Cherry County Stories

“In the early eighties a colony of homesteaders from Sullivan, Indiana, under the leadership of a young Methodist minister, Rev. Scamahorn, came to Gordon and settled in Cherry and Sheridan counties. They established churches and schools and set about building orderly communities. The cowboys and the preacher first met at the crossing on the Niobrara River near the twelve-mile cow camp of Zake Newman. The cowboys lined up on the bank and covered him with their guns. They shouted: ‘Preach.’ He stopped in mid-stream and delivered the best sermon he had. They shouted: ‘Pray.” He prayed. Then they dropped their guns and told him to go on. But he did not go on. He told them he was a Methodist preacher who always took up a collection when he held religious services. He passed the hat and they threw in silver and bills, a generous offering. It was only a prank and they knew a good sport when they had met one.”

“It all goes in a Life Time” In the Sand HIlls of Nebraska from 1880 to 1933 Mrs. Lulu Kortz Hudson, Report of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture, Nebraska Home Economics Association, 1934.

“One of the early surveyors in Cherry county was Joe Esterbrook. He homesteaded in west Cherry County, built for himself and family a sod house with a dirt floor and a pole roof covered with sod. His wife was a real helpmate and ‘they lived luxuriously on boundless hope,’ but nearly all sod roofs leaked, in fact the only drip spot in their home was in the center of the room under the ridge log. There they placed their bed. One night they were wakened by water dripping on their faces. ‘Joe,’ said the wife,’get the dish pan and fasten it by the handles to the ridge log.’ It was done by the sleepy Joe without much thought of how the pan might sway and tip when it filled with water. ‘We hear not the airy footsteps of the strange things that almost happen,’ and the homesteaders enjoyed a dreamless sleep until the pan filled to overflowing, gave one lurch and emptied its contents. Their good nature was shockproof and water-proof. Theirs was the beauty of cheerfulness.


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