John E. Evans

Written By: nppladmin - May• 14•22
Original published to on May 13, 2022.

Welcome back to another Facebook Friday History! 

Today, we look at another early pioneer, patriotic American, and Civil War Veteran: John E. Evans. We also look at the home he lived in, which is now located at 302 Dixie Ave. So read on!

John E. Evans was born on November 7, 1846 in Blossburg, Pennsylvania to Evan and Margaret (Williams) Evans.  His parents were born in South Wales and emigrated to America in 1841, where the family settled in Pennsylvania. The family moved to Wisconsin in 1849 and were farmers. John was one of eleven children (1 and 2 were twins):

  1. Thomas, born in South Wales in 1838;
  2. Ester M., born in South Wales in 1838. Ester became a school teacher.;
  3. Evan W. Evans, born in South Wales in 1840;
  4. Margaret S. Evans, born in Pennsylvania in 1842. Margaret was also a school teacher.;
  5. Isaiah D. Evans, born in Pennsylvania in 1845;
  6. John E. Evans, born in Pennsylvania in 1846;
  7. Mary E. Evans, born in Pennsylvania in 1847;
  8. Ellen Evans, born in Wisconsin in 1850;
  9. Isaac H. Evans, born in Wisconsin in 1852;
  10. Albert Evans, born in Wisconsin in 1854; and
  11. Alice C. Evans, born in Wisconsin in 1858

John and two of his brothers served in the civil war. John enlisted in Wisconsin and served the Union Army in the First Wisconsin Cavalry, Company L. This regiment was constantly on the move and never remained more than two days in any single camp. In addition to acting as scouts and reconnaissance for the Union Army, the regiment also participated in: the Battle of Chickamauga, the march to the sea with Sherman, and assisted in the capture of Jefferson Davis. 

After his discharge, John attended the Silsby Academy in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

Like many other war veterans, John traveled west and visited Salt Lake City in the Spring of 1866. He traveled west with his brother Isaiah (known as I.D.) and a friend, David Evans (no relation to John). Over the following years, he spent time in Utah, then mining, prospecting and farming in Montana, Idaho, and Oregon. In 1870, John returned to Wisconsin and by 1872, John came to Nebraska. John settled in North Platte and went to work in the general merchandise store of Miller & Penniston. 

On June 8, 1881, John E. Evans married Miss Marion Hall.  Marion was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC).  The WRC was an official women’s auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Before Marion married John, she was a teacher in the North Platte schools. John and Marion only had one child, Everett H. Evans.  Everett went on to become a practicing lawyer, a graduate of Ann Arbor and twice elected mayor of his native town. He served two years in the navy during World War I.

In 1885, John had a house built at 102 East 3rd Street for $310.00.  After John’s death, his son Everett moved his law offices into the building. In 1963, the house was moved to 302 Dixie Avenue. And the 102 East 3rd Street location became a new professional building. The new building was built by Harvey Applegate from Sutherland, Nebraska. Applegate named the building “The Evans Building” in honor of the Evans family.

John was a member of the GAR and he was a prominent flag holder and military supporter during the World War I years (1914-1918). John was also a comrade and adviser to The Sammy girls, a wonderful organization of patriotic girls during WWI. While John hated the necessity of war, he was passionate about patriotism and his love of the flag.

John Evans was quite political and according to the many newspaper articles, everyone knew where they stood with John. In 1901, he served one term as a representative in the Nebraska legislature. John served as GAR assistant adjutant general and in 1912, John was the GAR department commander.  He served as postmaster of North Platte for approximately one year; county clerk; clerk of the district court; deputy secretary of state; member of the legislature and served for nine years as Registrar of the United States Land Office.  John also worked as cashier of the North Platte National Bank. He was very knowledgeable on the following subjects and many sought out his information: pension issues, land titles, and local & state government issues.

After an illness that lasted almost a year, John passed away in his home on December 27, 1921 at age 73. Marion died in her home after many years of ill-health on February 9, 1939. Both John and Marion are buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

Thank you for reading!


Richard “Dick” Neve

Written By: nppladmin - May• 07•22
Originally published to on May 6, 2022.

Welcome back to another Facebook Friday History!

Richard “Dick” Arthur Neve was born on June 2, 1905 to Samuel and Lucinda (Drew) Neve in Merna, Nebraska. Dick’s father, Samuel was married twice and he had four children with his first wife, and THIRTEEN (13) children with his second wife, Lucinda; Dick was the youngest child.

