Richland Township, Washington County, Nebraska

Richland Township is situated on the southern line of Washington County, bounded on the north by Blair Township, on the east by Fort Calhoun, on the south by Douglas County and on the west by Arlington Township. The villages of Washington and Kennard, both good railroad points, are within this subdivision of the county. Its chief stream is the Pappillion River, flowing from north to south, and has many smaller tributaries or little creeks. Its present population is about 1,400. In 1900 it was placed at 1,179 and in 1890 at 1,000. Up to 1883 it was under "precinct government" but since then with other subdivisions of the county, is under "Township Organization." For long years this part of Washington County has been noted for its beautiful farms and natural scenery. The pioneer settlers lost no time in setting out shade trees, which have long since towered skyward as much as fifty feet. These beautiful artificial groves give a cooling shade for both man and beast in the heated days of midsummer, while in the wintry season they provide a duly appreciated windbreak for stock.


This settlement in the southwestern part of the county, was effected in part, as early as the summer of 1856, when Russell Miller and his three sons-in-law made the first actual settlement. Each of these men took a half section claim of land agreeable to the Omaha and Elkhorn Land Clubs. Miller took the north half of section 28. Adams, Lyons and Dowling, the sons-in-law, took adjoining claims. Two or three houses were built and Miller broke out some prairie. Miller bought the claim of another who did not long remain in the country, but possibly had broken a small patch of ground before leaving. That "first" squatter here built a log house in which Mr. Adams lived and died. When the township (precinct) was formed it was called Richland because Mr. Miller refused to have it called by his name and suggested "Richland," that being the place in Ohio from which he came.

Henry Wright broke a strip where S. S. Blanchard later resided. He sold to W. E. Purchase, and "held" the claims for him for a while. Purchase bought a sawmill that summer or fall, the third in all this section of the Territory of Nebraska. The first was at Fontanelle; Shield's, at Elkhorn Ferry, on the Military road to Fort Kearney, was second, and the one at Iron Bluffs, or West Point, made the fourth.

A man named Oaks also held down a claim and carried the mail on foot to and from Omaha, forty miles.

Sometime during the summer of 1856 H. R. Benjamin, C. A. Whitford and Odillon Whitford, took claims in sections 8 and 9. They built a good log house very near the C. A. Whitford place. It was for years known as the Indiana house on account of that being the state from which they came. Silas Masters built a log house on his farm in the autumn of 1856. Dennis. Caleb, Winch and Adam Studt bought claims and occupied them in the fall of 1856 and winter of 1857, the "hard winter." Theophilus Thompson and R. B. Brown wintered at Thompson's on Walnut Creek. In the summer of 1856 also came in Orrin Colby and built a small house and improved as fast as possible his claim. In 1876 Bell's history of the township stated Colby had one of the finest farms in the township, if not in the whole county.

In the early spring of 1857 a number of settlers wended their way into the township. Judge J. S. Bowen, later editor of the Blair Times, his son. Will R. Bowen and Doctor Heaton took claims in section 13 and section 14. Joseph, Levi and Hiram Johnson took claims in section 23. Azariah Masters, Sr., father of Azariah, built a large log house. McVicker also joined McNaughton in sections 15 and 22. In the summer of 1857 Mrs. Adams, daughter of Russell Miller, died, leaving a husband and two children, who soon after returned to Ohio. Nathaniel Brewster, early in the summer of 1857, built a house on the hill north of the present depot at Kennard. In 1858, David Bender came in and erected a good house in section 9. About the same time came his son-in-law, Amos Shick, and he engaged in the sawmill work. Later he improved his claim. John Hilton came to the township in 1858, but died in a short time at the old Thompson house. After his death the house and contents was burned. Doctor Benjamin sold to Simon Hammer and his brother-in-law, Hadley. The Ultz family, being related to Hammer, came in about that date.

John A. Unthank came in the fall of 1858, as did also Peter S. Reed and T. C. Powers. They took land in section 24. Reed was an energetic man; had seen service in the Mexican war: became captain of Company "A," Second Nebraska Regiment, formed in 1862, chiefly from citizens of Fontanelle, Richland and Fort Calhoun. Richland Township furnished eighteen men for the company named.

The breaking out of the Pike's Peak gold fever, the on coming Civil war, caused this township to depopulate considerable. But when peace was finally restored in 1865, the settlement again commenced to increase with returned soldiers and others.

