Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Sarpy County
Produced by Lee Marlin Schneider.

Part 1:

Sarpy County:  Reminiscences of Sarpy | The Story of the Diamond
Early Settlements | The Claim Club | Early Towns | Early Events
County Roster | Moving the County Seat | Education

Part 2:

Bellevue:  Early History | Gov. Burt | Education | The Press
Religious | Societies | Brick Maufacturing | Biographical Sketches

Part 3:

Papillion:  Early Settlement | The County Court House | Churches
Education | Societies | The Press | Hotels | Business Interests

Part 4:
Papillion (cont.):  Biographical Sketches
Part 5:

Springfield:  Biographical Sketches
Other Towns
Biographical Sketches:
Plattsford Precinct | Richland Precinct | Forest City | La Platte

List of Illustrations in Sarpy County Chapter

Part 3



Papillion enjoys the unique position of being the county seat of a county more than a quarter of a century old. Yet the town has never been incorporated and has neither officers nor Trustees. Its location, on the South Fork of the Papillion, is an excellent one and makes it a natural trading point for the surrounding country. It has, moreover, excellent railway facilities, being on the main line of the Union Pacific Railway, fifteen miles southwest of Omaha and the junction point of this railway and the newly completed extension of the Missouri Pacific.


The first house in the town was built in 1869 by Dr. D. E. Beadle, who also opened the first store, in January of the following year. Dr. Beadle's residence is still standing just south of the county court house.

The first Postmaster of Papillion was Dr. D. E. Beadle, frequently mentioned as the father of the town, who took the office in 1869. He was followed by Albert H. Sander, 1871-74; D. L. Carpenter, 1874-79; A. R. Kennedy, 1879-81; William C. McLean, 1881-82.


In 1875, while the county seat was yet located at Bellevue, an organization called "The Papillion Town Company" was created. The object of this company was simply to raise funds for building a court house, and to insure the completion of the work. To secure the necessary funds a subscription was started among the business men of the place, and donations of all sorts solicited. Mr. J. M. Pike living on the south side of the creek presented the town company with thirty town lots and Dr. Beadle on the north side gave twenty-five lots, while other citizens added smaller tracts and cash subscriptions. In this way the sum of $10,000 was soon raised and the work begun. The building, which is still in use, is 48x48 feet on the ground floor, and is two stories in height. On the first floor are the offices of the County Judge, County Treasurer and County Clerk, and on the second floor the offices of Mr. J. D. Patterson, County Superintendent of Instruction, and a large hall used for all concerts and entertainments given in the town. Besides the usual office furniture and safes for the security of valuable papers, the building contains a large fire-proof vault. Although the cost of the edifice has been stated at $10,000, the sum realized was somewhat less, as the forced sale of town lots and other securities donated brought comparatively low prices. The land upon which the courthouse stands was donated by Mr. Albert Saunders, now of Omaha.


The First German Methodist Church of Papillion was organized in 1860, although the first regular preacher was P. J. Mai, who came in 1867, and supplied the church for two years. He was followed by J. P. Faust, who also remained two years. After him came J. W. Pauli, in 1872; D. E. Walther, in 1875; C. Bricker, in 1877; C. Lowenstein, in 1879, and G. J. Keller, in 1881. A church edifice was erected in 1876 at a cost of $1,800. The church has now a membership of sixty. A Sabbath school was organized in 1867, but its records have not been preserved. It has now an attendance of forty-five, and is in charge of Mr. F. Fricke.

The First Methodist Episcopal.-- The circuit embracing the first Methodist Episcopal Society of Papillion was started as the Bellevue Circuit prior to 1861, and as the Papillion Circuit by Elder M. Pritchard, in that year, under the name of the Fairview appointment. The points at present reached and cared for from Papillion are Fairview, La Platte, and Saling's Grove. Since Elder Pritchard, the circuit has been served by W. B. Slaughter, J. B. Maxfield, C. L. Smith, J. M. Adair, W. Peck, George Scott, G. W. Selby and S. P. Van Doozer, who now holds the pastoral charge. Up to the fall of 1881, no successful effort had been made to erect a church building in Papillion, but at that time the matter was so strongly pushed as to insure raising sufficient funds, and work was begun as early as practicable in 1882. This edifice, when completed, will cost something more than $2,000. The present membership of the society at this place is thirty-five, of the whole circuit 110.

A Sabbath school was organized in 1876, and has now an average of forty attendants each Sabbath. It is under the charge of Mr. George H. Magney, and seems to be steadily growing.

The German Lutheran Church of Papillion was organized in 1876, with a membership of seventeen, under the charge of Rev. J. Freese, who has ever since supplied it. At the time of organizing the society, a church building was erected on the hill which crowns the village. This structure, when completed, cost $1,400. In it services have been held every second Sabbath. Rev. Mr. Freese, although conducting all services, is not called upon for pastoral labor, and resides in Omaha. The present membership of the church is the same as in 1876.

