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Early Visitors to Brown County, Nebraska

Sheldon’s History of Nebraska gives this interesting account of the explorations by the Spaniards. One expedition led by a Scotchman, James Mackey, (Fr. Jacques Machey) reached the region of the North Loup River in 1795-96. He continued westward to the great Sandhill lakes of Cherry County, then traveleled northward to the Niobrara River which he followed down to where it joins the Missouri river. Mackey made an accurate map of the regions that he had explored which was published in Paris in 1802. On this map in the region of Long Pine creek is this inscription: “Mountains of sand, underlain by subterranean and invisible streams in the midst of which is a great canyon, two hundred fifty feet across and one hundred fifty deep, formed by the washing of the mountains.” This map entitles Mackey to the honor of being the first white man to explore the sand hill region of Nebraska. If others came they left no record of having visited this locality. These early explorers were followed by men in search of new homes. Settlements were made along the Missouri River, and from these settlements the more venturesome ones followed up the rivers that empty into the Missouri for the purpose of hunting and trapping wild animals for food and furs. These were taken back to the settlements and traded, bringing good profits to, the hunters. It took only a few years of this systematic hunting to kill off the immense herds of buffaloes. They were slaughtered without mercy, the white hunters taking only the hides and the choicest cuts of meat. With the vanishing of these...

History of Meadville, Nebraska

One of the most interesting localities in the county is that adjacent to the Niobrara where Nebraska highway No. 7 crosses this stream. It has a scenic beauty all its own and is almost without a rival in the entire state. It has an historic background, replete with interest and romance. To do justice to this locality would require much space. It should be seen to be appreciated. I have gleaned from the diary of Mrs. Slonecker (Blanch Mead) a few important facts and with her permission am presenting them here: In August 1882, Merritt I. Mead a veteran of the Civil War, came from Thayer county and located on the south side of the river. He found a small log cabin in which the family consisting of wife and two daughters took up their residence. Several rooms were added and to accommodate travelers he opened his home for meals and lodgings. “Mead’s Tavern” soon ‘became very popular as Mrs. Mead and her daughters, Blanch and Gertie, were famous cooks. Early in 1883 a post office was established at the Tavern. It was given the name Meadville and Merritt Mead was postmaster. Mail came from Ainsworth twice a week, Went Conway carrier. Later stage drivers were Corwin Campbell, Nate Blue, Dyer Crum, George Cook, Dave Hackler, Gene Olstrum, Cale Worley. The next year W. S. Moore opened a store on the north side of the river and the post office was moved there. Later it was in Snyder’s store. Taylor was the last postmaster, up to 1896 when it was discontinued. In 1904 it was re-established with. Wm. Slonecker...

Days of Yore: Early History of Brown County, Nebraska

History has been defined as a “systematic written account of events.” In presenting this sketch of some of the leading events of Brown County, Nebraska, I have endeavored to abide by that definition, though material of a reminiscent or narrative character may occasionally be included. Another writer has said, “History is not made by documents, but by human beings.” The material I have collected and arranged for this sketch was, in the main, given to me by the early residents of this county. To them I shall always feel indebted for their assistance in compiling the facts which make up our county history. It is all inscribed in never-fading pictures on the memory tablets of our pioneers, those brave men and woman who endured the hardships of life in a new country that it might become a place of civilization. It this sketch serves to call to mind the efforts of these pioneers to found homes and to bring law and order to an uncharted wilderness, it will have served its purpose. To those who came in later years, I trust it may bring a slight understanding of what it means to be a pioneer. Let us try to imagine what this portion of Nebraska was like before the coming of the white settlers. A great expanse of prairie, slightly rolling, spread out on every side as far as the eye could reach, most of it covered with a rich growth of grass. Some varieties of this grass were tall with stiff, straight stems, some of low growth with delicate, curling blades. Here and there were running streams which...

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