Past & Present of Platte County, Nebraska - Volume I


 

CHAPTER V

PROCEEDINGS OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

Meeting of the board of county commissioners, held on the 28th day of December, 1857; present, Messrs. Becher, Spaulding and Sarvis.

Moved and seconded that a chairman be elected to serve for the first nine months.

On motion, Mr. Sarvis was elected said chairman.

The clerk was authorized to buy a record book "as soon as the county funds will admit."

A territorial tax of ten mills on the dollar was levied on all real and personal estate.

A county tax of six mills on the dollar was levied on all real and personal estate, also a poll tax of fifty cents.

The school tax of one and one-half mills on the dollar was levied on all real and personal estate.

A road tax of one mill on the dollar was levied on all real and personal estate.

The meeting adjourned until one o'clock P. M. In the afternoon Mr. Sarvis was in the chair and the following resolution submitted by Mr. Spaulding was adopted:

Resolved, That this county be divided into three districts, each district to be represented by one commissioner and that the boundaries of said districts be as follows:

1st district -- Commencing at the southeast corner of Platte County thence running north 24 miles, thence west 8 miles, thence south 24 miles, thence east to the place of beginning.

2d district -- Commencing at the southwest corner of district No 1, thence running north 24 miles, thence west 8 miles, thence south 24 miles, thence east to the place of beginning.

3d district -- All that part of Platte County lying west of district No. 2.

82

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 83

Thomas Sarvis was appointed to represent district No. 1; George Spaulding, district No. 2; Gustavus Becher, district No. 3.

Thomas Sarvis was allowed the sum of $2 for notifying George Spaulding of the special meeting.

On motion, the meeting adjourned.

  John Siebert, Thomas Sarvis,
        Clerk. Chairman

It would appear by what follows that the meeting of the 28th of December, 1857, was merely preliminary to the organization of the board. If by this session it was intended that the organization would be perfected, then that consummation was not realized, for there was nothing in the clerk's minutes to show that any official of the county had qualified for the duties he was about to assume.

The board next met in January, as the following abstract from the minutes of the commissioners show:

First regular meeting of the board of county commissioners, held Monday, January 4, 1858.

Present, Messrs. Becher, Spaulding and Sarvis.

Mr. Becher presented a memorial from C. B. Stillman, John Siebert, J. P. Becker and nineteen others, praying for the location of a road from the north end of Washington avenue in the Town of Columbus, to Shell Creek, together with the bridging of said stream.

Other preliminaries were observed in this relation, such as the appointment of viewers for the road.

The next meeting of the board was held on March 1, 1858, at which time C. B. Stillman was ordered to proceed "as the law directs to draw lots for twelve grand and twelve petit jurors to be selected from suitable persons from Columbus and Buchanan precincts." At this meeting Thomas Sarvis was in the chair and Francis G. Becher acted as clerk.

At the adjourned meeting, held March 2, 1858, but two of the commissioners, Francis G. Becher and Thomas Sarvis, were present. After the minutes of the last meeting had been approved, Mr. Becher presented a petition from John Reck, John Miller, C. B. Stillman and thirteen other citizens of Columbus, praying for the incorporation of the Town of Columbus. On motion, prayer of the petitioners was adopted.

The sheriff of Platte County was ordered to make an assessment of all property, real and personal, in said county and make return

 

84PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

of same to the county clerk within thirty days. The county was ordered divided into two equal road districts by drawing a line directly through the center of said county from north to south; that on the west to be called road district No. 1; that on the east road district No. 2, and a road supervisor to be appointed for each district. Jacob Guter and Daniel Hashberger were appointed such supervisors, the said supervisors to be held in bonds of $50 each for the faithful performance of their respective duties.

  The county clerk was "ordered to furnish the supervisor of district No. 1 with the names of persons from whom labor is due and the supervisor was empowered to give notice to all persons from whom road labor is due to work on the road between Columbus and Shell Creek.

  On motion, it was "resolved that all persons, through whose lands the Shell Creek road passes, be requested to give quit claim deeds to the county and its successors thereafter for all lands over and above 60 feet and 100 feet to be used for said road." The minutes of this meeting were signed by John Siebert, deputy clerk.

  The next regular meeting of the board was held on the 3d day of April, 1858, at which time the two commissioners, Becher and Spaulding, were present. Mr. Becher was appointed chairman and John Siebert, deputy clerk of the meeting. No business was presented at this meeting and adjournment soon followed.

