EARLY HISTORY OF CHERRY COUNTY, NEBRASKA
(152) The fifth station west of Valentine is Eli, which town was named for Eli Garner, pioneer settler of this community. The town was established in 1885, with the coming of the railroad. There is some good farm land on the Niobrara River, but this community is made up largely of ranch land, and as in other areas, farming is giving way to livestock raising.
Their school district No. 32 was organized in November, 1886, and school district No. 49 was organized in March, 1888.
The pioneers of this community were:
Elmer Crane, for whom a bridge across the Niobrara was named. The bridge was built near his homestead. Patrick Sullivan served as County Commissioner during the late nineties. Because of drouth and depression, the county was in poor financial condition when Mr. Sullivan was elected, and the people were unable to pay their taxes, with the result that the county was unable to meet its obligations promptly. Those who had claims against the county were compelled to wait for as long as two years for their money. It became the custom to sell their claims to those who had funds with which to buy them at a severe discount. In many cases those who had claims against the county, which they sold, owed the county for their taxes. Mr. Sullivan proposed that the claims of all persons owing delinquent personal taxes be applied on the (153) taxes up to the amount of the tax. Where the tax was more than the claim, the claim was all to be applied on the tax. This created a sensation and brought the wrath of both the claim buyers and sellers down upon his head. In many instances the people who had sold their claims were unable to obtain money with which to repay those who had purchased them. However, Mr. Sullivan stood firm, and was upheld by the other county commissioners. It was the beginning of better days for the county, as this plan not only collected taxes, but it stopped a heavy drain on the finances of the county. It can be truthfully said of Mr. Sullivan as was said of an early U. S. Treasurer, "He touched the corpse of a county credit and it sprang to its feet." Within a few years the county was on a sound financial basis and was able to meet its obligations promptly.
Mr. Sullivan's ranch was on the Niobrara River, and is now owned by Charles Larson. Mr. Sullivan owned one of the first herds of Angus cattle in the county.
Other pioneers were: Andrew Steele and sons, Ira, James and John, and a daughter, now Mrs. Charles Wilson. Ira Steele now lives in the Wood Lake Community, as does his sister, Mrs. Charles Wilson. Charles Wayne, Estman Walker, Charles Nelson, Erick Wickman, Elmer Jones, Lewis Adams, I. N. Garner and sons, Jesse and Dan. During the flu epidemic of 1918 both Mr. and Mrs. Dan Garner passed away leaving a young family. Mr. Maybee and son, Fred, and daughter, Rosa, George Jesen, E. B. Quible, who served as County Treasurer for a time under appointment. H. G. Quible now lives in Valentine while his son has charge of the ranch. Sam Bovell, Fred Robinson, Eli Garner, Elwin DeVine, I. B. Nichols, Charles Larson, Murray, Comfort, Oscar, L. C. and M. S. Starr, George Monnier, E. F. Devine, James and Robert Edger, O. C., C. O., C. M. and C. W. Goodrich, Henry Heckel, Frank Jones, William Maybee, J. E. Mapes, Charles Nelson, C. B. and W. D. Ricketts, W. H. Sellers, J. V. and S. A. Winslow.
Lloyd Starr, son of Murray Starr, is now a breeder of registered Hereford cattle in the community.
"Your Bank of Eli" was organized in 1917 by business men and ranchers of the community, with D. W. Coffey as cashier, in which capacity he served for three years. George W. Derry then became cashier and manager, a position he held until the bank went out of business voluntarily in January, 1931, when all depositors were paid in full.
(154) Mr. Derry served as County Commissioner of Cherry County from July, 1931, to July, 1933. His parents were pioneers of Elgin, Nebraska, and Mr. Derry was born in a log house near that city. Mrs. Derry's (nee Alice Johnson) parents, Harris and Ida Johnson, were pioneers of the Cody Community, having come to Cherry County in the eighties. Mr. and Mrs. George W. Derry now reside in Wayne, Nebraska.
From Eli we shall drive west on Highway No. 20, to Merriman, which is 62 miles from Valentine. This village was named for John Merriman, who was the trainmaster in charge of construction trains while the railroad was being built in the vicinity. Like Cody, the Merriman Community covers a wide territory. The town was established with the coming of the railroad in 1885. It was surveyed as a village August 17, 1898. Its school district No. 70 was organized Jan. 27, 1891, and the petition of its organization was circulated by Herbert Green and Guard Folsom. The school district now has a modern school building with twelve grades of school.
