Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Nance County
Produced by
Connie Snyder.


Natural Features and Products | Extent and Resources
Early Settlement | Organization | Schools | Means of Communication


Fullerton:  Schools and Churches | Societies and Newspapers
Business Interests | Biographical Sketches


Genoa:   Schools, Churches, etc. | Business Interests
Biographical Sketches

Part 3


   Genoa, as was indicated in the history of the early settlement, was the spot chosen by the Mormons when their colony was located. But few traces of the first inhabitants remain. Three or four cabins may still be seen and the log house which H. J. Hudson occupied is still standing. In 1860, Judge Gillis arrived with the Pawnees, and in the same year work was begun on buildings for their accommodation.

   The farmhouse, mill, interpreter's house, agent's house and blacksmith shop, all of which remain, were erected, and, in 1864, work was begun on the schoolhouse. This building, commonly known as the Pawnee House, is 42x125 feet, two stories high above the basement. It was erected at a cost of $30,000, and is still in the possession of the Government, never having found a purchaser at the assessed value of $5,000.

   All the other buildings were sold and are now used as business houses and residences and form a respectable portion of the present town. The farmhouse became the hotel, and the mill, after the machinery was removed, was utilized for the protection of stock.

   During the period of Indian occupation, the post office was maintained and the agents were Postmasters. They were Judge Gillis, Henry W. De Puy, Maj. Lushbaugh, J. P. Becker, D. H. Wheeler, Charles H. Whaley, Jacob M. Troth and William Burgess. Schools were maintained and everything was done to civilize the Indians, and the traces still remain of their attempts to become experts in agriculture. When in 1875 they were removed, Genoa was left vacant and untenanted. The only settler in the neighborhood was D. A. Willard, who had located just across the boundary, in Platte County, in 1866, and there had carried on a promiscuous trade with the Indians. He and his brother, George E. Willard, squatted on the town site. At the sale they purchased two sections, and, in September, 1880, platted the town, although it was not recorded until October 11, 1880.

   In 1878, the first child in the county was born, John Williamson being the happy father. During this year also, Rev. C. Starbuck preached, in Genoa, the first sermon heard in the county.

   In the fall of 1879, D. A. Willard built the first frame building in Genoa, except the Government buildings. It was 20x56 feet, two stories high, and was occupied almost immediately by Andrew Netsell with a large stock of dry goods. The next business house was the hardware store of L. F. Ellis, which was opened in the spring of 1880. About the same time G. S. Young opened his grocery store. Genoa was benefited by the general boom which Nance County received in the way of immigration during those years, and especially by the building of the Omaha, Niobrara & Black Hills Division of the Union Pacific Railroad. Its position as the only railroad station in Nance County renders it an important business place. Within the three years of its existence, its population has increased from nothing to nearly 300, and all the institutions common to towns of the size are fully represented.

   It was incorporated in 1881, and the present board are: Dr. C. S. Barnes, Chairman; Andrew Netsell, L. F. Netsell, M. K. Stembeck and J. H. Bend. The post office, after passing from the Indian agents, was taken by W. E. Walton, who was followed by M. K. Steinbeck; Olof Netsell was the next Postmaster, and, October 12, 1880, W. W. Burgess, the present occupant, took the office.


   The first school was held in the Pawnee House in 1879, and was taught by Prof. Rakestraw. The school was gotten up by subscription for the purpose of receiving the State apportionment. No schoolhouse has yet been erected, and the scholars still meet in the Government building. The teachers are W. W. Burgess and Miss Lottie Anderson, and the attendance is sixty, thirty-five belonging to the grammar department and twenty-five to the primary. The School Board consists of three members--D. A. Willard, Olof Netsell and Alex. Clark.

   The Congregational Church is the only one organized at Genoa. Its first meeting was held August 19, 1881, at which time Rev. J. P. Dyas became Pastor, and has since remained. The original members were S. S. Smead, Catharine J. Smead, Henry S. Smead, J. M. Kennedy, Agnes W. Kennedy, Matilda Matson, Amelia Matson and Alex. Clark. There are at present fifteen members and sixty scholars attending the Sunday school. The foundation for a $2,000 church is already laid, and work will soon be begun on the building. Besides the regular services of the Congregationalists, preaching is also done by the representatives of other denominations. Rev. E. L. Fox, of the St. Edward's Methodist Church, Rev. C. F. Livin, of the Swedish Methodist, and Father Ryan, of the Catholic Church, all come to Genoa and hold occasional services.