  The board next met on the 15th day of May, 1858, Sarvis in the chair. It was ordered that the following ordinance be adopted:

Section 1. Be it ordained by the commissioners of Platte County that said county be and is hereby divided into five road districts, the boundaries of said districts to be as hereafter described, and the road supervisors to be appointed for each district.

Section 2. District No. 1 shall embrace all that part of said county lying within range 2 east and town 17 north, the supervisor to be Jacob Guter.

Section 3. District No. 2 shall embrace all that part of said county lying within range 2 east and town 17 north. Supervisor, Joseph Skinner.

Section 4. District No. 3 shall embrace all that part of said county lying within range 3 town 17 north. Supervisor, James Jeffries.

Section 5. District No. 4 shall embrace all that part of said county lying within range 4 east and town 17 north. Supervisor Alex. Albertson.

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 85

Section 6. District No. 5 shall embrace all that part of said county lying within ranges 1, 2, 3 and 4 east and town 18 north. Supervisor, Charles Reinke.

  All acts or parts of acts conflicting with this act are hereby repealed.

  Be it ordained by the supervisor of Platte County that the road supervisors of said county shall hold their offices until the first Monday in April, 1859, or until their successors are elected and qualified.

  It was ordered that the road "viewed and located from the north end of Washington avenue in the Town of Columbus, to Shell Creek north of said town be and is hereby established a county road."

  Mr. Sarvis presented a memorial from John Reck, John Miller, V. Kummer and fifteen others, praying for the location of a road from Columbus to Buchanan in Platte County, and the bridging of sloughs on the same. The commissioners resolved to meet at the store of F. G. Becher in Columbus, June 21, 1858, at 7 o'clock A. M., preparatory to viewing and locating said road.

  The board adjourned to meet in the evening, at which time it was ordered that "the county clerk be authorized to send to N. W. Mills & Company, of Fort Des Moines, Iowa, for all books and stationery necessary for the use of the county officers of Platte County, Nebraska Territory." At this meeting Thomas Sarvis was in the chair and George W. Hewitt signed his name as county clerk.

  The board again met June 15, 1858, at which time Sarvis and Spaulding were present, the former in the chair. It was ordered that the bill of Gustavus Becher be allowed with the exception of the item of March 22, 1858, making the amount $21, said bill being for services rendered as commissioner of Platte County from December 28, 1857, to May 15, 1858, inclusive.

  The bill of C. B. Stillman was allowed for services rendered as judge of election and that of F. G. Becher as clerk of election, on December 19, 1857.

  The bill of G. W. Hewitt was allowed, with the exception of the items of May 4th, making the amount $52.50, the said bill being for services rendered as clerk of Platte County from October 11, 1857, to May 15, 1858, inclusive. The bill of Charles Bremer for services as judge of election, August 3, 1857, was not allowed. The bill of John Reck for "administering to officers of election," August 3, 1857, met the same fate as that of Bremer's.

  It was ordered that C. B. Stillman be appointed to fill the vacancy in the office of trustee in the Town of Columbus, occasioned by the resignation of John Reck.

 

86PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

  The following ordinance was passed:

Section 1. Be it ordained by the commissioners of Platte County; that an election precinct be and is hereby established at Grand Island to be known and designated as Grand Island precinct.

Section 2. Said precinct is to include all that territory lying north of the Platte ten miles and east of Wood River twenty miles

Section 3. The following persons are hereby appointed judges of election in said precinct: Herman Bassel, Frederick Langman, _____ Seymour.

Section 4. William P. Potts and William Haga are hereby appointed Justices of the peace, and George Schoultz constable in said precinct, to hold their offices until the next general election.

Section 5. An election will be held in said precinct at the house of Christian Mink on Monday, August 2, 1858, the returns of said election duly to be made to the county clerk of Platte County within ten days after said election.

  On motion, the following ordinance was adopted: "Be it ordained by the commissioners of Platte County that an election precinct be and is hereby established in Platte County, N. T., the boundaries to be as follows, to wit: Commencing at a point on the southern boundary of said county 8 miles east of the sixth principal meridian, thence running north 6 miles, thence east 8 miles, thence south to the county line, thence west along said line to the place of beginning, to be known and designated as Center precinct. Joseph Skinner, George Spaulding and Cyrus Tolman were appointed judges of election of said precinct. Joseph Skinner was appointed justice of the peace and H. M. Kemp, constable in said precinct, all to hold their offices until the first general election. The election in Center precinct was ordered to be held at the house of Joseph Skinner."

