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Full text of "Collection of Nebraska pioneer reminiscences"

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COLLECTION OF 

NEBRASKA PIONEER 
REMINISCENCES 




Mrs. Laura B. Pound 

Second and Sixth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the Amer- 
ican Revolution. 1896-1897, 1901-1902 



COLLECTION OF 

NEBRASKA PIONEER 
REMINISCENCES 



ISSUED BY THE 

NEBRASKA SOCIETY OF 
THE DAUGHTERS OF THE 
AMERICAN REVOLUTION 



NINETEEN SIXTEEN 



FORETHOUGHT 

This Book of Nebraska Pioneer Reminiscences is issued 
by the Daughters of the American Revolution of Nebras- 
ka, and dedicated to the daring, courageous, and intrepid 
-I '^- men and women — the advance g-uard of our progress — 
■' who, carrying the torch of civilization, had a vision of 
the possibilities which now have become realities. 

To those who answered the call of the unknown we owe 
the duty of preserving the record of their adventures 
upon the vast prairies of "Nebraska the Mother of 

^*^*''-" . . 11 -^^^34 

•N.^ "In her horizons, limitless and vast "^ " 

rvK Her plains that storm the senses like the sea." 

Reminiscence, recollection, personal experience — 

- simple, true stories — this is the foundation of History. 

Rapidly the pioneer story-tellers are passing beyond 

S^".^ recall, and the real story of the beginning of our great 

^ commonwealth must be told now. 

V The memories of those pioneers, of their deeds of self- 

N^ sacrifice and devotion, of their ideals which are our in- 
P heritance, will inculcate patriotism in the children of the 
future; for they should realize the courage that subdued 
the wilderness. And "lest we forget," the heritage of 
this past is a sacred trust to the Daughters of the Amer- 
ican Revolution of Nebraska. 

The invaluable assistance of the Nebraska State His- 
torical Society, and the members of this Book Committee, 
Mrs. C. S. Paine and Mrs. D. S. Dalby, is most gratefully 
acknowledged. 

LULA CORRELL PeRBY 

(Mrs. Warren Perry) 



CONTENTS 

Some First Things in the History op Adams' County . 11 

By George F. Work 
Early Experiences in Adams County .... 18 

By General Albert V. Cole 
Frontier Towns 22 

By Francis M. Broome 
Historical Sketch of Box Butte County ... 25 

By Ira E. Tash 
A Broken Axle 27 

By Samuel C. Bassett 
A Pioneer Nebrask^v Teacher 30 

By Mrs. Isabel Eoscoe 
Experiences op a Pioneer Woman .... 32 

By Mrs. Elise G. Everett 
Recollections op Weeping Water .... 36 

By I. N. Hunter 
Incidents at Plattsmouth: 41 

By Ella Pollock Minor 
First Things in Clay County 43 

By Mrs. Charles M. Brown 
Reminiscences of Custer County .... 46 

By Mrs. J. J. Douglas 
An Experience 50 

By Mrs. Harmon Bross 
Legend op Crow Butte 51 

By Dr. Anna Eobinson Cross 
Life on the Frontier 54 

By James Aykes 
Plum Creek (Lexington) 57 

By William M. Bancroft, M. D. 

Early Recollections 62 

By C. Chabot 
Recollections of the First Settler of Dawson County 64 

By Mrs. Daniel Freeman ' 
Early Days in Dawson County 67 

By Lucy B. Hewitt 
Pioneer Justice 72 

By B. F. Kriek 
A Good Indian 74 

By Mrs. CLiFroRD Weutakeb 



4 CONTENTS 

Fkom Missouri to Dawson County .... 75 

By a. J. Pobteb 
The Brickson Family 76 

By Mrs. W. M. Stebbins 
The Beginnings op Fremont 78 

By Sadie Irene Mooke 
A Grasshopper Story 82 

By Margaret F. Kelly 
Early Days in Fremont 84 

By Mrs. Theron Nye 
Pioneer Women of Omaha 90 

By Mrs. Charles H. Fisette 
A Pioneer Family 93 

By Edith Erma Purviance 

The Badger Family 97 

The First "White Settler in Fillmore County . . 102 
Pioneering in Fillmore County 107 

By John H. MoCashland 
Fillmore County in the Seventies .... 109 

By William Spade 
Early Days in Nebraska Ill 

By J. A. Carpenter 
Reminiscences op Gage County 112 

By Albert L. Green 
Ranching in Gage and Jefferson Counties . . 123 

By Peter Jansen 
Early Recollections of Gage County . . . 127 

By Mrs. E. Johnson 
Biography op Ford Lewis 129 

By Mrs. (D. S.) H. Virginia Lewis Dalbey 
A Buffalo Hunt 131 

By W. H. Avery 
A Grasshopper Raid 133 

By Edna M. Boyle Allen 
Early Days in Pawnee County 135 

By Daniel B. Cropsey 
Early Events in Jefferson County .... 137 

By George Cross 
Early Days of Fairbury and Jefferson County . 139 

By George W. Hansen 
The Earliest Romance of Jefferson County . . 147 

By George W. Hansen 
Experiences on the Frontier 152 

By Frank Helvey 
Looking Backward 155 

By George E. Jenkins 



CONTENTS 5 

The Easter Storm op 1873 158 

By Charles B. Letton 
Beginntngs op Fairbuey 161 

By Joseph B. McDowell 
Early Experiences in Nebraska 163 

By Elizabeth Porter Seymour 
Personal Recollections 166 

By Mrs. C. F. Steele 
How THE Sons op George Winslow pound their Fath- 
er's Grave 168 

Statement by Mrs. C. F. Steele .... 168 

Statement by George W. Hansen .... 169 

Early Days in Jepperpon County .... 175 

By Mrs. M. H. Weeks 
Location op the Capit.Uj at Lincoln .... 176 

By John H. Ames 
An Incident in the History op Lincoln . . . 182 

By Ortha C. Bell 
Lincoln in the E.vrly Seventies 184 

By Ortha C. Bell 
A Pioneer Baby Show 186 

By Mrs. Frank I. Einger 
Marking the Site op the Lewis and Clark Council 
AT Fort Calhoun 187 

By Mrs. Laura B. Pound 
Early History op Lincoln County .... 190 

By Majob Lester Walker 
Grey Eagle, Pawnee Chief 194 

By Millard S. Binney 
Lover's Le.\p (poem) 196 

By Mrs. A. P. Jarvis 
Early Indian History 198 

By Mrs. Sarah Clapp 
The Blizzard op 1888 203 

By Minnie Freeman Penny 

An Acrostic 204 

By Mrs. Ellis 
Early Days in Nance County 206 

By Mrs. Ellen Saunders Walton 
The Pawnee Chief's Farewell (poem) . . . 208 

By Chauncey Livingston Wiltse 
My Trip West in 1861 211 

By Sarah Schooley Randall 
Stirring Events along the Little Blue . . . 214 

By Clarendon E. Adams 
My Last Buffalo Hunt 219 

By J. Sterling Morton 



6 CONTENTS 

How THE Pounder of Akbob Day created the most 
FAMOUS Western Estate 235 

By Paul Mokton 
Early Reminiscences of Nebraska City — Social As- 
pects 240 

By Ellen Kinney Ware 
Some Personal Incidents 242 

By W. a. McAllister 
A Buffalo Hunt 244 

By Minnie Freeman Penny 
Pioneer Life 246 

By Mrs. James G. Eeeder 
Early Days in Polk County 248 

By Calmab McCune 
Personal Reminiscences 252 

By Mrs. Thyrza Keavis Roy 
Two Seward County Celebrations .... 254 

By Mrs. S. C. Langworthy 
Seward County Reminiscences 255 

Compiled by Margaret Holmes Chapter D. A. E. 
Pioneering 263 

By Grant Lee Shumway 
Early Days in Stanton County 266 

By Andrew J. BoTTORPr and Sven Johanson 
Fred E. Roper, Pioneer 268 

By Ernest E. Correll 
The Lure of the Prairies 272 

By Lucy L. Correll 

Suffrage in Nebraska 275 

Statement by Mrs. Gertrude M. McDoivcU . . 275 

Statement by Lucy L. Correll . ... 277 

An Indian Raid 279 

By Ernest E. Correll 

Reminiscences 281 

By Mrs. E. A. Russell 
Reminiscences op Fort Calhoun 284 

By W. H. Allen 
Reminiscences of Washington County . . . 286 

By Mrs. Emily Bottorff Allen 
Reminiscences of Pioneer Life at Fort Calhoun . 288 

By Mrs. N. J. Frazier Brooks 
Reminiscences of De Soto 289 

By Oliver Bouvier 

Reminiscences 290 

By Thomas M. Carter 
Fort Calhoun in the Late Fifties .... 293 

By Mrs. E. H. Clark 



CONTENTS 



Some Items from Washington County 

By Mrs. Mat Allen Lazure 
County-seat of Washington County . 

By Frank McNeelt 
The Story of the Town op Fontenelle 

By Mrs. Eda Mead 
Thomas Wilkinson and Family . 
NiKUMI 

By Mrs. Harriett S. MacMurphy 
The Heroine op the Jules Slade Tragedy 

By Mrs. Harriett S. MacMurphy 
The last romantic Buffalo Hunt on the 
Nebraska 

By John Lee Webster 
Outline History op the Nebraska Society, D. A. R. 

By Mrs. Chakles H. Adll 



Plains op 



295 



299 

305 
307 

322 



326 
333 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Mrs. Laura B. Pound Frontispiece 

Oregon Trail Monument near Leroy, Nebraska . . 18 
Oregon Trail Monument on the Nebraska-Wyoming 

State Line 18 

Mrs. Angie P. Newman 22 

Dedication op Monument commemorating the Oregon 

Trail at Kearney, Nebraska 27 

Mrs. Andrew K. Gault 50 

Monument marking the Old Trails, Fremont, Ne- 
braska 78 

Mrs. Charlotte F. Palmer 90 

Mrs. Prances Avery Haggard 127 

Oregon Trail Monument ne.vr Pairbury, Nebraska . 139 

Mrs. Elizabeth C. Langworthy 155 

Mrs. Charles B. Letton 168 

Boulder at Fort Calhoun, commemorating the Coun- 
cil OP Lewis and Clark with the Otoe and Missouri 

Indians 187 

Mrs. Oreal S. Ward 203 

Oregon Trail Monument on Kansas-Nebraska State 

Line 240 

Mrs. Charles Olwer Norton 252 

Oregon Trail Monument near Hebron, Nebraska . 268 

Mrs. Warren Perry 305 

Mrs. Charles H. Aull 333 

Monument marking the initlal point of the Cali- 
fornia Trail, Riverside Park, Omaha . . . 337 
California Trail Monument, Bemis P^vrk, Omaha . 337 
Memorial Fountain, Antelope Park, Lincoln . . 326 



SOME FIRST THINGS IN THE HISTORY OF ADAMS 
COUNTY 

By George F. Work 

Adams county is named for the first time, in an act of the 
territorial legislature approved February 16, 1867, when the 
south bank of the Platte river was made its northern boundary. 
There were no settlers here at that time although several persons 
who are mentioned later herein had established trapping camps 
within what are now its boundaries. In 1871 it was declared a 
county by executive proclamation and its present limits defined 
as, in short, consisting of government ranges, 9, 10, 11, and 12 
west of the sixth principal meridian, and townships 5, 6, 7, and 
8, north of the base line, which corresponds with the south line 
of the state. 

Mortimer N. Kress, familiarly known to the early settlers as 
"Wild Bill," Marion Jerome Fouts, also known as "California 
Joe," and James Bainter had made hunting and trapping 
camps all the way along the Little Blue river, prior to this time. 
This stream flows through the south part of the county and has 
its source just west of its western boundary in Kearney county. 
James Bainter filed on a tract just across its eastern line in 
Clay county as his homestead, and so disappears in the history 
of Adams county. Mortimer N. Kress is still living and now 
has his home in Hastings, a hale, hearty man of seventy-five years 
and respected by all. Marion J. Fouts, about seventy years of 
age, still lives on the homestead he selected in that early day and 
is a respected, prominent man in that locality. 

Gordon H. Edgerton, now a resident and prominent business 
man of Hastings, when a young man, in 1866, was engaged in 
freighting across the plains, over the Oregon trail that entered 
the county where the Little Blue crosses its eastern boundary 
and continued in a northwesterly direction, leaving its western 
line a few miles west and a little north of where Kenesaw now 
stands, and so is familiar with its early history. There has al- 
ready been some who have questioned the authenticity of the 

11 



12 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

story of an Indian massacre having taken place where this trail 
crosses Thirty-two Mile creek, so named because it was at this 
point about thirty-two miles east of Fort Kearny. This massacre 
took place about the year 1867, and Mr. Edgerton says that it 
was universally believed at the time he was passing back and 
forth along this trail. He distinctly remembers an old thresh- 
ing machine that stood at that place for a long time and that 
was left there by some of the members of the party that were 
killed. The writer of this sketch who came to the county in 
1874, was shown a mound at this place, near the bank of the 
creek, which he was told was the heaped up mound of the grave 
where the victims were buried, and the story was not questioned 
so far as he ever heard until recent years. Certainly those who 
lived near the locality at that early day did not question it. 
This massacre took place very near the locality where Captain 
Fremont encamped, the night of June 25, 1842, as related in 
the history of his expedition and was about five or six miles 
south and a little west of Hastings. I well remember the ap- 
pearance of this trail. It consisted of a number of deeply cut 
wagon tracks, nearly parallel with each other, but which would 
converge to one track where the surface was difficult or where 
there was a crossing to be made over a rough place or stream. 
The constant tramping of the teams would pulverize the soil and 
the high winds would blow out the dust, or if on sloping ground, 
the water from heavy rains would wash it out until the track be- 
came so deep that a new one would be followed because the axles 
of the wagons would drag on the ground. It was on this trail 
a few miles west of what is now the site of Kenesaw, that a lone 
grave was discovered by the first settlers in the country, and a 
story is told of how it came to be there. About midway from 
where the trail leaves the Little Blue to the militaiy post at 
Fort Kearny on the Platte river a man with a vision of many 
dollars to be made from the people going west to the gold-fields 
over this ti-ail, dug a well about one hundred feet deep for the 
purpose of selling water to the travelers and freighters. Some 
time later he was killed by the Indians and the well was poi- 
soned by them. A man by the name of Haile camped here a 
few days later and he and his wife used the water for cooking 
and drinking. Both were taken sick and the wife died, but he 
recovered. He took the boards of his wagon box and made her 



EARLY HISTORY OF ADAMS COUNTY 13 

a coffin and bui-ied her near the trail. Some time afterwards he 
returned and erected a headstone over her grave which was a few 
years since still standing and perhaps is to this day, the monu- 
ment of a true man to his love for his wife and to her memory. 

The first homestead was taken in the county by Francis M. 
Luey, March 5, 1870, though there were others taken the same 
day. The facts as I get them direct from Mr. Kress are that he 
took his team and wagon, and he and three other men went to 
Beatrice, where the government land office was located, to make 
their entries. When they arrived at the office, with his charac- 
teristic generosity he said: "Boys, step up and take your 
choice ; any of it is good enough for me. ' ' Luey was the first to 
make his entiy, and he was followed by the other three. Francis 
M. Luey took the southwest quarter of section twelve; Mortimer 
N. Kress selected the northeast quarter of section thirteen; 
Marion Jerome Fonts, the southeast quarter of eleven ; and the 
fourth person, John Smith, tiled on the southwest quarter of 
eleven, all in township five north and range eleven west of the 
sixth principal meridian. Smith relinquished his claim later 
and never made final proof, so his name does not appear on the 
records of the county as having made this entry. The others 
settled and made improvements on their lands. Mortimer N. 
Kress built a sod house that spring, and later in the summer, a 
hewed log house, and these were the first buildings in the county. 
So Kress and Fouts, two old comrades and trappers, settled 
down together, and are still citizens of the county. Other set- 
tlers rapidly began to make entry in the neighborhood, and soon 
there were enough to be called together in the first religious 
service. The first sermon was preached in Mr. Kress' hewed 
log house by Rev. J. W. Warwick in the fall of 1871. 

The first marriage in the county was solemnized in 1872 be- 
tween Rhoderic Lomas or Loomis and "Lila" or Eliza Warwick, 
the ceremony being performed by the bride's father, Rev. J. W. 
Warwdck. Prior to this, however, on October 18, 1871, Bben 
Wright and Susan Gates, a young couple who had settled in the 
county, were taken by Mr. Kress in his two-horse farm wagon 
to Grand Island, where they were married by the probate judge. 

The first deaths that occurred in the county were of two 
young men who came into the new settlement to make homes for 
themselves in 1870, selected their claims and went to work, and 



14 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

a few days later were killed in their camp at night. It was 
believed that a disreputable character who came along with 
a small herd of horses committed the murder, but no one 
knew what the motive was. He was arrested and his name given 
as Jake Haynes, but as no positive proof could be obtained he 
was cleared at the preliminary examination, and left the country. 
A story became current a short time afterward that he was 
hanged in Kansas for stealing a mule. 

The first murder that occurred in the county that was proven 
was that of Henry Stutzman, who was killed by "William John 
McBlroy, February 8, 1879, about four miles south of Hastings. 
He was arrested a few hours afterward, and on his trial was 
convicted and sent to the penitentiary. 

The first child bom in the county was bom to Francis M. 
Luey and wife in the spring of 1871. These parents were the 
first married couple to settle in this county. The child lived only 
a short time and was buried near the home, there being no grave- 
yard yet established. A few years ago the K. C. & 0. R. R. in 
grading its roadbed through that farm disturbed the grave and 
uncovered its bones. 

In the spring and summer of 1870 Mr. Kress broke about fifty 
acres of prairie on his claim and this constituted the first im- 
provement of that nature in the county. 

J. R. Carter and wife settled in this neighborhood about 1870, 
and the two young men, mentioned above as having been mur- 
dered, stopped at their house over night, their first visitors. It 
was a disputed point for a long time whether Mrs. Carter, Mrs. 
W. S. Moote, or Mrs. Francis M. Luey was the first white woman 
to settle permanently in the county; but Mr. Kress is positive 
that the last named was the first and is entitled to that distinc- 
tion. Mrs. Moote, with her husband, came next and camped on 
their claim, then both left and made their entries of the land. 
In the meantime, before the return of the Mootes, Mr. and Mrs. 
Carter made permanent settlement on their land, so the honors 
were pretty evenly divided. 

The first white settler in the county to die a natural death and 
receive christian burial was William H. Akers, who had taken 
a homestead in section 10-5-9. The funeral services were eon- 
ducted by Rev. J. W. Warwick. 

In the summer of 1871 a colony of settlers from Michigan 



EARLY HISTORY OF ADAMS COUNTY 15 

settled on land on which the townsite of Juniata was afterward 
located, and October 1, 1871, the first deed that was placed on 
record in the county was executed by John and Margaret Stark 
to Col. Charles F. Morse before P. F. Barr, a notary public at 
Crete, Nebraska, and was filed for record March 9, 1872, and re- 
corded on page 1, volume 1, of deed records of Adams county. 
The grantee was general superintendent of the Burlington & 
Missouri River Railroad Company which was then approaching 
the eastern edge of the county, and opened its first office at 
Hastings in April, 1873, with agent Horace S. Wiggins in 
charge. MJr. Wiggins is now a well-known public accountant 
and insurance actuary residing in Lincoln. The land conveyed 
by this deed and some other tracts for which deeds were soon 
after executed was in section 12, township 7, range 11, and on 
which the town of Juniata was platted. The Stark patent was 
dated June 5, 1872, and signed by U. S. Grant as president. 
The town plat was filed for record March 9, 1872. 

The first church organized in the county was by Rev. John F. 
Clarkson, chaplain of a colony of English Congregationalists 
who settled near the present location of Hastings in 1871. He 
preached the firet sermon while they were still camped in their 
covered wagons at a point near the present intersection of Sec- 
ond street and Burlington avenue, the first Sunday after their 
arrival. A short time afterward, in a sod house on the claim of 
John G. Moore, at or near the present site of the Lepin hotel, 
the church was organized with nine members uniting by letter, 
and a few Sundays later four more by confession of their faith. 
This data I have from Peter Fowlie and S. B. Binfield, two of 
the persons composing the first organization. 

The first Sunday school organized in the county was organized 
in a small residence then under construction on lot 3 in block 4 
of Moore's addition to Hastings. The frame was up, the roof 
on, siding and floor in place, but that was all. Nail kegs and 
plank formed the seats, and a store box the desk. The building 
still stands and constitutes the main part of the present resi- 
dence of my family at 219 North Burlington avenue. It was a 
union school and was the nucleus of the present Presbyterian 
and Congregational Sunday schools. I am not able to give the 
date of its organization but it was pi-obably in the winter of 
1872-73. I got this information from Mr. A. L. Wigton, who 



16 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

was influential in bringing about the organization and was its 
first superintendent. 

The first school in the county was opened about a mile south 
of Juniata early in 1872, by Miss Emma Leonard, and that fall 
Miss Lizzie Scott was employed to teach one in Juniata. So 
rapidly did the county settle that by October 1, 1873, thirty- 
eight school districts were reported organized. 

The acting governor, W. H. James, on November 7, 1871, 
ordered the organization of the county for political and judicial 
purposes, and fixed the day of the first election to be held, on 
December 12 following. Twenty-nine votes were cast and the 
following persons were elected as county officers : 

Clerk, Eussell D. Babcock. 

Treasurer, John S. Chandler. 

Sheriff, Isaac W. Stark. 

Probate Judge, Titus Babcock. 

Surveyor, George Henderson. 

Superintendent of Schools, Adna H. Bowen. 

Coroner, Isaiah Sluyter. 

Assessor, William M. Camp. 

County Commissioners: Samuel L. Brass, Edwin M. Allen, and 
Wellington W. Selleck. 

The first assessment of personal property produced a tax of 
$5,500, on an assessed valuation of $20,003, and the total valua- 
tion of personal and real property amounted to $957,183, mostly 
on railroad lands of which the Burlington road was found to 
own 105,423 acres and the Union Pacific, 72,207. Very few of 
the settlers had at that time made final proof. This assessment 
was made in the spring of 1872. 

The first building for county uses was ordered constructed on 
January 17, 1872, and was 16x20 feet on the ground with an 
eight-foot story, shingle roof, four windows and one door, 
matched floor, and ceiled overhead with building paper. The 
county commissioners were to furnish all material except the 
door and windows and the contract for the work was let to 
Joseph Stuhl for $30.00. S. L. Brass was to superintend the 
constniction, and the building was to be ready for occupancy in 
ten days. 

The salary of the county clerk was fixed by the board at $300, 
that of the probate judge at $75 for the year. 



EARLY HISTORY OF ADAMS COUNTY 17 

It is claimed that the law making every section line a county 
road, in the state of Nebraska, originated with this board in a 
resolution passed by it, requesting their representatives in the 
senate and house of the legislature then in session to introduce 
a bill to that effect and work for its passage. Their work must 
have been effective for we find that in July following, the Bur- 
lington railroad company asked damages by reason of loss sus- 
tained through the act of the legislature taking about eight 
acres of each section of their land, for these public roads. 

The first poorhouse was built in the fall of 1872. It was 
16x24 feet, one and one-half stories high, and was constructed 
by Ira G. Dillon for $1,400, and Peter Powlie was appointed 
poormaster at a salary of $25 per month. And on November 
1 of that year he reported six poor persons as charges on the 
county, but his administration must have been effective for on 
December 5, following, he reported none then in his charge. 

The first agricultural society was organized at Kingston and 
the first agricultural fair of which there is any record was held 
October 11 and 12, 1873. The fair grounds were on the south- 
east corner of the northwest quarter of section 32-5-9 on land 
owned by G. H. Edgerton, and quite a creditable list of pre- 
miums were awarded. 

The first Grand Army post was organized at Hastings under 
a charter issued May 13, 1878, and T. D. Scofield was elected 
commander. 

The first newspaper published in the county was the Adams 
County Gazette, issued at Juniata by R. D. and C. C. Babcock in 
January, 1872. This was soon followed by the Hastings Jour- 
nal published by M. K. Lewis and A. L. Wigton. These were 
in time consolidated and in January, 1880, the first daily was 
issued by A. L. and J. W. "Wigton and called the Daily Gazette- 
Journal. 



EARLY EXPERIENCES IN ADAMS COUNTY 
By General Albert V. Cole 

I was a young business man in Michigan in 1871, about which, 
time many civil war veterans were moving from Michigan and 
other states to Kansas and Nebraska, where they could secure 
free homesteads. I received circulars advertising Juniata. They 
called it a village but at that time there were only four houses, 
all occupied by agents of the Burlington railroad who had been 
employed to preempt a section of land for the purpose of locat- 
ing a townsite. In October, 1871, I started for Juniata, passing 
through Chicago at the time of the great fire. With a comrade 
I crossed the Missouri river at Plattsmouth on a flatboat. The 
Burlington was running mixed trains as far west as School 
Creek, now Sutton. "We rode to that point, then started to walk 
to Juniata, arriving at Harvard in the evening. Harvard also 
had four houses placed for the same purpose as those in Juni- 
ata. Frank M. Davis, who was elected commissioner of public 
lands and buildings in 1876, lived in one house with his family ; 
the other three were supposed to be occupied by bachelors. 

"We arranged with Mr. Davis for a bed in an upper room of 
one of the vacant houses. "We were tenderfeet from the East 
and therefore rather suspicious of the surroundings, there being 
no lock on the lower door. To avoid being surprised we piled 
everything we could find against the door. About midnight we 
were awakened by a terrible noise ; our fortifications had fallen 
and we heard the tramp of feet below. Some of the preemptors 
had been out on section 37 for wood and the lower room was 
where they kept the horse feed. 

The next morning we paid our lodging and resumed the jour- 
ney west. Twelve miles from Harvard we found four more 
houses placed by the Burlington. The village was called Inland 
and was on the east line of Adams county but has since been 
moved east into Clay county. Just before reaching Inland we 
met a man coming from the west with a load of buffalo meat and 
at Inland we found C. S. Jaynes, one of the preemptors, sitting 




Oregon Trail Mon- 
ument ON Nebraska- 
Wyoming State Line 
Erected by the Sons and 
Daughters of the Ameri- 
can Revolution of Ne- 
braska and Wyoming. 
Dedicated April 4, 1913. 
Cost $200 



Monument on the Oregon 

Trail 
Seven miles south of Hastings. 
Erected by Niobrara Chapter, 
Daughters of the American Revo- 
lution at a cost of $100 




i'M'LalL<,'4f'-^ ''' 



EARLY EXPERIENCES IN ADAMS COUNTY 19 

outside his shanty cutting up some of the meat. It was twelve 
miles farther to Juniata, the railroad grade being our guide. 
The section where Hastings now stands was on the line but there 
was no town, not a tree or living thing in sight, just burnt 
prairie. I did not think when we passed over that black and 
desolate section that a city like Hastings would be builded there. 
The buffalo and the antelope had gone in search of greener pas- 
tures ; even the wolf and the coyote were unable to live there at 
that time. 

Six miles farther on we arrived at Juniata and the first thing 
we did was to drink from the well in the center of the section 
between the four houses. This was the only well in the district 
and that first drink of water in Adams county was indeed re- 
freshing. The first man we met was Judson Buswell, a civil 
war veteran, who had a homestead a mUe away and was watering 
his mule team at the well. Although forty-four years have 
passed, I shall never forget those mules; one had a crooked leg, 
but they were the best Mr. Buswell could afford. Now at the 
age of seventy-three he spends his winters in California and 
rides in his automobile, but still retains his original homestead. 

Juniata had in addition to the four houses a small frame 
building used as a hotel kept by John Jacobson. It was a frail 
structure, a story and a half, and when the Nebraska wind blew 
it would shake on its foundation. There was one room upstairs 
with a bed in each corner. During the night there came up a 
northwest vnnd and every bed was on the floor the next morn- 
ing. Later another hotel was built called the Juniata House. 
Land seekers poured into Adams county after the Burlington 
was completed in July, 1872, and there was quite a strife be- 
tween the Jacobson House and the Juniata House. Finally a 
runner for the latter hotel advertised it as the only hotel in 
town with a cook stove. 

Adams county was organized December 12, 1871. Twenty- 
nine voters took part in the first election and Juniata was made 
the county seat. 

We started out the next morning after our arrival to find a 
quarter section of land. About a mile north we came to the 
dugout of Mr. Chandler. He lived in the back end of his house 
and kept his horses in the front part. Mr. Chandler went with 
us to locate our claims. "We preempted land on section twenty- 



20 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

eight north of range ten west, in what is now Highland town- 
ship. I turned the first sod in that township and put down the 
first bored well, which was 117 feet deep and cost $82.70. Our 
first shanty was 10x12 feet in size, boarded up and down and 
papered on the inside with tar paper. Our bed was made of 
soft-pine lumber with slats but no springs. The table was a 
flat-top trunk. 

In the spring of 1872 my wife's brother, George Crane, came 
from Michigan and took 80 acres near me. We began our 
spring work by breaking the virgin sod. "We each bought a yoke 
of oxen and a Pish Brothers wagon, in Crete, eighty miles away, 
and then with garden tools and provisions in the wagon we 
started home, being four days on the way. A few miles west of 
Fairmont we met the Gaylord brothers, who had been to Grand 
Island and bought a printing press. They were going to pub- 
lish a paper in Fairmont. They were stuck in a deep draw of 
mud, so deeply imbedded that our oxen could not pull their 
wagon out, so we hitched onto the press and pulled it out on 
dry land. It was not in very good condition when we left it but 
the boys printed a very clean paper on it for a number of years. 

In August Mre. Cole came out and joined me. I had broken 
30 acres and planted corn, harvesting a fair crop which I fed 
to my oxen and cows. Mrs. Cole made butter, our first churn 
being a wash bowl in which she stirred the cream with a spoon, 
but the butter was sweet and we were happy, except that Mrs. 
Cole was very homesick. She was only nineteen years old and 
a, thousand miles from her people, never before having been 
separated from her mother. I had never had a home, my par- 
ents having died when I was very small, and I had been pushed 
around from pillar to post. Now I had a home of my own and 
was delighted with the wildness of Nebraska, yet my heart went 
out to Mrs. Cole. The wind blew more fiercely than now and 
she made me promise that if our house ever blew down I would 
take her back to Michigan. That time very nearly came on 
April 13, 1873. The storm raged three days and nights and the 
snow flew so it could not be faced. I have experienced colder 
blizzards but never such a storm as this Easter one. I had 
built an addition of two rooms on my shanty and it was fortu- 
nate we had that much room before the storm for it was the 
means of saving the lives of four friends who were caught with- 



EAELY EXPERIENCES IN ADAMS COUNTY 21 

out shelter. Two of them, a man and wife, were building a 
house on their claim one-half mile east, the others were a young 
couple who had been taking a ride on that beautiful Sunday 
afternoon. The storm came suddenly about four in the after- 
noon ; not a breath of air was stirring and it became very dark. 
The storm burst, black dirt filled the air, and the house rocked. 
Mrs. Cole almost prayed that the house would go down so she 
could go back East. But it weathered the blast; if it had not I 
know we would all have perished. The young man's team had 
to have shelter and my board stable was only large enough for 
my oxen and cow so we took his horses to the sod house on the 
girl's claim a mile away. Rain and hail were falling but the 
snow did not come until we got home or we would not have 
found our way. There were six grown people and one child to 
camp in our house three days and only one bed. The three 
women and the child occupied the bed, the men slept on the floor 
in another room. Monday morning the snow was drifted around 
and over the house and had packed in the cellar through a hole 
where I intended to put in a window some day. To get the 
potatoes from the cellar for breakfast I had to tunnel through 
the snow from the trap door in the kitchen. It was impossible 
to get to the well so we lifted the trap door and melted fresh 
snow when water was needed. 

The shack that sheltered my live stock was 125 feet from the 
house and it took three of us to get to the shack to feed. Num- 
ber two would keep within hearing of number one and the third 
man kept in touch with number two luitil he reached the stable. 
"Wednesday evening we went for the horses in the sod house and 
found one dead. They had gnawed the wall of the house so that 
it afterwards fell down. 

I could tell many other incidents of a homesteader's life, of 
trials and short rations, of the grasshoppers in 1874-75-76, of 
hail storms and hot winds; yet all who remained through those 
days of hardship are driving automobiles instead of oxen and 
their land is worth, not $2.50 an acre, but $150. 



FRONTIER TOWNS 
By Francis M. Broome 

"With the first rush of settlers into northwest Nebraska, pre- 
ceding the advent of railroads, numerous villages sprang up on 
the prairies like mushrooms during a night. All gave promise, 
at least on paper, of becoming great cities, and woe to the citizen 
unloyal to that sentiment or disloyal to his town. It is sufficient 
to recount experiences in but one of these villages for customs 
were similar in all of them, as evidence of the freedom common 
to early pioneer life. 

In a central portion of the plains, that gave promise of future 
settlement, a man named Buchanan came out with a wagon load 
of boards and several boxes of whiskey and tobacco and in a 
short space of time had erected a building of not very imposing 
appearance. Over the door of this building a board was nailed, 
on which was printed the word "SALOON" and, thus prepared 
for business, this man claimed the distinction of starting the 
first town in that section. His first customers were a band of 
cowboys who proceeded to drink up all of the stock and then to 
see which one could shoot the largest number of holes through 
the building. This gave the town quite a boom and new settlers 
as far away as Valentine began hearing of the new town of 
Buchanan. Soon after another venturesome settler brought in 
a general merchandise store and then the rush began, all fearing 
they might be too late to secure choice locations. The next pub- 
lic necessity was a newspaper, which soon came, and the town 
was given the name of Nonpareil. It was regularly platted into 
streets and alleys, and a town well sunk in the public square. 
Efforts to organize a civil government met with a frost, every- 
one preferring to be his own governor. A two-story hotel built 
of rough native pine boards furnished lodging and meals for 
the homeless, three saloons furnished drinks for the thirsty 
twenty-four hours in the day and seven days in the week; two 
drug stores supplied drugs in case of sickness and booze from 
necessity for payment of expenses. These with a blacksmith 





Mrs. Angie P. Newman 

Seconil Vice-President General from Nebraska, National Society, Daughters 

of the American Revolution. Elected 1898 



FRONTIER TOWNS 23 

shop and several stores constituted the town for the first year 
and by reason of continuous boosting it grew to a pretentious 
size. The second year some of the good citizens, believing it 
had advanced far enough to warrant the establishment of a 
church, sent for a Methodist minister. This good soul, believing 
his mission in life was to drive out sin from the community, set 
about to do it in the usual manner, but soon bowed to the in- 
evitable and, recognizing prevailing customs, became popular in 
the town. Boys, seeing him pass the door of saloons, would 
hail him and in a good-natured manner give him the contents of 
a jackpot in a poker game until, with these contributions and 
sums given him from more religious motives, he had accumulated 
enough to build a small church. 

After the organization of the county, the place was voted the 
county-seat, and a courthouse was built. The court room when 
not in use by the court was used for various public gatherings 
and frequently for dances. 

Everybody had plenty of money and spent it with a prodigal 
hand. The "save-for-rainy-days" fellows had not yet arrived 
on the scene. They never do until after higher civilization steps 
in. Old Dan, the hotel keeper, was considered one of the best 
wealth distributors in the village. His wife, a little woman of 
wonderful energy, would do all the work in a most cheerful 
manner while Dan kept office, collected the money and distrib- 
uted it to the pleasure of the boys and profit to the saloons, and 
both husband and wife were happy in knowing that they were 
among the most popular people of the village. It did no harm 
and afforded the little lady great satisfaction to tell about her 
noble French ancestry for it raised the family to a much higher 
dignity than that of the surrounding plebeian stock of English, 
Irish, and Dutch, and nobody cared so long as everything was 
cheerful around the place. Cheerfulness is a great asset in any 
line of business. The lawyer of the village, being a man of 
great expectations, attempted to lend dignity to the profession, 
until, finding that board bills are not paid by dignity and be- 
coming disgusted with the lack of appreciation of legal talent, 
he proceeded to beat the poker games for an amount sufficient 
to enable him to leave for some place where legal talent was 
more highly appreciated. 

These good old days might have continued had the railroads 



24 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

kept out, but railroads follow settlement just as naturally as 
day follows night. They built into the country and with them 
came a different order of civilization. 

Many experiences of a similar character might be told con- 
cerning other towns in this section, namely, Gordon, where old 
Hank Ditto, who ran the roadhouse, never turned down a needy 
person for meals and lodging, but compelled the ones with money 
to pay for them. Then there was Rushville, the supply station 
for vast stores of goods for the Indian agency and reservation 
near by; Hay Springs, the terminal point for settlers coming 
into the then unsettled south country. Chadron was a town of 
unsurpassed natural beauty in the Pine Ridge country, where 
Billy Carter, the Dick Turpin of western romance, held forth 
in all his glory and at whose shrine the sporting fraternity per- 
formed daily ablutions in the bountiful supply of booze water. 
Crawford was the nesting place for all crooks that were ever 
attracted to a country by an army post. 

These affairs incident to the pioneer life of northwestern 
Nebraska are now but reminiscences, supplanted by a civiliza- 
tion inspired by all of the modern and higher ideals of life. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH OP BOX BUTTE COUNTY 
By Iba E. Tash 

Box Butte county, Nebraska, owes its existence to the discov- 
ery of gold in the Black Hills in 1876. When this important 
event occurred, the nearest railroad point to the discovery in 
Deadwood Gulch was Sidney, Nebraska, 275 miles to the south. 
To this place the gold seekers rushed from every point of the 
compass. Parties were organized to make the overland trip to 
the new Eldorado with ox teams, mule teams, and by every 
primitive mode of conveyance. Freighters from Colorado and 
the great Southwest, whose occupation was threatened by the 
rapid building of railroads, miners from all the Rocky Mountain 
regions of the "West, and thousands of tenderfeet from the East, 
all flocked to Sidney as the initial starting point. To this hetero- 
geneous mass was added the gambler, the bandit, the road agent, 
the dive keeper, and other undesirable citizens. This flood of 
humanity made the "Old Sidney Trail" to the Black Hills. 
Then followed the stage coach, Wells-Pargo express, and later 
the United States mail. The big freighting outfits conveyed 
mining machinery, provisions, and other commodities, among 
which were barrels and barrels of poor whiskey, to the toiling 
miners in the Hills. Indians infested the trail, murdered the 
freighters and miners, and ran off their stock, while road agents 
robbed stages and looted the express company's strong boxes. 
Bandits murdered returning miners and robbed them of their 
nuggets and gold dust. There was no semblance of law and 
order. When things got too rank, a few of the worst offenders 
were lynched, and the great, seething, hui'rying mass of human- 
ity pressed on urged by its lust for gold. 

This noted trail traversed what is now Box Butte county from 
north to south, and there were three important stopping places 
within the boundaries of the county. These were the Hart 
ranch at the crossing of Snake creek, Mayfield's, and later the 
Hughes ranch at the crossing of the Niobrara, and Halfway 
Hollow, on the high tableland between. The deep ruts worn 



26 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

by the heavily loaded wagons and other traffic passing over the 
route are still plainly visible, after the lapse of forty years. 
This trail was used for a period of about nine years, or until 
the Northwestern railroad was extended to Deadwood, when it 
gave way to modern civilization. 

Traveling over this trail were men of affairs, alert men who 
had noted the rich grasses and wide ranges that bordered the 
route, and marked it down as the cattle raiser's and ranchman's 
future paradise. Then came the great range herds of the Ogal- 
lalla Cattle Company, Swan Brothers, Bosler Brothers, the Bay 
State and other large cow outfits, followed by the hard-riding 
cowboy and the chuck wagon. These gave names to prominent 
landmarks. A unique elevation in the eastern part of the 
county they named Box Butte. Butte means hill or elevation 
less than a mountain. Box because it was roughly square or box- 
shaped. Hence the surrounding plains were designated in cow- 
man's parlance "the Box Butte country," and as such it was 
known far and wide. 

Later, in 1886 and 1887, a swarm of homeseekers swept in 
from the East, took up the land, and began to build houses of 
sod and to break up the virgin soil. The cowman saw that he 
was doomed, and so rounded up his herds of longhorns and 
drove on westward into Wyoming and Montana. These new 
settlers soon realized that they needed a unit of government to 
meet the requirements of a more refined civilization. They were 
drawn together by a common need, and rode over dim trails 
circulating petitions calling for an organic convention. They 
met and provided for the formation of a new county, to be 
known as "Box Butte" county. 

This name was ofScially adopted, and is directly traceable to 
the discovery of gold in the Black Hills. The lure of gold led 
the hardy miner and adventurer across its fertile plains, opened 
the way for the cattleman who named the landmark from which 
the county takes its name, and the sturdy settler who followed 
in his wake adopted the name and wrote it in the archives of 
the state and nation. 



A BROKEN AXLE 
By Samuel C. Bassett 

In 1860, Edward Oliver, Sr., his wife and seven children, 
converts to the Mormon faith, left their home in England for 
Salt Lake City, Utah. At Florence, Nebraska, on the Missouri 
river a few miles above the city of Omaha, they purchased a 
traveling outfit for emigrants, which consisted of two yoke of 
oxen, a prairie-schooner wagon, and two cows; and with nu- 
merous other families having the same destination took the over- 
land Mormon trail up the valley of the Platte on the north side 
of the river. 

When near a point known as Wood River Centre, 175 miles 
west of the Missouri river, the front axle of their wagon gave 
way, compelling a halt for repairs, their immediate companions 
in the emigrant train continuing the journey, for nothing avoid- 
able, not even the burial of a member of the train, was allowed 
to interfere with the prescribed schedule of travel. The Oliver 
family camped beside the trail and the broken wagon was taken 
to the ranch of Joseph E. Johnson, who combined in his person 
and business that of postmaster, merchant, blacksmith, wagon- 
maker, editor, and publisher of a newspaper {The Huntsman's 
Eclw). Johnson was a Mormon with two wives, a man pas- 
sionately fond of flowers which he cultivated to a considerable 
extent in a fenced enclosure. While buffalo broke down his 
fence and destroyed his garden and flowei-s, he could not bring 
himself to kill them. He was a philosopher and, it must be 
conceded, a most useful person at a point so far distant from 
other sources of supplies. 

The wagon shop of Mr. Johnson contained no seasoned wood 
suitable for an axle and so from the trees along Wood river 
was cut an ash from which was hewn and fitted an axle to the 
wagon and the family again took the trail, but ere ten miles had 
been traveled the green axle began to bend under the load, the 
wheels ceased to track, and the party could not proceed. In the 
family council which succeeded the father urged that they try 

27 



28 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

to arrange with other emigrants to carry their movables (double 
teams) and thus continue their journey. 

The mother suggested that they return to the vicinity of Wood 
River Centre and arrange to spend the winter. To the sugges- 
tion of the mother all the children added their entreaties. The 
mother urged that it was a beautiful country, with an abundance 
of wood and water, grass for pasture, and hay in plenty could 
be made for their cattle, and she was sure crops could be raised. 
The wishes of the mother prevailed, the family returned to a 
point about a mile west of Wood River Centre, and on the banks 
of the river constructed a log hut with a sod roof in which they 
spent the winter. When springtime came, the father, zealous in 
the Mormon faith, urged that they continue their journey; to 
this neither the mother nor any of the children could be induced 
to consent and in the end the father journeyed to Utah, where 
he made his home and married a younger woman who had ac- 
companied the family from England, which doubtless was the 
determining factor in the mother refusing to go. 

The mother, Sarah Oliver, proved to be a woman of force and 
character. With her children she engaged in the raising of corn 
and vegetables, the surplus being sold to emigrants passing over 
the trail and at Fort Kearny, some twenty miles distant. 

In those days there were many without means who traveled 
the trail and Sarah Oliver never turned a hungry emigrant 
from her door, and often divided with such the scanty store 
needed for her own family. When rumors came of Indians on 
the warpath the children took turns on the housetop as lookout 
for the dread savages. In 1863 two settlers were killed by In- 
dians a few miles east of her home. In the year 1864 occurred 
the memorable raid of the Cheyenne Indians in which horrible 
atrocities were committed and scores of settlers were massacred 
by these Indians only a few miles to the south. In 1865 William 
Storer, a near neighbor, was killed by the Indians. 

Sarah Oliver had no framed diploma from a medical college 
which would entitle her to the prefix "Dr." to her name, pos- 
sibly she was not entitled to be called a trained nurse, but she is 
entitled to be long remembered as one who ministered to the 
sick, to early travelers hungry and footsore along the trail, and 
to many families whose habitations were miles distant. 

Sarah Oliver and her family endured all the toil and priva- 



A BROKEN AXLE 29 

tion common to early settlers, without means, in a new country, 
far removed from access to what are deemed the barest neces- 
sities of life in more settled communities. 

She endured all the terrors incident to settlement in a sparsely 
settled locality, in which year after year Indian atrocities were 
committed and in which the coming of such savages was hourly 
expected and dreaded. She saw the building and completion of 
the Union Pacific railroad near her home in 1866; she saw Ne- 
braska become a state in the year 1867. In 1870 when Buffalo 
county was organized her youngest son, John, was appointed 
sheriff, and was elected to that office at the first election there- 
after. Her eldest son, James, was the first assessor in the 
county, and her son Edward was a member of the first board 
of county commissioners and later was elected and served with 
credit and fidelity as county treasurer. 

When, in the year 1871, Sarah Oliver died, her son Robert 
inherited the claim whereon she first made a home for her fam- 
ily and which, in this year, 1915, is one of the most beautiful, 
fertile farm homes in the county and state. 

A DREAM-LAND COMPLETE 

Dreaming, I pictured a wonderful valley, 

A home-making valley few known could compare ; 

When lo! from the bluffs to the north of Wood river 
I saw my dream-picture — my valley lies there. 

Miles long, east and west, stretch this wonderful valley : 
Broad fields of alfalfa, of com, and of wheat ; 

'Mid orchards and groves the homes of its people ; 
The vale of Wood river, a dream-land complete. 

Nebraska, our mother, we love and adore thee ; 

Within thy fair borders our lot has been cast. 
When done with life's labors and trials and pleasures, 

Contented we 'U rest in thy bosom at last. 



A PIONEER NEBRASKA TEACHER 
By Mrs. Isabel Roscoe 

In 1865, B. S. Roscoe, twenty-two years of age, returned to 
his home in Huron county, Ohio, after two years' service in the 
civil war. He assisted his father on the farm until 1867, when 
he was visited by F. B. Barber, an army comrade, a homesteader 
in northwestern Nebraska. His accounts of the new country 
were so attractive that Mr. Roscoe, who had long desired a farm 
of his own, decided to go west. 

He started in March, 1867, was delayed in Chicago by a snow 
blockade, but arrived in Omaha in due time. On March 24, 
1867, Mr. Roscoe went to Decatur via the stage route, stopping 
for dinner at the Lippincott home, called the halfway house be- 
tween Omaha and Decatur. He was advised to remain in De- 
catur for a day or two for the return of B. W. Everett from 
Maple Creek, Iowa, but being told that Logan creek, where he 
wished to settle, was only sixteen miles distant, he hired a horse 
and started alone. The snow was deep with a crust on top but 
not hard enough to bear the horse and rider. After going two 
miles through the deep snow he returned to Decatur. On March 
26 he started with Mr. Everett, who had a load of oats and two 
dressed hogs on his sled, also two cows to drive. They took 
tui-ns riding and driving the cows. The trail was hard to fol- 
low and when they reached the divide between Bell creek and 
the Blackbird, the wind was high and snow falling. They missed 
the road and the situation was serious. There was no house, 
tree, or landmark nearer than Josiah Everett's, who lived near 
the present site of Lyons, and was the only settler north of what 
is now Oakland, where John Oak resided. They abandoned the 
sled and each rode a horse, Mr. Everett trying to lead the way, 
but the horse kept turning around, so at last he let the animal 
have its way and they soon arrived at Josiah Everett's home- 
stead shanty, the cows following. 

The next day Mr. Roscoe located his homestead on the bank 
of Logan creek. A couple of trappers had a dugout near by 



A PIONEEE NEBRASKA TEACHER 31 

which they had made by digging a hole ten feet square in the 
side of the creek bank and covering the opening with brush and 
grass. Their names were Asa Merritt and George Kirk. 

Mr. Roscoe then returned to Decatur and walked from there 
to Omaha, where he filed on his claim April 1, 1867. The ice 
on the Missouri river was breaking though drays and busses 
were still crossing. Mr. Roscoe walked across the river to 
Council Bluffs and then proceeded by train to Bartlett, Iowa, 
intending to spend the summer near Brownville, Nebraska, In 
August he returned to his homestead and erected a claim shanty. 
The following winter was spent working in the woods at Tie- 
town. In the winter of 1869 fifty dollars was appropriated for 
school purposes in Everett precinct and Mr. Roscoe taught 
school for two months in his shanty and boarded around among 
the patrons. 



EXPERIENCES OF A PIONEER WOMAN 
By Mrs. Edise G. Everett 

On December 31, 1866, in a bleak wind I crossed the Missouri 
river on the ice, carrying a nine months' old baby, now Mrs. 
Jas. Stiles, and my four and a half year old boy trudging along. 
My husband's brother, Josiah Everett, carried three-year-old 
Eleanor in one arm and drove the team and my husband was a 
little in advance with his team and wagon containing all our 
possessions. We drove to the town of Decatur, that place of 
many hopes and ambitions as yet unfulfilled. We were enter- 
tained by the Herrick family, who said we would probably re- 
main on Logan creek, our proposed home site, because we would 
be too poor to move away. 

On January 7, 1867, in threatening weather, we started on the 
last stage of our journey in quest of a home. Nestled deep in 
the prairie hay and covered with blankets, the babies and I did 
not suffer. The desolate, wind-swept prairie looked uninviting 
but when we came to the Logan "Valley, it was beautiful even in 
that weather. The trees along the winding stream, the grove, 
now known as Pritt's grove, gave a home-like look and I decided 
I could be content in that valley. 

We lived with our brother until material for our shack could 
be brought from Decatur or Onawa, Iowa. Five grown people 
and seven children, ranging in ages from ten years down, lived 
in that smaU shack for three months. That our friendship was 
unimpaired is a lasting monument to our tact, politeness, and 
good nature. 

The New Year snow was the forerunner of heavier ones, until 
the twenty-mile trip to Decatur took a whole day, but finaUy 
materials for the shack were on hand. The last trip extended 
to Onawa and a sled of provisions and two patient cows were 
brought over. In Decatur, B. S. Roscoe was waiting an oppor- 
tunity to get to the Logan and was invited to "jump on." It 
was late, the load was heavy, and somewhere near Blackbird 
creek the team stuck in the drifts. The cows were given their 



EXPERIENCES OF A PIONEER WOMAN 33 

liberty, the horses unhooked, and with some difiBculty the half 
frozen men managed to mount and the horses did the rest — the 
cows keeping close to their heels ; and so they arrived late in the 
night. Coffee and a hot supper warmed the men suiSeiently to 
catch a few winks of sleep — on bedding on the floor. A break- 
fast before light and they were off to rescue the load. The two 
frozen and dressed porkers had not yet attracted the wolves, and 
next day they crossed the Logan to the new house. 

A few days more and the snowdrifts were a mighty river. 
B. W. was a sort of Crusoe, but as everything but the horses 
and cows — and the trifling additional human stock — was 
strewn around him, he suffered nothing but anxiety. Josiah 
drove to Decatur, procured a boat, and with the aid of two or 
three trappers who chanced to be here, we were all rowed over 
the mile-wide sea, and were at home ! 

Slowly the water subsided, and Nebraska had emerged from 
her territorial obscurity (March 1, 1867) before it was possible 
for teams to cross the bottom lands of the Logan. 

One Sunday morning I caught sight of two moving figures 
emerging from the grove. The dread of Indian callers was ever 
with me, but as they came nearer my spirits mounted to the 
clouds — for I recognized my sister, Mrs. Andrew Everett, as 
the rider, and her son Prank leading the pony. Their claim 
had been located in March, but owing to the frequent and heavy 
rains we were not looking for them so soon. The evening before 
we had made out several covered wagons coming over the hills 
from Decatur, but we were not aware that they had already ar- 
rived at Josiah 's. The wagons we had seen were those of B. R. 
Libby, Chas. Morton, Southwell, and Clements. 

A boat had brought my sister and her son across the Logan — 
a pony being allowed to swim the stream but the teams were 
obliged to go eight miles south to Oakland, where John Oak and 
two or three others had already settled, and who had thrown 
a rough bridge across. 

Before fall the Andrew Everett house (no shack) was habit- 
able — also a number of other families had moved in on both 
sides of the Logan, and it began to be a real neighborhood. 

One late afternoon I started out to make preparations for 
the night, as Mr. Everett was absent for a few days. As I 
opened the door two Indians stood on the step, one an elderly 



34 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

man, the other a much-bedeeked young buck. I admitted them ; 
the elder seated himself and spoke a few friendly words, but the 
smart young man began immediately to inspect the few furnish- 
ings of the room. Though quaking inwardly, I said nothing 
till he spied a revolver hanging in its leather case upon the wall 
and was reaching for it. I got there first, and taking it from 
the case I held it in my hands. At once his manner changed. 
He protested that he was a good Indian, and only wanted to see 
the gun, while the other immediately rose from his chair. In a 
voice I never would have recognized as my own, I informed him 
that it was time for him to go. The elder man at last escorted 
him outside with me as rear guard. Fancy my feelings when 
right at the door were ten or more husky fellows, who seemed 
to propose entering, but by this time the desperate courage of 
the arrant coward took possession of me, and I barred the way. 
It was plain that the gun in my hand was a surprise, and the 
earnest entreaties of my five-year-old boy "not to shoot them" 
may also have given them pause. They said they were cold and 
hungry; I assured them that I had neither room nor food for 
them — little enough for my own babies. At last they all went 
on to the house of our brother, Andrew Everett. I knew that 
they were foraging for a large party which was encamped in the 
grove. Soon they came back laden with supplies which they 
had obtained, and now they insisted on coming in to wok them, 
and the smell of spirits was so unmistakable that I could readily 
see that Andrew had judged it best to get rid of them as soon 
as possible, thinking that they would be back in camp by dark, 
and the whiskey, which they had obtained between here and 
Fremont, would have evaporated. But it only made them more 
insistent in their demands and some were looking quite sullen. 
At last a young fellow, not an Indian — for he had long dark 
curls reaching to his shoulders — with a strategic smile asked in 
good English for a "drink of water." Instead of leaving the 
door, as he evidently calculated, I called to my little boy to bring 
it. A giggle ran through the crowd at the expense of the strat- 
egist but it was plain they were growing ugly. Now the older 
Indian took the opportunity to make them an earnest talk, and 
though it was against their wishes, he at last started them to- 
ward the grove. After a while Frank Everett, my nephew, who 
had come down to bolster up my courage, and the children went 



EXPERIENCES OF A PIONEER WOMAN 35 

to bed and to sleep, but no sleep for me ; as the gray dawn was 
showing in the east, a terrific pounding upon the door turned 
my blood to ice. Again and again it came, and at last I tiptoed 
to the door and stooped to look through the crack. A pair of 
very slim ankles was all that was visible and as I rose to my 
feet, the very sweetest music I had ever heard saluted me, the 
neigh of my pet colt Bonnie, who had failed to receive her ac- 
customed drink of milk the previous evening and took this man- 
ner of reminding me. 

This was the only time we were ever menaced with actual 
danger, and many laughable false alarms at last cured me of my 
fears of a people among whom I now have valued friends. 

1171181 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WEEPING WATER, NEBRASKA 

By I. N. Hunter 

Mr. and Mrs. L. D. Hunter were pioneer settlers of Nebraska 
and Weeping Water, coming from Illinois by team. Their first 
settlement in the state was near West Point in Cuming county 
where father staked out a claim in 1857. Things went well aside 
from the usual hardships of pioneer life, such as being out of 
flour and having to pound corn in an iron kettle with an iron 
wedge to obtain corn meal for bread. When the bottom of the 
kettle gave way as a result of the many thumpings of the wedge, 
a new plan was devised — that of chopping a hole in a log and 
making a crude wooden kettle which better stood the blows of the 
wedge. This method of grinding com was used until a trip 
could be made with an ox team, to the nearest mill, forty miles 
distant ; a long and tedious trip always but much more so in this 
particular instance because of the high water in the streams 
which were not bridged in those days. These were small hard- 
ships compared to what took place when the home was robbed 
by Indians. These treacherous savages stripped the premises 
of all the live stock, household and personal effects. Cattle and 
chickens were killed and eaten and what could not be disposed 
of in this way were wantonly destroyed and driven off. Clothing 
and household goods were destroyed so that little was saved 
except the clothing the members of the family had on. Prom 
the two feather beds that were ripped open, mother succeeded 
in gathering up enough feathers to make two pillows and these 
I now have in my home. They are more than a half century 
old. A friendly Indian had come in advance of the hostile band 
and warned the little settlement of the approach of the Indians 
with paint on their faces. His signs telling them to flee were 
speedily obeyed and in all probability this was all that saved 
many lives, as the six or seven families had to keep together and 
travel all night to keep out of the reach of the Indians until the 
people at Omaha could be notified and soldiers sent to the scene. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WEEPING WATER 37 

On the arrival of the soldiers the Indians immediately hoisted 
a white flag and insisted that they were "good Indians." 

As no one had been killed by the Indians, it was the desire of 
the soldiers to merely make the Indians return the stolen prop- 
erty and stock, but as much property was destroyed, the settlers 
received very little. A number of the Indians were arrested 
and tried for robbing the postoffice which was at our home. My 
parents were the principal witnesses and after the Indians were 
acquitted, it was feared they might take revenge, so they were 
advised to leave the country. 

With an ox team and a few ragged articles of clothing they 
started east. When he reached Rock Bluffs, one of the early 
river towns of Cass county, father succeeded in obtaining work. 
His wages were seventy-five cents a day with the privilege of 
living in a small log cabin. There was practically no furniture 
for the cabin, corn husks and the few quilts that had been given 
them were placed on the floor in the corner to serve as a place 
to sleep. Father worked until after Christmas time without 
having a coat. At about this time, he was told to take his team 
and make a trip into Iowa. Just as he was about to start, his 
employer said to him: "Hunter, where 's your coat?" The 
reply was, "I haven't any." "Well, that won't do; you can't 
make that trip without a coat; come with me to the store." 
Father came out of the store with a new under coat and over- 
coat, the first coat of any kind he had had since his home was 
invaded by the red men. 

An explanation of the purpose of the trip into Iowa will be 
of interest. The man father worked for was a flour and meat 
freighter with a route to Denver, Colorado. In the winter he 
would go over into Iowa, buy hogs and drive them across the 
river on the ice, to Rock Bluffs, where they were slaughtered and 
salted down in large freight wagons. In the spring, from eight 
to ten yoke of oxen would be hitched to the wagon, and the meat, 
and often times an accompanying cargo of flour, would be start- 
ed across the plains to attractive markets in Denver. 

Father made a number of these trips to Denver as ox driver. 

The writer was born at Rock Bluffs in 1860. We moved to 
Weeping Water in 1862 when four or five dwellings and the little 
old mill that stood near the falls, comprised what is now our 
beautiful little city of over 1,000 population. 



38 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

During the early sixties, maxiy bands of Indians numbering 
from forty to seventy-five, visited Weeping "Water. It was on 
one of their visits that the writer made the best record he has 
ever made, as a foot racer. The seven or eight year old boy of 
today would not think of running from an Indian, but half a 
century ago it was different. It was no fim in those days to 
be out hunting cattle and run onto a band of Indians all sitting 
around in a circle. In the morning the cattle were turned out 
to roam about at will except when they attempted to molest a 
field, and at night they were brought home if they could be 
found. If not the search was continued the next day. Some one 
was out hunting cattle all the time it seemed. "With such a 
system of letting cattle run at large, it was really the fields that 
were herded and not the cattle. Several times a day some mem- 
ber of the family would go out around the fields to see if any 
cattle were molesting them. One of our neighbors owned two 
Shepherd dogs which would stay with the cattle all day, and 
taJie them home at night. It was very interesting to watch the 
dogs drive the cattle. One would go ahead to keep the cattle 
from turning into a field where there might be an opening in 
the rail fence, while the other would bring up the rear. They 
worked like two men would. But the family that had trained 
dogs of this kind was the exception; in most cases it was the 
boys that had to do the herding. It was on such a mission one 
day that the writer watched from under cover of some bushes, 
the passing of about seventy-five Indians all on horseback and 
traveling single file. They were strung out a distance of almost 
a mile. Of course they were supposed to be friendly, but there 
were so many things that pointed to their tendency to be other- 
wise at times, that we were not at all anxious to meet an Indian 
no matter how many times he would repeat the characteristic 
phrase, "Me good Injun." "We were really afraid of them and 
moreover the story was fresh in our minds of the murder of the 
Hungate family in Colorado, Mrs. Hungate's parents being resi- 
dents of our vicinity at that time. Her sister, Mrs. P. S. Barnes, 
now resides in "Weeping "Water. 

Thus it will be seen that many Indian experiences and inci- 
dents have been woven into the early history of "Weeping "Water. 
In conclusion to this article it might be fitting to give the Indian 
legend which explains how the town received its name of "Weep- 



RECOLLECTIONS OF WEEPING WATER 39 

ing Water. The poem was written by my son, Rev. A. V. Hunt- 
er, of Boston, and is founded on the most popular of the Indian 
legends that have been handed down. 

THE LEGEND OF WEEPING WATER 

Long before the white man wandered 

To these rich Nebraska lands, 
Indians in their paint and feathers 

Roamed in savage warlike bands. 

They, the red men, feared no hardships; 

Battles were their chief delights; 
Victory was their great ambition 

In their awful bloody fights. 

Then one day the war cry sounded 

Over valley, hill and plain. 
From the North came dusky warriors, 
From that vast unknown domain. 

When the news had reached the valley 

That the foe was near at hand, 
Every brave was stirred to action 

To defend his home, his land. 

To the hills they quickly hastened 

There to wait the coming foe. 
Each one ready for the conflict 

Each with arrow in his bow. 

Awful was the scene that followed, 
Yells and warwhoops echoed shrill. 

But at last as night descended 

Death had conquered; all was still. 

Then the women in the wigwams 

Hearing riunors of the fight. 
Bearing flaming, flickering torches 

Soon were wandei'ing in the night. 

There they found the loved ones lying 

Calm in everlasting sleep. 
Little wonder that the women. 

Brokenhearted, all should weep. 



40 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Hours and hours they kept on weeping, 

'Til their tears b^gan to flow 
In many trickling streamlets 
To the valley down below. 

These together joined their forces 

To produce a larger stream 
"Which has ever since been flowing 

As you see it in this scene. 

Indians christened it Nehawka 
Crying "Water means the same. 

In this way the legend tells us 
"Weeping "Water got its name. 



INCIDENTS AT PLATTSMOUTH 
By Ella Pollock Minor 

Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Vallery were living in Glenwood, Iowa, 
in 1855, when they decided to purchase a store from some In- 
dians in Plattsmouth. Mr. Vallery went over to transact the bus- 
iness, and Mrs. Vallery was to follow in a few days. Upon her ar- 
rival in Bethlehem, where she was to take the ferry, she learned 
that the crossing was unsafe on account of ice floating in the 
river. There were two young men there, who were very anxious 
to get across and decided to risk the trip. They took a letter 
to her husband telling of the trouble. The next day, accom- 
panied by these two young men, Mr. Vallery came over after 
her in a rowboat, by taking a course farther north. The boat 
was well loaded when they started on the return trip. Some of 
the men had long poles, and by constantly pushing at the ice 
they kept the boat from being crushed or overturned. 

Mrs. Vallery 's oldest daughter was the third white child bom 
in the vicinity of Plattsmouth. And this incident happened 
soon after her arrival in 1855. Mrs. Vallery had the baby in a 
cradle and was preparing dinner when she heard a knock at the 
door. Before she could reach it, an Indian had stepped in, and 
seeing some meat on the table asked for it. She nodded for him 
to take it, but he seemed to have misunderstood, and then asked 
for a drink of water. While Mrs. Vallery was getting the 
drink, he reached for the baby, but she was too quick for him 
and succeeded in reaching the baby first. He then departed 
without further trouble. 

At one time the Vallerys had a sick cow, and every evening 
several Indians would come to find out how she was. She seemed 
to get no better and still they watched that cow. In the course 
of a week she died, evidently during the night, because the next 
morning the first thing they heard was the Indians skinning the 
cow, out by the shed, and planning a "big feed" for that night 
down by the river. 

The late Mrs. Thomas Pollock used to tell us how the Indiana 



42 NEBEASKA PIONEEE EEMINISCENCES 

came begging for things. Winnebago John, who came each 
year, couldn't be satisfied very easily, so my grandmother found 
an army coat of her brother's for him. He was perfectly de- 
lighted and disappeared with it behind the wood pile, where 
he remained for some time. The family wondered what he was 
doing, so after he had slipped away, they went out and hunted 
around for traces of what had kept him. They soon found the 
clue ; he had stuffed the coat in under the wood, and when they 
pulled it out, they found it was minus all the brass buttons. 

Another time one of Mrs. Pollock's children, the late Mrs. 
Lillian Parmele, decided to play Indian and frighten her two 
brothers, who were going up on the hill to do some gardening. 
She wrapped up in cloaks, blankets and everything she could 
find to make herself look big and fierce, then went up and hid in 
the hazel brush, where she knew they would have to pass. Pretty 
soon she peeked out and there was a band of Indians coming. 
Terrified, she ran down toward her home, dropping pieces of 
clothing aud blankets as she went. The Indians seeing them, 
ran after her, each one anxious to pick up what she was drop- 
ping. The child thinking it was she they were after, let all her 
belongings go, so she could run the better and escape them. 
After that escapade quite a number of things were missing about 
the house, some of them being seen later at an Indian camp 
near by. 



FIRST THINGS IN CLAY COUNTY 
By Mrs. Charles M. Brown 

The first settler of Clay county, Nebraska, was John B. Wes- 
ton, who located on the Little Blue, built a log hut in 1857 and 
called the place Pawnee Ranch. It became a favorite stopping 
place of St. Joe and Denver mail carriers. 

The first settler of Sutton was Luther French who came in 
March, 1870, and homesteaded eighty acres. Mr. French sur- 
veyed and laid out the original townsite which was named after 
Sutton, Massachusetts. His dugout and log house was built on 
the east bank of School creek, east of the park, and just south 
of the Kansas City and Omaha railroad bridge. Traces of the 
excavation are still visible. The house was lined with brick and 
had a tunnel outlet near the creek bottom for use in case of an 
Indian attack. Among his early callers were Miss Nellie Hen- 
derson and Capt. Charles White who rode in from the West 
Blue in pursuit of an antelope, which they captured. 

Mrs. Wils Cumming was the first white woman in Sutton. 
She resided in the house now known as the Mrs. May Evans 
(deceased) place. Part of this residence is the original Cum- 
ming home. 

At this time the population of Sutton consisted of thirty-four 
men and one woman. In the spring of 1871, F. M. Brown, who 
was born in Illinois in 1840, came to Nebraska and settled on a 
homestead in Clay county, four miles north of the present site 
of Sutton. At that time Clay county was unorganized terri- 
tory, and the B. & M. railroad was being extended from Lincoln 
west. 

September 11, 1871, Governor James issued a proclamation 
for the election of officers and the organization of Clay county 
fixing the date, October 14, 1871. The election was held at the 
home of Alexander Campbell, two miles east of Harvard, and 
fifty-four votes were cast. Sutton was chosen as the county seat. 
F. M. Brown was elected county clerk ; A. K. Marsh, P. 0. Nor- 
man, and A. A. Corey were elected county commissioners. When 

43 



44 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

it came to organizing and qualifying the officers, only one free- 
holder could be found capable of signing official bonds and as 
the law required two sureties, R. G. Brown bought a lot of 
Luther French and was able to sign with Luther French as 
surety on all official bonds. As the county had no money and 
no assessments had been made all county business was done on 
credit. There was no courthouse and county business was con- 
ducted in the office of R. G. Brown, until February, 1873, when 
a frame building to be used as a courthouse was completed at a 
cost of $1,865. This was the first plastered building in the 
county and was built by F. M. Brown. 

In May, 1873, a petition for an election to relocate the county 
seat was filed, but the motion of Commissioner A. K. Marsh that 
the petition be "tabled, rejected and stricken from the files" 
ended the discussion temporarily. In 1879 the county seat was 
removed to Clay Center. Several buildings were erected during 
the fall of 1873 and Sutton became the center of trade in the 
territory between the Little Blue and the Platte rivers. 

Melvin Brothers opened the first store in 1873 south of the 
railroad tracks, now South Sanders avenue. At that time it 
was called "Scrabble Hill." 

In 1874 the town was incorporated and a village government 
organized, with F. M. Brown as mayor. 

Luther French was the first postmaster. 

Thurlow Weed opened the first lumber yard. 

William Shirley built and run the first hotel. 

L. R. Grimes and J. B. Dinsmore opened the first bank. 

Pyle and Eaton built and operated the first elevator. 

Isaac N. Clark opened the first hardware store. 

Dr. Martin V. B. Clark, a graduate of an Ohio medical col- 
lege, was the first physician in the county and opened the first 
drug store in Sutton. In 1873, during the first term of district 
court, he was appointed one of the commissioners of insanity. 
In 1877 he was elected coroner. 

The Odd Fellows hall was the first brick building erected. 

The Congregational church, built in 1875, was the first church 
building in the county. 

William L. Weed taught the first school, beginning January 
20, 1872, with an enrollment of fourteen scholars. 



FIRST THINGS IN CLAY COUNTY 45 

In 1876 the Evangelical Association of North America sent 
Rev. W. Schwerin to Sutton as a missionary. 

In the early seventies the Burlington railroad company built 
and maintained an immigrant house on the corner south of the 
present Cottage hotel. This was a long frame building of one 
room with a cook stove in either end. Many of the immigrants 
were dependent upon a few friends who were located on the 
new land in the vicinity. Their food consisted largely of soup 
made with flour and water; any vegetables they were able to 
get were used. Meat was scarce with the immigrants. They 
had considerable milk, mostly sour, brought in by their friends. 
The immigrants remained here until they found work; most of 
them moved on to farms. The house burned about 1880. 

In the early days Sutton was a lively business place with all 
the features of a frontier town. Now it is a city enjoying the 
comforts of modem improvements and refined society. 



REMINISCENCES OF CUSTER COUNTY 
By Mbs. J. J. Douglas 

In July, 1888, I amved at Broken Bow, which is situated 
geographically about the center of the state. That village looked 
strange to me with not a tree in sight excepting a few little 
cuttings of Cottonwood and boxelder here and there upon a lawn. 
After having lived all my life in a country where every home 
was surrounded by groves and ornamental shade trees, it seemed 
that I Was in a desert. 

I had just completed a course of study in a normal school 
prior to coming to Nebraska, and was worn out in mind and 
body, so naturally my first consideration was the climatic condi- 
tion of the country and its corresponding effect upon the vegeta- 
tion. I wondered how the people stood the heat of the day but 
soon discovered that a light gentle breeze was blowing nearly all 
the time, so that the heat did not seem intense as it did at my 
Iowa home. 

After I had been in Broken Bow about two weeks I was of- 
fered a position in the mortgage loan office of Trefren and 
Hewitt. The latter was the first county clerk of Custer county. 
I held this position a few weeks, then resigned to take charge 
of the Berwyn school at the request of Mr. Charles Randall, the 
county superintendent. Berwyn was a village situated about 
ten miles east of Broken Bow. It consisted of one general mer- 
chandise store, a postoffice, depot, and a blacksmith shop. I 
shall never forget my first impression on arriving at Berwyn 
very early on that September morning. It was not daylight 
when the train stopped at the little depot, and what a feeling of 
loneliness crept over me as I watched that train speed on its 
way behind the eastern hills! I found my way to the home 
of J. 0. Taylor (who was then living in the back end of his store 
building) and informed him that I was the teacher who had 
come to teach the school and asked him to direct me to my 
boarding place. Being a member of the school board, Mr. Tay- 
lor gave me the necessary information and then sent his hired 

46 



EEMINISCENCES OF CUSTER COUNTY 47 

man with a team and buggy to take me a mile farther east to 
the home of Ben Talbot, where I was to stay. 

The Talbot home was a little sod house consisting of two small 
rooms. On entering I found Mrs. Talbot preparing breakfast 
for the family. I was given a cordial welcome, and after break- 
fast started in company with Mrs. Talbot's little girl for the 
schoolhouse. The sense of loneliness which had taken possession 
of me on my way to this place began to be dispelled. I found 
Mrs. Talbot to be a woman of kind heart and generous impulses. 
She had two little girls, the older one being of school age. I 
could see the schoolhouse up on the side of a hill. It was made 
of sod and was about twelve by fifteen feet. The roof was of 
brush and weeds, with some sod ; but I could see the blue sky by 
gazing up through the roof at almost any part of it. I looked 
out upon the hills and down the valley and wondered where the 
pupils were to come from, as I saw no houses and no evidence of 
habitation anywhere excepting Mr. Talbot's home. But by nine 
o'clock about twelve children had arrived from some place, I 
knew not where. 

I found in that little, obscure schoolhouse some of the bright- 
est and best boys and girls it was ever my good fortune to meet. 
There soon sprang up between us a bond of sympathy. I sym- 
pathized with them in their almost total isolation from the 
world, and they in turn sympathized with me in my loneliness 
and homesickness. 

On opening my school that first morning, great was my sur- 
prise to learn how well those children could sing. I had never 
been in a school where there were so many sweet voices. My at- 
tention was particularly directed to the voices of two little girls 
as they seemed remarkable for children of their years. I often 
recall one bright sunny evening after I had dismis.sed school and 
stood watching the pupils starting out in various directions for 
their homes, my attention was called to a path that led down 
the valley through the tall grass. I heard singing and at once 
recognized the voices of these two little girls. The song was a 
favorite of mine and I could hear those sweet tones long after 
the children were out of sight in the tall grass. I shall never 
forget how charmingly sweet that music seemed to me. 

I soon loved every pupil in that school and felt a keen regret 
when the time came for me to leave them. I have the tenderest 



48 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

memory of my association with that district, though the school 
equipment was meager and primitive. After finishing my work 
there I returned to Broken Bow where I soon accepted a posi- 
tion in the office of J. J. Douglass, clerk of the district court. 
Mr. Douglass was one of the organizers of Custer county and 
was chosen the first clerk of the court, which position he held 
for four years. I began my work in this office on November 16, 
1888, and held the position till the close of his term. 

During this time many noted criminal cases were tried in 
court. Judge Francis G. Hamer of Kearney being the judge. 
One case in which I was especially interested was the DeMerritt 
case, in which I listened to the testimony of several of my pu- 
pils from the Berwyn district. Another far-famed case was the 
Haunstine case, in which Albert Haunstine received a death sen- 
tence. To hear a judge pronounce a death sentence is certainly 
the most solemn thing one can imagine. Perhaps the most try- 
ing ordeal I ever experienced was the day of the execution of 
Haunstine. It so happened that the scaffold was erected just 
beneath one of the windows of our office on the south side of the 
courthouse. As the nails were being driven into that structure 
how I shuddered as I thought that a human being was to be 
suspended from that great beam. Early in the morning on the 
day of the execution people from miles away began to arrive to 
witness the cruelest event that ever marred the fair name of our 
beloved state. Early in the day, in company with several others, 
I visited the cell of the condemned man. He was busy distrib- 
uting little souvenirs he had made from wood to friends and 
members of his family. He was pale but calm and self-com- 
posed. My heart ached and my soul was stirred to its very 
depth in sympathy for a fellow being and yet I was utterly 
helpless so far as extending any aid or consolation. The thought 
recurred to me so often, why is it men are so cruel to each 
other — wolfish in nature, seeking to destroy their own kind? 
And now the thought still comes to me, will the day ever dawn 
when there will be no law in Nebraska permitting men to cruelly 
take the life of each other to avenge a wrong? I trust that the 
fair name of Nebraska may never be blotted again by another 
so-called legal execution. 

It was during the time I was in that office the first commence- 
ment of the Broken Bow high school was held, the class consist- 



REMINISCENCES OF CUSTER COUNTY 49 

ing of two graduates, a boy and a girl. The boy is now Dr. 
Willis Talbot, a physician of Broken Bow, and the girl, who was 
Stella Brown, is now the wife of W. "W. "Waters, mayor of 
Broken Bow. 

We moved our office into the new courthouse in January, 
1890. Soon after we saw the completion of the mammoth build- 
ing extending the entire length of the block on the south side of 
the public square called the Realty block. The Ansley Cornet 
band was the firet band to serenade us in the new courthouse. 

Mr. Douglass completed his term of office as clerk of the dis- 
trict court on January 7, 1892, and two weeks later we were 
married and went for a visit to my old home in Iowa. Soon 
after returning to Broken Bow we moved to Callaway. I shall 
never forget my first view of the little city of which I had heard 
so much, the "Queen City of the Seven "Valleys." After mov- 
ing to Callaway I again taught school and had begun on my 
second year's work when I resigned to accept a position in the 
office of the state land commissioner, H. C. Russell, at Lincoln, 
where I remained for two years. During the time I was in that 
office Mr. Douglass was appointed postmaster at Callaway, so I 
resigned my work in Lincoln and returned home to work in the 
postoffiee. We were in this office for seven years, after which 
I accepted a position in the Seven "Valleys bank. After a year 
I again took up school work and have been engaged in that ever 
since. We have continued to reside at Callaway all these years 
and have learned to love the rugged hills and glorious sunshine. 
The winds continue to blow and the sands beat upon our path- 
way, but we would not exchange our little cottage in the grove 
for a palace in the far East. 



AN EXPERIENCE 
By Mrs. Harmon Bross 

An experience through which I passed in northwestern Ne- 
braska in the early days comes to my mind very frequently. 

When the railroad first went through that region to Chadron, 
Mr. Bross was general missionary for the Northwest, including 
central Wyoming and the Black Hills country. 

When we first visited Chadron it was a town of white tents, 
and we occupied a tent for several days. Then the tent was 
needed for other purposes and Mr. Bross suggested that we find 
lodging in a building in process of erection for a hotel. The 
frame was up and enclosed, the floors laid, but no stairs and no 
division into rooms. The proprietor said we could have a bed 
in the upper room, where there were fifty beds side by side. He 
would put a curtain around the bed. As that was the only thing 
to do, we accepted the situation and later I climbed a ladder to 
the upper floor. 

The bed in one comer was enclosed with a calico curtain just 
the size of the bed. I climbed on, and prepared the baby boy 
and myself for sleep. As I was the only woman in the room, 
and every bed was occupied before morning by two men, the 
situation was somewhat unique. However, I was soon asleep. 

About three o'clock I was awaiened by the steaithy footsteps 
of two men on the ladder. They came to the bed at the foot of 
the one we occupied, and after settling themselves to their satis- 
faction began discussing the incidents of the night. As they 
were gamblers, the conversation was a trifle strange to a woman. 

Soon in the darkness below and close to the side of the build- 
ing where we were, rang out several pistol shots with startling 
distinctness. 

One man remarked, in a calm, impersonal tone, "I prefer to 
be on the ground floor when the shots fly around like that." 
The remark was not especially reassuring for a mother with a 
sleeping baby by her side. 

As no one in the room seemed to be disturbed, and as the 
tumult below soon died away, I again slept, and awakened in the 
morning none the worse for the experience of the night. 

50 




Mrs. Andrew K. Gault 
ce-President General from Nebraska, National Society, Daughters 
of the American Revolution. Elected 1913 



LEGEND OF CROW BUTTE 
By Dr. Anna Robinson Cross 

The early history of Crawford and its environment is replete 
with tales of Indian scares; the pioneer settlers banding them- 
selves together and arming for protection against possible In- 
dian raids, all presenting lurid material for the most exciting 
stories, if one could gather the accurate data. 

The legend of Crow Butte is one of the most thrilling, and at 
the same time the most important, of the many tales told by the 
old settlers around the winter fireside. 

In the early history of the Sioux and Crow Indians, much 
strife and ill-feeling was engendered between the two tribes by 
the stealing of horses. As no satisfactory settlement could be 
arranged between them, it was declared, after a solemn pow- 
wow, that a decisive battle should be fought, and the field for 
the said conflict was chosen on the land east of the present site 
of Crawford. The final stand was taken on one of the peculiar 
clay formations known as buttes, found in northwestern Ne- 
braska. These eminences, dividing this section of the country 
into valleys and ridges of hills, add very much to the beauty of 
the landscape, by their seeming likeness to a succession of battle- 
ments and old castles. 

