EARLY HISTORY OF CHERRY COUNTY, NEBRASKA
(136) Adjoining Kewanee Community on the west, is the North Table Community, which is made up of three neighborhoods, North Table, Harmony, and Dry Creek. It lies between the Minnechaduza Creek and the South Dakota line. Like Sparks end Kewanee, it is a fine farming and grazing section.
The road front Valentine to Rosebud Agency runs through this community. There is a telephone line connecting Valentine with the Rosebud Agency.
This community was settled soon after the railroad reached Valentine. Their School District No. 2 was organized August 7, 1883, just three days after the Valentine District No. 1 was organized. District No. 3 was organized November 10, 1883, District No. 12 on January 25, 1884, District No. 25 on March 25, 1886, and District No. 56 on February 12, 1888.
The first term of school in District No. 56 was held in a claim shack with Miss Etta Miller, now Mrs. Etta Kellogg, as teacher. The seats, desks and blackboard were all home made, and for a broom, she used a wild goose's wing. The first school was a subscription school, with the families paying the teacher (137) In any kind of produce she could use, as a part of her salary. One family delivered a quarter of beef, in part payment of their share of the teacher's salary.
This community joins the Indian Reservation on the south, which made the Indian uprising of 1890, a serious matter for the people of this locality. Had the Indians made a quick march to the south, a massacre could have resulted. With this danger in mind, a home guard company was formed, and the residents were ready at a moments notice to go to Valentine for protection. A number of false alarms sent them hurrying into town for safety. Fortunately the Indians never came that way, which was a great relief to the North Table settlers.
The people of the community have been on friendly terms with the Indians throughout all the years of the life of the community, and this was a valuable asset during the early days and hard times of the nineties. They could trade almost any kind of food to the Indians for clothing, shoes, or other goods, and these sample trades were common. Mrs. Etta Kellog traded a chicken for a pair of overshoes, which the Indian woman was wearing. The Indian woman took them off and delivered there upon receipt of the chicken. Mrs. Kellog also traded two dozen onions and ten cents for a flannel shirt and four yards of calico. Thus the Rosebud Agency and the Indian people made a substantial market for the settlers of this community.
The majority of the early homes were made of sod. The wells were all dug wells.
It was in this community that two of its early settlers, George Sanner and Perry Bryant lost their lives while digging a deep well. Details of this incident are given in another chapter of this history. G. W. Miller also dug many of these wells.
B. F. Hobson had a narrow escape from falling into one of these wells while looking for a lost calf in a storm. He was walking and leading his saddle horse. The snow was deep enough to cover the well, which was overgrown with weeds. Suddenly he stepped in the 90 foot well, and only his hold on the bridle reins saved him from falling to the bottom of the well. This sudden jerk frightened the horse, and he pulled Mr. Hobson out of danger.
These wells have all been filled and have passed out of the picture.
For a number of years, this community held "Old Settlers (138) Reunions" in a grove near the O. W. Hahn farm. In 1905 a speaker at one of these meetings stated that the North Table Community had furnished more graduates of the Valentine High School than all the other sections of the county combined.
Many splendid crops have blessed the farmers of the farming sections of Cherry County, enabling them to improve their homes and educate their children. In 1913, Cherry County had the distinction of producing the largest yield of corn per acre in the state. The Gilman Mill at Valentine furnished a ready market for their crops.
The sub-experiment station at Valentine has maintained trial plats in this community where different varieties of grain crops are tried out. C. M. Van Metre, the "Burbank of the Sandhills" is entitled to special mention for his success in growing fruit on his homestead. Believing that with intensive cultivation, fruit could be grown in Cherry County, he began planting fruit trees on his homestead in 1891. Apples, peaches, pears, plums, apricots, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, and cherries were included in the list. This orchard of six acres proved to be an outstanding success. When the trees began bearing fruit, neighbors came to secure a supply for their homes. It became the outstanding orchard of the county. No irrigation was used, just careful cultivation, keeping the ground free from weeds.
The drouth years of the thirties and insects destroyed the trees which for more than a quarter of a century had given Mr. Van Metre so much comfort and pleasure.
