could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Platte Township

Location –

The south boundary of Buffalo County is the south shore of the Platte River.
Gibbon and Shelton townships are bounded on the south by the north channel of the river.
Platte Township occupies the space between.

Created in 1878 –

Apparently when Ft. Kearney Military Reservation was opened for settlement

Pre-1878 – Not open to filing – squatters moved in 1877 or earlier ready to file
Homestead filings begin in 1878

Half below Gibbon township was part of Ft. Kearny military reservation
Half below Shelton township was part of Shelton township
Homesteaders recorded in Shelton records

Reservation included the Platte which Ft. Kearny used for fire wood and logs for building

Shape –

Not a 6 x 6 mile square
Long and narrow running from southwest to northeast as the river curves back up
12 miles long and 2 to 3 Ό miles wide sort of.

Bordered by the north and south channels of the Platte, Hall Co on east & Highway 10 on west

Divided lengthwise by the main channel of the Platte

Little bit of the northwest corner is north of the north channel
I-80 cuts through here as it follows the north bank of the Platte

Fort Farm Island on the north aka Kilgore Island?
Grand Island begins in about the middle of the township
Other Islands – Clarks Island, Kingsley Island, Drover’s Island

Elm Island on the south between the middle and south channels
[Rowe Sanctuary is on this island]

Roads –
I-80 in 5 miles of west end
Kilgore Road and Elm Road - Two roads run the length of the township, more or less 
        Neither runs in a straight line but go northeast to southwest, just as the township does

Gibbon Road south across the river, passing through at about the midpoint of the township
Shelton Road from the west edge of Shelton to Platte Township – name changes to
Denman Road - Goes south one mile to Coal Chute Road, turns east a mile to Denman, at of edge of county, turns south.

Hastings & Northwestern Railroad (Gibbon Cutoff)
        Built about 1912

Platted - May 1913
    Planned for north side of tracks but Hall Co. refused to build bridge on county line.
        Moved south and Shelton built bridge 1 mile in (west of county line)
            [narrower channel a mile in from the border]

Named for Francis Denman who owned the land
        (originally homesteaded by Thomas Peck)

Thomas Peck –
Purchased land from US Land office in 1860 [according to one source]
1890 biography – came to NE in 1873 to Hall Co., 1876 to Buffalo Co, Platte Township
Family comes from PA, Thomas came to NE via Iowa.
Younger brother, Samuel, lived in Platte Township also
Enlisted in Union army in 1861 (17 years old)
22 months later mother had him removed by habeas corpus since he was under age
Enlisted again in 1864 when he turned 21
Left home for Iowa shortly after returning home from the war

Location – Southeast corner of county, on Elm Island in Platte
        Four Corners – Can walk in a couple of minutes into Hall, Adams or Kearney county

First depot – box car with wheels removed. Set up on -10° day
        Grain doors used to make telegraph table
        Second box car for living quarters but Denman had a good hotel so he stayed there
        Depot agents from 1916 to 1942

Post Office – Last one opened in county – July 1914


Dist. 40 – Kilgore Island – Evergreen at west end of township
Dist. 41 – Denman – first located a mile west of where the town was built
Dist. 42 – no name – located north of main channel in sec. 6 east
Dist. 72 – Elm Island – located south of main channel in sec. 7 east

Denman School
Town meeting, chaired by founder’s son, Albert Denman
Voted to ask school board to consolidate 41 with adjoining Hall Co. district 68

Dispose of both buildings & build new school in Denman
Brick 2-story structure built in 1914
9th Grade – 1914
10th grade – 1916
11th grade – 1917 – 1924 [7 years]
10th grade – 1925 – 1946 [19 years]
K-8th grade until 1961
K-6th grade through 1973-74 – one pupil, David Stade
        Closed in 1975
Alumni Association became owners; keep building up and hold annual picnic
        ( at least through 1994.)

Denman Freewill Baptist Church – possibly first building in Denman

On railroad right-of-way in 1912
Francis Denman donated a lot and building was moved in 1913
1962 – 3 members left, father Marcus Morse, and 2 sons, George and Fred
Sold property to American Sunday School Union

Marcus Morse – 1st baby born on Elm Island, 2 miles east of Denman [Hall Co.] 1872

Mother died when he was 3
Cared for by a Miller family but then sent to aunt in New York City
Traveled by rail with a tag for identification
As adult returned to family farm
Denman postmaster

At its peak Denman had

the general store,
a hotel
an implement dealer,
auto dealer,
lumber yard,
beet dump,
UP section crew of 12.
        Section crews lived in Denman until early 1930’s.
        When they left, most of population left

        Complicated business history
        Buildings held multiple businesses
        Owners/managers changed/combined

Businessmen in more recent years who stand out

Mike Anderson – village blacksmith from early 1920’s until his death,
        Also saw mill operator, thrasher, etc.
        Married but had no children but loved them.
        “He was a lover of fishing and enjoyed every moment of it.”

Frank Wiese came to town in 1921
        Operated a grocery-general merchandise store until retiring in 1961.
        Needed ice. Harvested ice from a pond nearby, stored in building across the street.
                Did this for some 10 years in the 1930’s until Denman got electricity.
                Ice house was moved across the bridge north for use as a garage on a farm

Moved in houses:
Reeder House –
        Originally built Lowell.
        Sold in 1905 & moved to Pulver Ranch. [Kearney County?]
        Purchased by elevator and moved to Denman for help to live in.
            Bill Reeder, elevator manager 1918-1935, lived there.
            Bill’s son, Howard, managed elevator
            Howard’s son, Eldon, then managed the elevator
                Last business in Denman
        Eldon bought a house and moved it from rural Kenesaw in 1951
        Bought a 2-car garage and moved it in

Frank Eddy-Kenneth Blue –
        Moved 4-room house in from Hayland, NE., 1938
                Hayland is 7-8 miles down the railroad line in Adams county, between Kenesaw and Prosser.

People in the Township

Nelson Jaco & Jacob Miller both came from Preston County West Virginia in 1878 and filed on land in the former Ft. Kearny Military Reservation in Platte Township

Jacob Miller – settled on homestead in March, 1878
        born in New York City; family moved to Preston county West Virginia
        apprenticed to the shoemaker's trade, learned it, and followed it till the war
        stayed in the regular service for more than a year
            on the frontier mostly along the stage lines.
            mustered out May 22, 1866, at Ft. Leavenworth
        returned home in West Virginia till coming to Nebraska in 1878.

        served locally as moderator of his school district,
            road supervisor
            township supervisor.

Nelson Jaco - Moved to Buffalo County in November, 1878
        born in Preston county, (now West) Virginia, June, 1848
        Lived on his homestead continuously except for 4 years when he was back East - from 1882 to 1886.

        served as director of his school district
                township clerk
                township assessor.

Sources – Besides the usual ones
Book – Elm Island: School Districts 41 and 68 [Denman School District]
        (no publication date, possibly shortly after the ending poem about sandhill cranes was written in 1988 -

                donated to Archives in August, 1993)
        Traces ownership of most of the farmsteads here using their abstracts as the sources.

Copyright ©   All rights reserved


You may use content from this web site for your personal, not-for-profit purposes only. 


 Search Our Site

Please send Mardi Anderson your comments/feedback

Revised: 02/08/2018