  An election precinct was ordered established "to embrace all that territory lying within ranges 1, 2, 3 and 4 east of the sixth principal meridian and town 18 north, to be known and designated as Shell Creek precinct. William English, A. B. Northrop and Henry Suskie were appointed judges of election. William English justice of the peace, and A. B. Northrop constable of said precinct;" all to hold their offices until the next general election, which was ordered to be held at the house of Charles Bremer.

  William Davis, Isaac Albertson and James Marshall were appointed judges of election in Buchanan precinct, and the election was ordered to be held at the house of Isaac Albertson.

  Charles Speice, George W. Hewitt and G. B. Stillman were

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 87

appointed judges of election for Columbus precinct, said election to be held at the house of F. G. Becher.

  On motion, the county clerk was authorized to proclaim that "an election will be held in the several precincts in Platte County and in Grand Island precinct on Monday, August 2, 1858."

  Before adjournment the board appointed A. B. Northrop road i. supervisor for district No. 5.

  The third regular meeting of the board of commissioners was convened Monday, July 5, 1858.

  A petition from Anthony Bowl, W. W. English, A. B. Northrop and fourteen others, praying for the location of a road from the eastern boundary of Platte County along the north side of Shell Creek to the western boundary of said county was read and on motion the prayer of the petition was granted and the 9th day of August set apart for the location of said road.

  Many such petitions appear in the early minutes of the board of county commissioners and while they refer to different parts of the county, still they pertain to the same subject, and to mention them all would be tedious and uninteresting, so that further reference to road petitions by the records will be ignored for matters of more value to the reader.

  In the early days, when settlers were few and their homes scattered far and wide, it seems to have been the custom of the business agents of the county to meet at certain places which would be the most convenient for those having business to transact with the board. This condition is indicated by the following minute by the county clerk: "The clerk is ordered to cause two notices to be posted in the county, giving notice that the commissioners will meet at the house of Charles Bremer, on Shell Creek, on the 9th day of August, at 12 o'clock, and at the house of Isaac Albertson, at 12 o'clock on the following day.

  This was the last meeting of the board of county commissioners held in the year 1858. The next session was convened on the 3d day of January, 1859. The board at that time had a new member in the person of William Davis, who succeeded Thomas Sarvis. G. Becher was elected chairman. At this session the time was chiefly, taken up in the submission of bills, one of which was that of John Reck for swearing in county officers and judges of election in 1856.

  At the February meeting the bill of Charles Reinke was ordered paid "for hauling county book from Omaha."

  The next meeting was held April 11, 1859, and it was resolved that "as there was no commissioners' meeting held on the first

 

88PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

Monday in April, 1859, as prescribed by law, the weather preventing the board from assembling at the regular place of holding court, this shall be the regular meeting of the board of county commissioners for that day."

  Commissioner Becher presented a petition from George Spaulding, John Reck and F. G. Becher, praying that licenses be granted to them to keep a ferry on the Platte River for the term of five years, commencing on the 25th day of April, 1859, at a point opposite the residence of Joseph Skinner, or five miles each way from said point, and it was further ordered "that George Spaulding, John Reck and F. G. Becher shall pay into the county treasury the sum of $100 annually, to entitle them to a license to keep and run a ferry across the Platte River at a point opposite the residence of Joseph Skinner.

  Jacob Guter was appointed road supervisor for district No. 1; Joseph Skinner, district No. 2; Joseph Russell, district No. 3. William Davis, Joseph Skinner and John Reck were appointed members of the county board of equalization.

  At a meeting of the board held in Columbus, August 1, 1859, Vincent Kummer, Michael Weber and C. B. Stillman were appointed Judges of election for Columbus precinct; Joseph Skinner, H. M Kemp and Joseph Russell for Center precinct; Michael Erb, Charles Reinke and John Held for Shell Creek precinct; Isaac Albertson, William Davis and Nelson Toncray, Buchanan precinct.

  It was decided by the board by resolution that the mayor, aldermen, recorder, marshal, treasurer and assessor of the Town of Columbus give bond respectively in the sum of $500. Michael Weber was appointed justice of the peace and Vincent Kummer constable in Columbus precinct.

