Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Seneca Hospital's Memory Lane

The first hospital in Seneca Kansas was actually a ward located above a store on Seneca's Main Street. The following is taken from the booklet, "A History of Nemaha Valley Community Hospital, 1943-1989.

"At that time (1940), there was a small, privately owned hospital facility on the second florr of a Main Street building, but the services it could offer were limited. That hospital had been started a few years earlier by Dr. Conrad Barnes who was being assisted in its operation by Dr. Harry Gray and a small staff."

This small hospital ward served the community of Seneca until the Seneca hospital opened on September 14, 1943.

The original hospital ward was made possible thru the donations in memory of beloved relatives. These 'Memory Lane' donations were recorded on a roll. The original roll is part of the collection of the Nemaha County Historical Society.

Transcription of Memory Lane

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Armistice

Histories of Nemaha County Spring from Common Source
The Courier-Tribune
Seneca, KS
Anniversary Edition

The Armistice

The boys in France were not the only ones who were deceived by the false armistice of early October. There was a premature celebration in Seneca a few days before November 11th.

News that the hostilities would be suspended at 11 a.m. Nov. 11th reached Seneca through Fred Porter station agent, who received the wire at 2 a.m. Porter did not give it out until he had confirmation at 5 a.m.

The town was awakened by the steam whistle at the light plant. The church bells began to ring early and kept it up all day. A collection was taken to encourage the bell ringers.

The fire bell did extra duty. The bell was operated by a descending weight. Boys climbed the tower and rode the weight down. The effect of it was to crack the bell and ruin it for the purpose it served. It was later taken to the city cemetery as a memorial to deceased firemen.

An impromptu parade formed on Main Street led by the band and the fire department. Every flag and every piece of bunting in town was purchased and used to decorate vehicles. The Kaiser in effigy was dragged through the streets. Father Wassinger of Fidelity gave an address.

There had been conflicting reports about Earle W. Taylor, top sergeant of Co. F. 137th infantry. He was seen to fall in the bitter fighting of the Meuse-Argonne, Sept. 28th. It was not until the following spring that confirmation of his death was certain enough to make it proper to hold a memorial service. Previously, similar services were held for Joe Henry and his cousin, Joe M. Gress, both of whom fell on the field of action.

A few years after the war, it was decided to erect a memorial to all the boys who had been in service and the Red Cross nurses as well. It was placed in the courtyard at Seneca. The names of all service persons are embossed in copper. Those who died in service are designated by a star. The list follows:

Roy Anderson, David W. Armstrong, Hilbert Bell, Robert N. Blair, Robert B. Green, Joseph M. Gress, Arlington a. Heald, Joe Henry.

Harold Horth, Clyde Isaacson, Palmer Jones, Harry Largeant, John W. Levick, Elmer McConnell, Everet McDaniel, Guy F. McDaniel, John G. Meyer.

Clyde C. Miller, Arthur L. Mills, Delbert M. Moyer, Howard Nickodemus, John L. Palmer.

Benedict Rettele, Frank H. Root, Chas. E. Shumaker, Clare F. Sparling, Wm. F. Summers, Earle W. Taylor, Eitel F. Thieme, John B. Wietharn.

Returned from the service, a post of the American Legion was early formed in Seneca. Dr. F. F. Carter, then practicing medicine here, was the first commander.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Civil War Vets on the Wall

Thanks to the work of local veteran Ray Rottinghaus and his committee (Victor Hulsing, Alan Mueting, Frances Schraad and Jerry Schultejans), Seneca has a wonderful memorial to veterans from the area.

To help support the Temple of Honor Museum, the Nemaha County Historical Society will be creating an index of these names -- complete with the service information contained on the wall.

The names of the civil war (and earlier) veterans will be listed on the web and can be found at

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Yearbook Collection

Although small, the yearbook collection at the Nemaha County Historical Society has been given a new "home" in hopes that the collection will grow. The collection is currently located in the 2nd floor 'library' outside of the jail cells.

School records can help a family historian piece together their ancestor's family. The museum has a collection of the registers from the various schools throughout the county (pictured on lower shelves). However, the collection of yearbooks is relatively sparse for several of the high schools in the county.

If you have old yearbooks -- particularly for prior to 1970 -- that you would be willing to donate to the museum, we would love to add them to the collection.

Preserving and Protecting
Nemaha County Heritage

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Last Survivors Grand Army Nemaha County Kansas

Some of the last survivors of the Grand Army: (1900) Not all of the last survivors of George Graham Post of the G.A.R. are shown in the picture, but all are well remembered figures of about 50 years ago.

Top Row: Left to right: Ambrose Geer, W. H. Dannels, George W. Johnson, W. H. Thornberry, W. S. Nash, Mortimer Matthews, D. H. Ferguson, John A. Heinen, L. M. Davis
Second Row: H. D. Coan, James Parcels, Wm. H. Wright, B. D. Graham, Granderson W. Johnson, Joshua Mitchel, C. H. Steinmeier, N. C. Tolman, Wm. Butler
Bottom Row: left to right: Sam Sheeley, Van B. Fisher, John W. Larimer, George F. Roots, Joseph Guffy, Valentine Shaffer, E. R. Murphy, Thos. Magee, Charles Skinner

Kelly Spartans

Recent donations to the Nemaha County Historical Society include some Kelly High School Yearbooks and a picture of the 1951 graduating class.

Alumni News -- 1947-1942

Nemaha County Historical Society Online

Monday, October 3, 2016

Kansas Preservation Alliance

Seymour the Seneca Gnome with members of the Nemaha County Histrocial Society who presented on the Temple of Honor at the Kansas Preservation Alliance Conference in Abilene on September 27 & 28.

