LOCATION AND SETTLEMENT
The Kenesaw site was located June 9, 1871, by S. P. Howland, now living in Juniata, Milton F. Brown, Charles
Colt and J. D. Butler, Jr. The four original settlers preempted the four quarters of section 34, town 8, range
12. Recalling the circumstances Mr. Howland said: "I sent teams to Grand Island for lumber to build the shack
and it was built that month, June. The first five nights I spent upon the site of Kenesaw it rained every night
and I slept under an inverted wagon box. Our drinking water at first had to be hauled from Lowell, ten miles to
the west, but a well was bored about the third day after we arrived.
"Antelopes and coyotes used to come close to our cabins and we could shoot them from our doors. That fall,
two families came to live near our houses. Napoleon Bonaparte Hamp was on the farm now occupied by the Misses Norton
and Jim Sweeting was on a quarter adjoining town. In January, 1872, all four of us who were located on the town
site sold to the Burlington Railroad."
In June, 1872, Kenesaw was surveyed by Anselmo B. Smith for Charles F. Morse. The system of streets and avenues
was designated as follows: The southern boundary is Spruce Street and then paralleling Spruce in order are Pine
and Poplar streets, south of South Depot Street; north of North Depot Street are Maple, Elm and Ash streets. The
avenues run north and south. On the west is Brooks Avenue and then comes Forbes, Dennison, Smith, Perkins and Doane
avenues. The avenues bear the names of members of the South Platte Land Company, who laid out many towns in this
section of the West. The town was platted by J. H Cummings.
The greater part of the plat south of the railroad was subsequently vacated and the extremes of the north side
also. Following the building of the railroad from Kenesaw to Denver along the present route Kenesaw took on something
of the nature of a boom and its most substantial growth has been made since that time. Additions to the town have
been made from time to time. Cook's addition was surveyed by T. E. Farrell in March, 1885. Parmenter's second addition
was surveyed by C. A. Heartwell, October 4, 1909, for L. W. Parameter, and Powers' subdivision of block four of
Thompson's addition was surveyed by Mr. Heartwell October 13, 1909.
It is fortunate for the annals of Kenesaw that the first actual settler in that vicinity, Dr. A. D. Williams, was
a man who wielded a facile pen and also had a penchant for making accurate records. "The railroad was laid
out across this section and finished," wrote Doctor Williams, "in June, 1872, through to Kearney. The
Kenesaw town site was laid out a little before but the depot was not built until along in the fall, I believe the
latter part of October or the first of November.
"After the preemptors left, the four houses were not occupied and no one lived on the townsite until about
the first of December, when Mrs. M. S. Norton moved into one of them and acted as deputy postmaster, a postoffice
having in the meantime been established, and A. D. Williams appointed postmaster. For a brief period before Mrs.
Norton moved onto the townsite Mr. Williams' house on the southeast quarter of section 26, 8, 12, was designated
by the Government as the location of the postoflice." Three of the original houses built upon the townsite
were blown down and destroyed in the Easter storm of 1873.
The following quotation from Doctor Williams gives a detailed account of the earliest settlers in the vicinity
of Kenesaw: "Mr. Fred Ernst settled on the Platte River, nearly six miles north of Kenesaw, in the spring
of 1872, and he and his sons became not only the oldest but among the most substantial citizens of that section
of the country. The first permanent settler anywhere near Kenesaw was A. D. Williams on the southwest quarter of
section 26, 8, 12, August 16, 1872. He came thither in a 'prairie schooner,' and he with Mrs. Williams, Katie and
George lived three weeks in the covered wagon box, setting up the cook stove outside of it, in a kitchen bounded
only by the horizon.
"Their first visitors were Pawnee Indians returning from. a hunt over on the upper Republican. Seeing the
schooner deployed from the trail, which was along the sand hills near where Mr. Moon lives. they came and plied
their begging art so successfully that a trip had to be made next day to Juniata to replenish the larder. They,
as well as the Omahas, frequently called afterward, but were never again so successful.
"Soon after, a Mr. Chenowith appeared and entered the southeast quarter of section 28, 8, 12, where Bert Moore
later lived, and returned to Iowa for his family. Almost at the same time Ed Moore, Captain Knapp (net Miles Knapp),
William Miller and another gentleman arrived and located on section 20, Moore on the southwest, Knapp on the southeast,
Miller on the northeast and the other man on the northwest quarter. Moore, Knapp and Miller afterward returned
and settled. The other never did.
"The second actual settler was Reverend Willis, who located southwest of where Mr. Wolcott later lived. He
was accompanied by his wife and sister in law, and brought with him carpenters and a donkey from Lincoln. His first
building, and for a time his home, was what he afterwards used for a granary, and which Bert Moore used later for
a stable. On or about November 25, 1872, Mrs. Mary S. Norton 'and her four children arrived from Minnesota. James
Cline settled on what was in a later period known as the 'Shattuck farm.' Several other entries were made, but
so far as I can remember, these were all of the actual settlers during 1872.
