Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Jefferson County
Produced by members of the Jefferson County Genealogical Society,
Brenda Busing and Diana Busing.

Part 6


Endicott is located at the crossing of the Burlington & Missouri and St. Joe & Western Railroads; was laid out also in 1881. It is more favorably situated at present than any other town in the county, having the advantage of two good railroads, and at the junction of Rose Creek with the Little Blue, its water power being second to that of Steele City. The town occupies the high ground north of the Blue, and the "draws" are so situated that they afford natural drainage. During its short existence it has made more substantial improvements than the other towns on the Burlington & Missouri road in this county. It has a town hall and a number of large and commodious store buildings. The school house, owing to the town hall, does not have to be used for any thing but school purposes.

It boasts of the only bank outside of Fairbury in the county, that of the firm of Bills & Hodges. They have just completed a fine stone bank building, and added a large, burglar-proof, time lock safe. They do a general banking and loan business.

They are expecting to soon have a large flouring mill situated on the railroad, and the power conveyed by cable from the river.

As soon as the Burlington & Missouri is completed to Denver, they will enjoy the benefit of more markets than the other towns in the county, and very likely will make a more rapid growth.

The Presbyterians organized a church, June 12, 1881, with ten members.

The citizens are well meaning, but exceedingly ambitious, and we judge a little unjust and more presumptuous in their hopes. The county seat at Fairbury is about two miles from the geographic center of the county, and the hope is entertained in Endicott to have it transferred to that village, because it is the crossing of two railroads, although six miles farther from the center. "Alas! we're prone to vain and too presumptuous hope."


BILLS & HODGES, bankers, came to Nebraska July 2, 1881, locating at Endicott, and went into the banking business. The bank was under the name of Bills & Hodges' Bank. Started in with a cash capital of $3,000 and a surplus of $7,000. At this time, July 6, surplus and profits amounted to $9,500, and also handle real estate. Have a stone building 20x40 feet, one story high, at a cost of $2,000. Has a Hall's fire and burglar proof safe 541/2x40 inches, 37 inches deep. G. J. Hodges was born in Champaign, Ill., 1858, where he lived 22 years. In 1874 attended the Illinois University, remaining three years, taking a scientific course. He then went into the loaning business, which he followed until he came to Nebraska. Is a member of Western Star Lodge, No. 240, A. F. & A. M., Illinois. C. J. Bills was born at Garden Prairie, Ill., on a farm in 1856, where he remained until 1875, when he took a four year's course at the State University of Illinois, after which he read law for two years. Also sold goods on the road one year. Was admitted to the bar in Nebraska, 1882.

B. F. CONNER, attorney and real estate dealer.

EDWARD HAWKES, farmer, was born in the County of Kent, England, 1837. In 1860 came to America, and located in La Salle County, Ill., where he remained until 1864. He then started west and located in Jefferson County, Neb. on a farm on Section 5, Town 1 and Range 3, East of 6 P. M. Had a friend who came with him, and this county being full of game, they settled at this point. Soon after he settled here was driven out by the Indians, but returned soon after. The first few years depended on hunting and trapping for a living. There were plenty of beaver, mink, deer, antelope, and other game, and he was pleased with the wild, free life. Has 160 acres of land, which is adjoining the town site, 40 acres of which he gave the railroad company one-half interest in, and they laid it out in town lots. Also has one-half section close by, being on the Little Blue River, which is heavily timbered, and his land is now very valuable.

W. M. McCANLES, merchant and farmer, was born in Watoga County, North Carolina, in 1849, coming to Nebraska in 1859, with his father, locating in Jefferson County, on the old overland stage route to California. His father owns a ranch and mail station known as the Rock Creek Station. Remaining at home with his father, until 1861, when his father was killed, and he remained at home with his mother working the place until 1870, when he settled on Section 4, Town 1, Range 3, and improved a farm. It lies on the Blue River, and close to Endicott, and he has been engaged in farming and stock-raising, following this until 1881, when he bought a store building, and put in the first stock of hardware in Endicott. In 1870 was married to Miss M. McCreight, of Jefferson County, Penn. They have five children--Joseph C., Cora Maud, James Julian, Herman Guy, Wendell, Windom. Was one of the pioneers of Jefferson County, coming here when ten years of age, and went through all the hardships of pioneer life.

