NEGenWeb Project - Nuckolls County
Who's Who in Nebraska, 1940
F. A. Scherzinger
In contrast to the bloody history of Nuckolls County during the establishment of civilization, it soon grew into a peaceful community once permanent settlement was effected.
So consistently law abiding have been its people that there has never been a legal execution in the county. However, there probably would have been on one occasion had the court been allowed to exercise its jurisdiction.
On July 14, 1887, the people of Nelson were astounded to learn that the body of Henry Sallen, a well known and highly respected farmer who lived on Liberty creek, had been found on the road northwest of town. He died from a bullet wound in the left side of the head. That morning Sallen had sold five head of hogs for $52.50. On leaving town for home, he graciously granted the request of a stranger to "ride to the country" with him, but after Sallen's body was found, the passenger could not be located. Citizens at once began a search and it was soon agreed John Conrad (or Coon), known as "Jim the Cook," formerly with the Burlington construction gang, was the guilty man. He was traced to his home and taken into custody. A coroner's jury found him guilty and the trial was set for hearing on July 19.
So strong became the circumstantial evidence against Conrad that for two days and nights there was a growing spirit of revenge. Shortly after midnight, on the third night, about one hundred fully-armed hooded men quietly assembled in the park and went to the jail. In less than ten minutes they reached the prisoner. Without further explanation or ceremony, a rope with the regulation loop at one end, was adjusted about his neck. He was then hurried to the Rock Island bridge across Elk creek some seven blocks away. There the rope was quickly fastened to the rail, and the prisoner was forced to leap to his death. The incoming train next morning cut the rope which suspended Conrad's body in midair, letting it drop to the stream below. The train crew pulled the victim out onto the side of the bank, and then went on their way. Burial was made the same day in the "Potters Field" of the local cemetery.
In the early summer of 1890 the quietness of the cemetery was disturbed when in the dead of night someone went to "Potters Field," exhumed Conrad's body and decapitated it. Coincident with this happening a phrenologist named J. K. M. Looker had come to Nelson. A few months later this phrenologist, when lecturing in an eastern Nebraska town, displayed a skull which he described as being that of "a murderer -- a man of low intellect and brutal instinct." Some of the persons acquainted with the case believed this was the skull of "Jim the Cook."
The location of the Nuckolls County seat was established by a vote of the citizens in October, 1872, on the lands then owned by Horatio Nelson Wheeler of Peoria, Ill., whose middle name was adopted as the name of the town. Two other localities -- Elkton and Vernon -- both of them in Elk Precinct, entered the race for the county seat, but the vote resulted in favor of the place soon to become Nelson, because of its central location. In the winter of 1872-73 the townsite was surveyed and the plat filed with the county clerk, D. W. Montgomery, April 1, 1873. In the summer of 1873 a court house suitable for the needs of the county at that time, two or three residences, a hotel, and one business room were erected.
For two years after the organization of the county, official business was transacted in the home of D. W. Montgomery, the first frame house built in the county. The lumber for this structure was hauled from Marysville, Kas.
COLE, THOMAS W: Attorney; b Washington Co, Wis Feb 11, 1859; s of Gregory Cole-Katherine Cole; ed West Bend Wis; Chicago Ill HS, grad work; m Angeline Warren Mar 11, 1883 West Bend Wis Wee Feb 1, 1930); d Vivian J; 1880-83 studied law in offs of Barney & Kulchenmeister, West Bend Wis; 1883 adm to Wis bar; 1883-88 prac law, Colby Wis; 1888- prac law, Nelson; 1888 adm to prac before Neb dist court, & 1897 before Neb supreme court; atty for CB&Q RR 30 years; atty for Scully Estates 11 years; atty for Comml State Bank of Nelson & Scroggin & Co Bank, Oak; pres Nuckolls Co Bar Assn; mbr Neb St & Amer Bar Assns; past pres C of C; AF&AM 77; RAM, R&SM, KT, Superior; Presby Ch, session mbr, elder; Rep; res Nelson.
GOODRICH, BLANCHE: County Superintendent of Schools; b Nelson, Neb Feb 18, 1896; d of H E Goodrich-Leola Monger; ed Nelson HS; KSTC 1914-16; Colo U 1917-18; U of N, BA 1924, Delta Kappa Gamma, past state pres; 1916-17 tchr Bridgeport HS; 1918-19 tchr, Nelson; 1920-23 supt of schs, Bladen; 1925-30 head of language dept & debate coach, Hastings HS; 1931- Nuckolls Co supt of schs; NSTA; Neb St Assn of Cc Supts; life mbr NEA; U of N Alumni Assn, life mbr; Womans Club; Amer Leg aux; OES; PEO, past pres; Meth Ch; hobby, Girl Scout work; res Nelson.
GOODRICH, HENRY E: Real Estate Agent; b Scioto Co, O July 4, 1859; s of Richard Goodrich-Jane Bonser; ed Sciotoville O; m Leola Monger Feb 5, 1895 Goodhope Ill (dec); s Donald H; d Helen (Mrs Paul E Hutchinson), Blanche; m Ida Mae Bosserman Aug 30, 1908 Lincoln; 1876-85 plasterer & bricklayer, southern Ohio; 1886-1919 in groc bus, Nelson; 1885- real est agt in Neb, now ret from active bus; 1919-21 representative in Neb legislature, 1925-27 chmn claims and deficiencies com, mbr finance, roads & bridges corns; 1888- pres Nuckolls Co B & L Assn; chmn village bd 1888-89; vice-chmn city coun; past pres bd of edn; AF&AM 77, past master, mbr 50 years; ch mbr OES, mbr 50 years; Rep, several years mbr Neb St Central Com; hobbies, trees, flowers; res Nelson.
