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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Nebraska: Dixon County

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1863 Ionia & Newcastle Dixon Co MACE etc
Posted by: Gloria Date: November 21, 2001 at 13:09:39
  of 113

Some history that may help locate kin. Gloria

1863--SMITH built a new large house...folks called it New Castle.

1870's---Ionia was on the riverbank...the river washed away Ionia...folks moved to Newcastle.

[Jacob M. MACE, father of John Wesley MACE and Barton W. MACE. Barton, railroader, was at Ionia before Newcastle. 1870--they are on the Centerville, Dixon Co Census. 1900--they are on the Newcastle census. 1904--Jacob M. MACE died, buried at Newcasle City Cemetery. Family left shortly after that. Gloria]

1911--population before fire--500
1911--after fire, about 350


1800's--Even before rails for the great "Iron Horse" were making inroads into the interior of Nebraska, towns were popping up everywhere.

1850's--By the mid 1800s pioneers began to cross the Missouri and settle near the primary rivers in the Nebraska Territory.

1856--In 1856 Gustavus SMITH
came from Chicago to northeast Nebraska. He, his wife, and two children, Anne and Lewis, plus his mother-in-law, shared the large house that he built of logs. The three HOESE brothers, brothers-in-law of SMITH, also pre-empted land in the vicinity.

1863--In 1863, when the HOESE brothers decided to take up homesteads near the mouth of Bow Creek, they sold their Dixon County land to SMITH, giving him title to a very large tract.

Soon thereafter, SMITH built a new, even-larger house. It was so large and imposing in appearance that people referred to it as the "NEW CASTLE," resulting, according to legend, in the naming of our town. When the new house was completed, the log house was used as a hotel to accommodate travelers between Omaha and Fort Randall, on the old Post Road.

1870--From a modest beginning in the 1870s, Newcastle became a flourishing little town. Schools and churches were established.

1870's--When neighboring Ionia, on the banks of the Missouri River, was washed away by flood waters, its people moved to Newcastle. Soon as many as 60 or 70 businesses lined the main street. People looking for a new home found Newcastle a pleasant place to live.

1890's--By the 1890s rails were being extended into the more isolated areas of the region to accommodate settlers in established communities.

1892--In 1892 Smith and several other influential businessmen met with the board of directors of the St.Paul & Omaha Railroad, hoping it would agree to put a line through Newcastle. The request was granted.

1893--This action touched off a great economic expansion period for the community. Newcastle was incorporated by 1893.

1897--With families arriving daily, a new school was needed by 1897.

1900--It was fully accredited by the early 1900s.
1911--The town's population reached its peak of nearly 500 in 1911.

1911--The grand 4th of July celebration that summer was the event, however, that brought near-disaster to Newcastle.

Firecrackers, carelessly thrown, sparked a fire that roared through the streets, leaving only ashes behind. Many people, their reason for living here destroyed, pulled up stakes and moved on. Others salvaged what they could and rebuilt again.

1911 after fire--With the strength and optimism that still exists in the community, a new town grew from the ashes -- somewhat smaller than before -- about the size it is today, with a population of about 350. [1998linkupdate]
Currently, many people who live in Newcastle work in Sioux City or Yankton.

Newcastle has four active churches.

As rural schools closed and the Obert-Maskell district merged with Newcastle, our school grew in size.

BREISCH General Store is the only business remaining that survived the 1911 fire. We now have 23 other businesses that meet the needs of the town and farming community.

Newcastle has a Legion and auxiliary, P.T.A., and a new fire hall, a tremendous volunteer fire department, and an EMT unit. In addition to many new homes, a number of old buildings have been renovated.

We also boast of "Annie's Site," an archaeological dig recorded in the National Register of Historic Places, and "Buckskin Hills," a man-made recreational lake built to control run-off water. A community youth center has recently become a reality.

By Sharon Boehmer, Box 212, Newcastle, NE 68757

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