The Episcopal Church.--Just south of the creek which separates North and South Papillion, stands the building erected in 1873, for school purposes, but purchased at a cost of $700 in 1877 by the representatives of the Protestant Episcopal Church, for church purposes. Since its purchase and removal from the hill south of the town to its present location, the building has been greatly changed; a new flooring, heating apparatus and other improvements put in position. Services are held from time to time by Rev. James Patterson, of Omaha, but the church is as yet too weak to support a pastor, Mrs. P. W. Lane, Mrs. D. Leach and Mrs. F. Barber being the only regular communicants. It is probable that within a year the church will be made a regular mission, and regular services be inaugurated.

The First Presbyterian Church of Papillion was organized on March 1, 1874, with a membership of twelve. The first pastor of the new society was Rev. J. R. Brown, who held the pastoral office from the fall of 1874 to the spring of the next year. In the fall of 1875, Rev. J. Riale was called to the work, and in September, was installed as pastor, a position which he has ever since held. The first services of the society were held in a hall over the store of Mr. J. J. Brown, but upon the accession of Mr. Riale, the use of the German Methodist Church was obtained. Later, a neat hall was fitted up over the store of W. Sander, and just previous to the completion of the society's church in the county court-room.

The church building now in use was erected in the summer of 1878, and dedicated on the 20th day of October, in the same year. Its size is thirty-two by forty-eight feet, exclusive of vestibule and approach, and its cost exceeded $2,000, which was promptly paid. The church is out of debt.

A Sabbath school had been organized in the summer of 1875, under the superintendence of J. D. Patterson, but had died during the winter. A new organization was effected in the spring of 1876, under the superintendence of Mr. James Kennedy, and has gone on steadily to the present time. The list of those who have had charge of the school is, in their order of appointment, as follows: James Kennedy, W. C. McLean, Harrison Sprague, W. C. McLean and George Potwin, who now is in office. There is now an average attendance of eight-five scholars.


The first school taught in Papillion was held in the house of Mrs. Thompson, by Miss Pauline Carpenter, in 1872. Country schools had, of course, been held at various points, within a radius of three miles o the town for a number of years prior to this time, but none properly belonged to the town. In 1873, the school building (now the property of the Protestant Episcopal Church) was erected on the site occupied by the present school building. This structure cost $1,200, and was completed in time for a fall term of school, which was taught by Mr. F. Wharton. Mr. Wharton was followed by J. D. Patterson, the present County Superintendent of Instruction, who taught for two years.

In 1875, the brick schoolhouse, which is now in use, was begun. To procure the necessary funds, School District No. 27, in which Papillion lies, issued bonds to the amount of $3,500. These bonds, which bear 10 per cent interest, have still four years to run.

This building was a considerable time in the hands of the builders, and no school was held in it until September, 1876, when Mr. A. E. Lake was appointed Principal, a position he held for two years.

Mr. Lake was followed, in 1878, by Miss Emma Balch, who taught one year. Since that time, the following persons have held the position of Principal: Miss Edith Shaw, 1879; Mr. G. C. Potwin, 1879-80; Leslie Lewis, 1880; G. H. Royce, 1880-81; E. Messenger, 1881-82; Miss Edith Shaw, 1882.

During the fall and winter terms of 1881-82, three departments were gathered in the schoolhouse; but, with the beginning of the spring term of 1882, a reduction to two was made. The average attendance of scholars is sixty.


Papillion Lodge, No. 39, A., F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation on November 23, 1872, with the following officers: G. Stevenson, W. M.; E. N. Grenell, S. W.; S. B. Knapp; D. L. Carpenter, Treasurer; G. W. D. Reynolds, Secretary; C. H. Phillips, S. D.; J. C. Eisele, J. D.; R. Long, Chaplain; W. B. Sexson, Marshal, E. T. Hoff, T.

An organization, under a charter, was effected on August 7, 1873, with the following members: S. B. Knapp, Charles Fish, D. L. Carpenter, J. C. Eisele, W. D. Davis, A. B. Andrus, J. E. Campbell, C. H. Phillips, John Parlier, Rumsay Saling. The officers, under the charter, were E. N. Grenell, W. M.; Charles H. Phillips, S. W.; S. B. Knapp, J. W. The membership of the lodge at the present time is thirty-nine. The following are the officers for 1882: S. B. Knapp, W. M.; H. R. Platt, S. W.; J. W. Thompson, J. W.; D. L. Carpenter, Treasurer; J. D. Patterson, Secretary; J. C. Miller, J. D.; O. W. Royce, J. D.; W. C. McLean, T.

Meetings are held each Saturday evening, on or before full moon, in Masonic Hall, which is located over the store of J. J. Brown, and is used by all the societies of the place, although formally rented to the Masonic fraternity.

