Howard County | Natural Features and Products | First Settlements|
Organization | Early History
Howard County in 1874 | Gov. Brisbin's Statistics|
Progress of the County | The Flood of 1881
The Murder of Lubin Paxton | Present Condition of the County
St. Paul: Early History | Improvements | A Frightful Tragedy|
Newspapers | Societies | Churches | Other Matters of Interest
St. Paul : Biographical Sketches (cont.)|
Dannebrog | St. Libory
List of Illustrations in Howard County Chapter
St. Paul is the county seat of Howard County, and is situated not far from the centre of the county. It is about three miles above the confluence of the North and South Loup rivers and between these two streams, but nearest to, and on the South Loup.
The town is located on a gentle sloping terrace, which gradually rises from the level bottom lands of the South Loup, to the table lands on the west.
St. Paul is twenty-three miles from Grand Island on a branch of the Omaha and the Republican Valley Railroad. Since the building of the railroad from Grand Island, in 1880, this has been its terminus, though work on the grade is now fast being pushed forward, and is completed into Valley County, to the northwest, up the valley of the North Loup, on the west side. This has been the only railroad town anywhere in the Loup country, except one mere station, about half way to Grand Island. Hence, St. Paul, as a business center for the past two years has been a town of importance. On account of the sand hills between the Loup and the Platte, it is difficult hauling loads to Grand Island, therefore St. Paul has secured the trade of a large scope of country. It has the support of almost the entire territory of Howard County, and a great portion of Greeley, Valley, and Sherman Counties, and some from Custer County.
It is true that the extension of the railroad is likely to cut off a great deal of the trade from the last named counties, but St. Paul must still remain the business center of Howard, and must continue to be a prosperous town, as the settlements, and farming, and stock raising interests, have already acquired sufficient magnitude to give a good support to a town of its size.
Though only eleven years since its foundation, and little more than two years since the advent of a railroad, the town already has upward of 200 buildings, and a population of about 1,000.
The idea of starting a town here first originated with J. N. Paul, who, when out on a hunting expedition, was impressed by the natural advantages offered here for the building of a village. On his return he talked the matter over with his brother, N. J. Paul, and they soon set about making arrangement to start a colony in this vicinity. The Pauls were surveyors, and had spent some years on the surveys of Kansas and Nebraska, and were encouraged to believe that should the Loup country prove fertile and be settled rapidly, as was anticipated, a railroad would be built from Grand Island, directly north to the Loup. With this idea, the Pauls organized a colony, and made a settlement in the Loup Valley at and around the present town of St. Paul, in the spring of 1871. Until the arrival of this colony, there was not a white resident in the county.
On the arrival of the settlers, and the organization of the county, preparations were made to increase the settlement in the county, and circulars were sent to the east, describing the natural advantages of the country. It was expected that it would be but a year or two before a railroad would be built through it.
At a meeting held for the purpose of selecting a name for the proposed new town, Athens was the name selected, but as there was already a post office in the State by that name; it was abandoned, and the new town was finally called St. Paul, in honor of the Paul brothers, its founders.
On May 9, 1871, the County Commissioners, at the time of their first meeting, declared the county seat located here, and from that time the success of the new town was assured.
The post office was established here in the latter part of June, of the above named year, with Jacob Peters, Postmaster.
During June and July the town was surveyed, and in August the first building, the town hall, was commenced by S. Hazeltine.
On October 10, 1871, the first store in the town was opened by E. S. Chadwick.
When the post office was first established, there was no regular mail route, and the citizens had to carry their own mail, but on January 1, 1872, a postal route was established from Grand Island, and F. M. Crowell was made mail carrier. The first mail was hauled in a heavy freight wagon drawn by four mules. and consisted of seventeen letters.
The first sermon preached in the town, was on Sunday, March 3, 1872, in the new town hall, by Rev. Gilbert De La Matyr, then pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Omaha. This gentleman has since gained a national notoriety as a representative in the United States Congress, from Indiana, on account of his advocacy of the Greenback movement, becoming one of the leaders of his party in Congress. This first religious meeting was attended by a congregation of six women and twenty-four men. The text preached from, was the seventeenth and eighteenth verses of the fourth chapter of Second Corinthians.
