Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska
Produced by W. Ross Yates.

Part 4


The site of Fort Calhoun was selected as a claim early in the summer of 1854 by John Goss, Sr., who lived on a farm owned by him just across the Missouri River, in Iowa. He donated all except two shares to a town company consisting of Casady & Test, Addison Cochran, and H. C. Purple, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Mark W. Izard, A. J. Poppleton, and Hadley D. Johnson, of Omaha. This company built a cabin on the site of the old fort, near the stone magazine, which was still standing in 1854, a solid structure, 10x12 feet in size, with walls two feet thick, and in March, 1855, had the town surveyed and platted by Mr. E. H. Clark. A large number of immigrants came into the county in the spring of this year, many families settling at Fort Calhoun, while a number of others settled on claims near by. Among these new comers were Maj. Anselum Arnold and George W. Nevelle and family.

The first district court held in the county was opened here in June, of this year. The Hon. Fenner Ferguson presided, with Maj. J. W. Paddock as Clerk; Gen. E. Estabrook United States Prosecuting Attorney, and Thomas J. Allen Sheriff. The first case that came up was that of Elias Wilcox vs. James A. Taggart, for claim jumping. E. H. Clark was attorney for the plaintiff, with Gen. Estabrook for defendant. Verdict was rendered for the plaintiff, who still (in 1881) resides upon the disputed claim.

In June, 1855, E. H. Clark made a contract with the town company to build a hotel on the town site, consideration being one-ninth interest in the town; the building to be 24x48 feet, with an ell of same dimensions, all to be of hewn logs, and in good style. After numerous delays and difficulties, the hotel was completed, and was opened to the public by Col. George Stevens the following spring.

In August of this year, while Mr. Clark was busy with the erection of the hotel, Charles D. Davis unostentatiously moved into the claim cabin of the town, filed a claim upon the town site, and served a written notice upon Mr. Clark to quit trespassing upon the claim. He, however, persisted in drawing material on the ground, and was sued by Davis, who obtained a judgment of $100 damages, which Clark paid. The Town Company and citizens attempted to forcibly eject Davis from the claim, but failed, losing of their number John Goss, Sr., who was instantly killed by a bullet passing through his heart. Mr. Purple was wounded in the shoulder, and Mr. Thompson in the thigh. In November Davis made a pretended sale of his interest, and moved away.

In 1856 a court house was built on one of the public squares, 16x20 feet in size. The money for the building of this temple of justice was raised by subscription. Hon. E. Wakely presided as Judge, Hon. George W. Doane was Prosecuting Attorney, Roger T. Beall Clerk, and Orrin Rhodes Sheriff.

Claim jumping was common in those early times. In April, 1856, Isaiah Peterson jumped the claim of a Mr. Coon. Mr. Coon went to see him, and soon afterward was found dead, with a bullet through his heart. Peterson was arrested and indicted, but escaped before being brought to trial. Coon was buried where he fell, and was the first white man buried in the county, Mr. Goss having been taken to his home in Iowa for burial.

During the summer religious services were held in the court house once a month, being conducted by the Rev. Mr. Collins, a Methodist minister residing at Omaha. A Sunday school was also started, with E. H. Clark as Superintendent, and a day school, with Miss Lucy Graham as teacher.

In 1856 the steam saw-mill of Perkins & Allen was erected, and in 1858 the famous Fort Calhoun flouring mills were put in operation by Z. Vanier & Brother. In 1861 they became the property of Hon. Elam Clark & Co., who still own them.

The county seat remained at Fort Calhoun until 1858, when it was removed to De Soto; in 1866 it was again located at Fort Calhoun, by a popular vote, and in 1869 it was also by a public vote removed to Blair, where it will probably remain.

The first white child born in the town was Miss Cara Clark, daughter of E. H. Clark, in May, 1856.

Dr. J. P. Andrews, now a resident of Blair, was the first physician to take up his residence here, and the first physician to settle in the county. He is now 78 years old, but of a very much more youthful appearance.

The first natural death at Fort Calhoun was that of Alexander Finley, a Scotchman, who worked for E. H. Clark.