   Central Lodge, No. 1343, K. of H., was organized September 29, 1879, with the following members: D. A. Willard, F. L. Daggett, Lewis Crane, T. J. Bowen, J. W. Williamson, C. R. Shaw, Samuel Blore, John M. Travis, H. J. Howard, Lewis Headburg, Volney Wiggins, Charles D. Rakestraw, Albert McIntyre, Charles L. Hamilton, George E. Willard, W. W. Tolman, Warren Long, W. A. Davis, James J. Bump. The present membership is fifteen. George E. Willard is Dictator.

   Knights of the Sun.--A conclave of this order has lately been organized, and is now in a prosperous condition, having thirty-five members. Its officers are O. Netsell, Eminent Commander; Gus Wilson, P. C.; Gus Mollin, H. P.; E. V. Clark, F. M.; I. J. Day, C. S.; D. A. Willard, Treasurer; Irvin Hughes, F. C.; C. S. Clark and F. Cailloux, Captains; J. A. Willard and P. J. Heinbach, Lieutenants; John Donehue and William Ames, Guards.

   Genoa Lodge, No. 210, I. O. G. T., was organized November 28, 1879. At present there are sixty members, and weekly meetings are held. The officers are: Gustave Willson, W. C. T.; Anna Cross, W. V. T.; E. V. Clark, W. R. S.; Mrs. Baldwin, W. F. S.; Mrs. O. Netsell, W. T.; Lemuel Baldwin, W. M.; Edith Patterson, W. D. M.; Mrs. A. Netsell, W. I. G.; Charles Cross, W. O. G.; Mrs. May Willson, W. R. S.; Mrs. Alta Mollin, W. L. S.; W. W. Burgess, W. C.; A. Netsell, P. W. C. T.


   The business of Genoa is divided among nineteen firms. There are five general stores, one drug store, one hardware store, two meat markets, two agricultural implement dealers, three grain buyers, one blacksmith, one barber shop and one billiard hall, one newspaper and one hotel. The increase and importance of its trade may be seen from the following figures. In January, 1881, 290,010 pounds of freight were shipped and 280,300 received at the railroad station. In January, 1882, 716,090 were shipped and 420,910 received. As this comparison would indicate, Genoa is a lively business place, and bids fair to increase rapidly with the settlement of the country which depends on it as a trading point.

   The Genoa Leader is the only paper in town. It was started in July, 1879, by Richard Nunnely, commonly known as "Antelope Dick," and run under the heading of the Genoa Magnet. February 1, 1880, the paper passed into the hands of William Burgess, now the editor of the Columbus Gazette, who changed the name to the Genoa Leader and increased the size to a seven-column folio. July 14, 1881, Mr. Burgess sold to E. V. & C. S. Clark, who are the present proprietors. In every emergency the Leader has stood by Genoa and its interests, and has done much to raise the place to its present importance. The politics of the paper are Republican.

   The National Hotel.--This building was originally the farm house of the Pawnees. It was sold in 1878, to D. A. Willard and opened by H. J. Howard, who remained about a year. After him, J. M. Ryder occupied the house about six months, and was followed by J. H. Bend, who likewise remained six months. W. W. Burgess opened the house next and remained eight months. A. P. Wilson ran it then until it was sold to Peter Heinbach, the present proprietor. Mr. Heinbach runs the house in a manner satisfactory to the traveling public, and has a good custom.

   The Genoa Brick-yard was opened in 1880 by J. B. Parrot, and soon after sold to John Hoff. Three hundred thousand brick have already been made, and the demand continues to be good.

   D. A. Willard's Elevator was built in the fall of 1881. It is 28x72 feet, and the largest building of the kind in Genoa. Mr. Willard also does an extensive implement business.

   L. F. Ellis also buys grain and owns a small warehouse on the railroad track. His implement warehouse is the old schoolhouse built by the Government.

   Mondy & Young is the name of a firm also engaged in grain buying. This business is an extensive one in Genoa, and large shipments are made annually.


