could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:


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 location.

James E. Miller

Born in Pennsylvania in 1837
Probably English ancestory, family had been here since before the Revolutionary war.
1844 [age 7] moved with his parents to Scott County, Iowa, when it was still a territory.
1845 – both parents died
Worked for others [10 years] until he was 18 [1855], little chance for education
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 of war

          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]

          John A.

          Fred D.
          James C.

          Louis D., who died in infancy
          Lorena Jane (married Foster)

          George C.
          William Van, who died in infancy

          Grace E.
          Frank G.

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
1 dog

[Other residents had 0-3 horses, no one else had mules]

1898 & 1900 – Elected to state senate by a fusion of the democrat and populist parties

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 and quadrupeds."


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 there.
1911 – returned to Buffalo County and settled in Kearney

From Bassett’s History of Buffalo County, Vol. I, 1916 - page 300-302

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:

John Davis
E. W. Carpenter
Joseph White
Samuel Higgins

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
Joseph Clayton
Capt. J. M. Treichler
Maj. John Dance [Treichler’s 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; teacher’s wages doubled.

     “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 Kearney
           Sent a petition to Washington for a mail route and a post office.
           Failed to send a name for the office
           Post office department named the office Majors, in honor of the blue-shirted statesman of Nemaha

               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 members.

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.

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Revised: 05/03/2018