History of Kearney, Nebraska (Part 2)
From: Buffalo County, Nebraska and its people
BY: Samuel Clay Bassett
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, Chicago 1916

A DREAM OF THE FUTURE

Let us consider briefly the period between the completion of the B. & M. Railway to Kearney, September I, 1872, and the incorporation of the Town of Kearney Junction, November 30, 1872, three months of time.

The spirit of the West, the accomplishment of results regardless of obstacles, legal and otherwise; regardless of customs or well established precedents of older communities was forcibly illustrated in the founding of the Town of Kearney Junction and more especially in the incorporation thereof. Their optimism, like the prairies about them seemed without limit, their faith in the ultimate success of their plans unbounded. In old and well established communities it is customary for a stranger or new corner into such a community, if he does not bring with him credentials or letters of introduction, to at least seek introduction and to generally take an interest and an active part in public affairs. Not so the early settler in Buffalo County, those who helped found the City of Kearney Junction; they "arrived," possibly in a prairie schooner, possibly on the evening train of the Union Pacific or the B. & M. and the next morning we find them full fledged citizens, coat off, sleeves rolled up, not only taking part in public affairs but taking a leading part, originating new plans, directing what shall be done. These pioneers confidently believed that at the junction point. of these two great railway systems there would grow and develop one of the largest cities on the plaints west of the Missouri River and firm in such faith and belief those on the ground floor planned the foundations accordingly.

Their "Dream of the Future" was rosy with promise,
The prospect alluring - To doubt was a crime;
Though we question their judgment and smile at their boasting,
We all must admit that their faith was sublime.

POPULATION AT DATE OF INCORPORATION

It would be a quite natural conclusion that at the date of incorporating the Town of Kearney Junction there was a town, or a village at least, of considerable size, many houses and a few hundreds of population necessitating incorporation in order that its affairs might be properly regulated and controlled, but this appears not to have been the case; there seems to be the best of evidence to warrant the statement that at the date, November 30, 1872, when was incorporated the Town of Kearney Junction, the population of the incorporated area was not to exceed one hundred souls. During this period Jasper L. Walker and Paul Moore, living in the eastern portion of the county, while en route for a buffalo hunt south of the Platte River, visited the junction and Mr. Walker states that he took pains to count the buildings erected or nearing completion and that the, number was fourteen (14); these buildings were all located on either the Perkins and Hartford addition on section 35 or on school section No. 36. He recalls that workmen were engaged in excavating and laying the foundation for the Burlington round house.

In Vol. 1, Number 1, of the Kearney Junction Times (L. B. Cunningham, editor), under date of October 12, 1872, in an editorial describing conditions, mention is made as follows: "Kearney Junction has two hotels (Harrold House, S. & J. Murphy, Depot House, E. F. Clark); one dry goods store (J. S. Chandler); one meat market; one painters shop; one blacksmith shop ( John Mahon); four lumber yards (one More and Sutherland); one furniture store (N. H. Hemiup & Allison); one tin and hardware store; about twenty dwelling houses. Personal mention is made of Frank Perkins, ___ Harford, ___ King. Capt. I. B. Wambaugh, ____ Porter, Rev. Wm. Morse, J. M. Grant, Mr. (H. M.) Elliott, who had residences on Greeley Avenue; Col. W. W. Patterson was agent for railroad city lots; the death of Miss Sarah Richardson; Hamer and Connor attorneys at law; H. H. Achey, carpenter and builder; J. B. Randall. plasterer; Nightengale and Keens (F. G.), druggists; also that Kearney has three preachers, Rev. Wm. Morse, Rev. Asbury Collins, Rev. Nahum Gould; four doctors (Dr. E. S. Perkins)."

LIST OF TAXPAYERS

The only unit of assessment for taxation purposes to which reference can be made at that date is school district No. 7, which was organized March 8, 1872. This school district had an area of more than one hundred and twenty square miles and embraced within its limits all of area incorporated in the Town of hearney Junction. The tax list of the county for the year 1872 discloses that in school district No. 7, there were in that year nineteen (19) persons against whom personal taxes were levied; it also appears that of the nineteen named, seven did not pay the tax levied, also against seven only a poll tax was levied.

