TRIP FROM SNYDER, UNION,MESSEX, HILLROSE AND BACK TO BRUSH ON HIGHWAY 6
TRIP FROM SNYDER, UNION, MESSEX, HILLROSE AND BACK TO BRUSH ON HIGHWAY 6
WITH UNCLE ADAM, LORAINE O’DELL AND UNCLE BILL, CAROLYN AND JERRY
ANDERSON WENT WITH THEM ON JULY 11,1997
On Friday, July 11 we started our trip from Brush and then went to Snyder. The bridge across the South Platte River of Colorado Highway 71 used to be a wooden bridge, now is a new bridge built farther west, and Highway 71 goes to the west of Snyder instead of through it. The old wooden bridge used to go east of Snyder and the highway went through the town. Snyder is much smaller than it used to be, but has a new post office in it. The population is much smaller than it used to be. The Union Railroad no longer goes through here and the railroad tracks have been taken out from Union to Kersey. The railroad station that used to be here is gone, also. The schoolhouse where the children used to go is gone, too. The children are bused to Brush to go to school. In the 1920s and 1930s a man named Charley Barry owned many places in Snyder. Uncle Clarence and Aunt Mollie Bruce lived north of Snyder on Highway 7.
Road W. 7 is a county road which goes east of Snyder and takes you to Union. On the south side of the road outside of Snyder there used to be pig and hog buildings where they fattened them for market. Farther east on the right side of the road lived Bill Siegelke. When you come to County Road 32, which goes north of Road W. 7, you will see many Cottonwood trees along a water ditch. The farm next to it was that Peterson farm. Ben Peterson, who owned it at one time, got the seedlings from the river and planted them along the ditch. Now there are many trees growing there. North of the Peterson farm used to be a schoolhouse which is no longer there. West of Road 32 about 1 1/2 mile is where the Berkheims lived for three years in 1923, 1924 and 1925. They rented this farm, the Painter farm, to pasture cows. In 1921 there was a flood of the South Platte River, and they moved to get away from the flooded homestead. There were also floods along the South Platte River in 1935 and in 1965. In 1935 they had rain for about a month and there was more damage, Uncle Adam said.
Further east. on Road W.7 we came to the place where Union Pawnee used to be. There is a railroad sign still here with UNION printed on it. The railroad station here was given the name Union by the two railroad companies whose lines came together at this point. They were the Union Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroads. The post office name of Pawnee was given that name after the nearby creek which was named for the Pawnee Indian Tribe. The name is Union , the post office is Pawnee and the county is Morgan. The altitude of Union is 4122 feet. The Union station was there on March 1, 1920 and was gone by 1930 according Union Pacific Railroad records. At one time Union had a population of 36. The old garage building is still there on the right side of the road. On the north side of the road and opposite the garage is where the section house for the railroad used to be.
Tony Asnicar was the Union Pacific Railroad section hand boss at Union, Colorado. There was another Asnicar family in the area. Otto Asnicar was a brother to Tony . Two sons of Tony Asnicar were Bill and Elliott. They were cousins of Bob Asnicar-the son of Otto. Gregg Brungardt and he ran around together. Aunt Pauline said that she knows Bob Asnicar. He lives in Loveland now. He came to Aunt Marie’s funeral. He saw about it in the newspaper. Uncle Bill Berkheim and Bob were friends, also. Aunt Pauline said that she and Bob were out on a date with Uncle Bill and his girlfriend in Bill’s car. The gas was getting low. Uncle Bill and Bob looked in their pockets for some money. She said that they only had 35 cents each. Bob married a girl from the Carl Walker family in the Brush -Hillrose area who fed cattle. Bill Asnicar, Tony’s son, worked at the Union Depot and also played an accordion. He had a daughter named Marge. Marge Asnicar married a man named Billie Chapman. Billie and Marge went to school with Aunt Martha, and they graduated together.
After World War I there was a flu epidemic in the US brought home by the soldiers. Uncle Adam said that Tony got flu serum and had the people in Union vaccinated. Then many days later they got some beer and put the children upstairs in the section house, and the adults drank beer downstairs.
About ½ mile east of the garage on the right side of County Road W. 7 stands a solitary tree. Uncle Adam said, ”If the tree could talk, it would have a lot to say.” Nearby this tree was the first school house. Later it was moved down to Union east of the garage, and then it was built twice as big. Uncle Adam said he rode on the back of the house when they were moving it to Union.
There was a road that went down around and behind the place where the school used to set. It is no longer there. It was called the Sweet Clover Road by Uncle Adam. It went south from Road W. 7 for a little bit but turned to the right and ran west for about three fourths of my where it ended at a house. This house belonged to Henry Asnocar. He and his wife had 12 children who all lived in the two bedroom house. Uncle Adam couldn’t figure out how they could have that many children in one house. It looked like that it was occupied at the time, but no one was there.
Back on Road W 7 the trip continued until we came to County Line Road 36. which is the county line between Morgan County and Washington County. Road 36 ran south of Road W 7 to a Balzar Bridge. On this road Uncle Adam said there was a stockyard and beet pile. Sugar beets were raised south of here and brought here for the Great Western Sugar company. Uncle Adam said the bridge was out.
