Fort Calhoun Township, Washington County, Nebraska

This, the extreme southeastern subdivision of Washington County, embraces a tract of land nine miles east and west by five north and south, except the parts of several sections cut off by the Missouri River at its northeastern corner. It is bounded on the north by De Soto Township and the Missouri River, on the east by the Missouri River, on the south by Douglas County, and on the west by Richland Township. Its villages are Fort Calhoun and Coffman, see later. Its railroad is the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha. The water courses of this township include these: Long Creek, Little Pappillion, and their numerous smaller branches; also Horse Shoe Lake, Kelly Lake, Stillwater Lake, and other lakes or ponds. Within this township was the old Government posts, Fort Atkinson now known as Fort Calhoun, see their interesting history.


The United States census reports gave this township a population in 1890 of 1,187, including the village of Fort Calhoun; in 1900 it was 1,494, and in 1910 it was placed at 1,447.


The within historical accounts of old Fort Calhoun Village, at various periods, will cover the list of those who would in ordinary townships be known as first settlers. Hence there will be no attempt at tracing out the first to claim the land of this fertile and historic township, but refer the reader to the village and fort histories found herein.

Reminiscences of Fort Calhoun

The following story concerning Fort Calhoun by W. H. Allen, appeared in the 1916 volume of the "Pioneer Reminiscences of Nebraska" issued under authority of the Nebraska Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

I reached Fort Calhoun in May, 1856, with my friends, Mr. and Mrs. John Allen, coming with team and wagon from Edgar County, Illinois. I was then eleven years old. Fort Calhoun had no soldiers, but some of the Fort Atkinson buildings were still standing. I remember the liberty pole, the magazine, the old brickyard, at which places we children used to play and pick up trinkets. There was then one general store there, kept by Pink Allen and Jacoby, and but few settlers. Among those I remember were: my uncle, Thomas Allen; E. H. Clark, a land agent;

Col. George Stevens and family, who started a hotel in 1856, and Orrin Rhoades, whose family lived on a claim five miles west of town. That summer my father took a claim near Rhoades, building a log house and barn at the edge of the woods. We moved there in the fall, and laid in a good supply of wood for the huge fireplace, used for cooking as well as heating. Our rations were scanty, consisting of wild game for meat, corn bread, potatoes and beans purchased at Fort Calhoun. The next spring we cleared some small patches for gardens and corn and tended the same with a hoe. There were no houses between ours and Fort Calhoun, nor any bridges. Rhoades' house and ours were the only ones between Fontanelle and Fort Calhoun. Members of the Quincy Colony at Fontanelle went to Council Bluffs for flour and used our place as a half-way house, stopping each way over night. How we children did enjoy their company, and stories of the Indians! We were never molested by the red men, only that they would come begging food occasionally.

I had no schooling until 1860 when I worked for my board in Fort Calhoun at E. H. Clark's and attended the public schools a few months. The next two years I did likewise, boarding at Alex Reed's.

From 1866 to 1869 inclusive, I cut cord wood and railway ties, which I hauled to Omaha for use in the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. I received from $8 to $15 per cord for my wood and a dollar apiece for ties.

Deer were plentiful, and once when returning from Omaha I saw an old deer and fawn. Unhitching my team I jumped on a horse and chased the young one down, caught and tamed it. I put a bell on its neck and let it run about at will. It came to its sleeping place every night until the next spring when it left never to be seen by us again.

In the fall of 1864 I was engaged by Edward Creighton to freight with a wagon train for Denver, carrying flour and telegraph supplies. The cattle were corralled and broke at Cole's Creek west of Omaha, known then as "Robbers' Roost," and I thought it great fun to break and yoke those wild cattle. We started in October with forty wagons, seven yoke of oxen to each wagon. I went as far as Fort Cottonwood, 100 miles beyond Fort Kearney, reaching there about November 20th. There about a dozen of us grew tired of the trip and turned back with a wagon and one ox team. On our return, at Plum Creek thirty-five miles west of Fort Kearney, we saw where a train had been attacked by Indians, oxen killed, wagons robbed and abandoned. We waded rivers, Loup Fork and Platte, which was a cold bath at that time of the year. I lived at this same place in the woods until I took a homestead three miles farther west in 1868.

