SAUNDERS COUNTY COURTHOUSE
von MANSFELDE HOME - QUALITY HILL
1925 Adams Street
Block 46, Miller & Clark Addition to Ashland
Silver Street to Adams Street, 19th Street to 20th Street
histories below, prepared by Peg Lutton 2012
The first permanent white settlement in the Ashland area dated from 1857.
At that time frontier developers proposed a number of possible towns,
filing their plats at the Cass County Courthouse in Plattsmouth.
One of these was for Salina, the earliest known form of Saline Ford.
Calhoun County had been formed in Territorial Nebraska November 3, 1858
in memory of the late South Carolina senator, John C. Calhoun.
Once the Civil War started, residents couldn't stand this so on January 8, 1862
the county name was changed to honor Nebraska Governor Alvin Saunders.
When the war was over, Ashland and the whole area was growing
and Saunders County needed a county seat.
Ashland lay just outside Saunders County boundaries and her people chafed increasingly
over the distance they had to journey to do business at the county seat of Plattsmouth.
A bill was introduced in the territorial House of Representatives on January 25, 1866 to detach
the 12 sections comprising most of today's Ashland Township from Cass County and add them to Saunders County.
The transfer became law on February 12, 1866.
We still call the north edge of the 12 sections the "county line road."
Organization of the county was completed in October of 1867 when Ashland won the title of county seat by a 78-16 vote.
The County Board met for the first time in Ashland on November 10, 1866.
They used the second story of Moe and Fuller's store building at 11th and Birch Streets,
moving the furniture in the small room as required for County Board meeting for County Court proceedings.
There was no jail or safe, so Dennis Dean, the mill entrepreneur,
took the county valuables home with him each evening because he had a safe there.
In 1870 a modern, two-story courthouse was built (pictured above)
on the hill on Silver Street between 19th and 20th streets.
On October of 1873 a countywide election was held on the question of changing the county seat
as Ashland was an inconvenient distance away for settlers further out in the county.
The vote was inconclusive as none of the four locations received a majority.
So, with obvious pre-arrangement, a courthouse janitor in Ashland,
left a side door unlocked on December 20, 1873.
A team and wagon, three men and piles of bouncing county record books
took off during the night for Wahoo.
Very soon Wahoo residents raised money to erect a two-story courthouse there.
The Ashland Courthouse stood empty until 1878 when Dr. A.S. von Mansfelde bought it.
Dr. von Mansfelde was born in Mansfelde, Germany in 1845 and came to the United States in 1862 with his parents.
He was married to Julia Lubhart in 1868 in Chicago.
He graduated with a medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago
in the class of 1872 and was well known in medical circles in the Midwest.
In 1875 he was called from Chicago to perform an operation on
one of his nephews in Lincoln and stayed, devoting himself to surgery.
In 1880 he established the Omaha Medical College and during the administration
of President Taft, he revised the medical regulations of the U.S. Army.
He was Secretary of the Nebraska State Medical Society for eleven years.
Dr. von Mansfelde moved to Ashland in 1878 and bought the Courthouse.
He added two two-story wings to the Courthouse building, pictured above; one for family
and one for patients, and turned it into a private hospital known as Quality Hill.
His wife, Julia, was his anesthetist when he performed surgeries.
The home was a showplace with tennis courts, many flowers
and a fish pond big enough that fish could live in it over the winter.
Earl Butts was his gardener and cacti lined the circular driveway.
He lived very well and had a driver and carriage.
There were always servants in the home.
In the 1885 census Augusta Mansfelde, the Doctor's mother,
was living with them and there were four servants.
The records show many mortgages on the property when Dr. von Mansfelde owned it.
He and his wife raised their five children there. Julia Duty was born in Chicago in 1871
and graduated with the first 12-year high school class in Ashland in 1889.
She graduated from the University of Nebraska and taught mathematics
in Ashland High School for over 50 years, dying in 1960.
Johanna was born in 1874 in Chicago, graduated from the
University of Nebraska and taught in Omaha for 32 years.
She moved to Los Angeles, CA where she lived for 17 years dying there in 1945.
Belle was born in 1876 in Nebraska, graduated from the University of Nebraska
and taught at Central High School in Omaha for years, dying in 1929.
