History of Beaver Crossing, Nebraska
From: General History of Seward County, Nebraska
BY: John H. Waterman
Beaver Crossing, Nebraska - 1914-15
Although Beaver Crossing was perhaps better known throught the country in early times than any other locality
in Seward county, there was nothing to indicate a town nor village, the name originating, as has previously been
stated, from the freight route crossing of Beaver creek. But early in 1867 Roland Reed succeeded in getting a postoffice
established under the name of Beaver Crossing, he receiving the appointment as the first postmaster, located the
office in his ranch, about one half mile east of Beaver creek. Mr. Reed served as postmaster two years, resigning
the office to move upon his homestead when Daniel Milispaw was appointed, becoming Beaver Crossing's second postmaster.
About the time of Mr. Millspaw's appointment Thomas H. Tisdale arrived from the state of Wisconsin and established
a general mercantile business in the John E. Fouse ranch. a short distance west of Beaver creek, Mr. Fouse having
retired to his homestead. And in this store Mr. Millspaw located the postoffice, and appointed T. H. Tisdale his
clerk. In connection we will quote a paragraph from W. W. Cox's history which is somewhat missleading. On page
260 of that work in the general write up of M precinct Mr. Cox says:
A True Story of Marriage Under Diffiulties.
In the fall of 1869 my "best girl" emigrated with her parents from Harrison county, Iowa, to the wild plains of Seward county, Nebraska and located in. a little log house on the West Blue river bottom a mile and a half west of the site of the present village of Beaver Crossing. By a little dilligent inquiry I learned that her post office address was Beaver Crossing. And to and from that place the back of the broncho was heavier laden each week for a period of six months at the end of which I concluded to ride the broncho myself. In accordance with this determination I left Logan, Iowa, on the loth day of March, 1870, bound for Beaver Crossing via Council. Bluffs. As there were no railway accommodations in the direction I wanted to go, I had planned to cross the Missouri river from the Bluffs to Omaha and take stage passage to Lincoln where I would connect with the "star route" to the Crossing. I stopped at the old historical Pacific House in Council Bluffs for dinner and told the landlord where I was going and how I wished to get there. And I was very much surprised when he told me that there was no connecting line either by stage or any other way between the city of Omaha and Lincoln, the capital of the state. He said my only way to get to Beaver Crossing and avoid a week's lay over was to go by rail that evening to Nebraska City and take the stage which would leave the next morning for Lincoln where the hack for my desired destination would leave the following morning. I boarded the south bound train on the Hannibal & St. Joe road early in the evening for Nebraska City, fifty miles down the river and arrived at what was then called East Nebraska City, on the opposite side of the river from the city proper, at about ten o'clock. A young gentleman representing the Sherman House in the City met the train and as he was checking baggage to be delivered at the Sherman House I permitted him to check my valise. In the morning when the stage was ready to leave for Lincoln I presented my check at the baggag room in the hotel and found that the highly prized article had been left on the other side of the river. This caused me more trouble than can well be immagined. The stage would not wait a minute, and I either had to go with it or miss the hack from Lincoln to Beaver Crossing which meant a lay over for one week. but in that satchel was a forty dollar wedding suit which I expected to need as soon as I reached my jorney's end. I made up my mind, in a hurry, to leave the valise and get married in the clothes I had on, which were middling fair. Boarding the stage I found three traveling companions bound for Beaver Crossing, the trio consisting of a gintleman, lady and little boy. The gentleman was Mr. McCall, the lady his wife the boy his step son, well known in more recent years in the vicinity of Beaver Crossing as A. E. Sheldon, now the husband of Margaret Thompson, a pioneer girl of ranch days. The kid was about five years old and annoyed his mother and step father by insisting in climbing out of the stage every time it stopped to run a race with it,a race in which the boy would certainly have been winner. Leaving Nebraska City at about eight a. m. the trip of fifty miles to Lincoln was completed at seven p. in. Stops were made along the route to change horses and mail. There were no metropolitan hotels in Lincoln in those days, but I found a very fair place to stay and where I eat my first buffalo steak, a much better and more digestible meat than is served at many up to date hotels of the present time. In the morning I realized for the first time that the loss of my satchel had deprived me of a clean shirt at least, and that my chance to meet my girl and get married in a dirty shirt was very much too apparent for pleasant thoughts and looking down the street, which I think is now 0 street, saw a sign board accross the sidewalk which displayed the words in large letters, "Clothing Store." It didn't require a second suggestion, I was soon within the portal of that establishment and if my 'voice shook a little when I asked the proprietor if he had any laundried white shirts it must have been caused by the flight down the street. But the shirt with a box of paper collars were purchase] and I hurried back to the postoflice where I was to meet Mr. Adams, propritor of the Adams hack line to Beaver Crossing. Stepping into the postoffice a peculiarly giddy sensation passed over me and glancing down to the floor I discovered that it was composed of wide cottonwood boards which had not only shrank, leaving wide cracks between them, but had perhaps warped some making the floor rough and a little shaky. There were a number of full mail sacks laying by the side of the postoffice door and to the inquiry of where they were to go Mr.Adams replied: "With us; the most of them to Beaver Crossing." He then loaded them upon his spring wagon and started with his mail and one passenger on a two Hays journey to Beaver Crossing, and while I assure the readers of this sketch that I did not ride a broncho they may rest assured that if the