W. B. BEALES, farmer, Section 26, post office Fort Calhoun, was born May 21, 1816, in the town of Cambridge, England. He came to Chicago with his parents in 1839, and settled on a farm in Will County, Ill. In 1850 he went to California, Oregon and other mining countries; he returned to Illinois in 1854; came to Nebraska in 1856, where he has since resided. He owns 3_0 acres of land. He has been County Commissioner two terms. He was married in 1835 to Elizabeth Austen, of England. They had four children--three living--two sons and one daughter.

ALLEN CRAIG, farmer, Section 16, post office Fort Calhoun, is a native St., Lawrence County, N. Y. At about the age of ten years he came with his parents to Wisconsin. In the spring of 1855 he came to Nebraska and settled in this locality. He owns about 260 acres of land, part of which is entered; has been School Director the past ten years; has been two terms Assessor; married in 1858 to Miss Rhoda A. Carlisle, of Louisville, Ky. Her step-father built the first house in Omaha. This house was built of logs. They have a family of five children--three sons and two daughters.

J. B. KUONY, general merchandise, is a native of Alsace, France. He came to Buffalo, N. Y., in 1851, thence to Lancaster, N. Y. There he taught school a short time; in 1851 he came to Milwaukee; in 1853 he removed to St. Louis; in 1854 to Council Bluffs, and the same year came to Omaha; was employed as cook at the old Douglas House, at the time of the first session of the State Legislature, which assembled in 1855. He was married in Omaha July 6, 1856; came to Fort Calhoun in the spring of 1857; went to Colorado in 1860; returned to Fort Calhoun, December, 1863; the following spring he opened a general merchandise store which he still continues at the latter place; is doing a business of about $10,000 a year, was postmaster from 1865 to 1878. He owns a block on the south-west corner of Fourteenth and Dodge streets, Omaha, valued at $20,000; also forty acres at Fort Calhoun, and other property, all of which he has acquired since coming to Nebraska.

PETER KLINDT, farmer, Section 14, post office Fort Calhoun, was born December 2, 1831, in Holstein, Germany; came to Davenport, Iowa, May, 1854; followed farming there till 1863, when he came to Nebraska and located eighty acres of land; he then went to the Rocky Mountains; was absent about three years, then returned to his farm, where he has since remained; he now owns 479 acres of land; married in 1866 to Catherine Arp, of Holstein. They have two children--Henry and Dora. His wife's brother Hans D. Arp, was shot on this farm in 1865, by a desperado and horse thief.

H. J. ROHWER, farmer, Section 2, post office Fort Calhoun, was born March 27, 1829, in Prussia; came to New York in 1854, and thence to Iowa; in 1856 he came to Washington County, where he has since resided; owns 320 acres of land. He represented this county in the Legislature one term, and is serving his third term as County Commissioner. He was married in 1854 to Catherine Frahm, of Prussia. They have six children--two sons and four daughters.

CHARLES STEFFEN, farmer, Section 14, post office Fort Calhoun, is a native of Germany. At the age of two years he came with his parents to Davenport, Iowa. in the spring of 1858 they removed to Douglas County, Neb. The family removed to Washington County in 1870, and in 1876 Mr. Steffen came to his present farm, which he owns, consisting of 240 acres. He was married in 1877 to Miss Anna Frazer, of Washington County, Neb.

P. N. STILTS, farmer, Section 18, post office Fort Calhoun, was born November 16, 1818, in Richland County, Ohio; May, 1857, he came to Omaha, and the following August removed to Fort Calhoun; followed the milling and mason trade about twelve years; the past twelve years he has been engaged in farming and stock-raising; was four years Probate judge, and Justice of the Peace the past twenty-two years. He owns 170 acres of land; he is one of the finest hog raisers in the county, and his stock, which is composed of eighty head of cattle and 150 hogs, are of the finest breed. Married in 1871 to Fannie J. Sampson, of Franklin County, N. Y. He has one son and two daughters by a former marriage.

C. H. WULFF, farmer, Section 32, post office Fort Calhoun, is a native of Holstein, Germany; born May 8, 1823; came to Scott County, Iowa, in 1852; followed farming there; in 1858 came to Washington County, where he has since resided; he owns 360 acres of land, which he has well improved; married in 1854 to Miss Schneider, also a native of Holstein. They have nine children--seven sons and two daughters.


