Platt Jewell Gilman

Written By: nppladmin - Sep• 30•22
Originally published to on September 30, 2022.

Welcome back to our Facebook Friday history

Today we salute a very early railroad man and telegrapher, Platt J. Gilman. Platt came to North Platte when the town was the terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad and was in the process of construction as the first transcontinental railroad to the West.

Platt Jewell Gilman was born in Plattsburg, New York on June 23, 1847 to Rufus A. Gilman (1801-1896) and Ann H. (Mooers) Gilman (1809-1889).

Platt attended school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He mustered in to the Union in the Wisconsin 39th Infantry, Company I on May 13, 1864. Platt was a Private and 17 years old when he enlisted. This division was assigned to Memphis Tennessee, where they engaged in guard duty and relieved veteran regiments which were sent to the front for the Atlanta campaign. The only combat for this division occurred on August 21, 1864, when a detachment of cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest raided Memphis, attempting – unsuccessfully- to capture the Union commanders stationed there in what is referred to as the Second Battle of Memphis. The regiment was mustered out on September 22, 1864.

After the war, Platt returned to Wisconsin, learned telegraphy and worked for two years with the Chicago & Milwaukee Railway. For those readers who aren’t quite sure about this early form of communication, a telegraph was an electric machine (see picture of a telegraph attached to this post). This machine was used to transmit messages, via an electric pulse, over a wire.

In March 1867, Platt Gilman arrived in North Platte. This was an important time period, because on March 1, 1867, President Andrew Johnson signed the proclamation declaring Nebraska’s statehood.

His first job was working for the Union Pacific Railroad, which was still building the railroad west of North Platte, as it continued to Promontory Point. He alternated as passenger brakeman and telegraph operator, until he accepted a position with the Western Union. He worked for Western Union from 1870 to 1879.

In 1875, Platt married Mary Eddy (Hubbard) Kramph. Mary was previously married to John “JFE” Kramph (1840-1872) and widowed. Mary and John had two children, Henry and Annie (Nos 1 & 2). Platt and Mary had six children. Readers, please take note of numbers 2 and 5; as they both have connections to the North Platte Public Library!

  1. Henry Kramph (1871-1896). He died at the age of 25 in Mexico. He had no wife or children and very little is known about him, including where he is buried.;
  2. Annie C. Kramph (1873-1959). She was unmarried and served on many boards, including the North Platte Public Library Board and the Nebraska Library Commission. She is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.;
  3. Mary Louise (Gilman) Wilcox (1876-1899). Married to John Q. Wilcox in June 1899, she died suddenly of heart failure in September 1899 at age 22. She is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.;
  4. Alfred Alonzo Gilman (1878-1966). Graduate of the University of Nebraska and became a Bishop in the Episcopalian Church. He served as a Bishop in Wuchang China for 24 years. Married to Gertrude (Carter) Gilman. They had 4 children together. Gertrude died when they were doing mission work in 1936 at age 61. She is buried in China. Rev. Alfred Gilman is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.;
  5. Kate Miller (Gilman) Woolsey (1880-1972). Married to John Arthur Woolsey in 1910. They had two children. Kate’s served as the North Platte Public Library Childrens Librarian for over 30 years and the library’s children’s room is named the “Kate Woolsey Children’s Room”. She is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.;
  6. Margaret M. (Gilman) Saint (1883-1963). Married to George A. Saint in 1908. They had three children. She is buried in Mount Emblem Cemetery in Illinois.;
  7. Carl F. Gilman (1884-1889). Died from diphtheria at age 5. He is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.; and,
  8. Orilla G. (Gilman) Birge (1887-1970). Married to Richmond Dillon Birge in 1911. She is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

In 1879, Platt or P.J. returned to the Union Pacific Railroad, working as a telegrapher. He worked for the Railroad for the next 29 years and retired in 1908.

The Gilman family lived at 315 West 5th Street. This house would have been located where the newer west addition was added to the First Lutheran Church. The family were devout Episcopalians and very involved in the Church.

Platt was also supportive of growing our little community; and a member of the Knights Templar and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He also served three terms on the School Board.

Mrs. Gilman was involved in Civilian Relief or the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Auxiliary called the Women’s Relief Corps (WRC). Mary Gilman served as the President of the WRC around 1909. She also devoted time and efforts in the Red Cross.