A team of oxen were used to break the sod for his crops. This team of oxen weighed 1900 pounds each, or 3800 pounds for two. He sold them in 1889 for $85.00.
Mr. Van Metre's first homestead house was a semi-dugout, three and one-half feet below the ground. The walls above the ground were constructed of logs. In 1887 he built a large sod house in which the family lived for twenty years. Mr. Van Metre owns his homestead at this time, but has retired and lives in Valentine.
Prairie fires on the Indian Reservation caused the early settlers much anxiety, as some portion of the reservation was burned over almost every year.
Early settlers of this community were: C. M. Van Metre, O. W. Hahn, G. P. Crab, B. F. Hobson, T. P. Sprat, Howard Jaycox, Aaron Salmon, W. H. Hooper, Daniel Hubbard, R. F. (139) James, and William Pettygrew, George and Henry Sanner, Daniel and Henry Fowler, J. R. Ayers, J. R. Fee, W. T. Rullis, D. D. Dunn, Jacob Martin, H. M. Cramer and sons, T. W. and Max, John Jackson, E. G. Perkins, and son, Grant, Lewis Taylor, Thomas Harper, W. H. Harper, T. P. Kelly, A. S. Graef, John Ryschon, M. P. Brosius, J. S. Kalblinger, James Marley, F. G. Black, Michael McLaughlin, Francis McDermott, W. H. Mumford, George Austin, G. A. Camm, T. E. Malone, Michael Kennealy, E. I. Mills, William Shelbourne, Dewey Kellogg, Arthur Brown, J. F. Broad, W. E. Jenkins, J. S. Broad, Mathew Bowen, A. J. Folk, Tom Jones, Pat Casey, James Smith.
Of the pioneer settlers of this community who served the county in a public capacity, J. R. Fee served as State Representative during the 1891 session of the Nebraska Legislature; G. P. Crabb served two terms as County Treasurer, with O. W. Hahn as Deputy; T. P. Spratt served as County Commissioner; M. P. Brosius' son, Ralph, was postmaster of Valentine for a number of years; B. F. Hobson's daughter, Mrs. Edna Jackson, was County Superintendent of Schools for three terms, 1922 to 1934, inclusive; O. W. Hahn's son, Clement, was sheriff for a number of years.
Mrs. G. W. Miller was a gifted writer and wrote articles for the Chicago Inter Ocean. Through her writings she was able to help build up the home, and later paid off a mortgage on their home, with money earned through this source.
The only means of conveyance the G. W. Miller family had was a team of oxen. Mr. Miller walked to Valentine, a distance of fifteen miles, and returned with a fifty pound sack of flour, rather than take time to drive to town with the oxen.
Mr. Miller had no lumber or woven wire with which to make a pen for a pig he obtained, so he dug a deep trench around a square piece of ground, which made a satisfactory pen for the porker.
During the horse and buggy days, each community had a base ball team and there was friendly rivalry among these teams. No public gathering was complete without a ball game.
Herds of cattle enroute to Rosebud Agency passed through this community during the early days, and cowboys often stopped at the B. F. Hobson home for a drink of water. One evening the boys invited Mr. and Mrs. Hobson to visit their camp and see the herd of 2,700 cattle. After supper they presented Mr. Hobson with a quarter of beef.
(140) John Ryschon was a cabinet maker by trade and brought a supply of walnut lumber from their Iowa home, which was to be used in making their household furniture. Mr. Ryschon used part of this lumber to make a casket for George Sanner, who was killed while digging a well.
An outstanding characteristic about the early settlers was their hospitality. Pioneers proudly refer to it as the spirit of the old west, and this same spirit lives in Cherry County, today.
As the years have slipped away since the first settlers came to make their homes in this community, prosperity and adversity have visited them. There have been more good years than lean ones. Sod houses, ox teams and walking plows have given way to comfortable homes, high powered machinery, automobiles, and radios. The units have been enlarged, providing larger incomes. Wind chargers provide electricity for the homes. From the experience of the years, residents have learned the methods of operation which will make their future secure.
From the Table Community we shall visit Crookston.