Archives in Nemaha County

Since October is American Archives Month AND Family History Month, this is a great time to check out the various archives in and around Nemaha County. The fact that both of these are celebrated in the same month is logical since it is often necessary to visit an archive to get that one piece of information to identify that ancestor or better tell the family story.

Since an archive collects documents or records that tell about the people or the place, a community can have a variety of places that have this type of record. Examples of places to look for archival type records in Nemaha County would include (but not be limited to):
  • Nemaha County Courthouse
  • Nemaha County Historical Society
  • Albany Museum
  • Pony Express Museum
  • Public Libraries
  • Churches (many of the local Catholic churches have items from high schools that have been closed)
  • School Districts
  • City Offices
All of the above are 'physical' archives which means one has to determine their hours, what types of records they might have and any special rules about using their resources.

Some archival type records are available online. For example, the Nemaha County Historical Society has a digital archive. This digital archive allows anyone to search the collection and brings up a list of results with small images of the item and a description.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Seneca Settlers

The Nemaha County Historical Society recently received a generous donation of Scrafford family items. Included in the collection is a large photo of Nancy Hayes Scrafford. According to the inscription on the photo, Mrs. Scrafford made history as she was the first woman to cast a ballot after women received the right to vote in municipal elections. (Note: We are assuming this to be the first woman in Seneca to vote.)

According to the article on "Women's Suffrage," by the Kansas State Historical Society, this vote was likely cast in 1887. (https://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/women-s-suffrage/14524)

Also included in the family items was the funeral program for Charles E. Scafford. 

Several family letters were also included in the collection along with copies of teaching certificates.

What Did It Look Like?

The museum got an interesting inquiry today, "What did the inside of the old high school look like - particularly the stairwell?"

Since almost all of the historical society's pictures were of the outside of the building, this was a puzzle. After some more digging, pictures of the stairwell were found in the Seneca High School 1949 yearbook.

The 1968 yearbook had some additional pictures of the inside of the school.

This yearbook also had a brief history of the building along with several pictures of the building.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Beauty Around Us

Nemaha County, Kansas is home to some beautiful sanctuaries. St. Mary's Catholic Church of St. Benedict, Kansas was one of the finalists for the Eight Wonders of Kansas contest sponsored by Kansas Sampler.

Experience the wonder of this sanctuary:

In addition to St. Mary's, Nemaha County is home to several other beautiful sanctuaries:

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Baileyville, Kansas

St. Bede's Catholic Church
Kelly, Kansas

Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church
Seneca, Kansas

Two of these churches were featured in the 'Holy Destinations' series by the Archdiocese of Kansas City.

Tales of a Lynching

The museum got a request this morning for info on a MOONEY that was involved in an incident recorded in the early histories of Nemaha County that resulted in a lynching.

This event is mentioned in Tennal's History of Nemaha County in the section, The State of Kansas vs. Wilton Baughn. The case involved the pursuit of 4 horse thieves: Jackson, Strange, Baughn and Mooney. The posse arrested Jackson and Strange. However, Baughn and Mooney escaped on foot and were pursued. When Baughn and Mooney were confronted, Jesse Dennis was shot. Melvin Baughn, the chief offender, was arrested in 1867 in Leavenworth. Baughn was tried in 1868. Judge Graham ordered that Baughn be hanged on Sept. 18, 1868.

No further mention of this Mooney is mentioned in Tennal's history. There is a James Mooney that migrated from Illinois to Centralia in the 1880s -- about 20 years after the hanging.

While trying to locate information on this Mooney, another hanging involving a Mooney was found.

The article, History of Lynchings in Kansas, indicates that Daniel Mooney was hanged in 1863 in Atchison. Additional information on Mooney being hung in Atchison is available in the book, Lynchings in Kansas, 1850-s to 1932 by Harriet Frazier.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Kansas Probate Records Online

Did you know that Kansas Probate records are available on Ancestry?

The collection, Kansas Wills and Probates, 1803-1987, has over 8000 records for Nemaha County.

Below is Ancestry's description of the collection.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Genealogy in Strange Places

Imagine finding the family history in the front of the book: Hand Book of Domestic Hygiene!

Well, that's exactly what one Nemaha County Historical Society board member found while re-doing a museum display.

Check out Charles J. Cigna on Find a Grave

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Photo Detective

On Tuesday, the Nemaha County Historical Society received a World War I photo for display in its Temple of Honor Military Museum.

Unfortunately, there was no information about the photo or people in the photo. Thus, the detective work began.

There was one obvious clue on the photo: 3rd Anti-Aircraft Battery (C.A.C.) Even though we had a major clue, we still weren't coming up with much information. Thus, the picture was posted on the closed Facebook group: Genealogy, Just Ask for additional help.

In the meantime, it was determined that  the C.A.C. stood for Coast Artillery Corps. This led to the site: Defeating the Hun: History of the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps During World War One. The author, Joe Hartwell, has compiled a wealth of information on this Ancestry Freepage. The downside, was the lack of any information about this particular unit: 3rd Anti-Aircraft Battery. After an email to the author, we were able to visit with him about this unit. Unfortunately, Joe didn't have any information on this particular unit and believed they were never deployed overseas. He said they likely came from all over the United States and that a muster roll probably did not exist.

A second site was found with information about the Coastal Artillery Corps on the World War I Vets site.  

Facebook Genealogists also came thru with more information about the picture:


Thanks to everyone who helped identify the group in the picture!

We would still love to know who is in the picture!

Due Bills

We've all likely heard the term, 'bills due' but have you heard of 'due bills'. As we were going thru boxes to verify wh...