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Full text of "History of the city of Omaha, Nebraska"

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978.202 

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HISTORY 



CITY OF OMAHA 



NEBRASKA 



BY 

JAMES W. SAVA(^. E 

AND 

JOHN T. BELL 




South Omaha 



CONSUL W. BUTTERFIELD 



NEW YORK AND CHICAGO 
MUNSELL & COMPANY 



COPYRIGHTED 1894 
MUNSELL & COMPANY 

NEW YORK AND CHICAGO 



1295371 

PREFACE. 

Tacitus, appreciating the great value of liistory to mankind, wrote, nearly twenty 
centuries ago, that its chief object was " to rescue virtuous actions from oblivion to 
which the want of records would consign them." Even in this practical, specula- 
tive age, there seems to be a tendency all over our countr}' to preserve the record 
of the past. This growing regard for American historj^ is an evidence of increas- 
ing national intelligence, pride and dignitj'. 

Fortunately for the citizens of Omaha, with all their love of home, pride of 
material prosperity, and ambition for a still greater future, that is so intimately 
blended therewith. Judge James W. Savage, long a resident, prominent in life and 
deeply mourned in death, had for years preserved many facts and incidents of 
" historical association with the cit3% intending to publish them when opportunity 
offered. 

Professional and business responsibilities caused this important work to be de- 
ferred from time to time, until, in December, 1888, the opportunity to secure an 
-early consummation of his plans was presented. Judge Savage at this time asso- 
;^-ciated with him, in the work of detailed preparation, John T. Bell, Esq., and tJiey 
jointly arranged with the publishers, and issued to the public the following: 

" To THE Citizens of Omaha: 

Having been requested to prepare the proposed work, we have 
pledged to the publishers, and do now pledge to our fellow-citizens 
our best endeavors to render it a comprehensive, discriminating, 
truthful and readable history. 

Yours truly. 








These gentlemen, with their accustomed zeal, at once entered upon the task of 
writing the book, and prior to his last illness, Judge Savage had the early chap- 
ters completed, and, with his associate, liad outlined i,lie work now piesented to 



the public. Mr. Bell thereupon devoted himself to the compiling of the remain- 
ing portions of the book, and to the performance of their joint responsibility. 

In addition to those contributors wlio have written certain chapters, or of 
certain subjects, and whose names appear in connection therewith, the publishers 
acknowledge their obligations to the late Byron Reed, Dr. George L. Miller, Hon. 
A. J. Poppleton, Hon. Edward Rosewater, Judge George W. Doane, Judge E. 
Wakeley, Hon. John C. Cowin, Hon. James M. Woolworth, Hon. B. E. B. Ken- 
nedy, Lyman Richardson, Judge A. N. Ferguson, James G. Megeath, Jesse H. 
Lacy, Judge George B. Lake, Hon. Charles H. Brown, Gen. W. W. Lowe, J. J. 
Brown, Thomas Gibson, Hon. Charles A. Baldwin, M. K. Risdon, Dr. S. D. Mercer, 
Hon. Geo. I. Gilbert, E. L. Stone, William P. Snowden, E. L. Eaton, Major Geo. 
Armstrong, Miss Jessie Allan, Herman Kountze, H. W. Yates, William AVallace, 
Frank Murphy, Charles W. Hamilton, Gen. Experience Estabrook, Mr. and Mrs. 
C. F. Catlin, Henry W. Kuhns, D. D., and many others, — all of whom have, by 
their counsel and contributions of valuable facts, enlianced the value of the work, 
thus adding to the completeness of this history. 

We are also indebted to the hearty co-operation of the press of Omaha, 
especial acknowledgment being due the Bee, World-Herald and Excelsior. 

In addition, it is proper to mention that Samuel Rees and Julius C. Jennings 
have contributed to the following pages, and have had charge of the completion 
of portions of the work. 

C. W. Butterfield, of South Omaha, author of its history, desires to have his 
grateful acknowledgments extended, for kindly assistance, to Thomas Hoctor, John 
F. Ritchhart, J. B. Erion, W. G. Sloane, Samuel P. Brigham, C. H. Rich, Denna ' 
Allbery, J. C. Sharp, and C. M. Hunt. 

The time and expense given to this work, and the reputation of its authors, 
fully justify, it is believed, the undersigned in trusting to the public for a fav- 
orable recognition uf its value. 

THE PUBLISHERS. 

OcTouKR 2d, 1893. 



CONTENTS, 



HISTORY OF OMAHA. 

(.'H AFTER I.— Early Explorations West of the Missouri River — Expeditions of Spanish 
Adventurers — The Search for Mythical Stores of Wealth — Supposed Location of the 
City of Quivira 1-7 

CHAPTER II.— Father Marquette's Maps — The Rivalry of France and Spain — Explora- 
tion in 1739 by the Mallet Brothers — Naming of the Platte — The French Purchase ...S-U 

CHAPTER III.— The Title to the Province of Louisiana Acquired by the United States — 
Governor Claiborne's Proclamation — A Real Estate Deal Satisfactory to Both Grantor 
and Grantee 15-21 

CHAPTER IV. — The Lewis and Clark Expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean — 
Personnel of the Expedition — Council with the Indians near Omaha — Death of Sergeant 
Floyd — Floyd's River Named in his Honor — Journal of Patrick G^ss — The Missouri 
and American Fur Companies — Trading Expedition of Manual Lisa in 1811 — Bracken- 
ridge's Account of it — Hunt's Expedition up the Missouri — Bradbury's Visit to the 
Mouth of the Elkhoni 22-32 

CHAPTER v.— .lourney from the Columbia to the Mouth of the Platte in 1812 — Major 
Long's Expedition — The Western Engineer, the First Steamboat that Ascended the 
Missoui-i Above the Site of Omaha — First White Family Locating at Bellevue — Estab- 
lishment of a Baptist Mission in 1833, and a Presbyterian Mission in 1834— General 
Fremont at Bellevue — The Oldest Settlement of White Civilians in Nebraska, 1805 — 
Peter A. Sarpy, Post Trader — J. B. Royce's Stockade and Trading Post on the Site 
of Omaha in 1825 33-37 

CHAPTER VI.— Our Indian Predecessors — Catlin's Visit to the Missouri Valley — The 
Famous Omaha Chief. Blackbird — An Indian Tragedy — Burial of Blackbird on the Hill 
Named after Him — His Skull taken to Washington by Catlin — Om-iiah-tou-ga. or Big 
l'21k, Succeeds to the Chieftaincy — Big Elk's Address 38-49 

CHAPTER VII.— Francis Burt Appointed Governor of Nebraska Territory — His Death at 
Bellevue — Thomas B. Cuming Becomes Acting Governor of the Territory — Location of 
the Capitol at Omaha — Assembling of the First Legislature — Names of Members of 
the Legislature — Acting Governor, Cuming's Message — The Platte Valley and Pacific 
Railroad — Capitol Removal Schemes — Civil and Criminal Codes Enacted — Mark W. 
Izard Appointed Governor of Nebraska — His Arrival in the Territory, February 20, 
1855 — Capitol Removal Agitation in the Session of 1857 — Passage of a Bill by the 
Legislature to Locate the Capitol at the Town of Douglas — Governor Izard Vetoes the 
Bill — Governor Izard's Departure — The City of Omaha Incorporated 50-03 



VUl CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER VIII.— Secretary Cuming Again Acting Governor — The Fourth Session of the 
Legislature — The Territorial Capitol Building About Completed — Legislators Adjourn 
to Florence — How the Difficulty Occurred — Arrival of Governor Richardson — He Re- 
pudiates the Florence Legislature — That Body Issues a Manifesto — Headline from the 
Omaha Nebraskimi — An Article from the Nebraska Pioneer — A List of Nebraska's Gov- 
ernors 64-72 

CHAPTER IX. — Douglas County — Mormon Settlers at "Winter Quarters," now Florence,- 
in 1845 — The First County Officials — Washington Square — The First Court House — 
The County Farm — Purchase of the Present Court House Site — The New Court House 

— Comparative Statement of Taxes Raised —List of County Officers and Legislators. . .73-82 

CHAPTER X.— The Municipal Government of Omaha — First Officers Elected — Early 
Doings of the City Council — The Old Capitol Building — Omaha's Early Financial 
Straits — Committees Sent to Washington to Urge Certain Legislation — Failure of all 
Attempts to Recover Money Spent on the Territorial Capitol Building by the City of 
Omaha — A Resolution Regarding Small Pox — A Resolution Against the Opening of a 
Saloon in the Territorial Capitol Building — Other Scraps of Local Legislation — List of 
City Officers 83-97 

CHAPTER XI.— The Claim Club— The Purpose of its Organization — Its Membership — 
•John I. Redick's Experience with the Club — Some Facts Regarding Early Land Titles 

— George Francis Train's Omaha Real Estate 98-l(i:i 

CHAPTER XII.— The Pioneers — Laying Out the Townsite — Tracts of Land Included in 
the Same — Names of the Early Settlers — Biographical Sketches of Pioneers 104-12(> 

CHAPTER XIII.— Indian Graves at Belle vue — Logan Fontenelle — His Death and Burial 
at Bellevue — Departure of the Omaha from Bellevue — Biographical Sketch of Peter 
A. Sarpy — An Account of Stephen Decatur 127-1.'!4 

CHAPTER XIV.— Vigilance Committees— Pioneer Bands of Horse Thieves — Two Horse 
Thieves Publicly Whipped in Omaha — Mrs. Taylor Robbed by Bouve and Iler in 1861 

— Lynching of Bouve — Execution of Tator for the Murder of Neff in 1863 — Execution 
of Baker for the Murder of Higgins in 1868 — Execution of Neal for the Murder of 
Allen Jones and Wife, 1891 — Lynching of George Smith, 1891 1.3.'j-l.'!9 

CHAPTER XV.— Incidents and Experiences — Early Newspaper Items — Fee Paid Indians 
for Relinquishment of Claims to Lands — First Election in Nebraska — Facts and Figures 
as to Omaha, from the Times of June 7, 1857 — First Things — First Grist Mill — First 
Saw Mill — First Child Born in Omaha — A. tT. Hanscom's First Location — The City 
Marshal's Duty to Drive Indians Away from the Town — Major Armstrong Exposes the 
Character of Supplies Furnished the Indians — Dr. Vincent Insulted and Shot at — 
Slavery Prohibited — Location of Nave, McCoi-d & Co. in Omaha — Why John R. Mere- 
dith was not Appointed Chief Justice of Nebraska — Why St. Mary's Avenue Runs at 
an Angle — E. L. Emery as a Stock Breeder — Pattee's Lottery — Many Suspicious Char- 
acters Arrested — The Great Flood of 1881 — Old Time Buildings — Boring for Coal- 
First Asphalt Pavement 140-148 



CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER XVI.— Military History— "The Catfish War" — The Mormon Scare — The 
Pawnee War — Verses by General Estabrook — Military Movements in 1861 — Governor 
Saunders' Order — List of Commissioned Officers of the First Nebraska Regiment — 
Second Nebraska Cavalry — Curtis Horse — First Battalion Nebraska Veteran Volunteers 
— Milita Organizations — Fort Omaha — Names of Commandants — The Manderson Bill — 
Location of Fort Crook — Department Headquarters — Commandant and Staff Officers. 149-1 til 

CHAPTER XVn.— Notable Persons Visiting Omaha — Grand Duke Alexis — King Kala- 
kaua's First Visit — President Grant's First Visit — Dom Pedro — President Grant's 
Second Visit — President Hayes — King Kalakaua's Second Visit — Mai-quis of Lome — 
President Cleveland — Henry M. Stanley — President Harrison 162-Ui() 

CHAPTER XVIII.— The Press of Omaha — Newspapers Now Published — A List of the 
Dead and Buried 167-174 

CHAPTER XIX.— The Liquor Traffic — Prohibitory Act Passed by the First Territorial 
Legislature — The Act of 1881 — The Act of 1889 — The Contest of 1890 — Prohibitionists 
Organize — A Circular — .Joint Debates — Anti- Amendment Organizations — Miss Willard's 

s— The Election — The Contest Following — Good Templars — W. C. T. Union.. 17.5-187 



CHAPTER XX.— Governor Boyd's Election — The Contest Before the Legislature — Gover- 
nor Thayer's Claim — The Case in the Courts — Governor Boyd Declared a Citizen by 
the United States Supreme Court —Takes his Seat 188-196 

CHAPTER XXI.— Navigation— The First Steamer on the Missouri — Celebration of the 
Event at Franklin, Mo.— The First Steamer Above Franklin — A Story of Indian War- 
fare-Indians Tell of their Prowess — Sufferings of the Omahas — Boats on the Missouri 
River — A Steamer's Flag 197-200 

CHAPTER XXII. — Benevolent and Charitable Institutions — Nebraska State Institute for 
the Deaf and Dumb — The Woman's Christian Association — St. Joseph's Hospital — 
Immanuel Hospital and Deaconess' Institute — The Creche — The Bishop Clarkson Me- 
morial Hospital — The Open Door — The County Poor Farm — Contest for Title thereto 

— A Great Sale of Lots — The Douglas County Hospital — Defective Construction- Fall 
of the North Wing — Legal Complications — Convent of Mercy Orphanage — Methodist 
Episcopal Hospital — Presbyterian Hospital — City Mission 201-212 

CHAPTER XXIII. — Financial Facts — Public and Private Improvements — Grading Down 
Hills and Filling Depressions — The City Hall — Laying the Corner Stone — Cost of Same 

— Omaha Business Houses — Loan Associations 213-220 

CHAPTER XXIV.— The Bench and Bar — Personal Mention of a Member of a Distin- 
guished Profession — Organization of Territorial and State Courts 221-2.")0 

CHAPTER XXV.— Hotels of Early and Modern Days — The Herndon House — Changes of 
Management — A Pleasant Occasion — How the Grand Central was Named — Destruction 
^^-^ by Fire — Hotels of the Present Time \ 251-2.5(> 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XXVI.— Libi-avies — Early Efforts in this Direction — The Great Public Library 
of To-day — Byron Reed's Bequest — Law Library in the New York Life Insurance Build- 
ing-Omaha Law Library Association— Creigh ton College Libraries — Other Collections 
of Books '. 257-266 

CHAPTER XXVII.— Omaha's System of Waterworks — Early SafegTiards against Fire — 
The Contest in the City Council — The City Waterworks Company's Works — Sale to the 
American Waterworks Company — Removal of the Pumping Station to Florence — The 
New Works — Description of the Method Now in Use 267-272 

CHAPTER XXVIIL— Indians as Litigants — Arrest of a Band of Ponca Indians — Their 
Previous Sufferings — Omaha Citizens Become Interested in their Case — Petition for 
their Release — Indians Released — John Elk's Case — Heirs of Sophia Felix Claim 
Land in Omaha — An Unsuccessful Suit 273-27<) 

CHAPTER XXIX. — County Fairs — Driving Park Association — Board of Trade — Real 
Estate Exchange — Manufacturers' and Consumers' Association — Real Estate Owners' 
As.sociation • 277-281 

CHAPTER XXX.— Bridges and Viaducts — The Union Pacific Bridge — Bridge of the 
Omaha & Council Bluffs Railway Bridge Company — Viaducts — Litigation Resulting 
from the Construction of the Tenth Street Viaduct — Proposition of the Nebraska Cen- 
tral Railroad Company 282-291 

CHAPTER XXXL— The Initial Point — The Legal Contest — Bridging the Missouri .... 292-298 

CHAPTER XXXIL— The Union Depot — Legal Complications — Eastern Railroad Connec- 
tions and Terminal Facilities 299-302 

CHAPTER XXXIII.— Theatres and Opera-Houses — The Academy of Music— Redick's 
Opera- House— A Project that Failed — Boyd's Opera-House — Opening and Congratula- 
tory Resolutions — The Exposition Building — Formal Opening — Notable Entertainments 
There — The Eden Musee — Boyd's New Theatre — The Opening — The Coliseum 303-307 

CHAPTER- XXXIV.— Educational — The First School in Omaha — Simpson University — 
Another Institution of Learning — Valuable Lots Ottered the Catholic Church — The 
Offer Declined — Inauguration of the Public School System of Omaha — Howard Kennedy 
in Charge ^Professor Beal's School — Names of Pupils — Transfer of the Capitol 
Grounds — The High School Building Erected — The First Graduating Class — The Met- 
ropolitan School District — Statistics — Propositions to Enlarge the High School Build- 
ing Defeated — A Mandamuj Case — Normal Department — Brownell Hull — First 
Graduates — Other Schools — Commerical Colleges — Presbyterian Theological Seminary 
— Dr. Miller's Ott'er- Professor Kellom 308-321 

CHAPTER XXXV.— Church Organizations — Young Men's Christian Association — Personal 
Sketches of Bishops and Pioneer Clergymen 322-3-14 



CHAPTER XXXVI.— Catholicism in Omaha — First Church Services in Nebraska -St. 

Mary's Church— St. Philomena Cathedral —Other Churches — Creighton College 345-350 

CHAPTER XXXVn.— Cemeteries — Prospect Hill Cemetery — Burial Ground in ShulFs 
Addition — Holy Sephulchre, St. Mary's and Cassidy's Cemeteries — Forest Lawn Ceme- 
tery — Mount Hope — Other Places of Pinal Repose 351-352 

CHAPTER XXXVIII.— The Medical Prof ession — Early Practitioners in Omaha — The Ne- 
braska Medical Society — The Omaha Medical Society — Action Regarding Baker's Body 

— Douglas County Medical Society — Omaha Medical Club — Omaha Academy of Medi- 
cine—Members of the Omaha Medical Society — Omaha Medical College of 1869 — 
Nebraska School of Medicine, Preparatory — The Present Omaha Medical College — 
John A. Creighton Medical College — The Omaha Clinic — Omaha Microscopic Society — 
Douglas County Medico-Legal Association — Homeopathy — Its First Representative here 

— Other Early Homeopathic Physicians — Their Successors — State Medical Society — 
Officers 353-365 

CHAPTER XXXIX. — Dentistry in Omaha — The Pioneers in that Line — Improvements of 

Later Years .366-367 

CHAPTER XL.— Police and Fire Departments — Organization of the Police Force — Its 
Growth — Conflict between the Commissioners and City Council — Statistics — Early 
Efforts for Protection Against Fire — Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 — The 
First Fire Bell — The Fire King Engine — An Engine House Erected — Purchase of a 
Rotary Steam Engine — Electric Alarm System — Present Status of the Department — 
Names of Officers — The Durant Fire Company — Prominent Firemen — Lots for New 
Engine Houses Purchased — Omaha Veteran Fireman's Association 368-375 

CHAPTER XLL— Labor Disturbances — The Smelting Works Strike — Militia Called Out 

— Peace Restored — Labor Strike of 1882 —Public Meetings — Laborers from Platts- 
mouth Take the Strikers' Places — Driven from the Works — Militia and Regulars Called 
Out — Killing of Armstrong — Telegraphers' Strike — The Missouri Pacific Strike in 
Omaha — Difficulties Over the Eight Hour Law of 1891 376-379 

CHAPTER XLII.— Grand Army Posts— A Private who Became Grand Commander — 
Woman's Relief Corps — Sons of Veterans — Nebraska Commandery of the Military 
Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 380-382 

CHAPTER XLIII.— Masonic History — First Lodge of Freemasons in Nebraska — The 
Second and Third Lodges — Early Members — Other Facts — Odd Fellows — Omaha Lodge 
No. 2 Organized — A Remarkable Announcement — The Fii'st New Member — More 
Accessions — Present Membership — Grand Officers Furnished by this Lodge — Where 
the Lodge has Met — Knights of Pythias — First Lodge in Omaha — Early Members — 
History of Succeeding Lodges — Prominent Members 383-390 

CHAPTER XLIV.— Transportation Lines — Early History of the Union Pacific — First 
Surveys — The Hoxie Contract — Duranfs Probable Motive — Resignation of Chief 
Engineer Dey — The City Council Grants the Union Pacific Railroad Company Certain 



All CONTENTS. 

Rights and Privileges on the Levee — Breaking Ground for the Railroad — Resolutions 
of the Council — The Railroad Asks for Valuable Real Estate — Right of Way on Four- 
teenth Street Given — Right of Way over Other Streets Given — Locating the Bridge — 
Bonds Voted — More Real Estate Conveyed to the Railroad Company — Proposed Returns 
Therefor — Resolutions Regarding Transfers — Time for Building General Offices Ex- 
tended — Purchase of the Herndon House — Executive Officers of the Company — The 
Omaha & Southwestern and the Omaha & Northwestern — The Burlington Route — 
The KaiLsas City Line — The Chicago. Rock Island & Pacific Railway — The Sioux 
City & Pacific Railroad — The Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad — The 
Missouri Pacific Railway — The Belt Line — The Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & 
Omaha Railway — Other Raihoad Schemes 391-411 

CHAPTER XL v.— Street Railways — Early Legislation — The Omaha Horse Railway Com- 
pany—The Cable Tramway Company — The Omaha Street Railway Company — The 
Omaha Motor Railway Company — The Benson Motor Company — The Omaha & South- 
western Street Railway Company — The Council Bluffs & Omaha Line — The Dundee 
Line — The Inter-State Bridge & Street Railway Company 412-J15 

CHAPTER XLVI.— Telegraph and Telephone — Line from Omaha to Sacramento — A "Big 
Lie" — Omaha's First Telegraph Line — "Mr. Peek Probably Drowned !"— Formation of 
the Western Union — Statistics — Other Lines — Telephone Companies — Electric Light 
Companies 416^19 

CHAPTER XLVIL— Grain Elevators — Their Development — Those now in Operation. . .420-421 

CHAPTER XL VIII.— Banks and Banking — Early Banking Institutions — Brief History of 
Each of Omaha's Banks — Handsome and Costly Bank Buildings — Some Statistics ...422^34 

CHAPTER XLIX.— Omaha's Park System — The Struggle for Jefferson Square — Hanscom 
Park — The Present Park Law — The Park Commission — New Parks — Elmwood Park 

— Boulevards — Syndicate Park 435-440 

CHAPTER L.— The Post-Office — Early History — Business of Late Years — The New Post- 
Office — Plan of the Building — The Custom House — Early History — Official Terms 
Explained — Annual Collections of Duties — Internal Revenue District of Nebraska — Its 
History — Statement of Annual Collections — Express Companies — Sketch of Each Line 
Entering Omaha 441-448 

CHAPTER LI.— Art in Omaha— Early Organizations of Artists — Western Art Association 

— Art Exhibitions — The Lininger Art Gallery — Other Collections — Academy of Fine 
Arts — Some Artists 449^54 

CHAPTER LIL— East Omaha — Origin — Graded Streets- Railroad Facilities — The Omaha 
Bridge and Terminal Railway — Origin of the Undertaking — Proposed Scope — The 
Bridge — Terminal Lines of Railroads — Terminal Grounds — The Largest Single Trans- 
fer of Real Estate in the History of Omaha — The Passenger Depot. . 455-459 



CONTENTS. Xni 

CHAPTER LIII.— Commerce — Early Commercial Houses — Mercantile Firms of To-day — 
Dry Goods and Clothing — Hats and Caps — Millinery and Notions — Rubber Goods- 
Toys— Tents— Furniture and Carpets — Boots and Shoes — Department Stores — Jewelers 

— Book Stores— Paper Dealers — Wall Paper Dealers and Decorators — Art Goods — 
Crockery and Glassware — Billiard Merchandise — Guns and Sporting- Goods — Plumbers' 
Supplies — Iron and Hardware — Printing Material — Stove Stores — Farm Machinery — 
Vehicles — Storage — Grocers -Wholesale Flour Dealers — Di'ugs — Commission Houses — 
Seed Houses — Saddlery, Leather and Hides — Oil, Lead, Paints and Glass — Tobacco 
and Cigars — Wholesale Liquor Stores — Wholesale Dealers in Beer — Lumber — Coal — 
Ice— Livery Stables — Explosives — Laundries — Undertaking — Classified List and Esti- 
mate of Capital Employed 460-t91 

CHAPTER LIV.— Manufacturing Interests — First Manufacturers — Carriage Factories — 
Iron Workers — Union Pacific Railroad Shops — Tinware Factories — Shot Works — 
Smelting Works — White Lead Works — Gas Works — Stone Cutting — Planing Mills — 
Box Factories — Furniture Factories — Linseed Oil Works — Printing — Clothing and 
Bag Factories — Merchant Tailors — Button Factories — Manufactories of Food Supjilies 

— Brewing — Malt, Soda Water, Weiss Beer — Distilling — Manufacturing Pharmacists 

— Soap Factories — Cigar Factories — Asphalt Paving — Marble Works — Saddlery — 
Brick Manufacturers — Miscellaneous — The Manufacturers' and Consumers' Association 

of Nebraska 492-512 

CHAPTER LV.— Events of 1892 — The National Drill — National Infantry Drills — The 
General Conference of the M. E. Church — The National Convention of the Peoples' 
Party — The Mystic Shriners — The Omaha and Platte River Canal — The Hanging of 
Dixon — Political Notes — Some Statistics — Public Improvements 513-518 

CHAPTER LVI. — Some of Omaha's Representative Citizens — George W. Ambrose — George 
B. Ay res — Samuel DeWitt Beals — George Pickering Bemis — James E. Boyd — Clinton 
Briggs — William James Broatch — Amelia Burroughs — Robert Harper Clarkson — Vic- 
tor H. Coffman, M. D. — Thomas B. Cuming — Charles H. Dewey — George W. Doane — 
Robert Doherty — H. D. Estabrook — N. B. Falconer — Fenner Ferguson — Arthur North- 
cote Ferguson — Joseph Warren Gannett — W. A. L. Gibbon — John Andrew Gillespie — 
George Paul Albrecht Grossmann — William Henry Hanchett — Pierce C. Himebaugh — 
George A. Hoagland — James Kerr Ish — Benjamin Eli Barnet Kennedy — Thomas Lord 
Kimball — Frederick Krug — Enos Lowe — Jesse Lowe — John W. Ly tie — William Wal- 
lace Marsh — Hon. John A. McShane — David Henry Mercer — Samuel David Mercer — 
George L. Miller — George Morgan O'Brien — Samuel A. Orchard — William A. Paxton 
— James Henry Peabody — Andrew J. Poppleton — Arthur S. Potter — Lyman Richard- 
son— O. D. Richardson — Edward Rosewater — Alvin Saunders — James Stephenson — 
John Mellen Thurston — George Francis Train — Eleazer Wakeley — John L. Webster — 
Solon L. Wiley — Orlando Scott Wood — James M. Woolworth 519-588 

CHAPTER LVIL— James Woodruff Savage — His Early Life and Subsequent Career — His 
Death in Omaha — Tributes of Respect to his Memory 589-691 



XIV CONTENTS. 

HISTORY OF SOUTH OMAHA. 

CHAPTER I.— Origin and Opening- of the Union Stock Yards r)i);i-(i()0 

CHAPTER II.— Progress and Present Condition of the Union Stock Yards (i01-lil2 

CHAPTER III.— The ••Syndicate" and South Omaha Land Companj' ()l:!-t)2(l 

CHAPTER IV.— Dressed Meat and Packing Concerns — The G. H. Hammond Company — 
The Omaha Packing Company — The Cudahy Packing Company — Swift & Company .()21-(i;U 

CHAPTER v.— Pioneers and Pioneer Times CY. (i44 

CHAPTER VI.— South Omaha as a Municipality (i4.->-li.-)(> 

CHAPTER VII.— Minor Industries and Public and Private Institutions (>.')7-()(i:{ 

CHAPTER VIII.— Social Life (i(i4-(i(i.-) 

CHAPTER IX.— Some of South Omaha's Enterprising Men (i(i(i-(i71 

CHAPTER X.— South Omaha of To-day (172 



BIOGRAPHIES. 



Ambrose, George W 519 

Ayres. George B 521 

Beals. Samuel DeWitt 522 

Bemis, George Pickering 524 

Boyd, James E 527 

Briggs, Clinton 529 

Broatch William James 530 

Burroughs, Amelia 533 

_Clarkson, Robert Harper 533 

Coflfman, Victor H 534 

Cuming, Thomas B 537 

Dewey, Charles H 540 

Doane, George W 541 

Doherty, Robert 543 

Estabrook, Henry D 544 

Falconer, N. B 546 

Ferguson, Penner 54(5 

Ferguson, Arthur Northcote 547 

Gannett, Joseph Warren 548 

Gibbon, W. A. L 549 

Gillespie, John Andrew 550 

Grossmann, George Paul Albrecht 550 

Hanchett, William Henry 552 

Himebaugh, Pierce C 553 

Hoagland, George A 554 

Ish, James Kerr 555 

Kennedy, Benjamin Eli Barnet 555 

Kimball, Thomas Lord 55fi 



Krug', Frederick 558 

Lowe, Enos , . 55S 

Lowe, Jesse 5(>0 

Lytle, John W 5til 

Marsh, William Wallace 5(i2 

McShane, John A 5(13 

Mercer, David Henry 5(i3 

Mercer, Samuel David 5()4 

Miller, George L 5(i5 

O'Brien, George Morgan 5(i(i 

Orchard, Samuel A 5(i7 

Paxton, William A 5(i7 

Peabody. James Henry 5()9 

Poppleton, Andrew J 570 

Potter, Arthur P 572 

Richardson, Lyman 574 

Richardson, O. D 574 

Rosewater, Edward 575 

Saunders, Alvin 577 

Savage, James Woodi'uff 589 

Stephenson, James 579 

Thurston, John Mellen 580 

Train, George Francis 581 

Wakeley, Eleazer 582 

Webster, John L 584 

Wiley, Solon L r>sr, 

Wood, Orlando Scott 58(1 

Woolworth, James M 587 



PORTRAITS. 



Ambrose, George W 248 

Ayres, George B , . 3fiO 

Beals, Samuel DeWitt 308 

Bemis, George Pickering 94 

Boyd, James E 188 

Briggs, Clinton 224 

Broatch, William James 83 

Burroughs. Amelia 365 

Clarkson, Robert Harper 328 

Coffman, Victor H 354 

Cuming, Thomas B 50 

Dewey, Charles H 104 

Doane, George W 234 

Doherty, Robert 318 

Estabrook. Henry D 250 

Falconer, N. B 463 

Ferguson, Arthur Northcote 236 

Gannett, Joseph Warren 401 

Gibbon, W. A. L 465 

Gillespie, John Andrew 202 

Grossmann, George Paul Albrecht 358 

Hanchett, William Henry .364 

Himebaugh, Pierce C 339 

Hoagland, George A 485 

Ish, James Kerr '. 479 

Kennedy, Benjamin Eli Barnet 240 

Kimball. Thomas Lord 397 



Krug, Frederick 506 

Lowe, Enos 106 

Lowe, Jesse 78 

Lytle, John W 246 

Marsh, William Wallace 412 

McShane. John A 425 

Mercer, David Henry 517 

Mercer, Samuel David 353 

Miller, George L 108 

O'Brien, George Morgan 228 

Orchard, Samuel A 4(i6 

Paxton, William A 115 

Peabody, James Henry .'l^O 

Potter, Arthur F...'. 457 

Richardson, Lyman IKi 

Richardson. O D 52 

Rosewater, Edward 167 

Saunders, Alvin. .^ Ill 

Savage, James Woodruff 1 

Stephenson, James 489 

Thurston, John Mellen .391 

Train, George Francis Title page 

Wakeley, Eleazer 232 

Webster, John L 242 

Wiley, Solon L 267 

Wood, Orlando Scott .363 

Woolworth. James M 221 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 

Farnam Street from Sixteenth Street East— 1866 20 

Farnam Street from Sixteenth Street East— 1889 20 

The Old Capitol Building- "0 

Douglas County Court House "JS 

The Territorial Capitol ^^ 

Looking Northwest from Fifteenth and Farnam Streets— 1876 91 

Residence of Hon. W. A. Paxton, 206 South Twenty-fifth Avenue, Built in 1887 Ill 

Looking Northeast from Court House Square— 1886 Ill 

Looking Southeast from High School Ground— 1886 141 

Omaha Puhlic Library 145 

Looking Northwest from Twelfth and Farnam Streets— 1867 160 

Withnell Building, Headquarters Department of the Platte, Fifteenth and Harney Sts.— 1876. . 160 

Looking North from South Eighth Street — 1875 162 

Bee Building l*'** 

Omaha & Grant Smelting and Refining Works 192 

Omaha as seen from East Side of Missouri River— 1889 192 

Glimpses of Omaha 1^"» 

View of the Levee before the Construction of the Union Pacifie Bridge 198 

Looking Northwest from South Ninth Street— 1876 213 

The Late Byron Reed's Library 265 

Power House and Settling Basins at Florence — American Waterworks Company 271 

High School Building 315 

Brownell Hall ■ 317 

Hanscom Park M. E. Church 323 

Trinity M. E. Church 321 

Congregational Church— First Protestant Church Built in Omaha 325 

First Congregational Church 326 

Trinity Cathedral 328 

Kountze Memorial English Lutheran Church 330 

Swedish Mission : 335 

First Universalist Church, Kountze Place 336 

Young Men's Christian Association Building 339 

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church — First Catholic Church in Omaha 346 

St. Mary's Convent, Twenty-fourth Street and St. Mary's Avenue — 1868 346 

St. Philomena Cathedral 347 

St. John's Collegiate Church 349 

Creighton College 350 

First Bank Building in Omaha 425 

Looking North from Fourteenth and Farnam Streets — 1873 441 

Looking Northwest from Fourteenth and Farnam Streets— 1873 441 

The Lininger Art Gallery 452 

The Smelting Works during the Flood of 1881 496 

Ruins of the Grand Central Hotel, Burned September, 1878 496 

City Hall 518 

Exchange Building, Union Stock Yards, South Omaha 592 

High School Building (South Omaha) 659 



CHAPTER I. 



iKLY Exi'LOKATlOXS WkST 01" THE MISSOURI RlVliK ExrHDITIOXS OF 8l*ANISlI AuVEX- 

TuniiRS — Thk Skaucii FOR Mythical STORiis of Wealth — Supposed . 
JjOi'atiox of the City of Quiyira. 



The State of Nebraska, though admitted 
to the Federal Union so lately as the year 
1867. and containing, prior to its creation 
into a territory in 18o4, no inhabitants of 
European ancestry except the handful whom 
the demands of trade or fondness for a 
nomadic life had drawn within its borders, 
still catches occasional glimpses of a past 
which antedates that of those which we are 
accustomed to regard as the eai-ly settle- 
ments, and does not lack even a tinge of 
romance to reward the investigation of the 
curious student. The mysterious habitations 
of the mound-builders still crown the con- 
spicuous bluffs which border the Missouri; 
weapons and domestic implements of the 
stone age are still thrown up bj' the share or 
the spade from the fertile eaj'th; bits of 
fragile pottery of strange fashions and 
devices still bestrew its prairies, and count- 
less similar indications unite with aboriginal 
tradition to testify to the presence upon its 
soil, in pre-historic ages, of populous com- 
munities. 

The earliest record of its territory having 
lieen visited by Europeans dates back to the 
year 1540. This expedition, which certainly 
reached at least the southern boundary of 
Nebraska, has been the sul)ject of much 
thought and stud}', and of more contradic- 
tory and diverse theories than any event of 
the kind in ancient or modern times. Into 
the vexed questions relating to the initial 
and terminal points of Coronado's great 
march through the wilderness, it is impossi- 
lile. in a work of this character, to enter at 



any length. A In-ief synopsis of the princi- 
pal features of that expedition, taken from 
the relations of participants in it, will be 
sufficient to enable those familiar with the 
topography of the region traversed to form 
their own conclusions as to the principal 
features of the journey. 

The two decades following the conquest 
of Mexico by Cortez brought to the shores 
of the New AVorld numerous cavaliers, 
grandees and adventurers of Spanish birth 
who burned to rival that dashing commander 
in the splendor of his enterprises and the 
renown of his career. Among these was one 
Francisco Yasquez de Coronado, a Spaniard 
of Salamanca, bold, well educated, ambitious, 
of pleasing address, adventurous, handsome, 
and, like all Spanish commanders of his age, 
covetous and cruel. To Mm had been 
entrusted the command of . the northern 
province of ^Mexico at a time when general 
interest had been aroused in reports, seem- 
ingly well founded, of rich and populous 
cities far to the northward, where dwelt a 
prosperous and happy people, with lofty 
dwellings and shops, rich in gold, silver, 
precious stones and all articles of luxury. 
No disciple of Cortez, recalling his romantic 
fame, could hesitate long in coming to a 
conclusion that it was his duty to despoil 
and rob the mansions of these peaceful, 
harmless and gentle Ijarbarians. Coronado, 
therefore, early in the spring of 1540, led an 
expedition of some twelve or thirteen hun- 
dred men to the northward, on a journey 
which was destined to last for more than 



IIIS'J 



TIIK CITY OF OMAHA. 



two years, and which has given rise to more 
discussion than any similar marcli known to 
history. It is certain, however, that some- 
where in tlie territory now Itnown as Arizona 
or ?v ew Mexico, he found tlie romantic seven 
cities of Cibola, of which he had been in 
search, and discovered also, to his sorrow 
and cliagrin, that the marvellous tales of 
their grandeur and wealth were clever fictions 
whicli had but the very slightest basis of 
truth to support them. " There were farms 
in ]Mexico better than Cibola; the seven 
cities were seven hamlets, the houses were 
small, gold was not found, the minerals were 
of but little value, and in short, the puissant 
realms and populous cities which he had 
promised, tlie metals, the gems and the rich 
stuffs of which he had boasted in all his 
discourses, had faded like an insubstantial 
pageant into thin air. ' ' * 

But as Coronado, mortified at so ignoble a 
close of an expedition which he had fondly 
hoped would rival the splendid achievements 
of Cortez, twenty years before, hesitated to 
retrace his steps with no greater renown 
than might accrue from the destruction of a 
few weak villages, and the slaughter of their 
unresisting inhabitants, his attention was 
called to a region far to the northeast by one 
whose motives are difficult to discern. A 
native of the region waited upon the General 
with much affectation of myster3' and ill-will 
towards his own countrymen, and described 
with highly colored details, a land remote 
from the seven cities, which surpassed in its 
gorgeous magnificence the wildest daj' dreams 
of the avaricious Spaniard. He spoke of a 
region of unexampled fertility, of a river so 
wide as to seem like an arm of the sea, upon 
whose capacious bosom was carried the puis- 
sant navy of the realm — canoes of twenty 
oars, vessels with sails adorned with gold 
and sumptuous in all their appointments. 
The monarch of this romatic region, a long- 
bearded, gray-haired and powerful king 
i;iaraed Tatarrax, praj'ed, b.y the aid of a 

»See the Discovery ul' Nebraska, Vol. 1, Trans. Neli. Hist..Soc. 



String of l)eads, and worshipped a golden 
cross and the image of a woman, the queen 
of heaven. Throughout the whole of this 
land, which he named Quivira, the meanest 
and most common domestic articles were of 
wrought silver, while their bowls, plates and 
more pretentious utensils were of beaten 
gold. This story was cunningly framed to 
excite both the cupidity and the superstition 
of the Spaniards, and perhaps the best 
explanation of it is, that the narrator had 
resolved to sacrifice himself for the good of 
his people, and hoped to draw them so fai- 
into the wilderness before his treachery was 
discovered, that the Spaniards would not l)e 
able to return to the cities of Cibola. That 
the story had some foundation of truth, how- 
ever, there can be no doubt, as we shall sec 
further on. Coronado himself found the 
laud described in such exaggerated terms, 
and visits to it in succeeding years were 
more than once repeated. The adventurous 
Coronado believed enough of the tale so skill- 
fully told, to induce him to follow the track 
pointed out by his informant. So on the 
oth day of Maj^, 1541, he set out to discover 
the new and rich country so brought to his 
notice. The story of his march has been 
told by three of those who participated in it, 
Coronado hiftiself, his lieutenant, Jaramillo, 
and a private soldier in his army, Castaneda, 
a patient, pious, honest and quaint old soul, 
to whose journal sedulously kept, we are 
indebted for most of the details of the marcli. 
In order to fix, however, definitely the 
itinerary of this expedition, and the probable 
point at which it terminated, it is necessary 
for us to determine with accuracy the place of 
its commencement. This, we are informed, 
was a well fortified village called Cicuye, 
situated near a river of the same name, in a 
narrow valley, among mountains covered 
with pines. No one can visit and study the 
ruins of Pecos, on the Pecos River, only a 
mile or two from the line of the Atchison, 
Topeka iV Santa Fe Railroad, without being 
convinced that that is the place referred to 



:ai;ly exi'LOIiations west of the missouiu i;ivei:. 



