Schneider Township, Berg
& the Saxon Colony
New Map Exhibit at Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln.
Maps of this continent, this country,
Nebraska from days of early exploration
Originally called Pawnee
County first organized in 1855 by territorial legislature
Shown on 1861
map, no abutting counties.
east-west-south boundaries. North boundary farther north
County was organized it took care of Buffalo County business until 1870.
Looked for towns no longer there.
Found one north of South Loup, between Sweetwater and Ravenna.
1. Centennial – One reference found:
Post Office established July 5, 1876
and named for the nation's 100th birthday.
2. Berg – In Schneider Township
Saxon colony came in October 1873;
settled in Schneider Township
Town was surveyed in 1874 in 22-11-14
(about in the middle of the township) but no town developed.
Post office established in February
1875. First postmaster was Wilhelm Freyburg. Another source says it was
Friedrich Friedrich. Mail came out of Gibbon.
Three churches – Zion Lutheran,
Presbyterian, & Catholic
Members of Saxon Colony were all Lutheran
97% of the inhabitants of Saxony were Protestant
Zion Lutheran moved to Ravenna in
Presbyterian building purchased in
1912 and moved a mile east to St.
Wenceslaus Cemetery to serve the
Czechs in the community.
3. Schneider Township
Six miles square (as are all our
townships except those along the Platte River)
On the divide between the Wood River
Valley and the South Loup
From the center it is 9 miles north
to Ravenna, 14 miles south to Gibbon.
No running streams of water in the
township [according to Bassett]
1917 plat map shows some small streams flowing toward the South Loup
No natural growth of timber.
The general surface is rolling and
The soil is fertile and easily tilled and produces abundant crops.
six schoolhouses [no school districts
organized until the 1890’s]
population was approximately 500.
4. The Saxon Colony –
First settlers in Schneider Township
were from Saxony
[later settlers came from other
German and Bohemian areas]
Why did they come here?
Poor living and low wages paid in the
over-populated factory districts.
Many had no means to pay their passage
Organized into classes and agreed to pay a stipulated amount, say 50¢ or
$1/mo into a common fund and when the amount paid in was sufficient to
pay the transportation charges of a few of them, they raffled off the
chance to be one of the lucky ones to go to America.
The first members of the colony left
Saxony April 5, 1873
Arrived New York April 19th [2 week boat
Went to Detroit and then into Northern Michigan, in Lake Superior area
Plan was to buy a large tract of land to be subdivided into farms, a
village & other businesses and social center
Frost in July, that year, in Northern Michigan, discouraged the colony
Decided to find another location in Nebraska.
Doctor Schneider, after whom Schneider
Township was named, arrived in US
Native of Saxony
Traveling in Egypt when the colony was formed and left Saxony
He joined the colony in Michigan
Chosen president of the colony.
Without means and not a good financier
Appears that neither as an officer or individual did he benefit the
He came to Nebraska with the colony in 1873 and departed in 1874 leaving
only his name on the township
The first members of this colony arrived
in County about October 1, 1873
Lived out of doors on the south bank of
the Loup River, opposite Beaver Creek
First sod house was built on section 4-11-14 on a claim taken by Fred
Carried rafters needed for the sod house on their shoulders from the
Loup River; about 5 miles
All the wood used the first winter had to be carried from the Loup River
To economize on fuel and because there was no time to build other houses
before winter 13 people - two married couples and nine single men -
spent the winter of 1873-74 in the first sod house on section No. 4
Size of the house was about 16 by 24.
[You have to think a lot of them
spent a lot of time outdoors.]
A couple of families came and camped near
Spring 1874 -
Bought some ox teams and cows
Broke sod and planted crops – corn,
potatoes and vegetable gardens.
A few pigs and some chickens.
Crops were looking good until late July
Grasshoppers came, stayed two days, ate all plants, then went on south.
Came back the next year, from south, later in summer.
Some left but many stayed, things got better.
Several of their descendents still live in