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Nebraska County Countdown: #43 Colfax County

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We just whoooshed past Colfax County.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why I signed up to do this bit about Colfax County. I do not have a good story to tell. I think my brother and sister-in law once lived in Clarkson or Howells, which are both in Colfax County - the only thing I remember about that is they could not drink the tap water because of high nitrate content.

There were 10,515 people in Colfax county as of the 2010 census, and the county seat is Schuyler. Both the county and the county seat were named after Vice President Schulyer Colfax, who was VP under Ulysses S. Grant. I’ll be you can guess when the county was established, right?

Yes, just after the Civil War. Colfax County came together in 1869, when they were naming everything after everybody involved in the Civil War. Schuyler Colfax was apparently very anti-slavery and was one of the founders of the Republican party. After reading a little bit about him on Wikipedia, it seems that the Republican party came about because of its anti-slavery platform. I did not know this, or I forgot, or I don’t care all that much. I like history, but politics... I don’t know if I care all that much about the history of politics.

Get this about his death from Wikipedia:

On January 13, 1885, Colfax walked about three-quarters of a mile (1 kilometer) in −30 °F (−34 °C) weather from the Front Street depot to the Omaha depot in Mankato, Minnesota, intending to change trains on his way to Rock Rapids, Iowa, to give a speech. Five minutes after arriving at the depot, Colfax died of a heart attack brought on by the extreme cold and exhaustion.

I don’t think I have to tell you that -34 is unbelievably cold. Walking that far in that extreme a temperature (never mind the wind chill) would put a burden on your body. Your body has to work just to stay warm - you should be very thankful for all the synthetic, lightweight clothing we have now that makes this task much easier.

Colfax County, above.

A blow up of Colfax County, below, showing all them huge cities.

Every time I think of the town of Howells, I think of Thurston Howell, III from Gilligan’s Island. I really don’t have much more than that to go on here.

Historical Places

There are 12 (!) places listed on the national register of historical places for Colfax County. Look at you guys, up there in Colfax, all la de da with your Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church and your Oak Ballroom and your Opera House and the mansion of the guy that built the opera house. Good for you!

You also have the Schuyler Carnegie Library. Did you know that there were 69 libraries built in Nebraska by the Carnegie Corporation? They were built from grants from the Carnegie Corporation in New York because Andrew Carnegie, one of the giants of industry, believed that people should have access to books. I wonder if he haunts Jeff Bezos from time to time.

You have the John Janecek House, and the Z.C.B.J. Opera House in Clarkson. Both have Czech heritage written all over them. It’s my understanding that the runza is Czech, although “runza” itself is credited with being Russian in origin. Technically, I believe the Czech term for what we call a runza in Nebraska is a bierock (bee-rock), although there a lot who would say that a beirock is German.

I wonder how the Czech’s feel being left out of all of this, although they still have the kolache, which one might consider far superior to the runza or the bierock, being delightful little pastries of goodness, those damned kolache things.

Husker Stuff!

  • Kyle Emanuel is from Schuyler. He played for North Dakota State and now plays for the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s not exactly Huskers... though.
  • We have two #43s this season:

Tyrin Ferguson, a junior outside linebacker who is from Edna Karr in New Orleans.

Connor Ruth, a freshman running back from Malcolm, Nebraska.

  • I honestly do not recall nor can find a famous #42 in our history.
  • The 1943 team went 2-6. They were in the Big Six and they were coached by Adolph J. Lewandowski, a name that you all know... or not. Thing is - this is in the smack dab of World War II. The only guys left at the University of Nebraska were 4Fs - guys who were physically disqualified from serving in the armed forces. The University of Nebraska did not participate as heavily in the armed services training and mobilization as much as (some) other universities... so many, many men left Nebraska and did not return.
  • The World War II era of Nebraska football is missing history. Unfortunately, no one cares about it. It deserves more research. Some day, man... some day.