Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Long-time evangelist from Chadron dies at 92

by Con Marshall

A Chadron native who spent 35 years as a Christian missionary in Thailand, the Rev. Robert (Bob) Stewart, died June 6 at his home in Anniston, Ala., at age 92.  He was a 1946 graduate of Chadron High School, where one of classmates was Dr. Allen Alderman, long-time Chadron family physician, who died June 1 in Rapid City.

Shortly after graduating from high school, Steward enlisted in the Army. Following his discharge, he graduated from Howard College (now Samford University) at Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  He pastored churches in Alabama from 1949 to 1958. He and his wife, Maxine Ashburn Stewart, were appointed by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to serve in Thailand in 1958.
With their three children, they went to Thailand that year and were there until their retirement in 1994.  During his tenure, he was a field evangelist, church advisor, hospital chaplain, preacher, seminary teacher and author of Thai language books, gospel tracts, Bible study lessons and a church newspaper.
After leaving the mission field, the Stewarts lived in Anniston, where he was a Sunday school teacher at the Parker Memorial Baptist Church and spoke at more than 100 churches in the South.
In a letter to a Chadron friend in 2020, Stewart noted that he was a Chadron State College football fan dating back to 1938, when his father, a barber, took him to the Eagles’ letterman’s dinner.  He noted that he played right tackle for the Chadron High football team in 1945, and while they were in Thailand his wife gave him a subscription to USA Today as a birthday present to help him keep tabs on American sports, including Chadron State and the Cornhuskers.
From 2009 until her death in 2017, Stewart was his wife’s full-time caregiver. He also was preceded in death by his parents, Robert E. Stewart, and his mother, Sybil Stewart Gay. Survivors include his brother Bruce of Kearney and sister Joan of Omaha, along with two daughters, one son and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 


(Editor's Note:  Thanks to Con Marshall for providing this story.  Photos in the above composite are from Chadron Public Schools and the Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama.)

Monday, May 31, 2021

Dr. Allen Alderman dies at age 92

Funeral Services for Dr. Allen J. Alderman of Chadron, Nebraska were scheduled for Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at the United Methodist Church in Chadron, Nebraska. Burial will be held at Greenwood Cemetery. 

Dr. Alderman passed away peacefully on May 25, 2021, in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was born in Omaha, NE, November 17, 1928.  He was adopted from the Nebraska Children’s Home Society on September 28, 1929, by Earl and Pearl Alderman of Chadron, Nebraska. Earl, a WWI veteran, worked for the United States Postal Service and Pearl was a well-known cook and baker in the Chadron area. Allen was soon joined by a little sister, Margaret. Allen attended Chadron Public Schools where he participated in sports, graduating from CHS in May of 1946. 

With his friend, Gene Drake, Allen Alderman enlisted in the US Army two weeks after graduating and proceeded to Korea. He was trained as a Medic from which he acquired his passion for the medical field and helping others. He returned to Chadron in the fall of 1948 and began attending Chadron State College on the GI Bill. He met Shirley Mae Alcorn, of Hay Springs, and they were married in June 1950. He always felt privileged to have become a part of the Alcorn family. 

In an unusual turn of events, he was accepted into the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s MD program during his Junior Year and he and Shirley moved to Omaha. While in medical school, their first son, Greg, was born and Karen was born during his internship in Ainsworth. He graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1954 and was commissioned as a Captain in the United States Air Force where he served as a Flight Surgeon in Denver, CO; Great Falls, MT; and Fairbanks, AK.

After serving three years, he moved his family back to Chadron and began his career as a family physician. His sons, Brent and Jay, were born in Chadron. 

Dr. Alderman served as a family doctor for 40 years, retiring in 1996, and was able to deliver over 3,000 new babies during his career. Allen believed that his hometown was the greatest place in the world and sought to be involved in making his community a better place. He was a member of the United Methodist Church and greatly enjoyed his time with the men of the church. He served for many years as the sports physician for football and the Nebraska High School Rodeo competitions. 

