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Looking Back Forty-five Years

As Told By The First Editor of Farnam


The news from the first issue of a newspaper issued in Farnam printed under the date of December 16, 1886 and called The Public Press is printed on another page of the Echo. The editor, who “got left” as he explains in that issue, gives a good many incidents of which we belive the old timers of Farnam and others will be interested in.

The paper consists of four pages, two of which were printed here and the other two printed as a ready print.

The paper of forty-five years ago carried advertising for the business firms of W. L. Declow, real esate, calling attention to 75,000 acres of railroad land for sale; Castile & Anderson, General store; E. B. Dunham, drugs, medicines, etc.; D. S. Heckman & Co., agricultural implements; Howard Bros. Lumber & Coal, D. E. Gray, Mgr.; Farnam Land Office, advertising Perkins windmills, pumps, etc.; Farnam House, Thos. Thompson, Prop., good square meal, also livery and feed stable, rigs furnished day or night.

The two ready print pages carried the election returns, with R. Thayer carrying the majority for governor of Nebraska.

Some of the Omaha markets quoted were as follows: wheat No. 2 60c; Barley No. 2, 44c; Rye No. 2, 35c; corn No. 2 mixed, 24c; creamery butter, 35c; fresh dairy butter, 25c; fresh eggs, 24c; chickens old, per dozen $2.50; spring chickens, per dozen, $2.50; hogs, mixed packing $3.65; beeves, choice steers, $4.25.

The Farnam Echo 51(18):1 Thursday, January 13, 1932

Every Thursday
D. O. MAGOUN, Publisher


We present the first issue of the Public Press.

It has come to Farnam, Dawson County and this great, promising land on the line of the mighty B & M. railway, to do all it can for the land to receive what they can do for it—that we may all grow and thrive together.

We shall make the paper, a nearly as we can, just what its name fully means. Politically, it will be independent—free—giving all parties a fair chance, and try to tell the truth. Its columns will be a free parliament, in which everyone shall have a hearing on every subject of public interest and welfare.

Dave. O. Magoun.


Among the new towns west of Holdrege on the B & M. line that is rapidly pushing through to Akron, Colo.; and for Denver, Farnam is prominent and a very promising one for a permanently good trade center. There are several things which just now point significantly to a successful future. The chief foundation for a thriving, fast growing town in this new country is a fertile soil, well adapted to all the purposes of farming and food production. This is very rich here for miles in all directions, rolling and sloping enough for fine natural drainage and giving an attraction to the landscape that is always missing in other places where it is uniformly flat. These broad acres have been settling up by a thrifty, gritty class of people who were quick to see what a goodly land this is. In the midst of all this, gracefully, sloping in all directions is the town of Farnam. Though it is small, it does a large trade, which is increasing. The B. & M. company has one of the finest depots here on this line of the road—large and commodious—also a corresponding good section house, stock yard, long side tracks, etc.

There are some lines of business not represented here for which this is a good location, that would pay at once. We shall mention them in other places, at at other times.


Our postal service at this place is in a very bad condition just at present. The citizens and patrons of Farnam have done what they could to get an office established here. The first attempt was made last June, which has certainly given the post-office department at Washington time to consider the matter, if they intend to do anything this administration.

As it is now, our postmaster has become disgusted and resigned, but is still filling the position. Mails come to Keystone twice a week, sometimes but once, and are put into a sack and brought here for distribution.

We are all eagerly forward to the day when we can get daily mails over the B. & M. This will be a great advantage to Farnam and surrounding country. Some of our sister towns are suffering the same as we are.

Uncle Sam, our Uncle Sam, please give us better mail service.


Messrs. D. S. Heckman and A. L. Hedlund, of the firm of D. S. Heckman & Co., Bertrand, dealers in agricultural implements, were here a few days since looking over Farnam as a point at which to establish their business. They concluded that the prospects of the town and country around are so promising that they would locate here. They will be ready for business about January first. Mr. Hedlund will be manager of their house here. They have made a wise selection and will gain a flourishing trade. See their advertisement in another column.