The first residence in the town was built by Herbert Green, who came with his family from Stuart, Nebraska, to make a home in western Cherry County, arriving Nov. 14, 1890. For building material he used logs which had been sawed on both sides at Jack Trimble's saw mill on the Niobrara River, near the mouth of Leander Creek. This was the only saw mill ever in the Merriman Community. The log house also served as the first school house in Merriman, with Mrs. Green as the first teacher. The term of school was three months and her salary was $30.00 per month. Until the log house was built, the Green family lived with Mark Clark in his 14x16 foot log cabin in Dry Valley, one mile south of Merriman. Mr. Green built the first flour and feed store, the first livery barn and the first hotel in Merriman. Later he sold these and built the first drug store in the village which he owned and operated for many years. This building is still being used as a drug store when this history is being written.
Mr. Green's son, A. B. Green, served as County Clerk of Cherry County for two terms.
Henry C. Bowring was one of the first section foremen in Merriman. He had charge of the section crew that filled in and levelled the railroad yards in Valentine. Mrs. Bowring served meals in their section house home until a hotel was (155) built. Mr. Bowring's son, Arthur, filed on a homestead in 1894, north of Merriman where he lived until he passed away March 19, 1944. To this homestead was added other land until it became one of the substantial ranches of the county. Several years ago the sod house was replaced by a modern ranch home where Mrs. Bowring now lives and carries on the business since her husband passed away. Arthur Bowring took an active interest in public affairs of the county, serving as County Commissioner fifteen years and two terms as Representative from Cherry County also one term as Senator in the Legislature of Nebraska. He was President of the Good Roads Association of Nebraska for a number of years. His sister, Mrs. Jessie Bowring French, now lives in Gordon, Nebraska.
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Jerman arrived in Merriman July 10, 1886, soon after the railroad was built. John Carter, station agent, allowed the Jermans to sleep on the floor in the depot the first night they were in Merriman. At that time there were two section houses and a small sod house in Merriman. Mr. Jerman filed on a claim on the Niobrara River and built a log house, into which they moved Dec. 1, 1886. He hunted for the market and received $5.00 per dozen for prairie chicken. The family used the fore quarters of the deer he killed and shipped the hind quarters to market, which provided them with cash to purchase flour and other groceries. Their crop in 1887 was abundant and provided food for the winter, and caused them to appreciate their Cherry County home. Other land was added, making a substantial unit. Mr. Jerman passed away Feb. 5, 1920.
Mr. and Mrs Guard Folsom arrived at a place six miles north of Merriman during the late eighties, coming with covered wagon and a yoke of oxen. The grass at that time was tall as the oxen. Mr. Folsom decided the place would make a good home, so they pitched a tent, in which they lived until a sod house was built. He filed on a timber claim, then a homestead and later a pre-emption. At one time his team was composed of an ox and a horse. From this beginning a substantial ranch was established. Mr. Folsom took an active part in public affairs of the county, and Mrs. Folsom taught school to add to the family income, as did their daughter, Lottie, now Mrs. Newton Gates, of Gordon, Nebraska. Mr. Folsom's ranch is now owned by Joy Fairhead.
Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge G. Malone came to the Merriman (156) Community in 1886, from their former home in Holt County where Mrs. Malone recalls the capture of Kid Wade, notorious horse thief. When the remainder of Kid Wade's gang was captured, she helped prepare supper for the ten handcuffed prisoners.
Mr. and Mrs. Jessen arrived in Merriman in 1890. Mr. Jessen was one of the section foremen at that place for a number of years. In 1894 he filed on a homestead and became a successful rancher. Their children were pupils in the first term of school taught in Merriman.
Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Crowe came to the Merriman Community in 1888 and selected a homestead on the Niobrara River, six miles south of Irwin. They brought two carloads of heifers with them and intended to engage in the livestock business. A severe blizzard in the nineties took most of their cattle and from that time both Mr. and Mrs. Crowe did whatever they could to earn a living. Mr. Crowe carried mail and Mrs. Crowe taught school. She also helped organize the first school in the Lavaca Community. The school house was a small soddie in which eighteen pupils were taught. Mrs. Crowe became one of the prominent teachers of the county during those pioneer days. Her salary for the first term she taught was $25.00 per month. The districts had very little money, and in order to obtain cash for her warrents, she had to discount them 33%. Mr. Crowe passed away in 1914. Mrs. Crowe lived to see pioneer conditions replaced by modern and more convenient ways of living. Two of their children, Mrs. P. H. Young and Fred Crowe, now live in Cherry County.