A son, George, was born in 1877 and died in 1878.
Charles Herbert was born in 1879 in Nebraska, graduated from the
University of Nebraska Law School and practiced law in Omaha for 4 years.
He drowned in the Platte River in 1905.
The obituary says the funeral was held on the lawn of Quality Hill.
The funeral procession then marched to the cemetery.
There was a fierce electric storm preceded by blinding clouds of dust and torrents of rain.
The funeral party was drenched.
Alice was born in 1883 in Ashland and died in 1951.
The Doctor's wife Julia died in 1916 and is buried in the Ashland Cemetery.
In May of 1917 Dr. von Mansfelde married Sylvia Butts in Chicago.
She was a sister of his gardener Earl Butts and was about 30 years younger than he.
His daughters were outraged because their family was Prussian royalty and Sylvia was a housemaid.
The daughters built a large home at 21st and Boyd Streets.
Alice kept house and cooked for her sisters.
They enjoyed playing bridge and always found time for a game when there were four of them.
Their home was heavily mortgaged and they lost it to foreclosure in the 1930s.
It was sold and the buyers lost it to a devastating fire.
The 1920 census shows the Doctor and his wife Sylvia living at Quality Hill.
Dr. von Mansfelde died June 17, 1928.
The funeral was held at Quality Hill.
It was an Episcopalian service and is listed in the records at St. Stephen's Church.
The obituary said the service was held in the study at the home
and the casket was surrounded by prominent physicians from around the state.
It was a 5 p.m. service and 24 doctors from around the state were listed.
There was an IOOF service at the cemetery.
The building was foreclosed upon in 1931 and by sheriff's sale in 1947.
Irene and James Ferrier moved to Ashland from Louisville in 1931 and lived in the residence.
They sold popcorn from a wagon on the streets of Ashland. * *
They also loved animals and allowed them to procreate.
The home deteriorated and was in a state of disrepair
when foreclosed upon by sheriff's sale in 1947.
The Ferriers continued to live in the building.
He died in 1951, having been in failing health for several years.
C.D. Lutton was City Attorney at that time and neighbors of the property
would call him in the wee hours of the morning
to complain about the dogs barking which would keep them awake.
* * The AHS is hopeful that someone will provide us with a picture of the famous popcorn wagon ? ?
Cliff Goff bought the property in 1954 and there was $7000
in unpaid taxes and paving assessments on the property which he paid.
When he purchased the block from Irene Ferrier, she was given a piece of land he owned on Highway 63
as part of the deal because the property had "old age liens" against it with the county.
The County Board of Supervisors would not release the liens until it was assured that Mrs. Ferrier was given a place to live.
A brick filling station was moved (from the SE corner of 14th & Adams) to the property on Highway 63
and she lived there with her animals though it never had running water or heat.
The block was replatted as "Goff's Replat" and eight new homes were built there.
The old courthouse was razed at that time.
The block was filled with a wilderness of trees which had to be cut.
Goff tried to save some of the trees but most were old or in bad shape and only two of the original remained.
The house on the Southwest corner (20th & Silver) was built first and bought by Clyde and Ruth Jones.
Forrest L. and Glendora (nee Folsom) Raikes had the home East of it built for them
and Cliff and Katherine Goff built a home East of that.
The home on the Southeast corner was purchased by Charles and Charlene Box.
Jack and Marge Reece bought the home on the Northwest corner.
C.D. & Margaret (Dee & Peg) Lutton
1925 Adams Street
In 1955 I was pregnant with my third child.
We lived in a two bedroom house at 1641 Clay Street and we needed more room.
My husband Dee and I would drive around Omaha looking for houses we liked.
We wanted a Cape Cod house - my aunties lived in Connecticut and I liked that style.
I was ready to have my baby!!
We went in to Omaha and drove around looking at houses.
I was having false labor pains and hated to go home.
We found THE house.
We didn't go home with a baby that trip but did find a house we liked and an architect.
David was born about a week later and when he was a month old,
we went to Omaha to visit John Hyde, Architect, who designed Cape Cod houses.
He drew up plans and Cliff Goff built our home
in the middle of the block at 1925 Adams Street.
The woodwork is parenta pine from South America.
