History of Grant Township, Buffalo County, NE
From: Buffalo County, Nebraska and its people
BY: Samuel Clay Bassett
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago 1916


Among the first settlers in Grant Township were John Groves, J. Atkinson, Jr., Richard Sell, J. J. Roberts, in 1872; Miles B. Hunt, W. White, E. S. Marsh, G. L. Kough, A. M. Mudge, J. K. Sanford, W. H. Brown, G. F. Hesselgrave, T. E. Foster, William Brown, in 18i3; William Grant, G. W. Coffman, A. Thompson, Lydia M. Mace, H. Coffman, J. H. Coffman, Rena Hollenbeck, in 1874.

School District No. 13 in this township was organized by Dan A. Crowell, county superintendent, March to, 1873. Notice of the organization of the diestrict was sent Miles B. Hunt, a taxable inhabitant of the district, and directed that the first meeting for the election of school district officers be held at 'the house of said Miles B. Hunt on Friday, the 28th day of March (1873), at to o'clock A. M. (It will be noted the number of this school district is 13 and the first meeting held to elect officers met on Friday.)

The records disclose that in July, 1873, this district is reported as having twelve children of school age, and E. S. Marsh was serving as school director.

Mrs. C. V. D. Basten writes of the early history of Grant Township as follows:


The first location of Huntsville, which, accurately speaking, was the schoolhouse, was picturesque; the building was white with green blinds. The river and its bridge and the overhanging trees on the banks made a peaceful, sylvan background. This was two miles east of the present Stanley. Huntsville was named after Miles B. Hunt; Crowellton after Dan A. Crowell. It is a pity the names had to be changed, at the request of the postoffice department, because easily confused with other names of postoffices in the state.

In 1872-73 all the homes were dugouts. Coming upon them from the side or rear, one knew it was a dwelling because of the stovepipe sticking out.

Few had floors. Mrs. William N. Brown put her good rag carpet directly upon the hard worn earth; had white curtains at the windows in front, one each side the door. The beds were curtained off in the rear corner of the single room. It was really attractive and comfortable.

Miss Rena Hollenbeck, who was married after her term of school in 1875 to J. H. Coffman, had a very attractive sod house nicely furnished.

The Hunts had several rooms in their dugout. They had a large family. Mr. Hunt was, in a sense, the dominating spirit in the neighborhood; an intelligent, forceful man. He was president of the school board. Gilbert Rough, Floyd Gargett and A. M. Mudge were directors in 1876. J. Marsh Grant taught there in 1873; Benjamin L. Grant in 1874. Benjamin L. Grant died November it, 1877. His sister, Adah A. Grant, taught two months beginning January 1, 1877. Adah Seaman in the spring of 1876.

Floyd Gargett lived west of Huntsville; his wife was a sister of H. C. McNew, for many years editor of the Shelton Clipper. C. F. Hesse'grave was a relative of Gargett. The Hamilton lived west of the Gargetts and were the only members of the community originally from New England.

John Groves, J. J. Roberts, W. White and G. L. Rough were all soldiers of the Civil war and past middle age. H. L. Seaman was also an old soldier, and there were probably others. Washington Petit lived east of Huntsville; his daughter, Carrie, attended school in 1876. So did children from the White, Mudge and Brown families, as also did Tabitha McNew, sister of Floyd Gargett.

There was no social life in the community except church and prayer meeting. Politics and baseball interested some of the men. Rev. Ober Knepper used to preach there. At a Wednesday night prayer meeting all those gifted in prayer took turns praying for Washington Petit's bad temper. His wife was present; this was but a year or two before Petit was killed by one of his sons.

The people in Huntsille had a very hard time during the winters of 1873, 1874 and 1875. It is doubtful if our forefathers were much nearer the border line of hunger. Bread and gravy was the great staple. Coffee was made from wheat and corn browned, and then ground. One woman told of parching corn and cracking it with a nut cracker to feed her children; women exchanged recipes for making gravy. It was a stout hearted, brave but very narrow minded community. The Hunts and Koughs went to Washington. Forest Hunt has been a successful follower of the sea and owns boats in the coast and Alaska trade. The Coffmans are also in Washington. Mr. Hunt and most of the older settlers are long since dead.

H. L. Seaman died in California in November, 1915, aged seventy four, the last of a family of five brothers.

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