From Bassett’s History of Buffalo County
On Friday, April 7,
1871, at 2 P. M., the colonists arrived at Gibbon switch and
the cars we came in--some passenger cars, some box
cars--were placed on the siding and left for our use. It was
a warm, spring-like day, sun shining brightly and a gentle
breeze blowing. An ideal day, and an ideal time of the day
to reach our destination.
On Sunday, April 2d., a prairie fire had swept over the
entire country leaving it black, bleak, desolate and
uninviting. No rain or snow had fallen since the previous
August, and not a green tree, shrub or sprig of grass was to
There was but one house in sight, that the railroad section
house, standing where the present one does in 1915, in fact
the same house, the only changes in forty-four years being a
new roof, chimney, floor, sidewalls and a coat of paint of
About 2 P. M. Sunday it began to "spit" snow, the wind
shifting into the north. By nightfall a furious storm of
wind and snow was raging. When Monday morning came the snow
was piled as high as the tops of the cars in which the
colonists were staying.
The April storm of 1873 is memorable in the annals of the
West. Not in the memory of the white man has a storm so
furious and destructive as was this one ever swept the
plains west of the Missouri River.
Rev. Charles Marvin and family, Mr. Marvin being a
missionary of the Presbyterian Church in this locality at
the time. On Sunday, April 14, 1873; Mr. Martin was holding
a religious service in a schoolhouse quite ten miles from
his home. It was a warm, sunny, spring day with a southerly
wind. Just at the close of the service, about 4 o'clock, in
the twinkling of an eye, the wind shifted into the north,
there came great clouds of dust, obscuring the sun, quickly
followed by rain and hail. Mr. Marvin realized that a great
and furious storm was at hand and that it was imperative
that he speedily reach home to render assistance to his wife
and children. That on foot and alone he finally reached home
in safety was due to the fact that he traveled in a
southeasterly direction; had it been otherwise he certainly
would have perished. Commencing about 4 o'clock on Sunday,
April 14, this storm raged in all its fury until the going
down of the sun on Wednesday.
The first actual settlement in the township was made in the
spring of 1873 by John Davis on section No. 2, E. W.
Carpenter and Joseph White on the west half of section No.
14, and Samuel Higgins on section No. 22. These settlers
were located on their claims during the great storm in which
Mrs. John Davis lost her life. On Sunday morning, April
13th, Mr. Davis started for Grand Island on foot, following
the section lines east. The storm overtook him before he
arrived at his destination. He left his wife in their dugout
with the understanding that she would go to the home of E.
W. Carpenter for the night, a mile or more to the south. The
storm came so suddenly (at 4 o'clock Sunday afternoon) that
it seems she did not dare to leave home. It appears that she
undressed and went to bed, and that in the night the ridge
pole broke with the heavy load of dirt (the dugout had a
dirt roof). The rafters protected her so that she might have
remained in the bed. The door was barred, and it appeared
she forced her way through the window. She left with but
little clothing and without her shoes. When the storm ceased
(at sundown) on Tuesday, neighbors went to the Davis home,
and not finding her, began a search, and found her body on a
ridge about sixty rods southeast of her home. Mr. Davis
arrived that evening. They buried her near the dugout. The
place has changed owners several times and it is likely all
traces of the grave is lost.
April 11, 1871, D. N. Smith, agent for the town-site
department of the Burlington Railway, in company with Moses
Syndenham and Rev. Asbury Collins visited Buffalo County
and located the junction point of the two roads.
[He had been delayed at Ft. Kearny because of a blizzard.]