Homesteading        By Charlton Ryan

After President Lincoln was elected President, Congress passed the Homestead Bill on May 20, 1862. This bill made it possible for a person who met three conditions to file a claim for free land. The conditions were:

1. Be 21 years of age or older

2. Be a citizen of the U.S. or intend to become a citizen

3. Be a person who never bore arms against the U.S.

Those who met the conditions were entitled to 160 acres of land. Those who staked out their future property on railroad grant land, however, could only choose 80 acres.

The future landowner had to go to the nearest federal land office with a property description and file an application for the land. After filing, the applicant was allowed six months to move onto the land and begin making improvements. Then the applicant had to maintain “continuous residence” on the property from the time of filing until a five-year period was up. After five years, but not more than seven and a half years, the applicant could appear with two witnesses who were to testify that the applicant had met the terms of his land claim, which included making improvements. The settlers referred to this process as “proving up”. Once the claimant proved that he had met the requirements, the federal government issued him (or her) a land patent, which was essentially a deed to the homesteader’s land issued by the government.

Fewer than half the land claims made in Nebraska were ever proven, or completed. For various reasons, the claimants failed to prove up. Many claimants found the stipulation requiring five years of continuous residence too difficult, some found the conditions too harsh, some had problems with claim jumpers and/or Indians, some lost their lives, and others returned to families back home. Homesteaders earned their land, even if it was free.

Homesteading Terms 

Entryman Person filing the claim at the Land Office

Agent or land agent   Helped people who were new to the area find a suitable claim.  Sometimes an agent could help the homesteader describe the property in order to file the homestead application. Unfortunately, some land agents were unscrupulous and charged big prices.

Speculator  A person who either bought land from a settler with the intention of selling it at a higher price or a person who filed a claim with the intention of selling the land rather than living on it for five years. The land speculator might hire people to make fraudulent claims.

Commutation   To pay the declared federal price of the land in order to get a patent.

Preemption Right   A person who was already living on land before the government surveyors arrived frequently felt that because he lived there, he had the right to have that particular piece of property as his homestead. He felt he had a preemption right to the land.

Land Clubs  Were formed by groups of settlers in particular locations. They worked together to keep outsiders from their land club area. Forming a land club made it possible for settlers to live on unsurveyed land. After a survey, and after the government put the land up for sale, the land club members worked together to control land prices.

Jumper   Someone settling in on a previously occupied homestead, a claim jumper. If a homesteader ever left his land for a period of time, he left himself and his land open to the jumper. If the jumper could get to the land office and prove that the homestead was unoccupied, the jumper could take out a homestead application on the property.

Filing   The process of making an application for homestead land.

Patent   When the homesteader had fulfilled all requirements for property ownership, the government issued him or her a patent, similar to a deed proving ownership.  Copies of patents issued to homesteaders may be obtained from the Government Land Office

Relinquishment   Throwing in the towel. Giving up the homesteading process.  Leaving.  Or selling out to a jumper. 

Proving Up   Proving to the land office that the terms of making a homestead were completed.

Squatter   A person illegally living on government land. 

Saline Land Grant   Government land around salt springs which was turned over to the state. Nebraska got 72 sections of land this way.


1 Link = 7.92 Inches

1 Rod = 16 ½ Feet

5 ½ Yards = 25 Links

1 Chain = 66 Feet = 4 Rods = 100 Links

1 Furlong = 660 Feet = 40 Rods

1 Mile = 8 Furlongs = 320 Rods = 80 Chains = 5280 Feet

1 Square Rod = 272 ¼ Sq. Feet = 30 ¼ Sq. Yards

1 Acre = 43,560 Square Feet

1 Acre = 160 Square Rods

1 Acre is approximately 208 ¾ Feet Square

1 Acre is 8 Rods x 20 Rods

(Or any two numbers of Rods whose product is 160


{ The year for the November program listed below was not listed.  This was a program given to the Madison County Genealogical Society. }

The November Program was presented by Nancy Gross, Madison County Register of Deeds. She presented the following terms, and talked about her family history in the county.

Abutting Owner: One whose land is contiguous to (abuts) a public right of way.

Access Right: A right to ingress and egress to and from one’s property. May be expressed or implied.

Administrator’s Deed: A Deed issued by the Administrator of an estate.

Adverse Possession: A method of acquiring title by possession under certain conditions. Generally, possession must be actual, under claim of right, open, continuous, notorious, exclusive and hostile (knowingly against the rights of the owner) in Nebraska.

