Allen Wilson Tout – Lincoln County’s Ornithologist

Written By: nppladmin - Feb• 11•22
Originally published to facebook.com/NorthPlattePL on February 4, 2022.

Welcome back to Facebook Friday History! Did you know that February 18-21, 2022 is the Great Backyard Bird Count? Click here for more information: https://www.birdcount.org/… And read on for a fascinating North Platte bird lover who would have counted his birds, for sure!

Allen Wilson Tout was born in 1876 to Joseph Allen and Celestia (Gray) Tout) in Sutton, Nebraska. Allen was the oldest of eight children, and his father was a carpenter. Allen always went by his middle name, “Wilson”.

From: RG5117.AM Wilson Tout, 1886-1951 at history.nebraska.gov :

“As a young boy, Tout had collected large numbers of birds’ eggs from the prairie near his home, but as he grew older, he began to realize how much damage his collecting had caused to the bird population. He resolved to teach his young students about birds and wildlife in the classroom. He hoped that this would satisfy their natural curiosity and that understanding would prevent them from destroying nests and killing the adults.

In 1894, Tout answered an advertisement laced by Isadore S. Trostler, who was trying to establish an ornithologists’ organization in Nebraska, but the Nebraska Ornithologists’ Association was not formed until May 1899. Two months later it joined with the Nebraska Ornithological Club, and in December of 1899, the name Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union was chosen for the combined group. Wilson Tout was a charter member and lifetime supporter of the organization. Among the charter members was his future wife, Eva Nell Harrison, a teacher from York, Nebraska. The courtship had begun in high school in York. Nell shared Wilson’s belief that education would provide the best protection for birds, and also taught nature studies in the classroom. They married on July 30, 1903.”

Source: https://history.nebraska.gov/collections/wilson-tout-rg5117am

Wilson Tout graduated from York High School in York Nebraska, and then went on to York College, where he graduated with a teaching degree. During summer breaks at York College, Wilson attended the University of Nebraska. He taught school in Utica public and Clay Center schools for two years (1899-1901), then to Dunbar, Nebraska, where he remained for six years (1901-1907).

In 1907, Professor Tout came to North Platte as principal of the high school. Nell and Wilson had a son, Harrison, who was born in July 1905 and Nell was pregnant with their second child, Rebecca, born in October 1907. In 1908, Wilson was promoted to Superintendent, a position he held for the next twelve years. At that time, North Platte had six separate schools with fifty-two teachers under Tout’s management. The enrollment for the North Platte public Schools at that time was about 1,800 students.

During his time in North Platte, Wilson Tout was not simply a School Superintendent, but a very community-minded individual. By 1908-1909, He was a supporter and secretary for the North Platte Chautauqua Association. He served as judge at a state declamatory contest (Speech/Debate). He conducted County Teacher institutes; and attended County Superintendent and Teacher Association meetings all over western Nebraska. In 1910, Tout dedicated the newly constructed Lincoln School.

Wilson Tout remained the Superintendent until July 1, 1920. He resigned to purchase the Lincoln County Tribune from Ira Bare, who had operated that newspaper for about 35 years. The entire Tout family helped in the production of the newspaper and Wilson served as editor-publisher for twenty-nine years, until he retired at the age of 74.

From 1920-1949, the Tout’s passion for birds (ornithology) was clearly evident. The North Platte Bird Club was organized April 7, 1934. In 1954, the club name was changed to honor Mr. Tout, and became the Tout Bird Club. The Tout Bird Club dissolved in 1982. In 1938, Wilson began publishing “Lincoln County Bird” segments and articles in his newspaper. By 1947, Wilson Tout published a book, “Lincoln County Birds.”
Tout was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons in North Platte. He was also a member of the Musicians’ Union and played in both the band and orchestra.

Mrs. Nell Tout was equally as accomplished as her husband. Before she was married, she too taught in both the elementary and high schools in York, Nebraska. During World War I, she was chairman of the surgical dressing division of the Lincoln County chapter of the American Red Cross. She served as president and various officers in the North Platte Bird Club, Travel and Study Club, Sioux Lookout chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and North Platte Woman’s club. She was active in the Methodist church and taught Sunday school. She also served as president of the Nebraska Ornithologists Union. Nell also maintained a bird banding station of the USDA Biology survey.

During all their years in North Platte, the Tout family lived at 621 West 3rd Street.
Eva Nell (Harrison) Tout died on June 26, 1942, age 64.

