Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Produced by Jeanne Walsh.

Part 5


Alexandria was located by the Nebraska Land and Town Company in 1871, and named in honor of S. J. Alexander, the present Secretary of State. Situated on the St. Joe & Western Railway, in the fertile valley of the Big Sandy, near the northeast boundary of the county, it is surrounded by as fine an agricultural and grazing country as is to be found in Southern Nebraska. It is the largest railroad town in the county, having a population of a little over 500. Its growth has been steady and substantial. Its business men represent considerable capital and are noted for their enterprise and thrift.

The first permanent settlement in the county was made just south of town on the divide between the Big Sandy and the Little Blue, by the Nightingales, in 1858, followed, in 1859, by Isaac Alexander. It had reached the required population, and, the 23d of June, 1881, was organized as a village with the following Trustees: F. B. Hubbard, Chairman; T. J. Holt, G. W. Enlow, John Nightingale, Samuel Lockwood; M. T. Abbott, Clerk; C. A. Fowler, Treasurer. Thus far no licenses to sell liquor have been granted.

Alexandria has been very unfortunate, having been visited by three severe storms in the past six years. The first, in 1875, destroyed a $6,000 school building that had just been completed. The damage of the second, in 1877, was slight, but that of June, 1881, was very great to property and life. We will not recapitulate, but refer the reader to "Storms" in the county history, where a full account can be found.

The Alexandria News, a quarto weekly newspaper, was established in 1879 by S. E. Babcock, under the name of The Alexandrian. In 1880, M. J. Abbott purchased the paper and changed the name. W. W. Wirt, the present editor and proprietor, purchased the paper in 1881, and is making it popular as a town and county paper.

A flouring-mill with sufficient capacity for custom work is situated on the opposite side of Big Sandy, the property of Mr. Mall. It is a remarkable fact, we are told, that twenty years ago, where this mill now has a sufficient supply of water, running water was not known only after heavy rains or the snow thaws in the spring, and that the head of the stream is not ten miles away. Besides this mill, the town has the benefit of the large mill at the ancient village of Meridian, on the Little Blue, about two and a half miles distant.

The schools of Alexandria are in good condition, but since the calamity of 1875, the loss of a $6,000 building, they have enjoyed a much smaller and less expensive schoolhouse. The school is graded and ranks next to that of Hebron, employing three teachers. The people are generally intelligent and take great interest in education.


Alexandria is the most religious town in the county, if we are to judge by the number of organized denominations and their membership. That it is a moral community is shown by not granting liquor licenses. The denominations represented are Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic, all of which, except the Presbyterian, have good church buildings.

Baptist.--The Baptist Church was organized by Rev. Mark Noble, of Fairbury, July 21, 1872, with only four members, George Enslow, Elizabeth, Josiah and S. J. Wands. In 1880, they erected a $1,400 house of worship, a commodious and ornamental building. It was greatly damaged by the hail storm of June, 1881. The present membership is about eighty. Rev. S. T. O'Connor was the first resident pastor, succeeded by Rev. J. Lewelling, the present pastor, four years ago.

Presbyterian.--This denomination, by Rev. Mr. Cunningham, was organized in 1875. They hold meetings in the Methodist Church alternate Sabbaths. They have thirty-five members at present. The first pastor was Rev. George Schults, followed by J. B. Vawter, who was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Charles Brouillette, in 1882.

Methodist. -- The M. E. Church, with only six members, organized in 1875, but they have a membership of seventy at present. They built a $1,500 house of worship in 1879, which was severely injured by the storm of June, 1831. Rev. Louis Willard, E. J. Hancock, Mr. Nichols, J. W. Dobbs, and J. G. Orr have consecutively filled the position of pastorate.

Catholic.--This denomination organized in 1876, and built a $700 church and $500 parsonage. There are thirty-four families in the parish. Father P. J. Erlach has been the only pastor in charge.


Alexandria Lodge, No. 74, A., F. & A. M., was instituted in October, 1878, with nine members, which has increased to thirty-four. The officers are D. A. Sherwood, W. M.; O. H. Martin, S. W.; A. M. Alexander, J. W.; E. M. Jenkins, Treasurer; G. H. Danforth, Secretary; H. W. Hubbard, S. D.; George Holds, J. D.; D. W. Clark, Tiler.

Temple Lodge, No. 78, I. O. O. F.-- Instituted March, 1879. The present membership is thirty-five. Officers--Frank Parmelee, W. G.; John Cunningham, V. G.; George Franklin, Secretary; H. H. Austin, Guardian; M. Thomas, P. G.; G. A. Myer, Treasurer.