The first term of school began on April 29, 1872, and was taught in the town hall by Miss Lizzie Cooper, who perished in a severe snow storm about one year after. The first schoolhouse was built in 1873.
On September 4, 1873, the first newspaper was established, by Seth P. and Mrs. Maggie T. G. Mobley, of Grand Island. This paper was called the St. Paul Advocate, and was afterward sold to J. N. Paul who published it for some time, and then to Robert Harvey, who sold it in the spring of 1881, when it was consolidated with another paper.
In September 1873, the town site consisting of 320 acres, was surveyed and platted.
From this time the town continued to improve steadily, keeping pace with the development of the country around it, but with no occurrences or events of any importance other than the steady growth of the town from year to year until the year 1880, in the spring of which, the railroad was completed to this point from Grand Island. St. Paul was made the terminus, and building began to go on rapidly. Business houses were erected in all the business portions of town, and there was one grand rush to St. Paul.
In the spring of 1880, the population numbered nearly 500. The great rush of business men here on the advent of the railroad was, however, rather discouraged than otherwise by the old settlers of the town, for while they wished the town to progress, they realized that it might grow in advance of the settlement of the country around it, and though all branches of trade would be lively so long as the terminus of the railroad remained here, yet when it was extended further up the valley, the immense trade of the other counties along the two Loups would to some extent be cut off, and property would depreciate rather than advance in value.
As a result of this course, only a better class of business men located here, and the population has only a little more than doubled since the completion of the railroad, the inhabitants now numbering only about 1,000. A good and substantial class of frame business houses were put up, and the large number of residences erected during the past two years, are neat and architectural in design, and substantially built; while many of them are large and magnificent structures.
In the spring of 1881, the St. Paul City Flouring Mills were erected by H. C. Metcalf. The water for the power is obtained from the South Loup River through a race. The building is a good and substantial one, has five run of buhrs, and an excellent quality of flour is made here by what is called the patent process.
On the 29th of April, 1881, the citizens of St. Paul were shocked by the discovery of an awful tragedy that had taken place, within the twenty-four hours previous. This was the murder of her three children and then of herself, by Mrs. Lizzie Kock. The circumstances were about as follows: Mr. Kock had been away for some days, and on his return he found his three children, John, four years old; Willie, two years old; and a baby seven months old, all dead and covered up in bed with their throats cut from ear to ear, and his wife lying on the floor with her own throat cut, and dead. All were cold and stiff, and it is supposed that the deed was done the evening before. Mr. Kock had for some time observed that his wife was despondent but little thought that she was becoming insane, or that she would injure herself or children as she had always been a kind mother and wife. No reason can be ascribed for the terrible deed, other than that the poor woman had become temporarily or suddenly insane, and then committed the rash act.
The Phonoqraph was established as a weekly newspaper at St. Paul, on the 2d day of September, 1878, by Arthur B. Lewis, who published it until September 7, 1880, when he sold it to the present proprietors, Kendall & Bartlett. It is a six column, quarto paper, Republican in politics, and has a large circulation. The office is well fitted up with a steam-power newspaper press, and a complete outfit of job presses and fixtures.
A. A. Kendall, senior editor of the Phonograph, came to Nebraska in July. 1870, and located at Omaha. Here he clerked in a store until May, 1871, when he came to Howard County and engaged in farming and stock raising until 1877, when he went to the Black Hills. He returned in the fall of the same year, and was an attache in the county offices until the 7th of September, 1880, when he in connection with Mr. Bartlett began the publication of the Phonograph. In the spring of 1881 he was appointed Postmaster, of which office he took charge July 4, 1881. He was born at Janesville, Wis., March 3, 1851. His father having died when he was a little child, his mother removed with him to Vermont, where he received a common school education. and remained until 1870, when he removed to Nebraska. He is a member of the Knights of Honor, St. Paul Lodge, No. 2596. He was married March 25, 1873, to Miss Mariette Bartlett, of St. Paul, Neb., but whose birthplace was Richford, Wis. They have two children--Charles L. born May 11,1874, and Earl E. H. born November 24, 1880.