This particular butte, standing like a sentinel about five miles 
east of Crawford, rises to a height of nearly three hundred feet 
on the east side, and is possible of ascent by gradual elevation 
on the west side. It appears to stand distinct and alone, form- 
ing a landmark on the horizon that has guided many a settler 
and traveler to home and safety. The writer is one of the num- 
ber of travelers who, from bitter experiences in long winter 
drives over the prairie, has learned to appreciate the landmark 
of the old Crow Butte. 

The Sioux, having driven the Crows to the top of this butte, 
thought, by guarding the path, they could quickly conquer by 
starving them out. Under cover of night the Crows decided, 
after due deliberation, that the warriors could escape, if the old 

51 



52 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

men of the tribe would remain and keep up a constant singing. 
This was done. The young and able-bodied men, making ropes 
of their blankets, were let down the steep side of the butte, while 
the poor old men kept up a constant wailing for days, until 
death, from lack of food and exhaustion, had stilled their voices. 
As the singing gradually ceased, the Sioux, while watching, saw 
white clouds passing over the butte, having the appearance of 
large, white birds with outstretched wings, on which they car- 
ried the old men to the "Happy Hunting Grounds." The 
Sioux, awed by the illusion, believed it an omen of peace and 
declared that forever after there should be no more wars between 
the Crows and the Sioux. 

Through Capt. James H. Cook, an early settler and pioneer 
of this section, who has served as scout and interpreter for the 
Indians for years, I have learned that it was near this Crow 
Butte that the last great treaty was made with the Indians, in 
which the whole of the Black Hills country was disposed of to 
the white people. According to his statement, the affair came 
very nearly ending in a battle in which many lives might have 
been lost. The bravery and quick action of a few men turned 
the tide in favor of the white people. 

The following original poem by Pearl Shepherd Moses is quite 
appropriate in this connection: 

TO CROW HEART BUTTE 

Oh, lofty Crow Heart Butte, uprising toward the sun, 
What is your message to the world below? 

Or do you wait in silence, race outrun, 
The march of ages in their onward flow? 

Ye are so vast, so great, and yet so still, 
That but a speck I seem in nature 's plan ; 

Or but a drop without a way or will 

In this mad rush miscalled the race of man. 

In nature's poems you a period stand 

Among her lessons we can never read ; 
But with high impulse and good motive found, 

You help us toward the brave and kindly deed. 



LEGEND OF THE CROW BUTTE 53 

The winds and sunshine, dawns and throbhing star, 
Yield you their message from the ether clear, 

"While moonlight crowns your brow so calm and fair 
With homage kingly as their greatest peer. 

A longing fills me as I nightly gaze; 

Would I could break your spell of silence vast; 
But centuries and years and months and days 

Must add themselves again unto the past. 

And I can only wish that I were as true. 

Always found faithful and as firmly stand 
For right as you since you were young and new, 

A wondrous product from a mighty hand. 



LIFE ON THE FRONTIER 

By James Atres 
Prairie Covered with Indians 
In July, 1867, a freight train left the old Plum Creek station 
late one night for the west. As the company was alarmed for 
the safety of the trains, Pat Delahunty, the section boss, sent out 
three men on a hand-car over his section in advance of this train. 
They had gone about three miles to the bend west of the station 
when they were attacked by Indians. This was at a point nearly 
north of the John Jacobson claim. There are still on the south 
side of the track some brickbats near the culvert. This is the 
place where the Indians built a fire on the south side of the 
track and took a position on the north side. When the hand-ear 
came along, they fired upon it. They killed one man and 
wounded another, a cockney from London, England, and think- 
ing him dead took his scalp. He flinched. They stuck a knife 
in his neck but even that did not kill him. He recovered con- 
sciousness and crawled into the high weeds. The freight came 
and fell into the trap. While the Indians were breaking into 
the cars of the wrecked freight, the Englishman made his escape, 
creeping a mile to the north. As soon as morning came, Patrick 
Delahunty with his men took a hand-car and went to investigate. 
Before they had gone half a mile they could see the Indians aU 
around the wreck. Each one had a pony. They had found a lot 
of calico in one car and each Indian had taken a bolt and had 
broken one end loose and was unfolding it as he rode over the 
prairie. Yelling, they rode back and forth in front of one an- 
other with calico flying, like a Maypole dance gone mad. When 
they saw the section men with guns, they broke for the Platte 
river and crossed it due south of where Martin Peterson 's house 
now stands. The section men kept shooting at them but got no 
game. They found that a squaw-man had probably had a hand 
in the wrecking of the train for the rails had been pried up just 
beyond the fire. The smoke blinded the engineer and he ran 
into the rails which were standing as high as the front of the 



LIFE ON THE FRONTIER 55 

boiler. The engineer and the fireman were killed. The engine 
ran off the track, but the cara remained on the rails. The In- 
dians opened every car and set fire to two or three of the front 
ones. One car was loaded with brick. The writer got a load of 
these brick in 1872 and built a blacksmith forge. Among the 
bricks were found pocket knives, cutlery, and a Colt's revolver. 
The man who had been scalped came across the prairie toward 
the section men. They thought he was an Indian. His shirt 
was gone and his skin was covered with dried blood. They were 
about to shoot when Delahunty said, "Stop, boys," for the man 
had his hands above his head. They let him come nearer and 
when he was a hundred yards away Delahunty said, "By gobs, 
it's Cockney!" They took him to the section house and eared 
for him. He told them these details. After this event he 
worked for the Union Pacific railroad at Omaha. Then he went 
back to England. The railroad had just been built and there 
was only one train a day. 

Wild Turkeys and Wild Cats 
Tom Mahum was the boss herder for Ewing of Texas and had 
brought his herd up that summer and had his cattle on Dil- 
worth's islands until he could ship them to Chicago. He ban- 
tered me for a turkey hunt, and we went on horseback up Plum 
creek. He was a good shot and we knew we would get game of 
some kind. We followed the creek five miles, when we scared 
up a flock of turkeys. They were of the bronze kind, large and 
heavy. We got three, and as we did not find any more, we took 
the tableland for the Platte. As we came down a pocket we ran 
into a nest of wildcats. There were four of them. One cat 
jumped at a turkey that was tied to Tom's saddle. That scared 
his horse so that it nearly unseated him, but he took his pistol 
and killed the cat. I was afraid they would jump at me. They 
growled and spit, and I edged away uutil I could shoot from my 
pony, and when twenty-five yards away I slipped in two cart- 
ridges and shot two of the cats. The fourth one got away and 
we were glad to let it go. We took the three cats to town, 
skinned them, and sold the pelts to Peddler Charley for one dol- 
lar. Tom talked about that hunt when I met him in Oregon a 
few years ago. 



56 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

A Scare 
On another occasion, Perley Wilson and I took a hunt on the 
big island south of the river where there were some buffalo. 
The snow was about eight inches deep and we crossed the main 
stream on the ice. Before we got over, I saw a moccasin track 
and showed it to Wilson. He said we had better get out. ' ' No, ' ' 
said I, ' ' let us trail it and find where it goes. ' ' It took us into 
a very brushy island. Wilson would go no further, but I took 
my shotgun, cocked both barrels, and went on but with caution 
for fear the Indian would see me first. I got just half way in, 
and I heard a "Ugh!" right behind me. The hair on my head 
went straight up. I was scared, but I managed to gasp ' ' Sioux ? ' ' 
"No, Pawnee. Heap good Indian." Then he laughed and I 
breathed again. I asked, "What are you doing here?" "Cook- 
ing beaver," he replied, and led the way to his fire. He had a 
beaver skinned hanging on a plum tree and he had a tin can 
over the fire, boiling the tail. I returned to Wilson and told him 
about it. He said, " It is no use to try to sneak up on an Indian 
in the brush, for he always sees you first." I could have shot 
the Indian, as he only had a revolver, but that would have been 
cowardly as he had the first drop on me and could have had my 
scalp. We got home with no game that day. 



PLUM CREEK (LEXINGTON), NEBRASKA 
By Wm. M. Bancroft, M.D. 

On April 5, 1873, I arrived at Plum Creek, now Lexington, 
with what was called the second colony from Philadelphia, Penn- 
sylvania. Captain P. J. Pearson, who was in charge, later be- 
came editor of the Pioneer. Judge Robert B. Pierce and the 
Tucker family were also with this colony. On our arrival the 
only town we found was a mile east of the present site of Lex- 
ington. It consisted of a section house, a small shanty called 
the Johnson restavirant, one story and a half log house run by 
Daniel Freeman as a general store, and a stockade built of ties 
used as a place of safety for the horses and cows. The upper 
story of the Freeman building was occupied by the Johnson 
family, who partitioned it off with blankets to accommodate the 
immigrants, and the only lights we could depend on were candle 
dips from the Freeman store at twenty-five cents each. At this 
time bread sold at twenty-five cents per loaf. 

There was also an immigrant house 20 by 40 feet located on the 
north side of the railroad nearly opposite the other buildings 
referred to. This house was divided into rooms 6 by 8 feet 
square with a hall between. The front room was used as Daw- 
son county's first office by John H. MacColl, then county clerk. 
There was also a coal shed and a water tank on the south side 
of the track. The depot was a mile west on a railroad section 
where the town was finally built. 

The reason for the change of townsite was a fight by Free- 
man against the Union Pacific company. Freeman owned the 
quarter section of government land, on which the buildings re- 
ferred to were located. 

The first house in Plum Creek was built by Robert Pierce, 
whose family got permission to live in a freight car on the side- 
track while the house was being built. While in the freight car 
the family was attacked by measles. In order to gain entrance 
to this temporary residence a step-ladder had to be used, and 

57 



58 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

in visiting the family while in the ear, I would find them first at 
one end of the switch and next at the other, and would have to 
transfer the ladder each time. Later on Robert Pierce was 
elected probate judge and served until by reason of his age he 
retired. 

Tudor Tucker built the first frame house on Buffalo creek 
five miles northeast of town. The first store building in Plum 
Creek was built by Mr. Betz. The first hotel was built by E. D. 
Johnson, who desei"ves much credit for his work in building up 
Dawson county. In 1873 the population numbered about 175. 
The old townsite was soon abandoned and the town of Plum 
Creek on its present site became a reality. 

The completion of the Platte river bridge was celebrated 
July 4, 1873, by a big demonstration. It then became necessary 
to get the trade from the Republican VaUey, Plum Creek being 
the nearest trading point for that locality. Since there were 
no roads from the south, a route had to be laid out. With this 
object in view, Judge Pierce, E. D. Johnson, EUeck Johnson, 
and I constituted ourselves a committee to do the work. We 
started across the country and laid up sod piles every mile, until 
we reached the Arapahoe, 48 miles southwest. Coming back we 
shortened up the curves. This was the first road from the south 
into Plum Creek, and we derived a great amount of trade from 
this territory. It was no uncommon thing for the Erwin & 
Powers Company, conducting a general store at this time, to 
take in from one thousand to twelve hundred dollars on Satur- 
days. 

The first church and Sunday scnool was organized Sunday, 
April 13, 1873, three and one-half miles north of town at the 
farm of Widow Mullen. Those present, including myself, were : 
Mi-s. Mullen and family. Captain John S. Stuckey, afterwards 
treasurer of Dawson county, Joseph Stuckey, Samuel Clay 
Stuckey and wife, Edgar Mellenger, and one negro servant- 
Joseph Stuckey was appointed leader, James Tipton, superin- 
tendent of the Sunday school, and I took charge of the music. 
The first regular sermon was preached by a Mr. Wilson who 
came to Overton to live on a homestead. He consented to preach 
for us until we could fiU his place by an appointment at general 
conference. We held the first regular service both of the church 
and the Sunday school in the old frame schoolhouse located in 



PLUM CREEK (LEXINGTON), NEBRASKA 59 

the east ward. "We also held revivals in the Hill hall where 
Smith's opera house now stands. 

On this Sunday afternoon about five o'clock the great April 
storm started with blizzard from the northwest. It was impos- 
sible for any of us to get away until Tuesday afternoon. On 
Monday night Captain Stuckey, Doc Mellenger, and I had to 
take the one bed. During the night the bed broke down and 
we lay until morning huddled together to keep from freezing. 
Mellenger and I left Tuesday afternoon, when the storm abated, 
and started back toward the old town. The storm again caught 
us and drifted us to Doc's old doby two and one-half miles north 
of the townsite. By this time the snow had drifted from four 
to five feet in depth. The horses took us to the dugout stable in 
which we put them. Then we had to dig our way to the doby 
where we remained from Tuesday evening until Thursday morn- 
ing. "We had nothing to eat during that time but a few hard 
biscuits, a little bacon, and three frozen chickens, and nothing 
but melted snow to drink. The bedstead was a home-made affair 
built of pine boards. This we cut up and used for fuel and 
slept on the dirt fioor. The storm was so terrific that it was im- 
possible to get to the well, fifteen feet from the doby. "We be- 
came so thirsty from the snow water that Doc thought he would 
try to get to the well. He took a rope and pistol, tied the rope 
around his waist and started for the well. His instructions 
were that if I heard the pistol I was to pull him in. After a 
very short time the pistol report came and I pulled and pulled 
and Doe came tumbling in without pistol or bucket. It was so 
cold he had nearly frozen his hands. Thursday was clear and 
beautiful. One of the persons from Mullen's, having gone to 
town, reported that we had left there Tuesday afternoon. On 
account of this report a searching party was sent out to look 
for us. 

Another item of interest was the Pawnee and Sioux massacre 
on August 5, 1873. It was the custom of the Pawnees, who were 
friendly and were located on a reservation near Columbus, 
Nebraska, to go on a fall hunt for buffalo meat for their winter 
use. The Sioux, who were on the Pine Bluff reservation, had 
an old grudge against the Pawnees and knew when this hunt 
took place. The Pawnees made Plum Creek their starting point 
across the country southwest to the head of the Frenchman 



60 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

river. They camped about ten miles northwest of Culbertson, 
a town on the B. & M. railroad. The camp was in the head of a 
pocket which led from a tableland to the Republican river. 
The Sioux drove a herd of buffalo on the Pawnees while the lat- 
ter were in camp. Not suspecting danger the Pawnees began 
to kill the buffalo, when the Sioux came up, taking them by sur- 
prise. The Pawnees, being outnumbered, fled down the caiion. 
The Sioux followed on either bank and cross-fired them, killing 
and wounding about a hundred. I was sent by the government 
with Mr. Longshore, the Indian agent of Columbus, and two 
guides to the scene of the massacre, which was about one hun- 
dred and forty miles southwest of Plum Creek, for the purpose 
of looking after the wounded who might have been left behind. 
We made this trip on horseback. The agent had the dead 
buried and we followed up the wounded. We found twenty-two 
at Arapahoe and ten or fifteen had left and started on the old 
Fort Kearny trail. We brought the twenty-two wounded to 
Plum Creek, attended to their wounds and then shipped them in 
a box car to the reservation at Columbus. 

My first trip to Wood river valley twenty miles north, was to 
attend James B. Mallott, one of the first settlers. They were 
afraid to let me go without a guard but I had no fear of the In- 
dians, so they gave me a belt of cartridges and a Colt's revolver. 
Finally MacColl, the county clerk, handed me a needle gun and 
commanded me to get back before dark. I started on horseback 
with this arsenal for Wood river and made the visit, but on my 
return I stopped to let the horse rest and eat bluestem. Soon the 
horse became frightened and began to paw and snort. On looking 
back toward the divide, I saw three Indians on horseback were 
heading my way. We were not long in getting started. I beat 
them by a mile to the valley, amving safely at Tucker's farm on 
Buffalo creek. The Indians did not follow but rode along the 
foothills to the west. A party of four or five from Tucker's was 
not long in giving chase, but the Indians had disappeared in the 
hills. A little later, Anton Abel, who lived a mile north of town, 
came in on the run and stated that a file of eight or ten Indians, 
with scalp sticks waving, were headed south a half mile west of 
town. A number mounted their horses and gave chase to the riv- 
er where the Indians crossed and were lost sight of. We never 
suffered much loss or injury from the Indians. Many scares were 



PLUM CREEK (LEXINGTON), NEBRASKA 61 

reported, but like the buffalo after 1874-75, they were a thing: of 
the past in our county. 

My practice for the first ten or twelve years among the sick 
and injured, covered a field almost unlimited. I was called as 
far north as Broken Bow in the Loup valley, fifty miles, east 
to Elm Creek, Buffalo county, twenty miles, west to Brady 
Island, Lincoln county, thirty-five miles, and south to the Re- 
publican river. Most of the time there were no roads or bridges. 
The valley of the Platte in Dawson county is now the garden 
spot of the state. As stated before the settlement of 1872 was 
on the extreme edge of the frontier. Now we have no frontier. 
It is progressive civilization from coast to coast. I have prac- 
ticed my profession for over forty yeai-s continuously in this 
state, and am still in active practice. I have an abiding faith 
that I shall yet finish up with an airship in which to visit my 
patients. 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS 
By C. Chabot 

After repeated invitations from my old boyhood companion, 
Dr. Bancroft, to visit him in his new home in western Nebraska, 
I left Philadelphia and arrived in Omaha the early part of 
April, 1878. Omaha at that time did not impress me very 
favorably. After buying my ticket to Plum Creek (in those 
days you could only buy a ticket to Omaha) the next thing in 
order was to get in line and have my trunk checked, and witness 
baggage "smashers" demolish a few trunks, then coolly offer to 
rope them at twenty-five cents each. Our train left at 11 a. m. 
and arrived in Plum Creek at 11 p. m., good time for those days. 
The train left with all seats occupied and some passengers stand- 
ing. Everybody was eager to see the great prairie country. 
We expected to see Indians and buffalo, but only a few jack 
rabbits appeared, which created quite a laugh, as it was the 
first time any of us had ever seen one run. After we had trav- 
eled about twenty miles, " U. P. Sam, " as he called himself, came 
into our car and treated us to a song of his own composition. In 
his song he related all the wonders of the great Union Pacific 
railroad and the country between Omaha and Ogden. I saw 
him two years later in Dawson county, playing the violin at a 
country dance, and singing songs about different persons at the 
gathering. All you had to do was to give him a few points as 
to a man 's disposition and habits with a few dimes and he would 
have the whole company laughing. 

"We stopped at Grand Island for supper, and in due time ar- 
rived in Plum Creek. Dr. Bancroft was waiting for me and 
after being introduced to many of his western friends, we retired 
for the night. Next morning feeling the necessity of visiting a 
barber shop, I asked the doctor if there was a barber shop in 
town. Judging from the accommodations at the hotel I had 
my doubts. "We have a good barber in town," he replied, 
"but I will go with you." On arriving at the comer of what 
is now Main and Depot streets we entered a building which I 



PLUM CREEK (LEXINGTON), NEBRASKA 63 

discovered to be a saloon. I protested, but before I had had 
time to say much, the doctor asked the barkeeper where Ed. 
(the barber) was. "Why, he has gone south of the river to 
plaster a house," was the reply. Then I thought "what kind 
of a country have I come to, barber and plasterer the same per- 
son." Then my mind ■wandered back to the far East where I 
saw a comfortable bath room, and I thought "What can the doc- 
tor see in this country to deny himself all the comforts of home ? ' ' 
Before I had time to recover from my reveries, I was surround- 
ed by cowboys who insisted that I drink with them. I protested 
and if it had not been for Dr. Bancroft I suppose they would 
have made me dance to the music of their six shooters or drink, 
but as I was a friend of "Little Doc" (as they called him) that 
was sufficient and the tenderfoot was allowed to leave. Then 
and only then I saw in the northwest corner of the room the 
barber's chair. 

I accompanied Dr. Bancroft on many drives over the country 
going as far north as the Loup and Dismal rivers. We went 
several times south to Arapahoe ; in fact it was but a short time 
before I was acquainted with most all the settlers in Dawson and 
adjacent counties. The population at that time was hardly 
2,000 in Dawson county. In a very short time I began to feel 
more at home. The hospitality of the people was something I 
had never dreamed of; the climate and good fresh air so in- 
vigorating that I soon adjusted myself to surrounding condi- 
tions, and before I had been here a month I decided to cast my 
lot with the rest of the new settlers and became one of them. 

While I have had many ups and downs I cannot say that I 
regret having done so. When I look back and think of the 
many friends I made in the early days and how we stood hand 
in hand in our adversities as well as in our good fortunes, I 
cannot help feeling that we are more than friends and belong 
to one big family. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF THE FIRST SETTLER OF 
DAWSON COUNTY 

By Mrs. Daniel Freem.vn 

I came from Canada to Leavenworth, Kansas. Mr. Freeman 
was a freighter to Pike's Peak, hut was not always successful. 
He spent $4,000 on one train and came hack with only a team 
of oxen and a team of ponies. The next spring, 1862, I hought 
a stage-coach and using the pony team, I took my three children, 
the youngest only two months old, and drove all the way to 
Nebraska. My husband was there and had started a little store 
just across from the pony express station on Plum creek. He 
bought buifalo hides of the Indians and shipped them east. The 
buffalo were in easy reach and we had fresh meat every day. 
We had a big sign with the word "Bakery" on it. I baked a 
hundred pounds of flour every day. I would make yeast bread 
over night and bake it in the forenoon, and make salt-rising in 
the morning and bake it in the afternoon. We got St. Louis 
flour that the freighters brought from Denver when they came 
back. I sold my bread for fifty cents a loaf and made as much 
as thirty dollars a day. I made cheese, too. We had seventy- 
five head of cows and milked twenty-five. We would take a 
young calf and let it fill its stomach with its mother's milk, then 
kill it. Then we took the stomach and washed and wiped it and 
hung it up on a nail to dry. When it was perfectly dry we 
would put it away carefully in a cloth and used it for rennet to 
make the cheese. I would put in a little piece of it in new milk 
and it would form a solid curd. My husband made me a press 
and a mold. I got twenty-five cents a pound for my cheese, 
and sold lots of it. I got up fine meals and charged two dollars 
a meal. The people were glad to pay it. There was plenty of 
firewood. The trees drifted down the river and we piled the 
wood up on the islands, but after the settlers came they would 
steal it. There was no need of anybody going hungry those 
days, for anyone could kill a buffalo. One day a herd of thirty 
came within ten feet of our door, and our cows went away with 

64 



FIRST SETTLER OF DAWSON COUNTY 65 

them. The children and I walked three miles before we eam.e 
up to the cows and could get them back home. We were near the 
river and it was not far down to water. We dug holes in the 
ground and sunk five salt barrels. The water came up in these 
and we always had plenty of water. Sometimes we dipped the 
barrels dry, but they would be full the next morning. There 
wasn't a pump in the country for years. 

The people who kept the Pony Express station were named 
Humphries. These stations were about fifty miles apart. There 
would be lots of people at the station every night, for after tUe 
Indians became troublesome, the people went in trains of about 
a hundred wagons. There were many six oxen teams. The 
Indians never troubled anybody until the whites killed so many 
buffalo and wasted so much. There were carcasses all over the 
prairies. The Indians used every part, and they knew this great 
slaughter of the buffalo meant starvation for them, so they went 
on the warpath in self-defense. They would skulk on the river 
bank where the trail came close, and would rush up and attack 
the travelers. The soldiers were sent out as escorts and their 
families often went with them. One night at Plum Creek Pony 
Express station twin babies were bom to the lieutenant and wife. 
I went over in the morning to see if I could help them, but they 
were all eared for by the lieutenant. He had washed the babies 
and had the tent in order. I do not remember his name now. 
We often saw tiny babies with their mothers lying in the wagons 
that came by. They would be wrapped up, and looked very 
comfortable. Water was so scarce that they had to pay for 
enough to wash the babies. 

Brigham Young made trip after trip with foreign people of 
all kinds but blacks. Most of these could not speak English, 
and I don't think Brigham bought any water for them, as they 
were filthy dirty. Bi-igham was a great big fat man, and he 
kept himself pretty neat. He made just about one trip a year. 
One company of these immigrants was walking through, and 
the train was a couple of miles long. They went south of the 
river on the Oregon trail. There was no other road then. 

On August 8, 1864, the Sioux people killed eleven men at 
11:00 o'clock in the morning, on Elm creek. I was afraid to 
stay on our ranch, so I took the children and started to Fort 
Kearny. On the way we came to the place of the massacre. 



66 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The dead men were lying side by side in a long trench, their 
faces were covered with blood and their boots were on. Three 
women were taken prisoners. I heard that there were two 
children in the party, and that they were thrown in the grass, 
but I looked all around for them and didn't find any signs of 
them. Friends of these people wrote to Mr. E. M. F. Leflang, to 
know if he could locate them. The Indians never troubled us 
except to take one team during this war, but I was always afraid 
when I saw the soldiers coming. They would come in the store 
and help themselves to tobacco, cookies, or anything. Then the 
teamsters would swing their long black-snake whips and bring 
them down across my chicken's heads, then pick them up and 
carry them to camp. I think the officers were the most to blame, 
for they sold the soldiers' rations, and the men were hungry. 

When the Union Pacific railroad was first built we lived on 
our homestead north of the river and the town was started on 
our land. We had the contract to supply the wood for the en- 
gines. They didn't use any other fuel then. We hired men to 
cut the wood on Wood river where Eddyville and Sumner are 
now. I boarded the men in our new big house across from the 
depot in old Plum Creek. The store was below and there was 
an outside stairway for the men to go up. That summer Mr. 
Freeman was in Washington. Philadelphia, and New York talk- 
ing up this country. Mr. Freeman was the first comity clerk 
and his office was upstairs over the store. We rented some of 
the rooms to newcomers. We did a big business until the rail- 
road moved the town to their section, a mile west. Mr. Freeman 
kept on trapping, and finally was drowned near Deadwood, South 
Dakota. I stayed by Dawson county and raised my family and 
they all are settled near me and have good homes. 



EARLY DAYS IN DAWSON COUNTY 
By Lucy R. Hewitt 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas J. Hewitt, in June, 1873, journeyed 
from Porreston, lULuois, to Plum Creek, Nebraska. Their ob- 
ject was to take advantage of the offer the government was mak- 
ing to civil war soldiers, whereby each soldier could obtain 
one hundred and sixty acres of land. They stopped at Grand 
Island and Kearney, but at neither place could they find two 
adjoining quarter sections, not yet filed on. They wanted two, 
for my grandfather, Rockwood, who lived with us was also a 
soldier. At Plum Creek, now Lexington, they were able to 
obtain what they wanted but it was six miles northwest of the 
station. 

Plum Creek at that early date consisted of the depot. The 
town was a mile east and when my parents arrived at Plum 
Creek, they were obliged to walk back to the town, in order to 
find lodging for the night. Rooms seem to have been scarce for 
they had to share theirs with another man and his wife. They 
found a place to eat in the restaurant owned by Mr. and Mrs. 
E. D. Johnson. 

In August of the same year, they made a second trip to Ne- 
braska, this time with wagon and carriage, bringing with others 
a carpenter who built their house upon the dividing line of the 
two homesteads. This house had the distinction of being the 
first two-story house in the neighborhood. All the others were 
one-story, because the settlers feared the high winds that occa- 
sionally swept over the prairies. For a few months it was the 
farthest away from town. 

In the three months between the two trips the town had moved 
to the depot, and had grown from nothing to a village of sixty 
houses and stores. The Johnsons had brought their restaurant 
and placed it upon the site where a little later they built a hotel 
called the Johnson house. Mr. T. Martin had built the first 
hotel which he named the Alhambra. I have a very faint recol- 
lection of being in this hotel when the third trip brought the 

67 



68 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

household goods and the family to the new home. It was in 
December when this last journey was taken, and great was the 
astonishment of the older members of the family to see the 
ground covered with a foot of snow. They had been told that 
there was practically no winter in Nebraska, and they had be- 
lieved the statement. They found that the thermometer could 
drop almost out of sight with the cold, and yet the greater part 
of many winters was very pleasant. 

My father opened a law office in the town and T. L. Warring- 
ton, who taught the first school in the village, read law with 
him, and kept the office open when the farm required attention. 
The fields were small at first and did not require so very much 
time. 

The first exciting event was a prairie fire. A neighbor's fam- 
ily was spending the day at our farm and some other friends 
also came to call. The day was warm, no wind was stirring 
until about 4 o'clock, when it suddenly and with much force 
blew from the north and brought the fire, which had been smold- 
ering for some days in the bluffs to the north of the farm, down 
into the valley with the speed of a racing automobile. We 
children were very much frightened, and grandmother who was 
sick with a headache, was so startled she forgot her pain — did 
not have any in fact. Mother and Mrs. Fagot, the neighbor's 
wife, were outside loosening the tumble weeds and sending them 
along with the wind before the fire could catch them. In that 
way they saved the house from catching fire. My father, who 
had seen the fire come over the hills, as he was driving from 
town, had unhitched the horses and riding one of them as fast 
as possible, reached home in time to watch the hay stacks. Three 
times they caught fire and each time he beat it out with a wet 
gunny sack. I think this happened in March, 1874. 

That same year about harvest time the country was visited 
by grasshoppers. They did considerable damage by nipping off 
the oat heads before the farmers could finish the reaping. My 
aunt who was visiting us suggested that the whole family walk 
through the potato field and send the hoppers into the grass 
beyond. It was a happy thought, for the insects ate grass that 
night and the next day a favorable wind sent them all away. 

The worst grasshopper visitation we had was in July, 1876. 
One Sunday morning father and mother and I went to town to 



EAKLY DAYS IN DAWSON COUNTY 69 

church. The small grain had been harvested and the com all 
along the way was a most beautiful, dark green. When we were 
about a mUe from town a slight shade seemed to come over the 
sun ; when we looked up for the cause, we saw millions of grass- 
hoppers slowly dropping to the ground. They came down in 
such numbers that they clung two or three deep to every green 
thing. The people knew that nothing in the way of com or 
gardens could escape such devastating hordes and they were 
very much discouraged. To add to their troubles, the Presby- 
terian minister that morning announced his intention to resign. 
He, no doubt, thought he was justified. 

I was pretty small at that time and did not understand what 
it all meant, but I do know that as we drove home that after- 
noon, the cornfields looked as they would in December after the 
cattle had fed on them — not a green shred left. The asparagus 
stems, too, were equally bare. The onions were eaten down to 
the very roots. Of the whole garden, there was, in fact, noth- 
ing left but a double petunia, which grandmother had put a 
tub over. So ravenous were the pests that they even ate the 
cotton mosquito netting that covered the windows. 

In a day or two when nothing remained to eat, the grasshop- 
pers spread their wings and whirred away. Then grandfather 
said, "We will plant some beans and turnips, there is plenty of 
time for them to mature before frost." Accordingly, he put in 
the seeds and a timely rain wet them so that in a very few days 
they had sprouted and were well up, when on Monday morning, 
just two weeks and one day from the time of the first visitation, 
a second lot dropped down and breakfasted off grandfather's 
beans. It was too late in the season then to plant more. 

My mother had quite a flock of turkeys and a number of 
chickens. They were almost dazed at the sight of so many per- 
fectly good insects. They tried to eat them all but had to give 
up the task. They ate enough, however, to make themselves 
sick. 

This time I believe the grasshoppers stayed several days. 
They seemed to be hunting some good hard ground in which to 
lay their eggs. The following spring the warm days brought 
out millions of little ones, which a prairie fire later destroyed. 

The com crop having been eaten green and the wheat acreage 
being rather small, left many people with nothing to live on 



70 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

during the winter. Many moved away and many of those 
who could not get away had to be helped. It was then that 
Dawson county people learned that they had good friends in 
the neighboring states for they sent carloads of food and cloth- 
ing to their less fortunate neighbors. 

A good many homesteaders were well-educated, refined people 
from Pennsylvania, New York, and elsewhere. They were a 
very congenial company and often had social times together. 
They were for the most part young people, some with families 
of young children, others just married, and some unmarried. I 
remember hearing my mother tell of a wedding that she and 
father attended. The ceremony was performed at a private 
house and then the whole company adjourned to a large haU 
where everybody who wanted to, danced and the rest watched 
until the supper was served by Mr. and Mrs. Johnson in their 
new hotel. The bride on this occasion was Miss Addie Bradley 
and the groom was W. H. Lingle, at one time county superin- 
tendent of public instruction. 

For some time after the starting of the town of Plum Creek 
there was no church edifice but there was a good sized school- 
house, and here each Sunday morning the people for miles 
around gathered. One Sunday the Methodist preacher talked 
to all the people and the next week the Presbyterian minister 
preached to the same congregation, until the courthouse was 
built, and then the Presbyterians used the courtroom. I have 
heard the members say that they received more real good from 
those union services than they ever did when each denomination 
had a church of its own. The Episcopalians in the community 
were the most enterprising for they built the first church, a little 
brick building that seated one hundred people. It was very 
plainly furnished, but it cost fifteen hundred dollars, due to the 
fact that the brick was brought from Kearney and freight rates 
were high. It stood on the site of the present modern building 
and was built in 1874. My grandfather, an ardent Churchman, 
often read the service when there was no rector in town. 

Speaking of the courthouse reminds me that it was not always 
put to the best use. I cannot remember when the following in- 
cident occurred, but I do remember hearing it talked of. A 
man who lived on the south side of the Platte river was accused 
of poisoning some flour that belonged to another man. He was 



EARLY DAYS IN DAWSON COUNTY 71 

ordered arrested and two or three men, among them Charles 
Mayes, the deputy sheriff, were sent after him. He resisted 
arrest and using his gun, killed Mayes. He was finally taken 
and brought to town and put into the county jail in the base- 
ment of the courthouse. Mayes had been a very popular man 
and the feeling was very high against his slayer, so high, in- 
deed, that some time between night and morning the man was 
taken from the jail, and the next morning his lifeless body was 
found hanging at the back door of the courthouse. 

One of the pleasures of the pioneer is hunting. In the early 
days there was plenty of game in Dawson county, buffalo, elk, 
deer, antelope, jack rabbits, and several game birds, such as 
plover, prairie hen, ducks, geese, and cranes. By the time we 
arrived, however, the buffalo had been driven so far away that 
they were seldom seen. There was plenty of buffalo meat in the 
market, however, for hunters followed them and shot them, 
mostly for their hides. The meat was very good, always tender 
and of fine flavor. My father rushed into the house one day 
and called for his revolver. A herd of buffalo was racing across 
the fields towards the bluffs on the north. Father and some of 
the men with him, thought possibly they might get near enough 
to shoot one. But although he rode as fast as his pony could 
carry him, he could not get close enough and the herd, once it 
reached the hills was safe. The poor beasts had been chased for 
miles and were weary, but they did not give up. The cows 
huddled the calves together and pushed them along and the bulls 
led the way. Father learned afterward that his pony had been 
trained by the Indians to hunt ; and if he had given him the rein 
and allowed him to go at it in his own way, he would have gone 
so close that father could have shot one. But he did not know 
this until the buffalo were far away. 



PIONEER JUSTICE 
Bt B. F. Kriee 

In the early history of Lexington, Nebraska, as in all western 
states, there was no crime committed more reprehensible than that 
of stealing a horse. One might kill a man and it would be over- 
looked or excused, but the offense of stealing a horse was a 
crime that nothing could atone for but the "wiping out" of the 
thief. And generally when the horse thief was caught the near- 
est tree or the upraised end of a wagon tongue was immediately 
brought into use as a gallows upon which the criminal was duly 
hanged without the formalities of courts or juries. It was amply 
sufficient to know that the accused had stolen a horse, and it 
mattered but little to whom the horse belonged or whether the 
owner was present to take a hand in the execution. The culprit 
was dealt with in such manner that he never stole another animal. 

This sentiment prevailed among the first settlers of Dawson 
county, as was shown in 1871, shortly after the organization of 
the county. Among the officials of the county at that time was 
a justice of the peace, a sturdy, honest man, who had been a 
resident of the county several years before it was organized. 
One day in 1871 a half-breed Sioux came riding from the east 
into Plum Creek (as Lexington was then called). The Indian 
stopped in the town and secured a meal for himself and feed for 
his horse. 

While he was eating, two Pawnee warriors arrived at the sta- 
tion on a freight train, from the east. They at once hunted up 
the sheriff, a broad-shouldered Irishman named John Kehoe, 
and made complaint that the half-breed Sioux had stolen a horse 
from one of them and had the animal in his possession. Com- 
plaint was formally made and a warrant issued for the half- 
breed's arrest upon the charge of horse-stealing, the warrant 
being issued by the aforesaid justice of the peace. 

The Sioux was at once taken in custody by the sheriff and 
brought before the justice. One of the Pawnees swore the horse 
the half-breed rode when he entered the town was his property, 



PIONEER JUSTICE 73 

and the other Pawnee upon oath declared he knew it was. The 
prisoner denied the statement made by the Pawnees and vehe- 
mently declared the animal was his property ; that he came by it 
honestly, and that the Pawnee had no title whatever in the horse. 

There was no jury to hear and judge the evidence, and the 
justice was compelled to decide the case. He had had some ex- 
perience with redskins, and entertained but small regard for 
any of them, but as the preponderance of the evidence was 
against the Sioux, he decided the latter was guilty, and after a 
short study of the matter sentenced the culprit to be hanged. 

There were no lawyers in Plum Creek at that time, a con- 
dition that has not existed since, and each side did its own talk- 
ing. The Sioux at once filed a vigorous complaint against the 
sentence, but was ordered by the court to keep still. 

Realizing he had no chance, he became silent, but some of the 
citizens who were present and listening to the trial, interposed 
objections to the strenuous sentence, and informed the court 
that " as we are now organized into a county and have to go by 
law, you can't sentence a man to hang fer stealin' a boss." 

This staggered the justice somewhat and he again took the 
matter under advisement, and shortly after made the following 

change in the sentence, addressing the prisoner as follows " , 

Dem laws don't let you get hanged, vich iss not right. You iss 
one teef ; dat iss a sure ting, and I shust gif you fifteen minutes 
to git out of dis state of Newbrasky. " 

The Pawnee secured possession of the horse, but whether it 
belonged to them or not is questionable, and hit the eastern 
trail for the "Pawnee house," while the Sioux warrior hastily 
got himself together and made a swift hike toward the setting 
sun and safety. 



A GOOD INDIAN 

By Mrs. Clifford Whittaker 

The late John H. MacCoU came to Dawson county in 1869 to 
benefit his health, but shortly after reaching here he had an 
attack of mountain fever, that left his lower limbs paralyzed. 
The nearest medical aid he could get was from the army sur- 
gean at Fort McPherson, forty miles to the west. He made a 
number of trips to attend Mr. MaeColl, and finally told him 
that he would never be any better. An old Indian medicine man 
happened along about that time and he went to see Mr. MacColl. 
By curious signs, gesticulations, and grunts, he made Mr. Mae- 
Coll understand that he coiild cure him and that he would be 
back the next day at the rising of the sun. True to his word, 
he came, bringing with him an interpreter who explained to Mr. 
MacColl that the medicine man could cure him if he would sub- 
mit to his treatment. Mr. MaeColl was desperate and willing 
to do almost anything, so he agreed. The patient was stripped 
and laid flat on a plank. The medicine man then took a saw- 
edged knife and made no less than a hundred tiny gashes all 
over his patient's body. This done he produced a queer herb, 
and began chewing it. Then he spit it in his hand, as needed, 
and rubbed it into each tiny wound. That was all, and in three 
days Mr. MaeColl could stand alone, and in a week he could 
walk. 

This incident was told to me in 1910 by the sister, Laura Mac- 
Coll. 



FROM MISSOURI TO DAWSON COUNTY IN 1872 

By a. J. PORTEE 

I left southwest Missouri late in October, 1872, accompanied 
by my sister, and journeyed by team via Topeka, Kansas, to 
Nebraska. "We spent our first night in Nebraska at Fairbury, 
November 8, 1872. Trains on the St. Joe and Grand Island 
railroad had just reached that point. 

After visiting a few days with the Carney families near Fair- 
mont we took the train for Plum Creek (now Lexington) and 
reached Kearney at 10 o'clock P. M. All rooms being occupied 
we sat in the office of the hotel till morning. None of the Union 
Pacific trains stopped at that place except to take mail. At 
10 o'clock that night we got a train to Plum Creek, which place 
we reached at 12 o'clock. There being no hotel we stayed in the 
depot until morning, when we found our brother living on a 
homestead. 

During our stay I filed on land six miles northeast of Plum 
Creek. The next April I brought my family by wagon over the 
same route and reached Dawson county a month after the noted 
Easter storm of 1873. At that time we saw hundreds of hides 
of Texas cattle, that had perished in the storm, hanging on 
fences surrounding the stockyards at Elm Creek. 

"We remained on our homestead until August, 1876, at which 
time we came to Fillmore county and bought the southwest 
quarter of section eleven in Madison township, which place we 
now own. 



THE E.RICKSON FAMILY 
By Mrs. W. M. Stebbins 

Charles J. Erickson left Sweden in 1864 and for two years 
lived in New York, Indiana, and Illinois. In 1866 he moved to 
Fort McPherson, Nebraska. He worked around the Fort until 
1871 when he took a homestead nine miles east. The next year, 
he sent to Sweden for his family. They arrived at McPherson 
station — now Maxwell — on September 1, 1872. Mr. Erickson 
died in April, 1877. The family resided on the old homestead 
until 1910, when they moved to Gothenburg, Nebraska. The 
sons, Frank and John Erickson, who still reside in Nebraska, 
unite in the following statement: 

"Coming to this part of the state at so early a date we have 
been eye witnesses to the development and transformation of 
the country from a bleak, wild prairie covered with blue stem 
grasses, upon which fed thousands of buffalo, deer, antelope, and 
elk. The Indians still controlled the country and caused us to 
have many sleepless nights. 

"In those early days we always took our guns with us when 
we went away from home, or into the field to work. Several 
times we were forced to seek shelter in the Fort, or in some 
home, saving our scalps from the Indians by the fleetness of our 
ponies. But how changed now. 

"One of our early recollections is the blackened posts and 
poles along the old Oregon trail. As we gazed down the trail 
these looked like sentinels guarding the way, but we soon learned 
they were the poles of the first telegraph line built across Ne- 
braska. It extended from Nebraska City to Fort Laramie, Wy- 
oming. When the Union Pacific railroad was built through 
here — on the north side of the river — in 1866, the telegraph 
line followed and the old line on the south side of the Platte 
was abandoned. The old poles were of red cedar taken from 
the eaiions and were all burned black by the prairie fires. They 
soon disappeared, being used by the Indians and the emigrants 
for firewood. The old trail and telegraph line crossed our farm 

76 



THE ERICKSON FAMILY 77 

and only a few years ago we dug out of the ground one of the 
stubs of a cedar telegraph pole about two feet in diameter and 
six feet long, and there are still more of these old stubs in our 
fields. 

"In the early seventies the most prominent ranches in this 
section were Upper 96 and Lower 96. These ranches had first 
been the relay stations of the old Wells Fargo Express Company. 
At each of these may be seen well preserved cedar log buildings 
still in use built by this company when they first established 
their express business across the plains in the middle of the last 
century. On the advent of the Union Pacific, the "Wells Fargo 
Express Company abandoned these stations and they became 
the property of the 96 Ranch. Although they have passed 
through the hands of several different owners they have always 
retained their names of Upper 96 ranch and Lower 96 ranch. 

"The cations leading into the hills from the south side of the 
river are named from the early ranches along the valley near 
the mouths of the canons; Conroy from Conroy's ranch, Jeffrie 
from Jeffrie's ranch, Oilman from Oilman's ranch, and Hiles 
from Hiles' ranch. An exception to the above is the Dan 
Smith caiion which is named after Dan Smith in memory of the 
tragedy with which his name is connected. Dan Smith and wife 
were working at the Lower 96 ranch in 1871. Mrs. Smith 
wished to attend a ball to be given by the oificers at Fort Mc- 
Pherson and wanted her husband to go with her, but he being of 
a jealous disposition refused to go. She mounted her horse and 
started to go alone when he called to her to come back and take 
his gun to protect herself from the Indians. She turned around 
and started back toward him. He drew his gun and fired, killing 
her instantly. She was buried at the Lower 96 ranch and until 
a few years ago her grave was kept green. After shooting his 
wife, Dan Smith mounted her horse and rode away into the hills 
to the south. The soldiers at the Fort twenty-five miles away 
were notified and the next day they came to hunt for the mur- 
derer. They surroimded him in a caiion in the hills and there 
shot him to death leaving his body a prey for buzzards and 
wolves. The canon to this day is called Dan Smith Cafion and 
through it is the main road leading from Gothenburg to Far- 
nam, Nebraska." 



THE BEGINNINGS OF FREMONT 
By Sadie Irene Moore 

Fremont was named for John C. Fremont, who was a candi- 
date against Buchanan for president. The first stakes were set 
August 23, 1856, the boundaries being finished three days later. 
"The first habitation of any sort, was constructed of poles sur- 
rounded by prairie grass. It was built and owned by E. H. 
Barnard and J. Koontz, in 1856, and stood upon the site of the 
present Congregational church." In the autumn of 1856, Rob- 
ert Kittle built and owned the first house. A few weeks later 
his house was occupied by Rev. Isaac E. Heaton, wife and two 
daughters, who were the first family to keep house in Fremont. 
Alice Flor, born in the fall of 1857, was the first child born in 
Fremont. She is now Mrs. Gilkerson, of "Wahoo. The first 
male child born in Fremont was Fred Kittle. He was bom in 
March, 1858, and died in 1890. On August 23, 1858, occurred 
the first marriage. The couple were Luther "Wilson and Eliza 
Turner. The first death was that of Seth P. Marvin, who was 
accidentally drowned in April, 1857, while crossing the Elkhom 
seven miles northeast of Fremont. The Marvin home was a 
mile and a quarter west of Fremont and this house was the 
rendezvous of the parties who laid out Fremont. Mr. Marvin 
was one of the town company. 

The first celebration of the Fourth of July was in 1857. Rob- 
ert Kittle sold the first goods. J. 6. and Towner Smith con- 
ducted the first regular store. In 1860, the first district school 
was opened with Miss McNeil teacher. Then came Mary Heaton, 
now Mrs. Hawthorne. Mrs. Margaret Turner, followed by James 
G. Smith, conducted the first hotel situated where the First Na- 
tional bank now is. This was also the "stage house," and here 
all the traders stopped en route from Omaha to Denver. In the 
evening the old hotel resounded with the music of violin and the 
sound of merry dancing. Charles Smith conducted a drug store 
where Holloway and Fowler now are. A telegraph line was es- 
tablished in 1860. The first public school was held in a building 




Monument at Fremont, NEBRA^;KA, marking the Overland 

Emigrant Trails or California Ro.u) 
Erected by Lewis-Clark Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution 



THE BEGINNINGS OF FEEMONT 79 

owned by the Congregational chureli at the corner of Eighth and 
D streets. Miss Sarah Pneuman, now Mrs. Harrington, of Fre- 
mont, was the teacher. When court convened, school adjourned, 
there being no courthouse. In three years the school had grown 
from sixteen to one hundred pupils, with three teachers. The 
first public schoolhouse was built at the comer of Fifth and D 
streets. In 1866 the Union Pacific was built. The first bank 
was established in 1867. The Tribune, the first newspaper, was 
published July 24, 1868. "The Central School" was built in 
1869 and the teacher, in search of truant boys, would ascend to 
the top, where with the aid of field glass, she could see from the 
Platte to the Elkhorn. To-day, can be seen on the foundations 
of this old landmark, the marks of slate pencils, which were 
sharpened by some of our middle aged business men of to-day. 
Mrs. Cynthia Hamilton, of Fremont, gives an interesting ac- 
count of the early days. In June, 1857, she, with her husband, 
Mr. West, their daughter, Julia, Mrs. West's brother, the late 
Wilson Reynolds, and Mrs. Reynolds, reached the few dwellings 
then comprising Fremont, after an eighteen or nineteen days 
trip in mo^^ng wagons from Racine, Wisconsin. They first 
stopped at the house of Robert Kittle, comer Military and 
Broad streets. This house was made from trees grown on the 
bluffs southwest of town, and had a red cedar shingle roof, the 
shingles shaved from logs floated down the Platte. After two 
days, they all moved to a log house in ' ' Pierce 's Grove. ' ' While 
living here, Mrs. Hamilton tells of hearing a great commotion 
among the tinware and upon investigation, found it was caused 
by a huge snake. In August of the same year they moved to 
their homestead, northwest of town, on the Rawhide. It is now 
known as the Rohr place. Here they remained two years. In 
winter the men made trips to the river for wood, and the women 
must either accompany them or remain at home, alone, far from 
another house. Thus, alone one day, she saw a large band of 
Indians approaching. The chief, picking up an axe from the 
wood pile, placed it under the window where she sat, indicating 
that she must take care of it, else some one might steal it. He 
then led his band northward. During all the residence on the 
homestead the three members of the family suffered continually 
from ague. In the fall of 1859, Mrs. West and her child re- 
turned to Wisconsin, where they remained ten months. During 



80 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

her absence, Mr. West became a trader with the Indians and 
once in Saunders county as he was selling a quantity of meat on 
a temporary counter, the Indians became rather unruly. His 
white companions fled, and Mr. West seizing a club, went among 
the Indians, striking them right and left. For this, they called 
him a brave and ever afterwards called him ' ' Buck Skadaway, ' ' 
meaning curly hair. When Mrs. West returned from Wiscon- 
sin, she came down the Mississippi and up the Missouri to Oma- 
ha, then a small town. From there they drove to Fremont, with 
horse and buggy, via Florence. Mr. West now bought a cotton- 
wood house, battened up and down. It consisted of two rooms, 
and stood on the site of the present residence of Thad Quinn. 
Wilson Reynolds bought two lots on the south side of Sixth 
street near the West home for twenty-five cents. Here he built 
a house made partly of black walnut taken from the banks of 
the Platte. In this house, was born our present postmaster, B. 
W. Reynolds. Mrs. Hamilton relates that the Indians were fre- 
quent callers at her home, one even teaching her to make "com 
coffee," "by taking a whole ear of corn, burning it black and 
then putting it in the coffee pot. ' ' Food consisted of vegetables, 
which were grown on the prairie sod, prairie chickens, small 
game, and corn bread. Butter was twenty-five cents a pound. 
Syrup was made by boiling down watermelon. Boiled beans 
were mashed to a pulp and used as butter. "Everything was 
high and when the money and supplies which we bought were 
exhausted it was hard to get more. ' ' Screens were unknown and 
the flies and mosquitoes were terrible. In the evenings eveiyone 
would build a smudge so that they could sleep. Not a tree was 
to be seen except those on the banks of the streams. Tall prairie 
grass waved like the ocean and prairie fires were greatly feared. 
Everyone began setting out trees at once. 

' ' In those days Broad street was noted as a racing road for the 
Indians and now it is a boulevard for automobiles," says Mrs. 
Hamilton. ' ' Yes, ' ' she continued, ' ' I well remember the Fourth 
of July celebration in 1857. There were about one hundred 
people in attendance. Miss McNeil was my little girl's first 
teacher and Dr. Rhustrat was our first physician." In 1861, 
after a short illness, Mr. West died. He was buried beside his 
infant daughter in the cemetery, which at that time stood near 
the present brewery. The bodies were afterward removed to 



THE BEGINNINGS OF FREMONT 81 

Barnard's cemetery and later to Ridge. The following year, 
Mrs. West, with her daughter, Julia, returned to her parents at 
Racine, Wisconsin, where she remained for many years. In 
1876, as the wife of William Hamilton she returned and made 
her home on one of her farms near the stockyards. Twenty-five 
years ago this place was sold for $100 per acre while the old 
homestead northwest of town brought $25 per acre in 1875. 
After selling the south farm she and Mr. Hamilton, who died a 
few years ago, bought the present home on Broad street. Ev- 
eryone should honor the early settlers, who left their eastern 
homes, endured hardships and privations that a beautiful land 
might be developed for posterity. They should be pensioned as 
well as our soldiers. And we, of the younger generation, should 
respect and reverence their memory. 



A GRASSHOPPER STORY 
By Margaret P. Kelly 
I came to Fremont, Nebraska, in May, 1870, and settled on a 
farm on Maple creek. In 1874 or 1875 we were visited by grass- 
hoppers. I had never formed an idea of anything so disastrous. 
When the "hoppers" were flying the air was full of them. As 
one looked up, they seemed like a severe snow storm. It must 
have been like one of the plagues of Egypt. They were so bad 
one day that the passenger train on the Union Pacific was stalled 
here. I went to see the train and the odor from the crushed 
insects was nauseating. I think the train was kept here for 
three hours. The engine was besmeared with them. It was a 
very wonderful sight. The rails and ground were covered with 
the pests. They came into the houses and one lady went into 
her parlor one day and found her lace curtains on the floor, 
almost entirely eaten. Mrs. George Turner said that she came 
home from town one day when the "hoppers" were flying and 
they were so thick that the horses could not find the barn. Mrs. 
Turner's son had a field of corn. W. R. Wilson offered him 
fifty dollars for it. When he began to husk it, there was no 
com there. A hired man of Mrs. Turner's threw his vest on 
the ground. When he had finished his work and picked up the 
vest it was completely riddled by the grasshoppers. I heard 
one man say that he was out riding with his wife and they 
stopped by a field of wheat where the "hoppers" were working 
and they could hear their mandibles working on the wheat. 
When they flew it sounded like a train of ears in motion. 
Horses would not face them unless compelled. One year I had 
an eighty acre fleld of com which was being cultivated. The 
men came in and said the "hoppers" were taking the corn. 
They did not stay long, but when they left no one would have 
known that there had ever been any corn in that field. My broth- 
er from California came in 1876. On the way to the farm a 
thunder storm came up and we stopped at a friend's until it 
was over. My brother said, "I would not go through the ex- 



A GRASSHOPPER STORY 83 

perienee again for $10,000, and I would not lose the experience 
for the same amount." The "hoppers" came before the storm 
and were thick on the ground. It was a wonderful experience. 
In those days we cut our small grain with "headers." The 
grain head was cut and feU into boxes on wagons. After din- 
ner one day, the men went out to find the grasshoppers in full 
possession. A coat which had been left hanging was completely 
destroyed. Gardens and field crops were their delight. They 
would eat an onion entirely out of the hard outer skin. I had 
a thirty acre field of oats which looked fine on Saturday. "We 
could not harvest it then and on Monday it looked like an in- 
verted whisk broom. Some of the "hoppers" were three inches 
long. The backs were between brown and slate color and un- 
derneath was white. I think we received visits from them for 
five years. 



EARLY DAYS IN FREMONT 

By Mrs. Theron Nye 

From the year 1856 until the beginning of the civil war in 
1861 the early settlers of Nebraska experienced nearly all of the 
ills and hardships incidental to a pioneer life. Fifty years 
have passed since then and to one having lived through those 
trying days — or to a stranger who merely listens to the almost 
incredulous tales of a past generation — there arises a question 
as to why any sane person or persons should desire to leave a 
land of comparative comfort and plenty for one of deprivation 
and possible starvation. 

The early settlers of Fremont were for the most part young 
people from the eastern states, full of ambition and hope. There 
is in the youthful heart a spirit of energy, of doing and daring 
in order to realize, if possible, dreams of a perhaps glorious fu- 
ture in which may be won honor and fame and wealth. Then 
again the forces of nature are never at rest and man, being a 
part of the great whole, must inevitably keep in step with the 
universal law. A few lines written for a paper several years 
ago give the first impression of the landscape which greeted the 
eyes of a stranger on entering the valley of the Elkhom river 
in 1858, April 26 : 

' ' This is the picture as I see it plainly in retrospect — a 
country, and it was all a country, with a smooth, level, gray 
surface which appeared to go on toward the west forever and 
forever. On the north were the bluffs of the Elkhorn river, 
but the great Elkhorn Valley was a part of an unknown world. 
South of the little townsite of Fremont the Platte river moved 
sluggishly along to meet and be swallowed up in the great Mis- 
souri. Ten or twelve log cabins broke the monotony of the tree- 
less expanse that stretched far away, apparently to a leaden 
sky. My heart sank within me as I thought but did not say, 
' How can I ever live in a place like this V " And yet the writer 
of the above lines has lived in Fremont for forty-seven years. 

The histories of the world are chiefly men's histories. They 



EARLY DAYS IN FREMONT 85 

are stories of governments, of religions, of wars, and only in ex- 
ceptional instances has woman appeared to hold any important 
place in the affairs of nations. From the earliest settlement of 
the colonies in the new world until the present time, women have 
not only borne with bravery and fortitude the greater trials of 
the pioneer life, but from their peculiar organization and tem- 
perament suffered more from the small annoyances than their 
stronger companions of the other sex. The experiences of the 
home and family life of the early settlers of the great "West 
have never entered into the annals of history nor can a truthful 
story be told without them, but thus far no doubt the apparent 
neglect has been due to woman herself, who until quite recently 
has felt that she was a small factor in the world's affairs. 

In the beginning of the new life in Fremont women had their 
first introduction to the log cabin which was to be their home 
for many years. It was not as comfortable as it looks pictur- 
esque and romantic printed on paper. It was a story and a half 
high, sixteen by twenty feet in size. The logs were hewn on 
two sides, but the work performed by the volunteer carpenters 
of that time was not altogether satisfactoi-y, consequently the 
logs did not fit closely but the open spaces between were filled 
with a sort of mortar that had a faculty of gradually dropping 
off as it dried, leaving the original holes and openings through 
which the winter winds whistled and Nebraska breezes blew the 
dirt. 

The houses were made of cottonwood logs and finished with 
Cottonwood lumber. The shingles warped so the roof somewhat 
resembled a sieve. The rain dripped through it in summer and 
snow sifted through it in winter. The floors were made of wide 
rough boards, the planing and polishing given by the broom, 
the old-fashioned mop, and the scnibbing brush. The boards 
warped and shrunk so that the edges turned up, making wide 
cracks in the floor through which many small articles dropped 
down into a large hole in the ground miscalled a cellar. It was 
hardly possible to keep from freezing in these houses in winter. 
Snow sifted through the roof, covering beds and floors. The 
piercing winds blew through every crack and crevice. Green 
cottonwood was the only fuel obtainable and that would sizzle 
and fry in the stove while water froze standing under the stove. 
This is no fairy tale. 



86 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The summers were not much more pleasant. It must be re- 
membered that there were no trees in Fremont, nothing that 
afforded the least protection from the hot rays of a Nebraska 
sun. Mosquitoes and flies were in abundance, and door screens 
were unknown at that time. The cotton netting nailed over 
windows and hung over and around the beds was a slight pro- 
tection from the pests, although as the doors must necessarily 
be opened more or less no remedy could be devised that would 
make any perceptible improvement. To submit was the rule 
and the law in those days, but many, many times it was done 
under protest. 

The first floor was divided or partitioned off, by the use of 
quilts or blankets, into a kitchen, bedroom, and pantry. The 
chamber, or what might be called attic, was also partitioned in 
the same way, giving as many rooms as it would hold beds. The 
main articles of food for the first two years consisted of pota- 
toes, com meal, and bacon. The meal was made from a variety 
of corn raised by the Indians and called Pawnee corn. It was 
very soft, white, and palatable. Wheat flour was not very plen- 
tiful the first year. Bacon was the only available meat. Oc- 
casionally a piece of buffalo meat was obtained, but it being very 
hard to masticate only served to make a slight change in the 
gravy, which was otherwise made with lard and flour browned 
together in an iron frying pan, adding boiling water until it was 
of the right consistency, salt and pepper to suit the taste. This 
mixture was used for potatoes and bread of all kinds. Lard 
was a necessity. Biscuits were made of flour, using a little corn 
meal for shortening and saleratus for raising. Much of the 
corn was ground in an ordinary coffee mill or in some instances 
rubbed on a large grater or over a tin pan with a perforated 
bottom, made so by driving nails through it. The nearest flour- 
ing mill was at Fort Calhoun, over forty miles away, which was 
then a three days' journey, taking more time than a trip to 
California at the present day. Nothing, however, could be sub- 
stituted for butter. The lack of meat, sugar, eggs and fruit, 
tea and coffee, was borne patiently, but wheat flour and corn 
meal bread with its everlasting lard gravy accompaniment was 
more than human nature could bear, yet most of the people 
waxed strong and flourished on bread and grease. Oh, where 
are the students of scientific research and domestic economy? 



EARLY DAYS IN FREMONT 87 

There were possibly three or four cows in the settlement, and if 
there was ever an aristocracy in Fremont, it was represented by 
the owners of said cows. 

In 1858 a little sorghum was raised. "Hope springs eternal 
in the human breast." Men, women, and children helped to 
prepare the stalks when at the right stage for crushing, which 
was done with a very primitive home-made machine. The juice 
obtained was boiled down to syrup, but alas, the dreams of a 
surfeit of sweetness vanished into thin air, for the result of all 
the toil and trouble expended was a production so nauseous that 
it could not be used even for vinegar. 

Wild plums and grapes grew in profusion on the banks of the 
rivers. There was much more enjoyment in gathering the fruit 
than in eating or cooking it. The plums were bitter and sour, 
the grapes were sour and mostly seeds, and sugar was not plen- 
tiful. 

The climate was the finest in the world for throat and lung 
troubles, but on the breaking up of the soil malaria made its ap- 
pearance and many of the inhabitants suffered from ague and 
fever. Quinine was the only remedy. There were neither 
physicians nor trained nurses here, but all were neighbors and 
friends, always ready to help each other when the occasion re- 
quired. 

In 1856, the year in which Fremont was born, the Pawnee 
Indians were living four miles south across the Platte river on 
the bluffs in Saunders county. They numbered about four 
thousand and were a constant source of annoyance and fear. 
In winter they easily crossed the river on the ice and in summer 
the water most of the time was so low they could swim and wade 
over, consequently there were few days in the year that they did 
not visit Fremont by the hundred. Weeks and months passed 
before women and children became accustomed to them and they 
could never feel quite sure that they were harmless. Stealing 
was their forte. Eyes sharp and keen were ever on the alert 
when they were present, yet when they left almost invariably 
some little article would be missed. They owned buffalo robes 
and blankets for which the settlers exchanged clothing which 
they did not need, jewelry, beads, and ornaments, with a little 
silver coin intermixed. The blankets and robes were utilized 
for bedding and many were the shivering forms they served to 



88 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

protect from the icy cold of the Nebraska winters. In 1859 the 
government moved them to another home on the Loup river and 
in 1876 they were removed to Indian territory. 

Snakes of many kinds abounded, but rattlesnakes were the 
most numerous. They appeared to have a taste for domestic 
life, as many were found in houses and cellars. A little four- 
year-old boy one sunny summer day ran out of the house bare- 
footed, and stepping on the threshold outside the door felt some- 
thing soft and cold to his feet. An exclamation of surprise 
caused a member of the household to hasten to the door just in 
time to see a young rattlesnake gliding swiftly away. In several 
instances they were found snugly ensconced under pillows, on 
lounges, and very frequently were they found in cellars. 

For more than two years there was no way of receiving or 
sending mail only as one or another would make a trip to Omaha, 
which was usually once a week. In 1859 a stage line was put 
on between Omaha and Fort Kearny. No one can tell with what 
thankfulness and rejoicing each and every improvement in the 
condition and surroundings was greeted by the settlers. Dating 
from the discovery of gold in Colorado the pioneer was no more 
an object of pity or sympathy. Those who had planted their 
states and made their claims along the old military and Cali- 
fornia trail were independent. Many of the emigrants became 
discouraged and turned their faees homeward before getting a 
glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. On their way home they sold 
loads of provisions for a song. The same fall the fertile soil of 
the Platte Valley, after two years of cultivation, responded to 
the demand of civilization. There was a market west for every 
bushel of grain and every pound of vegetables grown. So at 
least the patient and persevering ones received their reward. 

The sources of amusement were few, and yet all enjoyed the 
strange new life. A pleasant ride over the level prairie dotted 
with wild flowers, in any sort of vehicle drawn by a pair of oxen, 
was as enjoyable to the young people then as a drive over the 
country would now be in the finest turnout that Fremont pos- 
sesses. A dance in a room twelve by sixteen feet in a log cabin, 
to the music of the Arkansas Traveler played on one violin, was 
"just delightful." A trip to Omaha once or twice a year was a 
rare event in the woman's life particularly. Three days were 
taken, two to drive in and out, and one to do a little trading 



EAELY DAYS IN FREMONT 89 

(not shopping) and look around to view the sights. A span of 
horses, a lumber wagon with a spring seat in front high up in 
the air, was the conveyance. Women always wore sunbonnets 
on these occasions to keep their complexion fair. 

Several times in the earlier years the Mormons passed through 
here with long trains of emigrants journeying to the promised 
land, and a sorry lot they were, for the most of them were foot- 
sore and weary, as they all walked. The train was made up of 
emigrant covered wagons drawn by oxen, and hand carts drawn 
by cows, men and women, and dogs. It was a sight never to be 
forgotten. 

This is merely a short description of some of the trials and 
sufferings endured by the majority of the early settlers of this 
state. Many of the actors in the drama have passed away, a few 
only now remaining, and soon the stories of their lives wiU be to 
the coming generation like forgotten dreams. 



PIONEER WOMEN OF OMAHA 
By Mrs. Chaeles H. Pisette 
Very few of those now living in Omaha can have any realiza- 
tion of the privations, not to say hardships, that were endured 
by the pioneer women who came here at an early date. A few 
claim shanties were scattered at distant intervals over this beau- 
tiful plateau, and were eagerly taken by those who were for- 
tunate enough to secure them. There was seldom more than one 
room in them, so that no servants could be kept, even if there 
were any to be had. Many an amusing scene could have been 
witnessed if the friends who had been left behind could have 
peeped in at the door and have seen the attempts made at cook- 
ing by those who never had cooked before. 

A description of one of the homes might be of interest. A 
friend of ours owned a claim shanty that stood on the hill west 
of what is now Saunders, or Twenty-fourth street, and he very 
kindly offered it to us, saying he would have it plastered and 
fixed up. We, of course, accepted it at once and as soon as pos- 
sible it was made ready and we moved into it late one evening, 
very happy to have a home. The house consisted of upstairs, 
downstairs, and a cellar, the upstairs being just high enough for 
one to stand erect in the center of the room, provided one was 
not very tall. The stairs were nothing but a ladder, home-made 
at that, in one corner of the room, held in place by a trunk. It 
was some time before I succeeded in going up and down grace- 
fully. I happened to be upstairs when our first caller came and 
in my effort to get down quickly caught my feet in one of the 
rungs of the ladder and landed on the aforementioned trunk 
so suddenly that it brought everyone in the room to their feet. 
It took away all the formality of an introduction. 

Mr. and Mrs. Hanscom lived half a mile north of the cottage 
just described, and had what seemed to others a house that was 
almost palatial. It contained three rooms, besides a kitchen, and 
had many comforts that few had in those days, including a 
cradle, which held a rosy-cheeked, curly-headed baby girl, who 

90 




Mrs. Charlotte F. Palmer 
First State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the Ai 
Revohition. 1894-1895 



PIONEER WOMEN OF OMAHA 91 

has long since grown to womanhood and had babies of her own. 
Another home, standing where Creighton College now stands, 
was built by a nephew of the late Rev. Reuben Gaylord, but was 
afterwards occupied by Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Byers, who have for 
many years resided in Colorado. The Gaylords moved from 
there to a new home at Eleventh and Jackson streets. Their 
family consisted of three children : Mrs. S. C. Brewster, of Irv- 
ington, who is still living at the age of 77 years; a son, Ralph 
Gaylord ; and an adopted daughter, Georgia, who has since died. 

A one story house built just in the rear of Tootle and Mauls' 
store on Farnam, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets, 
was kept as a boarding house by Kentucky Wood and his wife. 
It was considered a high-toned boarding house, although the par- 
titions were made of unbleached cloth and the floor of the dining 
room was covered with sawdust. Judges Lockwood and Brad- 
ley, two of our territorial judges, boarded there and a dinner 
was given in their honor by the landlord. The invited guests 
included Governor and Mrs. Cuming, Colonel and Mrs. C. B. 
Smith, and Dr. Geo. L. Miller. That was the first dinner party 
ever given in Omaha. Governor and Mrs. Cuming then boarded 
at the Douglas house. Thirteenth and Harney streets, and their 
rooms were often filled with the elite of this young and growing 
city. Mrs. Cuming was very popular in the little gatherings 
which wex-e frequently held. She was the leading light and was 
always ready and willing to assist in any good work. Wherever 
there was sickness she was sure to be found. Mrs. Thomas 
Davis was another who was always doing little acts of kindness. 
She was the mother of the late Mrs. Herman Kountze, who, at 
that time, was the only white little girl in Omaha. Still another 
who never turned anyone away from her door who needed help 
was Mrs. E. Estabrook. 

Mrs. A. D. Jones, our first postmaster's wife, lived at that 
time at what was called Park Wild, in a one story log and frame 
house, which was aftei-wards occupied by General G. M. Dodge, 
the distinguished soldier, so well and widely known to the whole 
country as the chief engineer of the Union Pacific railroad. 
Among others who were here were Mrs. Edwin Patrick and Mrs. 
Allen Root, also Mrs. T. G. Goodwill, who lived in the Kentucky 
Wood house that I have already mentioned. She afterwards 
built the brick house that still stands near the northwest comer 



92 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

of Davenport street, facing south. It is an old landmark near 
Fifteenth street. 

One of the most prominent women of that day was Mrs. John 
M. Thayer, whose home at that time was said to have been the 
firsl; civilized appearing home. It was plastered, clapboarded, 
and shingled. The entire community envied Mrs. Thayer her 
somewhat imposing residence. It was in very strong contrast, 
however, with the beautiful brick house which General Thayer 
afterwards built and occupied for several years, on the north- 
east comer of Sixteenth and Davenport streets. 

Mrs. Samuel Rogers, Mrs. William Snowden, Mrs. Thomaa 
'Conner, Mrs. 0. B. Selden, Mrs. Hadley Johnson, and Mrs. 
Harrison Johnson were among the first women who lived in 
Omaha. Mrs. A. J. Poppleton may be classed among the num- 
ber, although at that time she was living in Council Bluffs, then 
called Kanesville, where she was one of the leading young ladies. 

The fii-st hotel in Omaha, a log house, eighteen by twenty feet, 
one story high, was named the St. Nicholas. It was first occu- 
pied by the family of Wm. P. Snowden, and stood on the corner 
of Twelfth and Jackson streets in 1855. The Douglas house, a 
two story frame building, was erected at the southwest comer 
of Thirteenth and Harney streets. The rear part was made of 
Cottonwood slabs, and in the winter time it was said to have 
been very cold. It was the leading hotel and all the high-toned 
people stopped there. The Tremont house, between Thirteenth 
and Fourteenth streets, was built in 1856, and opened by Wm. F. 
Sweezy and Aaron Root. Mr. Sweezy is still living in Omaha. 
The Famham, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth on Harney, 
was built in 1858. The famous Herndon house was built in 
1856 by Dr. Geo. L. Miller and Lyman Richardson. The Ham- 
ilton, a brick building, was erected in 1856 by C. W. Hamilton, 
C. B. Smith, and H. M. Judson. The proprietors bought their 
furniture in St. Louis and brought it to Omaha by steamboat. 
The upper part of the house was one large bedroom with beds 
ranged against the walls. About once a week the furniture was 
all removed from this room and it was temporarily converted 
into a ballroom. 



A PIONEER FAMILY 
By Edith Erma Purviance 

Dr. Wm. Washin^on Wiley, with his wife, Gertrude Miranda 
Wiley, and their children, came to Nebraska July 6, 1857, and 
lived at Saratoga (now in Omaha) a year and a half. They 
came from Ohio in covered wagons, driving their cows along. 
It took two months to make the trip. 

They caught up with a company of Mormon emigrants when 
they reached Iowa City, Iowa, three or four hundred of whom 
camped along about five miles ahead of the Wiley family. They 
stopped at Florence a few weeks to buy provisions and teams to 
carry them across the plains to Utah. These Mormons had 
two-wheeled carts. These carts were provision carts drawn by 
both men and women. 

Mrs. Wiley was of Holland Dutch descent, and inherited the 
thrift and capability of her ancestors. She deserved great credit 
for her quick action in saving one victim from the Claim Club. 
This Claim Club was an organization of prominent Omaha busi- 
ness men. John Kelly, a nephew of Mrs. Wiley's sister, had a 
claim of one hundred sixty acres near Omaha. There were four 
wagonloads of men out looking for him to compel him to give 
them the papers showing his right to the land. The late Joseph 
Redman, of Omaha, lived near Mrs. Wiley, and when he saw the 
men coming for John Kelly he went to Mrs. Wiley and requested 
her to warn young Kelly, as she could get past the men, but he 
could not. Mrs. Redman went to Mrs. Wiley's house and took 
care of the three months' old baby and five other children. 
John Kelly was working at the carpenter's trade in Omaha, 
about three miles south of Mrs. Wiley's. All she had to ride 
was a stallion, of which she was afraid, and which had never 
been ridden by a woman. She rode slowly until out of sight of 
the wagonloads of men and then hit the horse every other jump. 
She made him run all the way, passing some Indians on the way, 
who looked at her wonderingly but did not try to stop her. 
After going to several places she finally located John Kelly. 

93 



94 NEBRASKA PIONEEE REMINISCENCES 

He wanted to go to the ferry, but her judgment was better and 
she said they would look for him there the first thing, which 
they did. She took him on behind her and rode to the home of 
Jane Beeson, his aunt, who put him down cellar and then spread 
a piece of rag carpet over the trap door. The Claim Club men 
were there several times that day to look for him, but did not 
search the house. After dark he walked to Bellevue, twelve 
miles, and the next morning crossed the Missouri river on the 
ferry boat and went to Missouri. When his claim papers were 
returned from Washington he returned and lived on his land 
without any further trouble. He would have been badly beaten 
and probably killed had it not been for Mrs. Wiley's nerve and 
decision in riding a fractious horse to warn him of his danger. 

While Dr. and Mrs. Wiley resided at Omaha the territorial 
lawmakers disagreed, part of them going to Florence to make 
laws and part of them to Omaha, each party feeling it was the 
rightful law-making body of the territory. 

In December, 1859, the family crossed the Platte river on 
the ice and located on a farm in Cass county, three miles west 
of the Missouri river, about three miles southwest of the present 
town of Murray, although the old town of Rock Bluffs was their 
nearest town at that time. Dr. Wiley and the older children 
went on ahead with the household goods and live stock. Mrs. 
Wiley, with the small children, rode in a one-horse buggy. She 
did not know the way and there were no fences or landmarks to 
guide her. She had the ague so badly she could hardly drive 
the horse. A sack containing $1,800 in gold was tied around 
her waist. This was all the money they had, and they intended 
to use it to build a house and bam on their new farm. She 
objected to carrying so much money, but Dr. Wiley said it was 
safer from robbers with her than with him. In spite of her ill- 
ness and the difficulty in traveling in an unknown country a 
distance of thirty-five or forty miles, she reached the new home 
safely. She took off the sack of gold, threw it in a comer, and 
fell on the bed exhausted. They lived all winter in a log house of 
two rooms. There was a floor and roof, but no ceiling, and the 
snow drifted in on the beds. Most of the family were sick all 
winter. 

The next summer they built a frame house, the first in that 
locality, which caused the neighbors to call them "high toned." 



A PIONEER FAMILY 95 

Mrs. Wiley bought a parlor set of walnut furniture, upholstered 
in green. 

General Worth, who had been a congressman, wrote to Wash- 
ington, D. C, and got the commission, signed by Abraham Lin- 
coln, appointing Dr. Wiley postmaster, the name of the post- 
office being Three Groves. They kept the postoffice eleven 
years. 

They kept the stage station five years. It was the main stop 
between St. Joseph and Omaha before the railroad went through. 
They had from ten to fifteen people to dinner one coach load. 
The stage coach was drawn by four horses, and carried both 
mail and passengers. The horses were changed for fresh ones 
at the Wiley farm. At first the meals were twenty-five cents; 
the last two years, fifty cents. This was paid by the passengers 
and not included in the stage fare. 

Shortly after the discovery of Pike's Peak and gold in Colo- 
rado, freighters, with big freight wagons of provisions drawn by 
six or eight oxen, stopped there over night. There were usually 
twelve men, who slept on the floor, paying eighteen dollars for 
supper, breakfast, and lodging. Mr. McComas and Mr. Majors 
(father of Col. Thomas J. Majors) each had freight wagons 
starting at Nebraska City and taking the supplies to Denver 
and Pike's Peak via Fort Kearny, Nebraska. When the Union 
Pacific railroad was completed in 1869 the freighters had to 
sell their oxen and wagons, as they could not compete with the 
railroad in hauling freight. 

The Omaha, Pawnee, and Otoe Indians, when visiting other 
Indians, would stop at Dr. Wiley's and ask for things to eat. 
Sometimes there would be fifty of them. An old Indian would 
peer in. If the shade was pulled down while he was looking in 
he would call the party vile names. If food was given him a 
dozen more Indians would come and ask for something. If 
chickens were not given them they helped themselves to all they 
found straying around. It would make either tribe angry to 
ask if they were going to visit any other tribe. The Pawnees 
would say, ' ' Omaha no good " ; the Omahas would say, ' ' Pawnee 
no good." 

Mrs. Wiley kept a copy of the Omaha Republican, published 
November 30, 1859. The paper is yellow with age, but well pre- 
served, and a few years ago she presented it to the State His- 



96 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

torical Society. It is a four-page paper, the second and third 
pages being nearly all advertisements. It contains a letter 
written by Robert W. Furnas, ex-governor of Nebraska, and a 
long article about the late J. Sterling Morton. This was about 
the time Mr. Morton tried to claim the salt basin at Lincoln as 
a preemption, and wanted to locate salt works there. 

Mrs. Wiley always took a great interest in the development of 
the state; she attended the State Fair almost every year, spend- 
ing a great deal of time looking over the new machinery. 

Dr. Wiley died in 1887 and Mrs. Wiley in 1914. Mrs. Wiley 
lived to the age of 87 years. 

Little Erma Purviance, daughter of Dr. W. E. and Edith E. 
Purviance, of Omaha, is a great-granddaughter of Mrs. Wiley, 
and also a namesake. May she possess some of the virtue and 
intelligence of her ancestor. 

Note: Mrs. Wiley's two daughters, Araminta and Hattie, 
were students in the early years at Brownell Hall, then the only 
means of obtaining an education, as there were very few public 
schools. Some of the children and grandchildren still live on 
the lands taken by Dr. and Mrs. Wiley, and have always been 
among the well-to-do citizens of Cass county. 

Mrs. Edith Erma Purviance, the writer of the foregoing 
article, spent most of her girlhood with her grandmother, who 
sent her to the State University, where she made good use of 
her advantages. Other children of Mrs. Wiley were also uni- 
versity students or identified with the various schools of the 
state. Mrs. A. Dove Wiley Asch, youngest daughter of Mrs. 
Wiley, now occupies the old home, out of which so recently went 
the brave pioneer who made it of note among the early homes 
of the territory. — Harriett S. MacMurphy. 



THE BADGER FAMILY 

Lewis H. Badger drove with his parents, Henry L. and Mary 
A. Badger, from their home in Livingston county, Illinois, to 
Fillmore county, Nebraska. They had a covered emigi-ant wagon 
and a buggy tied behind. Lewis was twelve years old October 
5, 1868, the day they crossed the Missouri river at Nebraska 
City, the nearest railroad station to their future home. The 
family stayed with friends near Saltillo while H. L. Badger 
came on with the horse and buggy and picked out his claim on 
the north side of Fillmore county, it being the northwest quar- 
ter of section 2, township 8, range 3, west of the sixth principal 
meridian. 

At that time the claims were taken near the river in order 
that water might be obtained more easily, and also to be near 
the railroad which had been surveyed and staked out in the 
southern edge of York county near the West Blue river. 

The Badger family came on to Lincoln, then a mere village, 
and stopped there. They bought a log chain, and lumber for a 
door; the window frames were hewed from logs. When they 
reached the claim they did not know where to ford the river so 
they went on farther west to Whitaker's and stayed all night. 
There they forded the river and came on to the claim the next 
morning, October 20, 1868. There they camped while Mr. 
Badger made a dugout in the banks of the West Blue river, 
where the family lived for more than two years. The hollow 
in the ground made by this dugout can still be seen. 

In 1870 H. L. Badger kept the postofSce in the dugout. He 
received his commission from Postmaster General Creswell. 
The postofBce was known as West Blue. About the same time 
E. L. Martin was appointed postmaster at Fillmore. Those were 
the first postoffices in Fillmore county. Before that time the 
settlers got their mail at McFadden in York county. Mr. Badger 
kept the postoffice for some time after moving into the log house 
and after the establishment of the postoffice at Fairmont. 

