AINSWORTH 
Reminiscent

     (47) That portion of Ainsworth lying west of Main street was platted on the homestead of Mrs. Nannie Osborn. Leroy Hall platted an addition on his land on the east side of Main, extending as far north as Fourth, street. North of that, Henry Woodward's addition on his home stead. On the corner of Main and Fourth was the Woodward store, the first business house in the town. It was a log building put up in 1880, and was located on the freighter's trail. 

     Among the early business houses were Tracy and Glover's store managed by J. D. Crawford; Munson and Secor, later Munson and Ackerman, John DeBrown, George Reed, general stores; Frank Sellors, real estate; H. J. Sutton, jewelry; Dr. O. H. Crane, drugs; W. D. McCord, elevator; Orcutt house and Burns hotel; P. D. McAndrew, L. K. Alder, Alex Altschuler and S. E. Benton, lawyers; Ed Enderly, Frank Gillette and the Davisons; Alton and Sherwood, and Burns bankers; Dr. Kenaston, physcian; Hall and Chaney, hardware; Merithew, restaurant; Ainsworth Lumber Co.; Grave and Co., lumber; Leroy Hall, proprietor Journal, Morgan and Miller, publishers; Western News, T. J. Smith, publisher; P. P. Shade, livery owned by E. Loeb; Bridgeford's saloon. Ainsworth was incorporated as a (48) village soon after the county was organized. The petition was presented to the commissioners on December 10, 1883, and was granted the next day. Among the signers were William H. Orcutt, Frank Sellors, P. P. Shade, Nannie Osborn, R. M. Munson, P. D. McAndrew. 

     T. J. Smith was the first postmaster after the office was changed from Bone Creek to Ainsworth. He was succeeded by Clark Barnes. The first F. E. & M. V. agent was O. B. Rippey, followed by L. A. Rodwell. 

     The first child born in Ainsworth was the little son of Leroy Hall and wife in 1882. The first death was Mrs. Young. 

     The Congregational church of Ainsworth was the first religious edifice in the county, built in the spring of 1884. The church organization was perfected on August 12, 1883, by Mrs. O. B. Rippey, Mrs. Henry Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Alden, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Alden and Rev. J. Herbert. The first pastor was Rev. N. L. Packard.

     The first Fourth of July celebration was held here in 1882, on the depot platform before the depot was built. A twenty-foot flag was offered as a prize to the neighborhood sending the largest delegation. The Grand Prairie community won the prize, which was accepted by Dan Carpender on behalf of that neighborhood and the flag is still the property of his daughter, Mrs. P. J. Holst. For years this flag figured prominently in all celebrations held in this section. Mr. Carpender rigged a platform on a wagon and with the flag flying from a pole erected in the center of the platform, many of our matrons of today, the girls of those days, rode to celebrations. 

     On Christmas of the same year, the first Christmas exercises were held in the waiting room of the depot. A beautiful cedar tree which Lee Gould and Went Conway brought from the banks of Borne creek, 12 miles away, was the main feature of the occasion.

     In 1883, the first fair was held on Nannie Osborn's claim southwest of town, Glen Nesbit took the prize as the prettiest baby, and Millie Cheney received a special prize, a gold thimble given by H. P. Sutton, as the most accomplished young lady in the county. 

     The first newspaper, The Western News, was established by T. J. Smith. Mr. Smith was later identified with the Ainsworth Star and afterward with the Star Journal. He took a prominent part in all county and local affairs. It is said that he selected the route for the road from here to Springview. The second newspaper, The Journal, was established July 3, 1884, by Leroy Hall. 

     A Sunday School was organized. It was held in the home of L. W. Gourd and afterward in the waiting room of the depot. Rev. W. W. Thomas, an itinerant preacher at Ainsworth, and Rev. Elias Frame, a homesteader, held occasional services. A Sunday School organizer, Frady, by name, assisted in the work all through this section. These religious services were graced by a choir and an organ loaned by Birdie Bridgeford. Among the singers were W. D. McCord and Birdie Bridgeford. Mollie Stockwell presided as organist.

      The first term of court was held November 27, 1883, F. B. Tiffany, presiding. Among the jurors were: H. S. Potter, W. D. McCord, O. B. Rippey, C. F. Barnes, F. W. Sellors, A. L. Sisson.

     The first patent issued for land (50) within the limits of Brown county as it then stood, by the United States government, as shown by the records in the Valentine land office (now extinct) was to Charles W. Wyman of Carns, Nebraska, April 10, 1881.

     The first teacher's examination was given in 1883 by Supt. J. L. Harriman. The applicants were: Millie Cheney, Minnie Briggs and A. W. Scattergood. At the conclusion of the day's labor the superintendent announced that "ladies first" had always been his motto but as the young man present had to walk to Johnstown yet that night he desired to write out his certificate first, that he might be on his way, providing of course that the ladies would not object. Thus it was that A. W. Scattergood, just graduated from Cambridge university, received the first teacher's certificate in Brown county.

     The next year, 1884, teacher's institute was held, conducted by Supt. W. G. Townsend and several rural schools were organized that year. Among the pioneer school ma'ams were Lou Richmond, Lou Bain and Nellie Murphy. Unique and interesting experiences are told by these teachers who taught for about $25 a month and boarded 'round.