In 1905, the Neve family moved to Cliff, Nebraska, and in 1920 they moved to Ravenna, Nebraska.  By 1930, Dick moved to North Platte when he was 25 years old, and opened up a barber shop, Dick’s Barber Shop, located at 808 North Jeffers Street.

In his spare time, Dick started up his own band called the Dick Neve Orchestra. They were popular in the North Platte area and held dances frequently from 1939-1959.

Dick married three women.  On September 5, 1925, he married his first wife, Ruth Vivian (Peaker) (1908-1971) and they had two children together:

  1. Leroy Richard Neve (1926-2014); and
  2. Betty Jeanette Neve (1927-2015).

Ruth and Dick were married approximately 25 years, the longest marriage of all of his wives.

Sometime around 1950, Dick and Ruth get a divorce. Ruth remarried Carl Perkins and they lived out their lives near Kelso, Washington. Ruth passed away in 1971 and is buried in Washington.

On May 31, 1952, Dick married his second wife, Betty M. Felty in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1955, Betty M. Neve asked for a divorce from Dick. It was granted in 1956.

On July, 10, 1959, Dick remarried his third wife, Rose Munsinger (1903-1980) in Pennington, South Dakota. Dick and Rose are buried together in the North Platte Cemetery. Dick passed away on February 18, 1968 in his home in North Platte, Nebraska.

If the name or person, Dick Neve seems “familiar” to you, it could be because the Lincoln County Historical Museum has the Dick’s Barber shop in the Museum village. Be sure to take a look at the barbershop photographs attached to this post. There is a great photograph from 1960 of Dick cutting his brother Bill’s hair.  And if you want to reminisce further, be sure to stop out at the Lincoln County Historical Museum this summer!

Thank you for reading!


Janet McDonald

Written By: nppladmin - Apr• 30•22
Originally published to on April 29, 2022.

Today’s Facebook Friday post looks at a problem today that you may be able to help solve, and we look at the person who was instrumental in making this happen in the first place, library & history lover and library/museum supporter, Janet McDonald.

Did you know that the North Platte Public Library’s elevator is permanently broken?  In the fall of 2021, after 43 years of service, the Library’s elevator gave its final ride and is no longer operational.

The Library has experienced several budget cuts and this expense was unplanned and unbudgeted. So, the Library is kicking off a “Give Us a Lift!” campaign to raise funds for a new elevator.  Consider giving towards this worthy cause by donating to the NPPL Foundation at:  

As our library patrons know, the library facility was built with a mezzanine level overlooking the main body of the library. Library services on the mezzanine level are: Young Adult Collections, Nebraska Collection, Genealogy Collections, Archived newspapers and magazines, Computer Center, and Library staff office spaces. These collections and services take up too much space to bring down to the first floor, and an elevator is needed by all sorts of people utilizing the mezzanine level: older citizens, persons who have mobility issues (crutches, scooter, wheelchair, etc.), parents/caregivers with strollers and small children, etc. Therefore, we need to put in a new elevator and the total cost is estimated at $300,000 dollars. We are getting our “Give us a Lift!” campaign kicked off during the month of May.

So let’s look at a little elevator history.  The North Platte Public Library located at 120 W 4th Street was built in 1967, and when originally built, it did not have an elevator. By 1970, it was apparent that in order to utilize the mezzanine level that an elevator would be needed.  And this is where Miss Janet McDonald comes in.  Read on!

Janet McDonald was the only surviving daughter of William H. and Mary “Minnie” (Belton) McDonald. She was born September 13, 1896 in North Platte and attended North Platte High School. During High School, Janet served on the Roundup committee as a student assistant (1911-1912).    Here are two inserts from the NPHS Roundup:

November 1911 Roundup…

“After tricking the whole H. S. for a couple of weeks, the Sophomores succeeded in having their class party entirely unmolested at the home of Janet McDonald. The house was beautifully decorated with class colors, blue and white. After an evening of fun, the party broke up with their class yells.”

December 1911 Roundup…

“The Esperanto club held a very pleasant meeting at the home of Janet McDonald, Dec. 9. For once all members were present on time. After an interesting program had been given the rest of the evening was spent in playing games, using the Esperanto in speaking.”  Researchers note: Esperanto is an artificial language created in 1887 as an international language for communication, based on roots from the chief European languages.

After High School, Janet attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York as well as the Northwestern School of Music in Evanston, Illinois. Janet enjoyed singing and played the piano. During her twenties, Janet enjoyed college, taking a semester or two from both Columbia University and the University of Nebraska.