My father's home was famous at that time, also years afterward, as a beautiful spot in which to hold Fourth-of-July celebrations, school picnics, etc. and the hospitality and good cooking of my mother. "Aunt Polly Allen" as she was familiarly called, was known to all the early settlers in this section of the country.

The Story of Thomas N. Carter

In the spring of 1855 with my brother Alex Carter, E. P. and D. D. Stout, I left the beautiful hills and valleys of Ohio to seek a home in the West. After four weeks of travel by steamboat and stage, horseback and afoot, we reached the Town of Omaha, then only a small village.

It took us fourteen days to make the trip from St. Louis to Omaha.

While waiting at Kanesville or Council Bluffs as it is now called, we ascended the hills back of the town and gazed across to the Nebraska side. I thought of Daniel Boone as he wandered westward on the Kentucky hills looking into Ohio. "Fair was the scene that laid before the little band that paused upon its toilsome way to view the new found land."

At St. Mary we met Peter A. Sarpy. He greeted us all warmly and invited all to get out of the stage and have a drink at his expense. As an inducement to settle in Omaha, we were each offered a lot anywhere on the town site, if we would build on it, but we had started for De Soto, Washington County, and no ordinary offer could induce us to change our purpose.

We thought that with such an excellent steamboat landing and quantities of timber in the vicinity, De Soto had as good a chance as Omaha to become the metropolis. We reached De Soto May 14, 1855, and found one log house finished and another under way. Zaremba Jackson, a newspaper man, and Doctor Finney occupied the log cabin and we boarded with them until we had located a claim and built a cabin on land we subsequently entered and upon which the City of Blair is now built. After I had built my cabin of peeled willow poles the Cuming City Claim Club warned me by writing on the willow poles of my cabin that if I did not abandon that claim before June 14, 1855, I would be treated to a free bath in Fish Creek and free transportation across the Missouri River. This, however, proved to be merely a bluff. I organized and was superintendent of the first Sunday school in Washington County in the spring of 1856.

The first board of trustees of the Methodist Church in the county was appointed by Rev. A. G. White on June 1, 1866, and consisted of the following members: Alex Carter, L. B. Cameron, James Van Horn, M. B. Wilds and myself. The board met and resolved itself into a building committee and appointed me chairman. We then proceeded to devise means to provide for a church building at Cuming City by each member of the board subscribing $50. At the second meeting it was discovered that this was inadequate and it was deemed necessary for this subscription to be doubled. The church was built, the members of the committee hewing logs of elm, walnut and oak for sills and hauling them with ox teams. The church was not completely finished, but was used for a place of worship. This building was moved under the supervision of Rev. Jacob Adriance and by his financial support from Cuming City to Blair in 1870. Later it was sold to the Christian Church, moved off and remodeled and is still doing service as a church building in Blair. Jacob Adriance was the first regular pastor to be assigned to the mission extending from De Soto to Decatur. His first service was held at De Soto May 3, 1857, at the home of my brother, Jacob Carter, a Baptist. The congregation consisted of Jacob Carter, his family of five, Alexander Carter, myself and wife.

The winter before Reverend Adriance came, Isaac Collins was conducting protracted meetings. One night they threw a dead dog through the window, hitting the minister on the back, knocking him over, and the candles went out, leaving all in darkness. The minister straightened up and declared, "The devil isn't dead in De Soto yet."

I was present at the Calhoun claim fight at which Mr. Goss was killed and Purple and Smith were wounded. The first little log school was erected on the Townsite of Blair, the patrons cutting and hauling the lumber. I was the first director and Mrs. William Allen (nee Emily Bottorff) first teacher.

I served as worthy patriarch of the first Sons of Temperance organization in the county and lived in De Soto long enough to see the last of the whisky traffic banished from that township.

I have served many years in Washington County as school director, justice of the peace and member of the county board.

In October, 1862, I joined the Second Nebraska Cavalry for service on the frontier. Our regiment lost a few scalps and buried a number of Indians. We bivouacked on the plains, wrapped in our blankets, while the sky smiled propitiously over us and we dreamed of home and the girls we left behind us until reveille called to find the drapery of our couch during the night had been reinforced by winding sheets of drifting snows.

