All the branches of my family settled in Nebraska between 1861 (six years prior to statehood) and 1888. I was thus a Nebraskan well before my birth in 1954, which--through no fault of my own--occurred in Idaho, where my parents spent the first two years of their marriage. We remained in Nebraska until August 1968, when our immediate family moved to Mankato, Minnesota, my father having accepted a professorship at what was then Mankato State College.

Information relating to several of the Nebraska communities in which family members lived is contained on the linked pages.


The original Nebraskans included:

  • William and Laura (Merrick) Curtiss (both originally from Willington, Connecticut), their daughter Mary Irene, and her husband Horace Barmore. William and Horace had joined the Pikes Peak gold rush in 1860, and William was farming in Nebraska by the spring of 1863. The family settled at what became Adams, Gage County. Horace and Mary came by wagon from Cass County, Michigan in the fall of 1863. William was elected to the Nebraska legislature in 1878, but died before he could take his seat.

  • Thomas J. and Frances (Jordon) Disher, who came from Kosciusko County, Indiana in 1876, bringing their five children. They also settled near Adams. The Disher family was originally German, but had intermarried with other Virginian families by Thomas's time. Frances's father was from the South and her mother's people from New Jersey, many of them Quakers. 

  • Samuel Kirby Cox, a descendant of a long line of pioneers, who came to Nebraska in the mid 1870s. In 1878, he returned to Henry County, Illinois long enough to marry Ellen Margaret Patterson, of New England and Pennsylvania ancestry. Shortly after their marriage, Sam and Ellen settled on a farm near Burchard, in Pawnee County, and later lived in that town, where Sam owned a store. 

  • George Ludwig and Rena (Kuper) Utermohlen, who married in 1879 in Atchison County, the most northwesterly county in Missouri. In the bitter winter of 1888, they and their five children, including William Carl Utermohlen, crossed the Missouri River on the ice into Richardson County, Nebraska. They at first lived north of Falls City and later lived near Dawson. George migrated from Bollensen, Hannover, in 1867, a year after he had a horse shot from under him at the battle of Langensalza. George inadvertently threw most of his money into the fire the night before he left Bollensen, and was always a renter, never a land owner. Rena, at age 17, and her younger brother Jacob, at age 13, came by themselves in 1875 by boat from Ostfriesland to New York and by train from New York to Missouri.

  • Charles August Carsh, who was orphaned as a child by a cholera epidemic,  came to America from Silesia during the Civil War. He worked on riverboats on both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Near the end of the war, he met Tabitha Ann James and her family, who had sold their livery stable at Sparta, Tennessee and were moving to St. Joseph, Missouri to avoid threats by bushwhackers.  Charles and Tabitha were married at St. Joe in 1865 and soon thereafter moved to Richardson County, Nebraska, where they at first lived southeast of Verdon, moving in 1876 to a farm east of Humboldt. Living to age 98, Charles eventually divided three 160-acre farms among his nine children.

  • Also, Charles and Tabitha's oldest son--Charles, Jr.--and his wife Ida Mary Fowler. Ida was also an orphan, her mother having died in Attica, Indiana in 1872. She went to live with her aunt Mary (Getchell) Bissell. Mary's husband William had a son Orris who was suffering from an illness contracted during his service in the Civil War. They were advised to move West, and made it as far as Humboldt before Orris's health prevented him from going farther. He died in Humboldt in 1873.

  • And, Charles and Ida's daughter Eva, who married William Utermohlen. They owned a farm roughly equidistant from Dawson, Verdon, and Stella, which they lost by foreclosure in 1935. They remained on the farm as renters until 1945, when they bought a farm near Stella. William and Eva's son C. Robert Utermohlen became a teacher, school administrator, and later a college professor. In 1958, he became the Superintendent of schools at Hershey, Nebraska.