In 1867 the Indians were all on reservations but by permission 

97 



98 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

of the agents were allowed to go on hunting trips. If they made 
trouble for the settlers they were taken back to the reservations. 
While the Badgers were living in the dugout a party of about 
one thousand Omaha Indians came up the river on a hunting 
trip. Some of their ponies got away and ate some com belong- 
ing to a man named Dean, who lived farther down the river. 
The man loved trouble and decided to report them to the agent. 
The Indians were afraid of being sent back to the reservation so 
the chief, Prairie Chicken, his brother, Sammy "White, and sev- 
enteen of the other Indians came into the dugout and asked Mr. 
Badger to write a letter to the agent for them stating their side 
of the case. This he did and read it to Sammy White, the in- 
terpreter, who translated it for the other eighteen. It proved 
satisfactoiy to both Indians and agent. 

In August, 1869, while Mr. Badger was away helping a fam- 
ily named Whitaker, who lived up the river, to do some break- 
ing, the son, Lewis, walked to where his father was at work, 
leaving Mrs. Badger at home alone with her four-year-old daugh- 
ter. About four o'clock it began to rain very hard and con- 
tinued all night. The river raised until the water came within 
eighteen inches of the dugout door. The roof leaked so that it 
was almost as wet inside as out. Mr. Badger and Lewis stayed 
at the Whitaker dugout. They fixed the canvas that had been 
the cover of the wagon over the bed to keep Grandmother Whit- 
aker dry and the others sat by the stove and tried to keep warm, 
but could not. The next morning the men paddled down the 
rived to the Badger dugout in a wagon box. The wagon box 
was a product of their own making and was all wood, so it 
served the purpose of a boat. 

It should be explained that the reason the roofs of the dug- 
outs and log houses leaked was because of the material used in 
their construction. Shingles were out of the question to these 
settlers of small means living one hundred miles from the rail- 
road. There were plenty of trees near the river, so the settlers 
hewed out logs for ridge poles, then placed willow poles and 
brush across for a support. On top of that they put dirt and 
sod. When it rained the water naturally soaked through. The 
roof would leak for several days after a big rain. 

The next dwelling place of the Badger family was a log house 
built on the south half of the quarter section. For some time 



THE BADGER FAMILY 99 

they lived in the log house and kept their stock in the dugout 
stable on the river bank. Thus they were living during the 
great April storm of 1873, which lasted for three days. All of 
the draws and ravines, even the river, were packed full of snow 
that was solid enough to hold a man up. There was very little 
snow on the level, it all being in drifts in the low places. The 
Badgers had a corn field between the log house and the river. 
While the storm raged Lewis wrapped himself in a blanket, and 
by following the rows of corn made his way to the dugout stable 
and fed the horses corn once each day. It was impossible to 
give them water. 

Henry L. Badger was commissioned by Governor Butler the 
first notary public in Fillmore county. Later he was appointed 
by acting Governor James, registrar of voters for the election 
to be held April 21, 1871, to elect officers for the new county. 
At that election he was elected both county clerk and county 
surveyor. 

In the late sixties when the county was first settled the coun- 
try abounded in buffalo, deer, antelope, elk, prairie chickens, 
wild geese, ducks, and turkeys. The muddy stream known as 
West Blue river was clear and the fish found in it were not of 
the same variety as those caught now. Wild plums grew in 
abundance along the river bank and were much larger and of 
finer quality than the wild plums of today. In those days glass 
jars for canning were not as plentiful as now, so they picked 
the plums late in the fall, put them in a barrel and poured water 
over them and kept them for winter use. 

Lewis Badger tells of going on buffalo hunts with his father 
and seeing herds of thousands of the big animals, and driving 
for ten hours through the herd. He has now an old silver half 
dime that he found in an abandoned stage station on the Oregon 
trail, when on a buffalo hunt. 

In early days the settlers did lots of trapping. The Indians 
were frequent visitors and one time an Indian went with Mr. 
Badger and his son to look at their traps. In one trap they 
found a mink. Mr. Badger remarked that they got a mink in 
that same trap the day before. The Indian said, "Him lucky 
trap." The Indian would not steal but he wanted the lucky 
trap, so the next day that trap was gone and another in its 



100 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

place. The Indian seemed to get the best of the bargain for it 
is a fact that they never caught a thing in the trap he left. 

Sammy and Luke White, brothers of chief Prairie Chicken 
of the Omahas, frequently visited the early settlers. Sammy 
could talk English and was a good interpreter. He told of a 
big Indian battle in the western part of the state wherein the 
Sioux and Cheyenne, and Omahas, Otoes, Poncas, and Pawnees 
all took part and fought for two days and only killed two In- 
dians. His brother, Prairie Chicken, killed one of the Indians 
and scalped him in the midst of the battle. For that act of 
bravery he was made a chief. After telling the story of his 
brother, when asked about himself, Sammy very modestly said, 
"Me 'fraid, me run." 

On one of Mr. Badger's hunting trips he killed a deer. "When 
it was dressed Lewis was sent to the Whitaker dugout with a 
quarter of the meat. An Indian, Pawnee Jack, happened to be 
there at the time and it stormed so they had to keep him all 
night, much to their disgust. Evidently he enjoyed their hos- 
pitality, especially the venison, for when they started him on the 
next morning he inquired where the "papoose" lived that 
brought the "buckskin," meaning the venison. They told him 
and he made straight for the Badger dugout and the "buck- 
skin." It stormed so they were forced to keep him there two 
nights before sending him on. 

Although most painfully familiar to every early settler, no 
pioneer story is complete without the grasshoppers. They came 
in herds and droves and ate every green thing. For days great 
clouds of them passed over. The next year they hatched out in 
great numbers and flew away without hurting anything. Mr. 
Badger had a nice young orchard that he had planted and 
tended. The grasshoppers ate the leaves oif the trees and as it 
was early in August they leaved out again and were frozen so 
they died. Snakes feasted on the hoppers. Since seeing a 
garter snake at that time just as full of grasshoppers as it could 
possibly be, Lewis Badger has never killed a snake or permitted 
one to be killed on his farm. He declared that anything that 
could make away with so many grasshoppers should be allowed 
to live. Many people asked for and received the so-called "aid 
for grasshopper sufferers." In this section of the country it 



THE BADGER FAMILY 101 

seemed absolutely unnecessary as there had been harvested a 
good crop of wheat, previous to the coming of the hoppers. 

In 1871 the railroad was built through the county. That sea- 
son Lewis Badger sold watermelons, that he had raised, to the 
construction gang at work on the road. The town of Fairmont 
was started the same year. In those days the settlers would 
walk to town. It was nothing unusual for Mr. and Mi*s. Badger 
and Lewis to walk to Fairmont, a distance of six miles. 

When the Badger family settled on their claim, they planted 
a row of Cottonwood trees around it. These trees have made a 
wonderful growth. In 1911 part of them were sawed into lum- 
ber. There are two especially large cottonwood trees on the 
farm. One measures twenty-six feet in circumference at the 
base and nineteen feet around five feet above the ground and 
runs up forty feet before it begins to branch out. The other 
is thirty-three feet around the base but branches into three trees 
four feet above the ground. 

Mrs. H. L. Badger was a witness of the first wedding in the 
county, that of Wm. Whitaker and Sabra Brumsey, which took 
place June 28, 1871. The ceremony was performed by the first 
county judge, "Wm. H. Blaine, who stayed all night at the 
Badger home and attended the wedding the next day. 

Mrs. H. L. Badger died January 11, 1894, and Mr. Badger 
July 21, 1905. The son Lewis and family still own and farm 
the old homestead. 



FIRST WHITE SETTLEE IN FILLMORE COUNTY 

The first settlement in Fillmore county, Nebraska, was made 
in 1866 by Nimrod J. Dixon, a native of Pennsylvania. He was 
married to Lydia Gilmore, who had previously filed on a home- 
stead adjoining his. Mr. and Mrs. Dixon continued to reside 
on their homestead until they moved to Fairmont, Nebraska, 
where they are now living, having lived on the farm forty years. 

Mr. and Mrs. Dixon were married February 28, 1867, at the 
home of Mrs. Dixon's father, Elias Gilmore, near Blue Vale. 
Mr. Dixon got the license at Nebraska City. From that time 
until the summer of 1868 they were the only settlers in the 
county and were seven or eight miles from the nearest neighbor. 

In relating her experiences Mrs. Dixon said: "I was afraid 
to stay alone, so when Mr. Dixon had to go away I went with 
him or my sisters stayed with me. At that time we had to go to 
Milford for flour and twenty-five miles to get a plow-lay sharp- 
ened. At such times Mr. Dixon would stay at my father's home 
near Blue Vale and help them two or three days with their 
breaking, in return for which one of the boys would come and 
help him. 

"The Indians visited us frequently and I was afraid of them. 
One time a number of them came and two entered the dugout 
and asked for flour. We gave them as much as we could spare, 
but they could see the flour sitting on a bench behind the door 
and wanted more. We refused, but they became very insistent, 
so much so that Mr. Dixon grabbed a black-snake whip that hung 
on the wall and started toward them. This show of resistance 
was all that was necessary. It proved to the Indians that Mr. 
Dixon was not afraid of them, so they gave him powder and 
shot to regain his friendship. 

"An Indian came in one day and gave me a lot of beads, then 
he wanted flour, which we gave him. He took it and held it out 
to me, saying, 'Squaw cook it, squaw cook it!' This I refused 
to do, so he said, ' Give me the beads, give me the beads. ' 

"My baby, Arthur, born January 9, 1869, was the flrst white 



FIRST SETTLER IN FILLMORE COUNTY 103 

child bom in Fillmore county. I recall one time that I was 
home alone with the baby. An Indian came in and handed me 
a paper that said he had lost a pony. I assured him that we 
had seen nothing of the pony. He saw a new butcher knife that 
was lying on the table, picked it up, and finally drew out his old 
knife and held it toward me, saying, ' Swap, swap ! ' I said, 
'Yes,' so he went away with my good knife. 

' ' The worst fright I ever did have was not from Indians. My 
sister Minnie was with me and we were out of salt. Mr. Dixon 
said he would go across the river to Whitaker's and borrow 
some. We thought that he wouldn't be gone long so we stayed 
at home. While he was away a cloud came up and it began to 
rain. I never did see it rain harder. The river raised, and the 
water in the ravine in front of the dugout came nearly to the 
door. The roof leaked so we were nearly as wet indoors as we 
would have been out. The rain began about four o'clock in the 
afternoon. It grew dark and Mr. Dixon did not return. We 
thought that he would certainly be drowned in trying to cross 
the river. While we were in this state of suspense, the door 
burst open and a half-clad woman rushed in, saying, 'Don't let 
me scare you to death.' I was never so frightened in my life, 
and it was some time befoi-e I recognized her as my neighbor, 
Mrs. Fairbanks. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks had gone to Whitaker's, who were 
coopers, to get some barrels fixed for sorghum, and left the chil- 
dren at home. When it rained they thought they must try to 
cross the river and get to their children. Mr. Dixon came with 
them. At first they tried to ride horses across, but the one Mrs. 
Fairbanks was riding refused to swim and threw her into the 
water, so she had to swim back. They were all excellent swim- 
mers, so they started again in a wagon box which those on land 
tried to guide by means of a line. With the aid of the wagon 
box and by swimming they succeeded in getting across. That 
was in the fall of 1869. 

"The only time I ever saw a buffalo skinned was when a big 
herd stayed a week or more on the south side of the river. Kate 
Bussard and I stood on the top of the dugout and watched the 
chase, and after they killed one we went nearer and watched 
them skin it. ' ' 

Mr. Dixon took his claim without seeing it. In October, 1866, 



104 NEBEASKA PIONEER EEMINISCENCES 

he went to the land office and learned that he could then take a 
homestead of one hundred and sixty acres but the new law would 
soon go into effect providing that settlers could only homestead 
eighty acres. Mr. Dixon was afraid that he could not go and 
see the claim and get back to Nebraska City and file on it in time 
to get one hundred and sixty acres. In telling about it Mr. 
Dixon says, "I thought it would, indeed, be a poor quarter sec- 
tion that would not have eighty acres of farm land, so I took my 



' ' In the year 1868, the first year that we had any crops plant- 
ed, it almost forgot to rain at all. The barley was so short that 
it fell through the cradle. There were no bridges so we had to 
ford the river. It was hard to haul much of a load across be- 
cause the wagon would cut into the mud on the two banks while 
the sandy river bottom would stand a pretty good load. That 
difficulty I overcame by making bundles or sheaves of willow 
poles and placing them at the two banks and covering them with 
sand. Later the settlers made a bridge across the river near 
the homestead of H. L. Badger. This has ever since been known 
as the ' Badger Bridge. ' The first bridge was made of logs which 
we procured along the river. 

"I was making a hayrack of willow poles at the time of the 
total eclipse of the sun. It began to grow dark, the chickens 
went to roost, and it seemed that night was coming on. 

"The year 1869 was rainy and we raised good crops and fine 
potatoes that season. That was the year they were driving 
Texas cattle up to eat the northern grass and then ship them 
east over the Union Pacific railroad. The cattle stampeded, so 
they lost many of them and we saw them around for a year or 
more. 

"My first buffalo hunt was in 1867. The country seemed to 
be covered with great herds and the Indians were hunting them. 
Twenty of us started out with five wagons. There were Jake 
and Boss Gilmore, Jim Johnson, and myself in one wagon. "We 
had only about three days' supplies with us, expecting to get 
buffalo before these were exhausted, but the Indians were ahead 
of us and kept the buffalo out of our range. Our party crossed 
the Little Blue at Deweese. Beyond there we found carcasses 
of buffalo and a fire where the Indians had burned out a ranch. 
Realizing that it was necessary for us to take precautions, we 



FIRST SETTLER IN FILLMORE COUNTY 105 

chose Colonel Bifkin our leader and decided to strike another 
trail and thus avoid the Indians if possible. We traveled toward 
the Republican river but found no track of either buffalo or 
Indiajis, so we turned around and followed the Indians. By 
that time our food supply was exhausted, but by good luck we 
shot two wild turkeys. 

"We were soon following the Indians so closely that we ate 
dinner where they ate breakfast and by night we were almost 
in sight of them. We thought it best to put out a guard at 
night. My station was under a cottonwood tree near a foot-log 
that crossed a branch of the Little Blue. I was to be relieved 
at eleven o'clock. I heard something coming on the foot-log. 
I listened and watched but it was so dark that I could see noth- 
ing, but could hear it coming closer; so I shot and heard some- 
thing drop. Colonel Bifkin, who was near, coming to relieve 
me, asked what I was shooting at. 'I don't know, perhaps an 
Indian; it dropped,' I replied. We looked and found merely a 
coon, but it did good sei-vice as wagon grease, for we had for- 
gotten that very necessary article. 

"The Indians kept the main herd ahead of them so we were 
only able to see a few buffalo that had strayed away. We went 
farther west and got two or three and then went into camp on 
the Little Blue. We always left a guard at camp and all of the 
fun came when Boss Gilmore and I were on guard so we missed 
it. The others rounded up and killed about twenty buffalo. 
One feU over the bluff into the river and it feU to our lot to get 
it out and skin it, but by the time we got it out the meat had 
spoiled. The water there was so full of alkali that we could not 
drink it and neither could the horses, so we started back, struck 
the freight road and followed it until we came to Deep Well 
ranch on the Platte bottom. We had driven without stopping 
from ten o'clock in the forenoon till two o'clock in the morning. 
We lay down and slept then, but I was awakened early by chick- 
ens crowing. I roused the others of our party and we went in 
search of something to eat. It had been eight days since we had 
had any bread and I was never so bread-hungry as then. We 
came to the Martin home about three miles west of Grand Island 
and although we could not buy bread, the girls baked biscuits 
for us and I ate eleven biscuits. That was the home of the two 



106 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Martin boys who were pinned together by an arrow that the 
Indians shot through both of them while riding on one pony. 

"That morning I saw the first construction train that came 
into Grand Island over the Union Pacific railroad. If I re- 
member correctly it was in November, 1867. 

"We took home with us five wagonloads of buffalo meat. I 
did not keep any of the hides because I could not get them 
tanned. Mr. Gilmore got Indian women to tan a hide for him 
by giving them sugar and flour. They would keep asking for it 
and finally got all that was coming to them before the hide was 
done, so they quit tanning, and Mr. Gilmore had to keep baiting 
them by giving them more sugar and flour in order to get it 
done. ' ' 

Mr. and Mrs. Dixon have eight children, all living. They 
stiU own the original homestead that was their home for so 
many years. 



PIONEERING IN FILLMORE COUNTY 
By John R. McCashland 

In the fall of 1870, with Mrs. MeCashland and two children, 
Addie and Sammy, I left Livingston county, Illinois, and drove 
to Fillmore county, Nebraska. We started with two wagons and 
teams. I had three good horses and one old plug. I drove one 
team and had a man drive the other until I became indignant 
because he abused the horses and let him go. Mrs. McCashland 
drove the second team the rest of the way. 

A family of neighbors, Thomas Roe's, were going west at the 
same time, so we were together throughout the journey until we 
got lost in the western part of Iowa. The road forked and we 
were so far behind we did not see which way Roe turned and so 
went the other way. It rained that night and a dog ate our 
supplies so we were forced to procure food from a settler. We 
found the Roe family the next evening just before we crossed 
the Missouri river, October 15, 1870. 

East of Lincoln we met a prairie schooner and team of oxen. 
An old lady came ahead and said to us, ' ' Go back, good friends, 
go back!" When questioned about how long she had lived here, 
she said, "I've wintered here and I've summered here, and God 
knows I've been here long enough." 

When Mrs. MeCashland saw the first dugout that she had ever 
seen, she cried. It did not seem that she could bear to live in a 
place like that. It looked like merely a hole in the ground. 

We finally reached the settlement in Fillmore county and lived 
in a dugout with two other families until I could build a dugout 
that we could live in through the winter. That done, I picked 
out my claim and went to Lincoln to file on it and bought lumber 
for a door and for window frames. 

I looked the claim over, chose the site for buildings, and when 
home drew the plans of where I wanted the house, stable, well, 
etc., on the dirt hearth for Mrs. McCasUand to see. She felt so 
bad because she had to live in such a place that I gave it up and 
went to the West Blue river, which was near, felled trees, and 

107 



108 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

with the help of other settlers hewed them into logs and erected 
a log house on the homestead. While living in the dugout In- 
dian women visited Mrs. McCashland and wanted to trade her a 
papoose for her quilts. When she refused, they wanted her to 
give them the quilts. 

I had just forty-two dollars when we reached Fillmore county, 
and to look back now one would hardly think it possible to live 
as long as we did on forty-two dollars. There were times that 
we had nothing but meal to eat and many days we sent the 
children to school with only bread for lunch. 

I was a civil war veteran, which fact entitled me to a home- 
stead of one hundred and sixty acres. I still own that home- 
stead, which is farmed by my son. After visiting in the Bast 
a few years ago I decided that I would not trade my quarter 
section in Fillmore county for several times that much eastern 



FILLMORE COUNTY IN THE SEVENTIES 
By William Spade 

We came to Nebraska in October of 1870 by wagon and win- 
tered a mile east of what now is the Red Lion mill. We made 
several trips to Lincoln during the fall and winter and one to 
Nebraska City, where brother Dan and I shucked com for a 
farmer for a dollar a day with team. 

I moved on the William Bussard claim, later the Elof Lind- 
gren farm, in March, 1871, and raised a crop, then moved on our 
homestead in section 24, town 8, range 3 west. We built part 
dugout and part sodup for a house and slept in it the first night 
with only the blue sky for a roof. Then we put on poles, brush, 
hay, dirt, and sod for a roof. This was in October, and we lived 
in this dugout until 1874, then built a sod house. 

In April, 1873, we had a three days' snow storm called a bliz- 
zard. In the spring of 1871 I attended the election for the or- 
ganization of the county of Fillmore. I followed farming as an 
occupation and in the fall of 1872 William Howell and I bought 
a threshing machine, which we ran for four seasons. Some of 
the accounts are still due and unpaid. Our lodging place gen- 
erally was the straw stack or under the machine and our teams 
were tied to a wagon, but the meals we got were good. Aside 
from farming and threshing I put in some of the time at car- 
pentry, walking sometimes six miles back and forth, night and 
morning. 

In July or August, 1874, we had a visit from the grasshop- 
pers, the like of which had never been seen before nor since. 
They came in black clouds and dropped down by the bushel and 
ate every green thing on earth and some things in the earth. 
We had visits from the Indians too but they mostly wanted 
"hogy" meat or something to fill their empty stomachs. Well, 
I said we built a sodup of two rooms with a board floor and 
three windows and two doors, plastered with Nebraska mud. 
We thought it a palace, for some time, and were comfortable. 

In Jvme, 1877, I took a foolish notion to make a fortune and 

109 



110 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

in company with ten others, supplied with six months' pro- 
visions, started for the Black Hills. "We drove ox teams and 
were nearly all summer on the road ; at least we did not reach 
the mining places till August. In the meantime the water had 
played out in the placer mining district so there was "nothing 
doing." We prospected for quartz but that did not pan out 
satisfactorily, so we traded our grub that we did not need for 
gold dust and returned to our homes no richer than when we 
left. However, we had aU of the fresh venison we could use 
both coming and going, besides seeing a good many Indians and 
lots of wild country that now is mostly settled up. 



EARLY DAYS IN NEBRASKA 
By J. A. Carpenter 

I came to Gage county, Nebraska, in the fall of 1865, and 
homesteaded 160 acres of land, four miles from the village of 
Beatrice, in the Blue River valley. I built a log house 12x14 
feet with one door and two windows. The floor was made of 
native lumber in the rough, that we had sawed at a mill oper- 
ated by water power. 

With my little family I settled down to make my fortune. 
Though drouth and grasshoppers made it discouraging at times, 
we managed to live on what little we raised, supplemented by 
wild game — that was plentiful. Wild turkeys and prairie 
chickens could be had by going a short distance and further 
west there were plenty of buffalo and antelope. 

Our first mail was carried from Nebraska City on horseback. 
The first paper published in Gage county was in 1867 and was 
called the Blue Valley Record. In 1872 a postoffice was estab- 
lished in the settlement where we lived, which was an improve- 
ment over going four miles for mail. For the first schoolhouse 
built in the district where I lived I helped haul the lumber from 
Brownville, Nebraska, on the Missouri river, sixty-five miles 
from the village of Beatrice. The first few crops of wheat we 
raised were hauled to Nebraska City, as there was no market at 
home for it. On the return trip we hauled merchandise for the 
settlement. Every fall as long as wild game was near us we 
would spend a week or two hunting; to lay in our winter sup- 
ply of meat. I remember when I came through where the city 
of Superior now is, first in 1866 and again in 1867, nothing was 
to be seen but buffalo grass and a few large cottonwood trees. 
I killed a buffalo near the present town of Hardy. 

We have lived in Nebraska continuously since 1865 and it is 
hard to believe the progre^ that it has made in these few years. 



REMINISCENCES OF GAGE COUNTY 
By Albert L. Green 

The writer has in his possession an old map of the North 
American continent published in London in 1796, twelve years 
after the close of the American Revolution, whereon the region 
now comprising the state of Nebraska is shown as a part of 
Quivera; that supposed kingdom of fabulous riches in quest of 
which Coronado pursued his tedious wanderings more than three 
hundred years ago. At the time this map was published the 
French had visdted Indian tribes as far west as the Missouri, 
and it must have been from French and Spanish sources that 
the geographer and map-maker gathered the information that 
enabled him to compile that part of his map covering the vast 
unknown regions of the west. Guess-work and supposition re- 
sulted in elongations and abbreviations of territory and rivers 
that made it possible for him to show our own Blue river aa 
emptying into the Gulf of California, and the great kingdoms 
of Quivera and Teguayo as extending from the Missouri river 
to the Pacific coast. The greater part of what is now Mexico 
is shown as "New Biscay" and "New Navarre," while Mexico 
or "New Spain" is crowded down towards Central America. 
The existence of the Rocky Mountains, at the time this map was 
made, was unknown; and the whole region covered by them is 
shown as a vast plain. While spending leisure hours among 
some rare old books in the library of the Union Lea^e of Phil- 
adelphia, I came across the chronicles of Coronado 's wanderings 
and adventures, as detailed by his monkish chaplain and pre- 
served in the Spanish archives. A careful perusal of these fully 
convinced me that the route traversed was through eastern Ne- 
braska as far northward as the present site of Lincoln, and pos- 
sibly as far as the Platte. The great salt marsh was referred to, 
and the particulars of a disastrous encounter with the warlike 
Otoes are given. Mention is made of the Missouri nation and 
its bold warriors, as well as of other tribes whose habitat and 
hunting grounds were the plains or prairies of eastern Nebraska. 

112 



PIONEERING IN FILLMORE COUNTY 113 

In prehistoric times the Indian trails led along the level river 
bottoms where both wood and water could be obtained and 
where game was usually most abundant, and also in the direction 
of salt springs or licks where salt might be obtainable and the 
larger kinds of game be more plentiful. At the time of its set- 
tlement by white people the bottom lands of the Blue were 
threaded by many deeply worn trails that had evidently been 
traveled for centuries and a careful consideration of happen- 
ings, as recorded by the monkish chronicler, and the fact I have 
just stated in regard to the prehistoric routes of travel, forces 
the conclusion that Coronado 's weary cavalcade must undoubted- 
ly have followed the course of the Blue river to a point where 
the well worn trail diverged towards the great salt basin. Pos- 
sibly the party may have encamped on the site of Beatrice and 
there can be little doubt that one of the Indian cities mentioned 
by the faithful monkish historian, occupied the present site of 
Blue Springs, where evidences of an ancient Indian town can 
still be seen, and the outlines of ancient fortifications be traced. 
Fragments of Indian pottery and stone knives and implements, 
of both the paleolithic and the neolithic ages, are frequently 
turned up by the plowshare in that vicinity, all indicating a 
long established occupancy that must have continued for cen- 
turies. As late as the early part of the last century the Pawnees 
occupied the site ; and when the writer as United States govern- 
ment agent took charge of the Otoes and Missouris, in the sum- 
mer of 1869, there were still old warriors living who remember- 
ed hearing their fathers tell of deeds of bloody warfare done in 
this very vicinity, and who pointed out to the writer the very 
spot, in a deep draw or ravine on the prairie a few miles east 
of Blue Springs, where a war party of thirty Otoes met a well- 
deserved, but terrible death. At the time of this occurrence 
the Otoes were living at the mouth of the Nemaha and were on 
very bad terms with the Pawnees, many of whose scalps the 
writer has seen adorning Otoe medicine bags or hanging in their 
wigwams. The Pawnees had started on a buffalo hunt, leaving 
at home only the old and decrepit and a few children, and the 
Otoes, knowing that the defenders of the village had started on 
the hunt, made an attack at daybreak the next morning, mur- 
dering and scalping old and young alike and after loading 
themselves with plunder, hastened on their homeward trip. 



114 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Unfortunately for the Otoes the Pawnee hunters had encamped 
only eight miles up Indian creek and one of them that morning 
had returned to the village on some errand and arrived just in 
time to discover what was going on. The Otoes wounded him 
severely, but he succeeded in escaping to the Pawnee camp and 
giving the alarm. The enraged Pawnee warriors, mounted on 
their freshest and fastest ponies, were not long in reaching the 
village, nor were they long in discovering the trail of the Otoe 
war party, which they followed until they overtook it at the 
place pointed out to the writer. Here a fierce battle took place 
which resulted in the complete extermination of the Otoe party ; 
the tall slough grass, in which they took shelter, having been 
set on fire, the wounded all perished in the conflagration. This 
is probably one of the most tragic incidents of which we have 
any knowledge as having happened within the limits of Gage 
county. 

The first store established within the county was located in a 
log house on Plum creek near the present site of the village of 
Liberty. It was established, primarily as an Indian trading 
place, by a Mr. MacDonald, of St. Joseph, Missouri, but was 
under the management of Mrs. Palmer, who with her husband, 
David, were the first white settlers within the limits of the 
county, having arrived in 1857 a few weeks prior to the coming 
of the founders of Beatrice. David was drowned a few years 
ago while bathing in the Blue. The store on Plum creek, on 
one occasion, was raided by a party of Pawnees who, loaded with 
plunder, were pursued by a large party of Otoes, who overtook 
them on the Little Blue some distance above the present site of 
Fairbury, and killed them all. The site of this battle was point- 
ed out to the writer by the Otoes while accompanying them on a 
buffalo hunt in 1870. The skulls and bones of the slain were 
still in evidence at that time, being concealed in the dense thicket 
in which the battle had taken place. 

About the year 1868 a war party of Osages made a raid on the 
aboriginal inhabitants of the county and murdered and scalped 
several squaw-s who were chopping wood near the Blue. The 
trail of the Osages was followed, by a war party of Otoes, to 
the reservation of the former and satisfaction exacted in the 
shape of a gift of forty head of ponies. On their way back the 
Otoes concluded that they had settled too cheaply and feared 



PIONEERING IN FILLMORE COUNTY 11.5 

they might be censured by the kindred of the murdered women. 
They halted, and leaving the forty head of ponies under guard, 
made a flying raid on the Osage pony herds and succeeded in 
stealing and getting safely away with another forty head. In 
due time, with eighty head of Osage ponies, they made a tri- 
umphal daylight entry into their home village. If they had 
been unsuccessful they would have stolen in one by one during 
the darkness of the night. 

The last Indian war party to traverse the soil of Gage county 
consisted of thirty naked and painted Omahas. It transpired 
that a party of Kickapoos had raided the pony herds of the 
Omahas and stolen thirty head of ponies, and in order to throw 
suspicion on the Otoes, had cunningly directed their trail to- 
wards the Otoe reservation, passing in the night as near to the 
Otoe village as possible without being discovered. The Otoes 
at this time were expecting, and trying to guard against, a raid 
from the Osages, whom they had great reason to fear, as it was 
fully expected that they would exact satisfaction, sooner or later, 
for that extra forty head of ponies that the Otoes had stolen. As 
a protection from the Osages, the Otoes had constructed a sort 
of a stockade of poles tied together with withes and strips of 
bark, in front of each wigwam, where they kept their nearly 
eight hundred head of ponies under careful watch every night. 
The Omaha war party stealthily approached under cover of the 
darkness and finding sentinels posted and watching, they hid in 
the tall weeds and sunflowers as close to the stockades as they 
could safely get, until daybreak, when the sleepy sentinels, think- 
ing all danger over, entered the wigwams for something to eat 
and a nap, then emerging from their hiding places the Omahas 
made quick work of cutting the lashings that bound the poles 
and selecting thirty of the best ponies they could get hold of. 
The noise of the ponies' hoof -beats, as the Omahas rode swiftly 
away, aroused the Otoes, and in a very few minutes the whole 
village was in a commotion. Fierce war whoops resounded ; the 
heralds went about calling the braves into action and soon there 
was mounting in hot haste. The writer, awakened by the tumult, 
stepped out upon a balcony in front of the agency building and 
beheld a sight such as no historian of the county will ever again 
record. In the far distance the naked Omahas were riding for 
their very lives, while perhaps a hundred or more Otoes were 



116 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

lashing their ponies in a wild frenzy of pursuit. In the village 
the greatest commotion prevailed, the women wailed, the heralds 
shouted, and the dogs barked ; scores of women stood on the tops 
of their wigwams shrieking and gesticulating and the temper 
of the community closely resembled that of a nest of hornets 
when aroused by the rude thrust of a pole. It was nearly noon 
when the distant war whoops, announcing the return of the pur- 
suers, were heard ; as they drew near it was apparent that they 
were wildly triumphant and were bringing with them the thirty 
hideously painted Omahas. The prisoners were delivered to the 
agent who directed his police to disarm them, and cause them 
to be seated on the floor of the council room where they formed 
a dejected looking group with their naked bodies and shaved 
and Vermillion painted heads. It was then that their leader 
explained that their seizure of ponies was honestly intended 
as a reprisal for ponies which they had lost. Old Medicine 
Horse, an Otoe chief, assured them that his braves would have 
killed every one of them if the agent had not talked so much 
about the wickedness of killing, and it was only their fear of 
displeasing him that caused them to take prisoners instead of 
scalps. After much speech-making, the agent adjourned the 
council and suggested that the Otoes take the Omahas to their 
wigwams, feed them, and allow them to depart in peace; and 
this was done. The only blood shed during the campaign was 
in the shooting of one of Elijah Pilley's hogs by the Omahas. 
The first notification I had of this atrocious and bloody affair 
was when Elijah, then quite a young man, came to see me and 
file a complaint, bringing with him the blood-stained arrow that 
had pierced the vitals of his innocent hog. 

Perhaps one of the saddest tragedies of those early days oc- 
curred in 1870 when two homesteaders, returning to their fam- 
ilies from a trip to Brownville for provisions, were brutally 
murdered by a halfbreed named Jim Whitewater. Jim was just 
returning from a buffalo hunt and had secured a supply of 
whiskey from a man named Wehn, at Pairbury. Being more 
than half drunk, he conceived the idea that the bravest thing 
he could do would be to kill some white people ; and it happened 
that he came across the poor homesteaders just at that time. 
It was about dusk and the poor fellows had halted for the night, 
by the side of a draw where the grass was tall enough to cut for 



REMINISCENCES OF GAGE COUNTY 117 

their horses. They had unharnessed their teams, tied them to 
the wagons and were in the act of mowing grass for them when 
a pistol shot rang out and one of them fell mortally wounded; 
the other, being attacked, and though mortally hurt, tried to 
defend himself with the scythe that he had been using, and in 
doing so cut the Indian 's hand, almost severing the thumb. The 
scene of this terrible affair was just over the Gage county line 
in Jeflferson county aud consequently it devolved on the sheriff 
of that county to discover and arrest the murderer. As White- 
water had been seen in the vicinity, suspicion pointed to him 
and his arrest followed. He soon escaped from the officers and 
was hidden for two weeks, when the Indian police discovered 
his place of concealment in the timber on Wolf creek. His own 
brother, assisted by other Indians, captured him by strategy, 
bound him securely with their lariats and delivered him at the 
agency. The writer had gone to Beatrice on business and was 
not expected back until the next day, but in his absence his 
wife, then a young woman of about twenty, took energetic 
measures to insure the safety of the prisoner by ordering him 
placed in irons, and kept under a strong guard until the agent 's 
return. In the meantime, having finished the business at Be- 
atrice and there being a full moon, the writer decided to drive 
the twenty miles to the agency between sun-down and midnight, 
which he did, arriving there shortly after midnight. Of course, 
until his arrival, he had no intimation that Whitewater had 
been captured. Before leaving home the Indians had reported 
that they had reason to believe that he was hiding somewhere on 
Wolf creek, as his wife had taken dried buffalo meat to that 
locality, and as the writer, in returning, had to drive for about 
forty rods through the heavy timber bordering that creek and 
cross it at a deep and rather dangerous ford, and knowing that 
Whitewater had declared that he would take both the agent and 
the sheriff with him to the other world, and that he was heavily 
armed, the writer is not ashamed to confess to a feeling of nerv- 
ousness almost akin to fear, as he was about to enter that 
stretch of timber shaded road dimly lighted by the full moon. 
He first carefully let down the curtains of the carriage and then 
made his team dash at full speed through the long stretch of 
timber, plunge and flounder through the ford, and out once 
more upon the open prairie, the driver expecting at almost any 



118 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

moment to hear the crack of a pistol. On arriving within sight 
of the agency building, instead of finding it dark and silent as 
he had expected, the writer was greatly surprised to see it well 
lighted and many Indian police standing about it as if on 
guard. The next morning the writer with several Indian chiefs 
and the Indian police started for Fairbury with the prisoner; 
the Indians riding two abreast and carrying a large United 
States flag at the head of the procession. The trip was made 
via Beatrice and the distance traveled was about fifty miles. 
The Indians feared an attack from the Rose creek settlers; 
neighbors and friends of the murdered men, and as they ap- 
proached Fairbury the entire line of Indians commenced a 
melodious chant which the interpreter explained as nothing 
less than an appeal to the Great Spirit asking him to incline 
the hearts of the people to treat the Indians kindly and fairly. 
On arriving at Fairbury the cavalcade halted in the public 
square and was soon surrounded by the entire population of 
the hamlet. It was neariy dark, but the good ladies of the 
place set about preparing a bountiful meal for the hungry In- 
dians, to which they did ample justice. There being no jail in 
the place, we waived a hearing and started the next moming_ 
for Pawnee City, where prison accommodations could be had. 
Shortly after leaving Fairbury the interpreter told the Indians 
that evidently the Great Spirit had heard their appeal, to which 
they all vociferously assented. Jim was kept at Pawnee City 
until his trial, which took place at Fairbury before Judge 0. P. 
Mason, who sentenced him to imprisonment for life. White- 
water was one of three individuals among the Otoes who could 
read and write, the other two being Battiste Barneby and Bat- 
tiste Deroin, both of whom were very capable interpreters. 
Polygamy being allowable among the Otoes, Deroin was one who 
had availed himself of its privileges, his two wives being sisters. 
On learning that Whitewater had been impri^ned for life, his 
wife soon found another husband, greatly to his sorrow and 
chagrin. It was during Whitewater's imprisonment that the 
reservation was sold and the Indians removed. Eighteen years 
after his conviction he received a pardon and left the peniten- 
tiary to rejoin the tribe. What retribution he meted out to 
those who aided in his capture or to his wife's second husband, 
the vn-iter has never learned. 



REMINISCENCES OF GAGE COUNTY 119 

A year before the writer took charge of the Otoes and Mis- 
souris, a delegation of their chiefs had accompanied their agent 
Major Smith, to Washington and made a treaty under which 
the whole reservation of 160,000 acres was to be sold at $1.50 
per acre. The writer was informed by Major Smith that a 
railroad company would become the ultimate beneficiary, pro- 
vided the treaty was ratified by the senate, and that he had been 
promised a section of land if the scheme proved successful. 
Smith urged the writer to use all the influence possible to secure 
the ratification of the treaty and before the writer had taken 
any steps to secure its defeat, he also received an intimation, 
if not an absolute promise, from interested parties, that in the 
event of its ratification, he should have his choice of any section 
of land on the domain. Believing that such a treaty was ad- 
verse to the interests and welfare of the Indians, the writer at 
once set about to accomplish its defeat, in which, through the 
aid of eastern friends, he was finally successful. 

Coronado's chronicler mentions, among other nations with 
whom the expedition came in contact, the Missourias as being 
very fierce and warlike, and it may be a matter of local histori- 
cal interest to state that the Missouri "nation" with which 
Coronado became acquainted, and from which one of the world's 
largest rivers and one of the largest and richest states take 
their names, reduced to a remnant of less than one hundred 
individuals, found an abiding place within the limits of Gage 
county for more than a generation. Placed on a reservation 
with the Otoes and under the care of the same agent, they still 
retained their own chief and their own language, though cir- 
cumstances gradually induced the adoption of the Otoe tongue. 
The old chief of the Missouris was called Eagle and was known 
aa a war chief. It was his province to command and direct all 
hunting operations. He was a man of very striking appearance, 
over six feet in height, straight as an arrow, with fine features 
and apparently about seventy-five years of age in 1869. He 
was an hereditary chief, and probably a lineal descendant of one 
of the kings of the Missouri nation that Coronado and his fol- 
lowera met. Old Eagle was the only chief of the Missouris, 
and was respected and highly esteemed by both the Missouris 
and the Otoes. During a buffalo hunt, in which the writer par- 
ticipated with the Indians, Eagle chief was the highest author- 



120 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

ity in regard to all matters pertaining to the chase and attack 
on the herd. In 1869 the head chief of the Otoes was Arkeketah 
who was said to have been appointed to that position by Major 
Daily. He was a polygamist and very much opposed to the 
ways of the white man. In fact he was such a reactionary and 
srtumbling-block to the progress of the tribe that the writer 
finally deposed him and advanced Medicine Horse to the posi- 
tion of head chief. 

The number of Indians living within the borders of Gage 
county in 1869 was probably not far from eight hundred. The 
reservation, comprising two hundred and fifty square miles, 
extended some distance into Kansas and also took in a part of 
Jefferson county in this state, but the Indians were all domiciled 
in Gage county. Their principal village was situated close to 
the site now occupied by the town of Barnston and where a 
fine spring afforded an ample supply of water. The wigwams 
were of a type adopted by the Indians long before the discovery 
of America, and most of them were large enough to accommo- 
date several families. It was a custom of the Otoes to vacate 
the wigwams and live during the winter in tipis which were 
pitched in the timber where fuel was close at hand. In 1869 
only three persons in the confederated tribes wore citizens 
clothes, the rest were all blanket Indians, who, during warm 
weather, went almost naked, and habitually painted their faces 
and shaved heads, with vermillion and indigo. 

The principal burial place of the Otoes was on a bluff over- 
looking the river bottoms, and within a short distance of where 
Barnston now stands. For years it was visited, as one of the 
curiosities of the reservation, by the white settlers and strangers, 
chiefly on account of the weird and ghostly funeral oaks that 
stood on the brink of the bluff, bearing, lashed to their gnarled 
and crooked limbs, gruesome burdens of dead Indians, wrapped 
in bark and partly mummified by the sun and wind ; there was 
probably a score of these interesting objects resting peacefully 
on the boughs of these three oaks ; they had been there for many 
years, and might po^bly have remained to this day had not a 
great prairie fire during the summer of 1871 destroyed the oaks 
and their ghastly burden, leaving only an assortment of charred 
bones and skulls to mark the site. 

A strange and pathetic tragedy, in connection with this old 



REMINISCENCES OF GAGE COUNTY 121 

burial place, transpired shortly before the writer took charge 
of the agency and its affairs; and it was from the interpreter, 
Battiste Deroin, that the particulars were obtained. The inci- 
dent may be worth preser^nng by the local historian, as illustrat- 
ing the absolute faith of the Indians in a continued existence 
of the spirit beyond the grave. Dogs were frequently strangled 
at children's funerals in order that the dog's spirit might ae- 
company that of the child, and it was a common sight to see a 
dog's body sitting upright with its back to a stake and securely 
tied in that position, in the vicinity of the old burial place. 
The man who figured in this tragedy was very aged and feeble, 
and the little child was very dear to him; he doubtless knew 
that he had not long to live and that he very soon would have to 
travel over the same lonely trail that the little child was about 
to take. Doubtless he realized fully what a comfort it would be 
to each, if they could take the long journey together. The 
Otoes always buried their dead in a sitting posture ; and the old 
man, when seated in the grave, held the body of the child in 
his arms. The relatives took a last farewell of both the dead 
child and its living caretaker; the grave was covered with a 
buffalo robe supported on poles or heavy sticks, and the mass 
of earth taken from the grave was piled thereon ; this being their 
usual mode of burial. 

The custom of strangling a horse or pony at the burial of an 
Indian brave was a common occurrence among the Otoes prior 
to 1870 and the old burial place on the bluff was somewhat dec- 
orated with horses' skulls laid upon the graves of warriors who 
are supposed to have gone to heaven on horseback. The tail 
of the horse sacrificed was usually fastened to a pole that stood 
at the head of the grave. 

The first school established vdthin the limits of the county 
was a mission school under the care of the Rev. Mr. Murdock, 
and the old stone building, built for it on Mission creek, was the 
first stone building in the county. It was a ruin in 1869. 

In 1869 there were still some beavers to be found along the 
Blue ; and at that time the river abounded with large gars, some 
of which were three or four feet in length ; a fish which has 
since become entirely extinct in the Blue, probably because the 
water is no longer clear. The gar was one of the primitive fishes 
of the Silurian age; it was very destructive of all other fish. 



122 NEBEASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

"White people never ate it, but the Indians thought it fairly 
good. The Indians obtained most of their fish by shooting with 
arrows from the river banks. They often succeeded in shooting 
very large fish owing to the clearness of the water. This could 
not be done now that the prairies have been put into cultivation, 
as that has destroyed the clearness of the water. 

As late as 1869 there were some wild deer in the county and 
little spotted fawns were occasionally caught. The writer pro- 
cured two of the latter from the Indians and gave them to Ford 
Eoper's family in Beatrice; they became very tame and were fre- 
quently seen on the streets of the town. In 1870 the writer, 
while driving from Blue Springs to Beatrice, met a large buck 
with antlers, as it emerged from an opening in the bluffs. 

Among the first settlers of the county were some families 
from Tennessee who settled near the present town of Liberty 
on Plum creek. They did their own spinning and weaving, and 
having been accustomed to raising cotton and mixing it with the 
wool for spinning, they undertook to raise it here. The writer 
remembers seeing their cotton patches, but never saw them 
gathering cotton. 

The first bridge built in the county to cross the river, was 
built on Market street, Beatrice, about the year 1870. It was a 
very narrow wooden structure, only wide enough for one wagon 
at a time to pass over. The firm of Peavy and Curtiss of Paw- 
nee City were the contractors and the contract price was $1,000. 
It was regarded as a public improvement of very great impor- 
tance to the town. 



RANCHING IN GAGE AND JEFFERSON COUNTIES 
By Peter Jansen 

I came to Beatrice, Nebraska, in 1874, after having been 
through Minnesota, Dakota, and Kansas, looking for a place 
where a settlement of our people, the Mennonites, could be es- 
tablished. Of all the land I had looked over, I liked south- 
eastern Nebraska best, and the little town of Beatrice on the 
banks of the Big Blue, then consisting of maybe fifty dwellings 
and a few stores on lower Court street, seemed very picturesque 
and attractive. After forty years I have not changed my opin- 
ion. We found a suitable tract of prairie just across the line in 
Jefferson county, which we bought of the Burlington and Mis- 
souri River railroad at $3.50 per acre on easy payments. Be- 
atrice remained our chief place of business. Smith Brothers 
had j\ist started a banking business in one-half of a little shack, 
the other half being occupied by a watchmaker carrying a 
small stock of jewelry. Klein & Lang had a general store on 
the comer of Second and Court streets, and here we did nearly 
all of our trading. The "Pacific House" on Second street was 
the only hotel. Here I made headquarters for some time. Mr. 
and Mrs. Randall, the hosts, were very kind to me. The latter 
died a few years later in the prime of her life. 

We soon commenced to build up what was for years known as 
" Jansen 's Ranch," about twenty miles southwest of Beatrice, 
and stock it with sheep, which we brought from Wisconsin. The 
first summer I had a temporary sheep corral about where the 
West Side schoolhouse now stands. We used to drive from the 
ranch to Beatrice diagonally across the prairie; very few sec- 
tion lines had been established, and there was only one house 
between the two points. 

Major Wheeler, of stage route fame, lived at the Pacific house 
and took a kindly interest in the young emigrant boy. I re- 
member on one occasion I had brought in a carload of valuable 
breeding sheep and quartered them for the night in the corral 
of the livery stable across the street from the hotel, run then 



124 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

by S. P. Lester. I was afraid of strange dogs attacking them, 
and sat up all night on the porch watching. In the morning, 
while washing up in the primitive wash-room, I overheard the 
major telling Mr. Randall about it. He concluded by saying: 
"That young fellow is all right; a boy who sits up all night 
with a few sheep will certainly succeed. ' ' I felt proud over the 
praise, and it encouraged me very much. 

We were told by the few settlers who had preceded us that 
the upland prairie would not grow anything and that the bottom 
land was the only place where crops could be raised with any 
assurance of success. However, we were going to try farming, 
anyway. I bought a yoke of young oxen and a breaking plow 
and started in. The oxen were not well broken, and the plow 
was new and would not scour. Besides, I did not know anything 
about breaking prairie or driving oxen. The latter finally be- 
came impatient and ran away, dragging the plow with them. 
It was a hot day in May, and they headed for a nearby slough, 
going into the water up to their sides. I had by that time dis- 
carded my shoes and followed them as fast as I could. When I 
reached the slough, quite out of breath and thoroughly disgusted, 
I sat down and nearly cried and wished I were back in Russia 
where I did not have to drive oxen myself. About this time 
the nearest neighbor, a Mr. Babcock, living four miles away, 
happened along driving a team of old, well broken oxen. He 
asked what my trouble was, and after I told him in broken 
English, he said: "Well, Pete, take off your trousers and go 
in and get your oxen and plow out, and I will help you lay off 
the land and get your plow agoing, ' ' which he did, and so started 
me farming. 

My younger brother, John, and I bached it for two years. 
One of us would herd the sheep and the other stay at home and 
do the chores and cooking. We took turns about every week. 
We had a room partitioned off in the end of the sheep shed, 
where we lived. 

Game was plentiful those days, and during the fall and win- 
ter we never lacked for meat. 

I had by that time, I regret to say, acquired the filthy Amer- 
ican habit of chewing (I have quit it long since), and enjoyed 
it very much while doing the lonely stunt of herding the flock. 

One day we had gotten a new supply of groceries and also a 



RANCHING IN GAGE AND JEFFERSON 125 

big plug of what waa known as "Star" chewing tobacco. Next 
morning I stai-ted out on my pony with the sheep, the plug in 
my pocket, and anticipating a good time. Soon a severe thunder 
storm came up, and lightning was striking aU around me. I 
felt sure I would be hit and they would find me dead with the 
big plug of tobacco in my pocket. My mother knew nothing 
of my bad habit, and I also knew that it would nearly kill her 
to find out, so I threw the plug far away and felt better — for 
awhile. The clouds soon passed away, however, and the sun 
came out brightly and soon found me hunting for that plug, 
which, to my great disappointment, I never recovered. 

Those early winters, seems to me, were severer than they are 
now, and the snow storms or blizzards much fiercer, probably 
because the wind had an unrestricted sweep over the vast prai- 
ries. 

In a few years our flocks had increased, so that we built a 
corral and shed a mile and a half away, where we kept our 
band of wethers and a herder. 

About Christmas, I think it was in 1880, a blizzard started, 
as they usually did, with a gentle fall of snow, which lasted the 
first day. During the night the wind veered to the north, and 
in the morning we could not see three rods; it seemed like a 
sea of milk! We were very anxious to know the fate of our 
herder and his band of sheep, and towards noon I attempted to 
reach them, hitching a pair of horses to a sleigh and taking a 
man along. We soon got lost and drove around in a circle, 
blinded by the snow, for hours, my companion giving up and 
resigning himself to death. We probably would have both per- 
ished had it not been for the sagacity of my near horse, to 
which I finally gave the reins, being benumed myself. He 
brought us home, and you may believe the barking of the shep- 
herd dogs sounded very musical to me as we neared the barn. 

We got our fuel from the Indian reservation about eight miles 
south of us on the creek, where now stands the thriving town 
of Diller. The Indians were not allowed to sell any timber, 
but a generous gift of tobacco was too tempting to them to resist. 

Rattlesnakes were found frequently in those days, and their 
venomous bites caused great agony and sometimes death. One 
Sunday afternoon, wife and myself were sitting on the porch 
of our small frame house, while our baby was playing a few 



126 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

feet away in a pile of sand. Our attention was attracted by 
her loud and gleeful crooning. Looking up, we saw her poking 
a srtick at a big rattler, coiled, ready to spring, about three feet 
away. I have always detested snakes and would give even a 
harmless bull-snake a wide berth. However, I took one big 
jump and landed on Mr. Rattler with both feet, while my wife 
snatched the baby out of harm's way. 

The next ten years made a great change. We had proven 
that farming on the tablelands could be made a success, rail- 
roads had been built, and towns and villages had sprung up 
like mushrooms. We even got a telephone. The wilderness 
had been conquered. 

When I look back upon those first years of early settlement, 
with their privations and hardships, I cannot refrain from think- 
ing they were the happiest ones of my life, especially after I got 
married in 1877 and my dear wife came to share joy and sorrow 
with me. To her I attribute to a very large extent what little 
I may have achieved in the way of helping to build up this 
great commonwealth. 







Mrs. Prances Avery Haggard 

Third State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American 

Revolution. 1898 



EARLY RECOLLECTIONS OP GAGE COUNTY 
By Mrs. E. Johnson 

Emerson aptly said, "America is another word for opportun- 
ity." We realize this most truly when we compare present 
prosperity with early day living in the middle West. 

In 1878 my brother, A. M. McMaster, and family, arrived in 
Nebraska City. They came overland to Gage county and set- 
tled on section 15, two and a half miles northeast of Filley 
and one mile south of what was then known as Melroy postoffice, 
so-called in honor of two little boys bom the same year the post> 
ofSce was established, Mell Gale and Roy Tinklepaugh, whose 
parents were among the earliest settlers in this neighborhood. 

My brother built his house of lumber he had shipped to Ne- 
braska City. Beatrice was our market place. We sold all our 
grain, hogs, and produce there. Eggs were five cents a dozen 
and butter six cents a pound. The first year we came we 
bought five hundred bushels of com at twelve cents a bushel 
delivered, and cribbed it. 

There was an Indian trail across the farm, and oft«n the 
Indians would pass going from the Omaha reservation to the 
Otoe reservation at Barnston; the children would become 
frightened and hide under the bed; the Indians would often 
call and ask for flour and meat. 

There was not a house between Elijah Filley 's stone barn and 
Beatrice on the Seott street road, and no bridges. The trail 
we followed going to Beatrice led us north to Melroy, making 
the traveling distance one and a half miles farther than, in 
these times of well preserved section lines and graded country 
roads. This stone barn of Elijah Filley 's was an early land- 
mark. I have heard Mr. Filley tell interesting anecdotes of his 
early years here, one of an Indian battle near the present site 
of Virginia. 

Before the town of Filley was in existence, there was a post- 
office called "Cottage HiU," which is sho^vn on old time maps 
of the state. 

127 



128 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

One of the curiosities of the early times was a cow with a 
wooden 1^, running with a herd of cattle. The hind leg waa 
off at the knee joint. She was furnishing milk for the family 
of her owner, a Mr. Scott living on Mud creek, near the town 
of Filley. 

Mr. Scott often told of pounding their com to pulverize it. 
The nearest mill was at Nebraska City. This difficult traffic 
continued until 1883, when the Burlington came through Filley. 

Two or three years after we had located here, two young men 
came along from Kansas looking for work. My brother was 
away from home, working at carpentry, and his wife, fearing 
to be alone, would lock the stair door after they retired and 
unlock it in the morning before they appeared. They gathered 
the com and then remained and worked for their board. One 
day, one of the young men was taken sick. The other was sent 
for Dr. Boggs. He lost his way in a raging blizzard and came 
out five miles north of where he intended to, but reached the 
doctor aud secured medicine, the doctor not being able to go. 
The next day Dr. Bc^gs, with his son to shovel through the 
drifts, succeeded in getting there. The young man grew worse, 
they sent for his mother, and she came by stage. The storm 
was so fierce the stage was left there for a week ; the horses were 
taken to Melroy postoffice. The young man died and was taken 
in the stage to Beatrice to be sliipped home, men going with 
shovels to dig a road. Arriving there it was found that the 
railroad was blocked. As they could not ship the body, they 
secured a casket and the next day brought it back to our house. 
My brother was not at home, and they took the corpse to a 
neighbor's house. The next day they buried him four miles 
east, at what is now known as Crab Orchard. 

True, life in those days tended to make our people sturdy, 
independent and ingenious, but for real comfort it is not 
strange that we prefer present day living, with good mail ser- 
vice, easy modes of transportation, modem houses, and well 
equipped educational institutions. 



BIOGRAPHY OF FORD LEWIS 
By (Mrs. D. S.) H. Virginia Lewis Dalbet 

As my father, Ford Lewis, was one of the pioneer land own- 
ers in Nebraska and assisted actively in settling the southeast 
part of the state, I have been requested to give a brief sketch 
of his life and early experiences in this state. My only regret 
in writing this is that he is not here to speak for himself. Ford 
Lewis was bom in Deckertown, New Jersey, July 25, 1829, son 
of Phoebe and Levi Lewis, the latter engaged in mercantile bus- 
iness both in Hamburg and Hackettstown, New Jersey. 

After finishing his education at William Rankin's Classical 
School and studying under Chris Marsh, author of double entry 
bookkeeping, he assisted his father in the mercantile business 
for some time. However, he preferred other pursuits and after 
a successful test of his judgment in real esta,te, started west. 
At Syracuse, New York, he was induced to engage in partner- 
ship under the name of Chapman & Lewis, watch case manu- 
facturers and importers of watch movements; keeping standard 
time for the New York Central and other roads and supplying 
railroad officials, conductors, and engineers with the highest 
grade of watches. 

Selling his interest in 1856, he accepted the general agency 
of the Morse Publishing House, New York, making his head- 
quarters at Charleston, South Carolina, in winter and at Cleve- 
land, Ohio, in summer, until 1859, when he went to Jerseyville, 
Illinois, with his parents and sister, buying and selling real 
estate in that city and Jersey county until 1867, when, with 
Congressman Robert M. Knapp, he visited Nebraska, and made 
his first investment in government land, many of his United 
States patents being signed by Presidents Grant and Johnson. 

Ford Lewis was in pioneer days one of the largest ownere of 
farm lands in Nebraska, his holdings being chiefly in Pawnee, 
Otoe, Gage, Johnson, and Lancaster counties. On one of his 
advertising cards he states that, "occupied for eighteen years 
past in the purchase and sale of over 80,000 acres of other lands, 



130 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

these, on account of their well known intrinsic value have been 
reserved intact." 

Mr. Lewis founded the towns of Lewiston in Pawnee county 
and Virginia in Gage county, naming the latter in honor of his 
daughter. 

At a meeting of the Nebraska legislature held at Omaha in 
1867, Mr. Lewis was an interested spectator, and before the 
capital of the state was changed he predicted its location in the 
salt basin, almost on the spot where Lincoln now stands. He 
accordingly purchased property in the vicinity of what is now 
Beatrice, making a comfortable fortune as the result of his 
wisdom and foresight. By Ford Lewis' liberality to those 
purchasing land from him, in selling at reasonable prices, and 
extending their contracts during hard times, instead of making 
purchasers forfeit their land because of inability to meet their 
payments, he encouraged and assisted many settlers who are now 
some of Nebraska's most prosperous farmers to keep their land, 
which is now the source of their prosperity. During the period 
when he was borrowing money for his investments in Nebraska 
land, many Illinois people remarked that Ford Lewis was ' ' land 
crazy," but have since wished they had had his vision, and 
courage to hold their purchases through the crop failures and 
drouths which are sometimes the portion of every community; 
those who followed his adAdce now "rise up and call him 



That he was not alone in his judgment is evidenced by the 
large land holdings of the late Lord Scully of England and the 
late John W. Bookwalter of Springfield, Ohio, who recently died 
in Italy, and was a warm personal friend of my father's, hav- 
ing purchased some of his land from him. 

Mr. Lewis married Miss Elizabeth Davis of Jerseyville, Illi- 
nois, in 1864. She was the first girl baby bom in that town, 
her parents being among the earliest pioneers there from New 
Jersey; so her childhood memories of bears, Indians, and slave 
refugees during the civil war, and roaming the woods sur- 
rounding their home prepared her to be a capable and sympa- 
thetic helpmate for my father during his many pioneer trips to 
Nebraska. 



A BUFFALO HUNT 
By "W. H. Aveey 
In the fall of 1866, about the last of October, a party of nine 
men, myself included, started out from Rose creek for a buffalo 
hunt. At Whiteroek, Kansas, we were joined by another 
party of four men with "Old Martin Fisher," an early White- 
rock settler, aa oiBcial guide. Our equipment consisted of four 
wagons, one of which was drawn by a double ox team. There 
were numerous firearms and plenty of provisions for the trip. 
The party was much elated over the first day's experiences as 
night found us in possession of four One buffalo. That evening 
while we were riding out after one of the buffalo our ears 
were greeted by the Indian yell. Looking back up a draw we 
saw five redmen galloping toward us. At the time we did not 
know they were friendly, but that was proven later. They 
came up to us and wanted powder or "buUet" and also wanted 
to swap guns. All they succeeded in getting was a necktie which 
one of the men gave them. After a short parley among them- 
selves they left, going back to our camp where we had left one 
man to guard the camp and prepare supper. There they helped 
themselves to the loaf of bread the guard had just baked, a $12 
coat, a $22 revolver, and one good bridle; away they went and 
that was the last seen of them. The night was passed in safety 
and the next day we hunted without any exciting experiences. 
The following day we met with only fair success so thought we 
had better start for home. In the morning the party divided, 
our guide, Fisher, and two men going on and leaving the rest 
of us to hunt as we went along. We succeeded in getting only 
one buffalo, but Fisher's men had done better and were ready 
to make tracks for home. That night they had suspicions that 
there were Indians near so built no fire and in the morning 
soon after breaking camp a party of Indians came upon theuL 
There was considerable parleying about a number of things 
which the Indians wanted but the men were unwilling to make 
any bargains whatever. All the Indians but one started off and 

131 



132 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

this one still wanted to parley ajid suddenly drew his revolver 
and shot Fisher in the shoulder. The Indian then rode off at 
breakneck speed and that was the last seen of them. Fisher 
warned the men not to shoot as he was uncertain as to how many 
redmen might be in their vicinity and he did not want to take 
any great risk of them all being killed. Our party did not know 
of the accident until we returned home and we had no en- 
counter with the party of Indians. We were thankful to be 
safely home after a ten days hunt. 



A GRASSHOPPER RAID 
By Edna M. Boyle Allen 

Perhaps children who live in a pioneer country remember 
incidents in their early life better than children living in older 
settled countries. These impressions stand out clearly and in 
prominence all the rest of their lives. 

At least there are several things which happened before I was 
six years old that are as vivid in my memory as if they had 
happened but yesterday. Such was the coming of the grass- 
hoppers in 1874, when I was two years old. 

My father, Judge Boyle, then owned the block on the north 
side of Fifth street between I and J streets, in the village of 
Fairbury. Our house stood where J. A. Westling's house now 
stands. Near our place passed the stage road to Beatrice. A 
common remark then was, "We are almost to Fairbury, there 
is Boyle's house." 

Father always had a big garden of sweet com, tomatoes, cab- 
bage, etc., and that year it was especially fine. 

One day he came rushing home from his office saying, "The 
grasshoppers are coming." Mother and he hurried to the gar- 
den to save all the vegetables possible before the grasshoppers 
arrived. I put on a little pink sunbonnet of which I was very 
proud, and went out to watch my parents gather the garden 
truck as fast as they could and run to the cellar door and toss 
it down. I jumped up and down thoroughly enjoying the ex- 
citement. Finally, the grasshoppers, which were coming from 
the northwest like a dark cloud, seeming so close, father shut 
the cellar door before he and mother returned to the garden 
for another load. They had just filled their arms when the 
grasshoppers began to drop and not wishing to let any down 
cellar they threw what vegetables they had on the ground and 
turned a big wooden wash tub over them. By this time my little 
pink sunbonnet was covered with big grasshoppers. Mother 
picked me up in her arms and we hurried into the house. From 

133 



134 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

the north kitchen window we watched every stalk of that gar- 
den disappear, even the onions were eaten from the ground. 

When father went to get the vegetables from under the wooden 
tub there wasn't a thing there. The grasshoppers had managed 
to crawl and dig their way under the edge of that tub. 

The only time an Indian ever frightened me was in the fall 
of 1875. I was used to having the Otoe Indians come to our 
house. Mother was not afraid of them so of course I was not. 
Among them was a big fellow called John Little Pipe. The door 
in the hall of our house had glass in the upper half. One af- 
ternoon mother being nearly sick was lying down on the coueh 
and I took my doll trying to keep quiet playing in the hall. 
Looking up suddenly I saw John stooping and looking in 
through the glass in the door. I screamed and ran to mother. 
He didn't like my screaming but followed me into the sitting 
room and upon seeing mother lying down said, "White lady 
sick ? ' ' Mother was on her feet in a moment. He sat down and 
after grumbling a while about my screaming he began to beg 
for a suit of clothes. Mother said, "John, you know well enough 
you are too large to wear my husband's clothes." Then he 
wanted something for his squaw and children. Finally mother 
gave him an old dress of hers. He looked it over critically and 
asked for goods to patch it where it was worn thin. Grabbing 
his blanket where it lay across his knees he shook it saying, 
"Wind, whew, whew." After receiving the patches, he wanted 
food but mother told him he could not have a thing more and 
for him to go. He started, but toward the closet he had seen 
her take the dress from. She said, "You know better than to 
go to that door. You go out the way you came in. ' ' He meek- 
ly obeyed. I had seen him many times before and saw him 
several times afterward but that was the only time I was fright- 
ened. 



EABLY DAYS IN PAWNEE COUNTY 
By Daniel B. Cropsey 

In March, 1868, I left Fairbury, Illinois, with my two brothers 
and a boy friend in a covered wagon drawn by two mules. We 
landed at Nebraska City after swimming the mules to get to the 
ferry on which we crossed the Big Muddy. We then drove to 
Lincoln the first week in April. My father had purchased a 
home there on the site where the Capital hotel now stands. 
Lincoln then was but a hamlet of a few hundred people. There 
were no shade trees nor sidewalks and no railroad. Later father 
built a larger house, out a considerable distance in those days, 
but today it faces the capitol building. The house is a brick 
structure, and all the bricks were hauled from Nebraska City. 
Afterwards father sold the home to Chancellor Fairfield of the 
State University. 

The year before we came father had come to Nebraska and 
had bought a large body of land, about ten thousand acres, in 
Pawnee county. I being the oldest boy in our family, it de- 
volved upon me to go to Pawnee county to look after the land, 
which waa upland and considered by the older inbabitants of 
little value ; but the tract is now worth about a million dollars. 
Among other duties I superintended the opening up of the lines 
and plowing out fifty-two miles of hedge rows around and 
through this land. I am sorry to say that most of the money 
and labor were lost for prairie fires almost completely destroyed 
the hedge. 

I had many experiences during my two years' sojourn in 
Pawnee county. The work was hard and tedious. Shelter and 
drinking-water were scarce — we drank water from the buffalo 
wallows or went thirsty, and at times had to brave the storms in 
the open. The people were poor and many lived in sod houses 
or "dugouts," and the living was very plain. Meat and fruit 
were rarities. The good people I lived with did their best to 
provide, but they were up against it. Grasshoppers and the 
drouth were things they had to contend with. At times our 

135 



136 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

meals consdsted of bread and butter and pumpkin, with pump- 
kin pie for Sunday dinner. The bam we usually carried with 
us. It consisted of a rope from sixty to a hundred feet long 
for each mule or horse and was called the lariat. I put the 
pony one night in the bam across the ravine, I well remember, 
and in the morning I found a river between the bam an,d me. 
A rain had fallen in the night and I had to wait nearly a day 
before I could get to the pony. 

Our only amusement was mnning down young deer and rab- 
bits and killing rattlesnakes. 

We often met the red man with his paint and feathers. He 
was ever ready to greet you with "How!" and also ready to 
trade ponies, and never backward about asking for "tobac. " 
As I was neither brave nor well acquainted with the Indians I 
was always ready to divide my "tobac." Later I found out I 
was easy, for the boys told me whenever they met the beggar 
Indian they told him to "puckachee," which they said meant 
for him to move on. 

We had no banks, and we cashed our drafts with the mer- 
chants. David Butler was governor at that time. He was a 
merchant as well, and made his home in Pawnee, so he was my 
banker. On two occasions I had the pleasure of riding with him 
in his buggy from Pa\vnee to Lincoln. It was indeed a privi- 
lege to ride in a buggy, for we all rode ponies those days, and 
I think I was envied by most of the boys and girls of Pawnee. 
On one of my return trips with the governor my good mother 
had baked a nice cake for me to take with me, which I put under 
the seat along with a lot of wines of several kinds and grades 
which the governor's friends had given him. Of course mother 
didn't know about the liquids. Ill never forget that trip. We 
grew very sociable and the Nemaha valley grew wider and wider 
as we drove along; and when we arrived at Pawnee the next 
day the cake was all gone, our faces were like full moons, and 
it was fully a week before I had any feeling in my flesh. 

I also well remember the first train which ran between Lincoln 
and Plattsmouth. That was a great day, and the Burlington 
excursion was made up of box cars and flat cars with ties for 
seats. Crowds of young people took advantage of the excursion 
and we enjoyed it much more than we would today in a well- 
equipped pullman. 



EARLY EVENTS IN JEFFERSON COUNTY 
By George Cross 

Along in the seventies, when everyone was interested in the 
project of the erection of a United Brethren college in Fair- 
bury, the leading promoter of that enterprise held a revival in 
the Baptist church. The weather was warm and as his zeal in 
expounding the gospel increased he would remove his coat, vest, 
and collar, keeping up meantime a vigorous chewing of tobacco. 
The house was usually crowded and among the late-comers one 
night was W. A. Gould, who was obliged to take a seat in front 
close to the pulpit. The next day some one offered congratula- 
tions at seeing him in church, as it was the first time he had ever 
been seen at such a place in Fairbury. "Yes," said Gould, "I 
used to attend church, but that was the first time I ever sat 
under the actual drippings of the sanctuary, for the minister 
spit all over me." 

The most closely contested election ever held in Jefferson 
county was that in 1879 on the question of voting bonds to the 
Burlington and Missouri railroad to secure the passing through 
Fairbury of the line being built east from Red Cloud. The 
proposition was virtually to indirectly relieve the road from 
taxation for ten years. As bonding propositions were submitted 
in those days this was considered a very liberal one, as the taxes 
were supposed to offset the bonds axid if the road was not built 
there would be neither bonds nor taxes. It required a two- 
thirds vote to cari-y the bonds and as the northern and southern 
portions of the county were always jealous of Fairbury the con- 
test was a bitter one. Some of the stakes of the old Brownville 
& Ft. Kearny survey were yet standing and some still hoped 
that road would be built. The people of Fairbui-y resorted to 
all known devices to gain votes, some of which have not yet been 
revealed. It was long before the days of the Australian ballot 
and more or less bogus tickets were in circulation at every elec- 
tion. On this occasion a few tickets containing a double nega- 
tive were secretlj^ circulated in a precinct bitterly opposed to the 



138 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

bonds. Several of these were found in the ballot box and of 
course rejected, which left on the face of the returns a majority 
of one in favor of the bonds. It has always been believed that 
Fairbury lost the road because the officials of the road, who also 
comprised the townsite company, thought they could make more 
by building up new towns of their own. 



EARLY DAYS OP FAIRBURY AND JEFFERSON COUNTY 
By George W. Hansen 

The first white settler in what is now Jefferson county was 
Daniel Patterson, who established a ranch in 1856 where the 
Overland, or Oregon trail crosses the Big Sandy. Newton 
Glenn located the same year at the trail crossing on Rock creek. 
The first government survey of land in this county was made in 
1857, and the plat and field notes show the location of "Patter- 
son's Trading Post" on the southeast quarter of section 16, 
town 3 north, range 1 east. 

Early in May, 1859, D. C. Jenkins, disappointed in his search 
for gold at Pike's Peak, returned on foot pushing a wheelbarrow 
with all his possessions the entire distance. He stopped at the 
Big SaJidy and established a ranch a short distance below Pat- 
terson's place. A few weeks later, on May 25, 1859, Joel Helvey 
and his family, enroute for Pike's Peak, discouraged by the re- 
ports of Mr. Jenkins and other returning gold hunters, settled 
on the Little Sandy at the crossing of the trail. About the same 
time came George Weisel, who now lives in Alexandria, James 
Blair, whose son Grant now lives near Powell, on the land where 
his father first located, and D. C. McCanles, who bought the 
Glenn ranch on Rock creek. The Helvey family have made 
this county their home ever since. One of Joel Helvey 's sons, 
Frank, then a boy of nineteen, is now living in Fairbury. He 
knew Daniel Patterson and D. C. McCanles, and with his 
brothers Thomas and Jasper, buried McCanles, Jim "Woods, and 
Jim Gordon, Wild Bill's victims of the Rock creek tragedy of 
1861. He drove the Overland stage, rode the pony express, was 
the first sheriff of this county, and forms a connecting liak be- 
tween the days of Indian raids and the present. Alexander 
Majors, one of the proprietors of the Overland stage line, pre- 
sented each of the drivers with a bible, and Frank Helvey 's 
copy is now loaned to the Nebraska State Historical Society. 
Thomas Helvey and wife settled on Little Sandy, a short dis- 
tance above his father's ranch, and there on July 4, 1860, their 



140 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

son Orlando, the first white child in the present limits of Jeffer- 
son and Thayer counties, was bom. 

During the civil war a number of families came, settling 
along the Little Blue and in the fertile valleys of Rose, Cub, and 
Swan creeks. In 1862 Ives Marks settled on Rose creek, near 
the present town of Reynolds, and built a small sawmill and 
church. He organized the first Sunday school at Big Sandy. 

The first election for county officers was held in 1863. D. L. 
Marks was elected county clerk, T. J. Holt, county treasurer, 
Ed. Parrell, county judge. In November, 1868, Ives Marks was 
elected county treasurer. If a person was unable to pay his en- 
tire tax, he would accept a part, issue a receipt, and take a note 
for the balance. Sometimes he would give the note back so that 
the party would know when it fell due. He drove around the 
county collecting taxes, and kept his funds in a candle box. He 
drove to Lincoln in his one-horse cart, telling everyone he met 
that he was Rev. Ives Marks, treasurer of Jefferson county, and 
that he had five hundred dollars in that box which he was tak- 
ing to the state treasurer. 

Fairbury was laid out in August, 1869, by W. G. McDowell 
and J. B. Mattingly. Immediately after the survey Sidney Mar 
son built the first house upon the tosvnsite of Fairbury, on the 
comer northwest of the public square, where now stands the 
U. S. postoffice. Mrs. Mason kept boarders, and advertised that 
her table was loaded with all the delicacies the market afforded, 
and I can testify from personal experience that the common 
food our market did afford was transformed into delicacies by 
the magic of her cooking. Mrs. Mason has lived in Fairbury 
ever since the town was staked out, and now (1915), in her 
ninety-sixth year, is keeping her own house and performing all 
the duties of the home cheerfully aud happily. 

Mrs. Mason's grandson, Claibom L. Shader, son of Mr. and 
Mrs. A. L. Shader, now of Lincoln, was the first child born in 
Fairbury. 

One of the most vivid and pleasant memories that comes to me 
after the lapse of forty-five years is that of a boy, tired and foot- 
sore from a hundred-mile walk from the Missouri river, stand- 
ing on the hill whei'e the traveler from the east first sees the 
valley of the Little Blue, looking down on a little group of 
about a dozen houses — the village of Fairbury. This was in 



FAIRBURY AND JEFFERSON COUNTIES 141 

the siunmer of 1870, and was my first view of the town that was 
ever after to be my home. 

On the second floor of Thomas & Champlin's store I found 
Greorge Cross and my brother, Harry Hansen, running off the 
Pairhury Gazette, alternating in inking the types with the old- 
fashioned roller and yanking the lever of the old-fashioned hand 
press. This was about the first issue of the Gazette entirely 
printed at home. The first issues were set up at home, hauled 
to Beatrice in a lumber wagon, and printed in the ofSce of the 
Beatrice Express, until the press arrived in Fairbury. 

When subscriptions were mostly paid in wood, butter, squash, 
and turnips, you can imagine what a time Mr. Cross had in 
skirmishing around for cash to pay for paper and ink, and the 
wages of a printer; so he decided if the paper was to survive 
and build up the country, he must have a printer for a partner, 
and he sold a half interest in the Gazette to my brother and me. 
The principal source of our revenue was from printing the com- 
missioners' proceedings and the delinquent tax list, taking our 
pay in county warrants. These warrants drew ten per cent in- 
terest, were paid in a year, and we sold them to Editor Cramb's 
grandfather for seventy-five cents on the dollar. On that basis 
they yielded him forty per cent per annum — too low a rate, 
we thought, to justify holding. 

Prairie grass grew luxuriantly in the streets. There were not 
enough buildings around the public square to mark it. On the 
west side were three one-story buildings, the best one still stand- 
ing, now owned by Wm. Christian and used as a confectionery ; 
it was then the office of the county clerk and board of county 
commissioners. The second was the pioneer store of John Brown, 
his office as justice of the peace, and his home ; the third was a 
shanty covered with tarred paper, the office and home of Dr. 
Showalter, physician, surgeon, politician, and sometimes ex- 
horter; and a past master he was in them all. On the north 
side were two of the same class of buildings, one occupied by 
Mr. McCaifery, whose principal business was selling a vile brand 
of whiskey labeled Hostetter's Bitters, and the other was Wesley 
Bailey's drug store and postoffice. George Cross had the honor 
of being postmaster, but Wes drew the entire salary of four dol- 
lars and sixteen cents per month, for services as deputy and 
rent for the office. On the east side there was but one building, 



142 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Thomas & Champ lin's Fanners' store. On the south side there 
was nothing. On the south half of the square was our ball 
ground. Men were at work on the foundation of the Methodist 
church, the first church in Fairbury. We were short on church 
buildings but long on religious discussions. 

"Where the city hall now stands were the ruins of the dugout 
in which Judge Boyle and family had lived the previous winter. 
He had built a more stately mansion of native cottonwood lum- 
ber — his home, law and real-estate office. M. H. Weeks had for 
sale a few loads of lumber in his yard on the comer northeast 
of the square, hauled from Waterville by team, a distance of 
forty-five miles. All supplies were hauled from Waterville, the 
nearest railroad station, and it took nearly a week to make the 
ix)und trip. Judge Mattingly was running a sawmill near the 
river, cutting the native cottonwoods into dimension lumber and 
common boards. 

The Otoe Indians, whose reservation was on the east line of 
the county, camped on the public square going out on their an- 
nual buffalo hunts. The boys spent the evenings with them in 
their tents playing seven-up, penny a game, always letting the 
Indians win. They went out on their last hunt in the fall of 
1874, and traveled four hundred miles before finding any buf- 
falo. The animals were scarce by reason of their indiscriminate 
slaughter by hunters, and the Otoes returned in February, 1875, 
with the "jerked" meat and hides of only fifteen buffalo. 

The Western Stage Company ran daily to and from Beatrice, 
connecting there by stage with Brownville and Nebraska City. 
The arrival of the stage was the great and exciting event of each 
day; it brought our mail and daily newspaper, an exchange to 
the Gazette ; and occasionally it brought a passenger. 

After resting from my long walk I decided to go on to Re- 
public county, Kansas, and take a homestead. There were no 
roads on the prairie beyond Marks' mill, and I used a pocket 
compass to keep the general direction, and by the notches on the 
government stones detennined my location. I found so much 
vacant government land that it was difficult to malie a choice, 
and after two trips to the government land office at Junction 
City, located four miles east of the present town of Belleville. 
I built a dugout, and to prevent my claim being jumped, tacked 
a notice on the door, "Gone to hunt a wife." Returning to 



FAIRBURY AND JEFFERSON COUNTIES 143 

Fairbury, I stopped over night wdth Rev. Ives Marks at Marks' 
mill. He put me to bed with a stranger, and in the morning 
when settling my bill, he said: "I'll charge you the regular 
price, fifteen cents a meal, but this other man must pay twenty 
cents, he was so lavish with the sugar." On this trip I walked 
four hundred and forty miles. Two years later I traded my 
homestead to Mr. Alfred Kelley for a shotgun, and at that time 
met his daughter Mary. Mary and I celebrated our fortieth 
anniversary last May, with our children and grandchildren. 

The first schoolhouse in Fairbury was completed in Decem- 
ber, 1870, and for some time was used for church services, 
dances, and public gatherings. The first term of school began 
January 9, 1871, with P. L. Chapman for teacher. 

In December, 1871, I was employed to teach the winter and 
spring terms of school at a salary of fifty dollars a month, and 
taught in one room all the pupils of Fairbury and surrounding 
eountrj'. 

Mr. Cross announced in the Gazette that no town of its size in 
the state was so badly in need of a shoemaker as Fairbury, and 
he hoped some wandering son of St. Crispin would come this 
way. Just such a wandering shoemaker came in the person of 
Robert Christian, M'ith all his clothes and tools in a satchel, and 
twenty-five cents in his pocket. He managed to get enough 
leather from worn-out boots given him to patch and halfsole 
others, and was soon prosperous. 

During the summer of 1871 C. F. Steele built a two-story 
building on the lot now occupied bj^ the First National bank, 
the first floor for a furniture store, the second floor for a home. 
When nearly completed a hurricane demolished it and scattered 
the lumber over the prairie for two miles south. It was a hard 
blow on Mr. Steele. He gathered together the wind-swept 
boards and, undismayed, began again the building of his store 
and business. 

In the fall of 1871, William Allen and I built the Star hotel, 
a two-story building, on the east side, with accommodations for 
ten transient guests — large enough, we thought, for all time. 