Edward O. Bartlett, half owner and one of the editors of the Phonograph was born at Richford, Waushara Co. Wis., February 13, 1857. His boyhood days were passed in attending school and clerking in his father's store. In May, 1872, he came to St. Paul, Neb., with his parents, with whom he lived on a farm until 1876. Farmed for himself until October, 1877, when, at the age of twenty, he in connection with Arthur B. Lewis, started the Greeley County Tribune, at Scotia. After remaining here seven months he sold to Lewis and returned to St. Paul, where he clerked in a store until fall, when he engaged with the Advocate as local editor and compositor. Worked on that paper and the Phonograph until August, 1879, when he went to work on the Loup City Times where he remained until September, 1880, when with Mr. Kendall he purchased the Phonograph.
The St. Paul Free Press is the paper resulting from the consolidation of the Advocate and Democrat. On the 16th of March, 1881, Wm. C. Ellis founded the Democrat, which was continued only a few weeks when Forbes & Ellis bought the Advocate and combined the two papers under the name of the Free Press. It is a nine column, folio paper, well edited, well printed, and well patronized. It is independent in politics. The office is well fitted up, having a very superior class of material. The large Campbell power press and the job presses are run by steam.
Wm. C. Ellis, the editor of the Free Press, came to Nebraska and located at St. Paul, November 1,1879, when he at once took charge of the Advocate office for Robert Harvey, working here until March 16, 1881, when he started the St. Paul Democrat, and on April 27, 1881, in connection with C. E. Forbes bought the Advocate, and combining the two papers, started the Free Press. In December he bought the entire paper which he continues to publish. He was born at Buffalo, N. Y., March 8, 1851. Went to Dunkirk with his parents in 1853. Attended school until twelve years of age. Went to Fredonia, N. Y., to learn the printers trade in 1865, where he remained until 1869. when he went to Pennsylvania. Worked on different papers until the fall of 1871, when he went to work on the Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph, holding a position there until coming to Nebraska, in 1879. He was married to Miss Carrie Hines, of Painesville, Ohio, on the 4th of July, 1873. They have four children--Wm. C. born April 14, 1874; Arthur H. born April 17, 1877; Bertie E. born April 1, 1879; all born at Painesville. Another son, Jay, was born at St. Paul, the 16th of January, 1881.
The different societies of St. Paul are all in a flourishing condition.
The Masonic Fraternity is represented by St. Paul Lodge, No. 82, A., F. & A. M., which was organized under dispensation, in April, 1880, with twelve members. The lodge was chartered June 24, 1881. Its first Worthy Master was C. M. Carter. The present membership is thirty and the lodge is doing well.
The Knights of Honor are represented by St. Paul Lodge No. 2596, which was organized October 18, 1881, with J. N. Paul, D., W. N. Woodard, Representative. The society has eighteen members and is in a flourishing condition.
There is also a large and effective organization of the Grand Army of the Republic, which has been in existence for some time and is doing well.
The Presbyterian Church here though not large, is a fine structure, built at a cost of upward of $4,000. The building is indeed neat in its design, has a large audience room, minister's study, class rooms and parlors. This church was built in 1881. The money was raised by subscription in one year, and among the hard workers in raising this money, were Thomas Darnall and A. L. Loder. The society is a very large one, and is in a flourishing condition, Rev. Fred Johnson is pastor.
The Methodist Episcopal Church was built in the fall of 1880. It is a quite large and pleasant building, constructed with a design to plainness and simplicity, so appropriate in a house of worship. The church society is a large and powerful organization, and in a thriving condition, with Rev Leslie Stevens, pastor.
