Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

York County
Produced by
Alice Vosika.


Topography | Early Settlements | Organization | County Roster
York County Agricultural Society


York:  Early history | Incorporation | Schools | First Term of Court
New York | Local Matters | Elevators | Banks
Nebraska Conference Seminary | Public Schools | Churches
Societies | The Press

 3 ~ 5:

Biographical Sketches:


Baker Precinct | Bradshaw:  Biographical Sketches
West Blue Precinct:   Church History


Beaver Creek Precinct | North Blue Precinct
Henderson Precinct:  Biographical Sketches
Houston Precinct:  Biographical Sketches


Stewart Precinct: | Woodruff Precinct

List of Illustrations in York County Chapter

Part 8


   Stewart Precinct lies in the extreme northeast corner of the county. The principal water course of this precinct is Lincoln Creek, which is of sufficient importance to be valuable for water power, which is utilized in turning the wheels of the Thayer Flouring Mill, situated on Section 31, Township 12. It is a large three-story frame structure erected by Messrs. Coggle & Harris, and furnished with two run of stone. The precinct derives its name from James H. Stewart, who in company with David Doan, Newton Hyett and John A. Mercer, made the first settlements in it in the spring of 1868. Doan and Hyett settled on Section 26, Stewart on Section 22, and Mercer on Section 20, Township 12, Range 1. They located on Lincoln Creek, in the northeast part of the precinct. No further settlement was made until the spring of 1870, at which date D. C. Lucas, N. Elliot, Martin Reetz and Henry Reetz, John Robins, William Jones, D. K. Meritt and George Meritt came into the precinct.

   In the spring of 1871 the first settlement was made on the upland by A. H. Rodgers, H. M. Logan, D. Fenton, on Section 34, and Joseph Brown on Section 32.

   After this time the "prairie schooners" began to cast their anchors so often that by the close of 1872 all of the government land was taken up.

   The first church society was organized in Stewart Precinct in the summer of 1870, under the auspices of the Baptist Church, by the Rev. Mr. Webb, a missionary preacher, and during the fall a class of the Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. Mr. Comstock. In the spring of 1871 the United Brethren Church society was organized by Rev. B. M. Allen. The several pastors who have presided over this church are Rev. H. Spafford, 1872; Rev. D. Dulimer, 1873-4; Rev. J. C. Kenniston, 1875-76; Rev. R. A. Bishop, 1877; Rev. H. Leohr, 1878-79; Rev. H. T. Vangorden, 1880; Rev. John Leohr, 1881; Rev. Shupe, 1882. The organization of these societies took place at the residence of Newton Hyett.

   The United Brethren Church building was erected in 1874 on the homestead of A. H. Rogers, and previous to this date the society worshipped in a sod church, erected early in the year 1873, located on the site of the present church building.

   There are also organizations of the Disciple Church and the Church of God. A cemetery was laid out on the northwest corner of Section 34 in the spring of 1873. Palo Post-office was established in spring of 1872. A. H. Rogers was appointed the first Postmaster.

   CAPT. JAMES H. STEWART, farmer and stock raiser, Section 22, Township 12, Range 1 west, P. O. Palo, came through Nebraska, as early as 1852, on his way across the plains to California, remaining in the mountains until 1856. He then returned to the States, and, during this same year, took a trip to Mexico, going through Kansas by the old Atchison and Santa Fe trail. He crossed the plains seven times, between the years 1852 and 1867, and on May 3, 1860, took part in the Ormesby massacre, in Nevada, on the Truckey River. He enlisted in the First California Cavalry, in 1861; was promoted to the First Nevada Cavalry in 1862, and was mustered out in July, 1866, at Salt Lake City, serving altogether five years, three of which were spent in Indian wars. He is an experienced pioneer, having met with many adventures, oftentimes barely escaping with his life from the wiles of the Indians. He has often been in company with such men as Kit Carson, Jack Robinson and Jim Beckwith, whose names will be handed down to posterity as the first white men to introduce civilization in the wild, mountainous regions of the West. He finally settled down, in 1867, in York County, Neb., and homesteaded the land described above. He now owns over 400 acres, nearly all improved. Capt. Stewart was the first settler in Stewart Precinct, from whom said precinct derives its name, and his John W. was the first white male child born in York County, July 19, 1868. Capt. Stewart was born in Logan County, Ohio, August 30, 1836, and is the son of John and Mary Stewart, nee Hebberd, of old New England parentage. He was married, in Henry County, Iowa, in 1867, to Miss Ellen W. Hiett, a native of that State. Their family consists of two children, John W. and Eva Jane, born April 16, 1876. He served one term as County Commissioner of York, and is a charter member of Waco Lodge, No. 80, of the A., F. & A. M.

