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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

McCook Tribune 1883

Monday, February 4, 2013

Clockwise from top left, C.F. Babcock, US Land Office, Real Estate Agent; George Chenery, Druggist;Mr. V. Franklin Citizens Bank; S. H. Colvin, National Hotel Builder/Operator; and W.C. LaTourette, McCook Mayor General Merchandise Store.
In April of 1883 the Tribune reported on the troubles ranchers were having in the panhandle of Texas,. The fear was that trouble of his type would spread to our area, with the Spring Roundup close at hand.

"A strike is reported among the cowboys in the panhandle of Texas. Cowboys have been getting $30 to $40 a month, but want more and have struck. The strikers are well armed, and number about 200. They are well armed. All cowhands who may attempt to work for less than the agreed upon amount will doubtless do so at the risk of their lives. The strikers threaten to cut fences, and burn ranges if their demands are not acceded to. They strike in anticipation of the annual roundup, which cannot be carried on without them. A company of Texas Rangers is on hand to monitor the situation in that section of the state."

In October there was this report on Nebraska settlers: "A caravan of home seekers more than a mile in length passed through Lincoln yesterday, bound for the Republican Valley. White covered wagons filled with the meager belongings of farm families, from among which women and children look forth, toil creakingly along the dusty roads, making at best 15 or 20 miles a day. At night the countryside, where they camp, is ablaze with fires, over which the simplest of fare is cooked. Usually a family has two wagons, one driven by the man, the other by his wife. Cows, to furnish the children with an essential article of diet, walk unwillingly behind several of the wagons, while dogs, seemingly perfectly content, trot beside the horses. The line will shorten as it moves west-ward. One by one the wagons will turn off as the travelers find places that suit them. The season is late, and few of these people will reach McCook."

The democratic process was reaching to the frontier of Nebraska in November 1883. "This is election Day. No Democrat ticket was in the field, only a Republican ticket. The Republican candidates were overwhelmingly elected. The ticket was headed by the candidate for Supreme Judge. There was a Democrat state ticket, but it seems not to have been given any attention in Red Willow County. The Republican candidate for Supreme Judge received every vote, 175, cast for a candidate for District Judge in Willow Grove Precinct. The total vote in the County was a few over 600. Judge Gaslin, who was a candidate for District Judge, received 604 votes in the County.

"Nebraska has not yet adopted the Australian Ballot Law, which is in operation in a number of states, in which each party having a ticket in the field provides its own ballots. The Republican ballot has the names of only Republican candidates. The Democrat ballot has only the names of the Democrat nominees. On election day, party workers distribute those ballots to voters, who take them to the polling place and deposit them in ballot boxes. It is not necessary to mark them. The ballots are strips of white paper about 3 and 1/2 inches wide, and as long as it is necessary, upon which the names of the party candidates are printed. If an elector does not wish to vote for any candidate, whose name is on the ballot, he draws a line through that name and writes in the name of the person for whom he wishes to vote. If the party organization fails to print the ballots having the names of its candidates, the party simply does not participate in the election.

Disaffected members of a party have been known to have ballots printed with the names of candidates who are not the party's nominees. The substitution will not be noticed by the average voter. The practice, while not common, has been indulged in, to such an extent that at the session of the legislature, which convened in 1883, a law was passed, making this act a misdemeanor, and provided as punishment for its violation, a penalty of a fine of from $50.00 to $200.00, and imprisonment in the County Jail for not to exceed 60 days, and directs the Judges of Election to disregard votes cast for a name so fraudulently appearing.

Things were quite primitive in 1883 in McCook, by modern standards, but people still went to great lengths to have "fun." For instance, in November: "The McCook skating 'Parlors' are now open. Why Parlors? -- unless the word is used to convey a false impression of grandeur. And why Parlors is plural" -- unless to give the erroneous idea of spaciousness. It is not easy to understand. The skating rink is a wooden shell. The interior is unfinished, revealing the skeleton of new lumber.

A large coal burning stove, forced, when the weather is cool, to a cherry red, radiates heat in its own immediate vicinity. The sphere of its influence is limited. In fact, a distinct chill, which seems not to be an attribute of the outer atmosphere, pervades all parts of the building, except the corner occupied by the stove. Two large kerosene lamps, with tin reflectors, hang over the middle of the room -- the only illumination. The shadows among the rafters are undisturbed. Wooden benches for the convenience of spectators and for the skaters when they weary of exercise, are ranged along the walls.

The management announces that only gentlemen and ladies -- (the terms being construed, apparently, to refer to the age, rather than to the social qualifications of the patrons), will be admitted. Not only the town's folk, but the cowboys on their periodical visits to McCook, are giving the resort liberal patronage. The skaters go round and round the hall, singly, or in pairs, clasping crossed hands. Not all are sufficiently experienced to avoid falls, or even painful, but not usually serious injuries, though one cow hand did fall upon his revolver and broke his hip. All who call themselves cowboys, and many who do not follow that calling, carry guns.

The noise within the rink is deafening -- prevents conversation except by shouting. The ceaseless rumble, when the revelry is at its height, penetrates to the very outskirts of McCook".

November: "A gentleman from Chicago, Joseph Menard, proposes to build a two story structure on Main Avenue, just north of the Citizens Bank (Norris Avenue, just north of B. St., which became the Romanoff Building, and has been recently demolished). The new building will cover two lots. The lower part will be a mercantile establishment, in which he will sell groceries and dry goods. The upper floor will be used as an Opera House (and for many years was known as Menard's Opera House)."

McCook Businesses in 1893: Citizens Bank, B St. & Main (Norris) Ave. Organized by J.W. Dolan, of Indianola, and operated by his partner, Mr. V. Franklin till his death in 1913.

C. F. Babcock was Receiver of the US Land Office. He later built the building now occupied by Garrisons and Gary's Country Peddler.

R.C. Rider platted both South and West McCook, and probably did more building in early McCook than any other single person. He was also the "owner" of the Memorial Park Cemetery, until that burying ground was purchased by the city. He was a large McCook property owner, and though he moved away from McCook in the 1890s, he was a frequent visitor here until the time of his death.

Gilbert L. Laws was a distinguished McCook citizen in 1883, a member of the Village Board, Register of the US Land Office in McCook. He later served as a Congressman from this district, and served a term as Secretary of State for the State of Nebraska.

W.C. LaTourette was the proprietor of a Grocery-Dry Goods-Hardware Store, and was one of the city's first Mayors, and S.B. Colvin built and ran the National Hotel, north corner of B. St. & E. 1st., the site of much social activity in the infant city. M. Chenery was an Englishman, who ran a Drug Store (and unofficially sold liquor) in early McCook.

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Walt Sehnert
Days Gone By