Allen Wilson Tout died June 18, 1951, age 75. Approximately one month earlier, The Nebraska Bird Review had taken a photograph of Wilson and it was featured in the July issue of this periodical.

Join us next week for more North Platte history!

Le Dioyt Home at 403 W 6th ST

Written By: nppladmin - Feb• 11•22
Originally published to facebook.com/NorthPlattePL on January 28, 2022.

Welcome to Facebook Friday History! Since so many of you enjoyed last week’s Richardson House post, I thought we would do another one! Today’s post features a home that many of our readers will remember, every time they drive over the Willow Street Overpass. Read on to learn about the Railroader who built this beautiful home!

William Herman Le Dioyt was born in Illinois on November 22, 1866 to Roswell and Anna (McCabe) Le Dioyt. His family came to Keith County to homestead in 1882. They farmed 35 miles southwest of North Platte when Keith County was just unbroken prairie.

Note: Researchers found several spellings of the surname (LeDoiyt, Le Doiyt, LeDioyt, and Le Dioyt), but Le Dioyt is the spelling on the headstone; and the name that will be used for this post.

On February 28, 1892, Herman, as he was called, came to North Platte to marry his sweetheart, Anna Guynan at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Father Waldron officiated. They had three children:

  1. Clark (1893-1926). Clark married Kathryn Schmidt in 1920. Clark passed away 1926 at the age of 33 after his heart was weakened from a prolonged illness.
  2. Anna Marie (1896-1979). Anna married William Alexander O’Donnell on March 1, 1919 and they lived around the Alliance area. By 1940, she was widowed and moved to California. She died in 1979 and is buried in Forest Lawns Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, California.;
  3. Adele (1901-1922). Adele passed away in 1922 at age 21. After graduation, she worked for the Lincoln County Tribune as a reporter. In January 1922, she was very ill with tonsillitis. She died unexpectedly of pneumonia five weeks later.
  4. They also raised two nephews, George Thayer and Merton E. Thayer and a niece, Isabelle Thayer.

In 1900, the Le Dioyt’s moved to North Platte, and Herman went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as a brakeman. He later became a conductor and retired in 1940. He served as treasurer of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers for 28 years. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Elks.

Le Dioyt signed a contract for a new home on June 5, 1908 for a two-story cement block house, according to the North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune. The address was 403 West 6th Street in North Platte. The contract price was to be $4,000. On June 30th the paper announced that the house was well underway and on December 4 1908, the paper said the family would be moving in soon and it was one of the finest houses in the city. The final cost of the house was $4,500.

The front of the house (facing South on 6th Street) has a very distinctive arch on the first floor porch, which you can see in all the photographs. The east side of the home (facing the Willow Viaduct) has a distinctive two story bay window.

In February of 1925 the Union Pacific Magazine wrote a story titled, “North Platte, Nebraska: A Union Pacific Creation”. At the end of the article the magazine featured several pages of homes in North Platte built by employees of the Union Pacific. Le Dioyt’s house was one of the many featured.
In 1942, Herman and Anna celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at their lovely home.
William Herman Le Dioyt (age 81) passed away on October 26, 1950, his wife Anna passed away three years later in 1953.

Richardson Home at 1st and Willow

Written By: nppladmin - Feb• 11•22
Originally published to facebook.com/NorthPlattePL on January 21, 2022.

Today’s North Platte history, features a beautiful home on First and Willow Streets. The design of the house is unique, in that it has a round turret with a conical peak. This home was built by Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Keith Richardson. I am sure that many of our local readers will instantly recognize this house.
Floyd Keith “Sam” Richardson, was born on July 1, 1902 to Samuel and Minnie Rose (Newman) Richardson in Guide Rock, Nebraska. Floyd was the second of five children. Although Floyd enlisted in the military for World War I and World War II, he was not called to serve.

Floyd and Mildred (his soon to be wife) were high school sweethearts in Guide Rock, Nebraska. Floyd graduated in 1921 and Mildred in 1922. On March 3, 1925, Floyd and Mildred (Crowell) Richardson were married. They lived in McCook and Wyoming, prior to moving to North Platte in 1937. Floyd ran a cattle ranch, raised quarter horses, and owned several gasoline service stations, in western Nebraska. They had three children together: Rex E (1927- 2008, buried in North Platte Cemetery with his wife) and Tedd Floyd (1932-2008, buried in El Paso TX) and Kathleen (1935-present).

