More Huntsman Echo
Johnson at Wood River Centre
Store and printing office was in a
hewn log building 14 feet square; after he moved it was used as a residence
On the bank of Wood River, east of the main
front of the store was the Overland Trail
Across the trail, to the south, was the house in
which Mr. Johnson lived, and his garden which extended to the south as far
as the present railroad tracks enclosed with a fence built of poles
Mr. Johnson took
great pride and pleasure in tilling the soil, not only raising quantities of
vegetables, but was also a lover of flowers and small fruits to which he
gave much attention.
July 26, 1860 - Advertisement –
Vegetables! Vegetables! …. Orders from the Fort, and elsewhere, promptly
attended to. J. E. Johnson.
Early settlers said he also conducted a blacksmith
shop and repair shop for wagons and that the repair shops were much the more
profitable as a business.”
More Local Topics in the Paper
1. Kearney City (aka Adobe Town)
Nov 2, 1860 – Johnson visited Kearney City.
Last spring there were five hovels in the “adobe town” but now there are 40
or 50 buildings including a dozen stores.
He ran advertisements from several businesses
Advertisements all similar offering groceries, provisions, liquors, bacon,
meal, hay, corn, and oats. …
And camping grounds behind their establishments where emigrants would find
the best accommodations
– wood and water free
Aug 2, 1860 - The contract for furnishing
poles for the telegraph line from Ft. Kearney to Omaha had been let.
Sept 6, 1860 - Construction of the
telegraph line was progressing between Omaha and Ft. Kearney.
Nov 2, 1860 - Telegraph poles were erected
along the main street of Wood River Centre. There would be three offices in
this division, in Omaha, Columbus and Ft. Kearney with “testing stations” at
Fremont, Parker and Wood River Centre.
[So it was being constructed on the north side of the Platte. Not sure where
it crossed to get to the fort.]
May 2, 1861 - The telegraph line had been
completed from Omaha to Ft. Kearney and construction on west continued.
Feb 7, 1861 - Senate considered the Pacific
R.R. bill but it did not pass.
4. Personal News
Johnson’s Trip to
Title of article: “Some Love to Roam!”
A description of an exploring tour Smith and
“several of the boys” took going northwesterly toward the Loup River
Went about 6 miles west on
the Wood River bottom and saw several small herds of Buffalo. Shot one &
followed it a couple of miles before finally killing it.
They cut off the “rare hump-rib to roast, broil
and fry. Three of the boys and one team were sent back with the meat.
continued north on over hilly country covered with short sweet grass, no
wood or water finally reaching the Loup, a broad rich valley with groves of
camped by the river. After supper a “heavy shower of mosketos fell, which
gave us enough business until sleep overtook us”
They awoke to thunder and
lightning. They made a rude tent by putting the wagon cover over a pole held
up by forked sticks where they put their food, blankets, arms and
rain stopped about the time they were drenched and daylight appeared.
But they slept some before getting up for a buffalo-roast breakfast.
They rode (east) in
the hills parallel to the river. Saw herds of antelope, a tributary with
beaver, otter & fish; plums, grapes, cherries, gooseberries, & currents
That night they
spent at the junction of the two branches of the Loup. (Near present-day
Ravenna) Supper was fish caught in a pool there.
During the night the
horses disappeared and could not be found in the dark. Didn’t know if they
were stolen or strayed but at daylight they turned up a few miles away.
Then they headed
(south) back home where at the Wood River they saw a sentinel buffalo which
they killed, skinned, and cut up. With the 1000 pounds of meat they
continued on home where they would dry it.
Wood River Centre,
Wood River Centre :
Good Place to Stop!
Fine Place to Put-up!
Pleasant Place to Stay!
Good east or west,
Here is the best---
Good place to rest!
For man an easy bed,
And table plenteous spread,
For stock there’s kraal – shed,
Near by it!
Advertisement – Johnson’s
Ranche, Wood River Center
Grinding. A good Corn Mill is now in operation, and ready for corn and
Corn in the ear ground likewise.
Blacksmithing. Your horse or oxen shod
You can be served on the shortest notice and in the best manner.
Entertainment. “We want but little here below!”
accommodation for man and beast are now prepared at Johnson’s
Hay, grain, and stabling, plenty, and charges low.
Emigrants and settlers can get supplies of potatoes, groceries, liquors,
—and many necessary articles, at prices a shade higher than sold on the