FINANCIAL CONDITION OF 1859

  At the August meeting of the board, held in 1859, the county clerk was directed to prepare the yearly statement of the receipts and liabilities of the county and to have the same posted in the manner required by law. Pursuant to that order the Commissioners' Court, through its acting clerk, C. B. Stillman, made the following report: In pursuance of Section 19 of Chapter 20 of an act entitled, An Act for Preparing, Revising and Consolidating a Code of Laws for the Territory of Nebraska, the undersigned commissioners of Platte County make the following report, setting forth the receipts

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 89

and expenditures of said county for the fiscal year (1859), and also the whole indebtedness of said county.

  The whole amount of indebtedness from August 1, 1857, to July 1, 1858, is $141.66.

  From July 1, 1858, to July 1, 1859, is as follows:

Election expenses .................

$ 16.49

County books .....................

285.00

Freight on books ..................

15.25

Printing .............................

30.00

Copy of revenue law..............

25.00

Fees of justice of the peace.......

3.25

Fees of sheriff......................

12.00

Attorney's fees ....................

6.60

Surveying ..........................

5.00

Salary probate judge ..............

50.00

Salary county treasurer ...........

50.00

Fees of county clerk...............

28.75

Fees of county commissioner....

33.00

_______

$560.34

  At the regular meeting of the board held January 2, 1860, Commissioner Becher presented a petition of the citizens of Shell Creek precinct praying to abolish the said election precinct and attach the same to Columbus precinct. The prayer was granted.

  At the session of the Territorial Legislature, held in the winter of 1859, an act was passed attaching Monroe County to Platte. This measure led the board at its session, held in January, 1860, to divide the county into three new districts as follows: All the territory lying between the eastern boundary of Platte County and twelve miles east of the sixth principal meridian shall constitute and be district No. 1. All the territory from the sixth principal meridian and running thence twelve miles east shall constitute and be district No. 2. All the territory in Platte County lying west of the sixth principal meridian shall constitute and be district No. 3. Platte County, upon motion of Commissioner Spaulding, was then divided into four new election precincts as follows: Buchanan precinct to begin on the east line of Platte County and run west nine miles. The polls in such district to be at the house of William Davis; Center precinct
Vol. I--6

 

90PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

to begin on the west line of Buchanan precinct and run nine miles west, polls to be at the house of Joseph Skinner; Columbus precinct to begin six miles east of the sixth principal meridian and run six miles west of such meridian, election to be held at Columbus Hotel; Monroe precinct to combine all the balance of the county which then lay west of the aforesaid Columbus precinct, the election to be held at the house of Ch. Whaley, in the first two named precincts, the former judges of election to hold their offices until their term expires. In Monroe precinct the board nominated Ch. Whaley, Joseph Gerrard and Joseph Selzer as judges of election. The board nominated James H. Galley, John Reck and V. Kummer, judges of election in Columbus precinct the balance of the term. At this time F. G. Becher was county clerk and entered the minutes of the Commissioners' Court.

  At the January meeting Commissioner Becher tendered his resignation, which was accepted and at a special election held later, G. W. Stevens was elected to fill the vacancy. The board now consisted of George Spaulding, G. W. Stevens and William Davis, with the latter in the chair. At the April session of the board Genoa precinct was established on petition of Henry Hudson, Daniel Welsh and others.

  At this term of the court the firm of Leander Gerrard & Company was granted a license to maintain a ferry "at said point on the Loup Fork of the Platte River." The rates of toll were established as follows:

2 horses, or oxen, and wagon..............

$1.00

1 horse and wagon...........................

.75

1 extra team of oxen, or horses.............

.25

1 horse and rider .............................

.25

Live stock (per head).........................

.10

Footman (each) ..............................

.05

A license fee required of $25 per annum.

FINANCIAL REPORT

  The commission, at its July session of 1860, made the following statement showing the receipts and expenditures of Platte County for the fiscal year, and also the whole indebtedness of said county:

  The whole indebtedness from July 1, 1858, to July 1, 1859, is $586. From July 1, 1859, to July 1, 1860, is as follow's:

County books ................................

$ 42.50

Freight on same..............................

3.50

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 91

Fees of county commissioners..............

12.00

Salary of county treasurer...................

50.00

Fees of road supervisor.....................

10.00

Election expense and fees county clerk....

127.00

______

Total ...........................................

$245.00

Receipts .......................................

none

  Total amount of indebtedness of county up to July 1, 1860,$831.