Fort Calhoun in the Later Fifties

Mrs. E. H. Clark, well known in Washington County, wrote as follows, and under the above heading, in the 1916 volume of "Pioneer Reminiscences" by the Daughters of the American Revolution Society, and herein is found much that should not be lost in the permanent annals of Washington County. Her article reads as follows: E. H. Clark came from Indiana in March, 1855, with Judge James Bradley and was clerk of the District Court in Nebraska under him. He became interested in Fort Calhoun, then the county seat of Washington County. The town company employed him to survey it into town lots, plat the same and advertise it. New settlers landed here that spring and lots were readily sold. In June, 1855, Mr. Clark contracted with the proprietors to put up a building on the townsite for a hotel; said building to be 24 by 48 feet, two stories high with a wing of the same dimensions; the structure to be of hewn logs and put up in good style. For this he was to receive one-ninth interest in the town. Immediately he commenced getting out timber, boarding in the meantime with Major Arnold's family, and laboring under many disadvantages for want of skilled labor and teams, there being but one span of horses and seven yoke of cattle in the entire precinct at this time. What lumber was necessary for the building had to be obtained in Omaha at $60 per 1,000 feet and hauled a circuitous route by the old Mormon trail. As an additional incident to his trials, one morning at breakfast Mr. Clark was told by Mr. Arnold that the last mouthful of food was on the table. Major Arnold was absent for supplies and delayed, supposedly for lack of conveyance; whereupon Mr. Clark procured two yoke of oxen and started at once for Omaha for provisions and lumber. Never having driven oxen before he met with many mishaps. By traveling all night through rain and mud he reached sight of home next day at sunrise, when the oxen ran away, upsetting the lumber and scattering groceries over the prairies. Little was recovered except some bacon and a barrel of flour.

Finally, the hotel was ready for occupancy and Col. George Stevens with his family took up their residence there. It was the best hostelry in the West. Mr. Stevens was appointed postmaster and gave up one room to the post office. The Stevens family were very popular everywhere.

Mr. and Mrs. John B. Kuony were married at the Douglas House in Omaha about 1855 and came to the new hotel as cooks; but soon afterward started a small store which in due time made them a fortune.

In March, 1856, my husband sent to Indiana for me. I went to St. Louis by train, then by boat to Omaha. I was three weeks on the boat, and had my gold watch and chain stolen from my cabin en route.

I brought a set of china dishes which were a family heirloom, clothes and bedding. The boxes containing these things we afterward used for table and lounge. My husband had a small log cabin ready upon my arrival.

I was met at Omaha by Thomas J. Allen with a wagon and ox team. He hauled building material and provisions and I sat on a nail keg all the way out. He drove through prairie grass as high as the oxen's back. I asked him how he ever learned the road. When a boat would come up the river everyone would rush to buy furniture and provisions; I got a rocking chair in 1857, the first one in the town. It was loaned out to sick folks and proved a treasure. In 1858 we bought a clock of John Bauman of Omaha, paying $45 for it, and it is still a perfect timepiece.

My father. Dr. J. P. Andrews, came in the spring of 1857 and was a practicing physician, also a minister for many years here. He was the first Sunday school superintendent here and held that position until 1880 when we moved to Blair.

In 1858 the Vanier brothers started a steam grist mill which was a great convenience for early settlers. In 1861 Elam Clark took it on a mortgage and ran it for many years. Mr. Clark also carried on a large fur trade with the Indians. They would go east to the bottoms to hunt and camp for two or three weeks.

At one time I had planned a dinner party and invited all my lady friends. I prepared the best meal possible for those days, with my china set all in place and was very proud to see it all spread, and when just ready to invite my guests to the table, a big Indian appeared in the doorway and said "hungry" in broken accents. I said, "Yes, I get you some," and started to the stove, but he said, "No," and pointed to the table. I brought a generous helping in a plate but he walked out of doors, gave a shrill yell which brought several others of his tribe and they at once sat down, ate everything in sight, while the guests looked on in fear and trembling. Having finished they left in glee.

Retrospective View of Fort Calhoun

Local Historian W. H. Woods, who it is stated by his neighbors, knows all worth knowing about ancient and modern Fort Calhoun, has recently written the following in the columns of the Blair Tribune:

"I perhaps now know more of this place than any man living. The Iowa Town Company which had the fight over the location; then employed E. H. Clark to build the log tavern and lay out the new town west of the disputed dead man's claims.

