Home » County History » History of Roscoe

                                                                                   By: Tomas England

    Located between the communities of Ogallala and Paxton lays the small community of Roscoe. Much of Roscoe’s development and history began in the 20th century as Keith County developed and businesses flourished in the area. Roscoe’s story began as a humble siding and section house about two miles east of the village today. The siding operated for several decades before it developed into the community it is currently. How the siding received its name remains a mystery.  According to Mrs. John Peters, an early farmer in the area, Roscoe operated its siding in a box car complete with a switch for the telegraph.
    As the 20th century began, much of the land surrounding Roscoe Siding was claimed by early homesteaders moving west for cheap land.  One of earliest settlers to the area was the John Peters family, who arrived in the area in 1907. John Quenton opened the first general store and post office near the siding in 1909. Quenton became the first postmaster of Roscoe that year.
     Other early pioneer families to Roscoe included Henry Thalken, John Apolius, John Armstrong, Matt Beckius, Fred Most, E.W. Kohler and John Hilliard.
     John Welpton, a banker and successful businessman, built a lumber store in 1911.  Walter Nye was hired as the manager of the store. The lumber store did not operate long before it closed its doors in 1915 to move to the new community of Keystone.
    The Union Pacific began construction of a double track through Roscoe in 1910 as automated light signals were being introduced to the railroad.
     In 1915, John Quenton sold his business to the Farmer’s Co-Operative Association, who hired Ethan Patrick to manage the store. In 1918, William Franken came to Roscoe and began management of the general store. Not long after, Miss Sarah Evans arrived in Roscoe and began her job as postmistress to the post office as well as co owner in the general store.
     As the 1900's continued, Yant Construction Company built the first graded highway in 1918. Harry Most soon began operation of a blacksmith shop. Roscoe began to develop into a more permanent community. A community hall was built in the 1920's to provide a dance hall as well as Sunday school and church on the weekends.  During this time, a school was built to educate the children of Roscoe.
     Also in the 1920's, H.S. Chamberlain and S.J. Claude began operation of one of the county’s first gasoline stations. By the 1930's, the Lincoln Highway was built through Roscoe. One of the earliest residents Jack Armstrong drove the first transport of gasoline into Keith County.
     As the decades passed, the Roscoe school and most of the businesses eventually closed.  However, Roscoe remains a close-knit community in Keith County. 

Sources: "History of Roscoe Keith County News; By Jack Pollock"

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