Never was a town or even a village, rather it
was a community of people. There was a church and cemetery, and a school,
and a post office all in the area but not all grouped together in one
James E. Miller
Born in Pennsylvania in 1837
Probably English ancestory, family had been here since before the
1844 [age 7] moved with his parents to Scott County, Iowa, when it was still
1845 both parents died
Worked for others [10 years] until he was 18 , little chance for
Worked for himself 2 years, saved enough for tuition to attend Knox College
Academy in Galesburg, Illinois
1857 [age 20] had saved enough to buy four yoke of oxen, broke the prairie
for 2 years.
1860 - gold fever; joined a group going west
They proceeded by way of Fort Kearney and saw thousands of buffaloes. In
fact such great herds crossed their path that at times they were detained on
their journey, having to wait until the animals went on. At length they
reached their destination, near Pikes Peak. Returned home in the fall.
1861 Civil War - enlisted in Second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, served to end
With Sherman on the famous march to the sea
1865 Returned to Iowa and farmed
1866 Married Ann Duncan, had 9 children [7 boys, 2 girls]
Louis D., who died in infancy
Lorena Jane (married
William Van, who died in
1873 Came to Cedar Township, built sod house
1874 Homestead claim, lived there 31 years
Started out poor but still had more than his neighbors:
Real Estate and Personal Property of Cedar Precinct, 1877
James E. M. Miller,
Precinct Assessor, April 9, 1877
James E. Miller SE ½ 14-11-15
2 mules - 125
1 cattle - 90
2 swine - 3
1 carriage 20
Other personal property - 86.75
[Other residents had 0-3 horses, no one else had mules]
1898 & 1900 Elected to state senate by a fusion of the democrat and
He introduced and passed a statute providing that in all public schools
teach "the elementary principles of agriculture, including a fair
knowledge of the habits and structure of common plants, insects, birds
Nebraska was the first state to
provide for the teaching of agriculture in the public schools.
1904 Sold his homestead place; moved to
Monmouth, Illinois, to be near his daughter, who was attending college
1911 returned to Buffalo County and settled in Kearney
From Bassetts History of Buffalo County, Vol. I, 1916 - page
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF CEDAR TOWNSHIP by Hon. James E. Miller
1872 The first homestead selections were made by (E.) West and (S. J.)
Houston, Civil war vets from Ohio.
1873 returned in spring
& filed homestead claims.
Hired E. W. Carpenter to
break five acres on each quarter
Started back to Ohio, but were detained at Grand Island three days by the
great storm of
April 13-15; 1873, and were never heard from again
1873 Spring first settlement:
E. W. Carpenter
Were 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.
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. They buried her near the dugout. The
place has changed owners several times and all traces of the grave are lost.
1873 Summer & Fall settlers
M. A. Young
Capt. J. M. Treichler
Maj. John Dance [Treichlers father in law]
Mrs. S. Higgins filed for her children by a former husband.
J. E. Miller - concluded that the abandoned homesteads of West and
Houston suited him. He with Henry Luce filed contests and secured
homestead papers and made permanent settlement
1873-4, Winter mild, dry winter
1874, Spring formed Dist.20; hired Mrs. E. W. Carpenter to teach
three months for $30
Summer very hot & dry; little
wheat, but no corn. Grasshoppers in July
John Dance went back to Iowa
Fall first precinct election;
11 votes were cast, cost the county $14
1875, Summer Mrs. Carpenter employed to teach in the same room; teachers
She was a highly
useful woman in our community. Her death occurred April 13,1907.
Crops were fairly good
1876, Spring built schoolhouse; materials were "Made in Nebraska."
Walls two feet thick, sod and plastered with gypsum dug from a nearby bank
Joists and rafters were from cottonwood trees
Roof was made from willows and sod
Materials for the floor, windows and the door had to be imported
Also served as a place for church, Sunday school and political meetings.
Summer poor crops. Last and
greatest sweep of the migrating grasshoppers
1877 One of the most productive years in our history (as a county), and
prices for grain ruled unusually high, especially for wheat. From this date
for twelve successive years there was not a crop failure. [to 1890]
1879 Post Office - first got our mail at Gibbon, then changed to
Sent a petition to
Washington for a mail route and a post office.
Failed to send a
name for the office
department named the office Majors, in honor of the blue-shirted statesman
County, Col. Thomas J. Majors.
E. W. Carpenter was
appointed postmaster, and William Grant of Kearney mail carrier.
Mr. Carpenter continued as postmaster until the office was discontinued in
1907, a period of 28 years
1882 - First church organized - United Presbyterian
The charter members were: John & Rose
McCool, James & Ann Miller, and George W. Duncan. Reached a high of 100
Then some of the members moved to Poole
and started a church there.
Others moved to other states.
By 1915 membership was about 30.
Majors and Poole shared a minister and
finally consolidated in Poole.