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 “Just Suppose….”



Looking back at what it took and who it took to make a Nemaha River and rocky hill side into a fine town in the early day. The Irish and the Penn Dutch who settled in the area with others cooperated and work hard to make a life for themselves on the prairie in the middle to late 1800’s. To those of us who were born and raised here the following story and people’s names can be of recall. One wonders what they would think and say looking down now at the town and the country?

Looking back over the decades, recalling history making people and event, we sometimes wonder if a different Dawson would have emerged from the accumulated years

IF…a man named Dawson had not decided to capitalize the
water pressure of the Nemaha River and start Dawson’s Mill….

IF the Government had not allotted to Stephen Miles a
good share of land in return for his maintenance of this section of the Pony Express route….

IF Doctor J. A. Waggener
and his bonny bride of sixteen had not seen fit to throw in their lot with the very early settlers of Richardson County….

Bob Draper’s retentive memory had not garnered the facts and figures around which many a tale of pioneer life is woven….

If Uncle Jake Heim and his wife Reginia, Jerry Fenton
and his wife, Catherine, the Bennetts, Barlows, Farrells, Iliffs, Drapers, et al, had not lived the “good neighbor” role in the days when neighborliness was the bulwark against discouragement and want….

If each man’s home, each man’s
church had not been shielded by a generous community spirit which prompted immediate restoration of that home or that
church was destroyed….

If a Christian forbearance had not
conquered an unchristian revenge, when an incendiary caused the destruction of St. Mary’s Church…..

If a kind
Providence had not prevented a serious epidemic of the flu in Dawson after the World War, when there was no doctor resident in town….

If “Bill” Alexander had not given a
mortgage on his good looks by marrying early, thus discouraging amorous glances from numerous Dawson misses
(Now that Bill’s hair is grey he is more distinguished
looking than ever)….

If the benches located outside the
various business establishments in town did not furnish a central point whence opinions arguments, irrefutable logic extended, with centrifugal force to the confines of the community molding—or do they? –local philosophy…..

 Grandma (Mrs. George Smith) had not won, far and wide, a
reputation for practical charity….

If True Stratton (Ulmer) had
not been available since a very small girl, as piano accompanist on any and every musical occasion….

If a school
teacher from SOMEWHERE (even the oldest inhabitant does not know whence) had not permanently impressed upon the children a twang which was a mixture of Missouri-Arkansas, Kentucky lingo, permanently, because today you will hear the children (and recently some pretty school ma’am’s) say “caow” for cow, “taown” for town, “haow” for how. That the twang is ineradicable is inexplicable to those of us who bear in mind that considerable of the ancestry of the community is a combination of Pennsylvania Dutch and Connecticut Irish.

The above article was compiled and taken from the
Historical and Business Review Edition of the Dawson Herald,
published in August of 1936 by Charles Ross, Publisher by Bob
Williamson. The entire edition can be purchased from the
Penn Colony of Nebraska.








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