This town was named for W. T. Crook, who was yard master for the railroad in Valentine when the railroad was being built through Cherry County, west of Valentine. It was platted by the Pioneer Town Site Co., and was incorporated as a village April 21, 1890. Its school district No. 16 was organized August 25, 1885. Crookston is twelve miles west of Valentine being on both Highway No. 20 and the railroad, and the Minnechaduza Creek flows past the town. Minnechaduza is an Indian word mean "murmuring water." This creek is a beautiful stream noted for the even flow of water and its freedom from floods.
The railroad was built through Crookston in the spring of 1885. The community surrounding it was settled before the railroad reached the town. Being nearer to Rosebud Agency than Valentine, gave it an advantage in Indian trade. A large volume of supplies for the Indians was shipped to Crookston, then hauled by teams to the Agency during the early days.
Crookston is in the mist of a good farming community, with the Minnechaduza Valley suitable for ranching.
The pioneer business men of the town were: F. H. (141) Baumgartel and Max E. Virtel who had the first harness and hardware as well as general merchandise store. Mr. Baumgartel was the first post master and also loaned money on personal property. This store had a large volume of business with the Indians. Mr. Viertel was active in the political life of the county and served as County Commissioner. His eldest daughter, Helen, was chosen Queen of Cherry County at an early social gathering. The custom of choosing a queen of the county was not continued, hence Miss Viertel, now Mrs. G. B. Fehmerling, has the distinction of having been the only Queen of the County.
Andrew Folks was the first blacksmith and had the first hotel in Crookston. Edward McDonald had a general merchandise store, as did Searby Brothers. Krotter and Hall had lumber and hardware; William Cavanaugh a livery barn, and he also carried mail to Burge and St. Francis. Henry Claybaugh had a blacksmith shop; George Ritterhush had a grist mill on the Minnechaduza Creek where he made corn meal and flour. The grain was ground on shares. Levi Overman and sons did freighting to Rosebud Agency and other places.
The Methodist Church was built in 1910, and the Catholics built their Sacred Heart Church in 1917.
The railroad had two section houses in Crookston, with Elvin Elliott and Edward Spencer as foremen.
The government moved its warehouse from Valentine to Crookston in 1910, where it is still in use. Most of the supplies for the Indians are now shipped to Crookston and hauled by truck or teams to the Agency.
From a one-room school building of early days, the district now has a modern twelve grade school. The new building was erected in 1930.
Pioneers of the Crookston Community were: Henry J. Sauerwin and sons, Henry and Jake; George Trofer; J. W. Keller; Mr. Keller's son, E. M. Keller, now operates the ranch his father established; O. D. and Charles Carey; Joseph Pavlick, Sr., and sons, Joseph and Charles; Frank Swartz; Frank Keleteka; George W. Sisler; Barley White; Francis McDermott; William Hatten; Fred and Frank Brayton; Frank Brayton became a substantial merchant in Valentine in 1894 and continued in business for many years, being part owner of the Red Front Store; James DeBore; Marion, Edward, and Albert Pike; D. W. Collett; Mr. Collett's daughter, Clara, was the first telephone operator in Valentine. His son, Clinton, became (142) a successful school superintendent and lives in Lexington, Nebraska. William Beed, Frank Cowden, Michael McLaughlin, Andrew Folks, William and August Epke, Oscar Elkinton. Mr. Elkinton and Henry Sauerwin are two of the original settlers living in the community when this history is being written. Mrs. Sauerwin met a tragic death in a blizzard in February, 1943. While she and Mr. Sauerwin were returning from a trip to Ainsworth, Nebraska, their car became stalled in the deep snow on Highway No. 20 between Arabia and Thacher. They attempted to walk to Thacher, but the storm became so severe that Mrs. Sauerwin became exhausted and passed away. Mr. Sauerwin remained near her all night during the storm. The next day when the storm had subsided help was secured and her body was taken to her home.
In common with all other communities in the county, the farm and ranch units have become larger and better homes have been built, which makes life more enjoyable. Modern machinery has replaced that used in the pioneer days. By a combination of farming, ranching, dairying and poultry business, the residents of the community are in a favorable financial condition. With the hard years of the thirties still in their minds, they are prepared to meet conditions as they come in the future.