mail that was loaded onto that wagon had been laid on the back of a broncho the animal could not have moved a foot. The load consisted of mail for Milford, Camden, West Mills and Beaver Crossing. I took dinner at Milford, supper, lodging and breakfast at Camden. Leaving Camden the next stop was at West Mills of a half hour while the postmaster change I the mail. Continuing the journey Daniel Millspaw's ranch was reached in time for dinner. Here, after enjoying a little amusement at the expense of the star route man, I met a surprise almost equal to the one over the loss of my satchel. There was a very fine appearing lady visitor at the Millspaw ranch and the amusing feature was brought up by the mention, in some way, of whiskey from which the lady took occasion to denounce the wet goods and every one who used it. And the star route driver, Mr. Adams, joined in and gave vent to his hatred of the vile stuff and denounced its use in terms so plain that a "way fareing man, though a fool, need not err therein." He assented to everything the lady said and in the language of card players, "went several chips better." But he failed to state that he had a gallon jug full of the oh-be-joyfull" under the seat in his hack which he had been "sampling" at the cornor of every section on the road from Lincoln. I immagined at the time that she had noticed the perfume of his breath, but perhaps not. After this interesting conversation the grand surprise in store for me was next in order, and after I had donned my overcoat and buttoned it up to continue my journey to the little log house of John D. Salnaye, about one mile further west, the fine temperance lady advocate stepped up to me and without the least sign of a doubtful thought, extended her hand, saying: "Mr. Waterman, we would be pleased to have you visit us before you return to Iowa." Following her came an elderly lady, God bless her kind heart, and grabbing my hand she shook it till my teeth rattled, calling me by name and wishing me much joy; and then came the third lady, grand enough to grace the finest habitations of a prince and giving me cheering welcome to the community she congratulated me in a very kindly manner. Well, I didn't faint, but did forget where I was at and didn't come to my right mind sufficient to try to learn the names of the ladies until I got started with the hack and Uncle Dan Millspaw in the back seat, who gave the name of the first lady as Mrs. Ross Nichols, the second, his wife, Mrs. Daniel 1Vlillspaw and the third their daughter, Mrs. Rosa McClellan.
The facts are, I had been expected to appear in person in that neighborhood about a month before and business
matters had forced me to postpone the trip. And as the young lady had made all necessary arrangements for the wedding,
with guests invited her disappointment at my non appearance was thoroughly understood by sympathizing neighbors.
Those ladies knew this and perhaps had heard of the second proposed trip, and as the travelers over the star route
to Beaver Crossing were limited in number, they felt sure that I was the man they were expecting to see.
The Beaver Crossing Mail.
Regarding the Beaver Crossing mail in pioneer time being a "weakly affair" there is a greater reason than Adams' jug to say it was a strong one. It is true it came by what was called star route. only once a week, but for this reason it was too heavy for the back of a broncho, at least as early as the spring of 1870. Beaver Crossing was, the terminus of the mail route and mail was brought there for settlers on an area of territory reaching into York and Fillmore counties, and the fact must be apparent that with the rush of settlement in the years of 1869 to 1870, inclusive, there must have been a large and increasing demand for mail service. Communication between the homesteaders and their recent old homes was a matter of absolute necessity to the progress of the country's settlement. While there was not such a. vast amount of second class and ordinary mail matter in those days as at the present time, it can scarcely be denied that mail to and from Beaver Crossing of the first class, or letters, was heavier then than at the present time. Although the postoffices at Camden and Milford were served by the mail route threes times a week in 1870 the heaviest mail to be delivered in any postoffice in Seward county at that time passed through those offices to Beaver Crossing.
PIONEER POSTOFFICES AND POSTMASTERS.
The first of the pioneer postoffice was opened with James Johnson as pestmaster at Camden in 1865. This office
served the people of the entire county of Seward and many settlers in Saline county and counties further west,
for a period of about two years when an office was opened with J. L. Davison as postmaster at Millford, and almost
simultaneously with this postoffices were established at West Mills, on the West Blue river, west of Camden and
at Beaver Crossing and the star route was extended from Lincoln via Pleasant Dale, Millford and Camden to West
Mills and Beaver Crossing. Thomas West was the posmaster at the Mills and Rolland Reed at the Crossing.
Several postoffices were established in the northern precincts of the county in pioneer days. A postoffice was
opened in Milted Langdon's house on section 21, at Oak Groves in 1869 with G. B. Harding as postmaster. It was
first served by "buckboard" star route and later the mail was carried by stage. A postoffice named Orton
was kept in a farm house in D precinct in the late sixties, Stephen Phillips being the postmaster. There was also
one maintained at Marysville in C precinct for several years. The Germantown postoffice was established after the
advent of the B. & M. rail road in 1873, with John Westerhoff as postmaster. The postoffice at Pleasant Dale
was established in 1870 with James Iler as postmaster. The office was located in Mr. Iler's residence, and if our
memory serves us correctly it was a structure made of small stones which undoubtedly had been gathered along Middle
creek, Pleasant Dale being in the Middle creek valley, in the eastern portion of the county. There is an abundance
of stone along this valley. The Utica postoffice, established in the fall of 1877, was the last one in the list
of what might be called pioneer postoffices of Seward county. T. E. Standard was its first postmaster, through
whose efforts the office was shortly advanced to a money order office.
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