Other pioneers were: Z. T. Davis, Albert, William and Marion Metzger, Ben Roberts, G. B. McNamee, B. E. White, Tom Coffee, George Elliott, F. P. Mills, W. C. Shattuck, G. O. Fairhead, and sons, Joy and Lee, and daughters, Grace and Gladys, George Shadbolt, William Fleishman, who established the Churn Ranch, now owned by C. J. and LeRoy Abbott, Alexander and Simon Alder, J. W. Curry, Frank and Livi Cady, Edson Fuller, Lewis Ganow, H. A., Mary, and William Glendening, A. D. Gallop, T. M. and Bazel Hunt, Robert Koontz (Mr. Koontz suffered exposure while trying to rescue a herd of cattle from a lake in a blizzard, which broke his health and made him an invalid for the remainder of his life). S. J. and Sarah Leeper, T. C. Leonard, H., Robert, and G. B. McNamee, J. M. McKinney, Charles Monier, L. M. Sawtell, M. F. Timms, L. L. and Eva Trogden, W. R. White, Henry (157) Wilber, William, Lewis, Alfred, Arthur, and Andrew Dahlgrin, P. W. Pruden and sons, James, Frost, George, and Alfred (William Dahlgrin's son, Loyal, and family now live near the homestead of his father). Miss Cena Downing, who was a pioneer teacher. George Elliot served as County Clerk two terms 1894-1897, inclusive, and he was a Deputy Clerk for two terms before being elected clerk. W. C. Shattuck, a veteran of the Civil War, served as County Treasurer two terms, 1901 to 1905, inclusive. F. P. Mills was one of the first merchants in the town.
The Anchor Bank was chartered Aug. 15, 1900. E. M. Fuller, who had been a sailor in his youth, was the owner of the bank, but later sold it to Albert and William Metzger who operated it for many years, with D. W. Coffee as Cashier.
During the first world war, potash was discovered in the lakes of Cherry and Sheridan Counties, and a large refinery was put up in Merriman. However, when the war closed, the potash business collapsed and many citizens of the county lost their investment in that business.
In common with other communities of the county, Merriman had a number of false alarms during the Indian uprising in 1890. At one time, word came that the Indians were coming to burn the town and the citizens decided to take the eastbound train to safety. They gathered at the depot anxiously awaiting the arrival of the train. Already overloaded with alarmed people, the train did not stop that night when it reached Merriman, so the people returned to their homes and made preparations to defend themselves, but the Indians never came. Merriman is surrounded by substantial ranches where many years of improvement have developed high class herds of Hereford and Angus cattle. The sod houses of pioneer days have been replaced by comfortable modern homes.
There are a number of registered herds of cattle in the Merriman Community, and these herds have been an important factor in improving the quality of the commercial herds of the county.
Ed Belsky, dean of the registered Hereford breeders of the county, lives in this community. He began in a small way in 1906 by buying one registered Hereford heifer. Since that time he has devoted his time to the developing of a herd which has produced many outstanding animals.
Other breeders of the community are, Fay Seveland, Carl Alicheel, George Mensinger, J. J. Moreland, H. S. Bates. Mrs. Arthur Bowring has owned a registered herd for ten years.
(158) Going west from Merriman our next stop will be at Irwin, which station is on the railroad, and five miles north of Highway No. 20. This station and precinct, which is the northwest precinct of the county, were named for Bennett Irwin, a cowboy during the Open Range Days, and a successful rancher in later years. A number of the most substantial ranches of the county are located in this precinct.
There was a store and Post Office named Cooper, west of Irwin, for a time. J. E. Thackrey, who later served as County Treasurer for two terms, 1898-1901 inclusive, was the merchant and postmaster. The store and post office passed out of the picture, and the place is now known as Brock. The railroad has a siding there where trains may pass each other.
The pioneers of this community were:
Ed Ross, who was a cowboy during the Open Range Days. He worked on the Newman Ranch on the Niobrara and later became foreman of the ranch. In 1884 this ranch was closed out and the cattle were moved to a ranch in Montana on Powder River. Mr. Ross went with the cattle and worked on the Powder River Ranch, later became foreman of that ranch. Mr. Ross states that at one time Mr. Newman had 40,000 cattle on the Montana Ranch.