"Early in 1873 there was quite an influx of settlers. Among them were E. A. Loomis, Anson Loomis, L. W. Parmenter,
Edward Moore, Captain Knapp, Bockfeller, F. Phillips, Robert and John Harter and two Stonehockers who settled on
the south half of section 24 and on the southeast quarter of section 26, on what is now Mr. Schlegel's farm, and
the two Shattuck brothers. W. Z. Parmenter had arrived from Ohio in November, 1871, and located on a homestead
on section 20, 7, 11."
FIRST THINGS IN KENESAW
Mrs. M. S. Norton, who occupied one of the four houses first built in Kenesaw and who was the deputy postmaster
under A. D. Williams, died in Kenesaw July 9, 1894. Doctor Williams died in Kenesaw December 31st, of the same
Delmar D. Norton, the son of Mrs. M. S. Norton, was the first station agent in Kenesaw. He remained in the position
until Kenesaw was made a telegraph station when, not having learned telegraphy, he resigned and afterward became
a prominent business man of Kenesaw.
The first general merchandise store in Kenesaw was built by Josiah Hodges, who had his place open for business
by August, 1873. In the winter of 1873-74 Mr. Hodges sold his business to Edward Moore, who was the next settler
in the town. The next business to be established was an implement house. This was managed by S. S. Dow, who conducted
the business for E. Steinau, who lived in Hastings and was one of the first business men of that town. J. G. Havzlett
opened a grocery and hardware store in the spring of 1878 and the following year G. B. Crandall began business
with a. general stock of goods. G. W. Baldwin opened the first blacksmith shop in 1877. In 1878 Edward Moore sold
his store to A. S. Thompson and later in the fall J. H. Roberts started a general store.
In the summer of 1884 Kenesaw was incorporated as a village. The year before an attempt had been made to incorporate
but the county commissioners had refused on the ground that the petition did not contain the names of a majority
of the taxpayers.
The first death in the town was that of Jessie Hodges, a child of Josiah Bodges, in the winter of 1873. The first
adult to die was Mrs. Maria Moore, the wife of Edward Moore, in 1875. The first birth also was in 1875, when a
child was born to Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Dow.
An inkling of the satisfactory growth which the village of Kenesaw has enjoyed can be gained when the value of
the original four shacks erected in 1871 upon the bare town site is compared with the valuation of the village
as it stands upon the record of the county assessor in 1916. The record shows that there are in the village 383
improved lots with an actual value, with the improvements, of $233,440, and 202 unimproved lots with an actual
value of $19,285. The average actual value of the improved lots is given as $609.50 each, and of the unimproved
lots, $94.47. The value of the improvements is placed at $180,100.
In January, 1884, among the business men of Kenesaw were E. N. Crane, M. F. White and A. Barton, general merchants;
J. G. Havzlett, proprietor of a then new hotel, the Metropolitan; J. A. Lindsey, manager of Sewell & Co.'s
grain business; Cook & Cooley. lumber dealers; Barton & Collins, grain dealers; A. S. Thompson, drugs;
H. W. Mitchell and W. F. Manspeaker, hardware dealers; A. S. Martin, agricultural implements; R. B. Grounds, furniture;
George Bechtelheimer, manager of Neimeyer & Co.'s lumber yard; D. A. Kennedy, restaurant; Smith & Schafer,
dealers in meat; John Nickerson, billiard hall; L. C. White, barber; J. Williams, physician; the Misses Osler,
milliners; Cook Bros., blacksmiths; G. W. Hodges, laundry; B. F. Armitage, insurance agent; Horace Armitage, builder,
and George T. Williams, publisher of the Kenesaw Times. In May, 1884, Kemp & Hope moved into their new hardware
store and the Gillette Bank Building was opened.
Nick Scunk's restaurant is the oldest business in Kenesaw in continuous operation.
Among the very earliest pioneers who still reside in the vicinity of Kenesaw, are: Charles, Fred, William and Henry
Ernst, sons of Fred Ernst, who settled in the Platte Valley in 1872; Mrs. I. D. Evans and Mary H. Williams, daughters
of Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Williams; Misses Marilla and Melena Norton, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. M. S. Norton. W. Z.
Parmenter is probably the earliest settler now residing in the township.
KENESAW OF TODAY
The first brick building was erected in Kenesaw in 1902 by F. S. Cary at the corner of Smith Avenue and North
Railroad Street. This building was one story in height and was erected at a cost of about $16,000. Since that time
there has been a good deal of building with brick and at present Kenesaw has eleven brick buildings and three cement
stone business buildings.