The Village of Kennard

Kennard is situated on the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad in section 5, township 17, range 11, east. It was platted by the Sioux City & Pacific Railway Company, named after Hon. Thomas F. Kennard, secretary of state in 1867. Its present population is about 400. It was incorporated as a village April 29, 1895, and its chairmen have been as follows: Al Brewster, John Nissen, O. A. Alloway, W. H. Harrison, C. M. Weed, L. E. Ward, J. C. Neal, E. C. Nelson, O. W. Marshall, H. C. Blaco.

The list of village clerks to date is: J. I. Norton, W. H. Terwillager, John Butts, W. E. Swihart, Charles E. Kelley, George Menking, L. E. Ward and the present clerk, G. E. Kronberg, who has served since 1916. The 1920 village officers are: Chairman, H. C. Blaco; clerk, G. E. Kronberg: treasurer, R. H. Denton. The board consists of the last named gentlemen, together with James A. Sip and W. R. Seger.

A system of waterworks was installed in 1909, costing $7,000. The bonded indebtedness of Kennard is now only $2,000. It has a volunteer fire department of twenty-four members. The present fire chief is C. E. Lautrup. The equipment of the village for furnishing water consists of the old well, 100 feet deep and the new well 180 feet, with double-acting pump, 850 feet usable hose, with a building suitable for the equipment to be stored and where the council now assembles. Churches, Lodges, Etc.

The lodges of Kennard include these: Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Rebekahs, Masons, Modern Woodmen of America Danish Brotherhood.

The churches are the Methodist Episcopal, Lutheran, Church of God, all of which, with the lodges above mentioned, are treated in detail in special chapters on such subjects elsewhere in this volume. The public schoolhouse is a frame structure two stories high with basement. It contains six school rooms and there are now five instructors. 'The building was erected about 1910.

Business Interests in 1920

The following constitutes the chief business factors of Kennard in the summer of 1920:

Auto Garages-Minking & Seger.
Banking-Farmers and Merchants Bank, Home State Bank.
Barbers-Chris Petersen, John Wagner.
Blacksmiths-J. A. Swihart.
Cream Stations-David Cole Company and the Almito Company.
Drugs-B. R. Jones. Elevators-Farmers Co-operative Company, Nye, Schneider, Fowler Company.
Furniture and Hardware-E. O. Fairchild.
General Merchandise-Farmers Co-operative Company, James Sip and D. Hall.
Harness-James Applebee.
Implements-H. C. Blaco.
Lumber-This is handled with coal, etc. by the above named elevators.
Meat Shop-Samuel Hall.
Millinery-Mrs. D. Hall.
Newspaper-Kennard Weekly, by Otto Olsen.
Physician-Dr. J. B. Anderson.
Photographer-J. B. Wright; also handles school books.
Postmaster-William McCourdy.
Restaurant-B. Abels. Stock Buyers-Burgess Brothers.
Shoe Repairs-S. Olsen.
Temperance Billiard Hall-Frank Franksen.
Veterinary Surgeon-Doctor Mock.

Village of Washington

Washington is situated in the southwest quarter of section 32, township 17, range 11, east. It is a station on the Chicago-Northwestern Railway between Arlington and Omaha and has a population of about 125. The place was incorporated in 1915 and its present (1920) officers are: Chairman, Herman Busch; clerk, Gus H. Peterson; treasurer, S. K. Rosenkilde; other members of the board are J. B. Wardell and W. A. Kerstetter.

So far the village has made but few improvements, has neither electric lights or waterworks. It has a brick-frame school building, with two rooms, and employs two instructors. This schoolhouse was erected about 1916.

There is one church in the place, the Methodist Episcopal, which owns its own building.

Business Interests-1920
Bank-The Washington State Bank.
Barber-R. G. McDonald.
Blacksmithing-S. K. Rosenkilde.
Dry Goods and Notions-Mrs. H. Busch.
General Merchants-Gus Peterson, Theo Jensen.
Grain Dealers-Roger Gorman and Herman Busch.
Lumber-Roger Gorman.
Postmistress-Miss Carrie Peterson, since 1917.
Meat Market-Theo Jensen.
Garage-C. E. Lee.
Farm Implements-H. E. Lyons.
Restaurant-Kerstetter & Co.

The post office has one rural delivery route of about twenty-eight miles in length. The office is a fourth-class post office. The only lodge in the village at present is the Woodmen of the World.

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