J. H. TAIT, Postmaster and real estate dealer, was born in Lawrence County Penn., in 1833, remaining there twenty-one years , attending school the most of the time. In 1856 emigrated to Iowa, and located in Jasper County and was engaged in teaching until 1861, when he went to the army as second lieutenant of Company B., Fifth Iowa Infantry. At the end of five months was promoted and held a captain's commission, serving three years, returning to Jasper county, was engaged in farming a short time, when engaged in the grain trade at Newton, remaining there six years. Then went on the road, and traveled until April, 1880, when he came to Nebraska, and located at Beatrice, but soon after, in company with his brother, purchased one-half of the town site of Endicott, the B. & M. R.R. company owning the other one-half, and in October, 1880, platted the town. Messrs. Tait Brothers put up a fine stone building 22x40 for an office in February, 1881. Was appointed Postmaster, which position he now holds, and was in the Iowa State Legislature in 1869 and 1870. Was married in 1862, to Miss Mary C. Sherer, of Iowa. Was married again in 1867, in Lawrence County, Penn., to Miss Jennie Clarke. They have two children--Mary C. and Eva. Is a member of the Masonic fraternity, A. O. U. W., and of the G. A. R. Mr. Tait & Brother put in a press and material for a paper, which will be known as the Endicott Calliope, the first issue to be May 20, 1882.

J. L. TAIT, real estate and attorney at law, Endicott, Neb., was born in Lawrence County, Penn., in 1846, and was raised in that State. In 1865 and 1866 attended school at Mount Union College, Ohio. In 1867 went to Newton, Jasper Co., Iowa, and was interested in the Black Diamond Coal Company. Served as Clerk in the Recorder's Office of said county, and read law with J. C. Cook, and in 1876 was admitted to the bar, and practiced at Stuart, Iowa, until he came to this State in 1879, locating at Beatrice, where he opened an office; remained until 1880, when he, with his brother, J. H. Tait, laid out the town of Endicott, they owning one-half of the town lots. Was married in 1868, at Newton, Iowa, to Miss Mary L. Tailor. Their family now consists of two children--Lulu May, age 12 years, and Galen Lamar, age 10 years. Mr. Tait is a member of the Masonic Order and the A. O. U. W.

Reynolds' advent was the fall of the flourishing railroadless town of Rose Creek, which was established in 1863, on Rose Creek, by Elder Ives Marks. It had become to be quite a town when, in 1881, the Republican River branch of the Burlington & Missouri passed about a mile and a half north of it where the present town of Reynolds was laid out. Reynolds, since that time, has increased rapidly, having a population of about 250, while Rose Creek has as rapidly been depopulating, and only a few vacant houses remain, monuments that it did exist. Reynolds is also on Rose Creek, one of the best timbered streams in the county. Quarries of excellent limestone abound in its vicinity. It does a good business, having quite an extensive territory to supply.

It has a good school, and three denominations have preaching here, the Methodist, Baptist and United Brethren, and a house of worship will soon be erected.

Diller, situated on the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad about a mile from the Gage County line, was laid out in January, 1881, on the Otoe Reservation lands, and was named for one of the oldest settlers in the vicinity, H. H. Diller. Though a little over a year old it has 200 population, and doing a good business in grain and general merchandise. Surrounded by the best farming lands in the county, it will likely continue for several years to grow rapidly. The Reservation is only sold to actual settlers. It has a good schoolhouse, in which the Presbyterian, United Brethren and Dunkards hold meetings until they erect a church.