\>y Castauc'dn as C'icuyt'. Its situation is 
alisolutely impregnable to assaults by men 
(.an-ying only barbarous weapons, traces of 
its four stories, of which Castaneda speaks, 
may still be discerned; it is in a narrow 
valley among mountains covered with pines, 
and although lish are not found in any great 
numbers in the little stream which runs by 
it, the grooved stones which antiquaries 
suppose the Indians used as sinkers for their 
nets, ma}' still be found among the stern and 
melancholy ruins to reward the search of the 
curious student of the past. It is true that 
.1 remark of Castaneda has somewhat per- 
plexed those who have endeavored to fix the 
I'XMct site of the initial point of Coronado's 
march, lie says, "when the army left 
Cicuye we entered the mountains, whicli it 
was necessary to cross to reach the plains, 
and on the fourth day we reached a deep 
river which passes also near Cicviye, and is 
for this reason called the Cicuye River." 
That it should take four days to reach the 
Pecos River, which flows almost within sight 
of the village of Pecos, is the puzzle to those 
commentators who have never visited the 
spot. But as the crossing of the Santa Fe 
trail over the Pecos at San Miguel is twenty- 
two miles from the ruins, and the railroad 
bridge is several miles further; a-nd as the 
words, "the fourth day," by no means 
necessarily implies that four days had been 
occupied in the march, the passage rather 
strengthens than impairs the conclusion that 
Cicuye and Pecos are identical. 

From Pecos, the little army, under Cor- 
onado, marched seven hundred miles north- 
eastwardly, reaching a considerable river, 
wliich could have been no other than the 
Arkansas. Here the scarcity of provisions, 
and suspicions that reported magnificence of 
ouivira was a mere exaggeration to lure 
them awa}'^ from the dwellers in New ^lex- 
ico, induced the leader to order the main 
liody back to the vicinit}' of the Pecos, 
while the General, with thirty of his brav- 
est and Iiest iiiounted men and six foot 



soldiers should take a northwestern course 
for the land of splendor and riches. 

The little party so detached turned some- 
what to the northwest and reached a point 
on the southern boundary of Nebraska, 
where they found the Kingdom of (Juivira 
so long sought for. The reports of its 
wealth and magnificence, however, were for 
the most part unfounded. It occupied a 
fertile and well watei-ed country and sup- 
ported a numerous population, but of the 
precious metals or stones nothing was found. 
So after spending twenty-five days in the 
exploration of the new found land, Coronado 
set out upon his return home, which in due 
time he reached, chagrined and out of 
favor. 

That this account of the celebrated march 
of Coronado is not universally accepted as 
true must be conceded. There are some 
arguments, however, in favor of its correct- 
ness which have never Ijeen successfullj- 
controverted. A strong one is the internal 
evidence of the reports themselves. The 
private soldier, Castaneda, seems to have 
been a somewhat credulous chronicler, but 
where he relates his own personal experiences 
he is modest and apparently worthy of 
credit. All the contemporaneous historians 
of the exposition agree with him. The 
itinerar}' agrees strikinglj' with what at this 
day we know a march northwestwardly from 
Pecos must have been. AVe have the word 
of Coronado that he reached the southern 
boundary of Nebraska and there entered 
upon the realm of (Juivira. The explorers' 
accounts of the. animals, fruits, people and 
natural features of their route agree in a 
most remarkable manner with the facts as 
we now know them. All these circumstances 
taken together would seem to render the 
doubts which have from time been thrown 
over the various narratives of this exposi- 
tion, unreasonable. 

F'ifty-seven years after the journe}- of 
Coronado, in the year loiHl, the Spaniard 
Onato made an effort to reach ()uivira, but 



)V OMAIIA. 



the Hceovints of bis expedition are !<o ambig- 
uous and indistinct that the point to which 
he penetrated cannot yet he very definitel3' 
ascertained. We gather from them, how- 
ever, that he marched from Santa Fe over 
prairies and by rivers of varying magnitude, 
some seven or eight hundred miles, to a 
populous Indian city, extending for several 
leagues. Here the cowardice of his follow- 
ers constrained him to relinquish his under- 
taking and return to Santa Fe. Of him and 
his expedition we can only say that he may 
have reached Nebraska. He declares in his 
narration that he traveled over two hundred 
leagues. This distance, of course, if taken 
in the right direction, would have brought 
him within the limits of Nebraska. But 
the obscurity and indefiniteness of his report 
forbid us to say more than tliat it was 
supposed at the time that he had advanced 
north of the fortieth parallel. 

The passionate ardor of the Catholic clergy 
in the cause to which, with suljlime enthu- 
siasm, they had devoted alike their fortunes 
and lives, would have supplied us with more 
geographic material had the zealous fathers 
in their reports thought of, or cared for such 
mundane matters as dates, courses or des- 
criptions. Several pious pilgrimages were 
set on foot to reach the heathen of this 
unknown region, but none of them has added 
much to our stock of information. One of 
these journeys is said to have ended seven 
hundred miles from Santa Fe, upon the 
banks of a large and rushing river, whose 
terrors proved too much for their Indian 
guides, so that they were forced to return 
without having Christianized any pagans. 
Another partj' had a happier fortune. They 
reached a nation north of Nebraska, in the 
region now known as Dn.kota, and converted 
the tribes so suddenly and effectually that 
the venerable priests could attribute the 
result only to the direct and miraculous 
interposition of Divine grace. 

In the year 1662 took place, if we are to 
believe his own story, the expedition of the 



Count of Penalosa, from Santa Fe to (^ui- 
vira. The narration shows him to have 
been a man of inordinate vanity, arrogant, 
high spirited and supercilious. It is usual 
to add to these characteristics that of an 
untruthfulness so great as to discredit the 
entire account. The story is professedl,y 
written by Nicholas de Freytas, one of his 
chaplains, and while there are not wanting 
evidences of its unreliabilitj^ there are many 
circumstances which show tliat the chronicler 
was well acquainted with the route which 
the expedition is said to have pursued. 

In brief, the story is that on the 6tli of 
March, in the year 1662. Penalosa marched 
from Santa Fe in absurd state, with a numer- 
ous and pompous retinue, and an army of 
considerable strength. For three months 
the Count led his force in a northeasterly 
direction, through pleasant and fertile prai- 
ries, -'so agreeable," says the friar, '-that 
not in all the Indies of Peru and New Spain, 
nor in Europe have any other such been 
seen so delightful and pleasant." Coming 
to a wide and rapid river, they encountered 
a war party of the Kscauzaques nation, who 
dwelt along the fortieth parallel of latitude, 
.and who represented themselves as bound 
for one of the great cities of Quivira. with 
whose inhabitants the}' were at war. With 
these warriors, who numbered about three 
thousand, Penalosa marched westwardlj- for 
a day along the right bank of the rushing 
river until it made a bend so that it came 
from the north. Following up its course, 
they marched northward for a day. and 
thereafter, pursuing the sinuosities of the 
stream, and guided by it, they proceeded on 
their course until they perceived to the 
northward, beyond the river, a high ridge 
whose sides were dotted with signal smokes, 
.and understood that the natives were advised 
of their approach. Still proceeding west- 
ward, they .at last halted at a spot where, on 
the opposite side, another beautiful river, 
flowing from the ridge, entered the stream 
they had previously followed. Here looking 



EXPEDITIONS OF KPANISII ADVENTURERS. 



across the latter river, they could discern 
upon Iioth banks of its attractive affluent a 
vast settlement or city, in the midst of a 
spacious prairie. 

This, the chronicler assures us, was the city, 
( ir one of the cities, of ( ^uivira. It contained 
thousands of houses, circular in shape for the 
most part, some two, three, and even four 
stories in height, framed of a hard wood and 
skillfully thatched. It extended on both 
sides of this second river for more than two 
leagues, at which distance a third stream 
Bowed into the second. Beyond this, the 
city again stretched out for many miles; 
just how far is uncertain, for the troops 
never reached its ultimate boundary. The 
plain upon which this huge village laj-, was 
some eighteen or twenty miles in breadth. 
The city was very populous, the inhabitants 
l>eing gentle, submissive, curious and hospit- 
able. 

According to the story of De Freytas, the 
Kscauzaques, their new found allies, crossed 
the river during the night under cover of 
tlie darkness, in spite of positive orders to 
the contrary, and falling upon the peaceful 
dwellers of the cit}^ so ravaged, burned and 
murdered, that at sunrise, when the General 
( who, with some difficulty, had also crossed 
the stream before dawn) encamped before 
the city, not a living soul was to be found 
within it. The timid and unwarlike natives 
who had survived the slaughter had all fled. 

These are the principal features of the 
narration of Father Nicholas de Freytas. 
All the Count of Penalosa with his army 
could do after that, was to endeavor to ex- 
tinguish the flames and make abortive efforts 
to repress the fury of the Escauzaques. The 
next day they marched through the town, 
admiring the vast number of dwellings; the 
innumerable paths which entered the city 
from the high lands Ijelow it; the fertility of 
the soil, which was black, strong and covered 
with rich grasses ; and the beauty of the scene 
which, from the city to the ridge, seemed to 
thf-m like a paradise. But the Spaniard of 



those days, however sensible of natural 
beaut}', deemed no expedition a successful 
one which did not j'ield some store of gold 
or precious stones. As the populous cit^y 
furnished no signs of these, all zeal and 
interest in the undertaking at once vanished, 
and about the middle of .Tune the Count set 
out on his return journey to New Mexico. 

As has been suggested above, it is a matter 
of small importance whether this story is, in 
its details, true or not; if the descriptions of 
the routes, rivers, soils, natural objects, dis- 
tances, directions and general features prove, 
so far as they can be verified at this day, 
correct, we shall hardly fail to be convinced 
that some one had taken the journe}' from 
Santa Fe northeastwardly, whether Penalosa 
did or not. And certainly if the route of 
the march as described, carefully followed, 
brings us to a spot where at some time in 
the past a populous city has stood, there is 
certainly some ground, however slight, for 
supposing that it was the magnificent city 
of the Spaniards' dreams. 

Many of those interested in the early 
annals of Nebraska, believe that the site of 
this citj' was at the spot where now the citj' 
of Columbus stands, and not far from where 
the Loup River empties into the Platte. A 
few of the evidences, which are claimed to 
support this theory, are as follows: 

First. (Juivira lay northeasterly from 
Santa Fe. This was the line of Coronado's 
march, as we are informed both by his own 
report and those of his lieutenant, Jaramillo, 
and the soldier, Castaneda. Gomara, in his 
narrative of the expedition, declares that the 
march was towards the northeast. The 
missionary fathers previously' mentioned, 
traveled in the same direction. F'reyta.s 
constantly speaks of it as " the northeast 
land;" and the Indian guides alwaj'S per- 
sisted that the route to it, by way of Taos, 
was shorter and more direct than that usually 
followed. 

Second. It was north of the southern 
Iioundary of Nebraska — the fortieth parallel 



of latitiick'. C'oroiiado reported that lie 
penetrated thus far to the north, and in this 
statement he was supported bj^ the evidence 
of all who accompanied him. Penalosa, or 
whoever furnished that governor with the 
data for his narration, found, more than a 
century later, the Escauzaques, enemies of 
tlie Quiviras, dwelling along this parallel and 
ranging over the country northward. With 
them he marched north to attack the won- 
drous city. 

Third. The distances asserted to have 
been traveled by the several explorers, while 
not always definitely given, or harmonious, 
all indicate that the region sought by them 
was at least as far from Santa Fe as Nebraska. 
The march of Coronado was of a sufficient 
length to have ended in this State. The 
march of Onato from Santa Fe in 1599, was, 
according to his account, upwards of two 
hundred leagues. The Spanish league being, 
as appears by the United States Ordinance 
Manual, 3.42 American miles, we may fairly 
suppose that he traveled t)etween six hun- 
dred and seventy-five and eiglit hundred 
and fifty miles. Freytas, writing from Santa 
Fe, declares that " this northeast land, so 
populous and wealthy, begins one hundred 
and fifty leagues from here and stretches to 
where the citj'^ commences almost as far 
again." In other words, he makes the dis- 
tance of the chief city of Quivira from Santa 
Fe between two hundred and fifty and three 
hundred leagues, that is, between eight hun- 
dred and fifty and a thousand miles. 

By the " map of the territory of the I'nited 
States west of tlie Mississippi River, pre- 
pared by the authority of the Honorable the 
Secretary of War, in the office of the Chief 
of Engineers" in the year 1879, the distance 
in an air line from Santa Fe to Columbus, 
Nebraska, is nearly six liundred miles. Bj' 
rail, the distance from Santa Fe to the river 
Platte is nine hundred and eighty-six miles, 
and inasmuch as the Atcliison and Santa Fe 
Railroad follows very closely the old and 
natural route so well known to travelers as 



the Santa Fe trail, it is probable that so easy 
and obvious a pathway would be the one 
pursued by the early adventurers. It would 
seem, then, that the distance to the city of 
Quivira, as reported, would, after making 
the most liberal allowances for guesses, im- 
perfect measurements and exaggerations, 
require its location to lie a;* far from New 
Mexico as Nebraska. 

It has been objected to this hypothesis, 
that those early chroniclers described the 
land of Quivira as nearly surrounded b}- the 
sea. But when we refiect that the name 
given by the Pawnees to the Missouri was 
the "medicine," or "miraculous" water, 
and that this term translated to visitors 
might readily be understood as referring to 
the ocean, the circumstance is an argument 
in favor of, rather than against, the present 
theory. Freytas declares that the sea encir- 
cles and surrounds all that land to the east, 
northeast, north and northwest. This can 
only mean that the early explorers of the 
region were assured that the " wonderful 
water" so bounded it; and as from the entire 
easternhalf of Nebraska the majestic current 
of the Missouri can be reached bj- a short 
journey towards either of the above men- 
tioned points of the compass, there is some 
reason for believing that the region known 
as Quivira comprehended that portion of 
the State. 

It is at least a curious diversion, with 
these considerations in mind, to follow the 
route which the chronicler declares was taken 
l)y Penalosa and liis men, to see how far the 
features of the journc}^ correspond with 
geographical and topographical facts. If 
the narrator's story is entitled to any credit 
whatever, the expedition struck the Platte 
River not far west of its junction with the 
^lissouri. Thence, they marched for a day 
westward, to an abrupt liend in the river; 
thence northward for another day, and thence 
followed up the current of the river towards 
the west. These courses and distances are 
identical with those to be found by a partj- 



•PP08ED LOCATION OF THE CITY OK (^'IVIKA. 



marching up the right bank of the Platte at 
the present daj\ Proceeding up the river 
they found, on the opposite side, the city of 
which they were in search, situated on both 
sides of another beautiful stream, which, 
coming from the north, emptied into that 
which they had been following. If our 
premises thus far are correct, this picturesque 
river was the Loup. They forded the river, 
up which they had been marching, this fact 
showing that it could not have been the]Mis- 
souri, which, unlike the Platte, is nowhere 
in this vicinity and for hundreds of miles 
at any season of the year, fordable. 

It is worthy of remark that the valley of 
the Loup, near its entrance into the Platte, 
is between fifteen and twentj^ miles wide, 
and evidences of ancient habitation along its 
banks for many miles exist in great abund- 
ance. P'ragments of pottery, even at this 
day. are turned up by the plow of the 
farmer or the spade of the railway grader; 
mounds, evidently artificial, are to be found; 
the soil is fertile and so lilack as to excite 



the notice of the traveler now, as it did the 
Spaniards three centuries ago. 

Speculations such as these can hardly be 
considered as entirely fanciful. After 
deducting from the tales of these early 
explorers much that is marvelous and incom- 
prehensible, and making all due allowance 
for their vain glory, pride, ambition, self- 
conceit and boastfulness, the conscientious 
student is still forced to admit that there 
exists in their narrations and reports a sub- 
stratum of trutli. From these we have a 
right at least, to consider it proved, that at 
the time of the Spanish conquests in Amer- 
ica there was in the eastern half of the terri- 
tory, which now forms the State of Ne- 
braska, populous communities, having many 
traits in common with the Aztecs, living 
together in towns and cities, not unac- 
quainted with the ruder arts of agriculture, 
dwelling in houses, and able to fashion the 
necessary weapons for the chase, and, Ijy the 
art of the potter, the common utensils of 
domestic use. 



CHAPTEFv II. 



:i! MAi!(,>rETTi:"s jMai-- 

IJY THE M.' 



-The Rivalry oi.' Fkaxce am> Spai 
[.LET Brothers — Naming of the Pi. 
The French Purchase. 



In the latter part of the sixteenth century 
we begin to emerge from the region of myth 
and marvel, and to gain a reasonably accu- 
rate knowledge of the denizens of tlie coun- 
try which afterwards became the State of 
Nebraska. As early as the year 1673, Father 
Joseph Marquette, the pious French .Jesuit 
and missionary, descended the Mississippi 
on an expedition to determine its situation 
and course. A map prepared by his own 
hand of his voyage, of undoubted authentic- 
ity, after lying concealed and forgotten for 
two centuries in the archives of St. Mary's 
College, in Montreal, was, a few years since, 
recovered from its hiding place. The Mis- 
souri river is depicted upon this map with 
remarkable accuracy, considering the fact 
that his information concerning it must have 
been derived from such wandering Indians 
as he chanced to meet along the banks of the 
Mississippi. His description of this passage 
of the mouth of the Missouri, which he calls 
the Pekatanoni, is as follows: " We descend, 
following the course of the river, towards 
the other called Pekatanoni, which empties 
into the Mississippi, coming from the north- 
west, of which I shall have something to say 
after what I have remarked of this river. 

'■ As we were discoursing, sailing gently 
down a still, clear water, we heard the noise 
of a rapid into which we were about to plunge. 
I have never seen anything more frightful! 
A mass of large trees, with roots and branches 
entire, real floating islands, came rushing 
from the mouth of the river Pekatanoni 
with such impetuosity that we could not 



venture across without serious risk. The 
agitation was so great that the water was all 
muddy and could not get clear. 

"Pekatanoni is a considerable river, which, 
coming from very far in the northwest, 
empties into the Mississippi. Many Indian 
towns are situated on this stream, and I hope 
b^f its means to make the discovery of the 
Red, or California Sea. 

" We judged, by the direction the Missis- 
sippi takes, that if it keeps on the same 
course it has its mouth in the G-ulf of Mex- 
ico; it would be of great advantage to find 
that which leads to the South Sea towards 
California; and this, as I said, I hope to find 
b}^ Pekatanoni, following the account which 
the Indians had given me; for from them I 
learn that ascending this river for five or six 
d.ays, you come to a beautiful prairie twent}- 
or thirty leagues in extent, which yon must 
cross to the northwest. It terminates at 
another little river on which you can 
embark, it not being difficult to transport 
canoes over so beautiful a country as that 
prairie. This second river runs southwest 
for ten or fifteen leagues, after which it 
enters a small lake, which is the source of 
another deep river running to the west, 
where it empties into the sea. I have hardly 
any doubt that this is the Red Sea, .and I do 
not despair of one day making the discovery, 
if God does me this favor and grants me 
health, in order to be able to publish the 
gospel to all the nations of this New World, 
who have so long been plunged in heathen 
darkness. ' ' 

Upon the map above referred to, the gen- 



HE RIVALKY OF 



•ItAXCE A.\J> si'AIX. 



cral course of the Missouri is given to a 
jioint far above the site of the Citj' of 
Omaha; the Platte River is laid down in 
;)lniost its exact position, corresponding 
remarkably with its actual relative situation 
to the INIissouri and other streams, and the 
mountains to the westward; among the 
Indian tribes which he enumerates as dis- 
tributed throughout this region, we find 
such names as Panas, MahasandOtontantes. 
This map, it is probable, contains for the 
first time, written in a Christian tongue, the 
designation of the wild tribe for which the 
City of Omaha is named. The charitable 
wish of tlie good Father Marquette to visit 
this region and instruct its dusky natives 
in the doctrines of his faith, was, unfortu- 
natelj" for historj-, never gratified. The 
exposure and hardshij^s of his travels were 
too much for his frail constitution, and he 
died on the shores of Lake Michigan before 
liis devout dream of spiritual conquest could 
be realized. 

The rivalr3' between France and Spain 
for the possession of the territory lying 
lietween the Rocky Mountains and the Mis- 
sissippi was more effective in giving the 
world information concerning the prairies 
of the west than even the indefatigable 
labors of Catholic priests. Spain, secure in 
her possession of Mexico, looked with an 
eye of envy and desire over the beautiful 
plains traversed by countless herds of buf- 
falo, antelope and deer; while France, from 
her strongholds at the mouth of the Missis- 
sippi, watched with cautious jealousy any 
movements of the successors of Cortez 
towards that coveted region. Suspicions, 
rivalries, and antagonisms, were rife on both 
sides. If the French made a move in one 
quarter, the Spaniards endeavored to meet 
it by a counter strolce in another. If one 
nation established a trading post in the 
wilderness, the other soiight to seduce its 
servants and to render the enterprise abort- 
ive. Spies and other emissaries everywhere 
aliounded. With an ostentatious display 



of peace on both sides, there was constant 
suspicion and constant watchfulness. Con- 
temporary documents show that the rich- 
ness and the lieauty of the country, the fer- 
tility of the soil, and the salubrity of the 
climate, made the possession of the region a 
matter of deep interest to both sides. 

Thus, a letter from M. de Bienville, then 
in command of Louisiana, to the French 
Minister of Marine, dated April 22, 1734, 
has the following report: "A Frenchman, 
who for some years has lived among the 
Panimahas established on the Missouri, has, 
with these savages, visited the Ricaras, who 
inhabit about the headwaters of that stream. 
Thejr bad not before seen any Frenchmen, 
lie found in the vicinity several silver mines 
which appeared to him very rich; among 
others one which he thinks virgin. Two 
travelers will go with him to verify his 
report."* The same officer had written in 
1706: "Among the Canadians wlio have 
arrived, there are two who have for two 
years been roaming from village to village 
on the Missouri. They report that, having 
been near to the mines of the Spaniards, they 
were arrested at a savage village sometimes 
visited by the Spaniai'ds who came there for 
hides with which to jnake harness for their 
mules; that the Spaniards are at war with 
three or four large tribes, and march only 
with cuirass and helmet, proof against 
arrows, which causes the Indians to look 
upon them as devils. These men have 
assured Bienville that tliis country is 'the 
most beautiful of the world, with navigable 
streams communicating with nations who 
use horses. They have brought specimens 
of copper from these mines, and a metal with 
which they are unacquainted.' ' 

LaSalle wrote, in 1708: "The Missouri 
River empties into the Mississippi about five 
hundred leagues from the Gulf of Mexico. 
There are Canadian voyagers who have 
ascended it for three or four hundred leagues 



10 



tu tliu iKirtli\VL':sl and west thn.aiuli the inoi?t 
beautiful coiintiy in the world. witlu)Ut lieiug 
able to ascertain whence it has its source 
If His Majesty desires that this discovery- 
should be made, the expense will not be 
great; not over forty thousand livres worth 
of merchandise, munitions and rations. 
This would be sufficient to cover all expenses, 
including the pay of one hundred men 
selected for the enterprise, and who would be 
able to accomplish it in canoes. The journey 
would not consume more than twelve or 
fifteen months from the time of setting out 
from the fort in Louisiana. It would be 
necessarj' to send along a young engineer to 
draw a chart of the river to give ,you a clear 
idea of it, and to designate the officers 
intended for the expedition. ' ' 

The Sieur Mandeville, an ensign in the 
company of Vanlezard, in Louisiana, writes 
in 1709: "In ascending we reach the river 
Missouri where the great abundance of oxen 
and cows passes the imagination. These 
beasts grow upon their backs ])Oth hair and 
wool according to the season of the year. 
The river is beautiful and large. There is 
every reason to believe that here is a place 
for discoveries of great magnitude. 

The following is extracted from a memo- 
rial by Sieur Hubert to the naval council in 
1717: '•! am assured by those who have 
ascended the Missouri that it is the veritable 
source of the Mississippi, which latter 
stream should indeed more properly be called 
the Missouri. The region explored by them 
in the vicinity of this river is, in beauty 
and healthfulness, far superior to any other 
portion of this colonj-; it is one of those 
happy climates which produce everything in 
great abundance and without difficulty. 
The air is quite salubrious, the seasons reg- 
ular and temperate. The country is studded 
with trees of all varieties; the immense 
prairies covered with wild cattle, antelope, 
deer, and all other kinds of wild animals; 
and salt abounds, although the country is 



far from t!ie sea, which is a sensible and 
certain proof of abundance, and of the 
neighborhood of mines." 

AVriting from Fort Louis, of Louisiana. 
on the 2oth of April, 1722, Bienville says 
that he learns from the savages of the 
Missouri that the Spaniards are meditating 
an establishment on the Kansas River, and 
that he had ordered Sieur de Boisbriant to 
prevent this by sending a detachment of 
twenty soldiers to build a little fort and to 
remain in garrison on that river. The ruins 
of a stone edifice, still visible in northeastern 
Kansas, which have excited a good deal of 
local interest and curiosity, may possibly be 
the remains of the post established in pursu- 
ance of those instructions. 

The foregoing extracts are sufficient to 
show the interest taken by the French gov- 
ernment in tjieir possessions near the Mis- 
souri and Platte Rivers, its belief in their 
value and the desire felt for a more thorough 
and s^'stematic exploration of them. As 
early as the year 1700, complaints were made 
that unhappily those who had been sent upon 
tours of discovery had not lieen scientific 
men, competent to make the necessary 
observations and calculations, to prepare 
plans and itineraries, and to draw charts. 
'•It is certain," said these fault-finders, 
"that the region west of the Mississippi, 
with the exception of three or four leagues 
from its banks, is absolutely unknown to us ; 
and that to derive some benefit from the 
immense expense incurred during the last 
twenty years for this discovery, it is neces- 
sary to send coureuis des bois to the strait 
which separates California from the main 
land; and to detail people to accompany 
them who know enough to draw plans and 
make astronomical observations.' ' 

So far as our knowledge goes, the first 
formal exploration of this part of the coun- 
try took jjlace in the year 1739. A docu- 
ment recently unearthed by M. Margry gives 
many details of this expedition, not always 



11 



accurate and sometimes uninteresting. The 
abridgment of tlie journal kept by tlie 
explorers, after slumbering for nearly a 
century and a half in the archives of the 
French government, cannot fail to be of 
use to the student of the early history of 
this region. The leaders of the party were 
two brothers, Canadians, named Peter and 
Paul Mallet, who, with six companions, 
successfully accomplished a task which, con- 
sidering their numbers, the length of their 
journey, the barren regions traversed and 
the Spanish jealousy which their trip must 
have excited, may well be reckoned as 
among the most daring and successful of 
modern times. Their ostensible object was 
to visit Santa Fe, and endeavor to bring 
about a regular commerce with the people 
of New Mexico. That they were expected 
to keep their eyes open and make report of 
all matters which might prove advantageous 
to the French government, can hardly be 
doubted: 

"To understand," thej^ saj' in extracts 
from their journal prepared for the Gover- 
nor and Intendant of Louisiana, "the course 
which these Canadians took to discover New 
Mexico, it is well to know that it is one 
hundred leagues from the Illinois to the Mis- 
souri villages, on the river of that name; 
eighty leagues from there to the Cauzes; one 
liundred leagues from the Cauzes to the 
Otoctlatas, and sixty from there to the mouth 
of the river of the Panimahas in the Missouri 
countrj'. This nation is established near 
the mouth of the Panimaha River, and it is at 
this that the discoverers made their point of 
departure on the 29th of May, 1739. ' ' There 
can be from the context, but little doubt that 
tliis river of the Panimahas was the stream 
now called the Loup. 

•• Those who had previously endeavored,' ' 
they saj', " to penetrate to New Mexico have 
expected to find that country at the head 
waters of the Missouri River. They have, 
therefore, ascended that stream as far as 
tlie Ricaras, who are more than one hundred 



and fifty leagues from the Pawnees."' Fol- 
lowing the advice of certain savages whom 
they met, these explorers determined upon 
an entirely different route, and upon leaving 
their savage allies, the Pawnees, they crossed 
the prairies, returning upon their steps in a 
course almost parallel with the course of the 
ilissouri. 

On tlie 2d of .lune thoy came u^ion a 
river to which they gave the name of the 
Platte, and observing that it did not deviate 
materially from the route which they had 
determined upon, they followed up its course 
to the right for a distance of twenty-eight 
leagues, where they ascertained that a fork 
was made by the river of the Padoncas, 
which there emptied into the Platte. That 
this river of the Padoncas was the stream 
now known as the south fork of the I'latte. 
there can lie no reasonable doubt. They 
continued to ascend the river which tiiey 
had called the Platte, and on the 13tli of 
June they turned to the left, probably find- 
ing that the further ascent of that river 
would take them too far to the northwest. 
and crossing the stream and a tongue of land, 
they bivouacked on the 14th on the further 
bank of the river des Costes, which they 
supposed also emptied into the Platte. 

On the 15th and 16th they continued 
across the country, and on the 17th came 
upon another stream which they called des 
Costes Blanches. Still pressing forward, 
they traversed a level country, wliich 
barely sufficed to furnish wood for tlieii- 
camp fires. They note in their journal that 
these plains extend as far as the mountains 
bordering on Santa Fe. On the 18th they 
encamped on the bank of another stream 
which they crossed, and which they named 
the River Aimable. On the 19th they crossed 
still anotlier watercourse, to which tliey 
gave the name of the River des Soucis. The 
following day they encountered a deep and 
rapid river, which they ascertained was the 
Cauces, seeing which they were encouraged to 
Ijelieve that they were upon the route which 



had been recommended to them at the time 
of their departure from the Pawnee nation. 
In attempting to make a crossing, however, 
they met with their first serious misfortune, 
losing in its turbulent current seven horses 
laden with valuable merchandise. Another 
stream whicli they crossed two days later, 
they named the River a la Fleche. On the fol- 
lowing day the passage of still another river 
brought them out upon even more barren 
plains, where thej^ were obliged to depend 
solely upon the bois de vacJie, or buffalo chips, 
for their necessary fuel. From that time to 
the 30th of June, the_y daily encountered 
streams of greater or less magnitude, until, 
on the last mentioned day, they discovered 
upon the banks of one of them traces of the 
Spaniards of whom they were in search. 
The water which they had then reached they 
conjectured to be a branch of the Arkansas, 
and at this point they estimated their dis- 
tance from their starting place in the Pawnee 
country to be about one hundred and fifty- 
five leagues. 

Up this stream they marched, keeping it 
on their left until the 5th of July, when 
they came upon an Indian village, of a tribe 
which thej' understood to be calledLalitaues.* 
To the inhabitants of this village they made 
a small present from their diminished stock 
of merchandise, and received in return a 
gift of antelope. Distrusting, however, the 
intentions of their new acquaintances and 
suspecting that they had evil designs, they 
were cautious enough to make their encamp- 
ment some two or three miles away from 
their village. But the night passed without 
any hostile demonstrations, and on the next 
day they pursued their course. 

But as they were leaving the river, which 
for several days they had been ascending, 
their apprehensions were again excited b}- 
a visitor, who proved to be a Ricara slave, 
held in bondage among the Lalitanes. lie 
declared that the inhabitants of the village 



were determined to attack and destroy them 
The adventurers put a bold face upon the 
matter and sent the slave back with a mes- 
sage, which apparently prevented the attack, 
as the Lalitanes made no hostile movement. 
The Ricara having returned to the French- 
men, they inquired if he knew the road to 
the Spanish settlements. He replied that 
he was well acquainted with it, having been 
a slave among the Spaniards, by whom, as 
he alleged, he had been baptised into the 
Christian religion. This Indian the French- 
men endeavored to engage as a guide for 
them to the City of Santa Fe, and in the hope 
of thereby procuring his liberty, he consented 
so to act. Setting forth therefore, again, 
with their new found ally, they found them- 
selves when night fell some ten leagues awa.y 
from the nation whose hostility they had 
shunned to encounter. 

On the 10th of July they perceived for 
the first time a range of mountains which 
they called the Spanish Mountains. At this 
time their distance from them was about ten 
leagues; two days later they reached and 
encamped at the foot of one of them. On 
the following day, that is on the 13tli of 
July, they encamped at a miserable little 
village containing three Lalitane cabins; 
ensuring the good will, or at least the tran- 
quility- of the inhabitants by a trifling pres- 
ent. On the next day thej^ came upon 
another river to which they gave the name 
of Red River, but suspected it to be a branch 
of the Arkansas. Doubtless this was the 
stream now called the Gallinas, for we find 
that at twenty-one leagues from it they 
encountered the first Spanish post at a mis- 
sion called Piquoris. This mission must 
have been at the deserted and dismantled 
rock now known as Pecos, whose striking 
situation and crumbling but massive walls 
show that before heavy artillerj' could have 
been brought to bear upon it, it was a place 
of no small strength and importance. We 
have seen before, when speaking of the 
cxiH'dition of Coronado. that it was in all 



:xploi;atk)N by the mallet bkotiieks. 



i:\ 



probabilitj' the spot from which that chival- 
rous commander launched forth on his vague 
and perilous journe.y. When they arrived 
witliin three or four miles of this settle- 
ment thej' were met b}' the governor and 
the priest of the station, who were attended 
by a vast crowd of natives. These received 
the way worn travelers with great hospitality, 
and even, as they state in their journal, witli 
the clamor of bells. 

Prior to this time they had been enabled 
to avail themselves of the services of three 
wandering Indians whom they met, and to 
whom they entrusted a letter to the com- 
mandant at Taos. This officer seemed 
inclined to treat them in a friendly spirit, 
and sent them as a token of his good will 
on the next day, a supply of mutton and 
excellent bread, to which their appetites, 
sharpened by some six weeks' travel over 
the inhospitable and parched prairies, were 
read3' to furnish that sauce, which the prov- 
erb establishes as the best. Leaving Pecos 
on the 15th, they arrived at noon at another 
mission , called Santa Crux,where they dined ; 
and passing another in the afternoon named 
C'agnada, they encamped at nightfall at the 
village of Santa Marie. At all these halt- 
ing places they seem to have been cordially 
received by the cautious but hospitable 
Spaniard, perhaps from the paucity of their 
numbers, which prevented any inquietude as 
to their intentions, perhaps from a wish to 
elicit from them by kindness of treatment 
the real object of their long and dangerous 
journey. It is, of course, impossible that 
suspicious and jealous officers on the very 
frontier of Spanish occupation, surrounded 
bjr savage tribes, acquainted with the covet- 
ous disposition of their French neighbors, 
should have viewed such an incursion, even 
of six men, into their privacj' with absolute 
indifference. 

From the village of Santa Marie they 
reached Santa Fe in one day 's march, having, 
since leaving the river of the Pawnees, on 
the 29th of May, fifty-four days previouslj'. 



marched two hundred and sixtj'-five leagues 
over ' trackless and unfertile plains, at the 
hottest period of the year, without shade or 
shelter, crossing rapid and dangei'ous streams, 
exposed to attacks from hostile barbarians, 
and liable to be shot as spies at the end of 
their journey. It is certainly not too much 
to claim for these heroic men, whose exploits 
have been so long buried and forgotten, the 
credit of having participated in an enter- 
prise which tested the highest qualities of 
manhood, and entitles them to rank with 
great leaders and explorers whose deeds 
have been the theme of commendatory pens 
since their performance, and will continue 
to be for all time. Their names, which fol- 
low, ought not to be longer unrememliered. 
They are, Peter Mallet, Paul Mallet, Philip 
Robitaille, Louis Morin, Michael Beslot, 
Joseph Bellecourt, JNIanuel Gallien and John 
David, all of French extraction, and all, 
except David, who was a native of France 
born in Canada. 

They were received no less courteously 
by the Spanish authorities of Santa Fe than 
they had been by those of the villages along 
their route. It is evident, however, that 
during the nine months of their stay, a 
period rendered necessary by the inf requency 
and tardiness of communication with the 
viceroy at the City of Mexico, they were 
subjected to a strict surveillance, and were 
allowed to glean as little as might be con- 
cerning matters which would be useful to 
the French. The answer of the viceroy to 
their request to be allowed to institute a 
regular commerce across the plains between 
the French and Spanish settlements, was, 
when it did at last come, temporizing and 
indecisive. He thought, in fact, to detach 
them from their allegiance to the French 
monarch, and to induce them to engage in 
still further explorations in his own service. 
His offers were, however, declined, and seven 
of the original number — one of them, Louis 
Morin, having found S.inta Fe a veritaljle 
Capua, and married in that city — started 



u 



again across the plains. Three of them 
retraced their steps and returned to their 
allies, the Pawnees of the Loup. The four 
others, however, determined to i-each New 
Orleans by way of the Arkansas River, and 
succeeded finally in making their way to 
that city after continued labors, hardships, 
discouragements and perils, which makes it 
marvellous that they should have accom- 
plished their object in tolerable health and 
without the loss of a single man. They 
reported that the village of Santa Fe was 
an unfortified city, built of frail material, 
guarded by few ill-equipped and ill-con- 
ditioned soldiers; that the vicinity was rich 
in mines of silver and other precious mate- 
rial, and that they thought that they had 
made a favorable impression by their gifts 
upon the savage nations of the region round 
about. Nothing further, however, was heard 
of hostile movements, and the two nations, 
hereditarj' enemies, continued separated by 
vast plains regarded as well nigh impassable; 
until after the lapse of more than two dec- 



ades diplomacy eflfected what hostilities had 
been unable to bring about, and France, in 
1762, ceded to Spain the territory then 
known as Louisiana. The Spaniard, however, 
who in those daj^s was nothing if not glit- 
tering and showy, cared but little for the 
development of the immense agricultural 
resources of the magnificent territorj- so 
conveyed, and his rule was careless, neglect- 
ful and unpopular. In 1800 Bonaparte pre- 
vailed upon the Spanish government to 
reconvey to his nation the lands which dur- 
ing the thirty-eight years of Spanish occu- 
panc}- it had found alike vexatious and 
unprofitable. Bonaparte, however, was but 
little more in this transaction than a con- 
duit, to hold the title for the only nation 
which could at that time make any adequate 
use of the vast possession, and in the year 
180.3, in consideration of the sum of fifteen 
millions of dollars, the whole of Louisiana 
passed b}'^ solemn treaty into the hands of 
the United States.. 



CHAPTER III. 



TlTLK TO THE NoRTHWKSTKUN TERRITORY Ai;(iUlRi;il liY THE I'n 

EUNOi! Claiborne's Froclajiation — A Real P^state Deal 

TORY TO r.OTII OrAXTOR AXI> GrAXTEE. 



On the -iOth da.v of December. 1803. the 
flag of the United States first floated as a 
sj^mbol of sovereignty over the city of New 
Orleans. It signified that not only the 
present State of Louisiana, but the entire 
French territory from the Mississippi River 
to the Pacific and south of the British Pos- 
sessions had become the property of the 
young republic. From the land so acquired 
have grown rich and powerful States; and 
territories hardl_y less wealthy and populous 
are knocking at the doors of the Federal 
Union for admission. To be more specific, 
the cession of tliose portions of the States of 
Alabama and Mississippi south of the thirty- 
first parallel, the entire area of the States of 
Louisiana, Arkansas. Missouri, Iowa, Ne- 
braska, the two Dakotas, Montana, AVash- 
ington, all <>f iSIinnesota west of the Missis- 
sippi River, all of Kansas, except a small 
portion west of the one hundredth meridian 
and south of the Arkansas river, part of 
Colorado, the whole of Idaho and Indian 
territories, with a part of Wyoming. 

The history of the transactions which led 
to the possession by the United States of 
this enormous addition to their domain 
shows the wisdom, foresight and prophetic 
skill of .Tefferson and the statesmen who sur- 
rounded him in a most brilliant light. The 
rule of Spain had never been satisfactory tO 
our government. The Spaniards were fond 
of stirring up hostile Indians to open war- 
fare against our settlers. To the State of 
Kentucky, which depended on tlie mouth of 



the Mississipjii as the natural outlet for its 
produce, the restrictions on her trade and 
the threats of closing that gateway altogether 
to vessels from the United States, were 
especially galling and exasperating. Still 
the borderers preferred to bear the ills they 
had than fly to others that they knew not 
of. Thej- would rather endure the insults 
of Spain, studied and violent as they were, 
than to see possession transferred to France, 
whose ambition under the rule of Bonaparte 
and whose love of dominion might make 
their annoyances even harder to bear, and 
might lead to enunciation by a force of 
armed and determined men of the doctrine 
that navigable rivers are, by the great law 
of nature, free to all the dwellers upon tlieir 
banks. 

