NameMelinda NEELY
Birthabt 1823, Ohio2221
Residence1847, Illinois2424 Age: 24
Residence1860, Washington Township, Johnson County, Iowa2221 Age: 37
Death14 Oct 1873, Saline County, Nebraska2442, p. 51-52. Age: 50
Birthabt 1815, New York1242,2221
Death2 Feb 1893, Palisade, Hitchcock County, Nebraska1248, p. 6.,1609, p. 1. Age: 78
FatherAbraham MOREY (~1773-1833)
MotherAbigail STRATTON (1779-1842)
ChildrenSamantha (~1845-~1878)
 William (Died as Child) (~1847-<1860)
 Calvin (~1848-)
 Nancy (Died as Child) (~1850-<1860)
 J. Virgil (~1852-)
 George (1855-1936)
 Marion (~1859-)
 Ruth (Died as Child) (~1862-1873)
 Stillman (Died as Child) (~1864-1873)
 Minnie (Died as Child) (~1866-1873)
Notes for Melinda NEELY

Prairie Fire Tragedy 1873:2442, p. 51-52. "In 1873 a woman and four school children burned to death in Brush Creek Precinct near what is known as Turners Hall [Athletic Association of Sokol]. This fire started from a point on Swan Creek, remains of a camp fire on election day on October 14, 1873, about 2 PM. It reached the school house, located in the Northeast corner of Sec. 26-6-3 Brush Creek Precinct. Miss Elen Taylor was the teacher and she was so unnerved by the catastrophe that she quit teaching in that school. Mrs. Morey took six of the children from the school and as the fire approached they took refuge in a sod building that had been used by John Flora as a blacksmith shop. They became panic-stricken and left their refuge. Two of the children who had woolen clothes did not get fatal burns, but four of them and Mrs. Morey died from their burns. Mr. Elliot, father of Fred Elliot, went there to lay out the dead bodies, on account of the fearful stench of the burned flesh, the bodies were removed from the house, to which they had been taken and laid out in Mr. Elliott's wagon. These bodies were buried on the schoolground at the time. It is thought they were later removed."

Prairie Fire Tragedy 1873:1195 "J. W. Beeney, contractor and builder, settled in Nebraska in 1864, locating at Brownville, and engaged in contracting and building, and remained until 1872, when he moved to Saline County, settling on a farm five miles west of Wilber. While living on the farm Mr. Beeney met with one of those terrible catastrophies which occasionally occurred to a Nebraska pioneer -- a prairie fire. In September, 1873, Mrs. Morey, mother-in-law of Mr. Beeney, who was living near them with her family, saw a fire coming some five or six miles distant. Mounting a horse, she rode with all speed to the schoolhouse, some three-fourths of a mile distant, where her three children, and also those of Mr. Beeney's, three in number, were attending school, in all eleven persons. Giving the alarm, they started ahead of the fire to seek a place of shelter, but before a mile was passed the fire overtook them. Taking refuge in a sod stable, the flames quickly surrounded them, the intense heat driving them out only to be caught in the flames on the outside. One, the oldest daughter of Mrs. Morey, was burned to death on the prairie. The rest managed to reach Mrs. Morey's house in a very badly burnt condition, where nine of them died from the effects of burns, Mr. Beeney's two oldest sons being the only ones who recovered -- one crippled for life, the other scarred for life. Mr. Beeney was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1840. In 1855 he moved to Johnson County, Iowa. He came to Nebraska in 1864; settled in Wilber in 1874, and has since been engaged in contracting and building. He was married in 1866 in Johnson County, Iowa, to Miss Samantha Murray (i.e. Samantha Morey, daughter of Stillman Morey and Melinda Neely) of that place. They have six children -- Charles B., Alex, Della, Mattie, Lenna, and Richard, deceased."

1823 Birth:2221 Birth year of 1823 estimated based on age (34 years) in 1860 census enumeration; birth place of Ohio taken from same source.

1850 U.S. Census:2424 Melinda enumerated in the household of her husband Stillman Morey in Carroll Township, Carroll County, Illinois as a female, age 24, born in Ohio. Two sons (William and Calvin) and two daughters (Samantha and Nancy) were also residing in the household.

1860 U.S. Census:2221 Melinda enumerated in the household of her husband Stilman Morey in Washington Township, Johnson County, Iowa as a female, age 34, born in Ohio. Three sons (Calvin, Virgil, and George) and two daughters (Samantha and Marion) were also residing in the household.

1870 U.S. Census: Not yet located.

1873 Death Poetic Tribute:2441, p. 13-15.
A tributary of Turkey Creek was Brush Creek,
Southwest of Wilber, a precinct was Brush Creek.
The land was prairie, homes of dugouts or sod,
Gold School, built here, was a frame school, most were sod.

Miss Ella Taylor was the schoolteacher,
On Sundays many a school was used by a preacher.
One and a half miles west in a blacksmith shop,
In October '73 here people voting would stop.

A prairie fire started near Beatrice on Otoe Reservation,
Men had plowed fireguard for protection.
Fires were enemies of pioneers of all classes,
Winds whipped flames in the tall native grasses.

Many people saw smoke coming this way,
Mrs. Malinda Morey galloped to school one mile away,
And took ten children towards home north one mile;
Shelter was found in a vacant sod house a while.

As Silas Bullis was going home from voting,
He could hear heart-rending children's crying.
He couldn't see, the smoke had clouded his eyes,
He found Charles Clark and Alec Beeney yet alive.

He found nine dead, from burns and suffocation;
He loaded all bodies, clothing burned, flesh fallen,
Hurried to his place, covered them with a sheet,
He sent son Joseph for Dr. Root in Crete.

Though Miss Taylor and pupils had become alarmed,
Because of plowed fireguard they remained unharmed.
Even though the building was missed by the fire,
Miss Taylor went to Omaha, another they must hire.

The bodies were buried near the school ground,
As there was no cemetery around.
The Bohemian Cemetery was platted, coffins carried,
Mrs. Morey and some children were reburied.

Burned were Mrs. Malinda Morey, 45, children:
Ruth age 11, Stilman age 9, Minnie age 7;
Neighbor children Arnie Berkley, Eva and Johnny Neely,
And their friends Charles and Dick Beeney.

—— Irma Anna Freeouf Qurecky, A Poetic History of Wilber, 1985
Last Modified 7 Sep 2008Created 5 Aug 2014 using Reunion for Macintosh