"This at that time was to be a great commercial city and why not? The old fort at one time held the greatest business depot on the whole Missouri River, and in ten years the fur trading posts in walking distance of the townsite had shipped thousands of dollars worth of furs and probably outrivaled the whole British Columbia; and where else on earth had a great statesman seen a merchant handling his silver coin with a scoop shovel, as General Cass had seen John Cabbanne, only six miles away: and so great was the possibilities for this city that when thousands of acres of land hereabouts could be homesteaded or bought for a dollar and a quarter per acre of the government, the town offered Judge Stiltz $100 an acre for his farm to add to the town.

"So in laying out the town, room must be provided for the great markets, etc., yet to come; so they set aside four plats of land for such needful purposes. East Market Square, Washington Square, West Market Square and a schoolhouse site that someday might roam back toward the Elkhorn River as a college or university town. "East Market Square on Seventh Street, the west guard line of the old fort, w-as sold by the city some years ago, and is now known as the Steffen block. Washington Square in the center of the city was for the county seat and other such public utilities and on that was the first courthouse built for that purpose in Nebraska. It became, of course, a general utility building and was church and school as well. West Market Square is now the city park and the real pioneer school site is the property of Peter Schmidt. In some way the original school site had been pre-empted for residences, or a part of it, by some persons who had moved away and had got on the assessor's books as private property. This was explained to us by Elam Clark and Doctor Andrews, when we were asked to seek a new site for the schools in the seventies. Over two hundred acres of town lots have lost their streets and alleys and become either tax lots or joined onto other people's property. Probably in 1876 Judge Jackson helped me to throw out great areas of town lots now in surveyed and numbered tax lots that my predecessors had double assessed, entering them as town as well as tax lots, and when I went to two of them for advice they kindly told me that it was none of the assessor's business. But I failed to take my oath that way. So got the books cleaned.

"Granddad Woods."

Centennial Celebration of Settlement

Washington County, Nebraska, is noted for its "Centennial Celebration" events, as follows: Lewis and Clark's Expedition, 1804; Fort Lesa, 1812; Fort Atkinson, 1819; First brickyard, farming, library and school at Fort Atkinson, 1820; the birth of Logan Fontenelle at Fort Atkinson, 1825. So it is seen that this county leads all others in Nebraska in its centennial history.

The Fort Calhoun Centennial Celebration, 1919

On October 11, 1919, the quaint little village with so much of real importance connected with it, celebrated its centennial with an historic pageant and basket picnic dinner in the small handsome park. There addresses were given by Governor McKelvie, Mayor Smith of Omaha and Mayor Frahm of Fort Calhoun. This centennial marked the landing of the first United States troops sent into this portion of the Missouri Valley country.

No better description is needed in this connection than to refer the reader to one page of the neat folder program issued on that occasion, which reads as follows:

"It was at Fort Calhoun, later known as Fort Atkinson, that the soldiers, coming up the Missouri on a steamer, landed and there erected an army post that was garrisoned until 1829, when it was abandoned. However, white men and women continued to occupy the site and consequently Fort Calhoun is one of the oldest towns of the United States, barring those of the Atlantic States.

"Co-operating, the people of Fort Calhoun, Omaha and Nebraska have laid their plans for making this centennial celebration an event that will long be remembered in the future history of Nebraska. Working with them are the members of the Nebraska Historical Society, Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons and Daughters of the War of 1812, Grand Army of the Republic and veterans of the recent war with Germany.

"This centennial will be an all-day affair and will be observed in the Calhoun Public Park, just west of the business portion of the village. There will be a pageant that will portray the landing of the soldiers and their meeting with the Indians, who at that time occupied the lands on both sides of the Missouri River. To make this feature strictly realistic, there will be soldiers from Forts Omaha and Crook and Indians from the Omaha Reservation. The pageant, in which there will be a number of floats, will pass over the village streets and to the park, where the exercises will be held.

"This centennial is to be a gathering of the pioneers and others of Nebraska, but it is not to be for them alone, as indications are that there will be hundreds of visitors from Iowa and other nearby states.