Such was the situation when, in the early 
part of IKUl, shortly after .lefferson's acces- 
sion to the Presidencj-, a despatch from 
Rufus King, the American Minister near 
the Court of St. .Tames, gave information 
which was calculated to excite the deepest 
interest and concern. There was a report 
in circulation, he said, that a sale of Louis- 
iana had Ijeen made to France. His view 
was that we should not interfere so long as 
the country remained in the hands of Spain, 
but that no alienation of it except to our- 
selves should be allowed. For more than a 
year the verification of Mr. King's rumor, 
though anxioiislj- sought, could not be had. 
Napoleon's ministers uniformly and con- 
stantly denied that auv such cession had 



IG 



ITY 



been made. Bj' degrees, however, all parties 
became assured these denials were untrue, 
and the anger and apprehension which the 
belief excited found expression in the well 
known letter from Jefferson to Mr. Livings- 
ton, at that time our Minister to France. 

"There is," says lie, "on the globe one 
single spot, the possessor of which is our 
natural and habitual enemj-. It is New 
Orleans, through which' the produce of three- 
eighths of our territory must pass to market; 
and from its fertility it will, ere long, yield 
more than half of our whole produce, and 
contain more than half of our inhabitants 
France, placing herself in that door, assumes 
to us the attitude of defiance. Spain might 
have retained it quietly for years. Her 
pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would 
induce her to increase our facilities there, so 
that her possession of the place would be 
hardly felt by us, and it would not, perhaps, 
be very long before some circumstance 
might arise which would make the cession 
of it to us the price of something of more 
worth to her. Not so can it ever be in the 
hands of France; the impetuosity of her 
temper, the energy and restlessness of her 
character, placed in a point of eternal fric- 
tion with us: and our character, which, 
though quiet and loving peace and the pur- 
suit of wealth, is high minded, despising 
wealth in competition with insult or injury, 
enterprising and energetic as any nation on 
earth — these circumstances render it impos- 
sible that France and the United States can 
continue long friends, when they meet in so 
irritating a position. They, as well as we, 
must be blind if they do not see this; and 
we miist be verj^ improvident if we do not 
begin to make arrangements on that hypoth- 
esis. The day that France takes possession 
of New Orleans fixes the sentence which is 
to restrain her forever within her low water 
mark. It seals the union of two nations, 
who, in conjunction, can maintain exclusive 
possession of the ocean. From that moment 
we must marry ourselves to the British fleet 



and nation. We must turn all our atten- 
tion to a maritime force, for which our 
resources place us on verj' high ground; and 
having formed and connected together a 
power which may render reinforcement of 
her settlements here impossible to France, 
make the first cannon which shall be fired in 
Europe the signal for tearing up any settle- 
ment she may have made, and for holding 
the two continents of America in sequestra- 
tion for the common purposes of the Britisli 
and American nations." 

Sentiments so bold and outspoken as the 
above were calculated to warn Napoleon that 
the retention of his power in the New 
World would be far more hazardous and 
expensive than his European schemes; but 
he temporized and hesitated long before he 
could bring himself to part with an empire 
which was destined at no distant day in the 
life of a nation, to add both power and 
wealth to its possessors. Kentucky fumed 
and threatened to open tlie gateway witli 
her own militia. The Federalists taunted 
their opponents with the supineness, indiffer- 
ence and cowardice of the ruling powers. 
The whole country was indignant at the 
threatened occupation. Napoleon, liowever. 
was calm, quiet and obstinate in his refusal 
to treat. 

But at last the fear of an alliance on the 
part of the United States with England, and 
the feeling, also, that even without such an 
alliance. New Orleans would be at the mercy 
of an English fleet in the event of a renewal 
of hostilities, led him to deliberate; and 
deliberation speedily convinced him of the 
advisability of getting rid of a possession 
which would, in war, be a source of anxiety 
and expense to him, and receiving in return 
funds sufficient to enable him to resume the 
offensive towards his ancient foes, should he 
so determine. It was not without a struggle 
that he came to this conclusion. '• I know," 
said he, " the full value of Louisiana, and 
have been desirous of repairing the fault of 
the French negotiator who abandoned it in 



THE TITLE 



•HE \Or.TII\VE> 



17()3. A few lines of a treaty liave restored 
it to me, and I have scarcely recovered it 
when I mnst expect to lose it. But if it 
escapes from me, it shall one day cost dearer 
to those who oblige me to strip myself of it, 
than to those to whom I wish to deliver it. 
The P^nglish have successively taken from 
France, Canada, Cape Breton, Newfound- 
land, Nova Scotia, and the richest portions 
of Asia. The3' shall not have the Missis- 
sippi, which they covet. I have not a moment 
to lose in putting it out of their reach. I 
think of ceding it to the United States. I 
can scarcely say that I cede it to them for 
it is not yet in our possession. If, however, 
I leave the least time to our enemies, I shall 
only transmit an empty title to those repub- 
licans whose friendship I seek. They only 
ask of me one town in Louisiana; but I 
already consider the colony as entirely lost; 
and it appears to me that in the hands of 
this growing power it will be more useful 
to the policy, and even to the commerce of 
France than if I should attempt to keep it." 
Thus peaceably passed into the possession 
of the United States Government the richest 
and most valuable part of her domain. The 
negotiations which followed were merely 
concerning price and terms of cession; and 
when One partj^ is anxioiis to sell and tiie 
Other to buy, these are usually matters which 
are arranged without much trouble. The 
entire cost as summed up on final settlement, 
according to the original treaty stipulations, 
w.as 60,000,000 francs, or $15,000,000 in 
money and bonds, to which if added the in- 
terest on bonds to the time of redemption, 
*8, 529,353, and claims of citizens of the 
United States, due from France and assumed 
by the United States, 13,738,268.98, the total 
amount will be $27,267,621.98. The terri- 
tory conveyed added to the public domain 
1,183,752 square miles, or 760,961,280 acres. 
The few acres which comprise the Citj' of 
Omaha would now, if put up at auction, pay 
several times over the consideration for the 
entire purchase. 



The United States, safely at last estali- 
lished in the possession of a gateway which 
had acted as a constant menace to the citizens 
of Kentucky, and others living on the banks 
of the Ohio and tributar3' streams, lost no 
time in beginning to improve and make use 
of their new purchase. On the 23d of Octo- 
l)er the following act was approved: 
AN ACT to eaable the President of the United 
States to take possession of tlie territories ceded 
by France to the United States, bj' the treaty 
concluded at Paris on the thirtieth day of April 
last, and for the temporary government thereof. 
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives of the United States of America in Conrjress 
assembled: 

That the President of the United States be, and 
he is hereby, authorized to take possession of and 
occupy the territory ceded by France to the United 
States, by the treaty concluded at Paris on the 
thirtieth day of April last, between the two na- 
tions ; and that he may, for that purpose, and in 
order to maintain in the said territories the 
authority of the United States, employ any part 
of the army and navy of the United States, and of 
the force authorized by an act passed tlie third 
day of March last entitled, "An act directing a 
detachment from the militia of the United States 
and for erecting- certain arsenals," which he may 
deem necessary, and so mucli of the sum appro- 
priated by the said act as may be necessary, is 
hereby appropriated for the purpose of carrying' 
this act into effect : to be applied under the direc- 
tion of the President of the United States. 

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That until 
the expiration of the present session of Congress, 
unless provision for the temporary government of 
the said territories be sooner made by Congress, 
all the military, civil and judicial powers exer- 
cised by the officers of the existing government of 
thesaine, shall be vested in such person and per- 
sons, and shall be exercised in such manner as the 
President of the United States sliall direct for 
maintaining and protecting the inhabitants of 
Louisiana in the free enjoyment of their liberty, 
property and religion. 

On the 10th of November, 1803, .an act 
was approved providing for bonds to the 
amount of §11,250,000, for the purpose of 
carrying into effect the first convention 
under the treaty, and making provision for 
paying the same. This was carried into 
effect, the stock issued, delivered to tlic 



18 



OMAHA. 



agent of France, and duly acknowleged. The 
financial agents were Messrs. Hope and 
Labouchere of Amsterdam, and the Barings 
of London. On the same daj' an act was 
approved making provision for payment of 
claims of citizens of the United States on 
the government of France, the payment of 
which had been assumed bj' the United 
States by virtue of the second convention 
of the 30th of April under the treaty. 

President .Jefferson at once proceeded to 
occupjr and obtain actual possession of the 
province, which had been ordered to be 
delivered to France by writ of the King of 
Spain, dated Barcelona, October loth, 1802, 
General Victor to receive it on the part of 
France, or any other officer duly authorized 
by the Republic of France. On the 30th of 
November, 1803. at Xew Orleans, Pierre 
Clement Laussat, colonial prefect, Commis- 
sioner on the part of France, received the 
colony and province of Louisiana from El 
Marques de Casa Calvo, Commissioner on 
the part of Spain, under an order of February 
18, 1803. This was only twenty days piior 
to its transfer by France to the Commis- 
sioners on the part of the United States. 
The manner of taking and receiving posses- 
sion by the United States was, as detailed in 
the following message from the President of 
the United States to Congress, transmitted 
on the 16th of .January, 1804: 

In execution of the act of the present session 
of Congress for taking- possession of Louisiana, as 
ceded to us by France, and for the temporary gov- 
ernment thereof, Governor Claiborne of tlie Mis- 
sissippi Territory and General Wilkinson were 
appointed Commissioners to receive possession. 
They proceeded with such regular troops as had 
been assembled at Fort Adams from the nearest 
posts, and with some militia of the Mississippi 
Territory, to New Orleans. To be prepared for 
anything unexpected which might arise out of the 
transaction, a respectable body of militia was 
ordered to be in readiness in the States of Ohio, 
Kentucky and Tennessee, and a part of those 
of Tennessee was moved on to the Natchez. 
No occasion, however, arose for their services. 
Our Commissioners, on their arrival at New 
Orleans, found the province already delivered by 



the Commissioners of Spain to that of France, who 
delivered it over to them on the 20t]i day of 
December, as appears by tlieir declaratory act 
accompanying this. Governor Claiborne, being 
duly invested with the powers heretofore exer- 
cised by the Governor and Intendant of Louisiana, 
assumed the government on the same day. and, 
for the maintenance of law and order, immediately 
issued the proclamation and address now com- 
municated. 

On this important acquisition, so favorable to 
the immediate interests of our western citizens, 
so auspicious to the peace and security of the 
nation in general ; which adds to our country 
territories so extensive and fertile, and to our 
citizens new brethren to partake of the blessings 
of freedom and self-government, I ott'er to Con- 
gress and our country- my sincere congratulations. 
Th: Jefferson. 
The report of the Commissioners, the 
record of the transfer and the proclamation 
and address follow in regular order: 

City of New Orleans, / 
December 20, 1803. \ 
Sir: We have the satisfaction tn announce to 
.you that the Province i>r Louisiana was this day 
surrendered to the United States by tlie Commis- 
sioner of France: and to add tliat tlie flag of our 
country was raised in this city amidst the accla- 
mations of the inhabitants. The enclosed is a 
copj' of an instrument in writing, which was 
signed and exchanged by the Commissioners of 
the two governments, and is designed as a record 
of this interesting transaction. 

Accept assurances of our respectful considei'a- 
tion. Wnxi-\M C. C. CLAraoRNE. 

Ja. Wilkinson. * 
The Hon. James Madison, 

Secretary of State, City of Washington. 
The undei-signed, William C. C. Claiborne and 
James Wilkinson, Commissioners or agents of the 
United States, agreeable to tlie full powers they 
liave received from Thomas Jefferson, President 
of the United States, under date of tlie 31st 
October, 1803, and twenty-eighth year of the 
independence of the United States of America 
(8 Biumaire, 12th year of the French Republic), 
countersigned by the Secretary of State, James 
Madison, and Citizen Peter Clement Laussat, 
Colonial Prefect and Commissioner of the French 
government for the delivery, in the name of the 
French Republic, of the country, territories and 
dependencies of Louisiana to the Commissioners 
or agents of the United States, conformably to 
the powers, commission, and special mandate 
which he has I'eceived in the name of the French 



GOVEKNOI! CL.VIBOltNE 



tOCLAMAT 



i\. 



19 



peoi)le I'l-om Citizen Bonaparte. First Consul, 
under date of the 'Jthof June. 1803(17 Prairial 11th 
year of the French Republic), countersigned by 
the Secretary of State. Hugues Maret, and by His 
Excellency the Minister of Marine and Colonies, 
Decres, do certify by these presents, tliat on this 
day, Tuesday, the 20th December, 1803, of the Chris- 
tian era (28th Friniaire, 12th year of the Republic), 
lieing convened in the hall of the Hotel de Ville, 
of New Orleans, accompanied on both sides by 
the chiefs and officers of the army and navy, by 
tlie municipality and divers respectable citizens 
of their respective republics, the said William C. 
C. Claiborne and James Wilkinson delivered to 
the said citizen Laussat their aforesaid full pow- 
ers, by which it evidently appears that full power 
and authority has been given them jointly and 
sevei'ally, to take possession of and to occupy the 
tei'i-itories ceded by France to the United States 
by a treaty concluded at Paris on the 30th day of 
April, last past(10th Floreal),and for that purpose 
to repair to the said territory, and there to execute 
and perform all such acts and things touching the 
premises, as may be necessary for fulfilling their 
appointment, conformable to the .said treaty and 
laws of the United States ; and thereupon, the 
said Citizen Laussat declared that in virtue of, and 
i n the terms of the powers, commission and speoiaj 
mandate, dated at St. Cloud, 6th June, 1803, of the 
Christian era (17 Prairial, 11th year of the French 
Republic), he put from that moment the said Com- 
missioners of the United States in possession of 
the country, territories and dependencies of Lou- 
isiana, conformably to the 1st, 2d, 4th and 5th 
articles of the treaty, and the two conventions, 
concluded and signed the 30th April, 1808 (10th 
Floreal, 1 1th year of the French Republic), between 
the French Republic and the United States of 
America, by Citizen Francis Barbe Marbois, Minis- 
ter of the Public Treasury, and Messieurs Robert 
R. Livingston and James Monroe, Ministers Pleni- 
potentiary of the United States, all three fur- 
nished with full powers, of which treaty and two 
conventions, the ratifications, made by the First 
Consul of the French Republic on the one part, 
and by the President of the United States, by and 
with the advice and consent of the Senate, on the 
other part, have been exchanged and mutually 
i-eceived at the city of Washington, the 21st of 
October, 1803, (28 Viudemaire, 12th year of the 
French Republic), by Citizen Louis Andre Pichon, 
charge des affaires of the French Republic, near 
the United States, on the part of France, and bj' 
James Madison, Secretary of State of the United 
States, on the part of the United States, according 
to the proces verbal drawn up on tlie same day; 



and the present delivery of the country is made 
to them, to the end that, in conformity with the 
object of the said treatj', the sovereigntj' and 
property of the colony or province of Louisiana 
may pass to the said United States, under the 
same clauses and conditions as it had been ceded 
by Spain to France, in virtue of the treaty con- 
cluded at St. Ildefonso, on the 1st of October, 1800, 
(9th Vindemaire, ilth year), between these two last 
powers, which has since received its execution by 
the actual re-entrance of the French Republic 
into possession of the said colony or province. 

And the said Citizen Laussat, inconsequence, at 
this present time, delivered to the said Conunis- 
sioners of the United States, in this public sitting, 
the keys of the City of New Orleans, declaring 
that he discharges from their oaths of fidelity 
towards the French Republic, the citizens and 
inhabitants of Louisiana, who shall choose to 
remain under the dominion of the United States. 
And that it may forever appear, the under- 
signed have signed the iiroces verbal of this impor- 
tant and solemn act in the French and English 
languages, and have sealed it with their seals, and 
have caused it to be countersig'ned by their Secre- 
taries of Commission, the day, month and year 
above written. 

Wm. C. C. Claibokne. [l. S.J 
James Wilkinson. [l. s.] 

Laussat. [r,. s.J 

PROCLAMATION 
By his Excellency William C. C. Claiborne, Governor 

of the Mississippi Territory, exercising the powers 

of Governor-General and Intendant of the Province 

of Louisiana: 

Whereas, By stipulations between the govern- 
ments of France and Spain, the latter ceded to 
the former the colony and province of Louisiana, 
with the same extent which it had at the date of 
the above mentioned treatj- in the hands of Spain, 
and that it had, when France possessed it, and 
such as it ought to be after the treaties subse- 
ciuently entered into' between Spain and other 
States ; and. 

Whereas, The government of France has 
ceded the same to the United States by a treaty 
duly ratified, and bearing date the 30th of April, 
in the present year, and the possession of said 
colony and province is now in the United States, 
according to the tenor of the last-mentioned 
treaty ; and. 

Whereas, The Congress of the United States, 
on the 31st day of October, in the present year, 
did enact that until the expiration of the session 



HISTORY Oi 



of Cong-ress then sitting, (unless provisions for 
the temporary government of the said territo- 
ries be sooner made by Congress), all the military, 
civil and judicial powers, exercised by the then 
existing government of the same, shall be vested 
in such person or persons, and shall be exercised 
in such manner, as the President of the United 
States shall direct, for the maintaining and pro- 
tecting the inhabitantsof Louisiana in the free en- 
joyment of their liberty, property and religion: 
and the President of the United States has, by his 
commission, bearing date the same 31st day of 
October, vested me with all the powers, and 
charged me with the several duties heretofore 
held and exercised by the G overnor-General and 
Intendant of the Province : 

I have, therefore, thought fit to issue this my 
proclamation, making known the premises, and to 
declare that the government heretofore exercised 
over the said province of Louisiana, as well under 
the authority of Spain, as of the French Republic, 
has ceased; and that of the United States of Amer- 
ica is established over the same: that the inhabi- 
tants thereof will be incorporated in the Union 
of the United States, and admitted as soon as 
possible, according to the principles of the Fed- 
eral Constitution, to the enjoyment of all the 
rights, advantages aad immunities of citizens of 
the United States; that in the meantime tliey 
shall be maintained and protected in the free 
enjoyment of their libertj^ property and the 
religion which thej' profess: that all laws and 
municipal regulations which were in existence at 
the cessation of the late government, remain in 
full force: and all civil officers charged with their 
execution, except those whose powers have been 
specially vested in me, and except also such offi- 
cers as have been entrusted with the collection of 
the revenue, are continued in their functions dur- 
ing the pleasure of the governor for the time 
being, or until provision shall otherwise be made. 

And 1 do hereby exhort and enjoin all the inhab- 
itants and other persons within the said province, 
to be faithful and true in their allegiance to the 
United States, and obedient to the laws and 
authorities of the sanie, under full assurance that 
their just rights will be under the guardianship 
of the United States, and will be maintained from 
all force or violence from without or within. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my 
hand. 
Given at the City of New Orleans, the 20th day 

of December, 1803, and of the Independence of 

the United States of America the twenty-eighth. 
Wm. C. C. Claibohne. 



ADDRESS TO THE CITIZENS OF LOUISIANA. 
Fellow Citizens of Louisiana : 

On the great and interesting event now finally 
consummated — an event so advantageous to your- 
selves and so glorious to United America, I can- 
not forbear offering you my warmest congratula- 
tions. The wise policy of the Consul of France 
has, by the cession of Louisiana to the United 
States, secured to you a connection beyond the 
reach of change, and to your posterity the sure 
inheritance of Freedom. The American people 
receive you as brothers: and will hasten to extend 
to you a participation in those inestimable rights 
which have formed the basis of their own unex- 
ampled prosperity. Under the auspices of the 
American government you may confidently rely 
upon the security of your liberty, your projierty. 
and the religion of your choice. You may with 
equal certainty, rest assured that your commerce 
will be promoted and your agriculture cherished : 
in a word, that your true interests will be among 
the primary objects of our National Legislature, 
In return for these benefits the United States will 
be amply remunerated, if your growing attach- 
ment to the Constitution of our countrj', and 
your veneration for the principles on which it is 
founded be duly proportioned to the blessings 
which they will confer. Among your first duties, 
therefore, you should cultivate with assiduity 
among yourselves the advancement of political 
information: you should guide the rising genera- 
tion in the paths of republican economy and vir- 
tue: you should encourage literature, for without 
the advantages of education your descendants 
will be unable to appreciate the intrinsic worth of 
the government transmitted to them. 

As for myself, fellow citizens, accept a sincere 
assurance that, during my continuance in the sit- 
uation in which the President of the United States 
lias been pleased to place me, every exertion will 
be made on my part to foster your internal haii- 
piness and forward your general welfare, for it is 
only by such means that I can secure to- myself 
the approbation of those great and just men who 
preside in the councils of the nation. 

Wm. C. C. Ci.aibokne. 

New Orleans, December 20, 1803. 

The proceedings which thus culminated 
in transferring to the United (States so large 
and fertile a tract gave general, though not 
unmixed satisfaction to the country. The 
party known as federalists opposed it. Not- 
withstanding this, there has seldom been a 
transaction of liar2;ain and sale in wliich 




Far.nam Street from S^xtrentii STHEisr Easst — 1806. 




B £e s OS I loQ s ybijiii^ j'ii ' !>■>:;, ^' ^ ^ g'iig 



Farnam Street from 'Sixteenth Street E\st— Ihsm 



A KEAL KSTA' 



[SFAfTOltY TO liOTlI PAKTIKS. 



l)oth parties were so well satisfied at its con- 
clusion. Bonaparte presented Marbois, his 
factor, with the sum of nearly forty thousand 
dollars as his commission upon the negotia- 
tion ; remarking that sixty millions of francs 
was no small price for a province of which 
he liad never taken possession, and which he 
might not be able to retain twenty-four 
liours. Nor was his cause for self-gratu- 
ktion due alone to the amount of the pur- 
chase money. He .saw a blow at England in 
the transfer. " This accession of territory," 
said he, " strengthens forever the power of 
the United States, and I have just given to 
England a maritime rival that will sooner 
or later humble her pride." It is a singular 
fact, that the British government expressed 
its approval of the cession. Whetlier Eng- 
land's approval was sincere or assumed for 
tlie occasion matters little. It is a fact that 
the whole civilized world either openly 
rejoiced or sullenly acquiesced in it, except, 
as h.as been alreadv stated, the irreconcilable 



remnant of the Federalist party who, from 
tlie first rumor of the purchase to the voting 
of the last dollar necessary to complete it, 
opposed the acquisition. Tlie majorit}- ad- 
mitted that they could see no good in any 
measure set on foot or advocated by Jeffer- 
son; some honestly deplored any expansion 
of our territory; some disbelieved in the 
alleged value of the purchase; .ind some, 
Josiah (Juincj', of Massachusetts, among the 
number, foresaw in the enlargement of the 
slave territory of the United States, the very 
disasters which, in fact, more than half a 
century thereafter, followed. The victorious 
followers of Jefferson, however, were jubi- 
lant. Trade revived in the West. Confidence 
in tlie future of the country was stronger 
than ever, and the general sentiment was 
expressed by a colored print of New Orleans, 
still occasionally to be seen, in which the 
American eagle with outstretched pinions 
hovered, with a scroll on which was written, 
''Under my wings every thing prospers." 



CHAPTER IV. 



riDN — CouNc 
■Thk ^NIissoui 



II iHE Indians xkar Omaii 
AjrF.niCAN FuK Companies. 



By an act of Congress passed March 2G, 
1804, the territory ceded b}' France was 
divided into two portions. Under the name 
of Orleans, a territory was formed of the 
part lying south of the Mississippi territory, 
and of an east and west line to commence on 
the Mississippi River at the thirt3'-tliird 
degree of north latitude, and extending west 
to the boundary of the cession. The remain- 
der of the ceded lands, embracing, of course, 
what is now the State of Mebraska, was 
called tlie district of Louisiana, and became 
a part of the vast country Isnown as tlie 
Indiana territorj'. 

Statutes speedily followed establishing 
land offices, providing for ascertaining and 
adjusting the titles and claims to land 
within the territory, eitlier under French or 
Spanish grants, directing the" appointment 
of commissioners to decide summarily, 
according to justice and equity on all com- 
plete titles under such grants; to authorize 
General LaFa3'ette to locate the eleven 
thousand five hundred .and twenty acres 
already in recognition of his distinguished 
services, granted to him, in an unoccupied 
portion of the territory of Orleans. Pro- 
vision was also made to prevent the unlaw- 
ful location of pretended grants, and 
generally to encourage imiiiigration into the 
Valley of the Mississippi. 

The time had come to put into execution 
what had long been a favorite scheme of 
.Teflferson's, namely, the scientific .and thor- 
ough examination .and exploration of the 
country west of the Mississippi, and a 



report thereon bj^ experienced and qualified 
men. Long before Jefferson became Presi- 
dent, and sixteen 3^ears before the purchase 
of Louisiana had been consummated, he 
had, while American Minister in Paris, pro- 
posed such an expedition. 

There was, in 1787, sojourning in Paris a 
young man of thirty-six, born in Connecti- 
cut, and by choice a citizen of the world, 
whose short but remarkable career was dis- 
tinguished by zeal, activity, courage, lionor 
and intelligence. Ills name was John Led- 
yard. He had been a student in Dartmoutli 
College, a stroller among the Six Nations, a 
student of divinitj', a sailor, a soldier, a 
corporal of marines under the renowned 
navigator. Captain Cook; at one time dis- 
appointed, ragged and penniless; at another, 
the honored and trusted associate of eminent 
professors and celebrated travelers. He had 
a manly form, a mild, but animated and 
expressive eye, perfect self-possession, a 
l)oldness not obtrusive, but sliowing a con- 
sciousness of his proper dignity, an inde- 
pendent spirit, and a glow of enthusiasm 
giving life to his conversation and his whole 
deportment. Led3^ard had come to France 
to attempt a business arrangement in the 
fur trade on the northwest coast of Amer- 
ica; but was ready for any adventure, from 
an exploration of Alaska to an expedition 
to tlie heart of Africa. Jefferson met him 
just as his effort to establish his fur trade 
had failed, and proposed to him a Land jour- 
ney througli northern Europe and Kamt- 
schatka to the Pacific, and tlience across the 



■UK LEWIS AND CLAKKE 



Rocky Mountains, and through the unknown 
regious of the northwestern territory, to 
what was then the United States. The eon- 
sent of Russia having been obtained, the 
youthful explorer set out on his perilous 
trip, but before he had reached the confines 
of Kamtschatka, the Russian powers became 
suspicious, put an end to liis journey, and 
compelled him to return. Had it not been 
forliis sudden and untimely death in 1788, he 
would undoubtedl3' have been offered in 
1804, some responsible position in the explor- 
ing expedition organized in that year. 

Still later, in 1792, Mr. Jefferson proposed 
to the American Philosophical Society, tiiat 
an expedition to be supported by private 
suljscriptions should be organized to explore 
tiie northwest territory as far as the Pacific 
coast. Meriwether Lewis, a young captain 
in the First liegiment of United States 
Infantry, who had formerly been private 
secretary to Mr. .Jefferson, and M. Michaux, 
a noted French Ijotanist, were emijloyed to 
make the trip, and started on the expedition. 
Hardly, however, had tlie3' commenced their 
journey, when the French savan was recalled 
by a message from his minister at Washing- 
ton, and this attempt also, was rendered 
abortive. 

But, on tlie 18th of January, 1803, prior 
to the actual completion of the Louisiana 
purchase, and when the negotiations began 
to show some probability of success, Mr. 
Jefferson, then President, in a confidential 
message to Congress, recommended that a 
certain act establishing trading houses 
among the Indians (whicli was then about 
to expire by limitation), be not only con- 
tinued, but extended to the tribes dwelling 
on the Mississippi River. He also proposed 
that a party of explorers should be organ- 
ized, and sent up to the sources of the 
Missouri, and thence to the Pacific. Congress 
approved the suggestion, and made the 
necessary appropriation. Captain Lewis 
was, at his own request, detailed to command 
tlic expedition, and First Lieutenant Wil- 



liam Clarke, a brother of George Rogers 
Clarke, was subsequently detailed to accom- 
pany him. It was an expedition of discovery 
and inquir3\ Its instructions, which were 
prepared by President Jefferson himself, 
were to notice and detail the geography and 
character of the country, to enter into nego- 
tiations with the Indians for commerce, and 
to describe their habits, characteristics and 
historj\ 

The names of those who composed this 
celebrated party are worthy of being held 
in i-emembrance. They were: Meriwether 
Lewis, captain; William Clarke, first lieu- 
tenant; John Ordway, Nathaniel Prior and 
Patrick Gass, sergeants ; Charles Flo.yd, 
William Bratton, John Colter, John Collins, 
Pierre Crozatte, Robert Frazier, Joseph 
Fields, George Gibson, Silas Goodrich, Hugh 
Hall, Richard Worthington, Thomas P. 
Howard, Peter Wiser, John Baptiste Le 
Page, Frances Labinche, Hugh McNeal, 
John Potts, .lohn Shields, George Shannon, 
.lohn B. Thompson, William Werner, Alex- 
ander Willard, Richard Windsor, Joseph 
Whitehouse, John Newman, privates; George 
Drulyard and Toussaint Chabono, interpre- 
ters; Chabono's wife, a Snake squaw and 
her child, and York, a colored servant. 

The party entered the Missouri in boats 
on the 4th day of May, 1804. In the sum- 
mer of the following year they crossed the 
Rocky Mountains; and on the 15th of 
November, 180.5, they landed at Cape Disap- 
pointment, having passed down the Lewis 
River (now known as Snake River) to its 
junction with the Columbia, and thence 
down the last mentioned river to its mouth. 

Wintering at Fort Clatsop, on the left 
bank of the Columbia, they set their faces 
homeward in the spring, and reached St. 
Louis on the ■23d of September, 1806, after 
a sojourn in the wilderness of two years and 
three months. It furnished more particu- 
lar and reliable information of the region 
between the Mississippi River and the Pacific 
Ocean than had ever Itefore been accessible. 



Many editions of their report of the expe- 
dition were published, and also the diary or 
journal of Sergeant Patrick Gass. The 
success of the undertaking, in the face of 
peril and hardship, was considered by Con- 
gress deserving of special reward. By an 
act passed in March, of the year following 
their return, warrants for sixteen hundred 
acres of land each were given to Capt. Lewis 
and Lieut. Clarke; and warrants for three 
hundred and twenty acres to each of those 
mentioned above as composing the expedi- 
tion, with the single exception of the negro 
York, who was not recognized in the distri- 
bution of rewards. These warrants were 
located on the west side of the Mississippi 
River, or were to be received at two dollars 
per acre for any such lands. Extra pay, 
double the regular amount, was voted to all 
for the entire time occupied in the expedi- 
tion. 

They passed up the Missouri River in the 
month of July, 1804. An account in full 
detail, and nearly their own language, of 
their voyage in the vicinity of the City 
of Omaha, will not l>e found devoid of 
interest: 

'• On the lltli of .Tuly they landed on a 
sand island opposite tlie River Nemaha, 
wliere they remained a day for the purpose 
of taking lunar observations and refreshing 
the party. They liad now ascended the 
Missouri to the distance of about 480 miles. 
The Nemaha empties itself into the Missouri 
from the south, and is eighty yards wide at 
the confluence, which is in latitude 31) deg. 
.55 min. 56 sec. Captain Clarke ascended it 
in the pirogue about two miles, to tlie mouth 
of a small creek on the lower side. On 
going ashore, he found in the level plain sev- 
eral artificial mounds or graves, and on the 
adjoining hills others of a larger size. This 
appearance indicates sufliciently the former 
population of this country, these mounds 
being certainly intended as tombs, the In- 
dians of the Missouri still preserving the 
eustom of interring the dead on high ground. 



From the top of the highest mound a 
delightful prospect presented itself. The 
level and extensive meadows watered by the 
Nemaha, and enlivened by the few trees 
and shrubs skirting the borders of the river 
and its tributary streams; the lowland of 
the Missouri covered with imdulating grass, 
nearly five feet high, gradually rising into 
a second plain, where rich weeds and flowers 
are interspersed with copses of the Osage 
plum; farther back were seen small groves of 
trees, an abundance of grapes, the wild cherry 
of the Missouri, resembling our own but 
larger, and growing on a small bush; and 
the choke-cherry, wliicli was observed for 
tlie first time. 

"On the 14th, elk were seen for the first 
time. They passed the Nishnalibatona and 
the Little Nemaha Rivers, and found the 
former to be only three hundred yards from 
the Missouri, at the distance of twelve miles 
from its mouth. Farther on they reached 
an island to the north, near which the banks 
overflow; while on the south, hills project 
over the river in the form of high cliffs. At 
one point a part of the cliff, nearly three- 
fourths of a mile in length and two hundred 
feet in height, had fallen into the river. On 
tlie 20th they passed a creek called by the 
French I'Eau qui Pleure, or the AVeeping 
Water." 

They reached the great river Platte on 
the 21st, and it is thus described: "The 
highlands, which had accompanied us on the 
south for the last eight or ten miles, stopped 
at about three-quarters of a mile from the 
entrance of the Platte. Captains Lewis and 
Clarke ascended the river in a pirogue for 
about one mile, and found the current ver}- 
rapid, rolling over sands, and divided into 
a number of channels, none of which are 
deeper than five or six feet. One of our 
Frenchmen, who spent two winters on it, 
saj^s that it spreads much more at some 
distance from the mouth; that its depth is 
generally not more than five or six feet; 
that there are many small islands scattered 



rNCIL WITH 



through it: and that, from its rapidity and 
(luantity of its sand, it cannot be navigated 
I13' boats or pirogues, though tlie Indians 
l)ass it in small flat canoes made of hides; 
tliat the Saline or Salt River, wluch in some 
seasons is too brackish to be drank, falls 
into it from the south, about thirty miles 
up; and a little above it, Elkhorn River from 
the nortli. running nearly parallel with tlie 
.Missouri. Tlie river is, in fact, much more 
rapid than the Missouri, the bed of which it 
tills with moving sands, and drives tlic 
current on the northern shore, on which it 
is constantly encroaching. At its junction 
the Platte is about six hundred yards wide, 
and the same number of miles from the 
Mississippi. With much ditliculty we worked 
round the sand bars near the mouth, and 
came to the above point, liaving made fifteen 
miles. 

•'Our cam]) is, by observation, in latitude 
11 deg. 3:11 sec. Immediatelj' behind it is 
a plain about five miles wide, one half 
covered with wood and the other dry and 
elevated. The low grounds on the south, 
and near the junction of the two rivers, 
are rich, but subject to be overflowed. 
Farther up tlie banks are higher, and oppo- 
site our camp the first hills approach the 
river, and are covered with timber, such as 
oak, walnut and elm. The intermediate 
country is wjvtered by the Papillion, or 
liutterfly Creek, of about eighteen yards 
wide, and tliree miles from the Platte: on 
the north are high open plains and prairies, 
and at nine miles from the Platte, the JMos- 
clieto Creek and two or three small willow 
islands. We stayed here several days, 
during whicli we dried provisions, made 
new oars, and prepared our dispatches and 
maps of tlie country we had passed, for the 
President of the United States, to wliom 
we intend to send them b}^ a pirogue froin 
this place. The hunters have found game 
scarce in this neighborhood ; they have 
seen deer, turkeys and grouse; we have 
also an abiuidance of ripe grapes, and one of 



our men caught a white catflsli, the eyes of 
which were small and its tail resembling 
that of a dolphin. 

" On the 29th they passed the spot where 
the Ayauwaj' Indians, a branch of the Ottoes, 
once lived, and who had emigrated from 
this place to the River Des IMoines. ' Our ' 
hunter Ijrought to us in the evening,' con- 
tinues the narrative, 'a Missouri Indian, 
whom he had found with two others, dress- 
ing an elk; they were perfectly friendly, 
gave him some of the meat, and one of them 
agreed to accompany him to the boat. 
He is one of the few remaining ^lissouris 
who live with the Ottoes; he belongs to a 
small party whose camp is four miles from 
the river; and he saj'S that the body of the 
nation is now hunting buffalo in the plains. 
He appeared quite sprightlj', and his lan- 
guage resembled the Osage, particularlj^ in 
his calling a chief inca. We sent him back 
with one of our party the next morning, 
with an invitation to meet us above on the 
river, and then proceeded. 

" .luly 30. We went early in the morning 
three and a quarter miles, and encamped on 
the south, in order to wait for the Ottoes. 
The land here consists of a plain, above the 
high water level, the soil of which is fertile, 
and covered with a grass from five to eight 
feet high, interspersed with copses of large 
plums, and a currant like those of the United 
States. * * * Back of this plain is a 
woodj' ridge about seventy feet above it, at 
the edge of which we formed our camp. This 
ridge separates the lower from the higher 
prairie, of a good quality, with grass ten or 
twelve inches in height, and extending back 
about a mile to another elevation of eighty 
or ninety feet, beyond which is one con- 
tinued plain. Near our camp we enjoy from 
the bluffs a most beautiful view of the river 
and the adjoining countr\-. At a distance, 
varying from four to ten miles, and of a 
height between seventy and three hundred 
feet, two parallel ranges of highland afford 
a passage to the Missouri, which enriches 



26 



■y OF O-MAIIA. 



the low grounds between them. In its 
winding course it nourishes the willow 
islands, the scattered cottonwood, elm, syca- 
more, linn, and ash, and the groves are 
interspei-sed with liickory, walnut, coffeenut, 
and oak. 

"July 31. The meridian altitude of this 
day made the latitude of our camp 41 deg., 
18 min., l:^sec. One of our men brought in 
yesterday an animal, called by the Pawnees 
chacartoosh, and by tlie French, Maitvau. or 
badger. ' ' 

The narrative continues: '• We waited 
witli much anxiety the return of our mes- 
senger to the Ottoes. The men whom we 
despatched to our last encampment returned 
without having seen any appearance of its 
having been visited. Our horses, too, had 
strayed; but we were so fortunate as to 
recover them at the distance of twelve miles. 
Our apprehensions were at length relieved 
by the arrival of a party of about fourteen 
Ottoes and Missouri Indians, who came at 
sunset, on the 2d of August, accompanied 
by a Frenchman who resided among them, 
and interpreted for us. Captains Lewis and 
Clarke went out to meet them, and told them 
that we would hold a council in the morn- 
ing. In the meantime we sent them some 
roasted meat, pork, flour and meal ; in return 
for which they made us a present of water- 
melons. We learned that our man Liberie 
had set out from their camp a day before 
them; we were in hopes that he had fatigued 
his horse, or lost himself in the woods, and 
would soon return; l)ut we never saw him 
again. 

" The next morning the Indians, with 
their six chiefs, were all assembled under an 
awning formed with the mainsail, in presence 
of our party, paraded for the occasion. A 
speech was then made, announcing to them 
the change in the government, our promises 
of protection, and advice as to their future 
conduct. All the six chiefs replied to our 
speech, each in his turn, according to rank. 
They expressed their joy at the change in 



the government; their liopes tliat we would 
recommend them to their Great Father (the. 
President), that they might obtain trade 
and necessaries; they wanted arms as well 
for hunting as for defence, and asked our 
mediation between them and the Mahas. 
witli wliom they are now at war. We 
promised to do so, and wished some of them 
to accompany us to tliat nation, which they 
declined, for fear of being killed by them. 
We then proceeded to distribute our presents. 
The grand chief of the nation not being of 
the party, we sent him a flag, a medal, and 
some ornaments for clothing. To the six 
chiefs who were present, we gave a medal 
of the second grade to one Ottoe chief and 
one Missouri chief; a medal of the third 
grade to two inferior chiefs of each nation: 
the customary mode of recognizing a chief 
being to place a medal round his neck, which 
is considered among his tribe as a proof of 
his consideration abroad. Fach of these 
medals was accompanied by a present of 
paint, garters, and cloth ornaments of dress: 
and to this we added a canister of powder, a 
bottle of whisky, and a few presents to the 
wliole,which appeared to make them perfectly 
satisfied. The air-gun, too, was lired, and 
astonished them greatly. The absent grand 
chief was an Ottoe, named AVeahrushhah. 
which, in F^nglish, degenerates into Little 
Thief. The two principal chieftains present 
were .Shongotongo, or Big Horse, and 
Wethea, or Hospitality; also Shosguscan, or 
White Horse, an Ottoe; the first an Ottoe. 
the second a ^Missouri. The incidents just 
related induced us to give to this place th>- 
name of the Council Bluffs; the situation of 
it is exceedingly favorable for a fort and 
trading factory, as the soil is well calculated 
for bricks, and there is an abundance of 
wood in tlie neighborhood, and the air being- 
pure and liealthy. It is also central to the 
chief resorts of the Indians: one daj^'s jour- 
ney to the Ottoes; one and a lialf to the 
(ireat Pawnees; two days from the Malias; 
two and a quarter from the Pawnee Loups" 



WITH THK INDIANS AKAK OMAHA. 



village; convenient to the hunting grounds 
of the Sioux; and twent^y-five days' journey 
to Santa Fe. 

