could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

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Current Definition - mechanics work on cars, trucks, tractors, airplanes
        Basically – one who works on motors

Census records – Source of information in research

Blog – The Legal Genealogist by Judy Russell wrote about the legal definition of “Mechanic”

1820 Census

Instructions to those taking census was that if they were not a farmer they could be listed as a mechanic

Definition of mechanic at that time – a workman who used tools to shape or unite materials like wood or metal to make a machine or structure or other object
        Carpenter, blacksmith, harness maker were all mechanics

1870 Census

Don’t call them mechanics if it is possible to be more specific.

1880 census for Kearney – the first for the city – has more descriptive words for occupations

1900 Census

Avoid using the word mechanic. Call them blacksmiths, masons, carpenters

1889 in Kearney
         – moving into the boom period when there was a lot of building

Mechanics were the blue collar workers who put things together, who built things

Mechanic’s Lien

Moses L. Phelps filed a mechanic’s lien in district court yesterday. He had contracted with a man to furnish lumber for building a barn for a cost of $322.14. The balance was to be paid by May 6, 1889 but $72.14 plus interest was still due.

Other references to mechanics

        Labor Day was to be celebrated for laboring men and mechanics

        11-2-1889 – A city meeting of persons interested in installing a sewerage system in Kearney met at the opera house. “It was a representative meeting of every class of persons interested in Kearney’s welfare – the merchant, banker, lawyer, mechanic and laborer.”

        11-13-1889 – An oatmeal factory was to be constructed in Kearney providing the prospect of work for many mechanics and laboring-men

Apparently the mechanics were the men who knew how to build or make the item, the ones in charge, and the laborers worked for them

After 1900
– autos on the scene – Definition shifted to the current meaning

1918 – One Hundred years ago in Kearney

February – While awaiting the second call of the draft, several young men in the region, including Ben Swartz of Buffalo County, were getting training to be auto mechanics so they could go into the transportation department when they are inducted into the Army.

        England had 100,000 mechanics at that point and our country would need at least that many.

March – The US Army was looking for mechanics in the aviation field.
           – Ernest M Crosby was in Kansas City taking a course in automobile, truck and tractor mechanics.

            [We think of the men going into the Army as going to the front, rifle in hand, to fight.
              But support personnel were needed.]

            General Pershing was calling for 1,000 bricklayers for work to be done in France
                    5,000 spruce lumbermen to go into the woods to bring out spruce lumber for construction of airplanes
                    motor mechanics.

April – UNL applied to the war department committee on education to establish a program for training in military mechanics for 600-800 enlisted men

June – 927 arrived in Lincoln to take the 2-month instruction in mechanics. Each wore an olive-colored arm band until they got uniforms.

August – Six Buffalo County men volunteered to go to an auto school in Kansas City for training to operate tractor engines or be auto mechanics upon entering the service

        – Four men from Buffalo County went to Lincoln to train to be mechanics after being inducted into the service.
        – A mechanic working at Tollefsen Motor Company was injured when the tire he was inflating exploded.
        – The Red Cross put out a call for 300 women motor car drivers to go to France.
                They wanted women 25 or older who had ability as drivers or mechanics.
                They would not qualify if they had husbands or sons in any branch of the service.

September – Frank Gillette went from Buffalo County to Detroit to be a mechanic in the ship yards.

Nov. 11, 1918 – War ended so all the mechanics came home.

Interesting wording

Aug 20,1889 – About Town

---A child belonging to Mr. Louie Snowdon died yesterday [of scarlet fever] and was buried at 10 o’clock this morning.

---A closer observation would lend enchantment to the view if that mud puddle was removed from the vicinity of the drinking fountain on the corner of 21st street. The view is obnoxious and the smell disagreeable.

---Sheriff Davis, of Gage County, contributed another member to the Industrial School yesterday.

---Capt. Forehand, your attention is respectfully directed to the condition of the sidewalk between Beckett house and the National hotel. The property was sold yesterday, but that doesn’t improve the sidewalk.
            [Forehand was the street commissioner who was also responsible for sidewalks]

Explanation about sale of property ---

                                                         Another Photograph Gallery

J. M. Strickmaker, of New Philadelphia, Ohio, bought a lot on Central avenue yesterday of Mr. Aitken, on which he will erect a building and open a photograph gallery. The lot is situated on the vacant space between the Beckett house and the National hotel. The lot adjacent to the Beckett house belongs to Mr. Beckett, the next lot north is the property herein mentioned and formerly owned by a Mr. Axtell. Mr. Sherwood owns the lot adjoining the National hotel. This is not news but will aid the street commissioner in assigning the cost for the sidewalk.


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Revised: 07/04/2018