The names of these persons against which said personal tax was levied were: John Bugler, Asbury Collins, M. M. Collins, Fred and E. Cuddebeck, F. N. Dart, Edward Delhanty, George Elderly, Jacob Enderly, M. F. Fagly, Wilson Hewett, F. T. Jay, John Mahon, W. F. Marsh, Joseph McClure, W. W. Patterson, James A. Smith, F. R. Wood, T. J. Walker. The original town site of Kearney Junction, platted and recorded in 1871, was, in the year 1872, valued for assessment purposes at $4,375, or at the rate of about $7 per acre.

The enumeration of school children, taken in April, 1873, gave a total of 467 for the county, making the population of the county at that date approximately one thousand six hundred and fifteen; this enumeration of school children in district No. 7 (as above) disclosed forty five children of school age, making the total population in the district approximately one hundred ands fifty five; this population for school district No. 7 in which was embraced the incorporated Town of Kearney Junction.

Of the nineteen taxpayers herein named, the records disclose that twelve of the number had, at that date, tiled upon homestead or preemption claims: J. J. Smith, W. F. Marsh, Asbury Collins, Fred Cuddebeck, J. Cuddebeck, F. N. Dart, E. T. Jay and W. W. Patterson, within the limits of what is now (1915) Riverdale Township, and that George Enderly, Jacob Enderly, John Mahon and Jacob McClure had filed on like Government claims in what is now Center Township.

LEGAL REQUIREMENTS TO INCORPORATE A TOWN OR VILLAGE

At the date in mind (November 30, 1872), the statutes of Nebraska required in order to incorporate a town or village, "That whenever a majority of the inhabitants of any town or village within this state shall present a petition to the board of county commissioners of the county in which said town or village is situated, setting forth the metes and bounds of their town or village, and the commons belonging thereto, and praying that they be incorporated, * * * and the county commissioners shall be satisfied that a majority of the taxable male inhabitants of such town or village have signed such petition, and that the prayer of the same is reasonable, the board of county commissioners may declare such town or village incorporated * * *."

While the legal requirements to incorporate a town or village were not difficult to comply with it will be well for students of history to question whether "The prayer of the petitioners was reasonable."

INCORPORATION OF THE TOWN OF KEANEY JUNCTION

At a meeting of the board of county commissioners, November 30, 1872, W. F. McClure, Patrick Walsh and Dan A. Crowell, commissioners, the records disclose that: "A petition was presented by citizens of Kearney Junction praying to be incorporated into a town to be known as 'Town of Kearney Junction,' to include the following described lands, viz: sections 1, 2, 3, 10, 11 and 12, town No. 8, range No. 16; sections 24, 25, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36, town No. 9, range No. 16; and sections 6 and 7, town No. 8, range No. 16; sections 30, 31, town No. 9, range No. 15, and also the territory extending southward from the mainland in front of said sections 10, 11 and 12, town No. 8, range No. 16, and section No. 7, town No. 8, range No. 15, and of the same width to the channel of the Platte River, was received and on motion agreed to, and the appointment of the following trustees ratified: John Mahon, D. B. Marsh, L. R. More, E. B. Carter and J. S. Chandler." The records do not give the names of the petitioners, neither does a prolonged search disclose that such a petition is on file in the office of the county clerk. The records. do not disclose the number of petitioners, whether the petitioners were a majority of the inhabitants or whether a majority of the taxable inhabitants had signed the petition. Thus on November 30, 1872, not to exceed one hundred inhabitants (men, women, and children), a majority of the men not legal voters, less than a score of the men listed as taxable even to the extent of a poll tax, incorporated an area of more than eighteen sections of land and named it Town of Kearney Junction.

COMPARISONS

In the light of today (1915), in the effort to comprehend and make plain the sublime faith, the magnificent dream of the future, which inspired a mere handful of pioneers to incorporate, on the treeless and wind swept prairies of Nebraska, where yet blanket Indians, carrying bows and arrows, hunted the wild game, a town having an area exceeding eighteen sections of land, whereon were living, of white people, less than one hundred souls, let us consider and compare conditions, requirements as to population and incorporated area in the cities of Lincoln and Omaha in the census year 1910:

 

Year.

Population

Incorporated
Area

Lincoln

1910

43,973

4,799.5 acres

Omaha

1910

124,096

15,680 acres

Town of Kearney Junction.