The fat, fine-looking hogs that are seen about town speak well for this section as a pork-raising region—we don’t mean that the hogs speak, but that we speak for the pork.


What a disappointment it is to “get left!” How it cuts one to the very core; yea, verily, to the very marrow! Oh, how forsaken, postponed, dejected, lonesome, and even weak it makes one feel!

Recently the publisher of the Press was in a strange town, waiting for a train to take him to a place 17 miles off, which it was very important he should reach as soon as possible. Being misinformed about the cars’ depature “twenty minutes too late” fell on his ears as appallingly as if it were twenty hours and the flying train was 120 miles away.

But even “getting left,” like an ill wind that blows some one some good, sometimes leads to results more beneficial and happy than would have been realized if the traveler had gone with the train, or in other ways the disappointed one had not got left. If he had gone ahead he might have got left as to the better things he afterward found behind. Though the writer was forced to spend an afternoon at Edgar, lately—which seemed to him, would be a very dreary and tedious one—he found out later that the very man he was anxious to see at the town ahead also got left, and that he could see him without going.

We are here in Farnam because we “got left” at Moorefield on what we expected there—and we belive it is a benefit to us that the Public Press is in this town instead of with our western neighbor.


The towns on this line of the B. & M. that are likely to become the best permanent business points are those which have the best country around them. Farnam is one of these. This is a constant argument for settlers to locate around us and for various business enterprises, as time goes on, to come here. Right now is the time for the advantages of this place as a business point to be known abroad, and for location seekers to come here, rather than go to other places that can offer less permanent inducements. Right now is the time for Farnam to push ahead for supremacy, and for those seeking locations to push for Farnam.


Farnam is in immediate need of a hardware store, and anyone in this line of business who is looking for a good location can find it right here and now. He can get a paying trade which will steadily increase with the growth of the town and country. The immense amount of lumber that is sold here shows a big demand for building hardware and the large scope of country tributary to the Farnam trade indicates a profitable business here from the start. The inducements are so great that a hardware house is bound to be here soon, and we wish to say to anyone looking for a good point who may read these lines that if you want to secure this fine opening you will need to come at once. A choice lot to build on can be had of the Farnam Town Site Company.

We think that nowhere does the public press do quickly so much good as in this new, rapidly developing western country. It is well for both people and press that the public realized so much its power and appreciates so highly its usefulness.


Monday night a large party of the friends of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Dryden, living three miles south, quietly gathered at their pleasant home to make them happy on the tenth anniversary of their wedded life. It was a complete surprise. Mr. D. was baking himself by the stove and Mrs. D. was attending to the evening household duties. The ladies slipped into the room where the family was and held their attention while the gentelmen, who had stolen into another apartment were opening up a box of presents, which they carried into the astonished couple. Mr. Frank Alden made the presentation speech, which was feelingly responded to by Mr. Dryden. The ladies then spread a delicious supper, from the well-filled baskets they had brought. Fun and frolic ruled the rest of the evening.

B. & M. NEWS

The Company is completing a well for the stock yards and depot here. It will have a wind pump and tank.

Much railroad iron and drain tile has been going out west of Curtis to equip the road as fast as the grading is ready.

Mr. Mont Bligh, whose foot was injured while coupling cars at Holdrege is recovering and will soon be on the road again. He has been staying at the Farnam House.

The train men like to reach Farnam, where they can pull up to such a fine depot, so convenient to do business.

Two extras came in from the east Sunday. One of them got stuck for a while at the grade west of town.

A steam pump is to be put in the well at Malta.

We are delighted to say to the thousands of readers of the Press that Mr. W. L. Declow, one of our prominent business men, is going home, next Monday to “to die no more.” There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to partnership. There are various partnerships, special partnerships, and the object of these remarks is about to set a glowing example for the young men of Farnam (except the editor). Mr. and Mrs. Declow expect to be at home here about January 10. We shall give interesting particulars hereafter.

We have found More-field for a newspaper here, we think, than we could have secured in the village west. We were anxious to drop into the best permanent newspaper opening on the Holdrege extension, in the most promising town surrounded by the best country. Therefore, we are glad to be here.

