Thursday, May 31, 2018


Maybe it was the depression. Maybe it was the big dust storms in 1934.  Maybe at 65 years old, Cicero Bell was just ready to retire from farming.

"We are sorry to loose another family from our midst. Mr. and Mrs. Cicero Bell have a sale on October 17 and will move to Aurora where Mr. Bell will take charge of his oil station there. The aid society of the Christian church will serve lunch that day." Aurora News-Register, October 12, 1934

HIS oil station?

Giltner Gazette, October 11, 1934, Transcribed below.
Son? Cicero has 6 sons, which ONE does this refer to?

 "Cicero Bell and Son, will hold a public sale 1 mile west and 2 1/2 miles north of Giltner, Wednesday, October 17th. They will offer 4 horses, 6 cattle, 11 hogs and a complete line of farm machinery. Sidders and Hagarity are auctioneers and the First National Bank in Aurora will clerk the sale.
Ed and Stanley Bell have purchased the Conoco Service Station located at the intersection of the SYA and KND highways at the northeast corner of Aurora. Elmer Foss who has operated the station for the past two months will move into the MacDougal residence on east M Street. The Bell brothers will handle Conoco product and will conduct the lunch room in connection with the Service Station."  Aurora News-Register, October 12, 1934 

I wonder what they served in their lunch room. There's a McDonald's at that corner now.

Aurora News-Register, October 12, 1934

Aurora News-Register, October 26, 1934

When I get a chance, I hope to find out how long the Bell Brothers Service Station was in business. Ed was married and had a daughter when he bought this station. My Grandpa, Stan, was single and 27 years old.  By 1937 he was working for the Nebraska Light & Power Company according to his Social Security application.

Maybe Art McGrath did business at the Bell Brothers Service Station.  Maybe his daughter Violet was with him sometimes. Violet, my Grandma, never learned to drive. She was 17 in 1934.

Transcription of Sale Bill:


Having purchased the Conoco Service Station at the northeast corner of Aurora  we will sell to the highest bidder at the farm 1 mile west and 2 1/2 miles north of Giltner, on
Wednesday, Oct. 17
commencing at one o'clock the following property
4  Head of Horses  4
One black mare, weight 1200, smooth mouth.  One black mare, weight 1400, smoth mouth
One black mare, weight 1400, smooth mouth.  Sorrel saddle pony, wt. 1100, smooth mouth.

6  Head of Cattle  6
One Holstein cow, fresh 6 weeks, 5 years old.  One black cow, giving milk, 4 years old.
One black cow, fresh 6 weeks, 3 years old.  One red cow, heavy springer, 7 years old.
One part Guernsey, fresh 5 months, 2 years old.  One red cow, heavy springer, 7 years old.

11  Head Summer and Fall Pigs  11
Four Hampshire Shoats, weight 125 pounds.  Seven Chester White Shoats, weight 50 pounds.

Farm Implements, Etc.
One Mitchell Grain Wagon; One rack and truck, One low-wheel wagon and box; One three-section harrow and cart; One 6-ft McCormick mower, good shape; One 5 ft. McCormick mower; One 10-ft hay rake; One single-row Western Bell lister; One 12-hole Buckeye drill; One field disc; One John Deere 12-in gang plow; One 6-in Burr Grinder, and Ford power.

About 5 tons corn fodder.   Some cane hay.    Stack of thistles.

One No. 12 DeLaval separator, nearly new; Cream cans; Lamps; Dishes; Ironing board; One cot; One dresser; Four rockers; One heating stove.

One 50-gallon oil barrel; One 15-gallon lard kettle; Grinding stone; Two sets harness; Four good leather collars; Forks; Scoop shovels; Some poultry wire, etc.; 1500-chick size Blue Flame brooder; Brooder house, 10x12; Two small brooder houses; Fifty White Leghorn pullets.


TERMS - Cash, or see clerk before sale if time is desired. All property at purchaser's risk when bid off and not to be removed until settlement is made.

C. BELL & SON, Owners
Sidders & Hagarity, Auctioneers  First National, Aurora, Clerk

Monday, May 21, 2018

Declaration of Intent of Henry Menke

Becoming a US citizen in the 1860's involved three different documents: the Declaration of Intent, the Petition and the Certificate. I have found the Declaration of Intent for Henry Menke, still searching for the others.