1872

100

11,900 acres

PERSONNEL OF THE TRUSTEES

In the absence of official record or published accounts giving the names of individuals who were chiefly instrumental in the incorporation of the Town of Kearney Junction, it seems fair to presume that the men named as its first trustees were among the prime movers, the leading spirits in the matter. This being assumed, as a matter of history, it seems pertinent to inquire, what manner of men were these whose visions of growth and development are marvelous to contemplate? Who among them might be termed leading spirits, enthusing and directing all with whom they came in contact?

E. B. CARTER

The chairman of the board of trustees, E. B. Carter, engaged in the jewelry iusiness, but after a few years moved to Omaha. He was a man pleasing in address and manner, prominent in Masonic circles, popular in the community, but lacking in originality of thought and force of character necessary in leaving a lasting impress even in the early history and establishment of a community.

J. S. CANDLER

J. S. Chandler erected a frame store building, engaged in the mercantile business for a brief period of time, disposing of his interests to R. R. Greer in 1873.

D. B. MARSH

D. B. Marsh was a carpenter by trade and took a Government claim in Center Township (town 9, range 15) in the year 1872. He served for a short time as deputy sheriff of the county in the year 1876.

JOHNS MAHON

John Mahon enjoys the distinction - in this connection - of being the only member of the board of trustees, who, when appointed, was on the list of taxpayers in the county; in fact, of all persons of which mention is made in the official records of the Town of Kearney Junction during the incorporation period and until March 3, 1873, John Mahon is the only one whose name appears as a taxpayer in the county. Mr. Mahon was of Irish descent, born in Delaware County, N. Y., in 1824. In 1846 he enlisted, at Brooklyn, N. Y., in the navy and served on board the Trenton in the Mexican war. In the year 1848 he went, by water, to California, where he engaged in mining and other enterprises. In his published biography it is stated: "He came to Buffalo County in October, 1871, and was the first settler on the site where now stands the magnificent City of Kearney. He built the first house and helped to lay out the townsite. He had charge of the real estate belonging to the Union Pacific and B. & M. companies for about two years." Later he moved to Custer County and engaged in stock raising for about ten years and in 1889 was living on a farm near Armada, in Buffalo County.

L. R. MORE

It is believed that L. R. More was the leading spirit in the incorporation of the Town of Kearney Junction as well as a directing force for more than a score of years in its early history. L. R. More, of Scotch descent, was born in Delaware County, N. Y., in 1839. In a published biography of Mr. More it states that he was a cousin of Jay Gould, the railroad king. That he came to Buffalo County in 1871, having accumulated the sum of $25,000. That he established the first lumber yard, built the first brick building, the upper story being the only opera house in town; he also established the first bank, in 1872, known as More's Bank; he owned the first hotel, Grand Central, and was partner of John D. Seaman, the first wheat buyer in Kearney; that in 1873 he was appointed captain of the Kearney Guards by Governor Purnas and under his leadership the cowboy's "reign of terror" came to an end, they losing two of their number in a running fight. That in 1884 lie sold what was known as More's Bank and the brick store adjacent for $22,000, taking 16,000 in stock in the Kearney National Bank and becoming its first president.

When Kearney had a beginning, Mr. More was thirty three years of age; he had already been engaged in business and accumulated 25,000 as before noted. His subsequent career demonstrated that in business matters he was far seeing and while always conservative was not adverse to making a venture when there was a reasonable prospect of success. There seems no question that on arrival Mr. More at once determined to make here his future home and to engage in business; a hasty and somewhat superficial search of the deed record of the county seems to disclose that the first deed of record for a lot in the Town of Kearney Junction was to Rev. Win. Morse, lot 16, block 57, Perkins and Harford Addition, date September 20, 1872, consideration, $200. October 1, 1872, to L. R. More, lots 11 and 12, block 29, Perkins and Harford Addition, consideration, $200.

The first lots of record, sold in the original townsite, bear date May 13, 1873, to L. R. More, lots 535, 536, 467, 468, consideration, $950.

