History of Milford, Nebraska
From: General History of Seward County, Nebraska
BY: John H. Waterman
Beaver Crossing, Nebraska - 1914-15

MILFORD.

Although Milford can not be called a city, it has retained its place upon the map as the second largest town in Seward county and one of the most beautiful places in Nebraska. In view of this fact two of the state institutions are located there, the Soldiers Home and the Industrial Home, both of which will receive more attention farther along in this work.

The town is doing a large business in the general lines of trade. The mill, which from the earliest pioneer days to recent years was a popular flour producer, has been transformed into a factory of corn products, and as such is undoubtedly one of the largest in the United States if not in the world. The business houses number forty. Modern residences thirty, while there are about two hundred comfortable and pleasant but less expensive homes. There are three churches; Methodist, Congregational and Evangelical. Three grain elevators. Two banks, Farmers & Merchants,: and Nebraska State Bank both occupying special bank buildings of modern design and construction. Two hotels and two restaurants. It is estimated that the town has several miles of cement sidewalk. A centrally located park, town hall and opera house, fine high school, good system of water works and fire department.

Milford has a very fine third class post office, the fixtures costing one thousand dollars has two hundred and forty nine private mail boxes. In addition to this there are four rural mail routes go from the office every day. Number one and two of those routes were among the first established rural routes in the state. They were established July 15, 1899, with Chas. W. Funk as carrier on No. 1, and H. J. Matzke on No. 2. The third route was started November 1, 1900, and the fourth November 1, 1904 with William Smiley as carrier. The present carriers are Ed. Bishop on route No. 1, Paul Swearingen on No. 2, Ed: Kline on No. 3, and Wm. Smiley is still running No. 4. J. A. Coklin is the postmaster.

The town has two lumber yards, both handling coal; four general merchandise stores run by Kenagy & Bensinger who have been there twenty five years; Warnke & Haver stock; Findley Mercantile Company and D. G. Erb. One exclusive grocery store is conducted by Roth & Co. One variety store. Bakery conducted by S. A. Langford. Two drug stores furnish medicine for the village and vicinity, one run by W. D. Alaxander who has been in the business over twenty five years; J. F. Bruning having been there since 1906. There are two furniture stores, one run by the Troyer Furniture Company and the other by Joseph Mauel. David Boshart deals in poultry and feed and S. T. Sweasy is a dealer in poultry and cream. Babson, Dickman Implement Company and George Fosler sell harness. The pump and wind mill business is conducted by A. J. Weaver. The two hardware stores are managed by Joe Kribill & Co., and W. C. Klein. Real estate and insurance offices are conducted by J. H. Perkinson, and E. E. Ely. Charley Funk, Web. Wright and C. Smith are each running a barber shop.

Like all other towns in the present day of death dealing automobile craze, Milford presents a prevalent popular front: with three automobile garages, run respectively by the Milford Garage Company, Schweitzer Brothers, and Fosler & Sanders; It is to be noted that Seward county has a greater number, at the present time, of this kind of business houses, or as might be called shops, than any other one line of trade or business in the county, whether it is a mark of progression or digression from the pioneer lumber wagonspring seat days. It is to be remembered however, that no one.of those old, homely conveyances ever "turned turtle" and killed the driver or anybody else therefore those who enjoyed their comforts were a longer lived race of people than the present automobile - We will not say carnks but crankers.

Of professional men Milford has three doctors, and brie dentist. It has two hospitals; also the Shogo Litha Springs the water of which is bottled and sold in some localities as being beneficial in the treatment of some chronic afflictions humanity is subject to.

DEDICATION OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME AT MILFORD.

The dedicatory exercises whieh marked the beginning and opening of a new home for the honorable defenders of the cause of freedom, and a grand manifestation of the Nebraska peoples' appreciation of their services, took place at the Home in Milford, at 3 o'cloclk p. m., Tuesday October 8, 1895, in presence of a large gathering of patriotic citizens from: various parts of the state.

The exercises were opened by Rev. O. R. Beebe, G. A. R. Department Chaplin. H. C. Russell made the opening address, after which Department Comander Adams made the address of dedication.

Governor Holcomb received the Home on behalf of the state, and Captain J.H.Culver was installed as commandant.