Albert Ayers, who came with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Ayers, to Cherry County in 1887, recalls the long lines of covered wagons drawn by horses, mules, or oxen, as they passed his home, going west during the late eighties. Horse thieves took a substantial number of horses and mules out of his father's pasture at night, but the horses were later recovered; the mules were never found.
The 6th Cavalry camped at Crookston on its return from the Indian uprising during the blizzard of February 9, 1891. It was with much difficulty that they returned to Fort Niobrara on account of the deep snow that had badly drifted. Mr. W. F. A. Meltendorf, a member of the cavalry at that time, is living in the county at the time this history is being written.
The precinct in which Crookstone is situated was first named Minnechaduza Precinct, then later the name was changed to Crookston Precinct.
Between the Niobrara River and the railroad south of Crookston and Kilgore is a large section of good farming land. (143) Before the railroad was built into Crookston, settlers of German descent filed on homesteads in this area, thus giving it the name of The German Settlement. The settlement began in 1883 with the years of 1883, 1884 and 1885 being the years of most rapid settlement. The water problem was the most serious one. It was in this settlement that Joseph Grewe lost his life in one of the deep wells.
The early settlers of this section were: Frank Brackett, W. A. Wilson, A. T. Brackett, Chris Dittmer, August Detgen, Henry and Fred Porath, John Shores, Sam Hudson, William Carter, A. O. Coleman, Frank Fisher, D. P. White, William White, J. T. and Peter Galloway, David Hendershot, John Wray, Wilhelm Anderson, Horace Gunderson, Peter Reimers, Martin Reimers, John and Henry Schleuter, Peter Reige, Fred Porath, Sr., McFarland Brothers, Rev. Sylvanus Johnson and son, James, Joseph Grewe, Nathaniel Elliott, J. C. Porath, Herman Weisflog, and sons, George, Henry, Oscar, and Amil.
This community had splendid crops for a number of years during the eighties and nineties. In 1891 their banner wheat crop was produced, with a yield of 35 bushels per acre. Forty-one cars of wheat were shipped out of Kilgore during the fall of 1891.
A. T. Brackett's father, Frank Brackett, had a sorghum mill as part of his equipment in 1887. He made molasses for all neighbors who brought cane to his mill. Horace Gunderson lead a steam saw mill on his homestead during the late eighties, and milled much of the lumber used by the settlers in building their homes. The boiler for this mill was hauled from Kilgore with five yoke of oxen. A. T. Brackett broke sod with oxen in 1886 for which he received fifty cents per day, and in 1888 he harvested 30 acres of oats with a cradle. The first well on the Brackett homestead was 265 feet deep and was walled with lumber.
In 1887 the residents of the community of the Lutheran faith, built a frame church, which has been their church home from that date until the present time. It is, perhaps the only rural church in the county that has held regular services during its entire existence. They had a resident pastor for a number of years, but at the present time this church is served by a pastor from Valentine.
In the summer of 1887 a covered wagon drawn by a big team of mules and another drawn by a yoke of oxen, arrived in the settlement. These wagons contained Rev. Sylvanus (144) Johnson, his wife and two daughters, Ellen and Clara, and James Johnson and his wife. James Johnson filed on a claim three miles north of the river, while Reverend Johnson located on the river. His home was a dugout covered with logs and dirt, and it was a very comfortable home.
On Sunday he held church services which were well attended. Mrs. Johnson was a gifted singer, and added much to the success of the meetings. These services were held in the homes of W. A. Wilson and Settler Brandon for some time, until a school house was built.
Reverend Johnson traded his mule team for two yoke of oxen, which he used to haul logs to the Gunderson saw mill, to obtain lumber for the homes of himself and his son. Later Reverend Johnson moved to a claim north of the river where he had the first tubular well in the settlement, which was 175 feet deep. He also bought a cane mill and made molasses for neighbors. James Johnson drilled the first flowing well on the Niobrara River in 1894, which well is still flowing.
Reverend Johnson and his son, James, lived the remainder of their lives in Cherry County. His daughter, Clara, now Mrs. Elvin Elliott, is living in the settlement which has been her home since childhood, and her son, C. H. Elliott, is the present County Judge of Cherry County.
The German Settlement had a broom factory in 1889; George McFarland was the owner and operator and the factory was located in the McCann Canyon. Settlers grew broom corn which they took to the factory to be made into brooms.
