History of Clarks Nebraska, 1865-1976

We begin our story in the year 1854 when the United States Congress organized the Nebraska Territory. Four years later, a law was passed defining the boundaries of its counties and locating their county seats. Merrick County now had a name and a county seat — Elvira. To the present day no one knows the exact location of Elvira, but many pioneers believed it was located two miles southeast of Clarks. The county received its name from the wife of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Her maiden name was Elvira Merrick. The volume “History of Nebraska” tells us of the Western Stage Company during 1858. It was the carrier of the U.S. mail between Omaha and Fort Kearny. The stage road closely followed the Platte River and periodically parts of the road were washed away. The surveyor located the road by describing it as lying so many feet “south of the Hartwell barn.” The Western Stage Company erected the first building in the county. Its work coupled with the advent of the telegraph brought communication to Merrick County and immigration soon increased. In 1864, a wide-spread Indian war occurred leaving the county almost without population. Records remain to tell us that farms were abandoned, equipment left to rust, and homes destroyed. Many settlers never returned.

We concern ourselves in this book, with those courageous women and men who persevered and returned to homestead the area now known as Clarks, Nebraska.

Table of Contents

  • I. Founders of Clarksville: Birth of a town .. 1
  • II. Around Clarks in Early Days .. 7
  • III. Indian Massacre, Fire and Tornado .. 13
  • IV. Church and Cemetery Histories .. 20
  • V. Clarks Schools, past and present .. 35
  • VI. Library, Post Office, Rescue Unit, Club Organizations .. 47
  • VII. Businesses .. 54
  • VIII. Album of Biographies: Pioneer Personalities in Clarks .. 67
  • IX. Tape-recorded Interviews with Clarks V.I.P.’s, Recollections .. 160
  • X. The Towns of Havens and Cattaragus .. 170
  • XI. Did You Know? Population Survey .. 177

Family Biographies

Adams, Antrim, Beck, Betts, Bird, Bittinger, Boberg, Branting, Brown, Brunk, Burger, Burruss, Campain, Campbell, Carter, Cerney, Chamberlin, Church, Clark, Cole, Cook, Copeland, Cosner, Cowgill, Coyle, Davis, Dexter, Dickman, Dittmer, Divine, Dixon, Douglas, Dudney, Falk, Ferguson, Fosbury, Fox, Gerber, Gilbert, Grant, Hansen, Hayes, Hipke, Holm, Hunscote, Ives, Key, Kiolbasa, Kohl, Kokjer, Krader, Krong, Ksiazek, Lamb, Little, Lumadue, Madison, Marshall, Martin, McConnell, McDaniel, McLean, Miller, Monson, Morris, Nelson, Noble, Ormsby, Phelps, Philbrook, Pickrel, Pierce, Rose, Sanders, Schultz, Shaw, Shepherd, Shonsey, Smith, Souser, Spires, Starostka, Stearns, Steger, Stromberg, Sutko, Sweet, Terry, Thomas, Townsend, Tunks, Vincent, Waggoner, Wahl, Wallace, Whetstine, Williams, Willits, Young, Zelazny, and Zoucha.


Clarks Bicentennial Heritage Committee, Heritage of Clarks, Nebraska, 1865-1976, Clarks, Nebraska : Clarks Bicentennial Heritage Committee, 1976



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