The kitchen cabinets were built by Don Buck, a local craftsman, and are of birch.
The Lusienskis, who bought our home in 1993, have those plans
and used them in re-designing the kitchen.
We were going to paint the house yellow but the Raikes' house
behind us was yellow so we had a blue house.
We moved in the summer of 1956.
The children each had a bedroom.
But they didn't want to be upstairs alone,
so all ended up in a bedroom next to ours on the main floor.
Two years later at age 8, Susan moved upstairs and the boys several years later.
About 5 years after we moved there, we added a screened porch to the south of the building.
The corner lot East of us was built upon by Floyd and Gladys Bundy and soon after
the Moomeys bought the home Goff built on the east side of the block, completing Goff's Plat.
We lived in the home until 1993 when it was sold to
Jerry and Stephanie Lusienski who live in it at this writing.
Peg Lutton - 2012
ULSTROM - LUTTON - REISEN HOME
1641 Clay Street
the 2 photos above are snapshots taken in 1948 (L) and 1949 (R)
West 1/2 of Lot 5, All of Lot 6, Block 14, Flora City Addition to Ashland
Austin Smith was the first owner of record of the land on which the home at 1641 Clay Street was built.
There was much land speculation in the early years and W.B. Warbritton, Henry Amison, S. P. Snell and J.E. LeFountain
owned the land as well as Lydia Holman, James Bowen and Jonathan Fenton.
Probably one of the latter three built the original "two up, two down" house in the 1880s
that is the basis of the home there now.
W. C. Hastings was a farmer in Washington County.
In 1894 at the age of 40 he married Binna Hendricks who was 23 years old.
Their daughter Irene was born in 1899 and never married.
When her husband died in 1924, Binna moved to Ashland and bought the north half
of the block between 16th and 17th on Clay Street.
There were two houses on the block. She lived in the east house at 308 North 16th Street.
Her sister Lola Ulstrom and her husband Wilmer rented the house
at 1641 Clay and lived there with their three daughters,
Margery, Dorothy and Ila Faye.
Wilmer Ulstrom was an engraver and had a jewelry store on Silver Street.
Binna and Lola's sister, Nellie Hendricks, also lived with them and
worked as a housekeeper in a private home.
The Ulstroms moved to Lincoln in the early 1940s and Art and Ardele Leaver rented the home.
World War II was over in 1945 and the soldiers began coming back home.
Claude D. Lutton, Jr. (Dee) was discharged in 1946 and came back
to Ashland to begin his career as a lawyer.
He had graduated from the University of Nebraska Law School in 1941
and began working for Travelers Insurance Company as a claims adjuster in Omaha.
After Pearl Harbor his friends began to go off to war so he went down to enlist.
He was rejected because of his extreme nearsightedness.
So, when he was drafted, he presumed he would again be sent home.
Not so ! !
They looked at his previous exam results and, without further testing, said he was in the army.
He served in various places until discharge in February of 1946.
He decided he wanted to live in Ashland where his parents lived,
there were no lawyers practicing there, and he hung out his shingle,
sharing an office with Paul Olson who sold insurance at 1528 Silver Street.
I had been working in Chicago and celebrated there when the war ended in August of 1945.
I moved to Ashland in March of 1947, my parents having moved there in 1946.
I met the skinny attorney and liked listening to his war stories
and tales of growing up in Ashland.
We began going out together and he asked my father for my hand in marriage.
My brother was serving in Japan and would be discharged in March
so we planned the wedding for March 10, 1948.
But where would we live?
There were no homes to buy or rent once the soldiers began to come back from the war.
And we knew we could not afford to build a new home.
One of Dee's clients was Irene Hastings who lived in Blair, Nebraska, I believe.
She had inherited several properties in Ashland which she rented out.
Art and Ardelle Leaver were living in the home at 1641 Clay Street and were moving to Illinois.
She agreed to sell Dee the home at 1641 Clay Street.
There was a quarter of a block of land - enough for a big garden.
A big, old, ramshackle barn hugged the interior southeast corner and we determined it would have to go.
We sold it to someone for $50 and he hauled all the wood and contents away.
The house was in need of paint and much up-grading. What a fun challenge for newly-weds.
We were able to get a loan and purchased the property for $2,000.