Informal addresses were made by Congressman Andrews, Senator Sloan, Representatives Cramb and Roddy, Judge Wheeler, Mrs. W. A. Dillworth and Captain Henry.

Patriotic music for the occasion was furnished by the Lincoln, Dorchester and Seward drum corps, and appropriate vocal music by a Milford quartet under the direction of Prof. Warner, editor of the Milford Nebraskan, and the vetrians quartet of Lincoln.

An enthusiastic camp fire was held in the evening, the hall being filled with veteran comrades and their friends. Timely speeches were made by Chaplain Beebe, H. C. Russell, Rev. F. J. Culver of San Francisco, G. E. McDonald, of Lincoln and others. The Home has answered the purposes for whieh it was intended in a satisfactory manner. Many of the old comrades have found a pleasant home there, enjoying its comforts to the end of life. There is at the present time one hundred and thirty two soldiers and fourteen lady occupants of the Home.

THE INDUSTRIAL HOME

is a charitable institution of the state of Nebraska intended to aid wayward and indigent women and girls who have met with misfortune in life to a higher and firmer position, and to look after their offspring and see to it that their future life is properly provided for with homes. And no more beautiful place could be found in the state of Nebraska nor any other state than it occupies at, or near the village of Milford.

It is in reality as well as name an Industrial Home where the different home industries are taught, together with the science of nursing and the branches of common school education. It was founded by act of the state legislature in 1887 and dedicated in 1888.

Of this Home as well as the Soldiers Home I can say I am reliably informed that they have, from their foundation to the present date, been generally conducted in a creditable manner by those placed in charge of them by the state, and it is not the mission of this work to record minute details of their management from year to year. They are state institutions of which the citizens of the state should justly feel proud.

The populotion of Milford during the pioneer period ranged from one to three hundred while it now reaches about twelve hundred, counting the east side settlement.

Milford is the only town in Seward county to support two post offices, and it has been something of a mystery why such a condition should have been inaugurated there. The second office was established in 1884 under the name of Grover, supposably in honor of President Grover Cleaveland, and notwithstanding the fact that it was only about half a mile from the main post office of the town, it retained its place upon the map, becoming a money order office in 1900. There is the natural dividing line, the North Blue river, between Milford proper and Grover or East Milford, the latter having the advantage of the railway station on its side.

THE VILLAGE OF UTICA.

The third largest town in Seward county was among the later laid out towns of the pioneer period. It was located in a favorable area of country and was blessed with an excellent business patronage, and had, for several years, but two competing shipping points and grain markets, Seward and Germantown, and while it had no advantages of a natural kind or institutions of popular favor, it has progressed to a greater extent than any other town in Seward county outside of the county seat city. It is in point of time ten years behind Milford and seven years younger than Seward, all of which has been shown up in the pioneer town topics in this history.

Utica has a population at the present time bordering closely upon one thousand. Its business houses number thirty four, several of which are up to date brick buildings. It has two banks and modern bank buildings; one hotel, two restaurants; one opera house. The amount of its business may be estimated from the fact that it has three grain elevators which are all doing a good business. Its residence buildings, modern and otherwise number two hundred. It has five miles of brick and cement sidewalks. The place has a modern high school building and supports one of the best twelve graded high schools in the county. It has four churches and church buildings of an excellent grade. The post office has two hundred and fifty private mail boxes and two rural free delivery mail routes, the carriers being John Mikkelson on route number one and Robert Hunter on route number two.

There are four general stores, run by R. E. Davis, Herman Zumwinkle, Kath & Harms, and Mr. Rau; Hornady & Sons recently established an exclusive grocery store.

There are two drug stores reported, P. R. Wolf being proprietor of one and. Dr. Homer Houchen runs the other; two implement houses, one conducted by Craig & White, and the other by Herman Mundt; three cream, flour and feed stations, one by J: K. Greenwood, one by T. J. Shirley and the other by J. H. Casler; two blacksmith shops, John Hansen is the proprieter of one and Charles Bereuter runs the other; E. J. Bereuter deals in pumps and windmills; F. E. Patton is a dealer in poultry and eggs; T. L. Davis & Son manage a lumber yard; C. S. Shores keeps a livery and feed stable There are three automobile garages run respectively by Craig & White, Bereuter & Son and Bert Billet.

