African American Settlers
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Where Did African Americans Live?
The Shores and Speese Families

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Shores Family
The Shores families near Westerville, Custer County, Nebraska, 1887.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG2608-1231
The Jerry Shores family and their relatives the Speeses, lived near Westerville in Custer County. Jerry was a former slave. He took a claim adjacent to that of his brothers, Moses Speese and Henry Webb (each had taken the name of his former owner).
Mag Me! Select the magnifying glass
for an extreme close-up.
Speese Family
The Moses Speese family near Westerville, Custer County, Nebraska, 1888.
Courtesy Nebraska State Historical Society, RG2608-1345

Ava Speese Day, a relative of the Shores family, remembered hearing the story of her grandfather leading his family in search of land in Nebraska. He led the first black “emigrant train” to Cherry County. “He drove one of his three wagons,” Ava recounted years later. “His son Den drove another, and my mother Rosetta drove the third. She took care of her own team, greased the wagon wheels, and she was just turned 16.”


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