HAWLEY, WILLIAM W: Manager of Estates; b Rock Co, Wis Jan 27, 1864; s of Richard A Hawley-Elizabeth Jane Warner; ed Nemaha Co, Brownville; Sutton; m Elizabeth C Foresman Aug 24, 1887 Lincoln; 1867 came to Nemaha Co; 1884-86 student at CB&Q RR station, Syracuse; 1886-88 station agt for CB&Q RR, Blue Springs, 1888-89 station agent, Elk Creek, 1889-95 station agt, Liberty, 1895-98 station agt, Nelson; 1898-1917 asst to agt & mgr of Scully Estates, Nuckolls Co, 1917- agt & mgr; co owns 40,684 A of land; 1918- dir Commercial Bank, Nelson, 1939- VP; past mayor of Nelson; C of C; AF&AM 77; KT; Tehama Shrine; Presby Ch; Rep, chmn Nuckolls Co, Central Com; hobby, photography; res Nelson.
IMLER, CHARLES R: Abstractor; b Pavia, Penn Nov 4, 1873; s of Eli W Imler-Elizabeth Ickes; ed Nelson HS; U of N; Alpha Theta Chi; m Helen Hill Oct 28, 1903 Beaver Crossing (dec); s John Gordon, Charles Robert; 1881 with parents came to Nelson; 1894-95 tchr, Nuckolls Co; 1895-96 tchr, Nelson; 1898-99 tchr, Stella HS; 1899-1900 HS prin Oak; 1900-08 emp in abstract, real est & ins off of George Lyon Jr; 1908-12 Nuckolls Co treas; 1913-29 ptr in firm of Lyon, Imler & Lyon, abstracts, real est, ins & farm loans; 1929- ptr in firm Lyon, Imler & Myers; 1929- in abstracting bus; 1919-38 secy-treas Nuckolls Co Natl Farm Loan Assn; mbr city coun; during World War chmn of 4-min men; AF&AM 77, past master; KT, Superior; Tehama Shrine, Hastings; Presby Ch; Rep, past secy-treas & chmn Nuckolls Co Central Com, 4th cong]. dist, mbr State Central Com; hobbies, geology, hunting, fishing; res Nelson.
LYON, G NELSON: Real Estate, Loan & Insurance Agent; b Nelson, Neb Aug 7, 1885; s of George Lyon Jr-Mary J Harbine; ed Nelson; St Marys Kas Coll; Phillips-Exeter Acad N H; Harvard U, BA 1909, LLB 1912; Pi Eta; m Ethel G Fitzpatrick June 10, 1912 Brookline Mass; s G Nelson Jr, William J; d Mary Ethel (Mrs Raymond C McIllece), Kathrine Jane; 1912- mbr firm Lyon, Imler & Lyon, real est, ins, loans, & abstracting, org by father 1912 at Nelson, 1928 firm became Lyon, Imler & Myers after father's death; owner farm ints, active in livestock raising: 1914 adm to Neb bar; during World War, mbr Nuckolls Co draft bd; Neb St Bar Assn; C of C; KC; Cath Ch; Rep; hobbies, livestock, gardening; father came from St Joseph to Nuckolls Co 1884, in banking & real est, ins & loan bus; res Nelson.
McHENRY, WILLIAM A: Dentist; b Nelson, Neb Sept 5, 1886; s of W C McHenry-Ella ___; ed Nelson HS; U of N; Northwestern U, DDS; Xi Psi Phi; m Maude Adams Jan 1, 1908 Minden; d Willa (Mrs L Irons Jr), Irene Adams; pres bd of edn; past mbr city coun, past clk; past pres, past secy C of C; filled all offs of SW Neb Dist Dental Soc; Neb St Dental Assn; pres Nuckolls Co ARC; during World War mbr Nuckolls Co med advisory bd; MWA; BSA, sponsor; AF&AM; Presby Ch; hobby, study of human nature; res Nelson.
PORTWOOD, JOHN E: Merchant; b Decatur, Ill Jan 20, 1880; s of David Portwood-Nancy J Culver; ed Shelby Co Ill, Clay & Nuckolls Cos; Nelson & Edgar HSs; 2 summers in tchrs normal schs; m Alice Orner June 25. 1905 Nelson; s Donald E, Joseph L; d Helen Gail, Hannah Doris; 1897-98 tchr, Nuckolls Co; 1898-1909 clk for William A Voigt, Gen Mdse, Nelson; 1909- ptr of brother Wilbur L in Portwood Co, gen merc bus, Nelson; owner farm ints in Neb, Kas & Colo; Fedn of Neb Retailers; Neb Retail Clothiers Assn; pres Nuckolls Co Fair Assn; past pres C of C; AF&AM 77; Dem, mbr Nuckolls Co Central Com; hobbies, travel, golf; res Nelson.
SCHERZINGER, FRANK A: Publisher; b Clarington, O Apr 7, 1865; s of John B Scherzinger-Rosa A Yost; ed Clarington O; m Bess H Bradley Nov 14 1894 Nelson; s Vic B; d Ruth I (Mrs Lawson J Wehrman); learned printing trade by working in off of Clarington Ohio Independent; 1884 came to Nelson; 1886- owner & publisher Nelson Gazette; mbr bd of edn; past mbr city coun; dir Nelson band 25 years; mbr NPA 40 years; proponent & chmn Pershing Memorial Commission; Nuckolls Co Fair Assn; secy C of C; Presby Ch, elder & choir dir; Rep, chmn Nuckolls Co Central Com; hobby, music; res Nelson.
Who's Who in Nebraska (introduction & directory, list of abbreviations)
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