Names in Brown County history
I've been lurking around eBay quite a bit lately, and not surprisingly, I found a book that I needed -- Pioneer Stories of Brown, Keya Paha and Rock Counties, in Nebraska, published in 1980 by the Brown County Historical Society. (Brown and Rock counties are where I was born and raised.) I bid on the book and was happy when I won it.
Today, the book arrived in the mail, and I'm a little disappointed. The title is misleading. The Brown County section of the book has 581 pages. The Keya Paha County section has 165 pages. And the Rock County section has 16 pages -- yes, 16 pages. The book should have been titled Pioneer Stories of Brown County, Nebraska and subtitled With Additional Stories from Keya Paha and Rock Counties.
Despite the shockingly-short Rock County section, the book is interesting. I don't regret buying it. Leafing through the Brown County pages, I see many surnames that I recognize. I don't know the people at all, but I know their names.
My dad's mother was a Brown County resident most of her life and an enthusiastic genealogist. Sometimes Grandma Nora came to visit us for a week or two at a time when I was a kid. I remember her sitting at the dining room table with her embroidery, talking on and on about who was related to whom. Because of her, I recognize Brown County names like Hulshizer, Schipporeit, Bejot, Kackmeister, Wolcott, Mundorf, and Klapper. (I think some of the Kackmeisters may be cousins of my family -- we may share a great-grandmother or our great grandmothers may have been sisters. Then again, I could be wrong about that.)
Some Brown County names in the book do have personal meaning to me. The Gudgels drilled many wells for my dad. When I was little, we attended church in Ainsworth with the Bollers and Lotspieches, and my parents were always friendly with them. The Babcocks and Mengers lived in the western expanses of the community where I grew up. And there are other names that stir memories of faces and experiences.
Regrettably, no one from my family wrote up any of our history for this book. My great-grandparents on my dad's side of the family were homesteaders in Brown County, too. My great-grandfathers' surnames were Clark and Hill, and my great-grandmothers' surnames were Fisher and Mapes.