The professional men of Utica are Drs. Houchen, McConaghey and Kenner; Dentist Dr. C. E. Klopp; Attorney at law, A. O. Coleman.

THE VILLAGE OF BEAVER CROSSING.

By referring back to the write up of "pioneer towns, schools and post offices" in this work it will be noticed that Beaver Crossing was among the first places in Seward county to get a post office, and store. And its future prospects to become one of the best towns in the county were bright and promising, but time soon dimned those prospects on account of its being several miles off from any rail road. And although it did a good "cross roads" business through the pioneer period it did not keep up, as a town, with other towns which had the advantages of railway facilities. And it seems that in the later period after the closing of pioneer times, the town was doomed to blights and darwbacks to impede its progress and make it a dead one with all of its natural and valuable advantages. The C. & N. W., or as it was then called the F. E. & M. V. rail road was opened through the town in 1887 and just why the place should have been misrepresented and boomed as a coming metropolis at that time and what benefit such misrepresentation was expected to be to the future of Beaver Crossing, is and will remain a mystery. In fact the town was almost rode to its death by an over growth, extremely wild and unreasonable. Although the general trade of the vicinity was abundantly supplied previous to the coming of the rail road by two general mercantile stores, shops and other business houses, there was a general rush from all directions for the best business locations in the town. The racket of the saw and hammer was heard early and late in different quarters of the place, and business houses and dwillings were rushed up in short order. And Beaver Crossing like a stream of water in a flood season overflowed its banks and spread out over the low lands. Had those business men who were so anxious to get "in on the ground floor" in the new town with their business, stopped long enough to solve the problem of where the trade for so large an increase of business houses was coming from they would not made buildings to leave standing empty inside of a year. But the great newspaper, the "Beaver Crossing Bugle," with its six pages patent printed and two pages, constituting the Beaver Crossing portion of it, printed at Milford, was the spokesman for the coming greatness of the place, and strange as it may seem, it displayed such inducements that a number of people overlooked the fact that the enthusiastic publisher of the great seven column paper was booming a town that he had not got sufficient confidence in to put in a press to print his paper on.

The blasts from the "Bugle" were loud and long. It had several rail roads headed for Beaver Crossing and was very much alarmed for fear some undesiable road would slip in unawares. It also had the establishment of some kind of glass factory planed for the place, where the alkali and sand that was going to waste in the vicinity might be worked up into glass. But it boomed enterprises in one column while it devoted three columns to "Bugle" loud tunes for base ball. Two brick yards were established to produce brick for the coming "sky scrapers" of Beaver Crossing. And the building of business houses went on with alackerty, and the revelry of the modern time sport grew to such proportions that the little, weakly supported burg had a subject to discuss as well as recreation for leisure hours when not engaged in wrapping up goods for customers.

In viewing the outlines of the booming city (to be) and its business, I see the following new enterprises added to the place while others were expected to develope in almost the immediate future: M.Byington, general merchandise store; M. M. Johnson, general merchandise store; A. H. Parks, boots, shoes and grocery store; W. R. Davis & Sons, hardware, tinware and grocer store; McDougall & Callahan, hardware and tinware store; P. H. W. Corkins, drug store; W. J. Organ & Co., dealers in agricultural implements; J. H. Erford & Co., dealers in grain, coal and lumber; Nye, Englehaupt & Co., dealers in grain, lumber and coal; I. G. Chapin &. Co., dealers in lumber and coal; F. M. Foster, new livery stable; J. W. Leisure, new livery stable; J. E Cloud, meat market; Joe Kunce, harness shop; Mrs. A. H. Parks, milllinery; Mrs. Frank Horton, Millinery; The State Bank, T. E. Sanders, cashier; Dimery's Hotel, J. F. M: Dimery, proprietor; Willis Bentley, blacksmith shop; J. J. McWilliams, blacksmith shop. Dr. F. A. Greedy, physician and surgeon, Dr. J. E. Phinney, physician and surgeon, with Dimery's opera house, Horton's brick block, Erford's elevator and other business houses in course of construction. Is it any wonder such a bubble would burst and leave the place in a state of colapse? And that the town of Beaver Crossing has not improved since that cola pse is evident and the reason obvious. It is difficult to resurect a dead town, especially after such discouraging circumstances have driven the best and most enterprising business men from it.