Cloud of Title: An Invalid encumbrance on real property, which if valid, would affect the rights of the owner. For example: Tim sells Lot 1, Block B to Bob. The deed is mistakenly drawn up to read Lot 1, Block A. A cloud is created on Lot 1, Block A by the recording of the erroneous deed. The cloud may be removed by Quitclaim Deed or, if necessary, by Court action.

Condemnation: The taking of private property for public use without the consent of the owner, but only upon payment of just compensation.

Conservator’s Deed: Deed issued by a court appointed Conservator (Guardian) of an estate. (May involve an incompetent person or a person under age [minor]).

Construction Lien: See Mechanic’s Lien.

Corporation Warranty Deed: Deed used when property is sold out of a Corporation.

Corrective Deed: The recording of a Deed for a second time to correct an error made in the deed when originally recorded.

Deed: Instrument used to convey interest in real property.

Deed of Distribution: Deed issued by Personal Representative of an estate.

Deed of Trust: Instrument used in place of a mortgage. Property is transferred to a Trustee by Borrower in favor of the lender. Released by Deed of Reconveyance by Trustee.

Defective Title: Title to real property which lacks some of the elements necessary to transfer good title.

Easement: A right created by grant, reservation, agreement, prescription, or necessary implication, which one has in the land of another. Either for the benefit or access, or public utility, etc.

Encroachment: Generally, construction onto the property of another, as of a wall, fence, building, etc.

Encumbrance: A claim, lien, charge, or liability attached to and binding real property.  Any right to or interest in, land which may exist in one other than the owner, but will not prevent the transfer of the title.

Equitable Interest: Interest by one who does not have legal title, such as a vendee under a land contract.

Equity: The market value of real property, less the amount of existing liens.

Evidence of Title: A document establishing ownership to property. Most commonly, a deed.

Executor’s Deed: Deed issued by the executor of an estate.

Federal Tax Lien: A lien attaching to the property for nonpayment of a federal tax.

Fee Simple: An estate under which the owner is entitled to unrestricted powers to dispose of the property, and which can be left by will or inherited. Commonly, a synonym for ownership.

Filed: Recorded

Filing Information: Information stamped on the original document received by the Register of Deeds showing date and time or recording, as well as Book and page, Instrument No. or Microfilm location of instrument. All recorded instruments contain filing information.

Final Decree: A decree completely deciding all pending matters before a court.

Financing Statement: Document having a Debtor/Creditor relationship. If filed against the real estate, it is considered a lien upon the real estate.

Foreclosure: A proceeding in or out of court, to extinguish all rights, title, and interest, of the owners of property in order to sell the property to satisfy a lien against it.

Free and Clear: Real property against which there are no liens, especially voluntary liens.

Grantee: One to whom a Grant is made, generally the buyer.

Grantor: One who grants property, or property rights.

Inheritance Tax Lien: A Tax on the transfer of property from a deceased person.

Irrevocable: That which cannot be revoked or recalled, such as certain trusts, contracts or other legal relationships.

Intestate: Without leaving a will. Property of the estate passes by the laws of succession rather than by the direction of the deceased.

Involuntary Lien: A lien such as a tax lien, judgment lien, etc., which attaches to property without the consent of the owner, rather than a mortgage lien in which the owner agrees.

Joint Tenancy: An undivided interest in property, taken by two or more joint tenants. The interests must be equal. Upon the death of a joint tenant, the interest passes to the surviving joint tenants, rather than to the heirs of the deceased.

Joint Tenancy Warranty Deed: Deed conveying interest to 2 or more people (usually husband & wife) where upon the death of one of the parties, the deceased person’s interest passes to the surviving joint tenants. (If Deed does not recite, as joint tenants, then grantees hold title as Tenants In Common).

Judgment: The decision of a court of law. Money judgments, when recorded, become a lien on real property of the defendant.

Judgment Lien: A lien against the property of a judgment debtor. An involuntary lien.

Land Contract: An Installment Contract for the sale of land. The seller has legal title until paid in full. The buyer has equitable title during the contract term.

Lease: An agreement by which the owner of real property (lessor) gives the right of possession to another (lessee) for a specified period of time (term) and for a specified consideration (rent).

Lien: An encumbrance against property for money, either voluntary or involuntary.

Life Estate: An estate in real property for the life of a living person. The estate then reverts back to the grantor or on to a remainderman.

Lis Pendens: A legal notice recorded to show pending litigation relating to real property, and giving notice to anyone acquiring an interest in said property subsequent to the date of the notice may be bound by the outcome of the litigation.

Mechanic’s Lien: A lien created for the purpose of securing priority of payment for the price of value of work performed or materials furnished in construction or repair of improvements to land, and attaches to land as well as the improvements.

Mortgage: Instrument by which real estate is used as collateral to borrow money.