Mrs. Richardson got a construction permit to build a home on June 8, 1938 at 323 West 1st Street. The home was estimated to cost $7,000 and would be brick. On September 9, the North Platte Daily Bulletin stated that the “Attractive seven-room house is nearing completion”. The article called the house a “French Normandy” style of house. It described the vestibule as a round tower and the floor was paved with flagstones. The north and east walls of the living room were knotty pine and the other walls were covered with Currier and Ives prints. The kitchen was also paneled with knotty pine and was completely modern. All doors and handles in the house were wrought iron. The bathroom was fitted with the latest of modern fixtures. The utility room was of extra interest as it had the furnace, hot water heater, washing machine, laundry tubs, shower and toilet and a lot of cupboard space. The house also had an attached garage and a screened porch at the back of the house. All materials used in the building of the house came from local businesses. The rock wall along the sidewalks was built with stone from a structure torn down here in North Platte. The grape vines growing on the wall came from Mrs. Richardson’s grandfather’s vines from Belgium. The Richardson’s paid the builders in cash each week allowing them to move into a debt free home when it was finished in 1939. This was quite astounding, as the country was just coming through the Great Depression of the 1930’s.

Floyd died on December 26 1976, in a local North Platte hospital. Mildred died in 1997. Mildred eventually sold the home in North Platte, and moved to Central City, to be near her daughter Kathleen. At the time of Mildred’s passing, she was survived by her three children, nine grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren! Both Mildred and Floyd K “Sam” Richardson are buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

In 2007, this home and its gardens/landscaping were highlighted on a Gardens & Gables Tour. At that time, much of the original 1938 interior features were still present in the home. Researchers do not know what remains of the original interior today. But it still is a unique and beautiful home that always catches one’s eye when they drive by.

Thank you for reading and we will see you next week for more North Platte history!!

Mable Bell (Crosslin) Kaufman

Written By: nppladmin - Feb• 11•22
Originally published to Facebook.com/NorthPlattePL on January 14, 2022.

Welcome back for another post about North Platte History. Sometimes, when researching for our North Platte history, the story takes us down the rabbit hole. And, today’s story is one such tale. Researchers had a heck of a time following all the breadcrumbs, but we hope you enjoy the tale of Mrs. Mable Bell Crosslin-Beberniss-Sat-Kaufman, Minner-Vosburg (aka Mable Kaufman); owner of a house of prostitution; seller of alcohol during prohibition; married five times; died a wealthy woman; and spent most of her adult life, right here in North Platte, Nebraska.

Why was this story a challenge? Well, researchers had to go through ALL the variations of names, so Mable vs Mable (Mabel); Crosslin vs Crosslen; Kaufman vs Kauffman vs Caufman vs Cauffmann! Not to mention, some not-so-honest people deliberately used different married or former married names to accomplish what they wanted, “under the radar” from police! Please, read on and enjoy!!

Mable Bell Crosslin was born on February 14, 1893 in Grand Island to McBride “Mack” and Adel “Della” (Knight) Crosslin. Mable’s mother dies in 1900 when Mable is 7 years old. According to the 1900 US Census, Mable stays in Grand Island and is raised by her grandparents, Andrew and Charity McKnight. She has a close connection with her grandmother and frequently returns to Grand Island to see her. Mable completed the 8th grade, and by 1910, her father has remarried and she is back living with them in Enid Oklahoma. On Sept 1, 1910, Mable makes headlines in the Enid, Oklahoma newspaper, charging her father with inappropriate advances. Her father denied all charges, paid his bond, the charges were dropped, and Mable left home.

In 1912, Mable, age 19, Mable marries Walter W. Beberniss and moves to Cheyenne Wyoming. In 1914, Mable makes her way back to Grand Island (to her grandparent’s home) and files for divorce. She alleges that the reason for the divorce was cruelty by her husband and that she was “compelled to work to support herself.” Mable is given back her maiden name of Crosslin.

In 1915, Mable married Bill Sat, a Greek railroad worker, in Sioux City Iowa. Researchers believe that the man’s name was actually something like Bill Tzat, given the Greek connection.

Somehow, Mable got back to North Platte, and by 1916, she began working as a waitress. At age 23, (March 28, 1916) Mable married William L Kaufman in Grand Island, Nebraska. William was working as a brakeman and they lived at 611 ½ Locust Street in North Platte.
Mable starts working and eventually owning a rooming house. Mable actually operated several rooming houses from 1916 to 1940.

