Courtesy of Adams County Historical Society.
Idella Willoughby Williams
1855 – 1903
After applying for divorce in 1876, citing “extreme cruelty,” Idella filed a homestead claim for the land her husband originally claimed. In 1880, she proved up and then sold her land for $8.40 per acre. In 1881, she married James B. Miltmore and they moved to Hastings.
Elizabeth C. Dalrymple1846 - D.O.D. Unknown
Elizabeth C. Dalrymple
Elizabeth used her homestead as a way to gain capital. She was born in New York and came to Nebraska with her parents.
In 1877, she filed a claim for 80 acres at six miles northeast of Hastings. During this time, Elizabeth was a school teacher and hired someone to cultivate 54 acres of her land. She married in 1881, proved up on her land in 1882, and immediately sold the 80 acres for $1,000.
Of the 46 successful women homesteaders of Adams County, only four were born in other countries; two in Canada and two in Germany.
Elizabeth Stehl was born in Germany and immigrated to the U.S. in 1866 with two daughters while her son stayed in Germany. They lived in Illinois for a brief time before she, her daughter and son-in-law moved to Adams County. She filed a homestead claim in 1874, proved up in 1881, and sold it to her daughter in 1887.
1866 – 1941
Alice came to Adams County in 1882, where her parents took the last tree claim in the county. She was a teacher for eight years before getting married. However, getting married and having children did not stop her from getting a degree of Doctor of Optometry from Cotner College. For the next few years she worked alongside her husband, a pharmacist, in several Kansas drug stores. In 1903, they bought a drug store in Hastings on the corner of Second Street and Hastings Avenue, which is where the Art Bar is located today.Alice was Hastings’ first female optometrist and served as police matron. This meant she could be called at any hour—night or day—when the police had a case involving women or children.
Alice was a member of the Bethany Home, a haven for abandoned and homeless, until it closed in 1906. Soon after, she joined the Hastings Woman’s Club and served as the head of the charity department. In this role, she rallied for a home for the elderly called Sunnyside. Using $300, Sunnyside opened its doors in April 1914 on the corner of 14th Street and Hastings Avenue, the current location of Crossroads Homeless Shelter. Before Sunnyside, the poor farm was the only resource elderly individuals had for end-of-life care. Sunnyside offered more dignity and allowed married couples to stay together.
Alice Brooke. Courtesy of Adams County Historical Society.
Alice Brooke, her husband, A.H. Brooke, and sons Don & Bill, 1905. Courtesy of Adams County Historical Society.
Beginning in World War I, Alice was appointed the first Home Service Chairman of the Adams County Red Cross. She served in this position for nearly 30 years. She was also on the Adams County Welfare Board, a charter member of the Hastings YWCA, and an American Legion member.
During the flu epidemic of 1918, when so many people were ill that there were not enough medical personnel to take care of them, Alice teamed up with Margretta Dietrich and set up feeding kitchens in their own homes. They organized volunteers to deliver food and they themselves went to hundreds of homes delivering food and providing services. After a failed candidacy for state legislature in 1933, Alice was elected to the Hastings City Council, becoming the first woman to serve in that role.
Medicine Bottle, c. 1920s, Brooke & Sons Drug
Medicine Box, 1946, Brooke & Sons Pharmacy
Brooke Drug Store, 1903. Alice on left. Courtesy of Adams County Historical Society.