Grant, Sheridan and Lincoln Precincts, Washington County, Nebraska

When Local Historian Bell wrote his Centennial History of Washington County in 1876, he mentioned the then quite new townships of Grant, Sheridan and Lincoln in language as follows:

"The above named precincts are of comparatively recent settlement; but wonderful changes have been wrought within the past half dozen years.

"Grant precinct is in the northern part of the county, west of Herman. Among its first settlers were:

L. P. Thone
Martin Peterson
Gilbert Thone
William Raver
L. D. Cameron
Foxwell Fletcher
Edward Fletcher
S. C. Rose
Perry Selden
Frank Whizinand
Mr. Crane
Josiah Pace
Alfred Van Valin
Samuel Spiker
Thomas Wilson
M. A. Preston
Daniel Geary

Nearly all of the men have splendid farms, and are more or less engaged in stock raising. This part of the county is well watered by New York Creek and its tributaries, along which are fertile, beautiful valleys especially adapted to grazing, the grass growing rich and luxuriant."

Organization, Population, Etc

Grant Township was organized after the Civil war and named for that illustrious commander and President, U. S. Grant. It had a population in 1890 of 926; in 1900 it was placed at only 886, and the United States census returns in 1910 gives it at only 775. The writer is at a loss to account for so great a decrease in population, but such seems to have been the fact. Possibly a change in boundary lines may account for a part of the loss in population. The 1920 enumeration has not yet been made public.

Sheridan Township is situated in the extreme northwestern corner of Washington County. It is bounded on the north by Burt County, on the east by Herman Township, on the south by Fontanelle Township and on the west by Dodge County. It contains thirty sections of land. Within its borders and in section 33 is situated the little Hamlet of Admah. There is no railway in this township. It is chiefly given over to extensive farming and stock raising. There are no large streams but a large number of small water courses break up the otherwise monotonous appearance of the territory.

The population of the township in 1890 was 649; in 1900 it was 575, and in 1910 placed at 546. The 1920 census returns have not yet been made public.

Its Settlement and History

Sheridan had for its original settlers people who stopped along the banks of Clark Creek in 1856-57, at a date when this part of the county was yet counted as a part of Dodge County. The interior and eastern parts of this township were not settled until many years later. Among the Clark and Logan Creek settlers may now be recalled such men as Chris Leiser, Charles and Fred Eisley, Uriah Thomas, Harvey J. Robinson, who built the first grist mill at the fine water power later owned by A. C. Briggs & Son, John and Silas Seeley, Samuel Williams, Tom and Sam Parks, Sullivan Gaylord, J. B. Robinson, John and Dick Shur (who was accidentally killed by Tom Parks during the Indian scare of 1859), John Clayton and his father-in-law, Mrs. Clark, Chris Hinneman and Mr. McBroom.

Once there was a post office in this township called Lewisburg, on Clark Creek, but it was sacked by the Pawnees in June, 1859, and discontinued soon thereafter.

Between 1866 and 1876 the following located in this township: W. A. Johnson, Phillip Gossard, David Clark and son, Hiram G. Clark, Archie Bovee, W. O. Hatch, Robert Adams, John Adams, Anson Hewitt, C. B. Sprague, Robert Schenk, J. M. Jackson, Joseph Cook, Henry E. Meservey, L. L. Arnold, Matthew Maloney and Thomas Dunn.

Admah Hamlet

In the northwest corner of Washington County, in section 33, township 20, range 9, east, is the Hamlet of Admah (named for a Bible name). The earliest settler there was G. Pegau, who was appointed first postmaster there also. A general store and a shop or two, a physician, a Presbyterian Church and a Lutheran Church, with possibly a hundred souls constituted all the interests the place ever had in its best days. Lincoln Precinct (as formerly called but now township) is situated almost in the central portion of Washington County, with Grant Township at its north, Blair Township at the east, Arlington Township on the south and Fontanelle on the west. It contains thirty-six sections. It is without a railroad or town, except the Hamlet of Oram in section 19, where there has been for years a country store and a shop or two for the accommodation of farmers.

There are no large streams, but numerous small watercourses of value in watering and draining the domain within its borders. The largest stream is Little Bell Creek in the western part of the territory.


In 1890 the population, according to the Federal census reports, was 856; in 1900 it was 850, and in 1910 had decreased to 791. The department at Washington has not made the 1920 enumeration figures public as yet for the subdivisions in Washington County, hence they are not here added.


This township was organized about 1866. The first attempt at claiming land within this part of Washington County was in 1856, by Pomeroy Searle on a portion of the farm later owned by E. S. Gaylord, who was state's representative in 1876 from Washington County. Bell's Washington County History, published in 1876, gives the best account extant of the first settlement in this township.

In 1857 Searle broke out about twenty acres and set out both fruit and forest trees. In 1858 he went to California and the first permanent improvement was made in the township in 1868. In that year there were only two families living on the route from Cuming City to Fontanelle, viz.: A. Sutherland and Benjamin Taylor. F. Curtis had his cabin up but it was unoccupied. On the north to the line of Burt County there were only four settlers. There were a few settlements on the southern border of the township.

In 1857 John Mattes pre-empted the land later owned by William Hilgenkamp and the next year a Mr. Coyle settled on the adjoining place north, subsequently owned by William's father. With the exception of Mr. Parker, who settled on land later owned by Herman Stork, there were no new settlements made in the township until about 1862.

James R. Tharp bought the land he later owned among the early purchasers but went, it is believed, to California and then to China, returning to his old home in New York in time to enlist and go through the Civil war, after which he returned and located on his place in this township in 1868. In 1865 or 1866 the influx of homesteaders commenced and settlements were effected by George Morley, Frank Curtis and John A. Young and sons, followed soon after by H. N. Mattison, his son George, Mr. Ostrander, Soren Jensen, Henry Hilgenkamp and others, who secured good farms and made valuable improvements in this township.

In 1857 William R. Hamilton, county commissioner for six years prior to 1876, and W. M. Saint settled on the west side of Bell Creek. In the autumn of the same year a party of nine Indians made a raid on Saint's cabin, he being absent at the time, robbed it of all the provisions, cut open a feather bed, gave its contents to the winds and replaced the same with the stolen property secured upon a pony and then mounting, raised a whoop and charged upon Mr. Hamilton and his brother-in-law, who were building a sod stable at his place and who stood upon the defensive, arms in hand. After circling around them a while in a menacing manner, and finding they "didn't scare worth a cent" the redskins came to a parley and wanted something to eat. Upon being refused they made a break for the house but were beaten in the race by Mr. Hamilton, who finally drove them off. On the following day Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Saint went to the Indian camp on the west side of the Elkhorn River to try to recover the stolen property but failed. The spring of 1858 opened with scarcity of provisions among the pioneers and Mr. Hamilton with a team of three yoke of oxen started in search of supplies and in the course of his travels found himself at Magnolia, Harrison County, Iowa, having crossed the Missouri River "on the ice. After obtaining the needed supplies and starting for home he was told that the crossing was unsafe, but there was no alternative. The family at home was in need and the stream must be crossed at all hazards, so locking the wheels of his wagon he drove down the bank upon the ice. While trying to undo the lock the ice sank about eighteen inches: he not wishing to travel in that direction whipped up his team and came over in safety.

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.

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