The proceedings of the town trustees, January 20, 1873, disclose that on motion of Air. More the ordinances were so amended as to permit Mr. More's business partner to be appointed town treasurer and an additional office created, town collector (to which office Attorney F. G. Hamer was appointed); at a later date the business partner of Mr. More served as deputy county treasurer. From an early date the L. R. More Bank had for many years at first a monopoly and at all times a large per cent of deposits both county and city and Mr. More exerted much influence in the politics of both the city and county. As illustrating some of the methods by which county business was conducted at that date and of Mr. More's influence in county affairs, it can be stated: First in explanation, that to furnish material for numerous bridges needed and demanded by early settlers was one of the most perplexing problems which confronted the county commissioners and very many requests for material for bridges, even where the parties offered to build the bridge without expense to the county for labor, were refused for lack of means to pay for material. Instances are recalled where, failing to secure lumber for a bridge from the county commissioners, parties of some prominence and influence in their locality went direct to Mr. More with the result that the lumber firm of More & Sunderland furnished the material for the bridge, Mr. More remarking, "We'll take our chances in getting pay from the county."

In the long drawn out and expensive fight in the courts, over the awarding of the contract to build a bridge across the Platte, south of Kearney, the real "bone of contention" was whether the lumber firm of More & Sunderland should furnish the lumber for the structure.

Of the immediate period of which this article treats, Mr. More was the wealthiest man in the county and as he had the ready money to put into his ventures, he directed and controlled them and many others as. well; he was aggressive but not popular and while he aspired to official positions such as state treasurer, lieutenant governor, and state senator, he failed in securing a nomination in the case of the first two named and was defeated for the office of state senator by Gen. A. H. Connor, yet he was quite successful in securing the election of local candidates whom he favored.

F. G. HAMER - A. H. CONNOR

An active force in the founding of the Town of Kearney Junction and the City of Kearney was Attorney F. G. Hamer. The first store building erected in the town was that of F. N. Dart, on the Perkins and Harford Addition. (This building was moved to Central Avenue, on the East Side and of late years has been used by A. H. Boltin in his fruit business.)

In Mr. Dart's store Attorney Hamer had his office, the furniture a table, a nail keg with an undressed sheepskin for a chair.

In these days of beginning, Attorney Hamer was regularly employed by L. R. More to look after the legal features of his business and of much of public business as well. In the fall of 1872 Mr. Hamer was the preferred candidate of the Kearney faction for the Legislature but was defeated for the nomination by D. P. Ashburn. Mr. Ashburn was the nominee of the republican party and W. F. Cody (Buffalo Dill) of the democratic, Mr. Ashburn being elected. At this period, an effort was made to divide Buffalo County by creating a new county out of portions of Buffalo and Dawson counties, the real object being to retain the county 'seat at Gibbon. The Kearney Junction people bitterly opposed such a division and Mr. Hamer spent much time during the legislative session of 1872-3 in securing the defeat of this measure. While Mr. Hamer took an active part in the founding of the city and in its development, his greatest efforts have been along legal lines in which he has won both a name and fame. His partner for long years, Gen. A. H. Connor, also took an active part in these early struggles to found a city. General Connor was a man of striking personality, charming in manner and address, yet while the law firm of Hamer & Connor had a state wide reputation, General Connor seemingly trusted more to the inspiration of the moment, to his strength as an advocate, his skill as an orator, rather than as a student of law and familiar with all the details of the case at bar.

MEETINGS OF THE TOWN TRUSTEES

The incorporation of the Town of Kearney Junction completed, the trustees proceeded to the business of providing ordinances for the government of its municipal affairs. At the first meeting, January m6, 1873, E. B. Carter was chosen chairman and Sylvester S. St. John clerk.

On January 18th at a meeting, propositions for a place of meeting for the trustees was submitted by L. B. Cunningham, (L. B.) Fifield and L. R. More, the proposition of L. R. More being accepted. On January 20th, a committee appointed to submit nominations for town officers, submitted a report as follows: Town treasurer and collector, H. V. Hoagland, David Anderson, Walter Colby, and W. C. Sunderland; for marshal, George E. Evans, A. I. Aitken, J. H. Mitchell, and David Anderson; for assessor, J. W. Leland. The officers appointed were: Assessor, J. W. Leland; collector, David Anderson; treasurer, W. C. Sunderland; marshal, George E. Evans; town attorney, A. H. Connor.