Each of the societies above mentioned, supports a Sunday School. That of the Methodists has added music of the cornet and the violin to that of the organ, and from the attractiveness of this feature, the children attend regularly, and have a lively interest in the school.
Illustrative of the enterprise of the citizens in keeping up religious institutions, Rev. Mr. Storer states that upward of $8,000 had been raised during the year closing September, 1881, all of which had been subscribed for church purposes by the citizens of St. Paul.
Indicative of the improvement of St. Paul as a shipping point is the fact that from August 1, 1881, to March 25, 1882, 891 carloads of grain was shipped, 81 of potatoes, and 21 of hogs. The shipment of butter and eggs by two firms alone for the three months ending March 25, 1882, was 3,310 pounds of butter, and 30,467 dozen of eggs.
St. Paul was incorporated as a village in April, 1881. The first Town Board elected, was: F. F. Clapp, E. R. Fletcher, Millard Fillmore, John Barzynski, John Bartlett; Ed. Chinn, Clerk; J. N. Paul, Attorney; Chas. Jackson, Treasurer;
The present Village Board of Trustees, are: John Barzynski, W. S. Pine, J. C. Phillips, E. S. Chadwick; and Chas. Jackson, who is chairman. T. McNabb is Clerk; Lee Love, Treasurer, W. A. Bell, Attorney.
The Howard County bank transacts a general business and is a solid institution. Geo. W. Post is President, and Lee Love Cashier.
St. Paul is the home of the State Commissioner of Public Lands and Buildings, A. G. Kendall.
The town is made up of an exceptionally intelligent, moral and enterprising class of citizens who aid liberally in all that will contribute to the moral, intellectual or material advancement of the town.
PAUL ANDERSON, County Judge of Howard County, came to Dannebrog, Howard County, in the spring of 1871; engaged in farming for a few years, then engaged in the mercantile business until 1881, when he sold out and removed to St. Paul. Was elected County Judge in 1879, and re-elected in the fall of 1881. He is now fire insurance agent and agent for six steamship companies; is also agent for Eastern real estate and loan companies. He was born in Denmark, September 25, 1847; came to America in 1868. Was married in Iowa in 1872, to Miss M. K. Anderson. They have five children, Annie, William, Emma, Rosa and Carrie. Mr. A. is a member of the K. of H., of St. Paul.
JOHN BARZYNSKI, dealer in real estate in Howard, Greeley, Valley and Sherman Counties. first came to St. Paul in 1877. permanently located in 1880. He first came in the interest of the Polish Catholic Colony, from Chicago, Illinois. He has been the means of locating about 500 families in homes in Nebraska. He was born in Warsaw (capital of Poland), Russia, May 9, 1849; came to America in 1870; first located in Texas; established Polish Catholic Gazette, in Union, Missouri, in 1871. Moved it to Detroit, Michigan, in 1872, and moved the same to Chicago, Illinois, in 1874; formed a stock company, and was chief editor five years, and is now president of same company. Paper has a circulation of 4,000, in all parts of the United States. He now owns a farm in Virginia, 200 acres of which is improved. Married in Chicago, Illinois, in 1880, to Miss Bronislawa Wilkoszewski, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They have a daughter, Mary Margarette Elizabeth. Mr. B. is an active member of the Catholic Church.
W. A. BELL, of the firm of Paul & Bell, attorneys-at-law, loan and collecting agents, first came to St. Paul, Nebraska, in 1878, and immediately began the practice of his profession. He was born in Crawford County, Ind.; lived in his native State until he came west; began the study of law at Paoli, Orange Co., Ind., in 1874. in the law office of M. S. Mavity, where he continued for three years. He then entered the law office of Gordon, Lamb & Shepard, of Indianapolis, Indiana; remained in the latter office until 1878. He was admitted to the bar in Paoli, Ind., in the spring of 1876; admitted to the bar of the District Court, in Grand Island, Neb., in September, 1878. He was married in St. Paul, Neb., in 1879, to Miss Carrie B. Freeman, of Potter Co. Pa. Mr. Bell is a rising young lawyer who will undoubtedly carve out a brilliant future.
