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Historical and Biographical Sketches of Madison County Nebraska

Madison County Nebraska was created in 1856, and organized in January, 1868, by proclamation of Governor Butler. It is located in the northeastern part of the State, bounded on the north by Pierce, east by Stanton, south by Platte, and west by Boone and Antelope Counties, containing 576 square miles, or 368,640 acres. The north half of the County lies in the fertile Valley of the Elkhorn, which here varies in width from three to six miles. Union and Battle Creek “Valleys are from one to two miles wide. The uplands are gently undulating prairies, and comprise about forty-five per cent. of the area. There are few steep bluffs, and th6 surface is rarely too broken for tillage. The first settlements were made in June, 1866, by a small party from Illinois, consisting of L. D. Barnes, William H. Bradshaw, D. L. Allen, Mathias Carr and William A. Barnes, who located near the mouth of the North Fork of the Elkhorn, on the ground now occupied by the town of Norfolk. In the following month, a large German colony from Wisconsin settled in the vicinity of Norfolk. In October of this year, Nicholas Paul surveyed the County. Erastus Jones, of Norfolk, was the pioneer merchant of the County. He was followed by Barney Barnes and a Dane by the name of Nelson, who kept an Indian trading post in the fall of 1866. May 3, 1867, a settlement was established on Union Creek, near the present town of Madison, by H. M. Barnes, P. J. Barnes, W. J. Barnes and F. W. Barnes. Shortly afterward, Henry Platts and Charles...

Biographical Sketch of W. J. Barnes

W. J. Barnes, proprietor of Madison Hotel, is a native of Dutchess County, N. Y. In the spring of 1866, the family came to Columbus, Neb. The following year, they removed to Madison County, where he has since resided. The family are among the first 24 settlers of the county. His brother pre-empted this land and laid out this town. His father pre-empted a quarter section on the north. W. J. also pre-empted a quarter section, making about one section which the family entered. He has since been engaged in farming, and has recently opened this...

Biographical Sketch of Dr. Alex Bear

Dr. Alex. Bear, physician and surgeon, is a native of Virginia. After completing a common course of studies, he attended the University of Virginia, in 8554, 1855-56; graduated from the University of Maryland in 1860; in 1865, came to Fremont, where he took up the practice of medicine; he also practiced in West Point from 1871 to 1873. He then came to Norfolk, where he has since been actively engaged in the practice of his profession. He is the oldest practicing physician on the Elkhorn Valley. He has been a member of the State Senate two terms, and member of the House of Representatives one term. He has also been Regent of the State...

Biographical Sketch of W. H. Widaman

W. H. Widaman, Postmaster, is a native of Montgomery County, Ohio. There he was raised. He enlisted, April 17, 1861, in Company C, First Ohio Infantry; served three months; he reenlisted in the Second Ohio Infantry and served to the end of the war. In 1866, he came to Madison County, Ill., and followed milling about four years; also engaged in milling in Henry County, about three years. In 1873, he came to Boone County, Neb., and followed farming about one year. In the fall of 1873, he came to Norfolk, and ran the Norfolk Mills about three years. He, in company with Dr. Daniel, engaged in the drug business; this partnership continued about four years. November 25, 1879, he was appointed Postmaster. This office is about being removed to a more desirable locality, and is being fitted up with the latest improved Yale lock...

Biographical Sketch of J. Koenigstein

J. Koenigstein, druggist, is a native of Bavaria, Rhine. In 1854, came to Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1855, went to Monroe County, Ill, and worked on their farm. In 1859, came to St. Louis, and learned the drug trade. In the fall of 1861, he enlisted in Company F, Forty-third Illinois Volunteer Infantry; served three years and eight months, was wounded, and taken prisoner at the battle of Jenkins’ Ferry, Ark. April 30, 1864, was confined in Camp Fort, Tex.; released February 15, 1865, and returned to Monroe County, Ill. In 1871, came to Watertown, Wis. There opened a drug store; continued two years. February 15, 1873, came to Norfolk, Neb., and established the drug business. He now owns and occupies one of the best arranged drug stores in the State of Nebraska, which was built in 1880. He also owns the store adjoining west of it, and cost about $15,000. Mr. K. is Treasurer of the School Board, and member of the Town Board. He is now building a hotel, 93×90 feet, two stories high, adjoining his drug store and general store, which, when completed, will be one of the best hotels in the...

