Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Gage County
Produced by
Brenda Busing, Diana Busing, and Lori Laird.


Climate, Soil and Rainfall | Water Courses | Natural Products
Early Settlements | Indians


Pioneer History | First Things | Additions to the County
Early Modes of Travel

Progress of the County | Official Roster

Beatrice:   Robert Emery | Educational | Town-Lot Steal | The Press
Churches | Post Office | Societies | Bank

 5 ~ 7:

Beatrice Biographical Sketches:


Blue Springs:   Public Schools | Churches | Societies
Biographical Sketches


Wymore:   Biographical Sketches
Liberty:   Biographical Sketches

PART 10:

Odell:   Societies | Biographical Sketches
Holmesville:   Biographical Sketches
Adams:   Biographical Sketches

PART 11:

Caldwell:   Biographical Sketches
Biographical Sketches:
Grant Precinct | Holt Precinct | Highland Precinct | Clatonia Precinct
Nemaha Precinct

List of Illustrations in Gage County Chapter

Part 8


   Blue Springs is beautifully located on the west bank of the Big Blue, about twelve miles southeast of Beatrice, and derives its name from springs on the north side of the town. It is a thriving town of about eighteen hundred, and the second in importance in the county. The first settlement at this place was commenced in 1857, shortly after the settlement at Beatrice, by James H. Johnston, Jacob Poff, and a family by the name of Elliott. These parties in conjunction with the surveyors who were then engaged in surveying the public land in that vicinity, formed a town company, with the ambitious design, evidently, of building up quite a city, as they laid out 320 acres in town lots. But it was altogether too early in the settlement of the State to accomplish such an undertaking, and consequently, becoming discouraged, they sold out to two miners returning from Pike' Peak--Ruel Noyes and Joseph Chambers. These, however, meeting with no better success than their predecessors, abandoned the enterprise to Robert A. Wilson, who is still a resident of the place, and is, in fact, the original town proprietor of Blue Springs. "Pap" Tyler--as the genial pioneer, William Tyler, is generally called--and C. C. Coffinberry--both of whom, as already stated, occupied official positions in the county at an early day, settled not far from Blue Springs. S. M. Hazen, one of our County Commissioners, and F. H. Dobbs, settled on Mud Creek cotemporaneously with the persons already mentioned. The growth of the place was very slow until 1868, the year that Mr. Tichnor, one of the early County Commissioners, built the mill here. But the greatest impetus was given when the branch of the Union Pacific Railway came in, in 1879, and the Burlington & Missouri Railway, in 1881--which, however, has ignored Blue Springs as a station, although it passes through the corporation. The St. Joe & Western Union Pacific Branch passes up the east side of the river. The situation of Blue Springs is beautiful. Built on a hill, inclosed on three sides by forest trees, like a beautiful villa in a sylvan bower, through one belt of which flow the waters of the Blue, and on the other side stretches the rolling prairie, it has a setting of picturesque scenery, and commands a perspective of landscape beauty equal to any in the State. Two years ago, it was a small hamlet, with a small population and a smaller reputation; but within that time, it has grown from a population of about four hundred to 1,600, and the improvements of 1881 are estimated at $50,000. It now contains four church organizations in a flourishing condition, three good, commodious church edifices, two schoolhouses, a bank, a flouring-mill, a good public library, a new hall, a Board of Trade, and almost thirty-five firms engaged in the different branches of mercantile business. It made a bid for a station on the Burlington & Missouri, but the location of towns on the new lines of that road belongs to a company within a company, and so they have been ignoring established towns, locating on wild tracts of land and speculating in town lots. Consequently, they went a mile and a half below Blue Springs and established Wymore.

   The Weekly Motor, the only paper published in the place, is a very creditable paper. It was started in July, 1876, by M. A. Farr, and, after several changes, it passed again into the hands of the founder, Mr. Farr. It was at first a five-column quarto, but that has been changed to an eight-column folio. It is Republican in politics, and has an excellent circulation. Mr. Pierce has some fine specimens of the skeleton of the mastodon exhumed by the Burlington & Missouri Company near Liberty, about seven miles southeast of Blue Springs. The animal was eighteen feet in length, and about twelve feet in height. It was the first mastodon skeleton found in this country. Mr. Pierce has one perfect tooth that must have weighed thirty or forty pounds when the animal was alive.

   The water-power at this point is equal to that at Beatrice, if not superior. The mill at present is in a poor condition, as it is somewhat old, and was damaged by the flood of last spring. The Burlington & Missouri, or parties at Wymore, tried to buy the power at this point and remove it to that point. This would have been a fatal blow to the place, but it was avoided by the ingenuity of the citizens, who bargained for it, intending to purchase if they could not dispose of it to the Union Pacific Company. But the company, being a rival of the Burlington & Missouri, was glad of the opportunity to thwart the design of those who had ignored Blue Springs, one of their stations.