In the early days of my hotel experience, I was offered some 
cabbages by a farmer boy — rather a resei^ved and studious look- 
ing lad. He raised good cabbages on his father's homestead a 
few miles north of town. After dickering awhile over the price, 



144 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

I took his entire load. He afterwards said that I beat him down 
below cost of production, and then cleaned him out, while I in- 
sisted that he had a monopoly and the price of cabbages should 
have been regulated by law. Soon after, I was surprised to find 
him in my room taking an examination for a teacher's certificate, 
my room-mate being the county superintendent, and rather 
astonished, I said, "What! you teach school?" — a remark he 
never forgot. He read law with Slocumb & Hambel, was some 
time afterwards elected county attorney and later judge of this 
district. Ten years ago he was elected one of the judges of the 
supreme court of the state of Nebraska, and this position he still 
fills with distinguished ability. I scarcely need to mention that 
this was Charles B. Letton. 

A celebration was held on July 4, 1871, at Mattingly's saw- 
mill, and enthusiasm and patriotism were greatly stimulated by 
the blowing of a steam whistle which had recently been installed 
in the mill. Colonel Thomas Harbine, vice-president of the St. 
Joseph & Denver City R. R. Co., now the St. Joseph & Grand 
Island railroad, made the principal address, his subject being 
"The railroad, the modem civilizer, may we hail its advent." 
The Otoe Indian, Jim Whitewater, got drunk at this celebration, 
and on his way to the reservation murdered two white men who 
were encamped near Rock creek. He was arrested by the In- 
dians, brought to Fairbury, and delivered to the authorities, 
after which chief Pipe Stem and chief Little Pipe visited the 
Gazette office and watched the setting of type and printing on 
the press with many a grunt of satisfaction. I was present at 
the trial of Whitewater the following spring. After the verdict 
of guilty was brought in, Judge 0. P. Mason asked him if he 
had anything to say why judgment should not be pronounced. 
Whitewater proceeded to make a lengthy speech, ridiculed the 
former sheriff, S. J. Alexander, and commenced criticizing the 
judge. The judge ordered him to sit down. A look of livid 
rage came over Whitewater's face, and he stooped slightly as 
though to spring. Then the judge turned pale, and in that 
rasping voice which all who knew him remember well, com- 
manded the sheriff to seat the prisoner, which was done. 

The spring of 1872 marked a new era in the life of Fairbury. 
On March 13th of that year the St. Joseph and Denver City rail- 
road built into and through our city. From the time the track- 



FAIRBURY AND JEFFERSON COUNTIES 145 

layers struck Jenkin's Mills, a crowd of us went down every day 
to see the locomotive and watch the progress of the work. One 
of our fondest dreams had come true. 

In the fall of 1873 Col. Thomas Harbine began the erection 
of the first bank building, a one-story frame structure on the east 
side of the square. George Cross was the bank's first customer, 
and purchased draft No. 1. Upon the death of Col. Harbine 's 
son John, in August, 1875, I became cashier, bookkeeper, teller, 
and janitor of the "Banking House of Thomas Harbine." In 
1882 this bank incorporated under the state banking law as the 
"Harbine Bank of Fairbury, " and I have been connected with 
it in various capacities ever since. 

We had our pleasiires in those pioneer days, but had to make 
them ourselves. Theatrical troupes never visited us — we were 
not on the circuit — but we had a dramatic company of our own. 
Mr. Charles B. Slocumb, afterwards famous as the author of the 
Sloeumb high license law, was the star actor in the club. A 
local critic commenting on our first play said : ' ' Mr. Slocumb 
as a confirmed di-unkard was a decided success. W. W. Watson 
as a temperance lecturer was eminently fitted for his part. G. 
W. Hansen as a hard-up student would have elicited applause 
on any stage." 

Election days in those "good old times" gave employment 
to an army of workers sent out by candidates to every precinct 
to make votes, and to see that those bought or promised were de- 
livered. John McT. Gibson of Gibson precinct, farmer, green- 
backer, and poet, read an original poem at a Fourth of July 
celebration forty years ago, one verse of which gives us an idea 
of the bitterness of feeling existing in the political parties of 
that time : 

"Unholy Mammon can unlock the dooi*s 

Of congress halls and legislative floors. 

Dictate decisions of its judges bought, 

And poison all the avenues of thought. 

Metes out to labor miseries untold. 

And grasps forever at a crown of gold." 

I do not care to live too much in the past ; but when the day 's 
work is done, I love to draw aside the curtain that hides the in- 
tervening years, and in memory live over again Fairbury 's 



146 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

pioneer days of the early seventies. Grasshoppers and drouth 
brought real adversity then, for, unlike the present, we were un- 
prepared for the lean years. But we had hope and energy, and 
pulled together for the settlement of our county and the growth 
and prosperity of Fairbury. 

We dreamed then of the days to come — when bridges should 
span the streams, and farm houses and fields of grain and com 
should break the monotony of the silent, unending prairie. We 
were always working for better things to come — for the future. 
The delectable mountains were always ahead of us — would we 
ever reach them ? 



THE EARLIEST ROMANCE OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, 
NEBRASKA 

By George W. Hansen 

One hundred and three years ago Hannah Norton was bom 
"away down east" in the state of Maine. Hannah married 
Jason Plummer, and in the year 1844, seized by the wanderlust, 
they decided to move west. One morning their little daughter 
Eleanor, four years old, stood outside the cabin door with her 
rag doll pressed tightly to her breast, and watched her parents 
load their household goods into the heavy, covered wagon, yoke 
up the oxen, and make preparations for a long journey. 

As little Eleanor clambered up the wheel and into the wagon, 
she felt none of the responsibilities of the long pioneer life that 
lay before her, nor did she know or care about her glorious an- 
cestry. 

Only a few decades previous her ancestor. Major Peter Nor- 
ton, who had fought gallantly in the war of the Revolution, had 
gone to his reward. His recompense on earth had been the con- 
sciousness of patriotic duty well performed in the cause of lib- 
erty and independence. A hero he was, but the Maine woods 
were full of Revolutionary heroes. He was not yet famous. It 
was reserved for Peter Norton's great-great-great-granddaugh- 
ters to perpetuate the story ox his heroic deeds. One, Mrs. 
Auta Helvey Pursell, the daughter of our little Eleanor, is now 
a member of Quivera chapter, D. A. R., of Fairbury, Nebraska, 
and another, Lillian Norton, is better known to the world she 
has charmed with her song, as Madame Nordica. 

But little Eleanor was wholly unmindful of past or future on 
that morning long ago. She laughed and chattered as the wagon 
rolled slowly on its westward way. 

A long, slow, and painful journey through forests and over 
mountains, then down the Ohio river to Cincinnati was at last 
finished, and the family made that city their home. After sev- 
eral years the oxen were a^ain yoked up and the family trav- 
eled to the West, out to the prairies of Iowa, where they re- 

147 



148 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

mained until 1863. Then, hearing of a still fairer country 
where free homes could be taken in fertile valleys that needed 
no clearing, where wild game was abundant and chills and fever 
unknown, Jason, Hannah, and Eleanor again traveled westward. 
After a toilsome journey they settled in Swan creek valley, 
Nebraska territory, near the present northern line of Jefferson 
county. 

Theirs were pioneer surroundings. The only residents were 
ranchers scattered along the creeks at the crossings of the Ore- 
gon trail. A few immigrants came that year and settled in the 
valleys of the Sandys, Swan creek, Cub creek. Rose creek, and 
the Little Blue. No human habitation stood upon the upland 
prairies. The population was four-fifths male, and the young 
men traveled up and down the creeks for miles seeking partners 
for their dances, which were often given. But it was always 
necessary for a number of men to take the part of ladies. In 
such cases they wore a handkerchief around one arm to distin- 
guish them. 

The advent of a new family into the country was an important 
event, and especially when a beautiful young lady formed a part 
of it. The families of Joel Helvey and Jason Plummer became 
neighborly at once, visiting back and forth with the friendly 
intimacy characteristic of all pioneers. Paths were soon worn 
over the divide between Joel Helvey 's ranch on the Little Sandy 
and the Plummer home on Swan creek, and one of Joel's boys 
was accused of making clandestine rambles in that direction. 
Certain it was that many of the young men who asked Eleanor 
for her company to the dances were invariably told that Prank 
Helvey had already spoken. Their dejection was explained in 
the vernacular of the time — they had ' ' gotten the mitten. ' ' 

The music for the dances was furnished by the most energetic 
fiddlers in the land, and the art of playing "Fisher's Horn- 
pipe," "Devil's Dream," and "Arkansaw Traveler" in such 
lively, triumphant tones of the fiddle as played by Joe Baker 
and Hiram Helvey has been lost to the world. Sometimes dis- 
putes were settled either before or after the dance by an old- 
fashioned fist fight. In those days the accepted policy was that 
if you threshed your adversary soimdly, the controversy was 
settled — there was no further argument about it. At one dance 
on the Little Sandy some "boys" from the Blue decided to 



ROMANCE OF JEFFERSON COUNTY 149 

"clear out" the ranchers before the dance, and in the lively 
melee that followed, Frank Helvey inadvertently got his thumb 
in his adversary's mouth; and he will show you yet a scar and 
cloven nail to prove this story. The ranchei-s more than held 
their own, and after the battle invited the defeated party to take 
part in the dance. The invitation was accepted and in the 
morning all parted good friends. 

On August 6, 1864, the Overland stage, which had been turned 
back on its way to the west, brought news that the Sioux and 
Cheyenne were on the war-path. They had massacred entire 
settlements on the Little Blue and along the trail a few miles 
west, and were planning to kill every white person west of 
Beatrice and Marysville. 

For some time the friendly old Indians had told Joel Helvey 
that the young men were chanting the old song : 

' ' Some day we shall drive the Whites back 
Across the great salt water 
"Whence they came ; 
Happy days for the Sioux 
"When the whites go back." 
Little attention had been paid to these warnings, the Helvey 
family believing they could take care of themselves as they had 
during the past eighteen years in the Indian country. But the 
report brought by the stage was too alarming to be disregarded ; 
and the women asked to be taken to a place of safety. 

At this time Mrs. Plummer and her daughter Eleanor were 
visiting at the home of Joel Helvey. They could not return to 
Swan creek, for news had come that all Swan creek settlers 
had gone to Beatrice. There was no time to be lost. The 
women and father Helvey, who was then in failing health, were 
placed in wagons, the boys mounted horses to drive the cattle, 
and all "struck out" over the trail following the divide towards 
Marysville, where breastworks had been thrown up and stockades 
had been built. 

During the day Frank found many excuses to leave the cattle 
with his brothers while he rode close to the wagon in which 
Eleanor was seated. It was a time to try one's courage and he 
beguiled the anxious hours with tales of greater dangers than 
the impending one and assured her, with many a vow of love. 



150 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

that he could protect her from any attack the Indians might 
make. 

The first night the party camped at the waterhole two miles 
northwest of the place where now an imposing monument marks 
the crossing of the Oregon trail and the Nebraska-Kansas line. 
Towards evening of the next day they halted on Horseshoe 
creek. In the morning it was decided to make this their per- 
manent camp. There was abundant grass for their stock, and 
here they would cut and stack their winter hay. 

A man in the distance saw the camp and ponies, and mistak- 
ing the party for Indians, hurried to Marysville and gave the 
alarm. Captain Hollenberg and a squad of militia came out 
and from a safe distance investigated with a spyglass. Finding 
the party were white people he came down and ordered them 
into Marysville. The captain said the Indians would kill them 
all and, inflamed by the bloodshed, would be more ferocious in 
their attack on the stockade. 

The Helveys preferred taking their chances with the Indians 
rather than leave their cattle to the mercies of the Kansas Jay- 
hawkers, and told the captain that when the Indians came they 
would get to Marysville first and give the alarm. 

Their camp was an ideal spot under the grateful shadow of 
noble trees. The songs of birds in the branches above them, the 
odor of prairie flowers and the new-mown hay about them, lent 
charm to the scene. Two of the party, at least, lived in an en- 
chanted land. After the blistering heat of an August day 
Frank and Eleanor walked together in the shadows and coolness 
of night and watched the moon rise through the trees. And 
here was told the old, old story, world old yet ever new. Here 
were laid the happy plans for future years. And yet through 
all these happy days there ran a thread of sorrow. Father Joel 
Helvey failed rapidly, and on September 3 he passed away. 
After he was laid to rest, the entire party returned to the ranch 
on Little Sandy. 

The day for the wedding, September 21, at last arrived. None 
of the officers qualified to perform marriage ceremonies having 
returned since the Indian raid, Frank and Eleanor, with Frank's 
sister as chaperon, drove to Beatrice. On arriving there they 
were delighted to meet Eleanor's father. His consent to the 



ROMANCE OF JEFFERSON COUNTY 151 

marriage was obtained and he was asked to give away the bride. 
The marriage party proceeded to Judge Towle's cabin on the 
Big Blue where the wedding ceremony was solemnly performed 
and ' ' Pap ' ' Towle gave the bride the first kiss. 

And thus, just fifty years ago, the first courtship in JefEerson 
county was consummated. 



EXPERIENCES ON THE FRONTIER 
By Prank Helvey 

I was born July 7, 1841, in Huntington county, Indiana. My 
father, Joel Helvey, decided in 1846 to try his fortune in the 
far West. Our family consisted of father, mother, three boys, 
and three girls. So two heavy wagons were fitted up to haul 
heavy goods, and a light wagon for mother and the girls. The 
wagons were the old-fashioned type, built very heavy, carrying 
the customary tar bucket on the rear axle. 

Nebraska was at this time in what was called the Indian 
country, and no one was allowed to settle in it. We stopped at 
old Fort Kearny — now Nebraska City. In a short time we 
pulled up stakes and housed in a log cabin on the Iowa side. 
Father, two brothers — Thomas and Whitman — and I con- 
structed a ferry to run across the Missouri river, getting 
consent of the commandant at the fort to move the family over 
on the Nebraska side ; but he said we would have to take our 
chances with the Indians. We broke a small patch of ground, 
planting pumpkins, melons, corn, etc. The Indians were very 
glad to see us and very friendly — in fact, too much so. When 
our com and melons began to ripen, they would come in small 
bands, gather the com and fill their blankets. It did no good 
for us to protest, so we boys thought we would scare them away. 
We hid in the bushes close to the field. Soon they came and 
were tilling their blankets. We shot over their heads, but the 
Indians didn't scare — they came running straight toward us. 
They gave us a little of our own medicine and took a few shots 
at us. We didn't scare any more Indians. 

When word came in the fall of 1858 that gold had been dis- 
covered in Pike's Peak by the wagonload, that settled it. We 
got the fever, and in April, 1859, we started for Pike's Peak. 
We went by the way of Beatrice, striking the Overland trail 
near the Big Sandy. An ex-soldier, Tim Taylor, told us he be- 
lieved the Little Sandy to be the best place in southern Ne- 
braska. We built a ranch house on the trail at the crossing of 



EXPERIENCES ON THE FRONTIER 153 

Little Sandy and engaged in freighting from the Missouri river 
to the Rocky Mountains. This we did for several years, receiv- 
ing seven to eight cents per pound. We hauled seven thousand 
to eight thousand pounds on a wagon, and it required from 
seventy-five to eighty days to make a round trip with eight and 
ten yoke of oxen to a wagon. I spent about nine years freight- 
ing across the plains from Atchison, Leavenworth, St. Joseph, 
and Nebraska City to Denver, hauling government supplies to 
Port Lai-amie. In 1863-64 I served as substitute stage driver, 
messenger, or pony express rider. I have met at some time or 
another nearly every noted character or ' ' bad man ' ' that passed 
up and dovm the trail. I met Wild Bill for the first time at 
Rock Creek ranch. I met him often after the killing of McCan- 
les, and helped bury the dead. I was well acquainted with 
McCanles. Wild Bill was a remarkable man, unexcelled as a 
shot, hard to get acquainted with. Lyman, or Jack, Slade was 
considered the worst man-killer on the plains. 

The Indians did not give us much trouble until the closing 
year of the civil war. Our trains were held up several times, 
being forced to corral. We were fortunate not to lose a man. 
I have shot at hundreds of Indians. I cannot say positively 
that I ever killed one, although 1 was considered a crack shot. 
I can remember of twenty or more staying with us one night, 
stretching out on their blankets before the fireplace, and depart- 
ing in the morning without making a move out of the way. 
The Pawnees and Otoes were very bitter toward the Sioux and 
Cheyennes. In the summer of 1862 over five hundred Indians 
•were engaged in an all-day fight on the Little Blue river south 
of Meridian. That night over a hundred warriors danced 
around a camp-fire with the scalps of their foes on a pole, catch- 
ing the bloody scalp with their teeth. How many were killed 
we never knew. 

My brothers and I went on one special buffalo hunt with three 
different tribes of Indians — Otoes, Omahas, and Pawnees — 
about one thousand in all, on Rose creek, about where the town of 
Hubbell is situated. We were gone about four days. The In- 
dians would do all the killing. When they got what they 
wanted, then we boys would get our meat. There was plenty 
for all. The prairies were covered with buffalo ; they were never 
out of sight. On the 4th of July, 1859, six of us with two 



154 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

wagons, four yoke of oxen to a wagon, went over on the Repub- 
lican where there were always thousands of buffalo. We were 
out two weeks and killed what meat we wanted. We always 
had a guard out at night when we camped, keeping the wolves 
from our fresh meat. We came home to the ranch heavily load- 
ed. We sold some and dried some for our own use. 

I homesteaded, June 13, 1866, on the Little Blue, five miles 
northwest of Pairbury, and helped the settlers looking for home- 
steads locate their land. My father, Joel Helvey, entered forty 
acres where we had established our ranch on Little Sandy in 
1861, the first year any land was entered in this county. I was 
the first sheriff of this county; served four years, 1867-1870. 
No sheriff had qualified or served before 1867. County business 
was done at Big Sandy and Meridian, and at the houses of the 
county ofiScers. We carried the county records around from 
place to place in gunny sacks. 

I am glad I participated in the earliest happenings of this 
county, and am proud to be one of its citizens. 




Mrs. Elizabeth C. Langworthy 
Seventh State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the A 
Revolution. 1905-1906 



LOOKING BACKWARD 
By George E. Jenkins 
Looking backward forty years and more, I feel as Longfellow 
so beautifully expresses it, 

"You may build more splendid habitations, 
Pill your rooms with sculpture and with paintings. 
But you cannot buy with gold the old associations, ' ' 
for in that time I have seen Fairbury grow from a little hamlet 
to a city of the first class, surrounded by a country that we used 
to call "the Indian country," considered unfit for agricultural 
purposes, but today it blossoms as the rose and no finer land 
lies anywhere. 

I have read with great interest of the happenings of ten, 
twenty, thirty years ago as published each week in our Fairbury 
papers, but am going to delve into ancient history a little deeper 
and tell you from personal experience of the interesting picture 
presented to me forty-odd years ago, I think in the year 70 or 
71, for I distinctly remember the day I caught the first glimpse 
of Fairbury. It was a bright and sunshiny morning in July. 
We had been making the towns in western Kansas and had got- 
ten rather a late start from Concordia the day before; a storm 
coming up suddenly compelled us to seek shelter for the night. 
My traveling companion was A. V. Whiting, selling shoes, and 
I was selling dry-goods, both from wholesale houses in St. Jo- 
seph, Missouri. Mr. Whiting is well and honorably known in 
Fairbury as he was afterwards in business there for many years. 
He has been a resident of Lincoln for twenty-three years. 

There were no railroads or automobiles in the country at that 
time and we had to depend on a good pair of hoi-ses and a cov- 
ered spring wagon. We found a place of shelter at Marks' 
mill, located on Rose creek fifteen miles southwest of Fairbury, 
and here we stayed all night. I shall always remember our in- 
troduction there, viz : as we drove up to the house I saw a large, 
portly old man coming in from the field on top of a load of hay, 

155 



156 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

and as I approached him I said, ' ' My name is Jenkins, sir — " 
but before I could say more he answered in a deep bass voice, 
saying, "My name is Clodhopper, sir," which he afterwards ex- 
plained was the name that preachers of the United Brethren 
church were known by at that time. This man, Marks, was one 
of the first county treasurers of Jefferson county, and it is re- 
lated of him that while he was treasurer he had occasion to go to 
Lincoln, the capital of the state, to pay the taxes of the county, 
and being on horseback he lost his way and meeting a horseman 
with a gun across his shoulder, he said to the stranger, "I am 
treasurer of Jefferson county. My saddle-bags are full of gold 
and I am on the way to Lincoln to pay the taxes of the county, 
but I have lost my way. Please direct me." 

Returning to my story of stopping over night at Rose creek: 
we were most hospitably entertained and at breakfast next 
morning we were greatly surprised on being asked if we would 
have vdld or tame sweetening in our coffee, as this was the first 
time in all our travels we had ever been asked that question. 
"We were told that honey was wild sweetening and sugar the 
tame sweetening. I cannot refrain from telling a little incident 
that occurred at this time. When we had our team hitched up 
and our sample trunks aboard, we asked Mr. Marks for our bill 
and were told we could not pay anything for our entertainment, 
and just then Mrs. Marks appeared on the scene. She had in her 
hand a lot of five and ten cent war shinplasters, and as she hand- 
ed them to Mr. Marks he said, ' ' Mother and I have been talking 
the matter over and as we have not bought any goods from you 
we decided to give you a dollar to help you pay expenses else- 
where"; and on our refusing to take it he said, "I want you to 
take it, for it is worth it for the example you have set to my 
children. ' ' Politely declining the money and thanking our host 
and hostess for their good opinion and splendid entertainment, 
we were soon on our way to pay our first visit to Fairbury. 

We arrived about noon and stopped at a little one-story hotel 
on the west side of the square, kept by a man by the name of 
Hurd. After dinner we went out to see the town and were told 
it was the county seat of Jefferson county. The courthouse 
was a little one-story frame building and is now located on the 
west side of the square and known as Christian's candy shop. 
There was one large general store kept by Champlin & McDow- 



LOOKING BACKWARD 157 

ell, a drug store, a hardware store, lumber yard, blacksmith 
shop, a schoolhouse, church, and a few small buildings scattered 
around the square. The residences were small and widely scat- 
tered. Primitive conditions prevailed everywhere, and we were 
told the population was one hundred and fifty but we doubted 
it. The old adage reads, "Big oaks from little aeoms grow," 
and it has been my privilege and great pleasure to have seen 
Fairbury ' ' climb the ladder round by round ' ' until today it has 
a population of fifty-five hundred. 



THE EASTER STORM OF 1873 
By Charles B. Letton 

Spring opened very early in the year 1873. Farmers plowed 
and harrowed the ground and sowed their oats and spring wheat 
in February and March. The grass began to grow early in 
April and by the middle of the month the small-grain fields 
were bright green with the new crops. Most of the settlers on 
the uplands of Jefferson county were still li^^ng in dugouts or 
sod houses. The stables and barns for the protection of their 
live stock were for the most part built by setting forked posts 
in the ground, putting rough poles and brush against the sides 
alid on the roof, and covering them with straw, prairie grass, or 
manure. Sometimes the bank of a ravine was made perpen- 
dicular and used as one side. The covering of the walls and roof 
of these structures needed continual renewal as the winds loos- 
ened it or as the spring rains caused it to settle. Settlers became 
careless about this early in the spring, thinking that the winter 
was over. The prairies were still bare of hedges, fences, or trees 
to break the winds or catch the drifting snow. 

Easter Sunday occurred on the thirteenth of April. For days 
before, the weather had been mild and the air delightful. The 
writer was then living alone m a dugout seven miles north of 
Fairbury in what is now the rich and fertile farming com- 
munity known as Bower. The granary stood on the edge of a 
ravine a short distance from the dugout. The stable or barn 
was partly dug into the bank of this ravine; the long side was 
to the north, while the roof and the south side were built of 
poles and straw in the usual fashion of those days. On the 
afternoon of Easter Sunday it began to rain and blow from the 
northwest. The next morning I had been awake for some time 
waiting for daylight when I finally realized that the dim light 
coming from the windows was due to the fact that they were 
covered with snow drifts. I could hear the noise of the wind 
but had no idea of the fury of the tempest until I undertook to 
go outside to feed the stock. As soon as I opened the door I 

158 



THE EASTER STORM OF 1873 159 

found that the air was full of snow, driven by a tremendous 
gale from the north. The fury of the tempest was indescribable. 
The air appeared to be a mass of moving snow, and the wind 
howled like a pack of furies. I managed to get to the granary 
for some oats, but on looking into the ravine no stable was to be 
seen, only an immense snow drift which almost filled it. At the 
point where the door to the stable should have been there ap- 
peared a hole in the drift where the snow was eddying. On 
crawUng into this I found that during the night the snow had 
drifted in around the horses and cattle, which were tied to the 
manger. The animals had trampled it under their feet to such 
an extent that it had raised them so that in places their backs 
lifted the flimsy roof, and the wind carrying much of the cover- 
ing away, had fiJled the stable with snow until some of them 
were almost and others wholly buried, except where the remains 
of the roof protected them. 

Two animals died while I was trying to extricate them and at 
night I was compelled to lead two or three others into the front 
room of the dugout and keep them there until the storm was 
over in order to save their lives. It was only by the most stren- 
uous efforts I was able to get to the house. My clothing was 
stiff. The wind had driven the snow into the fabric, as it had 
thawed it had frozen again, until it formed an external coating 
of ice. 

I had nothing to eat all day, having gone out before break- 
fast, and when night came and I attempted to build a fire in the 
cook stove I found that the storm had blown away the joints 
of stovepipe which projected through the roof and had drifted 
the hole so full of snow that the snow was in the stove itself. 
I went on the roof, cleared it out, built a fire, made some coffee 
and warmed some food, then went to bed utterly fatigued and, 
restlessly tossing, dreamed all night that I was still in the snow 
drift working as I had worked all day. 

Many other settlers took their cattle and horses into their 
houses or dugouts in order to save them. Every ravine and 
hollow that ran in an easterly or westerly direction was filled 
with snow from rim to rim. In other localities cattle were 
driven many miles by this storm. Houses, or rather shacks, 
were unroofed and people in them frozen to death. Travelers 
caught in the blizzard, who attempted to take refuge in ravines, 



160 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

perished and their stiffened bodies were found when the drifts 
melted weeks afterward. Stories were told of people who had 
undertaken to go from their houses to their outbuildings and 
who, being blinded by the snow, became lost and either perished 
or nearly lost their lives, and of others where the settler in 
order to reach his well or his outbuildings in safety fastened a 
rope to the door and went into the storm holding to the rope in 
order to insure his safe return. Deer, antelope, and other wild 
animals perished in the more sparsely settled districts. The 
storm lasted for three days, not always of the same intensity, 
and freezing weather followed for a day or two thereafter. In 
a few days the sun shone, the snow melted, and spring reap- 
peared; the melting drifts, that lay for weeks in some places, 
being the only reminder of the severity of the storm. 

To old settlers in Nebraska and northern Kansas this has ever 
since been known as "The Easter Storm." In the forty -six 
years that I have lived in Nebraska there has only been one other 
winter storm that measurably approached it in intensity. This 
was the blizzard of 1888 when several people lost their lives. 
At that time, however, people were living in comfort; trees, 
hedges, groves, stubble, and cornfields held the snow so that 
the drifts were insignificant in comparison. The cold was more 
severe but the duration of the storm was less and no such wide- 
spread suffering took place. 



BEGINNINGS OF FAIRBURY 
By Joseph B. McDowell 

In the fall of 1868 my brother, W. G. McDowell, and I started 
from Fairbury, lUinois, for Nebraska. Arriving at Brownville, 
we were compelled to take a stage for Beatrice, as the only rail- 
road in the state was the Union Pacific. 

Brownville was a little river village, and Tecumseh was the 
only town between Brownville and Beatrice. It probably had 
one hundred inhabitants. There was only one house between it 
and Beatrice. The trip from Brownville to Beatrice took two 
days with a night stop at Tecumseh. The scenery consisted of 
rolling prairie covered with buffalo grass, and a few trees along 
the banks of Rock creek. We stopped for dinner at a house a 
few miles northeast of the present site of Endieott, where the 
Oregon trail stages changed horses. 

On our arrival at Beatrice we found a little village of about 
three hundred inhabitants. The only hotel had three rooms: a 
reception room, one bedroom with four beds — one in each 
comer — and a combination dining-room and kitchen. There was 
a schoolhouse fourteen by sixteen feet, but there were no 
churches. We bought a few town lots, entered two or three sec- 
tions of land, and decided to build a stone hotel, as there was 
plenty of stone along the banks of the Blue river, and in the 
water. 

We then took a team and spring-wagon and started to find a 
location for a county-seat for Jefferson county. We found the 
land where Fairbury is now located was not entered, so we en- 
tered it with the intention of making it the county-seat. 

On our return to Beatrice we let the contract for the stone 
hot«l, which still stands today. We returned to Illinois, but the 
following February of 1869 I came back to look after the build- 
ing of the hotel. I bought a farm with buildings on it, and be- 
gan farming and improving the land I had entered. In the 
summer of 1869 my brother came out again, and we drove over 
to lay out the county-seat of Jefferson county, which we named 

161 



162 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

after Fairbury, Illinois, with the sanction of the county commit- 
sioners. We shipped the machinery for a sawmill to "Waterville, 
Kansas, and hauled it to Fairbury with teams. Judge Mat- 
tingly bought it and sawed all the lumber that was used for 
building around Fairbury. Armstrong Brothers started a small 
store in a shack. 

About 1870, I came over from Beatrice and built the first store 
building, on the east side of the squai-e, which was replaced a 
few years ago by the J. D. Davis building. The Fairbury Roller 
Mill was built in 1873 by Col. Andrew J. Cropsey. I bought 
his interest in 1874 and have had it ever since. In 1880 I came 
to make my home in Fairbury and have watched its steady 
growth from its beginning, to our present thriving and beautiful 
little city of 1915. 



EARLY EXPERIENCES IN NEBRASKA 
By Elizabeth Porter Seymour 

In the spring of 1872, we came from Waterloo, Iowa, to Plym- 
outh, Nebraska. My husband drove through, and upon his ar- 
rival I came by train with my young brother and baby daughter 
four months old. 

When my husband came the previous fall to buy land, there 
was no railroad south of Crete, and he drove across the coun- 
try, but the railroad had since been completed to Beatrice. 
There was a mixed train, with one coach, and I was the only 
lady passenger. There was one young girl, who could not speak 
any English, but who had a card hung on her neck telling where 
she was to go. The trainmen held a consultation and decided 
that the people lived a short distance from the track, in the 
vicinity of Wilber, so they stopped the train and made inquiries. 
Finding these people expected someone, we waited until they 
came and got the girl. My husband met me at Beatrice, and 
the next morning we started on a fourteen-mile drive to Plym- 
outh, perched upon a load of necessaries and baggage. 

We had bought out a homesteader, so we had a shelter to go 
into. This consisted of a eottonwood house fourteen by sixteen 
feet, unplastered, and with a floor of rough boards. It was a 
dreary place, but in a few days I had transformed it. One car- 
pet was put on the floor and another stretched overhead on the 
joists. This made a place to store things, and gave the room a 
better appearance. Around the sides of the room were tacked 
sheets, etc., making a white wall. On this we hung a few pic- 
tures, and when the homesteader appeared at the door, he stood 
amazed at our fine appearance. A rude lean-to was built to 
hold the kitchen stove and work-table. 

Many times that summer a feeling of intense loneliness at the 
dreary condition came over me, but the baby Helen, always 
happy and smiUng, drove gloom away. Then, in August, came 
the terrible blow of losing our baby blossom. Cholera infantum 
was the complaint. A young mother's ignorance of remedies. 



164 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

and the long distance from a doctor, caused a delay that was 
fatal. 

Before we came, the settlers had built a log schoolhouse, with 
sod roof and plank seats. In the spring of 1872, the Congrega- 
tional Home Missionary Society sent Rev. Henry Bates otf 
Illinois to the field, and he organized a Congregational church 
of about twenty-five members, my husband and myself being 
charter members. For a time we had service in the log school- 
house, but soon had a comfortable building for services. 

Most of the land about Plymouth was owned by a railroad 
company, and they laid out a townsite, put up a two-story school- 
house, and promised a railroad soon. After years of waiting, 
the railroad came, but the station was about two miles north. 
Business went with the railroad to the new town, and the dis- 
tinction was made between New Plymouth and Old Plymouth. 

Prairie chickens and quail were quite abundant during the 
first years, and buffalo meat could often be bought, being 
shipped from the western part of the stat€. In the droves of 
cattle driven past our house to the Beatrice market, I have oc- 
casionally seen a buffalo. 

Deer and wolves were sometimes seen, and coyotes often made 
havoc with our fowls, digging through the sod chicken house to 
rob the roosts. Rattlesnakes were frequently killed and much 
dreaded, but deaths from the bite were very rare, though serious 
illness often resulted. 

Prairie fires caused the greatest terror, and the yearly losses 
were large. Everyone plowed fire guards and tried to be pre- 
pared, but, with tall grass and weeds and a strong wind, fire 
would be carried long distances and sweep everything before it 
with great rapidity. 

Indians frequently camped on Cub creek for a few days in 
their journey from one reservation to another to visit. They 
would come to the houses to beg for food, and, though they 
never harmed us, we were afraid of them. More than once I 
have heard a slight noise in my kitchen, and on going out, found 
Indians in possession; they never knocked. I was glad to give 
them food and hasten their departure. 

In the summer of 1873, quite a party of us went to the Otoe 
reservation to see just how the Indians lived. We had two cov- 
ered wagons and one provision wagon. We cooked our food by 



EAELY EXPERIENCES IN NEBRASKA 165 

a camp-fire, slept out of doors, and had a jolly time. We spent 
nearly one day on the reservation, visiting the agent's house 
and the school and peering into the huts of the Indians. At 
the schoolhouse the pupils were studious, but several of them 
had to care for papooses while studying, and the Indians were 
peering into the doore and windows, watching proceedings. 
Most of the Indians wore only a blanket and breech cloth, but 
the teacher was evidently trying to induce the young pupils to 
wear clothes, and succeeded in a degree. One boy amused us 
very much by wearing flour sacks for trousers. The sacks were 
simply ripped open at the end, the stamps of the brand being 
still upon them, one sack being lettered in red and the other in 
blue. Preparations were going on for a visit to the Omahas by 
a number of braves and some squaws, and they were donning 
paint and feathers. The agent had received some boxes of 
clothing from the East for them, which they were eager to wear 
on their trip. Not having enough to fit them out, one garment 
was given to each, and they at once put them on. It was very 
ludicrous to see them, one with a hat, another with a shirt, an- 
other with a vest, etc. At last they were ready and rode away 
on their ponies. As we drove away, an Indian and squaw, with 
papoose, were just ahead of us. A thunder storm came up, and 
the brave Indian took away from the squaw her parasol and held 
it over his head, leaving her unprotected. 

Although the settlers on the upland were widely scattered, 
they were kind and neighborly, as a rule — ready to help each 
other in all ways, especially in sickness and death. One Thanks- 
giving a large number of settlers brought their dinners to the 
church, and after morning services enjoyed a good dinner and 
social hour together. That church, so important a factor in the 
community in early days, was disbanded but a few years ago. 
Pioneer life has many privations, but there are also very many 
pleasant experiences. 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 
By Mks. C. F. Steele 

Calvin F. Steele came to Nebraska in March, 1871, staying 
for a Little time in Beatrice. He heard of a new town just start- 
ing called Fairbury. Thinking this might be a good place for 
one with very little capital to start in business, he decided to go 
there and see what the prospects were. Nearly all of the thirty- 
three miles was unbroken prairie, with no landmarks to guide 
one. Mr. Steele had hired a horse to ride. Late in the after- 
noon the sky was overcast and a storm came up. He saw some 
distance ahead of him a little rise of ground, and urging his 
horse forward he made for that, hoping he might be able to 
catch sight of the town he sought. To his surprise he found 
himself on top of a dugout. 

The man of the house came inishing out. Mr. Steele explained 
and asked directions, only to find he was not near Fairbury as he 
he hoped. He was kindly taken in for the night, and while all 
slept in the one room, that was so clean and comfortable, and 
the M^elcome so kindly, a friendship was started that night, a 
friendship that grew and strengthened with the years and lasted 
as long as E. D. Briekley, the man of the dugout, lived. 

I arrived in Fairbury the first day of May, 1871. The morn- 
ing after I came I counted every building in the town, including 
all outbuildings having a roof. Even so I could only bring the 
grand total up to thirty. 

That Slimmer proved a very hot one — no ice, and very few 
buildings had a cellar. We rented for the summer a little home 
of three rooms. The only trees in sight were a few eottonwoods 
along the ravine that ran through the town and on the banks of 
the Little Blue river. How to keep milk sweet or butter cool 
was a problem. At last I thought of our well, stiU without a 
pump. I would put the eatables in a washboiler, put the cover 
on, tie a rope through the handles, and let the boiler down into 
the well. In late September a lady told me as her husband was 
going away she would bring her work and sit with me. I per- 

166 



PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS 167 

suaded her to stay for supper. I intended to have cold meat, a 
kind of custard known as ' ' floating island ' ' ; these with milk and 
butter were put down the well. After preparing the table I 
went out and drew up my improvised refrigerator, and remov- 
ing the cover went in wdth milk and butter. Returning almost 
instantly, the door closed with a bang and frightened a stray 
dog doubtless attracted by the smell of meat. He started to run 
and was so entangled in the ropes that as far as I could see, dog, 
boiler, and contents were still going. 

The whole thing was so funny I laughed at the time, and still 
do when I recall that scene of so long ago. 



HOW THE SONS OF GEORGE WINSLOW FOUND THEIR 
FATHER'S GRAVE 

By Mks. C. F. Steele and George W. Hansen 

Statement by Mrs. 



I have been asked to tell the story of how the sons of George 
Winslow found their father's grave. 

In April, 1911, it was my pleasure and privilege to go to 
Washington to attend the national meeting of the Daughters of 
the American Revolution. I went in company with Mrs. C. B. 
Letton as well as a number of other delegates from different 
parts of the state. While passing around to east our votes for 
president general, an eastern lady noticing our badges ex- 
changed greetings with some of our delegates and expressed a 
wish to meet some one from Fairbury. She was told that Fair- 
bury had a delegate and I was called up to meet Mrs. Henry 
Winslow of Meriden, Connecticut. She greeted me cordially, 
saying her husband's father was a "Forty-niner" and while on 
his way to CaUfomia was taken sick, died, and was buried by 
the side of the Oregon trail. In February, 1891, a letter ap- 
peared in a Boston paper from Rev. S. Goldsmith of Fairbury, 
Nebraska, saying that he had seen a grave with the inscription 
"Geo. Winslow, Newton, Ms. AE. 25" cut on a crude head- 
stone, and that he was ready to correspond with any interested 
party as to the lone grave or its silent occupant. This letter 
came to the notice of the sons of George Winslow, and they 
placed Mr. Goldsmith in communication with David Staples, of 
San Francisco, California, who was a brother-in-law of George 
Winslow and a member of the same company on the overland 
journey to California. 

Mr. Staples wrote him about the organization of the company, 
which was called the "Boston and Newton Joint Stock Associa- 
tion, ' ' and the sickness and death of George Winslow ; but after 
this they heard nothing further from the Nebraska man. 

Mrs. Winslow asked me if I knew anything of the grave. I 




Alls ( II M 
Eighth State Regent \eljnskj 



Revolution 1007 19(IS 



THE SONS OF GEORGE WINSLOW 169 

did not, but promised to make inquiries regarding it on my re- 
turn home. 

Soon after reaching home, Judge and Mrs. Letton came down 
from Lincoln and as guests of Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Hansen we 
were all dining together. The conversation turned to the trip 
Mrs. Letton and I had enjoyed together, and we told the story 
of the ta.lk with Mrs. Winslow. To my great surprise and pleas- 
ure Judge Letton said, "Why, Mrs. Steele, I remember seeing, 
many years ago, close by the Oregon trail, somewhere near the 
head of Whiskey Run, a grave marked with a red sandstone, 
and it is probably the grave you are searching for. I believe 
Mr. Hansen can find it. ' ' 

A few days after this Mr. Hansen reported the finding of the 
grave. He said the headstone had been knocked down by a 
mower and dragged several rods away, and that he had replaced 
it upon the grave; that the inscription on the stone was as dis- 
tinct as though freshly cut. I at once wrote to Mrs. Winslow, 
giving her the facts, and telling her Mr. Hansen would gladly 
answer any questions and give such further information as she 
might wish. 

The grateful letter I received in reply more than compensated 
me for what I had done. 

Statement hy Mr. Hansen 

Upon a beautiful swell of the prairie between the forks of 
Whiskey Run, overlooking the charming valley of the Little Blue 
river, in a quiet meadow, five miles north and one mile west of 
Fairbury, close to the "old legitimate trail of the Oregon emi- 
grants, " is a lone grave marked with a red sandstone slab, twen- 
ty inches in height, of equal width, and six inches thick, on 
which is carved "Geo. Winslow, Newton, Ms. AE. 25." 

Through this meadow untouched by the plow may still be seen 
the deep, grass-grown furrows of the Oregon trail; and when 
George Winslow 's companions laid him at rest by its side, they 
buried him in historic ground, upon earth's greatest highway. 

To the honor of George Winslow 's comrades be it said they 
loved him so well that in their grief the feverish haste to reach 
the gold fields was forgotten, and every member did what he 
could to give him Christian burial and perpetuate his memory. 
They dug his grave very deep so that neither vandals nor wolves 



170 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

would disturb him. They searched the surrounding country and 
found, two miles away, a durable quality of sandstone, which 
they fashioned with their rude tools for his monument, his uncle 
Jesse "Winslow carving with great care his name, home, and age, 
and on a footstone the figures 1849. This service of love ren- 
dered him that day gave to his sons their father's grave, and 
enabled us sixty-three years afterwards to obtain the story of 
his life, and the story of the journey of his company to Cali- 
fornia. 

Of all the thousands of men who were buried by the side of 
the old trail in 1849 and 1850, the monument of George Winslow 
alone remains. All the rest, buried in graves unmarked or 
marked with wooden slabs, have passed into oblivion. 

In June, 1912, it was my pleasure to meet George Winslow 's 
sons, George E. of Waltham, Massachusetts, and Henry 0. at 
the home of the latter in Meriden, Connecticut. They were in- 
tensely interested in the incident of their father's death and in 
the protection of his grave. It was planned that they should 
obtain a granite boulder from near their father's home in which 
the old red sandstone set up by his companions in 1849 might 
be presei-ved, and a bronze tablet fashioned by Henry 0. Wins- 
low's hands placed upon its face. This has been done, and the 
monument was unveiled on October 29, 1912, with appropriate 
ceremonies. 

I learned from them that Charles Gould, then in the eighty- 
ninth year, the last survivor of the party, lived at Lake City, 
Minnesota. Mr. Gould kept a record of each day's events from 
the time the Boston and Newton Joint Stock Association left 
Boston until it arrived at Sutter's Fort, California. A copy 
of this interesting diary and a copy of a daguerrotype of Mr. 
Gould taken in 1849 are now in the possession of the Nebraska 
State Historical Society. The original letter written by George 
Winslow to his wife Eliza from Independence, Missouri, May 
12, 1849, and the letter of Brackett Lord written at Fort Kearny 
June 17, 1849, describing Winslow 's sickness, death, and burial, 
and a copy of a daguerrotype of George Winslow taken in 1849, 
were given me by Mr. Henry 0. Winslow to present to the Ne- 
braska State Historical Society. 

From the Winslow memorial published in 1877, we learn that 
George Winslow was descended from Kenelm Winslow of Dort- 



THE SONS OF GEORGE WINSLOW 171 

witch, England, whose two sons Edward and Kenehn emigrated 
to Leyden, Holland, and joined the Pilgrim church there in 1617. 
Edward came to America with the firet company of emigrants 
in the Majrflower, December, 1620, and was one of the committee 
of four who wrote the immortal compact or Magna Charta. He 
became governor of Plymouth colony in 1833. His brother 
Kenelm came to America in the Mayflower with the long hin- 
dered remainder of the Pilgrim church on a later voyage. 

His son Kenelm Winslow was born at Plymouth, Massachu- 
setts, in 1635. His son, Josiah Winslow, bom 1669, established 
the business of cloth dressing at Freetown, Massachusetts. His 
son James Winslow, bom 1712, continued his father's business, 
and was a colonel in the second regiment Massachusetts militia. 
His son Shadrach Winslow, born 1750, graduated at Yale in 
1771 and became an eminent physician. At the outbreak of the 
Revolutionary war, being a gentleman of independent fortune, 
he fitted out a warship or a privateer, and was commissioned 
to attack the enemy on the high seas. He was captured off the 
coast of Spain, and confined in a dismal prison ship where he 
suffered much. His son Eleazer Winslow, bom 1786, took up 
his abode in the Catskill mountains with a view to his health 
and while there at Ramapo, New York, on August 11, 1823, his 
son George Winslow was bom. 

The family moved to Newton, Mass., now a suburb of Boston, 
where George learned his father's trade, that of machinist and 
molder. In the same shop and at the same time, David Staples 
and Brackett Lord, who afterwards became brothers-in-law, and 
Charles Gould were learning this trade 

George Winslow was married in 1845. His first son, George 
Edward, was bom May 15, 1846. His second son Henry 0., 
was bora May 16, 1849, the day the father left the frontier town 
of Independence, Missouri, for California. 

The Boston and Newton Joint Stock Association consisted of 
twenty-five picked young men from Newton and the vicinity of 
Boston, each member paying $300 into the treasury. The in- 
cidents along the journey we obtain from Mr. Gould's excellent 
journal. They left Boston, April 16, 1849, traveling by rail to 
Buffalo, taking the steamer Baltic for Sandusky, Ohio, and then 
by rail to Cincinnati, where they arrived April 20, at 9:00 
o'clock p. m. 



172 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

They left Cincinnati April 23rd, on the steamer GrifSn Yeat- 
man for St. Louis, and arrived there April 27th, then by steamer 
Bay State, to Independence, Missouri. The boat was crowded 
principally with passengers bound for California. A set of 
gamblers seated around a table Well supplied with liquor kept 
up their game all night. Religious services were held on board 
on the Sabbath, Rev. Mr. Haines preaching the sermon. The 
usual exciting steamboat race was had, their boat leaving the 
steamer Alton in the rear, where, Mr. Gould remarks "we think 
she will be obliged to stay." 

On May 3rd, they landed at Independence, Missouri, and began 
preparations for the overland journey. In the letter written 
by George Winslow to his wife, he says: 

' ' "We have no further anxiety about forage ; millions of buffalo 
have feasted for ages on these vast prairies, and as their num- 
ber have been diminished by reason of hunters, it is absurd to 
think we will not have sufficient grass for our animals. . . 

"We have bought forty mules which cost us $50 apiece. I 
have been appointed teamster, and had the good luck to draw 
the best wagon. I never slept better in my life. I always find 
myself in the morning — or my bed, rather — flat as a pan cake. 
As the dam thing leaks just enough to land me on terra firma 
by morning, it saves me the trouble of pressing out the wind; 
so who cares. . . 

"Sunday morning, May 13, 1849. This is a glorious morning 
and having curried my mules and washed my clothes and bathed 
myself, I can recommence writing to you Eliza. . . 

"We engaged some Mexicans to break the mules. To harness 
them they tied their fore legs together and threw them down. 
The fellows then got on them and wrung their ears, which like 
a nigger's shin, is the tenderest part. By that time they were 
docile enough to take the harness. The animals in many re- 
spects resemble sheep, they are very timid and when frightened 
will kick like thunder. They got six harnessed into a team, 
when one of the leaders, feeling a little mulish, jumped right 
straight over the other one's back. One fellow offered to bet 
the liquor that he could ride an unbroken one he had bought; 
the bet was taken — but he had no sooner mounted the fool 
mule than he landed on his hands and feet in a very undigni- 
fied manner; a roar of laughter from the spectators was his 



THE SONS OF GEORGE WINSLOW 173 

reward. I suppose by this time you have some idea of a 
mule. . . 

"I see by your letter that you have the blues a little in your 
anxiety for my welfare. I do not worry about myself, then 
why do you for me ? I do not discover in your letter any anxie- 
ty on your own account; then let us for the future look on the 
bright side and indulge in no more useless anxiety. It effects 
nothing, and is almost universally the bugbear of the imagina- 
tion. . . The reports of the gold region here are as encourag- 
ing as they were in Massachusetts. Just imagine to yourself 
seeing me return with from $10,000 to $100,000. . ." 

On May 16th this company of intrepid men started out upon 
the long overland trail to California. They traveled up the 
Kansas river, delayed by frequent rains and mud hub deep, 
reaching the lower ford of the Kansas on the 26th, having ac- 
complished about fifty miles in ten days. The wagons were 
driven on flatboats and poled across by five Indians. The road 
now becoming dry, they made rapid progress until the 29tli, 
when George Winslow was suddenly taken violently sick with 
the cholera. Two others in the party were suffering with symp- 
toms of the disease. The company remained in camp three days 
and the patients having so far recovered, it was decided to pro- 
ceed. Winslow 's brothers-in-law, David Staples and Brackett 
Lord, or his uncle, Jesse Winslow, were with him every moment, 
giving him every care. As they journeyed on he continued to 
improve. On June 5th they camped on the Big Blue, and on the 
6th, late in the afternoon, they reached the place where the trail 
crosses the present Nebraska-Kansas state line into Jefferson 
county, Nebraska. Mr. Gould writes: "About a half hour 
before sunset a terrific thunder shower arose, which baffles de- 
scription, the lightning flashes dazzling the eyes, and the thun- 
der deafening the ears, and the rain falling in torrents. It was 
altogether the grandest scene I have ever witnessed. When the 
rain ceased to fall the sun had set and darkness closed in. ' ' 

To this storm is attributed George Winslow 's death. The 
next morning he appeared as well as usual, but at 3 o'clock 
became worse, and the company encamped. He failed rapidly, 
and at 9 o'clock a. m., the next day, the 8th of June, 1849, paiur 
lessly and without a struggle, he sank away as though going to 
sleep. He was taken to the center of the corral, where funeral 



174 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

services were performed, by reading from the scriptures by 
Mr. Burt, and prayer by Mr. Sweetser. He was then borne to 
the grave by eight bearers, and followed by the rest of the com- 
pany. Tears rolled down the cheeks of those strong men as each 
deposited a green sprig in the open grave. 

For him the trail ended here — in these green pastures. All 
the rest of his company traveled the long old trail across plains, 
mountains, and deserts, and reached the fabled gardens and 
glittering sands of El Dorado, only to find them the ashes of 
their hopes. He alone of all that company was never disillu- 
sioned. 



EAELY DAYS IN JEFFERSON COUNTY 
By Mrs. M. H. Weeks 

When I look upon the little city of Fairbury and see the beau- 
tiful trees, fine lawns, and comfortable homes, it is hard to real- 
ize the feelings I had in July, 1873, when as a bride, coming 
from the dear old Granite sta.te, we came to our future home. 
I wanted to "go on" somewhere else, for eveiything that is 
usually green was so parched and dreary looking and desolate. 
The only trees were at the homes of L. C. Champlin and S. G. 
Thomas. 

We spent the night at the Purdy house, and the following 
day drove to our homestead ; and in fording the river where the 
Weeks bridge is now, the water poured into the express wagon 
(finest conveyance in town) driven by Will Hubbell. At least 
two of the party were much alarmed — our sister Mary Weeks 
and the writer. 

It was the first of many peculiar experiences, such as taking 
my sewing and a rocking chair, on a hayrack, to the hay field, 
rather than stay home alone for fear of the Otoe Indians. The 
first intimation of their presence would be their faces pressed 
against the window glass, and that would give one a creepy feel- 
ing. 

I have ridden to town many times on loads of sand, rock, and 
hay ; and when the ford was impassable with wagons, I would go 
on horseback, with arms around the neck of faithful Billy, and 
eyes closed for fear of tumbling oif into the water. On the re- 
turn trip both of our horses would be laden with bags of pro- 
visions. 

In 1867 my husband went with a party of twenty-five on a 
buffalo hunt with a man by the name of Soules as guide. They 
secured plenty of elk. deer, and buffalo. The wagons were 
formed in a circle, to con-al the horses and mules nights for fear 
of an attack by the Indians; each one taking turns as sentinel. 
The mules would always whistle if an Indian was anywhere 
near, so he felt secure even if he did sleep a little. They only 
saw the Indians at a distance as they were spearing the buffalo. 

All things have surely changed, and now we ride in autos in- 
stead of covered wagons. What will the next fifty yeai-s bring? 

175 



LOCATION OP THE CAPITAL AT LINCOLN 
By John H. Ames 

By an act of the legislature, approved June 14, 1867, it was 
provided that the governor, secretary, and auditor of state, 
should be commissioners for the purpose of locating the seat of 
government and public buildings of the state of Nebi-aska, and 
they were vested with the necessary powers and authority for 
proceeding, as soon as practicable, to effect that purpose, and re- 
quired on or before the fifteenth day of July in the same year, to 
select from among certain lands belonging to the state, and lying 
within the counties of Seward, Saunders, Butler, and Lancaster, 
"a suitable site, of not less than six hundred and forty acres 
lying in one body, for a town, due regard being had to its accea- 
sibility from all portions of the state and its general fitness for 
a capital." 

The commissioners were also required, immediately upon such 
selections being made, to appoint a competent surveyor and pro- 
ceed to ' ' survey, lay off and stake out the said tract of land into 
lots, blocks, streets, alleys, and public squares or reservations for 
public buildings"; and the act declared that such town when so 
laid out and surveyed, should "be named and known as Lin- 
coln, ' ' and the same was thereby declared to be " the permanent 
seat of government of the state of Nebraska, at which all the 
public ofiices of the state should be kept, and at which all the ses- 
sions of the legislature thereof should be held. ' ' 

The act further provided that the lots in the alternate blocks, 
not reserved as aforesaid, in said town, should, after notice 
thereof had been given by advertisement for the time and in the 
manner therein prescribed, be offered for sale to the highest and 
best bidder; and the commissioners were authorized, after ha\ang 
held the sale for five successive days, as therein provided, at 
Lincoln, Nebraska City, and Omaha, to adjourn the same to be 
held at such other place or places within or without the state, 
as they might see proper, provided that at such sales no lots 
should be sold for a less price than a minimum to be fixed on 

176 



LOCATION OF THE CAPITAL AT LINCOLN 177 

each lot by the oommissioners, previous to the opening of the 
sales. All moneys received for the sale of said lots were de- 
clared to be a state building fund, and were directed to be de- 
posited in the state treasury and kept separate from all other 
funds for that pui^pose. Notice was directed to be issued im- 
mediately after the sale of lots, asking from architects plans and 
specifications for a building, the foundation of which should be 
of stone, and the superstructure of stone or brick, which should 
be suitable for the two houses of the legislature and the execu- 
tive offices of the state, and which might be designed as a por- 
tion of a larger edifice, but the cost of which should not exceed 
fifty thousand dollars. Provision was also made for the letting 
of the contract for its construction, and appointing a superin- 
tendent thereof, and also for the erection at Lincoln, as soon as 
sufficient funds therefor could be secured by the sale of public 
lands or otherwise, of a state university, agricultural college, 
and penitentiary; but no appropriation, other than of the state 
lands and lots as above described, was made for the aid of any 
of the enterprises herein mentioned. 

What was the result of sending three men fifty miles out into 
an unbroken, and at that time, almost imknown prairie, to speak 
into existence simply by the magic of their own unconquerable, 
though unaided, enterprise and perseverance, a city that should 
not only be suitable for the seat of government of the state, but 
should be able, almost as soon as its name was pronounced, to 
contribute from its own resources sufficient funds for the erec- 
tion of a state house and other necessary public state buildings, 
remains to be seen. 

It appears from the report of the commissioners, made to the 
senate and house of representatives at its first regular session, 
held in January, 1869, that, having provided themselves with an 
outfit, and employed Mr. Augustus F. Harvey, as surveyor, to 
ascertain the location of the lines of the proposed sites, they 
left Nebraska City on the afternoon of the 18th of July, 1867, 
for the purpose of making the selection required in the act. 

After having visited and examined the town sites of Saline 
City, or "Yankee Hill," and Lancaster, in Lancaster county, 
they proceeded to visit and examine the several proposed sites 
in each of the counties named in the act, in which occupations 
they were engaged until the twenty-ninth of the same month, 



178 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

when they returned, and made a more thorough examination of 
the two sites above referred to, at which time the favorable im- 
pressions received of Lancaster on their first visit were con- 
firmed. Says the report: 

"We found a gently undulating surface, its principal eleva- 
tion being near the centre of the proposed new site. The village 
already established being in the midst of a thrifty and consider- 
able agricultural population; rock, timber, and water power 
available within short distances; the centre of the great saline 
region within two miles; and in addition to all other claims, 
the special advantage was that the location was at the centre of a 
circle, of about 110 miles in diameter, along or near the circum- 
ference of which are the Kansas state line directly south, the 
important towns of Pawnee City, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, 
Omaha, Fremont, and Columbus. . . Under these circum- 
stances we entertained the proposition of the people residing in 
the vicinity of Lancaster, offering to convey to the state in fee 
simple the west half of the west half of section 25, the east half 
and the southwest quarter of section 26, which, with the north- 
west quarter of section 26 (the last named quarter being saline 
land), all in tovm 10, range 6 east; the whole embracing 800 
acres, and upon which it was proposed to erect the new town. 
In addition, the trustees of the Lancaster Seminary Association 
proposed to convey to the state, for an addition to the site named 
in the foregoing proposition, the town site of Lancaster, reserv- 
ing, however, certain lots therein which had been disposed of in 
whole or in part to the purchasers thereof. ' ' 

After being satisfied of the sufficiency of the titles proposed to 
be conveyed to the state, and having carefully "considered all 
the circumstances of the condition of the saline lands, the ad- 
vantage of the situation, its central position, and the value of its 
surroundings over a district of over twelve thousand square 
miles of rich agricultural country, it was determined to accept 
the proposition made by the owners of the land. ' ' Accordingly 
on the afternoon of the 29th of July the commissioners as- 
sembled at the house of W. T. Donavan, in Lancaster, and by a 
unanimous vote formally declared the present site of the capital 
city of Lincoln, which action was first made public by a proc- 
lamation issued on the 14th day of August next following. 

On the 15th of August, Messrs. Harvey and Smith, engineers, 
with a corps of assistants, commenced the survey of the town, 



LOCATION OF THE CAPITAL AT LINCOLN 179 

the design being calculated for the making of a beautiful city. 
The streets are one hundred and twenty feet wide, and all ex- 
cept the business streets capable of being improved with a street 
park outside the curb line ; as, for instance : On the one hun- 
dred feet streets, pavements twelve feet wide and a park or 
double row of trees outside the pavement, and planted twelve 
feet apart so as to admit of a grass plat between, may be made 
on both sides the street. This will leave on the one hundred feet 
streets a roadway fifty-two feet wide ; with pavements as above, 
and parks fifteen feet wide, will leave a roadway on the one 
hundred and twenty feet streets of sixty feet ; while on the busi- 
ness streets a ninety-foot roadway was thought to be amply 
sufficient for the demands of trade. 

Reservations of about twelve acres each were made for the 
state house, state university, and a city park, these being at 
about equal distances from each other. 

Reservations of one block each were made for a courthouse 
for Lancaster county, for a city hall and market space, for a 
state historical and library association, and seven other 
squares in proper locations for public schools. Reservations 
were also made of three lots each in desirable locations for ten 
religious denominations, upon an understanding with the parties 
making the selections on behalf of the several denominations, 
that the legislature would require of them a condition that the 
property should only be used for religious purposes, and that 
some time would be fixed within which suitable houses of wor- 
ship, costing not less than some reasonable minimum amount, 
should be erected. One lot each was also reserved for the use 
of the Independent Order of Good Templars, and Odd Fellows, 
and the order of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. These 
reservations were afterwards confirmed by the legislature, with 
conditions recommended by the commissioners, and religious de- 
nominations were required to build on their reserved lots pre- 
vious to or during the summer of 1870. 

In anticipation of the completion of the survey, due adver- 
tisement thereof was made as provided by law, and a sale of lots 
opened at Lincoln on the 17th day of September, for the purpose 
of raising the necessary funds for commencing the construction 
of the state house. 

Owing to the unpropitious state of the weather but few bid- 



180 NEBRASKA PIONEER EEMINISCENCES 

ders were present, and the results of the first day's sales were 
light and disheartening; during their continuation, however, 
circumstances were changed for the better, and at the end of 
five days $34,000 had been realized. Subsequent sales were held 
at Nebraska City and Omaha, which by the fourth day of Octo- 
ber had increased that amount to the sum of $53,000. Sales were 
subsequently held at Lincoln on the seventeenth of June and 
September, 1868, from which were realized the sum of $22,580. 

On the tenth of September, 1867, the commissaoners issued 
their notice to architects, inviting, for a period of thirty days, 
plans and specifications for a state house; and upon the tenth 
of October, after having considered the merits of the several 
plans presented, they concluded to accept that of Prof. John 
Morris, of Chicago, whom they thereupon appointed superin- 
tendent of construction, and issued notice to builders, inviting 
proposals for a term of three months, for the erection of the 
work; Prof. Morris in the meantime commencing such prelim- 
inary work as excavations for foundations, delivery of material 
for foundation, and other arrangements as should tend to facil- 
itate the progress of the work after the contract was let. 

On the tenth of November the superintendent caused the 
ground to be broken in the presence of a number of the citizens 
of Lancaster, the removal of the first earth being awarded to 
Master Frele Morton Donavan, the first child bom in, and the 
youngest child of the oldest settler of Lancaster county. 

On the eleventh of January, 1868, the bid of Mr. Joseph 
Ward, proposing to furnish the material and labor, and erect 
the building contemplated in the contract for the sum of $49,000, 
was accepted, and from that time forward the work steadily 
progressed, with the exception of a few unavoidable delays, un- 
til its completion. 

On account, however, of the increasing wants of the state, the 
difficulties attending, the changes of material and increased 
amount of work and additional accommodation found necessary 
and advisable, the commissioners deemed it expedient to exceed 
the amount of expenditure contemplated in the statute; the ad- 
ditional expense being defrayed from the proceeds of the sales of 
lots and lands appropriated for that purpose. 

It was originally intended that the walls of the building 
should be built of red sandstone, and faced with blue limestone, 



LOCATION OF THE CAPITAL AT LINCOLN 181 

but upon proceeding with the work the architect and builder 
found that the difficulties attending the procuration of the last 
named material would, unless the object was abandoned, result 
in an impossibility of the completion of the work at contract 
prices; and in so far retarding its progress as to prevent its erec- 
tion in time for the use of the next session of the legislature. 
Its use, therefore, was accordingly abandoned, and it was decided 
to substitute in lieu thereof the magnesian limestone of Beatrice, 
which the experience of the architect had proved to be of far 
better character for building purposes than the blue limestone, 
it being less liable to wear or damage from frost or fire or any 
other action of the elements. 

This change having been made, the work was pushed vigor- 
ously forward, and on the third day of December, 1868, was so 
far completed as to be ready for the occupancy of the state of- 
ficers, and the governor, therefore, on that day issued his proc- 
lamation announcing the removal of the seat of government from 
Omaha to Lincoln and ordering the transportation of the ar- 
chives of the state to the new capitol. 



AN INCIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF LINCOLN 
By Ortha C. Bell 

On February 1, 1872, I arrived in Lincoln, the capital of the 
state. About the middle of January, 1875, the residents of Lin- 
coln were greatly startled at seeing a man, shoeless and coatless, 
mounted on a horse without saddle or bridle, coming down 
Eleventh street at full speed, and crying at the top of his voice, 
"Mutiny at the pen!" The man proved to be a guard from 
the penitentiary heralding the news of this outbreak and calling 
for help. The prisoners had taken advantage of the absence of 
Warden Woodhurst, overpowered Deputy "Warden C. J. Nobes, 
bound and gagged the guard. The leader, Quinn Bohanan, dis- 
robed the deputy warden, exchanged his own for the clothing 
and hat of the deputy, and produced the effect of a beard with 
charcoal. This disguise was all so complete that the guards did 
not detect the ruse when the prisoners were marched through 
the yards, supposed to be in charge of the deputy. When on the 
inside of the prison they used the warden's family as hostages 
aJid took possession of the arsenal, and were soon in command 
of the situation. 

The man on horseback had spread the news through the city 
in a very short time and soon hundreds of men with all kinds of 
guns had left their places of business and gone to the peniten- 
tiary, which they surrounded, holding the prisoners within the 
walls. 

The governor wired for a detail from the regulars, stationed 
at Fort Omaha, and with all possible haste they were rushed to 
the scene. They were soon in charge of the situation, and nego- 
tiations were begun for a restoration of normal conditions, 
which result was attained in three days' time. 

During all this time Warden Woodhurst was on the outside of 
the walls and his brave little wife, with their two small children, 
were on the inside. Mrs. Woodhurst used all the diplomacy at 
her command to save her own life and that of the two children. 
She and the children had served as shields to the prisoners, pro- 



LOCATION OF THE CAPITAL AT LINCOLN 183 

tecting them from the bullets of the soldiers on the firing line 
around the penitentiary. 

The incident closed without loss of life to citizen or prisoner, 
but has left a lasting impression on the minds of those who were 
present. 



LINCOLN IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES 
By (Mrs. 0. C.) MiN>riE DeEtte Polley Bell 

In the spring of 1874 my father, Hiram PoUey, came from 
Ohio to Lincoln, I being a young lady of nineteen years. To 
say that the new country with its vast prairies, so different from 
our beautiful timber country, produced homesickness, would be 
putting it mildly. My parents went on to a farm near what is 
now the town of Raymond, I remaining in Lincoln with an aunt, 
Mrs. "Watie E. Gosper. My father built the bam as soon as 
possible and this was used for the house until after the crops 
were put in, then work was begun on the house that they might 
have it before cold weather. 

The first trouble that came was the devastating plague of 
grasshoppers which swept over this section of the country in the 
years 1874 and 1875. Not long after this a new trouble was 
upon us. The day dawned bright and fair, became hotter and 
more still, until presently in the distance there could be seen the 
effects of a slight breeze ; this however was only the advance of 
a terrible windstorm. When the hurricane had passed, the 
barn, which only a few months before had served as the house, 
was in ruins. Undaunted, my father set about to rebuild the 
barn, which still remains on the farm ; the farm, however, is 
now owned by other parties. 

In the winter of 1875 there Was quite a fall of snow, and one 
of the funny sights was a man driving down street with a 
horse hitched to a rocking chair. Everything that could be used 
for a sleigh was pressed into service. This was a strange sight 
to me, having come from Ohio where we had from three to four 
months of sleighing with beautiful sleighs and all that goes to 
make up a merry time. 

During this winter many were using corn for fuel and great 
quantities were piled on the ground, which of course made rats 
very plentiful — so much so that when walking on the streets 
at dusk one would almost have to kick them out of the way or 
wait for them to pass. 



LINCOLN IN THE EARLY SEVENTIES 185 

In the course of time a young man appeared upon the scene, 
and on December 10, 1874, I was married to Ortha C. Bell. We 
were married in the house which now stands at the northeast 
comer of Twelfth and M streets, then the home of my aunt, 
Mrs. Grosper. Four children were born to us: the first, a daugh- 
ter, dying in infancy; the second, Jennie Bell-Ringer, of Lin- 
coln; the third, a son, Ray Hiram Bell, dying at the age of 
three; and the fourth, a daughter, Hazel Bell-Smith. Two 
grandchildren have come to brighten our lives, DeEtte Bell 
Smith and Edmund Burke Smith. Our home at 931 D street. 
which we built in 1886, is still occupied by us. 



A PIONEER BABY SHOW 
By (Mrs. Frank I.) Jennie Bell-Binger 

I am a Nebraska product, having been bom in the city of 
Lincohi, just across the street from the state university, on R 
street, between Eleventh and Twelfth. 

When yet very young my proud mother entered me in an old- 
fashioned baby show which was held itn the old opera house, 
known as "The Hallo Opera House." This show was not con- 
ducted as the "Better Babies" contest of today is conducted, 
but rather along the line of a game of chance. The judges went 
around and talked and played with the various babies. The 
baby that made the best impression on the judges, or perhaps, 
more correctly speaking, the baby that was on its good behavior, 
was the one that made the best impression on the judges. 

To make a long story short, I evidently, at that tender age, 
knew when to put on my company manners, and when the prizes 
were awarded, I held the lucky niunber and rode away in a 
handsome baby buggy, the first prize. 

The second prize was awarded to John Dean Ringer, second 
son of Mr. and Mrs. Bradford Ringer. The third prize was 
given to Harry Hardenburg; and an impromptu fourth prize 
was awarded to a colored baby. 

The day I was married my newly acquired brother, in bestow- 
ing good wishes upon me, said there was only one fault he had 
to find with me, and upon inquiry as to what that might be, he 
answered, "You took the first prize away from me at the baby 



MAJIKING THE SITE OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK 
COUNCIL AT FORT CALHOUN 

By Mrs. Laura B. Pound 

Looking backward for thirteen years, it is difficult for me to 
realize that at the beginning of my fourth term as state regent, 
in 1902, there were as yet only two chapters of the Daughters of 
the American Revolution in Nebraska. From 1894 to 1902 
there had been three other state regents besides myself; and it 
was surely through no lack of diligence or patriotism that the 
organization grew so slowly. Mrs. S. C. Langworthy had been 
appointed organizing regent at Seward in 1896 ; Mrs. J. A. Cline 
at Minden, and Mrs. Sarah G. Bates at Long Pine in 1897 ; and 
Miss Anna Day at Beatrice in 1899. The total membership in 
the state probably did not exceed two hundred and fifty, and 
these, with the exception of the regents already named, belonged 
to the Deborah Avery and the Omaha chapters. 

In 1899, Mrs. Eliza Towle repoi-ted to the president general 
and the national board of management that the Omaha chapter 
had decided to place a monument at Fort Calhoun — undoubt- 
edly at the suggestion of Mrs. Harriet S. MacMurphy, who was 
much interested in the early history of that place. 

As the hundredth anniversary of the acquisition of the Louis- 
iana territory approached, and interest began to center around 
the expedition of Lewis and Clark, it was found that the only 
point touched in Nebraska by these explorers which could be 
positively identified was old Council Bluff, near Fort Calhoun ; 
and here the Omaba chapter had decided to erect a monument. 
At a meeting of the Omaha chapter in 1901, the state regent 
directed the attention of the members to this fact, and it was 
voted to enlarge the scope of the undertaking, to make the mark- 
ing of the site a state affair, and to ask the cooperation of the 
Sons of the American Revolution and of the State Historical 
Society. This action was ratified at the first conference of the 
Daughters of the American Revolution held in Nebraska, the 
meeting having been called especially for that purpose, in Octo- 



188 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

ber, 1902. A committee in conjunction with the Sons of the 
American Revolution asked the state legislature of 1903 for a 
sum of five thousand dollars to buy the site of Fort Atkinson 
and to erect a suitable monument, under the auspices of the Sons 
and the Daughters of the American Revolution, the monument 
to be erected according to plans and specifications furnished by 
the two societies. 

Disappointed by the failure of the legislature to make the de- 
sired appropriation but in no way discouraged, the Daughters 
of the American Revolution at the second state conference, held 
in October, 1903, voted to observe the anniversary of the first 
official council held by Lewis and Clark with the Indians in the 
Louisiana territory, and to commemorate the event by placing 
a Nebraska boulder upon the site. As chairman of the commit- 
tee, it fell to my lot to raise the money and to find the boulder; 
and it is with pleasure that I record the ease with which the 
first part of my duty was accomplished. The Deborah Avery 
chapter gave seventy-five dollars, the Omaha chapter one hun- 
dred, and the two new chapters organized in 1902, Quivira of 
Fairbury and Lewis-Clark of Fremont, raised the sum to two 
hundred, each promising more if it was needed. 

To find a Nebraska boulder was more difficult ; and it was still 
more difficult to find a firm in Nebraska willing to undertake to 
raise it from its native bed and to carve upon it the insignia of 
the D. A. R., with a suitable inscription. Finally a boulder of 
Sioux Falls granite was found in the Marsden farm, north of 
Lincoln, and it was given to the society by the owner, who re- 
marked that he was "glad to be rid of it." Its dimensions 
were 7%x8i4x3i4 feet. Its weight was between seven and eight 
tons. The firm of Kimball Brothers of Lincoln took the contract 
for its removal and inscription. Through the assistance of Mr. 
A. E. Sheldon of the State Historical Society, the Burlington 
and Missouri railroad generously transported it to Fort Calhoun, 
where its placing was looked after by Mr. J. H. Daniels of the 
Sons of the American Revolution. As the project had drifted 
away from the original intention, and had become a memorial 
to commemorate an event rather than to mark a spot, the boulder 
was placed on the public school grounds at Fort Calhoun. At 
last, almost five years from the time of the broaching of the 
project, the wish of the society was accomplished. 



LEWIS AND CLARK COUNCIL 189 

The following condenses an account of the unveiling of the 
boulder, and the program, from the report of Miss Anna Tribell 
Adams of the Omaha chapter for the American Monthly of Jan- 
uary, 1905 : 

' ' On August 3, 1904, the village of Fort Calhoun, fifteen miles 
above Omaha on the Missouri river, vs^as the scene of the un- 
veiling of a boulder commemorating the first peace council be- 
tween the United States government and the chiefs of the Otoe 
and Missouri Indian tribes. The town as well as the school 
grounds were brave with bunting and flags. Everyone wore 
with a small flag the souvenir button on which was a picture of 
tlie boulder with a suitable inscription. As a matter of history 
it is a pleasure to record that the button was designed by Mrs. 
Elsie De Cou Troup of the Omaha chapter. One worn by one 
of the speakers is in the collection of the Deborah Avery chap- 
ter in the rooms of the State Historical Society at Lincoln. 

' ' Among those present were Brigadier General Theodore Wint, 
representing the United States government. Governor J. H. 
Mickey, Adjutant General and Mrs. J. H. Culver, Mr. J. A. Bar- 
rett and Mr. A. E. Sheldon of the State Historical Society, Sen- 
ator J. H. Millard, ex-Governor J. E. Boyd, and others. 

"The Thirtieth Infantry band from Fort Calhoun opened the 
program. Then came a brief reproduction, in pageant-manner, 
by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben of Omaha, of the Council of 1804, 
enacting the Lewis Eind Clark treaty. Mr. Edward Rosewater 
of the Omaha Bee extended the welcome of the day, and brought 
to the attention of the audience the presence of Mr. Antoine 
Cabney, the first white child bom in Nebraska, whose birthplace, 
in 1827, was near the site of Fort Calhoun. The state regent, 
Mrs. Abraham AUee, introduced Governor Mickey, who spoke 
briefly. He was followed by J. A. Barrett of the State His- 
torical Society, who gave an account of the Lewis and Clark 
Council. Honorable W. F. Gurley of Omaha then delivered the 
address of the day. At the conclusion of the formal program 
the boulder was unveiled. In the presentation speech by Mrs. 
S. B. Pound of Lincoln, the boulder was committed formally, in 
the name of the Sons and the Daughters of the American Rev- 
olution and of the Stat-e Historical Society, to the care of the 
citizens of Fort Calhoun." 



EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY 

By Major Lestee Walker 

(Late captain Fifth U. S. Cavalry and brevet major U. S. Army) 

It is supposed that the first white men who visited Lincoln 
county were the Mallet brothers, who passed this way to Santa 
Fe in 1739. Pierre and Auguste Chouteau were sent out from 
St. Louis to explore the northwestern country in 1762. In 1780 
another expedition was sent to explore the country between the 
Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains. 

After the expedition of Lewis and Clark, which followed up 
the Missouri river, the first government expedition was made in 
1819, under Major Stephen H. Long, who traveled up the north 
side of the Platte and crossed just above the forks of the two 
rivers, then going up the valley between the two streams to the 
site of the present town of North Platte. 

Titian Peale, the naturalist of Philadelphia, was with this ex- 
pedition and the Peale family living at North Platte, are rela- 
tives of his. In 1835, Col. Henry Dodge visited this section of 
the country in the government employ to treat with the Arikara 
Indians. 

In 1843, Col. John C. Fremont, making his expedition up the 
Platte, celebrated the Fourth of July of that year, in what is 
now Lincoln county. During the year 1844 travel up the Platte 
river became quite heavy and the first building in the county 
was erected by a Frenchman (name unknown) near the present 
residence of Mrs. Burke at Fort McPherson, and was used as a 
trading ranch, but was abandoned in 1848. 

In 1852, a man by the name of Brady settled on the south 
side of the island now known as Brady Island. Brady is sup- 
posed to have been killed some time during the following year 
by the Indians. 

In 1858, the first permanent settlement in the county was 
made at Cottonwood Springs and the first building was erected 
in the fall of the year by Boyer & Roubidoux. I. P. Boyer had 
charge of this ranch. In the same year another trading ranch 

190 : 



EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY 191 

was built at 'Fallon's Bluffs on the south side of the river. 
In 1859 Dick Darling erected the second building at Cottonwood 
Springs. This building was purchased by Charles McDonald 
for a store, and he stocked it with general merchandise. In 1860, 
Mr. McDonald brought his wife from Omaba, she being the first 
white woman to settle in Lincoln county. Mrs. McDonald lived 
here about three years before another white woman settled at 
Cottonwood Springs. Mr. McDonald is now living at North 
Platte, engaged in the banking business. Mrs. McDonald died 
in December, 1898, and is buried at North Platte. 

In the spring of 1860, J. A. Morrow built a ranch about 
twelve miles west from Cottonwood, to accommodate the great 
rush to California. To give some idea of the extent of the 
freight and emigrant business along this route, it was no un- 
common thing to count from seven hundred to one thousand 
wagons passing in one day. 

During the year 1861, the Creighton telegi-aph line was com- 
pleted through the county. In June, 1861, the first white child 
was bom. His name is W. H. McDonald, son of Chas. Mc- 
Donald, now of North Platte, Nebraska. 

In the spring of 1860, W. M. Hinman removed from Port 
Laramie to Cottonwood Springs, and opened up a farm, trading 
with the emigrants and Indians. In November, 1863, Fort Mc- 
Pherson was established by the government at this settlement 
of Cottonwood Springs. This military post was first command- 
ed by Major George M. O'Brien. 

Fort McPherson was established none too soon, for it was in 
the following year, 1864, that the war with the Sioux and Chey- 
enne Indians commenced. This war continued for over five 
years and many emigrants and soldiers were killed. 

What is now known as Lincoln county, was first organized as 
a county under the territorial government of Nebraska in 1860. 
Cottonwood Springs was made the coimty-seat. The following 
officers were elected: County commissioners — I. P. Boyer, J. 
C. Gilman and J. A. Morrow ; judge — Charles McDonald ; 
treasurer — W. M. Hinman. Instead of calling the county 
Lincoln, it was named ' ' Shorter. ' ' Nothing, however, was done 
under this organization. Judge McDonald qualified and the 
only business was the marriage ceremony. 

On September 3, 1866, a meeting was held and arrangements 



192 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

made to reorganize Shorter county under the name of Lincoln 
county. Under the reorganization, the following officers were 
elected: J. C. Oilman, W. M. Hinman, and J. A. Morrow were 
elected county commissioners; S. D. Fitchie, county judge; 
Wilton Baker, sheriff ; and Charles McDonald, clerk. The coun- 
ty seat was at Cottonwood Springs. W. M. Hinman built a 
sawmill near Cottonwood Springs and did a large business. 
The Union Pacific rairoad was then being constructed through 
this county and the cafions south of the Platte abounded with 
cedar timber, furnishing an abundance of material. 

During November, 1866, the Union Pacific railroad was com- 
pleted to North Platte and a town was laid out by the railroad 
company. The plat of the town was filed with the clerk of the 
county on January 31, 1867; a military post was established, 
and a garrison of soldiers was stationed here. 

In 1867 the Union Pacific railroad began the erection of shops 
and roundhouse. North Platte having been designated as a divi- 
sion station. During the year 1867, a freight train was wrecked 
by the Indians. Several of the trainmen were killed and the 
train plundered and burned. In September, 1867, the Indian 
chiefs were all called to as^mble at North Platte, where they 
were met by the commissioners appointed by the government to 
treat with them. These commissioners were Greneral Sherman, 
General Haraey, and John P. Sanbome, and a treaty of peace 
was entered into. During the stay of these commissioners, they 
were well entertained by the citizens of North Platte. The 
county-seat was moved from Cottonwood Springs to North 
Platte at an election held October 8, 1867. A total of twenty- 
one votes were cast. The officers elected were B. I. Hinman, 
representative; W. M. Hinman, county judge; Charles McDon- 
ald, clerk; 0. 0. Austin, sheriff; Hugh Morgan, treasurer, and 
A. J. Miller, county commissioner. There was no courthouse, 
and the records were kept at the home of W. M. Hinman, who 
had moved from his farm to North Platte. The first county 
warrant was issued in 1867. The fii-st term of district court 
was held at North Platte in 1867, Judge Gantt then being the 
circuit judge for the entire state. July 1, 1867, the first levy 
on the Union Pacific railroad in Lincoln county was made on 
an assessed valuation of $49,000.00. 

