Thomas C. Patterson

Written By: nppladmin - May• 28•21
Originally published to on Friday 5/28/2021.

Thomas Cartwright Patterson was born on February 3, 1846 in County Down, Ireland. He came to America with his parents, W. J. and Mary Patterson, in 1854. Thomas received most of his education in Chicago’s grammar schools. At the age of sixteen, he enlisted in the Illinois Infantry and served thirty-two months for the Union Army during the Civil War. He was involved in numerous Civil War Battles: Mission Ride, Chickamauga and Buzzard Roost Gap.

In 1868, Thomas moved with his parents to North Platte, Nebraska, where he went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad as a fireman, and then in the shops.

He taught school in 1870 and then served as postmaster from 1871 to 1882. During this same time he also opened and ran a general store and studied law. He became a lawyer in 1883, started the Mutual Building and Loan Association of North Platte in 1887, the first of its kind in Nebraska, and opened a real estate business in 1890. Through smart and diligent investing he owned (clear of any debt) five farms in Lincoln County which he sold in 1919 for nearly $100,000 and making him one of the wealthiest men of North Platte.

Thomas was intelligent and had excellent business sense. Sadly, his personal life was filled with tragedy; most of his children died at a very young age, usually before their 30th or 40th birthday.

In 1871, Thomas married Mary Virginia Morris. They had two children: Col. George T. Patterson (son, 1872-1919; he died of Spanish Influenza) and Ruth M. Patterson (daughter, 1876-1962). In December, 1881, his wife, Mary died at age 31.

On September 15, 1884, Thomas married his second wife, Mary Trumbull Bradley. They had five children together and all of the children died at young ages. Edith Lindsley (daughter, 1885-1920, age 35, teacher at NPHS-died of smoke & gas inhalation); Marcus Grant (son, 1885-1886, age 1 year); Sidney (son, 1890-1890); Thomas Clinton (son, 1891-1892, age 1 year); and Lindsley Searle (daughter, 1892-1892).

If you have ever wondered who built and is buried in the only mausoleum on the west end of the North Platte Cemetery, well, that individual was Thomas C. Patterson. The Patterson mausoleum was built in July 1919 to honor the memory of his son, George T. Patterson. It was built by Chas. G. Blade & Company of Chicago, Illinois and contains over 60 tons of materials. The exterior consists of New England gray granite and the interior is embellished with very fine imported Italian marble. The doors to the mausoleum are bronze. There are ten bodies in the vault.

Thomas was a lifelong member of the Episcopal Church, served three terms as mayor of North Platte and was responsible for pursuing a grant to build the 1912 Carnegie Library in North Platte. The house he built and lived in still stands today at 515 West 4th Street.

The History of Lincoln County remembered Mr. Patterson this way… “Thomas C. Patterson is one of the names deserving of most frequent repetition in connection with the history of North Platte during a period of more than half a century. “See-est thou a man diligent at his business; he shall stand before kings.” Diligence seems to have been the keynote in the career of Mr. Patterson. There has never been a time in the past fifty years when he has not been engaged in some line of useful service, and much of it in behalf of the community. His is a rare instance of a man achieving individual prosperity after passing the prime of his years.”

Thomas Cartwright Patterson died November 18, 1929 at the age of 83.

Women Wrestlers Come to North Platte

Written By: nppladmin - May• 24•21
Originally published to on May 21, 2021

Today’s history Friday is about lady wrestlers that broke barriers. The history of women’s wrestling pre-dates the 1980’s by decades; in fact, the Golden Age of Women Wrestling took place in the 1940’s and 1950’s; and North Platte actually hosted several female wrestling events! Today, we salute those female athletes!

On March 28, 1947 the North Platte Daily Telegraph announced a first in sporting events for North Platte. The Lion’s Club was hosting a “Rasslin’ Show” at the Fox Theater and for the first time, female wrestlers were coming to the North Platte wrestling ring, according to the newspaper.

White women wrestlers, Nell Stewart and Violet Viann, were scheduled to fight three bouts as the main event of the evening. Nell Stewart was better known as the “Marilyn Monroe of Wrestling”. <see photographs>

In August of 1951, wrestlers Donna Marie and Betty Hawkins came to North Platte to put on a show for the wrestling fans. The match was held at the Jeffers Park behind the Jeffers Pavilion. The Union Pacific Athletic Club sponsored the match.

