Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Produced by
Don Schreiner.

Surface and Natural Products | Early Settlement | Events and Items

War Record | County Organization | County Roster
County Representation


Court House and Jail | Railroads | Ferry and Transfer Companies
Otoe County Fair Association | Otoe County Medical Society
The Old Settlers' Association | Assessments for Taxation


Nebraska City:  Early Settlement | Selling Town Lots | A Judicial Joke
An Incident of the Panic | An Era of Speculation


Nebraska City (cont.):  Transportation and Telegraphs | Incorporation
Official Roster | Criminal | Education

Nebraska City (cont.):  Religion

Nebraska City (cont.):  The Press | Government Offices
Fire Department | Fires | Societies | Wyuka Cemetery


Nebraska City (cont.):  Public Buildings | Hotels | Banks
Board of Trade | Elevators | Nebraska City Gaslight Company
Manufacturing Interests

9 - 14:

** Nebraska City Biographical Sketches **

PART 15:

Syracuse:  Education | Religion | Societies | Railroad Interests
The Press | Biographical Sketches

PART 16:
Syracuse (cont.):  Biographical Sketches (cont.)
PART 17:

Palmyra:  Education | Societies | Religion | Business
Biographical Sketches

PART 18:

Dunbar:  Events and Items | Education | Religion | Societies
Railroad Interests | Delaware Precinct (biographical sketches)

PART 19:

Unadilla:  Religion | Societies | The Press | Events and Items
Biographical Sketches

PART 20:

Wyoming | Camp Creek | Other Towns
Biographical Sketches:  North Branch Precinct | Hendricks Precinct
Osage Precinct | McWilliams Precinct | Berlin Precinct | Minersville
Otoe Precinct

List of Illustrations in Otoe County Chapter

Part 18


The town of Dunbar is an outgrowth of the pre-railroad coaching and post office stopping place, named Wilson's. Years before the Midland Pacific was thought of, the four horse coaches of Ben Holliday's famous overland stage line used to draw up smoking at the Wilson ranch, and after a brief stop, gallop up the hill to the west amid the cracking of whips and the usual commotion of those stirring days. Dunbar, the town of the present, was laid out at the intersection of the property lines of John Dunbar, T. H. Dunbar, Mrs. J. Wilson and John McGinley. The present town occupies nearly forty acres, and it is probable that an addition of considerable size will be made, to include the station of the Missouri Pacific Railway, now building.

After being known for about ten years as Wilson, the town changed its name to Dennison, and very shortly to Dunbar, in honor of Thomas Dunbar, who was the oldest resident in the immediate vicinity.

The town was laid out by the old Midland Pacific Railway, now the Nebraska Railway, a branch of the Burlington & Missouri River Railway, the town being defined as lying "on the west bank of Wilson Creek." The first store was built by John McGinley, John Dunbar and T. H. Wilson, who leased it to George Hainey, who ran it for about a year and a half. On his removing to Grafton, the store was occupied by Mr. Thomas Hanlon, who remained in it until his present store was built, in 1879. The second store was erected shortly afterward, by T. M. Wilson, who discontinued business in a short time, and was succeeded by Miss Anna M. Wells, who now occupies the building, and carries a general stock.

The first dwelling house erected in the town (the Dunbar mansion still crowns the hill to the west, and was erected some time before the town was laid out) was that of Mrs. Jane Wilson. This was very shortly followed by one built by Bartlett Smith, and that in turn by a host of small dwellings, such as always spring up on the advent of a railway.

The old Wilson post office had a long line of Postmasters, ending with Miss Emily Wilson, who held the position up to the birth of the town, when Mr. T. H. Dunbar assumed the duties of the office. During the infancy of the town, the postal matter that passed through it found many strange resting places, now in stores, now in W. Dunbar's house, and finally in the store of M. Newman, where it has a cosy office of its own.


The first child born in Dunbar was Maggie Hainey, a daughter of Mr. George Hainey, who was one of the first to engage in active business in the town. The first death was that of an infant of Mr. George Allen; the first marriage, that of Miss Mary Cope to a Mr. Stebbins, of Minnesota, whither the newly married pair went, immediately after the wedding ceremony.