This is a station on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad, midway between Blair and Herman. It was formerly named Mead Station, in honor of Giles Mead, who, with V. G. Lantry and Rice Arnold, is quite extensively engaged in shipping cattle from this point. The name was changed to Hiland in September, 1881. The post office at Hiland is named Giles and was established January 1, 1882; Giles Mead, first postmaster. The principal businesses here are hay pressing and brick making. The first death was that of Davie M. Mead, February 2, 1882.


Herman was laid out in 1871, and named in honor of Samuel Herman, who has been conductor on the Omaha & Northwestern Railroad since it was put into operation. This road was completed to Herman in 1872, and now under the name of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha extends northward to Ponca in Dixon County. Herman is surrounded by a fine farming country, and is a village of about 150 people.


THOMAS P. BAILEY, farmer, Section 19, post office Herman, was born in Pitstton, Kennebec County, Maine, August 22, 1819; came to Washington County, Wis., in 1846, and afterwards removed to Juneau County. In 1859 he came to Washington County, Neb., and ran a saw mill, also a blacksmith shop; the past ten years he has been engaged in farming; he owns eighty acres of land; married in 1841 to Miss O. Fletcher, of Searsmont, Waldo County, Maine. She died December 22, 1844. His second marriage was to Miss Ruth W. Fletcher, September 21, 1845. They have one adopted daughter.

TURNER BAILEY, general merchandise, Herman, born December 29, 1810, in New Brunswick; when seven months old his parents came to Maine; in 1846 came to Wisconsin, remained in the State till 1859, when he removed to Washington County, Neb.; followed farming till 1875, when he commenced this business; his son John C. assists in this business and was appointed Postmaster July, 1881. Mr. Bailey was married August 13, 1835, to Miss Lucy Bradford, a direct descendant of William Bradford, one of the Pilgrim Fathers; they had ten children, four now living--two sons and two daughters. Their son Joshua B. is now representing this county in the Legislature.

CHAS CROSS, JR., hardware, Herman, is a native of Gibson County, Ind.; came to Washington County with his parents in 1871, engaged in farming till the summer of 1881, when he opened this business; married in 1875 to Clara Hungate, a native of Nebraska; have three children--two sons and one daughter.

S. L. DART, M. D., druggist, is a native of Onondaga County, N. Y., born March, 1828; in the summer of 1836 came to Ohio; in 1847 removed to Michigan, there engaged in the leather business, he commenced the study of medicine in 1863, and has been in active practice the past eighteen years, he graduated at Fort Wayne Medical College in 1876; came to Herman June, 1877, opened this drugstore July, 1881; married in 1866 to Emily E. Burdick, a native of Vermont.

S. OSBURN, blacksmith, Herman, is a native of Morgan County, Ill.; in about 1854 came with his parents to Missouri; in 1865 came to Washington County. Neb.; enlisted in 1862 in Company A, Thirty-First Missouri Infantry, served to the end of the war; married in 1867 to Miss Lorey Nurse, a native of Ohio; have four children two sons and two daughters.

W. W. DORRELL, grain and live stock and baled hay, Herman, is a native of Buchanan County, Mo. At about the age of twelve years he came with his parents to Madison County, Iowa; was employed by E. Clark & Son, in buying grain; came to Washington County in 1865 and established his present business in 1875; Mr. Dorrell is one of the leading stock dealers in this locality. A large portion of his stock is shipped to Chicago.

JAMES F. FITCH, hotel and general merchandise, Herman, is a native of North Carolina; came to Indiana with his parents in 1839; has for the past thirty-four years worked at the machine and blacksmith trade; came to Herman in 1875, where he has since resided; he owns a farm of 160 acres in Wayne County, Neb.; he enlisted in 1862 in Company F, Seventeenth Indiana Mounted Infantry, served to the end of the war; married in 1847 to Charlotte Hamersley, of Virginia; they have six children--three sons and three daughters.