Among the business men of Kenesaw at the present time are J. G. Jones, W. A. Cauffman and the Stanley Mercantile
Co.; C. G. Schlegel, hardware; Mikkelsen Drug Company, and Kenesaw Drug Company (Cameron & Schunk), drugs;
Roll Pade, jewelry; Thomas Ramsey and Stephen Schultz, harness shops; Fischer Bros., Bert Harpham and I. E. Hershey,
three blacksmith shops; H. Emspahr and R. Beal, pumps, wells and plumbing; Liberty M. Robinson, manager Lininger
Implement Company; Walter Schultz, manager Stephen Schultz Implement Company; L. L. Weaver, manager Kenesaw Mill
& Elevator Company, also sell farm implements; E. M. Jenkins, manager Empire Lumber Company; L. L. Weaver,
manager Kenesaw Mill & Elevator Company, also sell coal and lumber; D. R. Mikesell and H. D. Billesbach, barber
shops; Dr. W. E. Nowers and Dr. F. A. Townley, physicians; C. H. Hartwig, dentist; Mrs. Jennie Powers, millinery;
G. F. Whitesell, landlord Cottage Hotel; W. G. Hawes, F. C. Armitage and Sipple Bros., garage proprietors, the
latter firm from Hastings; William Hines and S. Wertz, veterinarians; W. F. Davis, furniture store; F. I. Parker
& Sons, meat market. In addition to those named Kenesaw has two restaurants, one shoe repairing business, two
real estate offices, two pool halls, three dray lines, one livery, feed and sale barn.
The Cottage Hotel was erected in 1887 by T. F. Cain and operated by him until it was purchased in 1907 by G. F.
Whitesell. The Kenesaw Opera House was erected by Dr. E. J. Latta in 1910 and destroyed by fire in 1912. It was
not rebuilt. E. E. Ragsdale was a pioneer druggist. His building was destroyed by fire in 1911 after he had quit
F. S. Carey was a prominent business man of Kenesaw about six years. He now resides at Limp; Beach, Cal., having
left Kenesaw about 1904. R. J. White, who left Kenesaw about twenty years ago, after conducting a general store
for ten years, is now located in Lincoln.
Kenesaw has two banks. The Kenesaw Exchange Bank, opened in 1883, has been a sound and reliable institution during
the thirty three years of its existence. The present officers are: A. L. Clark, president; S. A. Westing, vice
president; and H. R. Caplin, cashier. It has a paid up capital of $20,000.
The First State Bank was started by Herman Redman and associates. It has had a very successful career and a steady
growth. It has a fine brick banking house, has $15,000 capital and enjoys the confidence of the community. B. J.
Hilsabeck is president and the main factor in its management.
ELECTRIC LIGHT AND WATER PLANTS
Kenesaw has had a municipally owned electric light plant since 1910 and municipally owned waterworks since 1911.
July 15, 1910, bonds for an electric light plant were voted in the sum of $4,500, the vote being 89 for the bonds
and 58 against. The plant was erected at a cost of about $8,000. Electric street lighting is maintained and the
plant has 100 light customers. There is a sliding scale for rates, the price for commercial current being from
fifteen cents to six cents per kilowatt hour and for residence lighting from twenty cents to eight cents with a
minimum of one dollar per month.
It required two attempts to carry the bonds for waterworks. The first proposition was for $20,000 and the vote
was 109 for the bonds and 42 against. The bonds were declared by the canvassers to have carried, but later upon
a legal technicality they were declared lost. The next vote was on February 28, 1911, when 123 votes were cast
for the bonds and 42 against. The amount voted was $18,500 and the plant was constructed that year. The water plant
has 125 customers and the rate is 15 cents per 1,000 gallons, with a minimum of $2 per quarter.
Kenesaw has two flour mills, The Kenesaw Mill & Elevator Company, and the Whiteley Milling Company's plant.
Each of the mills has a capacity of upwards of fifty barrels per day. The Kenesaw Mill & Elevator Company was
incorporated February 15, 1916, with a capital stock of $20,000 divided into 200 shares, and the purpose of the
corporation is stated to be the buying of grain and the manufacture of flour. The incorporators were J. H. Augustin,
L. Weaver, Peter Augustin and Charles Moritz.
The Whiteley Milling Company was incorporated April 21, 1916, the incorporators being Owen Whiteley, William Coulter,
Liberty Robinson, John Shurigar, John Cain, Vic Trneman and Frank Harpham. The authorized capital stock is $6,000,
divided into 100 shares. New machinery recently bought has doubled the capacity of the mills.
