Ridgeley Township, Dodge County, Nebraska

Settlement of Township. Second from the west and also from the north line of Dodge County, comes Ridgeley Township, which is constituted of Congressional township 19, range 6. It is bounded on the north by Pebble Township, on the east by Everett Township, on the south by Cotterell and on the west by Pleasant Valley. Strictly speaking, this is one of the truly inland subdivisions of Dodge County, as it is without railroad or hamlet. Its chief trading point and market place is Scribner, while Crowell and Dodge villages are not far distant from parts of the township's territory.


The United States census gives the population in 1890 as being 807; in 1900 it was 847, and in 1910, ten years later, it had decreased to 675, while the present (1920) enumeration has not yet been made public.


What is now known as Ridgeley Township was formed as a separate township when the county was placed under township organization in 1886. The first election after it was a "precinct" in government, was held, in section 28, at Mat Robert's house. The township affairs have been well managed and is today fully up to the Dodge County township standard.

Schools and Churches

The pioneer school was kept in 1871 and some of the scholars were over twenty-one, but many things illegal then went for lawful. For school history see Educational Chapter elsewhere in this work. The earliest church in this township was the Evangelical Lutheran, formed in 1874.

Post Offices

The first post offices of this township were Ridgeley and Webster. The former was established in 1868 with A. Holbrook as postmaster. In 1882 it was removed to the home of Patrick Owen, remained a few years and then rotated back to Mr. Holbrook, his wife being made postmistress. It was discontinued and after a time re-established. It was about 1885 that it was located in section 26, when H. L. Shomsher was postmaster. He also conducted a country store at this point. Mail was received tri-weekly on a mail route from Fremont to Webster.

Webster post office moved from place to place. In the early '90s it was on the extreme western line of the township, with Isabelle Honey as postmistress, whose husband was a mail carrier, and ran a small general store in connection with the post office. This office was established in 1870 at the pioneer home of F. C. Scott, who served seven years, when John Ferguson took the office and it was then removed to Pleasant Valley Township. Other changes were made in its location until it was finally abolished.

First Settlers

In an account of this part of Dodge County found in the volume entitled "History of the Elkhorn Valley," published about 1891, there is found the following account of the early settlement in this township. It seems to have been corrected and approved by competent committeemen, hence as such events are unchangeable, we will assume the statements made therein to be correct at this time:

To have been the first settler to invade and make his permanent abiding place in so splendid and highly fertile domain as the Township of Ridgeley is composed was indeed an honor to be appreciated by any man. To such honor, the record says, is attached the name of Frank M. Tillman, who located by right of pre-emption in the northeast quarter of section 26, in June, 1868, fifty-two years ago. He and several others brought their families from the Lake Superior country. Mr. Tillman proved up and continued to cultivate his land until 1880 when he moved to the Village of Hooper and purchased a hotel property, conducted it for a time, after which his son, Frank, took over the property and became landlord.

Vangilder Banghart, section 28, homesteaded eighty acres in 1868. With others, this pioneer homesteader saw great hardships for a decade or more when prosperity smiled upon his efforts. Henry Banghart arrived the year last named as did Isaac Banghart, claiming land in section 28. At one time he sold lumber and bought grain in the Village of Scribner. Peter Therens and John Mohr came to the township to affect their settlement the same year.

About 1869 the following made settlement in the township: James M. Cruickshank, section 31; John Eckroat, section 21; Daniel Jones, John Yosten and a few others came. In 1871 came Thomas H. Heywood to section 10.

Old Mr. Berriman homesteaded in section 30; he died many years ago. Others settlers in this goodly township were: Nicholas Reise, section 24; Henry Sievers, section 18, in 1869 and in 1890 was counted one of the richest men in the township; A. L. Holbrook, section 28, came in 1869 and sold out in 1882 and moved to Kansas. August English settled here in the '70s in section 7, and died in 1887. William Herman located in section 6 in 1870. D. Stagerman came at about the same date; also Mr. Schuler of section 8. Dr. Thomas Street and Matthew Themis were pioneers.

In the grasshopper days, the times that tried men's souls, lands were offered at $1 per acre, but fortunate indeed for the owners, no buyers could be found to take it off their hands. This land is today selling as high as $300 per acre in several instances.

Among the first events in this township may be mentioned the birth of August, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank M. Tillman, born in August, 1870. He was beyond question the first child born in the township.

Other Items

The German speaking farmers of this vicinity organized a strong insurance company known as the Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Company, in 1885.

Pebble Creek Farmers' Club commenced its operation in about 1885 and in 1888 in section 11 was built a large two-story frame hall building. In this building was conducted the business of the Mutual Insurance just mentioned. This club had in 1890 over 200 excellent farmers enrolled on its books as regular members.

A branch of the Farmers' Alliance had headquarters at what was known as the "Red School House."

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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