During this year, there was an Indian scare and settlers 



EARLY HISTORY OF LINCOLN COUNTY 193 

throughout the county thronged to the military parks at Mc- 
Pherson and North Platte, taking refuge in the railroad round- 
house at the latter place. 

The first money collected from fines was that paid into the 
county treasuiy on February 1, 1868, by R. C. Daugherty, a 
justice of the peace, who fined a man $21.50 for stealing an 
overcoat. 

The first school in the county was taught at North Platte 
during the summer of 1868. Theodore Clark was the first 
teacher. The next term of school began November 30, 1868, and 
was taught by Mary Hubbard, now Mrs. P. J. Gilman. 

The first Sunday school in the county was at North Platte, 
and was founded by Mrs. Keith, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Cogswell, and 
Mrs. Kramph. There were only three children in attendance. 

During the year 1868, troubles with the Indians were on the 
increase. On one occasion, "Dutch" Frank, running an engine 
and coming round a curve with his train, saw a large body of 
Indiana on each side of the road, while a number were crowded 
on the track. Knowing it would be certain death to stop, he 
increased the speed of his train and went through them, killing 
quite a number. 

In May, 1869, the Fifth U. S. Cavalry arrived at Fort McPher- 
son under General Carr. Eight companies were left here and 
four companies went to Sidney and Cheyenne. The government 
was surveying this county at that time and the troops were used 
to protect the surveyors. Large bands of Indians had left the 
reservation and were killing settlers and stealing horses. Dur- 
ing the summer of 1869 the order from General Auger, com- 
manding the department, was to clear the country of Indians 
between the Union Pacific and the Kansas Pacific. I was an 
officer of the Fifth U. S. Cavalry and was in command of the 
post at Noi-th Platte in 1869 and 1870, and was in all the Indian 
campaigns until I resigned in 1878. 

The first bank in North Platte was started in 1875 by Walker 
Brothers and was later sold to Charles McDonald. 



GRAY EAGLE, PAWNEE CHIEF 
By Millabd S. Binnet 

It is not often that one sees a real Indian chief on the streets 
of Pullerton, but such happened in June, 1913, when the city 
was visited by David Gillingham, as he is known in the English 
tongne, or Gray Eagle, as his people call him, chief of the 
Pawnees. 

Gray Eagle is the son of White Eagle, whom the early inhab- 
itants of Nance county will remember as chief of the Pawnees at 
the time the county was o^vned by that tribe. 

Gray Eagle was bom about three miles this side of Genoa, in 
1861. He spent his boyhood in the county and when white men 
began to build at the place that is now Genoa, he attended 
school there. When he was fourteen years of age he accom- 
panied his tribe to its new home at Pawnee City, Oklahoma, 
where he has since resided. The trip overland was made mostly 
on horseback, and the memories of it are very interesting as in- 
terpreted to us by Chief Gray Eagle, and John Williamson, of 
Genoa, one of the few white men to make this long journey with 
the red men. Gray Eagle made one trip back here in 1879, vis- 
iting the spot that is now FuUerton — then only a few rude 
shacks. 

Uppermost in Gray Eagle's mind had always been the desire 
to return and see what changes civilization had brought. In 
1913 he was sent to St. Louis as a delegate to the Baptist con- 
vention, after which he decided to visit the old scenes. Prom 
St. Louis he went to Chicago and from that city he came to 
Genoa. 

"I have always wanted to see if I could locate the exact spot 
of my birth," said Gray Eagle, in perfect English, as he talked 
to us on this last visit, ' ' and 1 have been successful in my under- 
taking. I found it last week, three miles this side of Genoa. I 
was bom in a little, round mud-house, and although the house 
is long since gone, I discovered the circular mound that had 
been its foimdation. I stood upon the very spot where I was 

194 



GRAY EAGLE, PAWNEE CHIEF 195 

born, and as I looked out over the slopes and valleys that had 
once been ours; at the com and wheat growing upon the ground 
that had once been our hunting grounds ; at the quietly flowing 
streams that we had used so often for watering places in the 
days so long gone by; my heart was veiy sad. Yet I've found 
that spot and am satisfied. I can now go back to the South and 
feel that my greatest desire has been granted." 

When asked if the Indians of today followed many of the cus- 
toms of their ancestors, he answered that they did not. Oc- 
casionally the older Indians, in memory of the days of their 
supremacy, dressed themselves to correspond and acted as in 
other days, but the younger generation knows nothing of those 
things and is as the white man. In Oklahoma they go to school, 
later engage in farming or enter business. "Civilization has 
done much for them, ' ' said Gray Eagle. ' ' They are hard work- 
ers and have ambitions to accomplish great things and be better 
citizens. Only we old Indians, who remember the strenuous 
times of the early days, have the wild blood in our veins. The 
younger ones have never even seen a buif alo. ' ' 

Then he told of his early life in the county and related inter- 
esting stories of the past — Gray Eagle, the Indian chief, and 
John Williamson, the pioneer, talking together, at times, in a 
tongue that to us was strange, but to them an echo of a very 
real past. 

The Loup he called Potato Water, because of the many wild 
potatoes that formerly grew upon its banks. Horse creek he 
remembered as Skeleton Water, the Pawnees one time having 
fought a band of Sioux on its banks. They were victorious but 
lost many warriors. Their own dead they buried, leaving the 
bodies of their enemies to decay in the sun. Soon the banks of 
the creek were strewn with skeletons and ever after the creek 
was known to the Indians as Skeleton Water. The Cedar was 
known as Willow creek. Council creek as the Skidi, and the 
Beaver as the Sandburr. 



LOVERS' LEAP 
By Mes. a. p. Jarvis 

I paiise before I reach the verge 

And look, with chilling blood, below; 
Some dread attraction seems to urge 

Me nearer to the brink to go. 
The hunting red men used to force 

The buffalo o 'er this frightful steep ; 
They could not check their frantic course; 

By following herds pressed down they leap, 

Then lie a bleeding, mangled mass 

Beside the little stream below. 
Their red blood stained the waving grass, 

The brook carnation used to flow. 
Yet a far moi-e pathetic tale 

The Pawnees told the pioneer 
Of dusky maid and stripling pale 

Who found in death a refuge here. 

The youth had been a captive long, 

Yet failed to friendly favor find ; 
He oft was bound with cruel thong. 

Yet Noma to the lad was kind. 
She was the chieftain's only child, 

As gentle as the cooing dove. 
Pure was this daughter of the wild ; 

The pale-face lad had won her love. 

Her father, angered at her choice. 

Had bid 'n her wed a chieftain brave ; 
She answered with a trembling voice, 

" I 'd rather lie within my grave. ' ' 
The day before the appointed eve 

When Wactah was to claim his bride. 
The maid was seen the camp to leave — 

The pale-face youth was by her side. 



LOVER'S LEAP 197 

She led him to this dangerous place 

That on the streamlet's glee doth frown; 
The sunlight, gleaming on her face, 

Her wild, dark beauty seemed to crown. 
"Dear youth," exclaimed the dusky maid, 

" I 've brought thee here thy faith to prove : 
If thou of death art not afraid, 

"We'll sacrifice our lives to love." 

Hand linked in hand they looked below. 
Then, headlong, plunged adown the steep. 

The Pawnees from that hour of woe 

Have named the place The Lovers' Leap. 



EARLY INDIAN HISTORY 
By Mrs. Saeah Clapp 

In 1843 Mr. and Mrs. Lester W. Piatt were first engaged in 
missionary work among the Pawnees, and in 1857 the govern- 
ment set aside a tract of land thirty miles by fifteen miles, in 
the rich prairie soil of Nance county, for their use ; and when 
the Indian school was established at Genoa, Mrs. Piatt was made 
matron or superintendent. 

My mother taught in this school during the years 1866-67. 
She found the work interesting, learned much of the customs 
and legends of the Pawnees and grew very fond of that noble 
woman, Mrs. Piatt, who was able to tell thrilling stories of her 
experiences during her mission work among the members of that 
tribe. 

At the time my mother taught in the Genoa school, the Sioux, 
who were the greatest enemies of the Pawnees, on account of 
wanting to hunt in the same territory, were supposed to be 
friendly with the settlers, but drove away their horses and cattle 
and stole everything in sight, furnishing much excitement. 

My father. Captain S. E. Gushing, accompanied my uncle. 
Major Frank North, on a number of expeditions against the 
hostile Indians, during the years 1869 until 1877. He was with 
Major North at the time of the famous charge on the village of 
the Cheyennes, when the notorious chief, TaU Bull, was killed 
by my uncle. 

In 1856. when Frank North came to Nebraska, a young boy, 
he mingled fearlessly with the Indians along the Missouri in the 
region of Omaha, where our family first settled, learning their 
mode of warfare and living, and their language, which he spoke 
as fluently as his mother tongue. In 1861 he took a position as 
clerk and interpreter at the Pawnee reservation and by 1863 he 
had become known as a daring scout. 

The next year the building of the Union Pacific railroad was 
started, and as the work progressed westward the fierce Arapa- 
hoes, Cheyennes, and Sioux began attacking the laborers, until 

198 



EARLY INDIAN HISTORY 199 

it seemed deadly peril to venture outside the camps. It was use- 
less to call on the regular troops for help as the government 
needed them all to hold in check the armies of Lee and John- 
ston. A clipping from the Washington Sunday Herald, on this 
subject, states that "a happy thought occurred to Mr. Oakes 
Ames," the main spirit of the work. He sent a trusty agent to 
hunt up Frank North, who was then twenty-four years old. 
"What can be done to protect our working parties, Mr. North?" 
said Mr. Ames. "I have an idea," Mr. North answered. "If 
the authorities at Washington will allow me to organize a bat- 
talion of Pawnees and mount and equip them, I will undertake 
to picket your entire line and keep off other Indians. 

"The Pawnees are the natural enemies of all the tribes that 
are giving you so much trouble, and a little encouragement and 
drill will make them the best irregular horse you could desire. ' ' 

This plan was new but looked feasible. Accordingly Mr. Ames 
went to Washington, and, after some effort, succeeded in getting 
permission to organize a battalion of four hundred Pawnee war- 
riors, who should be armed as were the U. S. cavalry and drilled 
in such simple tactics as the service required, and my uncle was 
commissioned a major of volunteers and ordered to command 
them. The newspaper clipping also says : "It would be difficult 
to estimate the service of Major North in money value." Gen- 
eral Crook once said, in spesiking of him, "Millions of govern- 
ment property and hundreds of lives were saved by him on the 
line of the Union Pacific railroad, and on the Nebraska, Wyo- 
ming, and Montana frontiers." 

There is much to be said in his praise, but I did not intend 
writing a eulogy, rather to tell of the stories which have come 
down to me, with which he and my other relatives were so 
closely connected. 

During the many skirmishes and battles fought by the Paw- 
nees, under Major North, he never lost a man ; moreover, on sev- 
eral different occasions he passed through such hair-breadth 
escapes that the Pawnees thought him invulnerable. In one in- 
stance, while pursuing the retreating enemy, he discovered that 
his command had fallen back and he was sepai-ated from them 
by over a mile. The enemy, discovering his plight, turned on 
him. He dismounted, being fully armed, and by using his horse 
as a breastwork he managed to reach his troops again, though 



200 NEBEASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

his faithful horse was killed. This and many like experiences 
caused the Pawnees to believe that their revered leader led a 
charmed life. He never deceived them, and they loved to call 
him "Little Pawnee Le-Sharo" (Pawnee Chief), and so he was 
known as the White Chief of the Pawnees. 

The coming of the railroad through the state, bringing thou- 
sands of settlers with household furnishings and machinery for 
tilling the soil, was of the greatest importance. It was concern- 
ing the guarding of that right of way that a writer for the 
Horse World has some interesting memories and devotes an 
article in a number in February, 1896, to the stories of Colonel 
W. F. Cody, Major Frank North, Captain Charles Morse, Cap- 
tain Luther North, Captain Fred Mathews, and my father. Cap- 
tain S. B. Gushing. The correspondent was under my father, 
in Company B, during one of the scouting expeditions, when the 
company was sent to guard 'Fallon 's Bluffs, west of Fort Mc- 
Pherson on the Union Pacific. He tells much more of camp 
activities and of his initiation into border life than of the skir- 
mishes or scouting trips. He was fond of horses and tells of a 
memorable raee in which a horse of Buffalo Bill 's was beaten by 
my father's horse "Jack." 

My uncle, Captain Luther North, who also commanded a com- 
pany of scouts at that time, now resides in Omaha. 

While yet a boy he freighted between Omaha and Colvunbus 
and carried the mail, by pony, during a period when my grand- 
mother felt that when she bade him good-bye in the morning she 
might never see him again, so unsettled was the feeling about 
the Indians. He was intimately acquainted with every phase of 
Indian life. He knew their pastimes and games, work of the 
medicine men and magicians, and especially was he familiar with 
many of their legends. I am happy to have been one of the 
children who often gathered 'round him to listen to the tales of 
his own experiences or stories told him by the red men. 

One personal experience in the family happened before the 
building of the railroad, probably in sixty-one or sixty-two. A 
number of men, accompanied by the wives of two of them, went 
to put up hay for the government, on land located between 
Genoa and Monroe. One night the Indians surrounded their 
camp, presumably to drive away their stock. Naturally the 
party rebelled, and during the melee which followed Adam 



EARLY INDIAN HISTORY 201 

Smith and another man were killed and one of the women, Mrs. 
Murray, was wounded but saved herself by crawling away 
through the tall grass. The recital of this trouble grew in mag- 
nitude the farther it traveled, until people grew frantic with 
fear, believing it to mean an uprising of the Sioux. The settlers 
from Shell creek and all directions, bringing horses, cattle, and 
•even their fowls, together with personal belongings, flocked into 
the village of Columbus for mutual protection. My mother, 
then a young girl, describes the first night as one of much con- 
fusion. 

Some of the fugitives were sheltered with friends, others 
camped in the open. Animals, feeling as strange as did their 
masters, were bawling or screeching, and no one could sleep, as 
the greatest excitement prevailed. 

' ' They built a stockade of upright posts about eight feet high, 
around the town," says my uncle Luther, thinking that as the 
Indiana usually fought on horseback, this would be a great help 
if not a first-class fort. 

They organized a militia company and men were detailed for 
guard duty and stationed at different points along the stockade, 
so serious seemed the situation. One night Luther North and 
two other young men were sent on picket duty outside the stock- 
ade. They took their horses and blankets and went up west of 
town about half a mile, to keep an eye on the surrounding coun- 
try. A Mr. Needham had gone up to his farm (now the John 
Dawson farm) that day, and did not return until it was getting 
dark. The guards thought it would be great fun to give him a 
little scare, so as he approached they wrapped themselves in 
their blankets, mounted, and rode down under a bank. Just as 
he passed they came up in sight and gave the Indian war whoop 
and started after him. He whipped his team into a run; they 
chased him, yelling at every step, but stopped a reasonable dis- 
tance from the stockade and then went back. Mr. Needham 
gave graphic description of how the Indians had chased him, 
which so upset the entire population that sleep was out of the 
question that night. Moreover he cautioned his wife in this 
wise: "Now, Christina, if the Indians come, it is everybody 
for himself, and you will have to skulk." This remark made by 
Mr. Needham became a byword, and even down into the next 
generation was a favorite saying and always provoked a smile. 



202 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The young guards had no fear whatever of marauding Indians, 
and, blissfully unaware of the commotion they had aroused, 
went back up the road to a melon patch, ate a sufficient amount 
of the luscious fruit, picketed their horses, wrapped themselves 
in their blankets, and lay them down to pleasant dreams. The 
next morning they rode into town and reported no red men in 
sight. After a few weeks, when there was no further evidence 
of trouble from the savages, the people gradually dispersed to 
their homes and farms which were, by that time, much in need 
of attention. 




Mes. Okeal S. Ward 



Ninth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American 
Revolution. 1909-1910 



THE BLIZZARD OP 1888 
By Minnie Freeman Penney 

On January 12, 1888, the states of Nebraska and South Dakota 
were visited by a blizzard so fierce and cruel and death-dealing 
that residents of those sections cannot speak of it even now with- 
out an involuntary shudder. 

The storm burst with great suddenness and fury, and many 
there were who did not live to tell the story of their suffering. 
And none suffered more keenly than did the occupants of the 
prairie schoolhouses. Teachers and pupils lost their lives or 
were terribly maimed. The great storm indicated most impres- 
sively the measure of danger and trial that must be endured by 
the country school teacher in the isolated places on the frontier. 

Three Nebraska country school teachers — Loie Royee of 
Plainfield, Etta Shattuck of Holt county, and Minnie Freeman 
of Mira Valley, were the subjects of much newspaper writing. 

Miss Royce had nine pupils. Six went home for luncheon and 
remained on account of the storm. The three remaining pupils 
with the teacher stayed in the schoolhouse until three o'clock. 
Their fuel gave out, and as her boarding house was but fifteen 
rods away, the teacher decided to take the children home with 
her. 

In the fury of the storm they wandered and were lost. Dark- 
ness came, and vrith it death. One little boy sank into the 
eternal silence. The brave little teacher stretched herself out 
on the cold ground and cuddled the two remaining ones closer. 
Then the other little boy died and at daylight the spirit of the 
little girl, aged seven, fluttered away, leaving the young teacher 
frozen and dumb with agony. Loie Royce ' ' hath done what she 
could ; angels can do no better. ' ' Miss Royce lost both feet by 
amputation. 

Etta Shattuck, after sending her children home (all living 
near) tried to go to her home. Losing her way, she took refuge 
in a haystack, where she remained, helpless and hungry Friday, 



204 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Saturday, and Sunday, suffering intensely and not able to move. 
She lived but a short time after her terrible experience. 

Minnie Freeman was teaching in Mira Valley, Valley county. 
She had in her charge seventeen pupils. Finding it impossible 
to remain in the schoolhouse, she took the children with her to 
her boarding place almost a mile from the schoolhouse. 

Words are useless in the effort to portray that journey to the 
safe shelter of the farmhouse, with the touching obedience of 
the children to every word of direction — rather felt than heard, 
in that fierce winding-sheet of ice and snow. How it cut and 
almost blinded them ! It was terrible on their eyes. They beat 
their way onward, groping blindly in the darkness, with the 
visions of life and death ever before the young teacher respon- 
sible for the destiny of seventeen souls. 

All reached the farmhouse and were given a nice warm supper 
prepared by the hostess and the teacher, and comfortable beds 
provided. 

Minnie Freeman was unconscious of anything heroic or un- 
usual. Doing it in the simple line of duty to those placed in 
her care, she still maintains that it was the trust placed in the 
Great Spirit who guides and cares for His own which led the 
little band — 

"Through the desert and illimitable air. 
Lone wandering, but not lost. ' ' 

AN ACROSTIC 

Written to Miss Minnie Freeman in 1888 hy Mrs. Ellis of St. 

Paul, Nebraska. Mrs. Ellis was then seventy-eight 

years old — now deceased 

'Midst driving winds and blinding snows. 
Impending dangers round her close; 
No shelter from the blast and sleet. 
No earthly help to guide her feet. 
In God alone she puts her trust, 
Ever to guide the brave and just. 

Fierce and loud the awful storm, 
Backing now her slender form. 
Eager to save the little band 



THE BLIZZARD OF 1888 205 

Entrusted to her guiding hand. 
Marshalled her host, see, forth she goes 
And falters not while tempest blows; 
Now God alone can help, she knows. 

See them falling as they go ; 
Angry winds around them blow. 
Is there none to hear their cry? 
Now her strength will almost fail; 
Tranquil, she braves the fearful gale. 

Preeminent her name shall stand, 
A beacon light o'er all the land, 
Unrivalled on the page of time ; 
Let song and story swell the chime. 



EARLY DAYS IN NANCE COUNTY 
By Mrs. Ellen Saunders Walton 

In 1872, after passing through a great sorrow, a longing came 
to me to enter the missionary field among the Indians. At that 
time the Pawnee tribe was located on their reservation, now 
Nance county, and I was sent to work among them. It was in- 
teresting, at the same time sad and depressing, to wit- 
ness the degeneration and savagery of tribal life; and ofttimes 
it was seemingly hopeless to civilize and christianize them. 

In 1874 the Pawnees were removed by the government to In- 
dian territory, now Oklahoma, and the reservation was thrown 
on the market. This became Nance county, and a new order of 
things followed. Settlers came to the little hamlet of Genoa, 
that had been first settled by the Mormons in 1857, and though 
later given over to the Indians, it was one of the oldest towns 
in Nebraska, 

A church was established under the care of the New England 
Congregational Mission and Rev. Charles Starbuck was put in 
charge. A small farmhouse where travelers could be accommo- 
dated, and a few homes of those who had bought land, com- 
prised the village life. This freedom from restraint was indeed 
new to one accustomed to the rush of busy life in New York. 
Daily rides over the prairie on my pony were a delight. 

It was wonderful how many cultured people drifted into the 
almost unknown western country. It was not infrequent to see 
in humble sod houses shelves filled with standard books and 
writings of the best authors. This was the second wave of pop- 
ulation, and though many things had to be sacrificed that in the 
old life were considered necessary to comfort, pioneer life had 
its happy features. One especially was the kindly expression of 
helpfulness in time of sickness or sorrow. The discomforts and 
self denials and the longing for dear ones far away grow dim 
and faded! only memories of pleasant hours remain. Then 
came the third wave of men and women settling all around. 



EAELY DAYS IN NANCE COUNTY 207 

bringing fashion and refining influences, and entertainment of 
various kinds. Churches, elevators, banks, and business houses 
were built and Nance county began to show the march of civil- 
ization and progress. Where first we knew the flower-gemmed 
prairie, modem homes spring up and good roads follow the 
trails of the Indian and the hunter. 



THE PAWNEE CHIEF'S FAREWELL 
By Chauncey Livingston Wiltse 
Aa I strolled alone, when the day had flown, 

Through the once Pawnee reserve, 
Where the memories keep of the brave asleep 

By the winding Cedar's curve — 
Methought the leaves of the old oak trees 

'Neath the sheltering hill-range spoke. 
And they said : "It's here that hearts knew no fear, 

Where arose the Pawnee smoke! 

' In the eventide, when all cares subside. 

Is the hour the tribe liked best; 
When the gold of day crossed the hills away, 

And, like those who tried, found rest. 
O'er this Lovers' Leap, where now shadows creep. 

Strode the chief, in thought, alone — 
And he said : ' Trees true, and all stars in view, 

And you very winds my own ! 

' I soon shall pass, like the blades of grass, 

Where the wandering shadows go; 
Only leaves wdll tell what my tribe did well — 

But you Hearts of Oak — you know ! 
To those Hunting Grounds that are never found 

Shall my tribe, in time, depart; 
Then it wiU be you to tell who were true, 

With the dawn-song in their heart! 

'You will sing a song, with the winds along. 

How the Pawnee loved these hills! 
Here he loved to stray, all the wind-glad day — 

In his heart the wind sings still ! 
You will whisper, too, how he braved the Sioux, 

How life 's days he did his part ; 



THE PAWNEE CHIEF'S FAEEWELL 209 

Though not understood, how he wished hut good, 
With but love within his heart ! 

'The White Father's call reaches us, and all 

To his South Wind land we fly, 
Yet we fain would stay with you hills alway — 

It is hard to say good-bye! 
You, our fatherland, we could once command, 

We are driven from, so fast; 
But you hills alway in our hearts will stay 

And be with us at the last ! 

'Here we took our stand for our fatherland. 

Here our sons to manhood grew ; 
Here their loves were found, where these hills surround — 

Here the winds sang to them, too ! 
By this Cedar's side, where the waters glide, 

We went forth to hunt and dream; 
Here we felt the speU of you oaks as well, 

And felt all that love may seem! 

'Here we felt the pang of the hot wind tang, 

Here we felt the blizzard's breath; 
Here we faced the foe, as the stars aU know — 

Here we saw the face of Death! 
Here we braved the wrath of the lightning's path. 

Here we dared starvation's worst; 
Here tonight we stand, for our fatherland, 

Banished from what was ours — first ! 

' Bravely we obey, and will go away ; 

The White Father wills it so ; 
But our thoughts will roam to this dawntime home 

Where our fathers sleep, below! 
And some shining day, beyond white men's sway. 

We will meet our long-lost own — 
Where you singing winds and the dawn begins, 

One will say, "Come in — come home!" 

'Just beyond you hills, the Rest Land still 
Is waiting for us all ; 



210 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

At earth's sunset hour One will wake each flower, 

And us home will softly call ! 
Trees and stream, good-bye! Now our parting's nigh ; 

Know you memory's sweet to me! 
Though our footsteps go, you may always know 

You've the heart of each Pawnee!' 

"As the chief passed by, stars filled the sky. 
And the moonlight softest fell — 
But the night winds said, 'Peace is overhead!' 
And the hills said, 'All is well!' " 



MY TRIP WEST IN 1861 
By Sarah Schooley Randall 

In 1857 my brother, Charles A. Schooley, landed at Brown- 
villa and soon after purchased several tracts of land near there, 
one being the old home of Church Howe and adjoining the pres- 
ent site of the village of Howe. Incidentally, my husband's 
father, N. G. Randall, three years later purchased land within 
three miles — known later as Bedford. 

In 1860, while my brother was visiting his old home. White 
Deer Valley, near Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the smoldering 
flames of adventure were kindled in my mind which nothing but 
a trip west could quench. On March 1, 1861, we left Williams- 
port by train from Pittsburgh and on arriving there went to the 
Monongahela hotel, then a magnificent building. Abe Lincoln 
had just left the hotel, much to our disappointment. After a 
few days we engaged passage on the Argonaut to St. Louis via 
the Monongahela, the Ohio, and the Mississippi rivers. Our 
experiences were varied and exciting enough to meet my expec- 
tations. During one night we stood tied to a tree and another 
night the pumps were kept going to keep us from sinking. 
Small consolation we got from the captain's remark that this 
was "the last trip for this old hulk." We had ample time for 
seeing all the important cities along the shore — Cincinnati, 
Louisville, etc. 

Arriving at St. Louis we took passage on a new boat, Smv- 
shdne, and set sail upstream. Perhaps we felt a few pangs of 
fear as we neared the real pioneer life. We changed boats again 
at St. Joe and then our trip continued, now up the treacherous 
Missouri. Every now and then we struck a snag which sent the 
dishes scurrying from the table. I am reminded that this trip 
was typical of our lives: floating downstream is easy but up- 
stream is where we strike the snags. 

Of our valued acquaintances met on the trip were Rev. and Mrs. 
Barrette, the former a Presbyterian minister comiag to Brown- 
ville, and our friendship continued after reaching our destination. 

211 



212 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Arriving in Brownville, we went to the McPherson hotel, where 
we continued to hear disturbing rumors about the coining civil 
war. 

After a few days we took a carriage and went west ten miles 
over the beautiful rolling prairies to our ranch. I was charmed 
with the scene, which was vastly different from the mountains 
and narrow winding valleys of Pennsylvania, and was deter- 
mined to stay, though my brother had lost his enthusiasm and 
gave me two weeks to change my mind. Many a homesick spell 
I had when I would have very quickly returned to my father's 
home of peace and plenty, but the danger of travel detained me. 
I assured my brother that if he would only stay I would be very 
brave and economical. I only wanted five small rooms plainly 
furnished and a horse and carriage. When the place was ready 
we left Brownville in a big wagon, drawn by oxen, and fortified 
by a load of provisions. When we came in sight of our bunga- 
low it proved to be a one-room, unpainted and unplastered edi- 
fice, but I soon overcame that defect by the use of curtains, and 
as all lived alike then, we were content with our surroundings. 
Our first callers were three hundred Indians on an expedition. 
I had been reading extensively about Indians, so knew when I 
saw their squaws and papooses with them that they were friend- 
ly — in fact, rather too familiar. 

My brother fenced his land and planted it in com and all 
kinds of vegetables. The season being favorable there was an 
abundant crop, both cultivated and wild. The timber abounded 
with grapes, plums, nuts, etc., and strawberries on the prairiesi 
We had a well of fine water, a good cellar or cave, and a genu- 
ine "creampot" cow. Instead of a carriage I had a fine saddle 
horse (afterwards sold to a captain in the army), and how we 
did gallop over the prairies! One of my escapades was to a 
neighbor's home ten miles away for ripe tomatoes. In lieu of a 
sack we tied together the neck and sleeves of a calico wrapper, 
filled it with the tomatoes, then tied the bottom and balanced it 
astride the horse in front of me. Going through the tall slough 
grass in one place near Sheridan, now Auburn, the horse became 
frantic with heat and flies and attempted to run away. The 
strings gave way and the tomatoes scattered. Finally the saddle 
turned and the well-trained horse stopped. An inventory re- 
vealed one sleeve fuU of tomatoes remaining. 



MY TEIP WEST IN 1861 213 

Among our near neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Milo Gates and 
family, and Mr. and Mrs. Engle. Mrs. Gates's cheerful op- 
timism made this pioneer life not only possible but enjoyable. 

After five months, my brother joined the army and went south 
as a captain ; was several times promoted, and stayed all through 
the war. A year after I went back to Brownville to stay untU 
the war was over, and there made many valued acquaintances: 
Senator Tipton's sister, Mrs. Atkinson, Judge Wheeler, H. C. 
Lett, the McCrearys, Hackers, Whitneys, Carsons, Dr. Guin, 
Pumas, Johnson, etc. About this time the citizens gave a party 
for the boys who enlisted, and there I met E. J. Randall, whom 
I married soon after he returned from the army. Of the four 
Randall brothers who enlisted one was killed, one wounded, and 
one taken prisoner. Two of them still live. Dr. H. L. Randall 
of Aurora, forty-seven years a practicing physician in Nebraska 
and at one time surgeon at the Soldiers' Home, Grand Island; 
and A. D. Randall of Chapman, Nebraska, who enlisted at the 
age of sixteen and served all through the war. 

After a college course of four years my husband entered the 
ministry and sei-ved for twenty-five years in Nebraska, except 
for one year of mission work at Cheyenne, "Wyoming. The 
itinerant life is not unlike the pioneer life and brought with it 
the bitter and sweet as well, but the bitter was soon forgotten 
and blessed memories remain of the dear friends scattered all 
over the state of Nebraska, and indeed to the ends of the earth. 

Dr. Wharton said when paying his tribute to my departed 
husband, "He still lives on in the lives of those to whom he has 
ministered." Our children are Charles H. Randall of Los An- 
geles, California, member of congress, and Mrs. Anna Randall 
Pope of Lincoln, Nebraska. 



STIRRING EVENTS ALONG THE LITTLE BLUE 

By Clakendon E. Adams 

Painting a Buffalo 

The following narrative of Albert Bierstadt's visit to what is 
now Nuckolls county. Nebraska, was told to me by Mr. E. S. 
Comstock, a pioneer of the county. Mr. Comstoek made his first 
settlement in this county at Oak Grove, in 1858, and was ia 
charge of the Oak Grove ranch when this incident took place. 

In 1863 Mr. Bierstadt returned from the Pacific coast via the 
Overland stage route, which was then conducted by Russell, 
Majors & Waddell, the pioneer stage and pony expressmen of the 
plains. Arriving at Oak Grove ranch, Mr. Bierstadt and his 
traveling companion, a Mr. Dunlap, correspondent of the New 
York Post, decided to stop a few days and have a buffalo hunt. 
In company with E. S. Comstock, his son George, and a neigh- 
bor by the name of Eubanks, who was killed by the Indians the 
next year, they proceeded to the Republican Valley and camped 
the first night in the grove on Lost creek, now known as Lincoln 
Park. The following morning the party proceeded up the river 
to the farm now owned by Frank Schmeling. Here they discov- 
ered a large herd of buffalo grazing along the creek to the west 
and covering the prairies to the north for several miles. Mr. 
Comstock says that it was one of the largest herds of buffalo he 
had ever encountered and that Mr. Bierstadt became greatly 
excited and said, "Now, boys, is our time for fun. I want to 
see an enraged wounded buffalo. I want to see him so mad that 
he will bellow and tear up the ground." Mr. Comstock said 
they arranged for the affray : Mr. Bierstadt was to take his posi- 
tion on a small knoll to the east of the herd, fix himself with his 
easel so that he could sketch the landscape and the grazing 
bison, and when this was done the wounding of one of the buf- 
falo bulls was to take place. 

Bierstadt was stationed on a small knoll in plain view of the 
herd; Mr. Eubanks was stationed in a draw near Bierstadt, in 

214 



EVENTS ALONG LITTLE BLUE 215 

order to protect him from the charges of the buffalo, if neces- 
sary. George Comstock was to select a buffalo bull from the 
herd and wound him and then tantalize him by shaking a red 
blanket at him until he was thoroughly enraged, then he was to 
give him another wound from his rifle and lead out in the direc- 
tion of Mr. Bierstadt. 

The wounded buffalo became furious and charged Comstock 's 
horse repeatedly, but Comstock, being an expert horseman, 
evaded the fierce charges and was all the time coming nearer to 
Bierstadt. When within about three hundred yards Comstock 
whirled his horse to the side of the maddened monster. As a 
buffalo does not see well out of the side of his eyes on account 
of the long shaggy hair about the face, Comstock was lost to 
his view. The infuriated animal tossed his head high in air and 
the only thing he saw was Bierstadt. Onward he rushed toward 
the artist, pawing the ground and liellowing furiously. Bier- 
stadt called for help and took to his heels. The buffalo struck 
the easel and sent it in splinters through the air. Onward he 
rushed after the fleeing artist, who was making the best time of 
his life. Mr. Comstock said he was running so fast that his coat 
tails stuck so straight out that you could have played a game of 
euchre on them. The buffalo was gaining at every jump. 

At this point in his story Mr. Comstock became greatly ex- 
cited. He was standing on the identical spot telling me the 
story, and was living the exciting scene over again. "Why," 
he said, "I thought Eubanks never would shoot. I was scared. 
The buffalo nearly had his horns under Bierstadt 's coat tail. He 
was snorting froth and blood all over him, but the gun cracked 
and the buffalo fell and Bierstadt was so overcome he fell at the 
same time entii-ely exhausted, but saved from a fearful death." 
When he recovered sufSciently to talk, he said, ' ' That 's enough ; 
no more wounded buffalo for me." Mr. Bierstadt was several 
days recovering from his fearful experience, but while he was 
recovering, he was painting the picture. "Mr. Dunlap, the cor- 
respondent, wrote a graphic and vivid pen picture of the excit- 
ing scene," said Mr. Comstock; "but when Mr. Bierstadt fin- 
ished his picture of the infuriated charging buffalo and the 
chase, the pen picture was not in it." 

This was the painting that brought Bierstadt into prominence 
as an artist. It was exhibited at the first Chicago exhibition and 



216 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

was sold for $75,000. I saw the picture in Chicago before I 
heard Mr. Comstock's narrative, and as I was one of the owners 
of El Capitan Eancho, the landscape of the famous painting, I 
fixed his story vividly upon my memory. Mr. Mike Woerner 
now owns a portion of El Capitan Rancho, the landscape of this 
famous painting. A portion of this original painting is em- 
braced in Mr. Bierstadt's masterpiece, "The Last of the Buf- 
falo. ' ' 

An Indian Raid 

The settlement of the section now included in Nuckolls county 
was attended with more privation and suffering from Indian 
raids and depredations than any other county in the state of 
Nebraska. The great Indian raids of August 7, 1864, extended 
from Denver, Colorado, to Gage county, Nebraska, at which 
time every stage station and settlement along the entire line of 
the Overland trail was included in that skilfully planned at- 
tack. A certain number of warriors were assigned to each place 
and the attack was simultaneous along the line for four hundred 
miles in extent. 

The Oak Grove ranch was among the most formidable in forti- 
fications and a band of forty well-armed braves was sent to cap- 
ture and destroy it. On the day of the attack G. S. Comstock, 
owner of Oak Grove ranch, was away from home; but besides 
his family there were five men at the stockade. The Indians 
came to the ranch about midday in a friendly attitude. They 
had left their ponies about a quarter of a mile away. They 
asked for something to eat and were permitted to come into the 
house with their guns and bows and arrows on their persons. 
They finished their dinner and each received a portion of to- 
bacco and some matches. Then without any warning they turned 
upon the inmates of the ranch yelling and shooting like demons, 
and only for the quickness and great presence of mind of one of 
the Comstock boys the whites would all have been killed or taken 
away captives to submit to the cruelty of the savage foe. 

A Mr. Kelly, from Beatrice, was there and was the first to fall 
pierced with an arrow. He had a navy revolver in his belt. 
The Indians rushed for it but young Comstock was too quick 
for them and seized the revolver first and shot down the leader 
of the braves. Seeing the fate of their leader, the Indians 
rushed to the door in great fright. The revolver was in skilful 



EVENTS ALONG LITTLE BLUE 217 

hands and three more of the braves went down under the un- 
erring aim of young Comstoek. Kelly and Butler were both 
killed outright. Two men by the name of Ostrander and a boy 
were wounded. All the other occupants of the ranch had their 
clothes pierced with arrows or bullets. 

The Indians ran to their ponies, and while they were away 
planning another attack, the wounded were cared for as best 
they could. The doors were securely barred and the living were 
stationed in the most advantageous places for defense. The 
friendly game of the Indians had not worked as they expected, 
but they were not daunted and soon they encircled the house, 
riding, shooting, and yelling. This fiendish warfare they kept 
up aU the afternoon. They tried several times to set the build- 
ings on fire but shots from experienced marksmen, both men and 
women, kept them at bay. 

The new leader of the Indians rode a white pony and seemed 
at times to work his warriors up to great desperation, and young 
Comstoek made up his mind to shoot him the next time that he 
appeared. It was now too dark to distinguish one man from 
another. Mr. Comstoek, senior, was mounted on a white horse 
and he was enroute home about the time the Indians were ex- 
pected to return. The vigilant son raised his gun, took aim, and 
was about to shoot, when one of the girls, remembering that her 
father rode a white horse, caUed out, ' ' Father, is it you 1" An 
affirmative answer came back just in time to prevent the fatal 
shot which would have followed in an istant more. Mr. Corn- 
stock had ridden through the Indian lines, while returning to his 
ranch, umnolested. He said to me he believed the Indians 
spared his life that evening on account of favors he had always 
granted them. 

Five miles east of the Comstoek ranch that day a boy eighteen 
years old by the name of Ulig was met by two Indians. One of 
them shook hands with him while the other pierced his body with 
a spear and then scalped him and left him writhing in the broil- 
ing sun to die on the prairie. This savage and brutal act was 
followed by others unparalleled even in savage warfare. Pour 
miles above Oak G-rove at a place called the Narrows on the 
Little Blue river, lived a family of ten persons by the name of 
Eubanks. They were from the East and knew nothing of In- 
dians' cruel warfare and when they were attacked they left 



218 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

their cabin and ran for the trees and brush along the river banks. 
Nine of them were murdered in the most brutal manner : scalped 
and stripped of their clothing. Two of the women, Mrs. Eubanks, 
with a young babe in her arms, and Laura Roper, a school teach- 
er who was there on a visit, were the only ones who arrived at a 
place of concealment and would have escaped had not the babe 
from heat and fright cried out. The practiced ear of the In- 
dians caught the sound and they were made captives and sub- 
jected to the most inhuman and beastly treatment by the hor- 
rible savages. After the mother was made a captive the baby 
cried from hunger. The mother wa.s so famished she could not 
nourish the babe but held it fondly in her arms trying to soothe 
it; and one of the merciless savages stepped up and brained it 
with his tomahawk. No pen or brush can tell the horrors of 
this diabolical deed. 

The two women were subjected to six months of bondage im- 
possible to describe. I was telling this story one day to the late 
Captain Henry E. Palmer of Omaha, and learned from him that 
he and his command of soldiers and Pawnee scouts- followed 
these inhuman wretches over the plains trying to bring them to 
bay, and finally down on the Solomon river in Kansas captured 
some of the Indian chiefs and succeeded in exchanging them for 
the two women captives. 

This is one of the terrible chapters in the early settlement of 
Nuckolls county and was graphically detailed to me by Mr. 
Comstock soon after I settled in the county. 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 

By J. Sterling Morton 

(Read before the Nebraska State Historical Society, January 
10, 1899) 

Among all the glowing and glorious autumns of the forty-odd 
which I have enjoyed in clear-skied Nebraska, the most delicious, 
dreamy, and tranquil was that of 1861. The first day of Octo- 
ber in that year surpassed in purity of air, clouds, and coloring 
all the other October days in my whole life. The prairies were 
not a somber brown, but a gorgeous old-gold; and there drifted 
in the dry, crisp atmosphere lace-like fragments of opalescent 
clouds which later in the afternoon gave the horizon the look of 
a far-away ocean upon which one could see fairy ships, and 
upon its farther-away shores splendid castles, their minarets and 
towers tipped with gold. The indolence of savagery saturated 
every inhalation, and all physical exertion except in the hunt 
or chase seemed repellant, irksome, and unendurable. 

Then it was that — like an evolution from environment — 
the desire and impulse to go upon a buffalo hunt seized upon 
and held and encompassed and dominated every fibre of my 
physical, every ambition and aspiration of my mental, make-up. 
Controlled by this spontaneous reincarnation of the barbaric 
tastes and habits of some nomadic ancestor of a prehistoric gen- 
eration, arrangements for an excursion to Fort Kearny on the 
Platte (Colonel Alexander, of the regular army, then in com- 
mand) were completed. With food rations, tent and camping 
furniture, and arms and ammunition, and pipes and tobacco, 
and a few drops of distilled rye (to be used only when snake- 
bitten), a light one-horse wagon drawn by a well-bred horse 
which was driven by the writer, was early the next morning 
leaving Arbor Lodge, and briskly speeding westward on the 
"Overland Trail" leading to California. And what rare roads 
there were in those buoyant days of the pioneers! All the 
prairies, clear across the plains from the Missouri river to the 
mountains, were perfectly paved with solid, tough, but elastic 

219 



220 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

sod. And no asphalt or block-paved avenue or well-worked pike 
can give the responsive pressure to the touch of a human foot 
or a horse-hoof that came always from those smooth and comely 
trails. Especially in riding on horseback were the felicities of 
those primitive prairie roads emphasized and accentuated. Upon 
them one felt the magnetism and life of his horse ; they animated 
and electrified him mth the vigor and spirit of the animal until 
in elation, the rider became, at least emotionally, a centaur — a 
semi-horse human. The invigoration and exaltation of career- 
ing over undulating prairies on a beautiful, speedy, and spirited 
horse thrilled every sense and satisfied, as to exhilaration, by 
physical exercise, the entire mental personality. Nature's roads 
in Nebraska are unequaled by any of their successors. 

This excursion was in a wagon without springs; and after 
driving alone, as far as the Weeping Water crossing, I overtook 
an ox train loaded with goods and supplies for Oilman's ranch 
on the Platte away beyond Fort Kearny. 

One of the proprietors, Mr. Jed Oilman, was in command of 
the outfit, and by his cordial and hospitable invitation I became 
his willing and voracious guest for the noonday meal. With a 
township for a dining room over which arched the turquoise- 
colored sky, like a vaulted ceiling, frescoed with clouds of fleecy 
white, we sat down upon our buffalo robes to partake of a hearty 
meal. There was no white settler within miles of our camp. 
The cry of "Dinner is now ready in the next car" had never 
been heard west of the Mississippi river nor even dreamed of in 
the East. The bill of fare was substantial: bacon fried, hot 
bread, strong coffee, stronger raw onions, and roasted potatoes. 
And the appetite which made all exquisitely palatable and de- 
licious descended to us out of the pure air and the exhilaration 
of perfect health. And then came the post-prandial pipe — how 
fragrant and solacing its fumes — from Virginia natural leaf, 
compared to which the exhalations from a perfecto cigar are 
today a disagreeable stench. There was then the leisure to 
smoke, the liberty and impulse to sing, to whoop, and to general- 
ly simulate the savages into whose hunting grounds we were 
making an excursion. Life lengthened out before us like the 
Overland route to the Pacific in undulations of continuously 
rising hillocks and from the summit of each one scaled we saw a 
similarly attractive one beyond in a seemingly never-ending 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 221 

pathway of pleasure, ambition, and satisfaction. The gold of 
the Pacific coast was not more real then than the invisible pos- 
sibilities of life, prosperity, success, and contentment which were 
to teem, thrive, and abound upon these prairies which seemed 
only farms asleep or like thoughts unuttered — books unopened. 

But the smoke over, the oxen again yoked to the wagons and 
the train, like a file of huge white beetles, lumbered along to the 
songs, swearing, and whip-craekinga of the drivers toward the 
crossing of Salt creek. However, by my persuasive insistence, 
Mr. Gilman left his wagon boss in charge and getting into my 
wagon accompanied me. Together we traveled briskly until 
quite late at night when we made camp at a point near where 
the town of "Wahoo now stands. There was a rough ranch cabin 
there, and we remained until the following morning, when we 
struck out at a brisk trot toward Fort Kearny, entering the 
Platte Valley at McCabe's ranch. The day aud the road were 
perfect. We made good time. At night we were entertained 
at Warfield's, on the Platte. The water in the well there was 
too highly flavored to be refreshing. Nine skunks had been 
lifted out of it the day of our arrival and only Platte river water 
could be had, which we found rather stale for having been 
hauled some distance in an old sorghum cask. But fatigue and a 
square meal are an innocent opiate and we were soon fast asleep 
under the open sky with the moon and stars only to hear how 
loudly a big ranchman can snore in a bedroom of a million or 
more acres. In the morning of our third day out, we were up, 
breakfasted with the sunrise, and drove on over the then untried 
railroad bed of the Platte Valley at a rattling gait. The stanch 
and speedy animal over which the reins were drawn, a splendid 
bay of gentle birth, had courage and endurance by heredity, and 
thus we made time. Ranches were from twenty to thirty miles 
apart. And the night of the third day found us at Mabin 's. 

This was a hotel, feed bam, dry goods establishment, and sa- 
loon all under one roof, about thirty miles from Poi-t Kearny. 
After a reasonably edible supper, Mr. Gilman and I were es- 
corted to the saloon and informed that we could repose and pos- 
sibly sleep in the aisle which divided it from the granary which 
was filled with oats. Our blankets and buffalo robes were soon 
spread out in this narrow pathway. On our right were about 
two hundred bushels of oats in bulk, and on our left the counter 



222 NEBEASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

which stood before variously shaped bottles containing alleged 
gin, supposed whiskey, and probable brandy. We had not been 
long in a recumbent position before — instead of sleep gently 
creeping over us — we experienced that we were race courses 
and grazing grounds for innumerable myriads of sand fleas. 
Immediately Gilmau insisted that we should change our apart- 
ment and go out on the prairies near a haystack; but I stub- 
bornly insisted that, as the fleas had not bitten me, I would con- 
tinue indoors. Thereupon Gilman incontinently left, and then 
the fleas with vicious vigor and voracity assaulted me. The 
bites were sharp, they were incisive and decisive. They came in 
volleys. Then in wrath I too arose from that lowly but lively 
couch between the oats and the bar and sullenly went out under 
the starlit sky to find Mr. Gilman energetically whipping his 
shirt over a wagon wheel to disinfest it from fleas. But the 
sand fleas of the Platte are not easily discharged or diverted, 
from a fair and juicy victim. They have a wonderful tenacity 
of purpose. They trotted and hopped and skipped along behind 
us to the haystack. They affectionately and fervidly abided 
with us on the prairie; and it is safe to say that there never 
were two human beings more thoroughly perforated, more per- 
sistently punctured with flea bites than were the two guests at 
Mabins's ranch during all that long and agonizing night. How- 
ever, there came an end to the darkness and the attempt at 
sleep, and after an early breakfast we resumed the Fort Kearny 
journey to arrive at its end in the late afternoon of the fourth 
day. 

There I found Colonel Alexander, of the regular army, in 
command. John Heth, of Virginia, was the sutler for the post 
and after some consultation and advisement it was determined 
that we might without much danger from Indians go south to 
the Republican river for a buffalo hunt. At that time the 
Cheyennes, who were a bloodthirsty tribe, were in arms against 
the white people and yearning for their scalps wherever found. 
But to avoid or mitigate dangers Colonel Alexander consider- 
ately detailed Lieutenant Bush with twelve enlisted men, all 
soldiers of experience in the Indian country, to go with us to the 
Republican Valley as an escort or guard — in military parlance, 
on detached service. Thus our party moved southward with 
ample force of arms for its defense. 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 223 

The four hunters of the expedition were Lieutenant Bush, 
John Heth, John Talbot (who had been honorably discharged 
from the regular army after some years of service) and myself. 
The excursion was massed and ready for departure at 8 o'clock 
on the bright morning of October 6, 1861. The course taken 
was nearly due south from the present site of Kearney city in 
Buffalo county. The expedition consisted of two large army 
wagons, four mules attached to each wagon, a light, two-hors« 
spring wagon, and four trained riding hoi*ses experienced in the 
chase, together with twelve soldiers of the regular U. S. army 
and the gentlemen already named. It had not traveled more 
than twenty-five miles south of Fort Kearny before it came in 
view of an immense and seemingly uncountable herd of buffalo. 

My first sight of these primitive beeves of the plains I shall 
never forget. They were so distant that I could not make out 
their individual fonus and I at once jumped to the conclusion 
that they were only an innumerable lot of crows sitting about 
upon the knobs and hillocks of the prairies. But in a few mo- 
ments, when we came nearer, they materialized and were, sure 
enough, real bellowing, snorting, wallo^nng buffaloes. At first 
they appeared to give no heed to our outfit, but after we saddled 
and mounted our horses and rode into their midst they began to 
scatter and to form into small bands, single file. The herd sep- 
arated into long, black swaying strings and each string was head- 
ed by the best meat among its numbers. The leading animal 
was generally a three-year-old cow. Each of these strings, or 
single-file bands, ran in a general southeast direction and each 
of the four hunters — Bush, Heth, Talbot, and the writer — 
selected a string and went for the preeminent animal with 
enthusiasm, zeal, and impulsive foolhardiness. 

In the beginning of the pell-mell, hurrj'-scurry race it seemed 
that it would be vei-y easy to speedily overtake the desired indi- 
vidual buffalo that we intended to shoot and kill. The whole 
band seemed to run leisurely. They made a sort of sidewise 
gait, a movement such as one often sees in a dog running ahead 
of a wagon on a counti-y road. Upon the level prairie we made 
very perceptible gains upon them, but when a declivity was 
reached and we made a down hill gallop we were obliged to rein 
in and hold up the horses, or take the chances of a broken leg 
or neck by being ditched in a badger or wolf hole. But the 



224 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

buffaloea with their heavy shoulders and huge hair-matted heads 
lumbered along down the incline with great celerity, gaining so 
much upon ua that every now and then one of them would drop 
out from the line upon reaching an attractive depression, roU 
over two or three times in his "wallow," jump up and join his 
fleeing fellows before we could reach him. 

But finally after swinging and swaying hither and thither with 
the band or line as it swayed and swung, the lead animal was 
reached and with much exultation and six very nervous shots 
put to death. My trophy proved to be a buffalo cow of two or 
three years of age ; and after she had dropped to the ground, a 
nimble calf, about three months old, evidently her progeny, began 
making circles around and around the dead mother and bleating 
pitifully, enlarging the circle each time, until at last it went out 
of sight onto the prairie and alone, all the other parts of the 
herd having scattered beyond the rising bluffs and far away. 

That afternoon was fuller of tense excitement, savage en- 
thusiasms, zeal and barbaric ambition than any other that could 
be assorted from my life of more than sixty years. There was a 
certain amount of ancestral heathenism aroused in every man, 
spurring a horse to greater swiftness, in that chase for large 
game. And there was imperial exultation of the primitive bar- 
baric instinct when the game fell dead and its whooping captors 
surrounded its breathless carcass. 

But the wastefulness of the buffalo hunter of those days was 
wicked beyond description and, because of its utter recklessness 
of the future, wholly unpardonable. Only the hump, ribs, the 
tongue, and perhaps now and then one hind-quarter were saved 
for use from each animal. The average number of pounds of 
meat saved from each buffalo killed between the years 1860 and 
1870 would not exceed twenty. In truth, thousands of buffaloes 
were killed merely to get their tongues and pelts. The inex- 
cusable and unnecessary extermination of those beef-producing 
and very valuable fur-bearing animals only illustrates the ex- 
travagance of thoughtlessness and mental nearsightedness in the 
American people when dealing with practical and far-reaching 
questions. It also demonstrates, in some degree, the incapacity 
of the ordinary every-day law-makers of the United States. 
Game laws have seldom been enacted in any of the states before 
the virtual extinction of the game they purposed to protect. 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 225 

Here in Nebraska among big game were many hundreds of thous- 
ands of buffaloes, tens of thousands of elk and deer and ante- 
lope, while among smaller game the wild turkey and the prairie 
chicken were innumerable. But today Nebraska game is prac- 
tically extinct. Even the prairie chicken and the wild turkey 
axe seldom found auywhere along the Missouri bluffs in the 
southern and eastern part of the commonwealth. 

Looking back: what might have been accomplished for the 
conservation of game in the trans-Missouri country is suggested 
so forcibly that one wonders at the stupendous stupidity which 
indolently pei-mitted its destruction. 

The fii-st night outward and southeastward from Fort Kearny 
we came to Turkey creek which empties into the Republican 
river. There, after dark, tents were pitched at a point near the 
place where the government in previous years established kilns 
and burned lime for the use of soldiers in building quarters for 
themselves and the officers at Fort Kearny which was construct- 
ed in 1847 by Stewart L. Van Vliet, now a retired brigadier 
general and the oldest living graduate of West Point. After a 
sumptuous feast of buffalo steak, a strong pint of black coffee 
and a few pipes of good tobacco, our party retired; sleep came 
with celerity and the camp was peacefully at rest, with the ex- 
ception of two regular soldiers who stood guard until 12 o'clock, 
and were then relieved by two others who kept vigil until sun- 
rise. At intervals I awoke during the night and listened to the 
industrious beavers building dams on the creek. They were 
shoveling mud with their trowel-shaped tails into the crevices of 
their dams with a constantly-resounding slapping and splashing 
all night. The architecture of the beaver is not unlike that 
which follows him and exalts itself in the chinked and daubed 
cabins of the pioneers. 

■ The darkness was followed by a dawn of beauty and breakfast 
came soon thereafter, and for the first time my eyes looked out 
upon the attractive, fertile and beautiful valley of the Republi- 
can river. All that delightful and invigorating day we zealous- 
ly hunted. We found occasionally small bands of buffaloes 
here and there among the bluffs and hills along the valley of 
the Republican. But these animals were generally aged and 
of inferior quality. Besides such hunting, we found a great 
quantity of blue-winged and green-winged teal in the waters of 



226 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

the Republican and bagged not a few of them. There is no 
water- fowl, in my judgment, not even the redheaded duck and 
canvasback duck, which excels in delicate tissue and flavor the 
delicious teal. 

Just a little before sundown, on the third day of our encamp- 
ment, by the bluffs land of the Republican, Lieutenant Bush 
and Mr. Heth in one party, and John Talbot axid I in another, 
were exploring the steep, wooded bluffs which skirted the valley. 
The timber growing at that time on the sides of these bluffs 
was, much of it, of very good size and I shall never forget going 
down a precipitous path along the face of a hill and suddenly 
coming upon a strange and ghastly sight among the top limbs 
and branches of an oak tree which sprang from the rich soU of 
a lower level. The weird object which then impressed itself 
upon my memory forever was a dead Indian sitting upright in a 
sort of wicker-work coffin which was secured by thongs to the 
main trunk of the tree. The robe with which he had been 
clothed had been torn away by buzzards and only the denuded 
skeleton sat there. The bleached skull leered and grinned at me 
as though the savage instinct to repulse an intruder from their 
hunting grounds still lingered in the fleshless head. Perfectly 
I recall the long scalp-lock, floating in the wind, aad the sense 
of dread and repellant fear which, for the startled moment, took 
possession of me in the presence of this arborially interred In- 
dian whose remains had been stored away in a tree-top instead 
of having been buried in the ground. 

Not long after this incident we four came together again down 
in the valley at a great plum orchard. The plum trees covered 
an area of several acres; they stood exceedingly close together. 
The frosts had been just severe enough to drop the fruit onto 
the ground. Never before nor since have my eyes beheld or 
my palate tasted as luscious fruit as those large yellow and red 
plums which were found that afternoon lying in bushels in the 
valley of the Republican. While we were all seated upon the 
ground eating plums and praising their succulence and flavor 
we heard the click-cluck of a turkey. Immediately we laid our- 
selves flat upon the earth and in the course of ten minutes be- 
held a procession of at least seventy-five wild turkeys feeding 
upon plums. We remained moveless and noiseless until those 
turkeys had flowTi up into the tall eottonwood trees standing 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 227 

thereabouts and gone to roost. Then after darkness had set- 
tled dowTi upon the face of the earth we faintly discerned the 
black forms or hummocks of fat turkeys all through the large 
and leafless limbs of the eottonwoods which had been nearly 
defoliated by the early frosts of October. It required no deft 
markmanship or superior skill to bring down forty of those 
birds in a single evening. That number we took into camp. 
In quick time we had turkey roasted, turkey grilled, turkey 
broiled ; and never have I since eaten any turkey so well flavored, 
so juicy and rich, as that fattened upon the wild plums of the 
Republican Valley in the year 1861. 

At last, surfeited with hunting and its successes, we set out 
on our return to Fort Kearny. When about half way across the 
divide, a sergeant, one of the most experienced soldiers and 
plainsmen of the party, declared that he saw a small curl of 
smoke in the hazy distance and a little to the west and south 
of us. To my untrained eye the smoke was at flrst invisible, but 
with a field glass I ultimately discerned a delicate little blue 
thread hanging in the sky, which the soldiers pronounced smoke 
ascending from an Indian camp. Readjusting the glasses I soon 
made out to see three Indians stretched by the fire seemingly 
asleep, while two were sitting by the embers apparently cooking, 
eating and drinking. Very soon, however, the two feasters 
espied our wagons and party. Immediately they came running 
on foot to meet us; the other three, awaking, followed them; 
speedily they were in our midst. They proved, however, to be 
peaceful Pawnees. Mr. John Heth spoke the language of that 
tribe and I shall never forget the coolness with which these 
representatives of that nomadic race informed him that Mrs. 
Heth and his Little two-years-of-age daughter, Minnie, were in 
good health in their wigwam at Fort Kearny ; they were sure of 
it because they had looked into the window of the Heth home the 
day before and saw them eating and drinking their noonday 
meal. 

These Indians then expressed a wish for some turkey feathers. 
They were told to help themselves. Immediately they pulled 
out a vast number of the large feathers of the wings and tails 
and decorated their own heads with them. The leader of the 
aboriginal expedition, in conversation with Mr. Heth, informed 
him that although they were on foot they carried the lariats 



228 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

which we saw hanging from their arms for the purpose of hitch- 
ing onto and annexing some Cheyenne ponies which they were 
going south to steal. They walked away from home, but intend- 
ed to ride back. The barbaric commander in charge of this 
larcenous expedition was named "The Fox," and when ques- 
tioned by Mr. Heth as to the danger of the enterprise, and in- 
formed that he might probably lose his life and get no ponies at 
all, Captain Pox smiled and said grimly that he knew he should 
ride back to the Pawnee village on the Loup the owner of good 
horses; that only a year or two before that time he had been 
alone down into the Cheyenne village and got a great many 
horses safely out and up onto the Loup fork among the Pawnees 
without losing a single one. "The Fox" admitted, however, 
that even in an expedition so successful as the one which he 
recalled there were a great many courage-testing inconveniencea 
and annoyances. But he dwelt particularly upon the fact that 
the Cheyennes always kept their ponies in a corral which was 
in the very center of their village. The huts, habitations, tipis, 
and wigwams of the owners of the ponies were all constructed 
around their communal corral in a sort of a circle, but "The 
Fox" said that he nevertheless, in his individual excursion of 
which he proudly boasted, crawled during the middle of the 
night in among the ponies and was about to slip a lariat on the 
bell-mare without her stirring, when she gave a little jump, and 
the bell on her neck rang out pretty loudly. Then he laid down 
in the center of the herd and kept still, very still, while the 
horses walked over him and tramped upon him until he found 
it very unpleasant. But very soon he saw and heard some of 
the Cheyennes come out and look and walk about to see if any- 
thing was wrong. Then he said he had to stay still and silent 
under the horses' hoofs and make no noise, or die and surely be 
scalped. At last, however, the Cheyennes, one after another, 
all went back into their wigwams to sleep, and then he very 
slowly and without a sound took the bell off from the mare, put 
his lariat on her neck quietly, led her out and all the herd of 
Cheyenne ponies followed. He never stopped until he was safe 
up north of the Platte river and had all his equine spoils safe 
in the valley of the Loup fork going towards the Pawnee village 
where Genoa now stands. 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 229 

The Fox was an "expajisionist" and an annexationist out of 
sympathy for the oppressed ponies of the Cheyennes. 

"The Fox" declared that the number of horaes he made requis- 
ition for at that time on the stables of the Cheyennes was three 
hundred. At this statement some incredulity was shown by 
Mr. Heth, myself, and some others present. Immediately "The 
Fox" threw back his woolen blanket which was ornamented on 
the inside with more than two hundred small decorative designs 
of horses. Among the Pawnees, and likewise, if I remember 
rightly, among the Otoes and Omahas, robes and blankets were 
thus embellished and so made to pass current as real certificates 
of a choice brand of character for their wearers. Each horse 
depicted on the robe was notice that the owner and wearer had 
stolen such horse. Finally, after expressions of friendship and 
good will, the expedition in charge of "The Fox" bade us 
adieu and briskly walked southward on their mission for getting 
horses away from their traditional enemies. 

It is perhaps worth while to mention that, it being in the au- 
tumn of the year, all these Indians were carefully and deftly 
arrayed in autumn-colored costumes. Their blankets, head-gear 
and everything else were the color of dead and dried prairie 
grass. This disguise was for the purpose of making themselves 
as nearly indistinguishable as possible on the brown surface of 
the far-stretching plains. For then the weeds and grasses had 
all been bleached by the fall frosts. We were given an exhibi- 
tion of the nearly perfect invisibleness of "The Fox" by his 
taking a position near a badger hole around which a lot of tall 
weeds had grovm upon the prairie, and really the almost exact 
similitude of coloring which he had cunningly reproduced in his 
raiment made him even at a short distance indistinguishable 
among the faded weeds and grasses by which he was surrounded. 

In due time we reached Fort Kearny and after a pleasant 
and most agreeable visit with Mr. Heth and his family, Colonel 
Alexander and Lieutenant Bush, I pushed on alone for the 
Missouri river, by the North Platte route, bringing home with 
me two or three turkeys and a quarter of buffalo meat. 

About the second evening, as I remember it, I arrived at the 
agency of the four bands of the Pawnee on the Loup fork of 
the Platte river, near where the village of Genoa in Nance county 



230 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

now stands. Judge Gillis of Pennsylvania was the U. S. gov- 
ernment agent then in charge of that tribe, and Mr. AUis was 
his interpreter. There I experienced the satisfaction of going 
leisurely and observingly through the villages of the four bands 
of Pawnees, which there made their habitation. The names of 
the four confederate bands of Pawnee Indians were Grand 
Pawnee, Wolf Pawnee, Republican Pawnee, and Tapage Pawnee. 
At that time they all together numbered between four thousand 
and five thousand. 

Distinguished among them for fearlessness and impetuous 
courage and constant success in war was an Indian who had been 
bom with his left hand so shrunken and shriveled that it looked 
like the contracted claw of a bird. He was celebrated among all 
the tribes of the plains as ' ' Crooked Hand, the Fighter. ' ' Hear- 
ing me expre^ a wish for making the acquaintance of this 
famous warrior and scalp accumulator. Judge Gillis and Mr. 
AlUs kindly volunteered to escort me to his domicile and form- 
ally introduce me. We took the traU which lay across Beaver 
creek up into the village. This village was composed of very 
large, earthen, mound-like wigwams. From a distance they 
looked Like a number of great kettles turned wrong side up on 
the prairie. Finally we came to the entrance of the abode of 
Crooked Hand. He was at home. I was presented to him by 
the interpreter, Mr. Allis. Through him, addressing the tawny 
hero who stood before me, I said : 

It has come to my ears that you are and always have been a 
very brave man in battle. Therefore I have made a long jour- 
ney to see you and to shake the hand of a great warrior. 

This seemed to suit his bellicose eminence and to appeal to his 
barbaric vanity. Consequently I continued, saying: I hear 
that you have skilfully killed a great many Sioux and that you 
have kept the scalp of each warrior slain by you. If this be 
true, I wish you would show me these trophies of your courage 
and victories? 

Immediately Crooked Hand reached under a sort of rude set- 
tee and pulled out a very cheap traveling trunk, which was 
locked. Then taking a string from around his neck he found 
the key thereunto attached, inserted it in the lock, turned it, 
and with gloating satisfaction threw back the lid of the trunk. 
It is fair to state that, notwithstanding Mr. Crooked Hand's per- 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 231 

sonal adornments in the way of paint, earrings, and battle me- 
mentoes, he was evidently not a man of much pei-sonal property, 
for the trunk contained not one other portable thing except a 
string of thirteen scalps. This he lifted out with his right hand 
and held up before me as a connoisseur would exhibit a beautiful 
cameo — with intense satisfaction and self-praise expressed in 
his features. 

The scalps were not large, averaging not much more in cir- 
cumference than a silver dollar (before the crime of 1873). 
Each scalp was big enough to firmly and gracefully retain the 
scalplock which its original possessor had nourished. Each 
scalp was neatly lined with flaming red flannel and encircled by 
and stitched to a willow twig just as boys so stretch and pre- 
serve squirrel skins. Then there was a strong twine which ran 
through the center of each of the thirteen scalps leaving a space 
of something like three or four inches between each two. 

After looking at these ghastly certificates of prowess in In- 
dian warfare I said to the possessor: "Do you still like to go 
into fights with the Sioux ? " He replied hesitatingly : 

"Yes, 1 go into the fights with the Sioux but I stay only until 
I can kill one man, get his scalp and get out of the battle." 

Then I asked: "Why do you do this way now, and so act 
differently from the fighting plans of your earlier years when 
you remained to the end of the conflict?" Instantly he replied 
and gave me this aboriginal explanation : 

' ' You see, my friend, I have only one life. To me death must 
come only once. But I have taken thirteen lives. And now 
when I go into battle there are thirteen chances of my being 
killed to one of my coming out of the fight alive. ' ' 

This aboriginal application of the doctrine of chance is equally 
as reasonable as some of the propositions relating to chances 
found in "Hedges' Logic," which I studied in the regular col- 
lege course. There is more excuse for a savage faith in chance 
than can be made for the superstitious belief in it which is held 
by some civilized people. 

My last buffalo hunt was finished and its trophies and its 
choicest memories safely stored for exhibition or reminiscence at 
Arbor Lodge. More than thirty-seven years afterwards I am 
permitted this evening by your indulgence and consideration to 
attempt faintly to portray the country and its primitive condi- 



232 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

tion at that time in that particular section of Nebraska which is 
now Franklin county. 

But in concluding this discursive and desultory narrative I 
cannot refrain from referring to and briefly descanting on an- 
other and an earlier and larger expedition into the valley of the 
Republican which set out from Mexico in the year 1540 under 
the command of Coronado. 

That explorer was undoubtedly the first white man to visit Ne- 
braska. In his report to the Spanish government is a descrip- 
tion of buffalo which for graphic minuteness and correctness 
has never been excelled. Thus it pictures them as they appeared 
to him and his followers more than three hundred and fifty yeara 
ago: 

"These oxen are of the bigness and color of our bulls, but 
their horns are not so great. They have a great bunch upon 
their foreshoulders, and more hair upon their fore-part than on 
their hinder-part; and it is like wool. They have, as it were, a 
horse mane upon their back bone, and much hair, and very 
long from the knees downward. They have great tufts of hair 
hanging down their foreheads, and it seemeth they have beards, 
because of the great store of hair hanging down at their chins 
and throats. The males have very long tails, and a great knob 
or flock at the end, so that in some respects they resemble the 
lion, and in some other the camel. They push with their horns, 
they run, they overtake and kill a horse when they are in their 
rage and anger. Finally, it is a fierce beast of countenance and 
form of body. The horses fled from them, either because of 
their deformed shape, or because they had never seen them 
before. Their masters [meaning no doubt the Indians] have no 
other riches or substance; of them they eat, they drink, they 
apparel, they shoe themselves; and of their hides they make 
many things, as houses, shoes, apparel and robes ; of their bones 
they make bodkins; of their sinews and hair, thread; of their 
horns, maws and bladders, vessels; of their dung, fire; and of 
their calf skins, budgets, wherein they draw and keep water. 
To be short, they make so many things of them as they have 
need of, or as may suffice them in the use of this life. ' ' 

It is perhaps a work of supererogation for me after the lapse 
of three and a half centuries to endorse and verify the accuracy 
of that word picture of the buffalo. A photograph of the great 



MY LAST BUFFALO HUNT 233 

terd which I rode into during my hunt could hardly better 
convey to the mind the images of buffalo. The hundreds of 
years intervening between my own excursion into the valley of 
the Republican and the invasion of Coronado had neither im- 
paired, improved, nor perceptibly changed either the buffalo or 
the soil of that fertile section now comprising the county of 
Franklin in the state of Nebraska. Of that immediate pro- 
pinquity Coronado said: "The place I have reached is in the 
fortieth degree of latitude. The earth is the best possible for aU 
kinds of productions of Spain, for while it is very strong and 
black, it is very well watered by brooks, springs and rivers. I 
found prunes" [wild plums, no doubt, just as my party and the 
wild turkeys were feasting upon in October, 1861] "like those 
of Spain, some of which are black; also some excellent grapes 
and mulberries." 

And Jaramillo, who was with Coronado, says: "This coun- 
try has a superb appearance, and such that I have not seen 
better in all Spain, neither in Italy nor Prance, nor in any other 
country where I have been in the service of your majesty. It 
is not a country of mountains; there are only some hills, some 
plains and some streams of very fine water. It satisfies me com- 
pletely. I presiime that it is very fertile and favorable for the 
cultivation of all kinds of fruits." 

And this land whence the Coronado expedition upon foot re- 
traced its march to Old Mexico, a distance, by the trail he made, 
of 3,230 miles, was in latitude forty degrees and distant west- 
ward from the Missouri about one hundred and forty miles. 
Geographically, topographically, and in every other way, the de- 
scription of Franklin and the neighborhood of Riverton in that 
county. 

Here then in Franklin county it is recorded that the last 
horse belonging to Coronado and his band of precious-metal 
hunters died. At that time all the horses on this continent had 
been imported. The loss of this animal that day at that place 
was like the loss today of a man-of-war for Spain in a great 
naval conflict with the United States. It was discouraging and 
overwhelming and resulted in the relinquishment of further ex- 
ploration for the land of Quivera — the home of gold and silver 
— and the return to Old Mexico. There was no use for saddles, 
bridles and other equestrian trappings, for with no horse to 



234 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

ride even stirrups were thrown away, and it has been the good 
fortune of Nebraska to have them exhumed aft€r a sequestration 
of more than three centuries. 

And thus, after so many years of delay, I give you the story 
of the first buifalo hunt and the last buffalo hunt in the Republi- 
can Valley concerning which I am competent to make statement. 



HOW THE FOUNDER OF ARBOR DAY CREATED THE 
MOST FAMOUS WESTERN ESTATE 

By Paul Moeton 

"The memories that live and bloom in trees, that whisper of 
the loved and lost in summer leaves, are as imperishable as the 
seasons of the year — immortal as the love of a mother." — J. 
Sterling Moeton. 

I suppose the story of a successful pioneer will always interest 
and encourage people. The narrative of a strong, far-sighted 
man who makes something out of nothing seems to put heart 
into the average worker. That is why I am telling the story of 
how my father, J. Sterling Morton, and his young wife, set 
their faces toward the West, one October day in 1854, and built 
them a home on the prairies. 

Arbor Lodge as it stands today, with its classic porticoes, its 
gardens, and its arboretum, the present country home of my 
brother, Mr. Joy Morton, is not the home that I remember as a 
boy. That was a much more modest edifice. Yet even that 
house was a palace compared with the first one, which was a 
little log-cabin standing on the lonely prairie, exposed to bliz- 
zards and Indians, and with scarcely a tree in sight. 

My father was a young newspaper man in Detroit, only re- 
cently out of college, when he took his bride, two years his 
junior, out to the little-known frontier. Attracted by the in- 
formation about the new country brought out by Douglas and 
others in the Kansas-Nebraska debates in congress, he conceived 
and acted on the idea that here were fortunes to be made. Tak- 
ing such household goods as they could, they traveled to the 
new land, making the last stage up the Missouri river by boat. 

Nebraska at that time was the Indian's own country. There 
were not over 1,500 white people in the entire state. All the 
country west of the Missouri was called in the geographies the 
Great American Desert, and it took a good deal of faith to be- 
lieve that anything could be made to grow where annual fires 
destroyed even the prairie grass and the fringes of cottonwoods 

235 



236 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

and scrub-oaks along the rivers. Today this section, within a 
radius of some two hundred miles, includes perhaps the most 
fertile soil in the world and has become a center of industry, 
agriculture, and horticulture for the middle west. There was 
then no political organization, no laws; men went about fully 
armed. There were no roads and no bridges to speak of in the 
entire state; it was "waste land." 

This was part of the land of the Louisiana Purchase, and my 
father bought a quarter section (160 acres) from the man who 
preempted it from the government. The price paid was $1.25 
an acre. Today the estate comprises about 1,000 acres, and the 
land is readily saleable at a hundred times this price. 

On the spot where Arbor Lodge now stands, my father built 
his first log-cabin. This was soon replaced by a modest frame 
house; there was not then another frame house between it and 
the Rocky Mountains, six hundred miles away. On the same 
place two succeeding houses were built by my father, the present, 
and fifth. Arbor Lodge having been built by his sons after his 
death. My father called these first four houses, "seed, bud, 
blossom, and fruit." 

The first winter was a mild one, fortunately, but there were 
plenty of hardships for the young people. There were no very 
near neighbors, the village of Kearny Heights, now Nebraska 
City, being then over two miles away. The Indians formed 
the greatest danger. I can remember a day in my boyhood 
when we had everything packed up, ready to flee across the 
Missouri to Iowa from the murderous Pawnees and Cheyennes, 
who, fortunately, did not come that time. A part of that first 
winter my father and mother spent ia Bellevue. 

When spring came they set about building their home. Later 
on they had young trees sent to them from the East, including 
some excellent varieties of apples, peaches, cherries, pears, etc. 
Things grew fast; it was only the prairie fires that had kept 
the land a desert so long, and year by year these fires had en- 
riched the soil. 

The farm was located on the Overland trail, the favorite 
route to Pike's Peak and the El Dorado. Many of the Mormon 
emigrants crossed the river at that place. I can remember the 
big trains of ox and mule teams passing the house. 



MOST FAMOUS WESTERN ESTATE 237 

My father's interests were always inseparably joined with 
those of the community; he was in public life from the start, 
and Nebraska's fortunes were his. His neighbors all had the 
same experiences, and many a farmer who started with nothing 
is now wealthy. The farmers had to bring in from Missouri 
and Iowa all the food for themselves and their horses and cattle 
the first year. They were living on faith. During the first 
spring and summer the anxiety was great, but they were re- 
warded by a good harvest in the fall. The success of that har- 
vest settled the Nebraska question forever. It was a land that 
could support its inhabitants. 

But the end was not yet. The "get-rich-quiek" fever struck 
the community. Immigration was over-stimulated, and town 
lots were manufactured at a great rate. In a few months they 
increased in price from $300 to $3,000 apiece. Banks were 
created and money was made plenty by legislation. My father 
never caught this fever, being always a sound-money man and 
believing in wealth based on the soil. 

At the end of the second summer the crop of town lots and 
Nebraska bank-notes was greater than the crop of com. But 
the lesson was not learned until the panic of 1857 drove out 
the speculators and left the farmers in possession of the terri- 
tory. With the spring of 1858 sanity came to rule once more, 
and there was less bank making and more prairie breaking. 
The citizens had learned that agriculture was to be the salva- 
tion of the new country. In 1857, two dollars a bushel had been 
paid for imported com, but in 1859 the same steamers that had 
brought it in bore thousands of bushels south at forty cents a 
bushel, bringing more money into the territory than all the 
sales of town lots for a year. 

The first teiTitorial fair was held in Nebraska City in 1859, 
and on that occasion my father made a speech in which he 
reviewed the history of the new territory up to that time. I 
speak of these things because my father was always a man of 
public interests, and his fortunes were wrapped up in those of 
the territory. His hardships came when the community went 
era^y, and his fortune grew when sanity was once more restored. 

I know of nothing that better illustrates my father's private 
character than an editorial which he wrote and published in 



238 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The Conservative a short time before the untimely death of my 
brother Carl. The fact that both the author and the two loved 
ones of whom he so tenderly wrote have passed to the Great 
Beyond, imparts to this beautiful passage a most exquisite 
pathos : 

"It was a bright, balmy morning in April more than a quai*- 
ter of a century ago. The sun was nursing the young grass 
into verdure, and the prairie was just beginning to put off its 
winter coat of somber colorings. Tranquil skies and morning 
mists were redolent at Arbor Lodge of the coming resurrection 
of the foliage and flowers that died the autumn before. All 
about the cottage home there was hope and peace; and every- 
where the signs of woman's watchful love and tidy care, when, 
suddenly, toned with affectionate solicitude, rang out: 'Carl, 
Carl!' but no answer came. Downstairs, upstairs, at the bam, 
even in the well, everywhere, the mother's voice called anxious- 
ly, again and again. But the silence, menacing and frighten- 
ing, was unbroken by an answer from the lost boy. At last, 
however, he was found behind a smokehouse, busily digging 
in the ground with a small spade, though only five years of age, 
and he said : ' I 'm too busy to talk. I 'm planting an orchard, ' 
and sure enough, he had set out a seedling apple tree, a small 
Cottonwood, and a little elm. 

"The delighted mother clasped him in her arms, kissed him, 
and said: 'This orchard must not be destroyed.' 

' ' And so now 

" 'I hear the muffled tramp of years 

Come stealing up the slopes of Time ; 
They bear a train of smiles and tears 
Of burning hopes and dreams sublime. ' 

"The child's orchard is more than thirty years of age. The 
Cottonwood is a giant now, and its vibrant foliage talks, sum- 
mer after summer, in the evening breeze with humanlike voice, 
and tells its life story to the graceful, swaying elm near by, 
while the gnarled and scrubby little apple tree, shaped, as to 
its head, like a despondent toadstool, stands in dual shade, and 
bears small sweet apples, year after year, in all humility. But 
that orchard must not be destroyed. It was established by the 
youngest treeplanter who ever planted in this tree planter's 



MOST FAMOUS WESTERN ESTATE 239 

state, and for his sake and the memory of the sweet soul who 
nursed and loved him, it lives and grows, one cottonwood, one 
apple tree, one elm. 

' ' ' But 0, for the touch of a vanished hand. 
And the sound of a voice that is still. ' 
"The memories that live and bloom in trees, that whisper of 
the loved and lost in summer leaves, are as imperishable as the 
seasons of the year — immortal as the love of a mother. ' ' 



EARLY REMINISCENCES OF NEBRASKA CITY 

By Ellen Kinney "Wake 

Social Aspects 

As a girl graduate I came to Nebraska City from Virginia, 
at an early day. It seemed to me that I was leaving everything 
attractive socially and intellectually, behind me, but I was mis- 
taken. On arriving here, I expected to see quite a town, was 
disappointed, for two large brick hotels, and a few scattered 
houses comprised the place. Among my first acquaintances was 
the family of Grovernor Black, consisting of his daughter about 
my own age, his wife, and himself. He was not only bright and 
clever, but a wit as well, and famous as a story-teller. Alas a 
sad fate awaited him. For leaving here to take command of a 
Pennsylvania regiment, he was killed early in the civil war. 