Although Janet never married and hand no children, she was very involved in the North Platte community and belonged to many local clubs & organizations. She belonged to:

  1. American Association of University Women (AAUW);
  2. Travel and Study Club;
  3. Presbyterian Church Women’s Circles;
  4. Presbyterian Women’s Association;
  5. Daughter of the American Revolution-Sioux Lookout Chapter (charter member);
  6. Monday Musicale;
  7. Bridge Club;
  8. PEO (charter member of EB chapter)
  9. Eastern Star (Sigma Chapter No. 55)-50-year member;
  10. North Platte Public Library Board member

She was frequently the hostess and guest speaker for many of the organizations in which she was involved. In her leisure time, Janet also enjoyed playing golf and won the 1928 Ladies handicap Tournament.

Janet McDonald died at age 75 on May 22, 1972 in her home.  Her home was the residence located at 600 S Carr Avenue. 

Miss Janet McDonald’s Last Will and Testament was lengthy and her estate was left to a small group of people and several organizations. The largest share of the McDonald estate was designated for a main building for the North Platte College and the will stipulated that the building be named and known as the “McDonald-Belton Building.” This building was constructed and is still the main Mid-Plains Community College building located off of State Farm Road.

Janet also left $15,000 to the North Platte Public Library for the specific purpose of installing an elevator in the library building. Her will stipulated that if the elevator had already been added by the time of Miss McDonald’s death, the money was to be used to purchase art and music books. Janet also left all her remaining books, pamphlets, magazines, music, scrapbooks and newspaper clippings to the library. Hence, the City kicked in more funds and the elevator was added to the building around 1976.

We hope that you consider helping our fund next week during North Platte Giving Day. Look for more upcoming “Give Us a Lift” Elevator Campaign fundraising events over the coming year. Please contact Sky Seery, Library Director for more information: 308-535-8036 or

Thank you for reading!


William “Bill” H. McDonald

Written By: nppladmin - Apr• 23•22
Originally published to on April 22, 2022.

Today’s Facebook Friday post continues our look at the McDonald Family.  Last month, we highlighted Charles McDonald and today’s post highlights one of his sons, William “Bill” H. McDonald.

Bill’s philosophy of life was stated on his 80th birthday: “Just live and don’t be afraid to work. Some men get all worn out trying to accumulate wealth and never get around to enjoy it.” Read on, for more on this remarkable man.

William Henry McDonald was born at Cottonwood Springs, Nebraska on June 14, 1861 to Charles and Orra (Henry) McDonald. He was the second of seven children. Although other white children, notably Felix Boyer (1857) were born before William McDonald in what was to become Lincoln County; McDonald is reported to have been the first one born after the County was formally organized by his father and others. The McDonald Family became famous for many “firsts” in Lincoln County. 

William attended the first school in 1866, which was held in a dugout, and later at Fort McPherson. He was also a student in the first log schoolhouse in North Platte and in 1868-1869, and North Platte High School.  He also attended a private school in Omaha, Nebraska. His later education was acquired in Bailey’s Commercial College in Keokuk, Iowa, and Lincoln University in Lincoln, Illinois.

In addition to being well educated, he grew up a hard working pioneer.  As soon as he could ride a horse (approximately age five or six), he began herding cattle and became known as the “youngest bull whacker’ in the county.  Handling cattle was his greatest joy as a young boy. When he was only ten years old, he drove two yoke of oxen and hauled hay across the Platte River even though he was too small to lift the end of an ox yoke!  In 1873, his father, Charles, started a big farm adjoining North Platte, as well as operated a general store in North Platte.

  1. As a teen, William:
  2. Attended school;
  3. Drove a delivery wagon after school;
  4. Worked on the farm, looking after the stock cattle which had to be driven to and from their grazing grounds. The grazing grounds were sometimes only a mile, but other times as far as forty miles away.
  5. Assisted in running the general store;
  6. Performed the duties of a regular cowboy (attending roundups and driving cattle to market).

In 1878, the McDonald State Bank was established by Charles McDonald, and in 1882, William began working at the bank. He started as a janitor, eventually working as a messenger, collector, and bank-teller.  By 1884, he was promoted to cashier. On September 4, 1894, William was appointed as Receiver of the United States Land Office in North Platte. He stayed working at the land office until September 1898.

On June 16, 1886, William H. McDonald married Miss Mary “Minnie” Belton, daughter of James and Caroline (Graham) Belton.