B. F. BISBING, manufacturer and dealer in all kinds of light and heavy harness, and all goods in his line of business, opened trade January, 1880; carries a stock of about $600. He first came to Lincoln in spring of 1868 and worked in a wholesale harness house. Went to Illinois, March, 1875, worked about two and one-half years at his trade; returned to Lincoln, working there and in Seward County until he came to St. Paul. Born in Philadelphia, Pa., August 14, 1847. Learned the harness trade in native State. Came to Peoria, Ill., and worked until he came to Nebraska. Married in Howard Co. Neb., November 27, 1881, to Miss Melissa Murray, of Fond du Lac, Wis.
ENOCH S. CHADWICK, dealer in general line merchandise, opened trade in St. Paul, 1871, being the first merchant in the place, and sold the first goods. Carried a stock of about $1,000 on beginning, now carries a stock of $10,000; employs four clerks. He first came to Omaha in 1869, and engaged in the fancy grocery trade, until he came to St. Paul. Born in Albany Co. N. Y., February 6, 1840; lived in native State until 1860, and moved to Maryland, where he farmed four years; then returned to New York and became a teacher in the Academic Department of Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, two years; then went to Albany and engaged in the commission business two years. Prospected a year, then came to Nebraska. Married in St. Paul, Neb., 1876, to Miss Ellen M. Garrison, of Auburn, N. Y. They have three children, Edward Spencer, George Rogers and Winnifred.
J. L. BRYAN, dealer in books, stationery, wall paper, holiday goods, notions, etc., opened business July 20, 1880, and carries a stock of about $2,000. He first went to Grand Island, October 10, 1878, and clerked in a store for his brother, L. M. Bryan, until he came to St. Paul, July 1, 1880. Born in Fulton Co., Ind., September 28, 1856. He took charge of a farm at eleven years, and taught several terms of school; lived in his native State until he came to Nebraska; married in native county, in 1881, to Miss Mary M. Coons, of same place. He is now doing a thriving business, and furnishes a good example of enterprise.
WILLIAM H. C. CHINN, firm, Wm. H. C. Chinn & Son, dealers in general line drugs, notions, etc., business was begun in January 1880, by Ed. F. Chinn, a son. They now own the oldest established drug business in Howard County. Carry a stock of about $5,000. Chester Chinn is now a member of the firm--Edward F. having sold out. The father, W. H. C. Chinn, is a native of Shelby Co., Ind; born November 4, 1830; was raised on a farm. Has been extensively engaged in the lumber business for many years; also drug business, dry goods and grocery trade. Came to Nebraska in May. 1882. Married in Rochester, Fulton Co., Ind., in May, 1854, to Miss Nancy T. McCown, of Westville, Preble Co., Ohio. They have three sons and two daughters, Edward F., Chester, Lucy A., Grant and Mary.
THOMAS DARNALL, firm of Darnall & Nunn, attorneys-at-law, collection, loan, and real estate and insurance agents, established the above firm in April, 1880. He first located in Aurora, Hamilton Co., Neb., 1873, and engaged in law practice two years. Came to St. Paul, Neb., in September, 1874, and engaged in the practice of law. Also, now engaged in stock business. Owns 160 acres land. Born in Edgar Co., Ill., January 31, 1851. Began the study of law at the age of eighteen, in Paris, Ill., entering the office of Robert Bishop, and remained two years. Admitted to bar in Seward Co., Neb., 1872; admitted to bar in United States Court in Omaha, 1877, and Supreme Court in Lincoln, 1875. Married in Edgar Co., Ill., September 4, 1873, to Miss Mollie Eubank, of Covington, Ky. Mr. Darnall is a member of the Masonic order of St. Paul, Neb.