Those were freighting days and Russell, Majors and "Waddell, 
government freighters, made this their headquarters. Alex- 
ander Majors brought his family here adding much socially to 
the town. Major Martin, an army officer, was stationed here. 
He was a charming gentleman and had a lovely wife. Dancing 
was the principal amusement Muth the young people. Informal 
dances at private homes and occasionally on a steamboat when 
it arrived, brilliantly lighted and having a band of music on 
board. At the ' ' Outfit " as it was called, where the supplies for 
the freighting company were kept, dwelt a family. Raisin by 
name, who were exceedingly hospitable, not only entertaining 
frequently, but often sending an ambulance for their guests. 
At these parties no round dancing was indulged in, just simple 
quadrilles and the lancers. Mr. and Mrs. J. Sterling Morton, 
who lived on a country place, a short distance from town, which 
has since become widely known as Arbor Lodge, were among the 
most active entertainers, dispensing that delightful hospitality 
for which in later times they were so well known. 

And so we lived without railroads, without telephones, auto- 
mobiles, or theaters. But I believe that our social enjoyment 
was greater than it is now. Instead of railroads, we had steam- 




Oregon Trail Monument, located at the 

POINT WHERE THE UNE BETWEEN JePFERSON 

AND Gage Counties iNTERgBCTs the Kansas- 
Nebraska State Line 
Dedicated May 12, 1914. Cost $350. Trail crosses state 
line 1,986 feet east, and crosses Jefferson-Gage county 
line 2,286 feet nortli of tliis point. Erected by the citi- 
zens of Gage and Jefferson counties, Nebraska, Wash- 
ington county, Kansas, and Elizabetli Montague Chapter, 
Daughters of the American Revolution 



REMINISCENCES OF NEBRASKA CITY 241 

boats arriving almost daily from St. Louis, St. Joseph, and other 
towns. In carriages we drove to Omaha and back, and the 
social intercourse of the two towns was much greater than it is 
now. 

Amateur theatricals took the place of the theater, and often 
brilliant, undreamed of talent was shown. Literature also was 
not neglected, many highly educated men and women were 
among our pioneers and literary societies were a prominent part 
of our social life. "We played chess in those days, but not cards. 
This alone might be taken as an index of how much less frivol- 
ous that day was than the present. 

In 1860 Bishop Talbot aiTived here from Indianapolis and 
made this his home, adding greatly socially and intellectually 
to the life of the community. In his family was the Rev. Isaac 
Hager, beloved and revered by all who knew him, a most thor- 
ough musician, as well as a fine preacher. 

Remembering old times we sometimes ask ourselves, where 
now are the men and women, equal to the ones we knew in those 
days, certainly there are none superior to them, in intellect, 
manners, wit, and true nobility. 

"Oh brave hearts journeyed to the west. 
When this old town was new!" 



SOME PERSONAL INCIDENTS 
By W. a. McAllister 

My father and family came to Nebraska in 1858, living two 
years at Genoa. At this time the government assigned what is 
now Nance county, to the Pawnee Indians, as a reservation. 
When the white settlers sought other homes our family located 
eight miles east of Columbus, at McAllister's lake. Every fall 
my father hired about sixty squaws to husk out his crop of com. 
Only one buck ever came to work, and he was always known as 
"Squaw Charlie" after that. He spoke English quite well. 
They were slow workers, husking about twenty bushels per day. 
They were very gluttonous at meals, eating much bread, with 
meat soup containing potatoes and other vegetables, cooked in 
large twenty gallon camp kettles. This was supplemented by 
watermelons by the wagonJoad. It required a week or ten days 
to harvest the corn crop. The Indians were very thievish, steal- 
ing almost as much as their wages amounted to. During these 
years I often witnessed their "Medicine Dances." 

When fifteen years old I enlisted in Company B, Second Ne- 
braska Cavalry, and went to Fort Kearny. Our company re- 
lieved the Tenth Infantry, which went to the front. In less 
than twenty days this company was nearly annihilated at the 
battle of Fredericksburg. 

While at the fort a buffalo hunt was organized by the oflBcers, 
and I had an opportunity to go. Our party went south to the 
valley of the Republican. The first night We camped at the 
head of the Big Blue, and the second day I noticed south of us, 
about eight miles distant, a dark line along the horizon extending 
as far east and west as the eye could reach. I inquired what it 
was and an old hunter replied ' ' buffaloes. ' ' I could not believe 
him, but in a few hours found he was right, for we were sur- 
rounded by millions of them. They were hurrying to the east 
with a roaring like distant thunder. Our sportsmen moved in a 
body through the herd looking for calves, not caring to carry 
back the meat of the old specimens. Strange to say this tre- 



SOME PERSONAL INCIDENTS 243 

mendous herd seemed to be composed of males, for the cows 
were still on the Oklahoma ranges caring for their calves, until 
strong enough to tramp north again. We noticed an old fellow 
making good progress on three legs, one foot having been injured. 
One of the party wished to dispose of him, but his wooly fore- 
head covered with sand, turned every bullet. Finally the hunt- 
er asked me to attract his attention, while he placed a bullet in 
his heart. In doing this, he almost succeeded in goring my pony, 
but I turned a second too quickly for him. I was near enough 
to see the fire flashing from his angry eyes. In a few minutes 
he fell with a thud. 

Several years after the war being over, I worked for the 
Union Pacific railroad company. At Kearney, in 1869, we met 
the Buck sui-veying party, who had come west to lay out, for the 
government, the lands of the Republican Valley. In this com- 
pany was a young maiL from Pontiac, Illinois, named Harry Mc- 
Gregor. He left a home of plenty to hunt buffalo and Indians, 
but found among other privations, he could not have all the 
sugar he wished, so at Kearney he decided to leave the party 
and work with us. This decision saved his life, for the rest of 
the surveyors, about ten in all, after starting south next morning, 
were never seen again. They were surprised and killed by the 
Indians. Their skeletons were found several years later, bleach- 
ing on the Nebraska prairie. 



MAJOR NORTH'S BUFFALO HUNT 
By Minnie Freeman Penny 

A party under the direction of Major Frank North set out 
with six wagon teams and four buffalo horses on November 13, 
1871, to engage in a buffalo hunt. The other men were Luther 
North, C. Stanley, Hopkins Brown, Charles Freeman, W. E. 
Freeman, W. E. Freeman, Jr., and Messrs. Bonesteel, Wasson, 
and Cook. They camped the first night at James Gushing 's 
ranch, eighteen miles out; the second night at Jason Parker's 
home at Lone Tree, now Central City, and the third night ar- 
rived at Grand Island. On the way to Grand Island one of the 
party accidentally started a prairie fire six miles east of Grand 
Island. A hard fight was made and the flames subdued just 
in time to save a settler's stable. 

Leaving Grand Island on the sixteenth they crossed the Platte 
river and camped on the West Blue. From this point in the 
journey the party suffered incredible hardships until their re- 
turn. 

About midnight the wind changed to the north, bringing rain 
and sleet, and inside of an hour a blizzard was raging on the 
open prairie. The horses were covered with snow and ice and 
there was no fuel for the fires. The men went out as far as 
they dared to go for wood, being unsuccessful. It was decided 
to try to follow the Indian trail south — made by the Pawnee 
scouts under Major North. Little progress could be made and 
they soon ' ' struck camp ' ' near some willows that afforded a little 
protection to their horses and a ' ' windbreak ' ' was made for man 
and beast. This camp was at the head of the Big Sandy, called 
by this party the "Big Smoky" for the men suffered agonies 
from the smoke in the little tipi. 

For two days the storm continued in all its terrible force. 
The vrind blew and the air was so full of snow that it was blind- 
ing. The cold was intense. The men finally determined to find 
some habitation at any price and in groups of two and three 
left camp following the creek where they were sure some one 

244 



MAJOR NORTH'S BUFFALO HUNT 245 

had settled. A sod house was found occupied by two English 
families who received the party most hospitably. Charles Free- 
man, older than the other men of the party, suffered a collapse 
and remained at this home. During the night the storm abated 
and next morning, finding all the ravines choked with heavy 
snow drifts, it was decided by vote to abandon the hunt. They 
dug out their belongings from under many feet of snow, sold 
their corn to the English families to lighten their load and start- 
ed back. The journey home was full of accidents, bad roads, 
and drifted ravines. Reaching the Union Pacific railroad at 
Grand Island Major North and Mr. Bonesteel returned to Col- 
umbus by rail, also Mr. Stanley from Lone Tree. The rest of 
the party returned by team, arriving on November 24. 

Major North admitted that of all his experiences on the prai- 
rie — not excepting his years with the Pawnee scouts — this 
"beat them all" as hazardous and perplexing. 

The foregoing is taken from my father's diary. 



PIONEER LIFE 

By Mrs. James 6. Reeder 

It is almost impossible for people of the present day to realize 
the hardships and privations that the first settlers in Nebraska 
underwent. Imagine coming to a place where there was nothing 
but what you had brought with you in wagons. Add to the dis- 
comfort of being without things which in your former home had 
seemed necessities, the pests which abound in a new country: 
the rattlesnake, the coyote, the skunk, the weasel, and last — but 
not least — the flea. 

My father, Samuel C. Smith, held the post of "trader" for 
the Pawnee Indians under Major Wheeler in 1865-66. We lived 
in a house provided by the government, near the Indian school 
at Genoa, or "The Reservation," as it was commonly called. I 
was only a few weeks old, and in order to keep me away from 
the fleas, a torture to everyone, they kept me in a shallow basket 
of Indian weave, suspended from the ceiling by broad bands of 
webbing, far enough from the floor and wall to insure safety. 

I have heard my mother tell of how the Indians would walk 
right into the house without knocking, or press their faces 
against a window and peer in. They were usually respectful; 
they simply knew no better. Sometimes in cold weather three or 
four big men would walk into the kitchen and insist upon stay- 
ing by the fire, and mother would have hard work to drive them 
out. 

The next year my father moved his family to a homestead two 
miles east of Genoa where he had built a large log house and 
stables surrounded by a high tight fence, which was built for 
protection against the unfriendly Indians who frequently came 
to make war on the Pawnees. The government at times kept a 
company of soldiers stationed just north of us, and when there 
would be an "Indian scare," the officers' wives as well as our 
few neighbors would come to our place for safety. Major Noyes 
was at one time stationed there. Firearms of all sorts were al- 

246 



PIONEER LIFE 247 

ways kept handy, and my mother could use them as skilfully 
as my father. 

One night my father's barn was robbed of eight horses by the 
Sioux and the same band took ten head from Mr. 6en-ard, who 
lived four miles east of us. E. A. Gerrard, Luther North, and 
my father followed their trail to the Missouri river opposite 
Yankton, South Dakota, and did not see a white man while they 
were gone. They did not recover the horses, but twenty years 
after the government paid the original cost of the horses with- 
out interest. The loss of these horses and the accidental death 
of a brother of mine so discouraged my father that he moved to 
Columbus in 1870. 

One of the delights of my childhood were the nights in early 
autumn when all the neighborhood would go out to burn the 
grass from the prairie north of us for protection against "prairie 
fires, ' ' as gi'eat a foe as was the unfriendly Indian of a few years 
before. 

In the sujnmer of 1874, which in Nebraska history is known 
as "the grasshopper year," my grandmother, Mrs. William 
Boone, accompanied by her daughter, Mrs. Mary Hemphill, and 
granddaughter, Ada Hemphill, came to make us a visit. For 
their entertainment we drove in a three-seated platform spring 
wagon or carryall to see the Indians in their village near Genoa. 
Their lodges were made of earth in a circular form with a long 
narrow entrance extending out like the handle of a frying pan. 
As we neared the village we came upon an ordinaiy looking In- 
dian walking in the road, and to our surprise my father greeted 
him very cordially and introduced him to us. It was Petalesharo, 
chief of the Pawnees, but without the feathers and war-paint 
that I imagined a chief would always wear. He invited us to 
his lodge and we drove to the entrance, but my grandmother 
and aunt could not be persuaded to leave the siirrey. My cousin, 
being more venturesome, started in with my father, but had 
gone only a few steps when she gathered up her skirts and cried, 
' ' Oh, look at the fleas ! Just see them hop ! ' ' and came running 
back to the rig, assuring us she had seen enough. The Indians 
must have taken the fleas with them when they moved to Okla- 
homa, for we seldom see one now. 



EARLY DAYS IN POLK COUNTY 
By Cakmar McCune 

In the early history of the county, county warrants were 
thicker than the leaves on the trees (for trees were scarce then), 
and of money in the pockets of most people there was none. 
Those were the days when that genial plutocrat, William H. 
Waters, relieved the necessities of the needy by buying up 
county warrants for seventy-five cents on the dollar. Don't 
understand this as a reflection on the benevolent intentions of 
Mr. Waters, for he paid as high a price as anybody else offered ; 
I mention it only to illustrate the financial condition of the 
people and the body politic. 

Henry Mahan was postmaster and general merchant. The 
combined postoffice and store which, with a blacksmith shop, con- 
stituted the business part of the town of Osceola, was located on 
the west side of the square. It was a one and one-half story 
frame and on the second floor was The Homesteader (now the 
Osceola Record). Here H. T. Arnold, W. F. Kimmel, Frank 
Burgess, the writer, and Stephen Fleharty exercised their gray 
matter by grinding out of their exuberant and sometimes lurid 
imaginations original local items and weighty editorials. In 
those days if a top buggy was seen out on the open, treeless 
prairie, the entire business population turned out to watch it and 
soon there were bets as to whether it came from Columbus or 
Seward, for then there was not a top buggy in Polk county. The 
first drug store was opened by John Beltzer, a country black- 
smith who suddenly blossomed from the anvil into a full-fledged 
pharmacist. Doctor Stone compounded the important prescrip- 
tions for a while. 

I need not try to describe the grasshopper raid of 1874 for 
the old-timers remember it and I could not picture the tragedy 
so that others could see it. To see the sun 's rays dimmed by the 
flying agents of destruction; to witness the disappearance of 
every vestige of green vegetation — the result of a year's labor, 
which was to most of the inhabitants the only resource against 



EAELY DAYS IN POLK COUNTY 249 

actual want, to see this I say, one must live through it. Many 
of the early settlers were young people newly married, who had 
left their homes in the East with all their earthly possessions in 
a covered wagon, or "prairie schooner" as it was called, and 
making the trip overland, had landed with barely enough money 
to exist until the first crop was harvested. Added to the loss 
and privation entailed by the visitation of the winged host was 
the constant dread that the next season would bring a like 
scourge. 

On Sunday afternoon, April 13, 1873, I left the farm home 
of James Bell in Valley precinct for Columbus, expecting to 
take the train there Monday morning for Omaha. The season 
was well advanced, the treeless prairie being covered with ver- 
dure. It was a balmy sunshiny spring day, as nearly ideal as 
even Nebraska can produce. 

As I left the Clother hotel that evening to attend the Congre- 
gational church I noticed that the clouds were banking heavily 
in the northwest. There was a roll of distant thunder, a flash 
of lightning, and a series of gentle spring showers followed and 
it was raining when I went to bed at my hotel. Next morning 
when I looked out of my window I could not see half-way across 
the street. The wind was blowing a gale, which drove large 
masses of large, heavy snow-flakes southward. Already where 
obstructions were met the huge drifts were forming. This con- 
tinued without cessation of either snow or wind all day Monday 
and until late Tuesday night. Wednesday about noon the snow 
plow came, followed by the Monday train, which I boarded for 
Omaha. As the train neared Fremont I could see the green 
knolls peeping up through the snow, and at Omaha the snow 
had disappeared. There they had had mainly rain instead of 
snow. I may say that the storm area was not over two hundred 
miles wide with Clarks as about the center, the volume gradu- 
ally diminishing each way from that point. It should be borne 
in mind that the farmers raised mainly spring wheat and oats. 
These grains had been sown several weeks before the storm and 
were all up, but the storm did not injure them in the least. 

On leaving Omaha a few days later I went to Grand Island. 
At Gardner's Siding, between Columbus and Clarks, a creek 
passed under the track. This had filled bank high with snow 
which now melting, formed a lake. The track being bad the 



250 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

train ran so slowly that I had time to count fifty floating car- 
casses of cattle upon the surface of the water. This was the 
fate of many thousands of head of stock. 

Nobody dared to venture out into that storm for no human 
being could face it and live. The great flakes driven by a fifty- 
mile gale would soon plaster shut eyes, nose and mouth — in 
fact, so swift was the gale that no headway could be made 
against it. 

In those days merchants hauled their goods from Columbus or 
Seward and all the grain marketed went to the same points. 
Wheat only was hauled, corn being used for feed or fuel. 

A trip to Columbus and return the same day meant something. 
A start while the stars still twinkled; the mercury ten, twenty, 
or even thirty degrees below, was not a pleasure trip, to the 
driver on a load of wheat. But the driver was soon compelled 
to drop from the seat, and trudge along slapping his hands and 
arms against his body to keep from freezing. Leaving home at 
three or four o'clock in the morning he w-as lucky if he got 
home again, half frozen and very weary, several hours after 
dark. Speaking of exposure to wintry blasts, reminds me of a 
trip on foot I made shortly after my arrival in Polk county. 
December 24, 1872, I started to walk from the Milsap neighbor- 
hood in Hamilton county, several miles west of where Polk now 
stands, to the home of William Stevens, near the schoolhouse 
of District No. 5. It was a clear, bitter cold morning, the wind 
blowing strongly from the northwest, the ground coated with a 
hard crust of snow. I kept my bearings as best I could, for it 
should be remembered that there were no roads or landmarks 
and I was traveling purely by guess. Along about mid-day I 
stumbled upon a little dugout, somewhere north of where 
Stromsburg now stands — the first house I had seen. On enter- 
ing I found a young couple who smiled me a welcome, which was 
the best they could do, for, as I sa.w from the inscriptions on a 
couple of boxes, they were recent arrivals from Sweden. The 
young lady gave me some coffee and rusks, and I am bound to 
say that I never tasted better food than that coffee and those 
msks. I did not see another house until I reached the bluffs, 
where, about sunset, I was gladdened by the sight of the Stevens 
house in the valley, a couple of miles distant. When I finally 



EARLY DAYS IN POLK COUNTY 251 

reached this hospitable home the fingers of both hands were 
frozen and my nose and ears badly frosted. 

In the early days we traveled from point to point by the 
nearest and most direct route, for while the land was being rap- 
idly taJjen up, there were no section line roads. Whenever the 
contour of the land permitted, we angled, being cai*eful to avoid 
the patches of cultivated land. There were no trees, no fences, 
and very few buildings, so, on the level prairie, nothing ob- 
structed the view as far as the eye could carry. The sod houses 
and stables were a godsend, for lumber was very expensive and 
most of the settlers brought with them lean purses. It required 
no high-priced, skilled labor to build a "soddy," and properly 
built they were quite comfortable. 

When I grow reminiscent and allow my mind to go back to 
those pioneer days, the span of time between then and now seems 
very brief, but when I think longer and compare the then with 
the no-w, it seems as though that sod house-treeless-ox driving 
period must have been at least one hundred years ago. It is a 
far cry from the ox team to the automobile. 



PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 
By Mrs. Thybza Reavis Roy 

In March, 1865, my husband, George Roy, and I started from 
our home in Avon, Illinois, to Nebraska territory. The railroad 
extended to St. Joseph, Missouri. There they told us we would 
have to take a steamboat up the Missouri river to Rulo, forty 
miles from St. Joseph. We took passage on a small steamboat, 
but the ice was breaking up and the boat ran only four miles up 
the river. They said it was too dangerous to go farther so told 
us we would have to go back or land and get some one to drive 
us to Rulo, or the Missouri side of the river across from Rulo. 
We decided to land, and hired a man to drive us across country 
in an old wagon. It was very cold and when we reached the 
place where we would have to cross the Missouri, the ice was 
ninning in immense blocks. It was sunset, we were forty miles 
from a house on that side of the river. There was a man on 
the other side of the river in a small skiff. Mr. Roy waved to 
him and he crossed and took us in. Every moment it seemed 
those cakes of ice would crush the little skiff, but the man was 
an expert dodger and after a perilous ride he let us off at Rulo. 
By that time it was dark. We went to a roughly boarded up 
shanty they called a tavern. It snowed that night and the snow 
beat in on our bed. The next morning we hired a man to take 
us to Falls City, ten miles from Rulo. Palls City was a hamlet 
of scarcely three hundred souls. There was a log cabin on the 
square; one tiny schoolhouse, used for school, Sunday school, 
and church. As far as the eye could reach, it was virgin prairie. 

There was very little rain for two years after we came. All 
provisions, grain, and lumber were shipped on boats to Rulo. 
There was only an Indian trail between Rulo and Palls City. 
Everything was hauled over that trail. 

After the drouth came the grasshoppers, and for two years 
they took all we had. The cattle barely lived grazing in the 
Nemeha valley. All grain was shipped in from Missouri. 

The people had no amusements in the winter. In the summer 

252 




Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton 
Tenth State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of the American 



PERSONAL REMINISCENCES 253 

they had picnics and a Methodist camp-meeting, on the Muddy 
river north of Falls City. 

Over the Nemaha river two and one-half miles southwest of 
Falls City, on a high hill above the falls from which the town 
was named, was an Indian village. The Sac and Foxes and 
Iowa Indiana occupied the village. Each spring and fall they 
went visiting other tribes, or other tribes visited them. They 
would march through the one street of Falls City with their 
ponies in single file. The tipi poles were strapped on each side 
of the ponies and their belongings and presents, for the tribe 
they were going to visit, piled on the poles. The men, women, 
and children walked beside the ponies, and the dogs brought up 
the rear. Sometimes, when the Indians had visitors, they would 
have a war-dance at night and the white people would go out to 
view it. Their bright fires, their scouts bringing in the news of 
hostile Indians in sight, and the hurried preparations to meet 
them, were quite exciting. The Indians were great beggars, and 
not very honest. "We had to keep things under lock and key. 
They would walk right into the houses and say "Eat!" The 
women were all afraid of them and would give them provisions. 
If there was any food left after they had finished their eating, 
they would take it away with them. 

Their burying-ground was very near the village. They buried 
their dead with all accoutrements, in a sitting posture in a grave 
about five feet deep, without covering. 

The Indians cultivated small patches of land and raised com, 
beans, pumpkins, etc. A man named Fisher now owns the land 
on which the Indians lived when I reached the country. 

The people were very sociable. It was a healthy country, and 
we had health if very little else. We were young and the hard- 
ships did not seem so great as they do in looking backward fifty 
years. 

Note — Thyrza Reavis Roy was born August 7, 1834, in Cass 
county, Illinois, the daughter of Isham Reavis and Mahala Beck 
Reavis. Her great-grandfather, Isham Reavis, fought in the 
war of the Revolution. Her grandfather, Charles Reavis, and 
her own father, Isham Reavis, fought in the war of 1812. She 
is a real daughter of the war of 1812. She is a member of the 
U. S. Daughters of 1812, a member of the Deborah Avery Chap- 
ter D. A. R. of Lincoln, and a member of the Territorial Pio- 
neers Association of Nebraska. Her husband, George Roy, died 
at Falls City March 2, 1903. 



TWO SEWARD COUNTY CELEBRATIONS 
By Mrs. S. C. Langwobthy 

I recall one reminiscence of my early life in Nebraska which 
occurred in 1876, when we first located in Seward. We could 
have gone no ftirther, even had we wished, as Seward was then 
the terminus of the Billings line of the Burlington railroad. 

We soon learned that a county celebration was to be held on 
the fourth of July, and I naturally felt a great curiosity to know 
how a crowd of people would look to whom we had been sending 
boxes of clothing and bedding in response to appeals from the 
grasshopper sufferers. My surprise cannot be imagined when I 
saw people clothed as well as elsewhere and with baskets filled 
■v^ath an abundance of good things for a picnic dinner. 

The same pretty grove in which this gathering occurred thirty- 
nine years ago is now our beautiful city park, where during the 
summer of 1914 our commercial club gave an old-time barbecue 
costing the members twelve hundred dollars. They secured the 
state band and fine speakere, and served a bounteous dinner to 
about fifteen thousand people. Everything was free to all who 
came, and a happier crowd can not be imagined. I speak of this 
because in the years to come it will be a pleasant reminiscence to 
many who may have been present. 

Note — Elizabeth C. (Bennett) Langworthy, fourth state re- 
gent of the Nebraska Society D. A. R., is a daughter of Jacob 
and Caroline (Valentine) Bennett. Her paternal grandfather 
was also Jacob Bennett, a soldier in the Revolutionary war. He 
was taken prisoner and held in an English ship off the coast of 
Quebec for some time. Mrs. Langworthy was bom in Orleans 
county. New York, in 1837. The family moved to Wisconsin in 
1849, and the daughter finished her education at Hamline Uni- 
versity, then located at Red Wing, Minnesota. In 1858 she was 
married to Stephen C. Langworthy, and in 1876 became a resi- 
dent of Seward, Nebraska. Mr. Langworthy died March 3, 1904. 

Mrs. Langworthy has been active and prominent in club work, 
and is widely known. She served for five years as a member of 
the school board at Seward, and organized the History and Art 
Club of Seward of which she was president for several years. 
She was the first secretary of the State Federation of Woman's 
Clubs, and was elected president in 1898. Mre. Langworthy is 
the mother of six children. 

254 



SEWARD COUNTY REMINISCENCES 
Compiled by Margaret Holmes Chapter D. A. R. 

Seward county shared with, other counties all of the privations 
and experiences of pioneer life, though it seems to have had less 
trouble with hostile Indians than many localities in the state. 

The struggles of pioneer settlers in the same country must 
necessarily be similar, though of course differing in detail. The 
first settlers deemed it important to locate on a stream where 
firewood could be obtained, and they were subject to high waters, 
prairie fires, constant fear of the Indian, and lack of provisions. 

At one time the little band of settlers near the present site of 
Seward was reduced to one pan of corn, though they were not 
quite as reduced as their historic Pilgrim forefathers, when a 
load of provisions arrived that had been storm-bound. 

Reminiscences are best at first hand, and the following lettei-s, 
taken from the Eistory of Seward County by W. W. Cox, re- 
count some of the incidents of early pioneer life by those who 
really lived it. 

Mrs. Sarah P. Andei-son writes as follows: 

"At the time of the great Indian scare of 1864, my father's 
family was one of the families which the Nebraska City people 
had heard were killed. It had been rumored throughout the 
little settlement that there were bands of hostile Indians ap- 
proaching, and that they were committing great depredations 
as they went. 

"One Sunday morning my uncle and Thomas Shields started 
down the river on a scouting expedition. After an all-day 
search, just at nightfall, they came suddenly upon an Indian 
camp. The men thought their time had come, but the redskins 
were equally scared. There was no chance to back out, and they 
resolved to know whether the Indians were friendly or hostile. 
As they bravely approached the camp, the Indians began to 
halloo, 'Heap good Omaha!' The men then concluded to camp 
over night with them, and they partook of a real Indian supper. 

265 



256 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The next morning they went home satisfied that there were no 
hostile Indians in the country. 

"A day or two after this, my father (William Imlay) and his 
brothers were on upper Plum creek haying, when grandfather 
Imlay became frightened and hastened to our house and said the 
Indians were coming upon the settlement. He then hurried 
home to protect his own family. About three o'clock in the 
afternoon we saw a band of them approaching. They were 
about where the B. & M. depot now stands. We were living 
about eighty rods above the present iron bridge. My mother, 
thinking to escape them, locked the cabin door, and took all the 
children across the creek to the spring where she kept the milk. 
To kill time, she commenced churning. Very soon, four Indiana 
(great, big, ugly creatures) came riding up to the spring and 
told mother that she was wanted over to the house. She said, 
'No, I can't go; I am at work.' But they insisted in such a 
menacing manner that she felt obliged to yield and go. They 
said, ' Come, come, ' in a most determined manner. The children 
all clinging to her, she started, and those great sneaking braves 
guarded her by one riding on each side, one before, and one be- 
hind. Poor mother and we four children had a slim show to 
escape. They watched our every movement, step by step. When 
we reached the cabin, there sat sixteen burly Indians in a circle 
around the door. When we came up, they all arose and saluted 
mother, then sat down again. They had a young Indian inter- 
preter. As they thought they had the family all thoroughly 
frightened, the young Indian began in good shape to tell just 
what they wanted. They would like to have two cows, two sacks 
of flour, and some meat. Mother saw that she must guard the 
provisions with desperation, as they had cost such great effort, 
having been hauled from the Missouri river. The Indians said, 
'The Sioux are coming and will take all away, and we want 
some. ' ' No, ' said mother, ' we will take our cattle and provisions 
and go to Plattsmouth. ' 'But,' said the Indian, 'they will be 
here tonight and you can't get away.' Mother at this point be- 
gan to be as much angry as frightened. 'I will not give you 
anything. You are lying to me. If the Sioux were so close, 
you would all be running yourselves.' At this point another 
brave, who had been pacing the yard, seeing mother grow so 
warm, picked up our axe and marched straight up to her and 



SEWARD COUNTY REMINISCENCES 257 

threw it down at her feet. She picked it up and stood it beside 
her. Mother said afterward that her every hair stood on end, 
but knowing that Indians respect bravery, she resolved to show 
no cowardice. We could all see that the whole river bend was 
swarming with Indians. Mother said with emphasis, 'I now 
want you to take your Indians and be gone at once. ' Then they 
said, 'You are a brave scjuaw,' and the old chief motioned to his 
braves and they marched off to camp. The next day our family 
all went over to Plum creek and remained until things became 
settled. 

"The following winter father was at Omaha attending the 
legislature; and I am sure that over a thousand Indians passed 
our place during the winter. It required pluck to withstand the 
thievish beggars. Sometimes they would sneak up and peep in 
at the window. Then others would beg for hours to get into the 
house. 

"A great amount of snow had fallen, and shortly after father's 
return home, a heavy winter rain inundated all the bottom lands. 
We all came pretty near being drowned but succeeded in crawl- 
ing out of the cabin at the rear window at midnight. Our only 
refuge was a haystack, where we remained several daysi entirely 
surrounded by water, with no possible means of escape. Mr. 
Cox made several attempts to rescue us. First he tried to cross 
the river in a molasses pan, and narrowly escaped being 
drowned, as the wind was high and the stream filled with float- 
ing ice. The next day he made a raft and tried to cross, but the 
current was so rapid he could not manage it. It drifted against 
a tree where the water was ten feet deep, and the jar threw him 
off his balance, and the upper edge of the raft sank, so that the 
rapid current caught the raft and turned it on edge against the 
tree. Mr. Cox caught hold of a limb of the tree and saved him- 
self from drowning. A desperate struggle ensued but he finally 
kicked and stamped until the got the raft on top of the water 
again, but it was wrong side up. We then gave up all hopes of 
getting help until the water subsided. The fourth day, tall trees 
were chopped by father on one side and by Mr. Cox on the other, 
and their branches interlocked, and we made our escape to his 
friendly cabin, where we found a kindly greeting, rest, food, 
and fire." 



258 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The following from the pen of Addison E. Sheldon is recorded 
in the same History of Seward County : 

"My recollections of early Seward county life do not go back 
as far as the author's. They begin with one wind-blown day 
in September, 1869, when I, a small urchin from Minnesota, 
crossed the Seward county line near Pleasant Dale on my way 
with my mother and step-father (R. J. MeCall), to the new 
home on the southeast quarter of section 18, town 9, range 2 
east — about three miles southeast of the present Beaver Cross- 
ing. Looked back upon now, through all the intervening years, 
it seems to me there never was an autumn more supremely joy- 
ous, a prairie more entrancing, a woodland belt more alluring, 
a life more captivating than that which welcomed the new boy 
to the frontier in the beautiful West Blue valley. The upland 
'divides' as I remember them were entirely destitute of settle- 
ment, and even along the streams, stretches of two, three, and 
five miles lay between nearest neighbors. 

"What has become of the Nebraska wind of those days? I 
have sought it since far and wide in the Sand Hills and on the 
table lands of western Nebraska — that wind which blew cease- 
lessly, month after month, never pausing but to pucker its lips 
for a stronger blast! Where are the seas of rosin- weed, with 
their yellow summer parasols, which covered the prairie in those 
days? I have sought them too, and along gravelly ridges or 
some old ditch yet found a few degenerate descendants of the 
old-time host. 

' ' Mention of merely a few incidents seeming to hold the drama 
and poetry of frontier life at that time: 'Pittsburgh, the city 
of vision, at the junction of Walnut creek and the West Blue, 
inhabited by a population of 20,000 people, -nath a glass factory, 
a paper factory, a brick factory, oil wells, a peat factory, woolen 
mills, junction of three railway lines, metropolis of the Blue 
Valley.' All this and so much more that I dare not attempt to 
picture it ; a real existence in the brain of Christopher Lezenby 
in the years of 1871-72. What unwritten dramas sleep almost 
forgotten in the memories of early settlers ! When Mr. Lezenby 
began to build his metropolis with the assistance of Attorney 
Boyd of Lincoln and a few other disinterested speculators, he 
was the possessor of several hundred acres of land, some hun- 
dreds of cattle, and other hundreds of hogs, and a fair, unmar- 



SEWARD COUNTY REMINISCENCES 259 

ried daughter. What pathetic memories of the old man, month 
after month, surveying off his beautiful farm into city lots for 
the new metropolis, while his cattle disappeared from the prai- 
ries and his swine from the oak thickets along the Walnut ; with 
sublime and childish simplicity repeating day after day the con- 
fession of his faith that 'next week' work would begin; 'next 
week' the foundation for the factories would be laid; 'next 
week' the railway surveyors would set the grade stakes. And 
this real rural tragedy lasted through several yeara, ending in 
the loss of all his property, the marriage of his daughter to 
Irwin Stall, and the wandering forth of the old man until he 
died of a broken heart in California. 

"One monument yet remains to mark the site and perpetuate 
the memory of Pittsburgh, a flowing well, found I think at the 
depth of twenty-eight feet in the year 1874 and continuously 
flowing since that. Strange that no one was wise enough to 
take the hint and that it was twenty years later before the sec- 
ond flowing well was struck at Beaver Crossing, leading to the 
systematic search for them which dotted the entire valley with 
their fountains. 

"There were no high water bridges across the West Blue in 
those days. I remember acting as mail carrier for a number of 
families on the south bank of the Blue during the high waters 
of two or three summers, bringing the mail from the city of 
Pittsburgh postoffice on the north bank. A torn shirt and a pair 
of short-legged blue overalls — my entire wardrobe of those 
days — were twisted into a turban about my head, and plunging 
into the raging flood of the Blue which covered all the lower 
bottoms, five minutes' vigorous swimming carried me through 
the froth and foam and driftwood to the other side where I once 
more resumed my society clothes and, after securing the mail, 
upon my return to the river bank, tied it tightly in the turban 
and crossed the river as before. 

"I remember my first lessons in political economy, the fierce 
fight between the northern and the southern parts of the county 
upon the question of voting bonds to the Midland Pacific rail- 
way during the years 1871-72. It was a sectional fight in fact, 
but in theory and in debate it was a contest over some first 
principles of government. The question of the people versus 
the corporation, since grown to such great proportions, was then 



260 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

first discussed to my childish ears. One incident of that con- 
test is forever photographed on my brain — a crowd of one hun- 
dred farmers and villagers lounging in the shadow of T. H. 
Tisdale's old store. A yellow-.skinned, emaciated lawyer from 
Lincoln who looked, to my boyish vision, like a Chinese chief- 
tain from Manchuria, was speaking with fluent imaginative 
words in favor of the benefits the people of Seward county 
might secure by voting the bonds. This was H. W. Sommer- 
lad, registrar of Lincoln land office. A short Saxon opponent, 
Rev. W. Gr. Keen of Walnut creek, was picked from the crowd 
by acclamation to reply to the Lincoln lawyer. The impression 
of his fiery words denouncing the aggressions of capital and 
appealing to the memories of the civil war and the Revolu- 
tionary fathers to arouse the people's independence is with me 
yet. 

"Next in the economic vista is the old Brisbin sod school- 
house east of Walnut creek where a grange was organized. Here 
a lyceum was held through several winters in which the debates 
were strongly tinctured with the rising anti-monopoly sentiment 
of those hard times. George Michael and Charley Hunter, lead- 
ers of the boyish dare-deviltry of those days, were chosen as 
judges upon the debates in order to insure their good behavior, 
and they gravely decided for the negative or affirmative many 
deep discussions of doubtful themes. 

"Beaver Crossing in the early days was remarkable for the 
great number of boys in its surrounding population, and I have 
observed in these later years when visiting there, that the custom 
of having boy babies in the family does not appear to have en- 
tirely gone out of fashion. That great swarm of restless boy 
population which gathered, sometimes two hundred strong, Sat- 
urday afternoons on the Common! What 'sleights of art and 
feats of strength' went round! What struggles of natural se- 
lection to secure a place upon the 'First Nine' of the baseball 
team! For years Beaver Crossing had the best baseball club 
in three or four counties, and some of her players won high 
laurels on distant diamonds. 

"One custom which obtained in those frontier days seems to 
have been peculiar to the time, for I have not found it since in 
other frontier communities. It was the custom of 'calling off' 
the mail upon its arrival at the postoffice. The postmaster, old 



SEWARD COUNTY REMINISCENCES 261 

Tom Tisdale — a genuine facsimile of Petroleum V. Nasby — 
would dump the sacks of mail, brought overland on a buckboard, 
into a capacious box upon the counter of his store, then pick up 
piece by piece, and read the inscriptions thereon in a sonorous 
voice to the crowd, sometimes consisting of one or two hundred 
people. Each claimant would cry out 'Here!' when his name 
was called. Sometimes two-thirds of the mail was distributed in 
this way, saving a large amount of manual labor in pigeon- 
holing the same. Nasby had a happy and caustic freedom in 
commenting upon the mail during the performance, not always 
contemplated, I believe, by the United States postal regulations. 
A woman's handwriting upon a letter addressed to a young man 
was almost certain to receive some public notice from his sharp 
tongue, to the great enjojonent of the crowd and sometimes the 
visible annoyance of the young man. At one time he delib- 
erately turned over a postal card written by a well-known young 
woman of Beaver Crossing who was away at school, and on ob- 
serving that the message was wTitten both horizontally and 
across, commented, 'From the holy mother, in Dutch.' If I 
should ever meet on the mystic other shore, which poets and 
philosophers have tried to picture for us, old Tom Tisdale, I 
would expect to see him with his spectacles pushed back from 
his nose, 'calling off' the mail to the assembled spirits, the while 
entertaining them with pungent personal epigrams. 

' ' One startling picture arises from the past, framed as Brown- 
ing writes 'in a sheet of flame' — the picture of the great praii-ie 
fire of October, 1871, which swept Seward county from south 
to north, leaving hardly a quarter section of continuous unburnt 
sod. A heavy wind, increasing to a hurricane, drove this fire 
down the West Blue valley. It jumped the Blue river in a 
dozen places as easily as a jack rabbit jumps a road. It left a 
great broad trail of cindered haystacks and smoking stables and 
houses. A neighbor of ours who was burnt out remarked that 
he had ' been through hell in one night, ' and had ' no fear of the 
devil hereafter.' 

' ' At the other end of the scale of temperature are recollections 
of the 'Great Storm' of April 13, 14, 15, 1873. There burst 
from a June atmosphere the worst blizzard in the history of the 
state. For three days it blew thick, freezing sleet, changing to 
snow so close and dense and dark that a man in a wagon vainly 



262 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

looked for the horses hitched to it through the storm. Men who 
were away from home lost their lives over the state. Stock was 
frozen to death. In sod houses, dugouts, and log cabins settlers 
huddled close about the hearth, burning enormous baskets of 
ten-cent com to keep from freezing. 

"In these later years of life. Fate has called me to make 
minute study of many historical periods and places. Yet my 
heart always turns to review the early scenes of settlement and 
civilization in Seward county with a peculiar thrill of personal 
emotion and special joy in the risen and rising fortunes of those 
who there built the foundations of a great commonwealth. No 
land can be dearer than the land of one's childhood and none 
can ever draw my thoughts further over plain or ocean than the 
happy valley upon West Blue whose waters spring spontaneously 
from beneath the soil to water her fortunate acres. ' ' 



PIONEERING 

By Grant Lee Shumway 

On September 15, 1885, I crossed the Missouri river at Omaha, 
and came west through Lincoln. The state fair was in full blast 
but our party did not stop, as we were bound for Benkleman, 
Parks, and Haigler, Nebraska. 

After looking over Dundy county, Nebraska, and Cheyenne 
county, Kansas, the rest of the party returned to Illinois. 

I went to Indianola, and wnth Mr. Palraatier, I started for the 
Medicine. He carried the mail to Stockville and Medicine, 
which were newly established postoffices in the interior to the 
north, and his conveyance was the hind wheels of an ordinary 
wagon, to which he had fashioned a pair of thills. He said that 
he was using such a vehicle because it enabled him to cut off 
several miles in the very rough country through which we 



The jolting was something fierce, but being young and used 
to riding in lumber wagons, I did not mind. I was very much 
interested in everything, but the things that linger most clearly 
in my mind after all these years are the bushy whiskered, hope- 
ful faces of the men who greeted us from dugouts and sod cab- 
ins. The men's eyes were alight with enthusiasm and candor, 
but I do not remember of having seen a woman or child upon 
the trip. 

It seems that men can drop back into the primitive so much 
more easily than women: not perhaps with all the brutality of 
the First Men, but they can adjust themselves to the environ- 
ment of the wilderness, and the rusticity of the frontier, with 
comparative ease. 

I stopped for the night in Hay canon, a branch of Lake caiion, 
at Hawkins brothers ' hay camp, and I remember when they told 
me that they had three hundred tons of hay in the stack, that it 
seemed almost an inconceivable quantity. On our old Illinois 
farm twenty-five or thirty tons seemed a large amount, but three 
hundred tons was beyond our range of reasoning. However, 



264 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

we now stack that much on eighty acres in the Scottsbluff 
country. 

In due time I went on over the great tableland to the city of 
North Platte, and going down the canon on the south side of the 
south river, I killed my first jack rabbit, an event which seemed 
to make me feel more of a westerner than any circumstance up 
to that time. 

My first impression of North Platte, with its twelve saloons, 
was not of the best. And my conception of Buffalo Bill dropped 
several notches in esteem when I saw the Wild "West saloon. 
But in the light of years, I am less puritanical in my views of 
the first people of the plains. In subsequent years I rode the 
range as a cowboy, and drove twenty-mule teams mth a single 
line and a blaeksnake, and while always I remained an abstainer 
and occasionally found others that did likewise, I learned to tol- 
erate, and then enjoy, the witticisms and foolishness of those 
that did indulge. Sometimes the boys in their cups would 
"smoke up" the little cities of the plains, but they never felt 
any resentment if one of their number did not participate in 
their drinking and festive sports. 

I spent the winter of 1885 on the ranch of Hall & Evans, near 
North Platte, and one of the pleasantest acquaintanceships of 
my life has been that of John Evans, now registrar of the land 
office at North Platte. 

In the spring of '86 the constant stream of emigrant wagons 
going west gave one an impression that in a Little time the entire 
West would be filled, and I grew impatient to be upon my way 
and secure selections. In May I arrived at Sidney and from 
there rode in a box ear to Cheyenne. When we topped the 
divide east of Cheyenne, I saw the snow-capped peaks of the 
Rockies for the first time. 

During the summer I "skinned mules," aiding in the con- 
struction of the Cheyenne & Northern, now a part of the Hill 
system that connects Denver with the Big Horn basin and Puget 
sound. 

Returning to Sidney in the autumn, I fell in with George 
Hendricks, who had been in the mines for twenty years and 
finally gave it up. We shoveled coal for the Union Pacific until 
we had a grub stake for the winter. I purchased a broncho, and 
upon him we packed our belongings — beds, blankets, tarpaulin, 



PIONEERING 265 

provisions, cooking utensils, tools, and clothing, and started 
north over the divide for ' ' Pumpkin creek, ' ' our promised land. 
In a little over a day's travel, one leading the horse and the 
other walking behind to prod it along, we reached Hackberry 
canon, and here, in a grove by a spring, we built our first cabin. 

Three sides were log, the cracks filled with small pieces of 
wood and plastered with mud from the spring, and the back of 
the cabin was against a rock, and up this rock we improvised a 
fireplace, with loose stones and mud. 

When we had rigged a bunk of native red cedar along the 
side of this nide shelter, and the fire was burning in our fire- 
place, the coffee steaming, the bread baking in the skillet, the 
odor of bacon frying, and the wind whistling through the tree- 
tops, that cabin seemed a mighty cozy place. 

We could sometimes hear the coyotes and the grey wolves howl 
at night, but a sense of security prevailed, and our sleep was 
sound. Out of the elements at hand, we had made the rudiments 
of a home on land that was to become ours — our very own — 
forever. 



EARLY DAYS IN STANTON COUNTY 
Statement by Andrew J. Bottorff 

I came to Nebraska at the close of the civil war, having 
served during the entire campaign with the Seventeenth Indiana 
regiment. I came west with oxen and wagon in the fall of 
1866, bringing my family. "We wintered at Rockport, but as 
soon as spring opened went to Stanton county, where I took a 
homestead. Here we had few neighbors and our share of hard- 
ships, but thrived and were happy. 

One day I heard my dogs barking and found them down in a 
ravine, near the Elkhorn river, with an elk at bay, and killed 
him with my axe. 

The first year I was appointed county surveyor. Having no 
instruments at hand, I walked to Omaha, over a hundred mUes 
distant, and led a fat cow to market there. I sold the cow but 
found no instruments. I was told of a man at Port Calhoun who 
had an outfit I might get, so wended my way there. I found 
E. H. Clark, who would sell me the necessary supplies, and I 
bought them ; then carried them, with some other home necessi- 
ties obtained in Omaha, back to Stanton, as I had come, on foot. 

I am now seventy-five years old, and have raised a large fam- 
ily; yet wife and I are as happy and spry as if we had never 
worked, and are enjoying life in sunny California, where we 
have lived for the last ten years. 

Statement by Sven Johanson 

"With my wife and two small children I reached Omaha, Ne- 
braska, June 26, 1868. "We came direct from Norway, having 
crossed the stormy Atlantic in a small sailboat, the voyage tak- 
ing eight weeks. 

A brother who had settled in Stanton county, 107 miles from 
Omaha, had planned to meet us in that city. After being there 
a few days this brother, together with two other men, arrived 
and we were very happy. "With two yoke of oxen and one team 
of horses, each hitched to a load of lumber, we journeyed from 

266 



EARLY DAYS IN STANTON COUNTY 267 

Omaha to Stanton county. Arriving there, we found shelter in 
a small dugout with our brother and family, where we remained 
until we filed on a homestead and had built a dugout of our 
own. 

We had plenty of clothing, a good lot of linens and homespun 
materials, but these and ten dollars in money were all we pos- 



The land office was at Omaha and it was necessary for me to 
walk there to make a filing. I had to stop along the way wher- 
ever I could secure work, and in that way got some food, and 
occasionally earned a few cents, and this enabled me to to pur- 
chase groceries to carry back to my family. There were no 
bridges across rivers or creeks and we were compelled to swim; 
at one time in particular I was very thankful I was a good 
swimmer. A brother-in-law and myself had gone to Fremont, 
Nebraska, for employment, and on oiu- return we found the Elk- 
horn river almost out of its banks. This frightened my com- 
panion, who could not swim, but I told him to be calm, we would 
come to no harm. I took our few groceries and our clothing and 
swam across, then going back for my companion, who was a very 
large man, I took him on my back and swam safely to the other 
shore. 

While I was away, my family would be holding down our 
claim and taking care of our one cow. We were surrounded by 
Indians, and there were no white people west of where we lived. 

In the fall of 1869 we secured a yoke of oxen, and the follow- 
ing spring hauled home logs from along the river and creek and 
soon had a comfortable log house erected. 

Thus we labored and saved little by little until we were able 
to erect a frame house, not hewn by hand, but made from real 
lumber, and by this time we felt well repaid for the many hard- 
ships we had endured. The old "homestead" is still our home, 
but the dear, faithful, loving mother who so bravely bore all the 
hardships of early days was called to her rich reward January 
28, 1912. She was born June 15, 1844, and I was born October 
14, 1837. 



FRED E. ROPER, PIONEER 
By Ernest E. Cobrell 

Fred E. Roper, a pioneer of Hebron, Nebraska, was eighty- 
years old on October 10, 1915. Sixty-one years ago Mr. Roper 
"crossed the plains," going from New York state to California. 

Eleven years more than a half-century — and to look back 
upon the then barren stretch of the country in comparison with 
the present fertile region of prosperous homes and populous 
cities, takes a vivid stretch of imagination to realize the dream- 
like transformation. At that time San Francisco was a village 
of about five hundred persons living in adobe huts surrounded 
by a mud wall for a fortified protection from the marauding 
Indians. 

Fred E. Roper was born in Candor HiU, New York, October 
10, 1835. When three years old he moved with his parents to 
Canton, Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and later moved with 
his brother to Baraboo, Wisconsin. Then he shipped as a 
"hand" on a raft going down the Wisconsin and Mississippi 
rivers to St. Louis, getting one dollar a day and board. He re- 
turned north on a steamer, stopping at Burlington, Iowa, where 
his sister resided. 

In 1854, when he was nineteen years of age, Mr. Roper ' ' start- 
ed west." His sister walked to the edge of the town with him 
as he led his one-homed cow, which was to furnish milk for 
coffee on the camp-out trip, which was to last three months, 
enroute to the Pacific coast. 

There were three outfits — a horse train, mule train, and ox 
train. Mr. Roper traveled in an ox train of twenty-five teams. 
The travelers elected officers from among those who had made 
the trip before, and military discipline prevailed. 

At nights the men took turns at guard duty in relays — from 
dark to midnight and from midnight to dawn, when the herder 
was called to turn the cattle out to browse. One man herded 
them until breakfast was ready, and another man herded them 
until time to yoke up. This overland train was never molested 




Oregon Trail Monument, two miles north op Hebron 

Erected by the citizens of Hebron and Thayer county, and Oregon Trail 

Chapter, Daughters of t)ie American Revolution, dedicated May 24, 1915. 

Cost $400 



FRED E. ROPER, PIONEER 269 

by the Indians, although one night some spying Cheyennes were 
made prisoners under guard over night until the oxen were 
yoked up and ready to start. 

The prospectors crossed the Missouri river at Omaha, which 
at that time had no residences or business buildings. Enroute 
to Salt Lake City, the South Platte route was followed, aver- 
aging about twenty miles a day. Enough provisions were car- 
ried to last through the journey and as they had some provisions 
left when they reached Salt Lake City, they were sold to the 
half -starved Mormons at big prices. 

Some perplexing difficulties were encountered on the journey. 
At one point in the mountains, beyond Salt Lake City, the trail 
was so narrow that the oxen were unhitched and led single file 
around the cliff, while the wagons were taken apart and lowered 
down the precipice with ropes. 

When crossing the desert, additional M'ater had to be carried 
in extra kegs and canteens. When the tired cattle got near 
enough to the river to smell the fresh water, they pricked up 
their ears, stiffened their necks, and made a rush for the stream, 
so the men had to stand in front of them until the chains were 
loosened to prevent their cra2;ily dashing into the water with 
the wagons. 

Mr. Roper worked by the day for three months in the mines 
northeast of San Francisco. While placer mining, he one day 
picked up a gold nugget, from which his engagement ring was 
made by a jeweler in San Francisco, and worn by Mrs. Roper 
until her death, October 28, 1908. The ring was engraved with 
two hearts with the initials M. E. R., and is now in the posses- 
sion of their son Maun, whose initials are the same. 

Mr. Roper was one of a company of three men who worked a 
claim that had been once worked over, on a report that there was 
a crevasse that had not been bottomed. The first workers did 
not have "quicksilver," which is necessary to catch fine gold, 
but Mr. Roper's company had a jug shipped from San Fran- 
cisco. Nothing less than a fifty-pound jug of quicksilver would 
be sold, at fifty cents a pound. This was used in sluice-boxes a^ 
"quicksilver riiBes," to catch the fine float gold, when it would 
instantly sink to the bottom of the quicksilver, while the dirt and 
stones would wash over; the coarse rock would be first tossed out 
with a sluice-fork (similar to a flat-tined pitchfork). In three 



270 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

years the three men worked the mine out, making about fifteen 
hundred dollars apiece. 

With his share carried in buckskin sacks belted around his 
waist under his clothes, Mr. Roper started in a sailing vessel up 
north along the coast on a trip, hunting for richer diggings. 
Then he went on a steamer to the Isthmus of Panama, which he 
crossed with a hired horse team, then by steamer to New York 
and by railroad to Philadelphia to get his gold minted. 

After his marriage in 1861 Mr. Roper returned to the West 
and in '64 ran a hotel at Beatrice called "Pat's Cabin." When 
Nebraska voted on the question of admission to statehood, Mr. 
Roper's ballot was vote No. 3. 

Desiring to get a home of his own, Fred Roper came on west 
into what is now Thayer county, and about six miles northwest 
of the present site of Hebron up the Little Blue, he bought out 
the preemption rights of Bill and Walt Hackney, who had 
' ' squatted ' ' there with the expectation of paying the government 
the customary $1.25 per acre. In certain localities those claims 
afterwards doubled to $2.50 per acre. Mr. Roper paid only the 
value of the log cabin and log stables, and came into possession 
of the eighty acres, which he homesteaded, and later bought ad- 
joining land for $1.25 per acre. 

Occasionally he made trips to St. Joe and Nebraska City for 
supplies, which he freighted overland to Hackney ranch. At 
that time Mr. Roper knew every man on the trail from the Mis- 
souri river to Kearney. On these trips he used to stop with Bill 
McCandles, who was shot with three other victims by "Wild 
Bill" on Rock creek in Jefferson county. 

The first house at Hackney ranch was burned by the Chey- 
enne Indians in their great raid of 1864, at which time Miss 
Laura Roper (daughter of Joe B. Roper) and Mrs. Bubanks 
were captui-ed by the Indians near Fox Ford in Nuckolls county 
and kept in captivity until ransomed by Colonel Wyncoop of 
the U. S. army for $1,000. Si Alexander of Meridian (south- 
east of the present town of Alexandria), was with the govern- 
ment troops at the time of Miss Roper's release near Denver. 
Her parents, believing her dead, had meanwhile moved back to 
New York state. (Laura Roper is still alive, being now Mrs. 
Laura Vance, at Skiatook, Oklahoma.) At the time of the 
above-mentioned raid, the Indians at Hackney ranch threw the 



FRED E. ROPER, PIONEER 271 

charred cottonwood logs of the house into the well, to prevent 
travelers from getting water. Fred Roper was then at Beatrice, 
having just a few days before sold Hackney ranch to an over- 
land traveler. After the raid the new owner deserted the place, 
in the fall of 1869, and in a few months Mr. Roper returned 
from Beatrice and again preempted the same place. 

In 1876 Mr. and Mrs. Roper moved to Meridian and ran a 
tavern for about a year, then moved back to Hackney, where 
they resided until the fall of 1893, when they moved into He- 
bron to make their pei-manent home. Mr. Roper was postmaster 
at Hebron for four yeare under Cleveland's last administration. 



THE LURE OP THE PRAIRIES 
By Lucy L. Correll 

The memories of the long hot days of August, 1874, are burned 
into the seared recollection of the pioneers of Nebraska. For 
weeks the sun had poured its relentless rays upon the hopeful, 
patient people, until the very atmosphere seemed vibrant with 
the pulsing heat waves. 

One day a young attorney of Hebron was called to Nuckolls 
county to "try a case" before a justice of the peace, near a 
postoffice known as Henrietta. Having a light spring wagon 
and two ponies he invited his wife and little baby to accompany 
him for the drive of twenty-five miles. Anything was better 
than the monotony of staying at home, and the boundless free- 
dom of the prairies was always enticing. An hour's di'ive and 
the heat of the sun became oppressively intense. The barren 
distance far ahead was unbroken by tree, or house, or field. 
There was no sound but the steady patter of the ponies' feet 
over the prairie grass ; no moving object but an occasional flying 
hawk; no road but a trail through the rich prairie grass, and 
one seemed lost in a wilderness of unvarying green. The heat- 
waves seemed to rise from the ground and quiver in the air. 
Soon a wind, soft at first, came from the southwest, but ere long 
became a hot blast, and reminded one of the heated air from an 
opened oven door. Added to other inconveniences came the in- 
tense thirst produced from the sun and dry atmosphere — and 
one might have cried ' ' My kingdom for a drink ! " — but there 
was no "kingdom." 

After riding about nine miles there came into view the home- 
stead of Teddy McGovem — the only evidence of life seen on 
that long day's drive. Here was a deep well of cold water. 
Cheery words of greeting and hearty handclasps evidenced that 
aU were neighbors in those days. Again turning westward a 
comer of the homestead was passed where were several little 
graves among young growing trees — "Heartache comer" it 

272 



THE LUEE OF THE PRAIRIES 273 

might have been called. The sun shone as relentless there as 
upon all Nebraska, that scorching summer. 

As the afternoon wore on, looking across the prairies the heat- 
waves seemed to pulse and beckon us on ; the lure of the prairies 
was upon us, and had we chosen we could not but have obeyed. 
Only the pioneers knew how to endure, to close their eyes to ex- 
clude the burning light, and close the lips to the withering heat. 

At last our destination was reached at the homestead of the 
justice of the peace. We were gladly seated to a good supper 
with the host and family of growing boys. After the meal the 
"Justice Court" was held out of doors in the shade of the east 
side of the house, there being more room and "more air" out- 
side. The constable, the offender, the witness and attorney and 
a few neighbors constituted the prairie court, and doubtless the 
decisions were as legal and as lasting as those of more imposing 
surroimdings of later days. 

But the joy of the day had only just begun, for as the sun 
went down, so did even the hot wind, leaving the air so heavy 
and motionless and oppressive one felt his lungs closing up. 
The boys of the family sought sleep out of doors, the others 
under the low roof of a two-roomed log house. Sleep was im- 
possible, rest unknown until about midnight, when mighty peals 
of thunder and brilliant lightning majestically announced the 
oncoming Nebraska storm. No lights were needed, as nature's 
electricity was iHuminatingly sufficient. The very logs quivered 
with the thunder's reverberations, and soon a terrific wind load- 
ed with hail beat against the little house until one wondered 
whether it were better to be roasted alive by nature 's consuming 
heat, or torn asunder by the warring elements. But the storm 
beat out its fury, and with daylight Old Sol peeped over the 
prairies with a drenched but smiling face. 

Adieus were made and the party started homeward. After a 
few miles' travel the unusual number of grasshoppers was com- 
mented upon, and soon the air was filled with their white bodies 
and beating wings; then the alarming fact dawned upon the 
travelers that this was a grasshopper raid. The pioneers had 
lived through the terrors of Indian raids, but this assault from 
an enemy outside of the human realm was a new experience. 
The ponies were urged eastward, but the hoppers cheerfully 
kept pace and were seen to be outdistancing the travelers. They 



274 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

filled the air and sky and obliterated even the horizon. Heat, 
thirst, distance were all submerged in the appalling dread of 
what awaited. 

As the sun went down the myriads of grasshoppers "went to 
roost." Every vegetable, every weed and blade of grass bore its 
burden. On the clothes-line the hoppers were seated two and 
three deep ; and upon the windlass rope which drew the bucket 
from the well they clung and entwined their bodies. 

The following morning the hungry millions raised in the air, 
saluted the barren landscape and proceeded to set an emulating 
pace for even the busy bee. They flew and beat about, impu- 
dently slapping their wings against the upturned, anxious faces, 
and weary eyes, trying to penetrate through the apparent snow- 
storm — the air filled with the white bodies of the ravenous 
hordes. This appalling sight furnished diversion sufficient to 
the inhabitants of th^ little community for that day. 

People moved quietly about, in subdued tones wondering what 
the outcome would be. How long would the hoppers remain? 
Would they deposit their eggs to hatch the following spring and 
thus perpetuate their species? Would the old progenitors re- 
turn? 

But, true to the old Persian proverb, ' ' this too, passed away. ' ' 
The unwelcome intruders departed leaving us with an occasional 
old boot-leg, or leather strap, or dried rubber, from which the 
cormorants had sucked the "juice." 

The opening of the next spring was cold and rainy. Not 
many of the grasshopper eggs hatched. Beautiful Nebraska 
was herself again and ' ' blossomed as the rose. ' ' 



SUFFRAGE IN NEBRASKA 
Statement by Mrs. Gertrude M. McDowell 
When I was requested to write a short article in regard to 
woman's suffrage in Nebraska I thought it would be an easy 
task. As the days passed and my thoughts became confusedly 
spread over the whole question from its incipiency, it proved to 
be not an easy task but a most difficult one. There was so much 
of interest that one hardly knew where to begin and what to 



This question has been of life-long interest to me and I have 
always been in full sympathy with the movement. "When the 
legislature in 1882 submitted the suffrage amendment to the 
people of the state of Nebraska for their decision, we were ex- 
ceedingly anxious concerning the outcome. 

A state suffrage association was formed. Mrs. Brooks of 
Omaha was elected president; Mrs. Bittenbender of Lincoln, 
recording secretary; Gertrude M. McDowell of Fairbury, cor- 
responding secretary. 

There were many enthusiastic workers throughout the state. 
Among them, I remember Mrs. Clara Bewick Colby, of Beatrice, 
whom we considered our general; Mrs. Lucinda RusseU and 
Mrs. Mary Holmes of Teeumseh, Mrs. Annie M. Steele of Fair- 
bury, Mrs. A. J. Sawyer, Mrs. A. J. Caldwell, and Mrs. Deborah 
King of Lincoln, Mrs. E. M. Correll of Hebron and many more 
that I do not now recall. 

There were many enthusiastic men over the state who gave the 
cause ardent support. Senator E. M. Correll of Hebron was 
ever on the alert to aid in convention work and to speak a word 
which might carry conviction to some unbeliever. 

Some years previous to our campaign, Elizabeth Cady Stanton 
and Lucy Stone on one of their lecture tours in the West were 
so impressed with the enthusiasm and good work of Hon. E. M. 
Correll that they elected him president of the National Suffrage 
Association, for one year. I also recall Judge Ben S. Baker, 
now of Omaha, and C. F. Steele of Fairbury, as staunch sup- 

275 



276 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

porters of the measure. During the campaign, many national 
workers were sent into the state, among them Susan B. Anthony, 
Phoebe Couzens, Elizabeth Saxon of New Orleans, and others. 
They directed and did valiant work in the cause. We failed to 
carry the measure in the state, but we are glad to note that it 
carried in our own town of Pairbury. 

Thanks to the indomitable personality of our Nebraska women, 
they began immediately to plan for another campaign. In 1914, 
our legislature again submitted an amendment and it was a^ain 
defeated. Since then I have been more than ever in favor of 
making the amendment a national one, President Wilson to the 
contrary notwithstanding — not because we think the educa- 
tional work is being entirely lost, but because so much time and 
money are being wasted on account of our foreign population 
and their attitude towards reform. It is a grave and a great 
question. One thing we are assured of, viz: that we will never 
give up our belief in the final triumph of our great cause. 

It is a far cry from the first woman's suffrage convention in 
1850, brought about by the women who were excluded from act- 
ing as delegates at the anti-slavery convention in London in 
1840. 

Thus a missionary work was begun then and there for the 
emancipation of women in "the land of the free and the home 
of the brave." We can never be grateful enough to Lucretia 
Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other 
noble, self-sacrificing women who did so much pioneer work in 
order to bring about better laws for women and in order to 
change the moth-eaten thought of the world. 

Many felt somewhat discouraged when the election returns 
from New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York announced the 
defeat of the measure, but really when we remember the long 
list of states that have equal suffrage we have reason to rejoice 
and to take new courage. We now have Wyoming, Kansas, 
Utah, Idaho, Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, 
Montana, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, and Illinois, besides the 
countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, New 
Zealand, Australia, Nova Scotia, and some parts of England. 

In the future when the cobwebs have all been swept from the 
mind of the world and everyone is enjoying the new atmosphere 
of equal rights only a very few will realize the struggle these 



SUFFRAGE IN NEBRASKA 277 

brave women endured in order to bring about better conditions 
for the world. 

Statement by Lucy L. Correll 
Hebron, Thayer county, Nebraska, was the cradle of the Ne- 
braska woman suffrage movement, as this was the first com- 
munity in the state to organize a permanent woman's suffrage 
association. 

Previous to this organization the subject had been agitated 
through editorials in the Hebron Journal, and by a band of pro- 
gressive, thinking women. Upon their request the editor of the 
Journal, E. M. CorreU, prepared an address upon "Woman and 
Citizenship." Enthusiasm was aroused, and a column of the 
Journal was devoted to the interests of women, and was ably 
edited by the coterie of ladies having the advancement of the 
legal status of women at heart. 

Through the efforts of Mr. Correll, Susan B. Anthony was in- 
duced to come to Hebron and give her lecture on ' ' Bread versus 
the Ballot," on October 30, 1877. Previous to this time many 
self-satisfied women believed they had all the "rights" they 
wanted, but they were soon awakened to a new consciousness of 
their true status wherein they discovered their "rights" were 
only ' ' privileges. ' ' 

On April 15, 1879, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, upon invita- 
tion, lectured in Hebron and organized the Thayer County 
Woman's Suffrage Association. This society grew from fifteen, 
the number at organization, to about seventy-five, many leading 
business men becoming members. 

Other organizations in the state followed, and at the convening 
of the Nebraska legislature of 1881, a joint resolution providing 
for the submission to the electors of this state an amendment to 
section 1, article VII, of the constitution, was presented by 
Representative E. M. Correll, and mainly through his efforts 
passed the house by the necessary three-fifths majority, and the 
senate by twenty-two to eight, but was defeated at the polls. 

During that memorable campaign of 1881-82, Lucy Stone 
Blackwell, and many other talented women of note, from the 
eastern states, lectured in Nebraska for the advancement of 
women, leaving the impress of the nobility of their characters 
upon the women of the middle West. 



278 NEBEASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The Thayer County Woman's Suffrage Association was highly 
honored, as several of its members held positions of trust in the 
state association, and one of its members, Hon. E. M. Correll, 
who was publishing the Woman's Journal, at Lincoln, at the 
time of the annual conference of the American Woman's Suf- 
frage Association, at Louisville, Kentucky, in October, 1881, 
was elected to the important position of president of that na- 
tional organization, in recognition of the work he had performed 
for the advancement of the cause of "Equality before the Law." 

This association served its time and purpose and after many 
years was instrumental in organizing the Hebron Library Asso- 
ciation. 

The constitution and by-laws of this first woman's suffrage 
association of the state are still well preserved. The first of- 
ficers were: Susan E. Ferguson, president; Harriet G. Huse, 
vice president; Barbara J. Thompson, secretary; Lucy L. Cor- 
rell, treasurer; A. Martha Vermillion, corresponding secretary. 
Of these first officers only one is now living. 



AN INDIAN RAID 
By Ernest E. Correll 

In 1869, Fayette Kingsley and family resided on the Haney 
homestead at the southeast comer of Hebron, where Mr. Haney 
had been brutally murdered in the presence of his three daugh- 
ters in 1867, the daughters escaping and eventually reaching 
their home, ' ' back east. ' ' 

On May 26, 1869, "Old Daddy" Marks, accompanied by a 
young man for protection, drove over from Rose creek to warn 
Kingsley 's that the Indians were on a raid. While they were 
talking, Mr. Kingsley heard the pit-pat of the Indian hoi-ses on 
the wet prairie. Prom the west were riding thirty-six Indians, 
led by a white man, whose hat and fine boots attracted attention 
in contrast to the bareheaded Indians wearing moccasins. 

In the house were enough guns and revolvers to shoot sixty 
rounds without loading. When Mrs. Kingsley saw the Indians 
approaching she scattered the arms and ammunition on the table 
where the men could get them. There were two Spencer car- 
bines, a double-barreled shotgun, and two navy revolvers, besides 
other firearms. 

Mr. Kingsley and Charlie Miller (a young man from the East 
who was boarding with them) went into the house, got the guns, 
and leveled them on the Indians, who had come within 250 yards 
of the log-house, but who veered off on seeing the guns. One of 
the party at the house exclaimed, "The Indians are going past 
and turning off ! " Mr. Marks then said, ' ' Then for God 's sake, 
don 't shoot ! ' ' 

The Indians went on down the river and drove away eleven 
of King Fisher's horses. Two of Fisher's boys lay concealed in 
the grass and saw the white leader of the Indians remove his 
hat, showing his close-cut hair. He talked the Indian language 
and ordered the redskins to drive up a pony, which proved to 
be lame and was not taken. The Indians continued their raid 
nearly to Meridian. 

Meanwhile at Kingsley 's preparations were made for a hurried 
flight. Mr. Marks said he must go home to protect his own 
family on Rose creek, but the young man accompanying him in- 
sisted that he cross the river and return by way of Alexander's 

279 



280 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

ranch on the Big Sandy, as otherwise they would be following 
the Indians. Mr. Kingsley, with his wife and three children, 
went with them to Alexander's ranch, staying there two weeks 
until Governor Butler formed a company of militia composed 
of the settlers, to protect the frontier. A company of the Sec- 
ond U. S. Cavalry was sent here and stationed west of Hackney, 
later that summer. The Indians killed a man and his son, and 
took their horses, less than two miles from the soldiers' camp. 

On returning to the homestead, two cows and two yoke of 
oxen were found all right. Before the flight, Mr. Kingsley had 
torn down the pen, letting out a calf and a pig. Sixty days 
later, on recovering the pig, Mr. Kingsley noticed a sore spot on 
its back, and he pulled out an arrow point about three inches 
long. 

The Indians had taken aU the bedding and eatables, even 
taking fresh baked bread out of the oven. They tore open the 
feather-bed and scattered the contents about — whether for 
amusement or in search of hidden treasures is not known. They 
found a good pair of boots, and cut out the fine leather tops 
(perhaps for moccasins) but left the heavy soles. From a new 
harness they also took all the fine straps and left the tugs and 
heavy leather. They had such a load that at the woodpile they 
discarded Mr. Kingsley 's double-barreled shotgun, which had 
been loaded with buckshot for them. 

Captain Wilson, a lawyer who boarded with Mr. Kingsley, 
had gone to warn King Fisher, leaving several greenbacks inside 
a copy of the Nebraska statutes. These the Indians found and 
appropriated — perhaps their white leader was a renegade law- 
yer accustomed to getting money out of the statutes. 

In 1877 Mr. Kingsley 's family had a narrow escape from 
death in a peculiar manner. After a heavy rain the walls of his 
basement caved in. His children occupied two beds standing 
end to end and filling the end of the basement. When the rocks 
from the wall caved in, both beds were crushed to the floor and 
a little pet dog on one of the beds was killed, but the children 
had no bones broken. Presumably the bedding protected them 
and the breaking of the bedsteads broke the jar of the rocks on 
their bodies. 

Mr. Kingsley has a deeply religious nature, and believes that 
Divine protection has been with him through life. 



REMINISCENCES 
By Mes. E. a. Russell 

In September, 1884, Rev. E. A. Russell was transferred by the 
American Baptist Publication Society from his work in the East 
to Nebraska, and settled on an eighty-acre ranch near Ord. Mr. 
Russell had held pastorates for twenty-six years in New Hamp- 
shire, New York, and Indiana, but desired to come west for im- 
provement in health. He was accompanied by his family of 
seven. Western life was strange and exciting with always the 
possibility of an Indian raid, and dangerous prairie fires. It 
was the custom to plow a wide furrow around the home build- 
ings as a precaution against the latt«r. 

The first year in Nebraska, our oldest daughter, Alice M. Rus- 
sell, was principal of the Ord school, and Edith taught in the 
primary grade. 

On the fifth of August, 1885, late in the afternoon, a terrific 
hail-storm swept over the country. All crops were destroyed; 
even the grass was beaten into the earth, so there was little left 
as past^jre for cattle. Pigs and poultry were killed by dozens 
and the plea of a tender-hearted girl, that a poor calf, beaten 
down by hailstones, might be brought "right into the kitchen," 
was long remembered. Not a window in our house remained 
unbroken. The floor was covered with rain and broken glass 
and ice ; and our new, white, hard-finished walls and ceilings 
were bespattered and disfigured. 

This hail-storm was a general calamity. The whole country 
suffered and many families returned, disheartened, to friends in 
the East. 

The Baptist church was so shattered that, for its few mem- 
bers, it was no easy task to repair it. But they soon put it in 
good condition, only to see it utterly wrecked by a small cyclone 
the following October. 

The income that year from a forty-acre cornfield was one small 
"nubbin" less than tliree inches in length. 

All these things served to emphasize the heart-rending stories 

281 



282 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

we kad heard of sufferings of early pioneers. The nervous shock 
sustained by the writer was so great that a year elapsed before 
she was able to see clearly, or to read. As she was engaged on 
the four years' post-graduate course of the Chautauqua Literary 
and Scientific Circle, her eldest son read aloud to her during 
that year and her work was completed at the same time as he 
and his younger sister graduated with the class of 1887. 

Some time later the writer organized a Chautauqua Circle, 
Ord 's first literary society. Its president was a Mr. King and its 
secretary E. J. Clements, now of Lincoln, Nebraska. 

During our second winter in Nebraska the writer did not see 
a woman to speak to after her daughters went to their schools in 
Lincoln, where one was teaching and the other a University 
pupil. 

Of the "Minnie Freeman Storm" in January, 1888, all our 
readers have doubtless heard. Our two youngest boys were at 
school a mile away ; but fortunately we lived south of town and 
they reached home in safety. 

In 1881 Fort Hartsuff, twelve miles away, had been aban- 
doned. The building of this fort had been the salvation of pio- 
neers, giving them work and wages after the terrible scourge of 
locusts in 1874. It was still the pride of those who had been 
enabled to remain in the desolated countiy and we heard much 
about it. So, when a brother came from New England to visit 
an only sister on the "Great American Desert," we took an 
early start one morning and visited ' ' The Fort. ' ' The buildings, 
at that time, were in fairly good condition. Officers' quarters, 
barracks, commissary buildings, stables, and other structures 
were of concrete, so arranged as to form a hollow square; and, 
near by on a hill, was a circular stockade, which was said to be 
connected with the fort by an underground passage. 

A prominent figure in Ord in 1884 was an attractive young 
lady who later married Dr. F. D. Haldeman. In 1904 Mrs. 
Haldeman organized Coronado chapter, Daughtei-s of the Amer- 
ican Revolution. Her sister. Dr. Minerva Newbeeker, has prac- 
ticed medicine in Ord for many years. Another sister, Clara 
Newbeeker, has long been a teacher in the public schools of Chi- 
cago. These three sisters, who descended from Lieutenant Philip 
Newbeeker, of Revolutionary fame, and Mrs. Nellie Coombs, are 
the only living charter members of Coronado chapter. The 



REMINISCENCES 283 

chapter was named in honor of that governor of New Galicia in 
Mexico who is supposed to have passed through some portion of 
our territory in 1540 when he fitted out an expedition to seek 
and christianize the people of that wonderful region where 
"golden bells and dishes of solid gold" hung thick upon the 
trees. 

About all that is definitely known is that he set up a cross at 
the big river, with the inscription: "Thus far came Francisco 
de Coronado, General of an expedition." 

And now, in 1915, the family of seven, by one marriage after 
another, has dwindled to a lonely — two. 

The head of our household, with recovered health, served his 
denomination twenty years in this great field, comprising Ne- 
braska, Upper Colorado, and Wyoming. He retired in 1904 to 
the sanctuary of a quiet home. 



EEMINISCENCES OF FORT CALHOUN 
By W. H. Allen 

I reached Fort Calhoun in May, 1856, with my friends, Mr. 
and Mrs. John Allen ; coming with team and wagon from Edgar 
county, Illinois. I was then eleven years old. Fort Calhoun had 
no soldiers, but some of the Fort Atkinson buildings ware still 
standing. I remember the liberty pole, the magazine, the old 
brick-yard, at which places we children played and picked up 
trinkets. There was one general store then, kept by Pink Allen 
and Jascoby, and but few settlers. Among those I remember 
were, my uncle, Thomas Allen ; E. H. Clark, a land agent ; Col. 
Geo. Stevens and family, who started a hotel in 1856, and Orrin 
Rhoades, whose family lived on a claim five miles west of town. 
That summer my father took a claim near Rhoades', building a 
log house and bam at the edge of the woods. "We moved there 
in the fall, and laid in a good supply of wood for the huge fire- 
place, used for cooking as well as heating. Our rations were 
scanty, consisting of wild game for meat, com bread, potatoes and 
beans purchased at Fort Calhoun. The next spring we cleared 
some small patches for garden and com, which we planted and 
tended with a hoe. There were no houses between ours and Fort 
Calhoun, nor any bridges. Rhoades' house and ours were the 
only ones between Fontenelle and Fort Calhoun. Members of 
the Quincy colony at Fontenelle went to Council Bluffs for flour 
and used our place as a half-way house, stopping each way over 
night. How we children did enjoy their company, and stories 
of the Indians. We were never molested by the red men, only 
that they would come begging food occasionally. 

I had no schooling until 1860 when I worked for my board 
in Fort Cahoun at E. H. Clark's and attended public school a 
few months. The next two years I did likewise, boarding at 
Alex. Reed's. 

From 1866 to 1869 inclusive I cut cord-wood and railroad ties 
which I hauled to Omaha for use in the building of the Union 



REMINISCENCES OF FT. CALHOUN 285 

Pacific railroad. I received from $8.00 to $15.00 per cord for 
my wood, and $1.00 each for ties. 

Deer were plentiful and once when returning from Omaha I 
saw an old deer and fawn. Unhitching my team I jumped on 
one horse and chased the young one down, caught and tamed it. 
I put a bell on its neck and let it run about at will. It came 
to its sleeping place every night until the next spring when it 
left, never to be seen by us again. 

In the fall of 1864 I was engaged by Edward Creighton to 
freight with a wagon train to Denver, carrying flour and tele- 
graph supplies. The cattle were corralled and broke at Cole's 
creek, west of Omaha known then as "Robber's Roost," and I 
thought it great fun to yoke and break those wild cattle. We 
started in October with forty wagons, seven yoke of oxen to each 
wagon. I went as far as Port Cottonwood, one hundred miles 
beyond Port Kearny, reaching there about November 20. There 
about a dozen of us grew tired of the trip and turned back with 
a wagon and one ox team. On our return, at Plum creek, thirty- 
fives miles west of Port Kearny we saw where a train had been 
attacked by Indians, oxen killed, wagons robbed and abandoned. 
We waded the rivers, Loup Pork and Platte, which was a cold 
bath at that time of year. 

I lived at this same place in the woods until I took a home- 
stead three miles farther west in 1868. 

My father's home was famous at that time, also years after- 
ward, as a beautiful spot, in which to hold Pourth of July cele- 
brations, school picnics, etc., and the hospitality and good cook- 
ing of my mother, "Aunt Polly Allen" as she was familiarly 
called, was known to all the early settlers in this section of the 
country. 



REMINISCENCES OP WASHINGTON COUNTY 
By Mrs. Emily Bottorpp Allen 

I came to Washington county, Nebraska, with my parents in 
the fail of 1865, by ox team from Indiana. We stopped at 
Rockport, where father and brothers got work at wood chopping. 
They built a house by digging into a hUl and using logs to finish 
the front. The weather was delightful, and autumn's golden 
tints in the foliage were beautiful. 

We gathered ha^el nuts and wild grapes, often searing a deer 
from the underbrush. Our neighbors were the Shipleys, who 
were very hospitable, and shared their garden products with us. 

During the winter father bought John Frazier's homestead, 
but our home was still in a dugout, in which we were comfort- 
able. We obtained all needed supplies from Port Calhoun or 
Omaha. 

In the spring Amasa Warrick, from Cuming City, came to our 
home in search of a teacher and offered me the position, which 
I accepted. Elam Clark of Fort Calhoun endorsed my teacher's 
certificate. I soon commenced teaching at Ciuning City, and 
pupils came for miles around. I boarded at George A. Brig- 
ham's. Mr. Brigham was county surveyor, postmaster, music 
teacher, as well as land agent, and a very fine man. 

One day, while busy with my classes, the door opened and 
three large Indians stole in, seating themselves near the stove. 
I was greatly alarmed and whispered to one of my pupils to 
hasten to the nearest neighbor for assistance. As soon as the 
lad left, one Indian went to the window and asked "Where boy 
go?" I said, "I don't know." The three Indians chattered 
together a moment, and then the spokesman said, "I kill you 
sure, ' ' but seeing a man coming in the distance with a gun, they 
all hurried out and ran over the hill. 