J. H. GOVE, of the firm of J. H. Gove & Co., general merchandise, Herman, is a native of Columbiana County, Ohio; when about six years old his mother removed to Minnesota; he afterwards went to Richmond, Ind., attended Earlham College about four years, graduating in scientific course; also taught school about one year; returned to Minnesota in the fall of 1874; he was appointed clerk of the Winnebago Agency, Neb.; held that position one year then removed to Omaha, and was clerk for the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Northern Superintendency; December, 1877, came to Herman and bought out W. W. Dorrell, where he has since carried on this business.

T. C. HUNGATE, farmer, Section 5, post office Herman, is a native of Washington County, Ind.; in 1855 came to Nebraska and entered the land now occupied by J. S. Stewart; he remained there till 1869, when he removed to his present farm; owns 680 acres of land, about 400 of this is under cultivation; married in 1856 to Ann Martin, of Washington County, Ind.; they have seven children--two sons and five daughters.

CHAS. SELLECK, farmer and live stock, Section 31, post office Herman, is a native of Fairfield County, Conn.; came to Cuming City, Neb. in 1856. Located on his present farm in 1871; owns about 500 acres. Mr. Selleck has traveled very extensively, both by land and water, having followed the sea several years; he has also visited California, Colorado, Utah, Montana and all the western Territories; has been County Commissioner, member of the School Board, and is now President of the Washington County Agricultural Society; married in 1868 to Louisa Pashley, of Wisconsin; they have one daughter.

LESLIE WATSON, farmer, Section 32, post office Herman, was born near Mansfield, Ohio; at the age of seventeen came to Illinois with his parents; in 1866 came to their present farm, consisting of 240 acres. Mr. Watson held the position of Mail Agent on the U. P. road several years, when he resigned; has also been Justice of the Peace, Assessor and was the United States Numerator for the district in 1880; married in 1860 to Miss H. F. Clark, of La Salle County, Ill.; they have five children-- four sons and one daughter.


This little village is situated in the northwest corner of Washington County. It was named after a Bible town by that name. G. Pegan, its present postmaster, was the first settler. It contains one general store, a postoffice, a good schoolhouse costing $700, a Presbyterian and a Lutheran church, one physician and one hundred inhabitants.


Kennard is located seven miles west of Blair, between the branches of the Papillion River, in a beautiful farming country. It was named after Hon. Thomas P. Kennard, who was Secretary of State in 1867. In 1856 Nathaniel Brewster settled here, and the town site was purchased of him by the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Company. There are at Kennard one store, a blacksmith shop, a good school house, and a post office which was established in 1868; Israel Swihart first postmaster. A church edifice was erected here in 1880, different denominations uniting to bear the expense.


De Soto is situated about four miles southeast of Blair, on the Missouri River, and on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad. The town was laid out in the fall of 1854, by Dr. John Glover, Gen. J. B. Robinson, Potter C. Sullivan, E. P. Stout, William Clancy and others, but no actual settlement was made until the following spring.

On March 7, 1855, the town was incorporated, and in the summer of that year thirty hewn log houses were built.

The first store was opened by Dr. A. Phinney; the first postmaster was Potter C. Sullivan, and the first mercantile firm was that of Kennard Brothers, established in 1856. Judge Jesse T. Davis, now a resident of Blair, was one of the early settlers.

There were three banks started in De Soto early in its history, the Bank of De Soto, the Waubeek Bank and the Corn Exchange Bank. The career of the first was short but brilliant, and both the others are now out of existence.

The first minister who preached in De Soto was the Rev. Mr. Collins, of the Methodist Church, then residing at Omaha, in the early summer of 1855. In the following winter a series of protracted meetings were held, Rev. Mr. Collins assisting. While this gentleman was occupying the pulpit, some rowdies, intent on breaking up the meeting, threw through the window from the outside a dead dog, striking Mr. Collins in the back and putting out one of the candle lights. Upon which he remarked, "My friends, the devil is not dead in De Soto yet," and immediately resumed the services.

The first regular minister at De Soto was Rev. Jacob Adriance, also of the Methodist Church. This was in 1857. During this year Judge Wakely, Territorial Judge, Roger T. Beall and E. A. Allen, located in De Soto.

John Critz, born in June, 1855, was the first child born in De Soto, and either he or William Arnold, son of Anselum Arnold, was the first child born in the county. Authorities differ.