Here's a quick explanaton of the process from the National Archives website  (
General Rule: The Two-Step Process
Congress passed the first law regulating naturalization in 1790 (1 Stat. 103). As a general rule, naturalization was a two-step process that took a minimum of 5 years. After residing in the United States for 2 years, an alien could file a "declaration of intent" (so-called "first papers") to become a citizen. After 3 additional years, the alien could "petition for naturalization." After the petition was granted, a certificate of citizenship was issued to the alien. These two steps did not have to take place in the same court. As a general rule, the "declaration of intent" generally contains more genealogically useful information than the "petition." The "declaration" may include the alien's month and year (or possibly the exact date) of immigration into the United States.

                                      State of Ohio, Scioto County, SS
I, <Henry Menke>, do declare on oath, that
it is bona fide my intention to become a citizen of the United States,
and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign
Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly
to <The King of Hanover>
Sworn to, and subscribed in open Court, this <Seventh> day of 
<October>, A. D. 18<65>.     <signature of Henry Menke>
<J. C. Seuel>, Probate Judge, S. C.

                                 State of Ohio, Scioto County, SS
Be it remembered, that on the <7> day of <October>
A. D. 18<65>, <Henry Menke>, a free white person
an alien and native of <Hanover> , personally appeared
in open Court before me, <J. C. Seuel>, Probate Judge,
in and for said county, and declared on his solemn oath, that he
first arrived in the United States in the month of <September>
A. D. 18<59>, and that it is his bona fide intention to become a
citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance to
every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatsoever, and
particularly to <The King of Hanover>.
                                <signature of Henry Menke>
Signed and declared in open Court, the day and year above written.
                                 <J. C. Seuel>, Probate Judge. S. C.

The King of Hanover in 1865 was George Fredrick Alexander Charles Ernest, son of Ernest Augustus. George V, as he was known, was the last King of Hanover.

There are several Henry Menke's who immigrated from Germany, but comparing this signature from the top form

to the signature years later from Henry Menke's will, I feel pretty sure it's the same Henry Menke.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Friday's Faces from the Past - First Names Only

Besides their cute faces, one thing these children's photographs have in common is that there is a first name only written on the back of each one of them. As with several other of my Friday's Faces from the Past posts, I don't know the identity of these children. Another thing these four pictures have in common is that they once belonged to someone in my Negley family of Eldorado, Nebraska. These children are not relatives that I'm aware of, but they must have crossed paths with the Negley's at some point in time.

Gracie and Blanche had their picture taken at G G Bruckert studio in Harvard, Nebraska. Using the 1900 census, I found a family with daughters named Gracie and Blance who lived in Eldorado. Levi (age 43) and Maggie Kaufman (41), with their children Bennie (16), Winnie and Minnie (13), Grace (8) and Blanche (5).  About 30 miles away in Fairfield, there is another possible family with a Grace and Blanche - William (35) and Clara (37) Woolman with children Daisy (13), Mamie (11), Grace (9), Blanche (7), William (4) and Deborah Woolman (67).

Edna must only be about a year old in this picture. There is no photographer's logo, nothing to help identify her, but she might have been born near Eldorado, Harvard or Stockham, Nebraska. There are too many Edna's in that area in 1900 to try to guess what her last name could be without the date of the photo.

Lester has the sweetest smile! Again, Lester is a common name and there is no young child named Lester in 1900 living in Eldorado. I can't really narrow down a list of possibilities for him. Hopefully, someone will see this and have the same or similar photo that is labeled. 

Marie was photographed by J J Willy. I haven't found a J J Willy in the 1900 census, but there is a J A Willy and also a George J Willy (age 63) in Hebron, Nebraska. In 1910 George has moved to Sutton, Nebraska (within 30 miles of Eldorado). Both J A and George J, who it appears were father and son, were music merchants. Maybe photography was something one or both of them did as a side business or hobby.

Marie Stack, daughter of James and Katherine Stack was born in 1896.  Marie Traudt, grandaughter of Adam and Katie Traudt was born in 1898. Both of these families lived in Eldorado in 1900 and either one of them could be the girl with this sweet face.

If you can tell me about any of these cute kids, please leave a comment or send an email.