Sunday, May 9, 2021

Sarah (Brening) Everett - Founder of Runza Restaurants

Sarah Edna (Sally) Brening was born on 12 Aug 1912 near Sutton. In 1920 her parents Alex and Katherina Sophia (Sophie) (Leur) Brening were farming in Momence Township in Fillmore County east of Sutton. Sarah Brening married Wilbert T. Everett on 1 June 1938 in Lincoln.

She started the Runza business with her brother Alex (b. 1 Jan 1916).

Alex Brening (Sr.) arrived in New York on 18 Nov 1907 on the ship Caronia with his brother David. Ship records identify Sutton, Nebraska as their destination and Hy Reifschneider as their contact person. Alex Brening listed his home as the village of Popofka, Saratof (Saratov), Russia. The Saratov origins survive on the Runza Restaurant Wikipedia entry where the recipe is attributed to German Volga immigrants.

Sarah Everett died 23 Jan 1989 at the age of 76 and is buried at Lincoln Memorial Park.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Sutton Theater presented "Oklahoma" in 1996

"OKLAHOMA" was the Sutton Theater show in May 1996.

Hosea Gray & Party arrived May 4, 1871

Hosea Wilson Gray

Colonel Hosea Wilson Gray, his son John M. Gray, his son-in-law George W. Bemis, and W. Cunning and his wife arrived at the Luther French dugout on May 4, 1871. 

The Gray party's arrival marked the beginning of the 1871 growth spurt that took Sutton from one farmer on the banks of School Creek to a bustling community on the Burlington Railroad by the end of the year.

Hosea Gray was born in Tioga County, Pennsylvania, spent some time in Indiana and came to Marion, Iowa in 1837. He practiced law in Marion for several years, was the first sheriff of Linn County and served for four terms.

He left Iowa for Nebraska in 1871 arriving in Clay County along the expected route of the Burlington Railroad. His wife Nancy, daughter-in-law Emma, and daughter Ada shortly joined their husbands in their new home.

W. Cunning's wife Kate has been credited with being the first married woman onto the land that became Sutton. I'm unsure why there is the distinction that she was married. Does that imply there may have been a single woman here? Where? Unaccompanied? The only inhabitant was Luther French. Surely not.

Hosea Gray was active in politics helping to form the Republican Party in Iowa. He served in Iowa's Constitutional Convention in 1856 and his portrait hangs in the state capitol.


When the Civil War broke out, Hosea Gray organized Company A of the 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry and was commissioned a Captain serving nearly three years before sickness forced him to leave the army as a Lieutenant Colonel. He was promoted to brevet Colonel at the end of the war.

Hosea Gray practiced law in Sutton with his partner A.A. McCoy engaging in land deals in the new community. He was the senior partner with son John in the Gray lumber company located to the northwest of the intersection of Maple Street and Way Avenue on the Hunzeker property and on the grounds of the Sutton Museum. Two houses built by John Gray house the museum. 

Hosea Wilson Gray died on April 28, 1885 and is buried in the Sutton cemetery.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sutton War Brides

Millions of American men found themselves in Europe during WWII where they met the local population and nature intervened. 

This is from the May 2, 1946 issue of The Sutton News.

May 1946 Sutton Ads

Business was picking up in May 1946 as the post-war economy got into gear.

WINCHARGERS provided rural electricity before REA arrived

The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) brought electricity to farms primarily between 1936 and 1952. WWII interrupted progress and in 1946 farm families were still installing their own electrical systems, primarily using wind chargers like this or gas-powered generators (as our family had until REA reached our farm in 1949.)

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sutton Basketball Team Defeated NU's NCAA Champions

 From The Clay County News of April 29, 1971

New Product at Sutton Manufacturing Co., 1971

This item from April 22, 1971 describes a Sutton business without telling some of us 50 years later what it was all about.

Who? What exactly? What happened?

Time for some research...

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Oakland Hotel - Destroyed by fire 1902

The Oakland Hotel was Sutton's largest hotel, built about 1885, it was destroyed by fire in March 1902.

The article below appeared in the Nebraska Signal newspaper in Geneva on March 14 quoting The Sutton Register's story about the fire.

This map from Library of Congress is from Sanborn Map and Publishing Company and is dated August 1889. Sanborn developed these maps to assist insurance companies to understand risks of individual buildings.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

NU Football End Coach Osborne at Banquet at Sandy Creek school

Fifty years ago the main speaker at the Clay County Livestock Feeders Association banquet expressed optimism about the University of Nebraska football team's prospects for the 1971 season.

Spoiler Alert: He was spot on.

 From The Clay County News April 22, 1971.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

When Did Sutton Get Street Signs?

Turns out, Sutton was not founded with Street Signs and House Numbers already installed.

It took 100 years to get that amenity. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

1946 Boxing Meet Results

Boys Town defeated Sutton 34-24 in this 1946 Boxing Meet hosted in Sutton. Eight of the teams scored in the field of 14 area high schools.

New 1946 Maytag Home Freezer - Edgar Dealer

An Edgar merchant was exciting to bring the new Maytag home freezer to his customers in April 1946.

Saturday, March 27, 2021



We have The Sutton Mustang newspaper from the fall of 1954 through spring 1962.

Follow these links to the year's worth of issues (mostly).

The 1954-1955 issues are HERE.

The 1955-1956 issues are HERE.

The 1956-1957 issues are HERE.

The 1957-1958 issues are HERE.

The 1958-1959 issues are HERE.   (at least a few)

The 1959-1960 issues are HERE.   

The 1960-1961 issues are HERE.

The 1961-1962 issues are HERE.

Any more of these out here hiding in basements, closets, or under the bed?

1921 State Basketball Tourney - Sutton 17 - Kimball 18

The Sutton Mustangs lost to Kimball in the 1921 state basketball tournament. The state champions were Omaha Commerce, soon to be Omaha Tech High.