In the early days, from 1854 to 1860, there were magnificent forests
along the Missouri River. McKissock's
Island, in the northeast corner or
the county, Sonora Island, above Brownville, Morgan Island, below, near
Hillsdale, and on the mainland, where there are now only scraggy,
scattering trees, was covered with a splendid
growth of large, tall,
There were thousands of them, some six feet in diameter at
the butt, and towering up fifty and sixty feet in height,
below the limbs.
There was black walnut, cottonwood, sycamore, and other kinds of wood, but
years prior to 1860, saw-mills planted on every hundred
acres of the timber, and at the present day, there are
few trees left.
the spring of 1855, R. Brown, S. E. Rogers and Henry Emerson erected the
first steam saw-mill in the
county in Brownville, located on the southeast
corner of Levee and Water streets.
In October, 1856, Noel, Lake &
Emerson erected a large saw-mill in the lower part of the town, and the
following February it was capable of cutting more lumber than any mill in
During the years 1857 and 1858, nearly a score of mills were
started at different points on and near the Missouri
River and the Islands
before mentioned, and an abundant supply of lumber was secured, not only
for home supply,
but for sending off in all directions.
The first grist-mill erected in the county was built two miles west of
Nemaha City, in the spring of 1856, by
Henry and Jerome Hoover. It is now
known as the Rowe Mill.
A water-mill was erected by Henry and Jerome
Hoover, on the Nemaha, in 1855.
A little prior to this time, a small mill
was started on Honey Creek, in Peru Precinct, but was soon after swept
away by a flood in the Missouri.
In 1857, Samuel G. Dailey, a man who made
his mark in Territorial politics, having served three terms as
Congress from Nebraska Territory, brought to Peru a steam saw and grist
mill, and ran it successfully
for a year or two. But the encroachments of
the river compelled its removal up town, and it was sold to
After several years, the machinery was sold and taken to St. Louis.
Since those early days, numberless mills have
been erected, and at the
present time there are enough to supply their customers with certain kinds
of lumber and
flour and meal.