   Although the two school buildings are small, and are not what they should be, yet the schools are in good condition, and a source of pride to the citizens. There are 300 pupils enrolled in the four departments. But arrangements are being made to build one large building, ample enough for the accommodation of all the present school population, and that for five or six years in the future.


   Evangelical Church has a large and commodious edifice, and an active membership of about eighty. The Sabbath school is in a live, efflorescent condition; has an average attendance of 150 pupils and officers. Rev. S. W. Kiplinger is their present pastor.

   Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1859, and an edifice of stone built in 1869. Their first pastor was Rev. John Foster. The church has a large, efficient membership, and a Sabbath school of 120 teachers and pupils. Rev. J. W. Dobbs is the present pastor, but they are without a church edifice, having sold their old one as a preliminary measure to the erection of a new one.

   The United Brethren in Christ have a neat house of worship, dedicated last November. It has a membership of about forty, and an active Sunday school.

   Presbyterian Church.--This denomination organized about two years ago, and is now erecting a very neat, tasteful and commodious chapel, after the Gothic style. This has been effected by the Ladies' Building Association of the Presbyterian Church. Rev. J. M. Pryse, A. M., has been pastor for the past year.


   The A., F. & A. M., Blue Springs Lodge, has been in existence only a year, and working under a charter only three months, and yet it has made remarkable headway, having already a membership of forty-five. The hall in which the lodge meets is its own property, which fact, together with its adornment and conveniences, is a credit to its members and an ornament to the town. The first public installment of officers occurred January 3, 1882, when the following members took the oaths of office: A. Samuels, W. M.; A. Perkins, S. W.; G. W. Riste, J. W.; J. M. Rumbaugh, Treas.; G. H. Castle, Sec.; C. A. Wessels, S. D.; C. A. Warner, J. D.; W. E. Curry, S. S.; W. C. Hill, J. S.; E. S. Gillett, Tiler.

   The I. O. O. F. is also making excellent progress, having a membership of about forty-five and continually receiving new accessions. Its meetings are characterized by unbroken harmony and lively interest. The lodge at Blue springs has found a hearty welcome and has the best wishes of the citizens generally. The present officers are as follows: Noble Grand, George Harris; Vice Grand, C. W. Hill; Secretary, T. J. Farleigh; Treasurer, D. Fouts; Permanent Sec., B. A. Downen.

   The Good Templars' lodge is in a hearty, thriving and active condition and accomplishing, in a small measure at least, a noble work for the community. Its officers are: W. W. Wright, W. C. T.; Mrs. Robertson, W. V. T.; J. N. Ferguson, W. S.; Walter Eade, F. S.; Mrs. C. I. Blackman, T.; S. Hoxworth, W. M.; B. Fritz, W. C.; Lettie Callen, I. G.; S. Hazen, O. G.; Miss Emma Wilson, A. S.; Lulu Gambee, D. M.; Rosa Baringer, R. S.; Laura Walters, L. W.; Clara Baringer, P. W.; W. G. Riste, L. D.

   The Library Association holds weekly meetings at Union Hall, and is accomplishing a very important and useful object. The library contains about three hundred volumes, to which additions are constantly being made.

   The Blue Springs Board of Trade has been organized by the prominent citizens for the special purpose of locating strangers and others seeking situation for business or investment in Blue Springs and farmers in its vicinity, and in a quiet way much good has been done for the town and its advantages have been more widely known by their efforts to build up the town and surrounding country. Robert Fenton is President; E. O. Kretsinger, Vice President; T. F. Burke, Secretary; J. C. Williams, Treasurer.

   The Blue Springs Building Association has done much to aid the town.

   The Mechanics' Union, with a membership of about fifty, organized in 1880, for mutual protection and benefit of home industry, and have done considerable in that direction.