Platt died at home in 1932 at the age of 85. Mary died in 1926 at the age of 80. Both are buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

Thank you for reading!


Wilcox-Hinman Service Station

Written By: nppladmin - Sep• 23•22
Originally published to on September 23, 2022.

Welcome back to another Facebook Friday History!

Today’s Facebook Friday History looks an old building that is still easily recognizable as one of its most famous business, the Wilcox-Hinman Service Station or The Motor Inn, located at 301 East 4th Street (now Sherwin Williams and KODY Radio).

Allison Wesley Wilcox was born December 11, 1889 in North Platte, Nebraska to Wesley Thomas (1856-1943) and Minnie Alice (Dabney) (1868-1947) Wilcox.

In 1913, Allison Wilcox married Ella Grace Payne (1888-1974). Together, they had two children:

  1. a daughter, Almira Payne (Wilcox) Kawal (1914-1951); and
  2. a son, James Allison Wilcox (1916-1972).

After High School, Allison continued his education, pursuing degrees in agriculture at both the University of Nebraska and Colorado State University in Boulder, Colorado. By 1911, he was back working at the Russel Fowles Ranch in Maxwell.

Like many people, during this time-period of history, the invention of the automobile significantly impacted everyone. Allison Wilcox and York Hinman both became fascinated by cars, and became a part of the automobile revolution, eventually opening up the Motor Inn and Wilcox-Hinman Service Station on East 4th Street, North Platte, Nebraska.

The following information is taken from the book “City Bones: Landmarks of North Platte, Nebraska, Second Edition” by Kaycee Anderson and Steve Olson. Published by the Lincoln County Historical Museum. 2012.

“In 1928, Allison Wesley Wilcox announced his plans to build a four story motel with 120 rooms. The structure was to be configured as an L-shaped building.

Somehow, over the following two years, the final plans changed and the finished product was a motel, but not the kind of motel on which he had originally planned.

On April 22, 1930, Wilcox and the grand opening of his new Wilcox Garage Building. The building was L-shaped, but the second floor was designed to park and store cars. The garage could store 150 cars.

The building measured 132 by 122 feet and was formed using brick and steel construction. The cutting edge building was modeled after the latest designs in convenience for garages during that time period.

Not only was the building used as a storage facility for cars, but it was also home to Schierbrock Motor Co., dealer for Willys-Overland Cars. The Hinman Service Station was operated by York Hinman Jr.”

Allison Wesley Wilcox died on July 21, 1978, at age 88. Both he and his wife are buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

Be sure to check out all the neat advertising attached to this post.

Thank you for reading! See you next week!


Washington Mallory Hinman

Written By: nppladmin - Sep• 16•22
Originally published to on September 16, 2022.

Welcome back to our Facebook Friday history! Today, we look at another early North Platte resident, Shorter County organizer, businessman, and Native American interpreter, and all around fascinating pioneer, Washington M. Hinman.

Researchers note: Readers, please note that some of the language used in this post is taken directly from the 1920 edition of “An illustrated History of Lincoln County” and in no way, reflects or represents the philosophy of the North Platte Public Library or the City of North Platte.

Washington Mallory Hinman was born September 14, 1819 in Wysox, Pennsylvania to Abner Curtis and Augusta (York) Hinman. Abner and Augusta were pioneer settlers in Pennsylvania, with all of the men in the family doing service in the Indian Wars and in the American Revolution. Beach I. Hinman, brother of Washington Hinman was a pioneer attorney of North Platte and he represented the district in the Nebraska State Legislature.

Washington was the third child out of eleven born to Abner and Augusta. All eleven were born in Wysox, Pennsylvania

  1. Celinda Miner Hinman (1814-1915);
  2. Cordelia Rapella Hinman (1817-1835);
  3. Washington Mallory Hinman (1819-1904). Subject of this post;
  4. James York Hinman (1822-1876);
  5. Malvina Amanda Hinman (1824-1852);
  6. William Cory Hinman (1827-1863). Died at age 34 years. Served three years during the civil war. Fought for the Union. Enlisted as a private, promoted to sergeant and then first sergeant. Killed in action May 3, 1863 at Fredricksburg, Virginia.;
  7. Beach Isaac Hinman (1827-1905). Another North Platte pioneer and prior subject of a Facebook Friday;
  8. Augusta “Jessie” Elizabeth Hinman (1831-1901);
  9. Abner Curtis Hinman (Junior) (1834-1863). Died at age 29 on December 12, 1863 in Vicksburg, Mississippi.;
  10. Minor Hoyt Hinman (1836-1917). Also an early pioneer in the North Platte area. Served in the Civil War and survived. Died of a stroke.;
  11. John Frederick Hinman (1840-1922).