   HORATIO WELLINGTON, farmer, Section 4, Township 11, Range 1 west, P. O. Waco, came to Nebraska in 1872, locating in York County, where he homesteaded the land described above. He was born in Middlesex County, Mass., September 21, 1839, and come to Fulton County, Ill., with his parents, in the spring of 1858. He was a soldier in the late war, enlisting in the Fifty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company A. After serving till October 31, 1864, he returned to Illinois, where he was employed at farming until 1870. He then came west as far as Iowa, and, two years later, moved to this State. He is a member of Waco Lodge, No. 80, F. & A. M., also of the I. O. O. F., York Lodge, No. 35.


   The first footprints of civilization in Woodruff Precinct were made by Fernando McFadden, on Section 8, Town 9, Range 2. The second who found his way into the precinct was Levi Woodruff, in whose honor it was named. He located on the section with McFadden in the fall of 1868. The next settlers are William McFadden and Calvin Custer, who arrived in the spring of 1871. They all took up claims on the Blue River in the northern part of the precinct.

   The majority of the lands being owned by speculators and the B. & M. Railroad, and a great portion of it lying in the "speculator tract," but little settlement was made until the year 1874.

   The first school district was organized in 1879, with the following Board of Officers: William McFadden, Henry Burgess, Directors; Fernando McFadden, Moderator; S. C. Clark, Treasurer.

   Treasurer Clark taught the first term of school the following winter, in the frame schoolhouse erected during the summer. It is known as the McFadden Schoolhouse, and situated on Section 7.

   McFadden Post-office was established in July, 1867, with Fernando McFadden as Postmaster. There are no church organizations in the precinct, but missionary services are frequently held at the McFadden Schoolhouse.

   Mrs. Levi Woodruff was a great favorite with the Indians, and her house was their resort in early days. The bond of friendship was so great, that they called her "Mother," and treated her with all the kindness and respect of their savage natures. They often camped in the groves of the Blue, adjoining her house, on their annual hunts, and came to her for advice and counsel in sickness.

   Flouring Mills--The Red Lyon Flouring Mills are located at Red Lyon Post-office, and were erected in the spring of 1879, by Messrs. C. Seeley & E. O. Wright. The motor power is furnished by the Blue River, that turns two turbine wheels having a force of fifty horse-power. The mill and dam are well built and the situation is one of the best mill sites in the State. The machinery includes four runs of stone and all other apparatus used in the manufacture of flour under the "new process." It will turn out 100 barrels of flour per day, and grinds annually 100,000 bushels of grain. The present proprietor, Mr. E. O. Wright, purchased the interest of Mr. Seeley in the fall of 1881.

   THOMAS BURGESS, farmer and stock raiser, Section 18, Township 9, Range 2, West, P. O. McFadden; ame to Nebraska in the spring of 1871, and purchased the land where he now lives, which was one of the oldest claims in the county; owns 240 acres of good farm land, of which 140 is improved, and the rest used for pasture containing a number of acres of native timber. Keeps a lot of stock--both cattle and hogs. He was born in Somerset County, Pa., Dec. 8, 1819, but removed to Fayette County, same State, where he was married, August 16, 1846, to Miss Elizabeth A. Show. He followed various occupations, principally that of millwright, which trade he learned, till April, 1862, when he removed to Lasalle County, Ill., thence to Nebraska, as above. Mr. Burgess has been County Commissioner of York three years.

   E. F. CHITTENDEN, printer, Section 28, Township 10, Range 2, West, York County; was born in Summit County, Ohio, November 10, 1833. He is the son of the late Martin and Abigail Chittenden, who were of old New England stock, and both of whom could trace their ancestry back to the "Mayflower." His mother's maiden name was Cushman. His father died in 1841, in Richfield, Ohio; afterward, in 1844, he was "bound out" to William S. Wadhams, a farmer, until of age, in whose care he remained until he was seventeen years of age, when he began to learn the printing business in the Ohio Observer office, at Hudson, near Cleveland. After serving a full apprenticeship, he worked at his trade in various places in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In 1861, when the war broke out, he enlisted as a private, at Shelbyville, Ill., in Company B. Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, Colonel--later Major-General and Governor--John M. Palmer, commanding, and served until March 27, 1863, when he was discharged for disability arising from exposure in the field under Fremont in Missouri. He then returned to Illinois, and as soon as his health permitted, began working at his trade again. December 14, 1863, he was commissioned by Gov. Yates as Adjutant of the Third Regiment Illinois State Militia, Col. McHenry Brooks, commanding, during the troublous times in central Illinois, growing out of enforcement of the draft and prosecution of other war measures. In 1868-9, he was employed on the editorial staff of the Chicago Republican. In 1873 he removed to Nebraska, and purchased the York Monitor, which he changed to York County Record, and published for several years in connection with his brother, Morgan Chittenden, now of Danbury, Conn., and was, therefore, the second editor in York County. At present he is living on his farm, southeast of York, which he took as a homestead in 1873. While in the army, his officers bear testimony to his faithfulness as a soldier, his discharge stating that "he fought bravely at Shiloh"--which, he claims, is honor enough for any man.