Minnie’s parents settled in North Platte in 1870, so, her family was also part of the early pioneers of our county. She too attended the old log school and first North Platte High School. After graduating from the Western Female College at Oxford, Ohio, Minnie returned to North Platte and became a bookkeeper in her father’s mercantile store. 

In the first years of their marriage William and Minnie had heartbreak with the birth and death of their first two children.  Then, miraculously, the third daughter survived:

  1. Orra McDonald, Oct 29,1887. Died in infancy, unknown causes. Re-Buried in North Platte Cemetery in 1906);
  2. Minnie L. McDonald, Nov 21-22, 1888. Died in infancy, unknown causes. Buried in North Platte Cemetery; and
  3. Janet Belton McDonald, Sept 13, 1896-May 24, 1972. Died in her own home (600 South Carr) and will be featured in a future Facebook Friday history. Buried in North Platte Cemetery.

In 1898, William changed his career direction and started working in the life insurance business. However, after his father became ill, William returned to the bank as a cashier. When the bank was incorporated under the name of McDonald State Bank on January 2, 1902, he continued as cashier of the new institution. In 1911, William was elected vice president.  In April, 1919, following the death of his father, he was chosen Bank President.

For many years William supported the banking industries, by becoming a stockholder and acting as officer of various Nebraska Banks. He was also a charter member of the Nebraska Banking Association. In 1903 he helped organize the Maxwell State Bank and was its president for about twelve years. In Jun 1906, he incorporated as the chief stockholder for the Gandy Bank and bought out the old Bank of Gandy, becoming its president. When the Stapleton branch of the Union Pacific road was completed to Stapleton, changed the Bank to the Bank of Stapleton, where it is now the oldest and largest bank in Logan county. He also served as president of the Bank of Stapleton.

William also served a short term as a member of the Board of Education in North Platte. He helped incorporate and organize the North Platte County Club in 1916, being chairman of the committee which located and bought 146 acres of land adjoining the city and built a fine club house and other building at a cost of about $12,000. When the club house was formally opened on June 28, 1920, Mr. McDonald was president of the club.

In policies, he usually voted as a democrat.  He was affiliated with the Platte Valley Lodge No. 32, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons since April 1889, was a Past High Priest of Euphrates Chapter No. 15, Royal Arch Mason, past commander of Palestine Commandery No. 13, Knights Templar, and was also a life member of Tangier Temple of the Mystic Shrine, member of the Elk Lodge No. 985.  The family was a Presbyterian.

Minnie died on February 28, 1945 in a hospital in Denver, Colorado. She had been seeking medical treatment at the time she passed away.  She was buried in the North Platte Cemetery on March 3, 1945.

On June 14, 1961, William H. McDonald turned 100 years old. His birthday made front page news, even though no party was planned as he had been ill and planned to spend the day reading.  One thing mentioned in the birthday article that hasn’t been mentioned here was, “…He is affiliated with various Masonic lodges, the Elks, was vice president of the Transcontinental Highway Association, the Great Plains Highway Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.”

Then, on June 15, 1961, the North Platte Telegraph-Bulletin ran the following article:

“William H. McDonald Dies; 100th Birthday:

His birthday flowers were still fresh and beautiful Wednesday night when death came to William H. McDonald at the age of 100 years. Long-time chairman of the board of the McDonald State Bank, Mr. McDonald had been failing rapidly in the past few months.  Only yesterday cards, telegrams and flowers poured in as the hundredth anniversary arrived. A few hours later, he was dead.

Mr. McDonald spent his last day semi-conscious, thus was unable to take part in any celebration of the historic event.  With him, were his daughter, Janet, and his nurses. 

Well known as the first white child to be born in Lincoln County, Mr. McDonald had become something of a legend wherever he was known.  A close friend of Buffalo Bill, he loved nothing better than to reminisce with friends about the first rodeo to be held, about the exploits of Buffalo Bill and the men who rode with him of the Buffalo Bill Wild West show, which the bank financed.

Extremely active until the last couple of years, Mr. McDonald was known to untold thousands of people. Last year he received the “Gold Jordan” medal as the oldest Nebraska Mason. His father had once received that honor.

Other details of his history were published in Wednesday’s edition of the Telegraph-Bulletin. He is survived by his daughter Janet McDonald of North Platte; a brother, James B. McDonald of Omaha and a niece, Mrs. William J. Daub of Fostoria, Ohio. Funeral services will be held at 2p.m. Saturday in the Adams Swanson Chapel with the Rev. George H. Olson, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church officiating. Burial will be in North Platte Cemetery with Masonic rites at gravesite.”