  Signed William Davis,
George Spaulding,
George W. Davis.
     Commissioners Platte County.

Attest:
   Francis G. Becher,
        County clerk.

  A special meeting of the board of commissioners of Platte County, Nebraska Territory, was held at the house of C. B. Stillman, on the 16th day of March, A. D. 1861. The newly elected commissioners, C. A. Speice, Joseph Russell and E. A. Gerrard, present. Joseph Russell was nominated and elected as permanent chairman of said board.

  The regular April meeting was held at the office of C. B. Stillman in Columbus. It was ordered at each precinct establish a road district to be called by the name of the precinct.

  The first petitions for licenses to sell liquor were submitted to the board at an adjourned meeting held April 22, 1861. At this time and for that purpose the following persons were granted licenses: F. G. Becher, J. Russell, C. R. Baker, H. J. Hudson and J. Rickly.

  A number of Center precinct's enlightened citizens petitioned the board for an order levying a school tax "for as much as the law allows," but the matter upon motion of Gerrard was laid over until the next meeting.

  At the term of the Commissioners' Court, held on July 1, 1861, the following taxes were levied: Territorial tax as provided by the territorial board of equalization, 1 1/2 mills; for the sinking fund in the territory, 1 mill; county tax, including poor tax, 4 mills; special tax for county buildings, 2 mills; 10% on interest of present indebtedness and 15% on the principal of all county debts; school tax, 1 mill; poll tax $1 for one day's labor; land tax, $3 on each 160 acres, or three

 

92PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

days' work; Center precinct to pay additional school tax of 2 mills on the dollar for building schoolhouses.

  The board met August 21, 1861, and among other things ordered "that the county clerk shall receive a salary at the rate of $100 per year." As the county clerk continued to live for some years after this action of the commissioners, it may well be presumed that the official aforesaid did not depend entirely upon his salary for subsistence.

  The regular meeting of the new board of county commissioners was held January 6, 1861. The members of this body were C. A. Speice, William Davis and John Kelly; C. B. Stillman;county clerk. The bill of George Sard for election services in Monroe precinct was rejected, and the clerk instructed Mr. Sard that the reason of its rejection was that the commissioners did not think it desirable that residents of Indian reservations should participate in all elections

  The board held a special meeting on the 1st day of October, 1862. Commissioner Speice was in the chair. After a discussion of the subject of providing bounties for volunteers the board adjourned without coming to any conclusion until the following Monday. At the term last mentioned a communication from the secretary and acting governor of Nebraska Territory was read, the subject matter of which was respecting Platte County offering a bounty for ten volunteers.

  On motion of Commissioner Davis it was resolved that the board issue county scrip to the amount of $500 the same to be redeemable by the county on the 1st day of July 1864, by a special tax to be levied in June, 1863, and that the same scrip may be applied by the holders of the same for the payment of the said special tax, said scrip to draw interest from the date issued at the rate of 10% per annum and to be used in the payment of bounties to ten volunteers.

  All during the year 1862 and up to the October meeting of the board the members of that body consisted of C. A. Speice, John Kelly and William Davis, but at a special meeting held on the 27th day of October of that year, it appears by the record that Davis had dropped out; Nelson Toncray was named as a member of the board and took part in its proceedings at that time. The board held its first regular meeting in 1863, on the 5th day of January, C. A. Speice in the chair. It was ordered that all of range 2 east, township 18, he attached to Columbus precinct. This was upon petition of John Kunpf, William Wetterer and Martin Maron.

  The petition of David Anderson, C. B. Stillman and others pray-

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 93

ing that the commissioners levy a tax of $5,000 to aid in constructing a bridge across the Loup Fork River was read; and on motion of Toncray it was resolved that the county clerk give notice of an election to be held in the several precincts of the county on the 7th day of February, 1863, upon the question of levying a tax of $5,000 to assist in bridging the Loup Fork River.

  A bill of Vincent Kummer, county treasurer, for $1.14, for postage and stationery for the use of his office was allowed and an order issued on the county sinking fund for the amount.

  On motion of Mr. Toncray, Gustavus Becher was authorized to prepare a map of Platte County and to have the maps bound in a substantial manner, and when completed, if the chairman and clerk shall accept the work, they may draw an order on the sinking fund for the payment of such work at $1.25 per township and a reasonable price for binding.

  The reader should not fail to notice here the extravagance of the county's business agents and the high price Gustavus Becher was offered for his services as a draftsman.