The forming of the Kenesaw Telephone Company was a direct result of the Farmers' Institute which was maintained
for about fourteen years. One of the lecturers suggested the telephone as an utility that the farmers might maintain
for themselves. W. Z. Parmenter was struck with the idea and mentioned it to Dr. E. J. Latta, who conducted a paper
in Kenesaw at that time. The editor discussed the subject editorially and a meeting was called. In March, 1904,
a corporation was formed with eight members, each subscribing for $250 worth of stock.
Of this organization F. S. Carey was the president, W. Z. Parmenter, vice president, and Dr. E. J. Latta, secretary.
These, with the following, composed the board of directors: S. A. Westing, A. S. Howard, Stephen Schultz, George
Wolcott and D. D. Norton. The first year about twenty miles of line was constructed and at the end of the first
year a dividend of 10 per cent was voted through the issuance and sale of stock. The following year the lines were
considerably extended. S. A. Westing was the president the second year. A dividend of 8 per cent was declared to
again be paid by the issuance of stock. Each year subsequently a dividend of 8 per cent has been paid in cash.
Free service is maintained with Prosser, Juniata, Heartwell and Holstein. The monthly rate for residence phone
is $1.25 per month and $2 for business phones. The company has about five hundred subscribers.
The present oflicers of the telephone company are A. S. Howard, president; Herman Coplin, secretary, and the remainder
of the directors, H. E. Rose, S. A. Westing, E. Wicks, L. L. Weaver, W. Z. Parmenter and Cal Osler.
KENESAW SCHOOL DISTRICT
The narrative of the establishing of the Kenesaw school district is of interest not only because the institution
has flourished with commendable success but because the question of location divided the early settlers sharply.
Dr. A. D. Williams has left a very interesting account of the struggle. "Early in 1873," wrote Doctor
Williams, "it was found that there were twenty seven children of school age in the district, in which there
was a large amount of taxable railroad land and property, while the settlers were nearly all homesteaders, and
paid very little taxes. So A. D. Williams proposed that $4,000 of bonds be issued, running for only five years,
so that the burden would rest largely on the two railroads most of the land being Union Pacific land before the
settlers would pay much taxes.
"Strange to relate there was opposition to the proposition, most of it from people who had a good supply of
children and next to no taxes. But the bonds were issued, the house built in 1874, and both the railroads and some
of the homesteaders kicked. The question of location proved a bone of contention. The settlers north and south
of the railroad were about equal in numbers and generally voted according to location. At the first meeting the
vote was for a south side location. The railroad refused to deed the site and the question had to be reconsidered.
At the second meeting the present site, on the north side, was selected, some of those south of the road voting
for it. But the south siders opposed to the north side site commenced a war upon the erection of the building A
suit was commenced and an injunction secured. The court, however, dissolved the injunction and dismissed the suit
and the work of building the house went on. The only sharp practice, if such it be called, which I as agent of
the town site company practiced during the whole matter, was to secure through the county superintendent such a
readjustment of the boundary of the district, by strictly legal process, as left Reverend Willis outside, and before
he knew it.
"Then came a struggle to prevent paying the bonds in the five years, led on by the railroads, and favored
by some persons having considerable taxable property. The object of the railroads was obvious, to prevent payment
until they had disposed of their lands in which they secured manifest advantage to the equally obvious disadvantage
of the settlers. But as most of the parties to this arrangement remained in the district until the bonds were paid,
it is not so easy to see where the benefit to them came in, for relieving the railroads and throwing the amount
of their relief upon the old settlers who had proved up on their lands in the meantime, and on the new settlers
that had come in." Connected with the early years of the school was a weekly literary society which held the
interest not only of the pupils but of the whole community, and frequently presented fine public programs. "The
Literary" met the social as well as the intellectual needs of the time.
The schoolhouse erected in 1874 was a two story frame building which, with a north extension and other improvements,
served as the schoolhouse until the erection of the present brick building in 1912. Bonds for the new schoolhouse
in the sum of $25,800 were voted November 11, 1911. The plans and specifications were made by W. F. Gerrnandt of
Fairbury and the general contract was let to Chilly & McHale of Deshler and Fairbury upon their bid of $19,035.
The contract for plumbing and the installation of the steam heating plant was let to Peter N. Kjar of Holdrege
The Kenesaw High School is on the accredited list and has twelve grades. The class of 1916 numbered twenty three,
the largest in the history of the school. Domestic science, normal training, commercial and agricultural departments
are maintained as well as playground apparatus. About $1,500 was received in 1915 in tuition from out of the district
The board serving when the new schoolhouse was built were: T. C. Branson, chairman; F. C. Armitage, B. F. Schlegel,
I. D. Evans, S. A. Westing and C. H. Combs. The present board are B. J. Hilsabeck, F. C. Armitage, B. F. Schlegel,
Mrs. Lucy K. Partridge, T. C. Branson and Dr. Walter E. Nowers. B. F. Schlegel has served continuously on the board
for thirty five years. The superintendent of the Kenesaw schools at present is Reuben G. Dunlap; principal of the
high school, Edna C. Baker ; other teachers, Marie Hollister, Harriet Oyer, L. M. Lattin, Alta Bentz, Katherine
Smith and Ruth Mohler.