   H. S. BARNUM was born in Buffalo, Erie Co., N. Y., in 1839. His parents moved the following year to Trumbull County, Ohio. In 1859, H. S. started out with an outfit of clothes, and $65 in cash, and set stake in Nebraska Territory, two and one-half miles above the town of Blue Springs (which then consisted of four log cabins under the hill), with $3.75. He borrowed money, and deeded 120 acres of land that he still owns. On July 16, 1859, was elected Register of Deeds for the county of Gage, Territory of Nebraska, for the term of two years. In this year, the county of Gage was organized. In 1861, enlisted in Company C, Fifth Iowa Cavalry; served eighteen months, and was honorably discharged for disability. On the 19th day of April, 1863, was married to Mrs. M. H. Rappleye; put up a log cabin and went to farming. On the 9th day of October, 1866, was elected Assessor. In 1870, sold his little herd of stock, went to Brownville, on the Missouri River, a distance of sixty-five miles, bought lumber, doors and windows, and built a house in Blue Springs, 14x31, 11 feet high (making a story and one-half house), for a hotel. In 1871, built an ell, 12x14, for a kitchen, and this was the only hotel in the place up to 1878. He also built a livery and feed stable of poles and prairie grass; his livery consisted of one pony team and a spring wagon. In this stable he kept the Kansas and Nebraska stage stock for about two years. In the spring of 1872, he built a stone basement, 18x40, 7 feet high, and covered it with poles and grass; in 1874, moved to Bloomington, Neb, and laid the second foundation where the town now stands, and built a livery barn. In 1877, sold out, and returned to Blue Springs, put up a barn 28x36; office, 12x14; shed, 14x36. In 1881, built an addition, 28x44; shed, 14x44; can stable seventy-five head of horses. The barn has all the modern improvements, with windmill and force pump to force the water into a tank in the barn. He has twenty-four horses of his own, runs the bus line at Blue Springs, also between Blue Springs and Wymore, and has the contract for carrying the mail. They have three children--Kate, Eli H. and Roza. H. S. is one of the few of the early settlers who have lived in this country up to the present time.

   HON. G. H. CASTLE, general merchandise, Blue Springs, Neb., was born in Waukesha County, Wis., in 1851. In 1863, went to Milton Junction, Wis., where he remained until 1867, when he went to Illinois, where he was salesman in a general store until 1879, when he came to this State, and located at Blue Springs, and opened a general store. Is Treasurer of the Village Board, and a School Director of the precinct. In 1881, was elected Senator from the Nineteenth Senatorial District. Was married in 1879, at Kewanee, Ill., to Miss Belle Nance of that place. They have one child--Claude, born in 1880. Is a member of Tyre Lodge, No. 85, A., F. & A. M., Blue Springs, Neb.

   JAMES H. CLAPP, postmaster at Blue Springs, came to Nebraska in 1878, and located on a farm five miles northeast of this place. In 1881, was appointed Postmaster of Blue Springs. Mr. Clapp was born in Washington County, N. Y., in 1846. Was married in 1871 to Miss Catherine Randolph, of Illinois. Is a member of Tyre Lodge, No. 85, A., F. & A. M., Blue Springs, Neb.

   T. J. FARLEIGH, physician and surgeon, Blue Springs, Neb., was born in Rochester, N. Y., the 20th of November, 1849; read medicine in New York, and in 1875 graduated from the University of New York. In 1879, located in Blue Springs; is Surgeon of Company A, First Nebraska Light Artillery, located at Blue Springs, Neb. Was married in 1880 to Miss Helen Dimon, of Blue Springs, Neb. Is a charter member of Blue Springs Lodge, No. 84, I. O. O. F., Blue Springs, Neb.

   J. N. FERGUSON, real estate, was born in Richland County, Ohio, in 1838. In 1846, emigrated to Jefferson County, Iowa, where he engaged in farming until 1861, when he enlisted in the Second Iowa Infantry, Company D; re-enlisted in the field, serving four years and three months; was in the siege of Corinth, battles of Shiloh and Donelson; was wounded at the battle of Shiloh, and was with Sherman on his march to the sea. In 1868, was married to Miss Alice Slatten, of Des Moines, Iowa. They have one son--Guy. In 1880, settled in Nebraska, locating at Blue Springs, and has been in the real estate business. Was married again, in 1880, to Miss McCoskey, of Winterset, Iowa. Is a member of Tyre Lodge, No. 85, A., F. & A. M., and of the Good Templars Lodge.

   C. F. HOAG, JR., merchant, was born in New York in 1843, remaining there until eighteen years of age, when he went to Albany, N. Y., and entered Bryant & Stratton's Business College in 1863, graduating the same year, and was engaged as assistant teacher in the college about one year, when he was employed by Osborn & Martin, roofing and oil dealers, as book-keeper, remaining there until spring of 1872, when he emigrated to Nebraska, and located in Blue Springs, and bought an interest with Mr. Hazen, who ran the only general store in the place, and was with him four years. In the spring of 1876, put up a store 18x60, and engaged in business alone until 1878, when he took a partner, who remained with him until 1881, when Mr. Hoag bought him out and entered in the business alone. In 1866, was married to Miss Elizabeth Chase, of Albany. They had one daughter--Liby S. Mrs. Hoag died in 1869. Mr. H. was married again, in 1876, to Miss Lillie Mayon, of Blue Springs. They have three children--Alace, Jasper H. and William.