Bennett Irwin, for whom the station and precinct were named, was a foreman on the Newman Ranch, on the Niobrara, for a number of years. He was foreman in 1882 when Ed Ross began working for the ranch; later he owned a ranch of his own.
Ulrich Fuscher, who located a homestead in 1884 and returned in 1885 to make his home in the county where he lived until he passed away in January, 1945. Other land was added to the homestead until it became one of the substantial ranches of the county. This ranch is now operated by his sons, William, Fred, Emil, and Ernest, as the Fuscher Land & Cattle Co. The sons also own land of their own. Mr. Fuscher was one of the most successful pioneers of Cherry County. An account of how he walked to Valentine, a distance of 57 miles, in 19 hours, to file on his homestead, is told in another chapter of this history. His daughter, Ida, also lives in Cherry County.
J. C. Carson owned a substantial ranch in this precinct when he passed away. He became one of the Master Farmers (159) of Cherry County. This ranch is now owned by the McGinley Land and Cattle Company, of which George McGinley and his six sons are the owners. Mr. McGinley is a pioneer ranchman of Ogallala, Nebraska. A son, Jesse, is in charge of the ranch.
L. Laufer served as County Commissioner. His homestead is now owned by Emil Fuscher.
Other pioneers were: A. M. Abbott, G. E. Bartlett, G. W. Beamer, George Blanchard, Peter and S. C. Christiansen, Paulina Dobson, H. T. and R. G. Dorr, J. C. Dam, Jacob and Sarah Ganow, Ed Gentry, C. H. Holst, F. W. King, J. S. and Harry Lawrie, S. J. Leeper, Andrew, Hans and Paul Nielson, Katie and N. T. Norman, J. E. Nye; Mr. Nye had charge of building many of the bridges across the rivers of the county; J. H. Bachelor, Andrew and Louis Olsen, P. S. Parker, Lucian Piper; later Mr. Piper moved to a ranch which he owned south of Valentine. This ranch is now owned by Sam and Martha McKelvie, and is known as the By The Way Ranch. Charles Roberts, L. M. Sawtell, A. J. Short, Q. M. Skinner, C. E. Tenant, Jens Thompson, J. P. and S. G. Thayer, and Henry Wilber.
C. L. Coleman developed one of the outstanding herds of Hereford cattle of the county. Jefferson Winship, Dennie Hathorn, Frank Bresee, J. H. Baker. Mrs. Baker was a physician and rendered valuable service during the pioneer days. Later Mr. Baker moved to the Simeon Community and purchased a ranch where he lived until he retired in 1912. This ranch is now operated by his grandson, R. A. Baker.
Robins Brothers, Arthur Kortz, Ben Roberts, Tracy Dorr, Sam Woodward, Frank Stuart, Lewis Brinker, George French, Andrew Short, Martin Hansen, M. P. Johnson, Charles and John Larsen, Charles Larsen later purchased the Patrick Sullivan ranch, south of Eli on the Niobrara, which he owns at this time and operates it in co-partnership with his son. He is now living in Merriman. He was a cowboy in the Open Range Days; worked on the Spade Ranch in Sheridan County and on a ranch on Powder River in Montana.
Huston and Olin Waddell, Lee Sellers, and William Roberts are among the later ranchmen of the precinct.
The Irwin School District No. 78 was organized in 1893.
Most of the evidence of pioneer days have now passed out of existence in this community; the sod houses have been replaced by comfortable homes and the mixed breeds of cattle have been replaced by high class cattle.
(160) Going south from Irwin Precinct, we come to Lavaca Precinct, which joins it on the south. Both the Post Office and the precinct were named for a river in Texas, and it is thought that the name was given by some man connected with the Newman Ranch, who formerly lived in Texas. The Niobrara River flows through this precinct near its northern boundary. There are two creeks, the Antelope and the Pole, partly in this area.
It was near the mouth of Antelope Creek, which flows into the Niobrara from the northwest, that the Newman "Open Range Days" ranch was located. A picture of the ranch buildings is shown as one of the illustrations of this history.
There is much good farming land in Lavaca Precinct, and the majority of the first settlers engaged in farming. At this time stock raising is united with farming and the unit have become larger. As in other sections of the county, there are not as many people living in this precinct as when it was fully settled. This section was also settled before the coming of the railroad; the first settlers arrived in 1884.