  It was ordered that the county clerk issue to John Rickly a license to keep a ferry across the Loup Fork River at a point commencing at the military road on said river and extending to a point five miles up said river in a direct line north following the meanderings of said river, on condition that he shall pay $20 yearly into the county treasury.

  The minutes of the September term of 1863 shows that F. G. Becher's bill for assessing Columbus precinct amounting to $58 was allowed and paid in county warrants.

  It was ordered at the May meeting of 1864 that an election be held on Monday, June 6, 1864, to elect one delegate to the Nebraska constitutional convention for the County of Platte, one for the counties of Platte, Merrick, Hall and Buffalo, and one for the counties of Platte, Hall, Merrick and Kearney.

  The county clerk was directed to notify the supervisor of Columbus road district to repair the bridge near the house of Guy C. Barnum.

  The minutes of the county clerk show that at the April meeting of 1865 of the board of commissioners, Francis G. Becher and Joseph B. Beebe were granted licenses to keep a ferry on the Loup Fork River for a term of five years, at the rate of $25 per year, the privilege to commence at the upper extremity of the Elkhorn and Loup Fork Ferry Company's privilege and to extend from such point

 

94PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

five miles up the Loup Fork River, following the meanderings of the stream.

  The commissioners at this day were quite diligent in seeing that the county was given legal support by its taxpayers; that is to say, close tab was kept on the returns of property assessed. This is indicated by the case of John Rickly, who was called before the board "and interrogated in reference to his returned capital employed in manufactures," which was explained by him as follows: The saw logs on the mill ground are not all his property and those that are his were all on his own land and the amount returned as above was paid in getting the logs to the millyard. Explanation deemed satisfactory and no change made. His capital employed in merchandise returned -- $18 -- was considered correct and no alteration made. Steam engine and saw not entered, being omitted by the assessor, for which shall be entered $500. To lots 1 and 2, block 183 in Columbus, making $3,000 instead of $2,500.

  The name of Reuben Hunt was entered on the poll list of Columbus precinct.

  The board of equalization at this session also made changes in the returns of taxable property of Augustus Forkel, William Draper, J. Rickly, John Haney and James Haney.

  At the September meeting the board ordered the clerk to put up notices for the reception by the county commissioner of sealed proposals for the erection of three bridges in Platte County on the west bound road.

  October 2, 1865, the board having been satisfied that Francis Henggler and others "had in the absence of a road supervisor of Columbus district repaired the Shell Creek bridge north of Columbus, ordered that the next supervisor be allowed to issue receipts to them for the work performed." The persons named were Francis Henggler, E. Ahrens, Henry Rickert, Charles Reinke, John Held, William Wetterer, M. Erb, John Will, ____ Merohn and Herman Loseke

  The War of the Rebellion closed in April, 1865, but war taxes were still in vogue, as the following item of the county clerk shows: "Resolved that the county clerk be instructed to issue an order to the county treasurer to furnish each county and precinct officer with a $1 internal revenue stamp for their official bonds."

  By the county treasurer's report which follows it becomes apparent that the financial condition of the county was steadily improving.

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 95

The report shows these items:

Levied ....................................

$4,895.28

Collected .................................

4,442.53

Delinquent ...............................

491.60

County building fund in treasury..

1,266.20

County sinking fund in treasury...

518.25

  While the item of $491.60 might have appeared apparently large for the time, it has nevertheless given evidence of the business capacity of the men then in authority for collecting debts due the county and if the two funds mentioned in the report are considered in making a total, a fair balance is the result in favor of the county. This report was filed with the board at its meeting held October 1, 1866.

  February 2, 1867, on motion of Commissioner Becher, the board appointed C. A. Speice county attorney for the term of one year at a compensation of $75 a year.

  The bill of C. B. Stillman of $50 was allowed for salary as county clerk from June 6, 1866, to January 6, 1867.

  Probably the most important meeting held by the board of commissioners up to this time was that of April, 1867, at which time John Kelly was in the chair and had for his associate members F. G. Becher and Nelson Toncray. It was resolved that the resolution passed November 17, 1866, granting a salary of $75 per year to each prosecuting attorney be and is thereby repealed.

  On motion of commissioner Toncray it was resolved "that the county clerk be instructed to give notice of an election to be held on the 22d day of April, A. D. 1867, for the purpose of voting for or against the commissioners making a loan of $16,000 for the purpose of building a courthouse and jail. Voters in favor of the loan will vote for the loan; those opposed, against the loan."

