Remote hill country of northwestern Loup County
While I was poking around Abebooks tonight, I happened upon several copies of the Holt County, Nebraska, centennial book and a copy of the Loup County, Nebraska, centennial book. These counties border on Rock County, Nebraska, where I grew up.
I probably won't buy either book. All my bookcases are stuffed already, and besides that, I don't casually buy $50+ books. Also, the Loup County GenWeb page says that the Loup County Historical Society still has new copies of the centennial book for sale.
I'm a little more interested in Loup County history than Holt County history, because my family had pasture land in northwestern Loup County. Much of the county is Sandhill rangeland -- big, sandy hills -- and there aren't many real roads off the highways. Two-track trails wind through miles of pastures from one windmill to the next. They are used by ranchers checking their cattle. No one else has any reason to be out there in the hills off the main roads.
At one time, every square mile of those hills was homesteaded. One by one, most of the homesteaders eventually went broke or gave up, and their land was bought up by the cattle ranchers. In some places, the land is still scarred a century later from wind erosion of the homesteaders' plowed fields.
Long Valley Cemetery is another reminder of the homesteaders who once inhabited the hills. It's south of the land we owned, and west or southwest of the Upstream Ranch (a landmark along the 60-mile stretch of Highway 183 between Taylor and Bassett.)
The Taylor, Nebraska, website states,
Located in the yard of the old Long Valley Methodist Episopal Sod Church, with seven interments, this cemetery is accessible only via guide and 4-wheel drive pickup. Contact Loup County High School if interested. There are NO roads near this cemetery. (Source)
In other words, they don't want people to drive out into the hills and get their cars stuck in the sand trying to find the cemetery, and then maybe get lost trying to walk back.
A history of Loup County provides a little information about the Long Valley Church:
A Methodist Episcopal Church was organized and incorporated at Long Valley in western Loup County Sept. 12, 1909. Rev. Mr. Brink of Burwell was the organizer and later Rev. Albert Elliott became regular pastor. The church building was a large sod structure, which was not uncommon in the early days in the sandhills. (Source)
I would probably find lots of interesting, obscure, historic trivia of this sort in the Loup County centennial book, and that's why I'm tempted to buy it, despite my better judgment.