   HAMMON ELLIS farmer, Section 26, Township 9, Range 3 west, P. O. Fairmont, Fillmore County, is the son of Thomas C. and Phebe Ellis, his mother's maiden name was Stewart. His father died when he was but fourteen years, leaving a family dependent on their own exertions for support. Hammon E. was born in Delaware County, N. Y., October 24, 1840, but at the death of his father came west to Iowa. In 1861 he became a soldier of the Rebellion, enlisting in the Third Iowa Cavalry, Company I. After serving a little more than one year he was severely injured by a runaway team, and was unable to go into active service again. He then returned to Iowa and resumed farming there. In the fall of 1870 he came to Nebraska and homesteaded 160 acres, and now has 130 acres of it under plow. Mr. Ellis was married in Iowa, in 1861, to Miss Rachel Ann Evans, their family consisting of four boys and five girls.

   GEORGE FAIR, farmer and stock raiser, Section 22, Township 9, Range 3 west, P. O. Fairmount, York County, Neb., came to Nebraska in the fall of 1870 and homesteaded. For five years he lived in a sod hut, but as civilization advanced that gave place to a fine frame structure, and his farm of 160 acres is well improved. The first church service held in Woodruff Precinct was held at his house in the spring of 1871, Rev. William Heckman officiating, and during the fall of 1873 Mr. Fair helped to construct the first church building in the precinct, the material used being sod. It was opposite his residence, and on Section 23, being of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. He and his wife were original members of the society. He was born in Allegheny County, Penn., December 29, 1819. He is the son of John and Ann M. Fair, nee Winter, who were of German descent. He followed farming in his native State, and in the fall of 1862 came to Illinois and pursued his former occupation. Mr. F. has been married twice. The first time in Maryland, in 1848, to Miss Susan Willhelm, who died in May 1850. In July, 1851, he married his present wife, whose maiden name was Mary J. Show, by whom he has a family of eleven children, seven boys and four girls. Mr. F. is serving his second term as Justice of the Peace of his precinct.

   DANIEL HENDRICK, farmer, Section 28, Township 9, Range 3 west, P. O. York, was born in Saratoga County, N. Y., May 6, 1818. He is the son of Joseph and Deborah Hendrick, of English parentage. Daniel worked on a farm with his father until nineteen years of age, having acquired a limited education by attending school during the winter terms. He then left home, and in 1852 came to Clinton County, Iowa, where he farmed and worked at his trade, which was that of a carpenter. In 1862 he enlisted in Company K, of Twenty-sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and after serving eighteen months was discharged on account of poor health. He is a charter member of Robert Anderson Post, No. 32, of the G. A. R., and belongs to the Methodist Episcopal Church, Woodruff Precinct. Mr. Hendrick married Miss Almira Ferris in 1841, by whom he has three sons--Sylvester C., Homer D., Freddie A.

   GEORGE HENTON, farmer, Section 34, Town 10, Range 8, west, P. O. York located at Plattsmouth, Neb., in May 1867. Here he was employed at the carpenter's trade till October, 1872, when he came to York County and took up a homestead which is the land described above. He has 160 acres, 140 of which is under cultivation. George H. was born at Logansport, Ind., August 30, 1844. He is the son of John R. and Mary Henton, nee McCurry, the former of English descent. His boyhood days were spent on a farm, and he afterward learned the trade of carpenter. In June, 1861, he enlisted in Company G, Fifteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and took an active part in all the engagements of his regiment; Pittsburgh Landing, Stone River, Mission Ridge, and numerous other small engagements. He served for three years, and in 1864 re-enlisted in One Hundred and Fifty-fifth Volunteer Infantry, in Company C, served until the close of the war, then returned to Logansport, Ind., where he made his home until his emigration to this State. Mr. H. was married at Plattsmouth, Neb., in 1869, to Lydia Eikenbarg, daughter of Samuel and Martha Eikenbarg, who settled at Plattsmouth in the fall of 1856. They have three children living, Frank E., Ethel M. and George E. They lost one daughter, Lydia M., who died in February, 1879. Mrs. H. is a member of the Christian Church at York.