In 1849, Washington passed through Shorter County (now Lincoln County) on his way to California. He was a millwright and set up mills in Vancouver, Oregon, and all along the Pacific Coast, receiving sixteen dollars a day building sawmills all over the timber country. This work took him from British Columbia along the Pacific Coast to Panama.

The following paragraphs are from “An Illustrated History of Lincoln County:”

“He was once sent by the United States Government to install a steam sawmill plant at South Pass, Wyoming. He returned from California in 1854 and a few years later located at Cottonwood Springs, near Fort McPherson, where he was later established. On his ranch four miles from the Springs, he opened a general supply store for travelers passing over the California Trail. He installed a steam sawmill and shingle mill and blacksmith shop at the ranch; and many people had employment there.

From 1864 to 1867 M. Hinman was an Indian interpreter at Fort McPherson, attending all the conferences between the Indian chiefs and the government representatives. He had a contract to furnish all the lumber used in the buildings at Fort McPherson, and of furnishing the beef used there. One voucher now in possession of the family is made out for $14,000, showing that Mr. Hinman did a profitable business at the fort. He also supplied wood to the government. In 1864 he lost $1,000 in merchandise through theft by the Sioux Indians under Sitting Bull. Although the government allowed him for this loss, through democratic influences payment has been deferred.

Mr. Hinman was intimate with all of the great Indian chiefs, among whom was Sitting Bull. In 1860 Shorter, now Lincoln, county was organized, with Mr. Hinman as county treasurer, but this organization did not go into effect, and in 1866, the name was changed and Lincoln county was organized properly, with the county seat at North Platte, and Mr. Hinman was elected county commissioner, which position he held for many years. For a long time, he served the community as probate judge, being elected by the republican party.

In the fall of 1867, thousands of Indians met in North Platte where Mr. Hinman resided, having sold his mills in South Pass Wyoming, afterward bringing them back to the Republican Valley, where he had homesteaded and pre-empted 400 acres 2 ½ miles from Indianola. This band of Indians went through North Platte camping at the present intersection of Front and Locust streets, where General Sherman and the peace commissioners met them, and the Redskins promised to remain peaceable and go away in the spring without trouble if the government would give them rations for the winter.

On Sunday, April 7, 1868, there was a great commotion in town when the citizens discovered that the Indians had removed their squaws and all their efforts to the north side of the river, returning in a short time riding through town and shouting into the stores and raising a disturbance generally. Mr. Hinton at once placed the papers relating to civil affairs in Lincoln County into the hands of the military, the saloons were closed and there were squads of soldiers stationed to guard lives and property. The Indians then went southeast of the town, near Fort McPherson in Spells Canyon and on April 8, they attacked seven men who were employed by Mr. Hinman in getting gout wood for his sub-contract in supply Fort A. P. Russell, and the Redskins murdered them, taking all their scalps and one of the horses belonging to them returned home with a scalp tied to it.

The soldiers immediately went in pursuit of the Indians and they found one white man pinned to the ground with arrows through his heart and still alive. He survived two days after they found him. In 1876, Mr. Hinman and his family moved back to North Platte. He had bought land at one time and another until he owned 1,100 acres adjacent to and a portion of it within the corporation of the town. He was senior county commissioner, and since the Union Pacific had paid no taxes into the town corporation, he closed its business and took possession of the roundhouse in North Platte. The taxes were shortly paid and it was quite a sum added to the revenue of the town. In 1879, Mr. Hinman moved out to his farm west of town.”

On September 14, 1863, Washington married Virginia Jeffers in Lincoln County, Nebraska Territory at Fort McPherson. Charles McDonald was the Probate Judge for the proceedings. She and Washington do not have any children and she passed away in 1866.

On March 11, 1867, Washington married Rebecca Franklin Vaughn (1836-1910). They had three children together:

  1. Vaughn Elias Hinman (1868-1971). Washington was 48 years old when Vaughn was born and Rebecca was 32. Vaughn was the first white child born in North Platte and the second child born in Lincoln County (William McDonald was the first white child born in the county);
  2. York Abner Hinman Sr (1870-1941).
  3. Sue Zilla Hinman (1873-1965);

Washington Mallory Hinman died at the age of 84, on January 27, 1904. Washington and Rebecca are buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

Thank you for reading!