The Independent Order of Good Templars has a good working society at this place, to whose efforts is largely due the fact that Alexandria is a temperance town. There are thirty members with the following officers: Miss Hattie Haskins, W. C. T.; Miss Flora Haskins, W. V. T.; E. H. Burnham, W. S.; Miss Carrie Jackson, W. F. S.; D. Black, W. T.; W. T. Hill, P. W. C. T.; R. Gist, O. S. S.; R. Haskins, I. S. G.; H. Haskins, Marshal.


M. J. ABBOTT, attorney at law, was born at Pana, Christian Co., Ill in 1847; here he learned the trade of compositor, and from 1868 to 1871 published the Waverly Gazette at that place in Illinois; then read law, and was engaged in the real estate business in Taylorville, Ill., in company with Mr. Taylor; for two years published the Morrisonville Times; he came to Nebraska in July, 1877, was employed in the staff of the Adams County Gazette, at Hastings, until January 1, 1879, when he moved to Alexandria and entered into partnership with C. H. Babcock, published the Alexandrian for about three months, when the firm dissolved and Mr. Abbott took the paper and changed the style to the Alexandria News, carrying it on until June, 1880. He was admitted to practice at Hastings, December 2, 1879, and has since, in connection with other pursuits, been engaged as a land and law agent at this place.

SOLON B. CARPENTER, agricultural implements, was born in La Moille County, Vt., April 13, 1844, and was reared on a farm in Orleans County. He enlisted August 1, 1862, in the Eleventh Vermont Volunteer Infantry, afterward transferred to the First Vermont Heavy Artillery; was discharged December 23, 1864. After his service in the army Mr. Carpenter gave his attention to farming in Orleans County until he came to Nebraska in June, 1871; he pre-empted 160 acres in Jefferson County, and farmed the same until 1875, when he homesteaded 160 acres in Jefferson County. On this he resided for some five years engaged in farming. In March, 1880, he removed to Alexandria and at once engaged in this business, also farms some; he is the owner of some four hundred acres in Jefferson County. Mr. C. married in Orleans County, Vt., in June, 1867, to Martha J. Skinner. They have six children--Carrie M., Willis A., Ada L., Arthur S., Ella and Iva.

ISIDORE EBERT, of the firm of M. M. Padden & Co., drugs, etc., is a native of Germany, and emigrated to America in 1869. He resided in Macon City, Mo., where he was employed as a clerk in the general merchandise business. He came to Nebraska in the fall of 1874, located at Hebron and was employed as a clerk in the dry goods business until 1877, when he engaged in that line on his own account; selling out ten months later, he joined F. M. Wetherald in the general merchandise business, continuing with him but a short time. He came to Alexandria in October, 1879, and engaged in this business in company with M. M. Padden. Mr. Ebert is very popular in this place, and the firm has a large trade, which is rapidly increasing.

JAMES H. ENSLOW, dealer in agricultural implements, was born at West Point, Lee County, Iowa, in 1838, and reared on a farm. He learned the trade of plasterer, and followed it for a livelihood until he enlisted in July, 1861, in Forty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He participated in thirty-two engagements, serving until October, 1865, after which he farmed for two years in Livingston County, Ill.; then employed at his trade in Fairbury, Ill, until 1874, when he went to Weston, Ill., and engaged in drug business. He came to Nebraska in February, 1876, located in Fairbury, Jefferson County; worked at his trade for a few months, and, in the following July, came to Alexandria; was for awhile in grain and live stock business; then ran a drug store, and afterward a hotel. In 1877, he engaged in the implement business, and two years later, also opened a livery stable; has 240 acres of land, and is to a limited extent engaged in farming. He was a member of the School Board for a term, and elected a Trustee of Alexandria in April, 1882. Mr. Enslow was married in Fairbury, Ill., in November, 1868, to Catherine D. Howard. They have five children--John T., Pena, Bruce, Chester and Oscar.

C. F. McGREW, attorney at law, was born in Lee County, Iowa, July 30, 1856. He was educated for the profession of civil engineer and surveyor, but afterward abandoned it for the practice of law. In 1875, he began to read law with W. I. Chamberlain of Wyoming, Iowa, and was admitted to the bar March 5, 1878, after which he began the practice of his profession at Olin, Jones Co., Iowa. He was elected surveyor of that county in 1879, and resigned to come to Alexandria in March, 1880, at which time he joined S. J.Alexander, now Secretary of State, in law and land office. They dissolved January 1, 1882, and Mr. McGrew now conducts the business alone. He is land agent for the St. Joe & Denver City Railroad Company at this place. He was married in Olin, Iowa, November 20, 1879, to Carrie L. Miller. They have one son--Roscoe G.