   E. J. JAMES, real estate, Blue Springs, Neb., was born in 1847, in Wales, his parents emigrating to this country when he was three years old, locating in Ohio. In 1850, they moved to Iowa County, Wis., he remaining there until 1873, when he went to Silver City, Idaho, and engaged in mining. In 1875, went to Missouri and engaged in farming and teaching school. In 1881, located at Blue Springs. Was married in January, 1877, in Livingston County, Mo., to Miss Anna C. Jones. They have two daughters-- Maggie and Mary, and are members of the Presbyterian Church.

   JAMES T. LYNN, blacksmith, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1847, remaining there until 1868, when he went to Missouri, locating at Butler, Bates County, and went to farming, remaining five years; from there to Cass County, remaining there three years; two years was engaged in farming, and one year at blacksmithing. From there went to Iowa, locating in Keokuk County, remaining there two years, settling in Nebraska in the fall of 1876, and built a shop and commenced the manufacture of the Centennial Breaking Plows and doing general blacksmithing and repairing wagons and other work. In 1881, put up a new shop, 24x40, and took in a partner, the firm name being Lynn & Cromwell; they are enterprising mechanics and are building up a good trade. Mr. Lynn was married, in 1868, to Miss Martha C. Farrell, of Marshalltown, Iowa. They have four children-- W. I., Arthur L., Leroy and Effie.

   J. McNUTT, of the firm of J. & C. McNutt, druggists, Blue Springs, Neb., came to this State in 1866, and located in Pawnee County. In 1874, moved to Blue Springs, and in 1880 went into drug business. Mr. McNutt was born in Delaware County, Ohio, in 1842, his parents moving shortly afterward to Allamakee County, Iowa. Was married in 1864 to Miss Mary E. Eaton, of Allamakee County, Iowa. Mrs. McNutt died in 1866.

   L. W. MAGEE, manager for Jones & Magee, lumber dealers, was born in Platte County, Mo., in 1853. In 1856, went with his parents to Coles County, Ill., where he remained until 1868, when he went to Louisa County, Iowa, until 1878, when he settled in Nebraska, and in connection with his brother opened a lumber yard at Bloomington, running there about eighteen months, when he opened a yard at Red Cloud, and one at Riverton, remaining about a year, when he closed out his interest to his brother and Mr. Jones, and went to Iowa to look after some lumber interests for them, remaining there about one year, when he returned and had charge of a yard at Pawnee City, Neb. From there was given charge of the yard at Blue Springs, where he is now stationed.

   F. W. MATTOON, dealer in agricultural implements, was born in Mercer County, Penn., in 1850. In 1854, his parents emigrated to Iowa and located in Marshall County, where he remained until 1869. Then went to Bradley County, Tenn., and remained but a short time. Returned to Iowa, and in 1876 located in Nebraska City, and was engaged in farming three years. In 1876, located at Beatrice, but after a short time moved to Blue Springs, and located on Section 27, Town 2, Range 6, remaining there one year engaged in farming and stock-raising. Then commenced dealing in farm machinery at Blue Springs, and has been in that business since, doing the principal business in his line. Has also continued handling stock, having a fine herd of cattle. In 1874, was married to Miss R. Plank, of Allamakee County, Iowa. They have one child-- Ethel, born in 1880. Is a member of Blue Springs Lodge, No. 84, I. O. O. F.

   JOHN MURGATROYD, farmer, Blue Springs Precinct, was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1832. In 1847, his parents emigrated to America, settling in Kenosha County, Wis., where he remained until 1866, when he moved to this State, homesteading on Section 5, Town 2, Range 7 east. Now owns 280 acres, with orchard and forty acres in timber. Was married in 1854, in Kenosha Co., Wis., to Miss Alice Whitaker, who died in 1861, leaving four children--Sarah A., Harriet E., Edward A., Alice M. In 1863, was married to Miss Elizabeth Sutherland, in Kenosha County, Wis. They have had seven children-- Martha J., Nancy M., Robert H., Susanna J., Henrietta E., Frederick M. and Lottie M. Mr. M. has been Treasurer of School District No. 58 for the past nine years.