A “rooming house” (also called a “multi-tenant house”) is a dwelling with multiple rooms rented out individually, in which the tenants share bathroom and kitchen facilities. During the 1920’s, houses of prostitution and rooming houses, crossed paths; and starting in 1920, Mable becomes the owner and operator of several rooming houses, including: Atlas Rooming House, the Lotus House, the Cody Hotel, etc. Newspaper accounts from 1919-1922, shows Mable charged and fined, for operating a house of ill-repute (prostitution) and selling alcohol. The making, selling, distribution, and consumption of alcohol was against the law from 1920 to 1933. Mable Kaufman eventually became the owner and operator of the Broadmoor Hotel.

Although Mable was a landlady, she didn’t really rent rooms or apartments; and she seldom rented a room for an entire night. Some “landladies” in North Platte used to rent rooms with an added feature—prostitutes. Mable was this type of landlady. Mable also brought in co-businesses to entertain her clientele, including illusionists, palm readers, tarot card readers, musicians, piano tuners, and more.
What was the cost to be entertained by a prostitute? Well, the madams and girls would charge anything they could get, but the usual charge was $5.00. The girls got $3.00 and the landlady received $2.00. The landlady usually made between $500 and $1500 per night.

Mable probably had between 8 and 20 girls working for her, depending on the time of year. Harvest season brought a lot of extra men into town, so more girls went to work for her. And the type of men who went to the Broadmoor Hotel varied greatly, from professional men, doctors, lawyers, and politicians, to railroaders, cowboys, and farmers.

In 1925, Mable and William Kaufman are running the Brunswick Billiard Hall on Front Street, but living at the Cody Hotel. William and Mable stay at the hotel until 1927k, when they get a divorce. About the same time, Mable marries Carl Minner in Council Bluffs. No mention is ever made of this in the newspapers, but there is an Iowa Marriage certificate, and William L. Kaufman disappears from North Platte around 1927. Also in 1927, Mable spends three months at St Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln. No reason other than she is “very ill” was ever listed in the local newspapers. When she comes back to North Platte, she begins running the Atlas Roms, this time, running it by herself.

In 1929, Mable buys the building at 107 West 6th Street, where she opened the Broadmoor Hotel. In the Broadmoor, Mable became the most infamous madam of North Platte.

In 1930, Mable married a fifth time, this time to Jerome “Jack” H. Vosburg in Sidney, Nebraska. Jack was the manager of the Piggly-Wiggly Meat Department. During the 1930’s Mable expanded her estate by purchasing land in both North Platte and Grand Island; and she also owned show horses. The couple opens The Crest Café in 1935 and sells it in 1936. But the marriage was not a happy one and they divorced in 1957. On January 29, 1957, Mable filed for divorce from Vosburg, alleging that he “pursued conduct toward her that was extreme cruelty,” the divorce petition said. Mable also told the court that Vosburg was sullen, morose and uncooperative, causing her serious impaired mental and physical health; and it was no longer possible to stay married to him. On April 10, 1957, the court granted the divorce and everything that went with it, went to Mable. This included land she owned in North Platte and Grand Island, cars, the hotel with all its furniture. She left Jerome with nothing but the court costs in the amount of $17.35 according to the divorce decree. Jack died on June 23, 1964.

Mable Vosburg passed away at age 72 in July of 1969 and is buried in Grand Island. Both Vosburg and Mable are buried in unmarked graves in the McKnight family plat. Of note: some of the items listed on the sale bill for Mable’s estate auction were: Stradivarius violin from 1736; Mahogany furniture; diamond rings; platinum jewelry; full length mink coat; blue mink jacket; 1897 model 12 Winchester rifle; 1951 Cadillac Coupe; and many, many more luxury items. Mable was a person who lived life to the fullest and made each day count. Mable certainly contributed to North Platte’s nickname during the 1920’s-1930’s, “Little Chicago!”

We hope you have enjoyed this North Platte history! See you next week!

John Hawley – The Hawley House

Written By: nppladmin - Jan• 13•22
Originally published on Facebook January 7, 2022.

Happy 2022! We are back with another segment of North Platte History: John Hawley and the Hawley House.

John W. Hawley was born on April 13, 1839 in Stockport, Cheshire, England to George and Nancy (Pearson) Hawley.

In 1858, John and his family immigrated to Nova Scotia. In 1859, John marries his first wife, Edna Ingham. No children were born to this union and researcher’s suspect that Edna either refused to go to America, or died during the journey, or John simply married her and then left her to go to America with his parents and siblings. Edna Ingham Hawley has mostly been lost to history.

