the spring of 1879 and still has charge of the society.

Services were held in the schoolhouse for several years. In 1880-81 the present church edifice was erected at a cost of $1,800, of this amount one-third was obtained from the church erection fund and the remainder from the citizens of the town. The society is now is a flourishing condition.

Christian Church.--The first religious services in the neighborhood were held by traveling preachers of the Christian Church in 1864, at the houses of different homesteaders. David R. Dungan being the first preacher. Services were held with considerable regularity until 1871, when they were discontinued and not re-established until 1881. In the latter year Rev. R. C. Barrows, the traveling missionary of the church gathered the scattered elements and established regular services which are now held every second Sabbath under the charge of Rev. W. H. Winters. At the present time services are held in the schoolhouse, but two lots have been purchased and a building will be erected this year. A Sabbath school was organized September, 1881, under the superintendency of Mr. M. Ellis, who still holds the position. The average attendance of the school is thirty.

The Methodist Church.--The Methodists held their first services in 1864, in private houses, and upon the completion of the schoolhouse removed to it. Services are held every second and fourth Sabbath of the month under the charge of Rev. Mr. Boaz.


The Waterloo House.--The first hotel in the town was built in 1871 by J. H. Logan, and was called the Waterloo House. This structure is twenty-four by forty-two feet and has two stories. Its cost was $2,600. Mr. Logan opened the house on its completion and ran it until 1879, when he sold out to T. D. Todd, who still conducts the business.

The South Side Hotel.--This building was erected in 1881 at a cost of $2,000. The house has two stories, a main part eighteen by thirty two feet and an addition fourteen by twenty-four feet. It is owned and managed by John Flood.

The town now has two general merchandise stores, one drug store, two physicians, two ministers, one attorney at law, one millinery store, one restaurant, one hardware and tin store, two harness shops, two meat markets, one boot and shoe shop, one blacksmith shop and a total population of nearly 300.


GEORGE A. BRYANT, editor Waterloo Gazette, Waterloo, Neb., was born in Bartholomew County, Ind., April 13, 1850, and at the age of ten years he accompanied his father, who moved to Bethany, Harrison Co., Mo. In 1864 he commenced his apprenticeship as compositor, in the Tribune office of Bethany, Mo. After serving a three years' apprenticeship, he began his profession as a journeyman. In March, 1868, he, in company with Mr. Morgan, bought the Grant City (Mo.) Enterprise, and continued the publication as the Grant City Star, for several months, when Mr. Bryant sold his interest to his partner, and continued journeyman work at Maryville, Albany, St. Joseph, and other towns of Northwestern Missouri, until January, 1871. He engaged in the mercantile business at Mount Moriah, Mo., and continued this avocation for three years. On the 25th day of February, 1872, Mr. Bryant was married to Miss Phebe E. Peacock, from Huntington County, Ind. After closing up his mercantile business, Mr. Bryant removed to Creston, Iowa, and in March, 1875, he was editor and publisher of the Union County Independent. In the early part of 1876, he disposed of the Independent office and removed to Falls City, Neb., to take charge of the mechanical work on the news department of the Globe-Journal, and he continued in this position eighteen months. Then moved to Missouri, to follow his trade at journey work. In March, 1878, he was associated with J. R. Dodds, of Corning, Mo., in the publication of the weekly Herald, for a few months. In December, 1879, he bought an office and established a paper at Craig, Holt Co., Mo. (The Weekly Gazette) and continued its publication until June, 1881, when he removed to this place, and continued his paper with the title of the Waterloo Weekly Gazette. This publication is meeting with splendid success, and the future is bright for the proprietor. He has a good residence and a good business property on Front street, of the thriving young town, and is determined to make money by making a first-class paper of the Gazette. Mr. and Mrs. Bryant have two children, one son, Otis F., and one daughter, Ella M.

G. G. BURTON, importer and breeder of poultry, swine, and horses, Waterloo, Neb. Was born in Franklin County, Mo., in 1848, and was educated at Hartsville, Ind., University. During the civil war, although too young to carry the musket, he served as messenger in the quartermaster's department of the Army of the Tennessee. He was married to Miss Eliza West, of Trinity Springs, Ind., in 1870, and accepted a position as officer and instructor in the Indiana State Reform School, the same year. In 1871 he accepted the principalship of the Stilesville, Ind., public schools. He, with his wife and two other assistants, conducted the schools with good results for two years. In the autumn of 1873 he came to Douglas County, Neb., and was connected with the public schools of this county seven years. In 1879, Mr. Burton began importing and breeding fancy poultry, thoroughbred swine, and Percheron horses. He was first to introduce the English Essex in this State and makes a specialty of that breed. At the Nebraska State Fair, in 1881, he was awarded premiums as follows: First on "all purpose" Percheron stallion three years old; first on English Essex boar; first on English Essex sow; first on Jersey red boar; first on Jersey red sow; first on Plymouth Rock fowls; first on light Brahma fowls, and second on Essex boar; second on L. B. and golden Polish chicks. His Percheron horse, "Perfection," is acknowledged to be the champion of the West. Parties desiring pure bred poultry, swine or horses will find Mr. Burton a pleasant and reliable man to deal with and he guarantees satisfaction in every case.