Allen was elected as a member of the Chadron Board of Education for several terms and was the board president when the new high school was built. He also served as the Mayor of Chadron. While not actually a graduate of Chadron State College, he served on the Foundation Board in an effort to continually grow the institution and maintain its excellence. Allen was an avid sportsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. With other leaders, he helped develop the Chadron community golf course and participated in planting many of the trees we see today. 

He enjoyed his places at Lake Angostura, taking his grandchildren boating, and teaching them to play many different board and card games. Allen was a competitor and loved to win, whether it be playing pool or ping-pong. In 2017, Allen was able to discover that he had three brothers and two sisters from his birth-parents. During his illness, he was able to meet his brothers, Tom and George Gibbons, and Tom Heuer, who live in Minnesota. They made several trips to Rapid City to visit him which he greatly appreciated. Allen was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Mae, in 1998, his sister, Margaret and her husband, Tim, all of his Alcorn brothers and sisters-in-law, and his grandson, Michael Horse. 

He is survived by his children: Greg (Kaye) of Phoenix, AZ; Karen (Bill) of Sidney, NE; Brent, of Phoenix, AZ; and Jay (Penny), of Rapid City, SD; nine grandchildren, Lisa, Bryan, Sean, Ryan, Edward, Jennifer, Alexandra, and Jacob. He was also blessed with three great-grandchildren: Sydney Horse, Autumn and Eleanor Mae Sydow. 

A memorial has been established Ridgeview Country Club or CSC Foundation and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain Chapel, PO BOX 970, CHADRON, NE 69337. Online condolences may be left at

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Early Pioneer John A. Macumber (1852-1940)

The above named gentleman is one of the prominent old-timers of Dawes county, Nebraska, where he has materially aided in the growth of that region. Mr. Macumber is familiarly known as "The Headlight of Bordeaux," the cognomen which was applied to him through the Alliance meeting. He is a warm friend and admirer of James C. Dahlman, the "cowboy mayor" of Omaha, with whom he became acquainted when he first came to this country. 

Mr. Macumber was born in Gallia county, Ohio, on April 8, 1852. His father, J. A. Macumber, was also a native of Gallia county, and died January 23, 1907, having settled in Madison county, Iowa, in 1853, when our subject was but one year of age, he having been a twin, and one of a family of eight children by the second marriage of his father who also had four children by a first marriage. The homestead in Iowa where they lived for many years is still owned by a nephew, Emory Calison, and it was there that the children all grew up. There John learned to do all sorts of hard farm work and assisted his parents in building up a good home and farm, going through pioneer experiences when they were obliged to suffer many hardships and privation, handle ox teams, etc., and at the age of twenty-one years started in for himself, following farm work. He owned a two hundred acre farm there, and went through the panic of 1873, coming out of the trouble in very good shape financially. 

In about 1886 Mr. Macumber came west, arriving in Dawes county in the month of March; went back to Iowa, sold his farm and returned with his family on the 8th of April 1886. They located in section 34, township 34, range 48, on Bordeaux creek, this stream also running through his land. He has plenty of natural timber on the place, and ninety acres is irrigated, on which he raises fine crops, and in all has one hundred and fifty acres under cultivation. 

The ranch consists of eight hundred acres, and is well supplied with good water, wild fruits, and he has many acres of good hayland and grass for pasture. The first dwelling put up on the farm was a dugout in which they lived for one year. The dry years followed soon after he located here and many were the losses and discouragements they experienced, and also in 1890 and 1891 they were occasioned much discomfort and anxiety through the Indian uprisings throughout this part of the state, but no one was injured. During the first years here he broke up all his land and did all the farm work with the help of two yoke of oxen, and used these faithful animals for five years. The ranch is now all fenced and well improved, free from all indebtedness, and he has one of the valuable pieces of property in the county, and a comfortable home. 

Our subject was married while living in Iowa, April 20, 1873, to Miss Melissa Shearer, a native of Indiana, who settled in Illinois, when a girl, with her parents, and in 1866 they moved to Iowa where they were among the pioneers of Madison county. Mr. and Mrs. Macumber are the parents of five children, named as follows: William H., Edward A., James W., A. Jr., and Alida G., all married except John A. Jr., who lives in South Dakota. James W. also lives in South Dakota. The balance of the family live in Dawes county, Nebraska. 