Notice of Default: Notice filed to show that the borrower under a Mortgage or Deed of Trust is in default.

Party Wall: A wall erected on a property boundary as a common support to structures on both sides, which are under different ownerships.

Patent Deed: Conveyance from the government, issued to homesteaders who have made final payment as evidenced by the Final Receipt.

Perpetuity: Continuing forever. Legally, pertaining to real property, any condition extending the inalienability of property beyond the time of a life or lives in being plus 21 years.

Perimeter: The boundary lines of a parcel of land.

Personal Representative’s Deed: Deed issued by the Personal Representative of an estate.

Plat: A map dividing a parcel of land into lots, as in a subdivision.

Power of Attorney: An authority by which one person (principal) enables another (attorney in fact) to act for him.

Prescriptive Easement: The granting of an Easement by a court, based on the presumption that a written easement was given, (although none existed), after a period of open and continuous use of the land.

Probate: Originally, the proving that a will was valid. Modernly, an action over which probate court has jurisdiction.

Property Line: The boundary line of a parcel of land.

Public Dominion Land: Lands belonging to the federal government, not reserved for government use, but subject to sale or other disposal.

Quarter Section: One quarter of a section, containing 160 acres.

Quiet Title: Court Action to establish ownership of real property.

Quitclaim Deed: Deed operating as a release, intended to pass any interest in a real property, but not containing any warranty. May be used to clear up clouded title.

Recording: Filing documents affecting the real property as a matter of public record.

Recorded Documents must be witnessed and notarized.

Remainderman: The one entitled to the remainder. (Ex: Sam deeds to Jim, Lot 1, but Sam retains a life estate in the property. When Sam dies, Jim, the remainderman owns the property exclusively).

Revocable: Capable of being revoked.

Right of Way: A strip of land which is used as a roadbed, either for a street, or railway.  The land is set aside as an easement for fee, either by agreement or condemnation. May also describe the right itself to pass over the land of another.

Security Agreement: Document having a Debtor/Creditor relationship. May be Chattel

Mortgages, Financing Statements, inventory Liens, etc. If filed against the real estate, it is considered a lien upon the real estate.

Sheriff’s Deed: Deed give at a Sheriff’s Sale in foreclosure of mortgage.

Special Warranty Deed: See Warranty Deed.

State Tax Lien: A lien attaching to the property for nonpayment of a state tax.

Subordination Agreement: An agreement by which an encumbrance is made subject (junior) to a junior encumbrance.

Substitution of Trustee: A document which is recorded to change the trustee under a Deed of Trust.

Survivorship Warranty Deed: Deed in which the surviving grantee receives interest of deceased grantees (See also Joint Tenancy Warranty Deed).

Tax Deed: Deed from tax collector to governmental body after a period of non-payment of taxes according to statute.

Tenancy in Common: An undivided ownership in real estate by two or more persons.  The interest need not be equal, and, in the event of the death of one of the owners, no right of survivorship in the other owner exists.

Treasurer’s Deed: Deed conveyed by the County Treasurer in lieu of Tax Foreclosure.

Trustee’s Deed: Deed used when property is sold out of a Trust (must be signed by Trustees).

Trustee’s Deed: Deed by a Trustee under a Deed of Trust, issued to a purchaser at auction, in pursuant to foreclosure.

Vendee: Purchaser or buyer, especially on a land contract.

Vendor: The person who transfers property by sale. Another word for seller.  Commonly used in land contract sales.

Vested: Present ownership rights, absolute and fixed. Modernly, ownership rights, even though on a land contract or subject to a mortgage or deed of trust.

Voluntary Lien: A lien placed against real property by the voluntary act of the owner.  Most commonly, a mortgage or deed of trust.

Warranty Deed: Deed to convey title in a real property containing warranties.


This is how the sections are numbered within each township:

6       5      4     3     2     1

7      8      9    10   11   12

18    17  16   15   14   13

19    20   21   22   23   24

30    29   28   27   26   25

31   32   33   34   35   36

Each section is one square mile in size.

Each section contains 640 acres.

Each section can be divided into one-fourths (quarters). This

would be shown as NW 1/4 or NE 1/4 or SW 1/4 or SE 1/4.

This makes each quarter section of land 160 acres in size.

You can further breakdown the size by 1/4’s to obtain 40 acres.

This can be broken down further by 1/4’s to obtain 10 acres of land.


Take another look at the records

When analyzing your ancestor’s land transactions, always make certain that the amount of property sold is essentially the same as what was purchased. If there is a significant difference, perhaps you overlooked a record, or perhaps property was obtained through an unrecorded deed or an inheritance. Source: Kin Seeker (Platte Valley Kin Seekers, Columbus, NE.) Vol. 21, Issue 4, Winter 2001.