The house had been built in the 1880s and consisted of two rooms down and two rooms up.
A steep stairwell went to the second floor.
There was a basement with a dirt floor
that was accessed from an outside set of steps.
A fairly large living room of about 16'x16' had been added on to the front of the house
with accompanying porches on either side.
A large kitchen and bathroom had been added to the back of the house.
The electric fixtures were pretty primitive - a light bulb hanging down in the middle of the room.
So electricity and indoor plumbing had been added to the original house.
It was heated by a big black stove in the middle of the center room.
Our first priority was to modernize the heating.
My brother was working at Montgomery Ward in Lincoln
so we ordered a furnace unit from him -
we would put it in the basement.
We changed the arrangement of the rooms of the house.
The original two rooms became a bedroom and the dining room.
The front add-on was the living room and the back add-on that they used as a kitchen
became the master bedroom.
The kitchen was between the bathroom and the dining room.
The large porch on the west we enclosed and turned into a garage.
We found that the house had no insulation and we could not heat it, so we had
Ralph Dean come and blow insulation into the walls.
The furnace we had bought would not adequately heat the small space -
the winter of 1949 was very severe
and we closed off the living room and were able to heat the dining room and kitchen.
The next summer we got a larger furnace from Montgomery Ward which,
with the new insulation, kept us warm.
We had no need for the second floor rooms so we closed that stairwell off also.
Dee's cousin, Jay Lentell of Valley, had a paint sprayer so he and Dee
sprayed the exterior of the building in the spring of 1948.
We added green shutters and a new sidewalk and it looked good.
When we moved into the house, there was curbing along the street
but it was a mud morass in the wet season.
We were glad to have the city put through paving ordinances though,
being on a corner lot, we had to pay for two sides.
Fortunately, the law business seemed to pick up when we needed it to.
In 1954 we sold the East half of the lot to Donald and Dorothy Schank
who built a lovely, new home there.
In 1955 we were expecting our third child and decided we needed to move into a larger place.
Dee's Dad, Claude Lutton, Sr. moved into the home and lived there until his death in 1966.
It was purchased by Lassie Billings and she lived there with her daughters.
It went through several more sales until it was purchased by David and Lisa Reisen
who are the present owners and have lived there for nearly 20 years.
By Peg Lutton 2013
FALES – LEDWITH – MAYFIELD HOUSE
NW corner of 19th & Boyd Streets
Photos above, with grateful acknowledgement to Saunders County & Ashland Gazette
The photo above from THE FIRST 100 YEARS - Ashland, Nebraska: 1857-1957
note: this publication is out of print
The AHS will soon have a disk available for sale of all 100 + pages
of the out-of-print publication
Lots 13-20, Block 35, Miller & Clark Addition to Ashland, Nebraska
202 North 19th Street, Ashland, Nebraska
On January 30, 1886 Elvin Clark & wife deeded lots 13-18 in Miller & Clark 's Addition to Ashland
to Samuel Bryan for $6500 and on March 22, 1886 Samuel Bryan
deeded that property to Henry Curtis for $4500.
In her 1947 History of Ashland May Wiggenhorn wrote that "H. W. Curtis built the brick home
where Mrs. Ledwith lives". Since he owned the property from March 1886 to June 1888,
the house was probably built in 1887.
Henry Curtis was an implement dealer who lived with his brother
so perhaps he built the home to be sold.
On June 11, 1888 Samuel and Phebe Fales paid $3000 for that property.
The brick Italianate style house that now sits on the property is listed
on the Saunders County appraisal list as being built in 1896.
However, a picture of the burning of the Exchange Hotel in 1887
clearly shows the Fales house on the hill - no trees to distort the view.
Samuel Sheffield Fales was born in Bristol, Rhode Island in March, 1833,
a son of Lemuel and Hannah Vaughn Fales who were natives of Rhode Island and farmed there.
He learned the shipbuilder's trade at Warren, Rhode Island and followed that pursuit for several years.
He afterward engaged in the patternmaking business,
making patterns of models for patents until he left New England for the middle west.
He settled in Clinton, Iowa and carried on the paint business for a time.
He returned to Rhode Island and in May of 1873 at Provincetown married Phebe Ann Bennett,
daughter of Edward and Pamelia Coleman Bennett who were natives of Massachusetts
and representatives of old New England families.