Biographical Sketch of Carl Asmus

Carl Asmus, general merchandise, was born in Prussia; came to West Point, Neb., in 1867; the following year he went to the Rocky Mountains; in the fall of 1868, returned to West Point, took a homestead, engaged in farming, and, later, in the liquor business; in 1871, came to Norfolk, opened a small store. His business has rapidly increased. He now owns and occupies a very fine brick store 23×80 feet, built in 1880, cost about $8,000. By strict attention to business, Mr. Asmus has acquired this and other property since coming to...

Biographical Sketch of Hon. Charles Mathewson

Hon. Charles Mathewson. A brief sketch of the life and character of the Hon. Charles Mathewson, may appropriately be introduced in connection with the history of the town, which owes its present prosperity more to his energy and business ability than to any other cause. Col. Mathewson, as he is most frequently called, was born in Brooklyn, Conn., March 24, 1812. His worth and abilities were recognized by his fellow citizens of Connecticut, by their electing him twice to the State Legislature, and three times to the State Senate. During the war of the rebellion, he evinced his patriotism by serving in the Union Army as Colonel of the Eleventh Connecticut Regiment, which regiment he commanded at the battle of Newbern, N. C. In 1865, he was appointed agent for the Winnebago Indians, succeeding Maj. Balcombe, of Omaha. At the expiration of the term for which he was appointed, he removed with his family to Madison County, and founded the now thriving town of Norfolk. In April, 1870, he completed the building of the Norfolk Mills, the first in the Elkhorn Valley above West Point. Late in the year 1879, Col. Mathewson was for a long time severely ill. His wife rendered him constant and devoted attention, which so shattered her constitution, already enfeebled by age, that she rapidly sank away and died. The shock of her death, added to the result of his long illness, proved too much for his enfeebled constitution to survive, and, on May 10, 1880, he died. Col. Mathewson was a man of high moral character, and a devout and steadfast friend of the...

Biographical Sketch of C. S. Hayes

C. S. Hayes, jeweler and dealer in musical instruments, is a native of Orleans County, Vt. In 1871, he came to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, learned his trade with A. C. Taylor, where he worked four and one-half years. In 1876, he removed to Blairstown, Iowa; there opened a jewelry store, where he remained about five years. July, 1881, he came to Norfolk, where he has since carried on this business in all its branches. He carries the most complete stock of watches and jewelry, silver and plated ware, musical instruments and sewing machines of any house in Northern Nebraska. Mr. H. will take pleasure in having all call and examine his extensive stock before purchasing elsewhere. It should be remembered that all work is...

Biographical Sketch of B. W. Jones

B. W. Jones, groceries and crockery, was born in Mecklenburg, Germany; learned the tailor’s trade; worked at it there about seven years. In 1872, came to La Porte, Ind. There he followed this trade. In 1875, came to Adams County, Iowa; continued at this trade. In 1879, came to Wisner; was clerk for August Dorrman about six months; also at Oakdale. He, with Mr. Dworak, bought out Mr. Dorrman; continued this business about three months. He then sold out his interest, and came to Norfolk; opened a restaurant, with a capital of $85. Six months later, he opened a crockery and grocery store, the first of the kind in town. He is now doing a very good business, carrying a stock of about...

Biographical Sketch of Dr. F. Verges

Dr. F. Verges, physician and surgeon, was born August 21, 1833 in Prussia. He commenced the study of medicine in 1854, in Cothen Homoeopathic Medical College; graduated in 1856; practiced in his native country till 1868, when he came to Chicago in the fall of 1868; came to Nebraska in 1869; came to Pierce County, and took a homestead of 160 acres, which he improved. He now owns 480 acres, which is one of the best improved farms in the county. In the spring of 1880, he came to Norfolk, and has since followed his profession; has been County Commissioner three years; one term Treasurer of School Board. He was married 20 in 1874, to Augusta Marquardt, of Prussia. They have three children– Louisa, Minna and...
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