   DR. C. S. BARNES, homeopathic physician and surgeon, and druggist, was born in Shiawassee County, Mich , December 5, 1845, remaining there until 1862, when he enlisted in Company B, First Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, serving until the close of the war; was chiefly in the western Army and Army of the Cumberland; was with Sherman in his march to the sea. He was discharged in 1865, and returned to his home in Michigan, and began the study of medicine soon after, taking a three-years' course, He was married, at Burlington, Mich., April 2, 1866, to Miss Henrietta Culver. They have two children--Lenore and Ethel. In 1871, he came to Nebraska; located at Schuyler, where he practiced medicine until 1879, when he moved to Genoa, where he enjoys a good practice. He has also a drug store, in which he does an excellent business. He is a member of the Cedar River Lodge, A., F. & A. M., at Fullerton. He has been a member of the Genoa Town Council, of which he was Chairman; is at present the Treasurer, and is a Notary Public.

   L. F. ELLIS, dealer in agricultural implements, wind-mills, grain, coal, etc., was born near Marietta, in Washington County, Ohio, March 24, 1840. He there learned the carpenter's trade, and worked at that and cabinet-making. When the civil war began, he enlisted in the three months' service, in Company C, Eighteenth Ohio Infantry. At the expiration of his term of enlistment, he enlisted in the Second West Virginia Cavalry, serving until the war ended; was at first in the Army of West Virginia, and, during the remainder of his term, was in the Army of the Potomac. During the first eighteen months of his service, he was a private, and was then promoted to Sergeant. He took part in nearly every battle in which his command was engaged; was in every engagement from the time Gen. Sheridan began his operations in the Shenandoah Valley until the surrender of Gen. Lee. He was discharged by general order, and returned to his home in Ohio. He married, in Washington County, Ohio, June 17,1866, Miss Rebecca J. Hobson. They have four children--Harry J., John H., Annie L. and Darwin L. He remained in Ohio until 1873, when he moved to Nebraska, locating at Columbus, where he followed contracting and building until 1879, when he moved to Genoa. He there opened a hardware store, which he carried on until the spring of 1882, when he sold out. He completed the first stone building in Genoa. He is now engaged in dealing in grain, coal, etc., and agricultural implements, carrying on a business of $40,000 per year. He is a staunch Republican, and has twice been nominated for the office of Treasurer of Nance County by the Republican party. He takes considerable interest in beneficiary orders, being a member of the Knights of Honor and American Legion of Honor at Genoa, and of the Knights of Pythias Lodge at Columbus.

   H. P. SMITH, now located at Genoa, Nance County, formerly Secretary of the Columbus Creamery; first located in Columbus in 1879. He first kept a hardware and notion store there about two years; sold out, after which he organized the scheme of the Columbus Creamery, and, after much labor, he succeeded in organizing a stock company, with a capital stock of $12,000. The buildings were substantially erected, and the creamery is now in full operation, with every encouragement for a brilliant success, of which an account will be found in the history of Platte County, Neb. He was born in Manchester, N. H., May 6, 1846, where he lived until eighteen years of age; clerked in a store in Boston, Mass., four years, and clerked in Chicago, Ill., from 1871 to 1879, when he came to Columbus, Neb., and went to Genoa, Neb., on February 8, 1882, where he is engaged in the hardware business, under the firm name of H. P. Smith & Co. He was elected School Treasurer, and also one of the Village Trustees of Genoa, in April, 1882. He is a young man who has shown a good deal of enterprise in Columbus, and is showing the same in Genoa now.

   D. A. WILLARD, dealer in grain, agricultural implements, etc., was born in Cheshire County, N. Y., August 20, 1840, living there until nineteen years old, when he came West. He lived in Detroit, Mich., and Wisconsin, three years. He then went South, remaining several months, when he went to Chicago, where he attended school. In 1866, he came to Nebraska, locating at Omaha, where he embarked in merchandising, starting, in partnership with other parties, a wholesale queensware and crockery store. He afterward sold out his interest, and went into business at Columbus, where he met with a large loss. He then located near the Pawnee Agency, at Genoa, and started a trading post. He there engaged in trading with the Indians until their removal. He and his brothers bought the quarter section on which the agency was located, and laid out the present town of Genoa. He is at present sole proprietor of the town site. He owns a large quantity of real estate in Boone, Nance and Platte Counties, and is also extensively engaged in loaning money, and in buying and selling lands. He has also a large grain and agricultural implement business. He is a member of the order of Knights of Honor at Genoa; was the first Dictator of the lodge there, serving in that position several terms, and was twice a Representative to the Grand Lodge.

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