KANSAS COLLECTION BOOKS


Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Johnson County
Produced by Karen Elliott.



PART 1:

Location, Natural Features, etc. | Early History
Organization and Political History

PART 2:

Educational | Railroads | Population | Financial
General Statistics | County Societies

PART 3:


Tecumseh:   Early Settlement | Local Matters
The Press | Churches | Societies | Hotels
Swartville

PART 4:

Tecumseh (cont.):
Biographical Sketches - AUSTIN~HOWARTH

PART 5:

Tecumseh (cont.):
Biographical Sketches - JOLLY~YOUNG

PART 6:

Sterling:   Biographical Sketches
Elk Creek:   Biographical Sketches

PART 7:





Helena:   Biographical Sketches
Vesta:   Biographical Sketches
Spring Creek:   Biographical Sketches
Lincoln Precinct (Biographical Sketches only)

List of Illustrations in Johnson County Chapter


PART 2


EDUCATIONAL.

The advantages possessed by Johnson County, in the way of school facilities, are many and obvious. The excellent system of public schools adopted by the State affords little ground for complaint at the educational methods adopted anywhere within its borders, provided, of course, the proper officials are conscientious in carrying out their duty. The first schoolhouse built in the county was, as elsewhere stated, put up by Isaac C. Lawrence in 1856. The increase of schools and school districts kept pace with the growth of the county, and from the latest returns at hand, the present number in the county is found to be sixty-seven districts, all but two of which are supplied with suitable building. The census returns, as shown by the Assessors' reports for 1881, give 3,308 children of school age within the county. In 1880 the average attendance at the schools was 1,033 out of a total attendance of 2,019. Remembering that Johnson County is strictly an agricultural region, this proportion does not indicate any neglect of opportunities. Thirty-nine male and sixty-six female pedagogues were employed in shaping the adolescent minds, the males receiving $4,736 and the females $6,130 annually for their services. The total value of all school buildings possessed by the county, as assessed, was, in 1880, $24,300, and that of the school sites, $1,540. The only graded schools in the county are two at Tecumseh and one at Sterling. Tecumseh's two schools have 395 scholars, and one male and four female teachers.

RAILROADS.

Johnson County contains at present about forty miles of railroad within its boundaries. There has never been any great amount of excitement wasted on the subject here, though the county has willingly donated to enterprises which seemed worthy. A line of road was located through the county in 1869 which was expected to run from Nebraska City to some point in Kansas. The road, however, never became an entity. In 1871 the Atchison & Nebraska Road was surveyed and located through the county, and on the 25th of April, 1872, was opened through to Tecumseh. It runs diagonally through the county from southeast to northwest. One hundred thousand dollars in bonds were given this road by Johnson County. In 1872 the Brownville & Fort Kearney Road was surveyed and located, and $100,000 was voted in aid of the enterprise; but as the road was not built, the bonds were never delivered. In the spring of 1880 the Atchison & Nebraska Road passed into the hands of the Burlington & Missouri River Company, by whom it is now operated. The Burlington Company is also building an extension through from Nemaha City to Tecumseh, the iron on which will be laid in the spring of 1882. This will be of material benefit to the latter point, as well as to the county generally. Rumors of other possible railroad movements are at present rife, but as rumors do not come within the province of history, there is no need of their repetition here.

The present valuation of railroad property in the county is $128,243.92.

POPULATION.

Johnson County has increased, of late years, in population at a steady rate, the figures indicating neither a mushroom growth nor yet a lack of progressiveness. In 1856 there were probably not over 100 persons in the county, all told. This number was increased in 1860 at the time of taking the United States census to 528. Ten years later the government count showed 3,429 inhabitants. The State census of 1874 gave the number as 4,644, that of 1875, 4,862; and in 1878 there were 5,338. The census taken last summer, under direction of the State, showed the following figures relative to the present population of the county:--

          TOWNSHIPS.                              POPULATION.

     Vesta...........................................1,034
     Todd Creek......................................1,295
     Nemaha..........................................2,183
     Lincoln.........................................  594
     Spring Creek....................................  568
     Helena..........................................  742
     Sterling........................................1,345
                                                    ______
                            Total,                   7,761

The number of births in the county during the year ending April 1, 1881, was 225; and the number of deaths during the same period, eighty-one.

One peculiarity of the population of Johnson County is the unusual percentage of native-born inhabitants, they forming about eighty-five per cent of the total. For a Western county this is a large average. Another striking fact is that 1,961 of the inhabitants, or about twenty-five per cent, are natives of Illinois. In fact the four States of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio, may be said to have furnished the bulk of Johnson County's settlers.

FINANCIAL.