Kenesaw is not lacking in religious and worshiping facilities. There are in the village at present seven church
organizations. The Methodist Episcopal was the first organized church in Kenesaw, but after the downfall of the
Rev. Royal H. Crane and the moving away of some of its members there was no Methodist preaching for awhile.
Largely through the efforts of J. G. Hayzlett and the Joneses, Presbyterian preaching and eventually a Presbyterian
Church was established. Until 1883 all denominations worshiped in the schoolhouse, dividing the time between them,
although this arrangement led to considerable friction.
The records of the Kenesaw Methodist Church indicate that following the collapse of the first organization made
in the early '70s by Rev. R. A. Crane the denomination did 'not have a pastor of their own until 1884. The Free
Will Baptists erected a house of worship in June of that year and the Methodists worshiped in this church. After
the erection of the Presbyterian Church they sometimes met in that church alternating with the use of the Baptist
house. Sometimes, service was held in Crane's Hall.
In the spring of 1893 the denomination erected their own church building. In the early fall of that year the building
was destroyed by lightning. Services were conducted by the pastor, Rev. F. A. Colony, and a subscription started
for a new church. The present edifice was completed that fall at a cost of $3,500. A parsonage was subsequently
built which the church records show to be valued at 8900 in 1900, $1,550 in 1910 and $1,800 in 1916. At about the
time that the church was built in Kenesaw the Mount Zion Church, midway between Juniata and Kenesaw was erected,
but in 1915 this church was moved into Kenesaw where it is now used as a hall by the Epworth League and the Ladies'
Aid Society. When the Kenesaw church was first organized it was on the Juniata circuit of the Beatrice district
of which Rev. J. B. Maxfield was the presiding elder. In 1880 it came within the Hastings district. Among the early
members were E. B. Moore, L. B. Partridge, E. N. Crane, Mr. and Mrs. George Kidd and H. E. Rose. The membership
of the church at present is 135. The following pastors have served the church: J. G. Walker, 1884; T. J. Fink,
1885; Isaac New, 1886; R. M. Hardman, 1887 to 1889, inclusive; M. DeMott, 1890 to 1892, inclusive; F. A. Colony,
1893 to 1897, inclusive; J. P. Badgeley 1898; M. A. Wimberly, 1899; E. D. Gideon, 1900, served year and a half;
S. W. Gamble, three months in 1901; Howard P. Young, last three months of 1901 to 1904, inclusive; A. V. Grossman,
1905 and 1906; E. M. Reed, 1907 and 1908; Paul B. Wright, 1909 to 1911, inclusive; R. B. E. Hill, 1912 and 1913;
M. S. Foutch, 1914; R. B. Barr. 1915 to September, 1916. The present pastor, T. H. Worley, has served since September,
FREE WILL BAPTIST CHURCH
This church was organized November 13, 1883. The charter members were Rev. A. D. Williams, D. D., and wife,
Sarah Han Williams, James R. Currier, Lewis Currier, Lydia Currier, Kate Boley, Sarah J. Needham, Perry Hodges
and Annie Currier. The church was dedicated July 13, 1884, by Prof. Ransom Dunn. Dr. A. D. Williams, the clerk
of the church, superintended the building, and raised the money to pay for the church with the exception of $200
which was appropriated for the purpose of assistance by the general conference at Minneapolis. This phase of cooperation
in the Baptist denomination Doctor Williams took great interest in promoting, and he wrote a history of the movement
in a volume entitled, "Four Years of Cooperation." This was the first church to be erected in Keenest.
Doctor Williams was the first pastor and the following named pastors (not, however, in exact order) have served
the church: R. N. Bonk, J. D. Fry, George W. Knapp, Edward Chace, Howard R. Murphy, now a missionary to India,
Rev. Frank Tilton, Rev. Lockwood, Harry C. Woisot, W. F. Davis, Miss Wilmette Marks, Rev. H. M. Burns, who served
only a month or two and was succeeded by Rev. Louise Dewey, Rev. N. C. Powers, who became pastor in 1900 and served
two years, Rev. AID. F. Sturdevant, who took charge in 1911, Mrs. Lizzie McAdams, who was chosen in 1913, and Rev.
AV. F. Davis, who served the church from 1904 to 1907, and has been serving a second term since 1914. Edward Chace
was succeeded by a lady whose name has been forgotten. Joseph Westley, W. H. Edger and J. C. Dazey did successful
work for the church in its early days as evangelists.