The first bridge across the Niobrara in this settlement was built in 1886 with lumber hauled from Fort Niobrara and was named for William Anderson who lived nearby. Mr. Anderson, who was a blacksmith, made a water wheel which furnished power to operate a small grist mill where both flour and corn meal were milled.
It was in this settlement that the McCann Ranch of Open Range Days was located. During the winter of 1880-81 the cattle having no food provided for them, drifted in the storms and most of them perished. John Shores, who was one of the first County Commissioners of Cherry County, was foreman at that time. Mr. McCann, who was in England, wrote Mr. Shores that he could have all of the cattle he could gather when spring came and also have the ranch buildings and equipment. The ranch buildings were constructed of cedar logs, surrounded by a stockade, as protection from the Indians. (145) In the spring roundup, Mr. Shores was able to find only twenty head of cattle and with this meager beginning he developed a substantial herd and became a successful ranch owner.
There were two Post Offices established in the settlement on the Niobrara in the eighties, McCann and Reige, which were served from Valentine, but both have since been discontinued. August Reige was the first mail carrier, making one trip each week. Later in 1895, service was increased to two trips each week. John Wray was the mail carrier, and made his trips with a single horse and road cart. The route was thirty--five miles long, and his salary was $275.00 per year.
The people of this settlement were interested in both church and public schools. Their school districts: No. 45 organized Nov. 12, 1887, with Miss Jennie Henthorn as first teacher. Miss Henthorn is now Mrs. A. T. Brackett. No. 39 organized Jan. 19, 1887; No. 73 organized in 1907; No. 87 organized in 1897. This district is known as the A. B. C. School, because the names of the first school board elected in the district started with those letters. They were William Anderson, G. W. Burge, and A. O. Coleman. Miss Mary Grewe, daughter of Joseph Grewe, was the first teacher. No. 43 was organized March 8, 1887, with Miss Maggie Kibler being the first teacher. Their other districts are No. 182 and No. 137, organized in later years.
The second station on the railroad and highway No. 20, west of Valentine, is Kilgore, which was first named Boulware for Ira Boulware, the first postmaster, then it was renamed Georgia. Later the name was again changed to Kilgore, this name selected in honor of one of its pioneer families. Scott and Columbus Kilgore were the first section foremen and their sister, Alice Kilgore, was one of the pioneer teachers of the county.
Kilgore is in the midst of a farming and ranching community and was established with the coming of the railroad in 1885, and was incorporated as a village on February 16, 1893. Its school district No. 82 was organized March 13, 1894, which now has a fine modern school building with twelve grades. The corner stone for the new school building was laid by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska Masons May 9, 1929.
Other pioneer school districts of this community were No. 10, organized Jan. 9, 1884; No. 39, organized Jan. 19, 1887, and No. 24, organized March 25, 1886.
(146) The Farmers State Bank was chartered June 6, 1919; H. L. Campbell owner. Mr. Campbell's son, Lieut. Robert Campbell was badly wounded in the battle of Bastogne, Belgium, Jan. 4, 1945. Another son, Richard, is a pilot in the Air Force, serving in the Pacific.
Pioneers of the Kilgore Community were as follows:
Frank Rothleutner, ranchman, served in the Nebraska Legislature in the 1895 session as Representative from Cherry County. When Mr. Rothleutner passed away, his son, Stanley, took over the ranch and has become a successful operator. He has been given credit for making the first slide hay stacker used in the Kilgore Comrnunity, which he brought out in the early twenties. Mr. Rothleutner's son, August, and daughter, Celia, live in the community where they spent their childhood.
A. T. Brackett gave up farming and stock raising to become a merchant in the village. He and his wife (nee Jennie Henthorne) have taken an active part in community and county activities for many years. Mrs. Brackett was a pioneer teacher in the county, and Mr. Brackett helped dig many of the deep wells in the German Settlement and the Kilgore Community. He also rendered service during sickness and death in the pioneer days, before undertakers were available.
H. A. Fox bought the first cream separator in the Kilgore Community in 1905 and shipped the first can of cream sent out from that station. Mr. Fox's son is now the owner of land on which a fine grove of trees was planted by Columbus Kilgore in the eighties.