"Omaha is in about 41 deg. IC niin.; 41 
deg. 18 min., is given as the place where the 
council was held. ' ' 

There has, within the last few years, been 
some question and controversy as to the true 
location of this place, arising from the fact 
that a city in Iowa, opposite the site of 
Omaha, formerly called Kanesville, has now 
received the appellation of Council Bluffs, 
the same name as was given b}^ Lewis and 
Clarke to the spot where their conference 
with the Indians was held. The evidence, 
however, is overwhelming that it took place 
on the beautiful plateau now called Fort 
Calhoun, about sixteen miles north of Omaha. 
The reasons for this belief are briefly as fol- 
lows: First. The traditions of the neigh- 
borhood, never to be disregarded when the 
distance of time is so small, point to this 
bluff. Second. The latitude given corres- 
ponds as accurately as could be expected to 
that of the present Fort Calhoun; and at all 
events could not possibly apply to the old 
Kanesville. Third. We read that after the 
conference they set sail and reached Floj'd's 
Bluffs under some bluffs — the first near the 
river since we left the Ayauway village. 
This description could not apply to anj- por- 
tion of the river in the vicinity of the place 
which now claims the appellation. Fourth. 
In a journal of a voyage up the Missouri in 
1811, by H. M. Brackenridge, Esq., he speaks 
of passing the river Boyer, and afterwards, 
in the evening of sailing by some high, clean 
meadows oftUed the Council Bluffs, from the 
circumstance of Lewis and Clarke having 
lield a council with the Ottoe and Missouri 
Indians, when ascending ttiis river. Fifth. 
In the journal of Patrick Gass, which will 
he hereafter more particularly referred to, 
he describes the spot as follows: " At nine 
we came to some timber land at the foot of 
a high bluff and encamped there in order to 
wait for the Indians. At the top of the bluff 



is a large, handsome prairie, and a large pond 
or small lake, about two miles from camp on 
the south side of the river." This pond or 
lake, much reduced doubtless, in size, as is 
common with all the lakes in the ^Missouri 
Valley, may still be discovered about a mile 
and a half or two miles northwest from the 
site of the old fort. In short, there can 
hardly be any question that the location of 
the council was on the beautiful spot which 
now forms the town of Fort Calhoun. 

■'In the afternoon of August 18th, the party 
arrived with the Indians, consisting of the 
Little Thief .ind the Big Horse, whom we 
had seen on the ;3d, together with the six 
other chiefs, and a French interpreter. We 
met them under a shade, and after the}' had 
finished a repast with wliich we supplied 
them, we inquired into the origin of the war 
between them and the Malias, which they 
related with great frankness. It seems that 
two of the Missouris went to the Mahas to 
steal horses, but were detected and killed; 
the Ottoes and Missouris thought them- 
selves bound to avenge their companions, 
and the whole nations were at last obliged to 
share in the dispute; they are also in fear of 
a war from the Pawnees, whose village they 
entered this summer while tiie inhabitants 
were hunting, and stole their corn. Tliis 
ingenious confession did not make us the 
less desirous of negotiating a peace for them; 
but no Indians have as yet been attracted by 
our fire. The evening was closed by a dance; 
and the next day, the chiefs and warriors 
being assembled at 10 o'clock, we explained 
the speech we had already sent from the 
Council Bluffs, and renewed our advice. 
Tliey all replied in turn, and the presents 
were then distributed. We exchanged the 
small medal we had formerly given to the 
Big Morse for one of the same size with that of 
Little Thief; we also gave a small medal ton 
third chief, and a kind of certificate or letter 
of acknowledgement to five of the warriors, 
expressive of our favor and their good inten- 
tions. One of them," dissatisfied, returned 



US the certificate; but the chief, fearful of 
our being offended, begged that it might be 
restored to him; this we declined, and 
rebuked them severely for having in view 
mere traffic instead of peace with our neigh- 
bors. This displeased them at first, but 
the.v at length all petitioned that it should 
be given to the warrior, who then eame'for- 
ward and made an apology to us; we then 
delivered it to the cliief to be given to the 
most worthy, and he bestowed it upon the 
same warrior, whose name was Great Blue 
Eyes. After a more substantial present of 
small articles and tobacco, the council was 
ended with a dram to the Indians. In the 
evening we exhibited different objects of 
curiosity, and particularly the air-gun, which 
gave tliem great surprise. Those people 
are almost naked, having no covering except 
a sort of breech-cloth round the middle, with 
a loose blanket. 

■' Tlie next morning, August 20th, the 
Indians mounted tlieir horses and left us, 
liaving received a canister of whisky at 
parting. We then set sail, and, after pass- 
ing two islands on the north, came to, on 
tiiat side, under some bluffs — the first near 
the river since we left the A3-auway village. 
Here we had the misfortune to lose one of 
our sergeants, Charles Floyd, lie was >es- 
terday seized witli a bilious colic, and all 
our care and attention were ineffectual to 
relieve him. A little before his death he 
said to Captain Clarke: 'I am going to 
leave .you.' His strength failed him as he 
added: • I want you to write me a letter;' 
Init he died witli a composure which justi- 
fied the high opinion we had formed of his 
firmness and good conduct, lie was buried 
on the top of tiie bluff with the honors due 
to a brave soldier, and the place of his 
interment marked by a cedar post, on whicli 
name and the day of his death were inscribed. 
About a mile beyond this place, to which 
we gave his name, is a small river about 
thirty yards wide, on tlie north, wliicli we 



called Floyd's River, where we encamped. 
We liad a breeze from the southeast and 
made thirteen miles." 

Patrick Gass, one of the persons employed 
in the expedition, as he modestly styles 
liimself, also wrote an account, in journal 
form, of the voyage, which was published 
in 1809, before the report of Messrs. Lewis 
and Clarke appeared. It was received with 
considerable interest because the reading 
public liad long looked with impatience for 
the official report, and was cliafing at the 
delay of over tliree years, which had been 
allowed to lapse without any publication. 
The Monthly Anthology and Boston Revieic 
for June, 1H09, says of it: "In the mean- 
time this journal, written without lofty 
pretensions, will afford some amusement to 
those who are fond of perusing tlie relations 
of travelers in new and difficult situations.' ' 
Tlie Quarterly Bevieiv for tlie montii of 
May. of the same year, remarks: "We 
ought not, iiowever, to complain of Mr. 
Gass, whose journal of each day, taken on 
' tlie spot, does him credit in his subordinate 
situation; and to whom alone, of all that 
were engaged in the expedition the public, 
as far as we can hear, are under any obli- 
gations. ' " 

This journal, evidently the work of an 
uncultivated man, is still not without inter- 
est, and is undoubtedly a correct diary of 
the expedition as it appeared to the writer. 
It consists, however, of little else than a 
dr_y log of the voyage, and the interest 
taken in it at the time of its appearance 
must be ascribed rather to the inherent 
importance of the subject than to any charm 
of style. So far as it relates to the region 
about Omaha it is no less brief and unin- 
teresting than the remainder of the work. 

On the 20th of July, 1804, he says that 
the voyagers embarked earlj', passing high 
3'ellow banks on the south side and a creek 
called the Water-which-cries, or the Weep- 
ing-stream, <)]iposite n willow island, and 



i.NAL OF PATiaCK (iAt' 



encamped on a prairie on the .soutli side. 
Of the next day he says: ■' At nine the 
wind fell and at one we eanie to the great 
river Platte, or shallow river, which conies 
in on the south side, and at the mouth is 
three-quarters of ,a mile broad. The land 
is flat about the confluence. Up this river 
live three nations of Indians, the Otos. 
Panis, and Loos, or Wolf Indians. On the 
■south side there is also a creek called But- 
terfl}- Creek." 

It will be noticed that in the reports of all 
the early explorers of the Missouri, the west 
side of the stream from what is now 
Kansas City to the present site of Sioux 
City, in Iowa, is invariably spoken of as 
the soutii side. This arises, doubtless, from 
the fact that upon entering the river at its 
confluence with the Mississippi the travelers 
found its course an easterly one, so that the 
right bank of the stream was the south 
hank. This description, therefore, the}' con- 
tinued to give it even after the course of 
the Missouri had changed to nortli and 
south. 

On Sunday, tlie 22d of July, they left 
the river Platte and proceeded early on their 
voyage, with fair weather, finding high 
prairie land on the south side, with some 
timber on the northern parts of the hills. 
Nine miles from the mouth of the Platte 
River they landed on a willow bank, at 
what was probably the present site of Belle- 
vue. Here tjieir hunters killed five deer 
and caught two beaver, and messengers were 
sent up the Platte to inform the Indians 
along its banks of the change in the gov- 
ernment of the country, and of Lewis and 
Clarke's desire to treat with them. After 
the lapse of five days, however, during 
which the main body remained at Belle vue 
busily engaged in hunting, making oars, 
dressing skins and airing stores, provisions 
and baggage, the messengers returned from 
the Indian village unsuccessful in their 
object, as they found it silent and deserted. 
They set sail, therefore, at aliout noon on 



the last mentioned da}-, and after proceediim 
about twelve miles the}' encamped on a 
handsome i)rairie on the south side. The 
changes in the course of the Missouri, which 
has ever since been swaying from bluff to 
bluff on both sides of the A'alley, render it 
impossilile to ascertain the |)recis(' location 
of this handsome prairie. It could not. 
however, have been far from where the 
packing houses of South Omaha are now 
situated. "On the next day," says the 
narrator, -'we set out early; had a cloudy 
morning; passed some beautiful hills and 
prairies; and a creek called Round Knob 
Creek, on the north side; and high bluffs on 
the south. Here two of our liunters came 
to us. accompanied by one of the Oto 
Indians." 

There can be no doubt that among the 
•' beautiful hills and prairies ' ' which Gass 
mentions was the graceful elevation from 
which, at a later period the territorial capitol 
and now the Omaha High School have looked 
down upon the thriving city, whicli was then 
only a convenient hunting ground. None 
of the voyagers, however, excei)t the hunters 
and those who conducted the lead horses 
along the banks of tlu' i-iver, seem to have 
set foot on its soil. Two days later, while 
bewailing the loss of a gray horse whicli 
had died the previous night, they came to 
some timber land at the foot of a high liluff 
and encamped thei-e to wait for the Indians. 
This was the present site of Koi't Calhoun. 
The large, handsome prairie, of whicii Oass 
speaks, is that on which Fort Atkinson was 
subsequently erected and which the charming 
village of Fort Calhoun now occupies. 
•' This place," says Gass, "we named Council 
Bluffs, and by observation we found it to be 
in latitude 41 deg. \7 min. north." This 
latitude differs slightly from that given in 
the official report of the expedition, which 
was, as we have seen, 41 deg. 18 min. 1:^ sec. 
That the spot is the same, however, as that 
mentioned by Lewis and Clarke there can be 
no possible doulit. Gass even speaks of the 



cri'v 



>>IAII. 



singular little aiiiuial whicb exeited .so iiiufh 
curiosity in the camp: "Twouf our hunt- 
ers," he says, "went out and killed an 
animal called a prarow, about the size of a 
ground hog and nearl}' of the same color. 
It has a head similar to that of a dog, short 
legs and large claws on its fore feet; some 
of the claws are an inch and a half long." 

Some two or three years after the visit of 
Lewis and Clarke, Manuel Lisa, an enter- 
prising French trader, ascended the Missouri 
for furs and peltries almost to its source. 
The success of his venture led to the forma- 
tion of an association under the name of 
the Missouri Fur Company, a corporation 
having its headquarters at St. Louis, and 
formed in the hope of carrying on the fur 
trade more extensively than it had thereto- 
fore l)een practiced, and in time of rivaling 
even the British associations in Canada. 
The company was composed of twelve per- 
sons, with a capital of about forty thousand 
dollars; and they engaged about two hund- 
red and fifty men, Canadians and Ameri- 
cans; the first for the purpose of navigating 
the boats, for the Canadians were renowned 
boatmen, and the latter as hunters; it being 
their intention to hunt as well as trade. In 
the spring of 1808 they ascended the Mis- 
souri in barges, and left trading establish- 
ments in the Sioux country, and also among 
the Arickaras and Mandans. Owing to the 
jealousies and hostilities of the Blackfeet 
Indians, liowever, the expedition of 1808 
proved abortive. Instead of three hundred 
packs of skins, upon which they might jiave 
calculated had they remained unmolested, 
they hardly procured thirty the first year, 
and the second none at all. The partj- was 
reduced to about sixty persons, by the 
detachments left at Jhe different trading- 
stations, bj'- persons sent off with such furs 
as had been collected, and by skirmishes 
with the Indians, in which some twenty had 
fallen. Mr. Henry, who was in command, 
thought it best, in this state of affairs, to 
oross the Rocky iMountains and establish 



liiniself on the Columbia River, a movement 
which took him so much further from his 
base that lie was not heard of at St. Louis 
for more than a year. 

In this state of things it was resolved in 
the spring of 1811, by the company, to 
make one more effort, and, if possible, 
retrieve their losses. Humanity also 
demanded that, if possible, their distressed 
companions should be relieved and brought 
back to civilization. Manuel Lisa, already 
spoken of, a man of bold and daring char- 
acter, energetic, enterprising, well ac- 
quainted with the Indian character and 
trade, of indefatigable industry, and with a 
powerful and vigorous frame, was selected 
to lead the enterprise. Mr. H. M. Bracken- 
ridge, a ^laryland barrister, in a spirit of 
curiosity and fondness for adventure, 
decided to accompany the expedition, and 
to him we are indebted for another glimpse 
of the site of Omaha in its original, wild 
state. jMr. Lisa, with his party, including 
JMr. Brackenridge, set off from the village 
of St. Charles on Tuesday, the 2d of April, 
1811, and ascending the Missouri with the 
usual monotonous adventures and provoking 
delays, passed the mouth of the Platte on 
the 10th of May. This river, he remarks, 
was at that time regarded by the jolly and 
rough boatmen of that da}% as a point of as 
much importance as the equator among the 
navigators of the sea. All who had never 
passed its mouth before were required, 
amidst a good deal of jocose horse-play, to 
undergo the ceremony of being shaved with 
a rusty piece of hoop for a razor, and a 
bucket of slush for lather ; unless they chose 
to compound for this unpleasant discipline 
Ijy a treat for the men. Mr. Brackenridge 
declares that much merriment was indulged 
on the occasion, but leaves us in doubt 
whether he submitted to the operation or 
purchased immunit_y. 

Above the Platte at that time, the river 
was called the Upper Missouri, and the 
chanoe from the closely wooded country 



UK .Mlssor 



ND AMKUICAX 



)MI»AXI 



below the Platte to the open. li:ue plains 
was then perceptible and great. The habit 
of burning the prairies was not then so com- 
mon south of the river as on the other side. 
The face of the land, however, he remarks, 
was so varied as to be pleasing and pictur- 
esque. On Sunday, the 12tli of May, after 
passing the old Otoe village, wdiich was then 
hot far from the southern bonndarj* of 
Omaha. Mr. Brackenridge went on shore, as 
he tells us, and wandered several miles 
through shrubbj- hills, seeing several elk 
and deer, without being able to approacii 
them. Towards evening he entered a charm- 
ing prairie, and noted its rich, black soil. 
He speaks, too, of following a rivulet until 
it formed a lake in the river bottom, its 
lianks for six or eight feet deep a rich black 
earth. There can be no possible doubt that 
this afternoon's walk was, over a portion at 
least, of the ground which now forms Omaha, 
and it was perhaps the first walk for 
recreation ever taken upon its site b}" a white 
man. About this point the journalist con- 
cludes that the party has reached the highest 
point to which settlements will probably 
extend for manj' years. In the evening of 
the 13th they passed the high, clean meadows 
called the Council Bluffs, of which he says: 
•' It is a beautiful scene. The Council Bluils 
are not abrupt elevations, but a rising ground, 
covered with grass as perfectly smooth as if 
the work of art. The}' do not exceed in 
height thirty or forty feet above the plain 
below. On ascending, the land stretches 
out as far as the eye can reach, a perfect 
level. The short grass, with which the soil 
is covered, gives it the appearance of a 
sodded bank, which has a fine effect, the 
scene being shaded by a few slender trees or 
shrubs in the hollows. ' ' It would not be easj- 
at this da J' to give a more vivid and correct 
picture of the natural beauties of this charm- 
ing spot. 

Twent3'-tliree days before the expedition 
of Lisa had started on their voyage, another 
party, employed by the American I<"nr Com- 



pany, and under the command of Wilson V. 
Hunt, a gentleman then and long afterwards 
renowned in the history of the northwestern 
fur trade, had set sail from St. Charles, and 
Lisa had been straining every nerve to meet 
him before he entered the lands of the Sioux 
nation. The meeting finally took place not 
far from the villages of the Poncas. In Mr. 
Hunt's party were two scientific gentlemen, 
enthusiasts on the subject of botany and 
mineralogj\ One of these, Mr. Bradbury, 
a few daj-s before Mr. Brackenridge reached 
the sight of Omaha, made an excursion with 
some Indians and hunters of the Hunt party 
to the mouth of the Elkhorn River. He 
described this as a deep, navigable stream, 
containing nearly as much water as the 
Thames at London Bridge, soon swallowed 
up, however, in the shoals and quicksands of 
the Platte, into which it discharges. Mr. 
Bradbury reported that he liad i)assi'd fur 
one hundred and fifty miles, throuoh n 
delightful champaign country, of rich, open, 
smooth meadows, and the borders of the 
streams fringed with wood; that within eight 
or ten miles of the Missouri, the country is 
more Ijroken and liilly, and with a still 
smaller proportion of wood. Of course, from 
the above meagre account of this short trip 
it will be seen that it is by no means evident 
that ■Mr. Bradbury passed over the ground 
where Omaha now stands, but it is probable 
that he either did so or came ver\- near it. 
It may not be uninteresting to state, as a 
sequel to Mr. Brackenridge 's story, that 
having ascended the Missouri as far as the 
Mandan and Arickara villages, and having 
fully satisfied his curiosity concerning the 
Indians, whose fllthj- habits were offensive 
to his civilized senses, he took charge of two 
of Mr. Lisa's boats, laden with peltries, 
descended the Missouri at the rate of about 
one hundred miles per day, passed the Black- 
bird hill, the site of Omaha .and tlie mouth 
of the Platte on the same da3% and after an 
absence of nearly five months, arrived at St. 
Louis early in August. 1811. Iia\'incv made 



82 



by their reckoning fourteen hundred and 
forty miles in a little more than fourteen 
days. He summed up the advantages of the 
region he liad been exploring as follows: 
" This immense tract of country has now 
become the theatre of American enterprise. 
There prevails among the natives west of 
the mountains a spirit of wild adventure, 
which reminds us of tlie fictitious characters 
of Ariosto. The American himters consti- 
tute a class different from any people known 
to the east of the mountains. The life which 
they lead is exceedingl}- fascinating; their 



scene ever changing — ever jn-esenting sonic- 
thing new. Confined b}^ no regular pursuit, 
their labor is amusement. I have called the 
region watered by the Missouri and its trib- 
utaries the paradise of hunters; it is indeed 
to them a paradise. I have been acquainted 
with several who, on returning to tlie settle- 
ments, became in a very short time dissat- 
isfied, and wandered away to these regions as 
delightful to them as are the regions of fancy 
to tlie poet. 

" 'Theirs the wild life, in frolic still to riiuge, 
From toil to rest, and joy in evei-y change.' " 



CHAPTER V 



Journey from tiik Columbia to the Mouth of the Platte in 1812 — First W 
Family Locating at Bellevde — Establishment of a Baptist Mission in 
1833, ANn Presbyterian Mission in 1834 — General 
Fremont at Bellevde. 



A notable journey from the Coluinhia 
River to the nioutli of the Platte was made 
during the years 1812 and 1813. On the 
28tli of June, in the first named year, Messrs. 
Robert Stewart, Ramsey Crooks and Robert 
McClellan left the Pacific Coast with 
dispatclies for their emploj'ers in New York. 
After almost incredible adventures and 
hardships, in the course of which the Crow 
Indians stole every horse belonging to the 
l)arty, leaving them on foot, two thousand 
miles from St. Louis, in a desert which for 
fifteen hundred miles was utterly unknown 
to them, they at last succeeded in reaching 
St. Louis on the 30th of May, 1813, having 
consumed more than eleven months in the 
journey. They wintered on the Platte, six 
luuidred miles from its mouth, and in the 
spring they followed its course undeviatingly 
to the Otoe villages near its mouth. 

Six years after this journey, another ex- 
l)loring expedition, pursuant to the orders 
of John C. Calhoun, was undertaken by 
Major Stephen IL Long. This expedition 
is famous, not only for the topographical 
results obtained, but as having been con- 
veyed on the_^ first steamboat which ever 
piissed the spot now occupied by the City of 
Omaha. This steamer, to which had been 
given the name of the Western Engineer, 
passed the plateau on which that city stands 
on the 15th or 16th of September, 1819. 
Major Long, the commander of this expedi- 
dition, was a brave, enterprising and indus- 
trious offleer, born in the town of lloi)kinton, 



in the State of New Hampshire, in tlie year 
1784. Five years after his graduation frtun 
Dartmouth College, in that State, he was 
commissioned a lieutenant in the corps of 
engineers of the United States army, and in 
April, 1816, he was transferred to the topo- 
graphical engineers with the rank of major. 
During eight years thereafter he was assidu- 
ously and almost constantly engaged in a 
series of explorations of the western frontier, 
from the northern boundary of Texas to Lake 
Superior and the sources of the Mississippi, 
and traversed within that period more than 
twenty-six tlionsand miles of wilderness, 
procuring much information, till then un- 
known, concerning those portions of the 
national domain. The account of the expe- 
dition now under consideration was published 
in 1823. For a long time afterwards he was 
engaged in explorations and improvements 
of western rivers, in superintending the con- 
struction of hospitals and steam vessels, in 
surveys of harbors and roads, and in other 
labors connected with the engineering depart- 
ment of the United States army. His name is 
perpetuated by one of the loftiest peaks in 
Colorado. 

]iy this time the muddy current of the 
Missouri was so frequently vexed with the 
keels of the fur traders, going to and return- 
ing from their hunting and trading grounds, 
that the trip up that river had ceased to be 
a novelty, A trading post and fort was estab- 
lished at Bellevue, long the abode of Peter 
A. Sarpy. His trading post at Bellevue was 



84 



HISTORY OF THK CITY OF OMAHA. 



originally established by the American Fur 
Company, in 1810. Francis DeRoin was 
the person first appointed to the post of 
Indian trader. He was succeeded by Joseph 
Kobidoux (who afterwards founded the city 
of St. .loseph, Mo.), who held the position 
for six 3'ears, when he was superseded by 
.John Cabanne, who in turn gave place in the 
year 1824 to Colonel Sarp}-. The last gave 
soul, vivacity and notoriety to that pic- 
turesque and beautiful spot for more than 
thirt}"- years. 

Up to the j^ear 1823 the Indian agency 
was established at Council Bluffs, now known 
as Fort Calhoun, but in tiie last mentioned 
year that agency was removed to Bellevue, 
which then for a time assumed the name of 
Council Bluffs, the Iowa town now called bj' 
that appellation, being entitled JNIormon 
Hollow and Kanesville. The agency at that 
date included within its limits the Omaha, 
Otoe, Pawnee and Pottawotamie tribes of 
Indians. In 1833 the lirst protestaut mis- 
sionary ventured to settle within the limits 
of this, then, wild and dangerous region. 
This honor belongs to the Baptists. One of 
their number, the Uev. Moses Merrill, in the 
year last named, created a mission house 
among the Otoes, at a point on the present 
farm of Mr. John F. Payne, where a stone 
chimney long remained, and perhaps still is 
visible, to mark the spot where a faithful 
apostle of God was willing to sacrifice his 
life upon the altar of dut}-. He did not 
long endure the hardships, privations and 
sufferings of life in a new country, among 
barbarous tribes. He died in 1835 and was, 
at the request of his widow, buried on the 
left bank of the Missouri, at a point which 
has long since yielded to the irreverent 
surges of the river, all traces of his grave 
having been swept away. His son. Rev. S. 
P. Merrill, born at Bellevue in July, 1834, 
is now a resident of Rochester, N. Y. 

Just before his death, in the fall of 1884. 
Samuel Allis and Rev. John Dunbar, under 
the direction of the Presbyterian Board of 



Missions, arrived at the agency at Bellevue, 
in company with Major John Dougherty, 
Indian agent to the Otoes, Omahas and 
Pawnees. Major Dougherty paid to the 
Indians their annuities at this point, and 
Messrs. Allis and Dunbar opened a school 
among the Pawnees at a place known as 
Council Point, some distance up the Platte 
River. The hostilitj' of the Sioux, however, 
caused the abandonment of this pious enter- 
prise, and Mr. Allis returned to Bellevue, 
where he taught the children of the Pawnees 
at tlie agency. 

In 1835 the American Board of Commis- 
sioners for Foreign Missions appointed an 
exploring mission, to ascertain by personal 
observation the condition of the country 
west of the Mississippi, the character of the 
Indian nations and tribes, and the facilities 
for introducing the gospel and civilization 
among them. The Rev. Samuel Parker 
undertook this difficult task, and starting 
from New York on the 14th of March, 1835, 
was joined at St. Louis by Dr. Marcus Whit- 
man, who had been appointed by the Board 
as Mr. Parker's associate. They went b}' 
land, passing along the left bank of the 
]\Iissouri, drew near to Council Bluffs, that 
is, Bellevue, on the 30th of April, and were 
amazed at the immense number of mounds 
which they were inclined to believe were 
not artificial. 

An interesting account of this trip, which 
extended through Oregon, the Columbia 
River and the Pacific to the Sandwich 
Islands, was written and published by Mi". 
Parker in the year 1838. A few sentences 
follow: " "We crossed the Maragine River, 
which, though very deep, was not so wide 
but that we constructed a bridge over it. 
Proceeding many miles through the rich 
bottom lands of the Missouri, we crossed 
this noble river over against Bellevue in a 
large canoe, and swam our horses and mules 
across; this, on account of the width of the 
river and the strength of the current, 
required much effort. I went to tlie agency 



ESTABLISHMENT OF MISSIONS. i29o3 # J. 



85 



house, where I was happ^' to find Brethren 
Dunbar and Ellis, missionaries to the Paw- 
nees, under the direction of the American 
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis- 
sions. There is a Baptist Mission here, com- 
posed of Rev. Moses Merrill and wife, JMiss 
Brown, and a Christian Indian woman, a 
descendant of Rev. D. Brainard's Indians. 
They are appointed by the Baptist Board to 
labor among the Otoe Indians, about twenty- 
live miles from this place, on the River Platte. 
These Indians are awa}' from their intended 
residence about half tlie time on hunting- 
excursions. A little more than a half mile 
below the agency the American Fur Com- 
pany have a fort, and in connection they 
liave a farming establishment and large 
numbers of cattle and horses, and a horse- 
power mill for grinding corn. 

•'• We continued in this place three weeks, 
waiting the movements of the caravan, who 
made slow progress in preparing their pack- 
ages for the mountains. During our deten- 
tion here I frequently walked over the hills 
l)ordering upon the west of the valley of 
of the Missouri, to enjoy the pure air of the 
rolling prairies and to view the magnificent 
prospects unfolded in the vale below. From 
the summit of those prominences the valley 
of the Missouri may be traced until. lost in 
its far winding course among the bluffs. 
Three miles below is seen the Papillion, a 
considerable stream from the northwest, 
winding its waj^ round to the east, and 
uniting with the Missouri, six miles above 
the confluence of the Platte, coming from 
the west. These flow through a rich allu- 
vial plain, opening to the south and south- 
west as far as the eye can reach. Upon 
these meadows are seen feeding some few 
hundred of horses and mules, and a herd 
of cattle; and some fields of corn diver- 
sified the scenerj'. The north is covered 
with woods, which are not less valuable tlian 
the rich vales. But few places can present a 
prospect more inviting, and when a civilized 



population shall add the fruits of their in- 
dustry, but few can be more desirable." 

Mr. Parker's stay in Bellevue was much 
longer than he had anticipated, from the 
fact that two weeks after their arrival 
a disease, which Dr. AVhitnian cullcil spas- 
modic cholera, broke out with a ^icnt- ih Ltree 
of malignitj\ This disease was aggravated 
by the extreme warmth of the weather, by 
daily showers and by the intemperate habits 
of the men and their mode of living. Three 
of the company died, and it was only 
tlirough the assiduousness of Dr. Wliitman, 
and the use of powerful medicines and 
heroic treatment that the mortality was not 
much greater. 

After the long delay caused by this i^pi- 
demic, the travelers with the trading party 
to which they were attached, recommenced 
their journey to the Pacific Coast on the 
21st day of June, 1835. Mr. Parker noted 
in his diary that their route was over a rich 
and extensive prairie, but so poorly- watered 
that not a single stream was encountered 
during the whole day, and that the3r 
encamped before night on a high prairie 
where they could find but little wood and 
it was difficult to make a flrc. If these 
statements are literally true, and there would 
be, certainly, no possible motive for misrep- 
resentation, the course of these travelers, 
who were bound for the Black Hills as their 
first objective point, would have been north- 
westwardly from Bellevue; a direction which 
would have taken them very near to, if not 
within the present Ijoundarj' lines of the 
City of Omaha. In no other direction 
could they have traveled more than an hour 
or two, without finding both wood and 
water in abundant profusion. The fact also, 
that towards noon of the 24th, having been 
detained some forty-eight hours by a heavy, 
cold rain, with thunder, lightning and hail, 
they crossed the Papillion, would seem to 
point to the same conclusion. 

All the tourists who traveled over the 



36 



liTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



country about Omaha before its settlement, 
have noticed with a pleased surprise the 
salubrity of its climate and the fertility of 
its soil. Mr. Parker was similarly impressed 
with these characteristics. "No country," 
says he, " could lie more inviting to the 
farmer, with only one exception, the want 
of woodland. The latitude is sufficiently 
high to be healthy; and as the climate grows 
warmer as we travel west, until we approach 
the snow- topped mountains, there is a degree 
of mildness not experienced east of the 
Allegheny Mountains. The time will come, 
and probably is not far distant, when this 
country will be covered with a dense popu- 
lation. The earth was created for the 
habitation of man, and for a theater on 
which God will manifest his moral govern- 
ment among his moral creatures, and there- 
fore the earth, according to divine prediction, 
shall be given to the people of God. 
Although infidels may sneer and scoffers 
mock, yet God will accomplish his designs 
and fulfill ever^' promise contained in his 
Word. Then this amazing extent of most 
fertile land will not continue to be the 
wandering ground of a few thousand Indians, 
with only a very few acres under cultiva- 
tion; nor will millions of tons of grass grow 
up to rot upon the ground or to be burned 
up with the fire enkindled to sweep over 
the prairie, to disencumber it of its sponta- 
neous burden. The herds of buffalo which 
once fattened upon these meadows are gone; 
and the deer which once cropped the grass 
have disappeared; and the antelope have 
fled away; and shall solitude reign here to 
the end of time .' No, here shall be heard 
the din of business, and the church going 
bell shall sound far and wide. The question 
is, by whom shall this region of country be 
inhabited. It is plain that the Indians, 
under their present circumstances, will never 
multiply and fill this land. They must be 
brought under tlie influence of civilization 
and Christianity, or they will continue to 
melt away, until nothing will remain of 



them but the relics found in museums, and 
some liistorical records. Philanthrop3' *i"<^l 
the mercy of God plead in their behalf." 

It is curious to notice in the references of 
all western travelers of that day, how inva- 
riably, as they approach the region of 
Omaha, the}' devote a few sentences or pages 
to the natural beauties of the situation, the 
fertility of its soil, the charms of its climate, 
and the certainty of its being in some far 
distant future the home of a vast popula- 
tion. Generally, they express themselves as 
confidently, if not as beautifully as our 
own poet Bryant, who heard the murmurings 
of the bee upon the prairies: 

" I listen long 
To his domestic hum, and think I hear 
The sound of that advancing multitude 
Which soon shall fill these deserts. From the 

ground 
Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice 
Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn hyiuu 
Of Sabbath worshippers. The low of herds 
Blends with the rustling of the heavy grain 
Over the dark brown furrows. All at once 
A fresher wind sweeps bj', and breaks my dream, 
And I am in the wilderness alone." 

By 1837, the date of the publication of 
Mr. Parker's journal, the visitors to the 
territory now called Nebraska, and tlie 
voyages up the Missouri, had become so 
numerous and frequent that their tales of 
the l)order had ceased to excite especial 
interest. 

The Rocky Mountain Fur Company and 
the Missouri Fur Company had for many 
j'ears been familiar, through their boatmen 
and hunters and trappers, with the entire 
country west of the Missouri, and it is 
doubtless to these men, that we owe a num- 
ber of French names still largely scattered 
over the State, despite the efforts of prosaic 
materialists to change and obliterate these 
euphonious appellations. The names of 
William II. Ashley, Dr. Pilcher, William 
O 'Fallon and others were for years famous 
in this vicinity as distinguished travelers 
and traders. 



GENEItAL FREEMONT AT BELLEYUE. 



Colonel Henry Dodge, an enterprising 
officer in the service of the United States, 
explored the Platte River to its source in 
1835, and doubtless came near the town site 
of Omaha, but probably did not actually 
set foot upon the ground. General, then 
Lieutenant Fremont, in one of his expedi- 
tions, visited Bellevue, and made the 
acquaintance of .Peter A. Sarpy, then the 
head of the trading house at that place, and 
.'^^peaks with enthusiasm of the beauty and 
.-scenery, and the liospitalitj' of that dis- 
tinguished frontiersman. At this point, the 
oldest settlement of white civilians in 
Nebraska, a trading post had been estab- 
lished as long ago as 1805. At its head 
was Manuel Lisa, a Spanish gentleman of 
considerable wealth, unbounded energy, and 
more taste than usually falls to the lot of 
the fur trader. Touched with the beauty of 
tlie surrounding landscape, and especially 
with the view from the commanding emi- 
nence on which now stands the buildings 
of the institution known as Bellevue Col- 
lege, he, as it is said, gave the place the 
name by which it has ever since that day 
lieen known. Lisa was a man of a bold 
and daring character, with a spirit of enter- 
in-ise and audacitj', which caused him to be 
likened by his admirers to his countrymen, 
Cortez and Pizarro. "We have already had 
some account of hitn in the description by 
i\Ir. Brackenridge of his travels. No one 
was better acquainted than he with the 
peculiarities of the Indian cliaracter, no 
one better fitted to secure their trade and 
overcome their prejudices. He had quick 
appreliension, a frame capable of sustaining 
every hardship, indomitable perseverance, 
and indefatigable industry. In addition to 
these qualities he displayed a kindness and 
liospitality which made him many friends; 
though for some reason, not now known, 
many of the members of the Missouri Fur 
Company lacked that confidence in liim 



which his merits would seem to demand. 
It is doubtful how long Lisa remained in 
Bellevue. Certain it is that in 1811, six 
years after the establishment of liis post, we 
find him in command of an expedition up 
the Missouri River from St. Louis, under- 
taken by the Missouri Fur Company for 
the purpose of retrieving the losses which 
that unfortunate association had, from one 
cause or another sustained. The fact, also, 
that in 1810 the American Fur Company 
established a trading post at Bellevue. would 
seem to indicate that the former trading 
depot had been abandoned. 

Up to this period there had been no 
actual settlement on the present site of the 
Cit_y of Omaha. But in 1825, the j^ear 
after Colonel Sarpy had succeeded Cabanne 
in the management of the trading post at 
Bellevue, there was erected a stockade and 
trading post at a point on or near the 
present block formed by Dodge Street, 
Capitol Avenue, Ninth and Tenth Streets. 
Up to within a few years past the remains 
of this defensive work were plainly visible. 
It was the post of one J. B. Royce, or 
Roye (for even his name has vanished into 
oblivion), who for some three years main- 
tained his trade with the Indians at this 
spot, when for some unknown cause he left. 
Hardly anything more than this bare fact is 
knowu of him. Father De Sniet, who calls 
him T. B. Roye, speaks of him as a noted 
trader in his day, and says that he was 
probably " the first white man who built 
the first cabin on the beautiful plateau 
where now stands the flourishing City of 
Omaha." 

From this time until 1854, the site of the 
cit}^ was uninhabited and unvisited save by 
wandering Indians, emigrants to the far 
West, Mormonj fleeing from persecution, 
and occasionallj^, curious and covetous claim- 
seekers from the State of Iowa. 



CHAPTEK YI, 



: Predecessoks — C'ati.in's Visit to the ^Missoiri V 
Chiee, Bi.AtKiuRn — An Ixi>ian Traixjey — Btriai 



Y — The Famous Omaha 
Blackbird. 



At the time of the first formal exploration 
of the region about Omaha, the principal 
tribes or nations of Indians inhabiting the 
territory, now Nebraska, in the region near 
Omaha, were four, namely, the Otoes, the 
Omahas, the Poncas and the Pawnees. The 
first three of these belonged to the great 
Dakota family, which embraces also the 
Sioux, the Osages, the lowas, the Kansas, 
the Missouris, the Minatarees and Crows. 
This family once occupied the larger portion 
of the country bounded on the east by the 
great lakes, on the north by the British 
Possessions, on the west by the Rocky Moun- 
tains and on the south by the Platte River. 
According to their traditions they came 
eastward from the Pacific Ocean, meeting 
with little difficulty in their immigration, 
until they reached the vicinity of the head- 
waters of the Mississippi, where the Algon- 
kins succeeded in checking the movement 
eastward of the main body. One of the 
tribes, however, the "Winnebagos, or men 
from the fetid water, that is, the sea, suc- 
ceeded in pushing through the barrier, and 
reached the shores of Lake Michigan. 

Of the early history of the Pawnees but 
little is definitely known, although they 
were among the earliest tribes west of the 
Mississippi. It has heretofore been sug- 
gested that they may liave been some 
offshoot of the Aztec nation, which sepa- 
rated from the main body as it passed to the 
southward. Be that as it may, they are 
noted on the map of Father Marquette, in 
1773, as divided into various bands. They 
are undoubtedly the Panimahas of later 



explorers. In 1803 their principal villages 
were on the south side of the Platte. Three 
years later, Pike estimated the population 
of tlu-ee of their villagesat 6233, with nearly 
two thousand warriors, engaged in fierce 
comlmt with neighboring tribes. In the 
year 1820, three of the four bands into which 
they had been for a long time divided, 
resided on the banks of the Platte and its 
tributaries, with a reservation on Loup Fork, 
now Nance County. At that time their 
numbers were supposed to be about ten 
thousand souls, living in earth covered 
lodges, and much devoted to the cultivation 
of the soil, but engaging every season in a 
grand buffalo hunt. The Delawares in 1823 
burned the great Pawnee village on the 
Republican, and these Pawnees, becoming 
much reduced in numbers by small-pox, soon 
after sold all their lands south of the Platte 
and removed to the reservation on Loup 
Fork. The means were provided and many 
exertions made to enable them to live here 
in prosperity; but their inveterate foes, the 
Sioux, harrassed them continually, repeat- 
edly drove them from their reservation and 
despoiled their villages. This warfare and 
disease soon reduced them to half their 
former number. In 1861 they raised a 
company of scouts for service against the 
Sioux, and a much larger force under the 
volunteer organization, incurring in conse- 
quence the increased hostilitj^ of their 
enemies, who annoyed them so continually 
that in 1874, the chiefs in general council, 
yielded to the suggestions of United States 
agents, and consented to the removal of the 



ATLIN .S V 



TO 



IE MISSOnU VALLEY. 



ao 



tribe to a new reservation in tlie Indian Ter- 
ritory, lying between the forks of the 
Arkansas and the Cimarron, east of the 97tli 
P. M. All who Iiave sojourned long enough 
among the Pawnees to become familiar with 
their oral records, have noticed their tradi- 
tion of a once great cit}^ on wliat was, from 
1859 to 1876, their reservation on the Loup. 
Loath to leave its site, when a Christian 
civilization drove them southward, they 
yearn in their new home for its familiar 
scenes, and a few remnants of the tribe yet 
linger unmolested, within its loved bound- 
aries. Their population at the present time 
is hardly over one thousand souls, showing 
a steady decrease from year to year. The 
deaths, it is said, largely outnumber tlie 
births, and it seems only a question of time 
when the tribe will become extinct. 