Mr. Macumber is a stanch Democrat, inclining strongly toward Socialism, and has always worked along reform lines and been closely identified with all reform movements in his section for many years. He is a man of superior intelligence and progressive ideas, and one of the foremost citizens of his locality. A picture of the residence and family will be found on another page.

Editor's NoteThe biography and photos above were included in the illustrated 1909 publication "Compendium of History, Reminiscence and Biography of Western Nebraska" printed by the Alden Publishing Company of Chicago. 
-- Larry Miller

Saturday, April 3, 2021

It was only yesterday....okay, it was 70 years ago!

For a closer look at these and a few other CHS faculty over the years, visit   Teachers Gallery - Chadron Schools

Monday, March 15, 2021

CSC grad Dr. Eugene Hughes leaves great legacy

By Con Marshall

One of Chadron State College’s most prominent graduates, Dr. Eugene M. Hughes, died Wednesday, March 10 in Flagstaff, Ariz., at age 86. He was initially recognized as an outstanding mathematics professor at Chadron State College, his alma mater, and began his career in higher education administration while at CSC and was the president of two major universities and the interim president of a third institution.

Chadron State presented Hughes with its Distinguished  Service Award in 1982 and conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2003.

He was born April 3, 1934 in Scottsbluff and lived there his first 20 years. After graduating from what was then Scottsbluff Junior College, he enrolled at Chadron State.  He was named the college’s outstanding senior majoring in mathematics and graduated from the college first in his class of 63 in May 1956. 

Hughes spent the following year working on a master’s degree at Kansas State University, but returned in the fall of 1957 to teach math, gaining recognition as an exceptional mentor who helped numerous students launch outstanding careers.

In 1962, he began working on his doctorate at the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.  He returned to Chadron State in September 1965 to again teach math and serve as director of research. His popularity as a math professor helped the department grow rapidly. Before long, CSC had more math majors than the other three state colleges combined and almost as many as the University of Nebraska. 

In the late 1960s, he was promoted to dean of administration and was the leader in acquiring numerous federal grants and developing innovative programs that helped Chadron State earn the title of “Nebraska’s Pioneering College.”


In 1970, Hughes was lured to Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, where he spent 23 years, serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, provost and academic vice president before becoming president on July 1, 1979.


During his 14 years as president, Northern Arizona’s state-appropriated operating budget increased 200 percent, the enrollment rose from 12,000 to 18,800 and the number of buildings on campus grew from 69 valued at $150 million to 90 valued at $750 million.  Midway through his presidency, NAU was selected by Money Magazine as one of 10 “up and coming” universities in the nation and was among 20 higher education institutions featured in the book “Searching for Academic Excellence.”


In addition, he received the university’s Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the 32,000 square foot building containing the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management that he founded was named in his honor.


Hughes became president of Wichita State in July 1993.  He was described as “the right man for the job” as he rekindled the university’s spirit and image, reversed the declining enrollment and found ways to greatly increase its support.


Near the end of his tenure at Wichita State, he was chosen the Outstanding Kansas Citizen of the Year by the state’s Society of Professional Engineers.


Shortly after he retired at Wichita State in 1998, the university dedicated the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, which contains a 1,700-seat auditorium and numerous offices.  The complex was purchased for the university through a $3.25 million gift that Hughes personally received from a donor who requested anonymity.


In mid-2001 after its president had resigned, Eastern Kentucky University at Richmond recruited Hughes to serve as interim president.  At the opening convocation, he told the employees “you will not be riding a dead horse.” Prior to the appointment of a new president, he was credited with providing dynamic leadership that helped stabilize the institution’s financial situation and led to several program improvements.


Hughes was elected secretary/treasurer of the 372-member American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 1988 and was its chairman in 1990-91.  He also was a charter member of the presidential commission of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education eight years, including a term as president.


Another of his career highlights occurred in September 2011, when Hughes returned to Chadron State for the “Gene Hughes Math Reunion” that was attended by 20 of his former students who had benefited from his teaching and leadership skills.  He had introduced many of them to the coming “computer age,” providing them with as much material as he could find. A number of them used the information as a springboard to innovative and lucrative careers.