Dr. Alvin D. Williams and his wife, Sarah Ham Williams, filled a very large place in the religious and intellectual
life of the community. Mrs. Williams was born in Maryland in 1825 and died in Kenesaw February 4, 1900. Before
her marriage in 1850 Mrs. Williams was Sarah Ham. She was a woman of wide reading and at a period when it was unusual
for girls to acquire more than the rudiments of an education Miss Ham was a student at Cedar Hill Seminary in Southern
Pennsylvania and afterwards a teacher.
Doctor Williams was a graduate of Hamilton College, New York, and at different times held pastorates with the Free
Baptist Church at Carolina Mills, R. I.; Pawtucket, R. I.; Lawrence, Mass.; Minneapolis and Fairport, Minn. He
served as the head of several schools among others, principal of the Nebraska State Normal at Peru and Oakland
City College, Oakland, Ind. Among his literary productions are "History of the Free Baptists in Rhode Island."
"History of the Free Communion Baptists." "Four Years of Cooperation in Nebraska," "The
Church and Its Institutions" and a biography of Rev. Benoni Stinson, the originator of the General Baptist
denomination in the United States.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The Presbyterian Church at Kenesaw was organized January 16. 1879. The following were the charter members: Mr.
and Mrs. J. G. Hayzlett, J. B. Elwood, Mrs. L. M. Elirod, G. C. Giffin, Mrs. P. N. Giffin, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph
L. Frank, Mrs. Henrietta Moon and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Jones. The first ruling elders were J. G. Hayzlett and Joseph
L. Frank. The first new members received were Mr. and Mrs. T. Bolton Burns, who united with the Kenesae Church
the September following organization. The church was organized by Rev. George L. Little, Synodical missionary for
The congregation worshiped in the Kenesaw schoolhouse until the present church was erected in the summer of 1883.
It has a seating: capacity of about one hundred fifty and the present membership is eighty. The parsonage was built
about 1906 and has a present valuation of about $2,500. The present ruling elders are F. M. Denman, Charles Ii.
Burling, W. U. Nichol and Orville Caldwell. The trustees are Mrs. A. Kauffman, Mrs. J. L. Templeton, E. S. Jones,
B. J. Hilsabeck, William Coulter and Albert Nelson.
The following have been the pastors: George C. Giffen, January, 1879, to November, 1883; A. Folson, November, 1883,
to November, 1884; J. L. Lawler, November, 1884, to May, 1885; J. P. Black, September 5, 1885, to August, 1887;
James S. Young, May 20, 1888, to September 2, 1888; M. L. Milford, December 8, 1889, to November 9, 1890; W. E.
Andrews, February 25, 1891, to June 1, 1893; Samuel B. Boyer, June 1, 1893, to December 3, 1894; Charles H. Rrouillette,
March 1, 1895, to July, 1898; T. H. Dry, January, 1899, to December, 1900; W. J. Brooks, March, 1901, to March,
1903; A. M. Shepherd, May, 1903, to December, 1904; Joel Warner, April, 1905, to September, 1907; Oscar Bostroni,
March, 1909, to September, 1909; H. W. Evart, November, 1909, to March, 1910; R. J. Bethower, May, 1910; John J.
G. Graham, 1911 and 1912. The present pastor, John W. Hill, assumed charge, January 1, 1913.
THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
An effort to organize this denomination in the early '80s did not prove successful. The present church was organized
November 22, 1909, by Dr. Charles Reign Scoville, the evangelist. The charter members were Mr. and Mrs. W. Z. Farmenter,
Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Latta, Mrs. Dillon, Ethel Dillon, O. Mikesell, J. T. Aker, Harley Parmenter, Mrs. E. L. Alshouse,
Mrs. Thomas Jones, Mrs. O. Mikesell, Bess and Mildred Latta. The congregation worshiped before the erection of
the church sometimes in the First State Bank and in Latta Hall. The erection of the church was begun in the spring
of 1912 and on November 10th of that year it was dedicated. The building committee was W. Z. Palmenter, Thomas
Ramsey, E. J. Latta and A. S. Howard. The present membership is sixty five.
The following have been the pastors: Charles Cobbey, until 1911; R. A. Batie, 1911; Chancellor Oeschager, a short
time in 1912; J. H. Bicknell completed 1912; E. H. Murry, seven months in 1913; Miss Lizzie 'McAdams, three months
in 1914; L. A. Bronbaugh, seven or eight months in 1915; Frank Majors, two months in 1916. At present the church
is without a pastor.
THE NAZARENE CHURCH
The Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene was organized May 23, 1911, by Rev. Q. A. Deck with thirty one charter
members. The first stewards were Nelson Jaco, Harry Peck, Frank Bahike.