On November 13, 1953, it was announced that the North Platte Baseball Association was opening a new boxing and wrestling arena above the Hinman Garage on the corner of Bailey and 4th Streets. Four ladies from the Australian Tag Team were scheduled to battle it out. They were Barbara Baker and Donna Marie Dieckman as one team, and Ruth Boatcallie and Carol Cook as another team.

Then in January of 1955, North Platte had another first in sporting events. On January 29th, four black women were coming to tussle in a match. Ethel Johnson, Marva Scott, Babs Wingo, and Kathy Wimbley were scheduled to fight in the best two out of three bouts. Of the four wrestlers, three of them were sisters. Babs Wingo, the oldest, Ethel Johnson was the middle sister, and Marva Scott, the youngest, hailed from Decatur, Georgia. The fourth woman, Kathy Wimbley, was from Columbus, OH. By the time they were wrestling, they were calling different places home from Atlanta, GA to New Orleans, NJ and many places in between. <see photographs>

The four women became professional wrestlers in 1950. Ethel was considered the heroic figure, and Babs the villain when they performed together. Ethel was also the most athletic of the three sisters. Ethel retired in 1976 and passed away on September 18, 2019. Babs (Betty) and Marva passed away in 2003.

According to the Daily Telegraph a few days after the January 29, 1955 North Platte debut, the wrestling match was a huge success. Due to the good turnout the ladies were brought back to North Platte on October 22, 1955 to grapple again. That match, deemed “Rassle Royal”, brought back Kathleen Wimbley, Babs Wingo, Ethel Johnson, and they were joined by Louise Green and Betty White. All of the events also had male wrestling matches, but the ladies became more popular and were a big draw for many years throughout the country.

According to an article written by Neil Genzlinger on November 25, 2019 for the New York Times, the story of the three ladies became part of a documentary called “Lady wrestler: The Amazing, Untold Story of African-American Women in the Ring.” This new documentary released in December 2020 is available from Amazon. Clips of various historic matches throughout the country involving these barrier breaking women can also be found on YouTube.

All of the black lady wrestlers braved racism and sexism in a white, male-dominated sport during years that segregation was still in effect. At the peak of their wrestling careers, they were among the highest paid black athletes in the United States.

Anders Otto Kocken

Written By: nppladmin - May• 17•21
Originally published to on 5/14/2021

Today’s look at history looks at a Swedish immigrant who became a business owner and raised his large family here in North Platte. Enjoy!

Anders Otto Kocken (pronounced Kō-ken) was born October 11, 1840 near Linkoping Sweden. He married Christine Mylander in 1861 and came to America in 1868.

Once in America, Anders first lived in Waukon, Iowa, then Omaha, Nebraska; finally moving to North Platte in 1874. Anders and Christine had a large family: six girls and four boys: Edith, Lotta, Paulina, William, Margaret, Adda, Otto, Walter, Arthur, and Arta.

After arriving in North Platte, Mr. Kocken made his living as a merchant tailor. He was known for his fine tailoring and made clothing for Buffalo Bill. As one of North Platte’s early citizens, Anders was a charter member of the IOOF and the First Evangelical Lutheran Church. Mr. Kocken was a man of integrity and honor.

Anders built the brick home, which still stands at the corner of 6th Street and Sycamore in 1875 (220 W 6th St). <see photograph>

While roofing the house on September 11, 1875, two of the roofers were struck by lightning. The lightning struck the east end of the house and cracked the wall down to the window and continued on down to the foundation. The crack is still in the wall today. The house was originally built in an L-shape. Most of the walls are 16 inches thick. The evergreen trees in front were given to the Kockens by relatives living in the state of Washington. The sidewalk is Colorado Sandstone slabs. The home is now a private residence. <see color photograph from 2019>

Anders died of acute kidney problems in 1927, at age 86. He was preceded in death by his wife, who passed away in 1917.

Dr. John Twinem

Written By: nppladmin - May• 10•21
Originally published to on 5/7/2021.

Today’s Facebook History series looks at some of the early hospitals in North Platte, all created by one man, Dr. John Twinem.

Dr. John Twinem was born in Northern Ireland on April 12, 1871. In 1893, Twinem came to America to further his education. He enrolled in Wheaton College in Chicago. Upon graduation, he enrolled in Hahnemann Medical College graduated in 1903. After graduation, Dr. John Twinem moved to North Platte to set up his medical practice. On April 7, 1904, John Twinem married Martha Jane Armstrong in Glidden, Iowa. They had four children together (3 sons and 1 daughter); Linn, Mary Jane, Bill, and John Robert “Bob”. Dr. Twinem’s first office location was 218 W 4th Street. That was originally the James Belton home. Today it is a thrift store.