In 1862, the John Hawley and his parents moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1873, John married Lucy McDonald (1846-1886). Lucy and John had four children together: Elizabeth Jane (1875-1949), Emma (1877-1963), Fannie (1879-1957), and William (1883-1956).

In 1879 John (age 40) and his entire family (parents, wife and children) move to North Platte, Nebraska. According to census records in 1880, John listed his occupation as a baker. Sometime between 1880 and 1885, John Hawley purchased the building located at 216 East 6th Street. By October 24, 1885, the North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune stated that Hawley was building an addition onto the old structure. On October 29, 1885, the paper announced that The Hawley House was the first three-story building in town. The Hawley House, a local hostel or hotel, became famous for the food it offered to weary travelers. A short newsy article in 1886 stated that Hawley House food was the type that, “sticks to the ribs.” From 1883 to 1888, Mr. Hawley acted as the justice of the peace in North Platte, as well as a County Judge. Because Mr. Hawley could act a justice of the peace, there were several marriages that took place at the Hawley House.

On April 28, 1886, Lucy died at age 46 from heart complications, leaving John with four children to raise. On November 19, 1886, John W. Hawley marries for the third time, to a Catharine Smith, in Omaha, Nebraska. No children are born to them and on May 28, 1887, a divorce announcement is listed in the Lincoln County Tribune. Researchers believe Catharine returns to Virginia, where she dies in 1892. For the next two years, John Hawley becomes politically active, acting as a judge and justice of the peace for the North Platte Community. In 1888, he unsuccessfully runs for City Council Ward 1.

And, by April 14, 1888, Hawley lists the Hawley House for Sale in the Lincoln County Tribune. The “For Sale” advertisement runs a few times and then disappears. When the Hawley House isn’t full of guests, he also takes in the poor and charges Lincoln County for room and board.

On September 8, 1888, the Lincoln County Journal reports that John W. Hawley has set out to Indiana to bring back a wife! Researchers are always amused by the society information that was deemed newsworthy in the 1800’s. John Hawley marries a fourth time, on September 12, 1888 to Dinah Ellingham in Indiana. John and Dinah have two children, June (1891-1975) and Harry Charles (1892-1965).

During the first six months of 1889, Dinah and John make improvements to the Hotel. And over the next three years, things seem to go smoothly. John is still the Crime Judge, Justice of the Peace, and active in Republican politics. On July 17, 1889, LT Roberts is listed as the proprietor of Hawley House.

On October 23, 1893 tragedy struck the Hawley House. Early in the morning smoke was seen coming from the third floor of the building. Firefighters were called didn’t have sufficient water pressure to fight the fire. By the time they got enough water pressure, the fire had spread through both the second and third floors. Both floors collapsed after the fire was out. The only thing left standing were the side walls and back end of the building. Hawley had insurance on the building and furnishings. The cost to rebuild the three story building was estimated around $2,500; and the cost did not include furnishings.

At the time of the fire, Hawley had been trying to sell the building. After the fire, John Hawley moved to Sutherland onto a farm he owned. He immediately started rebuilding the building in North Platte. By 1894, the Hawley House is fully rebuilt and operational as a hotel; and, is on the market, for sale or rent. By September 28, 1894, the building had been sold to W.C. Pitt and was renamed as the Central Hotel. The hotel was remodeled and bought and sold several more times. In 1911, the building again caught fire and the second and third floors were a complete loss. The owner, Patrick Ruddy had insurance and rebuilt the hotel. In 1918, William Maloney purchased the land and adjacent corner lot. He had plans to build a new undertaking parlor on the spot. In 1923, Maloney raised the building” and built his new building.

As for John W. Hawley and his family:

On March 25, 1896, John Hawley was found dead in a field where he had been working. His death was due to a hemorrhage. He had been suffering with excessive coughing and the strain caused the hemorrhage. He then fell from the plow he was riding. He was a member of the A.O.U.W. (Ancient Order of United Workmen-a fraternal organization providing mutual social and financial support after the Civil War.), Maccabees, charter member of the Woodmen Society and other fraternal organizations.

The 1910 Census shows that Dinah moved to Hartford Indiana with June and Harry. She is windowed and working as a dressmaker. Dinah died of a heart attack on June 19, 1932 in Wabash, Indiana. The 1930 census shows June is married and living with her husband, Clyde Overmyer and their two children, with Dinah. Harry dies in 1965 in Wabash, Indiana as well.

Thank you for reading the Hawley House history, and we hope you join us next week for more North Platte history!