On January 28th, before Simon Murphy, notary public, the town officers took the oath of office. At the February 3d meeting it appears the marshal had resigned and the following named persons received votes for the office: John Bradley, W. P. P. St. Clair, J. H. Mitchell, and on third ballot, Samuel Wenzell was chosen marshal. At this meeting town ordinances were adopted in which the license fee for the sale of liquors was fixed at $50, and the bond of saloon keepers at from $1,000 to $5,000; also the license for billiard table and ball alleys $3 per month. The board of county commissioners had fixed the license fee for the sale of liquors at $300, and on January 18, 1873, had granted to W. H. H. Fogg a license to sell liquors at Kearney Junction and it appears that Fogg had paid the fee of $300. While the fee for license to sell liquors had been fixed by the trustees at $50, it appears from the record of the proceedings of the board that saloons were openly in operation, the proprietors refusing to take out license and that more difficulty was experienced by the trustees in their efforts to control the liquor business than with any other or all other branches of business in the town.

PROVIDE FOR PAVEMENTS

Among the ordinances adopted at this February 3d meeting of the trustees, was one relative to the construction of pavements in the town. Doubtless had anyone suggested that it was hardly necessary to pass such an ordinance at that date, he would have been termed a knocker, and had he further ventured to prophesy that forty years would come and go ere any pavement was laid on a street in the city (which was the case) he certainly would have been stigmatized as an "undesirable citizen."

PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

At the February 7, 1873, meeting, Samuel Wenzell having resigned as marshal, John Bradley was appointed, and T. J. Murphy engineer. On February 10th, the Central Nebraska Press (Webster and R. H. Eaton, editors), was made the official organ for the publication of town ordinances. Felt and Coffman made application for liquor license; their bond was fixed at $1,000, and license granted February 17th. This appears to have been the first liquor license granted by the town trustees. This saloon appears to have been located on Nebraska Avenue, Perkins and Harford Addition. At this meeting the first dray license was issued to John Dermody. On March 3d, the office of marshal being vacant and on petition of numerous citizens, William Thomas was appointed. Among the ordinances adopted was one imposing a yearly tax of $1 on each dog owned or harbored by a resident of the town; licenses to keep a dog were issued to Jas. A. Smith, F. N. Dart, A. H. Connor, Nathan Campbell, Charles Wakefield, H. M. Elliott, C. T. Weldin, A. H. Barlow, T. Billesbach, J. C. Fifield, L. R. More, W. S. Holtz, Max Boetscher and F. G. Hamer.

FIRST TOWN ELECTION

On May 5, 1873, was held the first election of the Town of Kearney Junction, at which the trustees chosen were: E. B. Carter; L. R. More, J. N. Keller, H. H. Achey and James O'Kane. Mr. Keller was station agent for the Union Pacific, Mr. Achey a contractor and builder and Mr. O'Kane a grocery and restaurant keeper south of the railroad. Mr. O'Kane was very popular with farmers and for some years enjoyed a large patronage until failing health necessitated his giving up the business.

At the May 19th meeting of the trustees, I. D. Bishop was appointed marshal, J. C. McAdams clerk, W. C. Sunderland treasurer, P. W. Wilson assessor, F. G. Hamer collector and A. H. Connor town attorney.

THE TOWN PRINTING

At the June 3d meeting, Mendel, Clapp and Cunningham submitted bids to do the town printing in the Kearney Junction Times at 25 cents per hundred words; Webster Eaton submitted a like bid of 9 cents in the Central Nebraska Weekly Press and 18 cents in the daily Press; the bid of Mr. Eaton was accepted in both the weekly and daily.

LICENSES ISSUED

On June 23d dray licenses were issued to Charles Christensen, John Dermody, John T. Wright and J. S. Harrington. Liquor licenses to James Kelly, Stimpson and Decker, H. H. Achey and A. J. Spaulding. Mention is made of the Grand Central Hotel.

A KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS ORGANIZATION

On June 22d, arrangements were made with the Knights of Pythias to use their hall as a place of meeting for the town trustees. August 12th Thomas S. Nightengale was appointed town clerk; on October 12, 1873, an opinion was asked of Judge N. H. Hemiup as to best method to pursue to organize a city. November 3d, Wm. R. Firlong appointed town engineer and D. B. Clark, assessor; Attorney Sam L. Savidge employed to look over the town ordinances with a view to corrections and revision. Samuel Venzell took oath of office as marshal; the chairman reported small success in obtaining the names of responsible parties who would become security for the cost of a fire engine if purchased by the town.

TAKING A CENSUS OF THE TOWN

The statutes of the state provided, "Section I. All cities and towns of the State of Nebraska, containing more than five hundred and less than fifteen thousand inhabitants, shall be cities of the second class."