Sixty-Six Letters in Name

The Clinton man with sixty-two letters in his name has been beaten. A sister of ex-Sheriff George W. Losey of Battle Creek has sixty-six letters in her name.

T. T. A. T. W. S. E. T. K. O. H. Lindloff of Clinton, Iowa, whose full name reads .Through Trials and Tribulations We Shall Enter the Kingdom of Heaven. claimed the longest given name in the United States.

The Lindloff claim is disputed by ex-Sheriff Losey in favor of his sister, now Mrs. Martha Virginia Beveline Elizabeth Amanda Caroline Sarah Ann Rosaline Losey Beckley of Pueblo, Col.

Mr. Losey writes to the News from Battle Creek: .Editor News: I have just read the article in the News of this date headed .Sixty-two Letters in Name.. Mr. Lindloff of Clinton, Ia., will have to guess again before he can claim the longest name even in Iowa as my only sister, who was born in

Davies county, Iowa, forty years ago, can I think go him several better so far as letters are concerned.

.I herein hand you her name in full, sixty-six letters beginning with Martha Virginia Beveline Elizabeth Amanda Caroline Sarah Ann Rosaline Losey and now Beckley by marriage.  .My sister now resides in Pueblo, Colo.

.Now this is no joke but her actual name. I can explain how she came to get all those names but refrain at this time from doing so.

.I am respectfully, Geo. W. Losey..

—–Norfolk News. Source: The Madison Star-Mail, January 17, 1908, page 1.

Norfolk Journal May 1883

This will be about the most important term of District Court that Madison county has had in some years. The case of Madison county versus F. W. Fritz’s bondsmen, the Corovon damage suit against the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Company, the Bear versus Koenigstein town lot suit and several other important cases involving interests of no small magnitude are on the docket and expected to come up for hearing at this term of Court. The Grand Jury will also have some important work before it.

The lunch festival held at the Methodist Church on Tuesday evening happened on an unfavorable time, as the weather was too unpropitious for many to venture out. However, there was a reasonable turn-out and a social time. Lunches and hot coffee were sold, and later the surplus cakes were auctioned off. The receipts were $10. No expenses.

A number of Dr. Schwenk’s Norfolk friends assembled at his house per invitation last Sunday, and “toasted” his fortieth birthday. It is needless for us to say that the Doctor entertained his guests with characteristic courtesy, for this will go without saying where the Doctor is known. A couple of hours were pleasantly spent.                                                                                                                     Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 4, 1883, page 3.


Railroad Accident

Terrible Railroad Accident
One Brakeman Killed Outright
Engineer Badly Mutilated
Engine, Tender and Five Loaded Freight Cars Completely Demolished.

Owing to the terrible rain of last Tuesday night, the Sioux City train over the C. St. P. M. & O. railroad, due here at 7:45 P. M., laid over at Wayne, which is thirty-five miles from this place, through fear that washouts might have occurred and would not be seen in the night. On their way in on the following morning, at about half past six o’clock and when they were about five miles out from Norfolk, they ran into a culvert or small bridge which had been completely washed from under the track, yet the rails and ties were still left in position so that the damage was not noticed until too late to be avoided. The locomotive dropped directly into the opening; the tender and first freight car were completely demolished; the second car passed completely over all yet mentioned, reaching its full length upon the solid grading and then rolled upon its side into the ditch. The third car lay smashed above the engine, while the fourth and fifth were pitched right and left cross-wise of the track, each with one end in the water and the other reared high in air; both were very badly broken up. The locomotive is apparently completely destroyed.

Joseph Pheasant, the head brakeman, who at the time of the accident was riding in the cab with the engineer, was so completely buried up that his body was not recovered until about four o’clock in the afternoon. His injuries were such as would likely have caused death even had he not been held under water as he was. He was a resident of Norfolk and leaves a wife and six sons and daughters, one of whom is married.

Samuel T. Reed, engineer, was caught below one knee by some of the timbers of the floor of a car, and held in the water up to his chest until eleven o’clock when he was released. The leg below the knee was mashed to pieces, and also a portion of the foot. The left hand also sustained some injuries. During the whole time of this trying ordeal of four and a half hours duration, with one leg mashed and firmly held fast by timbers, and nearly the whole of his body under water which was very cold, Mr. Reed bore it all like a hero. The fireman, at the time was outside at work upon the engine, and was thrown into the water and hurt by something striking him on the back. He was also badly strangled, but succeeded in making his way to the bank.