The Poueas were a small tribe, said to 
have been i-elated to the Omahas. Their 
home was, when they were first known, in 
Dixon County, in the .State of Nebraska, on 
the right bank of the Missouri River. They 
are said to have lived originally on the Red 
River of the North, but being driven south- 
westwardly across the INIissouri by the Sioux, 
they have seldom numbered in this State 
more than one thousand. Selling their lands 
in Dixon County in 1858, they went on a 
reservation near the Yanktons, in Dakota, 
but being too near their old foes, and unable 
to raise any crops, they were, in 1865, 
removed to the mouth of the Niobrara for a 
permanent home, which, however, remained 
permanent only some twelve years, when 
tliey were, against their will transported to 
the Indian Territory, where their numbers 
are said to be still decreasing. 

Mr. Catlin visited the tribe at their home 
on the Missouri, in 1832. "They are," he 
says, "contained in seventj'-five or eighty 
lodges, made of buffalo skins, in the form of 
tents, the frames for which are poles of 
fifteen or twenty feet in length, with the 
but ends standing on the ground and the 
small ends meeting at the top, forming a 



cone which sheds off the rain and wind with 
perfect success. This small remnajit of a 
tribe are not more than four or five hundred 
in number, and I should tliink at least two- 
thirds of these are women; tliis disparity in 
numbers having been produced by the con- 
tinual losses which their men suffer who are 
penetrating the buffalo country for meat, 
for which tliey are now obliged to travel a 
great way (as the buffalo have recently left 
their country), exposing their lives to the 
more numerous enemies about them." 

Of Shoo-de-ga-chas, or the Smoke Chief of 
the tribe in 1832, a very philosophical and 
dignified man, the artist says: "The chief, 
who was wrapped in a buffalo robe, is a noble 
specimen of native dignity and philosophj*. 
I conversed much with him, and from his 
dignified manners, as well as the soundness 
of his reasoning, I became fully convinced 
that he deserved to be sachem of a more 
numerous and prosperous tribe. He related 
with great coolness and frankness the pov- 
erty and distress of his nation; and, with 
the method of a philosopher, predicted the 
certain and rapid extinction of his tribe, 
which lie had not the power to avert. Poor, 
noble chief, who was equal to and worthy a 
greater empire ! He sat upon the deck of 
the steamer overlooking the little cluster of 
his wigwams, mingled amongst the trees; 
and like Caius Marius weeping over the 
ruins of Carthage, shed tears as he was des- 
canting on the poverty of his ill-fated little 
community, which he told me had once been 
powerful and happy; that the buffalo 
which tlie Great Spirit had given them for 
food, and which formerly spread all over 
their green prairies, had all been killed or 
driven out by the approach of wliite men 
who wanted their skins; that their country 
was now entirely destitute of game, and even 
of roots for their food, as it was one contin- 
ued ))rairie; and that his young men, 
penetrating the countries of their enemies 
for buffalo, which they were obliged to do, 
were cut to pieces and destroyed in great 



40 



IIISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



numbers. That his people had foolishly 
become fond of Jire-tvater (whiskej^), and had 
given away everything in their country for 
it; that it had destroyed many of his 
warriors, and soon would destroy the rest; 
that his tribe was too small and his warriors 
too few to go to war with the tribes around 
them; that they were met and killed by the 
Sioux on the north, by tlie Pawnees on the 
west, and by the Osages and Kansas on the 
south; and still more alarmed from the con- 
stant advance of the pale faces — their 
enemies from the east, with whisky and 
small-pox, which already had destroyed 
four-fifths of his tribe, and soon would 
impoverish, and at last destroy the remainder 
of them." 

A touching story is told bj- the same 
author of a superannuated chief left by his 
people to die on the prairie: "When we 
were about to start," he says, "on our way 
up the river from the village of the Poncas, 
we found that they were packing up all their 
goods and preparing to start for the prairies, 
further to the west, in pursuit of buffalo, 
to dry meat for their winter's supplies. 
They took down their wigwams of skins to 
carry with them, and all were flat to the 
ground and everything packing up ready for 
the start. My attention was directed by 
Major Sanford, the Indian agent, to one of 
the most miserable and helpless-looking 
objects I had ever seen in my life — a very 
aged and emaciated man of the tribe, who, 
he told me, was to be exposed. 

" The tribe were going where hunger and 
dire necessity compelled them to go; and 
this pitiable object, who had once been a 
chief and a man of distinction in his tribe, 
who was now too old to travel — being reduced 
to mere skin and bones — was to be left to 
starve, or meet with such death as might 
fall to his lot, and his bones to be picked by 
the wolves. I lingered around this poor, 
old, forsaken patriarch for hours before we 
started, to indulge the tears of sympathy 
which were flowing for the sake of this poor, 



benighted and decrepit old man, whose 
worn-out limbs were no longer able to sup- 
port him, their kind and faithful oflices 
having long since been performed, and his 
body and his mind doomed to linger into 
the withering agony of decay and gradual 
solitary' death. I wept, and it was a pleas- 
ure to weep, for the painful looks and the 
weary prospects of this old veteran, whose 
eyes were dimmed, whose venerable locks 
were whitened b}^ a hundred years, whose 
limbs were almost naked and trembling as 
he sat beside a small fire which liis friends 
had left him, with a few sticks of wood 
within his reach and a buffalo skin stretched 
upon some crotches over his head. Such 
was to be his only dwelling, and such the 
chances for his life, with only a few half- 
picked bones that were laid within his reach, 
and a dish of water, without weapon or 
means of any kind to replenish them, or 
strength to move his body from its fatal 
locality. In this sad plight I mournfully 
contemplated this miserable remnant of 
existence, who had unluckily outlived the 
fates and accidents of wars to die alone at 
death's leisure. His friends and his children 
had all left him. and were preparing in a 
little time to be on the march. He had 
told them to leave him; he was old, he 
said, and too feeble to march. ' JMy chil- 
dren,' said lie, 'our nation is poor, and it is 
necessaiy that you should all go to the 
country where j'ou can get meat; my eyes 
are dimmed and my strength is no more, my 
days are nearly all numbered, and I am a 
burden to my children; I cannot go, and I 
wish to die. Keep your heart stout and 
think not of me; I am no longer good for 
anything.' In this wa3' they had finished 
the ceremony of exposing him, and taking 
their final leave of him. I advanced to the 
old man and was undoubtedlj' the last 
human being who held converse with him. 
I sat by the side of him, and though he 
could not distinctlj"^ see me, he shook me 
heartily bj^ the hand and smiled, evidently 



A CRUEL INDIAN CUSTOM. 



41 



aware that 1 was a white man, and that I 
^sympathized with him in his inevitable 
misfortune. I shook hands again with liim 
and left him, steering mj' course towards 
the steamer, which was a mile or more from 
me, and read}- to resume her voyage up the 
Missouri. 

'■ AVlien passing by the site of the Ponca 
village a few months after this, on mj- 
return voyage in the fall of 1832, in my 
laiioe, I went ashore with mv men and 
found the poles and the buffalo skin, 
standing- as they were left over the old 
man's head. The fire-brands were lying 
nearl}- as I left them, and I found at a few 
yards distance the skull and others of his 
liones, which had been picked and cleaned 
liy the wolves, which is probal)ly all that 
any human being can ever know of his 
final and melancholy fate. 

•• This cruel custom of exposing their 
aged people belongs, 1 think, to all the 
tribes who roam about the prairies, making- 
severe marches; when such decrepit persons 
as are totally iinable to go, unable to ride 
ur to walk, when they have no means of 
carrjing them. It often becomes absolutely 
necessarj' in such cases that they should be 
left; and thej- uniformly insist upon it, 
saying, as this old man did, that they are 
old and of no further use; that thej' left 
their fathers in the same manner; that thej- 
wislied to die, and that their children must 
not mourn for them." 

The Commissioner of Indian Affairs, in 
his report for the year 1878, declares that 
tlie Poncas are good Indians, and in men- 
tal endowment, moral character, physical 
strength and cleanliness superior to an3^ he 
had ever met. 

The Otoes and Missouris have long been 
confederated and are supposed by some to 
have been originally the same tribe. The 
latter are a tribe of the Dakota family and 
first became known to the whites about the 
year 1673. They called themselves Nudar- 
chas. the name Missouris. or i)ec)ple living 



by the muddy water, having been given 
them bj' the Illinois. In 1804 they num- 
bered only about three hundred persons, 
having been reduced from their former 
considerable numbers by the small-pox, which 
so reduced them that thej- again afiHliated 
with the Otoes and liave for a long time 
been treated and considered as the same 
tribe. The Otoes were known to the French 
by the name of Otontantes, and at the time 
of the expedition of Lewis and Clarke, their 
possessions extended to the present Citj- of 
Omaha on the north, though their villages 
were principally on the south side of tlie 
P latte River, where they lived in mud lodges. 
At the time of the first settlement of Omaha 
they occupied a reservation south of the 
Platte, though their visits to their old hunt- 
ing grounds about the city were not infre- 
quent. In the year 1882 the poor remains 
of these two ill-fated tribes, reduced bj' 
wars, hardships, small-pox and civilizing 
influences to four hundred and fifty-seven 
souls, were removed to the Indian Territor}-; 
where easy, good natured, lazy and shiftless, 
they depend on the government for their 
livelihood, doing just work enough to entitle 
them to a distribution of rations, and find- 
ing it exceedingly difficult to abandon their 
nomadic habits. 

There remains to be mentioned, of the 
four principal tribes inhabiting the eastern 
portion of Nebraska at the time of the 
advent of the whites, the nation of the 
Omalias, or as they were, until a comjjara- 
tivel}' recent period, called the Mahas. The 
signification of the name is said to be " the 
up-river people." Its proper pronunciation 
is O-maw-haw, with the accent on the second 
syllable, the prevailing tendency of the 
English speaking people to throw back the 
accent beyond the penult having at present, 
however, so far established its present pro- 
nunciation, with the stress on the first sylla- 
ble, as to render any change impossible. In 
fact tlie Ind'an accents were never strongly 
niaiked. and the native sound of the word 



42 



■<TORY 



can best be represented as given above, with 
no accent wliatever on either of its three 
syllables. 

The Mahas were one of the tribes ineu- 
tioned by Father Marquette in his account 
of his voyage down the Mississippi, and 
their location was given on his map witli 
considerable accuracy. Nearly one hundred 
years later they are said to have been visited 
by Jonathan Carver during his journey to 
the west. At that time they seem to liave 
been roaming as far east as 8t. Peter's 
Kiver. 

His own account states that he .irrivcd 
among the Nandowessie Indians on tlie 7th 
of December, 1766, and resided with tliein 
seven montiis. These Xandowessies are 
supposed to have been the .Sioux or Dakota 
Indians. These Sioux are always reluctant 
to acknowledge this name, which was first 
given them by the Frencli, and is now in 
general \ise. There are many theories as to 
its origin, perhaps the most acceptable of 
which is that it is a corruption of the word 
Nadonessioux, a general Chippewa designa- 
tion for enemies; which was gradually 
applied by missionaries and traders tlirough 
an imperfect comprehension of thelangviage 
to the tribes thus designated. Carver 
declares tliat the band with which he resided 
C(mstitiited a part of the eight bands of the 
Nandowessies of the plains; " and are termed 
the Wawpuntowalis, the Tintons, the Afraii- 
cootans, the Mawhaws, and the Schians." 
The other three bands wliose names are the 
Schianese, the Chongonsceton,and the "Wnd- 
dap.awjestin, dwell liigher up to the west of 
the River St. Pierre, on plains that, accord- 
ing to their account, are unbounded; and 
probably terminate on the coast of the 
Pacific Ocean." His description of his first 
encounter with these Indians is as follows: 

"As soon as I had reached the laud two 
of the chiefs presented their hands to me, 
and led me amongst the astonished multi- 
tude, who had, most of them, never seen a 
white man before, to a tent. Into this we 



entered, and according to the custom that 
universall}' prevails among every Indian 
nation, began to smoke the pipe of peace. 
We had not sat long before the crowd became 
so great, both around and upon the tent, 
that we were in danger of being crushed by 
its fall. On this we returned to the plain, 
where, having gratified the curiosity of the 
common people, their wonder abated, and 
ever after they treated me with great respect. 

" From the chiefs I met with the most 
friendly and hospitable reception; which 
induced me, as the season was so far ad- 
vanced, to take up mj' residence among 
them during the winter. To render my staj' 
as comfortable as possible. I first endeavored 
to learn their language. This I soon did. 
so as to make mj-self perfectly intelligible, 
having before acquired some slight knowl- 
edge of the language of those Indians that 
live on the back of the settlements; and in 
consequence, met with every accommodation 
their manner of living would afford. Nor 
did I want for such amusements as tended 
to make so long a period pass cheerfully 
away. I frequently hunted with them; and 
at other times beheld, with pleasure, their 
recreations and pastimes, which I shall 
describe hereafter. 

'• Sometimes 1 sat with tlie chiefs, and 
whilst we smoked the friendly pipe, enter- 
tained them, in return for the accounts they 
gave me of their wars and excursions, with 
a narrative of my own adventures, and a 
description of all the battles fought between 
the English and French in America, in many 
of which I had a personal share. They 
always paid great attention to my details, 
and asked many pertinent questions relative 
to the European methods of making war. 

" I held these conversations with them in 
a great measure, to procure from them some 
information relative to the chief point I had 
constantly in view, that of gaining a knowl- 
edge of the situation and produce, both of 
their own country and those that lay to the 
westward of them. Xor was I disappointed 



OMAHA CHIEF. 



4:5 



in my designs; for I procured from them 
much useful intelligence. They likewise 
drew for me plans of all the countries with 
which they were acquainted; but as I enter- 
tained no great opinion of their geographical 
knowledge, I placed not much dependence 
on them, and therefore think it unnecessary 
to give them to the public. They draw with 
a piece of burnt coal, taken from the hearth, 
upon the inside bark of the birch tree; which 
is as smooth as paper, and answers the same 
purposes, notwithstanding it is of a yellow 
cast. Their sketches are made in a rude 
manner, but they seem to give us as just an 
idea of a country, although the plan is not 
so exact as more experienced draughtsmen 
could do. ' ' 

Carver left the habitations of these hos- 
pitable Indians at the latter end of April, 
1767, not forgetting, after he had learned 
their language, to give them in it some idea 
of the glory and power of the great king 
that reigned over the English and other 
nations; descended from a very ancient race 
of sovereigns as old as the earth and waters; 
whose feet stood on two great islands larger 
than any they had ever seen, amidst the 
greatest waters in the world; whose head 
reached to the sun, and whose arms encircled 
the whole earth; the number of whose war- 
riors were equal to the trees in the valleys, 
the stalks of rice in the marshes, or the 
blades of grass in the great plains; who had 
hundreds of canoes of his own, of such 
amazing bigness that all the waters in their 
country would not suffice for one of them to 
swim in; each of which have guns of such 
magnitude that a hundred j'oung braves 
would, with difficulty, be able to carry one. 
And these were equally surprising in their 
operation against the king's great enemies 
when engaged in battle; the Indian language 
wanting words to express the terror they 
carried with them. 

To this harangue the Indians, by the 
mouth of their principal chief responded, 
that thev Iielieved and were well satisfied 



of the truth of everything told them about 
the great English nation and its great king, 
and implored Carver, on his return, to 
acquaint their powerful father how earnestly 
the Nandowessies yearned to lie counted 
among his good children. 

It is painful to be obliged to record that 
poor Carver, after all his magniloquent 
speeches and romatic exaggerations of fact, 
did not receive from the British CSoverument 
the consideration to which he thought him- 
self entitled. Soliciting from the king a 
reimbursement of his expenses, he was not 
only refused this favor, but was ordered to 
deliver up all his charts, journals and manu- 
scripts, as the property of the crown. Carver 
having been a captain of the provincial 
troops in America. Disappointed in his 
hopes of fame, abandoned by those whose 
duty it was to support him, it is said that he 
died at the early age of forty-eight, in want 
of the common necessaries of life. 

The Omahas are said to be of the same 
linguistic family as the Poncas, Osages, 
Kansas, Otoes, Mandans, Winnebagos, and 
many other tribes. Some of these tribes, 
notwithstanding the long period which has 
elapsed since their separation, can still un- 
derstand each others' speech. 

Their period of greatest renown and pros- 
perity was doubtless during the chieftaucy 
of tlieir distinguished chief Wah-shinguh- 
saba, or the Blackbird, who died in tlie 
year 1800, and of whose career such wild 
and romantic tales are narrated. 

In the days of their prosperity, lieforc 
the small-pox, that dread scourge of the 
red men. had reduced their numbers and 
conquered their haughty spirits, the Omahas 
conceived themselves to be superior to all 
other tribes or nations of men, and looked 
upon tlie birds of the air, the beasts of the 
field, and even the human race as created 
especially for their comfort and aggrandize- 
ment. Among this people Blackbird, the 
chief, ruled with a rigor never surpassed in 
eastern lands. And to this da}' his name 



44 



[ISTOIIY 



CITY OF UJtAIIA. 



is never mentioned among Iiis people save 
with veneration. He soon learned the great 
advantage of being on good terms with the 
white traders, and was among the first of 
the dusky potentates along the Missouri to 
welcome tliem to a commerce with his tribe, 
a reasonalile but not prohibitor^y tariff for 
the support of his royal dignity being 
always claimed and exacted witli unfailing 
success and regularitj'. 

Xo autocrat was ever so selfish; no prince 
ever more liberal with whatever did not 
belong to him. When the j)irogues of the 
fur traders came in sight of his encampment, 
on the high bluffs of the right bank of the 
Missouri, on the spot now occupied by tlie 
Omaha reservation, he was alwaj^s among 
tlie first to meet them, and his invariable 
liabit was always to help himself from their 
store of merchandise, to wliatever his royal 
ia.ncy miglit indicate as desirable. For sucli 
articles he never deigned to give anj- com- 
pensation whatever, nor by those who knew 
his habits was it ever expected. The stores 
of blankets, beads, paint, ammunition and 
Avhisk3' were laid aside without a word, and 
when his appetite was satiated he sent for 
the rest of his tribe, who brought their 
peltries, and commenced their barter. The 
traders then found the advantages of his 
friendship, for they were allowed to fix 
their own prices upon both their own goods 
and those of the Indians, and soon, no doubt, 
indemnified themselves for any losses they 
might have sustained through him. 

It is needless to say that such lil)erality in 
trade endeared liim to the French and Span- 
isli traders, and through them to the 
commanding officers of tlie province of 
Louisiana. There is still extant a curious 
certificate or diploma, given \\y the Baron 
Carondelet to tins barbaric Chieftain, in the 
year 1790, which was, until a verj- recent 
date, preserved as a precious heirloom bj- 
the descendants of Blackbird, and which is 
now in the custody of the Nebraska Histori- 
cal Society. The ]iarchment is enriched 



with rude pen and ink drawings of the arms 
of Spain, trophies of war, and an Indian 
and white man shaking hands in token of 
amity. In records in magniloquent .Spanish 
phrase the proofs of fidelity and friendship 
whicli the Blackbird had shown to the Span- 
ish government, and recites the bestowal of 
a medal upon him as a token of the estima- 
tion in which he was held by the Catholic 
monarch of Spain. The original text of 
this interesting document is given in a 
note.* 

The Blackbird was undoubtedly a warrior 
of unquestionable bravery and remarkable 
skill, so that his exploits in battle would 
alone have enabled him to rank among the 
first of the Indian sachems. Upon the 
Pawnees of the Republican River he 
had inflicted a signal and bitter ven- 
geance for an insult offered by them to 
one of his Omaha braves. The Otoes, 
living south of Omaha's present site, had 
felt the bloody effects of his irresistible 
fury so often, that it seemed that if the 
warfare would end at last in the absolute 
extinction of one nation, if not botli. This 
would probabh- have been the case, had not 
the white traders, who could not afford to 
lose such ready purveyors of bear, beaver, 
otter, buffalo and other valuable skins, 
offered themselves as arbitrators, and finally 
succeeded in patching up a peace between 
them. In the fierceness of his charges, the 
celerity of his movements, the irresistible 
fuiy of his onsets, the pride with which he 
exposed himself personally to the weapons 
of his enemies, he was a verj' Prince Rupert 
among the wandering tribes of the prairies. 
His forays extended even to the Kansas, and 
that tribe of horsemen had more than one 
occasion to mourn their devastated villages 
and their slaughtered braves. Bj' his sud- 
den incui'sions, his fulfilled prophesies, which 
seemed to indicate the possession of super- 
natural powers, bj^ his miraculous escapes, 

''El Baron de Carondelet Caballero de la Beligion de San 
.Iiian, Mar. de Campo de les Reales Exercitos Gobernador Gene- 
ral Vice-PatroDO de las Provincias. 



AN IJfDlAN 



his astonishing personal prowess, and his 
daring and dazzling exploits, he was the 
pride and boast of his own tribe, and the 
terror and detestation of all surrounding 
ones. 

Irving gives an incident in the career of 
this barbaric warrior, which exhibits him in 
a different light, and gives a color of romance 
also to the more sombre tints of liis military 
career. He says that with all his savage 
and terrific qualities, he was not unsuscepti- 
ble to the charm of female beauty, and not 
incapable of love. " A war party of the 
Poncas had made a foray into the lands of 
the Omahas, and carried off a number of 
women and liorses. The Blackbird was 
roused to fury, and took the field with all 
his braves, swearing to eat up the Tonca 
nation — the Indian threat of exterminating 
war. The Poncas, sorely pressed, took 
refuge behind a rude bulwark of earth; but 
the Blackbird kept up so galling a fire that 
lie seemed likely to exeevite his menace. In 
this extremity they sent forth a herald bear- 
ing the calumet, or pipe of peace, but he 
was shot down by order of the Blackbird. 
Another herald was sent forth in similar 
guise, but he shared a like fate. The Ponca 
chief then, as a last hope, arrayed his beau- 
tiful daughter in her finest ornaments, and 
sent her forth with the calumet to sue for 
peace. The charms of the Indian maid 
touched the stern heart of the Blackbird ; 
he accepted the pipe at her hand, smoked it, 
and from that time a peace took place 
between the Poncas and the Omahas. 

" This beautiful damsel, in all probability, 
was the favorite wife; whose fate makes so 
tragic an incident in the story of the Black- 
bird, ller youth and beauty had gained an 
absolute sway over his rugged heart so that 
he distinguished her above all his other 
wives. The liabitual gratification of his 
vindictive impulses, however, had taken 
away from him all mastery over his passions 
and rendered him liable to the most furious 
transports of rage. In one of these his 



beautiful wife had the misfortune to offend 
him, when, suddenly drawing his knife, he 
laid her dead at his feet with a single blow. 

" In an instant his frenzy was at an end. 
He gazed for a time in mute bewilderment 
upon his victim; then drawing his buffalo 
robe over his head, he sat down beside the 
corpse, and remained brooding over his crime 
and his loss. Three days elapsed, yet the 
chief continued silent and motionless, tast- 
ing no food and apparently sleepless. It 
was apprehended that he intended to starve 
himself to death. His people approached 
him in trembling awe, and entreated lum 
once more to uncover his face and be com- 
forted, but lie remained unmoved. At 
length one of his warriors brought in a 
small child, and laying it on the ground, 
placed the foot of the Blackbird upon its 
neck. The heart of the gloomy savage was 
touched by this appeal; he threw aside his 
robe, made a harangue upon what he had 
done, and from that time forward seemed to 
have thrown the load of grief and remorse 
from his mind." The sorrowing monarch, 
his obsequious servants, their vain tenders 
of consolation and the sudden change at last 
from the stupor of despair to the habits of 
ordinary life, can hardly fail to remind the 
readers of this story of similar recorded 
incidents in the life of the great Israelitisli 
king. 

One dark and fearful charge has been 
brought against the Omaha Sachem, which 
has blackened his reputation, and left a 
stigma upon him which no lapse of years 
can efface. It has been asserted that the 
great celebrity and absolute authority he 
acquired among his tribe were due to a long- 
series of the most" diabolical murders com- 
mitted by him upon the ignorant and 
trusting children of the plains who believed 
in his prescience and trembled at his prowess. 
One of the fur traders, so runs the story, 
wlio was accustomed to visit him at his 
village on the Missouri, seeking to ingratiate 
liimself witli so valuable a customer, made 



46 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



him acquainted with the deadly properties; 
of arsenic, and undertook to keep him sup- 
plied with that noxious poison. From this 
time it was easy to induce the belief among 
his people that he was endowed with super- 
natural powers, and this rendered his despot- 
ism the more absolute and fearful. Whenever 
any one had offended him or thwarted his 
schemes or measures, he was wont to pro- 
phesy that at a certain time and with certain 
symptoms his recalcitrant subject would 
surely die. With his deadly drug it was 
never difficult to insure tlie fulfillment of his 
prediction. It has even been said that he 
administered the potent poison sometimes to 
friends, as well as to foes, that his prophecies 
might not all seem the effect of malice or ill- 
will. 

The Omahas were entirely ignorant of the 
means by which this horrible result was pro- 
duced, but they saw the effect, and knew 
from mournful experience that the displeas- 
ure of the chief was the forerunner; and 
their superstitious minds easily adopted the 
belief that he possessed a power which ena- 
bled him to will the destruction of his 
enemies. He thus acquired a despotic sway 
over the minds of his people which he 
exercised in the most tyrannical manner. 
So great was their fear of him that even 
when he became superannuated and so corpu- 
lent as to be unable to walk, they carried 
him about, watched over him when he flept, 
and awoke him, when necessary, by tickling 
his nose with a straw, for fear of disturbing 
him too abruptly. One chief, the Little 
Bow, whom he attempted ineffectually to 
poison, had tlie sagacity to discover the 
deception, and the independence to resist the 
influence of the imposter. but being unable 
to cope with so powerful an oppressor, he 
withdrew with a small band of warriors and 
remained separated from the nation until the 
decease of the Blackbird. 

This, if true, is a sad record for tlie Chief 
of the Omaha nation; so discreditable that 
in the horror and detestation it excites we 



are apt to have lost sight of the incredible 
enormity of those who conferred upon him 
the power of perpetrating such barbarous 
homicides. If the guilt of the uncivilized 
.and untaught denizen of the wilderness 
appeals to us with its iniquity, surely that of 
his civilized tempters and accomplices ought 
not to pass unnoticed and unreproved. 

It is but just, however, to the memory of 
this haughty and invincible friend of the 
white man, to say that this story of his 
atrocities has not received universal accept- 
ance. ^Ir. Catlin who, as we have seen, 
visited the Omahas while their great chief's 
memorj' was still fi-esh among them, says: 
■•This story may be true and it may not. 
I cannot contradict it and I am sure the 
world will forgive me if I saj' I cannot 
believe it. It is said to have been told bj' 
the fur traders, and although 1 have not 
always the highest confidence in their justice 
to the Indian, j^et I cannot, for the honor of 
my own species, believe them to be so 
depraved and so wicked, nor so weak as to 
reveal such iniquities of this chief, if they 
were true, which must directly implicate 
themselves as accessories to liis most wilful 
and unprovoked murders. 

" I have learned much of this noble chief- 
tain," he continues, " and at a proper time 
shall recount the modes of his civil and 
millitar3' life; how he exposed his life and 
shed his blood in rescuing the victims to 
horrid torture, and abolished that savage 
custom in his tribe ; how he led on and headed 
his brave warriors against the Sacs and 
Foxes, and saved the butchery of women 
and children; how he received the Indian 
agent and entertained him in his hospitable 
wigwam in his village, and how he conducted 
and acquitted himself on his embassy to the 
civilized world. 

" So much I will take pains to say of a 
man whom I never saw, because other his- 
torians have taken equal pains just to men- 
tion liis name, and a solitary (and doubtful) 



AL OF BLACKBIRD. 



47 



act of his life, as tlie_v have said of hundreds 
of others, for the purpose of consigning liim 
to infam3'. 

•• How much more kind would it have been 
for the historian who never saw him, to have 
enumerated with this, other characteristic 
actions of his life for the verdict of the 
world; or tu have allowed, in charity, his 
bones and his name to have slept in silence, 
instead of calling them up from the grave 
to thrust a dagger through them and throw 
them back again." 

Towards the close of the eighteenth cen- 
tury that fearful scourge of Indian tribes, 
the small-pox, fell upon the tribes in Ne- 
braska with fearful violence. Neither the 
Poncas, the Otoes nor the Pawnees escaped 
its deadly visitation; and upon the Omahas 
it precipitated itself, as if with a full deter- 
mination to leave no soul of the tribe 
remaining. The loathsome pestilence swept 
like a conflagration over the prairies; and 
the poor doomed savages, dismayed at the 
progress of a malady against which their 
own prayers and the incantations of their 
medicine men were alike inefllective, at first 
sat in stoical silence as one after another of 
their sons, daughters and wives were taken 
away from them; and at last in despair, 
sought in suicide and human sacrifice either 
to appease the offended Deit}' or to secure 
for themselves and their friends an easier 
way to a happier region beyond the grave. 

In the height of its ravages. Blackbird fell 
a victim to the pestilence. He who was 
supposed to have power over the issues of 
life and death was found utterly powerless 
before the approach of the grim monster. 
But in his last moments, surrounded by the 
grieving and despairing remnants of the 
proud tribe he had led to so many victories, 
he exhibited that fondness for tiie whites, 
which for years had made hini a prominent 
object among the chieftains of his race. 
There is, at a distance of less than a hundred 
miles north of Omaha, a conspicuous hill 
which rises high above the bluffs horderini;- 



the Missouri, of which it forms a part. In 
the year 1811, when it was visited by Man- 
uel Lisa, the river at its base began a strange 
winding course, several times returning upon 
its steps and at length coming within nine 
hundred yards of where the hills 'first ap- 
proached, so that it was visible, and not far 
off, for a course of thirty miles. 

Upon the summit of this hill the fierce 
and bloody warrior had often stood gazing 
upon the bends and mazes of the tortuous 
channel, and watching for the bateaux of 
his friends, the white traders. When he 
became aware that death was approaching, he 
enjoined upon his weeping attendants that he 
be buried on the spot where he had gazed 
down the valley, so that he could see, after 
death, the Frenchmen passing up and down 
the river in their boats. The Omaha village 
was then about sixty miles above his emi- 
nence, but in obedience to his dying com- 
mand, his warriors took his body down the 
river to the pinnacle of this towering bluff, 
his favorite haunt. He had owned, amongst 
many horses, a noble white steed that was 
led to the top of the grass-covered hill, and 
with great pomp and ceremony in the pres- 
ence of the whole nation, and several of the 
fur traders, he was placed astride of his 
hor.se's back, with his bow in his hand, and 
his shield and quiver slung; with his pipe 
and his medicine bag, with his supply of 
dried meat, and his tobacco pouch replen- 
ished to last him through his journey to the 
beautiful hunting grounds of the shades of 
his fathers; with his flint and steel and his 
tinder to light his pipe by the way. The 
scalps that he had taken from his ene- 
mies could be trophies for nobody else, and 
were hung to the -bridle of his horse. He 
was in full dress and fully equipped; and on 
his head waved, to the last moment, the 
beautiful head-dress of the war-eagle's 
plumes. In this plight, and the last funeral 
honors having been performed by the medi- 
cine men, everj' warrior of his band painted 
the palm and fingers of his right hand with 



)F OMAHA. 



Vermillion, which wa;:! stamped and perl'ectly 
impressed on the milk-white sides of his 
devoted horse. 

This all done, turfs were broiight and 
placed around the feet and legs of the horse, 
and graduallj' laid up to its sides, and at 
last over the back and head of the unsus- 
pecting animal; and last of all over the 
head and over the eagle plumes of its val- 
iant rider. On the top of the mound was 
planted a staff from which long waved the 
banner of the dead chief, and this conspicu- 
ous eminence is to this day known by the 
name of the Blackbird Hill. The mound, 
covered with green turf and spotted with 
wild flowers, with its cedar post in the 
center, was readily seen at the distance of 
fifteen miles by the voyageur, and formed 
for him for years a familiar and useful land- 
mark. So late as 1811, the pious custom of 
placing near the grave articles of food and 
drink for the sustenance of the warrior 
during his long journey, was still kept up. 
Even to this day the crest of the grassy hill 
is pointed out to the passing traveler as the 
grave of a great chief. 

It must be confessed, however, that 
Blackbird's sightless eyesockets were not 
permitted for more than a generation to scan 
the valley for his returning friends. When 
Mr. Catlin visited the romantic spot in 
1832, for the purpose of making a sketch of 
the hill, he carried away more than his 
drawings. "Whilst visiting this mound," 
he says, " in company with Major Sanford, 
on our waj' up the river, I discovered in a 
hole made in the mound by a ground hog or 
other animal, the skull of a horse, and by a 
little pains also eame at the skull of the 
chief, which I carried to the river side and 
secreted till my return in my canoe, when 
I took it in, and brought with me to this 
place, where I now have it, with others, 
which I have collected on my route." 
From the Catlin collection it found its way 
to the National Museum in Washington, 
wliere it is still to be seen, and where, if it 



possessed the power of vision, which its 
rightful owner expected, it might behold 
more wonderful objects and more rapacious 
traders than it could ever have observed in 
the now peaceful and pastoral valley of tin- 
Missouri. 

Blackbird's curious and poetic fancj' of 
being buried where he could see vessels and 
sailors may remind the classical student of 
Plutarch's description of the tomb of 
Themistocles. " Diodorus, the geographer, 
says in his work on Tombs, but bj- conject- 
ure rather, than of certain knowledge, that 
near the port of Piraeus, where the laud 
runs out like an elbow from the promontory 
of Alcinus, when you have doubled the 
cape and passed inward where the sea is 
always calm, there is a large piece of 
masonry, and upon this the tomb of Themis- 
tocles." Plato, the comedian, confirms this. 
he believes, in these verses: 
" Thy tomb is fairly placed upon the straml. 
Where merchants still shall greet it with the 

land; 
Still in and out 'twill see them come and go, 
And watch the galleys as they race below." 

The successor of Blackbird was Om-pah- 
tou-ga, or the Big Elk, who held the chief- 
taincy, it is said, until the _year 1846, when 
he died. He was an able and highly 
respectable man, exercising vast influence 
over his tribe. His power was used with 
moderation, and all white men who visited 
this country during his life were ready to 
bear witness to his uniform fair dealing, 
hospitality and friendship. Less brilliant 
than his distinguished predecessor, he was 
no less successful in accomplishing the ends 
at which he aimed, by the sagacitj^ and com- 
mon sense with which he laid his plans. It 
was the boast of the Big Elk, when Captain 
Long visited him in 1819, that neither his 
own hands, nor those of an}' of his tribe, 
had ever been stained with the blood of a 
white man. He was in his day a famous 
orator, and there has come down to our 
days a short specimen of his eloquence. 



:lk s ai»di;ess. 



49 



which has in it a not ineffective element of 
safl pathos. Black Buffalo, a chief of the 
Sioux, had died during a conference with 
the United States authorities, while arrang- 
ing with the chiefs of various other tribes 
the preliminaries of a treatj\ He was 
Iniried by a detachment of United States 
soldiers under the command of Colonel 
JMiller, afterwards the hero of Lundy's 
Lane, with the honors of war. Big Elk was 
much impressed with the ceremonies, and 
made an address, in the course of which he 
said: "Would that I could have died 
today instead of the chief that lies before 
us. The loss to ni}' people would have been 
but trifling. The honors of my burial 
would have repaid it twice over. Instead 



of being covered with a cloud of sorrow, 
my warriors would have felt the sunshine of 
joj^ in their hearts. To me it would have 
a glorious triumph. But now, wlien 1 die 
at my little Omaha village on the Missouri, 
instead of a noble grave and a grand pro- 
cession, the rolling music and the thunder- 
ing cannon, with a banner waving at my 
head, 1 shall be wrapped in a tattered robe 
and hoisted on a slender scaffold, soon to be 
by the whistling winds blown down again 
to the earth — my flesh to lie devoured and 
my bones scattered on the plain bj- the 
wolves. Chief of the soldiers, mj' nation 
shall know the respect that you pay to the 
dead. AVhen I return I will echo the sound 
of j'our guns. ' ' 



CHAPTER VII 



ii; Organizki) — Location oi' tiif. Capitol at Omaha — Assi:misi.ix<; ok ' 

jWiisLATURic — Platte Valley & Pa( ific Railuoad — Capitol Rkmov.) 

Schemes — Goveexok Izarh's Departure. 



The Hon. Francis Burt, a native of Soutli 
Carolina, was tlie first governor appointed 
for the new territory of Nebraslva after its 
org.inization by act of Congress, on the 30th 
of May, 1854. The Governor reached the 
western bank of the Missouri on the Gth of 
October of that year, in a delicate state of 
health, which had been rendered still more 
precarious l\y the hardships and exposures 
of the journey from his home. He was a 
man of delicate and refined mental organiza- 
tion; remarkable for kindness of heart and 
suavit}' of manner; of absolute and sterling 
integrity; of limited means, but incapable 
of seeking wealth by any indirection. 

To this gentleman in infirm health, in 
need of entire repose, suffering from anxiety 
and trouble, everj' influential man in the 
territory at once resorted in the hope of in- 
ducing him to fix thecapitol of the territorj' 
at some one or other of the numberless sites 
suggested for that location. It was, of 
course, of vital importance to every man 
who owned or possessed a large interest in 
any town site within the limits of that ex- 
tensive territory. It is supposed that the 
prejudices of Gov. Burt were in favor of 
Bellevue as a location for the capitol, but 
doubtless he had made up his mind to 
give all portions of the eastern part of the 
territory an impartial and candid examina- 
tion, and to place the capitol, honestly and 
fairly, where it would be most beneficial to 
the population of the entire commonwealth. 
But he never made any decision known, 
llarrassed beyond measure in the weak state 
of his health, and worn out by the vexatious 



trials incident to his new position, and the 
persistency with which the conflicting claims 
of rival town site speculators were forced 
upon him, the new Governor, in just ten 
days after his arrival in tlie territory, relin- 
quished the struggle and souglit in the grave 
that repose which it was evident he could 
never find in Nebraska. 

He was, during his last illness, a guest of 
the Rev. William Hamilton, at that time 
the head of the Presbyterian mission at 
Bellevue. Mr. Hamilton has recorded it as 
his belief that the Governor had virtuall3' 
decided to fix the capitol at Bellevue, and 
refers to some death-bed expressions, which 
seem to corroboi'ate his views. However, 
that rna.y be, no paper of any kind was left 
by him to indicate his intention, and the 
whole subject was left to his successor, 
Thomas B. Cuming, the secretarj', who, upon 
the decease of Governor Burt, became the 
acting Governor of the territory. 

Gov. Cuming was j'ounger, stronger, and 
of sterner stuff than his predecessor, and took 
the importunities, of which he immediatelj- 
became the victim, with much more coolness 
than Mr. Burt, though he was " plied, 
begged, pressed, entreated, assailed and even 
threatened" by almost every township in 
the territory. At last he was enabled to 
escape from further importunity, by design- 
ing Omaha as the place where the first ses- 
sion of the legislature should be held. 

There were not wanting disappointed 
aspirants who charged the new Governor 
with selfish and even corrupt motives in this 
dt'terminntiou. lint when we reflect that 




/^. 



C-<^^^^<i-C'€-<^c^ 



VOCATION OF THE CAPITOL AT OMAHA. 



51 



tlie last hours of Governor Burt were 
troubled by rival delegations, forcing their 
way to his bedside, to urge the respective 
claims of Omaha, Florence, Plattsmouth or 
Nebraska City for the seat of government, 
we can readily imagine that bribes would 
have readily been offered by the representa- 
tives of either of these places, and that 
wherever the capitol might have been fixed, 
the Governor could not have escaped like 
imputations, whetlier slanderous or not. On 
1 Ills subject Mr. C. II. Gere remarks: "By 
what pathways the acting Governor was led 
to pitch the imperial tent upon the plateau 
of Omaha, it is not our province to inquire. 
1 1' the statesmen of Kanesville, later Council 
r.luffs, had a hand in the matter, the cit}^ 
soon iiad reason to mourn tliat the nest of 
the new commonwealth was lined with 
jiluniage from her own breast. From its 
very cradle her infant despoiled her of her 
commercial prestige, and now scoffs at her 
maternal ancestor every time she glances 
••1 cross the dreary bottom that separates the 
waxing from the waning metropolis." 

Whatever the motive or reason, the action 
of Governor Cuming settled the question so 
far as the first assemblage of the Legislature 
was concerned, and gave to the ambitious 
little City of Omaha that prestige which 
enabled' her, not without importunity, lavish 
expenditure of money, great parliamentary 
shrewdness and even at times a resort to the 
powerful logic of fisticuffs, to retain its posi- 
tion as the metropolis for nearly thirteen 
years. 