The father was a contractor and builder and continued at that business
throughout his entire life in Massachusetts where he died in May of 1883,
having survived his wife about three months as she died in February of that year.
In 1875 Samuel Fales came to Ashland, Nebraska where he opened a general store
in partnership with his brother James in the S.L. Sears store before it was the Sears Opera House.
In July, 1881 a daughter, Carlyn B. Fales, was born.
In 1889 Mr. Fales retired from active business but continued to make his home
in Ashland owning several farms in the Ashland Greenwood area.
He died February 5, 1912.
His funeral service was from St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
where he had been a vestryman. He was buried in Rhode Island.
He left the house to his wife Phebe and daughter Carlyn in his will.
Mr. Fales was a Royal Arch Mason, having joined the order in Warren, Rhode Island
and both he and his wife held membership in the Order of the Eastern Star.
She was the third Grand Matron of the order in the State of Nebraska,
serving in that capacity during the years 1878 and 1879.
Their daughter Carlyn married Frank M. Ledwith of Lincoln, Nebraska,
October 25, 1905 at St. Stephen's Church in Ashland.
The church was decorated with potted palms and white chrysanthemums.
A two-course luncheon was served to the members of the bridal party
and out of town guests at the S.S. Fales residence directly after the ceremony.
Daughter Frances E. was born November 1, 1906 and Marian F. was born June 26, 1910.
Frank Ledwith worked for the Burlington Railroad at Lincoln and then was yardmaster in Omaha.
In 1913, after the death of Samuel Fales, the Ledwith family
moved back to the family home in Ashland.
Phebe Fales died in May, 1928. She had continued to live in the home with the Ledwith family.
There was a fire in the home in 1928 and the May 9, 1929 Ashland Gazette,
in telling of new homes being built, mentioned this:
"Following the fire at the F.E. Ledwith home last year, the house was completely remodeled.
On the first floor, partitions were removed, making two smaller rooms
into one spacious living room. The dining room underwent minor changes,
new china closets being constructed which lent charm and balance to the room.
On the second floor, the arrangement of the rooms was not changed,
although new linen closets and several spacious clothes closets were added."
Frank died suddenly on October 20, 1939.
He had not felt well but drove to Omaha to work and was found dead
of a heart attack in his car at the railyards. He was 59 years old.
His daughters had married and Frances Stein was living in Palo Alto, California
and Marian Mossman in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The interment was delayed because Marian was flying by
Clipper ship and United Air Lines and bad weather delayed those flights.
Carrie Ledwith moved to the San Francisco area to live with her daughter Frances E.
and husband, Dr. Thomas M. Mossman.
Carrie was in failing health and died October 23, 1951 in Burlingame, California.
Her funeral was held at 3 p.m. Sunday, October 28 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ashland.
Rev. David Gracey of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Lincoln
conducted the service as local rector Paul Moss was ill.
The house was rented out and among those who lived there were Art and Vaunice Hotz,
Catherine and Harry Marcy, Dorothy and Don Schank and Lois and Jerry Minnick.
The Ledwith family had some lovely things and kept a small upstairs bedroom locked for storage.
(I remember their telling that a cut-glass punch bowl was cracked because the room was unheated. Peg Lutton)
Jami Hubbard, granddaughter of Lucille Mayfield writes that,
"The upstairs smaller bedroom referred to in the article . . . was always referred to as the Maid's Room. I believe
that was the room's original purpose when the home was built. It was adjacent to the back staircase that led directly
to the kitchen."
The Ledwith girls would visit occasionally.
In August of 1959 Marian Mossman and Dr. Thomas Mossman sold the home to Thomas and Ruth Haughey.
In July of 1964 the Haugheys moved to Omaha and the home was sold to Floyd and Lucille Mayfield.
They lived in the home for nearly 40 years.
The home was sold in December 2003 to Christy Fritzler.
She sold it to the Otto Brothers in April of 2004 and they sold it
in April of 2010 to Kate Novak who is restoring it to its original charm.
by Peg Lutton, February 2013
The DAVID & AGNES DEAN HOUSE
courtesy of Glimpses of The Past - Lillian Bailey