Word was at once sent to this place, when the U. P. engine, which was just starting out on its regular trip to Columbus, was recalled and with two box cars dispatched to the scene of the disaster and remained there until eleven o’clock when Mr. Reed was released and brought to town. A large number of our citizens went out on the special train, and when there all who could see where their services could be of any benefit turned in and worked with a zeal that was commendable. Especially did the railroad boys exert themselves to the utmost, getting into the water frequently up to their necks, in their efforts to free the imprisoned foot of the unfortunate engineer. This, however, could not be done with all the power that could be brought to bear upon the obstruction, until the U. P. engine was backed up and hitched to the same with their cable and hooks, which had the desired effect and the poor fellow as set at liberty. A shout of joy went up from the crowd, but the recollections of the victim still undiscovered suppressed any great demonstrations. Mr. Reed was at once placed upon the train and brought to town, and in the afternoon Drs. Bear and Richards amputated the leg below the knee.

On Thursday at 12 o’clock an inquest was held by Coroner Tanner and a verdict rendered to the effect that Joseph Pheasant came to his death by being crushed about the hips and drowning.  The extent of each cause the jurors were unable to decide. Following are the names of the jurors: Herman Pasewalk, J. A. Light, D. S. Crow, Louis Sessions and J. C. Morey.

Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 11, 1883, page 3.


Last Tuesday night we were visited with the heaviest fall of rain which this country has experienced in several years. For about two hours and a half the rain fell in torrents, until the whole surface of the ground was literally covered with water. How many railroad washouts this will be the cause of it is hard to tell, but at this writing (Wednesday P.M.) we have the accident on the St. Paul road, of which we give an account elsewhere, and the morning train due here from Creighton, still stands on the track two miles north of town, with a washout of one hundred and fifty yards of grading which will have to be replaced. Passengers will be transferred by a special train sent up that far from the lower depot.

Later—The above mentioned break has been repaired so that trains are now making their customary runs. Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 11, 1883, page 3.

Charles Ransom, conductor on the wrecked train where Reed and Pheasant lost their lives, was quite sick for several days afterward from the effects of working in the water at that time. He is now out and around again, though not able to resume his place on the train.

We hear of a railroad accident which happened between Blair and Omaha last Monday which was very similar to the one between here and Wayne, of which we gave an account last week. In this case the engineer, named Getty, brother of our fellow townsman, was scalded to death.

Samuel T. Reed, the unfortunate engineer on the smashup of the St. Paul train last week, died on Friday night at half-past ten and was buried on Saturday. He leaves a mother and several children, his wife having died in Iowa a few years ago. He was about thirty-three years of age.

Markets—Wheat, No. 2, 80c., No. 3, 70c; Rye, 35c; Corn 30c; Oats, 30c; Hogs $6.00 Butter, 10c; Eggs, 12c; Flour (straight), $3.25; Coal. Wyoming, $7.00; Anthracite, $14.00.

Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 18, 1883, page 3.


Card of Thanks

The undersigned respectfully takes this method of expressing her sincere thanks to friends, neighbors and citizens for their kindness, sympathy and aid in the time of affliction. Mrs. Joseph Pheasant.                                                                                                  Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 18, 1883, page 3.

Card of Thanks

A card of thanks is most heartily rendered by the family of S. T. Reed to all those who assisted and sympathize with us over our grief and great loss. The memory of them will ever be cherished in the hearts of the remaining members of his household. M. J. Reed.                                                                                                                            Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday May 18, 1883, page 3.

Cane from train wreck

Ed Feather has a cane made from the recently wrecked engine on the St. Paul road. The body of the cane is made from the black walnut moulding of the cab and the handle was the metallic handle to the head-light. Ed had it made as a memento of the sad catastrophe. Louis Sessions put the cane up.                                                              Source: Norfolk Journal, Friday June 8, 1883, page 3.


Madison county newspaper

Evolution of a Country Newspaper

             January 1927 will be the fifty-third anniversary of the first newspaper published in Madison county.  It was on that foundation that the Star-Mail has grown in continuous line to the present time.  At a time when Madison county was very new and sparsely settled T. M. Blakely began the publication of the Madison County Review at the place that later became the city of Madison.  Different editors helped to keep it going till it passed to other ownership and in December 1878 its name changed to Madison Chronicle.  The Chronicle was published in Madison until 1921 when it was combined with the Star-Mail by Conley and Silletto under the name of the Star-Mail and Chronicle Combined.

Other newspaper attempts were made at different times.  A small cyclone smeared the Chronicle office all over the surrounding territory in 1881 and the outlook was dark, but it lived.  Editors and publishers changed but the ancestor of the Star-Mail lives on and on.

