Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Looking Back: Dorchester's Firsts
Most area historians concur that "Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska" -- written in the late 1800s -- is an authority on Saline County's earliest days. No other collection of information is as vivid or thorough.
Through the online edition of "Andreas' History," the Times has compiled a collection of Dorchester's firsts -- including the first couple married in town, the first birth, the first death, and the first official sermon.
Here is a look back at some the firsts of our community, whose roots begin in the year 1870, when Dorchester's location was selected by the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad and the survey was made.
* First Residents: Before buying the site that would become Dorchester from the U.S. Government, the railroad sent four men to claim an entire section of land, with each claiming 160 acres. Two of the four men who settled at that time were James Seely and Edward McIntyre -- Dorchester's first residents. Both made a permanent location here. The other two remained just long enough to secure the land and transfer it to the railroad.
* First Birth: The first birth occurred in early 1872, and was that of John, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hawkins. The next birth occurred October 10, 1872, and was that of Ed McIntyre Parker, son of Hon. and Mrs. T. B. Parker.
* First Death: The first death occurred in the spring of 1873, and was that of Burke, the infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Windrem.
* First Sermon: Sometime in late 1870 or early 1871, the first formal sermon in Dorchester was preached by Rev. Frederick Alley, a Congregational minister.
* First Official School: The first schoolhouse was built in 1872.
* First Church: The Christian church was built in the summer of 1878.
* First Bank: The Bank of Dorchester was established in October 1881.
* First Newspaper: The Dorchester Star was established August 21, 1881.
* First Village Board: Dorchester was incorporated as a village in 1881, with N. B. Alley, Thomas Jarrett, John Oberlies, S. G. Panter, and W. H. Pallett listed as Trustees; C. F. Thomas, Clerk; J. H. Clark, Treasurer; and M. O. Alley, Marshal.
* First Census Count: In 1879, Dorchester had 673 residents. A year later, it had 954.