The first marriage was that of Thomas M. Carter and Miss Sullivan, sister to Potter C. Sullivan, the young lady being fourteen years of age.

De Soto continued to be an energetic and prosperous city for many years. The county seat was located here in 1858, and remained eight years, when in 1866, it was re-located at Fort Calhoun. In 1857 it contained a population of six or seven hundred, and nearly a dozen saloons and stoaes; but since that time it has so diminished in size that at the present time (1881) there are not twenty people residing within the limits of the former town. Among the causes of this decline were the Pike's Peak excitement, the building up of the city of Blair, and the advent of railroads which were so built as to favor other localities, especially Blair.

In 1846, the Mormons, being driven out of Nauvoo, Ill., had made a small settlement a mile or so below De Soto, and remained there several years.

The early settlers found brick in considerable quantities, which the Mormons had burned, and used them in walling up wells. The De Soto flouring mill was built on the up wells. The De Soto flouring mill was built on the ground occupied as winter quarters one of those winters by Brigham Young.

The mill was moved to Blair in 1876, and is now owned by Mr. L. H. Turner.

Quite a number of newspapers have been established in De Soto from time to time. Among them may be enumerated the De Soto Pilot, established in 1857 by Isaac Parrish; the Washington County Sun, established in 1858 by P. C. Sullivan; and, in the same year, the De Soto Enquirer, by Z. Jackson.

De Soto is now only a farm, three families occupying its former site.


EDMUND HUMPHRIES, farmer, Section 20, post office De Soto, was born February 4, 1820, in Somersetshire, England; came to New York April, 1854, the following year he came to Nebraska, where he has since resided; owns 400 acres of land; enlisted in 1861 Company B, Second Nebraska Cavalry, served eleven months; married in 1849 to Anna Gordon, of Devonshire, England; they have one son--William.

JOHN SPENCER, born in Haigh, England, January 12, 1833; came to America May 26, 1863; located in Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, followed mining; in 1868 came to Moingona, Boone County, Iowa; thence to the Rocky Mountains and had charge of Point of Rocks coal works; remained there till 1869. He had been there from the fall of 1868 to the fall of 1869 when he came to his present farm, then at that time 80 acres, since bought 120 acres, total now 200 acres of land. When he came here he was a Roman Catholic, but was converted in 1875 at Spring Valley School House, and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1875; he received license to preach as a local preacher in 1880; ordained local deacon at Nebraska City (presiding, Bishop Warren); has been Assessor four terms; has been Director seven years; married 1859 to Sarah Ann Atherton, of England and has had eleven children, eight now living--four of each sex.


HERMAN H. HOVENDICK, farmer, Section 24, post office Blair, was born August, 1837, in Prussia. Came with his father to America at the age of thirteen years located at Quincy, Ill., removed to Nebraska in 1870. He enlisted in 1861 in the Twenty-Second Illinois Volunteer Infantry; served about nine months; re-enlisted in 1865 in Company H, Forty-Third Illinois Infantry; served to the end of the war. He owns 80 acres of land; married in 1858 to Mary Voth, of Prussia, they have seven children--four sons and three daughters.

CLAUS H. LAMP, farmer, Section 26, post office Hayes, was born June 24, 1848, in Holstein, Germany; came to Nebraska with his parents in 1865 and settled on this farm, which he now owns, consisting of 140 acres, which is well improved; married in 1675, to Mary Schroder, of Holstein. They have one daughter--Mattie.

HANS A. LAMP, farmer, Section 26, post office Hayes; born February 2, 1849, in Holstein, came with his parents to Washington County, Neb., in 1865; has been engaged in farming since, except two years in the employ of the U. P. R. R. He owns a farm of 280 acres, which is improved with a good barn, house and other improvements, and a very fine display of stock; married in 1873 to Margaret Suverkrubbe, of Holstein; they have one son--Charles.

JAMES M. PARKER, farmer, Section 20, post office Kennard, was born in Pickaway County, Ohio; removed to Stark County, Ill., in 1853; removed to Omaha in 1863, engaged in live stock and farming; in 1872 came to his present farm. He owns 150 acres of land, also 80 acres in Dixon County.