Beaver Crossing passed through its pioneer period in a creditable manner after many years, but it entered and passed through its devastating booming period during the one year of 1887 leaving it in a more helpless condition than that of the former period. And it was doomed to still farther depressions as results of its being unable to overcome misfortune, but it was on a fair road to recovery when along in 1904 and 1905 it got an undesirable apportionment of business individuals that would be as sure death to a town as a grain of strychnine would to a rat. There were five in this consignment and they did not hesitate to engage in any kind of dirty spite work that seemed the least popular and had a banker and state senator at the head of it. In fact their addition to that kind of element constituted about half of the spite engendering dirty gang of the place. But the "last grain of sand" more than the town could bear was the addition to the newcomers of the renouned editor Fred. C. Diers, a man that could not look a hog in the face, much less a main. And this sickning dose to the already distressed and weakly little place would not have been so blightening a curse to its interests and welfare had he and his foolishness not been indorsed by those who claimed to be the whole town. It was well known that there was a committee of the gang running to different towns in the country hunting just such a character until he was found. And they did not only indorse his folly in advance of his coming, but they poisoned his mind with their own sour and depraved dispositions, giving the fool the impression that the whole town was at his feet and ready to surrender its interests and good name to serve him if he would only do their low down work and help them destroy a hated man's business who had, presumed to question the honor and ability of the august personage who was so honorably and abley leading the crusade of spite and was short just the amount it required to make up Diers to complete the list of assistants. And Diers was noworse than the others, but his part of the program was more open to the public. He acted in accordance with their wishes and in doing so gave the honest citizens of the place a shamed face by calling himself and his silly paper their "Pride," or what amounted to the same thing "The Pride of Beaver Crossing.

Now this matter may seem small and unworthy of notice, but it is history and I see no way to avoid the issue. And it is large enough to amount to a dark page of damaging effect upon the prosperity of the beautiful little village of Beaver Crossing. As the scheme did not result as it was intended and expected to, in the injury of a private citizen, that individual being found amply able to stand by his rights and take care of himself, what else could the treachery, intrigue, and low trickery, continued in for months by one half or more of the so called business men of a town, amount to but serious injury to the prosperity of the place? To briefly state the case I will say that because one man had chosen to exercise his right as an American citizen and failed to support a young ignoramous for an office he did not cosider him fit for, the young aspirant for ever office in sight, commenced a fight against the aforesaid citizen and the element known as the gang took sides with him. The despised citizen was editor of the home paper and the work of spite progressed in the aforesaid search for a printer to - as they termed it - run said editor out of the business. Some of the more rash ones would not even consider a proposition to buy him out. They were after his scalp and nothing but the raising of his hair would appease their wrath. In their search the only specimen of humanity they found that would engage in such an undertaking was this man Diers. But he had no money. In order to supply this deficiency they started a stock conspiracy, the object of which was publicly stated, to be the boycotting and destruction of the said offensiv citizens business. And each member of this conspiracy was required to put up fifty dollars or more to raise the funds to aid Diers in starting his part of the good work. He got the money and bought the printing plant from the former editor as he thought it was easier to buy him out than to run him out. And now the fun opens up in earnest. Diers had been led by the gang to think that they were the ruling element and that there was no possible chance for the other fellow to rise from the wreckage of his business, and Mr. Diers felt safe in the bosom of his admiring benefactors. But "it is a long road that has no turn," and the former editor purchased a new printing plant and started another paper called "The Independent Examiner," which examined too close to the skin for the gang and they slowly but surely withdrew their encouragement from Diers and one by one sold and disposed of their business and sneaked out of the town, tour of the later arrivals having made their exite in about a year, Diers turning the paper over to his brother to close out, followed shortly after. And it is a matter worthy of note that the entire outfit that composed that gang, with the exception of one, and possibly two have found it to their interest to hunt another location. Why? Because their own ignorant conduct had brought upon them and the town an unaccountable depression in business as compared with any other town in the county. "What you sow you shall reap." This became apparent, the "running out" scheme took on a back action and amid the prevailing quietness a lot of sneaking out was in order.

