could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

First Transcontinental Drive by Automobile

Mysteries of the Museum TV program
A March 2014 program featured an artifact in a San Francisco museum –


A 1903 Winton automobile driven by Dr. H. Nelson Jackson across the continent from San Francisco to New York City during the summer of 1903.

He had a young mechanic along and picked up a dog along the way (purchased, not a stray). They fitted him with goggles because of the dust.

Toward the end of the trip they heard that Packard had outfitted a crew to do the same thing.
           Dr. Jackson was determined to be first so he drove as fast as he could, sometimes reaching speeds of 30-35 mph.
          When he reached New York he learned the Packard people were 1200 miles behind.

The map of their route shown on the program was not detailed but did show a curve downward in the center of the continent, like they were following the Platte through Nebraska.

Question: Did they pass through Kearney?

Kearney Hub – July 11, 1903 –

San Francisco to New York
Two Automobile Tourists Lay Up in Kearney for Repairs

            Dr. H. Nelson of Burlington, Vt. & Sewall Crocker of Tacoma, WA were making this trip
            Stopped for repairs – auto was given an overhauling by T. H. Bolte [the man who built the first automobile in Kearney.]
            Left San Francisco May 28, went up to Ontario, Oregon [on Idaho border, pop 445], followed the railroad right of way most of the way to Kearney
            Side trips for hunting and fishing
            Had traveled about 3,600 miles so far – planned to reach NY in 3 weeks, then to Burlington
            Car was 20-horse power, 2000 lb. vehicle manufactured by Winton Motor Carriage company in Cleveland, OH


Auto trip 

A Story Left from March (March 1914)

Sheriff’s dilemma -

        A lady from New Jersey wrote a letter to the county sheriff saying she is willing to leave the east and move west.

            (She was looking for a husband)
        She didn’t expect a millionaire or handsome man but wants one who is upright, honest and capable of providing a suitable home.
        She was a trained nurse, 5’7”, weighed 135 lbs. and was a widow.
        Her daughter, 21, also weighed 135 but was 5’ tall and was also looking for a husband.

        The sheriff was not planning to advertise for husbands for the ladies but would give their address to any serious applicant.

FYI – 225 years ago on March 4, 1789 – At the first meeting of the United States congress under the constitution there was not a quorum, and no business could be transacted. The government was without an executive head.

The Gibbon Courthouse
(from Samuel Bassett's History of Buffalo County, p. 121-128)

Gibbon Courthouse Construction
        April 1872 – Bond issue successfully past to construct a courthouse in Gibbon, $20,000
        Architect from Omaha (Charles Driscoll) hired to design the building – charged $423
        Brick to be made locally in Gibbon
        Clay and sand available nearby
        Wood from the Loup river @ $6/cord   

        6 men contracted, 1 w/team of horses; 5 w/yokes of oxen
            Oxen = 3 yokes, 2 cords wood, 20 miles without water, drive at night when cooler
            3-day trip, or longer depending on breakdowns or loose wheels.
        Green corn for every meal


        Feb. 22, 1873 – First meeting in new courthouse

                Public meeting in evening to formally accept the courthouse: speeches, ended with a dance

When was the bond paid off?
In 1916 when Bassett’s book was publishes he wrote:
           "The county received in cash for these bonds     $17,500
            The county has paid, approximately, in interest  $51,480
            The county has yet to pay on bonds                  $20,000"

After a discussion of the District Court boundaries (Bassett – p127)
        “ Before the first courthouse was completed agitation had begun for removal of the county seat. Time is too short, eternity too near, printer's ink and white paper too expensive, to even attempt to relate the history of a county seat fight.”

(to be continued with building of Kearney courthouses and fate of the Gibbon building)

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Revised: 02/05/2018