Mr. P. Fielding started the hotel business in 1878, and was the first to provide accommodations for travelers after the close of the post station of overland route days. After passing through eight separate administrations, the house came into the possession of Mr. M. Cox, who now keeps it. The Carper House, built in 1881, by A. Carper, is still owned by him.

The Pioneer Lumber Yard was started in 1878, by H. F. Cady, as a branch of the Chicago Lumber Company, and still does an extensive business.

The first shipment of grain was made by Mr. A. Garrow, and under rather peculiar circumstances. There being at that time no depot or platform, a car was side-tracked just east of the creek, the grain loaded from wagons, and the car brought to Nebraska City by the construction train, engaged in extending the road. This has always been a good grain point, but up to the erection of an elevator, in 1879, the dealers were obliged to stack their grain in bags along the track, until cars could be obtained for its removal. The elevator of Tomlin, Duff & Co. was erected in 1879, at a cost of $2,500, and has done a very successful business, handling nearly 200,000 bushels of grain in 1881.

In 1874, Sweet & Ryder started a cheese factory a short distance north of the town. The building has three stories, and was erected at a cost of $1,900. It is rated at a capacity of using the milk from 500 cows, although it has thus far required only the supply of 200. The firm own their own stock, and rarely have recourse to the neighboring farmers for supplies.

In 1875, M. A. Showers & Co. spent considerable time and money in working the coal beds near the town, drifting and then sinking a shaft, but failing to find a paying deposit.


There had been an ordinary country school with half-a-dozen scholars for about a year under the care of J. C. Boyd, now County Superintendent. In 1873 a school building was erected at a cost of $1,200, and Mr. Boyd retained the position. In 1874 Mr. Boyd was succeeded by Emma Sargent. On the opening of the new schoolhouse the attendance increased rapidly until in January, 1882, it had reached 125, although, owing to the structure of the building, only one teacher, Mr. J. H. Reeves, was employed. In the spring of 1882 it is proposed to erect a suitable building, having rooms for a number of grades.

The first school board elected in 1873 consisted of John Wilson, John Dunbar and B. F. Westbrook. The board for 1882 is: B. F. Westbrook, Director; P. Hanlon, Treasurer, William Ryder, Moderator.


The first church services were held in the new schoolhouse in 1873, although for two years previous there had been meetings of various denominations whenever traveling preachers had visited the place. The only church regularly organized and having a building of its own is the United Presbyterian, Rev. H. B. Turner, pastor. This edifice was begun in the fall of 1881 and completed very early in 1882, the dedication services being held in January. The cost of the structure was $1,800. The Sabbath school was first organized in its present form when the society commenced to hold services in the schoolhouse in 1873 and on the completion of the church abandoned the schoolhouse for the new and more commodious quarters.

The Episcopal Church has no regular services at the present time and no organized society, although up to the summer of 1881 it was supplied by Rev. T. O'Connell, of Nebraska City.


Dunbar has no lodges of the Masonic or Odd Fellows, the only organizations being the Good Templars and the Blue Ribbon Club. Victory Lodge, No. 182, I. O. G. T., was organized December 2, 1881, with the following officers: John Bevans, W. C. T.; Mrs. Mary McCartney, W. V. T.; Miss Maggie McCartney, W. S.; Louis Haney, F. S.; Miss Della McCartney, Chaplain. The present officers are: J. Bevans, W. C. T.; Mrs. Mary McCartney, W. V. T.; E. T. Wells, W. S.; Miss Dora McCartney, A. S.; W. F. Dunbar, F. S.; Miss Jennie Smith, T.; Colon P. Williams, P. W. C. The society started with sixteen members and has now twenty-sever. Meetings are held every Monday evening.