“The main reason we got together was to thank Dr. Hughes for what he did for all of us,” said Stan Hoffman, one of the organizers of the reunion. “He was our leader and guiding light.  We owe him a lot and are proud that we were taught by him.


“It was fun to talk about all the changes we have seen,” Hoffman added. “Because of Dr. Hughes, we had a head start on what would follow.  Things like the Internet, e-mail, cell phones, I-pads and smart phones.”


At the end of the two-day reunion for the alums and their spouses, Hughes spoke to the gathering, noting, “Your success reflects so well on Chadron State and means so much to me. I have been thrilled to hear your stories and learn more about your success.”


In later years, Hughes and his wife, Margaret Ann, resided in Flagstaff, where he served as president/CEO and then chairman of the board of the Museum of Northern Arizona, which focuses on the origin and development of the Four-Corner area and included 47 structures. He also served a six-year term as a member of the national Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee and was its chairman 2009-11.


Survivors include his wife, the couple’s six children and their families.  Services will be announced at a later date. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Inquiring minds still want to know...

Nearly three years ago, in 2018, we posted the above photo from the 1950's and a short story with several questions – but one important question that we didn't ask.  

Who were these two officers?  In that earlier story, we remembered Hugh Oliver, who ran the tobacco shop that stood between the old Pace Theatre and the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department headquarters, and we recalled several police officers from back in that era.  Butch Foster, Vernon Story, Robert Beers, Burt Holmes, and Lester Jensen, among others.  In fact, we think the fellow on the right in the above photo might be Story.

Would be pleased to hear from anyone who can identify these fellows.  Of course, we're continuing our quest for a good photograph of the Newsy Nook.  That would be a most valued photo, indeed!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Another Pioneer of Dawes County – a 1909 Profile


     The name of Harry L. Bartlett is a familiar one to the residents of Dawes county, Nebraska, where he has lived for many years, locating here when this region was practically in its infancy, and has taken a leading part in its development and growth from its early settlement. He owns a well improved and valuable estate in section 6, township 29, range 47, and enjoys a pleasant and happy home.

     Mr. Bartlett was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1865. His father, Alfred E., married Rebecca Putnam, also born and raised in Massachusetts, and they afterwards came west and were among the oldest settlers in Nebraska, where the father engaged in the farming and ranching business. The subject of our sketch was but three years of age when his parents settled in Audubon county, Iowa, and he was reared and educated there, attending the country schools during his boyhood. At the age of twenty Mr. Bartlett came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in the southeastern corner of Dawes county, "batching it" for several years, living near a brother who had settled here some years before. He. proved up on his claim, and was in the cattle business from the first, farming a small portion of his place, and during the hard times working in the Black Hills in the mines. He spent a short time at Deadwood. He filed on another homestead in section 12, township range 48, and remained for four years, farming during that time, but proved up also and located on his present farm in 1893. Here he bought land, put up buildings and developed a good ranch and has been most successful in every venture, the place consisting of thirty two quarter sections, a large part of which he along the Pepper creek. He has it all fenced and cross fenced, and devotes his time to the sheep raising business principally although he has about thirty horses and a few head of cattle. One hundred and fifty acres are devoted to farming purposes, raising small grain, corn, oats, etc., for feed for his stock.

     In the early days of Mr. Bartlett's residence here he went through many rough experience in traveling by team through the wild country, surrounded by wild beasts and spending many a night sleeping on the snow covered ground. For some time he was employed as a stage driver, carrying the mail from Hay Springs to Nonpareil in Box Butte county, and at that time there were only three dwelling places on the road between these two towns.

     Mr. Bartlett was united in marriage in 1893, to Miss Bessie Fenner, daughter of Bradford Fenner, an old settler in this state. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Bartlett was a teacher in the schools of Dawes county. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett are the parents of two children namely: Arthur, aged fourteen years, and Raymond, aged ten years.

     Mr. Bartlett is a Republican in his politic views and takes a keen interest in party affairs.


NOTE:  From the "Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska"