In the upper Wood River valley in
northwestern Buffalo County, grassland
West edge of county, 2nd tier
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
Served as apprentice carpenter & became a contractor and builder, Fought in
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
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
Sept. 1888, Mr. Wilson moved to Armada and engaged in the boot and shoe
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
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
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 cant beat em, join em.]