Third row of Townships, 4th from the
west, next one after Divide.
Starts a mile east of Highway 10.
Between Hawk Road and Keystone Road,
115th Road and 205th which is Pole Line Road
North and slightly east of Kearney
Mostly in the Wood River watershed
with streambeds draining south, except on the northern edge which slopes
toward the South Loup
Originally prairie. Deer, antelope,
wild horses, buffalo, Indians. Now mostly tilled agriculture, center pivots,
some pasture land.
Five sections of the 36 have no
farmsteads more probably because of expended acres in farm size and
abandoned farmsteads than large pastures.
Probably for Samuel W. Thornton who
homesteaded there in 1874
(first homesteads were in 1873)
Raised 8 children, oldest daughter
married John Swenson of Sartoria
Represented Buffalo Co. in State Leg.
Maternal grandfather – married 4
times, 22 children
Prairie Center – Community
First postmaster, Samuel Spry,
appointed July 2, 1874
Haven’s Chapel Methodist Church
– organized in 1884. Still active, in its 3rd building
St. Mary’s Catholic Church –
organized in 1890
Prairie Center Cemetery – Est.
Located 2 miles south of Prairie Center post office
Catty corner to Haven’s Chapel church
John Wort (D’s father) first burial in what had been a corn field
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
Cemetery – Est. in 1910
Land donated by Henry Schram\
First burial was that of his daughter in law Anna Paitz Schram, on Jan. 27,
Kegleys, couple Altmaiers, some
Richters, Stengels, Giffins, & Andy Howe
1873 – 8 homesteaded
Bartlette Turner – Obtained a
prairie schooner at home in Missouri and started west to find land for
himself in 1873. Ended up here and after scouting around, settled on a
homestead in Thornton Township.
1874 – 15 homesteaded
Sylvester St. John – Came from Wisconsin to Kearney in Sept 1872,
just as it was being platted. First town clerk of City of Kearney in
1873. Also served as city treasurer and on the Council. Established an
insurance and real estate agency. Invested in property in Kearney & the
county, including a homestead in Thornton Township
F. G. Hamer & G. W. Patterson – Kearney businessmen also
investing in land
James Gass – came with his parents in 1873, filed a homestead in
1874. Hunted from here to the Dismal River (100 miles) in those early
days. In the bad years figured he could stay here on the money it would
cost him to leave and go some place else.
1875 – 8 homesteaded
1876 – 3 Homesteaded (grasshopper & drought years)
1877 – none
1878 – 10 Homesteaded
Rebecca Neely, wife of Wm
3 Weldins – Z. A (Zephaniah, b. 1840), L. W. (Lewis W., b. 1839)
& W. (William, b. 1843) – so, probably three brothers & their families.
1879 – 11 Homesteaded
D Wort family came to Prairie
Center from Illinois in 1879. Purchased land from the RR.
Peter Schars – came in 1879, purchased a farm in Thornton
township. Served 2 terms as sheriff 1883-87 & two terms on Co. Bd of
Supervisors. He was the sheriff who asked D Wort to be deputy.
Philip Altmaier, wife Gertrude, & son Adam
Adam married before they all moved to NE. Had 13 children.
At least 4 sons who each had 6-7 children
1910 (source: Jerry Schram)
One of 13 children
Immigrated in 1873 from Germany
Met & married Otilia, born in a village 13 miles from his home in
8 children according to census records
Lived in Sarpy Co. first. (Schram State Park)
Came to Thornton Township after 1900, before 1910
Lived at same intersection as St. Mary’s Catholic Church at Prairie
Known as a land entrepreneur. Gave each child land, 1-3 sections. Not
all land in Buffalo Co.
Jerry grew up in original house
Cellar under the house, possibly still down there, pile of bricks
Shiplap wood walls, stairs gone, probably used in 1930’s
Vineyard south of the house
Great grandfather made wine, so did Jerry
Porch on southwest corner which held the Post Office
Pasture had a buffalo wallow – pivot on it now, hauled in loads of dirt