Dr. John Shaffer Simms

Written By: nppladmin - Sep• 09•22
Originally published to on September 9, 2022.

Welcome back to another Facebook Friday History!

Welcome back to our Facebook Friday history! Today’s post looks back at a Nebraskan WWI veteran who became a prominent doctor and surgeon in our community.

John Shaffer Simms was born on November 24, 1883 in Alma, Nebraska to B. M. and Alice (Schick) Simms. Mr. Simms came to Nebraska in 1879 and owned a drug store in Alma, and later in Hastings, Nebraska. John’s education is shown through the following:

  • 1901, graduation from Alma High School;
  • 1903, attended Omaha College of Pharmacy;
  • 1909 graduation from the University of Nebraska; and finally,
  • 1911, graduation from Rush Medical College. He served as intern in the Cook County Hospital for 18 months in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1912, John married Fenne Beeler. They lived at 403 S Sycamore Street in North Platte. Fenne Beeler Simms was an accomplished woman in her own right and held a PHD (as noted on her headstone). They had four children together:

  1. Alice Ruth Simms (1915-1989). Born in North Platte. Buried in Whittier, California.
  2. John S Simms Jr (1917-1984). Born in North Platte. Buried in Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe, Hawaii.
  3. Thomas C Simms (Nov 2, 1918-Jan 9, 1921). Born in North Platte, died at age 2 years, 2 months, and 7 days. Born while Dr. Simms was fighting in WWI. Sadly, his mother was ill and convalescing in Shreveport, Louisiana with her sister. The baby was sick with diphtheria and although his mother rushed back to North Platte, baby Thomas died before she arrived. Due to the contagiousness of diphtheria, the funeral was private. Thomas is buried in the North Platte Cemetery.
  4. Betty Ann Simms (1922-1938). Born in North Platte. Betty died at age 15 in California and is buried in Whittier, California.

During World War I, Dr. John S. Simms served for ten months in France at Base Hospital No. 49 in the surgical service representing the University of Nebraska Unit. He entered service in February 1918 and was discharged May 20, 1919. This link is entirely about the importance of the Base Hospital No. 49 and from the Winter 2017 issue of Nebraska History (Vol. 98, No. 4):…/2017-4-Base_Hospital.pdf

After the war, Dr. Simms returned to his practice in North Platte. He opened an office in the Keith theatre building.

By 1924, Dr. John S Simms had sold his practice to Dr. M. B. Wilcox and moved the family to Bellflower, California. He continued his surgical practice and enjoyed his patients, as well as the medical advancements

that came during this time period (namely penicillin, sulfa drugs, the iron lung, the development of the electroencephalograph (EEG), early detection of cancer, and more.

Dr. John S. Simms died in 1946, age 62/63 in Bellflower, California (a suburb of Los Angeles. A large recreation park area was named for Dr. John S Simms in Bellflower, California because of his dedication to medicine and the patients in his community. No matter where he lived, he had an impact on the communities he lived in.

Thank you for reading!


Oscar William Henry

Written By: nppladmin - Sep• 02•22
Originally published to on September 2, 2022.

Today’s North Platte History looks back at a man that some of our readers may remember, Oscar Henry. Read on!

Oscar William Henry was born in Chapin Township, Michigan on June 19, 1912 to Anderson Campbell and Ida Luella (Hath) Henry. Oscar was the third of eight children. After graduating from High School and attending Western Michigan University, Henry worked in restaurants in Michigan and Torrington, Wyoming.

Henry also worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps or CCC during 1934 in New Mexico and Wyoming. Click on this link to learn more about the CCC:…/the-civilian-conservation-corps….

In 1935, Oscar Henry moved to North Platte. He loved our town, North Platte; he was a hard worker and quickly became known as a restauranteur and local businessman.

The first restaurant he opened was the Step Inn Chili Parlor (413 N Jeffers Street); and shortly after, Oscar’s Clean Foods (504 N Jeffers Street). You can see pictures of some of these restaurants in the attached photographs.