L. D. CAMERON, farmer, Section 16, post office Blair, was born August 9, 1817, in Brockville, Canada; came to Illinois in 1860, thence to Iowa; in 1865 he removed to Washington County, where he has since resided; he owns 360 acres of land and is largely engaged in live stock; was married in June, 1840 to Sarah Demming, of Canada; they have five children-- three sons and two daughters.

S. W. CUSHMAN, farmer, Section 8, post office Blair, is a native of Maine; came to Washington County, Neb., November 27, 1868, where he has since resided; owns 240 acres of land; married February, 2, 1862, to Miss Nancy J. Clark, of Rockland, Maine; they have four children--two sons and two daughters.

LOUIS THORNE, farmer, Section 15, post office Blair, born October 1, 1821, in Norway; in 1850 came to Iowa County, Iowa, was engaged principally in mining; in 1856 he removed to Washington County, Neb., where he has since resided; owns 280 acres of land; married August 26, 1856, to Sarah Knudesen, of Norway; they have three children--two sons and one daughter; lost Edward J., November 27, 1881, in his twenty-first year.

THOMAS R. WILSON, farmer, post office Blair, is a native of Virginia; was raised in Maryland; in the spring of 1855 came to Washington County, Nebraska; enlisted in 1862, in Company B, Second Nebraska Cavalry, served eleven months; he owns 500 acres of land, a large portion of which is under cultivation. He has been County Surveyor several years; married in 1865 to Miss Mary A. Tucken, a native of Wisconsin; they have seven children--four sons and three daughters.

Nero is a country post office, situated on rolling prairie, and established in 1872.


HON. E. S. GAYLORD, farmer and stockraiser, Section 18, post office Fontenelle, born September 25, 1823, in Norfolk, Litchfield County, Conn.; remained with his father till the age of twenty-one; engaged in farming; then followed the stone mason trade five or six years; he then went to Virginia and engaged in trading; he then held a position as collector for a New York house from 1855 to 1861, in the States of Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas; he then returned to Connecticut where he remained one year; he then returned to Missouri and continued collecting until 1865, when he made a trip to the plains in the freighting business; in 1868 he came to Washington County, Neb., settled on a new prairie, and now owns one of the best improved farms in the county, consisting of 800 acres, with 140 head of cattle, 150 hogs, 42 horses, &c, and is largely engaged in the dairy business. His horses are of the Hambletonian stock, cattle are pure breed and Short Horn, hogs Poland China. Has been Justice of the Peace the past ten years and represented this County in the Legislature in 1875-6; member of the School Board since its organization.

S. E. HURD, farmer, Section 12, post office Blair, is a native of Onondaga County, New York, born in 1834; came to Branch County, Mich., in 1846; removed to DeKalb County, Ind., in 1858, engaged in merchandising in Waterloo; came to Nebraska in 1866; located at Fort Calhoun, engaged at the boot and shoe trade there till March, 1874, when he removed to his present locality; owns 240 acres of land; when in Calhoun he was Justice of the Peace and Assessor; married November 20, 1859, to Miss Mary A. Jones, of Waterloo, born in Onondaga County, N. Y.; have four children--two sons and two daughters; lost one child in Calhoun and his wife in his present locality.

FRANK MOORE, farmer, Section 30, post office Bell Creek, is a native of Chautauqua, County, N. Y.; in 1855 came to Erie County, Penn.; came to his present farm in 1867; he owns 360 acres of land, part of which he entered; enlisted December, 1863, in Company C, Sixteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, served to the end of the war.

JOHN J. THOMPSON, farmer, Section 31, post office Bell Creek, is a native of Essex County, Mass.; came to Pennsylvania in 1856; was appointed Superintendent of the Wilkesbarre Coal and Iron mines, held that position about twelve years; he had formerly sailed out of Boston in all about thirteen years in the capacity of first and second officer, making trips to the East Indies, China and South Sea Islands; in 1868 he came to Nebraska and settled on this farm which he owns, consisting of 240 acres; he was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1875, and represented this county in the Legislature in 1879.

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County Index

Index of Illustrations in Washington County Chapter
  1. [View of Blair.]
  2. [Washington County Bank.]
  3. [Monroe Block.]
  4. [Portrait of Jesse T. Davis.]
  5. [Portrait of W. J. Crane.]