The Blue Ribbon Club was organized March 17, 1881, with fifty-four members and has now over seventy. Its original officers were: H. C. Fitzgerald, Pres.; M. D. Smith, V.-Pres.; Miss Annie Wells, Sec.; Miss Jennie Smith, Treas. Its present offices are: H. B. Turner, Pres.; T. H. Dunbar, V.-Pres.; Miss Annie Wells, Sec.; Miss May Dunbar, Treas.


The Nebraska railway branch of the Burlington & Missouri River Railway, which has for eleven years furnished transportation to the East via Nebraska City and to the West via.Lincoln, is intersected about 1,000 feet east of the town by the track of the Missouri Pacific, now building. The new road will furnish a direct communication with Omaha on the north and Atchison, Kan., on the south. The depot of the road will be located just east of town at a point 400 feet south of the main street. This work has been pushed with great rapidity and the running of through trains will probably begin by July, 1882. This will add largely to the butter and produce trade of the town, as a direct route for the transmission of perishable freight to the large markets has long been needed.

In 1881 the Nebraska Railway carried from this point over 250 carloads of grain and stock. Surrounded by a long-settled and richly producing country, Dunbar may fairly count on a healthy growth for the future and a long era of prosperity. Her present population is about 275.


HIRAM ADSIT, farmer Section 16, P. O. Syracuse. Born in Greene County, Ohio, March 27, 1849, and came to Nebraska with his parents when this territory was wild. No settlers until 1857 when the settlers began to come in. Mr. A. is a son of Elisha P. Adsit, one of the prominent men of Otoe County.

IRVING R. ANDREWS, farmer Section 18, P. O. Syracuse, was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., March 8 , 1855, and lived at home with his father Noah Andrews, a brother of Edwin Andrews, Esq., of Section 34, Town 9. He came to Nebraska in April 1878. He was married to Miss Stella M. Jackson, of Onondaga County, N. Y., January 7, 1878. She was the youngest daughter of the late Robert Jackson of the same county. He is a Republican.

ALEXANDER CARPER, proprietor Carper House, Dunbar, was born in Giles County, W. Va., June 10, 1837. At the age of eleven his father died. He then went to Cass County, Ill., and remained until 1853 and worked for an elder brother but never received any schooling, and in 1859 he worked in a saw mill until December 9, 1861, when he got married to Miss Alvira V. Pervines, of Petersburg, Menard Co., Ill. She was born September 7, 1840. Mr. Carper enlisted August 1, 1861, in Company C, One Hundred and First Regiment of Infantry of Cass County. Sent to Cairo and kept on arsenal duty for six weeks, then to Holly Springs, Miss., then to Vicksburg, then back to Holly Springs and was captured and paroled in 1862. The Rebels burned all their provisions and tore up the railroad track so they were on the brink of starvation when the Rebels took pity on them and gave them food from there to Memphis, Tenn. They were knocked about considerably. He arrived home and moved to Weeping Water Falls and remained all winter. In the spring he started to Montana for a short time where he freighted from Ogden City, Utah, to Virginia City, Montana, then back again to Weeping Water Falls, Neb., and engaged in farming, in Cass County, for sixteen years. From there to Otoe County;, farming one year, and June 15, 1881, built his hotel and livery stable. He has five boys and four girls living. One son and two daughters are dead.

G. W. COOPER, Dunbar, of the firm of Parish & Cooper, carpenters and builders. business established in 1881, the first and only shop in Dunbar of the kind. George W. Cooper was born in Washington County, Pa., June 9, 1840. Then moved to Washington County, Ohio, with his parents until 1849, then left home and led a rambling life on water and in the war until 1868 when he went to Portage County, Ohio, and was married to Miss Agnes Frame, September 26, 1868. She was born February 25, 1837, and died March 3, 1874. He was married again in 1875. He enlisted April 25, 1861, in Company G, Seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged September 29, 1861, and re-enlisted August 4, 1862, and was discharged June 21, 1865. He has been engaged at his trade ever since 1865. They have three sons and three daughters.