H. M. DEEGAN, dealer in dry goods, groceries and provisions, opened trade in St. Paul, Neb., June 1, 1881. Carries a stock of about $2,300. He first located in Calamus, Neb., and opened a similar business in 1878, with a capital of $800; continued that, in connection with being Postmaster, until he came to St. Paul. Born in Rochester, N. Y., March 4, 1840; lived in native State twenty years, then went to Omaha, Neb., remaining there some time; then to Wyoming Territory , and followed mining a year, then to the Black Hills, D. T., being with Gen. Geo. Crook, as a soldier, for five years in regular army. Participated in many Indian skirmishes. Mustered out in July, 1878. Married in Grand Island, Neb., April, 1880, to Miss Maggie Lucy, of Boone, Iowa. Have one daughter, Mary Agnes. Mr. Deegan is a member of the I. O. O. F., of Ord, Neb.
J. C. FLEMING, firm, Fleming & Post, proprietors of livery, sale and feed stables, he first came to Howard Co. with his parents, in the spring of 1871, and located on a homestead, farmed and kept the Fleming House on homestead--that being the first hotel kept in Howard Co.--opened in the spring, 1871, and kept four years. They then moved into St. Paul in the fall of 1875, and in company with his father, erected the Fleming House and run it about two years. Then carried the mail between St. Paul and Ord a year, between St. Paul and Grand Island two years, also had mail contract between St. Paul and O'Connor, and is now carrying mail between St. Paul and Erina, seventy-five miles north of former place. Began the livery business in July, 1880. They also do a large sale business. Born in Pennsylvania, February 12, 1855. Married in Grand Island, December, 1879, to Miss Fannie Phillips, of Mineral Point, Wis. They have two children, George and Lizzie.
L. FLEMING, proprietor of the sale and feed stable, and farmer. He hauled the first lumber that came into Howard Co., and built the first house, and completed it in the spring of 1871, on the 12th day of May, same spring. His family came from Ashtabula Co., Ohio. His wife was the second white woman that came in the county. He plowed the first land that was plowed in the county, and started the first hotel livery and feed stable, first meat and grocery market, first bakery, and was the first Justice of the Peace elected in the county. Was elected County Judge in the fall of '76; re-elected in '78. Has been identified with the leading interests of Howard Co. ever since, He was born in Center Co., Pa., July 4, 1830. Married Rebecca Gilhousen, in Punxsutawney, Jefferson Co., Pa., July 4, 1854. She died August 8, 1859. In March 25, 1869, he married Adeline Spring, of Crawford Co., Pa. J. C. Fleming, his son, is now proprietor of a large livery and sale stable in St. Paul, Howard Co., Neb. Alice R., his daughter, is married to T. C. Merton, and lives in Akron, Ohio. Second wife's children are Grettee K., Lawrence R., Albert L. and Manly C.
[Portrait of E. R. Fletcher, M. D.]
DR. E. R. FLETCHER, physician and surgeon, of Rush Medical College, Chicago, Ill. He came to St. Paul, Neb., in March, 1873, and began the practice of medicine; being the first physician to locate in the village. Born in Chicago, Ill., July 25, 1844. Parents moved to Beloit, Wis., when he was an infant and lived fourteen years; then moved to St. Anthony--now East Minneapolis, Minn.--and lived until spring, 1858; then moved to Little Fall, Minn., and lived until fall, 1859; then to Sauk Rapids, same State. He began the study of medicine in the spring of 1867; entered the office of Drs. Murphy & Wharton, of St. Paul, Minn., and remained in the study of medicine until fall, 1869--excepting winter 1868 and '69--when he attended the Rush Medical College, Chicago, Ill.; returned to the latter college in the fall of 1869, and graduated February 2, 1870. Then he located, practicing medicine, in Little Falls, Minn., and continued until September, 1872. Moved to St. Paul, Minn., practiced six months, then moved to St. Paul, Neb. Married in Gilmer Co., West Va., in 1871, to Miss Ella E. Cather, of the latter State. They have one son, Edison Ray. Mr. Fletcher is a member of the St. Paul Lodge, No. 82, A. F. & A. M.