In March of 1884, Rev. J. A. Scamahorn, a veteran of the Civil War and who had been a prisoner of war in Libby Prison, Virginia, came with a colony of settlers from Indiana, and selected homesteads around what is now Gordon Sheridan County. A number of these settlers selected claims in Lavaca Precinct, and made their homes of sod or logs, which ever was most convenient.
During the late eighties, a bridge was built across the Niobrara for their convenience.
Before the coming of the settlers, the area which is now Lavaca Precinct, was used as range land by the Newman Ranch.
The pioneer settlers of the precinct were:
Rollin Hanchette was one of the Scamahorn Colony, and served as County Commissioner of Cherry County. Mrs. Hanchette, who now lives in Gordon, still owns the original homestead and operates it as a livestock unit by means of a tenant who shares the business with her.
Robert Watson was also a member of the Scamahorn Colony and became Treasurer of Cherry County, in which capacity he served two terms. Mrs. Watson and Mrs. Hanchette were sisters.
(161) Joseph Estabrook served as County Surveyor.
In 1894, Joseph Fairhead and Mrs. Hankins and son, W. F. Hankins, brought into use windmills to supply water for gardens. Owing to the drought, this custom became general and much food was produced in this way, which would not have been possible without water other than natural rainfall.
Other early settlers were: Oscar Estabrook, Henry Jones, Joseph and John Fairhead, Giddeon Waggoner, Eben Spangler, Dr. Ed Julian, W. F. Hankins and Mother, Steve Brewer, Frank and Homer Peacock, Rev. A. R. Julian, who later served as Presiding Elder for the Methodist Church, Sam Rice, Henry and Harry Downing, Ed Vollentine, E. Messinger, who was one of the pioneer teachers of the county, C. C. and Frank Parker; C. C. Parker served as sheriff of the county for a term in the nineties; Walter Vollentine, Lewis, Fritz, and Herman Timm, L. R. and Charles Beckman, Fred, Nelson, and Soren Jensen, Ira, A. C. and Ed Johnson, Arthur Kortz, Isaac and G. A. Liptrap, A. P. Madsen, Christian Nelson, Hattie, A. R. and E. L. Poyer, Albert, Anna and J. D. Spall, T. E. Small, Ben Sanders, J. E. and Frank Sparks, A. G. Skinner, L. D. Tice, William and Louis Timm, F. H. Beck, Samuel DeFrance, W. L. Enlow, Henry Hauger, Henry Hugen.
Their pioneer school districts No. 22, No. 26, and No. 32 were organized in 1886. Mrs. Small was the first teacher in district No. 32. The school house in this district was dug into the bank of a bluff, with the front and part of the sides made of sod. The roof was made by placing poles across the walls and then covered with sod and dirt, which made a very comfortable school room.
The people of this community built a frame church on the table land, south of the Niobrara River, in the late eighties, which served as a church home for many years for the people of the community. This church was known as Newman Chapel.
SOUTHWEST CHERRY COUNTY
Leaving Lavaca Precinct, we shall visit a section of the county, which for want of a community name, we shall call Southwest Cherry County. This is a large area, devoted entirely to stock raising and the ranches as a whole are much larger than those in the communities we have visited.
Russell, King, Mother Lake, Buffalo Lake, Enlow, Lacky, Middle Prong, and Calf Creek Precincts make up this section (162) of the county, which was the last to be settled, owing to the great distance from the railroad. When the C. B. & Q. Railroad was built in 1886 and 1887, near the south line of Cherry County, this area soon became the home of a substantial number of people. The ranches established by these new settlers, we shall call Pioneer Ranches, to distinguish them from the Open Range Days ranches. They had their beginning by the taking of homestead, pre-emption, or timber claim. As time passed, other land was added until some of these ranches are among the largest in the state. During the early days there was some resentment toward the coming of more settlers by a few of these pioneer ranchmen. They wanted to hold the land for their own use, and this resentment resulted in a tragedy in Enlow Precinct in 1894. Mr. and Mrs. Jayson H. Cole brought the first herd of Angus cattle into Enlow Precinct in 1889 and settled on a timber claim and pre-emption. Their land was near what is now known as Steverson Lake.
After living in a tent for some time, a one-room sod house with a half window, dirt floor, and sod roof was built. Until 1894 things went well with the Coles. A son, Jayson, Jr., was born in this sod house on February 24, 1890. Jayson, Jr., is now one of the County Commissioners of Cherry County. In 1892 another son arrived in their home.