Rice Bros., of Russell, shipped two car-loads of sheep from this point last week. One of the gentlemen went with them, and on his return will visit several weeks at his old home at LaHarpe, Ill.

Mr. Anderson drove to Eustis Monday afternoon, on business.

Mr. Weatherwax, from Ayr, Adams county, was here Tuesday looking for land. He went out in the country to look at a claim.

The lumber yard men have begun to paint their office, inside and out, and the outside of the shed.

D. S. Heckman & Co. wish to know the name of every farmer in this region. We request that each send his own name and that of all his neighbors to the Press office. They will give a plow to the first person that sends them the names of twenty-five farmers who buy the most goods from them before July 1st.


Mr. Thos. Thompson has been adding some improvements to the Farnam House.

H. Phillips was busily engaged last week repairing C. Brown’s house, a few miles south.

Mr. Garvin, the blacksmith, reports business good.

A surveyor sent out by the B. & M. to look after the corners of counties was in town last week.

R. D. Lamson, of Elwood, proprieter of the grain elevator at that place, was in the city last week on business.

If we were to Press the matter, we would urge you to subscribe for this paper. It is here to do you all good.

Mr. H. L. Merriman, who has a large ranch about six miles south of here, is building a large cattle shed for his blooded stock, of which he has many.

Mr. W. L. Declow, our bustling land man, sold 320 big, fertile acres, about 6 miles south, to Mr. D. P. Hanson, a business man of Chicago.

Mr. P. P. Lawrence, of Fairfield, was here last week, on the way to Curtis to visit his son and daughter-in-law. He was traveling by wagon and viewing the country.

Mr. G. R. Twiford, of Earl, was in town the other day. The Earl people, are invited to take the Press. We intend to have a regular correspondent over there.

Asa Holcomb, of Bertrand, formerly of Aurora, Ill., and old acquaintance of Mr. E. B. Dunham, was here Thursday evening looking up the painting prospects.

Mr. W. L. Declow went to Gothenburg a few days since, and brought back with him Mr. P. P. Hanson, of Chicago, proprieter of the New England flour mills of that city.

Howard Bros. lumber yard does a good business. Mr. Gray, the local manager here, is a very agreeable and reliable gentleman to deal with.

Keystone is very cordially invited to come and live with us. What is the use of staying out there alone? The keystone of success is to come here and go into business.

Mr. J. H. Howard, Chicago, of the Howard Bros. lumber company, and Mr. M. L. Sprote, a buyer for the same, were in town Saturday. They were inspecting their various yards in this part of the country.

Mr. Jerry Walker’s mother arrived from Chappell, Neb., last week, and will keep house for him out on his claim. He will now have a good square meal oftener than he did while “baching.” A boy’s best friend is his mother.

The Farnam Town Site Company have built a public well in the middle of the community. It will be a great convenience.

Those deer creatures and antelopes some times abound in the country around.

Mr. W. L. Declow has been putting up a Perkins wind-mill on the large farm of A. L. Merriman.

It is reported that a newspaper will begin publication at Moorefield Friday.

We saw a sewing-machine unloaded at a single man’s residence. This is food for reflection.

Mr. and Mrs. Alden, living four miles south, spent Sunday in town, the guests of Mr. and Mrs. Dunham.

A newspaper, which the people have been so anxious to see here, is now with you.

Messrs. A. L. Anderson and C. A. Smith went to Moorefield last Wednesday night to a dance, which was given at Seymour’s restaurant. They had a light fantastic time.

I want but little here below,
But want it all the time,
And when my spritis overflow
I tell my wants in rhyme.

We were going to say this before the climate changed—and we’ll say it any way:

The recent remarkably mild weather has been the delight of everybody, and what we all want is that it will stay. As we once poetically remarked:

Who can conceal the joys we feel
As Autumn airs o’er winter steal?

Reprinted from The Public Press 1(1):1, Farnam, Dawson County, Nebraska, Thursday, December 16, 1886

The Farnam Echo 51(18):5, Wednesday, 13 January 1932


Published: 8/12/2022 -
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