It was hoped that the first Legislature 
called to meet at Omaha would be able to 
wrest from Omaha the sceptre thus put into 
her hands by the Governor. In November 
1.S54, this officer caused an enumeration of 
the inhabitants of the new territory to be 
made, upon which he based the representa- 
tion of the members of the Territorial 
Council and House of Representatives. 
Under this enumeration to the four counties 
north of the Platte River. Douglas (of which 



Sarpy was then a part), Washington, Burt 
and Dodge were apportioned seven Council- 
men and fourteen Representatives, and to 
the four soutli of that stream, Cass, Pierce, 
now Otoe, Forney, now Nemaha, and Rich- 
ardson, were given six Councilmen and 
twelve Representatives. It was loudl}' 
claimed on the part of the opponents of 
Omaha, that this basis of representation was 
forced and partial, and that the South Platte 
territory contained a larger population, and 
was entitled to a larger representation than 
the northern portion of the State. 

Under these circumstances, various persons 
not holding the Governor's election certifi- 
cates applied for admission to the first session 
of the Legislature. The organic act pro- 
vided that the Governor should organize the 
territory, laying otit counties and election 
districts, and set in motion the macliinery of 
the territorial government. When the mem- 
bers of the first Legislature assembled, those 
holding certificates of election from the 
acting Governor favored, as was supposed, 
the permanent establishment of tlie capital 
at Omaha; while several of those wlio were 
contesting seats favored a change. When it 
became the business of the Legislature to 
pass upon these cases of contested seats, the 
legislators who favored Omaha as the per- 
manent capital, under the leadership of Mr. 
Poppleton, took the ground that under the 
organic act the Governor's certificates of 
election were conclusive, and put it out of 
the power of the Legislature to seat any who 
were unable to exhibit such evidences of 
their election. 

The careful training and education of the 
legislative friends of Omaha was shown in 
the fact that this somewhat startling propo- 
sition was assented to bj' the members of the 
first Legislature, though it is in direct oppo- 
sition to one of the fundamental doctrines 
governing such bodies; that every legisla- 
ture has the right to pass upon and decide 
the qualification and election of its own 
members. 



Probably JMr. Poppleton, after his long 
years of honorable labor at the bar, would 
hardly at this day contend that his interpre- 
tation of tlie law was strictly accurate, but 
there can be no doubt but that this refusal 
to go behind tlie Governor's certificates of 
election had an important bearing upon tlie 
question of capital location, and contributed 
materially to the success of Omaha in the 
struggle of which the first session was the 
scene. 

At that session were gatliered together, 
either iu or out of the Legislature, all wlio 
were disappointed in the selection of Omaha 
by Governor Cuming, and loud threats and 
declarations as to what the coming session 
would accomplish were indulged in on tlie 
streets. AVarmth of argument and the 
irreconcilable differences not unfrequently 
led to pugilistic encounters, but on the whole 
the determination seemed to be to submit 
the question of capital location to the arbi- 
trament of the Legislature. 

The first session of the first Legislative 
Assembly for the new Territory of Nebraska, 
began at Omaha, on Tuesday, the 16tli day 
of January, 1855. There were present as 
members of the House of Representatives 
from Douglas county, Messrs. Andrew .1. 
Hanscom, Alfred D. Goyer, Andrew J. Pop- 
pleton, William Clancy, "William N. Byers. 
Thomas Davis, Fleming Davidson and Roli- 
ert B. AVhitted. Three of tliese gentlemen, 
together with Mr. J. W. Paddock, who was 
elected Chief Clerk of the House, are still, 
after the lapse of thirty-five years, living in 
Omaha, with .constitutions and mental facul- 
ties unimpaired, and in the enjoyment of 
well earned reputations and competence. 

The Council organized on the same daj'. 
Joseph L. Sliarp, of Richardson county, was 
elected President, and Messrs. Samuel E. 
Rogers, O. D. Richardson, A. D. Jones and 
T. G. Goodwill were announced as members 
elect from the county of Douglas. 

Mr. Andrew J. Hanscom was elected 
Speaker of the House, and the first motion 



made in tliat body, being tlie first ever made 
in any legislative body in the Slate, was one 
by Mr. Poppleton for the temjjorary organi- 
zation of the House. 

In the afternoon of that day tlie two 
branches of the Legislature met together in 
the hall of the House and listened to the 
reading of the message of acting Governor 
Cuming. This first message from the j'oung 
Governor, whose public utterances alwaj^s 
gave promise of distinguished succe.ss in 
(lublic life, too soon to be frustrated by his 
untimely decease, merits notice from its wise 
forethought, its enlarged conception of the 
future, and its prophecies then deemed 
extravagant by some, long since brilliantl}- 
realized. 

After some graceful references to the 
recent death of Governor Burt, and the 
unexpected responsibilities thus devolved 
upon him, the acting Governor proceeded: 

One of the principal subjects of general inter- 
est to which, next to the enactment of your laws, 
your attention will be directed this winter, is that 
of a Pacific Railroad, You have acquired, in 
respect to this, an acknowledged precedence; and 
the expression in your representative capacity, of 
the wishes of your constituents, throughout the 
vast extent of your Territor}', may have a potent 
influence, together with the efforts of your friends, 
in promoting the construction of such a road up 
the valley of the Platte. 

Many reasons lead to the conclusion that suoli 
a memorial from you will be of practical efficacy 
in contributing to the speedy consummation of 
such an enterprise — an enterprise of such absolute 
necessity as a means of intercommunication 
between the Atlantic and Pacific States and as 
the purveyor of a lucrative commerce with India, 
China and the Pacific islands. Among these are 
the facts that the valley of the Platte is on the 
nearest and most direct continuous line from the 
commercial metropolis of the east by railroad anil 
the great lakes, through the most practical moun- 
tain passes to the metropolis of the West ; that 
it is fitted by nature for an easy grade: and that 
it is central and convenient to the great majority 
of grain growing States, and of the northern 
portion of the Union, being situated in latitude 
41 degrees north, while the majority of the people 
of the whole country are between the 38th and 
4()th degrees of north latitude. It seems to me 




C^^XMAy^vJ^^/l^dAnT^ 



VALLEY & PACIFIC RAILROAD. 



58 



that it will be the desire of the friends of this 
great enterprise — one of the most prominent and 
important of all the measures of national devel- 
opment upon this continent now under the consid- 
eration of the people of the United States — to act 
immediately in the selection of routes, and to 
establish a permanent policy, the details of which 
maj- be practically prosecuted in the coming- 
spring' ; and I sincerely hope and believe that 
your legislative memorial in Congress may have 
its legitimate weight in the decision of a question 
of such momentous interest. 

In view, however, of the uncertainty arising 
from the sectional conflict with which the subject 
is surrounded, I would respectfully suggest that 
such a memorial should urgently, if not princi- 
pally, ask for a preliminarj' provision, from 
granting which, the general government will 
scarcely be deterred bj' considerations of policy 
or economy. I refer to a proposition presented to 
Congress eight years ago for '• Telegraphic and 
Letter Mail Communication with the Pacific.'' 
including the protection of emigrants and forma- 
tion of settlements along the route through 
Nebraska, Utah, California and Oregon: the pro- 
motion of amicable relations with the Indians, 
and facilitating intercourse across the Amei'ican 
continent, between Europe and Asia, and the 
islands and American coasts of the Pacific. 

The plan is substantially, that instead of or in 
addition to garrisons at isolated points — parties 
of twentj- dragoons shall be stationed at stockades 
twenty to thirty miles apart, on a route designated 
by the Executive of the United States as a "Post 
Road" between the Missouri River and the Pacific: 
that express mails shall be carried bj' said 
dragoons riding each way and meeting daily 
between the stockades, and affording complete 
supervision and protection of a line of electric 
telegraph constructed by private enterprise. 

By such an arrangement, in which every detail 
is subject to free public competition, a line of 
telegraph may be opened within one year to the 
Rocky Mountains, and a largely increased mail 
transported in half the time now required, and 
with perfect security, between the Atlantic and 
Pacific States: at the same time giving complete 
protection to the thousands who annually travel 
on the route, and conducing not onlj' to the settle- 
ment of Nebraska, but of the vast regions between 
us and our fellow pioneers upon our western 
coasts. 

Such an emigrant highway would afford one of 
the best and speediest mail lines in the world, 
giving efficiency to troops already in service for 
l)urposes of protection: encouraging emigration 



and making a continuous series of settlements 
and cultivated farms around the stockades, 
between which individual or corporate enterprise 
will the more speedily construct the long desired 
and expected " Facific Railroad." 

The location of Nebraska, remote from, but 
intermediate between the Atlantic and Pacific, 
indicates the necessity of facilitating intercourse 
between its inhabitants and their fellow citizens 
on the shores of both oceans. It is the duty of 
governments to defend life and property, and pro- 
tect and quicken communication between all 
portions of their domain: and this requirement 
is especially imperative upon the Federal and 
State governments of our widely extended Union 
in respect to territories where civilization is 
struggling for a foothold, and the farms and fire- 
sides of whose pioneers have a just claim upon 
the protection of a power, whose Heets are travers- 
ing every sea for the defense of its citizens. 

Aside, too, from the direct practical blessings 
of such a system faithfully carried out in all its 
details, and its immense effect on the correspond- 
ence and business of the world, the project 
acquires additional importance from the fact that 
it will contribute to bind together States far sep- 
arate and of diverse interests, in the commercial 
fraternity and sympathy of an inseparable 
Union. 

We may reasonably expect tliat a memorial 
advocating the advantages of the Platte Valley, 
as a route for the Pacific Railroad, and urging 
especially and strenuously, the immediate adop- 
tion of a policy similar to the above would not 
be without its influence upon the deliberations of 
Congress. 

On the 24th day of January, Mr. Latham, 
of Cass County, gave notice in the House 
that on the morrow, or at an early day 
thereafter, he would present a bill "to locate 
the Capital of Nebraska." 

Thus commenced a contest which lasted 
with great vehemence for more than twelve 
years, produced more ill-feeling, gave rise 
to more difficulties, and was more trouble- 
some to manage, than any question ever 
decided in the State. In the House at this 
time the parties for and against Omaha 
seemed nearly equally divided, but the 
location at Omaha was finally secured by a 
vote of fourteen lo eleven. Tliose voting 
in favor of Omaha were: !\1csm-.>. Arnold, 



54 



IIISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Byers, Clancy, Davidsou, Davis, Goj^er, 
Kemptoii, Latham, Poppletoii, Purple, Rich- 
ardson, Robertson, Thompson and Whitted. 
Those opposed were: Messrs. Bennett, 
Cowles, Decker, Doyle, Finney, Hail, John- 
ston, Maddox, Smith, Singleton and Wood. 

In the Council the votes on nearly all the 
preliminary motions stood seven for Omaha 
to six opposed; and the final vote was as 
follows: Messrs. Clark, Folsom, Goodwill, 
Jones, Mitchell, Richardson and Rogers 
voted for Omaha, and Messrs. Bennett, 
Bradford, Brown, Cowles, Nuckolls and 
Sharp against it. 

The bill thus passed b}^ both branches of 
the Legislature was transmitted to the Gov- 
ernor for his signature; and notice being 
given by him on the 31st of January that 
the bill had received his signature, the vexed 
question was for the first session laid at rest, 
and the members were at liberty to proceed 
to other subjects of legislation. 

One of the most important of these was a 
bill, pursuant to the recommendation of the 
acting Governor, chartering the Platte Val- 
ley & Pacific Railroad Company. The 
report of the Committee on Corporations, to 
which in the Council this bill was referred, 
contains some paragraphs which possess 
much interest. The Committee says: 

" The valley of the Platte is well known 
in the West, it being the great highway 
through which nine-tenths of the overland 
emigration passes en route for the Pacific. 
Those coming by St. Louis travel by water 
up the Missouri to Independence, Weston, 
St. Joseph, Council Bluffs, and occasionally 
to Sargeant's Bluffs; and, uniting at these 
points with those who came by land from 
the east, pursue their way westward by con- 
verging lines that unite in the Platte Valley 
at various points within two hundred miles, 
a little north of a due west line from the 
cities of Omaha, Bellevue and Florence, in 
our infant territory. 

" Although roads can Ije easily constructed 
over the rolling prairies of tlie west, yet it is 



only upon the valley of the Platte, after 
passing the great bend thirteen miles west 
of Omaha, Bellevue and Florence, that a 
straight level and solid road bed can be 
found which leads in the direct line of com- 
merce east and west for near a thousand 
miles. This peculiar fitness would of itself 
be sufficient to attract all travel and railroad 
enterprise that might come within a hundred 
miles of the Platte; but there are other 
influences, ovitside of the valley, that tend 
to throw the migration through the center 
of Nebraska. The great channel of the St. 
Lawrence and the lakes, extended by rail- 
roads and common roads through Chicago, 
Iowa City, Fort Des Moines (the Capital of 
Iowa by a recent act of the General Assem- 
bly), and Council Bluffs, the frontier city of 
Iowa, and the great daily mail running in 
four-horse coaches, all tend to bring travel 
to the valley of the Platte. Several great 
lines of railroad south of these lakes, and 
all the leading roads which extend them 
through Iowa, converge towards Council 
Bluffs, directly east of the great line of the 
Platte valley. The greatest States, the 
largest cities, the most dense portion of our 
Union, are directly east and near this paral- 
lel of If, and it is, therefore, natural that 
these elements should flow through the 
center of Nebraska. 

'• But another great advantage of the 
Platte valley is the convenience it offers to 
branches westward. It leads to those great 
mountain passes, which are the gateways to 
Utah, California, Oregon and Washington. 
It is the best route, and the adopted road to 
all these States and Territories, and it is 
believed by your committee, some of whom 
have been through these routes, and for 
years intimate with those who traverse the 
mountains, that it is the Platte valley alone 
that affords to all those western divisions 
anj' natural and easy common way, which 
will commingle their travel with that of the 
Eastern States. 

" There are still other attractions wliicli 



ItAILKOAD BUILDING IN NKBKASKA. 



lead emigration tlirough this cliauiiel. Start- 
ing from this more westerly point on the 
^lissouri, there is less of land travel than 
any other route affords. There is a better 
connected line of good water, wood, stone,coal, 
soil and grass, than can be found on any 
other route; and it is far more inhabited, 
passing as we may, through the valley of 
the Great Salt Lake, Carson Valley, and the 
tributaries of the Sacramento. This route 
lies also in a zone of the earth's surface, 
where the greatest variety of useful articles 
can be produced; where men are capable of 
the greatest amount of endurance, and 
where the greatest amount of population 
and wealth are most likely to accumulate. 

■' Although the Platte valley offers such 
pre-eminent advantages, and has for years 
Ijeen adopted as the natural emigrant route 
across this continent, yet it cannot be denied 
that other routes from east to west have 
their attractions, and that for years past 
commercial, financial and political efforts 
have been exhausted to direct and establish 
the trade and travel through other channels. 
Millions have been expended annually in 
transports around Cape Horn and througii 
Central America. Extensive surveys have 
Iteen made to find routes for railroads — far 
south and north — routes which a distin- 
guished Senator has recently shown are far 
more convenient to Mexico and Canada, than 
to the United States. Southern conventions 
have been held, and earnest efforts made to 
secure a route through by El Paso, and 
much has been said and done to direct public 
attention to a route leading southwest from 
St. Louis. But relying on the wisdom and 
prudence of our government, and the dis- 
cerning scrutiny which characterizes those 
engaged in commerce and railroad enterprises, 
your committee confidently believe that the 
great emigrant route by the Platte valley 
will ultimately, not only retain its pre- 
eminence as the overland route, but absorl) 
the business that now travels thousands of 
miles around a southern continent, instead 



of passing directly across our (jwn country 
This, 3'our committee believe, will be effected 
by the construction of a Pacific railroad. 
The substitution of locomotives, or land- 
steamers, that will run through or assist to 
develop and enrich our common country, for 
ocean xteamers that are now erected mainly 
at our expense, and sent off to enrich other 
parts of the world, is the only remedy that 
will secure our common interests. Thirty 
years ago Colonel Leavenworth, who then 
commanded a post in sight of this locality, 
called the attention of our government to 
the importance, practicability and expedi- 
ency of constructing a railroad b}^ wa}' of 
the Platte valley to the Pacific. Subse- 
quently the Rev. J. Parker, J. Plumber. 
Colonel Fremont. Mr. Whitney, Captain 
Stansbury, and thousands of others at a 
still later period, have urged the expediency 
of adopting a railroad to the emigrant 
route, thereby connecting all parts of our 
Republic. 

" But the importance of such a work is so 
manifest to all, and the consequent advan- 
tage which ■ must result to the section of 
country through which such a road would 
pass, that a contest has arisen among States 
and cities to secure its location, and that 
contest has for years paralyzed all govern- 
ment effort, and retarded the progress and 
success of private enterprise. Engineers 
compute the distance from this navigable 
point of the Missouri to Sacramento City, 
a navigable point on the Sacramento River, 
at eighteen hundred miles. At least one 
thousand miles of this would be in the 
valleys of the Platte and Humboldt, where 
it is generall^r conceded, at least by those 
conversant with the route in question, that 
the natural grade can hardly be improved. 
Much of the remaining eight hundred miles 
would be on the valley of the Sweetwater, 
Bear River and other easy grades, leaving 
not over four hundred miles of what may be 
deemed heavy work. Most of this would 
be in California and Utah, where tlie present 



56 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



inhabitants would be able and ready to 
execute their proper sections of the work, 
The State of Illinois has constructed rail- 
roads about equal in length to this Pacific 
road within the last two years; and the aid 
of the general government, and the applica- 
tion of State and private means, in the 
consummation of so great a work has not 
been felt by the community. 

" Most of the Pacific road could be graded 
more easil.y than .any of the roads of Illinois, 
and the worst sections do not present obsta- 
cles of serious moment to those engineers 
who have explored or ascertained the char- 
acter of the country. Similar aid extended 
to Nebraska, Utah and California, would 
enable them to do on the Pacific line, what 
Illinois has done on various lines, and with- 
out regard to other projects, the old emigrant 
route bj' the Platte, through the center of 
Nebraska, would become the highway of 
nations. 

" The completion of a line of railroad to 
Council Bluffs, on the opposite side of the 
Missouri, is a matter so self-evident that 
your committee have not deemed it necessary 
to advert to that section. Four companies 
are organized, four lines have been sur- 
veyed through Iowa to that point, and the 
Lyons road, Rock Island road, Air Line road 
and Burlington road are all contending for 
an early connection with that point in west- 
ern Iowa. It is the desire of your committee, 
and doubtless of the entire population of 
our Territory, to secure their united efforts 
in carrj'ing a great trunk line up the valley 
of the Platte, thereby securing to all of 
them a share of the Pacific road and to 
Nebraska a trunk that will expand into a 
thousand branches. 

"AVith this view and in consideration of 
our remoteness from the wealtli and influ- 
ence of the Atlantic States, and our financial 
inability to carry forward, in the morning of 
our territorial existence, a great though 
pi-acticable project, your committee have 
deemed it expedient to present a trunk line, 



with a liberal charter, in order to encourage 
capitalists to invest their means, and pro- 
ceed with such a work at the earliest possible 
period. Your committee do this, not only 
to supply Nebraska with an early railroad 
connection but to protect her against power- 
ful efforts which are being made to divert 
from her the travel which now comes through 
her great natural artery, and also to secure 
that great national highway that will revo- 
lutionize the commerce of the world. If, 
then, by the adoption of liberal measures 
and extending to capitalists the strongest 
inducements to invest their means, we suc- 
ceed in accomplishing this great result, we 
will secure to Nebraska an advantage that 
she cannot hope otherwise to acquire. 

" Some idea of the importance of an over- 
land national channel of commerce can be 
found by inserting here some estimates of 
the business of this route. The Hon. Mr. 
McDougal, in a speech made in Congress on 
the second day of Ma}' last, stated that 443 
merchant vessels had arrived in one year 
(1853) at San Francisco, carrying 423,230 
tons, at $30 per ton, costing for its trans- 
portation $12,696,900. 

Cost for transportation, as above |12,696,900 

Insurance on $100,000,000, the value of 

this merchandise at 4 per cent . 4,000,000 

Losses on merchandise not included as 

above 7,000 000 

Interest on capital .5^000,000 

110,000 passengers at an average of 
$250 each, with $2 per day for 40 

days, the time of transit 36,300,000 

Transportation of mails and naval and 

military stores 3,789,000 

Freights crossing the Isthmus 3,050,000 

Total for one year 171,785,900 

This is only a partial statement, be- 
cause it only takes note of the mer- 
chandise which goes to San Fi-an- 
cisco. Therefore, add merchandise 
transportation to other parts of 
California and Oregon, say I3' of 
$27,696,000, that which goes to San 

Francisco 9,232,000 

Isthmus freight on same 1,000,000 

Transportation of many of these arti- 
cles from western States to New 
York, estimated 200,000 tons at |6 

per ton 12,000,000 

Travel of passengers and expense in 

New York $30 each 3,300 

Annual cost to the United States.. $83 221,000 



MARK W. IZAIU) APPOINTED GOVEUXOK. 



This is mainly the business of this 
countrj', that passes from the east 
to the west side of the Republic. 
There is the trade of our country 
and all Europe with India. Who 
can compute that? It is reasonable 
to suppose that good railroad facili- 
ties across tliis continent would se- 
cure more than half of the above 
items, amounting then to 41,610,600 

Add for increase which a railroad 
would naturally create— 50 per cent 20,805,300 

Add local business that would come 
to the line and equal the through. . 02,415,!l00 



Total $124,831 800 

"To tlii.s .add whatever may he drawn from 
the commerce of the world, and the apparent 
business of the road would be greater than 
one single trunk road can do — not less than 
two hundred millions per annum. Like all 
the great east and west lines, it will immedi- 
ately require doubling, and will produce a 
large profit on the cost. 

•'This gross income could only be secured 
after several years of business ; but it is 
eas}'^ to see that the vast amount of trade 
and travel which does now follow the tedious 
route by ocean, would immediately pass 
through this new, safe and speedy channel of 
commerce. The millions of Europe would 
be brought into contact with the hundred 
millions of Asia, and their line of quick 
transit would be, to a great extent, across 
our continent. Their mails, their ministers, 
their most costly and interesting travel and 
trade would take this route and augment 
our business and multiply our resources. 

"In view of the comparative cost to the 
wonderful changes that will result, your 
committee cannot believe the period remote 
when this work will be accomplished ; and 
with liberal encouragement to capital, which 
your committee are disposed to grant, it i.s 
their belief that before fifteen years have 
transpired, the route to India will be opened 
and the way across this continent will be 
the common way of the world. Entertain- 
ing these views, your committee report the 
liill for the Platte Valley & Pacific Rail- 
load, feeling assured that it will become not 
<mly a basis for branches within Nebraska. 



but for surrounding States and Territories." 

It is doubtful if any prophetic vision of 
the future of a country was ever more accu- 
rately realized. Within a few months less 
than the fifteen years given for the comple- 
tion of the road, the last spike was driven 
connecting the Union Pacific and the Cen- 
tral Pacific roads, and the "common way" 
of the world became what the author of this 
report had declared it should become. 

The remaining proceedings of the first 
Nebraska Legislature are devoid of any 
special interest. They consisted of the 
enactment of civil and criminal codes, 
bovmdai'ies of counties, incorporation of 
cities, universities and private associations, 
establishment of ferries and the numberless 
acts which, necessary as they may be at the 
time of la3dng the foundations of a com- 
monwealth, possess little general interest 
after the occasion which gave rise to them 
have passed. 

The codes, however, enacted at that ses- 
sion, principally adopted from the several 
codes of the adjoining States, were found 
b}' experience to be incongruous and con- 
flicting in many important respects and the 
doubts and difliculties arising in their appli- 
cation led to many errors and omissions in 
the administration of territorial affairs. 

Governor Mark W. Izard, of Arkansas, 
had been appointed to succeed Governor 
Burt, and arrived in the Territory on the 
20th of February, 1855, immediately enter- 
ing upon the discharge of his duties and 
superseding acting Governor Cuming. At 
the second session of the Legislature, which 
was held on the 13th of December, 1855, 
Governor Izard recommended the adoption 
of a civil code which had, during the sum- 
mer, been prepared by a board of commis- 
sioners. The criminal code of Iowa was 
adopted as the code of Nebraska, the neces- 
sary laws to provide for the local machinery 
of government were passed, and much useful 
work done. Prior to this time. James C. 
Mitchell had In-cn appointed sole Commis 



58 



IIISTDKY OF TlIK CITY OF OMAHA. 



sioner to locate the capitol biiildii)g, and the 
envious and censorious asserted that this 
office accounted with exactness for his 
sudden change of front on the question of 
capital removal. He reported to the Gov- 
ernor on the 17th day of March, 1855, that 
lie had that day selected the centre of Capi- 
tol Square, in Omaha, at present the site of 
the Omaha High School, as the locality for 
the edifice. By December, when the second 
session was held, Governor Izard was alile 
to announce that the foundation of tlit- 
capitol building was completed. For the 
present the danger of an early removal of 
the seat of government from Omaha seemed 
to be at an end. 

The disastrous year of 1857 dawned upon 
Omaha with brightness, and the prospect for 
the future seemed unusually cheering. 
"Another year of unexampled prosperity, 
crowned with the blessings of health, peace, 
and an ample remuneration to the labors of 
our people in all the industrial pursuits of 
life has passed away,' ' said the Governor, in 
his message of January in that year, and he 
added, "No citizen of Nebraska can look 
around him and contemplate the unexam- 
pled degree of prosperity which has crowned 
the efforts of our infancy without feelings 
of the profoundest gratitude and satisfaction. 
And when we reflect that but two short 
years have passed since Nebraska (almost 
unknown except by namej was a vast, 
uncultivated and unsettled region, with 
scarcely a mark to indicate that civilization 
had reached its borders, its present condi- 
tion almost startles us with the conviction 
tliat the hand of magic, rather than enter- 
prise, wrought the change. AVe can boast 
of a population of more than fifteen thou- 
sand intelligent, orderlj' and energetic 
citizens, who may challenge comparison with 
those of any State or Territory in the Union; 
of flourishing towns and prosperous cities, 
with their handsome church edifices, well 
regulated schools and Inisv streets; of our 



broad and beautiful prairies, thicklj^ dotted 
with eomfortaljle farm houses and well culti- 
vated fields, yielding their rich treasures to 
the hand of peaceful industry. The appre- 
ciation of property has far exceeded the 
expectations of the most sanguine. Busi- 
ness lots upon streets where the wild grass 
still flourishes, are readily commanding 
from five hundred to three thousand dollars 
each; lands adjacent to our more prosper- 
ous towns, sell readily at from fifty to four 
hundred dollars per acre; credit is almost 
unknown in our business circles; no citizen 
oppressed for debt nor crippled in his ener- 
gies by the hand of penury or want; but all 
encouraged by the success of the past look 
forward to the future with eager hopes and 
bright anticipations — stimulated to greater 
efforts and renewed exertion. ***** 
Our banks, the chartering of which by the 
last Legislative Assembly, was considered 
of doubtful expediency by many of our 
citizens, have so far worked well. By 
reference to their annual reports, made to 
the Auditor and published in conformitj' 
with law, it will be seen that they are in a 
healthy condition." Justnine months from 
the delivery of this message occurred in the 
City of New York the failure of the great 
Ohio Life and Trust Company, with its 
capital of millions and its ramifications 
extending over the whole country. From 
that grave disaster the City of New York 
soon recovered; two or three days of terror, 
apprehension and gloom passed away and 
business at that metropolis assumed its 
wonted appearance. But when the blow 
reached Omaha, the cardboard institutions 
of Nebraska went down like a claim shanty 
before a tornado. One or two of the Omaha 
banks, founded and managed on sound 
Imsiness principles, weathered the storm and 
still exist as monuments of the sagacity of 
their founders, but of most of the banking- 
concerns in this vicinity, there remain onh' 
tlie exquisitelv engraved and l)eautiful cir- 



CAI 



ciilatiiig bills, to remind the credulous of 
that day of their glowing anticipations and 
the unhappy reality. 

Earlj^ in the session of 1857 the agitation 
respecting capital removal was again started 
by Mr. .Tacol) Safford, who was what is 
termed a "float" representative, represent- 
ing the counties of Dodge, Cass and Otoe 
jointly. His resolution, which was agreed 
to. was " that a select committee of three be 
appointed by the President of the Council, 
to take into consideration the expediency of 
relocating the seat of government of Ne- 
l)raska Territory, with instructions to report 
at their earliest convenience, by bill or 
otherwise." The committee so appointed 
consisted of Mr. Safford, Mr. Kirkpatrick, 
of Cass, and Mr. Clancy, of Washington. 
Tliis committee, appointed on Tuesday, the 
6th, was ready to make its report on the 
morning of Thursday, the 8th. Through 
Mr. Safford, their chairman, they declared: 
" That they are unanimously of the opinion 
that the best interests of the Territory, 
jjresent and future, demand that the capitol 
be removed from its present localit}' to some 
point in the interior. In arriving at this 
conclusion your committee have been influ- 
enced by so many considerations that they 
deem it impossible to go into them at length 
without making their report too voluminous; 
but which will be well understood by those 
who have been conversant with the history 
of our Territory from the beginning. Your 
committee will therefore merely state some 
of their reasons in as concise and general a 
form as possible. 

•'When the first Governor arrived in this 
Territory he found but one place entitled to 
the name of village even, anywhere north 
of the Platte River. The town of Bellevue, 
the first fine townsite north of the Platte, 
was the place where it is well known it was 
Ills intention to locate the capital. His 
death, however, left the matter in other 
hands, and the capital was located at its 
present site. 



•' Youi- committee are loth to say what 
influences are universally believed to have 
been brought to bear in inducing the present 
location. It is, perhaps, sufHcient for them 
to say that the [jeople of tlie Territory are 
by no means satisfied with the location or 
with the means by which it was located, and 
still less by the means by wliich it has been 
kept there. 

•' Again, the capital as located is not in 
the center of our population, or nearly so, 
as will be seen b.y the fact that there are only 
six representatives nortli, while there are 
twenty south of Omaha; and this disparity 
from the nature of the countrj' will prob- 
ably not be lessened when we liecome a 
State. 

"Again, it is imijortant to the rapid 
growth of our population, that the capital 
be established at some point at a suitalile 
distance from the Missouri River. 

" Again, it is manifest to your committee 
that the appropriations made by Congress 
for the erection of our Capitol building have 
been expended in a manner to enhance the 
interests of Omalia City, and to the detri- 
ment of the Territor.y, and to the injury of 
other points, to say the least, equally deserv- 
ing. That in fact immense speculations have 
been made in the whole affair, by the exer- 
cise of the public patronage and offices; and 
that the jjower thus acquired in conjunction 
with the public patronage and offices has 
been and is still operating to force every- 
thing into one channel, to the manifest 
injustice of other points. It would alwa.\s 
seem that those having the control of the 
Capitol appropriations are determined not 
only to impress the public with the idea that 
this is to be the permanent capital, but to 
make it in fact so by the most lavish and 
unnecessary expenditure of public money. 

"It will be remembered that the appropri- 
ation by Congress for the purpose of erect- 
ing a capitol was fifty thousand dollars ; 
tills was deemed and is in fact amply 
sufficient foi' the purpose, if jiroperly 



60 



IIISTOKY OF TIIK CITY OF OMAHA. 



applied. But by reference to the Gov- 
ernor's message of Dec. 18, 1855, it will be 
seen that the Executive indulges in the most 
pleasing reflections on the magnificence and 
grandeur of the future capitol; challenging 
in fact the whole architecture of the Union 
and at the same time estimating the cost at 
§79,705.71), which will appear by reference 
to the Council journal of 1855, pages 6 and 
7. At tlie last session of Congress the 
Territoi'v failed to get an additional appro- 
priation, and now, after the lapse of another 
year, we are told by the P^xecutive that it 
will lie necessary to ask of Congress an 
additional appropriation. 

" Your committee forbear to give, at this 
time, any further reflections on this subject, 
undei- the belief tliat under another form 
the matter will undergo a full investigation. 
But this much they will say, that the object 
of all this seems manifest ; and that they 
are impressed with the belief that Congress 
neither will or ought to appropriate one cent 
to complete the building if it is to cost that 
sum. But your committee are of the 
opinion that Congress ought and doubtless 
would appropriate $50,000, under the cir- 
cumstances, to a new capitol, which will be 
amply sufficient to erect a capitol which will 
answer every purpose. 

" Your committee would furtlier state tliat 
there are other interests in the Territory 
that require the fostering hand of general 
government; among others, universities, 
colleges, and prisons for the confinement of 
convicts, (fee, ifce. But the course of policy 
heretofore pursued and still recommended 
absorbs everything in this enormous build- 
ing and other interests around Omaha. 

" For tiiese reasons .your committee have 
been induced to offer the accompanying bill 
as a part of their report, entitled 'An Act 
for the Relocation of the Seat of Govern- 
ment of the Territory of Nebraska.' " 

This report was straightway adopted and 
the bill accompanying it read the first time. 
As the members of the Council apparently 



stood nine in favor of relocation to four 
against it, the opposition was feeble and the 
bill finally passed that body on the 10th of 
January, 1857. In the House of Represent- 
atives, to which the bill was immediately 
sent for concurrence, the opposition, led by 
Mr. Ilanscom, was more active, and from 
the fact that on the 12th the Governor 
thought it necessary to assure the House, by 
a verbal message, that the disposition of the 
citizens of Omaha was peaceful, .and that 
the body might proceed with legislation in 
safety, it is manifest that no little excite- 
ment was felt throughout the city relative 
to the pending question. 

The opposition b.y the minority continued 
so vigorous that on the 13th Mr. Finney, of 
Nemaha, offered a resolution that the rules 
be suspended and that the Council bill for 
relocation be taken up and read a first and 
second time, and that the said bill be the 
order of the day from day to day, and no 
other business be transacted until the same 
shall be finally disposed of. This resolution 
was adopted by a vote of twenty- three to 
eleven. Things were beginning to look 
dark for the future of Omaha. Dilatory- 
motions of all kinds were made, but the 
majority made short work with them. 
Among them was one that James C. Mitchell 
be prohibited from advising or counseling 
the Speaker or members of the House on 
what course the}' shall pursue in relation to 
their deliberations, and that unless he 
refrains from so doing he shall be prohibited 
from coming within the bar of the House. 
On the 15th the bill was finally passed, by a 
vote of twenty-three to twelve. This act 
provided that the seat of government should 
be located at the town of Douglas, in the 
county of Lancaster. It is not a little sin- 
gular that ten years later, after Douglas was 
in his grave, and the war of the rebellion 
had largely changed the politics and thoughts 
of men, almost this identical spot should be 
chosen for the capital of the State of 
Nebraska, just admitted to the Federal 



THE CAPITOL REMOVED TO 



61 



Union, its name, however, being- clianged to 
Lincoln,* in former days the friend, compe- 
titor and townsman of Douglas. 

It was found, however, that the bill had 
still another ordeal to undergo when it was 
transmitted to Governor Izard for his signa- 
ture. On the 19th of January he sent a 
message to the Council in which the bill had 
originated, declining to give it his approval. 
His reasons were given at considerable 
length, owing to the fact that the measure 
had ])assed both Houses of the Legislature 
by so decided a majority. Stated briefly, 
however, they were: 

First. That the removal of the seat of 
go-\'ernment was not made an issue before 
the people in any county in the territory at 
the time the legislature was elected, and he 
was, therefore, constrained to believe that 
the movement had " been gotten up and 
passed hurriedly and inconsiderately through 
both branches of that body by a dominant 
majority, not only in the absence of any 
positive instructions from the people, but 
contr.iry to their wishes, and most certainly 
to the injury of their best interests," 

Second. That it was a universality con- 
ceded fact that the principal settlements in 
the territory would for many years be con- 
fined to a tract of country extending not 
more than thirty miles westward fi-oni the 
Missouri. 

Third. That the location of Omaha was 
then central and readily accessible, not only 
from the territory, but from the country 
east. 

Fourth. That " a costlj' and substantial 
building, sutticient to meet and accommodate 
the growing demands of the territory for 
many years, is now in course of erection at 
the present location, and will be completed 
during the present year, if not retarded by 
ill-advised and hasty legislation, without 
the cost of a single dollar to the people of 
the territory. ' ' 



Fifth. That the point selected, even '' if 
it has an existence at all, except upon paper, 
is entirely removed from the center of pop- 
ulation, and equally remote from the center 
of the territory. It is not pretended that a 
single house, or even a sod shanty, has been 
erected on the site of the proposed capitol, 
or in the vicinity. It appears to be a float- 
ing town, not only without a location, but 
without inhabitants. Its existence, if it has 
any, seems to be confined at present to the 
brain of some desperate fortune-hunter, and 
its identity reposes in an indefinable number 
of certificates of stock for $500.00 each, 
neatly gotten up and handsomely executed, 
with all the requisites of president, secre- 
tar.y, &c. Where the precise location of 
this town is intended to be, I am unable to 
determine. By some it is said to be some- 
where on Salt Creek, and by others at a 
point further removed from the settlements, 
and in the vicinity of the southern boundary 
of the territory. All agree, however, that 
there are two towns in Lancaster County by 
the name of Douglas, already made upon 
paper. To which of these it is the intention 
of the Legislature to remove the seat of 
government, I am left wholly to conjecture. 
It might so happen, and from my knowledge 
of the speculative genius of a certain class 
of our citizens, I think it highly probable 
that should the bill under consideration 
become a law, each of these rival towns 
would set up a claim to the capital, which it 
might require long and tedious litigation to 
settle; leaving the people of the territory in 
the meantime without a seat of govern- 
ment, ' ' 

Lastly. That under the organic act the 
seat of government having been once located, 
could thereafter be removed only by the 
concurrent action of the Governor and 
Legislative Assembl_y, The latter, even l)v 
an unanimous vote, would have no such 
power. And the act of Congress, appropriat- 
ing money for the erection of a Capitol 
building, was passed in evident recognition 



62 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



of the fact that the Capital had been 
permanently located during the existence of 
the territory. 

It soon became evident that it would be 
futile, if not impracticable, to pass the bill 
over the Governor's veto, and after several 
ineffective attempts to secure its passage, 
the bill was, on the 5th of February, on 
motion of Mr. Kirkpatrick, indefinitely 
postponed, allowing the citizens of Omaha 
to breathe more freely for another j-ear. 

Governor Izard did not remain in office to 
witness another attempt to destroy the 
l)restige of Omaha. In October, 1857, he 
bade adieu to this cold northern clime, and 
betook himself to the balmier region of 
Arkansas, from which State he had been 
appointed. Coming to this city with but 
little experience in public life, he took home 
with him the reputation of an honest, pains- 
taking and judicious officer. As usual, 
opinions concerning him A'aried. Those 
who were opposed to the City of Omaha on 
the Capital question insisted that he was 
vain, pompous, illiterate and inefficient. 
Til* citizens of Omaha esteemed him highly 
as a dignified, upright, firm and courteous 
gentleman of the old school. INIention has 
above been made of an oral message from 
the Governor, assuring the legislators that 
the_v need have no apprehension of violence 
in the discharge of their duties. Mr. Sor- 
ensen's story, which has been long cnrrent 
in Omaha, of this message, is as follows: 
" The South Platte party asked the Gov- 
ernor to call out three hundred militia to 
protect them from the Omaha crowd, which 
was composed of eight men. The next 
morning Governor Izard, whom they had 
called 'grandmother.' assembled both 
branches of the Legislature together, and 
made them a speech. It was short and 
pointed. He said: ' Gentlemen, it is entirely 
unnecessary to call out the militia. Go on 
and attend to the legislative luisiness. 
Behave yourselves, and your grandmother 
will protect you.' " 



That the Governor magnified his office, 
and delighted in marks of honor and respect, 
is not to be denied. Nor can it be ques- 
tioned that he had never received the critical 
and liberal education which enabled him to 
comprehend the full signification of manv 
long words. His enemies declared that he 
used to speak of " decimating" intelligence 
among the people, and that once, in response 
to a sjjeech of welcome, he expressed his 
gratification witli the climate, people and 
situation of Omaha, and declared it to be 
his most earnest desire and prayer, that 
when he died, he might be buried on 
some one of the beautiful '• premonitories" 
in the neighborhood of that city. 