In the summer of 1894 Mr. Cole received two letters saying that if he did not move away he would be killed. He paid no attention to the letters. On August 4, 1894, while mowing hay on his claim, a man came on horseback and stopped to talk with him. While talking, the stranger shot and killed Mr. Cole. The murderer was never apprehended, but it was thought that he escaped to South America.
Mrs. Cole sold part of her herd and spent the winter near Hastings, Nebraska, returning in the spring to carry on the work she and her husband had started. Later she married H. V. Downing and continued to build one of the substantial ranches of the county. This ranch was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Downing until they passed away, and it is now operated by their son, George Downing. During the blizzards of May, 1892, and March, 1913, they lost a substantial number of cattle that drifted into a lake.
Other pioneers of this area were:
A. T. Davis, whose ranch is in Mother Lake Precinct. Just before the famous blizzard of March 14, 1913, Mr. Davis had shipped in 400 steers from Mexico. As these cattle were not (163) hardened to severe winter weather, they all perished in that storm.
When Mr. Davis passed away March 2, 1915, his wife, Mrs. Essie Davis, took charge of the ranch; paid off the obligations, added more land, increased the herd, and became one of the most successful ranch operators in the county. She was made a Master Farmer and is also President of the Alliance Production Credit Association. She has the distinction of being the only woman president of a Production Credit Association in the United States. A picture of her modern ranch home is shown in one of the illustrations.
Modern ranch home of Mrs. Essie Davis and son, north of Hyannis, in Cherry County.
Among the largest land owners in Southwest Cherry County are the sons and wife of A. J. Abbott, a pioneer of this section. C. J. Abbott is the manager of their ranches. Their Raymond Lake Ranch was formerly a camp of Stemm and Rankin during the Open Range Days. Christopher Abbott, father of A. J. Abbott, filed on a homestead twelve miles northeast of Hyannis in 1887, and he built a sod house, as did other pioneer settlers. This land is now owned by J. M. Gentry and Son.
J. M. Gentry was a cowboy during the Open Range Days. He located in the sandhills during the fall of 1886, and the next spring a small herd of 60 or 70 head of cattle which he had accumulated with his savings, was brought from (164) Kansas. He took up land about ten miles north of Whitman, which he owns at this time. Mr. Gentry's son, Raymond, is associated with his father in the cattle business, and another son, C. C., is also a successful ranch owner. Mr. J. M. Gentry is now living in Hyannis.
J. H. Monahan was one of the first to locate in Southwest Cherry County. He has been very successful and has accumulated a large ranch which he operates in company with his son, Earl. Their firm is known as the Monahan Land and Cattle Company. Earl Monahan is a former President of the Nebraska Stock Growers' Association. A fine modern home on this ranch is the residence of Earl Monahan, who is in charge of the operation of the ranch.
One of the large ranches of this section is the Fawn Lake Ranch, of which Logan C. Musser is president, and Morris Rossiter the foreman. This ranch was established by Morey and Hewitt and later sold to the Fawn Lake Company. On August 7, 1924, the residence of this ranch had a narrow escape from a cyclone which destroyed all of the buildings on the neighboring ranches of Tom Childers and Ed Sevier. Mr. Childers was killed by the cyclone.
Dr. A. J. Plumer's ranch was also in Mother Lake Precinct. Dr. Plumer and his wife, who was a registered nurse, rendered valuable service during the pioneer days in their community. He secured the first flowing well in the county. His ranch is now the property of the Dumbell Cattle Co.
Alex Burr, who served as county commissioner, did much to place the county on a sound financial basis.
John L. Roseberry also served as county commissioner and developed a substantial ranch, which is now operated by his son, Ray. Mrs. Ray Roseberry is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. S. Lee, pioneers of Brownlee.
Andrew Yaryan's ranch is now owned by W. C. Coble, who with his sons, Harry and Glen, have developed one of the largest ranches of the county. It is watered by the North Loup River and many flowing wells. Mr. Yaryan's sons, Merle and Earle, are engaged in the livestock business in the county.
F. B. Sterns was among the first ranchmen to take up the Angus breed of cattle. His ranch now has a modern home, and his son, Steve, is associated with his father in the business.
About the turn of the century, the Standard Cattle Company purchased considerable land in this section of the county, (165) and the company later sold its holdings to Messrs. Ed Brass and Myers. The estate of Mr. Myers now owns the land known as the Big Creek and Carver Ranches. This combination makes up one of the largest ranches of the county.
