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Early Settlers

    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.

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Gust Dashofsky

        Gust Dashofsky ran the Bussell Mill at one time.  The dam went out three times and Gust became discouraged and quit and homesteaded in the southwest part of the county.  In his later years he told his daughter that one time he worked three days and three nights straight when they were real busy at the mill.
        People brought their wheat to the mill and took home as high as 25 to 30 sacks of flour at one time.  The Bussell Mill did not ship out flour; it was all for local people.
        In 1908 the Bussell Mill was called Lamar Roller Mill according to the water right documents.  The papers also state work was begun on the mill September 20, 1886 and the mill was in operation September 30, 1887 on NE 1/4 of SW 1/4 18-6-40.
        The Daschofskys had an orchard near their home at the mill with peaches, cherries and apples and they raised strawberries by the tubful.   They lived in a sod house in the Chase Community before moving to the mill site.   Mr. Daschofsky worked as a carpenter and walked from Chase to Imperial to his carpenter jobs.  Twelve of the Daschofsky children grew to manhood and womanhood One baby died in infancy and two other children died at an early age.  (Information was provided to the Historical Society by Anna Daschofsky Sweeney.)

James A. Dick

        James A. Dick brought his family to western Nebraska from Phillips, Nebraska in 1892 and homesteaded south of Ough where he operated a sorghum mill in addition to farming.  Dick moved to Wauneta in 1983 and looking around for a business established the first and only brick kiln in the county.  From the bricks of his kiln rose a two story school house, hotel, store building and a home for the Richard Moody family (which still stands, but has received a coat of stucco.)
        Most of his life James Dick was engaged in the real estate and insurance business.  Some of his attention was directed grain and livestock buying and selling.  In 1924 he took time out to run for the Nebraska Legislature from the 88th District and began serving in 1925.  The Legislature, in a resolution respecting the memory of James A. Dick said, "Whereas, James A. Dick was a highly esteemed and helpful citizen of the State of Nebraska and served in the Forty-third Session of this Legislature from the 88th Legislative District with marked ability, and Whereas, James A. Dick entered with Zeal and enthusiasm into every undertaking throughout his career as a legislator."
        The five Dick children were all born before the family came to Chase County, and are:  Nellie Edith, Fred William, Ina Myrtle, Iva Mae, and Leta Alma.  James Dick passed away in 1928, and his wife died in 1935.    (Information was provided to the Historical Society by Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Robertson.)

Newton Ditton

        Newton Ditton settled on a homestead in Spring Creek Canyon north of Wauneta in 1899 when he married Mary Sutherland.  He had lived in a sod house with his folks, the Alfred Dittons from 1886 until he married.  The sod for both his home and his parents' home was taken from the land along Spring Creek.   Leta Ditton Bauerle told researchers that both sod houses had board floors made of six-inch lumber.  They later added rang carpeting.
        The Dittons had an oblong stove which was called a trash burner.  They would burn willow logs that grew along the creek, along with cow chips and cobs, when they had them.  The chips and cobs would help to make the green willow logs burn.
        Leta also told how they only went to town about every two weeks in winter to take the eggs and cream in to sell, and to buy groceries.   Some of their land was sub-irrigated which enabled them to grow productive gardens in the summer.
        The three Ditton children were excited when they moved to a new two-story frame house in 1913.  There folks lived there until 1949; spending 50 years on their homestead.
        (Information was provided to the Historical Society by Leta Ditton Bauerle.)

 

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