could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

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Buffalo County Cemeteries

Every town has a cemetery

Elm Creek & Ravenna have two – Protestant and Catholic
Miller – Still called Armada even though the town moved and changed its name
Amherst – also has town’s former name – Old Stanley
Gibbon – Named Riverside but not the Platte, the Wood
Shelton – Its cemetery is located outside the county

Many other smaller cemeteries scattered about the county

Most started beside rural churches which are long gone

Poor Farm cemetery marked today only by a monument in the center

Some deserted, overgrown, but cleaned up in recent years
Some exceptionally well cared for and mapped –
        Prairie Center, credit to Andy & Nevabelle

A few private burial sites are still preserved

Unknown how many are forgotten
First three Olivers – Sarah, son John, daughter all died in same year
        Buried on farm – sheep pen
Rumors of one here in Kearney

Kearney Cemetery

First location – on north end of what became Kearney Lake

When dam was completed and water began to fill the area, the graves would be covered
About 12 graves were moved to current cemetery
Site of burials is recorded – no names since names were unknown at time of moving

Oldest Death Date – Feb. 23, 1861

We don’t just move houses; we also move bodies
Lived in Kearney/Buffalo County – not here – shipped back “home” for burial
Moved to Kearney – moved loved one from cemetery back home o Kearney
        Hannah Jay’s husband, Evan
            Birth: Jan. 28, 1811 Death: Feb. 23, 1861

Grave at Entrance – Mary Esty

Straight in from the entrance, this headstone is set apart from all the others.

Born July 3, 1833
Died Jan. 18 1866

According to one Esty descendant:

[On an unknown date, possibly 1916] A traveler found gravestone, knocked over “some miles from Kearney, Nebr. on the line of the Oregon Trail.”
        He reset the stone and wrote to Boston Transcript to try to find out whose it was
        Answer was she was wife of William A. Esty.

DAR report of recent activity submitted October 11,1916:

“Fort Kearney Chapter of Kearney Nebr. has recently located the grave of an early pioneer woman who died July 3 1866 while crossing the plains bound supposedly for California or Oregon The stone which was found lying in a swale is in a good state of preservation and bears the inscription Mary F Esty born Jan 18 1833 died July 3 1866….The chapter will reset the stone and wishes to locate descendants of this Mary F Esty and would appreciate any publicity given this subject to that end “

Who was Mary F. Esty?
July 3 (Jan 8), 1833 – Born in Ohio; maiden name unknown
        Married ---Cloud, possibly in Indiana
            Child born in Indiana
            Two more children born in Iowa, possibly Sioux City
        Divorced Cloud in Woodbury Co., Sioux City, Iowa (first divorce in county)

May 22, 1861 – Married William Esty in Sioux City

Who Was William Esty?

1856 - William had come to Dakota Co., Nebraska – across the Missouri River from Sioux City

Mary’s father owned land in Buffalo County near the present town of Gibbon
Wm, Mary & her children settled
    East of Ft. Kearney – on the south side of the Platte?
    Near the present town of Gibbon – on the north side of the Platte?

William was a scout for the Army during the Civil War

Jan 18, 1866 – Mary died and was apparently buried on their property

        William sent his stepchildren back to Sioux City to Mary’s family

        William was dispossessed of land by Mary’s death
            (It was her father’s land, not hers for him to inherit.)

1868 – William married Margaret C. McCray Jones
        This was a second marriage for Margaret (Maggie) also

Who was Margaret McCray?

Born in Ohio, came west to Iowa

She had married Elam Jones about 10 years earlier in Iowa

Maggie, Elam & a daughter had come to Nebraska in 1861 (about time William married Mary in Sioux City)

Dec. 3, 1861 - Son, Harry Judson Jones born in Nebraska

In her notes Margaret said she & Elam operated a stage depot near present day Gibbon

1864 – Elam was killed (& scalped) by Indians
Maggie rode out, found him & buried him on bluff overlooking the Platte

1865 – Maggie’s 3rd child was born; died; buried the baby beside his father

Maggie hitched a ride with her uncle, a freighter, back to Iowa for awhile
Returned to Buffalo Co. to see if she could salvage anything ; Cattle were gone

This brings us to 1868 when Maggie married William A. Esty
        A marriage of convenience?
            He no longer had a place to live
            She had two children and a little land (squatted?)

Then they left for Saunders Co., presumably with proceeds of sale of her land
Lived there for the rest of their lives in the eastern part of the county, retiring to Leshara

Maggie had a total of 12 children, 3 with Elam and 9 with William
        She told a daughter she began to think there was no end to it


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Revised: 02/06/2018