The present stewards are Nelson Jaco, Mrs. Olive Peck, Evert Peck, Mrs. Martha Baugh, Mrs. Emma McFerren, Mrs.
Lore Dick and Mrs. Frank Bahlke; treasurer, Mrs. Lily Anderson; secretary, Eldora Baugh; trustees, Harry Peck,
Frank Bahlke and Will McFerren. The house of worship which was dedicated November 12, 1911, has a seating capacity
of 175. There are at present thirty members.
Rev. Q. A. Deck ministered to the congregation for a time and has been followed by Miss Louise Dewey, May 1 to
July 1, 1912; Theodore and Minnie E. Ludwig, October 1, 1912, to September 14, 1913; Rev. N. D. Essley, September
28, 1913, to September, 1914; A. C. Holland, September 14, 1914, to September 1, 1915; H. C. September 1, 1915,
to July 16, 1916. The present pastor; Rev. James J. Brady, has been in charge since October 1, 1916.
The Evangelical Church was organized in 1878 and has enjoyed a satisfactory growth, being now one of the strong
churches of Kenesaw. Among the charter members were Ernest Budy, Green Cull, Charles Oliver, J. W. Bobbitt, Reuben
Buddy, Mrs. Mary Jones, Charles Schlehouf, O. A. Bentz and B. Young.
Kenesaw Lodge, No. 144, A. F. & A. M., was organized January 28, 1885. The charter members were Henry E.
Norton, John G. Havzlett, George W. Wolcott, John B. Brown, Robert B. Brown, Luther B. Partridge, Eli N. Crane,
Truman P. Booth, John W. Bobbitt and Milton Young. The lodge now has sixty members. The present officers are Ray
Fulmer, master; John Ramsey, senior warden; Dr. Walter E. Nowers, junior warden; L. M. Robinson, secretary, and
B. F. Schlegel, treasurer.
A. O. U. W.
Kenesaw Lodge, A. O. U. W., No. 188, was organized March 26, 1891. The first officers were McKendrey DeMott,
past master workman; Harry M. Russell, master workman; Eugene B. Moore, foreman; Clarence Powell, overseer; Philander
E. Hatch, recorder; John Patterson, overseer; Josephus Williams, receiver. This lodge now has a membership of 100.
The present officers are W. C. Hines, master workman; D. R. Mikesell, foreman; R. A. Fulmer, overseer; O. A. Armitage,
financier; C. L. Schunk, secretary; Dr. W. E. Nowers, receiver; Arthur Mavis, guide.
DEGREE OF HONOR
Help Lodge, No. 86, was organized June 8, 1898. The first officers were Margret Coulter, past chief; Ella Hoffman,
lady of honor; Emma }longer, chief of honor; Laura E. Andrews, chief of ceremony; L. M. Robinson, recorder; Lavina
Williamson, receiver; Amy Robinson, financier; Mary Martin, L. of U.; John Clark, inside watch; Charles Ramsey,
outside watch. The present officers are Mrs. Henry Huffman, chief of honor; Mrs. Alma Groff, lady of honor; Mrs.
Dan Martin, past chief; Mrs. Charles Pritchard, chief of ceremony; Mrs. Grant Ruby, recorder.
I. O. O. F. Lodge, No. 231, was organized August 18, 1898. The first officers were E. J. Latta, N. G.; Zenas
Smith, V. G.; C. L. Benson, secretary; John Gearhart, treasurer. The lodge now has 120 members. The present officers
are Dr. Walter E. Nowers, N. G.; Seth Lippincott, V. G.; Asa Phillips, secretary; Reuben Bowers, treasurer.
K. OF P.
Enterprise Lodge, No. 29, Knights of Pythias, was organized March 7, 1912, with the following charter members:
J. L. Templeton, W. E. Latta, Frank Bernhard, W. H Long, B. F. Schlegel, Jerry Lippincott, A. S. Howard, B. C.
Hutchinson, Dr. S. J. Stewart, Dr. E. J. Latta, G. F. Whitesell, S. S. Wertz, Ed Aishouse, H. G. Larsen and L.
M. Robinson. The lodge now has thirty six members with the following officers: Chancellor commander, Dr. W. E.
Nowers; vice commander, Ed Dry; master of work, W. C. Hines; master of arms, Bruce Templeton; keeper of records
and seals, Jesse Templeton; treasurer, B. F. Schlegel; prelate, T. F. Wilson.
Ben Alpine Castle, No. 74, Royal Highlanders, was organized January 1, 1898. The first officers were A. S. Howard,
past illustrious protector; Luther B. Partridge, protector; J. L. Landis, chief counsellor; Nelson Jaco, worthy
evangel; Fred P. Piccard, secretary; Fred S. Cary, treasurer.