C. G. HOYT, lumberman, born in Jefferson County, N. Y., 1860. His father was a paymaster in the employ of the Government, and at the age of two or three years his parents moved to Fayetteville, remaining there a short time, and thence to Brooklyn, remaining there about two years, and from there to Washington, remaining about one year; from there to Boston, and were there two years. In 1871 C. G. Hoyt came to Illinois, locating at Rock Island, remaining a year, then went back to New York State and attended the High School at Syracuse, N. Y., and from there entered the Clinton Grammar School, a preparatory school for Hamilton College. Returning to Rock Island was employed as book-keeper in the hardware house of Stewart & Montgomery. When he had been there about nine months, was sent on the road as traveling salesman, remaining in that position until 1881, when he located at Steele City, and went into company with his brother, R. C. Hoyt, in the lumber business, as agents for the J. S. Keator Lumber Company, of Moline, Ill., taking charge of the yard at Diller. He put up an office and warehouse, also a double house, 20x26, with addition 14x16. Was married in Jefferson County, Neb., in May, 1882, to Miss B. L. Diller.

DAVID R. KELLEY, general merchandise and real estate dealer, Diller, Neb., was born in Bedford County, Penn., in 1844, and at seventeen entered the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and served in various capacities up to conductor, remaining until 1864, when he enlisted in Company H, Two Hundred and Eighth Pennsylvania Infantry, and was in the campaign of Petersburg, and was discharged in 1865, returning to his native State. He remained there until 1866, going to Knox County, Ill., where he worked on a farm until 1871, when he came to this State, and homesteaded in Fillmore County, three miles north-west of Exeter, and in 1879 moved to this County, buying the farm on which the town of Diller was laid out, in 1880. In October of that year opened a general store in connection with Mr. Adams. Was married in 1868 to Miss Maggie B. Hoover, of Bedford County, Penn., and have four children--Virginia S., John A., Olive E., and Charles.

A. S. KOONS, Postmaster, Diller, Neb., was born in Cumberland County, Penn., in 1829. Was brought up to the tanner's trade, following that business until 1863, when he engaged in buying grain, which business he followed until his removal to this State in April, 1878, locating at Fairbury, and engaged in the same business in 1879, at Steele City, then at Hardy in 1880, and at this place in 1881. In March, 1882, was appointed Postmaster at this place. Has been married twice--to Miss Jane E. Elizabeth Megaw, of Cumberland County, Penn., in 1855, who died in 1877, leaving six children--Clara J., Annetta E., James A., Isaac E., Samuel P. and Mary E. In 1881 was married at Fairbury, Neb., to Maria Phillips.

P. McTYGUE, real estate agent, was born in Shrule, County Mayo, Ireland, in 1834. At the age of five years his parents emigrated to America, and located in Dexterville, Conn., where they lived for twenty years, and worked in the factories there until 1864, when he enlisted in the First Rhode Island Light Artillery, serving until the close of the war. After coming from the war went to Illinois, and located in Boone County. After a short time went to Chicago, remaining there about one year, going to Iowa, and after remaining there a short time, came to Nebraska about 1870, locating at Crete, Saline Co., remaining there about eighteen months, from there he went to Exeter, and went into business, and then to Sutton, Clay Co., Neb., and was engaged in the mercantile business. Then back to Exeter, and moved on his farm, where he remained until 1882. He had a store on his farm. Was also Postmaster there in March, 1882. Went into the real estate business in Diller, Jefferson Co., Neb. Was married in 1864 in Danielsonville, Conn., to Miss May O'Connor. They have five children--Julia, Fred, James, Annie and May.

Meridian is another town ruined by the failure to secure a railroad. It was a flourishing village with about 150 inhabitants in 1872, when the St. Joe & Western Railway passed about two miles north of it. The town was commenced in 1865 by George Weisel, who built a saw mill, to which was soon added a grist mill. During its early history two of the commissioners granted a liquor license against the earnest protest of the third. As a result of this within six years four men were killed here through the influence of the saloon. At this time of its misfortune it had the best mill, the largest hotel, and did more business than any locality in the county. The mill is still running, having four run of buhrs and making a good quality of flour. But it is hardly probable that it will ever recover from its misfortune, as the mill is now the principal monument of what has been. The waters pouring over the old dam moans the dirge of ruined hopes.

East Meridian, Plymouth, Rock Creek, Jefferson and Little Sandy are postoffices or centers of thickly settled farming districts. Plymouth has a store and a Congregational church.

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