DRS. MORROW & McGEE, physicians and surgeons. Dr. Samuel Morrow was born in Guernsey County, Ohio, November 14, 1839, and educated at Muskingum College, Concord, Ohio, also read with Dr. James S. Bell, with whom he also practiced for two years in Wells County, Ind. During 1865, he acted as Assistant Surgeon in U. S. Army. He then attended lectures at Starling Medical College, Ohio, and took a course in the College of Medicine at Cincinnati, Ohio, graduating from the latter in 1871. The Doctor practiced for several years in Newton County, Mo., and afterward in McLean County, Ill. He came to Nebraska in February, 1879, and opened an office for the practice of his profession at this place. In October, 1880 , he became associated with Dr. Thomas J. McGee; they dissolved a year later, and in April, 1882, reformed the partnership. Dr. Thomas J. McGee was born in Bellaire, Ohio, February 28, 1857; when he reached the age of manhood was for three years employed in a prescription drug store. He began the study of medicine with Dr. L. Baker, of Bellaire; attended lectures at Ohio Medical College and at the University of Maryland, graduating from the latter March 4, 1879; then practiced at Bellaire. He came to Alexandria in October, 1880, and joined Dr. Morrow in the practice of medicine; a year later, he went to Carleton and practiced at that point until April, 1882, when he returned to this place and again joined Dr. Morrow.

JOHN NIGHTINGALE, livery, feed and sale stable, was born in Germany in 1844, immigrating to America in 1850 . He resided in the Eastern States, and came to Nebraska in May, 1859; was for a year employed on a farm near Beatrice; then removed to Jefferson County, and assisted his father in conducting a trading post and ranch. In 1867, he homesteaded 160 acres, and was for five years engaged in farming. He came to Alexandria in 1872, and erected the first building in the place, and is still one of the original town site owners; on his arrival here, he opened the Nightingale House, and conducted it up to 1880. In 1878, he engaged in his present business. He was married in Thayer County in December, 1866, to Annie Alexander, daughter of Gen. Alexander. They have three children--Lawrence, Harry and George.

M. M. PADDEN, hardware, stoves, etc., was born in Fayette County, Iowa, July 29, 1854; reared in Chickasaw County. Was for some time employed with his brother in the hardware business. At eighteen years of age, he entered the drug business as clerk, following it for two years. He then engaged in the business in company with Dr. W. S. Pitts, at Fredericksburg, Iowa, where he remained for five years. In September, 1879, he came to Alexandria, and entered into the drug business in company with I. Ebert, under the style of M. M. Padden & Co. In this business a stock of some $2,500 is carried, and is the largest leading store of its kind in the place, the business being managed by Ebert. The hardware business was established in December, 1881. He has a large fine store and carries a stock of $3,000.

HON. HUGH M. ROSS, Postmaster, was born in York County, Maine, in 1840, and reared in Boston, Mass., where he was employed for several years as a clerk in mercantile business. He came to Nebraska in the spring of 1860, and located near Fairbury, Jefferson County, and conducted a trading post on the "Overland Stage Route," and also farmed to some extent for some years. In 1866, he was appointed Postmaster at "Big Sandy," and was three years later transferred to Meridian, and in connection with the office carried on a mercantile business. Mr. Ross was the first to hold the office of Clerk of Jefferson County, being elected in 1863 for a term of two years, and elected Treasurer of the county, in 1871, to fill an unexpired term of one year. In 1866, was elected to the State Legislature to represent Gage and Jones Counties, and was re-elected in 1867 . He came to Alexandria in May, 1874, and at once engaged in mercantile business. In the fall of 1880, entered into partnership with Joseph Pickering, and they still carry on a general merchandise establishment. Mr. Ross was Deputy Postmaster under S. J. Alexander for some years, and was appointed Postmaster in 1878.

JAMES F. THOMAS, physician and surgeon, was born in London, England. In April, 1844, and immigrated to America, with his parents, five years later, and resided in Syracuse, N. Y. Here he studied medicine with Drs. Totman and Foss, and also attended lectures at the Eclectic Medical Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio, during 1864 and 1865. He then began the practice of medicine at New Haven, Ind., remaining there for two years; afterward in Ross County, Ohio. He came to Nebraska in August, 1867 , and in March, 1868 , homesteaded 160 acres of land in Thayer County, and moved on the same in the following fall, and for about eleven years he resided there, engaged in farming some and practicing medicine. He opened an office for practice at Alexandria in 1872, and he moved his family here in August, 1880. He held several school offices in the district, and was Justice of the Peace during 1869, 1870 and 1871. The Doctor was married, in Alexandria, December 12, 1878, to Louisa Early, a native of New York. They have two children--George R. and Sarah Abbie.