October 12, 1873, J. W. Leland was appointed to take a census of the Town of Kearney Junction with a view of organising a city of the second class. In a published biography of Mr. Leland it is stated, "He took a census of Kearney in 1873, when the population numbered only 245." There seems no question that this was the census ordered by the trustees of the Town of Kearney Junction with a view of organizing a city of the second class, the returns of this census disclosing a population of 245.

INCORPORATING THE CITY OF KEARNEY

On December 3, 1873, the "Town of Kearney Junction," one year and one month old, ceased to have a legal existence and "Kearney," a city of the second class, with a population of approximately three hundred was incorporated, the officials of the Town of Kearney Junction serving as like officials of the City of Kearney until a regular election was held. Hence it was that E. B. Carter, L. R. More, J. N. Keller, H. H. Achey and James O'Kane were the members of the first city council; E. B. Carter the first mayor, Thomas S. Nightengale city clerk and Samuel Wenzell chief of police or marshal. In this brief history of the Town of Kearney Junction, is given, as appears in the record and in published proceedings available, the name of every person mentioned (about one hundred in all), because, having no other records of those who took part in the foundation and life of the town, from these we may learn and record the names of a portion of the residents and of those who took a more or less prominent part in public affairs.

THE FIRST POSTOFFICE
On February 9, 1872, a postoffice named Kearney Junction was established with Asbury Collins as postmaster. It is understood that at that date Mr. Collins and family were residing in the Junction House, located on section 2, and that the postoffice was kept there.

PERKINS AND HARFORD'S ADDITION TO KEARNEY JUNCTION

In the month of September, 1872, Asbury Collins had C. W. Colt and James MacGonegal, surveyors residing at Lowell, Neb., survey South Kearney as an addition to Kearney Junction, the same being on the northwest quarter of section 12, town 8, range 16. In July, 1872, D. N. Smith bought of the Union Pacific Railway Company the east half of section 35, town 9, range 16, for a consideration of $960, and sold the same to Perkins and Harford for a consideration of $16,000. In volumes No. 1 and No. 3, issue of the Buffalo County Beacon, published at Gibbon and dated July 27, 1872, appears the following item: "Esquire Collins of Kearney Junction made us. a pleasant call a few days ago. He informs us that real estate at that point is on the rise in price. Mr. Smith (D. N. Smith) sold to parties from Minnesota (Minneapolis), (Perkins and Harford), a short time since the east half of section 35, town 9, range 16, for the snug sum of $50 per acre." In the month of August, 1872, Perkins and Harford had Anselmo B. Smith survey and plat into city lots Perkins and Harford's first and second additions to Kearney Junction, being the east half of section 35, town 9, range 16. Thus it will be noted that before the Burlington had made junction with the Union Pacific there had been surveyed and platted into city lots and such plats made a matter of record, 960 acres of land in a solid body.

It is a matter of tradition that because of the unfair advantage taken by the townsite company in obtaining possession, in advance, of the townsite and because of the extravagant prices asked for city lots, the first buildings erected were on school section No. 36 and the Perkins and Han ord Addition. The county records show that on April 2, 1872, A. Collins was appointed agent for the county to notify all parties not to occupy or erect any buildings on section 36, town 9, range 16, the same being school lands. In March, 1872, F. N. Dart erected a store building on the school section. An advertisement of Mr. Dart's business appeared in issues of the Buffalo County Beacon in the year 1872. Rev. Wm. Morse also erected a building on a lot in Perkins and Harford's Addition, purchased in September, 1872. As before noted, the first lots sold in the original townsite was to L. R. More in May, 1873. The building erected by Rev. Wm. Morse was occupied by James Jenkins as a shoe store, Mr. Jenkins being a shoemaker by trade. The first saloon opened at Kearney Junction was either on section 35 or section 36.

THE PUBLIC SCHOOL

School district No. 7, embracing 120 square miles of territory, was organized March 8, 1872; the place of organizing was at the "Hotel Collins" (known also as the Junction House), James Smith being chosen director. The first district report discloses thirty six children of school age in the district. An enumeration of school children made in April, 1873, shows forty five children of school age.