"An immense picnic dinner is to be served at noon, and that none may go away hungry, other arrangements have been made for feeding the multitude. On the grounds will be numerous cafes and eating houses, and in addition a regulation army kitchen will dispense hot food and drinks during the day."

Everything promised, more too, was fulfilled and a large gathering assembled will long remember the noted celebration.

Among other features was the circulating of a "Centennial pocket coin," same size as the United States dollar piece, and about its weight. It has the dates "1819-1919" inscribed on its face; also the thirteen emblematic stars of our coins. One can but ask himself the question: "What will the conditions be on these grounds at old Fort Atkinson (Calhoun) when another hundred years have rolled away into oblivion? Will the day be observed as a celebration day? Will there be in evidence a single one of these pretty pocketpiece-coins?" Time alone can answer this for we will not be present to record the proceedings of the day.

Rockport-A Town of the Past

Bell's History of this county, written in 1876, gave the following concerning a long-since-passed-away "town": "Time was when Rockport, situated on the Missouri river, about a dozen miles above Omaha, was one of the best known, and one of the most flourishing towns in Nebraska. It was settled in 1857. William H. Russell was one of its founders, J. P. Burkett. Hawley Bros., David and Stephen Neal and Doctor Lewis were also among the early settlers of Rockport. Burkett was later agent of the Yankton Sioux Indians.

"Rockport boasted at one time a fine large hotel building, but for some reason was never furnished, and was finally moved down to Florence. It was built by the Town Company. A splendid body of hardwood timber surrounded the town, and extensive stone quarries were opened up and successfully worked in the vicinity. But the timber was cut down by the Union Pacific railroad company, who also bought the quarries. There was no good agricultural country surrounding the place, hence soon dwindled down to almost nothing after the stone and timber interests passed away. In the long ago the heavy timber and deep ravines surrounding this settlement, afforded excellent facilities for the hanging of horse thieves, which facilities were utilized, until finally extensive and prosperous leaders of lawless horse-fanciers who made their headquarters near De Soto were effectually broken up. It is a significant fact that the county lost a number of its most prominent citizens in consequence of the disorganization of this band of horse thieves."

Today there is no evidence that there was ever a village here. Newspaper files and old men's memory must be depended on today for all that is known of Rockport.

An account of this old-time village was given in 1912 in the World-Herald, Omaha, in which the writer stated that the changing of the river's channel was what put Rockport out of commission. When this article was written there was still the remains of a good-sized foundation built from brick at that point. At one time it had almost 500 people and was an important steamboat landing. It was built up in the early years of the nineteenth century, about the date of old Fort Atkinson. Its site is near the present Carl Hoist farm home. The shifting waters and uncertain river-beds of the Missouri caused it to vanish in a few days.

Village of Fort Calhoun

Fort Calhoun Village is the oldest village in Nebraska, and was incorporated in 1855, one year earlier than Omaha was. It is situated in section 11, township 17, range 13, east. It is about two miles west of the present banks of the Missouri River. The early annals of this historic place is treated later in this work, and has descriptions by local writers whose lives have been spent largely in this vicinity.

Here one finds the most picturesque scenery in all the commonwealth. Just to the west of the village is a high bluff overlooking the pretty meanderings of the Missouri as well as a glimpse of the waters of the Elkhorn. From near the cemetery one can view the country up and down the valley and from west to east for a distance of many miles, both on the Nebraska and Iowa sides of the Missouri. The public park in the village, proper, was set to artificial trees more than forty years ago, by the hand of that much-beloved and highly honored pioneer and local historian, W. H. Woods, who still survives to tell the story of old Fort Calhoun. The many beautiful shade trees in this park now tower up thirty, forty and fifty feet; their branches and great trunks stand out as so many living, growing monuments to the forethought and good sense of the pioneer who planted them out, just on the eastern slope of the ridge which runs just to the west of the village. This park reminds one of the saying, "A thing of beauty and a joy forever."

The first store in Fort Calhoun Village was that conducted by A. P. Allen, in the '50s. He kept groceries and also a good stock of "Wet Goods" (liquors).

The second business house was the store of Col. George Stevens. With the passing years many have been connected with various business enterprises in this village.