Frank Hoffman, was a pioneer of this community, and his son, Homer, and daughter, now Mrs. Erba McMurtrey, live on ranches in Cherry County.
Other early settlers were as follows: M. Alder, A. Christ, Franziska and Philip Beck, Abel Baily (Mr. Bailey's daughter, now Mrs. W. F. Parker, lives in the wood Lake Community), Joseph, Franziska, Mary, and Anton Bierl, Michael Boltz, Peter Cassinet, A. F. Childers, George Coleman, Isaih and W. P. Davis, B. Dorrah, Fred Grebe, Nicholas Groschey, Frank Hipple, Peter, R. A. Alexander, and Elmer Hoffman, Peter Jennet, H. L. Kilgore, George Koebrel, Stephen and Valentine Koralewski, Frank Meidel, George Lorenz, George Moss, John and Hans Osterman, John Pollreisz, Charles Preller, Emil Rexilious, F. Robler, Gottleib Quade, R. K. Rainsford, Fred Sillerrhorn, Sebastian Seibolt, Frank Shipley. Joseph and (147) August Stasch, Robert Schultz, Joseph Schaefer, Carl Wilber, Mary and Joseph Wisser.
The names of many of the pioneers who did business in Kilgore have been listed in the German Settlement story. The German Settlement extended over the country south of Kilgore.
The first church in Kilgore, organized by Rev. S. W. Holsclaw, was built in 1910. The first livery barn was built in 1905 by F. C. Brackett, and the first store was opened in 1891 by T. C. Honby, pioneer merchant of Valentine. David Peters was in charge of this store. Later Mr. Peters became manager of the Ludwig Lumber Yard in Valentine, a position he held until he passed away. His sons, John and William are now hardware merchants of Valentine. When this history is being written, William is serving with the armed forces.
The first bank in Kilgore was established in 1908, but later went out of business. At the present writing, Kilgore has one bank.
This village, 30 miles west of Valentine, on highway No. 20 and also on the railroad, was established in 1885 by George Nenzel, upon whose homestead it is located. Mr. Nenzel built the first frame building in the town which was used as a store, post office, hotel and living quarters for his family. The village which he named was incorporated June 23, 1899. Mr. Nenzel was the first postmaster and he built the first school house that was destroyed by fire before it was completed. Another school building was constructed and served as both school and church until 1908 when St. Mary's Church was erected.
Most of the early settlers were of Catholic faith. They have had a resident pastor most of the time since their church was built. In 1896 Gotlieb Quade donated a plot of ground for a Catholic Cemetery. Later a plot was added for a Protestant Cemetery and the combined plots make up the present day cemetery.
The oldest house in the community, built by Joseph Wiser, is still standing about one mile northwest of Nenzel.
School District No. 47 was organized Nov. 12, 1887, with Miss Jennie Satterlee as its first teacher. The school now has a substantial school building with ten grades of school.
Nenzel is in the midst of a farming and ranching (148) community; to the south farming and ranching are combined, while to the north there is mostly ranching.
Securing water was a most serious problem for the first settlers. Until wells were dug, water was hauled to the homes from the nearest supply which meant trips as far as twelve miles for water. Sometimes water was hauled by oxen from the Niobrara River. In 1886 George Nenzel, and his sons, dug a deep well on each of their homesteads. Later Emil Rexelious took over the job of digging most of the deep wells around Nenzel.
George Nenzel's daughter, Mrs. Flora Nollette, whose name is on the Honor Roll, rendered service as a nurse and at times as an undertaker. Mrs. Rosa Nollette Boltz was the first woman to cast her ballot in Nenzel Precinct when women were given the right to vote.
The pioneers of Nenzel were: George Nenzel and sons, Valentine, Albert, Theresin, and daughter, Anna, A. F. Childers, Peter Hoffman, Andrew and Valentine Koralewski, Stanislow Krajewski, Francis and George Lorenz, George Moss, Joseph Nollette, R. K. Rainsford, Fred Robeler, Ed and Fanny Satterlee, Joseph and August Stasch, Julius and Wencel Schrom, Joseph and Mary Wisser, Joseph Schaefer, E. R. Barnes, Dan Barnes, Elmer and Howard Barnes.