     The first marriage license issued in Brown county was to L. D. Bates and Miss Columbia L. Mills on September 8, 1883. The next four to follow were: Harry L. Brown and Louisa Humstaker; Chas. W. Stannard and Juva Melins; Daniel D. Bennett and Julia A. Carns; Jasper L. Stanley and Martha. E. Berge. 

     Nesbit Hose company was organized June 30, 1890. Officers: president, J. A. Rogers; vice president, J. M. Kingery; foreman, T. J. Smith; assistant foreman, J. A. Douglas; secretary, W. H. Williams; (51) assistant secretary, Frank Boyd; treasurer, L. M. Short. Charter members. F. A. Pennell, J. A. Rogers, R. M. Nesbit, Ned Jones, L. M. Short, C. Alton, T. J. Smith, W. H. Williams, J. G. Ackerman, J. M. Kingery, J. F. Wyvel, Charles Marsden, Earl J. Pollock, Bert Fournier, W. O. Toliver, Z. Funk, B. A. Miller, W. E. Spencer, J. A. Douglas, H. O. Paine, M. White, W. H. Hogan, Louis Reif, E. W. Fair, J. Reif, E. T. Ash, Frank Boyd, Edgar Heffley, Alex Altschuler, O. C. Bartlett, W. G. Hedges, C. B. Sargent, Frank W. Sellors.

     In 1936 Mrs. Elizabeth Sellors Deer gave to the city of Ainsworth, the Sellors Pioneer Memorial cabin to be used as a museum for any relics of pioneer days as may be placed therein. It is built of native logs and stands on ground given by Mrs. Osborn, near the east side of the Court House park. Mrs. Deer built it as a memorial for all pioneers of Brown county, especially honoring her father, Frank W. Sellors, who played an important part in the early history of Ainsworth and Brown county.

    The fist birth in the county was Arthur L. Kirkpatrick, son of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Kirkpatrick. He was born on a ranch near the Niobrara river. The first pair of twins were Lee and Lou Magill, born to W. H. Magill and wife August 24, 1882 on Pine creek.

     The accidental shooting of Alfred Chase, brother of Byron Chase in the western part of, the county was probably the first death in the county. Edgar Crandall's death by shooting was one of the earliest fatalities. Both these men were buried in Grand Prairie cemetery, the first cemetery in the county.

     (52) In the winter of 1880-'81 many farmers were unable to get supplies, as the cold and snow were so severe that it was almost impossible to drive to Atkinson for the necessities of life. Even at Cook's ranch where supplies could usually be obtained, but little could be spared. Three settlers, Gus Sisson, C. N. Swett and Jap Stanley, sent a team to Atkinson, but owing to the deep snow it dial not return for thirty days. They got a half-bushel of shelled corn, a few beans and a hog's head from Cook's and on this they lived till the team came through. 

     The little log cabin built by Bill Woods on his homestead in 1879, still stands. It is on highway 7, on W NW; of  section 13, township 30 range 22, four miles north of Ainsworth. It is probably the oldest house in the county.

     Agricultural products from this county have won recognition at Nebraska state fairs. In 1909-'10-12, and possibly in other years a carload of exhibits took the first prize for the western district. In 1910 Brown county took first prize on potatoes in competition with the entire state. A collection of nearly one hundred varieties of native grasses found in this county was also awarded first premium in 1912. C. W. Potter, W. H. Peck and J. E. Stauffer were in charge of this enterprise. 

     In 1908 Frank Herron and August Bokhold while employed by Wm. Slonecker cutting brush for riprapping on the north bank of the Niobrara river, discovered the curious tree known as the "spreading cedar." It is a tree whose branches surround the trunk making a carpet on the ground for several feet surrounding the tree. When discovered it was but three feet high. Samples of it were sent by Mr. Slonecker to the state (53) university. It is said to be one of only four of the same variety in existence. It is near the Meadville baseball park. 

     Kid Wade, a young outlaw supposed to be one of the famous gang that operated in this section in early days, was lynched in the early morning hours of February 8, 1884. He was captured in Iowa by a band of vigilantes, given a trial and turned over to officers from Holt county. During the night he was taken from the guard in a hotel at Bassett by a band of masked men and hung to a railroad whistling post, one mile east of the town. He was buried on Bassett hill. His true given name was Albert. His trial took place in the home of the late Charles Honnen of Johnstown, then residing a few miles west of Carns, in Keya Paha county. On July 11, 1884, the commissioners of Brown county allowed the bill for his coffin and box, twenty dollars, furnished by J. M. Mead of Long Pine.

     In very early times the Pawnee Indians from the southern part of Nebraska, made hunting trips to the sand hill regions every summer, camping on what is now called Goose creek in southern Brown county. They gave the name "Koskopah" creek to the stream. The curves of the creek resembled the crook of a goose's neck, so the name was changed by white men to Goosecreek. When the post office was established there in 1920; the Indian name, Koskopah, was sent in by the patrons, but by a mistake in copying it was made Koshopah. The office was established in a 10 by 12 sod house at Lee Athey's and he was the first postmaster. Koshopah is said to be the only name of Indian origin in the county. 

By Fern Burdick, District 16

  TOC

  Index

  Memorial On-Line Library of Historical Publications

  USGenNet.org - the First & Only 501c3 Host for Historical & Genealogical Sites

   Livingston County Michigan USGenWeb & AHGP Project

2003 All Rights Reserved CFC Productions 

For more information about any of the sites included under the umbrella of the LivGenMI site please contact Pam Rietsch at:   pam@livgenmi.com