ELAM CLARK & SONS, proprietors, Waterloo Mills, and owners of the Waterloo Mills and Water Power, Waterloo. This firm is among the earliest in the milling industries of the State, having located in Washington County at an early day. In 1876, they came here and established the present mills, for the purpose of manufacturing flour, meal and feed, for the western trade, with a capacity of about three car loads a day; but their increasing trade has compelled them to enlarge upon their already extensive facilities, which they are rapidly pushing through. The mills located on the west bank of the Elkhorn; are run by water, with a capacity of 100-horse power, using one-fourth of the water. Five run of four foot buhrs. Are connected with the mail line of the Union Pacific Railroad by one quarter of a mile of side track, which runs along side of the elevator connected with the mill. This makes their conveniences for receipts and shipments of grain second to none in the State. The management consists of Frank J. and William H. Clark, sons, whose custom and trade extend through this and adjoining counties. A goodly proportion being from Washington County, where Frank J. was actively identified with the grain interest from 1869 till 1876. Their business now aggregates $200,000 per annum, being an increase of 100 per cent upon those of the first and second years of their business here. The water power of the Elkhorn River, is without a doubt, the best in Nebraska, and it is here located on the best railroad and under the most permanent improvement that can be found at any point in the State. This power is now utilized to the extent of driving the large flouring, feed and grist mills of Elam Clark & Sons. These parties own the whole power, but having a large surplus of water they will dispose of a portion to other parties wishing to purchase for manufacturing purposes. All capitalists seeking locations of this kind are invited to correspond with them or other citizens, both in regard to this and other matters.

ELAM CLARK, retired, Waterloo, was born in La Porte, Ind., in 1820. His parents were William and Ester Clark, of North Carolina. Their ancestors being among the early Quaker families of that State. Mr. C., was reared and educated in his native State, and identified himself there with his profession of civil engineer, in the meantime carrying on the agricultural and stock industry. In 1857, he came to Nebraska, and located in Washington County, at Fort Calhoun, where he was prominently identified with the milling business, till he retired in 1880. Mr. C.'s enterprise was not confined to Fort Calhoun. In 1869 he built and established an extensive elevator and grain office in Blair, which he conducted until his retirement in 1873. He built the present large building in Omaha known as Clark's Hall for the benefit of his flour and feed trade there. Has actively been noted in the sketch of Waterloo Mills. In the growth and development of local industries, he has always been an active worker. He represented his district in the Legislative Assembly of the State, and has always taken an active interest in the growth and development of the social life of his locality. In 1842 he was married in La Porte, Ind., to Miss Rebecca Virginia Harmon, who was born in Indiana, in 1823. They have a family of three sons and four daughters, Isadore, now Mrs. Henry Hagenbuck, of Waterloo; Frank J., William H., Edith, now Mrs. Allen Fleming, of Valley; Adelle, now Mrs. R. W. Barber, of Waterloo, Emma and Frederick R.


ELIAS A. KELSEY, deceased, was born in Oneida County, N. Y., October 28, 1822, where he was identified with the farming industry in the earlier part of his life. He was raised in Mayfield, Fulton Co., N. Y. In 1855, he removed to Elgin, Ill., and then took up the milling business, with which he was prominently identified for several years, after which he became engaged at mercantile business there, with which he was connected till 1868, when he came here, and built the first flouring mill on the Elkhorn, at Waterloo, which he carried on till 1875, when he retired from it. Mr. Kelsey was one of the founders of the town of Waterloo. In 1876, he again took up the milling business, and built a steam mill, but was compelled to give up the business altogether in a few years afterward, on account of ill health, he being affected with consumption. After battling with his disease, the latter years of which he spent the winters in Florida, he returned in the spring of 1882, and on February 15, departed from this life, after an active and eventful history in connection with the development of the many industries of Waterloo.

J. H. LOGAN, dealer in real estate, notary public and conveyancer, Waterloo. Mr. Logan was born in Kentucky, 1842, and removed to Iowa with his people at the age of four years, where he was reared and educated. In 1857 he came to Nebraska and settled in Dakota County, where he followed the farming industry till the breaking out of the war when he enlisted in the Second Nebraska Cavalry upon its organization and remained in active service until its muster out when he was honorably discharged. After the war he came here and located a homestead upon the present site of Waterloo, where he has been actively identified with the many developing industries of this thrifty town since. In 1864 he was married to Miss Hannah H. Thomas, who was born in Jay County, Ind., and removed here with her people in 1856, where she was reared and educated. Her father was Jonathan Thomas, now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Logan has a family of two sons, James A. and John E.

M. W. E. PURCHASE, merchant, Waterloo, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., in 1830 and took up the profession of penmanship which he followed alternately in that State and Washington, D. C., until 1856 when he came to Nebraska and located in Elkhorn and erected the first steam saw mill on the waters. He prosecuted this industry for a few years. In the meantime carried on the stock and agricultural industry with which he has always been actively connected in this locality. In 1874 he came to this place and engaged in the mercantile industry which he has ably conducted, his attention to the agricultural and stock industry being confined more to having and selling and the rearing of the better class of stock in his locality. He was married in 1862 to Miss Electa Barber, of St. Lawrence County, N. Y. Mr. P. has been an active worker in the development of the social and industrial life of his locality since coming here.

T. D. TODD, proprietor of the Waterloo House, Waterloo, is a native of New York State, Washington County, and came to Nebraska in 1878 and located here where he has been actively connected with the present industry since. In 1866 he married Miss Ester E. Nelson of his native State. They have a family of one son and daughter, Mary E., and John I. The Waterloo House, Waterloo, Neb., is kept by the enterprising and genial hotel man, T. D. Todd. Is located convenient to the business center of the city. The land seeker, pleasure seeker, tourist and traveling public will find it to their interest to call upon Mr. and Mrs. Todd, where they will receive the utmost attention and care. Their table boasts of the best edibles in the market and their rooms the airiest situation and well furnished. Mr. Todd keeps first class rigs in his livery and hopes to be able to accommodate the needs of those seeking pleasure in the beautiful fishing and game districts in the beautiful Elkhorn Valley, or the land seeker in his search after those very eligible locations for stock and dairy farms here.

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