could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

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

            Alda Originally called Pawnee

            Buffalo County first organized in 1855 by territorial legislature
            Shown on 1861 map, no abutting counties.
            Same east-west-south boundaries. North boundary farther north
            Once Hall 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. Centennia
l 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 1910
        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 somewhat broken.

        The soil is fertile and easily tilled and produces abundant crops.

        In 1910

six schoolhouses [no school districts organized until the 1890s]
three churches
no village.
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 ride]
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 colonists.
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 Winkler.
No teams
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 the house.

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 the area.

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Revised: 05/03/2018