The Jearys in sundry Seward stories More Nebraskan nitty gritty

This piece delves wider and deeper into local news items not-so-newly available online for Seward, Nebraska, as described in the Cutlock & Co piece Local papers for local people (March 2017). That looked at a family reunion, one listing of local family visits and an obituary.

Differing aspects of Jeary pioneers

In a simple search for Jeary in Nebraska, press cuttings for brother Edwin, a state senator and prominent person, tend to drown out Robert Jeary. It doesn’t help that he often appears as RJ rather than Robert (John)! But a focused look reveals that he was hardly a shy individual himself, and perhaps had some of the political leanings of his sibling.

School directorship

A dispute over a “little petty office” of local school director from Blue Valley Blade 17th August 1892:

Road commissioner

There is a series of entries for RJ Jeary’s appointment as Road Commissioner for G district. While this does clearly include some paperwork, as follows ….

Blue Valley Blade 28th July 1909: All land owners in G township are hereby notified to cut the weeds in front of their farms before the 15th of August, as provided by law. R. J. Jeary, Road commissioner for G town.

… it is far from a desk-bound appointment. He is also reported as perhaps being the busiest person in the county, repairing many road surfaces, drains etc. after recent heavy rains. Presumably at this time local roads would be largely dirt tracks.

Re-unions aplenty

Local papers for local people includes a cutting for the Jeary-connected Dixon family re-union. This was far from a lone event, as the following item from Seward Independent Democrat, 18th June 1914 shows.

No surprises in the names here, as the whereabouts of these offspring was pinned down for the Cutlock tree ages ago. However, it does beg such questions as “where is the daughter of Ellen Cameron?” – the eldest child and aged 20, perhaps Hazel had better things to do than visit grandparents. The Flowerdays are Mrs Jeary’s sister Emma and husband, with 8 children at this point – perhaps the seemingly random lone daughter is their youngest, Doris age 1.

Another reunion, for the Vogt family:

Seward County Independent 26 Jun 1996: Vogt family reunion Grandchildren of Robert and Emily Vogt gathered for a reunion Saturday, June 22, at the Goehner Inc. hall

Representing the Robert Vogt family were Edna and Marilyn Vogt, Seward, Jeary Vogt, Malverne, Pa., Jim Vogt and family, Ottumwa, Iowa, and Peggy Stahr, Waco.

The Edna mentioned here is a granddaughter of Mr and Mrs RJ (Robert and Jane) Jeary above. A useful check on whereabouts not that long ago.

Shipping, Sundaying and Surprising

Just another example of the surprisingly initimate information carried by the papers, presumably fed in by a local stringer who is no doubt closely conected to one or more family in that community. Turning Sunday into a verb is what caught my eye, although this use does make occasional appearances elsewhere.

But how was William Jeary surprised? Why, by who and was it pleasant? We’ll probably never know.

Local commentary

Sometimes the range of news shorts for a locality can appear a bit random. Here is an excerpt from Blue Valley Blade 1st June 1910, headed ‘Leahey Items’:

The farmers, since becoming owners of automobiles, are using the road drag and making smooth roads, but as soon as coming to the city limits of Seward it is like driving over brick bats to get into town.

Mrs. Lillian Furr of Stockham, is visiting at the home of her parents, Mr. R. J. Jeary and family.

Mr. Lew Brandes lost a valuable horse last Wednesday by becoming choked while eating grain.

Mr. J. D. Austin is confined in bed with a gathering on his knee.

Mr. Dave Palmer, J. D. Allen Wickersham and Mr, Austin, Meyer, shelled corn the past week, Mr. C. C. Neal doing the work.

The rain Saturday evening was very much appreciated and was needed pretty bad.

Mr. Albert Furr of Stockham, spent Sunday with Mr. R. J. Jeary and family and returned home Monday accompanied by his wife.

The wolves around Leahey are getting about as tame as dogs.

The farmers have commenced to plow corn.

Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Lyon and daughter Eva, left Friday for Peru, Nebr., to visit their daughter Mrs. E. H. Koch.

This was immediately followed in the running order by a lone piece of apparently no local relevance:

Over 100,000 automobiles have been registered in the state of New York alone, and the wonder is where all the money comes from to invest in these machines.

Marriages, obituaries and more

Wedding reports can appear as separate items or in the local collation, varying in size almost as much as the guest lists. This one from November 1900 (Seward Independent Democrat) comes with another family historian’s concern, the level of completeness of the census returns.

It’s not just the census returns that can be inaccurate, of course. So can newspapers, whether it is their fault or not. The obituary for RJ Jeary has an error which also appears in his wife’s and on some online family trees – the wedding year is shown as 1865 rather than 1866. Quite possibly a simple error but this does tend to obscure the fact that their first born arrived less than 2 months later than the real date. {1}


  1. The Norfolk marriage records are nowadays easily checkable online.
  2. Family surnames mentioned here which are connected to Robert and Jane Jeary include Furr, Hand, Siddens, Vogt, Zillig and of course Flowerday.

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