The general financial condition of the county may be characterized as excellent. As a rule taxes have ranged comparatively low and the county indebtedness has never become a question of deep gravity. No official breaches of trust have occurred to complicate matters, the treasurer's books showing a clean record on this score for the twenty-five years of county life. The present bonded indebtedness of the county amounts to $102,000, all issued in aid of the building of the Atchison & Nebraska Railroad. This amount can not be increased. Ten percent of the sum matures in November, 1882, and one-tenth each year thereafter, the bonds drawing ten per cent interest, the figures for 1881 show a total realty valuation of $1,258,083 and a personal valuation of $590,988, making the total assessment $1,849,071. The average assessed value being only about one-fifth the real figures, the total valuation of property in the county is somewhere in the neighborhood of nine millions. There are 228,895 acres of land in the county subject to taxation. The tax levy for 1881 for State and county purposes amounted to twenty-four and one-half mills. The amount of the school fund is $17,395. The total levy for 1881 was $56,619. The county takes no little pride in pointing to the fact that its bonds are quoted at seven or eight cents above par, while the warrants are worth full face value.

GENERAL STATISTICS.

The live stock interest has become yearly a more important factor in the interests of Johnson County. The excellent grazing facilities and mild climate tend to make this line of enterprise probably more uniformly remunerative than any other. The following figures from the returns for 1881, will give an idea of the extent of this interest:

Number of horses in county............................   4,486
Value of horses in county.............................$123.823
Number of cattle in county............................  12,736
Value of cattle in county.............................$103,871
Number of mules in county.............................     472
Value of mules in county.............................. $15,810
Number of sheep in county.............................   6,433
Value of sheep in county..............................  $4,815
Number of hogs in county..............................  18,881
Value of hogs in county............................... $20,793

The distribution of the land lying within the county is shown to be as follows:

Acres improved........................................  83,421
Value.................................................$355,387
Acres unimproved...................................... 142,824
Value.................................................$456,624
Total number of acres................................. 226,245
Value.................................................$812,011

The number of village lots in the county is:

Improved lots.........................................     635
Value.................................................$108,681
Unimproved lots.......................................   1,268
Value................................................. $16,496
Total number of lots..................................   1,903
Total value...........................................$125,177

The agricultural resources of the county may be readily seen from the table of crop statistics given herewith. That this is a part of the great American "corn belt" may be seen from the fact that the production for the year given, was on an average of nearly fifty bushels to the acre. These are the figures for 1880:

Acres of barley grown.................................    2,103
Bushels of barley grown...............................   21,995
Acres of corn grown...................................   48,354
Bushels of corn grown.................................2,166,868
Acres of oats grown...................................    5,466
Bushels of oats grown.................................  123,151
Acres of wheat grown..................................   18,814
Bushels of wheat grown................................  147,461
Acres of rye grown....................................      527
Bushels of rye grown..................................    6,622
Number of acres of acres cultivated...................   75,264
Production, bushels...................................2,466,097

The acreage for 1881 was: Wheat, 12,181 acres; corn, 41,101 acres; oats, 3,473 acres; barley, 1,334 acres; meadow, 767 acres; rye, 678 acres; millet, 196 acres; sorghum, 5 acres.

The number of fruit trees in the county in 1881, was 105,268; number of forest trees, 650,452; number of grapevines, 2,477. There are about 700 miles of hedge in the county.

COUNTY SOCIETIES.

The Johnson County Agricultural and Mechanical Society was organized in 1869, E. A. Ellsworth, President; Cyrus Douglas, Secretary. The present membership is thirty, and the officers for 1882 are W. R. Harris, President; A. Salzman, Vice-President; J. W. Taylor, Secretary J. S. Dew, Treasurer. The society has held twelve fairs, only omitting to hold an exhibition in 1871. The last one was held September 21-24, inclusive. It was very successfully managed, the premiums amounting to $2,000. The grounds of all the society adjoin Tecumseh on the northwest, the improvements consisting of two halls and a good one-half mile track. The present membership is about thirty, and the society is in every way a county institution.

The County Medical Society was organized May 9, 1879, W. F. Lee, President; A. Shipman, Secretary; G. L. Skinkle, Treasurer. At present there is a membership of nine, with the following officers: A. Shipman, President; D. R. Ball, Treasurer; T. E. Fairall, Secretary. This is a society which is peculiarly useful in a new country to guard the community against the practices of quacks and charlatans, and it has already done some work in this direction.

The Johnson County Woman Suffrage Society was organized May 10, 1881, with a membership of thirty. Mrs. J. F. Holmes was the first President, and Miss Mary Fairbrother, Secretary. The meetings of the society were held semi-monthly for seven months, and once a month since. The election in November, resulted in the re-election of the President, and as the Secretary declined re-election, Mrs. Anna Ayers was elected. A county convention was held in December, and several prominent speakers from abroad addressed the society. There is now a membership of fifty.




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