GEORGE WEISEL, of Weisel & Proctor, proprietors of Meridian Mills, was born in Germany, February 18, 1827. Here he learned the trade of cabinet-maker, and followed it as an occupation. Was also in the army for some time, and participated in the revolution of 1848. He came to America in 1850, and was employed at his trade in the Eastern States until he came to Nebraska in May, 1859, and located in what is now known as Jefferson County, where he was engaged in ranching and carrying on a trading post for some nine years. In 1867, he erected a saw-mill on the Little Blue River, Jefferson County, and two years later added flouring-mills, discontinuing the saw-mill about 1877. Mr. Weisel opened a flour and grain exchange, at Alexandria, in 1875 to which he gives his attention, and a year later admitted as a partner George D. Procter. Mr. Weisel resides near the mills at Meridian, Jefferson County, just across the line of Thayer County. He was elected a Commissioner of Jones County at its organization, holding it in all, by re-election, some eight years, and has been several times a member of the Republican State Conventions. Mr. W. was married, in New York, in 1852, to Margaret Nightingale. She died December 5, 1878, leaving one child--George. Mr. W. was married a second time, in Meridian, Neb., June 5, 1879, to Annie Boss. They have one child--Caroline.

W. W. WIRT. The subject of this sketch was born in the anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania, in 1859. With an academic education and a thorough knowledge of the printer's trade, he came West in 1879, and in 1881 purchased the Alexandria News, which he now edits. Young in years, he has started well in a young country. He edits his paper with ability and in the interest of the county.


The town of Hubbell is situated in the southeastern part of Thayer County on Rose Creek, a beautiful and well-timbered stream, deriving a large part of its waters from springs along its course. The surrounding country is beautiful, fertile and rapidly settling up with a good class of farmers.

The town was laid out in August, 1880, by the Lincoln Land Company on the farm of H. H. Johnston. Although scarcely two years old, it has a population of over 300, and the business portion of the town presents a solid and substantial appearance. The opening of the Republican Branch of the Burlington & Missouri, in the fall of 1880, gave an impetus to emigration to this part of the county. The town gets a large trade from Kansas, the limits of Hubbell extending to the State Line, south of which there are many old settlements.

There are three quarries of excellent limestone within and adjoining the town site. These are being extensively worked and to them is partly due the rapid growth of the place.

The people have taken an active interest in education, which seems to be a prevailing characteristic of these new towns. They have erected a $3,000 school building, a convenient and ornamental structure. The school is graded and ranks next to that of Alexandria.

The religion of the place as yet is in a chaotic state. There are a great many denominations represented, and, although there are a number of them that have occasional meetings, no separate church has been organized. There was an effort made to establish an independent church, in which all should unite, but this proved a failure. They, however, all unite in the interest of the rising generation, and have a union Sunday school which is very prosperous.

It is most likely that within a year the Baptist Presbyterians and Methodists will effect organizations and erect one or two houses of worship.


This lodge was instituted December 25, 1881, and with the Masons occupy a rented hall. They have a membership of forty-five. Officers, D. H. Johnson, N. G.; Charles Pilgrim, V. G.; J. H. Grider, Secretary; E. Loughton, Treasurer.


They have at this time, April, 1882, taken steps toward organization, George Burnham, as W. M.; W. H. Cuklin, S. W., and Joseph Pickering, J. W.


The bank of Conklin & Gow was established June 1, 1881. They do a general banking and farm loan business.


L. R. DOBYNS, physician and surgeon, was born in Franklin County, Ohio, in 1843, and was reared on a farm. He studied medicine at Starling Medical College, Columbus, Ohio, graduating from there in 1867, after which he practiced in Franklin County. In the spring of 1870, he removed to Republic County, Kan., near Ida, and practiced there for some ten years. The Doctor came to Hubbell in September, 1880, and continued to practice at that place. On his arrival here he built and operated the Commercial Hotel which he still conducts. The hotel bears an excellent reputation, and has good accommodations for thirty guests. The Doctor was married in Franklin County, Ohio, in November, 1864, to Viola Clark, of Worthington, Ohio. They have six children-Adela J., Harry C., Clara, James, Jessie and Nellie M.

JOSEPH PICKERING, of Pickering & Co., general merchants, was born in Bucks County, Penn, in 1848, and began business life as a clerk in the mercantile business in Greenville, Penn. In 1862, he enlisted for three months in the volunteer service, and re-enlisted in 1863 in the Third Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, and was afterward transferred to Battery A, Fifth United States Artillery, serving until the close of the war. In 1866, he went to Henderson County, Ill., and was for some years engaged in dealing in grain and livestock and carrying on a nursery. Mr. Pickering, came to Nebraska in 1869, and homesteaded 160 acres in Jefferson County, and resided on it for seven years, during which time he was engaged in farming. In 1875, he removed to Alexandria, and engaged in general merchandise business in company with H. M. Ross, and is still connected with him in business at that place, carrying a stock of $3,000. He came to Hubbell in August, 1881, and engaged in this business in company with his brother, P. L. Pickering. The firm carry a fine stock of about $6,000, do a large trade, and have the leading store in this place.

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