Today the commercial and professional interests of Fort Calhoun consist of the following:

General Merchandise-Otto Kruse, William Sievers.
Drugs-William R. Goll.
Banking-Washington County Bank, Fort Calhoun State Bank.
Blacksmithing-Henry Schmidt, Louis Clausen, G. V. Beadle.
Meat Shop-Frank Wolff.
Newspaper-The Chronicle. Lumber-Calhoun Lumber Company.
Garage-Henry Schmidt. Real Estate-Adams & Cook.
Hotels-The "Clary Chicken Dinner Inn," R. A. Johnson's Hotel.
Physician-Dr. E. S. B. Geesaman.
Milling-The Washington County Alfalfa Milling Company.

Municipal History Items

Through the untiring energy of that wonderful "historical digger," W. H. ("Granddad") Woods of Fort Calhoun, it has been learned that this is Nebraska's oldest incorporation, older than Omaha, incorporated in 1855 and its first mayor was W. B. Beals. When the Town Company was incorporated in August, 1857, Elam Clark was elected president of the town; again in 1867 he was elected and doubtless held the office until 1873, when E. N. Grennel was mayor; also in* 1874. Under Grennel, Farm Brooks got a license to sell liquor from a saloon. Whiskey was considered "groceries" then and sold over the counter by such men as A. P. Allen and Norman Jacoby, who moved to Salt Lake.

The records also show Mayors

L. Crounse, 1886
A. R. Toozer, 1887
George Neale, 1890
Henry Taylor. 1891
Henry Rix, 1893
L. Crounse, 1896
B. F. Adamsons, 1902
John Hendrichsen, 1904
I. I. Wager, 1905
Doctor Curtis, 1907
Fred Frahm, 1909
James Walton, 1912
W. Sievers, 1913-14
Fred Frahm, 1915
W. Sievers, 1916
James Walton, 1917
Wallie McMillan, 1918
John Hendrichsen, 1919, (died)
James Vaughn in 1920.

Present Village Officers

The 1920 village officers of Fort Calhoun are as follows: Mayor, James Vaughn; clerk, Mr. Wagers; treasurer, Henry Picke.

The corporation has a town hall, a two-story frame structure; also a small cement block jail; the fire department and its equipment of hook and ladders, chemical engine, etc., are all well housed in the town building. Electric lights are provided by connection with the City of Omaha. This improved means of lighting was had first in January, 1917.

Schools, Etc.

The village has excellent educational advantages for so small a place. It has a good two-story frame schoolhouse which stands on the old courthouse site. (See account of County Seats of Washington County.) This schoolhouse was erected in 1900 but has been added to since. It has six rooms. On the ground which the house stands stood the first courthouse ever erected in Nebraska.

Fort Calhoun Post office History

Through the genius of getting at the facts of local history possessed by W. H. Woods, the editors of this volume are enabled to give the following on the post office at Fort Calhoun

He writes as follows: In 1854 Congress passed a bill for a United States post road from Table Creek, now Nebraska City, to Bellevue, Omaha and Florence to Fort Calhoun, probably called for by the Iowa Company at Kanesville, or Council Bluffs, that employed veteran E. H. Clark to lay out our town and build a log cabin opposite our present Fort Calhoun City Park.

"Omaha, August 16, 1904. Friend Woods:

First postmasters in Fort Calhoun

George W. Newell, 1856
E. H. Clark
Lewis McBride
George Stevens
W. A. Jacoby
George Stevens, second time and I became the seventh in 1865 and resigned thirteen years later when I took my family to Europe.
"Yours truly, "John B. Kuony."

The first paper on our desk reports that George Stevens has been appointed postmaster at Fort Calhoun, Territory of Nebraska, and swears he will perform his duty as regards post office and post roads in the United States and support the Constitution and his wife, on the same blank affirms that she will do the same and signs herself, Helen D. Stevens in the presence of William B. Beals, mayor of the City of Fort Calhoun, who swears he believes them to be over 16 years old and this required 15 cents revenue stamp for him and 5 cents for her.

Again required by an act of Congress in 1862, he again has to swear that he has never voluntarily borne arms against the United States while a citizen or voluntarily given any aid, counsel or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto. He has never yielded any authority to any pretended government of the United States and he promises to help defend against any domestic or foreign foes of the United States; and he received notice from Washington that his bond for $1,000 required 50 cents in revenue stamps and his security was given by Dr. J. P. Andrews and Hiram Craig; and Mayor Beals had to swear that he believed that they were worth double the amount of the bond.