The first term of school taught in this district (No. 7 - Kearney) was by Miss Fannie Nevins, who was first licensed as a teacher in the county in the year 1873. Dan A. Crowell, county superintendent, under date January 24th, records: "Visited school in district No. 7, taught by Miss Nevius. Owing to some disagreement between the school officers and citizens relative to the selection of a site, no house has yet been built and the school is at present domiciled in a room rented to suit the emergency. It is, however, poorly furnished and but illy adapted to the purposes of a school." On January 24, 1874, J. J. W. Place, county superintendent, records: "Visited district No. 7, found two schools in session taught by O. E. Hansen and Miss Fannie Nevius."

FIRST COUNTY TEACHERS' INSTITUTE

The first county teachers' institute was held at Kearney, November 25, 1875, J. J. W. Place superintendent. The teachers in attendance were entertained by the people of Kearney. State Superintendent J. M. McKenzie was in attendance and delivered two lectures. Prof. D. B. Worley had charge of the music. There were twelve teachers from the county in attendance. A county teachers' organization was formed with O. E. Hansen, chairman; J. S. Zerbe, secretary; Miss Bunnell, treasurer; and Miss Fannie Nevins, critic. Dan A. Crowell was one of the teachers in the Kearney school at that date.

KEARNEY JUNCTION TIMES

As the writer understands the Kearney Junction Times, established by Mendel, Clapp and Cunningham (L. B. Cunningham, editor) was the first newspaper published at Kearney Junction. Its first issue was October 12, 1872. The Times was ever loyal to the best interests of Kearney Junction, and the City of Kearney and exceedingly helpful in the upbuilding of the town and community; in the discussion of public affairs it maintained a high moral standard, its editor having no sympathy with the belief of many that open saloons and dens of vice were essential to the upbuilding of the city and hence the Times was not in close touch and fellowship with certain elements which exerted a powerful influence in the early history of Kearney Junction and Buffalo County, influences which at times largely controlled in the distribution of public printing and public patronage. In later years the Times became the Buffalo County Journal, having a general circulation throughout the county and exerting a large influence.

CENTRAL NEBRASKA PRESS

The exact date of the establishment of the Central Nebraska Press at Kearney Junction is, to the writer, not known. Official records disclose that February 10, 1873, the Press was made the official organ for publication of ordinances of the Town of Kearney Junction, and that on June 3, 1873, there was being published both the daily and weekly Press. In the days of the founding of the Town of Kearney Junction it was generally understood that the owners of the townsite and the promoters of the town donated to "Web" Eaton a considerable number of city lots as an inducement to establish a newspaper, daily and weekly; in March, 1873, Mr. Eaton secured the subscription list and good will of the Buffalo County Beacon being published at Gibbon. "Web" Eaton had a love for politics and was a very shrewd politician; he secured, by appointment, political preferment and left the management of the Press largely in the hands of his brother, R. H. Eaton. Rice Eaton, as he was familiarly called, was born in Rochester, N. Y., in 1838; by profession and training he was a printer and newspaper man. He was a soldier of the Civil war, had traveled somewhat and was a keen observer of mankind. He was of a lovable disposition, witty, original in thought and expression, a versatile and apt writer.

He had a liking for politics and a nose for news of a political nature.

Under his management the Press soon secured a state wide reputation, was widely quoted, and exerted a large influence. Of the days of which this article treats, the Central Nebraska Press easily took first rank among the newspapers published in the county. In the year 1879 Mr. Eaton disposed of the Press to W. C. Holden.

CENTRAL NEBRASKA STAR

The Central Nebraska Star was established (as recalled) in the year 1871 by Moses H. Sydenham; its publication was not regular and no files of its issues are known to exist. Its date line hailed from "Centoria," a paper-boom town in Kearney County, a few miles west of Fort Kearney. Ceutoria was surveyed and platted by Mr. Sydenham but had no existence except on paper. The Star advocated the removal of the national capitol to the Fort Kearney military reservation, the geographical center of the nation, urging that by surveying the reservation (ten miles square) into city lots the sale of the lots would provide for all expense of erecting Government buildings and the removal of the national capitol. While the Star had a considerable circulation in Buffalo and Kearney counties in the years 1871-2-3, it can not be said to have exerted much influence in the settlement and development of Central Nebraska; it was the personal organ of its editor who was without experience in public affairs and seemingly not in touch or sympathy with the development of the agricultural resources of this portion of the state. Mr. Sydenham was an Englishman by birth, served first at Fort Kearney as a sutler's clerk and later as postmaster at the fort; he also served a term as county commissioner when Kearney County was organized in 1872. Fort Kearney was abandoned as a fort in 1871.


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