The Road W. 7 takes you to the town of Messex which is in the northwestern edge of Washington County. You take Road P5 south from here to Road 59 which goes east over Messex Bridge crossing over the South Platte River. This road comes to Road R and you go south. Along this road lived Ted Gill, who was a senator in the Colorado Legislature and owned land in this area. He owned Ranch 22. Ted Gill had three boys and a girl -- Bill, Bruce, Chub and Nellie who married a man named Bill Trump. Farther down the road on the right side was vacant land which had been donated by Grandfather Gill for a schoolhouse. The Roosevelt School stood on this land at one time.
Next we crossed Highway 6. Highway 6 was built in the years 1926 to 1928. One man from Greeley built the road from Greeley to the Logan County Line. Another man built it south from the Colorado Line to the Logan County Line. Road R comes to Road 57. We turned right and went west to County Line Road 36 or the Balzac Bridge Road. The road was closed north of here.
On Road 57 west of Road R, a man named Robert Steirt, who was a friend and neighbor that lived east of
Uncle Adam’s farm, sold his farm and bought a 160 acre farm along this road. He then bought another 160 acre farm, uncle Adam said, and then Robert lost both farms because he couldn’t take care of them. Along this road was also a trailer home which a small tornado came along several years ago and destroyed. It killed the husband, but his wife and child were not hurt.
Road 57 then came to Road 36 at the Balzac Road. You turn and go south on County Line Road 36 and come to Road AA. This road travels west. You turn on Road AA and go west until you come to the end of the road at the South Platte River. At the end of the road on the right side is where the Berkheim’s farm was located. Down the river about 1/4 mile is where Russell Anderson, Jr. drowned. Up the river by the old Berkheim farm one can see the Prewitt head gate which takes water out of the South Platte River for the Prewitt Reservoir which is in Logan and Washington Counties. It is about 18 miles northeast of Ft. Morgan and about 8 miles from Hillrose and is along the South Platte River. The reservoir is an irrigation and recreation reservoir and was built by the Great Western Sugar Company and began construction in 1910 and was completed in 1912. The reservoir helps supply sufficient water for the irrigation of sugar beets. There was a 100 year easement on this rented farm of the Berkheim’s for the water for the Prewitt Reservoir. Benny Lawson, the 15-year-old son of Reverend Lawson, who married Adam and Lydia Berkheim, went swimming off the Prewitt head gate one day and drowned in the South Platte River. Aunt Pauline said that the boy’s father came to the Berkheim farm when he heard about his son’s drowning. She said that her father, Gabriel, tried to stop him from going down to the river. She said the boy’s father pushed him and Gabriel fell on his rear end. Uncle Bill said this happened after church one Sunday. He said he remembered about the boy telling him that he was going to go swimming off of the Prewitt head gates. So within a short distance of each other two young boys had drowned in the South Platte River although at different times, one in 1942. The date of the Lawson boy’s drowning is unknown.
It was while the Berkheim’s lived on this farm that a small tornado came and did a lot of damage to various parts of their farm but not to the farm house. A house had been moved to this farm in 1925 or 1926 and was already there when they moved to this farm in 1926. When the Berkheim family moved off of this land in 1946, the farm house was moved to Brush..
When the Berkheim’s had their farm sale in 1946, in order to move off the farm, their neighbor, Bill Siegelke, hung around after it was all over. He wanted to buy the old homestead at Union from Gabriel. He sold the land to Bill Siegelke. Today most of the land along the river bottom of the South Platte River west of and around Union is owned by the Wildlife Division of the state of Colorado.
On Road AA east of the Berkheim’s farm near Road 36 was the farm of the Krieger’s. The parents were Nicklaus and Elizabeth (Schnell) Krieger. They had six children which included Conrad, Alena, Adam, Elizabeth, Marguerite, and Harry. Conrad, the oldest son, married Marie, the daughter of Gabriel and Marie Berkheim in 1929.
From the Berkheim farm we drove down to Road Z to Road 355 and then down to Road X. where Uncle Adam’s farm was. The rented farm that he had was 80 acres and it had an old farmhouse. He fixed it up and put electricity and running water in it. When I was a young boy, I would go visit it. The farm had a coal and firewood stove in the kitchen. You had to pump water outside and bring it in. You used a ladle spoon to drink water from the container. Uncle Adam was an efficient farmer. He raised chickens and hogs and cows and raised corn and other crops. He milked the cows and took the cream and sold it and would give the leftover milk to the pigs.
When we drove by the old farm of Uncle Adam’s, I was surprised to see the old farm house torn down. In its place was built a two-story house. I could not believe it, but that’s progress for you. I have many fine memories of staying at Uncle Adam’s old farmhouse. West of his farm on the same road was a farmhouse in which the Krieger’s and the Bath’s (Adam’s wife’s relatives) had lived.
Road X. takes you west to Highway 6, and then you turn left and go on the highway into Hillrose. When you go past the town and look to the right, you can see a Road W. which goes from Hillrose to Snyder. This road is on the south side of the Platte River. Road W. 7 is on the north side of the Platte River.
This finished our trip around Snyder, Union, Messex and Hillrose towns and the area to see where the Berkheim family lived. It was a very fascinating and interesting trip. I really learned a lot.
See Two Maps in Photo Section: Map 4 of the Trip. Map 5 of Homestead and Hillrose Farm Location