I taught at Cuming City until the school fund was exhausted, 
and by that time the small schoolhouse on Long creek was com- 
pleted. Allen Craig and Thomas McDonald were directors. I 
boarded at home and taught the first school in this district, with 



WASHINGTON COUNTY 287 

fourteen pupils enrolled. At this time Judge Bowen of Omaha 
was county superintendent, and I went there to have my certi- 
ficate renewed. 

When all the public money in the Long Creek district was 
used up, I went back to Cuming City to teach. The population 
of this district had increased to such an extent that I needed an 
assistant, and I was authorized to appoint one of ray best pupils 
to the position. I selected Vienna Cooper, daughter of Dr. P. J. 
Cooper. I boarded at the Lippincott home, known as the ' ' Half- 
way House" on the stage line between Omaha and Decatur. It 
was a stage station where horses were changed and drivers and 
passengers stopped over night. 

At the close of our summer term we held a picnic and enter- 
tainment on the Methodist church grounds, using the lumber 
for the new church for our platform and seats. This entertain- 
ment was pronounced the gi-andest affair ever held in the West. 

The school funds of the Cuming City district being again ex- 
hausted, I returned to Long Creek district in the fall of 1867, 
and ta.ught as long as there was any money in the treasury. By 
that time the village of Blair had sprung up, absorbing Cuming 
City and De Soto, and I was employed to teach in their new 
log schoolhouse. T. M. Carter was director of the Blair district. 
Orrin Colby of Bell Creek, was county superintendent, and he 
visited the schools of the county, making the rounds on foot. I 
taught at Blair until April, 1869, when I was married to William 
Henry Allen, a pioneer of Port Calhoun. Our license was issued 
by Judge Stilts of Fort Calhoun, where we were married by Dr. 
Andrews. We raised our family in the Long Creek district, and 
still reside where we settled in those pioneer days. 



REMINISCENCES OP PIONEER LIPE AT PORT 
CALHOUN 

By Mrs. N. J. Prazier Brooks 

I came to Nebraska in the spring of 1857 from Edgar county, 
Illinois, with my husband, Thomas Prazier, and small daughter, 
Mary. We traveled in a wagon drawn by oxen, took a claim 
one and one-half miles south of Port Calhoun and thought we 
were settling near what would be Nebraska's metropolis. My 
husband purchased slabs at the saw mill at Calhoun and built our 
shanty of one room with a deck roof. For our two yoke of oxen 
he made a shed of poles and grass and we all were comfortable 
and happy in our new home. In the spring Mr. Prazier broke 
prairie, put in the most extensive crops hereabouts, for my hus- 
band was young and ambitious. We had brought enough money 
with us to buy everything obtainable in this new country, but 
he would often say, "I'd hate to have the home folks see how 
you and Mary have to live." Deer were a common sight and 
we ate much venison ; wild turkeys were also plentiful. They 
could be heard every morning and my husband would often go 
in our woods and get one for our meat. 

In 1859 he went to Boone county, Iowa, and bought a cow, 
hauling her home in a wagon. She soon had a heifer calf and 
we felt that our herd was well started. The following winter was 
so severe that during one storm we brought the cow in our house 
to save her. The spring of 1860 opened up fine and as we had 
prospered and were now making money from our crops we built 
us a frame house, bought a driving team, cows, built fences, etc. 
I still own this fii-st claim, and although my visions of Port Cal- 
houn were never realized I know of no better place in which to 
live and my old neighbors, some few of whom are still here, 
proved to be everlasting friends. 



REMINISCENCES OF DE SOTO IN 1855 
By Oliver Bouvier 
Mother Bouvier, a kind old soul, who settled in De Soto in 
the summer of 1855, had many hardships. Just above her log 
house, on the ridge, was the regular Indian trail and the Indians 
made it a point to stop at our house regularly, as they went to 
Fort Calhoun or to Omaha. She befriended them many times and 
they always treated her kindly. "Omaha Mary," who was often 
a caller at our house was always at the head of her band. She 
was educated and could talk French well to us. What she said 
was law with all the Indians. Our creek was thick with beavers 
and as a small boy I could not trap them, but she could, and had 
her traps there and collected many skins from our place. I 
wanted her to show me the trick of it, but she would never allow 
me to follow her. At one time I sneaked along and she caught 
me in the act and grabbed me by the collar and with a switch 
in her hand, gave me a severe warming. This same squaw was 
an expert with bow and arrow, and I have seen her speedily 
cross the Missouri river in a canoe with but one oar. Our wall 
was always black and greasy by the Indians sitting against it 
while they ate the plates of mush and sorghum my mother served 
them. I have caught many buffalo calves out on the prairies, 
and one I brought to our De Soto home and tamed it. My sister 
Adeline and myself tried to break it to drive with an ox hitched 
to a sled, but never succeeded to any great extent. One day 
Joseph La Flesche came along and offered us $50.00 for it and 
we sold it to him but he found he could not separate it from 
our herd, so bought a heifer, which it would follow and Mr. 
Joseph Boucha and myself took them up to the reservation for 
him. He entertained us warmly at his Indian quarters for two 
or three days. I have cured many buffalo steak (by the Indian 
method) and we used the meat on our table. 



REMINISCENCES 
By Thomas M. Carter 

In the spring of 1855, with my brother, Alex Carter, E. P. and 
D. D. Stout, I left the beautiful hills and valleys of Ohio, to seek 
a home in the west. After four weeks of travel by steamboat 
and stage, horseback and afoot, we reached the town of Omaha, 
then only a small village. It took us fourteen days to make the 
trip from St. Louis to Omaha. 

While waiting at Kanesville or Council Bluffs as it is now 
called, we ascended the hills back of the town and gazed across 
to the Nebraska side. I thought of Daniel Boone as he wan- 
dered westward on the Kentucky hills looking into Ohio. ' ' Fair 
was the scene that lay before the little band, that paused upon 
its toilsome way, to view the new found land." 

At St. Mary we met Peter A. Sarpy. He greeted us all warm- 
ly and invited all to get out of the stage and have a drink at 
his expense. As an inducement to settle in Omaha, we were 
each offered a lot anywhere on the townsite, if we would build 
on it, but we had started for De Soto, "Washington county, and 
no ordinary offer could induce us to change our purpose. 

We thought that with such an excellent steamboat landing and 
quantities of timber in the vicinity, De Soto had as good a 
chance as Omaha to become the metropolis. We reached De 
Soto May 14, 1855, and found one log house finished and another 
under way. Zaremba Jackson, a newspaper man, and Dr. Fin- 
ney occupied the log cabin and we boarded with them until we 
had located a claim and built a cabin upon the laud we subse- 
quently entered and upon which the city of Blair is now built. 

After I had built my cabin of peeled willow poles the Cuming 
City Claim Club warned me by writing on the willow poles of 
my cabin that if I did not abandon that claim before June 15, 
1855, I would be treated to a free bath in Fish creek and free 
transportation across the Missouri river. This however proved 
to be merely a bluff. I organized and was superintendent of the 
first Sunday school in Washington county in the spring of 1856. 
290 



EEMINISCENCES 291 

The first board of trustees of the Methodist church in the 
county was appointed by Rev. A. G. White, on June 1, 1866, and 
conaisted of the following members, Alex Carter, L. D. Cameron, 
James Van Horn, M. B. Wilds, and myself. The board met and 
resolved itself into a building committee and appointed me as 
chairman. We then proceeded to devise means to provide for a 
church building at Cuming City, by each member of the board 
subscribing fifty dollars. At the second meeting it was discov- 
ered that this was inadequate and it was deemed necessary for 
this subscription to be doubled. The church was built, the mem- 
bers of the committee hewing logs of elm, walnut, and oak for 
sills and hauling with ox teams. The church was not completely 
finished but was used for a place of worship. This building 
was moved under the supervision of Rev. Jacob Adriance and 
by his financial support from Cuming City to Blair in 1870. 
Later it was sold to the Christian church, moved off and re- 
modeled and is still doing service as a church building in Blair. 

Jacob Adriance was the first regular Methodist pastor to be 
assigned to the mission extending from De Soto to Decatur. 
His first service was held at De Soto on May 3, 1857, at the home 
of my brother, Jacob Carter, a Baptist. The congregation con- 
sisted of Jacob Carter, his family of five, Alex Carter, myself 
and wife. 

The winter before Rev. Adriance came Isaac Collins was con- 
ducting protracted meetings in De Soto and so much interest 
was being aroused that some of the ruifians decided to break up 
the meetings. One night they tlirew a dead dog through a win- 
dow hitting the minister in the back, knocking over the candles 
and leaving us in darkness. The minister straightened up and 
declared, "The devil isn't dead in De Soto yet." 

I was present at the Calhoun claim fight at which Mr. Goss 
was killed and Purple and Smith were wounded. 

The first little log school was erected on the townsite of Blair, 
the patrons cutting and hauling the lumber. I was the first 
director and Mrs. William Allen nee Emily Bottorff, first teacher. 

I served as worthy patriarch of the First Sons of Temperance 
organization in the county and lived in De Soto long enough to 
see the last of the whiskey traffic banished from that township. 

I have served many years in Washington county as school 
director, justice of the peace, and member of the county board. 



1: 

292 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES | 

In October, 1862, I joined the Second Nebraska cavalry for ; 

service on the frontier. Our regiment lost a few scalps and 
buried a number of Indians. "We bivouacked on the plains, 
wrapped in our blankets, while the skies smiled propitiously- 
over us and we dreamed of home and the girls we left behind 
us, until reveille called to find the drapery of our couch during 
the night had been reinforced by winding sheets of drifting snow. 



FORT CALHOUN IN THE LATER FIFTIES 
By Mrs. E. H. Clark 

E. H. Clark came from Indiana in March, 1855, with Judge 
James Bradley, and was clerk of the district court in Nebraska 
under him. He became interested in Fort Calhoun, then the 
county-seat of Washington county. The town company em- 
ployed him to survey it into towTi lots, plat the same, and ad- 
vertise it. New settlers landed here that spring and lots were 
readily sold. In June, 1855, Mr. Clark contracted with the pro- 
prietore to put up a building on the townsite for a hotel; said 
building to be 24x48 feet, two stories high, with a wing of the 
same dimensions; the structure to be of hewn logs and put up 
in good style. For this he was to receive one-ninth interest in 
the town. Immediately he commenced getting out timber, board- 
ing in the meantime with Major Arnold's family, and laboring 
under many disadvantages for want of skilled labor and teams, 
there being but one span of horses and seven yoke of cattle in 
the entire precinct at this time. What lumber was necessary 
for the building had to be obtained from Omaha at sixty dollars 
per thousand and hauled a circuitous route by the old Mormon 
trail. As an additional incident to his trials, one morning at 
breakfast Mr. Clark was told by Mrs. Arnold that the last mouth- 
ful was on the table. Major Arnold was absent for supplies and 
delayed, supposedly for lack of conveyance; whereupon Mr. 
Clark procured two yoke of oxen and started at once for Oma- 
ha for provisions and lumber. Never having driven oxen before 
he met with many mishaps. By traveling all night through 
rain and mud he reached sight of home next day at sunrise, 
when the oxen ran away upsetting the lumber and scattering 
groceries all over the prairies. Little was recovered except some 
bacon and a barrel of flour. 

Finally the hotel was ready for occupancy and Col. George 
Stevens with his family took up their residence there. It was 
the best hostelry in the west. Mr. Stevens was appointed post- 
master and gave up one room to the office. The Stevens family 
were very popular everywhere. 

Mr. and Mrs. John B. Kuony were married at the Douglas 
house, Omaha, about 1855 and came to the new hotel as cooks ; 
but soon afterward started a small store which in due time made 

293 



294 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

them a fortune. This couple were also popular in business, as 
well as socially. 

In March, 1856, my husband sent to Indiana for me. I went 
to St. Louis by train, then by boat to Omaha. I was three weeks 
on the boat, and had my gold watch and chain stolen from my 
cabin enroute. I brought a set of china dishes which were a 
family heirloom, clothes and bedding. The boxes containing 
these things we afterward used for table and lounge. My hus^ 
band had a small log cabin ready on my arrival. 

I was met at Omaha by Thomas J. Allen with a wagon and 
ox team. He hauled building material and provisions and I sat 
on a nail keg all the way out. He drove through prairie grass 
as high as the oxen 's back. I asked him how he ever learned the 
road. When a boat would come up the river every one would 
rush to buy furniture and provisions; I got a rocking chair in 
1857, the first one in the town. It was loaned out to sick folks 
and proved a treasure. In 1858 we bought a clock of John 
Bauman of Omaha, paying $45.00 for it, and it is still a perfect 
time piece. 

My father, Dr. J. P. Andrews, came in the spring of 1857 and 
was a practicing physician, also a minister for many years here. 
He was the first Sunday school superintendent here and held 
that office continually until 1880 when he moved to Blair. 

In 1858 the Vanier brothers started a steam grist mill which 
was a great convenience for early settlers. In 1861 Elam Clark 
took it on a mortgage and ran it for many years. Mr. Clark 
also carried on a large fur trade with the Indians, and they 
would go east to the bottoms to hunt and camp for two or three 
weeks. 

At one time I had planned a dinner party and invited all my 
lady friends. I prepared the best meal possible for those days, 
with my china set all in place and was very proud to see it all 
spread, and when just ready to invite my guests to the table, a 
big Indian appeared in the doorway and said, "hungry" in 
broken accents. I said, "Yes I get you some" and started to 
the stove but he said, ' ' No, ' ' and pointed to the table. I brought 
a generous helping in a plate but he walked out doors, gave a 
shrill yell which brought several others of his tribe and they 
at once sat down, ate everything in sight, while the guests 
looked on in fear and trembling; having finished they left in 
great glee. 



SOME ITEMS FROM WASHINGTON COUNTY 
By Mrs. May Allen Lazube 

Alfred D. Jones, the first postmaster of Omaha, tells in the 
Pioneer Record of the first Fourth of July celebration in Ne- 
braska. 

"On July 4, 1854, I was employed in the work of surveying 
the townsite of Omaha. At this time there were only two 
cabins on the townsite, my postofiice building and the company 
claim house. The latter was used as our boarding house. Inas- 
much as the Fourth would be a holiday, I concluded it would be 
a novelty to hold a celebration on Nebraska soil. I therefore 
announced that we would hold a celebration and invited the 
people of Council Bluffs, by inserting a notice in the Council 
Bluffs paper, and requested that those who would participate 
should prepare a lunch for the occasion. 

"We got forked stakes and poles along the river, borrowed 
bolts of sheeting from the store of James A. Jackson ; and thus 
equipped we erected an awning to shelter from the sun those 
who attended. Anvils were procured, powder purchased and 
placed in charge of cautious gunners, to make a noise for the 
crowd. The celebration was held on the present high school 
grounds. 

"The picnickers came with their baskets, and the gunner dis- 
charged his duty nobly. A stranger, in our midst, was intro- 
duced as Mr. Sawyer, an ex-congressman from Ohio." 

I had a life-long acquaintance with one of those early pie- 
nickers, Mrs. Rhoda Craig, a daughter of Thomas Allen, who 
built the first house in Omaha. Mi-s. Craig was the first white 
girl to live on the site of Omaha. She often told the story of 
that Fourth of July in Omaha. Their fear of the Indians was so 
great that as soon as dinner was over, they hurried to their 
boats and rowed across to Council Bluffs for safety. 

Another pioneer woman was Aimee Taggart Kenny, who came 
to Fontenelle with her parents when a small child. Her father 
was a Baptist missionary in Nebraska, and his earliest work was 



296 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

with the Quincy colony. I have heard her tell the following 
experience : 

' ' On several occasions we were warned that the Indians were 
about to attack us. In great fear, we gathered in the school- 
house and watched all night, the men all well armed. But we 
were never molested. Another time mother was alone Math us 
children. Seeing the Indians approaching we locked the doors, 
went into the attic by means of an outside ladder and looked 
out through a crack. "We saw the red men try the door, peep 
in at the windows, and then busy themselves chewing up 
mother's home-made hop-yeast, which had been spread out to 
dry. They made it into balls and tossed it all away." 

John T. Bell of Newberg, Oregon, contributed the following: 

"I have a pleasant recollection of your grandfather Allen. 
My father's and mother's people were all southerners and there 
was a kindliness about Mr. and Mrs. Allen that reminded me of 
our own folks back in Illinois. I often stopped to see them 
when going to and from the Calhoun mill. 

"I was also well acquainted with Mrs. E. H. Clark, and Rev. 
Mr. Taggart and his family were among the most highly es- 
teemed residents of our little settlement of Fontenelle. Mr. 
Taggart was a man of fine humor. It was the custom in those 
early days for the entire community to get together on New 
Year's day and have a dinner at 'The College.' There would 
be speeehmaking, and I remember that on one of these occasions 
Mr. Taggart said that no doubt the time would come when we 
would all know each others' real names and why we left the 



"The experiences of the Bell family in the early Nebraska 
days were ones of privation. We came to Nebraska in 1856 
quite well equipped with stock, four good horses, and four young 
cows which we had driven behind the wagon from western II- 
inois. The previous winter had been very mild and none of the 
settlers were prepared for the dreadful snow storm which came 
on the last day of November and continued for three days and 
nights. Our horses and cows were in a stable made by squaring 
up the head of a small gulch and covering the structure with 
slough grass. At the end of the storm when father could get out 
to look after the stock there was no sign of the stable. The low 
ground it occupied was levelled off by many feet of snow. He 



ITEMS FROM WASHINGTON COUNTY 297 

finally located the roof and found the stock alive and that was 
about all. The animals suffered greatly that winter and when 
spring came we had left only one horse and no cows. That lone 
horse was picking the early grass when he was bitten in the nose 
by a rattlesnake and died from the effects. One of those horses, 
'Old Fox,' was a noble character. "We had owned him as long 
as I could remember, and when he died we children all cried. 
I have since owned a good many horses but not one equalled Old 
Fox in the qualities that go to make up a perfect creature. 

"After the civil war my brother Will and I were the only 
members of our family left in Nebraska. We served with Grant 
and Sherman and then went back to Fontenelle, soon afterward 
beginning the improvement of our farm on Bell creek in the 
western part of the county. By that time conditions had so im- 
proved in Nebraska that hardships were not so common. I was 
interested in tree planting even as a boy and one of the distinct 
recollections of our first summer in Nebraska was getting so se- 
verely poisoned in the woods on the Elkhom when digging up 
young sprouts, that I was entirely blind. A colored man living 
in Fontenelle told father that white paint would cure me and so 
I was painted wherever there was a breaking out, with satisfac- 
tory results. 

"Later the planting of cottonwood, box elder, maple, and 
other trees became a general industry in Nebraska and I am 
confident that I planted twenty thousand trees, chiefly cotton- 
wood. To J. Sterling Morton, one of Nebraska's earliest and 
most useful citizens, Nebraska owes a debt of gratitude. He 
was persistent in advocating the planting of trees. In his office 
hung a picture of an oak tree; on his personal cards was a pic- 
ture of an oak tree with the legend 'Plant Trees'; on his letter- 
heads, on his envelopes was borne the same injunction and the 
picture of an oak tree. On the marble doorstep of his home 
was cut a picture of an oak tree and the words 'Plant Trees'; 
on the ground-glass of the entrance door was the same emblem. 
I went to a theater he had built and on the drop curtain was a 
picture of an oak tree and the words 'Plant Trees.' Today the 
body of this useful citizen lies buried under the trees he planted 
in Wyuka cemetery, near Nebraska City." 



COUNTY SEAT OF WASHINGTON COUNTY 
By Frank McNeely 

In 1855 an act was passed by the territorial legislature reor- 
ganizing Washington county and designating Port Calhoun as 
the county-seat. 

De Soto, a small village five miles north of Fort Calhoun, 
wished the county-seat to be moved there. In the winter of 
1858 a crowd of De Soto citizens organized and with arms went 
to Fort Calhoun to take the county-seat by force. Fort Calhoun 
citizens barricaded themselves in the log courthouse and held off 
the De Soto band until the afternoon of the second day, when 
by compromise, the county-seat was turned over to De Soto. 
One man was killed in this contest, in which I was a participant. 

The county-seat remained in De Soto until an election in the 
fall of 1866 when the vote of the people relocated it at Fort 
Calhoun, where it remained until 1869. An election in the lat- 
ter year made Blair the county seat. 

A courthouse was built in Blair, the present county-seat of 
Washington county, in 1889, at a cost of $50,000. 

Note — In the early days every new town, and they were all 
new, was ambitious to become the county-seat and many of them 
hopefully sought the honor of becoming the capital of the terri- 
tory. Washington county had its full share of aspiring towns 
and most of them really got beyond the paper stage. There 
were De Soto, Fort Calhoun, Rockport, Cuming City, and last but 
not least — Fontenelle, then in Washington county, now a ' ' de- 
serted village" in Dodge county. Of these only Fort Calhoun 
remains more than a memory. De Soto was founded by Potter 
C. Sullivan and others in 1854, and in 1857 had about five hun- 
dred population. It began to go down in 1859, and when the 
city of Blair was started its decline was rapid. Rockport, which 
was in the vicinity of the fur trading establishments of early 
days, was a steamboat landing of some importance and had at 
one time a population of half a hundred or more. Now only the 
beautiful landscape remains. Cuming City, like De Soto, re- 
ceived its death blow when Blair was founded, and now the 
townsite is given over to agricultural purposes. 



THE STORY OF THE TOWN OP FONTENELLE 
By Mes. Eda Mead 

When Nebraska was first organized as a territory, a party of 
people in Quincy, Illinois, conceived the idea of starting a city 
in the new territory and thus making their fortune. They ac- 
cordingly sent out a party of men to select a site. 

These men reached Omaiia in 1854. There they met Logan 
Fontenelle, chief of the Omahas, who held the land along the 
Platte and Elkhom rivers. He agreed to direct them to a place 
favorable for a town. Upon reaching the spot, where the pres- 
ent village is now situated, they were so pleased that they did 
not look farther, but paid the chief one hundred dollars for the 
right to claim and locate twenty square miles of land. This con- 
sisted of land adjoining the Elkhom river, then ascending a high 
bluff, a tableland ideal for the location of the town. 

These men thought the Elkhorn was navigable and that they 
could ship their goods from Quincy by way of the Missouri, 
Platte, and Elkhorn rivers. 

Early in the spring of 1855 a number of the colonists, bring- 
ing their household goods, left Quincy on a small boat, the 
' ' Mary Cole, ' ' expecting to reach Fontenelle by way of the Elk- 
horn ; and then use the boat as a packet to points on the Platte 
and Elkhom rivers. 

But the boat struck a snag in the Missouri and, with a part of 
the cargo, was lost. The colonists then took what was saved 
overland to Fontenelle. 

By the first of May, 1855, there were sufficient colonists on 
the site to hold the claims. Then each of the fifty members 
drew by lot for the eighteen lots each one was to hold. The first 
choice fell to W. H. Davis. He chose the land along the river, 
fully convinced of its superior situation as a steamboat landing. 

The colonists then built houses of cottonwood timber, and a 
store and hotel were started. Thus the little town of about two 
hundred inhabitants was started with great hopes of soon be- 
coming a large city. 



300 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Land on the edge of the bluff had been set aside for a college 
building. This was called Collegeview. Here a building was 
begun in 1856 and completed in 1859. This was the first ad- 
vanced educational institution to be chartered west of the Mis- 
souri river. 

In 1865 this building was burned. Another building was im- 
mediately erected, but after a few years' struggle for patronage, 
they fouud it was doomed to die, so negotiated with the people 
of Crete, Nebraska, and the Congregational organizations (for 
it was built by the Congregationalists) in Nebraska. It there- 
fore became the nucleus of what is now Doane College. 

The bell of the old building is still in use in the little village. 

The first religious services were held by the Congregational- 
ists. The church was first organized by Rev. Reuben Gaylord, 
who also organized the First Congregational church in Omaha. 

In Fontenelle the Congregationalists did not have a building 
but worshiped in the college. This church has long since ceased 
to exist, but strange as it may seem after so many years, the last 
regular pastor was the same man, Rev. Reuben Graylord, who or- 
ganized it. 

There was a little band of fifteen Methodists; this was called 
the Fontenelle Mission. In 1857 an evangelist, Jerome Spill- 
man, was sent to take charge of this little mission. He soon 
had a membership of about three score people. A church was 
organized and a building and parsonage completed. This pros- 
pered with the town, but as the village began to lose ground the 
church was doomed to die. The building stood vacant for a 
niunber of years but was finally moved to Arlington. 

The settlers found the first winter of 1855-56 mild and agree- 
able. They thought that this was a sample of the regular win- 
ter climate; so when the cold, blizzardy, deep-snow winter of 
1856-57 came it found the majority ill prepared. Many were 
living in log cabins which had been built only for temporary 
use. The roofs were full of holes and just the dirt for floors. 

On awaking in the morning after the first blizzard many 
found their homes drifted full of snow ; even the beds were cov- 
ered. The snow lay four or five feet deep on the level and the 
temperature was far below zero. 

Most of the settlers lost all of their stock. Food was scarce, 
but wild game was plentiful. Mr. Sam Francis would take his 



STORY OF THE TOWN OF FONTENELLE 301 

horse and gun and hunt along the river. The settlers say he 
might be seen many times that winter coming into the village 
with two deer tied to his horse's tail trailing in the snow. By 
this means, he saved many of the colonists from starvation. 

Provisions were very high priced. Potatoes brought four and 
five dollars a bushel; bacon and pork could not be had at any 
price. One settler is said to have sold a small hog for forty-five 
dollars; with this he bought eighty acres of land, which is today 
worth almost one hundred eighty dollars an acre. 

A sack of flour cost from ten to fifteen dollars. 

At this time many who had come just for speculation left, 
thus only the homebuilders or those who had spent their all and 
could not return, remained. 

Then came trouble with the Indians. In the year 1859 the 
Pawnees were not paid by the government, for some reason. 
They became desperate and began stealing cattle from the set- 
tlers along the Elkhom around Fontenelle. The settlers of 
Pontenelle formed a company known as the "Fontenelle Mount- 
ed Rangers, ' ' and together with a company sent out by Governor 
Black from Omaha with one piece of light artillery, started after 
the Pawnees who were traveling west and north. 

They captured six prisoners and held them bound. While 
thej' were camped for rest, a squaw in some way gave a knife to 
one of the prisoners. He pretended to kill himself by cutting 
his breast and mouth so that he bled freely. He then dropped 
as if dead. Amidst the confusion the other five, whose ropes 
had been cut, supposedly by this same squaw, escaped. 

As the settlers were breaking camp to still pursue the fleeing 
tribe, they wondered what to do with the dead Indian. Some- 
one expressed doubt as to his really being dead. Then one of 
the settlers raised his gun and said he would soon make sure. 
No sooner had the gun been aimed than the Indian jumped to 
his feet and said, ' ' Whoof ! Me no sick ! ' ' They then journeyed 
on to attack the main tribe. When near their camp the settlers 
formed a semi-circle on a hill, with the artillery in the center. 

As soon as the Indians saw the settlers, they came riding as 
SAviftly as possible to make an attack, but when within a short 
distance and before the leader of the settlers could call ' ' Fire ! ' ' 
they retreated. They advanced and retreated in this way three 
times. The settlers were at a loss to understand just what the 



302 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Indians intended to do; but decided that they did not know of 
the artillery until near enough to see it, then were afraid to 
make the attack, so tried to scare the settlers, but failing to do 
this they finally advanced with a white rag tied to a stick. 

The Indians agreed to be peaceable and stop the thieving if the 
settlers would pay for a pony which had been accidentally killed, 
and give them medicine for the sick and wounded. 

Some of the men who took part in this fight say that if the 
leader had ordered the settlers to fire on the fii^st advance of the 
Indians every settler would have been killed. There were twice 
as many Indians in the first place and the settlers afterwards 
found that not more than one-third of their guns would work; 
and after they had fired once, while they were reloading, the 
Indians with their bows and arrows would have exterminated 
them. They consider it was the one piece of light artilleiy that 
saved them, as the Indians were very much afraid of a cannon. 
This ended any serious Indian trouble, but the housewives had 
to be ever on the alert for many years. 

Each spring either the Omahaa or Pawnees passed through the 
village on their way to visit some other tribe, and then returned 
in the fall. Then through the winter stray bands would appear 
who had been hunting or fishing along the river. 

As they were seen approaching everything that could be was 
put under lock, and the doors of the houses were securely fas- 
tened. The Indians would wash and comb their hair at the water 
troughs, then gather everything about the yard that took their 
fancy. If by any chance they got into a house they would help 
themselves to eatables and if they could not find enough they 
would demand more. They made a queer procession as they 
passed along the street. The bucks on the horses or ponies led 
the way, then would follow the pack ^ponies, with long poles 
fastened to each side and trailing along behind loaded with the 
baggage, then came the squaws, with their babies fastened to 
their backs, trudging along behind. 

One early settler tells of her first experience with the Indians. 
She had just come from the far East, and was all alone in the 
house, when the door opened and three Indians entered, a buck 
and two squaws. They closed the door and placed their guns 
behind it, to show her that they would not harm her. They then 
went to the stove and seated themselves, making signs to her that 



STORY OF THE TOWN OF FONTENELLE 303 

they wanted more fire. She made a very hot fire in the cook 
stove. 

The old fellow examined the stove until he found the oven 
door; this he opened and took three frozen fish from under his 
blanket and placed them upon the gi'ate. While the fish were 
cooking, he made signs for something to eat. The lady said she 
only had bread and sorghum in the house. This she gave them, 
but the Indian was not satisfied ; he made a fuss until she finally 
found that he wanted butter on his bread. She had to show 
him that the sorghum was all she had. They then took up the 
fish and went out of doors by the side of the house to eat it. 
After they were gone she went out to see what they had left. 
She said they must have eaten every bit of the fish except the 
hard bone in the head, that was all that was left and that was 
picked clean. 

Among the first settlers who came in 1855 was a young Ger- 
man who was an orphan and had had a hard life in America up 
to this time. 

He took a claim and worked hard for a few years. He then 
went back to Quincy and persuaded a number of his own coun- 
trymen to come out to this new place and take claims, he help- 
ing them out, but they were to pay him back as they could. 

Years passed ; they each and all became very prosperous. But 
this first pioneer prospered perhaps to the greatest degree. The 
early settlers moved away one by one ; as they left he would buy 
their homes. 

The houses were torn down or moved away, the trees and 
shrubs were uprooted, until now this one man, or his heire — 
for he has gone to his reward — owns almost the whole of the 
once prosperous little village, and vast fields of grain have taken 
the place of the homes and streets. 

It is hard to stand in the streets of the little village which now 
has about one hundred fifty inhabitants and believe that at one 
time it was the county seat of Dodge county, and that it lacked 
only one vote of becoming the capital of the state. There are 
left only two or three of the first buildings. A short distance 
south of this village on a high bluff overlooking the river valley, 
and covered with oaks and evergreens, these early pioneers 
started a city which has grown for many years, and which will 
continue to grow for years to come. In this city of the dead we 



304 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

find many of the people who did much for the little village 
which failed, but who have taken up their abode in this beauti- 
ful spot, there to remain until the end of time. 

This story of Fontenelle has been gathered from my early 
recollections of the place and what I have learned through 
grandparents, parents, and other relatives and friends. 

My mother was raised in Fontenelle, coming there with her 
parents in 1856. She received her education in that first college. 

My father was the son of one of the first Congregational mis- 
sionaries to be sent there. I received my first schooling in the 
little village school. 




Mrs. Warren Perry 
Eleventh State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of tlie A 
Revolution. 1913-1914 



THOMAS WILKINSON AND FAMILY 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wilkinson, early Nebraska settlers, 
were of English birth, and came to America when very young. 
They met in Illinois and were married in 1859 at Barrington. 
They moved to Louisiana, remaining there until the outbreak of 
the civil war, when they returned to Illinois for a short time, 
and then emigrated to the West, traveling in a covered wagon 
and crossing the Missouri river on the ferry. They passed 
through Omaha, and arrived at Elk City, Nebraska, July 27, 
1864, with their two children, Ida and Emma, who at the pres- 
ent time are married and live in Omaha. 

Soon after arriving in Elk City, Mr. Wilkinson lost one of 
his horses, which at that time was a great misfortune. He pur- 
chased another from the United States government, which they 
called "Sam" and which remained in the family for many 
years. 

At one time provisions were so high Mr. Wilkinson traded his 
watch for a bushel of potatoes. 

At that time land was very cheap and could be bought for from 
two to five dollars per acre. The same land is now being held at 
two hundred dollars per acre. Labor was scarce, with the excep- 
tion of that which could be obtained from the Indians. There 
were a large number of Indians in that part of the country, and 
the settlers often hired the squaws to shuck corn and cut fire- 
wood. 

Mrs. Wilkinson has often told of the Indians coming to her 
door and demanding com meal or beef. They always wanted 
beef and would not accept pork. They would come at night, 
look in at the windows, and call for firewater, tobacco, and pro- 
visions. Their visits were so frequent that Mrs. Wilkinson soon 
mastered much of their language and was able to talk to them 
in their own tongue. 

Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson first settled about twenty-five miles 
from Omaha on the old military road. During the early days of 
their life there, Mrs. Wilkinson made large quantities of butter 

305 



306 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

for regnlar customers in Omaha. They often arose at three 
o'clock, hitched up the lumber wagon, and started for town, 
there to dispose of her butter and eggs and return with a supply 
of provisions. 

As a rule the winters were extremely severe and Mrs. Wilkin- 
son has often told of the terrible snow storms which would fill 
the chimneys so full of snow it would be impossible to start a 
fire, and she would have to bundle the children up in the bed- 
clothes and take them to the nearest house to keep from freezing. 

During their second year in Nebraska they went farther west 
and located at " Timberville, " which is now known as Ames. 
There they kept a "ranch house" and often one hundred teams 
arrived at one time to remain over night. They would turn 
their wagons into an immense corral, build their camp fires, and 
rest their stock. These were the "freighters" of the early days, 
and generally got their own meals. 

During their residence at Elk City, two more children were 
born, Nettie and Will. 

They continued to live on the farm until the year 1887, when 
they moved to Blair, Nebraska, there to rest in their old age. 

Mr. Wilkinson died July 18, 1912. He is survived by his 
wife, Mrs. Lucy Wilkinson, a son, Wm. W. Wilkinson, and two 
daughters, Mrs. J. Fred Smith and Mrs. Herman Shields. Mrs. 
George B. Dyball, another daughter, died May 13, 1914. 



NIKUMI 
By Mrs. Harriet S. MacMurphy 

He glanced from the letter in his hand to the Indian woman 
sitting in the door of the skin tipi, and the papoose on the 
ground beside her, then down the river, his eyes moving on, like 
the waters, and seeing some vision of his brain, far distant. 
After a time his gaze came back and rested upon the woman and 
her babe again. 

"If I could take the child," he murmured. 

The squaw watched him furtively while she drew the deer 
sinew through the pieces of skin from which she was fashioning 
a moccasin. She understood, although spoken in English, the 
words he was scarce conscious of uttering, and, startled out of 
her Indian instinct of assumed inattention, looked at him with 
wide-opened eyes, trying to fathom a matter hardly compre- 
hended but of great moment to her. 

"Take the child" — where, and for what? Was he going to 
leave and sail down the great river to the St. Louis whence came 
all traders and the soldiers on the boats? Going away again as 
he had come to her many seasons ago? "Take the child," her 
child and his? Her mouth closed firmly, her eyes darkened and 
narrowed, as she stooped suddenly and lifted the child to her 
lap; ajid the Indian mother's cunning and watchfulness were 
aroused and pitted against the white father's love of his child. 

Port Atkinson was the most western post of the line estab- 
lished by President Monroe in 1819, after the Louisiana Pur- 
chase, to maintain the authority of the United States against 
Indian turbulence and British aggression, and had been in ex- 
istence about four years before our story opens. 

Here had been stationed the Sixth U. S. Infantry, who had 
wearily tramped for two months the banks of the Missouri river 
and dragged their boats after them, a distance of nearly a thou- 
sand miles of river travel to reach this post in the wilderness. 
Not a white man then occupied what is now the state of Iowa, 
except Julien Dubuque and a score or so of French traders. 

307 



308 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Not a road was to be foiind nor a vehicle to traverse it. But 
one or two boats other than keel boats and barges had ever over- 
come the swift cun-ent of the great Missouri thus far. 

The Santa Fe trail, that wound over the hills west of the fort, 
connected them with the Mexican Spanish civilization of the 
Southwest, and the great rivers with their unsettled land far 
away on the Atlantic seaboard. 

Seventy-five years ago these soldiers dropped the ropes with 
which they had dragged the barges and keel boats and them- 
selves thither, and picking up spade and shovel, dug founda- 
tions, molded and burned brick, cut down trees, and built bar- 
racks for themselves and the three detachments of artillery who 
terrified the red-men with the mysterious shells which dropped 
down amongst them and burst in such a frightful manner. 

They numbered about twelve hundred men, and the bricks 
they molded and the cellars they dug still remain to tell of the 
Fort Atkinson that was, beside whose ruins now stands the little 
village of Fort Calhoun, sixteen miles north of Omaha on the 
Missouri river. 

Dr. Gale, whom we have thus seen considering a question of 
great importance both to himself and to the Indian woman with 
whom he seems to have some relation, was the surgeon of the 
Sixth Infantry, an Englishman, short, thick-set, and evidently 
of good birth, although the marks of his rough life and rather 
dissolute habits obscured it in some degree. 

The point where Fort Atkinson was built was the noted 
"Council Bluff" at which Lewis and Clark held the Indian 
council famous in the first annals of western explorations, and 
it still remains a rendezvous for the various tribes of Indians, 
the "Ottoes, Pawnees, 'Mahas, Ayeaways, and Sioux," attracted 
thither by the soldiers and the trading posts, and secure from 
each others' attacks on this neutral ground. 

Shortly after the troops were located here an Ayeaway (Iowa) 
chief and his band pitched their tents near the fort. The daugh- 
ter of this chief was named Nikumi ; she was young and had not 
been inured to the hard tasks which usually fell to the squaws, 
so her figure was straight, her eyes bright, and her manner 
showed somewhat the dignity of her position. 

Not a white woman was there within a radius of five hundred 
miles except a few mai-ried ones belonging to the fort ; was it 



NIKUMI 309 

strange that Dr. Gale, the younger son of an English family 
who had left civilization for a life of adventure in the New 
World, and who seemed destined to dwell away from all women 
of his own race, should woo this Indian princess and make her 
his wife? He had chosen the best of her race, for all who re- 
member her in after years speak of her dignified carriage, her 
well-formed profile, and her strength of will and purpose, so 
remarkable among Indian women. 

For four years she had been his wife, and the child she had 
just seized and held in her arms as if she would never let her 
go, was their child, little Maiy, as her father named her, perhaps 
from his own name, Marion. 

But now this union, which her unknowing mind had never 
surmised might not be for all time, and his, alas, too knowing 
one had carelessly assumed while it should be his pleasure, was 
about to be severed. 

A boat had come up the river and brought mail from Chariton 
or La Charette, as the Frenchmen originally named it, several 
hundred miles below, and the point to which mail for this fort 
was sent. 

These uncertain arrivals of news from the outside world made 
important epochs in the life of the past. The few papers and 
letters were handled as if they had been gold, and the contents 
were read and reread until almost worn out. For Dr. Gale 
came a bulky letter or package of lettei"s tied together and sealed 
over the string with a circle of red wax. There was no envelope, 
as we have now, but each letter was written so as to leave a 
blank space after folding for the superscription, and the postage 
was at least tM'enty-five cents on the three letters so tied to- 
gether. The postmark of the outer one was New York City ; it 
was from a law firm and infonned Dr. Marion F. Gale, sur- 
geon of the Sixth Infantry, stationed at Fort Atkinson, the 
"camp on the Missouri river," that the accompanying letters 
had been received by them from a firm of London solicitors, 
and begging to call his attention to the same. His attention 
being most effectually called thereto elicited fii-st that Messrs. 
Shadwell & Fitch of London desired them to ascertain the where- 
abouts of Marion F. Gale, late of Ipswich, England, and now 
supposed to be serving in the U. S. army in the capacity of 
surgeon, and convey to him the accompanying information, being 



310 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

still further to the effect that by a sudden death of James Bur- 
ton Gale, who died without male issue, he, Marion P. Gale, being 
next of kin, was heir to the estate of Burton Towers, Ipswich, 
England. Last came a letter from the widow of his brother, 
telling him the particulars of his brother's death. 

Ten years before he had left home with a hundred pounds in 
his pocket and his profession, to make himself a career in the 
new country. 

There were two brothers older than he, one of them married, 
and there seemed little prospect that he would ever become pro- 
prietor of Burton Towers; but they, who lived apparently in 
security, were gone, and he who had traversed the riverway of 
an unknown and unsettled country, among Indians and wild 
animals, was alive and well to take their place. 

He thought of the change, back to the quiet life of an English 
country squire, after these ten years of the free life of the plains, 
and the soldiers and the Indians. The hunting of the buffalo, 
the bear, and the elk exchanged for the tame brush after a wild 
fox, or the shooting of a few partridges. 

But the family instinct was strong, after all, and his eye 
gleamed as he saw the old stone house, with its gables and tow- 
ers, its glorious lawns and broad driveway with the elms meeting 
overhead. Oh, it would satisfy that part of his nature well to 
go back as its master. This vision it was that had filled his eyes 
as they looked so far away. But then they came back again and 
rested on Nikmni and the child. 

A certain kind of love had been begotten in his heart for the 
Indian maiden by her devotion to him, although he had taken 
her without a scruple at the thought of leaving her when cir- 
cumstances called him away. But now he felt a faint twinge 
of the heart as he realized that the time had come, and a stronger 
one when he thought that he must part with the child. "But 
why need I do it?" he soliloquized. "I can take the child with 
me and have her educated in a manner to fit her for my daugh- 
ter ; if she is as bright as her mother, education and environment 
will fit her to fill any position in Life, but with Nikumi it is too 
late to begin, and she has no white blood to temper the wildness 
of the Indian. I will take the child." 

Not a care for the mother love and rights. ' ' Only a squaw. ' ' 
What rights had she compared with this English gentleman who 



NIKUMI 311 

had taken her from her tribe, and now would cast her back again 
and take away her child? But ah, my English gentleman, you 
reckoned without your ordinary sagacity when you settled that 
point without taking into consideration the mother love and the 
Indian cunning and watchfulness, their heritage from genera- 
tions of warfare with each other. 

"What have you got?" she asked in the flowing syllables of 
the Indian tongue, for like the majority of Indians, though she 
understood much English she never, to the end of her days, 
deigned to speak it. 

"Some words from my friends in the far-away country over 
the waters, Nikumi," he answered. "My brother is dead." 

"Ah, and you are sad. You will go there to that land?" she 
said. 

"I don't know, Nikumi; I may have to go over, for there is 
much land and houses and fields to be cared for. I am going 
down to see Sarpy, now. He came up on the boat today." 

She watched him as he strode off down past the cattle station 
towards the fort. In the summer time her love of her native life 
asserted itself, and she left the log quarters which Dr. Gale pro- 
vided for her, and occupied a tipi, or tent of skins, down among 
the cottonwoods and willows of the bottom lands where portions 
of her tribe were generally to be found. When he passed out 
of sight she took her baby and went to a tipi a short distance 
from hers, where a stalwart buck lay on a shaggy buffalo robe 
on the shady side, smoking a pipe of kinnikiniek, and playing 
with some young dogs. She spoke with him a few minutes. 
He ceased playing with the dogs, sat up and listened, and finally 
with a nod of assent to some request of hers started off towards 
the fort. She followed shortly after and glided about from the 
post store to the laundresses' quarters, stopping here and there 
where groups of soldiers were gathered, and listening attentively 
to their talk about the news that had come by the boats. 

She learned that these boats were to be loaded with furs from 
Sarpy's trading post and go back to St. Louis in a few days. 
In the meantime the young buck, who was her brother, had gone 
by her directions to Sarpy's trading post, just below the fort. 
She had told him what she knew and surmised ; that the ' ' pale- 
faced medicine man," as the Indians called him, had received 
a paper from his friends across the great waters towards the 



312 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

rising suu which told his brother was dead, and that he might 
have to go there to care for the houses and lands his brother had 
left; that she had heard him say "If I could take the child," 
and she feared he might take her papoose away ; ' ' and he shall 
not," she said passionately. "I must know what he will do. 
Go you and listen if the medicine man talks with Sarpy ; watch 
him closely and find out all. ' ' 

He had followed the Indian trail which skirted along the edge 
of the high bluffs on the eastern boundary of the fort., and 
reached the trading post from the north. Going in he uttered 
the single word ' ' tobac, ' ' and while the clerk was handing it out 
to him he glanced around in the aimless, stolid Indian manner, as 
if looking over the blankets and skins hung against the logs. 
Back at the further, or southwest, corner of the store, near a 
window, and partially screened by a rude desk made of a box 
set upon a table and partitioned into piegon-holes, sat two men. 
One of them was Dr. Gale, the other, Peter A. Sarpy. 

To the ears of most readers the name will convey no particu- 
lar impression ; if a resident of Nebraska it would call to mind 
the fact that a county in that state was named Sarpy, and the 
reader might have a hazy consciousness that an early settler had 
borne that name; but in the days of this story and for thirty 
years later it meant power and fame. The agent of the Ameri- 
can Fur Company in that section, Peter A. Sarpy's word was 
law ; to him belonged the trading posts, or so it was believed ; he 
commanded the voyageurs who cordelled the boats and they 
obeyed. Every winter he went down the great river before it 
was frozen over, to St. Louis, and every spring his boats came up 
after the ice had broken up, and before the great mountain rise 
came on in June, with new goods that were anxiously looked for, 
and eagerly seized in exchange for the buffalo robes, the beaver, 
mink, otter, and deer skins that had been collected through the 
winter. He was of French parentage, a small man, with the 
nervous activity of his race ; the brightest of black eyes ; careful 
of his dress, even in the \\ilds; the polish of the gentleman al- 
ways apparent in his punctilious greeting to everyone; but mak- 
ing the air blue with his ejaculations if his orders were dis- 
obeyed or his ire aroused. Famous the length of the river for 
his bravery and determination, he was a man well fitted to push 



NIKUMI 313 

actively the interests of the company of which he was the agent 
as well as a member. 

The Indiaxi passed noiselessly out and going around to the 
side of the building seated himself upon the ground, and pulling 
his long pipe from the folds of his blanket, filled it with the 
"tobac," rested it on the ground, and leisurely began to smoke. 
It was no unusual thing for the Indians thus to sit round the 
post, and no one took any notice of him, nor in fact that he was 
very near the open window, just out of the range of vision of 
the two men sitting within. 

"So upon me devolves the succession of the estate of Burton 
Towers," Gale was saying to Sarpy, "and ray sister-in-law 
writes that some one is imperatively needed to look after the 
estate as there is no male member of the family left in Eng- 
land." 

"And you will leave your wild life of the prairies to go back 
to the tame existence of rural English life? Egad, I don't be- 
lieve I could stand it even to be master of the beautiful de- 
mesnes which belong to my family. Power is sweet, but Mon 
Dieu, the narrowness, the conventionalities, the tameness of ex- 
istence ! ' ' 

"No worse than the tameness of this cursed fort for the last 
year or two. It was very well at first when the country was new 
to us and the Indians showed some fight that gave us a little 
excitement, but now we've exhausted all the resources, and an 
English squire, even, wall be a great improvement. You've some 
change, you know. St. Louis in winter gives you a variety. ' ' 

"What are you going to do with Nikumi and Mary?" 

"That's what I want to talk to you about. I find I'm fonder 
of the child than I thought, and indeed it gives my heartstrings 
a bit of a wrench to leave Nikumi behind ; but to take her is out 
of the question. Mary, however, I can educate; she is bright 
enough to profit by it, and young enough to make an English 
woman of. I believe I shall try to get her away quietly, and 
take her with me." 

"You ought to have lived here long enough to have some 
knowledge of the Indians, but I'm damned if I think you are 
smart enough to get that child away from its mother," said 
Sarpy. 



314 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

"Well, I'll try it, anyway. The worst trouble I apprehend 
is getting away myself at so short notice. When do your boats 
go down again?" 

"In about a week." 

' ' To leave the troops without any surgeon is rather risky, but 
they're pretty healthy at this sea.son, and young Carver has been 
studying with me considerably, and can take my place for a 
short time. If I succeed in getting leave of absence to go on to 
Washington, Atkinson will probably send some one up from St. 
Louis as soon as possible. I shall have to get leave of absence 
from Leavenworth here, and then again from Atkinson at St. 
Louis. Then I can send in my resignation after I ari-ive at 
Philadelphia. All this beside the intermediate hardships and 
delays in reaching there." 

To the Indian outside much of this was unintelligible, but he 
heard and understood perfectly "I think I shall try to get her 
away from her mother and take her with me," and later the 
reply that the boats would go down in about a week. 

That was sufiBcient for him, and he arose, gathered up his 
blanket that had dropped down from his shoulders, slipped the 
pipe into his belt which held it around his waist, and then his 
moccasined feet trod the narrow trail, one over the other, the 
great toe straight in a line with the instep, giving the peculiar 
gait for which the Indian is famous. 

He found Nikumi back at her tipi; the kettle was hung from 
the tripod of three sticks over the fire, and a savory smell arose 
which he sniffed with pleasure as he approached, for Nikumi 
was favored above her tribe in the supplies which she received 
from the camp, and which included great luxuries to the In- 
dians. Nikumi was very generous to her relatives and friends, 
and often shared with them the pot which she had vai-ied 
from the original Indian dish of similar origin by diligently ob- 
serving the methods of the camp cooks. 

She had learned to use dishes, too, and bringing forth two 
bowls, some spoons, and a tin cup, ladled some of the savory 
mixture into them, for she had evidently learned the same lesson 
as her white sisters: when you would get the best service from 
a man, feed him well. 

On the present site of Fort Atkinson may be found, wherever 
the ground is plowed over or the piles of bricks and depressions 



NIKUMI 315 

that mark the cellars of the buildings are overhauled, a pro- 
fusion of old buttons, fragments of firearms, cannon balls and 
shells, and many pieces of delf. A quaint old antiquarian who 
lives there has a large collection of them which he shows with 
delight. 

"Who knows but that some of the fragments are piecesi of 
Nikumi's bowl, for as her brother told her of Gale's words to 
Sarpy, her face added to its bronze hue an indescribable grayish 
tinge, and starting suddenly, the bowl fell from her hand, strik- 
ing the stones which formed a circle for the fire, and broke into 
fragments. She forgot to eat, and a rapid flow of words from 
her lips was accompanied by gestures that almost spoke. They 
should keep strict watch of the loading of the boats, she said, 
and of the voyageurs in charge of them, and when they saw signs 
of departure of them, she would take the child and go — and 
she pointed, but spoke no word. He must make a little cave in 
the hillside, and cover it with trees and boughs, and she would 
provide food. When the white medicine man had gone he could 
tell her by a strip of red tied in the branch of a tree like a bird, 
which could be seen down the ravine from her hiding place, and 
she would be found again in her tipi as if she had never been 
absent. He grunted assent at well as satisfaction at the innu- 
merable bowls of soup, and then stretched himself comfortably 
and pulled out his pipe. 

Meanwhile little Mary, the heroine of this intrigue, was eat- 
ing soup and sucking a bone contentedly. Would she be an In- 
dian or an English maiden? She was an Indian one now, and 
happy, too. And Nikumi ? She had come to her white husband 
and remained with him contented and happy. He had been 
good to her in the main, although he swore at her and abused 
her sometimes when he got drunk or played at cards too long, 
but he was better than the braves were to their squaws, and she 
did not have to work as they did; she had wood and food and 
she could buy at the trading post the blankets and the stroud- 
ing, and the gay red cloths, and the beads with which the squaws 
delighted to adorn their necks and to stitch with deer sinew into 
their moccasins. She had lived each day unconscious that there 
might not be a tomorrow like it. But it had dropped from the 
skies, this sudden knowledge that had changed everything. 

Had she had no child she would doubtless have mourned si- 



316 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

lently for the man who had come and taken her life to be lived 
beside his and then left her worse than alone; but the greater 
blow had deadened the force of the lesser, and only her outraged 
mother love cried out. 

She sat on the buffalo robe inside the tipi and watched the 
child rolling about outside with the little fat puppy, hugging it 
one moment, savagely spatting it over the eyes the next. She 
had no right to rebel; an Indian did what he would with his 
squaw, how much more a white man, and to any decree concern- 
ing herself she would doubtless have submitted silently, but to 
lose her child — that she would not do, and she knew how to 
save it. 

All unconscious of this intrigue, Gale made his preparations 
for departure, and it was soon known through the camp that he 
was about to go to the ' ' states. ' ' 

He had taken pains to conceal the fact of his intended final 
departure for England. 

He secretly made arrangements with the man who acted as 
cook for the boats to take charge of little Mary until they got to 
St. Louis, where they could get a servant, and going down the 
river would take but a few days. 

Gale's condition of mind was not to be envied during the in- 
terval before he started. He scarcely felt the injustice to Ni- 
kumi in thus leaving her, but he could not quite reconcile with 
even his weak sense of her rights that he should take the child 
away from her, and yet he fully intended to do so. He spent 
much of the time with Nikumi at her summer residence, the 
tipi, and she treated him with the same gentle deference and 
quiet submissiveness that were usual to her, so completely de- 
ceiving him that he did not once surmise she knew anything of 
his plans. The last two or three days he occupied himself in 
packing a case of articles of various kinds that he had accumu- 
lated : an Indian pipe of the famous red pipestone of the Sioux 
country, with its long flat stem of wood cut out in various de- 
signs and decorated with feathers and bits of metal; moccasins 
of deer skin, handsomely beaded and trimmed with fringes, 
some of them made by Nikumi 's own hands; specimens of the 
strange Mexican cloths woven from the plumage of birds, brought 
by the trading Mexicans up the Santa Fe trail ; a pair of their 
beautiful blankets, one robe, a few very fine furs, among them a 



NIKUMI 317 

black bear skin of immense size, a little mat woven of the per- 
fumed grasses, which the Indians could find but the white man 
never, some of the nose and ear rings worn by the squaws. 

Nikumi came to his quarters while he was taking these things 
down from the walls and shelves where she had always cared for 
them with so much pride. In answer to her inquiring gaze he 
said: "I go Nikumi, to the far eastern land, and these I shall 
take with me to show my friends what we had that is beautiful 
in the land of the Indian and the buffalo, that they wish to know 
all about. " " And when will you return to Nikumi and Mary ? ' ' 
' ' I can not tell ; I hope before many moons ; will you grieve to 
have me go Nikumi?" "Nikumi will look every day to the 
rising sun and ask the Great Spirit to send her pale-faced medi- 
cine man back safely to her and the child." He put his arms 
about her with a strange spasm of heart relenting, realizing for 
a moment the wrong he was purposing to commit. But ah, the 
stronger taking advantage of the weaker. The strong race using 
for their own pleasure the weak one. "Ye that are strong 
ought to help the weak. ' ' He also prepared at Sarpy 's trading 
post, and by his advice, a smaller package of such things as 
would be desirable for little Mary's welfare and comfort. 

It was greatly lacking in the articles we should consider neces- 
sary these times, but when we realize that every piece of mer- 
chandise which reached this far away post had to be transported 
thousands of miles by river it is matter of wonder how much 
there was. 

The morning of the day before the boats were to start he oc- 
cupied himself with some last preparations, giving Nikumi a 
number of articles that she had used around his quarters to take 
to her tipi, and telling her he would leave money with Sarpy 
so that she might get what was necessary for herself and Mary. 
In the afternoon he went down to the post and did not return 
to the quarters until late, where he supped at the mess table and 
then went in the direction of Nikumi 's tent. He had devised, 
he thought, a cunning plan to get Nikumi to go the next morn- 
ing for some fresh leaves of a shrub which she often procured 
for him to mix in his tobacco, and of which he was very fond; 
and after her departure he would make for the boat and embark 
hastily with little Mary, whom he would keep. Resolving the 
broaching of his plan as he approached the tipi, he did not notice 



318 NEBRASKA PIONEER BEMINISCENCES 

that it failed to show the usual signs of habitation until he drew 
uear when he observed that the kettle hanging from the tripod 
over the circle of stones had no fire beneath it, and no steam 
issuing from it, no dogs were playing about, and there was no 
sign of Nikumi and little Mary. He began to look about for 
them; the flap of skin usually fastened up to form a doorway 
was dropped down ; he put it up and stooping, entered the tipi. 
It was almost entirely empty; the skins which had formed the 
beds were gone; the dishes seemed to be there, but the food of 
which he knew she always kept a supply, was all gone, and 
there were no signs of the articles of clothing belonging to them. 
Sarpy's words come to him, "I'm damned if I think you are 
smart enough to get the child away from its mother," and he 
knew that Nikumi had outwitted him. He should never see 
mother or child again. 

He turned and traced angrily the narrow trail to Sarpy's. 
Striding in and down the low, dingy, fur odorous room to the 
rear where Sarpy sat lazily smoking his pipe he exclaimed, 
"You were right, Sarpy, Nikumi has gone with the child." 
Sarpy took his pipe from his mouth slowly, "Well I'm sorry 
you are disappointed, but it will be better for you and the child, 
too; she would have grieved herself to death, and worried you 
almost to the verge of lunacy first, and you would have had the 
burden on your conscience of Nikumi unhappy, and all for no 
good." "But I'll not give her up. I had set my heart on it; 
I shall start a search party for her at once. " " And much good 
it will do you. There isn't a soldier in your camp that can find 
what an Indian chooses to hide, if it is not more than six feet 
away from him. You will only inform the camp of your design 
and of the fact that a squaw has outwitted you. ' ' 

Gale knew too well the truth of his statement, but he paced 
up and down the building angrily for some time, determining 
at each turn towards the door to start out at the head of a search 
party, but turning again with an oath toward the rear as the 
futility of it all was forced upon him. 

Sarpy regarded him quietly, a half smile in his eyes. He 
understood the conflict of feelings, the pain at leaving Nikumi, 
not very great, but enough to cause him some discomfort; the 
now added pain of separation from the child, also ; the chagrin 
at being outwitted by a squaw, and one who had always seemed 



NIKUMI 319 

so submissive, and whom he had not dreamed possessed so much 
aeuteness; the English obstinacy aroused by antagonism, all 
struggling against his knowledge that he could do nothing. 
Sarpy in his place would have invoked all the spirits of the 
darker regions, but he probably would never have put himself 
in a like predicament. To his class, seekers of fortunes in the 
New World, the Indian was simply a source of revenue and 
pleasure, treated fairly well to be sure, because that was the 
better policy ; while it suited their convenience to use them they 
did so ; when the need was supplied they cast them off ; possibly 
Gale, if he analyzed the situation at all, thought the same, but 
under the present circumstances, a different set of emotions 
dominated him. Nikumi, superior to her tribe, had inspired 
inconveniently deep feelings, and he found his fatherly love a 
factor he had not counted on. 

At last he approached Sarpy, and throwing himself in a chair, 
took out one of the two great soothers of man's woes, his pipe, 
lighted it and proceeded to mingle its smoke with that of Sar- 
py 's. "I suppose I shall have to give it up, but I 'm damned if 
I can submit to it with equanimity, yet ; outwitted by an ap- 
parently innocent and submissive squaw, I suppose two months 
from now I'll be thanking my lucky stars that I'm not saddled 
with a brat of an Indian, and at intervals thereafter shall be 
falling upon my knees, and repeating the operation. But I'm 
blessed if I can see it so now." 

"Yes it will be better for you as well as the others, and as 
soon aa you get away from here you will view it very differ- 
ently," said Sarpy. 

And Nikumi in her cave dug into the bluff, held her baby 
tight in her arms, and listened to every sound, while she watched 
by aid of the rude but cunningly devised dark lantern, the 
reptiles and insects which crawled about, moving only to dis- 
patch a snake or two that were venomous. 

Could Gale have seen her would he have relented and left the 
child to her? Has it been the history of the union of the strong- 
er and weaker races that the stronger have given up their de- 
sires ? 

"You will have to look out for Mary, too. Sai-py, as you have 
promised to do for Nikiimi. I haven 't any more money to leave 
with you at present, but I vdU send you some from England. 



320 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

I don't want her to grow up without any education at all, and 
have to slave and toil as squaws do generally, nor Nikumi eith- 
er. " "I '11 see to them, ' ' said Sarpy, briefly, ' ' there isn 't much 
chance for education unless they keep up the post here and she 
be permitted to learn with the white children ; for I don 't sup- 
pose Nikumi will ever let her go away to school as Pontenelle 
sends his boys, but she shall have what education she can get 
and Nikumi shall not be obliged to go back to her tribe for sup- 
port as long as I am here," and the smoke of the Frenchman's 
and Englishman's pipes ascended to ratify this compact. 

The next day at sunrise the boats dropped swiftly down the 
river. A figure at the stem of one of them watched until the 
last sign of the landing place faded in the early morning light. 

Dr. Gale had played a brief part in the settlement of a new 
country from which he now disappeared as if he had never 
been. 

In after yeare only the few who belonged to that early set- 
tlement remembered that Mary was his child, and told of it 
sometimes, when they recounted the adventuroiis life of those 
early days. A young man listened to these reminiscences from 
the lips of the strange, irascible, but warm hearted Frenchman, 
and treasured them in memory. Hence this true tale. Nikumi 
released from her reptile inhabited cave by the little red bird in 
the tree down the ravine, came back to her tipi. She had kept 
her child but she had lost her lover and her life. How should 
she take it up again? She had been always quiet and little 
given to the chatter and laughter of the young squaws; she was 
only a little more quiet now, and Mary's lot was decided; she 
would always be an Indian woman. 

One day Sarpy came to her and told her that Gale had left 
money for her and she was to come to the fort for what she 
wished. And after a time it came to pass that Sarpy took 
her to wife as Gale had done. Perhaps that was in his mind 
when he looked at Gale with a smile in his eyes; but Nikumi 
would not listen to him till she had waited long, and until Sarpy 
told her and she heard from others that Gale would never come 
again. And she was his faithful wife for many years, occupy- 
ing always, because of her inherent dignity and real womanliness, 
a position high in the estimation both of the white and the red 
men. Many tales are told of her life with Sarpy, how at one 



NIKUMI 321 

time she carried him miles on her back when he was stricken 
with fever in the mountains, until she brought him to aid and 
safety. Another time when he had given orders that no more 
goods should be given her from the post (she was always very 
liberal to her relatives and he wished to check it) she quietly 
picked up two or three bolts of calico, and walking to the river 
bank, threw them in ; a second armful followed, and then the 
enemy capitulated. And still another time when Sarpy had 
bought a beautiful black mare, "Starlight," to minister to the 
pleasure of a designing English widow, she one day quietly ap- 
peared when the horse was driven round by Sarpy's black ser- 
vant, and ordered it taken to the stable, and enforced the or- 
der, too. But this is another story. 

In later years, as Sarpy's dominion ceased with the gradual 
decline of the fur company, and he spent much of his time 
in St. Louis, Nikumi lived with Mary, who had married an In- 
dian like herself, with a mixture of white blood in his veins, 
although he was French, and who occupied a prominent posi- 
tion in one of the tribes to whom was given a distinct reserva- 
tion. Prom this mixture of English, French, and Indian bloods 
has arisen a family which stands at the head of their tribe, and 
one member who is known throughout this country. It is worthy 
of notice, too, that with one exception it has been the women 
of the family who have shown the qualities which gave them 
preeminence. 

Nikumi died March 23, 1888, at the home of her daughter 
Mary ; but her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren 
live to show that sometimes the mixture of races tends to develop- 
ment of the virtues, and not, as has been so often said, of the 
vices of both races. 



THE HEROINE OF THE JULES-SLADE TRAGEDY 
By Mks. Haeriet S. MacMurphy 

Our two weeks ' ride over Iowa prairies was ended and we had 
reached our new home in Nebraska. I sat in the buggy, a child 
of twelve, with my three-year-old brother beside me, on the 
eastern bank of the Missouri river, while father went down 
where the ferry boat lay, to make ready for our crossing. 

In the doorway of a log cabin near by stood a young girl two 
or three years older than I. We gazed at each other shyly. She 
M^as bare-headed and bare-footed, her cheeks tanned, and her 
abundant black hair roughened with the wind, but her eyes were 
dark and her figure had the grace of untrammeled out door 
life. To my girl's standard she did not appeal, and I had not 
then the faintest conception of the romance and tragedy of 
which she was the heroine. 

We gazed at each other until father gave the signal for me to 
drive down on the clumsy raft-like boat behind the covered 
half-wagon half-carriage that held the other members of our 
family, which I did in fear and trembling that did not cease 
until we had swung in and out as the boat strained at the rope 
to which it was attached, the waters of the "Old Muddy," the 
like of which I had never seen before, straining and drawing it 
down with the current, and a fresh spasm of fear was added 
as we reached the far shore and dropped off the boat with a 
thud down into the soft bank. We had reached Decatur, our 
future Nebraska home, adjoining the Indian reservation with 
its thousand Omahas. 

For a long time I did not know anything further of the girl 
of the log cabin by the river side, only that they told us the 
family were named Keyou and the men were boatmen and fish- 
ermen and ran the ferry. This first chapter of my little story 
opened in the spring of 1863. 

Six years later my girlhood's romance brought marriage with 
my home-coming soldier, who in his first days in the territory 
of Nebraska had passed through many of the romantic events 



. HEROINE OF JULES-SLADE TRAGEDY 323 

that a life among the Indians would bring, among them clerk- 
ing in a trading post with one "Billy" Becksted, now the hus- 
band of my maiden of the riverside log cabin. And Billy and 
John always continued the comradeship of the free, happy, 
prairie hunting life, riding the "buckskin" ponies with which 
they began life together, although they came together from 
very different walks of life. 

And I learned of my husband that "Addie," as we had 
learned to call her, young as she was when first I saw her, had 
been the wife of a Frenchman named Jules, after whom the town 
of Julesburg (Colorado) is named, and his dreadful death at 
the hands of one Slade was one of the stock stories of the plains 
well known to every early settler. 

Billy and Addie after a time drifted away from Decatur down 
the river and we lost sight of them. 

We, too, left the home town and became residents of Platts- 
mouth. 

One day my husband, returning from a trip in the country 
said, "I ran across Billy and Addie Becksted today and they 
were so glad to see me that Addie put her arms round me and 
kissed me, with tears in her eyes. ' ' Later we learned with sor- 
row that Billy was drinking and then that he had come down 
to Plattsmouth and tried to find my husband, who was out of 
town and had gone back home and when almost there had taken 
a dose of morphine, and they had found him unconscious and 
dying near their log cabin under the bluffs half a mile above 
the Bellevue station. And my husband really mourned that he 
had not been at home, perhaps to have kept good-hearted Billy 
from his woeful fate. After a time Addie married Elton, a 
brother of Billy's, and one Sunday I persuaded my husband to 
go down to them in their cabin under the bluffs. 

"I have always wanted to get Addie to tell me her story of 
her life with Jules," I said. 

"I don't believe you can get her to talk about it," said Mac, 
"she never speaks of it, Elton says." 

We went, and they were delighted to see us, killed the fatted 
chicken and gathered for us some of the wild berries that grew 
in the bluffs, and then as we sat under the trees with the bluff 
towering above us, I asked her for the story of her girlhood's 
days out on the plains, when only a single house that sheltered 



324 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

three or four people was her home, and not another for many 
miles. 

"I was just a child," she said, "and Jules was more like my 
father than my husband. But there were few women in the 
country in those days and Jules said to my parents that he 
would take good care of me, and so they gave me to him, and 
they went on to Denver. He had a man and his wife to take care 
of the place and do the work, and I just did whatever I wanted 
to. "We were on the great trail to California and Pike's Peak 
and trains would come by and purchase supplies from us, so I 
did not get lonesome. Jules had had some trouble with a man 
named Slade a few years before and had shot Slade, but had 
taken him to Denver and put him in a hospital and paid to have 
him cared for and Slade and he had made it all up, my husband 
thought. Slade 's ranch was further west and on the other side 
of his ranch Jules had another ranch with cattle on, and one 
day he started oflf with two or three men to bring some of the 
cattle back. He had been told that Slade had threatened to 
kill him but he did not believe it, although he went armed and 
with good men, he thought. This time he did not take me 
along as he had the cattle to drive. When he got near Slade 's 
place Slade and his gang came down on Jules and his men, 
shouting and shooting, drove off Jules' men, took him and car- 
ried him to Slade 's ranch. One of Jules' men followed them 
and saw them tie Jules up to a great box and then Slade stood 
a ways off with his rifle and shot at Jules, just missing his 
ear or his neck or his hand that was stretched out and tied; 
sometimes hitting him just enough to draw the blood. He kept 
this up all the rest of the day and then towards night he fired 
a shot that killed him. The boys who were with Jules came 
back to us and told us what had been done. We were so fright- 
ened we did not know what to do at first, for we expected every 
minute that Slade and his gang would come and kill us. They 
did come the next day and carried off a lot of the stuff we had 
in the trading post but did not do any harm to us. The man 
and his wife that were with us and the boys then got a team 
together and put enough stuff into the wagon to do us until we 
could get to Denver. All the rest and the cattle I guess Slade 
got. Jules had money in some bank in Denver, he had always 
said, but we never could find it. I found my folks and after a 



HEROINE OF JULES-SLADE TRAGEDY 325 

while we came back here where we had lived before we went to 
Denver. ' ' 

She told her story in the simplest commonplace manner, but 
it did not need any addition of word or gesture to paint on my 
memory for all time the pathos beneath. 

A girl of fourteen, happy and eare-free under the protection 
of her father husband one day, putting him in the place of 
father, and mother, trusting to him, and suddenly standing be- 
side the rude trading post way out on the treeless spaces of the 
trail that seemed to come from solitude and lead away to it 
again, and listening to the story of the frightened cow-boy on his 
broncho whose almost unintelligible words finally made her un- 
derstand that her protector, the kind man she had learned to 
love, had died a death so horrible it would make the strongest 
man shudder. And with only three or four frightened, irre- 
sponsible people to save her, perhaps from a similar or worse 
fate? But the women of the plains had but little childhood, 
and must act the part that came to them no matter what it 
might be. 

Afterward she told me more of her strange life with Jules, of 
his fatherly, protecting care of her, of his good heart, of the 
trouble with Slade, which was Slade's fault in the first place, 
and it was plain to see the ideal that had always been cherished 
way down in her subconsciousness of the man who played such 
an eventful but brief part in her life. It was a wrong, perhaps, 
but natural feeling to have when I found by after reading of 
annals of the plains that Slade died the death that such a fiend- 
ish nature should have suffered. 

Addie Becksted still lives in a little cabin down among the 
hills about Bellevue, her children and grandchildren about her, 
and still bears traces of the beauty that was hers as a girl. She 
is only about ten miles distant from Omaha but has not visited 
it for years. 

When I go to see her, as I do occasionally, she puts her arms 
about me and kisses me on the cheek. And her still bright 
brown eyes look the affection of all the years and events that we 
have known together. 

It is well worth while to have these humble friends who have 
lived through the pioneer days with us. 



THE LAST ROaiANTIC BUFFALO HUNT ON THE 
PLAINS OF NEBRASKA 

By John Lee Webstek 

In the autumn of 1872 a group of men, some of whom were 
then prominent in Nebraska history, Judge Elmer S. Dundy and 
Colonel Watson B. Smith, and one who afterward achieved 
national fame as an American explorer, Lieutenant Frederick 
Schwatka, and another who has since become known throughout 
Europe and America as a picturesque character and showman, 
Colonel Wm. F. Cody, participated in what proved to be the 
last romantic buffalo hunt upon the western plains of the state 
of Nebraska. 

Elmer S. Dundy was a pioneer who had come to Nebraska in 
1857. He had been a member of the territorial legislature for 
two successive terms; he was appointed a territorial judge in 
1863, and became the first United States district judge after the 
admission of the state into the union. Colonel Watson B. Smith 
at that time held the office of clerk of the United States district 
and circuit courts for the district of Nebraska. Some years 
afterward he met a tragic death by being shot (accidentally or 
by assassination) in the corridors of the federal building in the 
city of Omaha. Colonel Smith was a lovable man, of the highest 
unimpeachable integrity and a most efficient public officer. There 
was also among the number James Neville, who at that time held 
the office of United States attorney and who afterward became 
a judge of the district court of Douglas county. He added 
zest, vim, and spirit by reason of some personal peculiarities to 
be mentioned later on. 

These men, with the writer of this sketch, were anxious to 
have the experience and the enjoyment of the stimulating ex- 
citement of participating in a buffalo hunt before those native 
wild animals of the plans should become entirely extinct. To 
them it was to be a romantic incident in their lives and long to 
be remembered as an event of pioneer days. They enjoyed the 
luxury of a pullman car from Omaha to North Platte, which at 



LAST EOMANTIC BUFFALO HUNT 327 

that time was little more than a railway station at a division 
point upon the Union Pacific, and where was also located a mili- 
tary post occupied by a battalion of United States cavalry. 

Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka, a regular army officer and 
American explorer, at one time commanded an arctic expedition 
in search of traces of the remains of Dr. Franklin. At another 
time he was in command of an exploring expedition of the Yu- 
kon river. At another time he commanded an expedition into 
the northernmost regions of Alaska in the interest of the New 
York Times. He also became a writer and the author of three 
quite well known books: Along Alaska's Great River, Nimrod 
in the North, and Children of the Cold. 

At the time of which we are speaking Lieutenant Schwatka 
was stationed at the military post at North Platte. He fur- 
nished us with the necessary army horses and equipment for the 
hunting expedition, and he himself went along in command of a 
squad of cavalry which acted as an escort to protect us if need 
be when we should get into the frontier regions where the In- 
dians were at times still engaged in the quest of game and some- 
times in unfriendly raids. 

William F. Cody, familiarly knowni as "Buffalo Bill," who 
had already achieved a reputation as a guide and hunter and 
who has since won a world reputation as a showman, went along 
with us as courier and chief hunter. He went on similar expedi- 
tions into the wilder regions of Wyoming with General Phil 
Sheridan, the Grand Duke Alexis, and othei-s quite equally cele- 
brated. 

This Omaha group of amateur buffalo hunters, led by Buffalo 
Bill and escorted by Lieutenant Schwatka and his squad of cav- 
alry, rode on the afternoon of the first day from North Platte 
to Fort MePherson and there camped for the night with the 
bare earth and a blanket for a bed and a small army tent for 
shelter and cover. 

On the next morning after a nide army breakfast, eaten while 
we sat about upon the ground, and without the luxury of a bath 
or a change of wearing apparel, this cavalcade renewed its jour- 
ney in a southwesterly direction expecting ultimately to reach 
the valley of the Republican. We consumed the entire day in 
traveling over what seemed almost a barren waste of undulating 
prairie, except where here and there it was broken by a higher 



328 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

upland and now and then crossed by a ravine and occasionally 
by a small stream of running water, along the banks of which 
might be found a small growth of timber. The visible area of 
the landscape was so great that it seemed boundless — an im- 
mense wilderness of space, and the altitude added to the invig- 
orating and stimulating effect of the atmosphere. 

We amateurs were constantly in anticipation of seeing either 
wild animals or Indians that might add to the spirit and zest of 
the expedition. There were no habitations, no fields, no farms. 
There was the vast expanse of plain in front of us ascending 
gradually westward toward the mountains with the blue sky and 
sunshine overhead. I do not recollect of seeing more than one 
little cabin or one little pioneer ranch during that whole day's 
ride. I do know that as the afternoon wore on those of us who 
were amateur horsemen were pleased to take our turns as the 
opportunity offered of riding in the army wagon which carried 
our supplies, and leading our horses. 

When the shades of night of the second day had come we had 
seen many antelope and now and then heard the cry of the 
coyote and the wolf but we had not seen any sign of buffalo, but 
we did receive information from some cattlemen or plain wan- 
derers that there was a band of roving Indians in that vicinity 
which created in us a feeling of some anxiety — not so much 
for our personal safety as that our horses might be stolen and 
we be left in these remote regions without the necessai-y facili- 
ties for traveling homeward. 

Our camp for the night was made upon a spot of low ground 
near the bank of a small creek which was bordered by hills on 
either side and sheltered by a smaU grove of timber near at 
hand. The surrounding hills would cut off the sight of the 
evening camp fires, and the timber would obscure the ascending 
columns of smoke as they spread into space through the branches 
of the trees. 

The horses were picketed near the camp around the commis- 
sary wagon and Lieutenant Schwatka placed the cavalrymen 
upon sentinel duty. The night was spent with some restlessness 
and sleep was somewhat disturbed in anticipation of a possible 
danger, and I believe that all of us rather anxiously awaited 
the coming of the morning with the eastern sunlight that we 
might be restored to that feeling of security that would come 



LAST ROMANTIC BUFFALO HUNT 329 

with freedom of action and the opportunity for ' ' preparedness. ' ' 
When morning did come we had the pleasure of greeting each 
other with pleasant smiles and a feeling of happy contentment. 
We had not been molested by the Indians and our military sen- 
tinels had not seen them. 

On the afternoon of the third day of our march into the wil- 
derness we reached the farther margin of a high upland of the 
rim of a plain, where we had an opportunity of looking down 
over a large area of bottomland covered by vegetation and where 
there appeared to be signs of water. Prom this point of van- 
tage we discovered a small herd of browsing buffalo but so far 
away from us as to be beyond rifle range. These animals were 
apparently so far away from civilization or human habitation of 
any kind that their animal instinct gave them a feeling of safety 
and security. 

We well knew that these animals could seent the approach 
of men and horses even when beyond the line of vision. We 
must study the currents of the air and plan our maneuvei-s with 
the utmost caution if we expected to be able to approach within 
any reasonable distance without being first discovered by them. 

We intrusted ourselves to the guidance of Buffalo Bill, whose 
experience added to his good judgment, and so skilfully did he 
conduct our maneuvers around the hills and up and down ra- 
vines that within an hour we were within a reasonable distance 
of these wild animals before they discovered us, and then the 
chase began. It was a part of the plan that we should surround 
them but we were prudently cautioned by Mr. Cody that a 
buffalo could run faster for a short distance than our horses. 
Therefore we must keep far enough away so that if the buffalo 
should turn toward any of us we could immediately turn and 
flee in the opposite direction as fast as our horses could carry us. 

I must stop for a moment to recite a romantic incident which 
made this buffalo chase especially picturesque and amusing. 
Judge Neville had been in the habit of wearing in Omaha a high 
silk hat and a full dress coat (in common parlance a spiketail). 
He started out on this expedition wearing this suit of clothes 
and without any change of garments to wear on the hunt. So it 
came about that when this group of amateur buffalo huntsmen 
went riding pell-mell over the prairies after the buffalo, and like- 
wise when pursued by them in turn, Judge Neville sat astride 



330 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

his running war-liorse wearing his high silk hat and the long 
flaps of his spiketail coat floating out behind him on the breeze 
as if waving a farewell adieu to all his companions. He pre- 
sented a picture against the horizon that does not have its par- 
allel in all pioneer history. 

It was entirely impossible for us inexperienced buffalo hunters 
while riding galloping horses across the plains to fire our rifles 
with any degree of accuracy. Suffice it to say we did not suc- 
ceed in shooting any buffalo and I don't now even know that 
we tried to do so. We were too much taken up with the excite- 
ment of the chase and of being chased in turn. At one time 
we were the pursuers and at another time we wei*e being pur- 
sued, but the excitement was so intense that there was no limit 
to our enjoyment or enthusiasm. 

Buffalo Bill furnished us the unusual and soul-stirring 
amusement of that afternoon. He took it upon himself individ- 
ually to lasso the largest bull buffalo of the herd while the rest 
of us did but little more than to direct the course of the flight 
of these wild animals, or perhaps, more correctly expressed — 
to keep out of their way. It did not take Buffalo Bill very long 
to lasso the large bull buffalo as his fleet blooded horse circled 
around the startled wild animal. When evening came we left 
the lassoed buffalo out on the plains solitary and alone, lariated 
to a stake driven into the ground so firmly that we felt quite 
sure he could not escape. It is my impression that we captured 
a young buffalo out of the small herd, which we placed in a 
corral found in that vicinity. 

On the following morning we went out upon the plains to get 
the lassoed buffalo and found that in his efforts to break away 
he had broken one of his legs. We were confronted with the 
question whether we should let the animal loose upon the prai- 
ries in his crippled condition or whether it would be a more 
merciful thing to shoot him and put him out of his pain and suf- 
fering. Buffalo Bill solved the vexatious problem by concluding 
to lead the crippled animal over to the ranchman's house and 
there he obtained such instruments as he could, including a 
butcher knife, a hand-saw, and a bar of iron. He amputated 
the limb of the buffalo above the point of the break in the bone 
and seared it over with a hot iron to close the artery and pre- 
vent the animal from bleeding to death. The surgical operation 



LAST ROMANTIC BUFFALO HUNT 331 

thus rudely performed upon this big, robust wild animal of the 
prairie seemed to be quite well and successfully performed. The 
buffalo was then left in the ranchman's corral with the under- 
standing that he would see it was well fed and watered. 

