the county seat, is located in the southeastern part of the county, partly on
the bottom lands of the Missouri, and partly on the contiguous bluffs.
name was given to it by W. N. Byers, one of the early transient settlers, the
privilege of naming it having fallen to him by lot. He gave it the name Tekamah
in commemoration of some place in the Far West which he had visited, or in
which he had resided.
first claim made on the present site of Tekamah was by:
B. R. Folsom
in the name of the Nebraska Stock Company, on October
party of pioneers left Council Bluffs, Iowa, on October 2, and, after passing through Omaha, the site of the deserted Mormon city of "
Winter Quarters," now Florence, reached,
the site of the present city of Fontanelle,
on October 5.
they found Dr. H. M. Clark and two other men, who had one hour before arrived and
Deidrick Fees and wife joined the first settlers.
Mrs. Fees was the first white woman to come into the
On the 18th of July following, a little colony from La
Salle County, Illinois, which had settled upon claims just north of Silver
Creek, moved to Tekamah, doing
this for safety upon hearing of the killing and scalping of the two white men,
Porter and Demaree, near Fontanelle. Fear
of the Indians was very great in those days, and greatly retarded the development
of the country.
This colony consisted of:
G. M. Peterson
and their families; twenty-four in all.
Tekamah was incorporated as a city very early in its
history, on March 14, 1855. and became
the county seat at the same time.
Olney Harrington was made Postmaster in 1855.
Miles Chillcot opened the first store in 1856.
Michael Olinger arrived in the fall and built a
The first child born was in the fall of 1855, to Mrs.
Thomas Thompson, who died in child birth. Hers was the first death, and the
child lived but a few days.
first mar riage was that of Lewis P. Peterson to Miss Elsa Thompson, in the fall of 1855.
first school was taught by J. R. Conkling in 1857.
first sermon was preached on Sunday, November 5, 1854, by a Methodist minister.
William Bates preached in July, 1855, also a Methodist; and the Rev. Jacob
Adriance, of the De Soto Circuit, was the first regular preacher.
August, 1856, a Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by Rev. L. F. Stringfield.
first physician was J. H. Conkling, of Chicago, who located here in 1857, and
was a brother of the present editor of the Burt County News, A. T. Conkling.
first lawyer was J. H. Smith, who came in 1862.
first newspaper was the Burt County
Pilot, established in 1871, by J. Y. Lambert, and which was moved to
Blair in 1874.
next was the Burtonian, established
in 1872, and edited by G. P. Hull, who is still its editor.
P. Thomas and wife reached here in 1856.
has one graded school, with four
teachers, and one ward school. The
principal school building is a fine two-story frame, coating $5,000, and
located in a pleasant park of nearly two acres.
are now in Tekamah five church organizations— Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist,
Lutheran and Episcopalian—all but the last having church edifices.
is on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railroad,
which affords line shipping facilities.
In 1880, the United States census gave it a
population of 776. It is now estimated
town contains various business establishments, and some of its enterprising business
men have recently erected fine brick blocks.
has good hotel accommodations, the last hotel being a fine two-story brick,
erectod in 1880.
are in Tekamah five general stores, two hardware, three drug and three
millinery stores, two agricultural implement depots, two elevators, four
blacksmith shops and two lumber yards, four physicians and five lawyers.
the operation of the local option law, Tekamah has now no licensed saloons, and
contains an orderly, enterprising and intelligent population.
of Nebraska, 1882