It is certain that he was a stern and 
uncompromising democrat of the .lackson 
school, with a strong love for the Union, and 
the most bitter hatred for all whom he 
regarded as assailing its integrity. " I 
regard," he saj-s in his first message. " the 
election of James Buchanan and John C. 
Breckenridge to the Presidency of the 
United States at this juncture, as not only 
having cemented the Union of the States, by 
reassuring the South that her constitutional 
rights are sacred from invasion, and as 
having settled forever the great question of 
Congressional interference in the domestic 
affairs of the States and Territories, In- 
banishing the vexed question of slavery 
from the halls of the Capitol, and commit- 
ting it for settlement to the hands of the 
people directlj' interested in its establishment 
or ])rohlbition, but as having had a most 
salutary effect upon the business of the 
country.' ' The denunciations and invectives 
of heated partisans on both sides of the then 
impending conflict vexed and harrassed his 
peaceful-natured soul, and he soon began to 
long for the more quiet retreat of his 
Arkansas plantation. As he advanced in 
.years, the delights of office seemed less 
attractive to him. He built on the north- 
east corner of Twenty-Second and Burt 
Streets a brick edifice, modeled on the iilan 



DKI'ARTURE OF GOVERNOI! IZAl 



G3 



of the southern plantation mansion, so 
familiar in tliose daj^s to the traveler, and, 
of course, utterl3' unsuited to the rigors of 
our winter climate. This house was stand- 
ing until 1887. In October, as we have 
seen, dismayed at the thought of another 
winter like that of 1857, and not anxious to 
see the Legislature again in session, he dis- 
ajjpeared from Omaha. For several years 
he was unheard of in the turmoil and 
excitement of arms and revolution. The 
Rebellion, and what he regarded as the 
certain loss of his beloved Union, seem to 
have stupefied liim. .Sometime during tlie 
war, it is said that a detachment of one of 



our Nebraska regiments passing his planta- 
tion, saw on the wide, soutliern gallery a 
gray, withered and bent old man, whom 
they recognized as the former Governor of 
Nebraska. 

The session of 1857 passed an act incor- 
porating the City of Omaha. This became 
a law on the 2d of February of the last- 
mentioned year, and the settlement from 
that time became entitled to its added 
dignity. Up to about this time it had 
always been known as Omaha City. When 
it really became entitled to the designation 
of a city, it dropped the pretentious sufHx. 



CHAPTER YIII 



il'.CRETARY CUM1X( 
THE DiKl 



IX Acting-Governor — Legislators Adjourx -to Fi.okexxk — Ilf 
Occurred — List of Governors of Nebraska — Omaha 
Citizens as Senators and Congressmen. 



By the withdrawal of Governor Izard 
the >Sefretar.y of the Territory, Mr. Thomas 
B. Cuming, became again acting Gov- 
einor of the Territory. The fourth ses- 
sion of the Legislature found him in 
tliat position and it soon became evident 
tliat tlie struggle for anotlier capital 
was soon to be commenced. Governor 
Cuming, in his message, congratulated the 
Legislature that they met for the fourth 
time, " at the place first cliosen for the Ter- 
ritorial Capital ; and in the spacious and 
imposing edifice, nearly completed, under the 
appropriation by the General Govei'nment, 
and througli tlie public spirit of the Citj^ of 
Omaha." The mutterings of the C(miing 
storm were first heard in a motion in the 
Council l)y Mr. Bowen, that a committee of 
two be appointed to report to the Council 
.at their earlie.st convenience, the condition 
of the Territorial capitol buildings; what 
amount had been expended; by whom 
expended ; the estimated cost to complete 
the same upon the present plan; when it 
would probably be completed; what party 
or parties were the owners of the ground 
upon which tlie same was situated; what 
party or parties were the contractors, and 
calling upon acting Governor Cuming for 
all facts witliin his knowledge and all papers 
in his office bearing upon the suljject of 
inquiry. On the 2d of January Mr. Abbe, 
of Otoe county, gave notice of a bill to 
relocate the seat of Government of the 
Territory of Nebraska. This l)ill was read 
in the House the first time on the 6th of 
.Tanunrv. and tlie excitement in Omaha was 



so great that the majority of the Legislature 
either saw or feigned to see, imminent per- 
sonal danger to themselves in the passage of 
sueli a bill. Tliis apprehension led to a 
scheme on the part of the majority to 
adjourn the further sittings of the Legisla- 
ture to Florence, some six miles awaj-. It 
is now manifest tliat under the organic act 
of tlie Territory this was an unwise move 
on the part of the opponents of Omaha, for 
it is, to say the least, doubtful whether, 
under that act, even a two-thirds vote of 
the Legislature would have been sufficient 
to make the change without the assent of 
tlie Governor; and that the Governor, 
responsible to the general government, would 
not hazard his standing by giving his 
approval to such a law. might be reasonably 
inferred, even without any knowledge of 
his wishes or prejudices on the mere ques- 
tion of removal. 

The vote to adjourn to Florence by the 
Council, its transmission to the House, the 
peculiarly unhandsome reception it met 
there, and the subsequent proceedings, were 
the subject of an investigation )>y both 
Houses, and the report of the joint commit- 
tee is as follows: 

Report of the Joint Cormnittee of Investigation 
Appointed to Examine into the Causes and 
Consequences of the Difficulty in the Legisla- 
ture of Nebraska, which occurred January 7th 
aad 8th, 18.58: 

" To the President of the Council and Speaker of the 
House of Representatives: 
" Your joint committee, to whom was referred 

the subject matter of the late disturbances in tlie 

Legislative Assembly of Nebraska, and the inves 



REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF INVESTIGATION. 



tigatioQ of the causes of the precipitous exodus 
of a majority of the members tliereof to Flor- 
ence, have had the same under consideration, and 
beg leave to report as follows: 

"Your committee deeply deplore tlie unfortu- 
nate circumstances which have rendered such a 
report necessary ; but justice to the people of the 
Territory at large, and to the minority of the 
members of the Legislative Assembly, demands 
that the responsibility in this matter be fixed 
where it properly belongs. 

"We hold that minority to be guiltless of 
wrong in the premises, and submit the sworn 
statements of disinterested and reliable men as 
the basis for our opinion, and invite for them a 
candid and careful consideration. 

" The charge of having deliberately and pre- 
meditately broken up the sitting of the Legisla- 
ture, paralyzed its action and prevented the 
transaction of all legitimate legislation, is a grave 
and serious one, but solemnly and seriously we 
make it. holding the majority to a just responsi- 
bility for what we are compelled to regard its 
unwarranted and revolutionary course. 

'■ We are unable to find any palliation or excuse 
for its action. So far as we have been enabled to 
procure the facts in the progress of our investiga- 
tion, the minority at no time asserted orattempted 
to exercise rights which did not clearly and 
unquestionably belong to them, and for which 
they had not the authority of precedent and 
undisputed parliamentary laws. 

"That the House was properlj' and regularly in 
committee of the whole when the difficulty 
occurred there can be no doubt, the Chairman 
having been nominated by a member of the ma- 
jority and elected by the House. 

"That it could in that condition receive a 
message from the Council, is true ; and that the 
House, sitting as such, could not receive a mes- 
sage from the Council while that body was not 
in session is equally true. This was all. as we 
understand it, tliat the minority claimed — the fact 
having been made known to the satisfaction of 
the SpeakeV that t lie Council was not in session, 
and that, consequently, under the rules of the 
House, no message from it could be received. 
But even had tiie facts been different, the conduct 
of the majority was unwarranted and unjustifia- 
ble, since no motion was made that the committee 
rise and report their proceedings to the House. 
Ill derogation, a.s we conceive, of all parliamen- 
tary law and all rules of order and decorum, Mr. 
Decker attempted to take possession of the 
Speaker's chair by force, and his intended violence 
only prevented by the interference of Messrs. 



Murphy and Paddock. It does not appear to the 
committee that any demonstrations of violence 
or force were made or offered on the part of the 
minority, but that their efforts were confined to 
an attempt to prevent it, and to restore order and 
decorum, that the business of the House might be 
proceeded with. 

'•We are forced to conclude that the action of 
the majority was unwarranted and revolutionary, 
without the sanction of law or precedent and 
without pretext or excuse. With a full knowl- 
edge of the consetiuences of tlieir acts they have 
not only violently broken up the law-making' 
power of the Territory, and left the people with- 
out redress except at the ballot-box, but they 
have inaugurated anarchy, destroyed the public 
peace, trampled upon and disregarded the public 
interests, and fastened a stigma of disgrace upon 
a public reputation hitherto unblemished. It is 
not for us to pass that public judgment upon 
their conduct which it merits, but to the wisdom 
of a people whom they have so shamefully out- 
raged, we submit the facts, confident that justice 
will be meted out and responsibility lodged where 
it properly belongs. 

"The minority have remained at their posts 
from day to day, ready and anxious, as the facts 
disclose, to consummate the important legislation 
which the best interests of the Territory demand ; 
but their action is paralyzed by the persistent and 
unjustifiable course of the majority. Under 
these circumstances, all business has been frus- 
trated, and the Territory robbed of that legisla- 
tion which is so much needed and to which she 
was entitled at the hands of the majority by 
whom she has been so shamefully outraged and 
so dastardly betrayed. 

"In regard to the occurrence in the House which 
is made the pretext upon the part of the majority 
for abandoning their posts of duty, the proof 
herewith submitted clearly shows it to have been 
precipitated by the design or folly of the Speaker. 
Indeed, there is evidence of a premeditated design 
upon the part of the majority to obtain the pos- 
session of the chair by force ; that they repaired 
to the House on the afternoon of the 7th with a 
determination to carry out such design, and that 
the occurrence which then took place was the 
consequence. This course on the part of the 
majority is the more extraordinary from the fact 
that the subject-matter under discussion at the 
time in the committee of the whole (the election 
of a printer), was comparatively of an unimpor- 
tant character, in no respect calculated to excite 
unusual feeling or arouse the passions. This, 
together with the facts elicited by the testimony. 



G6 



;y of the city of omaiia. 



affords strons' Sfound foi- tlie l>elief — which j'oui- 
committee would otherwise be reluctant to enter- 
tain — that the course pursued by the majority 
was in accordance with a predetermined plan to 
break up and disorganize the Legislature. We 
are further strengthened in this conclusion from 
the fact, that while it is not pretended that any- 
thing had occurred in the Council to disturb its 
delibei-ations, yet the majority of that body saw 
fit to adjourn to Florence, without any joint 
action by resolution with the other House. 

"Your committee are reluctant to make these 
charges against a class of men with whom they 
have acted in a representative capacity on behalf 
of a common constituency, but we cannot shrink 
from the performance of a i-esponsible duty, how- 
ever unpleasant it may be, and relying upon the 
adequacy of the testimony upon which their 
conclusions are based, they beg leave to submit it 
for your consideration and as a part of this 
report. 

C A. F. Salisbury. Douglas County. 

I ft "P. T?n(jT7Ra Flnno-lQC Pnnnf\' 



Co 



S. E. RouERs, Douglas County. 
1 Chas. McDonald, Pawnee Co'unty. 
L A. W. Pdett, Dakota County. 
f J. Sterling Morton, Otoe County. 
I J. S. MiNICK, Nemaha Countj'. 
House -j A. F. Cromwell Richardson County. 
I J. Van Horn, Cass County. 
I J. W. Paddock, Douglas County. 

A portion of tlje testimony taken, whieli 
is entitled, "Testimony taken before the joint 
committee appointed bj' the Council and 
House of Representatives, in relation to the 
secession of certain members from the 
Fourth Legislative Assembly of Nebraska," 
is as follows: 

John C. Turk, sworn: My name is. John C. 
Turk, aged twenty-six years; reside at Dakota 
City; am Receiver of Public Moneys in the 
Dakota Land District. I was present in the hall 
of the House of Representatives on Thursday, 
January 7th, 1858. I occupied a seat close to the 
Speaker's stand at the time the difficulty occui'red ; 
the House was in Committee of the Whole on the 
public printing; Dr. Thrall, of Douglas County, 
was in the chair; Mr. Clayes, of Douglas, had the 
floor; Mr. Decker, the Speaker, was promenading 
the floor with his cap on, conferring with the 
members with the view of taking the chair by 
force, as it was understood at that time: a mes- 
sage from the Council was announced; Mr. Pop- 
pleton got up and read from the rules of the 
House, having first inquired whether the Council 
was in session, and being answered that it was 
not, made the remark that no message could be 



received. Mr. Speaker Decker marched up to the 
stand took hold of the gavel in the hands of Dr 
Thrall; said he was Speaker of the Hou.se, and 
declared it adjourned, remarking soon after that 
he would hear the message from the Council or 
die right there; he asked Dr. Thrall to give up 
the chau-; the doctor refused; Mr. Decker drew 
the gavel in a threatening manner in his right 
hand, and with his left took hold of the Speaker's 
chair, and endeavored to force Mr. Thrall forcibly 
out; at that stage of the proceedings Mr. Murphy 
caught hold of his right arm and the gavel, 
pulled him down on the floor of the House; about 
that time Mr. Paddock also caught hold of him; 
there was a great deal of confusion; a number of 
members rushed forward, and Mr. Hanscoin 
rushed in, took Mr. Decker out of the hands of 
Murphy and Paddock, and rolled him under 
the table, after which Dr. Thrall. Chairman 
of the Committee succeeded in restoring 
order, and Mr. Clayes proceeded with his 
remarks. Mr. Speaker Decker, and others who 
were acting with him. endeavored to interrupt 
the business of the Committee by remarks, 
sneers and threats: Mr. Decker had his cap on at 
the time: treated the Chairman and Committee 
with contempt: promenading around the hall and 
whistling, and when ordered to take ott' his cap 
and desist by the Chairman, he refused; soon 
after Mr. Decker and his friends withdrew, and 
the business of the Committee was regularly 
gone through with; Mr. Morton was elected 
Spe.aker pro tern., prior to which Mr. Morton 
requested the lobby to withdraw, stating that he 
had heard that the House was unable to do busi- 
ness on account of lobby influence: in obedience 
to which request every member of the lobby at 
once withdrew. Upon the election of Mr. Morton 
Speaker p<o tern., the Committee reported through 
their Chairman. Dr. Thrall. The House then 
adjourned. Up to the time of Mr. Speaker 
Decker's attempt to take the Chair, there had 
been no disturbance, and the Committee was pro- 
ceeding regularly and inorder. I saw no dispo- 
sition or attempt on the part of any member of 
the lobby to interfere, and no attempt on the part 
of the minority in the House to do anything more 
than to restore order. 

Int. — You have spoken of Mr. Hanscom. Was 
he within the bar at the time of this occurrence? 

^ii.s. — I had not seen Mr. Hanscom until after 
the assault of Mr. Decker upon the Chairman of 
the Committee. Mr. Hanscom was an ex-member, 
and as such entitled to a seat within the bar. 

Inf. — With what apparent intention did Mr. 
Hanscom take hold of Mr. Decker? 



TKSTIMOXY BEFORE THE fOMMITTKE. 



67 



Ans. — I think Mr. Hanscom's intention was to 
separate Mr. Decker from Messrs. Murphj' and 
Paelilock, which he did do. 

[nt. — Was there any interference or attempt at 
interference by any one not a member of the 
Hiuise. and if .so. by whom ? 

Ans. — Judge Kinney, of Nebrasl<a Citj'. stand- 
ing- upon a desk, attempted to malce a speech not 
being a member he was refused a hearing by the 
Chairman; tliere being a great deal of confusion, 
J 1 ould not hear what lie said. 

W. R. Thrall, sworn: I am a citizen of Omaha 
City, aged twenty-eight years; am a practicing 
physician; am a member of the House of Repre- 
.seiitatives from Douglas County; was in the 
House on Thursday, January 7th. 1858, pending 
the reading of the journal on that morning, a 
dlsrussion arose on a point of order, which con- 
tinued until 10 o'clock at which hour the House 
liad by motion determined to go into Committee 
of the Whole onaspecial order — tiie joint reso- 
lution in relation to public printer: the House 
accordingly resolved itself into Committee of 
the Whole. Mr. Strickland in the Chair; Mr. Pop- 
pleton had the floor: Mr. Strickland shortly after 
desiring to discuss the question, called Mr. Arm- 
strong to the Chair; Mr. Armstrong declined; Mr. 
Strickland then called upon Mr. Morton, of Otoe, 
who took the Chair; Mr. Poppleton then raised 
the question whether the Chairman had the 
power to call upon another member to take the 
Ch;iir: whereupon Mr. Strickland, standing in 
front of the Speaker's stand, nominated Mr. Mor- 
ton, who was elected by acclamation. Mr. Strick- 
land putting the question. Mr. Poppleton con- 
tinued his remarks, which were of a humorous 
and good-natured character; he was occasionally 
interrupted by Mr. Strickland, who approached 
him and made suggestions in a whisper, which I 
did not hear— but which appeared to be of a 
friendly character, as both were laughing at the 
time. After Mr. Poppleton had been speaking a 
half hour or more. Mr. Strickland and others left 
the hall, after which Mr. Decker interrupted Mr. 
Poppleton, and raised the point of order that 
there was not a quorum present, and moved that 
the Committee rise. The Chairman ruled that a 
motion could not be entertained while a member 
occupied the floor. Mr. Decker then advanced 
toward the Chair, and remarked that the Com- 
mittee could not sit when there was not a quorum 
present. The Chairman decided Mr. Decker out 
of order, and ruled that Mr. Poppleton had the 
floor and should proceed. Mr. Morton continued 
in the Chair until after one o'clock p. ii., when I 
was nominated and elected to take the Chair. 



Mr. Poppleton yielded the floor to Mr. Clayes at 
half past 1 or 2 o'clock. Mr. Clayes con- 
tinued speaking, and was on the floor when the 
Sergeant-at- Arms announced a message from the 
Council; Mr. Decker rose from his seat and 
approached the Chair to receive the message, 
when Mr. Poppleton inquired of the clerk of the 
Council if the Council was in session, which 
question was answered in the negative. He pro- 
tested against the message being received, as tlie 
rules provided that no message from one House 
to the other should be received, unle.ss both 
Hou.ses were in session. The Speaker continued 
to advance, mounted the rostrum, and declared in 
excited manner that 'he would have that mes- 
sage or die right here," and, as he spoke, snatched 
from my hand the gavel. Up to this time no 
demonstration of violence had been made from 
any quarter, except from the Speaker, Mr. Decker, 
as before stated. Upon his taking the gavel, and 
making the declaration he did at the time, a scene 
of great confusion ensued; at this point Mr. 
Decker grasped the arm of the Speaker's chair, in 
which I was sitting, and commenced tipping the 
same, ordering me at the same time to leave. 
Mr. Murphy then grasped the Speaker's right arm, 
and pulled him out of the stand on the floor of 
the House, I still retaining my .seat. While Mr. 
Decker and Mr. Murphy were scuffling on the 
floor, Mr. Paddock rushed in to the aid of Mr. 
Murphy, all three holding on to the gavel. Mr. 
Hanscom advanced behind Mr. Decker, took 
hold of him, and rolled him under the table, 
releasing him from the grasp of Murphy and 
Paddock. While this scene was occurring. I was 
endeavoring, as Chairman of the Committee, to 
maintain order, using a copy of Swan's Revised 
Statutes for the purpose, in the absence of the 
gavel. After Mr. Decker got upon his feet he 
declared the committee dis.solved, and the House 
adjourned, while Mr. Clayes had the floor, having 
continued to speak during the entire melee. Mr. 
Kinney, of Nebraska City, was called upon by 
Mr. Decker and his friends to speak, and, standing 
upon a desk, he attempted to do so ; but not being 
a member of the House, was ordered by me to 
take his seat, which he did. Mr. Decker and his 
friends at that time and subsequent thereto, were 
walking about the floor with their hats on, endeav- 
oring to create as much disturbance as possible. 
Order being finally restored Mr. Morton requested 
the lobby to withdraw, wliich they immediately 
did. After the lobby was thus cleared, Mr. Clayes 
yielded the floor to Mr. Morton, of Otoe, who 
moved that the committee rise and report pro-- 
gress, and ask leave to sit again, which wa* 



HISTOIiY OF THU CITY OF OMAHA. 



carried. The Speaker having left the House, Mr. 
Poppleton nominated Mr. Morton Speaker jiro tem. 
and put the motion, which was carried, and there- 
upon Mr. Moi'ton tooli the chair and received the 
report of the committee, which was adopted; and 
then, upon motion, the House adjourned. On the 
morning of the 8th the House assembled as usual, 
Mr. Decker in the chair. After prayer by the 
Chaplain, Mr. Donelan. of Cass, sprang to his feet 
and moved that the House adjourn to meet in 
Florence to-morrow, the 9th, at 10 o'clock A. M., 
which, being seconded by Mr. Cooper, I think the 
Speaker put it in a hurried manner and declared 
it carried ; whereupon he, with twentj'-one other 
members, took their hats and left the hall. 
During the confusion of leaving Mr. Morton, of 
Otoe, nominated Mr. Poppleton Speaker pro tem, 
which, being seconded and carried, Mr. Poppleton 
took the chair; the remaining members continued 
in their seats, and have assembled and adjourned 
from day to day regularly since, up to the present 
time, doing little or no business except to appoint 
a committee to investigate the matter in refer- 
ence to which I am now testifying. 

Daniel H. Nelson sworn : I reside in Omaha 
City ; age 29 years. I was present at the Douglas 
House on Thursday, January 7th, 1858. between 
the hours of 1 and 5 o'clock p. M. Mr. Strickland 
and other members of the House of Representa- 
tives, and other pei'sons were there at the same 
time. Mr. Decker came in and stated to Mr. 
Strickland that he was going up to take his seat 
in the chair. Mr. Strickland said: ''We do not 
veant it this afternoon — let them talk against 
time; to-morrow morning we can get the chair. 
Mr. Decker said, in substance, "I am going to 
have it this afternoon or die trying." Mr. Strick- 
land made some remark to dissuade him from the 
attempt, and when Mr. Decker insisted, said, 
"There are twenty-three with you." Either 
Strickland or Decker remarked, '• Let us go up 
stairs and talk the matter over." I then made up 
my mind, from what had been said, tliat there 
would be a fuss and went iqi to lli.' ."i|iitol. 
When I got there Mr. Clayes was s|iMaking. 
About ten minutes before Mr. Decker came I got 
within the bar. I was present during the time of 
the melee. I have read the testimony of Dr. 
Thrall and find it correct according to my obser- 
vation. I was pi'ompted by curiosity merely in 
going to the House ; did not intend to interfere 
and did not do so. Saw Dr. Rankin, Marshal of 
the Territory, endeavoring to assist the Chairman 
in preserving order; did not notice any attempt 
on the part of persons in the lobby to interfere. 
They seemed desirous merelv, as I and others 



were, to get nearer to tlie scene to gratify their 
curiosity. I saw tlie whole of the performance, 
excepting the throwing down of Mr. Decker, and 
I fully corroborate the statements of Dr. Thrall. 

Sterrett M. Curran, Chief Clerk of the House of 
Representatives, corroborated tlie statements 
already given, and added that during the session 
of the committee he met Mr. Welsh in the hall of 
the capitol and was told by him that there was a 
caucus in the unoccupied room set apart for the 
Governor's room. That he entered the room and 
there met a majority of the members of the 
House in consultation about getting the chair by 
some peaceable and legal method. That upon 
being asked his opinion he told them that in his 
opinion the only method of getting possession of 
the chair, was for some member friendly to them 
to get the floor, and move for the committee to 
rise, assuring them that they had the necessary 
votes to carry the motion. He also testified that 
he stated to them that one means was by getting 
a message from the Council, but that as the 
Council was not in session, if there were any 
objections raised it could not be received. 

Messrs. Wm. Larimer Jr., Charles W. Cox, 
John Rickley, William F. Wilder, James Smith 
Jr.. Robert A. Howard, J. McF. Hagood, Joel T. 
firiffen, Charles McDonald, George A. Graves 
and Jackson Barrett gave similar testimony and 
all concurred in the declaration, that during the 
session the most scrupulous order and decorum 
had been preserved ; and that up to the moment 
the majority of the Council adjourned to Flor- 
ence, no disturbance had occurred in the Council 
Chamber, nor had its members been in any respect 
interfered with in the discharge of their duties. 
This testimony was designed to meet allegations 
of the other side, that owing to the actions of the 
disorderly lobby they were unable to transact 
their business with composure. 

The seceding members of both Houses 
met pursuant to adjournment at Florence, 
and made application to acting Governor 
T. B. Cuming for the journals and papers 
belonging to their respective houses. Tlie 
following is the text of the resolution: 

Be it Resolved by the Council and Hou'se of Repre- 
sentatives of the Territory of Nebraska, That a joint 
committee, to be composed of one member of the 
Council and two members of the House of Repre- 
sentatives be appointed to wait upon His Excel- 
lency the Governor, and inform him that the 
journals, bills and papers belonging to the Legis- 
lature have been placed by persons without its 
sanction, beyond tlie control of their respective 



THE FLORENCE LEGISLATURE REPUDIATED. 



<;9 



bodies, and that amongst tliem are several bills 
of great importance to the welfare of the Terri- 
tory, now nearly perfected, among which is an 
act providing the Criminal Code, a Homestead 
bill, a Revenue bill, a Fee bill, and various other 
bills which may become laws if legitimate legis- 
lation be not further interrupted by the illegal 
acts of irresponsible persons, who are in posses- 
sion of such bills, journals and other papers, and 
that therefore he be respectfully requested to 
issue an order and to enforce the same, for the 
immediate delivery of such papers to said com- 
mittee for the Legislature. 

This resolution having been presented to 
Governor Cuming by the committee, Messrs. 
Reeves, Hail and Taggart, was responded to 
as follows: 

ExECDxrvE Office, Nebraska Territory, ) 
Omaha, January 9th, 1858. ) 
Messrs. Reevex, Hail and Taggart: 

Gentlemen : I have received from you a com- 
munication purporting to be a " Resolution of the 
Council and House of Representatives of the 
Territory of Nebraska." 

The General Assembly of the Territory is now 
in session according to law at Omaha City, the 
seat of government, where the executive office is 
required to be kept, and where the public docu- 
ments and records must be preserved. The com- 
munication furnished by you is not from that 
body, but was sent from the town of Florence, to 
which place a portion of tlie members of each 
House have adjourned. 

My convictions, under the law and facts, are 
clear — that no act of such recusant members c^n 
be legal. Under such circumstances any com- 
munication from them as a legislative body will 
not i-equire the official attention from this 
department. Resjiectfully, 

T. B. CuraNu, 
Acting Governor of Nebraska. 
On the 11th Aa.y of January, 1858, 
Messrs. Bowen, Campbell and Donelan were 
appointed a committee to wait upon Gov- 
ernor Ricliardson, wlio liad arrived in 
Omaha, and present the following commu- 
nication: 

B' il Resolved by the Council and House of Represent- 
atives of the Territtrii of Nebraska, that, 
Whereas. It is understood that his Excellency, 
the Governor of the Territory, Hon. Williaua A. 
Richardson, has arrived at Omaha City; then be it 
Ri-solved, That a joint committee consisting of 
one member of the Council and two of the House, be 



appointed to wait upon his Excellency, and inform 
him that the Council and House of Representa- 
tives of the Territory of Nebraska are now in 
session at Florence, having been forced to adjourn 
to that, the nearest place of safety, by the disor- 
ganizing and turbulent acts of a minority of then- 
own body, aided by the violence of an unre- 
strained mob at Omaha, causing a well-grounded 
apprehension as to the personal safety of the 
majority, and requesting his Excellency to com- 
municate with the Legislature at this place, at 
his earliest convenience. 

On the day following the presentation of 
this communication Governor Richardson 
sent to the committee the following reply, 
which, as will be seen, was a stern rebuke to 
the majority- of the Legislature: 

Gentlemen : I received from you on yesterday 
the following resolution. [Here follows the res- 
olution above quoted.] 

I deem it my duty, under existing circum 
stances, as an act of courtesy from me to you as 
members of the Legislative Assembly of Ne- 
braska, to state frankly, that looking at the 
question as a mere legal one, I cannot recognize 
that portion of the membars of the Legislature 
now assembled at Florence as the Council and 
House of Representatives of this Territorj'. 

By reference to the Organic Act, Section 13. it 
will be seen that the power to locate and establish 
the seat of government is conferred upon the 
" Governor and Legislative Assembly." Under 
that authority Omaha City, Douglas County, was 
determined upon as said seat of government by 
an act of the Territorial Legislature, approved 
January 30th, 1855. Omaha City must then con- 
tinue to be the only legal place of holding the 
sessions of the Legislature, unless some other 
place is fixed upon by the joint action of the 
Governor and Legislative Assembly. 

I have been unable to find any enactment upon 
the statute books of the Territory making such 
change, and in its absence the Legislature can 
only transact its business legally at Omaha City, 
Douglas County. But should it be insisted that 
this change is but temporary, and not designed as 
a removal of the seat of government, even then, 
if I huve b.^en properly informed, the proceeding 
is not authorized by law. I understand the fol- 
lowing to be the facts: 

The House of Representatives, without refer- 
ence to the action of the Council, or the approval 
of the Governor, upon a mere motion, adjourned 
to meet at Florence. The Council, also, independ- 
ent of the House and the Executive adjourned to 
meet at the same place. If now I should recog- 



HI8TOKY OF Till 



"Y OF OMAHA. 



nize the meeting at Florence as the Legislative 
Assembly of the Territory, what is the doctrine 
which I endorse ? Is it not that either branch of 
the Legislature, without the concurrent action of 
the other, has power to adjourn, to meet at any 
place it may select — a doctrine the establishment 
of which, might at some future day present the 
sti-ange spectacle of a Council at one place, the 
House at another, and the Executive at still 
another place. 

I cannot endorse a doctrine from the operation 
of which such consequences might result. 

Without inquiring into or expressing an <ipinion 
upon transactions said to have taken place jiricir 
to my arrival in the Territory, I deem it sufRi ient 
for me to say tliat at the Capitol is the place oC 
your right and your duty as legislators; and hav- 
ing entered upon the discharge of the functions 
of the Executive office I am prepared to guar- 
antee that no act of violence by any man. or .set 
of men. will be perpetrated upon the rights or 
persons of members of the Legislature, while in 
the discharge of their duties as sucli. The fullest 
and most ample protection is warranted to free- 
dom in discussion, and independence in action. 

The public necessity requires that the Legisla- 
ture should proceed to business and perform its 
appropriate duties. It would be exceedin,gl\ 
gratifying therefore to me, if you would return 
to the Capitol, accept the protection which it is 
my duty and pleasure to tender to the representa- 
tives of the people, and by just and needful 
legislation, relieve the citizens of the Territory 
from the apprehension of being left for another 
year without sufficient laws for that absolute 
protection which is guaranteed by the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. 

I need scarcely add, gentlemen, that no one 
regrets so sincerely as I do the necessity wliii h 
compels me, upon the first assumption of the 
duties of my office, to differ with a majority of 
the members of the Legislative Assembly: nothing 
but a conviction so clear as to leave no doubt 
upon my mind would induce me to take upon 
myself so great a responsibility, but when the 
line of duty is so plainly marked, I should be 
faithless to the trust confided in me if I should 
for a moment falter or hesitate. 

I have the honor to be, gentlemen. 
Your obedient servant, 

W. A. Richardson. 

Notwithstanding this rebuke, however, 
the seceding members continued their ses- 
sions at Florence, and even went through 
the form of passing an act by which the 



Territorial Capital was removed from 
Omaha, and a commission appointed to re-lo- 
cate it. But no formal record exists of this 
action, for no money was available for the 
purpose of printing, or even for the pay of 
members thus absenting themselve.s. Mr. 
Poppleton had been elected Speaker of the 
Mouse in place of Mr. Decker, drawing as 
such double the pay of a mere niemlx'r. 
while Mr. Decker, the first Speaker, was 
obliged to content himself with the empty 
honor of presiding over an unrecognized 
body. Mr. Byron Reed is authority for the 
statement that ilr. Poppleton was oppre.s.sed. 
or feigned to be so, by the feeling that this 
extra compensation so coming to him, was 
not his by right. There stood at that time, 
and long afterwards, a two-story brick edi- 
fice on the south side of Douglas Street, 



i I1{FI"!S1R 




lKt\\nn I uuittuitli uid lifttdith Stud. 
\\1ikIi ^^^* known a- tin. II iiiulton II(>u-.t 
nil mn ot no mean i)ieten^ion-, tlu faoiiti 
social resort of citizens. To the dining 
room of this hotel Mr. Poppleton invited all 
those who in the controversy of the session 
had shown themselves friendly to the inter- 
ests of Omaha, and the festivities that 
ensued, enabled him without difficulty before 
morning, to relieve himself from any anxiety 
as to his having in his possession any money 
which rightfully belonged to another. 

The contemporaneous views entertained 
of this singular escapade by its partici- 
iiants, and those directly interested in it, may 



A JIAMFESTO FEOM SECEDIXCi MEMBERS. 



71 



perhaps be most satisfactorily shown by two 
flociiments which were printed during tiie 
controversy. The first is a manifesto, issued 
at Florence, the 9th of January, 1858, by 
the seceding members, and printed for gen- 
eral distribution as a circular: 

To THE People of Nebraska — Fellow Citi- 
zens: The General Assembly of the Nebraska 
TeiTitory is uo longer able to discharge its legiti- 
mate functions at the Omaha seat of government. 
Owing to the organized combination of a minor- 
ity of its members, aided by an Omaha mob and 
encouraged by the Omaha Executive, they 
have been compelled to adjourn their present 
session to the nearest place of safety. They 
accordingly assemble to-day at Florence, pursuant 
to adjournment. 

The sovereign power of legislation for this 
Territory Is now exercised alone at this place 
The House of Representatives, J. H. Decker. 
Speaker, retains twenty-four of its thirty-five, 
members. The Council, L. L. Bo wen. President, 
retains nine of the thirteen members, being two- 
thirds of their respective bodies. 

It has long been supposed that whenever the 
interests of Omalia became concerned, it became 
hazardous to attemi)t legislation at Omaha. The 
course of the minority during the whole session 
has been characterized by tricks and chicanery, 
unworthy a manly system of legislation. It 
culminated in violence on tlie 7th instant. On 
that day the factionists, allied with Omaha 
ruffians, dragged the Speaker of the House by 
force from his stand while attempting to discharge 
his duties and the Omaha mob armed and ready 
for any emergency, applauded the foul act — affix- 
ing to Nebraska legislation an indelible stain, and 
covering the fair name of Omaha with inefface- 
able INFAMY. 

Omaha can boast of having degraded the 
sovereignty of the people by thus exposing 
the person of her elected representative to the 
unresisted violence of an irresponsible rabble ! 

Omaha can boast of having arrested the 
whe Is of legislation at the Capital ! ! 

Omaha can boast of having driven the Legis- 
lature from the seat of government. 

Yet Omaha still retains the Capital, 
bought with such an infamous past of corrup- 
tion violence and crime but the sceptre of legis- 
lation has departed from the ill-fated city, and 
the law givers from its riotous halls forever. 

The issue now made by Omaha with the 
squatter sovereigns of the whole Territory can 
have but ONE solution ! 



The interests and the rights of the whole of 
the masses will no longer be made subservient to 
the intrigues or machinations of one locality. It 
is no longer a question as to the location of the 
city of their government merely. It has now 
become a question as to tlie right of the people to 
rule ! It can have but ONE answer — the majority 
must prevail. 

The Legislature is now free from faction and 
from violence. Its acts will be free and untram- 
meled. It will finish out its organization at this 
place, zealously devoted to the legitimate legisla- 
tion required by the wants of the public and the 
interests of the Territory; and if such honest 
efforts shall fail of consummation, they will leave 
the whole responsibility with the accidental 
Executive, who, albeit not elected by or responsi- 
ble to the people, while clothed in a little brief 
authority, in the absence of the Governor, may 
dare to thwart their sovereign will ! 

For the full justification of our course we 
confidently appeal to our own constituencies, to 
whom alone we acknowledge responsibility. 

The members of the House who signed 
the foregoing manifesto, were the Speaker, 
James H. Decker, Messrs. J. G. Abbe, W. B. 
Beck, W. G. Crawford, J. C. Campbell, S. A. 
Chambers, P. G. Cooker, E. A. Donelan, 
James Davidson, Joseph Van Horn, Amos 
Gates, W. B. Hail, C. T. Holloway, Wingate 
King, T. M. Marquette, D. B. Robb, P. M. 
Rogers, J. S. Stewart, L. Sheldon, S. A. 
Strickland, J. M. Taggart, A. J. Benedict, 
and Alonzo Perkins. While the senators 
affixing tlielr names were the President, 
Leavitt L. Bowen, and Messrs. Mills S. 
Reeves, James S. Allen, Jacob Safford, A. 
A. Bradford, S. M. Kirkpatrick, William 
Clancy, R. W. Furnas and A. W. Puett. 

The Omaha side of the question may be 
gleaned from the headlines of an extra issued 
by the Omaha Nebraskian on the 8th of 
January, 1858. These are as follows: 
BORDER RUFFIANISM IN NEBRASKA ! 
Kansas Outdone !! 
Bold Attempt at Revolution!!! 
Speaker Decker Heading the Revolution!!!! 
Revolutionists to Organize Another Govern- 
ment at Florence Under the Protec- 
tion of Brigham Young!!!!! 
The Nebraska Pioneer, a newspaper pub- 
lished at Cuming Citj^, in Washington 



72 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



County, gives the following account of tlie 
scene in the House, and of an occurrence 
Which preceded it, as follows: 

" Theo commenced a scene which places border 
ruffianism far in the shade. One of the members 
from our county (Mr. Perkins) was rudely 
assaulted by two promment citizens of Omaha, 
and it is with deep regret that we state that one 
of these gentlemen was a member of the Council. 
Tlie war was now fairly open — Omalia agai nst the 
Territory. All manner of means was used to 
stave off the bill, but the minority not being able 
to stave it off any longer at that time • conde- 
scended' to allow it to be read tlie first time, 
which being done the House adjourned. 

" Thursday morning the House convened as 
usual and went into committee of the whole on 
the election of a public printer, Mr. Striclvland in 
the chair. Mr. Strickland wishing to make some 
remarks on the question, called Morton to the 
chair; the minority then boasted that tliey hail 
the chair and would keep in committee of tlie 
whole the balance of the session unless the major- 
ity would agree to withdraw the capital bill. Mr. 
Poppleton getting the floor, commenced his 
famous speech against time; he spoke of all con- 
ceivable subjects except public printing, beginning 
as far back as Gulliver's famous history of the 
Lilliputian war. The lobbies were crowded and 
Mr. Poppleton was loudly applauded by the 
Omaha lobby members. Leaving to get some- 
thing to eat, the editor of the Pioneer on his 
return found Dr. Thrall, of Omaha, in the chair 
and Mr. Clayes on the floor. Mr. Clayes asserted 
that it did not much matter what he said as he 
had to talk nine days. 

" About this time a message was received and 
the Speaker went to the stand to receive it. 
Hanscom rushed to the Speaker and dragged him 
from the chair and after some scuffling threw him 
violently under a table." 

Upon the whole the anti-Omaha men seem 
to liave had the advantage in the newspaper 
warfare, but the citizens of Omaha could 
well afford to concede this advantage, hav- 
ing the acting Governor and the new 
Governor on their side. Nor can it well be 
doubted that under the guidance of sharp 
and active tacticians, the city managed 
throughout to have parliamentary law on 
her side, and that the move to Florence was 
a fatal one for her opponents. 

But the struggle for the removal of the 
capital from Omaha was continued, year 
after year, until, in 1867, it culminated in 



the appointment, bj^ the Legislature, of 
Governor David Butler, Secretarj' of State 
Thomas P. Kennard and Auditor John 
Gillespie as a Board of Commissioners to 
re-locate Nebraska's seat of government. 
The present site of the City of Lincoln was 
chosen, and from that date Omaha has been 
relieved of what had been for a dozen years 
a source of bitter strife and turmoil. 

Tlie following is Nebraska's list of Gov- 
ernors; 

Francis Burt, Democrat, appointed October 16, 
I8.j4. 

Mark W. Izard, Democrat, appointed February 
20, 1H.5.-,. 

Wn.iJAM A. Richardson, Democrat, appointed 
January 12, 18.58. 

Samuel W. Black, Democrat, appointed May 
2, 1858. 

Alvin S.4.UNDERS. Republican, appointed May 
l.T 1861. 

David Botler. Republican, elected, term began 
February 21, 1867; re-elected in 1868 and 1870; 
impeached and removed in 1871; and unexpired 
term filled by W. H. James. Secretary of State. 

Robert W. Furnas, Republican, elected 1872. 