The next one reported was Hon. P. W. Hitchcock, at Omaha, that John B. Kuony has been appointed postmaster to succeed George Stevens then running without bonds. Kuony's commission, instead of letter size, blossoms out in spread-eagle style. He had to have an assistant and give bonds for both. He must not give credit for postage but make his returns at least two days after the ending of each quarter, and want of funds will be no excuse for not mailing funds as ordered; neither must he change the name of the post office without Government consent.

In those days the postmaster was not allowed to loan, use, deposit in banks or exchange for any other funds. Those were days of "wild-cat" bills and counterfeit silver and as the postmaster was supposed to know all such by smell or otherwise, the exact money taken in must be sent to Washington. As occasionally a postmaster was robbed at night and his only recourse if he had enough to make a squeal about was to apply to his congressman to have a special bill' passed through Congress that was worded, "For the relief of John Doe who had met with a fire, tornado, thieves, etc., and wanted reimbursement from the government."

Of this list George Stevens and E. H. Clark are buried here. Jacoby the Mormon that the boys when he was drunk laid on the floor and turned the molasses faucet loose on him and pried him loose with shovels in the morning, went to Salt Lake City.

Later Postmasters

More recent postmasters here have been these: Mr. Fenner followed John B. Kuony, then George Neale and Miss Minnie Neale. Without giving the order in which they served it is certain that others have been: Mrs. George Stevens and two daughters, Mrs. Deane Slader and two daughters, Mrs. Pettingill and two daughters, Robert Livingston, Mr. Rowher, Henry Taylor, W. R. Goll, Wallie McMillan, Frank Adams, Miss Freda Paulen and in July, 1920, came Miss Finch.

Fort Calhoun Map

Explanation to Old Fort Atkinson Map
(Later known as Fort Calhoun)

The readers of this work are indebted to the untiring efforts of W. H. Woods, a pioneer and veteran of the Civil war, now residing at the Village of Fort Calhoun, for the information contained herein concerning this, the oldest United States fort west of the Missouri River. It was established in 1819 and abandoned in 1827.

Nos. 1 and 2 represent stone houses north of the fort and northeast of the present locust grove.
No. 3, locust grove planted in 1822, still growing.
No. 4, headquarters buildings.
No. 5. blacksmith shop.
No. 6, gun shop.
No. 7, moat running west from the river bluff to present school building and then south to Turkey Creek (see dotted line).
Nos. 8, 9, 10 and 11 was the parade ground.

The river bluff to the east of the reservation or grounds, where the buildings stood, are from 75 to 100 feet high, and the river now runs almost three miles to the east of where the channel then ran.

No. 12 is steamboat landing.
No. 13, a path or trail to the river and a wagon road running to the stream also. The officers and hospital gardens were south of the ravine.
No. 14, bakery.
No. 15, the flouring mill.
Nos. 16 and 17, two warehouses with stone foundations near the mill.
No. 18, powder house.
No. 19, probably the flagstaff.
No. 20, guardhouse.
No. 21, Contell's residence.

***Rifle-pits along the high bluff overlooking the Missouri River, still visible.

Note by W. H. Woods: "This map of course is not perfect, but we have spent much time and labor over it and is the nearest I can outline after years of study. Sergeant Contell was a large, portly man, a soldier under Napoleon, then emigrated to Canada and in 1819 passed over to New York and enlisted as drum-major and came with the first troops and left with the last; his son, a small boy, was here the whole time; was educated by the government at Jefferson Barracks, served in the regular army twenty-one years and retired as a captain and came to Blair several years before his death and with the writer (W. H. Woods) walked over the fort grounds to the brick-yard west of the present city park, pointing out the position of the Council House, the rifle-pits, and placed the guard line at what is now Seventh Street in West Calhoun, First Street then being Water Street, below the bluff and as near as he could determine, they lived just west of the guard-line at No. 21.

Nebraska AHGP

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

Nebraska Links

Hosted Free

Please stop by again!!

This page was last updated

Copyright August © 2011 -  AHGP The American History and Genealogy Project.
Enjoy the work of our webmasters, provide a link, do not copy their work.


Back to AHGP