Platte Township, Dodge County, Nebraska

Platte Township is south of Nickerson and Maple townships and north of the Platte River. It comprises fractional one-half of Congressional township 17, ranges 7 and 8, east. The seat of justice of Dodge County, City of Fremont, is situated in the southeastern part of Platte Township, but is now a civil precinct by itself.

The Union Pacific Railroad passes through Platte Township, following the general course of the Platte River.


The Federal census of 1890 gave the population of this township as 741; in 1900 it was 1,358, and in the next ten-year period it decreased to 1,134. The present enumeration's figures have not as yet been made public.

Organization From the organization of Dodge County down to 1875, this part of the county was included in Fremont Precinct, but during that year the Board of County Commissioners created Platte Precinct. Its present bounds were defined and taken on by the adoption of the township organization plan in 1886.

Indian Scare

When this county was first settled, in the early '50s, the Indians were quite numerous and somewhat troublesome. They did not attempt to kill the whites, but bothered them otherwise. It was related by John C. Flor, who settled in Platte Township in the autumn of 1856, that at one time the Indians were thought to have some grievance against their pale-faced brothers and demanded the scalp of his wife, but were finally frightened away by the whites who were present. They stubbornly demanded to look upon the pale-faced woman and agreed to smoke the pipe of peace, after which she shook hands with all and they departed.


The first settlers in what is now known as Platte Township were also the original settlers in Dodge County, as now constituted. This distinction belongs to the McNeal and Beebe families, who emigrated from Wisconsin in 1856. May 25th of that year Mrs. Beebe (mother of the later known Hon. Henry P. Beebe) and her sons, C. C, John, Martin and Charles, together with her son-in-law, Abraham McNeal, and his family, landed in this county and located two miles west of Fremont.

A former county historical record gives the following concerning the first settlement:

John C. Flor, residing in section 14, located here in the summer of 1856. In those early days the sod house, the log house and shanty had to suffice.

Henry P. Beebe above named, came in September, 1856, to his land in section 4, range 8. He remained and became one of the leading men in Dodge County. He was the first county treasurer, the first to represent the county in the Legislature after its admission into the Union. He was also one of the county judges.

Eli Hager came to the county in the fall of 1856 and for many years resided in section 18 of Platte Township. He came to the country when only seventeen years of age with his parents. That never-to-be-forgotten winter of 1856-57, when the snow was the deepest and average temperature the lowest all over the United States of any season recorded by white men, caught this pioneer man with a blinding storm December 1, 1856. His remains were not found until spring when it was observed that the wolves had eaten most of the flesh from his bones. This left Eli Hager the head of the family and only through a great struggle was he able to succeed in keeping the family together.

Another settler in 1856 was Seth T. Marvin, who located a mile and one-half west of where Fremont now stands. Later he moved into town and was indeed one of the incorporators of the town site. Subsequently he was accidentally drowned in the river near here.

Three miles to the west of Fremont settled Charles Waldo and George Peck. They were "squatters" and only remained two years.

In 1857 John D. Dodge came to where Ames, Nebraska, was later located. He originally owned the land later owned by the Standard Cattle Company.

The same time George Dane located north of Fremont. He served as a Union soldier in time of the Civil war. His was among the strangest cases on record. He was shot in the lower part of his heart by a rebel bullet, and carried the same the remainder of his years. John Farnsworth settled in Timberville in 1857 and platted that village. He resided here many years but finally sold and moved to Fort Scott, Kansas. Another who settled at the same point was William Payne.

Thomas Knoell of section 5, range 8, came to the county with his parents in 1859. The family were renters for five years, then bought land. Scott Davis came the same time as the Knoell family. Henry K. Goff located in section 11, range 8, in 1866. He purchased his farm a year after coming to the county.

Andrew J. Howard settled in section 13 in 1868; Harlow Goff, George Lombard, Frank Griswold, Edward Rohr all settled here before 1873. Charles W. Sheldon came to Platte Township in the autumn of 1881, buying a quarter section of wild land.

Early Events

The first birth in Platte Township among white people was also the first in the county. Twin girls were born to Mr. and Mrs. Abraham McNeal July 8, 1956. The first death of a white person here was that of Stedman Hager, who perished in the fearful storm of December, 1856, his body being partly devoured by wolves. The remains were found along the bank of Platte River the following spring.

Marriage No. 1 in the township was that uniting John D. Dodge to Miss Dickerson.

The pioneer school was the term taught in District No. 2, in a log cabin at Timberville. While taught in a private house, it was a public school. The teacher was Miss Lottie Heaton, who later became Mrs. L. H. Rogers. This school was taught in 1860.

Ames Station

This small railway station on the line of the Union Pacific Road was named for Oaks Ames, the great Union Pacific Railroad builder. There was a time when Ames was of much more commercial importance than it has been of later years. It is situated near the site of old Timberville, which faded away with the building of the railroad and in fact never did have much business aside from the post office kept by John Dodge. The chief business at Ames came from the offices and yards of the great Standard Cattle Company, located at that point. Its population is now about 100. Years ago this was the point where shippers unloaded, fed and watered stock before entering the Omaha markets. But with faster shipping facilities, this feature of stock-shipping was eliminated, hence this work was all done away with at Ames. Then the activities of the Standard Cattle Company were many years the real source of business at Ames. See an account of this cattle company below.

The Standard Cattle Company

In 1886 the Standard Cattle Company bought at Ames station, almost 5,000 acres of land, and soon added enough more to make a total of 6,300 acres. The object of this company was to feed range cattle from its immense stock- ranches in Montana and Wyoming. A barn was built to fully shelter 3,000 head of cattle. The first six years of the operation of this cattle company they shipped and marketed after feeding at Ames, 37,000 head of cattle; average days fed, 201; average weight when received, 986 pounds; average when sold, 1,217 pounds. Total quantity of grain fed, 103,919,307 pounds, or 1,855,495 bushels, equal to 57 bushels, per head-16 pounds a day each animal for 201 days feeding.

The farmers of Dodge County were greatly benefited by the increased price paid for corn which amounted to more than 3 cents a bushel above the regular market shipping rate.

The company engaged fifty-three men for the first six years of the company's history. This company was made up largely of Boston capitalists, and their worthy manager was R. M. Allen, of Massachusetts.

Dodge County | Nebraska AHGP

Source: History of Dodge and Washington Counties, Nebraska, Rev. William H. Buss and Thomas T. Osterman, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, Chicago, 1921.

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