If you want to read a personal account from an interview with William Henry McDonald, (from “American memory: American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers Project, 1936-1940: Mr. Wm McDonald) click on this link:

Lastly, attached are pictures of William H. McDonald’s home.  The original home was quite grand back in the day. It was moved from its original site and the color photo is a more recent photograph of the home. Thank you for reading!


North Platte Public Library Construction

Written By: nppladmin - Apr• 16•22
Originally published to on April 15, 2022.

In celebration of public libraries everywhere, this week’s Facebook Friday celebrates the construction of our very own North Platte Public Library.

The following post article and attached photographs are from “City Bones: Landmarks of North Platte Nebraska, second edition,” by Kaycee Anderson and Steve Olson; published and funded by the Lincoln County Historical Museum, 1912.

On July 27, 1904, William H. McDonald sent a short letter to the librarian of the Carnegie Library in Cheyenne Wyoming, stating, “Knowing no one to whom to apply for the necessary information, I take the liberty of addressing you and requesting information as to the proper procedure to be taken to obtain a Carnegie Library for a town of this size. I will thank you for any information on the subject and greatly appreciate some.”

Some time passed, whether to gain support for such an institution in the community or to follow the procedures that may have come in reply to McDonald’s letter, but eventually, on April 14, 1910, the North Platte Telegraph quoted a letter dated April 8, 1910, received by Mayor Patterson, stating in part, “If the city agree by resolution of the council to maintain a free public library at a cost of not less than twelve hundred dollars a year, and provides a suitable site for the building for North Platte.” This type of constraint on the requesting community was common only to Andrew Carnegie at the time and changed philanthropy forever. At the next city council meeting, a Library Board of Directors was established to oversee the project of building a public library in North Platte.

The first board meeting was May 9, 1910, and the minutes indicate that the original board members were: John Bratt, Charles McDonald, Butler Buchanan (elected chairman), E.T. Tramp, E.F. Seeberger, Dr. Nicholas McCabe, and Miss Annie Kramph (elected secretary.) Two remaining members, who were appointed by Mayor Patterson, were not present at the first meeting; they were W.T. Wilcox and E. A. Cary.

On May 19, 1910, the Knights of Columbus offered portions of Lot 1 and Lot 2 of Block 146, Original Town of North Platte, for the sum of $3,000. This site was apparently not liked or the sum was too high, for discussions continued for the next several months. However, this was the site that ultimately became the North Platte Public Library. Other sites discussed included the High School Block (current Wells Fargo Bank site), and the city-owned lots on West Front Street.

On January 24, 1911, the first round was rejected due to a tied board in the vote to award the contract. The building construction contract selected was for $8,676.00. Platte Plumbing and Heating Company won the plumbing and heating contract for $851.50, and North Platte Electric Light and Gas Company got the $86.20 contract to wire the building.

On April 10, 1912, the Carnegie Library opened to the public with an informal reception and speeches by Mayor Patterson, Dr. McCabe (Library Board President), and Miss Templeton (Secretary of the State Library Board). Mayor Patterson, who personally donated the first $500 in funding, is quoted in the April 12, 1912 edition of the Telegraph stating, “There is no act of my life of which I am more proud than that which marks my connection with the establishment of this library in North Platte. We can look forward to the day when all of us will be gone; knowing that the work we have started here will be doing good toward the advancement of the intellectual life of the city.”

In 1925, the building finally got restrooms installed.

In 1940, an addition was added onto the back side (west) of the building. Today, visitors can easily distinguish between the brick and foundation used for the addition and the materials used for the original building.

In 1967, a new library building was built behind and to the west of the original Carnegie Library. The new library opened in the fall of 1967, freeing up the old Carnegie Library for other uses. In 1968 it was part of the Mid-Plains Vocational Technical School; in 1973 it became the Community Center, a precursor to today’s Senior Center; in 1985 the building housed the Senior Center, RSVP, North Platte Handi-Bus Transportation System and the Clean City Committee. The building sat vacant and was used for storage between 1993 and 1998; then in 1999, the old Carnegie Library became home to the North Platte Area Children’s Museum. 

The North Platte Public Library celebrated its centennial in 2012.

April 3-9, 2022 celebrated National Library week. National Library Week was first sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association (ALA) and continues to be celebrated during the month of April by libraries (school, public, academic and special) across the United States.

Thank you for reading!