E. O. CROCKER, of the firm of Crocker & Francis, Dunbar, was born in South Bend, St. Joseph Co., Ind., November 22, 1855, and moved to Dearborn County, Ind., with his parents, and received a common school education remaining there until February, 1881, when he came to Dunbar and entered into business with Mr. Newman in a general store, which was changed May 12, 1882, to the firm of Crocker & Francis. Mr. C. married Miss Nancy Dunn, of Manchester, Dearborn Co., Ind., November 16, 1877. She was born May 17, 1855. She is the only daughter of William Dunn, a builder in the above place. They have two children, Walter H., born April 14, 1879, and Odus Everett, born March 19, 1880. Mr. C. is a staunch Democrat in politics and a Free Mason.

GEORGE DONALDSON, Agency Chicago Lumber Company, agent. Dealers in all kinds of dressed and undressed lumber, paints, lime, cement, doors, sash and blinds and frames. Established in 1879, Mr. Z. Ballman being the first agent and succeeded by Mr. Donaldson, who was born in Milwaukee, Wis., August 23, 1855, and received a common schooling and remained there until 1878 when he went to Iowa Falls, Iowa, and engaged in the sewing machine business where he remained for a short time when he moved to Dunbar.

THOMAS HANLON, Dunbar, proprietor of general store, was born in Ireland, in 1840, and emigrated to Freeport, Stephenson Co., Ill., in 1852. Mr. H. is a practical engineer. He brought the first engine and load of rails to Omaha for the U. P. R. R., and in 1861 engaged on a steam packet on the Missouri River, between Omaha and St. Jo, and continued on the same steamer until 1868. Then bought and ran a farm near Nebraska City; but after ten years we find him in Dunbar in a general store that he leased for one year. Then he built a store, the largest one in town, where he now carries on a good stock and does a good business. He is also a heavy dealer in agricultural implements.

W. P. GILBERT, Dunbar, general blacksmith, north side Nebraska street. Business established July, 1879. Born December 6, 1838, at Philadelphia, Pa., where he learned his trade, and in 1859 moved to Marion County, Ind., until 1861. From there to Delaware County, where he enlisted in Company L, Thirty-ninth Indiana, Eighth Cavalry, in 1863, and discharged June 8, 1865. Then he came back to Delaware County and remained two years; then to Fall River City, Neb., for seven years; then to Dunbar, where he has lived ever since.

WILLIAM KIRKPATRICK, maker and dealer in harness, saddles and horse clothing. Business was established September, 1880, under the name and style of Kirkpatrick & Williams. Mr. K. was born in Atchison County, Mo., March 10, 1857, and learned his trade at Dunbar with Tom Martin, who was and is now his foreman. Was married September 13, 1881, to Miss Eliza J. Williams, who was born in Cass County, Neb., near Weeping Water, on March 4, 1864; is the third daughter of R. S. Williams. Mr. Kirkpatrick is a man full of enterprise, and has started and carries on a branch business at Talmage, a new town situated on the M. P. R. R., running through Otoe and Nemaha Counties.

M. NEWMAN, general store, established on the south side of Nebraska street in 1879, under the name and style of Newman & Francis for a short time, when Mr. Francis retired from the business and Mr. Garrow entered, but only remained for a short time, and in March, 1881, Mr. Crocker entered the business, and now it is carried on under the name and style of Newman & Crocker. They keep constantly on hand a full stock of dry goods, groceries shelf hardware, crockery, glass ware, boots and shoes and fancy goods. Mr. N. was born in Adams County, Ohio, March 30, 1851, and remained there until November 29, 1875; then came to Sutton, Neb., where he taught school for one year, and then to Nebraska City for one year in a grocery store; from there to Dunbar for two years teaching, and was appointed Postmaster while teaching. He then entered into business as above. He was married July 24, 1878, to miss Jennie Nicholson, of Otoe County, second daughter of W. T. Nicholson, of Otoe County. They have one child, born June 16, 1879.