   WILLIAM McFADDEN, farmer, Section 8, Town 9, Range 2, west, P. O. McFadden, was born in Fayette County, Penn., November 11, 1843. The son of Charles and Eliza McFadden, who were of Pennsylvania Dutch descent, his mother's maiden name, Long. His parents removed to Livingston County, Ill., when William was a small boy, and here he worked on a farm with his father till 1861. Then enlisted in the Forty-fourth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company C, and after serving a little over three years, returned to Illinois and resumed farming there till his emigration to this State. He was married May 21, 1871, to Miss Mary J. Custer, formerly from Indiana, and both are members of the Baptist Church, in Woodruff Precinct. Their family consists of four children, Arthur R., George W., Annie E. and Aletha E.

   CHARLES J. MONSON, farmer Section 30, Town 10, Range 2, west, P. O. York, came to Nebraska in February, 1871. Homesteaded the place where he now lives and owns 160 acres of good land of which 140 is under plow. He was born in Sweden, February 1, 1846, emigrating to the United States with his parents in 1852. They settled in Jefferson County, Iowa, where Charles J. was employed at various occupations and at one time went to Wisconsin and worked in the pineries near Eau Clair, Wis. He was married in Lincoln, Neb., June 8, 1872, to Miss Johanna W. Kaliff, who was also born in Sweden, and by whom he has a son and a daughter, Charles F. and Ellen A.

   BENJAMIN F. NOSSER, farmer Section 9, Range 2 west, P. O. McFadden. Was born in Luzerene County, Pa. Was married in the same county in 1854 to Miss Sophia Drum, and soon afterward moved to Mount Pleasant, same State, where he lived until he came to Nebraska. This transpired in the spring of 1871, and he homesteaded the eighty acres north and adjacent to his present residence. Owns 160 acres of good land, and of this 100 is improved and the rest enclosed for pasture.

   ALBERT H. STONE, proprietor of the Niota flouring mills, P. O. Fairmont, Fillmore County, Section 19, Town 9, Range 2 west. This mill is situated on the south bank of the West Blue river, is two stories high and basement size 24 x 36. It has a run of two buhrs and a capacity for grinding 500 bushels daily and is well equipped with first class machinery and good water power. Mr. S. is a native of New York State, born in Clyde, Wayne County, August 11, 1840, removed with his parents to Clinton County, Ill., in 1856. Here he followed various occupations and was married in Hancock County, in 1865, to Miss Sarah A. McGrath. In the spring of 1870 came to Nebraska and took up a homestead in Saunders County, near Wahoo, and in 1875 moved to York County and erected the above mill of which he is the sole proprietor. In addition to this he owns 165 acres of good land, sixty being under plow. He has five children, Clara B., Joseph Dexter, Lewis, Albert H., and Maud.

   JOHN SMITH, farmer, Section 18, Township 9, Range 2, west, P. O. McFadden, was born in Luzerne County, Pa., January 5, 1835. He is the son of John and Susan Smith, who removed to La Fayette County, Wis., when he was but a small lad. When he was sixteen years old his father was killed in the Mexican War, and he was thrown upon his own resources. He followed staging in Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, and while in the latter State met with a severe accident which crippled him for life, caused by a team running away with him. As soon as he had sufficiently recovered, he came to Nebraska, in the spring of 1864, and commenced keeping a ranch on Beaver Creek and the old Freight Road, only a few miles from the present site of York. While there the most tragic event of Mr. Smith's life occurred, but in which he was fully justified in taking the course he did. "One of the men employed on the state line stopped at Smith's ranch and being under the influence of liquor, became very abusive. He used a great deal of unseemly language and finally declared his intention to shoot Smith. But while he was gone out to the stage to secure a couple of revolvers, Smith also got himself in readiness, and when he returned and opened the door he was met by a charge from Smith's gun, and now a grave on the bluffs, a few rods south of Beaver Creek and three miles south-east of York, contains all that is left of 'Mike Donald,' the first white person buried in the county." In the spring of 1866, Mr. Smith homesteaded the land upon which he now lives, and in the fall of the same year he moved on to his claim. He now owns 240 acres, 200 of which are under cultivation, and the rest native timber. He was the first settler in Woodruff Precinct, and took up the first homestead in the same.

   JAMES D. WHITE, farmer, Section 26, Township 10, Range 3, west, P. O. York, was born in Pike County, Ind., December 14, 1850, but was reared in Gibson County. After receiving an education, he learned the shoemaker's trade in his father's shop. Previous to coming to Nebraska he farmed for one year in his native State, and in March, 1873, came to this State and purchased the place where he now lives, upon which he moved the following fall. He was married in Indiana, in 1870, to Sirena, daughter of Rev. D. Broadwell, by whom he has two children, Clarence M. and Elsie A. Mr. W. and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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