In 1889 J. B. Donovan appeared and started the Madison Reporter to fill what printers called a long felt want.  He soon found that it wanted something itself and that was a place to earn its bread and it was moved to Newman Grove.  Then in 1893 Donovan & Wright stared a new paper and named it The Star.  In 1902 Senator Allen started the Madison Mail.  Of course there was but one result and that was that three papers could not live where only one could make a grub stake.  Allen withdrew and Donovan united the Star-Mail and gave it the name of the Star and Mail.  All this time the Chronicle was published.  The two papers went on till 1921 when the progressive people of Madison tiring of a continued warfare and supporting two papers by giving the publishers credit for something to live on and making it compulsory to buy advertising space, by a great effort succeeded in having the papers united as had become the usual custom in other towns.

Thus it seems that the Star-Mail is the direct descendent of the first Madison county paper and some of the old equipment and files may still be found packed away in corners of the Star-Mail quarters.

It takes years to start and bring to a successful maturity any newspaper, whether in the country or city.  It may be strengthened by uniting as the Star and Mail did and later by uniting with the Chronicle that had been remained from the Review during the seventies.  It may have gained by accretion from other undertakings that failed but the failures were only tilling the soil for the more worth while newspaper.

A newspaper grows like a tree.  It starts small and if it escapes the dangers that lie in wait for it after may years buffeting the storms that it must pass through, it become a more or less strong tree.

A somewhat irreverent story was once told of a boy who was seeking to widen his information by asking his father questions about the power of God.  His questions were searching and father was troubled and inclined to seek safety by evasion.  The boy wanted his father to substantiate reports he had heard that God could do anything and make anything.  The father assured his son that he had been correctly informed and that nothing was impossible to God.  Can God make a two year old steer, father.  Certainly my son he can.  But father, could he make it in a minute.  The answer like the first was an affirmative.  But father, the boy persisted would the steer be two years old.

That is the idea people sometimes get about newspapers.  They see a paper grow and grow but it takes years to plant its roots firmly and even then some storm may uproot it and destroy it.  But they think if a tree has taken forty years to grow they can start a twig and make it overshadow the forty year old tree in one year.  But would it be forty years old?

Fifty years ago a country newspaper could start with little effort and little equipment.  The Star-Mail forbears was meagerly equipped.  Soon after postal laws did not permit newspapers to be admitted to the mails till they showed a bona fide circulation of subscribers who had paid for the paper themselves.  State laws defined a legal newspaper as one having 200 legitimate subscribers and only after it had been published 52 weeks.  Nebraska laws now make it mandatory that before a newspaper can become a legal paper and publish official or legal notices it would have 300 bona fide paid up subscribers and have been published 52 weeks.

The U. S. Postal laws bear harder on newspapers at each time congress tampers with them.  Since the last change four cents postage is exacted on a ten page Star-Mail and on a 16 page, eight cents.  The same enclosure will go to England with a two cent stamp, the former rate holding good on international mails.

The evolution of the Star-Mail and its advancement has not been checked.  It is stronger and never had a better year than the year 1926.  More improvements have long been contemplated but have been held back because of unsettled local conditions.  It may materialize and the drags on public advancement be ignored, and again the voice of prudence may restraint it.  The signs in the economic world point toward a time when people engaged in business begin to take in sail and not assume too many new undertakings.  The panics of 1873, of 1893, 1907 left warnings that were not heeded.  The same marks our now visible on the world’s sky.                                                        Source:  Madison Star-Mail, Thursday, January 6, 1927, page 1.


 New Newspaper at Madison

            Otto Metschke, proprietor of the Art Printery at Madison will start a new newspaper at Madison opening sometime next month.  For sometime he has been issuing a monthly advertising sheet and according to reports has secured the backing of several Madison merchants who have put $2,000 apiece into the new venture.

The new paper will be called the Madison News.  Mr. Metschke has purchased the Allen building in the rear of the Madison County Building and Loan Association office and is remodeling it for the new plant.

About five years ago Frank Conley purchased the Star-Mail plant and shortly afterward it and the Madison Chronicle the other weekly newspaper published in Madison, were merged together forming one newspaper.  Under the management of Mr. Conley the combined newspapers prospered and everything apparently ran smoothly.  About three years ago he sold the plant to Dr. Cass G. Barns of Albion.  Dr. Barns is a newspaper man of the old school.  He is a brilliant editorial writer but being utterly fearless in the expression of his opinion has apparently been unable to harmonize with the divergent elements of the place and the reopening of another newspaper as the result.

Opinions differ as to the outcome of the new venture.  Madison being a county seat town will no doubt be able to support two newspapers although it is doubtful if either one will prosper.  Neither will be able to completely cover the field in their circulation and the result will be added expense to Madison merchants in their advertising especially when conducting sales as it will be necessary to use both papers in order to have complete coverage.