ELECTION NOTICE FOR COURTHOUSE

  By authority of an act passed at the twelfth regular session of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Nebraska, entitled "an act to empower county commissioners of Platte County to raise money to erect a Court House and Jail in Columbus, in said county and to fit up and furnish same," approved February 18, 1867. Now, therefore, by order of said county commissioners of Platte County, an election will be held in the several precincts of said county on the

 

96PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

22 (22d) day of April, A. D. 1867, to vote for or against the commissioners of said county making a loan of $16,000 and to issue county bonds for the same, which bonds shall bear an annual interest of 10% payable in 20 years from their date, or sooner, at the pleasure of the commissioners. Said bonds to be sold for cash at not less than ninety cents on the dollar. The said cash to be used for the specific purpose of having erected, furnished, fitted and completed a courthouse and jail in the Town of Columbus, or in any lawful addition made thereto prior to said location of the aforesaid courthouse and jail.

  Voters wishing to vote in favor of the loan will mark their tickets, "For the Loan."

  Those wishing to vote against the loan will mark theirs, "Against the Loan."

  Polls will be opened in Buchanan precinct at the schoolhouse near the residence of Alexander Albertson; in Center precinct, at the schoolhouse near James McAllister's; in Columbus precinct, at the town hall in the Town of Columbus; in Monroe precinct, at the schoolhouse near Joseph Gerrard's; in Butler precinct, at the residence of Michael Smith. Said polls will be opened at 9 o'clock in the morning and each continue open until 6 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day.

  By order of the county commissioner, this 1st day of April, A. D. 1867.

C. B. Stillman,
    County Clerk.

  We, the undersigned householders, having canvassed the returns of an election held in Platte County, Nebraska, on the 22d day of April, A. D. 1867, to determine the question of allowing the county commissioners to make a loan for the purpose of building a courthouse and jail in said county, do hereby certify that the following is the result of such canvass. For the loan, ninety-six (96) votes; against the loan, twenty-nine (29) votes.

Certified by us,
  Charles H. Whaley,
  C. A. Speice,
Householders.

Attest:
  C. B. Stillman,
  Co. Clerk

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 97

  April 16, 1867, it was ordered by the board that the value of the prairie land in section 35, township 17, assessed to Patrick Murray and J. H. Needham, be changed from $6 to $3 per acre, as other prairie lands are assessed.

  At a previous meeting the board had ordered the county clerk to procure ballot boxes. At the May meeting held in 1867, the clerk, C. B. Stillman, reported that he had as yet been unable to obtain any proposals from carpenters in regard to making ballot boxes.

  At this same meeting the resignation of Nelson Toncray as county commissioner was received and accepted and an election ordered to be held on the 25th day of May, to fill the vacancy, at which time William Davis was elected.

  At a meeting of the board held June 1, 1867, William Draper, supervisor of Columbus road district, made a report stating that he had entered into a contract with Guy C. Barnum to put up a bridge on Mill Creek, which was taken away by the late floods, for $150, and that said work was completed. The contractors received their money. The board resolved that Commissioner Becher be appointed a committee to have specifications drawn and a plan for a courthouse 40 x 50 feet and the county attorney to prepare the form for county bonds for the building of a courthouse.

  At an adjourned meeting of the board held June 15th, Mr. Becher resolved "that the courthouse for Platte County is hereby located upon Columbia Square in the Town of Columbus on condition that the Town of Columbus shall make to the County of Platte a good and sufficient deed for said square. It was further resolved that a plat of Columbia Square be prepared by F. G. Becher and one by John Rickly with the returns of the county surveyor and present them at the next regular meeting."

  The next regular meeting was held July 1, 1867, upon which occasion "the plan for constructing a courthouse and for county bonds was submitted and on motion of Commissioner Davis the consideration of such matter was postponed until a special meeting be held on the next Monday."

  At the special meeting above referred to Esquire Hudson reported to the board the case of John W. Taylor, which had come under his observation as overseer of the poor and upon his recommendation the sum of $40 was appropriated to the overseer of the poor to enable him to send him (John W. Taylor) to Omaha for medical advice.

  On motion of Commissioner Becher it was ordered that the clerk procure the necessary books for the issuing of county bonds for the building of a courthouse and jail.

