could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

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Armada Township


In the upper Wood River valley in northwestern Buffalo County, grassland
West edge of county, 2nd tier

First Settlement

First settlers in Armada Township in 1873 --> 20 by 1879
Slow settlement due to grasshoppers & drought
First settlers lived in small sod houses or dugouts.
First winter, ’73-4, hard - by April 1874 both he and Smith looked like "the tail end of a mostly hard winter."
Few ways of earning money in those early years. They turned to hunting and trapping,

John Mercer – One of first settlers in Armada Township

Born in Roxburghshire, Scotland, August 31, 1845, came to Canada in 1861

Enlisted in Union navy August 18, 1864, discharged at Philadelphia in June, 1865.

Went to Watertown, N. Y., worked for woolen manufacturers; then large steam woolen mills in Maine.

Came west and worked in woolen factories in Ohio and Michigan

In the fall of 1873 he turned up in Buffalo County, Nebr.

        “The country was naturally wild and exceedingly dreary to one coming from the far East, and it made no other impression on the mind of young Mercer. He was forty miles from any town, in a country where elk, antelope and deer roamed at will, and along the small streams of which were plenty of beaver and wildcats. He was fond of hunting, and followed it almost exclusively for three or four winters. It afforded him considerable amusement and besides it was quite profitable. In fact, there was no other way of making money, and even a bachelor like Mr. Mercer could not live in a wild prairie country without money.”

        Halstead and Mercer became so well known as hunters and trappers that the mile span of the Wood River between their homesteads, located on either side of the Buffalo-Dawson county line, became known as Trappers Grove. Eventually a school and a post office would be built in Dawson County near that location, named "Trappers Grove" in honor of these two early pioneer trappers

Armada (Ar made’ a)

Post Office – 1875 Aden Armstrong in his home. Asked for name Armada after his home in Macomb Co., Michigan.

        In addition, Armstrong thought the definition of an armada, "a fleet of armed ships, representing strength and power with a determination to push ahead and overcome all apparent difficulties" exemplified the new settlements in the region.

Kearney Black Hills Stage Route – 1877 Went through Armada. First time on a map. Mail & stage stop. Temporary

Freight Route to Broken Bow – 1884 – Daily mail service from Kearney to Broken Bow. Armada a stage stop for changing teams.

Richard Darbyshire
Born in Burlington, Iowa, September 16, 1859. At twenty-one began farming for himself. After he had farmed a couple of years he began dealing in horses.

He came to Nebraska in 1884 and resided near Armada, bought and sold farms and made considerable money in his various real estate transactions.

1886, drove the stage on the Kearney and Broken Bow line for about eight months, He frequently drove sixty miles a day when the thermometer registered from thirty-three to thirty-four degrees below zero, and was often compelled to shovel his way through snow banks and make schedule time in all kinds of weather. Never fined for being late although railroad was.

1890 - Livery business at Miller, one of the best barns in the county.

Benjamin F Pease is a well-to-do farmer in Armada township

Born in Ontario County, N.Y.

Learn the cooper trade when he was eighteen, and followed it for five years.

Enlisted, Union Army in August 12, 1861, served four years. Was taken prisoner, but was exchanged four months later, mustered out July 30, 1865. Went from private to first lieutenant.

He came to Nebraska in May, 1884, and settled in Armada township, Buffalo county.

He took a soldier's homestead, which he increased to 320 acres.

Founding a town

William M. Craven - Born in North Carolina in 1836. Family moved to Indiana

Served as apprentice carpenter & became a contractor and builder, Fought in Civil War

Came to Buffalo county, Nebraska, in the Spring of 1871, settled near Shelton 5 years

1876 - farmed in Arkansas 4 years, but returned to Nebraska.

1881 - Purchased ten acres of land

Built a sod house & with capital of $9 he began the keeping of a store.

Coffee, sugar, tobacco a tobacco cutter, and other small notions
The only business for 3 years

Moved the post office from 3 miles away, became postmaster

1885 built first frame building for store, post office, hotel
1887 built 2 story house, still stands [in 2005]

1888 – Spring 110 population, several businesses

John H. Wilson
- boot and shoe merchant at Armada, Nebr.

Born in Illinois in 1857, eldest of six children

In the spring of 1885, he immigrated to Buffalo county, Nebr. & farmed near Armada.

Sept. 1888, Mr. Wilson moved to Armada and engaged in the boot and shoe business.

Held various town offices of responsibility and has several times been re-elected assessor for his township.

1890 – 250 population and more businesses

Kearney & Black Hills Railroad

Built across Wood River on south side, a mile from Armada

Armada sued the K & BH RR to give them a depot. – Kearney Hub
Apparently did not work


Arthur F Burt

Born in Indiana in 1833. Mother died when he was 2; lived an old Christian preacher, until he was thirteen, and then started out for himself, and followed railroading for several years.

1852 (age 19) he made an extensive tour of the country, then farmed in Ohio

Civil War vet (1862-1865)

Farmed in Illinois for several years

Went to Missouri in 1872, where he spent four years.

He came to Armada, Nebr., in May, 1879, and took up a homestead. He was among the first to settle in the country south of Armada, and had no neighbors on the south of him nearer than twelve miles.

1890 - appointed inspector for the Kearney & Black Hills R R

Armada moved and took the new name

Hancock Company owned the land which they platted into a town-site

        New town was first called Hancock – (Kearney Hub)


Hancock Co. made the people of Armada the following proposition:

In business in Armada and owning a business or dwelling-houses – free lots and would move their buildings from Armada to Miller free of cost to the owners.

Business men who were not owners of buildings in Armada who wished to build houses - they would give them warrantee deeds to lots when buildings were erected.

Most of the citizens of Armada accepted the proposition and construction started about July 1

Newspaper owner and editor Houston, in his newspaper, said he did not think Armada should move to Miller.


He published his last issue of the Armada Watchman on July 10, 1890 and the first issue of the Miller Forum on July 17, 1890.


[“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”.]


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