The Chase County Historical Society, located in Champion, Nebraska, has since it's inception in 1938 collected personal histories of residents of Chase County, Nebraska. These oral histories provides a history of Chase County that goes beyond facts and information about the state. Listed on these pages are transcripts of interviews of many early settlers of Chase County, Nebraska. I am grateful to the Historical Society for the work it's researchers did in preserving these stories, and for permission to share them here with other researchers. These stories and other important historical information about Chase County can be found in their published Histories of Chase County, copies which can be purchased from the Society or viewed in the Imperial Republican Library. The Society welcomes any additional stories about early settlers that you may wish to contribute to their files.
A. C. Clayburg
C. Clayburg came to Chase County in 1885 and filed on a homestead and brought his family
in 1886 to the place where George Harmon is now located. He and his brother Abe
Clayburg printed the paper at Venango and also the Lamar News. The type was set by
hand and they owned the hand pringing press which they carried with them. The
Clayburgs moved to Imperial in 1890 and lived in the upper story of the house where Max
Hoffmeister now resides.
Before moving to Imperial Clayburg worked for the Weatherby ranch in the west section of the county for a while. Upon coming to Imperial Clayburg edited and published an Imperial paper called the Chase County Tribune. He was assisted by his daughter Elsie who later became Mrs. Earl Keep. The only pay he reeived for the paper was in eggs, milk, meat or a chicken.
His son Bill began working for Kilpatrick Brothers in 1898 when he was 15 years old and worked for them most of the time the rest of his working days.
After selling the paper, A. C. Clayburg and Jim Howard built the hotel now fun by Vera Johnston. The laborers working on the building worked for $1.00 per day. Ed Hine was one who helped on the construction. It was a fine addition to Imperial Main Street at the time. They had a roller skating rink in the basement of the hotel. Bill Clayburg was in charge assisted by George Hoffmeister and Full Bailey, but the venture did not last.
Abe Clayburg did not remain in the county. A. C. passed away in Chase County on July 25, 1945.
Frank Clements, Sr.
Frank and Nora Clements came to Chase County in 1917 from Nuckolls County, Nebraska.
Homer Clements homesteaded in Montana in 1916. When World War I broke out, many
young men entered the service. Homer was in the first draft in 1917 but was not accepted
because of a bad eye.
Homer and Caroline stayed on the homestead. Homer hauled freight for people using his horse and wagon from Roy, Montana to the area they lived. He hauled lumber, groceries, gas or whatever could be hauled. He also hauled logs from the timber to build building. They supported themselves by hauling freight from 1917 to 1918.
Homer and Caroline came to Chase County in February 1918. Homer found work wherever he could. C. N. Cottrell had a fire in his hardware store and homer helped clean up after the fire. He also worked for Warren Earl on his farm southwest of Champion before going back to Montana. The government requirements for Montana regarding homesteads was that people had three years before "proving up". Homer told researchers that he planted wheat and rye in Chase County in September on his father's farm, because he was to farm on shares. After the crops were in and a daughter, Lois, was born in September, he went back to Montana in October 1918 and proved up in April 1919.
Homer eventually returned to Chase County to his wife and daughter to make his father's land his home. The Frank Clements Sr. moved to an acreage east of Imperial to make their home.
In August of 1924 another daughter, Wava, was born. This was also the year Homer and Caroline bought ten head of Holstein Heifers and one bull from Wisconsin to start a dairy herd. Homer farmed, and when the herd matured to cows, Homer and Caroline started a dairy and sold milk to stores around town. Milk sold for 10 cents a quart and even less at the stores. It was marketed in glass bottles which were returned to them for refilling. They sold milk from 1924 to 1928 at which time they stopped their dairy. They sold off some of the herd at a sale in 1929, but remained on the farm.
In August 1927 another daughter, Shirley, was born, and in October 1928, a son, Frank, was born.
In 1924 Homer purchased a Farmall tractor to help work the farm. Horses were also kept and used in the field.
When the drought in the 1930's came, Homer had to buy hay for the cows and feed for the hogs. Homer raised a number of hogs and also raised chickens and turkeys, which all helped make a living.
In 1944 Homer planted a shelter belt of 1000 trees with Caroline's and a hired man's help. They also planted 1000 trees west of the place, but rabbits chewed the bark, killing some of the trees.
In 1946 Frank Hr. graduated from high school and Frank was given ground to farm. He and his father farmed together. In 1962 Homer and Caroline retired and rented their place to Frank and his wife Alice. (Information provided to the Historical Society by the Homer Clements Family, and published in the Chase County History Vol. VIII)
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