Albert and William Metzger were also pioneers of this section of the county. Albert served as State Representative from Cherry County in the Legislature of Nebraska during the session of 1907. In addition to their ranch business, they purchased the Anchor Bank of Merriman from E. M. Fuller. With Albert Metzger as President, they remained in charge of the bank until 1945 when they sold it to the Abbott Company.
Prairie fires were a menace to the settlers of this section of the county, as they were to all other sections. Being thinly settled with only horses as a means of transportation, settlers were at the mercy of fires when driven by a high wind. In 1892 a destructive fire swept a large portion of this section, and during the nineties other fires did considerable damage. Sometimes the fires burned for several days. With the coming of the automobiles and trucks, and also greater care in regard to fire, prairie fires have not been as destructive as they were in the pioneer days.
As the country was settled, post offices were established at places most convenient for the settlers. However, these post offices were all later discontinued. The people are now given mail service by carriers on state routes who deliver mail to those who live along their routes. The following post offices were established and gave service for a number of years: Curlew, Cherry, Prentis, Ethel, Rita Park, Hire, Pullman, Dean, Rolf, Capwell, Martindale, Survey, King, Lund, Hood, Fern, and Balfe.
This section of the county is watered by the Snake, North and Middle Loup Rivers, and by the Boardman, Gordon, Calf, and Big Creeks, as well as many flowing wells.
Many school districts were organized in this section of the county, but as the population decreased and ranches became larger, a number of the district were discontinued.
Peter Becker located in Cherry County in 1899, north of Ashby, and his ranch is now owned by his sons, Felix and John, who are among the successful younger ranchmen of the county.
William Harnan's ranch is now owned by McMurtrey Brothers (Alfred and Erba) who have enlarged it until it is now one of the large ranches of the county. A son of Mr. and (166) Mrs. Erba McMurtrey, Dr. George McMurtey is a graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical College.
John Enlow was foreman of the Figure 4 Ranch in Open Range Days, and later owned a ranch of his own.
Other early settlers of this community were as follows:
Samuel Chestnut, Charles Calhoon, A. B. Capwell, Joseph Culbertson, W. L. Chamberlain, S. H. Dye, C. L. Emick, J. R. Robert, J. M. Fimple, Charles Hoyt, James Harmon, J. B. Hill, G. L. Lackey, M. I. and S. Pettinger, E. LeLacheur, S. S. McLean, B. W. and Lydia Milks, William Pullman, H. Roberts, T. H. Spricklemeier, Mrs. E. Stoner, Henry Traweer, F. L. and G. W. Weaver, James and William Gillespie, Samuel Goodin, T. M. Hunt, Sylvanus and Albert Pratt, G. H. Seager, J. W. Short, H. D. Webster, F. D. Arnot, Egbert Bonnen, Roy Beckwith, Stephen Carver, Ben Cook, E. E. Edwards, W. L. Enlow, Sam Gregory, D. M. Gourley, H. P. and J. W. Hill, C. H. Jacobson, John Lowery, W. O. Lewis, Morey and Hewitt, H. O. Moris, T. E. Margrave, J. S. McCoubrey, D. C. Nelson, J. W. Ostrander, H. Curen, J. H. Overton, J. D. Richards, J. A. Saults, Charles Tate, (Mr. Tate served as County Surveyor of Cherry County), I. N. Turpen, J. M. Andrews, H. A. and H. M. Buck, John Barrett, D. C. Baugh, Hiram Cline, J. W. Combs, Frank Gage, T. H. Minor, Joseph Minor, W. O., L. B., and L. L. Morrill, F. G., E. R., and William Mason, F. L. Perrett, Thomas Stansbie, E. P. and Jay Taylor, Emmett Woodruff, Mrs. Annie Westover, and Joseph Bush, who was one of the later cowboys of this section and was an expert with a rope.
There is a beautiful waterfall on the North Loup River in this section of the county, which is about twelve feet high. It was near this waterfall that a skeleton was found by John Enlow in the spring of 1883. It was thought that the skeleton was the remains of Jack Suthard who worked for the Figure 4 Ranch in the spring of 1879. One night he failed to return from the day's ride and a search was made for him, but his body was not found until Mr. Enlow came upon a skeleton near the falls of the Loup. No one knows for sure that the body was that of Jack Suthard, but the Indians said that they had killed a cowboy in that part of the country, which was accepted as evidence that the skeleton must be that of the missing cowboy.
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