could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

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Odessa Township

Named for the only community in the township – Odessa

Location: Bottom row, second township from the west
    North line – 115th Road
    South boundary is south channel of the Platte so the entire river is included in Buffalo County.

        Includes extra land (one to two miles wide) across the south side because of the Platte River
    West line – no road, Dunbar Road runs most of the way north/south, a half mile from the edge of the township
    East line – Evergreen Road

Many, many section lines do not have roads.

    Odessa and Eagle roads (Eagle is 1 mile east of Odessa Rd) are the only roads inside the township that go all the way north from Highway 30.

        Only the Odessa road goes all the way to the river.

        Eagle does not.

    100th Rd, a mile south of the north boundary, I-80 and Highway 30 the only ones going east/west clear through the township.
        56th St. only goes 2 miles into the township to Eagle Rd.

Streams: Generally speaking the watershed division runs roughly east-west through the middle of the township with the streams on the north draining into the Wood River; those on the south into the Platte.

The stream labeled Beaver Creek in 1919 is labeled Turkey Creek in 2007

Kearney Canal goes through the township north of Highway 30

Geography: South to north goes from fertile farm land in Platte valley up into hilly grassland of northern half of the township.

Most of the population lives in the south half of the township

Transportation routes:
Union Pacific Railroad goes east-west through the bottom row of sections in the regular 6x6 township.

Highway 30 follows the Union Pacific, north of the railroad.

I-80 goes east-west through the farthest south sections, about half a mile from the main channel of the Platte. The north channel of the Platte is north of the interstate

Odessa Road between Odessa and Amherst was in existence in 1919. Not section line straight, possibly a route dating back before the establishment of roads on section lines.
        2007 - Now straightened to follow the section lines.

Schools: 4 country schools north of Odessa
        Dist. 93 – (Section 7) about 4 miles north of Highway 30 near west edge of township
        Dist. 67 – (Section 10) about 2 ½ miles east & 1mile north of 93 – Midway School
        Dist. 115 – (Section 23) about 1 mile east & 2 miles south of Midway School
        Dist. 78 – (Section 24) about 2 miles east of 115 – Macedonia

        Odessa School – Dist. 12 [organized early, about 1874]
            Section 3 south – Odessa Dist 12 attendance center
                2 miles east of Odessa, on south side of railroad track

    Only the Odessa School remains.
        Became an attendance center for Kearney last year
            Closed this year [2008]

Bassett mentions unorganized religious services in 1874 in Crowellton on the Union Pacific
        Sunday School was held in the schoolhouse
        "was attended by everybody in the neighborhood."

An Evangelical church in 1885

Moses Sydenham conducted church services & organized Sunday Schools around Kearney
        1895 - "special Missionary Work" at Cottonville, a cluster of tenant houses near the Cotton Mill.
            300 people in this settlement
            "some were desecrating the Sabbath by 'tearing around' like a lot of heathen."
            The Sunday School, which had averaged 25 increased to 83
            Attendance began to dwindle among the younger members
            Called in Reverend Gill, a "Revivalist" preacher from Odessa.
                The evangelist "shouted and sweated to good effect".
            An evangelical church of 60 members was established
            An old building moved from Kearney was to serve as a church….

– two private burial sites
    Section 11 [the section 11 near the river not the one up north] – A stone in a fenced area
        MOORE, Albert – 10 Sept 1837 – 20 July 1898 – son of Edward, born Delaware Co. N Y
        (land owned by Archie Holoubeck in 2005)
    Section 21 [may be the cemetery marked in the ne corner of Sec. 28 in the 1919 atlas]
        “This area was set aside for burial of the people living in what is now Odessa area from 1869-1900. Most of these people were moved to the Kearney Cemetery and surrounding cemeteries. There are no headstones in this location in 1979."
        It has been told that the following children were never moved.
            2 Lynch children
            1 Scholtz child

Town: Odessa
Originally 10 miles west of Kearney; now 8 miles

Originally called Crowellton –
    Named for the first two men to file homesteads in the township, in 1871.
Post office name changed to Odessa on Feb. 29, 1876
    Hadassah Grant Seaman managed the Post Office after she and her husband arrived in Buffalo County in 1873. It has been a family story that Odessa was named for Hadassah.

1886 –
        UP station house completed in fall
        New school building

In 1890 – population 50 – blacksmith shop, no other businesses

A Double Murder in Odessa
Mr. Dinsmore – Came to Odessa from Louisiana in August 1898
        Worked as an agent for the Omaha Elevator Company
        Traveled a lot – rented room from Mr. & Mrs. Laue

        Year later (July 1899) married Lillian from Chicago, acquainted 12 years
        Dec. 4 – Called Dr. from Kearney to come to the Laue home
        He said Mr. Laue killed Lillian and then shot himself in head

Lillian was lying on kitchen floor, no wounds - Dr. wanted an autopsy
Mr. Laue on bed, right arm over edge, gun beneath his hand
Lillian had died after ingesting either prussic acid or cyanide potassium
        Dinsmore was arrested

Mrs. Laue’s surprising confession - Dinsmore had murdered both her husband and his wife.
        Dinsmore was a hypnotist who had placed "hypnotic powers" over her
        These "powers" began the previous May and included sexual relations between the two.
        Mrs. Laue claimed that Dinsmore, unhappy with his marriage, became infatuated with her and proposed that they run away together.
        She refused his offer.
        Dinsmore then suggested that they kill their spouses.
        Mrs. Laue rejected the idea at first,
        Dinsmore threatened violence if she did not comply.
            Also he used his "unaccountable power" over her to make sure she kept quiet about his murder plot.

On the night of the murder, Mrs. Laue said Dinsmore came down from his upstairs room and told her that he had killed his wife.
He went into the Laue's bedroom and shot Mr. Laue as he slept.
        Then he arranged the bodies

Threat of vigilantes - Under the cover of darkness, Sheriff Funk and two deputies escorted Dinsmore via train to Lincoln County jail in North Platte until his preliminary hearing.

His lawyers got a change of venue so the trial was held in Lexington

Evidence – [CSI]
        His replacement on the job found prussic acid in the desk drawer
        Business cards were found at the murder scene –
            "F.L. Dinsmore, Professional Hypnotist, Odessa, Nebraska."
        Dr. testified that the blood from Laue's wound ran from the temple to the back of the head and that he found the body lying on its side, an impossible position to be in if Laue had in fact pulled the trigger himself. Dr. Bell concluded that Laue's body must have been moved after he had been shot….

Closing arguments.
        Dinsmore's attorneys attempted to persuade the jury that Mrs. Laue was the real killer.
            Portrayed Dinsmore as the one who had been hypnotized, not Mrs. Laue….

        Prosecution focused on the testimony of Dr. Bell

Guilty – sentenced to hang on July 20, 1900 – commuted to life – pardoned on July 4, 1919



History of Buffalo County, Vol. I by Samuel Bassett, p117-118

Early Days at Odessa, from Ten Generations of Grants by Myron Scott, March 1979, narrated by John Marshall Grant to Myron at Marysville, Washington in September of 1925.


A Double Murder in Odessa: The State of Nebraska vs. Frank Dinsmore by Ross Huxoll, Buffalo Tales, Vol. 29, No. 2, March-April 2006.

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Revised: 02/08/2018