Bellevue Chapter, No. 7, R. A. M., was chartered on June 17, 1872, with the following original members: G. Stevenson, W. C. McLean, E. N. Grenell, R. A. Armitage, W. T. Small, F. E. Caldwell, L. H. Case, S. B. Bachelor, W. F. Martin, W. Hogeboom. At this time, the chapter had been working for nearly a year, under the dispensation asked March 5, 1870, and granted July 1, 1871. The first officers of the chapter were J. Q. Goss, H. P.; H. Mills, K.; D. Leach, S.; E. M. Grenell, C. of H.; G Stevenson, P. S.; W. C. McLean, R. A. S.; E. M.Grenell, Third Vail; W. Hogeboom, Second Vail; F. E. Caldwell, First Vail; D. Lerch, Treasurer; W. C. McLean, Secretary; W. F. Martin, Guard.

In October, 1876, the place of holding the meetings of the chapter was changed from Bellevue to Papillion, where it is now located. The present membership of the society is twenty-one. Meetings are held in Masonic Hall, on Monday, on or before the full moon. The following are the present officers of the chapter; D. Lerch, H. P.; F. E. Caldwell, K.; D. L. Carpenter, Scribe; William Hogeboom, Treasurer; W. C. McLean, Secretary; W. Robinson, C. of H.; W. D. Rowles, P. S.; H. R. Platt, R. A. C.; G. Clifton, Third Vail; S. B. Knapp, Second Vail, S. B. Bachelor, First Vail; R. Saling, Sentinel. The past High Priests of the chapter are G. Stevenson, P. G. Sec.; W. C. McLean, C. H. Phillips, W. Robinson, D. Lerch.

The Grand Army.-- On the 21st of August, 1880, fourteen soldiers of the war of 1861-65, applied in due form to the Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic for the establishment of a post at Papillion. In accordance with the request, Dahlgren Post, No. 55 was duly instated, and the following officers elected Louis Lesieur (Sixteenth Illinois Cavalry), Commander; A. R. Kennedy (Thirteenth Iowa), S. V. C.; W. C. McLean (One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York Volunteers), J. V. C.; George C. Potwin (Thirty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers), Adjutant; D. L. Carpenter (Sixth Wisconsin Battery), Q. M.; J. W. Thompson (Nineteenth Michigan), Chaplain; T. N. Graham (One Hundred and Ninth New York), O. D.; F. M. Fish (First New York Dragoons), O. G.; Jacob Slothower (Eighty-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers), S. M.; A. B. Crook (Seventh Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry), Q. M. S. Since the first organization the membership of the post has increased to sixteen. The following are the present officers: W. C. McLean, C.; E. A. Sexson, S. V. C.; J. W. Thompson, J. V. C.; J. Slothower, O. D.; M. Fish, Chaplain; D. L. Carpenter, Q. M.; L. Lesieur, Adjutant. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month, in Masonic Hall.

The Legion of Honor.-- On March 1, 1882, a meeting of those in favor of establishing a Commandery of the Legion of Honor, in Papillion, was held at Masonic Hall. The meeting was called to order by Deputy Supreme Commander E. D. Titus, and after an explanation of the aims of the society, Hon. M. Langdon was elected temporary Chairman, and William Sander, temporary Secretary.

At an adjourned meeting held the following evening, a permanent organization was effected and the following officers elected: M. Langdon, Past Commander; William Sander, Commander; Charles E. Welch, Vice Commander; H. L. Carpenter, Secretary; L. Lesieur, Collector; A. H. Morris, Treasurer; A. T. Empey, Guide. L. Lesieur, C. Welch and C. E. Cornwell were elected Trustees. It was also decided to hold meetings on each alternate Monday evening in Masonic Hall, and a committee was appointed to make the necessary arrangements. The present membership of the commandery is eighteen.

The Papillion Dramatic Club was organized in November, 1880, with G. H. Ross as Stage Manager; Dr. W. C. Upjohn, Business Manager; Miss Edith Shaw, Secretary, and J. E. Campbell, Treasurer. During the two seasons, 1880-81 and 1881-82, the society produced nine plays, among them being "Among, the Breakers," "Above the Clouds," "Ten Nights in a Bar-room," and other theatrical sensations. The society now has a membership of twenty-five; a balance of $50 in the treasury, and theatrical properties to the value of $150. The present officers of the society are J. E. Campbell, Stage Manager; W. C. Upjohn, Business Manager; George M.. Magney, Secretary; J. C. Cornwell, Treasurer.


