Our family consisted of my father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. William L. Jacobs; my brother, Willie, age 7; my sister, Carrie, a baby; and myself, age 3 1/2. We left Chicago in the winter of 1883 on the train, enroute to North Loup, Nebraska, which at that time was the end of the branch line of the Union Pacific. Our family remained at North Loup for the rest of the winter.
In the spring of 1884, my father purchased two horses, one to ride and one as a pack horse. Leaving the family in North Loup, he departed for Northwestern Nebraska, going first to Valentine, and then on to Sheridan Co. He located a homestead near Rushville post office, which was about 3 1/2 miles north of the present site of Rushville. In Valentine, he filed a claim on the land on October 7, 1884, and returned to North Loup to make arrangements for moving our family.
In the spring of 1885, my father purchased a covered wagon and, with our team of horses, two milk cows, some chickens and our household goods, we departed from the Loup for our new home in Sheridan County. We ----ed the cows to help pull the wagon in bad places. By this time he had also purchased about 15 head of cattle, which he hired a man to drive out for him. My first recollection of the trip was going through the sandhills to Valentine, Nebraska. By brother, Willie, and I saw a train of cars at Valentine which was the end of the Fremont, Elkhorn, and Missouri Valley Railroad. (Later it became the Chicago and Northwestern). We camped along the road and saw lots of dead cattle, as the winter had been cold with lots of snow and ice. We stayed at Gordon one night and finally arrived at our new home around April 1, 1885.
We spent a few days with Mr. William Kerns at his sod house which was approximately one mile north east of our land. He had settled in the fall of 1884, and allowed us to camp at his place for a couple of days while my father was building a dugout for the family to live in.
We moved into the dugout, putting the wagon bows and canvas over the bed to keep us from getting wet, as it had begun to rain. In the meantime, my father went to the timber north of our place to get poles to cover the dugout. This was completed within a short time. Father's next job was to build a log house on the southeast end of our land. He hauled logs from the timber and completed the house during the summer. He and a hired man also dug a well about 45 feet deep.
The town of Rushville had started, and the railroad was being graded about this time, so that we were able to secure supplies. I watched the railroad being built and saw the engine and flatcars being moved along the track as it was laid. There were railroad camps at Rushville, Rush Creek, and a short distance from our home.
We met William Reed and his familly working at the railroad camp. My brother and I played with the children while their father worked on the grade. Mr. Reed ran a two-wheeled scraper and worked as far as Hay Springs. He then took a homestead four miles north of Hay Springs. Some of his family still live near there.
During the same time we arrived, my father plowed up ten acres of land and planted corn and a small garden. With the cattle that he had purchased in North Loup, he started a Dairy, furnishing milk for the residents of the town of Rushville. He later took a pre-emption in the Sand Hills, and wintered his cattle there one year, as by that time he had acquired about 100 head. He sold this pre-emption after about two years, and in 1890 started a Butcher Shop in Rushville, running this business for about four years. In 1896 my father ran a stage route and carried mail to Pine Ridge, South Dakota. At that time I was sixteen years old, and drove the stage part of the time.
I recall vividly the Indian War in the winter of 1890 and 1891. I ate "hard tack" and bacon with the soldiers who were camped at Rushville, and watched the unloading of supplies, wagons, cannons and more soldiers.