M. W. A.
Ambrose Camp, No. 1818, was organized October 31, 1892. The charter members were Robert J. Boyd, Winfield S.
Evans, William E. Latta, H. L. Martin, Clarence Hall, S. H. Smith, Jay Williams and Richard J. White.
The first woman suffrage organization in Adams County was at Kenesaw, the first organization being made June
2, 1882, by Mrs. M. A. Brass. D. D. Norton was the first president of this organization, Mrs. J. G. Hayzlett, vice
president; Mrs. J. H. Cooley, secretary; and Mrs. J. H. Roberts, treasurer.
The present organization was formed in 1903 by Gail Laughlin of Maine. Ellen D. Ham has been the president since
the beginning. The other officers are Mrs. F. L. Haller, vice president; Mrs. John Osler, recording secretary;
Miss Mary Williams, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Nels Mikkelsen, treasurer; and Mrs. L. N. Rowers, auditor, The
organization is active and has a membership of twenty, one at present, at times the membership has been as high
as fifty. Monthly meetings are held and in former years public meetings with programs were frequently given. Lecturers
have been brought to Kenesaw by the organization and a generous amount of money has been raised for the suffrage
cause and delegates have been sent regularly to the county and state conventions.
The Kenesaw Cemetery Association was formed April 26, 1880. The first trustees were G. W. Baldwin, W. Z. Parmenter
and G. C. Giffin. D. D. Norton was the first secretary and J. G. Hayzlett treasurer.
A. D. Williams was the first postmaster appointed and Mrs. M. S. Norton, the deputy, was the acting postmaster
with D. D. Norton her son, doing the actual handling of the greater part of the mail. The succeeding postmasters
have been A. S. Thompson, S. S. Bechtelheimer, T. A. Templeton, Herman D. Einspahr, Luther B. Partridge, Lucy Ii.
Partridge and the present postmaster, John Cain, who was appointed in 1912. Kenesae has two rural routes that were
established at about the time the Juniata routes were begun.
At present W. C. Hines is chairman of the board of town trustees. The other members are B. J. Hilsabeck, F.
C. Armitage, L. M. Robinson, Reuben Bowers and E. C. Dry, who is the clerk. The officials are elected for a term
of two years.
The west end of the county has furnished as representatives in the Legislature Horace G. Armitage, now deceased,
Herman Redman and A. S. Howard, long prominent in business in Kenesae. I. D. Evans was twice a member of the Legislature
and won a prominent place in the House, and through contributions to newspapers has attained a state wide reputation.
Kenesaw has seen the rise and fall of a number of publications. First on the list, while Kenesaw was a mere
way station, George and Mary Williams started the publication of the Desert Home Times. The office of publication
was on their father's farm, just outside the prospective town site. The senior member of the firm was eleven years
old. It was one of those juvenile publications that were quite a fad at that time. The number for September, 1874,
had this item: "Peanuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, bumpkins and various other vegetable commodities are now
plenty at the Desert Home; so says Pa." The paper was two columns wide and about eight inches long. The first
numbers were written, but later it was printed on their father's army press.
In 1875, A. D. Williams began the publication of the Kenesae Times, at his home joining the town site. Kenesaw
was still only a few scattered houses with no business to speak of, but Mr. Williams continued the publication
of the Times until January, 1878, when he transferred his business and began the publication of the Central Nebraskan
at Hastings. Thereafter there was no paper at Kenesaw until the boom period of 1883, when the B. & M. Railroad
began building the Denver cut off, starting from Kenesaw. From that event began the real building of the town and
business of Kenesaw. It was in that year George T. Williams, the pioneer publisher of Kenesae as proprietor of
the Desert Home Times, started a real newspaper, the Kenesaw Times. In 1888 he sold the Times and removed to Denver,
where he has ever since been engaged in newspaper work, as printer, proof reader, reporter, city editor and editorial
For a time there were two papers in Kenesaw, Horace G. Armitage starting the Free Press about 1885. In 1889, G.
Del. Coleman and H. G. Armitage published the Kenesae Cyclone.
The successor to the Times had many editors, the name being changed several times. S. H. Smith, lawyer, editor
and liveryman, edited the paper for many years. He changed the name to Citizen. Mr. Smith was prominent in the
village for many years, being a member of the school board for more than twenty years. He is now a resident of
Basin, Wyoming. Dr. E. J. Latta, prominent as physician and citizen, edited the paper for a time. J. A. Gardner,
now of the Holstein Herald, ran the paper about three years, changing the name to Kaleidoscope. In 1913, he sold
to the present owner and editor, Mr. W. W. Maltman, who calls it the Kenesaw Sunbeam. The Sunbeam has an equipment
that would do credit to a larger town; a linotype, three job presses and everything else necessary to turn out
a handsome paper and to do good job work.