Beaver Crossing has three rural free delivery mail routes, all of which were established in 1903 with Lucian Wash carrier on route number. one, Pierce Dygert on route number two and W. A. Wilsey on route number three. Routes number two and three were established with carriers who had circulated the petitions, but after P. G. Tyler had succeded in getting sufficient petitioners fcr the establishing of route number one he was turned down, perhaps through advice of some of "the gang" and a very unqualified young man given his route. The carriers now are Roy Huffman on route one, Pierce Dvgert on route two and Al. Caswell on route three. These routes raised the post office from a fourth to a third class office and has done more good for the town than any other three things in it, although their establishment was contrary to the wishes of nearly every business man in the place, opposition to them being based on the grounds that with routes carrying mail to their doors farmers would not come to town. This was an opinion shared in to a large degree by other towns in the county which might be named, where the posmaster, following the requests of their tradesmen, threw the petitions when presented for the postmaster's endorsement and forwarding to the proper department, into the waste basket. The result of this was that rural routes from other postoffices ran up so close to the limits of their village there was no room for them to get a route. And when they saw farmers, residing right close to them, driving away on Saturday evenings and othor times when they were expecting mail that they wanted sooner than the carrier would bring it, to the town their mail was delived from, the desire for routes was an increasing torment to them. Some of them got a short route or two, close round their town and some of them are still on the anxious seat for "just one route." The postoffice has two hundred and fifty private mail boxes, the same number it had twenty years ago, the increas in this branch of the service having been confined entirely to the limits of the village by the rural routes. G. W. Norriss is the present postmaster.

The town has several substantial,and up to date business houses, and quite a number of the less portentious; chaper wooden buildings, relics of the previous mentioned boom.

The amount of business Beaver Crossing is doing I am unable to state, but feel safe in saying that it is still doing a good "cross roads" business. There are many excellent men in the different branches of business and some of the other kind too, just like any other town. I. L. Dermond is still in the mercantile trade and conducting it in the manner he has for twenty years; W. O. Johnson & Co., recent corners, are running a general merchandise store in the Eager building; one hardware and harness store is run by W. L. Cook; one hardware and grocery store by Earl Eager; one drug and grocery store by Chas. Simonton & Co.; one drug store by T. H. Lyon; one furniture and implement store by James Evans; one furniture and implement store by Danskin & Lowe; one grain elevator run by the Nye, Schnieder, Fowler Company, and one by the Farmers' Grain Company; there are two banks, the Citizens State Bank and the State Bank of Beaver Crossing, both located in modern bank buildings; one lumber yard conducted in the name of the Barstow Grain Company which recently sold their elevator to the Farmers Grain Co.,and the Nye, Schnider Company runs a lumber yard; both grain companies sell coal; Chas. E. Gentry is the undertaker and sells pictures, frames, glass and notions; Chas. Luce keeps all kinds of jewelry; a new electric shoe shop is run by Oliver Hess; Ed. Warnke runs a first class bakery; there are two barber shops, two ten cent stores, one opera house, one skating rink, one hotel, one livery and feed stable, two hospitals; one by Dr. C. O. Petty and the other is conducted by Drs. Doty & Hickman; two blacksmith shops; Jacob McCord runs the east shop and John Witter runs one on Mill street. Dr. Hewit is the dentist, and. Judge A. Leavens, attorney at law. James Barnes deals in fresh and salt meats and ice. The town supports four automobile garages, and half supports one news and job printing office. E. A. McNeil is the editor and has been giving the town the usual heaping and running over measure of local newspaper support for the past ten years, and he at least has the author's sympathy. (The statement, which has already gone in print on page 238 of this work, that the Beaver Crossing rural mail routes were established in 1903 is an error. They started December 1st, 1902.)

Beaver Crossing has a population of about eight hundred, contains many modern residences, two pioneer residences, one occupied by George Winand and family was built in 1872 by Grand father Nichols, later becoming the property of Edward Maul, father of Mrs. George Winand; and the second pioneer building was built by Ross Nichols in 1869 upon his homestead, and is now the Beaver Crossing Hospital, and many other good and comfortable dwellings. It has several very beautiful streets and shady lawns. Cement sidewalks extend throughout the town. It has a twelve grade high school and five churches, the Evangelical, Methodist, Catholic, Christian and Church of God.

Return to [ Seward County History ] [ NE History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [Nebraska Biographies ]

All pages copyright 2009. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy