Witherbee Neighborhood Association

Our Boundaries: 33 Street (West) to 56th Street (East); O Street (North) to Randolph Street (South)

last update 9/20/10


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 We are looking for stories and pictures from the past in the witherbee area.

If you can help us out or know of some one that has information please call or send an email to us. We can scan pictures from prints and negatives as well as old documents.



Witherbee Neighborhood: History of the Name

Submitted by: Dr. Ed Zimmer, Preservation Planner,
Lincoln-Lancaster County

Witherbee Blvd, a little street winding four blocks from about 41.5th and J to 46th just north of J. It runs in Witherbee Gardens subdivision, which bears the name of a Civil War veteran who received the land in the 19th century.

Erasmus shows up in possession of the land on my 1903 map of Lincoln.

Witherbee Gardens was platted in 1925 by Pearle Bates et al. I'm guessing that Pearle was Erasmus' daughter Pearle and the "et al" were other heirs.

Erasmus Witherbee was born in Hazel Green, Wisconsin in 1843. His father was a lead miner and his grandfather was Scottish “a sea-faring man” who died in New Orleans from yellow fever.

At age 19 Witherbee enlisted in the 25th Regiment of the Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry and served to the end of the Civil War, attaining the rank of quartermaster sergeant. He participated in the Vicksburg campaign and in Sherman’s March to the Sea, and by the end of the war had served in every Southern state except Texas and Florida.

After the war Witherbee returned home to Wisconsin, but made a trip to Lancaster County, Nebraska to claim a veteran’s grant of a 160 acre farm. In 1872 he received the deed to the quarter section which stood between 40th and 48th Streets, O and Randolph. It was then called, the Northwest Quarter of Section 29. This 160 acres represents the center of our 480 acres of homes and businesses.

Wisconsin remained Witherbee’s home throughout his life. His principal business was the ownership and operation of lead mines. He married Mary Richards in 1876 and they had three daughters—Blanche, Exie, and Pearle. The older sisters both became teachers. Pearle apparently married, because it was Pearle Bates (and other heirs) who platted a portion of Erasmus’ Lincoln land as Witherbee Gardens in 1925 and put their family name on Witherbee Boulevard. Erasmus Witherbee died in 1903 and Mary Witherbee died in 1904. There is no indication that either ever resided on their property in the neighborhood that now bears their name.


Click on image for larger picture

424 S 48th

Actual Year Built: 1920

Here is a photo my grandfather, Russell Richmond, took of his house at 424 So. 48th just after he bought it, around 1929. At that point, I think we WERE the Witherbee neighborhood. Hope you enjoy it.

Legal Description: RANDOLPH ACRES
LOTS 162, 163 & 164

Thank You for sharing it with us.


History of the Name continued

From Commemorative Biographical Record of the Counties of Rock, Green, Grant, Iowa and Lafayette Wisconsin, publ. 1901 - page 113-114

ERASMUS WITHERBEE was born in Hazel Green, Grant county, where his home is found at present, May 15, 1843, and is a son of Hiram and Experience A. (DAY) WITHERBEE. The father was born April 17, 1810, at the main entrance to Bunker Hill Monument, and the mother Oct. 30, 1823, at Edwardsville, Madison Co., Ill. Hiram WITHERBEE was the son of Calvin and Harriet A. (ESTABROOK) WITHERBEE, the former a native of Scotland, the latter of Massachusetts. Calvin WITHERBEE was a ship carpenter and a sea-faring man. He died in New Orleans, from yellow fever, about 1815.

Hiram WITHERBEE came from Madison county, Ill., to Wisconsin as early as 1832, and followed lead mining for a number of years near Hazel Green, finally becoming the owner of valuable mineral lands, which he controlled throughout life. He was quite successful, and about 1850 bought the "Empire Hotel" property at Hazel Green. For some nine years he was the popular landlord of that hostelry, which he then traded for a farm in Smelser, near what is now called Elmo Station, where he died in 1867. Mrs. Experience A. WITHERBEE died in 1850. She and her husband belonged to the Presbyterian Church. In connection with Mr. CRAWFORD and one or two others, Mr. WITHERBEE was instrumental in the erection of the first Presbyterian church in Hazel Green, which was destroyed by the tornado of 1876. Hiram and Experience A. WITHERBEE were the parents of five children, of whom three died in infancy; the survivors of are Erasmus and Hiram J. Mr. WITHERBEE married for his second wife Miss Margaret A. EASTMAN, of Grant county, and to this union were also born five children, all of whom are living: (1) Experience A., born in Hazel Green in 1852, is the wife of Charles NEPEIER, of Chicago. (2) Levi, born in September, 1853, is married and is the owner of a cattle ranch in Yuma county, Colo. (3) L. C. is a partner with his brother Levi in the cattle business. (4) Julian V., born in Grant county, is now a traveling representative of the St. Louis Stock Yards; he found a wife in Colorado. (5) Orvil O., born in Smelser, Grant county, has become a noted physician and surgeon, and lives in Los Angeles, Cal.; he is married, and has two children.

Hiram J. WITHERBEE, the only brother of our subject, was educated at the Platteville Normal school. In his early life he was a miner and farmer, and was a school teacher in Grant and Lafayette counties for several years before his entrance into pastoral work, in 1885. He is a Methodist clergyman. Miss Julia A. HANEY, of Grant county, became his wife, and they have had the following children: (1) Harriet A., who died Aug. 1, 1898, was a young lady of great promise, and a worker in the church of her town, where she had many friends. (2) Hiram S. is a clergyman of the Methodist Church at Brush, Colo., and (3) Oliver Day, a minister of the same church in Wisconsin. (4) Miss Elizabeth H. is at home.

Erasmus WITHERBEE grew to manhood under the parental roof, and obtained his education in a private school in Hazel Green, and the academy at Platteville. In 1862, leaving school, he enlisted in Company I, 25th Wis. V.I. under command of Col. Montgomery. The regiment was mustered into the government service at La Crosse, Wis., and sent to the Western frontier, New Ulm, Minn., to protect the settlers from the raids of the hostile Indians. In the early part of 1863 it was sent to Kentucky, and in May of that year was made a part of the forces which were to hold the Rebel Johnson in check until Vicksburg should be compelled to surrender. After the fall of that stronghold, the 25th Wisconsin was sent to Helena, Ark., and in the following spring it was sent to Kentucky, and was marched overland to Mooresville, Ala., where Mr. WITHERBEE was taken sick, and compelled to seek the hospital at Decatur, in that State. After a furlough at home he joined his regiment at Rome, Ga., in time to follow Gen. Sherman to the sea. The 25th was part of the army that marched clear through to Washington, and took part in the "Grand Review." At the close of the war Mr. WITHERBEE could say that he had served as a soldier in every Southern State except Florida and Texas, and in the greater number of the Northern States. An honorable discharge from the service was given him at Washington in June, 1865. At Helena, Ark., Mr. WITHERBEE was made quartermaster sergeant Nov. 1, 1863, and throughout the war maintained a high standing as a soldier and a clear-headed and intelligent man.

After the close of the war Mr. WTIHERBEE returned home, and the same year went to Lincoln, Neb., to take up a homestead claim, securing a good farm. He was married, July 4, 1876, in Philadelphia, to Miss Mary RICHARDS, of an old and prominent family of Smelser, Grant county, and formerly from Tennessee. Mrs. WITHERBEE was born in Platteville, Wis., where she received her education in the academy and the State Normal. The house which they occupied at the beginning of their married life was situated on part of the land purchased by her father from the government, and here a fine home was erected in 1880. The greater part of Mr. WITHERBEE's business life has been devoted to mining, and he owns a large acreage of valuable mineral lands, to the development of which he is still giving much attention. To him and his wife have been born a family of three children: (1) Blanche, born in Hazel Green in 1877, acquired a good education in the village school, and was a graduate in voice culture, under Prof. CHURCHILL, of the Platteville State Normal. She is now at home, and has been one of the successful music teachers in this part of the State. (2) Exie L., born in August, 1881, is a graduate of the Hazel Green high school, and has studied at the State Normal, Platteville. She is now a grammar school teacher in Hazel Green. (3) Pearle, born in 1888, is now a student at the home school

Mr. WITHERBEE was identified with the Republican party for many years, became a Greenbacker during the administration of President Hayes, for twelve years was a Prohibitionist, and in 1896 and 1900 was a strong advocate of the election of W. J. Bryan, believing in legislation for the benefit of the masses. For twelve long years he helped to wage the war against the liquor traffic, but in 1896, becoming convinced that the mass of the American people, of whatever persuasion, want and will have their whisky, he transferred his allegiance as noted. A public-spirited and upright citizen of the town, he has been called on to fill several local offices, was a member of the school board twelve years, and town clerk two years. Mr. WITHERBEE is adjutant of W. O. Topping Post., No. 266, G.A.R., at Hazel Green. Mrs. WITHERBEE is a member of the Congregational Church, and that church has always received a liberal support from her husband.


This information was found at:
This biography generously submitted by Carol Holmbeck


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