In 1912 he moved his practice to the second floor of the McDonald State Bank on the corner of 6th and Dewey. By 1914, his medical practice had grown so much that he bought a lot at 1008 West 4th Street; and opened the Nurse Brown Memorial Hospital. He owned the building but also kept his doctor’s office at the bank building. <see photograph of the Nurse Brown Hospital and advertisement>

On January 23, 1917 the North Platte Semi-Weekly Tribune announced that Dr. Twinem had awarded a contract for the erection of a two-story brick building at 108-110 East 5thStreet in the downtown. The second floor would have his offices while the first floor would be leased to the Golden Rule Department Store. The “Twinem building” still stands and “Once More with Style” currently occupies the building. <See photograph and advertising>

That same year he bought the big pink house at 502 West 4th from the widow of Leicester Walker. He converted the house into a hospital. It was a hospital for only one year.

In 1918, the Nurse Brown Memorial Hospital changed the name to the Twinem Hospital.

On October 3, 1919 the North Platte Semi-Weekly announced that Dr. Twinem had bought a lot from Dr. Brock in the 700 block of West Fifth Street. He had signed a contract for the erection of a hospital on the lot. The hospital would have enough rooms for eighteen patients at one time. There would also be rooms for offices, matron’s quarters, a kitchen and a sun parlor or lounging room. This hospital opened on April 20, 1920 as The “New Twinem Hospital”. By July 2, 1920, Dr. E.W. Fetter took possession of the new hospital and its name changed to Platte Valley Hospital. At that time Dr. Twinem decided to semi-retire and took a rest from practicing.

The hospital was closed down in 1923 and remained vacant until 1926 when it re-opened as Platte Valley Hospital again. In 1938, Wesleyan University bought the hospital naming it General Hospital. The hospital closed down in 1940 for the last time. All the patients moved to St. Mary’s Hospital. At that time, the building sold and was converted into an apartment house and remains an apartment today. <See photograph and advertising>

From “A History of Lincoln County”:

Politically, the doctor is a republican, and, while his professional duties precludes his takin a very active part in politics, he exhibits a keen and intelligent interest in the public affairs of the locality, for he consistently gives his support to every movement having for its object the advancement of the community along material, civic, or moral lines. Fraternally, he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, while he and his family are earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He is a member of the Douglas County Medical Society and the American Institute of Homeopathy. Doctor Twinem has had a splendid record as a physician and as a citizen, he is numbered among the progressive and enterprising men of the community. Genial and approachable, he has easily made friends and is deservedly popular among those who know him.

Bare, I. L. & McDonald W. H. (1920) An illustrated history of Lincoln County, Nebraska, and her people, a narrative of the past with special emphasis upon the pioneer period of the county’s history, particular attention also given to the social, commercial, educational, religious and civic development of the county from the early days to the present time. American Historical Society.

Dr. Twinem remained in practice in his Twinem building on East Fifth Street until approximately 1943. Dr. John S. Twinem died June 28, 1948. Both John and Martha Twinem are buried in the North Platte Cemetery.

William Maloney

Written By: nppladmin - Apr• 30•21
Originally published to on 4/30/2021.

William Maloney was born in Green County, Iowa on September 18, 1882. He came to Nebraska with his family. When he was 16 years old (1898), the family moved west to North Platte.

In 1902 William went to work for C.A. Howe in his furniture and hardware store, located at 413 North Dewey Street. By 1905, Maloney became Howe’s business partner. Howe sent Maloney to the Hohenschuh School of Embalming in Omaha to improve his skills as an undertaker.

After Mr. Howe’s death in 1914, William took control of the business and changed the name of the business to: W.R. Maloney Co. In 1918, Maloney built a new store building; at 214 East 5th Street. The new building was two stories high, with an elevator. Both floors had metal tile ceilings and hardwood floors. The windows on the second floor had religious themed panels, as the second floor had both a chapel and his mortuary. The first floor was dedicated to his furniture business. He sold the finest furniture in North Platte for many years.

In 1938, he sold the building after having a new building constructed at 102 North Dewey Street. The new business was just undertaking, and he no longer sold furniture. Throughout the years that Maloney was in business, he was a well-respected member of the community and very involved in all matters of the city, county, and state.

William Maloney passed away on June 1, 1945, at age 62. It is worth noting that the lake located south of North Platte was named Lake Maloney in honor of William Maloney being the first president of the North Platte Valley Public Power and Irrigation.

This link will give you more information about the purpose, construction and naming of Lake Maloney: