History of Prosser, Nebraska
From: Past and Present Adams County, Nebraska
Edited by: Judge William R. Burton
Assisted by David J. Lewis
Published By: S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago 1916


That Prosser, located eight miles west and six miles north of Hastings, turned out to be a town and not a sheep ranch was a surprise. At least it was a surprise to George S. Parks, who was among the first to be interviewed by agents of the Pacific Railroad looking for a townsite. The railroad was built into Hastings in 1887, but was not pushed through to Prosser until the following spring. Before the grading of the road had reached Adams County, even before the $125,000 bonds had been voted, Cameron Yeazel was looking for a townsite in the vicinity of Prosser.

Mr. Yeazel left Mr. Parks under the impression that he was representing Dome eastern capitalists who desired to start a sheep ranch in that part of the country if they could find some cheap land. It was after a survey had been made that Mr. Parks learned that at a point where a white post had been set on the southeast quarter of section 5, Verona Township, a town was to be established, Juniata was considerably disturbed about the location of Prosser, and Juniata had to be satisfied that the new town would be located at a safe distance from their town before they would support the bonds in aid of the Pacific Railroad.

In the spring of 1888, L. J. Ware built the first general store in the new town. At about the same time B. F. Barr opened a lumber yard and E. G. Collins built an elevator. The second grocery store was built by E. L. Price. The hotel which was built early in the history of the town by a Mr. Dietrich and which was called for many years the Pacific Hotel, still stands near the station.

A second hotel, a very creditable hostelry, was built by Fred Stoelting a few years before a fire destroyed the hotel. J. G. Heartwell's drug store and the store which had been erected by E. L. Price, but which at the time of the fire was occupied by Morledge & Blake, and the first blacksmith shop, which had been erected by Joseph Philbrick, were destroyed in the same fire about 1902.

Shortly after the fire a general merchandise store was built by the brothers, J. G. and M. R. Jones. The Jones Bros. sold to F. R. Daggett and Charles W. Manahan. Mr. Daggett bought the interest of his partner and now operates the store alone. Mr. Manahan resides in Hastings.

The general merchandise business which G. W. Pratt now conducts had its origin when S. W. Smith purchased the first schoolhouse built in Prosser and converted it into a store. Mr. Smith sold to Charles A. Porter, of Heartwell, and Mr, Porter disposed of the business to Mr. Pratt. The first store wads started by Mr. Ware, and James Bacon later purchased the interest of Mr. Ware, who went to Illinois. The business was successively operated by Charles McCulloch and John Stoner. Mr. Stoner managed the business for Trimble, Blackman & Alexander, of Hastings, until the grocery was discontinued, when B. J. Symonds moved into the store and there conducted his drug business.

For several years before he became superintendent of the Ingleside Hospital for the Insane, Dr. M. W. Baxter was located at Prosser, succeeding Dr. C. J. Yates.

Prosser was not incorporated until August 13, 1907. Those petitioning for incorporation were F. R. Daggett, P. J. Robinson, T. E.

F. H. Schafer, Charles Moritz, L. Batzberg, W. H. Schumann, L. P. Burnham, T. J. Killion, H. F. Moore, August Katzberg, J. W. Benge, J. C. Pratt, G. W. Pratt, D. L. Hare, William Flowerdew, George F. Miller, A. L. Gilmore J. G. Kent, S. W. Smith, D. C. Hinds, C. C. Robinson, S. G. Moore, D. W. Miles, R. O. Wirfel, C. H. Hudson, Charles Stanley, Frank A. Kuehn, J. B. Symonds, D. M. McMakin, M. W. Baxter, M. P. Creager. The first trustees were M. W. Baxter, Charles Moritz, F. R. Daggett, F. H. Moore and T. J. Killion. The incorporated area embraced 210 acres on parts of sections 5, 8 and 9.

The administration of the second board of trustees is notable for initiating the building of cement sidewalks in Prosser against a spirited opposition. But though received at first with much disfavor, this improvement has been extended until Prosser has as good sidewalks as any town of its size. The trustees when this movement was begun were G. W. Pratt, Charles Moritz, C. H. Hudson, M. W. Baxter and H. F. Moore. E. H. Grounds was the village clerk.

S. W. Smith was the first postmaster at Prosser. He was succeeded by George S. Moore, who in turn was succeeded by James Crow, who also conducted the first hardware store. After Mr. Crow, Henry Moore became postmaster, holding the office until his death. Mrs. Moore was then postmistress until succeeded by the present postmaster, R. L. Woods.

The hall which is used for a lodge room and general social center was erected by the A. O. U. W.

The elevator now operated by the Verona Grain & Lumber Company was originally operated by W. H. Ferguson, who sold it to the Farmers Grain & Stock Company. Charles Moritz was the manager under this company. The Farmers Grain & Stock Company sold the business to the present owners, the Verona Grain & Lumber Company. Earl Grounds is the manager. This company was incorporated March 28, 1911, with a capital stock of $10,000. The incorporators were E. E. Binfield, G. H. Geddes, Bert Mott, William Conroy and G. C. Gilmore. In the early days of the grain business in Prosser, Simon Bechtelheimer bought grain on the track.

Prosser was named in honor of T. J. Prosser, of Concordia, Kan., who was superintendent of the construction force that built the Pacific road into the town.

There is only one church in Prosser, the Methodist Episcopal. The first Sunday school was conducted in the Pacific Station, with L. J. Ware acting as superintendent. Within a year the church had organized and erected a church house at a cost of about five hundred dollars. That church, With additions and improvements, is still in use. Among the first members were J. Morgan, L. J. Ware, George S. Parks, Dow Steadman and Miles W. Knapp.

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