The first newspaper issued in Papillion was the Sentinel, a seven-column folio launched upon the journalistic sea in 1872, by George W. Hatfield. In 1873, this sheet was purchased by Pomeroy & Kennedy, who ran it until 1874, when it was sold to H. C. Newberry. In the summer of 1875, the paper was moved to Sarpy Center and sold to Spearman & Huff, who employed H. Garrish as editor. After a brief time it was again sold to one Wilson, of unenviable fame, and finally passed into the hands of Fox & Glover, of Louisville, Cass County.

The Papillion Times.-- The Times was started in the fall of 1874, by the Papillion Publishing Company, who engaged Mr. Frank Horton as editor. On the departure of Mr. Horton for California in 1875, the paper passed into the hands of Andrew Kennedy. This paper was started as a seven-column folio and ran as such until 1879, when it was made a six-column quarto, a form it still retains. In December, 1880, Mr. Kennedy, who had become extensively interested in Colorado, sold his interest to H. L. Carpenter, the present editor and proprietor. Since its change of management the paper has had a remarkably successful career, and now claims a bona fide circulation of 700. It is not patronized by the citizens of the town only, but has an extensive advertising patronage from Omaha wholesale dealers, and others who desire to reach a share of the valuable trade of this place.


The Sarpy House.--The first hotel in Papillion was the Sarpy House, erected in the fall of 1870 by John Eisle. As originally constructed this building was 30x24 feet, but it has been very greatly enlarged, and now measures 50x60 feet. It has two stories throughout. After running the house until 1875, Mr. Eisle rented it to Stevens & Thompson, who managed it about a year, retiring upon the sale of the property to William Snyder. Under the new ownership the house was rented to Thompson & Behrends until 1877 when Charles Behrends took full possession. The house with all improvements is valued at over $3.000.

The Papillion House was built in 1871, by Ole Bergstrom, and by him sold to Charles Duby, but, on the failure of this gentleman to make good the terms of sale was, resold, Joseph Darcy becoming the purchaser, and in turn selling the property to Louis Lesieur, the present proprietor. In 1881, the whole structure was remodeled, and an addition 18x30 made to the old building, which is 22x40 feet; both parts of the remodeled house are two stories in height. The valuation of the property is a trifle over $2,000.

The Wilcox House was built in 1876 by N. R. Wilcox, who still owns and conducts it. This building consists of a main part 18x36 feet, two stories in height, and an ell 18x24 feet, one story in height. This property is valued at $3,000.


The only bank in Papillion is that of A. W. Clarke. This institution occupies the rear of the store building belonging to the same owner, and does a large business. It was opened in November, 1881.

The U. P. Mill.--The South Fork of the Great Papillion, flowing through the south part of the town, furnishes a good water-power. To utilize this, John Schaab built, in 1869, a large flouring-mill, on which he caused to be painted in huge letters the name, " U. P. Mills." The structure is 25x36 feet and two stories in height, and has also a one-story addition, 12x14 feet. Three run of buhr stones are also in use--two grinding wheat, and one corn and feed. Power is furnished by two turbine wheels, of thirty-six and twenty-two inches diameter respectively, made by James & Thomas Leffel, of Springfield, Ohio. The capacity of this mill is stated by Mr. Schaab at 3,500 pounds of flour and meal per day, and the total product of the year at 1,050,000 pounds, or 500 tons.

The Clarke Elevator.--The nucleus of what in now one of the most capacious of the elevators on the line of the Union Pacific Railway was a warehouse erected in the summer of 1875 by Mr. A. W. Clarke. This structure was 22x50 feet, and cost in the neighborhood of $1,000. After using the warehouse until 1879, Mr. Clarke built on the east side an addition of about the same size, and put in it a ten-horse-power engine and boiler. In 1881, a still greater change was made in the building, the two portions built in 1875 and 1879 being separated, and a new building as large or larger than both the others taken together, inserted between them. At the same time, a boiler and engine of thirty-horse-power replaced the smaller one in use, and a buhr stone for grinding feed was put in. In its present form, the mill and elevator combined occupies a ground space of 44x120 feet and three stories. Its capacity is estimated at 50,000 bushels of grain, and it has ability to handle 10,000 bushels of small grain, or 5,000 bushels of ear corn, daily. In the latter case, the shelling of the corn is figured in.

The Mill.--The mill employed on grinding feed has a capacity of from 800 to 1,000 bushels daily. In the mill are kept constantly employed from five to six men, and beside these there is a force engaged in hauling ear corn daily from the large cribs west of the main street and fronting the railway. The wheat handled at this mill is shipped East, and the corn--most of it ground to feed--West. In 1880, the total shipments were, in round numbers, 300,000 bushels, of which 100,000 bushels were ground. During the same period over 100,000 sacks were in requisition.

The Clarke Stock Yard.--In conjunction with the grain business, Mr. Clarke has also commenced stock-dealing, handling in 1881 about twenty-five car loads of hogs. It is probable that from this beginning a large business will be evolved during 1882 and the following seasons.

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