Edward Satterlee became a merchant and conducted a general merchandise store in the town for many years.
The school district of this neighborhood is No. 91 which was organized in 1899. The first school building was constructed of native lumber, and it had home made seats and desks. Miss Myrtle Gardiner was the first teacher, and her salary was $25.00 per month and board, which was furnished by the families having children in school. The school house became a community center where school entertainments were given at the close of each school year, and people came for miles around to attend, and camped there for the night. This custom was continued for nineteen years without missing an entertainment. The school house was also used for any public meeting and church service. Reverend Bazil Hunt, a pioneer minister, who lived near Eli, held services for several years.
School District No. 166 of this community was organized in 1913, with Jack Aspinall as Director, J. E. Scott, Treasurer, and M. I. Wilkins, Moderator. Being one of the later districts organized in the county, it reflects the improved conditions (149) the years have made. A. H. Keach was the first teacher and his salary was $50.00 per month.
Coal was used for fuel. There were nine sod houses built in this district in 1911 and 1912. In striking contrast to this district, was District No. 131. The school house was made of sod, 10 by 12 feet in size. The seats and desks were made of grocery boxes, with legs nailed on them. Cowchips were used for fuel. The teacher and the pupils gathered them during noon and recess. Miss Kime's salary was $3.00 per week and she boarded around among the families having children in school.
Covering a large territory, the Nenzel Community has both ranch and farm land. As in all other sections of the county, more attention is being given to the raising of livestock.
Cowchips were the common fuel of the settlers for a number of years. This was especially true during the hard years of the nineties, when it was a common sight to see large bricks of them around the homes for winter use.
To the south of Nenzel, across the Niobrara River, is the Niobrara Division of the Nebraska National Forest. A very good highway connects Nenzel with the headquarters buildings. This section of the Nebraska National Forest has been described in another chapter.
Going south from the forest reservation we pass near the Diamond Bar Ranch before coming to the Snake Fiver. This ranch was established by Anderson and Hoffaker and later sold to Dan Adamson who became one of the prominent ranchmen of the county. He transferred the ranch to his son, Walter, now deceased. The ranch is now operated by Mr. Adamson's daughter-in-law and her son.
Coming to the Snake River, we find the home ranch of E. R. Barnes, who with his brother, Daniel, came to Cherry County in 1888. His family consists of his two sons, Elmer and Howard, and a daughter, Eva, now Mrs. Joseph Andrews. In 1897, E. R. Barnes and his brother, Dan, established a herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle by using long horned cows as a foundation, which they were keeping on a share basis. Mr. Barnes continued in the business after his brother passed way and this herd became one of the outstanding herds of the county. His sons, Elmer and Howard, are both ranchmen, each having an Angus herd of his own, and his daughter, Mrs. (150) Joseph Andrews, and her husband now live on the home ranch which they have taken over from her father who has retired.
Elmer Barnes is a veteran of World War I. He was gassed while in action which has impared his health to quite an extent. He served in the Legislature of Nebraska a, Representative from Cherry County during the 1933 and 1935 sessions.
Cody, the fourth station west of Valentine, located on both Highway No. 20 and the railroad, was named for Thomas Cody, foreman of a railroad water supply crew, while the railroad was being built in that part of the county. This community was established with the coming of the railroad in 1885, and was the end of the railroad division for many years. This gave it an advantage over its neighboring villages. It was incorporated as a village Nov. 5, 1886. Its School District No. 30 was organized Nov. 10, 1886, which district now has a modern school building with twelve grades of school.
Cody is situated in the midst of a splendid ranch area. Some farming is done south of the Niobrara River. South of Cody, on the north side of the Niobrara is the Boiling Springs Ranch. During the Open Range Days, this ranch then owned by Carpenter and Moorhead, was one of the largest ranches of those times. James H. Quigley was foreman at one time, and when the Open Range Days passed out, Mr. Quigley became the owner, and the ranch is now the property of his family. His son, W. B. Quigley, is county attorney of Cherry County at this time. Up the river from the Boiling Springs about ten miles, is the site of what is known as the Burnt Ranch. It was at this ranch that Frank Moorhehead and James Ashbald were killed by Indians in 1879, and the buildings were burned. (There is some doubt about the exact date of the death of these cowboys who were killed by Indians; some give it as 1878).
