Historical Society NEWSLetter

June, 2015 - Sutton Historical Society

It's been a busy spring for the Sutton Historical Society in both the artifacts and the information sections of our mission and interests.

First, Breaking News.

Heavy rains the first week in June fully taxed the capacity of School Creek and led to flooding at the museum especially at the Wolfe School Museum. 
June 5, 2015, 8:30 am

Germans From Russia projects.

Several members of the historical society joined the local Sutton group who formed a Sutton Chapter of the Germans from Russia organization in Lincoln. The local groups first project was to promote a new state historical sign recognizing Sutton as the first settlement of Germans from Russia in Nebraska. This was a project begun by Jim Griess.

The status of that project, as of early June is that the sign is designed and the text written (by Jim Griess), state authorities are on board, the city is on board, the site (after several alternatives were thoroughly cussed and discussed) will be in the city park. Final arrangements are in the works with no show-stoppers in sight.

4th Grade Interest

This is how to use museum assets. Thanks to the Sutton schools 4th graders
for letting us be a part of their class.
The fourth graders who participated in the Happy Valley program in school and spent a couple of
afternoons at the Wolfe School were moved by the experience to raise some funds for the school and put in some time and effort to improve the school. Big thanks to the whole class, parents and especially the teachers.

Dugout Days

Dugout Days are coming at the end of June - the 26th and 27th. The Historical Society plans on having a float again, as always and to sponsor another Kuchen Baking Contest. Want to play? Contact us to learn how - bakers, judges, assistants, etc. wanted (and needed.)

Recent Major Contributions:

We've had some super contributions of Sutton Memorabilia. First, Bill Johnson of the Sutton High Class of '58 and currently living in Des Moines donated several items:
Sioux Chief Black Horn and Laura Lewis at the
Sutton 75th anniversary celebration in 1939.

  1. The Grandfather's clock which belonged, appropriately enough, to his Grandfather, Bert Lewis, long-time Sutton jeweler who sported the clock in the window of his store on the west side of the north end of Sutton's business district.
  2. A photo of his grandmother, Laura (Schwab) Lewis at the 1939 Sutton celebration observing the town's 75th anniversary. She is wearing period clothes from 1874 and the chief is in his Sioux war bonnet and outfit. 
  3. The tie and moccasins worn by the chief in the photo.
  4. The Civil War era uniform that belonged to Philip Schwab, Laura's father. 
  5. Plus numerous other items.

Thanks to the Schwab/Lewis/Johnson families for these generous donations.
Philip Schwab's Civil War era uniform

Another major contribution came from Lee Effinger of Oregon, a relative in the extended Sheehy/Sheridan families. Lee delivered a "Wardrobe" pictured here.

The wardrobe is about 6 1/2 feet tall and 6 feet wide. 
There is a great story about this piece of furniture that was told in this excerpt from the Sheridan family book, "Along the County Line" page 85 if you're following along at home.

The story of the wardrobe, the latest feature in the Sutton  Museum.
The story in a nutshell is that John Sheehy, an Illinois farmer, used walnut wood from his farm to build this piece of furniture for his daughter, Ellen on the occasion of her wedding to John Sheridan.

The piece followed John and Ellen Sheridan on their travels to the Sutton area. The piece ended up with the branch of the family that led to Lee Effinger, our generous benefactor.

Locally, the branch of the family led to Roger Sheridan, Regina Leininger and others. John and Ellen were the grandparents of Roger and Regina.

Cool, Huh?

A second major item in this donation is a coal oil lamp which was converted to electricity at some point in its life. This item is described in yet another book that is about the Sheehy/Sheridan families.

Full disclosure: The two items, the wardrobe and the lamp arrived with "some assembly required" and we have only begun to address that as of this writing. Hopefully by the time you come to visit we will have them fully assembled and on display. If not, well, we're open to willing hands connected to crafty minds.

Laureen Riedesel, Beatrice Librarian,
speaking at the Allegro Wolfe Arts Center,
sponsored by the historical society.

Laureen Riedesel Program

We were honored to host a visit by Laureen Riedesel to Sutton in April. Laureen is a well-known speaker for the Humanities Council and other venues.

Her topic this time was an incredible story of a 19th Century hanging of a convicted murderer by Gage County and the maze of consequences after the alleged victim showed up four years later. Really inconvenient.

Laureen bought the story up to the present time as she related hosting a reunion of the family of the fellow.

We had a fine crowd, everyone seemed to enjoy the occasion and we hope to do similar events in the future. 

Let us know if you have any ideas.

Personal note: our visit with Laureen extended to and through dinner at the Legion and hours of great conversation before we bid her good-bye well after 10 pm with a drive back home to Beatrice ahead of her. A visit to the Beatrice library is on our list.

Sutton House Project

Our most recent project was prompted by a common question we find ourselves fielding. It goes something like, "I just bought this house in Sutton. Do you know when it was built, or who built it? And who has lived here in the past we could talk to?"

It is usually just a coincidence if we can satisfactorily answer the folks. 

The Plettner house at 603 W. Cedar quickly became our showcase for what our project could accomplish as several people
quickly left comments, including Hannele. The house was originally built by Albert W. (Bertie) Clark and his illustrious
wife Mayme and is one of the very distinctive houses in Sutton.

We invite you to join our project and tell us what you know about the history of each of these houses. We've posted over 50 and will continue to add. Just post a comment on the post for the house.

Access the project by either clicking on "Sutton House Project" withing the "Pages" area on the right of the blog which will take you to an explanation of the project and a list of links to houses by address OR click on "Sutton House Project" in the "Labels" section where you'll be able to scroll through the whole set.


Our mowing contractor for 2015 is Mau's Mowing with Shelley and Kesean at work. Tell them thanks.

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