Mr. Metschke is an experienced newspaper man having formerly operated a newspaper at Wisner.—Newman Grove Reporter.

The Reporter has not been fully advised.  Dr. Barns is not a newspaper man of the old school but of the school of journalism and acting in harmony with journalism instead of working for a grub stake, with some one’s collar around his neck. Conditions have not changed since Conley’s time.  There is a bolshevic element here but are far outnumbered by a higher class of people.  Dr. Barns has not tried to harmonize the two elements.  It would be just as easy to harmonize the Almighty with Satan.  Editorial feed must be held high for the most of the people and it has been too high for the other class.  Happily the new proposition can buy boiler plate brain food to feed his sheep.

After all, while there are signs of decadence in all country towns is it not a sign of a live community when some one has sand enough to start a fight.  If Dr. Barns has been unable to harmonize one class what is there wrong in some one coming to their keep out opposition and it dont play rescue?  It was wholly impossible to try to.  Mr. Price should realize that another paper could start up in his town.

So far as covering the field is concerned, it is covered now thoroughly by the Star-Mail, with local papers in our different neighboring towns.  The world is open to advertisers and the sky is the limit.  The Star-Mail will not change its policy nor will any disciplinary measures tried by any one make as much difference to the ownership as to the employes.  A lessening of support only means a lessening of jobs.  As the income grows less the pay roll will keep pace with it.

Don’t feel sorry for the Star-Mail and don’t feel sorry for the merchants if they have to patronize two papers.  If it hurts them they have only themselves to blame.  In fact don’t feel sorry for any one.  It isn’t half as bad as it looks and is only a sign that there is still live in Madison.  If not now, there will be.                                                 Source:  Madison Star-Mail, Thursday, January 6, 1927, page 1.


Emerick, Nebraska

Emerick Methodist Church

C. G. Rouse, a very successful supply pastor, began his ministry at this place. His homestead was at St. Clair Valley not far from Emerick. The Emerick Methodist Church was built in 1891 with John Cruse being the pastor at that time. He was appointed to this charge in 1890 and built the church after the first of the year. He was followed by Wm. Stanner, then J. A. Roads, then W.A. Wilson. At that time it was said that this charge was located in a very rich section of the country, was convenient to work and had the making of one of the best appointments. In 1898 A. E. Fowler and in 1899 W. R. Phelps served this desirable charge. The parsonage which had been buildt nearly a mile away was moved to the church lots and remodeled at a cost of $200. H. A. Hornady served the next two years and Charles Sterner supplied in 1902. G. A. Barker was next, followed by H. P. Williams and W. D. Smith. The last regular supply was Geo. Hill in 1916. After that guests and visitors preached for several years. After the church was no longer used regularly on Sundays, it was still maintained for a number of years and used for funerals. Several Methodists in that community now attend church in Meadow Grove. The parsonage burned to the ground in 1923. In 1947 Paul Green purchased the Emerick Church and moved it to Meadow Grove just east of the White Way Café. It is now a home.

Sources: Centennial Book Committee. Bryan Smith, Representative. Newman Grove Centennial: Our First Hundred Years. Marceline, MO: Walsworth, 1988. 89-90, 93-94, 104, 189.   Miscellaneous unpublished notes from members of the Madison County Genealogical Society.    Marquette, Rev. David D. D., A History of Nebraska Methodism: First Half-Century 1854-1904. Cincinnati: Western Methodist Book Concern Press, 1904. 261-267.

Fairview School

Fairview School

Fairview School District 9 now District 88

The following names are listed below a picture on page 85 in the Madison 125 year history book.  The date of the picture is unknown.

Teacher: Hattie Twist.

Children: Mary Echtenkamp, Edna Schulz, Maude Hetrick, Otto Kinkle, Betty Reeves, William Reeves, Ellen (Reigle) Anding, Sarah (Moore) Anding, Gertrude Schulz, George Kinkle, Albert Echtenkamp, Carl Echtenkamp, Carl Kindle, Lottie Kinkle, Louis Schulz, Betty Epler, Lizzie Volk, Allie Duphey, Iola Hetrick, John Reeves, Clara Echtenkamp, George Volk, Clifford – ?-, John Kinkle, Paul Moore, Anna Echtenkamp, Maggie Volk, Leo Moore, Mary Volk, Jessie Reeves.   Source: 125 Years Madison, Nebraska 1867-1992 book page 85.  [Please note a typing error may have been made in the Centennial book for Carl Kindle.   Should the spelling have been Carl Kinkle?]