The Cody Community covers a wide territory. Ranchers for many miles bring their cattle to Cody to be shipped to market or to feed lots in the corn belt. At this time they are sent out by both truck and railroad.
The pioneer business men of Cody were: A. D. Cole and L. R. Barnes, general merchandisers. Later Mr. Cole's son, E. C. Cole and Clarence Cutcomb conducted a general merchandise store. On Sept. 9, 1899, Sparks Brothers (Eldon, J. A., and Charles) organized the Bank of Cody. Later this (151) bank was sold to H. B. Skeen under whose management it rendered valuable service to the community. The present owner is H. L. Severns who has been connected with the bank for many years. Barton Nicklin and H. B. Skeen, engaged in the lumber, hardware and machinery business. I. C. Stotts was in the hotel business and Albert Rheimensnider was the first blacksmith. William Hook had the livery and sale stable. The bridge across the Niobrara south of Cody was named for Mr. Hook. Moses Barnes was an early hardware merchant. O. L. Tryser has been the village barber for many years.
The pioneer and later ranchmen of the community were: J. K. Goodfellow and son, Ralph, both of whom have passed away. Ralph Goodfellow's daughter, Mrs. Royal McGaughey, and her husband are now the owners of a portion of the original ranch. His son, Dr. William Goodfellow, lives in Sheridan, Wyo.
Dan Adamson and sons, Irwin and Emmet. Dan Adamson has the distinction of having spent a portion of one winter in a hay stack for his house. The hay stack burned one night, and burned his boots, trousers and saddle. His son, Irwin, is the President of the Nebraska Stock Growers Association, and owns a ranch south of Cody. Emmet and his mother own and operate a ranch south of Cody. Mrs. Adamson and daughter, Mrs. Barrett Booth, live in Cherry County.
H. G. Wallingford and sons, Orvil, Glen, and Clinton. Clinton Wallingford is serving in the armed forces. Mr. H. G. Wallingford's father, A. J. Wallingford was a real pioneer. He was one of a committee to select the location for our state capitol, Lincoln. He saw service on the frontier, during the days when Indians raided the settlements. H. G. Wallingford began his business career as a boy by hunting grouse, ducks, and prairie chickens for the market. He spent much of one winter in a tent and cooked his food over a camp fire while doing this work.
James Wallingford, Edson and B. I. Gale. These brothers are among the later ranchmen of the community, coming to Cherry County after the Kinkaid Homestead law was passed. They have made an outstanding success of their business. S. E. Hollers is also one of the later ranchmen.
South of Cody across both the Niobrara and Snake Rivers is the T. O. Ranch, founded by W. E. Waite and later owned by J. W. Stetter. It is now the property of George Brandeis of Omaha.
(152) Other pioneers were: Walter Goodin, Ed S. Weed, John Bishop, and his daughter, Laura, who was one of the pioneer teachers of the county. Mr. Ed S. Weed's daughter, Kate, was also a pioneer teacher. William Anderson, William Fanning, Max Mayhew, Charles Metz, Andrew Rock, J. L. Hibbs, Kemp Heath, Lee Sellers, Hugh Sears, Philip Nelson, J. H. Quigley, G. W. Brooker is one of the later ranchmen of the community. His daughter, Hope, now Mrs. W. L. Anderson of Chadron, was granted a pilot's license to fly an airplane June 1, 1940, by the government. Cherry County has two other young women pilots. They are Miss Dorothy Kidder, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Kidder, and Miss Echo Lange, whose parents live in Mullen. These young ladies are from south Cherry County.
L. D., F. L., and Joseph Reed, H. R. Sears, L. E. Stuart, Peter Voght, D. E. Alford, James and William Childers, H. W. Carter, H. F. Holliday, G. A. and A. E. Heath, J. E. and E. F. Hendrix, J. A. Lockwood, Frank and Jacob Mogle, Clyde Milslagle, Michael and Rosa Mone, Anson Newberry, D. C. Nelson.
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