   J. H. NICHOLS, farmer, P. O. Blue Springs, was born in Brown County, Wis., in 1836, and was raised in that State, and was brought up to the carpenter's trade. In 1860, went to Illinois, and in 1861 enlisted in the Mechanic and Fusileers, and served for three months, when he re-enlisted in the United States Marine Artillery, serving until 1863, when he was discharged at New Berne, N. C. Then served in Quartermaster's Department until 1864, when he returned to Wisconsin, and in the fall of that year came to this State, homesteading one and one-half miles below Blue Springs. In 1870, sold his farm and moved to Blue Springs, and worked at his trade until 1877, when he bought the "Tyler farm." In 1869, was elected a Justice of the Peace for this precinct. Was married in Manitowoc County, Wis., in 1864, to Miss Mary Willard, and have two children--Mary and Eveline.

   ALFRED PERKINS, of the hardware firm of Saunders & Perkins, Blue Springs, Neb., was born in Greig, Lewis County, N. Y., in 1846. In 1864, enlisted in Company F, One hundred and Eighty-sixth New York Infantry, and was at the battle of Petersburg, Va.; and in a number of skirmishes, and was mustered out of the service in June, 1865, when he returned to New York and farmed until 1872, when he moved to Nebraska and located at Blue Springs and engaged in general merchandising for four years. In 1881, he, in connection with A. V. S. Saunders, went into the hardware business; was married in 1870 to Miss Emma J. Gaylord, of Lewis County, N. Y. They have five children living; is a member of Tyre Lodge, No. 85, A., F. & A. M., Blue Springs, Neb.

   J. W. RICE, of Rice Brothers hardware, Blue Springs, Neb., was born in Green County, Wis., in 1854, and lived there until 1874, when he went to Dakota. In 1876, came to Nebraska and located at this place, and in 1877 went into the hardware business; was married in 1876 to Miss Catherine Peck, of Gage County, Neb., and have two children.

   J. W. SMITH, cigar manufacturer, was born in Union County, Penn., in 1832, remaining there until 1850, when he went to the Alleghany Mountains, remaining there one year; then located in Sandusky County, and engaged in plastering until 1867, when he came to Nebraska and located in Gage County, on Section 6, Town 2, Range 7, one and one-fourth miles from the town line of Blue Springs, where he engaged in farming and stock-raising until the spring of 1881, when he sold out his stock and put up a building 16x30 and commenced the manufacture of cigars. Commenced business in June, 1881, and has manufactured and sold about 100,000. Employs from two to five men and finds ready market for his goods. Enlisted, August 9, 1862, in Company F, One hundred and First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving three years; was in the Cumberland army; was in detailed duty at Louisville, Ky.; had charge of Company C, Fourth Convalescent Battalion, holding a Captain's position; but did not receive his commission. In 1858, was married to Miss Catharine Harpster, of Flat Rock, Ohio. They have seven children--Franklin, George E., Elizabeth, Catharine, William W., Edith and Maud; is a member of the Evangelical Church.

   WILLIAM TYLER, a retired farmer of Blue Springs, was born in York County, Penn., in 1801, and was raised in that State. In 1821, was married to Miss Sarah Wilt of York, Penn., who died in 1842, leaving six children, three of whom are now living, namely: John E., Susan and Catherine. In 1843, enlisted in the First United States Regular Dragoons, and served throughout the Mexican war. In 1848, his time of enlistment expired; he re-enlisted in same company, and continued in the service until 1854, and was discharged at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Immediately he entered the Government employ as Clerk in the Quartermaster's Department, remaining in that capacity until March, 1859, when he started for Salt Lake City to fill a similar position, but concluded to locate in this State, and chose Blue Springs as a suitable location, and entered a quarter section of land one mile above that place. In 1860, was married at Blue Springs, to Mrs. Rebecca Woodward, who died in 1870. In 1863, was appointed Postmaster at this place; served one year. In 1870, sold his farm and moved to Blue Springs. In 1874, was elected County Commissioner and served two terms. In 1878, was married to Mrs. Sarah Warner, at Blue Springs; is a member of the Evangelical Church. Mr. T. has been judge of election at every election held in Blue Springs for the past eighteen years.

   J. C. WILLIAMS, President of Blue Springs Bank, was born in Jerseyville, Ill., in 1848, and in 1869 settled in Gage County, Neb., locating on a farm four miles north of Blue Springs. In 1880, moved to Blue Springs and engaged in the Blue Springs Bank, with a capital of $25,000, with J. E. Smith, of Beatrice, President; S. C. Smith, Vice President, and J. C. Williams, Cashier. Mr. W. now owns most of the stock; he is a member of the Village Board; was married in 1871, at Jerseyville, Ill., to Miss Carrie Dornely, of that place. They have two children--Nettie, born in 1872; Thomas, born in 1878; is a member of the Tyre Lodge, No. 85, Blue Springs, Neb.

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