Battle Creek, NE. Business 1896

Battle Creek, Nebraska Business Directory 1896

Compiled by Richard R. Strenge


The following is written as shown in the Battle Creek Enterprise Friday, Jan. 31, 1896, on page 7.  The spellings are copied as found in the paper.

Avery, J. L., real estate

Baker, L. B., lumber, grain, elevator,   coal

Barnes, Wm. A., dry goods, groceries, etc.

Bates & Maas, (Wm. Bates, Otto H. Maas), real estate

Battle Creek Creamery and Live Stock Co., officers mentioned elsewhere

Battle Creek EnterpriseR. D. Scott, pub.

Battle Creek House, D. L. Best, prop.

Battle Creek Republican, O. F. Montross, pub.

Battle Creek Sugar Beet Co., officers mentioned elsewhere

Beck, Phil, constable

Blohm, Henry, beekeeper

Braisher, J. S., harness maker

Brechler & Merz, hardware, prop  mentioned elsewhere

Clark & Kent, (Miss Daisie Clark, Miss Agnes Kent), dressmakers

Claus, Herman, shoemaker

Curas, Thomas, janitor public school bldgs.

Craig, W. W., carpenter

Connelly, M. J., carpenter

Daniel, I. J., physician

Day, W. C., station tel and ex agt.

Dennis, E. G., justice of the peace

Dittrick, Joseph, blacksmith and wagon shop

Doering, M. G., Prof, teacher Lutheran school

Dugher, Thomas, dry goods, groceries

Dufphy, J. H., livery barn

Edens, Henry, carpenter

Flood, Jennie Miss, milliner

Fuerst, W. B., groceries

Gardels, J. R., constable and well digger

Giblin, C. R., city marshall

Hale, F. J., live stock shipper

Hedman, Charles A., hardware

Hichborn, Charles, watchmaker

Hoffman, J., Rev., Pastor Lutheran Church

Hoover, W. _, house painter and decorator

Ingoldsby & Co., (P. H. Ingoldsby, P. Brecheisen), liquor dealers

Inkley, S. C., breeder of hogs and horses

Jardee, John, carpenter

Kilburn, Hiram H., attorney

Klindt & Gosch, (Wm. Klindt, Chris Gosch), liquor dealers

Knesel, J. L., real estate

Knesel, M. E., Mrs., milliner

Livingston, Chris, barber

Maas & Haman, (Otto H. Maas, Chas. T. Haman), drugs

Maher, W. J., barber

Martin, S. E., Mrs., grocery, restaurant

Miller, Howard Co., lumber, coal, grain

McFarland, A. M., Rev., Pastor Baptist Church

Moyer, A. G., mayor, meat market

Neagele & Zimann, meat market

Neely & Eaton, roller mills

Reavis, W. F., agricultural implements

Reif, Henry, Mrs., milliner

Rhynn, F. F., mail carrier

Scott, R. D., postmaster

Shown, Thomas L., restaurant

Steffen, August, furniture, undertaker

Schocker, John, brickmason

St. Lawrence, Father Rev., Pastor Roman Catholic Church

Taylor, W. R., deputy postmaster

Tanner, Edward, physician

Thomsen, M. L., dry goods, groceries

Venable, Geo. S., collection agent

Venable, W. A., brickmason

Walker, J. N., livery stable

White Drug Co., T. L. White, prop.

Wilcox, J. H., Rev., Pastor M. E. Church

Werner, Herman, carpenter

Wink, Henry, carpenter

Young, Wm., harness maker

Zimmerman, Geo., agricultural implements


Meadow Grove Teachers

Meadow Grove Teachers 1925—1926

Meadow Grove public schools will open for a nine month term on Monday, Aug. 31st. The rooms in the building are being thoroughly cleaned, paint applied where necessary, so that the entire building will be in first-class shape when school opens. There is nothing gained in letting a building run down, and it should be noted that the Board of Education is taking good care of the building entrusted to their keeping and thereby saving money for the taxpayers. The following is a list of the teachers for the ensuing school year: Supt. L. L. Spotts, Meadow Grove, Nebr.; Prin. High School Clarence J. Rosenau, Hastings, Nebr.; Normal Training and Domestic Science Mary Roach, Maywood, Nebr.; English, Latin, French Ruth Ringland, Wayne, Nebr.; 7th and 8th Grades Beatrice Higbee, Meadow Grove, Nebr.; 5th and 6th Grades Frances Snimonek, Wilber, Nebr.; 3rd and 4th Grades Charlotte Hayden, Meadow Grove, Nebr.; Primary Aleda Eggleston, Elgin, Nebr.

Source: Meadow Grove News, August 21, 1925, page 1.