G. H. RIVER, of the firm of Kruse & River, dealers in general hardware, tinware, stoves, barb wire and wagon stock. Standard Singer sewing machines at one-half agents' rates. Formerly a teacher in the common school of Dunbar. Was born in Adams County, Ohio, January 17, 1856, and remained there until June 29, 1881, when he came to Dunbar. He has a good practical education, gained by his own exertions and industry. He was married December 1, 1875, to Miss Delphina Colvin, the eldest daughter of A. R. Colvin, of the same county, Ohio. They have three children, Stella, born October 17, 1876; Adam Clinton, September 25, 1878; and Chester Arthur, November 3, 1880. He entered into the general hardware business on the 20th of April, 1882, with Dietrich Kruse of the same place, where they carry a stock of about $3,000 worth of goods, and are enjoying a thriving trade.

WILLIAM RIDER, farmer and cheesemaker, P. O. Dunbar, was born in Yorkshire, England, October 13, 1843, and emigrated to Oneida County, N. Y., in June, 1849, where he remained until 1873, and worked at cheesemaking, where he had full control until 1868. Then bought a factory in Oriskany, N. Y., and ran it until 1873; then sold out and came to Nebraska, and settled in Otoe County and went into partnership with Mr. James Sweet, in cheesemaking and farming. The farm consists of 960 acres; and they have this year 500 acres of corn planted. Mr. R. was married to Miss Eliza Hinkston, of Oneida County, N. Y., November 19, 1866. They have five children. He enlisted in December, 1863, in Company M, Fifteenth New York Cavalry, and was taken prisoner by Mosby's gang, November 1, at Green Spring Run, W. Va., and kept five months and contracted internal injuries. He was discharged June 28, 1865. He was elected Assessor in 1879 and served three years. He is a staunch member of the K. of P., of Syracuse.

C. J. STONE, proprietor of the grocery, restaurant and boarding house. He keeps constantly on hand a good supply of fruits, oysters, confectionery, tobacco and cigars. He was born in Fayette County, Pa., October 17, 1844, and enlisted in Company A, Seventeenth Illinois Infantry, and was discharged in 1863 for the purpose of consolidation in Company E, Eighth Illinois Infantry. He remained there until the war closed in 1865; then went home and engaged in bricklaying until 1873. Came to Otoe County, October 24, 1879, and engaged in farming until December, 1881, when he settled in Dunbar and started the present business. He married Hester Jane Cox, of Washington County, Pa., October 20, 1868, who died March 4, 1882.

JOHN THOMAS, who represents the firm of Tomlin, Duff & Co., grain buyers of this place, was born in England in 1852; came to Nebraska in 1873. The elevator owned by the above-named firm has a capacity of 15,000 bushels.

AMOS A. WELLER, farmer on Section 7, P. O. Syracuse. Born in Onondaga County, N. Y., May 22, 1841, and remained there until 1869, when he came to Nebraska and settled as above. He enlisted in Company H, One Hundred and Eighty fifth New York Infantry, in 1864 and served during the war. He was married in December, 1866, to Miss Ori Young, of Onondaga County, N. Y., and they have two children.

P. E. WELLER, farmer, P. O. Syracuse. Born in Onondaga County, N. Y., June 10, 1837, and lived at home until December 10, 1861, when he enlisted in Company H, Fourteenth United States Infantry. Was discharged in February, 1865, when he came home. He was wounded at the battle of Spottsylvania Court House for which he receives a pension. In 1866 came to Chicago, and in 1868 came to Nebraska and bought the farm where he now lives, on Section 6, Township 8, Range 12, where he has 180 acres Was married, September 27, 1879 to Miss Mattie Chapman, of Iowa.

C. R. WILLIAMS, maker and dealer in harness, Dunbar and Talmage, was born in Cass County, Ill., August 13, 1861. Came to Dunbar December 20, 1880, and received his education in Johnson County, Mo. Is a staunch Democrat in politics and strictly temperate.

JOHN WOGIN, farmer, Dunbar, P. O., was born in Kings County, Ireland, November, 1827, and emigrated to New York in 1852, then to Litchfield, Conn., for nine years, then to Nebraska, and was freighting during the war. Was married in 1866 to Mrs. Kate Maloy, and lives on Section 11, Township 8, Range 12.

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