We were now quite a way from civilization and near the 
Colorado border line, and notwithstanding our subsequent rid- 
ing over the hills and uplands during the following day we did 
not discover any other buffalo and those which had gotten away 
from us on the preceding day could not be found. During that 
day we turned northward, and I can remember that about noon 
we came to a cattleman's ranch where for the first time since 
our start on the journey we sat do-«Ti to a wooden table in a log 
cabin for our noonday meal. During the afternoon we traveled 
northward as rapidly as our horses could carry us but night 
came on when we were twenty miles or more southwest of Fort 
McPherson and we found it again necessary to go into camp 
for the night, sleeping in the little army tents which we carried 
along with us in the commissary wagon. 

Colonel Cody on this journey had been riding his own private 
horse — a beautiful animal, capable of great speed. I can re- 
member quite well that Mr. Cody said that he never slept out at 
night when within twenty miles of his own home. He declined 
to go into camp with us but turned his horse to the northward 
and gave him the full rein and started off at a rapid gallop over 
the plains, expecting to reach his home before the hour of mid- 
night. It seemed to us that it would be a desolate, dreary, lone- 
some and perilous ride over the solitude of that waste of countiy, 
without roads, without lights, without sign boards or guides, but 
Buffalo Bill said he knew the direction from the stars and that 
he would trust his good horse to safely carry him over depres- 
sions and ravines notwithstanding the darkness of the night. So 
on he sped northward toward his home. 

On the next day we amateur buffalo hunters rode on to Port 
McPherson and thence to North Platte where we returned our 
army horses to the military post with a debt of gratitude to 
Lieutenant Schwatka, who at all times had been generous, cour- 
teous, and polite to us, as well as an interesting social companion. 

So ended the last romantic and rather unsuccessful buffalo 
hunt over the western plains of the state of Nebraska — a region 



332 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

then desolate, arid, barren, and almost totally uninhabited, but 
today a wealthy and productive part of our state. 

The story of the buffalo hunt in and of itself is not an inci- 
dent of much importance but it furnishes the material for a 
most remarkable contrast of development within a period of a 
generation. The wild buffalo has gone. The aboriginal red 
man of the plains has disappeared. The white man with the 
new civilization has stepped into their places. It all seems to 
have been a part of Nature's great plan. Out of the desolation 
of the past there has come the new life with the new civilization, 
just aa new worlds and their satellites have been created out of 
the dust of dead worlds. 

There was a glory of the wilderness but it has gone. There 
was a mystery that haunted all those barren plains but that too 
has gone. Now there are fields and houses and schools and 
groves of forest trees and villages and towns, all prosperous 
under the same warm sunshine as of a generation ago when the 
buffalo grazed on the meadow lands and the aboriginal Indians 
hunted over the plains. 




Mrs. Charles H. Aull 

Twelftli State Regent, Nebraska Society, Daughters of tlie American 

Revolution. 1915-1916 



OUTLINE HISTORY OP THE NEBRASKA SOCIETY, 
DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

By Mes. Charles H. Aull, State Regent 
The National Society of the Daughters of the American Rev- 
olution was organized in Washington, District of Columbia, 
October 11, 1890, and incorporated under the laws of Congress, 
June 8, 1891. Its charter membership numbered 818. Its de- 
clared object was: 

"To perpetuate the memory of the spirit of the men and 
women who achieved American Independence by the acquisition 
and protection of historical spots, and the erection of monu- 
ments; by the encouragement of historical research in relation 
to the Revolution and the publication of its results ; by the pres- 
ervation of documents and relics, and of the records of the in- 
dividual services of revolutionary soldiers and patriots, and by 
the promotion of celebrations of all patriotic anniversaries. 

"To carry out the injunction of Washington in liis farewell 
address to the American people, 'to promote, as an object of pri- 
mary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowl- 
edge, ' thus developing an enlightened public opinion, and afford- 
ing to young and old such advantages as shall develop in them 
the largest capacity for performing the duties of American 
citizens. 

"To cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of Ameri- 
can freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and 
to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty. ' ' 

Although there were previously some "members at large" in 
Nebraska, no chapter had been organized until the formation of 
Deborah Avery chapter in 1896. At present (1916) there are 
thirty-three chapters with a membership of fifteen hundred, and 
a well organized state society actively engaged in historical, edu- 
cational, and patriotic work. Each chapter pays to the state 
society a per capita tax of twenty-five cents. A conference is 
held annually to plan the state work and promote the purposes 
of the national society. 

Mrs. Charlotte F. Palmer of Omaha was appointed by the 
national society as organizing regent for Nebraska, June 7, 1894. 



334 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

She -was reappointed in February, 1895, and again in February, 
1896. 

No chapters were formed until in 1896, when Mary M. A. 
Stevens of Lincoln was admitted to membership in the national 
society, January 8, and was made organizing regent by Mrs. 
Philip Hichbom, vice-president general in charge of organiza- 
tion. Under the direction of Miss Stevens, Deborah Avery 
chapter was formed May 15, 1896, and chartered June 17 fol- 
lowing. 

In May, 1896, Mrs. Laura B. Pound of Lincoln was appointed 
state regent to succeed Mrs. Palmer and the real work of organ- 
ization was begun. 

Omaha chapter was formed June 29, 1896, and approved by 
the national society October 1, 1896. In December, 1896, Mrs. 
Elizabeth C. Langworthy was appointed organizing regent at 
Seward but a chapter was not completed there until nine years 
later. In February, 1897, Mary M. A. Stevens of Deborah 
Avery chapter and Mrs. Henry L. Jaynes of Omaha chapter 
were delegates to the continental congress at Washington. Miss 
Stevens nominated Mrs. Pound for state regent and Mrs. Jaynes 
nominated Mrs. John M. Thurston of Omaha for vice-president 
general from Nebraska. Their election followed. Mrs. Thurston 
died March 14, 1898, and her sister-in-law, Mrs. Angie Thurston 
Newman of Lincoln was elected at the following congress to 
succeed her. No new chapters were perfected in 1897 but Min- 
nie Shedd Cline of Minden and Mrs. Sarah G. Bates of "Valen- 
tine were appointed organizing regents. 

Mrs. Frances Avery Haggard of Lincoln was elected state re- 
gent by the* continental congress in February, 1898. She de- 
voted her energies to raising money and supplies for the relief 
work undertaken by the Daughters during the Spanish-Ameri- 
can war. At the close of her first term Mrs. Haggard declined 
a renomination. 

The third state regent was Mrs. Elizabeth Towle of Omaha, 
who was first elected in 1899 and reelected in 1900. Miss Anna 
Day of Beatrice was appointed organizing regent by Mrs. Towle. 

In 1901 Mrs. Laura B. Pound was again elected state regent 
and served two terms. The national society having made pro- 
vision for state vice-regents, Mrs. Mildred L. Allee of Omaha 
was elected to that office. Mrs. Annie Strickland Steele was ap- 



HISTORY OF NEBRASKA SOCIETY 335 

pointed organizing regent at Fairbury, Mrs. Janet K. Hollen- 
beek at Fremont, and Mi-s. Olive A. Haldeman at Ord. In her 
last report as state regent Mrs. Pound recorded two new chap- 
ters, Quivira chapter at Fairbury, organized December 3, 1902, 
and Lewis-Clark chapter at Fremont, January 17, 1903, with 
chapters at Beatrice and Ord in process of formation. Quivira 
chapter was chartered February 3, 1903, and Lewis-Clark chap- 
ter was chartered February 13, 1903. 

The first state conference was called by Mrs. Pound in Octo- 
ber, 1902, and was held in Lincoln at the home of the late Mrs. 
Addison S. Tibbetts. This conference was called to nominate 
a state regent and plan for observing the centennial of the Lewis 
and Clark expedition. This event was celebrated August 3, 
1904, the anniversary of the council of Lewis and Clark with 
the Otoe and Missouri Indians. On this date a Nebraska boulder 
was dedicated at Port Calhoun with appropriate exercises, par- 
ticipated in by the Sons of the American Revolution and the 
Nebraska State Historical Society. This was the first historical 
event commemorated by the Daughters in Nebraska. 

Mrs. Mildred L. AUee of Omaha was nominated for state re- 
gent at the conference in 1902, and Mrs. Emma Kellogg of Lin- 
coln for vice-regent. These nominations were approved at the 
continental congress in 1903 and both nominees were elected, 
and reelected in 1904. 

Coronado chapter at Ord was organized January 25, 1904, 
and Elizabeth Montague chapter at Beatrice June 17, 1904. 
The former was chartered September 30, 1904, and the latter 
June 21, 1905. 

On October 20, 1903, the second annual state conference was 
held in Omaha. Mrs. Charles Warren Fairbanks, president gen- 
eral of the national society, was the guest of honor and delivered 
an address upon the subject, "The Mission of the Daughters of 
the American Revolution." 

The third annual state conference assembled in Lincoln, Octo- 
ber 19, 1904, for a two days' session. Mrs. Elizabeth C. Lang- 
worthy of Seward was chosen for state regent and Mrs. Janet K. 
Hollenbeck of Fremont was the choice of the conference fol* vice- 
regent. Both were elected, and both were renominated at- the 
fourth state conference held at Fairbury in October, 1905. 



336 NEBRASICA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

Mrs. Langworthy organized the Margaret Holmes chapter at 
Seward April 10, 1905, and Nikumi chapter at Blair, February 
23, 1906. 

Lincoln entertained the fifth annual state conference October 
29-30, 1906, Mrs. Donald McLean, president general, being the 
guest of honor. At this conference a state organization was 
perfected and by-laws adopted providing that nominations for 
state regent and vice-regent should be made by the state board 
of management and submitted to the continental congress for 
election. Other officers for the state organization were to be 
elected at the annual conference. This system was followed 
until 1910, when the by-laws of the national society were changed 
to permit each state organization to elect its own regent and 
vice-regent. 

Mrs. Charles B. Letton of Quivira chapter, Fairbury, was 
nominated for state regent and Mrs. Janet K. HoUenbeck for 
vice-regent at the meeting of the board of management in the 
spring of 1907, and were elected at the national congress imme- 
diately following. Mrs. Letton waa reelected in 1908 and Mrs. 
S. D. Barkalow of Omaha was elected vice-regent. 

The sixth annual state conference was held in Omaha October 
22-23, 1907. Mrs. Letton appointed three organizing regents, 
one at Aurora, where no chapter has yet been formed; Mrs. 
Arthur E. Allyn at Hastings, and Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton at 
Kearney. On May 16, 1908, she organized the Fort Kearney 
chapter at Kearney, which was chartered October 27, 1908, with 
Mrs. Norton as its first regent. 

Mrs. Richard C. Hoyt presented the following resolution to 
the sixth annual conference and moved its adoption, the motion 
being seconded by Mrs. Henrietta M. Rees : 

"Therefore, be it resolved that the D. A. R. of Nebraska co- 
operate with the State Historical Society in taking some steps 
toward marking the old Oregon trail in Nebraska and that a 
committee be appointed to act in unison with the Historical 
Society. ' ' 

The resolution was adopted. Members of the Omaha chapter 
who were interested in this matter at the time, say that the idea 
was suggested by Dr. George L. Miller of Omaha, then president 
of the State Historical Society. In accordance with the fore- 
going resolution Mrs. Letton, state regent, appointed the follow- 




M<j^a'MENT Located in 
Bemis Park, Omaha, on 
THE California Trail or 

Military Road 

Erected by Omaha Chapter, 

Daughters of the American 

Revohition 



Monument in Riverside 
Park, Omaha, m.vbking the 
Initial Point op the Cali- 
fornia Trail 
Erected bj' Omaha Chapter, Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution 




HISTORY OF NEBRASKA SOCIETY 337 

ing committee: Mrs. John J. Stubbs, Omaha; Mrs. George H. 
Brash, Beatrice; and Mrs. Stephen B. Pound, Lincoln. 

The seventh annual conference was held at Fremont October 
29-30, 1908. At this conference Mrs. Letton urged that plans 
be made for marking the Oregon trail across Nebraska, and 
called upon Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton who had been appointed 
chairman of the Oregon trail committee to present the subject 
to the conference. 

In April, 1909, Mrs. Oreal S. Ward of Lincoln was elected 
state regent and Mrs. S. D. Barkalow of Omaha was reelected 
vice-regent. In 1910 Mrs. Ward was reelected state regent with 
Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton as vice-regent. 

The eighth state conference was held at Beatrice October 
28-29, 1909. At this conference it was voted to present two mar- 
ble pedestals to Memorial Continental Hall. It was resolved to 
vigorously prosecute the efforts to secure an appropriation from 
the legislature for the marking of the Oregon trail. Mrs. Charles 
B. Letton, during her last term as state regent, had endeavored to 
have the legislature of 1909 appropriate money for marking this 
trail, but no action was taken by that body until the session of 
1911, when, through the efforts of Mrs. Oreal S. Ward, who had 
been elected state regent, $2,000 was appropriated ' ' for the pur- 
pose of assisting in the procuring of suitable monuments to mark 
the Oregon trail in the state of Nebraska. ' ' This money was to be 
expended under the direction of a commission composed of "the 
state surveyor of Nebraska, the state regent of the Daughters of 
the American Revolution in the state of Nebraska, and the secre- 
tary of the Nebraska State Historical Society." This act was 
approved April 7, 1911. On April 10th following, the above- 
named commissioners met and organized as the "Oregon Trail 
Memorial Commission," with Robert Harvey president, Mrs. 
Oreal S. Ward vice-president, and Clarence S. Paine secretary- 
treasurer. 

During Mrs. Ward's term as state regent she organized four 
chapters, St. Leger Cowley chapter, Lincoln, December 3, 1909 ; 
Niobrara chapter, Hastings, October 12, 1910 ; Otoe chapter, Ne- 
braska City, February 15, 1911 ; Major Isaac Sadler chapter, 
Omaha, March 1, 1911. 

The ninth annual state conference was held in Seward, Octo- 



338 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

ber 19-20, 1910, and Mrs. Charles Oliver Norton of Kearney was 
elected state regent, and Mrs. Warren Perry of Fairbury vice- 
regent. They were reelected at the tenth state conference, held 
at Kearney, October 23-25, 1911. The following eleven chapters 
were organized during Mrs. Norton 's administration : 

Platte chapter, Columbus, October 20, 1911. 

Keavis-Ashley chapter, Palls City, January 5, 1912. 

Superior chapter, Superior, January 12, 1912. 

Thirty-seventh Star chapter, MeCook, February 21, 1912. 

David City chapter, David City, March 5, 1912. 

Pawnee chapter, Fullerton, March 28, 1912. 

David Conklin chapter, Callaway, February 22, 1913. 

Josiah Everett chapter, Lyons, February 26, 1913. 

BonneviUe chapter, Lexington, February 26, 1913. 

Nancy Gary chapter, Norfolk, February 27, 1913. 

Stephen Bennett chapter, Fairmont, February 28, 1913. 

Mrs. Norton attended the third meeting of the Oregon Trail 
Commission, held May 2, 1911, and was elected vice-president in 
place of Mrs. Oreal S. "Ward whom she had succeeded as state re- 
gent. During her term Mrs. Norton vigorously prosecuted the 
work of marking the Oregon trail, with the assistance of Mrs. 
Charles B. Letton, whom she had appointed as chairman of the 
Oregon trail committee. During her administration the contract 
was made for regulation markers to be used in marking the trail, 
and several were erected. There were also several special monu- 
ments erected ranging in cost from $100 to $350. The first 
monument to be planned for during this period was the one on 
the Kansas-Nebraska state line, to cost $350, which, however, 
was not dedicated until later, and the last monument to be dedi- 
cated during Mrs. Norton's term was the one on the Nebraska- 
Wyoming line, costing $200, for which Mrs. Norton raised the 
money from the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion in Nebraska and Wyoming. During this time there was 
also a very careful survey made of the trail and sites for monu- 
ments were selected. 

In April, 1910, Mrs. Andrew K. Gault of Omaha was elected 
vice-president general from Nebraska at the national congress 
and reelected in 1912, serving, in all, four years. 

The eleventh annual conference was held in Lincoln, October 



HISTORY OF NEBRASKA SOCIETY 339 

22-24, 1912. Mrs. Mathew T. Scott, president general, was the 
honor guest. Amendmenta to the by-laws were adopted in har- 
mony with the by-laws of the national organization and the date 
of the state conference was changed from October to March. 
It was provided that all state officers should serve for one term 
of two years, and the per capita tax was raised from ten cents to 
twenty-five cents. Mrs. Warren Perry of Fairbury was elected 
state regent and Mrs. Charles H. Aull of Omaha vice-regent. 

The twelfth annual state conference convened at Fairbury, 
March 17-19, 1914. During Mrs. Perry's term of office there 
were organized the following chapters: 

Oregon Trail chapter, Hebron, October 20, 1913. 

Jonathan Cass chapter. Weeping Water, January 23, 1914. 

Elijah Gove chapter, Stromsburg, February 16, 1914. 

Fontenelle chapter, Plattsmouth, April 21, 1914. 

Reverend Reuben Pickett chapter, Chadron, March 4, 1915. 

At the close of her administration twelve organizing regents 
were at work : Mrs. Eleanor Murphey Smith, Crete ; Mrs. Cap- 
itola Skiles Tulley, Alliance; Mrs. Mabel Raymond, Scottsbluff; 
Miss Jessie Kellogg, Red Cloud ; Mrs. Alice Dilworth, Holdrege ; 
Mrs. Clara King Jones, Wayne; Mrs. C. M. Wallace, Shelton; 
Mrs. Charles Brown, Sutton; Mrs. Margaret Orr, Clay Center; 
Mrs. Viola Romigh, Gothenburg; Mrs. Leona A. Craft, Morrill; 
Dr. Anna Cross, Crawford. 

The most important work to engage the attention of the state 
society during the administration of Mrs. Perry was the erection 
of monuments on the Oregon trail, and the accumulation of 
material for the present volume of reminiscences. A large num- 
ber of the regulation markers on the Oregon trail were erected 
during this time; several special monuments dedicated and 
others arranged for. 

The thirteenth state conference was held in Omaha, March 
17-19, 1915. Mrs. Charles H. Aull of Omaha was elected state 
regent, and Mrs. E. G. Drake of Beatrice vice-regent. Three 
chapters have been organized under the present administration : 

Capt. Christopher Robinson chapter, Crawford, June 16, 1915. 

Butler-Johnson chapter, Sutton, June 17, 1915. 

Three Trails chapter, Gothenburg, December 31, 1915. 

At the present time plans are being formulated for marking 



340 NEBRASKA PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

the California trail from Omaha and Florence along the north 
side of the Platte river to the Wyoming line. This work will 
be carried forward by the Daughters, through the agency of the 
Nebraska Memorial Association of which the state regent is 
vice-president. 



FINIS 

"The moving Finger writes, and having writ, 
Moves on : nor all thy Piety nor Wit 
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, 
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it. ' ' 

— Omar Khayyam 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abel, Anton, 60 

Adams, Anna Tribell, 189 

Adams, Clarendon K., Stirring 
Eve7its along the Little Blue, 214 

Adams County Gazette, 17 

Adams county, historical sketch of, 
11, 18 

Adriance, Eev. Jacob, 291 

Akers, William H., 14 

Ak-Sar-Ben, Knights of, 189 

Alexander, Colonel, 219, 222, 229 

Alexander, S. J,. 144, 270 

Alexander's ranch, 279 

Alexandria, Nebraska, 139, 270 

Alexis of Russia, Grand Duke, 327 

AUee, Mildred L. (Mrs. Abraham), 
189, 334, 335 

AUen, Edna M. Boyle, A Grasshop- 
per Said, 133 

Allen, Edwin M., 16 

Allen, Mrs. Emily BottorfE, Bem- 
iniscences of Washington County, 
286 

Allen, Mr. and Mrs. John, 284 

Allen, Pink, 284 

Allen, Thomas, 284, 295 

AUen, Thomas J., 299 

Allen, William, 143 

Allen, William Henry, Eeminiscen- 
ces of Fort Calhoun, 284, 287 

Allen, Mrs. WUliam Henry, 291 

Alliance, Nebraska, 339 

Allis, Samuel, 230 

Allyn, Mrs. Arthur E., 336 

American Baptist Publication So- 
ciety, 281 

American Fur Company, 312 

American Monthly magazine, 189 

American Woman's Suffrage Asso- 
ciation, 278 



Ames, John H., Location of the 
Capital at Lincoln, 176 

Ames, Nebraska, 306 

Ames, Oakes, 199 

Anderson, Mrs. Sarah F., 255 

Andrews, Dr. J. P., 287, 294 

Anthony, Susan B., 276, 277 

Arapahoe, Nebraska, 58, 60, 63 

Arbor Lodge, 219, 231, 235, 239, 240 

Arkeketah (Otoe chief), 120 

Arlington, Nebraska, 300 

Armstrong brothers, 162 

Arnold, Mrs., 293 

Arnold, Major, 293 

Asche, Mrs. A. Dove Wiley, 96 

Atkinson, Mrs., 213 

Atkinson, General Henry, 314 

Auburn, Nebraska, 212 

Auger, General C. C, 193 

Aull, Mrs. Charles H., Outline His- 
tory of the Nebraska Society, 
Daughters of the American Bevo- 
lution, 333, 339 

Aurora, Nebraska, 213 

Austin, O. O., 192 

Avery, W. H., A Buffalo Hunt, 131 

Ayres, James, Life on the Frontier, 
54 

Babcock, — , 124 
Babcock, C. C, 17 
Babcock, Russell D., 16, 17 
Babcock, Titus, 16 
Badger family, 97 
Badger, Henry L., 97, 101, 104 
Badger, Mrs. H. L., 101 
Badger, Lewis H., 97 
Badger, Mary A., 97 
Bailey, Wesley, 141 
Bainter, James, 11 



344 



INDEX 



Baker, Ben S., 275 

Baker, Joe, 148 

Baker, Wilton, 192 

Bancroft, Dr. WiUiam M., 57, 67 

Banking House of Thomas Harbine, 

145 
Barber, F. B., 30 
Barkalow, Mrs. S. D., 336, 337 
Barnard, E. H., 78 
Barneby, Battiste, 118 
Barnes, Mrs. P. S., 38 
Barnston, Nebraska, 120, 127 
Barr, P. F., 15 
Barrett, Jay Amos, 189 
Barretts, Bev. and Mrs., 211 
Bartlett, Iowa, 31 
Bassett, Samuel C, A Broken Axle, 

27; Dreamland Complete (poem), 

28 
Bates, Eev. Henry, 164 
Bates, Mrs. Sarah G., 187, 334 
Bauman, John, 294 
Bay State Cattle Company, 26 
Beatrice Express, 141 
Beatrice, Nebraska, 111, 113, 117, 

118, 122, 123, 127, 128, 133, 142, 

149, 152, 161, 163, 166, 181, 187, 

216, 270, 271, 275, 334, 335, 336, 

337, 339 
Beaver creek (Sandburr creek), 195 
Beaver Crossing, Nebraska, 258, 259, 

260, 261 
Becksted, Addie, 323, 325 
Becksted, Billy, 323 
Becksted, Elton, 323 
Bedford, Nebraska, 211 
Beeson, Jane, 94 
Bell creek, 30, 287, 297 
Bell, James, 249 
Bell, John T., 296 
BeU, Ortha C, An Incident in the 

History of Lincoln, 182, 185 
Bell, Mrs. Ortha C, Lincoln in the 

Early Seventies, 184-185 
Bell, Ray Hiram, 185 
BellevUle, Kansas, 142 
Bellevue, Nebraska, 236, 323, 325 



Beltzer, John, 248 

Beni, Jules, 323, 324, 325 

Benkleman, Nebraska, 263 

Bennett, Caroline Valentine, 254 

Bennett, Jacob, 254 

Berwyn, Nebraska, 46 

Bethlehem, Iowa, 41 

Betz, , 58 

Bierstadt, Albert, 214, 215 

Bifkin, Colonel, 105 

Big Blue river, 123, 151, 173, 242 

Big Sandy, 139, 140, 148, 152, 154, 
245, 280 

Binfield, S. B., 15 

Binney, Millard S., Crray Eagle, Paw- 
nee Chief, 194 

Bittenbender, Mrs. Ada M., 275 

Black, Gov. Samuel W., 240, 301 

Black Hills, 25, 50, 52, 110 

Blackbird creek, 30, 32 

Blackwell, Lucy Stone, 277 

Blaine, WiUiam H., 101 

Blair, Grant, 139 

Blair, James, 139 

Blair, Nebraska, 287, 291, 294, 298, 

Blizzards, 20, 59, 75, 99, 109, 125, 
128, 158, 160, 203, 205, 244, 245, 
249, 250, 261, 282, 300 

Blue river. 111, 113, 121, 161, 261 

Blue Springs, Nebraska, 112, 113, 
122 

Blue Vale, 102 

Bhie Valley Record, 111 

Boggs, Dr., 128 

Bohanan, Quinn, 182 

Bonesteel, , 244, 245 

Bookwalter, John W., 130 

Boston and Newton Joint Stock As- 
sociation, 168, 170, 171 

Bottorflf, Andrew J., Early Days in 
Stanton County, 266 

Bonneville chapter, Daughters of 
the American Revolution, 338 

Boone, Mrs. William, 247 

Bosler brothers, 26 

Boucha, Joseph, 289 



INDEX 



345 



Bouvier, Adeline, 289 
Bouvier, Mother, 289 
Bouvier, Oliver, Beminiscences of De 

Soto in 1S55, 289 
Bowen, Adna H., 16 
Bowen, Judge, 287 
Bower, Nebraska, 158 
Box Butte county, Historical sketch 

of, 25, 26 

Boyd, , 258 

Boyd, James E., 189 
Boyer and Roubidoux, 190 
Boyer, J. P., 190, 191 
Boyle, Judge, 133, 142 
Bradley, Judge James, 91, 293 

Brady, , 190 

Brady Island, 61, 190 
Brash, Mrs. George H., 336 
Brass, Samuel L., 16 
Brewster, Mrs. S. C, 91 
Brickley, E. D., 166 
Brigham, George A., 286 

Brisbane, , 260 

Broken Bow, Nebraska, 46, 48, 49 

Brooks, Mrs. , 275 

Brooks, Mrs. N. J. Frazier, Bemin- 
iscences of Pioneer Life at Fort 

Calhoun, 288 
Broome, Francis M., Frontier towns, 

22 
Bross, Rev. Harmon, 50 
Bross, Mrs. Harmon, An Experience, 

50 
Brown, Mrs. Charles, 339 
Brown, Mrs. Charles M., First 

Things in Clay County, 43 
Brown, F. M., 43, 44 
Brown, Hopkins, 244 
Brown, John, 141 
Brown, R. G., 44 
BrowneU hall, 96 
Brownville & Fort Kearny railroad, 

137 
BrownviUe, Nebraska, 31, 111, 116, 

142, 161, 211, 212 
Buchanan, a frontier town, 22 
Buck surveying party, 243 



Buffalo, 18, 19, 27, 59, 60, 64, 71, 76, 
99, 103, 104-106, 111, 117, 119, 
131, 142, 153, 154, 164, 175, 214, 
216, 219, 234, 242, 243, 289, 326, 
332 

Buffalo county, 29, 61, 223 

Buffalo creek, 58, 60 

Burgess, Frank, 248 

Burke, Mrs. , 190 

Burlington and Missouri R. R. Co., 
15, 16, 18, 43, 66, 122, 128, 136, 
137, 188, 254 

Burt, Mr. , 174 

Bush, Lieutenant , 222, 223, 226, 

229 

Bussard, Kate, 103 

Bussard, William, 109 

BusweU, Judson, 19 

Butler, , 217 

Butler, Gov. David, 99, 136 

Butler Johnson chapter. Daughters 
of the American Revolution, 339 

Byers, Mr. and Mrs. William N., 91 

Cabnet, Antoine, 189 

Caldwell, Mrs. A. J., 275 

California trail, 88, 339 

Callaway, Nebraska, 49, 338 

Cameron, L. D., 291 

Camp, WUliam M., 16 

Campbell, Alexander, 43 

Capital hotel, Lincoln, 135 

Captain Christopher Robinson chap- 
ter. Daughters of the American 
Revolution, 339 

Carney family, 75 

Carpenter, J. A., Early Days in Ne- 
braslca. 111 

Carr, Gen. E. A., 193 

Carson family, 213 

Carter, Alex., 290, 291 

Carter, "BiUy," 24 

Carter, Jacob, 291 

Carter, Mr. and Mrs. J. R., 14 

Carter, Thomas M., Beminiscences, 
290 

Cass county, Nebraska, 37, 94 



346 



INDEX 



Cedar creek (WiUow creek), 195 

Central City, Nebraska, 244 

Chabot, C, Early Becollections, 62 

Chadron, Nebraska, 24, 50, 339 

Champlin and McDowell, 156 

Champlin, L. C, 175 

Chandler, John S., 16, 19 

Chapman, Nebraska, 213 

Chapman, P. L., 143 

Chautauqua Literary and Scientific 
Circle, 282 

Cheyenne and Northern R. E., 264 

Cheyenne county, Kansas, 263 

Cheyenne, Wyoming, 193, 213 

Chief Pipestem (Otoe Indian), 144 

Chouteau, Auguste, 190 

Chauteau, Pierre, 190 

Christian, , 156 

Christian, Robert, 143 

Christian, William, 141 

Claim clubs, 93 

Clapp, Mrs. Sarah, Early Indian 
Eistory, 198 

Clark, E. H., 268, 284, 293 

aark, Mrs. E. H., Fort Calhoun in 
the Early Fifties, 293, 296 

aark, Elam, 286, 294 

Clark, Isaac N., 44 

Clarksoii, Rev. John F., 15 

Clark, Dr. Martin V. B., 44 

Clark, Theodore, 193 

Qarks, Nebraska, 249 

aay Center, Nebraska, 44, 339 

Clay county, 11, 18, 43 

Clements, , 33 

Clements, E. J., 282 

Cline, Mrs. J. A., 187 

Cline, Minnie Shed, 334 

Clother hotel, Columbus, 249 

Cody, William P. (Buffalo Bill), 
200, 263, 326, 327, 329-331 

Cogswell, Mrs., 193 

Colby, Mrs. Clara Bewick, 275 

Colby, Orrin, 287 

Cole, Gen. Albert V., Early Expe- 
riences in Adams County, 18 

Cole's creek, 285 



Collegeview (Fontenelle college), 

300 
Collins, Rev. Isaac, 291 
Columbus, Nebraska, 59, 60, 201, 

242, 247-250 
Comstock, E. S., 214, 216 
Comstock, George S., 214-217 
Concordia, Kansas, 155 
Conroy's ranch, 77 

Cook, , 244 

Cook, Capt. James H., 52 

Cooper, Dr. P. J., 287 

Cooper, Vienna, 287 

Corey, A. A., 43 

Coronado chapter. Daughters of the 

American Revolution, 282, 335 
Coronado, Francisco de, 112, 113, 

119, 232, 233, 283 
Correll, Ernest E., Fred E. Boper, 

Pioneer, 268; An Indian Raid, 

279 
Correll, E. M., 275, 277, 278 
Correll, Lucy L., The Lure of tlie 

Prairies, 272, 275; Suffrage in 

Nebraska, 277, 278 
Cottage Hill postofSce, 127 
Cottonwood Springs, 190, 191, 192 
Council Bluff (Fort Calhoun), Ne- 
braska, 308 
Council Bluffs, Iowa, 31, 92, 276, 

284, 290, 295 
Council creek (Skidi creek), 195 
Cox, William W., 255, 257 
Crab Orchard, Nebraska, 128 
Craft, Mrs. Leona A., 339 
Craig, Allen, 286 
Craig, Mrs. Rhoda, 295 
Cramb, J. O., 141 
Cramb, Will F., 141 
Crane, George, 20 
Crawford, Nebraska, 24, 51, 339 
Creighton college, 90 
Creighton, Edward, 285 
Creighton telegraph line, 191 
Crete, Nebraska, 15, 20, 163, 300, 

339 
Crook, General George, 199 



INDEX 



347 



Crooked Hand, the Fighter (Paw- 
nee Indian), 230 

Cropsey, Col. Andrew J., 162 

Cropsey, Daniel B., Early Days in 
Pawnee County, 135 

Cross, Dr. Anna, Legend of Crow 
Butte, 51, 339 

Cross, George, Early Events in Jef- 
ferson County, 137, 141, 143, 145 

Crow Butte, Legend of, 51 

Crow Heart Butte (poem). Pearl 
Shepherd Moaes, 52 

Cub creek, 140, 148, 164 

Culbertson, Nebraska, 60 

Culver, Gen. Jacob H., 189 

Culver, Mrs. Jacob H., 189 

Cuming City Claim Club, 290 

Cuming City, Nebraska, 286, 287, 
290, 291, 298 

Cuming county, 36 

Cuming, Governor Thomas B., 91 

Cuming, Mrs. Thomas B., 91 

Gumming, Mrs. NUs, 43 

Gushing, James, 244 

Gushing, Capt. S. E., 198, 200 

Custer County, Jteminiscences of, by 
Mrs. J. J. Douglas, 46, 48 

Daily-Gazette- Journal, 17 

Daily, Major, 120 

Dalbey, Dwight S., 129 

Dalbey, Mrs. Dwight S., member 

Book committee, 5 
Dalbey, Mrs. Virginia Lewis, Bi- 

ograpTiy of Ford Lewis, 129 
Daniels, J. H., 188 
Darling, Dick, 191 
Daugherty, R. C, 193 
Daughter of the American Eevolu- 

tion, 168, 187, 188, 253 
David City, Nebraska, 338 
David City chapter. Daughters of 

the American Eevolution, 338 
Davis, Frank M., 18 
Davis, J. v., 162 
Davis, Mrs. Thomas, 91 
Davis, W. H., 299 



Dawson county, 57, 61-64, 67, 72, 74 
Dawson, John, 201 
Day, Miss Anna, 187, 334 
Deadwood, South Dakota, 66 
Deborah Avei-y chapter. Daughters 

of the American Eevolution, 187, 

188, 189, 253, 333, 334 
Decatur, Nebraska, 30-33, 287, 322, 

323 
Delahunty, Patrick, 54 
De Merritt, Case of, 48 
De Soto, Nebraska, 287-289, 290, 

298 
Deep Well ranch, 105 
Deroin, Battiste, 118, 121 
Diller, Nebraska, 125 
Dillon, Ira G., 17 
Dilworth, Mrs. Alice, 339 
Dilworth's Islands, 55 
Dinsmore, John B., 44 
Dismal river, 63 
Ditto, Hank, 24 

Dixon, Mr. and Mrs. Nimrod J., 102 
Doane college, 300 
Dodge county, 298, 303 
Dodge, Gen. Grenville M., 91 
Dodge, Col. Henry, 190 
Donavan, Frele Morton, 180 
Donavan, W. T., 178 
Douglas county, Nebraska, 326 
Douglas house, Omaha, 92 
Douglas, J. J., 48, 49 
Douglas, Mrs. J. J., Eeminiseences 

of Custer County, 46 
Douglas, Stephen A., 235 
Dubuque, Julien, 307 
Dundy county, Nebraska, 263 
Dundy, Judge Elmer S., 326 

Dunlap, , 215 

Drake, Mrs. E. G., 339 
Dreamland Complete (poem), 29 
Dyball, Mrs. George B., 306 

Eagle (Missouri Indian chief), 119 
Eddyville, Nebraska, 66 
Edgerton, Gordon H., 11, 12, 17 
El Capitan Eancho, 216 



348 



INDEX 



Elijah Gore chapter, Daughters of 
the American Eevolution, 339 

Elizabeth Montague chapter, Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution, 
335 

Elk City, Nebraska, 305, 306 

Elkhorn river, 78, 84, 266, 267, 297, 
299, 300 

Ellis, Mrs. , An Acrostic, 204 

Elm creek, Nebraska, 61, 65, 75 

Endicott, Nebraska, 161 

Engle, Mr. and Mrs., 213 

Erickson, Charles J., 76 

Eriekson, Frank, 76 

Erickson, John, 76 

Erwin & Powers company, 58 

Estabrook, Mrs. Experience, 91 

Eubanks, Mr. and Mrs., 214, 215, 
217, 218, 270 

Evans, John, 264 

Evans, Mrs. May, 43 

Everett, Mr. and Mrs., 33, 34 

Everett, B. W., 30, 32 

Everett, Eleanor, 32 

Everett, Mrs. Elise G., Experiences 
of a Pioneer Woman, 32 

Everett, Prank, 33, 34 

Everett, Josiah, 30, 32, 33 

Ewing, , 55 

Fagot, Mrs., , 68 

Fairbury Gazette, 141-143 
Fairbanks, Mr. and Mrs., 103 
Fairbanks, Mrs. Charles Warren, 

335 
Fairbury, Nebraska, 75, 116, 118, 

133, 137, 139-146, 147, 154-158, 

161, 162, 166, 168, 175, 188, 275, 

335-337 
Fairfield, Chancellor E. B., 135 
Fairmont, Nebraska, 20, 75, 101, 338 
Falls City, Nebraska, 252, 253, 338 
Farnam, Nebraska, 77 
Ferguson, Susan E., 278 
Fifth U. S. Cavalry, 190, 193 
Fillmore county, 75, 97, 102, 107, 

109 



Fillmore postofSce, 27 

FUley, Elijah, 116, 127 

FiUey, Nebraska, 127 

Finney, Dr., 290 

First National bank, Fairbury, 143 

First Territorial Fair, 237 

Fisette, Mrs. Charles H., Pioneer 

Women of Omaha, 90 
Fish creek, 290 

Fisher, , 253 

Fisher, King, 279 

Fisher, Martin, 131 

Fitehie, S. D., 192 

Florence, Nebraska, 27, 80, 93, 248, 

339 
Fontenelle chapter, Daughters of the 

American Revolution, 339 
Fontenelle coUege, 296 
Fontenelle, Logan, 299 
Fontenelle Mounted Bangers, 301 
Fontenelle, Nebraska, 284, 295, 296, 

297, 298, 301, 304 
Fontenelle mission, 300 
Fort Atkinson, 188, 284, 307, 308 
Fort Calhoun, 284, 285, 286, 287, 

288, 289, 293, 294, 298, 308 
Fort Cottonwood, 285 
Fort Hartsuflf, 282 
Fort Kearny (Nebraska City), 152 
Fort Kearny, 12, 28, 60, 65, 88, 95, 

176, 219-223, 225, 227, 229, 242, 

285 
Fort Kearney chapter. Daughters of 

the American Revolution, 336 
Fort Laramie, Wyoming, 76 
Fort Leavenworth, 314 
Fort McPherson, 74, 76, 190, 191, 

193, 200, 327, 331 
Fort Omaha, 182 
Fourth of July celebration, 295 
Fouts, Marion Jerome (California 

Joe), 11, 13 
Fowlie, Peter, 15, 17 
Fox, The (Pawnee Indian), 228, 229 
Fox Ford, 270 
Francis, Samuel, 300 
Franklin, Dr., 327 



INDEX 



349 



Franklin county, 232, 233 

Prazier, John, 286 

Frazier, Thomas, 288 

Freeman, Charles, 244, 245 

Freeman, Daniel, 57, 66 

Freeman, Mrs. Daniel, Eecollections 

of the First Settler of Dawson 

County, 64 
Fremont, John C, 12, 78 
Freeman, Minnie (see Penney), 203, 

204 
Freeman, W. E., 244 
Fremont, Nebraska, 78, 82, 84, 178, 

188, 249, 267, 335 
Freighting, 11, 25, 37, 64, 95, 153, 

270, 285 
French, Luther, 43-44 
Frenchman river, 59 
Fritts' grove, 32 
Frontier Towns, Frances M. Broome, 

22 
FuUerton, Nebraska, 194, 338 
I'urnas, Gov. Robert W., 96, 213 

Gage county, 111-112-122, 123, 127- 

130, 216 
Gale, Dr. Marion F., 307-321 
Gale, Mary, 307-321 
Gale, Mell, 127 
Gantt, Judge Daniel, 192 
Gardner's Siding, 249 
Gates, Mr. and Mrs. MUo, 213 
Gates, Susan, 13 
Gault, Mrs. Andrew K., 338 
Gaylord brothers, 20 
Gaylord, Georgia, 91 
Gaylord, Ealph, 91 
Gaylord, Rev. Reuben, 91, 300 
Genoa, Nebraska, 194, 198, 200, 206, 

228, 229, 242, 246, 247 
Gerrard, E. A., 247 
Gibson, John McT., 145 
Gilkerson, Alice Flor, 78 
Gillingham, David (Gray Eagle), 

194 
GUlis, Judge, 230 
Gillman, J. C, 191, 192 



Oilman's ranch, 77, 220 

GUman, Jed, 220, 221, 222 

Gilmore, Lydia, 102 

GUman, Mrs. P. J. (Mary Hubbard), 

193 
Gilmore, Boss, 104 
Gilmore, Elias, 102 
Gilmore, Jake, 104 
Gilmore, Minnie, 103 
Glenn, Newton, 139 
Glenwood, Iowa, 41 
Goldsmith, Rev. S., 168 
GoodwiU, Mrs. Taylor G., 91 
Gordon, Jim, 139 
Gordon, Nebraska, 24 
Gosper, Mrs. Watie, 184 

Goss, , 291 

Gothenburg, Nebraska, 76, 339 

Gould, Charles, 170, 171 

Gould, W. A., 137 

Grand Island, Nebraska, 13, 20, 62, 

67, 105, 106, 213, 244, 245 
Grant, U. S., 15 
Grasshoppers, 21, 68, 82, 109, 133, 

184, 247-248, 252, 273, 274 
Gray Eagle (Pawnee chief), 194-195 
Great American Desert, 235, 282 
Green, Albert L., Reminiscences of 

Gage County, 112 
Grimes, L. R., 44 
Guinn, Dr., 213 
Gurley, W. F., 189 

Hackberrt CAi5oN, 265 

Hacker famUy, 213 

Hackney ranch, 270, 271, 280 

Hackney, Walt, 270 

Hackney, WiUiam, 270 

Hager, Rev. Isaac, 241 

Haggard, Mrs. Frances Avery, 334 

Haigler, Nebraska, 263 

Haile, , 12 

Haines, Rev., 172 
Haldeman, Dr. F. D., 282 
Haldeman, Mrs. Olive A. (Mrs. F. 

D.), 282, 335 
Halfway HoUow ranch, 25 



350 



INDEX 



HaOl & Evans, 264 

Hamer, Judge Francis 6., 48 

Hamilton county, 250 

HamOton, Mrs. Cynthia, 79, 80 

Hamilton hotel, 92 

Hamilton, Mrs. William, 79, 81 

Haney, , 279 

Hanscom, Mr. and Mrs. Andrew J., 
90 

Hansen, George W., Early Days of 
Fairhury and Jefferson County, 
139, 145; The Earliest Bomance 
of Jefferson County, 147; Finding 
the Grave of George Wvnslow, 168- 
174 

Hansen, Harry, 141 

Hansen, Mary Kelley, 143 

Harbine Bank of Fairbury, 145 

Harbine, John, 145 

Harbine, Col. Thomas, 144, 145 

Hardenburg, Harry, 186 

Hardy, Nebraska, 111 

Harrington, Sarah P., 79 

Harney, General W. S., 192 

Hart ranch, 25 

Harvard, Nebraska, 18, 43 

Harvey, Augustus F., 177, 178 

Harvey, Eobert, 337 

Hastings Journal, 17 

Hastings, Nebraska, 11, 12, 15, 17, 
19, 336, 337 

Haunstine, Albert, 48 

Hawkins brothers, 263 

Hawthorne, Mary Heaton, 78 

Hay canon, 263 

Hay Springs, Nebraska, 24 

Haynes, Jack, 14 

Heaton, Eev. Isaac E., 78 

Heaton, Mrs. Isaac E., 78 

Hebron Journal, 277 

Hebron Library association, 278 

Hebron, Nebraska, 270-272, 275, 277, 
279, 339 

Helvey, Frank, 139, 148-151, Expe- 
riences on the Frontier, 152, 154 

Helvey, Jasper, 139 

Helvey, Joel, 139, 148-150, 152, 154 



Helvey, Orlando, 140 

Helvey, Thomas, 139, 152 

Helvey, Whitman, 152 

Hemphill, Ada, 247 

Hemphill, Mrs. Mary, 247 

Henderson, Nellie, 43 

Henderson, George, 16 

Hendricks, George, 264 

Henrietta postoffice, 272 

Herndon house, 92 

Herrick family, 32 

Heth, John, 222, 223, 226, 227, 228, 
229 

Heth, Mrs. John, 227 

Heth, Minnie, 227 

Hewitt, Lucy E., Early Days in Daw- 
son County, 67 

Hewitt, Thomas J., 67 

Hewitt, Mrs. Thomas J., 67 

Hickborn, Mrs. Philip, 334 

Hickok, James B. (Wild Bill), 139, 
153 

Hiles' ranch, 77 

Hinman, Beach I., 192 

Hinman, Washington M., 191, 192 

History and Art club, Seward, 254 

Holdrege, Nebraska, 339 

Hollenbeck, Mrs. Janet K., 335, 336 

Hollenberg, Captain, 150 

Holloway & Fowler, 78 

Holmes, Mrs. Mary, 275 

Holt county, 203 

Horse creek (Skeleton Water), 195 

Horseshoe creek, 150 

Howe, Church, 211 

Howe, Nebraska, 211 

Howell, William, 109 

Hoyt, Mrs. Richard C, 336 

Hubbard, Mary (Mrs. P. J. Gil- 
man), 193 

Hubbell, Nebraska, 153 

Hubbell, Will, 175 

Hughes' ranch, 25 

Humphries, , 65 

Hungate family, 38 

Hunter, Eev. A. V., 39 

Hunter, Charley, 260 



INDEX 



351 



Hunter, George Michael, 260 
Hunter, I. N., Eecollections of, 

36 
Hunter, Mr. and Mrs. L. D., 36 
Huntsmen's Echo, 27 

Hurd, , 156 

Huse, Harriet, 278 

IMLAY, William, 256 

Indians, 28, 33, 34, 36-38, 41, 42, 51, 
54-56, 59, 60, 64, 65, 72, 74, 76, 
79, 80, 86, 87, 95, 97-100, 102, 104- 
106, 108-110, 112-122, 134, 136, 
142, 144, 149, 150, 152, 154, 164, 
165, 175, 189, 191-202, 208-210, 
216-218, 222, 227-231, 242, 246, 
247, 253-257, 270, 279, 280, 286, 
289, 294, 296, 301-303, 305, 307- 
321 

Indian burial, 120, 121 

Indian creek, 113 

Indian massacres, 12, 28, 54, 59, 65, 
243, 285 

Indian police, 117, 118 

Indian school, Genoa, 246 

Indianola, Nebraska, 263 

Inland, Nebraska, 18 

Independence, Missouri, 170, 171, 
172 

Irvington, Nebraska, 91 



Jenkins, D. C, 139 

Jenkins, George E., Looking Back- 
ward, 155 

Jenkins' Mill, 145 

Johanson, Sven, Early Days in Stan- 
ton county, 266 

Johanson, Mrs. Sven, 267 

Johnson county, 129 

Johnson family, 213 

Johnson, Mrs. E., Early Becollec- 
tio-ns of Gage County, 127 

Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. E. D., 57, 
58, 67, 70 

Johnson, EUeek, 58 

Johnson, Jim, 104 

Johnson, Mrs. Hadley, 92 

Johnson, Mrs. Harrison, 92 

Johnson, Joseph E., 27 

Jonathan Cass chapter. Daughters of 
the American Eevolution, 339 

Jones, Alfred D., 295 

Jones, Mrs. Alfred T>., 91 

Jones, Mrs. Clara King, 339 

Josiah Everett chapter, daughters 
of the American Eevolution, 338 

Junction City, Kansas, 142 

Julesburg, Colorado, 323 

Judson, H. M., 92 

Juniata, Nebraska, 15, 16, 18, 19 

Juniata house, 19 



Jackson, James A., 295 

Jackson, Zaremba, 290 

Jaeobson, John, 19, 54 

Jacobson house, 19 

James, Gov. William H., 16, 99, 43 

Jansen, John, 124 

Jansen, Peter, Ranching in Gage and 

Jefferson Counties, 123 
Jarvis, Mrs. A. P., Lovers' Leap, 

196 

Jascoby, , 284 

Jaynes, C. 8., 18 

Jaynes, Mrs. Henry L., 334 

Jefferson county, 117, 120, 123, 137, 

139-151, 156, 158, 161, 173, 175, 

270 
Jeffrie's ranch, 77 



Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, 

92, 290 
Kansas City & Omaha E. E., 14 
Kansas Pacific E. E., 193 
Kearney county, 11 
Kearny Heights (Nebraska City), 

236 
Kearney, Nebraska, 48, 67, 70, 75, 

223, 243, 270, 336, 337 
Keen, Eev. W. G., 260 
Kehoe, John, 72 
Keith, Mrs., 193 
Kelley, Alfred, 143 

Kelly, , 216, 217 

Kelly, John, 93 

Kelly, Margaret F., A Grasshopper 

Story, 82 



352 



INDEX 



Kellogg, Miss Jessie, 339 
KeUogg, Mrs. Emma, 335 
Kenesaw, 11, 12 
Kenny, Aimee Taggart, 295 

Keyou, , 322 

Kimball brothers, 188 

King, , 282 

King, Mrs. Deborah, 275 

Kingsley, Fayette, 279, 280 

Kirk, George, 31 

Kittle, Fred, 78 

Kittle, Eobt., 78, 79 

Klein and Lang, 123 

Knapp, Robert M., 129 

Koontz, J., 78 

Kountze, Mrs. Herman, 91 

Kramph, Mrs., 193 

Kress, Mortimer N. (Wild Bill), 11, 

13, 14 
Krier, B. F., Pioneer Justice, 72 
Kuony, Mr. and Mrs. John B., 293 

La Flesche, Joseph, 289 

Lake canon, 263 

Lancaster county, 129, 177, 180 

Lancaster, Nebraska, 177, 178, 180 

Langworthy, Elizabeth C. (Mrs. 

Stephen C), 187; Two Seward 

County Celebrations, 254, 334, 335 
Lazure, Mrs. May Allen, Some Items 

from Washington County, 295 
Lee, General, 199 
Leflang, E. M. F., 66 
Leonard, Emma, 16 
Lepin hotel, 15 
Lester, S. P., 124 
Lett, H. C, 213 
Lettou, Mrs. Charles B., 168, 169, 

336, 337, 338 
Letton, Judge Charles B., 144; The 

Easter Storm of 1873, 158-160, 

169 
Lewis and Clark, 187, 188, 189, 190, 

308 
Lewis-Clark chapter, Daughters of 

the American Eevolution, 188, 335 
Lewis, Elizabeth Davis, 130 



Lewis, Ford, 129, 130 

Lewis, Levi, 129 

Lewis, M. K., 17 

Lewis, Phoebe, 129 

Lewiston, Nebraska, 130 

Lexington, Nebraska, 54, 57, 67, 72, 

338 
Lezenby, Christopher, 258 
Libby, E. E., 33 
Liberty, Nebraska, 122 
Lincoln, Nebraska, 43, 107, 109, 112, 

135, 156, 176-182, 184-186, 188, 

213, 259, 260, 275, 278, 334, 335, 

337 
Lincoln county, 61, 190-193 
Lindgren, Elof, 109 
Lingle, Mrs. Addie Bradley, 70 
Lingle, W. H., 70 
Lippincott Halfway House, 287 
Little Blue river, 11, 12, 43, 44, 104, 

105, 148, 149, 153, 154, 166, 217, 

270 
Littlepipe, John (Otoe Indian), 134, 

144 
Little Sandy, 139, 148, 152, 153 
Lockwood, Judge William F., 91 
Logan creek, 30, 32 
Logan Valley, 32 

Lomas (or Loomis), Ehoderick, 13 
Long, Major Stephen H., 190 

Longshore, , 60 

Long Pine, Nebraska, 187 

Lone Tree (Central City), Nebraska, 

244, 245 
Lord, Brackett, 170, 171, 173 
Long creek, 286, 287 
Lost creek (Lincoln park), 214 
Louisiana Purchase, 236, 307 
Loup river, 63, 88 (Potatoe Water), 

195, 228, 229, 285 
Lovers' Leap, 196 
Lower 96 ranch, 77 
Luey, Francis M., 13, 14 
Lyons, Nebraska, 338 

MacColl, John H., 57, 60, 74 
MacColl, Laura, 74 



INDEX 



353 



MacMurphy, Harriet S., 96, 187 ; Ni- 
l-umi, 307; The Heroine of the 
Jules-Slade Tragedy, 322 

MacMurphy, John A, 323 

McAllister, W. A., Some Personal 
Incidents, 242 

McCabe's ranch, 221 

MeCufifery, , 141 

MeCall, E. J., 258 

MeCandles, Bill, 270 

McCashland, Addie, 107 

McCashland, John E., Pioneering in 
Fillmore County, 107 

McCashland, Mrs. John E., 107 

McCashland, Sammy, 107 

McCaules, D. C, 139, 153 

McComas, , 95 

MeCook, Nebraska, 338 

McCreary family, 213 

McCune, Calmer, Early Days in Polk 
County, 248 

McDonald, Mrs. Charles, 191 

McDonald, Charles, 191, 192, 193 

McDonald, Thomas, 286 

McDonald, W. H., 191 

McDowell, Mrs. Gertrude M., Suf- 
frage in Nebraska, 275 

McDowell, Joseph B., Beginnings of 
Fairbury, 161, 162 

McDowell, W. G., 140, 161 

McElroy, WUliam John, 14 

MeGovern, Teddy, 272 

McGregor, Harry, 243 

McLean, Mrs. Donald, 336 

McMaster, A. M., 127 

McNeil, Miss, 78, 180 

McNeely, Frank, County-seat of 
Washington County, 298 

MoPherson hotel, Brownville, 212 

MePherson station, 76 

Mabin's ranch, 221, 222 

Mahan, Henry, 248 

Mahum, Tom, 55 

Major Isaac Sadler chapter. Daugh- 
ters of the American Eevolution, 
337 

Majors, Alexander, 139, 240 

Majors, Col. Thomas J., 95 



Mallet brothers, 190 

Mallott, James B., 60 

Maple Creek, Iowa, 30, 82 

Margaret Holmes chapter, Daughters 
of the American Eevolution, Sew- 
ard County Beminiscences, 255, 
335 

Marks, Mrs. Ives, 156 

Marks, Eev. Ives, 140, 143, 156, 279 

Marks' mUl, 142, 155 

Marsden, , 188 

Marsh, A. K., 43, 44 

Marysville, Kansas, 149, 150 

Martin, , 105 

Martin, E. L., 97 

Martin, Major, 240 

Marvin, Seth P., 78 

Mary Cole steamboat, 299 

Mason, Judge O. P., 118, 144 

Mason, Sidney, Mr. and Mrs., 140 

Mathews, Capt. Fred, 200 

Mattingly, J. B., 140, 142, 144, 162 

Maxwell, Nebraska, 76 

Mayes, Charles, 71 

Mayfield's ranch, 25 

Mead, Mrs. Eda, The Story of the 
Town of Fontenelle, 299 

Medicine, Nebraska, 263 

Medicine Horse (Otoe chief), 116, 
120 

Melroy, Nebraska, 127, 128 

Mellenger, Edgar, 58 

Mellinger, ' ' Doc, ' ' 59 

Melvin brothers, 44 

Memorial Continental Hall, 337 

Meridian, Nebraska, 153, 154, 270, 
271, 279 

Merritt, Asa, 31 

Mickey, Gov. John H., 189 

Midland Pacific E. E., 259 

Milford, Nebraska, 102 

Military road, 305 

Millard, Joseph H., 189 

Miller, Mrs., 193 

Miller, A. J., 192 

MiUer, Charlie, 279 

Miller, Dr. George L., 91, 336 

Minden, Nebraska, 187, 334 



354 



INDEX 



Minor, Ella Pollock, Incidents at 

Plattsmouth, 41 
Mira VaUey, 203, 204 
Mission creek, 121 
Missouri river, 18, 27, 31, 41, 80, 97, 

107, 111, 112, 135, 140, 152, 153, 

189, 190, 198, 211, 219, 335, 247, 

252, 256, 263, 269, 270, 289, 290, 

299, 305, 307-309, 322 
Missouri river ferry, 322 
Monroe, Nebraska, 200 
Moore, John S., 15 
Moore, Sadie Irene, The Beginnings 

of Fremont, 78 
Moots, Mr. and Mrs. W. S., 14 
Morgan, Hugh, 192 
Mormons, 27, 89, 93, 206, 236, 269 
Mormon trail, 27, 28, 293 
MorriU, Nebraska, 339 
Morris, Prof. John, 180 
Morrow, J. A., 191, 192 
Morse, Capt. Charles, 200 
Morse, Col. Charles F., 15 
Morton, Carl, 238 
Morton, Caroline Joy, 235, 240 
Morton, Charles, 33 
Morton, J. Sterling, 96; My Last 

Buffalo Hunt, 219, 235, 239, 240, 

297 
Morton, Joy, 235 
Morton, Paul, Hoiv the Founder of 

Arbor Day Created the Most 

Famous Western Estate, 235 
Moses, Pearl Shepherd, Crow Heart 

Butte (poem), 52 
Mott, Lucretia, 276 
Mud creek, 128 
Mullen, Mrs., 58 
Murdock, Rev., 121 
Murray, Mrs., 201 
Murray, Nebraska, 94 

Nance county, 194-195, 198, 206, 

207, 229, 242 
Nancy, Gary chapter, Daughters of 

the American Revolution, 338 
Narrows, The, 217 



National Society, Daughters of the 

American Revolution, 333 
National Suffrage Association, 275 
Nebraska City, Nebraska, 76, 97, 

102, 104, 109, 111, 127, 135, 176, 

177, 178, 180, 236, 270, 297, 337 
Nebraska Memorial Association, 339 
Nebraska Society, Daughters of the 

American Revolution, 254 
Nebraska Society, Sons of the 

American Revolution, 335, 338 
Nebraska State Historical Society, 

95, 139, 170, 179, 187-189, 219, 

335, 336 
Nebraska Territorial Pioneers' As- 
sociation, 253 
Needham, Mr., 201 
Needham, Mrs. Christina, 201 
Nemaha river, 253 
Neville, Judge James, 326, 329 
Newbecker, Clara, 282 
Newbecker, Dr. Minerva, 282 
Newbecker, Lieut. Philip, 282 
Ne\\Tnan, Mrs. Angle Thurston, 334 
Nikumi, 307-321 
Nikumi chapter. Daughters of the 

American Revolution, 336 
Niobrara chapter, Daughters of the 

American Revolution, 337 
Niobrara river, 25 
Nobes, C. J., 182 
Nonpareil, a frontier town, 22 
Norfolk, Nebraska, 338 
Norman, P. O., 43 
North, Major Frank, 198, 200, 244, 

245 
North, Capt. Luther, 200, 201, 244 
North Platte, Nebraska, 190, 191, 

192, 193, 264, 326, 327, 331 
Northwestern R. R., 26 
Norton, Mrs. Charles Oliver, 336, 

337, 338 
Norton, Hannah, 147 
Norton, Lilian (Madam Nordica), 

147 
Norton, Major Peter, 147 
Noyes, Major, 246 



INDEX 



355 



NuckoUs county, 214, 216, 218, 270, 

272 
Nye, Mrs. Theron, Early Days in 

Fremont, 84 



Overland Stage line, 139, 149, 214 
Overland trail, 139, 152, 216, 219, 

220, 236, 268, 269 
Overton, Nebraska, 58 



Oak, John, 30 

Oak Grove ranch, 214, 216 

Oakland, Nebraska, 30 

O'Brien, Major George M., 191 

'Conner, Mrs. Thomas, 92 

O'Fallons' Bluffs, 191, 200 

Ogallalla Cattle Company, 26 

Oliver, Sr., Edward, 27 

Oliver, Edward, 29 

Oliver, James, 29 

Oliver, John, 29 

Oliver, Robert, 29 

Oliver, Sarah, 28 

Omaha, Nebraska, 30, 36, 62, 78, 80, 
88, 90, 93, 130, 176, 178, 180, 181, 
189, 191, 198, 241, 249, 263, 266, 
267, 269, 275, 284-287, 289, 290, 
294, 295, 299, 300, 301, 305-306, 
308, 325, 326, 329, 333-339 

Omaha Bee, 189 

Omaha chapter. Daughters of the 
American Revolution, 187, 188, 
189, 334, 336 

Omaha Mary, 289 

Omaha Republican, 75 

Onawa, Iowa, 32 

Ord, Nebraska, 281, 335 

Oregon trail, 11, 65, 76, 139, 150, 
161, 168, 169, 336-339 

Oregon Trail chapter, Daughters of 
the American Revolution, 339 

Oregon Trail Memorial Commission, 
337, 338 

Orr, Mrs. Margaret, 339 

Osceola, Nebraska, 248 

Osceola Record, 248 

Ostrander, , 217 

Otoe chapter. Daughters of the 
American Revolution, 337 

Otoe county, 129 

Otoe Indian reservation, 112-122, 
125, 127, 142, 322 



Pacific house, Beatrice, 123 

Pacific Telegraph line, 76, 78 

Paine, Mrs. C. S., 5 

Paine, Clarence S., 337 

Palmatier, , 263 

Palmer, Mrs. Charlotte F., 333, 334 

Palmer, Capt. Henry E., 218 

Parker, Jason, 244 

Parks, Nebraska, 263 

Parmele, Mrs. Lilian, 42 

Patterson, Daniel, 139 

Patterson's trading post, 139 

Patrick, Mrs. Edwin, 91 

Pawnee City, Nebraska, 118, 122, 
136, 178 

Pawnee county, 129, 135, 136 

Pawnee Indian reservation, 198, 206, 
208, 230, 242, 246 

Pawnee ranch, 43 

Pawnee scouts, 199, 218 

Peale, Titian, 190 

Pearson, Capt. F. J., 57 

Peavy and Curtiss, 122 

Penney, Minnie Freeman, The Bliz- 
zard of 1888, 203; Major North's 
Buffalo Eunt, 244 

Petalesharo (Pawnee chief), 247 

Peterson, Martin, 54 

Perry, Mrs. Lula Correll (Mrs. War- 
ren), 5, 337, 339 

Pierce, Judge Robert D., 57 

Pine Bluff reservation, 59 

Pine Ridge country, 24 

Pioneer, Dawson county, 57 

Pioneer Record, 295 

Pittsburgh postoffice, Nebraska, 258, 
259 

Plainfield, Nebraska, 203 

Platte chapter. Daughters of the 
American Revolution, 338 

Piatt, Elvira Gaston, 198 

Piatt, Lester W., 198 



356 



INDEX 



Platte river, 11, 27, 44, 55, 56, 58, 
70, 76, 79, 84, 87, 94, 105, 190, 
192, 219, 220, 228, 229, 245, 285, 
299, 339 

Platte VaUey, 221 

Plattsmouth, Nebraska, 18, 41, 136, 
178, 256, 323, 339 

Pleasant Dale, Nebraska, 258 

Plum creek, 55, 57, 58, 64, 256, 257, 
285 

Plum ereek (Gage county), 114, 122 

Plum creek (Lexington), Nebraska, 
54, 57, 60, 62, 66, 67, 70, 72, 
75 

Plummer, Eleanor 147, 149, 150 

Plummer, Mrs. Jason, 149 

Plummer, Jason, 147, 148 

Plymouth, Nebraska, 168 

PoUey, Hiram, 184 

Pollock, Mrs. Thomas, 41 

Polk county, 248, 251 

Polk, Nebraska, 250 

Pony Express, 64, 65 

Pope, Mrs. Anna Eandall, 213 

Poppleton, Mrs. Andrew J., 92 

Porter, A. J., From Missouri to 
Dawson County in 187 S, 75 

Pound, Mrs. Laura B., Marking the 
Site of the Lewis and Clarlc Coun- 
cil at Fort Calhoun, 187, 189, 334, 
335, 336 

Pumpkin creek, 265 

Purdy house, Fairbury, 175 

Purple, , 291 

Pursell, Mrs. Auta Helvey, 147 

Purvianoe, Edith Erma, A Pioneer 
Family, 93 

Purviance, Erma, 96 

Purviance, Dr. W. E., 96 

Prairie Chicken (Omaha Indian), 
100 

Prairie fires, 68, 120, 164, 247 

Pyle and Eaton, 44 

QuiNCY COLONY, 284, 296, 299-304 

Quivira, 112, 233 

Quivira chapter. Daughters of the 



American Revolution, 147, 188, 
335, 336 

Randall, Mk. and Mrs., 123 
1, A. D., 213 
Charles, 46, 213 
Randall, E. J., 213 
Randall, Dr. H. L., 213 
Randall, N. G., 211 
Randall, Sarah Schooley, My Trip 

West in 1861, 211 
Rawhide creek, 79 
Raymond, Mrs. Mabel, 339 
Raymond, Nebraska, 184 
Reavis-Ashley chapter. Daughters of 

the American Revolution, 338 
Reavis, Isham, 253 
Reavis, Mahala Beck, 253 
Red aoud, Nebraska, 137, 339 
Red Lion mill, 109 
Redman, Joseph, 93 
Reed, Alexander, 284 
Reeder, Mrs. James G., Pioneer 

Life, 246 
Rees, Henrietta M., 336 
Republic county, Kansas, 142 
Eepuilican, Omaha, 95 
Republican river, 60, 61, 105, 154, 

222, 225, 242 
Republican Valley, 58, 214, 222, 243, 

327 
Reverend Reuben Pickett chapter. 

Daughters of the American Rev- 
olution, 339 
Reynolds, Nebraska, 140 
Reynolds, B. W., 80 
Reynolds, Wilson, 80 
Rhoades, Orrin, 284 
Rhustrat, Dr., 80 
Richardson, Lyman, 92 
Ringer, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford, 186 
Ringer, Frank J., 186 
Ringer, Jennie Bell, 185 
Ringer, John Dean, 186 
Riverton, Nebraska, 239 
Rock Bluffs, Nebraska, 37, 94 
Rock creek, 139, 144, 153, 161, 270 



INDEX 



357 



Eockport, Nebraska, 266, 286, 298 

Eockwood, Martin T., 67 

Eoe, Thomas, 107 

Eogers, Mrs. Samuel E., 92 

Eomigh, Mrs. Viola, 339 

Eoot, Aaron, 92 

Boot, Mrs. Allen, 91 

Eoper, Ford, 122 

Eoper, Fred E., 268-271 

Eoper, Joe B., 270 

Eoper, Laura, 218, 270 

Eoper, Mann E., 269 

Eoscoe, B. S., 30, 31, 32 

Eoscoe, Mrs. Isabel, A Pioneer Ne- 
braska Teacher, 30 

Eose creek, 140, 144, 148, 153, 155, 
156, 279 

Eosewater, Edward, 189 

Eoy, George, 252, 253 

Eoy, Mrs. Thyrza Eeavis, Personal 
Reminiscences, 252, 253 

Eoyce, Loir, 203 

Eulo, Nebraska, 252 

Eushville, Nebraska, 24 

Eussell, Alice M., 281 

Eussell, Mrs. E. A., Reminiscences, 
281 

Eussell, Eev. E. A., 281 

EusseU, H. C, 49 

Eussell, Mrs. Lucinda, 275 

Eussell, Majors and Waddell, 214, 
240 

St. Joe & Denver Citt E. E. Co., 
144 

St. Joe and Grand Island E. E., 75, 
144 

St. Joseph, Missouri, 155, 211, 241, 
252, 270 

St. Leger Cowley chapter, Daugh- 
ters of the American Eevolution, 
337 

St. Marys, Iowa, 290 

St. Nicholas hotel, 92 

St. Paul, Nebraska, 204 

Saline City, 177 

Salt creek, 221 



Saltillo, Nebraska, 97 

Salt Lake City, 269 

Sanborne, John P., 192 

Sand Hills, 258 

Santa Fe trail, 308, 316 

Saratoga (Omaha), Nebraska, 93 

Sarpy, Peter A., 290, 307-321 

Sarpy's trading post, 311, 317 

Saunders county, 80, 87 

Sawyer, Mrs. A. J., 275 

Saxon, Elizabeth, 276 

Schmeling, Frank, 214 

School creek, 18, 43 

Schooley, Charles A., 211 

Scofield, T. D., 17 

Scott, , 128 

Scott, Miss Lizzie, 16 
Scott, Mrs. Mathew T., 338 
Scottsbluff country, 264 
Seottsblufif, Nebraska, 339 
Schwatka, Lieut. Frederick, 326, 

327, 328, 331 
Schwerin, Eev. W., 45 
Scully, Lord, 130 

Second Nebraska Cavalry, 242, 292 
Second TJ. S. Cavalry, 280 
Selden, Mrs. O. B., 92 
Selleck, Wellington W., 16 
Seward, 254 

Seward county, 254, 235, 262 
Seward, Nebraska, 187, 248, 250, 

334, 336, 337 
Seymour, Elizabeth Porter, Early 

Experiences in Nebraska, 163-165 
Shader, Mr. and Mrs. A. L., 140 
Shader, Claiborn, 140 
Shattuck, Etta, 203 
Sheldon, Addison E., 188, 189, 258 
Shell creek, 201 
Shelton, Nebraska, 339 
Sheridan (Auburn), Nebraska, 212 
Sheridan, Gen. Phil, 327 
Sherman, General, 192 
Shields, Mrs. Herman, 306 
Shields, Thomas, 255 
Shipley, 286 
Shirley, William, 44 



358 



INDEX 



Shorter county, 191-192 

Showalter, Dr., 141 

Shumway, Grant Lee, Pioneering, 

263 
Sidney, Nebraska, 25, 193, 264 
Sidney traU, 25 
Sixth U. S. Infantry, 307, 309 
Slade, Jack, 324, 325 
Slade, Lyman or Jack, 153 
Slocumb, Charles, 145 
Slocumb and Hambel, 144 
Sluyter, Isaiah, 16 

Smith, , 178, 291 

Smith, Adam, 201 

Smith Brothers, 123 

Smith, C. B., 91, 92 

Smith, Mrs. C. B., 91 

Smith, Charles, 78 

Smith, Dan, 77 

Smith, Mrs. Dan, 77 

Smith, De Etta Bell, 185 

Smith, Edmund Burke, 185 

Smith, Mrs. Eleanor Murphey, 339 

Smith, Hazel Bell, 185 

Smith, Mrs. J. Fred, 306 

Smith, J. 6., 78 

Smith, John, 13 

Smith, Major, 119 

Smith, Samuel C, 246 

Smith, Towner, 78 

Smith, Col. Watson B., 326 

Snake creek, 25 

Solomon river, 218 

Sommerlad, H. W., 260 

Sons of the American Eevolution, 

187, 188 

Soules, , 175 

Southwell, , 33 

Spade, Dan, 109 

Spade, William, Fillmore County in 

the 70 's, 109 
Spanish American War, 334 
Spillman, Jerome, 300 
Stall, Irwin, 259 
Stanley, C, 244, 245 
Stanton county, 266, 267 
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, 275, 277 



Staples, David, 168, 171-173 

Starbuck, Eev. Charles, 206 

Star hotel, Fairbury, 143 

Stark, Isaac W., 16 

Stark, John, 15 

Stark, Margaret, 15 

State Federation of Woman's Clubs, 
254 

Stebbins, Mrs. W. M., The Erickson 
Family, 76 

Steele, Annie M., 275 

Steele, Mrs. Annie Strickland, 334 

Steele, Calvin F., 143, 166, 275 

Steele, Mrs. C. F., Fersmal Recol- 
lections, 166-167; Finding the 
George Winslow Grave, 168 

Stephen, Bennett chapter, Daughters 
of the American Revolution, 338 

Stevens, Col. George, 284, 293 

Stevens, Mary M. A., 334 

Stevens, William, 250 

StUes, James, 32 

Stilts, Judge, 287 

StockviUe, Nebraska, 263 

Stone, Dr. , 248 

Stone, Lucy, 275 

Storer, WiUiam, 28 

Stout, D. D., 290 

Stout, E. P., 290 

Stromsburg, Nebraska, 339 

Stubbs, Mrs. J. J., 336 

Stuckey, Capt. John S., 58 

Stuckey, Joseph, 58 

Stuckey, Samuel Clay, 58 

Stuhl, Joseph, 16 

Stutzman, Henry, 14 

Sullivan, Potter C, 298 

Sumner, Nebraska, 66 

Superior chapter, Daughters of the 
American Eevolution, 338 

Superior, Nebraska, 111, 338 

Sutton, Nebraska, 18, 43, 44, 339 

Swan Brothers, 26 

Swan creek, 140, 148-149 

Sweetser, , 174 

Sweezy, William F., 92 

Snowden, Mrs. William P., 92 



INDEX 



359 



Taggart, Rev. J. M., 296 

Talbot, Mr. and Mrs. Ben, 47 

Talbot, Bishop, 241 

Talbot, John, 223, 226 

Talbot, Dr. WilUs, 49 

Tall BuU (Cheyenne Indian), 198 

Tash, Ira E., Historical Sketch of 
Box Butte County, 25 

Taylor, J. O., 46 

Taylor, Tim, 152 

Teeumseh, Nebraska, 161, 275 

Tenth U. S. Infantry, 242 

Thayer county, 140, 270, 277 

Thayer County Woman's Suffrage 
Association, 277, 278 

Thayer, Gen. John M., 92 

Thayer, Mrs. John M., 92 

The Conservative, 238 

The Homesteader, 248 

Thomas, S. G., 175 

Thomas & Champlin, 141, 142 

Thompson, Barbara J., 278 

Thirty-two Mile creek, 12 

Thirty-seventh Star chapter. Daugh- 
ters of the American Revolution, 
338 

Three Groves, Nebraska, 95 

Three Trails chapter. Daughters of 
the American Revolution, 339 

Thurston, Mrs. John M., 334 

Tibbetts, Mrs. Addison S., 335 

Timberville (Ames), Nebraska, 306 

Tinklepaugh, Roy, 127 

Tipton, James, 59 

Tipton, Thomas W., 213 

Tisdale, Thomas H., 260, 261 

Tooth & Maul, 91 

Towle, Albert, 151 

Towle, Mrs. Eliza, 187 

Towle, Mrs. Elizabeth, 334 

Tree planting, 238, 297 

Trefren and Hewitt, 46 

Tremont house, 92 

Tribune, The Fremont, 79 

Troup, Mrs. Elsie De Cou, 189 

Tucker, , 60 

Tucker family, 57 



Tucker, Tudor, 58 

Tulley, Mrs. Capitola Skiles, 339 

Turkey creek, 225 

Turner, Eliza, 78 

Turner, Mrs. George, 82 

Turner, Mrs. Margaret, 78 

Ulig, , 217 

Union Pacific E. R., 16, 29, 54, 55, 

57, 62, 66, 75, 76, 82, 84, 91, 95, 

104, 106, 161, 192, 193, 198, 199, 

200, 243, 245, 264, 327 
United States Daughters of the War 

of 1812, 253 
Upper 96 ranch, 77 

Valentine, Nebraska, 22, 334 

Valley county, 204 

Vallery, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob, 41 

Van Horn, James, 291 

Van Vliet, Brig. Gen. Stewart L., 

225 
Vance, Mrs. Laura (Laura Roper), 

270 
Vanier brothers, 294 
Vermillion, A. Martha, 278 
Virginia, Nebraska, 127, 130 

Wahoo, Nebraska, 78, 221 

Walker brothers, 193 

Walker, Major Lester, Early His- 
tory of Lincoln County, 190 

Wallace, Mrs. C. M., 339 

Walnut creek, 258, 259, 260 

Walton, Mrs. EUen Saunders, Early 
Days in Nance County, 206 

Ward, Joseph, 180 

Ward, Mrs. Oreal S., 337, 338 

Ware, Ellen Kinney, Early Eemin- 
iscences of Nebraska City, 240 

Warfield's ranch, 221 

Warrick, Amasa, 286 

Warrington, T. L., 68 

Washington county, 286, 287, 290- 

Warwick, Rev. J. W., 13 
Warwick, Lila (or Eliza), 13, 14 



INDEX 



— , 244 
Waters, Stella Brown, 49 
Waters, William H., 248 
Waters, W. W., 49 
Waterville, Kansas, 162 
Waterville, Nebraska, 142 
Watson, W. W., 145 
Wayne, Nebraska, 339 
Webster, John Lee, The Last Bo- 

mantic Buffalo Hunt on the Plains 

of Nebraska, 326 
Weed, Thurlow, 44 
Weed, William L., 44 
Weeks, M. H., 142 
Weeks, Mrs. M. H., Early Days in 

Jefferson County, 175 
Weeks, Mary, 175 
Weeping Water, Legend of, 39 
Weeping Water, Nebraska, 36, 37, 

38, 339 
Weeping Water river, 220 

Wehn, , 116 

Weisel, George, 139 

Wells Fargo Express Company, 25, 

77 

West, , 80 

West, Mr. and Mrs., 79 

West, Julia, 79 

West Blue river, 43, 97, 107, 245, 

258, 262 
West Blue postoffiee, 97 
West Point, Nebraska, 36 
Western Stage Company, 142 
Westling, J. A., 133 
Weston, John B., 43 
Wharton, Rev. Fletcher L., 213 
Wheeler, Judge, 213 
Wheeler, Major, 123, 246 
Whiskey Run, 169 

Whitaker, , 103 

Whitaker, Sabra Brumsey, 101 
White, Rev. A. G., 291 
White, Capt. Charles, 43 
White Eagle (Pawnee Chief), 194 
White, Luke, 100 



White, Sammy, 98, 100 
Whitewater, Jim (Otoe halfbreed), 

116, 117, 144 
Whiterock, Kansas, 131 
Whiting, A. V., 155 
Whitney famUy, 213 
Whittaker, Mrs. Cliflford, A Good 

Indian, 74 
Wiggins, Horace S., 15 
Wigton, A. L., 15, 17 
Wigton, J. W., 17 
Wilbur, Nebraska, 163 
Wild BUI (James B. Hickok), 139, 

153, 270 
Wild Cat banks, 237 
Wilds, M. B., 291 
Wiley, Araminta, 96 
Wiley, Gertrude Miranda, 93 
WUey, Hattie, 96 

Wiley, Dr. William Washington, 93 
Wilkinson, Emma, 305 
Wilkinson, Ida, 305 
Wilkinson, Nettie, 306 
Wilkinson, Thomas, 305, 306 
Wilkinson, Mrs. Thomas, 305, 306 
Wilkinson, WiUiam W., 306 
Williamson, John, 194, 195 

Wilson, , 58 

Wilson, Capt., 280 
Wilson, Luther, 78 
Wilson, Perley, 56 
Wilson, W. R., 82 
WUtse, Chauncey Livingston, The 

Pawnee Chief's Farewell, 208-210 
Wint, Brig. Gen. Theodore, 189 
Winslow, Edward, 171 
Winslow, Eleazer, 171 
Winslow, George, 168-174 
Winslow, Mrs. (Jeorge, 170 
Winslow, George E., 170 
Winslow, George Edward, 171 
Winslow, Henry O., 170, 171 
Winslow, Mrs. Henry, 168 
Winslow, James, 171 
Winslow, Jesse, 170, 173 



INDEX 



361 



Winslow, Josiah, 171 
Winslow, Kenelm, 170, 171 
Winslow, Shadrach, 171 
Woerner, Mike, 216 
Wolf creek, 117 
Woman's Journal, 277, 278 
Woman's suffrage, 275-278 
Wood, Mr. and Mrs. Kentucky, 91 
Woodhurst, Mrs. 182 
Woodhurst, Warden, 182 
Woods, Jim, 139 
Wood river, 27, 60, 66 
Wood Eiver Centre, 27, 28 



Work, George F., Historical Sketch 
of Adams County, 11 

Wright, Eben, 13 

Wyncoop, Col. — , 270 

Wyoming Society Daughters of the 
American Revolution, 338 

Wyoming Society Sons of the Amer- 
ican Revolution, 338 

Wyuka cemetery, Nebraska City, 297 

Yankee Hill, 177 
Yankton, South Dakota, 247 
Young, Brigham, 65