 

98PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY

  On motion of Commissioner Davis the draft for a courthouse was enlarged, "which was to be 43 feet by 52 feet, the walls to be 20 inches in thickness up to the second story, from there up to be 16 inches, stairs to be inside of building and 6 feet wide; lower story to be 10 feet; upper story, 13 feet high."

  On motion of Commissioner Davis, Mr. Speice was appointed to prepare a plan and specification for a courthouse, and to receive for his services $50. This item would indicate that former plans suggested were not satisfactory to the board.

  September 16, 1867, on motion of Commissioner Davis it was resolved that the draft and specifications for the courthouse made by C. A. Speice be accepted and an order drawn on the treasurer for $50 in payment of said work. The resolution was adopted.

  The board that met October 19, 1867, was composed of F. G. Becher, chairman, S. C. Smith and William Davis; Henry J. Hudson, county clerk.

  The first mention of school examiner in the county clerk's records appears in the minutes for the meeting of the board held November 30, 1867, when, on motion, I. N. Taylor was appointed school examiner for the term of two years.

  Something must have happened to John Taylor. It is quite probable he was a derelict of some kind, as it. ordered by the commissioners that "the clerk be instructed to give the clothes of John Taylor to John Banero. On motion, S. C. Smith and J. P. Becker were appointed a committee to examine plans for a courthouse and make any necessary alterations.

  The Commissioners' Court held its first meeting in the year 1868, on the 6th day of January, with F. G. Becher in the chair. The other member present was S. C. Smith; William Davis absent; H. J. Hudson clerk.

  After a lengthy discussion of the courthouse, Commissioner Becher moved that the county attorney prepare specifications and notices for bids and proposals to build a courthouse and that the clerk advertise the same in the Herald and Republican, published at Omaha.

  The clerk was instructed to procure from the state auditor the list of lands entered in Platte County during the year 1867 and if possible, obtain a complete list of all the lands entered in the County of Platte since its organization.

  At an adjourned meeting of the board held on the 11th of February, a petition was presented that the west half of townships 16 and 17, range 1 west, lying between the north bank of the Platte River and

 

PAST AND PRESENT OF PLATTE COUNTY 99

the south bank of the Loup Fork, be taken off the Columbus precinct and attached to Butler precinct. It was resolved that all the above described townships be hereby and hereafter attached to Butler precinct for all purposes and that the polls be at the house of Michael Smith.

  The clerk was instructed to insist that in the specifications for building the courthouse the time should be mentioned when such courthouse should be completed and that the 1st day of January, 1869, be the limitation.

  It was ordered that William Davis, E. A. Gerrard, J. N. Taylor and J. P. Maple be appointed appraisers for school lands in the County of Platte. The clerk was instructed to obtain abstracts of all entries of lands, both homestead and preemption, up to the 1st day of March. 1868.

  April 6, 1868, F. G. Becher in the chair, all members were present and the question of increasing the salary of the clerk was brought up. Upon motion of S. C. Smith that the clerk receive the amount of $100 per annum as salary for his services as clerk of the board and that in addition he be allowed all fees as fixed by the statute for his services, the motion was carried.

  Commissioner Becher counted forty-two wolf scalps and ordered them destroyed. At a adjourned meeting held at seven o'clock in the evening of April 6th, the board met, when a very spirited discussion on the subject of building a courthouse was participated in by the board, also by John Rickly, C. H. Whaley, G. C. Barnum and others, pertaining to its location on Columbus Square. The bid of John Green, of Omaha, was opened, and amount of bid was $21,737. The bid of J. P. Becker was $18,000. On motion of S. C. Smith the proposals of J. P. Becker be considered and that the bonds be issued and offered for sale, carried.

  At a meeting of the board held April 22, 1868, the question of locating the courthouse was called up and after some discussion it was resolved "that the courthouse and jail be and is hereby located on Columbia Square in the Town of Columbus, and that the town council assume $3,700 of the county bonds and interest thereof, that the town council give a bond for the sum and a warrantee deed for a quarter of said square, and said quarter be located in the center of said Columbus Square and that the bond and deed be executed and delivered to the county commissioners at their next meeting, F. G. Becher, William Davis and S. C. Smith voting unanimously.

  The consideration of the contract for building the courthouse was

 

 Return to the IndexContinue to next page 

Use your Browser's Back button to return to the previous page.

© Oldtime Nebraska, 2000,

© 1997, 1998 Ted & Carole Miller