On September 25, 1937, Oscar married Joyce A. Reitan in Hastings, Nebraska. They had three children together:

  1. Marilyn K. Henry, 1938-2019;
  2. Edward O. Henry, 1942- ; and
  3. Galen G. Henry, 1949-

On November 17, 1939, the North Platte Telegraph announced that “Oscar is open in Hinman’s New Station.” The new restaurant was located at 1002 N Jeffers and was called, “Oscar’s North Side Steaks.” The restaurant was part of a large gas station ran by York Hinman and a Pontiac Dealership ran by Howard Clothier.

On May 6, 1940, the Telegraph announced that Henry was building a new building at 105 W 12th Street that was to become a delicatessen. Then on the June 6th, the paper announced the new “Leroy’s Delicatessen” and the Union Bus Depot Café, called Oscar’s Café, were opening. He also took over the running of the Union Pacific Stages dining room. The newspaper stated that LeRoy’s Delicatessen was to be managed by Oscar’s brother, LeRoy Henry.

At that point, owner of five restaurants, Henry became known as the “Restaurant King” by North Platte locals.

On January 19, 1941, there was an announcement that Oscar annexed the north side of the building where the “Step Inn Restaurant” was located. The annex would give them space for a dance floor, jukebox, and several private booths. The remodeling was finished in late October 1941, and LeRoy took over the management of the Step Inn. In December 1941, the delicatessen was closed and the building turned into Cummings Grocery and Produce.

Oscar William Henry served in the Navy from May 31, 1944 to Feb 19, 1946. He was assigned to the USS Myrmidon (ARL-16) and served his entire duty on this ship.

The USS Myrmidon was originally built as a United States Navy LST-542-class tank landing ship, but converted to one of 39 Achelous-class repair ships. During WWII, these ships were used to repair landing craft.

On May 19, 1945, the USS Myrmidon steamed to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for duty with Amphibious Force, Pacific Fleet. Sailing in convoy on May 30, she steamed to Iwo Jima, where she arrived June 22, 1945. During the closing weeks of fighting in the Pacific, Myrmidon operated at Iwo Jima, repairing, disbursing, and provisioning ships at that important American forward base. Following the Japanese surrender, she continued service and repair duties throughout the Pacific from the Marianas to Pearl Harbor.

After the War, on November 6, 1948, Oscar Henry and Darrell “Butch” Trout opened the Bronco Café in the Neville Building at 517 N Jeffers.

On September 16, 1950, the Telegraph-Bulletin ran a future about the new home the Henry’s had just built. The article talked about all the features of the new home and the fact that it was a new style of home for North Platte. The house is what is called today, a “split level” house, built at 422 N Garfield. A photograph accompanies this post, as well as what the home looks like today.

In April of 1952, Henry was voted by the National Guard as the “Businessman of the Year.” At that time, Henry owned the Bronco, Step Inn, and the Greyhound cafes. According to the article, Henry opened one of his kitchens to the National Guard cooks, while the company was on bivouac. He gave them discounts on meals and free coffee and doughnuts.

In 1953, Oscar Henry was appointed to the City Council by Mayor Clarence J. Frazier, after the resignation of M. A. “Buck” Keyes in the third ward.

After serving out the term, Oscar Henry decided to officially run for the third ward of the North Platte City Council. He served three terms, from 1955 to 1961. Oscar was a member in the Elks, American Legion and other clubs, however, his favorite organization was the Red Cross. He stated that he also loved hunting, fishing, and carpentry.

Joyce Henry, Oscar’s wife passed away on November 11, 1960.

As for the other restaurants he was famous far, “Clean Foods” closed down sometime between 1942 and 1947. The Northside steakhouse became the “Friendly Inn” sometime between 1942 and 1947, and the Step-Inn was gone by 1961; and the Bronco closed in 1952. The last restaurant he owned in North Platte was “Oscar’s Café” in the Union Bus Depot. He sold that in 1964 when he moved to Colorado Springs.

In Colorado Springs, he opened a Burger King and went on to open five additional Burger King restaurants.

After Joyce’s death, Oscar remarried to Ruby McDonald on August 17, 1962. They divorced in May 1963. Oscar then married Audrey Killiam on July 6, 1964.

Oscar passed away on June 21, 1984 in Colorado Springs. He is buried at Fort McPherson National Cemetery, along with his first wife, Joyce. We salute this community-minded individual!

Thank you for reading! Don’t forget to go through the many newspaper articles and photographs accompanying this post.