S1L.4.S Garber, Republican, elected 1874 and 
re-elected 1876. 

Albinus Nance, Republican, elected 1878 and 
re-elected 1880. 

J.AMES W. Dawes, Republican, elected 1883 and 
re-elected 1884. 

John M. Thayer, Republican, elected 1886 and 
re-elected 1888. 

James E. Boyd, Democrat, elected 1890. 
At AVashington, Nebraska has been repre- 
sented at various times by Omaha men. 
The first Delegate to Congress, Hon. Bird 
Chapman, was a resident of this city. The 
second. Judge Fenner Ferguson, was a resi- 
dent of the county. The fifth, Hon. P. W. 
Hitchcock — also elected Senator in 1871 — 
resided here ; Hon. John M. Thayer, Mr. 
Hitchcock's predecessor in the United States 
Senate, was one of Omaha's pioneers. Hon. 
Alvin Saunders, elected Senator in 1877, 
was then and is .yet a citizen of Omaha. 
Hon. Charles F. Manderson, now serving 
his second term in the United States Senate, 
resides here; Hon. John A. McShane, elected 
to the House of Representatives in 1886, 
has long been a resident of this cit.y, as has 
also his successor, Hon. William J. Council, 
whose term expired March 4, 1891. 



CHAPTEK IX 



Douglas County — Washington Squahe — The New Court IIovse- 
DisTEiCT Judges and Legislators. 



-C'oiNTY Officials, 



Douglas is one of the original counties, 
eight in number, created by Acting Gov- 
ernor Thomas B. Cuming in 1854, and until 
February 7th, 1857, included the present 
County of Sarpy within its limits. It con- 
tains about 321 square miles, with abundance 
of water, and a soil of unsurpassed fertilitj-. 
The early importance assumed by Omaha 
resulted in the land in the eastern part of 
the county being purchased by speculators 
as soon as tlie title could be secured from 
the general government, and for twenty 
years following but little improvement was 
made thereon, as farmers and stock-raisers 
could buy excellent land a few miles farther 
west, north or south for much less money. 
The past ten 3'ears, however, have wit- 
nessed great changes in this respect, and now 
Douglas County will compare favorably 
with any other in the State, as regards the 
development of stock-raising, agriculture 
and fruit-growing resources. 

The first white settlers in the immediate 
vicinity of the present site of Omaha were 
the Mormons, who located six miles above, 
in 1845 and 1846, when driven out of 
Nauvoo, Illinois. This settlement was first 
called "Winter Quarters," and the name 
afterwards changed to Florence. It was 
from this point that the expedition was sent 
out in 1847, under the leadership of Brigham 
Young, to seek a location for the " New 
Zion," which resulted in the settlement of 
the Mormons in Utah, which country they 
first named "Deseret," and under that title 
soon after sought admission to the Union of 
States. 

AVhen the county was organized, the fol- 
lowing county officials were appointed: 



Probate Judge, William Scott; Register of 
Deeds, Lj'man Richardson; Treasurer, T. G. 
Goodwill; Sheriff, P. G. Peterson. At an 
election held October 8th, 1856, Jesse Lowe, 
Thomas Davis and James H. McArdle were 
elected Commissioners; Samuel Moffatl, 
Treasurer; Thomas O'Connor, Register, and 
Cameron Reeve, Sheriff. Moflfatt failed to 
qualify, and George AV. Forbes was elected 
Treasurer January 16tli, 1857. 

The records were kept very carelessly in 
those days, hence the official doings of our 
county officers cannot be traced further 
back than the month of December, 1856, on 
the 27th day of which month it was decided 
to levy a tax of two mills on the dollar in 
order to provide funds for building a court 
house and jail, and at a special meeting was 
held March 13th, 1857, the following was 
spread upon the records: 

Articles of agreement made and entered into 
the 18th day of March, 1857, at the City of 
Omaha, in the Territory of Nebraska, by and 
between the City Council of Omaha of the first 
part, and the County Commissioners of the 
County of Douglas, and Territory of Nebraska, 
of the second part, witnesseth: That the said 
ptwty of the first part, in consideration of the 
covenants and agreement hereinafter made by the 
party of tlie second part, dotli liereby agree to, 
and with the party of the second part that they 
will and do, from and after this date, lease and 
forever let and convey and relinquish to the said 
party of the second part, all right title to, and 
interest in, that parcel of ground known as tiie 
Washington Square, and so marked and named on 
the plat of Omaha Cit}', surveyed and platted by 
A. D. Jones, to the said party of the second 
part and their successors forever, for tlie 
uses and purposes of a court house and jail in 
the County of Douglas, Territory of Nebraska, 
and said County Commissioners are hereby 



74 



roRY OF THE CITY OI 



authorized and empowered to give deeds for the 
said lots to any and all persons purchasing any 
part of said Washington Square, except 133 feet 
square of the southwest oorner of said square, to 
be used for the purpose of building said court 
house and jail thereon but for no other purpose, 
without the consent of the City Council of 
Omaha, and when the said party of the second 
part shall cease to use said property as a court 
house a- d jail, then the said property so used for 
a court house and jail, viz: VSi feet square of the 
southwest corner of said Washington Square as 
above, together with all the buildings thereon, to 
revert to tlie party of the first part, and the title 
to rest in the party t.f the first part as tliough 
the agreement conveying the same to the said 
party of the second part had never been made. 
And the said party of the second part in consider- 
ation of the foregoing covenants and agreements 
on the part of tlie party of tlie first part, doth 
hereby agree to and with the said party of the 
first part that they will build a good and sufficient 
jail and court house for the County of Douglas, 
and will furnish to the party of the first part 
four rooms in said building which is to be con- 
structed after the plan and specification drawn 
by E. C. Barker, one room suitable for a Council 
room and Mayor's Court Room, one for a City 
Recorder's office and two for watch houses, or for 
such othei- purposes as the Council may direct, 
said rooms to be completed by the 1st of January, 
1858. 

This paper was signed by T. G. (Goodwill 
and William N. Bj-ers on the part of the 
city, and by Jesse Lowe and Thomas Davis 
on behalf of the county. 

Tlie work of erecting the building was 
pushed rapidly for a time, the contract for 
the brick and iron work being let to Ilovie 
& Armstrong for 125,000.00; for the carpen- 
ter, tin-work, painting and glazing to James 
E. Boyd & Brother (John M. Boyd) at 
111,97.5.00; the plastering to Hunt ife Man- 
ning at $1,97.5.00, and the stone work to 
John Green at $1,510.00. The building 
was two stories high, 40x70 feet, with a 
stone foundation of ten feet, which afforded 
a basement six feet high, the height of the 
building from the top of the water table to 
the top of the cornice being .35 feet. 

In April, 1857, there was a public sale of 
lots in AVashington Square (bounded by 



Farnam, Douglas, Fifteenth and Sixteenth), 
with the following result: George M. Mills 
bought the east 22 feet of lot 8 (northwest 
corner of Farnam and Fifteenth) for $1,140; 
II. II. Visscher purchased the 22 feet next 
adjoining on the west for $960 and the 
remaining third of lot 8 was sold to Dr. G. 
C. Monell and J. S. Izard for $890. The 
east 44 feet of lot 1 (southwest corner of 
Douglas and Fifteenth) was sold to W. K. 
Demerest for $1,905 (this ground, including 
a two-story brick building, sold in 1887 for 
$85,000) and the west 22 feet of lot 1 was 
purchased by J. S. Izard for $975, making 
the total amount received bj' tlie count v 
from the two lots, $5,690, of which 
$1,896.65 was paid in cash and the balance 
in notes, one-half payable in thi-ee and the 
remainder in six months. 

The following June the remainder of the 
property was offered at auction, when one 
NichoUs bought the east 22 feet of lot 7, 
(now occupied by the Merchant's Hotel) for 
$400; John li. Shahler paid $1,020 for the 
west 44 feet of said lot; the east 22 feet of 
lot 2, (fronting on Douglas and now cov- 
ered with a portion of Falconer's store) and 
tlie west 22 feet of lot 3 were bought by W. 
A. Collins for $960; the middle 22 feet of 
lot 2 was sold to M. lludowsky for $445; 
the west 22 feet of 2 and the east 44 feet of 
lot 3 were bought by T. Martin for $1,420. 
and lot 4 was sold to J. J. BrOwn and W. F. 
Sweesy for $1,425. It is on the west half 
of this lot that Mr. Brown has recently 
erected a magnificent stone business block at 
a cost of $150,000. The total amount real- 
ized from this sale was $5,670, of which 
$1,890.05 was paid in cash and notes were 
given payable in two and four months for 
the remainder. Thus these six lots were 
sold in 1857, and before the financial disas- 
ter of that .year, at a period of great pros- 
perity for Omaha, for $11,360. To-day the 
ground, stripped of buildings, would be a 
bargain at $600,000. 

The monev thus obtained was ]Hit into the 



DOUGLAS COUNTY FINANCIAl 



court house fund, the work ou tliat building 
having dragged slowly for lack of means. 
On the 4th of January, 1858, Commissioner 
Davis was empowered to present to tlie city 
tlie four rooms which had been finished 
in pursuance of tlie agreement of March 
l.stli, 1857. But a question arose as to the 
rights of tlie city in that respect, the out- 
come of which was that the city was 
adjudged to have no ownership in the build- 
ing, as the deed to the county, made Janu- 
ary lOth, 1859, signed by George Armstrong, 
Mayor, was a clear transfer without condi- 
tions of any kind. In later years, however, 
the city prisoners were confined in two of 
the basement rooms. In July, 1861, John 
Davis was awarded the contract to complete 
the court house for $1,336, and in Novem- 
ber of tliat year the Presbyterian Society 
was granted permission to hold services in 
the court room on Sundays, at a rental of 
$50 for the year. A !Mr. Bruning, applying 
to the Commissioners for the privilege of 
giving a pulilic ball Christmas night, it was 
accorded him on condition that he pay ten 
dollars "in advance," and at the same time 
the County Clerk was authorized to rent the 
court room for evening meetings at a rental 
of " not less than two dollars ' ' for each 
meeting. A few days later that official 
reported the receipt of $23 from the Pres- 
byterian Society and $20 for the use of the 
court room two nights for balls, and was 
instructed to use $33.75 of the money to 
'■ [lay the express charges ou a package of 
liooks addressed to the register of deeds," 
evidently held by the express company for 
want of funds to pay the charges. 

The assessed valuation of Douglas County 
in 1855 was $311,1 16, personalty and realty; 
in 1862, as shown by a report made to the 
Commissioners in June of that year, it was 
as follows: Lands and town lots, $850,- 
1141.33. Personalty, $352,990, Total, $1,203, - 
931.33. On this return a levy of three and 
a half mills was made for Territorial purposes, 
eleven mills for county tax and a poll tax of 



one dollar. The valuation for taxation for 
1890was: Lands, $3,213,000. Lots, $16,909,- 
581. Personalty, $4,900,839. Total, $25,023,- 
420. The balance on hand in the county treas- 
ury Janu.ary 1st, 1890, was $131,925.43. The 
last report printed by the County Commis- 
sioners was dated July 26, 1890, and brings 
the financial business of the county up to 
January 1st of that year. The levy was 18 
mills on the dollar. 

In illustration of the financial straits 
through which the people of Nebraska were 
passing in those earl}' days, may be men- 
tioned the fact that in building the court 
house, the Commissioners signed one note 
for $3,000 and another for $1,000, and in 
September, 1862, a special election was 
called to vote upon a proposition to levy a 
tax of a half mill to provide a sinking fund 
for the payment of these notes. The note 
for the larger sum was then drawing thirty 
per cent, interest, and the other twenty per 
cent. At the election 138 votes were cast 
in favor of the proposition, and none against. 
In November of that year the assets of the 
county were shown to be $17,474.04; lia- 
bilities, $49,343.74; excess of liabilities over 
assets, $31,869.70. 

The record of the Commissioners' pro- 
ceedings for July 2d, 1866, shows that action 
was taken on an account presented by Joel 
T. Griffin "for killing seven wolves," by 
the drawing of a warrant on the Territorial 
treasury "to pay for the same," but the 
market price of wolves at that time is not 
stated. 

In iMarcli, 1869, a resolution was adopted 
by the County Commissioners reciting that 
" the public interests will in a few years 
imperatively demand the erection of a new 
court house, jail and other count}' build- 
ings, and, w/iereas, the present site of the 
court house is wholly insufficient in and for 
the purpose aforesaid, and, tvhereas, it is 
deemed expedient that immediate action be 
taken to secure to the county ample grounds 
for the purposes above indicated," it was 



76 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



resolved, " that the owners of property in 
Omaha be, and they are hereby invited to 
make propositions to convey to the county 
not less than two acres of ground for the 
purpose aforesaid, in some convenient and 
acceptable location, and that such propo- 
sition be received until the 1st day of May, 
1869." Evidently there was a dearth, at 
that time, of property owners holding 
ground by the acre within the cit}' limits, a 
there is no further reference made to the 
matter in the Commissioners' records. 

In April, 1869, a resolution was offered 
providing for the enclosing and improving 
of forty acres of the county farm. Com- 
missionei's Gise and Eicke voted in favor of 
the resolution, but Chapman opposed it 
" for the reason that a case is now pending 
in the Circuit Court of the United States 
for the District of Nebraska against the 
county and in favor of William Arthur 
Esq., for the foreclosure of a certain mort- 
gage upon the county farm, and it is 
inexpedient to expend anj' nionej' in 
improving the said farm until said case is 
disposed of." The countj^ farm of 160 
acres, so valuable now, was purchased in 
1859 by the Commissioners for either 
$6,000 or $7,000, which price also included 
a ten-acre timber tract south of Omaha, to 
which the title afterwards proved defective. 
As to whether the purchase price was the 
greater or less amount named depends upon 
how Douglas County warrants were rated 
at that time. The seller took, as cash pay- 
ment of Si, 000, warrants of the face 
value of double that sum, and so considered, 
he was getting $6,000 for the property, 
while the Commissioners called it a cash 
payment of $2,000. which brought the 
total up to $7,000, as notes to the amount 
of $5,000, secured by mortgage, were given 
for the balance of the purchase price. The 
Commissioners afterwards found that tliey 
could not legally bind the count}' in that 
manner, and of course refused to pa}' the 
notes when they became due, and suit was 



brought to recover possession of the prop- 
erty. In defense, the countj', by its 
attorneys, John C. Cowin and James M. 
AVoolworth, claimed that the failure of the 
title to the timber land rendered the sum 
actually received by the seller full value 
for the 160 acres, as land was then selling 
(a number of witnesses testifying it was 
worth only $10 an acre), and also pleaded 
the statute of limitation. The county won 
the case in the lower Court, but upon an 
appeal being to the Supreme Court of the 
United States, the verdict was set aside, 
and the county finally required to pay 
about $12,000 additional to acquire perfect 
title. 

The project of improving the county 
farm was carried out, and in September, 
1869, a contract was let with Reuben Bar- 
ringer to erect a building thereon for 
$8,474, which was afterwards added to at 
various times, until a very comfortable and 
commodious structure was provided for 
the accommodation of the destitute of the 
county. 

In 1878, the block bounded by Farnam, 
Harney, Seventeenth and Eighteenth, was 
purchased for a court house site at a cost of 
$35,913, .and the following year the county 
jail was built on the south-west corner 
thereof, at an outlay of about $35,000. In 
November, 1880, an election was held to 
vote upon the proposition to issue bonds to 
the amount of $125,000 for the building of 
a court house, the total cost of which was to 
not exceed $150,000, which proposition 
carried by a vote of 3,550 for to 1,541 
against. The plans of E. E. Meyers, of 
Detroit, Michigan, were accepted by the 
Commissioners, with the understanding that 
the cost of the building, including heating, 
would not exceed $139,000. There was 
some delay in getting to work, and the price 
of material increased somewhat meanwhile, 
and in November, 1881, another election 
was held to pass upon the proposition to 
authorize an expenditure of $198,000 



DEDICATION OF THE COURT HOU 



instead of $150,000. To this the voters of 
the coimt3' assented, an additional 150,000 
was voted, and the contract was awarded to 
John F. Coots, of Detroit, at $198,616. 
Certain changes were made in the plans, 
however, as the work progressed, and the 
total cost of the building was $204,787, 
exclusive of the cost of the retaining wall, 
which a change of grade on surrounding 
streets rendered necessary. D. L. Shane 
was employed by the county as superin- 
tendent, during the erection of the building, 
in which capacity he gave eminent satis- 
faction. 

Tliere were three Viids fur supplying the 
new court house witli furniture, one by 
Ernest Feige, of East Saginaw, Michigan, 
of 113,875; one by Contractor Coots of 
$20,031 and the third was by Dewey & 
Stone, of Omaha, of $25,318. The former 
received the contract. The corner stone of 
tlie building was laid with great ceremony 
October 25th, 1882, and the structure for- 
mally received by the Commissioners, May 
28th, 1885, at which time an invitation was 
extended the public to inspect the building. 
This invitation was generally accepted and 
tlie handsome structure was thronged during 
tlie entire day with visitors, all eloquent in 
their praises of the beauty of the building 
and its adaptability to the purposes for 
whicli it was erected. In the evening there 
were formal dedicatory exercises in the main 
court room, whicli was handsomely decorated. 
Music was furnished by the bands of the 
Hibernian Society, the Union Pacific and 
the Musical Union. Geo. W. Ambrose, Esq., 
presided, and addresses were made by John 
C. Cowin, Esq., Judge Eleazer Wakeley, 
Judge James Neville, Judge James W. Sav- 
age and County Commissioner Richard 
O'Keefe, the latter closing the exercises by 
presenting to Superintendent D. L. Shane a 
handsome gold-headed cane, in appreciation 
of tlie valuable services he had rendered the 
County Board and the taxpayers, generally, 
during the erection of the building. 



The Douglas County records were kept in 
a very small space in the early days, as com- 
pared with that now required. Thomas 
O'Connor, the first elected Register of the 
county (his only predecessor, Lyman Rich- 
ardson, having been appointed by Governor 
Cumings), says that for some time a case, 
with pigeon holes, about two feet square, 
was sufficient. This case was made by 
James E. Boyd & Bro., contractors for the 
wood work on the old court house, and 
whose carpenter shop was located on the 
south side of Harney street, directly west of 
the present site of Stephenson's livery estab- 
lishment. Speaking of Register O'Connor, 
that official became involved in a difficulty 
in 1855 of a somewhat personal character. 
A fellow countryman, Pat. McDonough, 
employed by Governor Cumings, was 
directed by the latter to hurry up the trans- 
fer across the river of certain government 
supplies and came in contact, on the ferry 
boat, with one of the Wells brothers, then 
engaged in building the Douglas House, who 
was insisting that their material be given 
the preference by the overworked ferry 
manager. IHgh words ensued and ^IcDon- 
ough was thrown into the river by Wells, 
who was at once siezed by O'Connor and 
tossed overboard. Fortunately the men 
escaped drowning, but it was a close call for 
both. 

In the spring of 1887 a tract of fifty acres, 
the east side of the county farm, was platted 
into building lots as Douglas addition. 
Real estate was selling rapidly at that time 
and the proposition to sell this property at 
public auction met with general favor. The 
sale took place in June, and having been 
well advertised was largely attended. Com- 
petition was very lively and prices obtained 
far bej'ond what had been hoped for, the 
result being that an aggregate of $330,480 
was received for the fifty acres platted, this 
amount being increased considerably by 
interest on deferred payments. 



ii> 



HISTOHY Ol 



IE CITY OF OMAII 



Comparative statement of taxes raised: 

Ykar *I.kvv. Amount. 

1859 10 $ 3«,li85 Ul 

1860 18 2-10 31.437 38 

1861 16* 23.146 53 

1862 I3t 24.996 26 

1803 13 31,016 40 

1864 10 21-40 34,567 75 

1865 1148-60 45,383 06 

1866 17| 108,461 91 

1867 13 11-24 93 974 31 

1868 9 80.U86 81 

1869 12i 114,408 63 

1870 16* 223.438 07 

1871 21" 3.58 321 64 

1873 2()i 213,815 02 

1873 31" 207,492 20 

1874 20i 205 842 70 

1875 21 39-40 217,661 04 

1876 20 185,001 76 

1877 20 158,816 80 

1878 2U 169,.597 90 

1879 22 181.905 78 

1880 19i 174 874 08 

1,S81 31 197.498 03 

1883 23 237,067 08 

1883 231 287,176 33 

1884 231 309.512 11 

1885 25* 32.5.478 67 

1886 23i 419.183 41 

1887 23i 481,304 58 

1888 20 ,5.55.566 00 

1889 30 4-5 .549,279 11 

1890 18 487,903 16 

Under the heading "Benevolent Institu- 
tions ' ' will be found a history' of the erec- 
tion of a county hospital on tlie west side 
of the county farm. 

Following is a list of Douglas County 
officers, with date of election: 

(Until 1887, the Board of Commissioners con- 
sisted of three members, elected, one each year, 
to serve three years. In 1887 the number was 
increased to Ave.) 

Commissioners— Jesse Lowe. Thomas H. Davis 
and James H. McArdle, 1856 ; James H. McAidle 
and Sylvanus Dodge, 1857 ; Harrison Johnson and 

A. J. Critchfleld. 18.59 : J. W. Parker, 1860 ; O. P 
Hurford, 1861 ; James H. McArdle, 1862 ; Thomas 
H. Allison. 1863 : St John Goodrich, 1864; James 
H. McArdle and Edward M. Chaplin, 1865 : James 
G. Megeath, John M. Kelley. M. C. Wilbur and 
Haman Chapman, 1866 : (Samuel E. Rogers and 
Charles W. Burt also served a few months during 
1866, to fill vacancies caused by resignations of 
Megeath and Kelley) ; Jonas Gise, 1867 ; Henry 
Eicke, 1868 ; E. H. Sherwood. 1869 ; M. W. E. Pur- 
chase. 1870 ; James H. McArdle, 1871 ; Benjamin 
P. Knight and Thomas Wilkinson, 1872 ; josiah 

B. Redfield, 1873 ; James H. McArdle, 1874 ; Ben- 
jamm P. Knight. 1875 ; Fred Drexel, 1876 : F. W. 
Corliss, 1877 : Benjamin P. Knight, 1878 ; Fred 



Drexel, 1879; F, W. Corliss, 1880; Benjamin P. 
Knight, 1881 ; Richard O'Keefe, 1883 ; F. W. Cor- 
liss 1883 ; George E. Timrae, 1884 ; Richard 
O Keefe, 1885 ; W. J. Mount, 1886 ; William R. 
Turner. Peter Corrigan and Leavitt M.Anderson, 
1887 : Richard OKeefe; 1888 ; Peter J. Corrigan 
and Richard S. Berlin, 1887 ; George Timme and 
Charles L. Van Camp. 1890. J. W. Paddock was 
selected, in 1891. to fill vacancy caused by the 
decease of Peter J. Corrigan; E. M. Stenberg, 1891. 

Probate and County Judges— William Scott, 
18.55 ; George Armstrong, 1859 ; Hiram M. Dick- 
inson. 1862 ; Isaac S. Hascall, 1865 ; R. J. Stuck, 
1867 : J. R. Hyde. 1868 ; L. B. Gibson, 1869 ; Rob- 
bert Townsend 1871 ; William L. Peabody, 1873 ; 
C. H. Sedgewick. 1875 ; William O Bartholomew, 
1877-9; (resigned, and Howard B. Smith ap- 
pointed) ; A. M. Chadwick, 1881-3 ; (died, and J. 
H. McCulloch appointed) ; J H. McCulloch. 1885 ; 
George W. Shields, 1887-9; J. W. EUer, 1891. 

County Clerks— Thomas O'Connor, 1856 ; 
James E. Boyd and Charles P. Birkett. 1857; James 
W. Van Nostrand, 1859 ; Peter Hugus. 1861 ; 
Byron Reed, 1863 ; Frank Murphy, 1865 ; C. A. 
Downey, 1867 ; Thomas Swobe, 1869 : William H. 
Ijams, 1871 ; Lewis S. Reed, 1873-5 ; John R. Man- 
chester. 1877-9 ; John Baumer, 1881 : Herbert T. 
Leavitt. 1883-5 ; (resigned October 24th, 1885, and 
Gustave Beneke appointed) ; CharlesP. Xeedham, 
1886 : M D. Roche. 1887 ; Peter J. O'Malley, 1889; 
Fred J. Sackett, 1891. 

County Treasurers— T. G. Goodwill, 1855 ; 
Samuel Moffatt, 1856 : George W. Forbes, 1857 ; 
A. C. Althaus, 18.59 ; James K. Ish, 1861-3-5 : Wil- 
liam J. Hahn, 1867-9 ; Edward C. McShane, 1871 ; 
A. C. Althaus. 1873-5 ; William F. Hines, 1877-9 : 
John Rush. 1881-3 ; Henry Bolln, 188.5-7 ; Adam 
Snyder. 1889; H. B. Irey, 1891. 

Sheriffs — P. G. Peterson. 1855 : Cameron 
Reeves, 1856 ; John C. Heilmau, 1859 ; Thomas 
L. Sutton, 1861-3 ; Andrew Dellone, 1865 : Aaron 
R. Hoel, 1867 ; Henry Grebe, 1869-71 ; Alfred 
Burley, 1873-5 ; George H. Guy, 1879-81 ; David 
N.Miller. 1883 ; William Coburn. 1885-7 ; John F. 
Boyd, 1889; George Bennett, 1891. 

Register of Deeds— Lyman Richardson, 1855 ; 
Thomas O'Connor, 1855-6-7. The office was then 
merged into that of County Clerk but was revived 
in 1887 when T. A. Megeath was elected and re- 
elected in 1889. 

County Auditor— J T. Evans, October 1. 1889. 
Still in.otfice. 

Superintendents op Instruction — A. A. Sea- 
grave, 1869; Jereminh Behm, 1871; S. D. Beals, 
1873 ; John Rush, 1875 ; .John J. Points, 1877-9-81 ; 
James B. Bruner, 1888-5-7; A. Mathews, 1889; 
George W. Hill, 1891. 




^£<9u 



&^<^e ^u^^CH^ey 



LIST OF DOUGLAS COVXTY 



79 



SaRVEYORS— Benjamin P. Knight, l^io ; B. E. B, 
Kennedy, 1865; Beajamia P. Knight, 1867 : An- 
drew Rosewater, 18G9 ; George SniitU, 1871-3-5-7- 
9-81-3-5 ; Charles H. Howes, 1887 : J. E. House 
1889 ; George Smith, 1891. 

Coroners— Emerson D. Seymour, 1860-2; E. 
Dallow, 1863 ; J. R. Conlding,'l865 ; C. H. Pinney, 
1867; Jacob Gisli, 1869; J. R. Conlding, 1871; 
Jacob Gish, 1873-5 ; Joseph Neville. 1877 : John G. 
Jacobs 1879-81 ; W. H. Kent. 1888 ; John C. 
Drexell, 1885-7; C. P. Harrigan, 1889; M. O. 
Maul, 1891. 

County Physicians— J. C. Denise. 1867-9-71 ; 
William McClelland, 1873; S. D. Mercer, 1875 ; 
Joseph Quinlan, 1877-9; J. R. Conkling, 1881; 
John D. Peabody, 1883 ; W. S. Gibbs, 1885 ; J. S. 
Deories, 1887 ; P. S. Keogh, 1888-9. 

County Attorneys— Before the admission of 
the Territory as a State, County Attorneys were 
also Prosecuting Attornej's. When Nebraska 
became a State. E. Estabrook was appointed Pros- 
ecuting Attorney by Judge Lake, to serve until 
the election in the fall of 1868, when John C. 
Cowin was elected and served from January, 1869. 
to January, 1873. He was succeeded by William 
J. Connell, who served until January, 1877, his 
successor being E. H. Buckingham, who died soon 
afterwards and Charle.s J. Greene was appointed 
to fill out the unexpired term. Arthur N. Fer- 
guson was elected in the fall of 1878 and served 
until January, 1881. when he was succeeded by 
Nathan J. Burnham. Park Godwin succeeded Mr. 
Burnham in January, 1883 ; Lee Estelle filled the 
office from January, 1885, to January, 1887, and 
was succeeded by Edward W. Simeral. who served 
until January. 1889. the present incumbent, T. J. 
Mahoney, being his successor. 

Constitutional Conventions— George B.Lake, 
Charles F. Manderson, James M. Woolworth. 
Eleazer Wakeley, Isaac S. Hascall. Experience 
Estabrook, James E. Boyd, John C. Myers, Silas 
A. Strickland, 1871 ; Clinton Briggs, John L. Web- 
ster, Charles F. Manderson. William A. Gvvyer, 
Henry Grebe James E. Boyd, Charles H. Brown, 
1875. Of the convention of 1871 Silas A. Strick- 
land was President and John L. Webster presided 
over that of 1875. 

Soldiers' Relief Committee— appointed under 
a recent act of the Legislature— M. D. Roche. Dr. 
R M. Stone and John P. Henderson. This commit- 
tee has the charge c,f the disbursement of a sum, to 
not exceed three-tenths of a mill of the amount 
of the anaual tax levy, in aid of dependent ex-sol- 
diers and their families. Tlie fund for 1890 
amounted to about |7,500. 



Menil)ers of the Legislature from Douglas 
County; 

First Session, Convened Jaxuaky 16, 1855. 

Representatives— A. J. Hanscom, Alfred D. 
Gayer. A J. Poppleton, William Clancy. William 
N. Byers Thomas Davis, Fleming Davidson and 
Robert B Whitted. A. J. Hanscom, Speaker ; 
J. W. Paddock, Chief Clerk. 

Councilmen— Samuel E. Rogers. O. D. Richard- 
son, A D. Jones and T. G. Goodwill. Jo.seph L. 
Sharp, President ; George L. Miller, Chief Clerk. 
SiccoxD Session, Convenkd Dec. 18, 1855. 

Representatives— George L. Miller, William 
Larimer. Jr., Levi Harsh, William E. Moore, Alex- 
ander Davis, Leavitt L. Bowen, Alonzo F. Salis- 
bury and WilliamClancy. P. C. Sullivan, Speaker; 
I. L. Gibbs, Chief Clerk. 

Councilmen— Samuel E. Rogers, O. D. Richard- 
son, T. G. Goodwill and A. D. Jones. B. R. Fol- 
som President ; E. G. McNeely, Chief Clerk. 

Third Session, Convened Jan. 5, 1857. 

Representatives -S. A. Strickland. Joseph Dy- 
son. C. T. Halloway, John Finney, William E. 
Moore, H Johnson, J. Steinberger, M. Murphy, R. 
Kimball. Jonas Seely, A. J. Hanscom and George 
Armstrong. L L. Gibbs, Speaker ; J. H. Brown, 
Chief Clerk. 

Councilmen— A. F. Salisbury,Dr. George L. Mil- 
ler, Samuel E. Rogers, L. L, Bowen. L. L. Bowen, 
President ; O. F. Lake, Chief Clerk. 

Fourth Session, Convened Dec. 8, 1857. 

Representatives— George Armstrong. J. Stein- 
berger, George Clayes, J. S. Stewart, M. Murphy, 
A. J. Poppleton, W. R. Thrall and J. W. Paddock. 
J. H. Decker and A. J. Poppleton, Speakers; S. M. 
Curran, Chief Clerk. 

Councilmen- George L. Miller, S. E. Rogers, 
George Armstrong, William Clancy and A. F. 
Salisbury. George L. Miller, President; W. Saf- 
ford. Chief Clerk. 
Fifth Session, Convened Sept. 21, 1858. 

Representatives -James H. Seymour Clinton 
Briggs, ugustus Rpeder. James Stewart, William 
A. Gwyer, R. W. Steele, John A. Steinberger and 
(ieorge Clayes. H. P. Bennett, Speaker ; E. G. 
McNeely, Chief Clerk. 

CoiTJClLMEN— George W. Doane, William E. 
Moore, George L. Miller and John R. Porter. L. 
L. Bowen, President ; S. M. Curran, Chief Clerk. 
Sixth Session, Convened Dec. 5, 1859. 

Repre5ent.\t[ves-A. J. Hanscom, David D. 
Belden, Harrison Johnson, George F. Kennedy, 



80 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



George B. Lake and A. B. Malcomb. S. A. Strick- 
land, Speaker : James W. Moore, Chief Clerk. 

CODNCILMEN— George W. Doane, William A. 
Little. George L. Miller and John R. Porter. E A. 
Donelan, President : S. M. Curran, Chief Clerk. 

Seventh Session, Convened Dec. 2, 1860. 

Representatives— John I. Redick, Samuel A. 
Lowe, Joel T. Griffin, Merrill H. Clark, Henry 
Grebe and Ezra Millard. Henry W. De Pay, 
Speaker ; George L. Seybolt, Chief Clerk. 

COUNCILMEN— David D. Belden. William A. Lit- 
tle and John M. Thayer. William H. Taylor, 
President : E. P. Brewster, Chief Clerk. 

Eighth Session Convkned, Dec. 2, 1861. 

Representatives— James H.Seymour, Joel T. 
Griffin, A. D. Jones, Merrill H. Clarke, Oscar F. 
Davis and Aaron Cahn. A. D. Jones, Speaker : 
George L. Seybolt. Chief Clerk. 

COUNCILMEN— David D. Belden, William A. Lit- 
tle and William F. Sapp. John Taffe, President : 
R. W. Furnas. Chief Clerk. (A direct tax of 
119.313 was levied against Nebraska in 1861, 
which was remitted by the government in con- 
sideration of their being no session of the Legis- 
lature the following year, the expense of which 
the government would have had to pay. The 
amount was, by act of Congress, 1891, refunded 
to the State). 
Ninth Session, Convened Jan. 7, 1861. 

Representatives — John Ritchie, George B. 
Lake. Daniel Gantt, Joel S. Smith, B. E. B. Ken- 
nedy and Henry Grebe. George B. Lake, Speal\er: 
Rienzi Streeter, Chief Clerk. 

COUNCILMEN— William A. Little. John R. Porter, 
and John McCormick. E. A. Allen, President ; J. 
W. HoUinshead, Cliief Clerk. 

Tenth Session, Convened Jan. 5, 1865. 

Representatives— E. L. Emery, A. J. Critch- 
field, Charles M. Conoyer, Charles H. Brown and 
James W. Pickard. S. M. Kirkpatrick Speaker : 
John Taffe, Chief Clerk. 

COUNCILMEN — John R. Porter and B. E. B. Ken- 
nedy. O. P. Mason, President ; John S. Bowen, 
Chief Clerk. 

Eleventh Session, Convened Jan. 4, 1866. 

Representatives— George B. Lake, J. W. Pad- 
dock, Charles H. Brown, Frederick Drexel and 
James G. Megeath. James G. Megeath, Speaker ; 
George May, Chief Clerk. 

COUNCILMEN — B. E. B. Kennedy and John R. 
Porter. O. P. Mason, President ; W. E. Harvey, 
Chief Clerk. 



Twelfth Session, Convened July 4, 1866. 

Representatives — Phillip O'Hanlon, A. J. 
Critchfield, J. W. Paddock, V. Burkley and W. A. 
Denton. W. A. Pollock, Speaker ; Joseph H. 
Brown, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— James G. Megeath and M. C. Wilbur. 
Frank Welch, President; Casper E. Yost, Secre- 
tary. 

Thirteenth Session, Convened Jan. 10, '67. 

Representatives — George W. Frost, Dan S. 
Parmalee. Harvey Link, S. M. Curran and E. P. 
Child. W. F. Chapin, Speaker; John S. Bowen, 
Chief Clerk. 

Senators — George \V. Doane and William 
Baumer. E. H. Rogers, President : O. B. Hewett, 
Secretary. 

Fourteenth Session, Convened Feb. 20, '67. 

Representatives— Joel T. Griffin. Martin Dun- 
ham, Dan S. Parmalee and George W. Frost. W. 
F. Chapin, Speaker; H. W. Merrille, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — Isaac S. Hascall. E. H Rogers, 
President ; O. B. Hewett, Secretary. 

Fifteenth Session, Convened May 16, 1867. 

Representatives — George W. Frost. Martin 
Dunham and Joel T. Griffin. W. F. Chapin, 
Speaker ; John S. Bowen. Chief Clerk. 

Senators— Isaac S. Hascall and J. N. H. Pat- 
rick. E. H. Rogers, President ; L. L. Holbrook, 
Secretary. 

Up to this date the sessions were held at 
Omaha; subsequent sessions at Lincoln, to 
which place the capital was removed in 1867. 
The session of July, 1866, was convened 
under the supposition that Nebraska would 
be admitted as a State by that date, a State 
Constitution having been previously adopt- 
ed. It provided, however, for the exercise 
of the elective franchise by whites only. 
Congress required an amendmeut in that 
particular in order that it might conform to 
the amendment to tlie Constitution of the 
United States by which, suffrage was con- 
ferred upon the colored race. In conse- 
quence of this a delay of .some months 
resulted and the session of January follow- 
ing was under the Territorial form of gov- 
ernment. 



SESSIONS OF THE LEGISLATURE. 



81 



Sixteenth Session, Convened Jan. 7, 1869. 

Representatives— S. C. Brewster, Joseph Fox, 
John B. Furay, Joel T. Griffin, Dan S. Parmalee 
andEdwiuLovelaad. William McLennan, Speaker; 
John S. Bowen, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— E. B. Taylor and Georg-e W. Frost. 
E. B. Taylor, President; Samuel M. Chapman, 
Secretary. 

Seventeenth Session, Convened Feb. 17, '70. 

Representatives— Joel T. Griffin. Edwin Love- 
land, Dan S. Parmalee, C. A. Leary, S. C. Brews- 
ter, Joseph Fox. William McLennan, Speaker ; 
Charles H. Walker, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — George W. Frost and E. B. Taylor. 
E. B. Taylor, President ; Samuel M. Chapman, 
Secretary. 

Ei(iiiTEK.NTii Session, Convened Jan. 5, 1871. 

Representatives— John Ahmanson, Thomas F. 
Hall Jolui C. Myers, Edward Rosewater, William 
M. Ryan and Lewis S. Reed. George W. Collins, 
Speaker ; Lew. E. Cropsey, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — Isaac S. Hascall and Frederick Metz, 
E. E. Cuiiningliam, President ; Charles H. Walker, 
Secretary, 

Nineteenth Session, Convened Jan. 9, 1873. 

Representatives- W. R. Bartlett, Charles F. 
Goodman, John L. Webster, Martin Dunham, 
Hugh L, Dodge and Erwiu G. Dudley. M. H. Ses- 
sions, Speaker ; J. W. EUer, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— William A. Gwyer and O. Wilson. 
William A. Gwyer, President ; Dan. H. Wheeler, 
Secretary. 

Twentieth Session, Convened Jan. 7, 1875. 

Representatives— B. H. Barrows, John M. 
Thurston, Jacob Wiedensall, John Baumer, Frank 
Murphy and Alexander H. Baker. Edward S. 
Towle, Speaker ; George L. Brown, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — Charles B. Rustin and Jacob S. 
Spaun. N. K. Griggs, President ; Dan. H, Wlieeler, 
Secretary. 

The Twenty-first was a special session, 
convened December 5, 1876, to canvass the 
vote cast for Amasa Cobb, as a Presidential 
elector, in order to correct an alleged irreg- 
ularity. 

Twenty-Second Session, Convened J.a.n. 
2, 1877. 
Representath'es- Alexander H. Baker, James 
S. Gibson, William Neville, P. P. Shelby, Georg 



E. Pritchett. James Creighton, L. L. Wilcox and 
Thomas Blackmore. Albinus Nance, Speaker ; B. 
D. Slaughter, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — George W. Ambrose and Cliarles H. 
Brown. George F. Blanchard, President ; Dan. H. 
Wlieeler, Secretary. 

October 27, 1868, a session of one day 
was held for the purpose of correcting an 
omission in tlie law with respect to election 
of Presidential electors. 

TwENTV-TiiiRD Session, Convened Janu- 
ary 7, 1879. 

Representatr'es — George Plumbeck, Lewis M. 
Bennett, Ralph E. Gaylord, Patrick McA rdle and 
Charles J. Karbach. C. P. Mathewson, Speaker ; 
B. D. Slaughter, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— Charles K. Coutant and Charles H. 
Brown. William Marshall, President ; Sherwood 
Burr, Secretary. 

Twenty-Fourth Session, Convened Janu- 
ary 4, 1881. 

Representatives — Edmund M. Bartlett, P. O. 
Mullen, William A. Paxton. Henry Bolln, John A. 
McShane, William J. Broatch, Stephen K. Jackson 
and James H. Kyner. H. H. Shedd, Speaker ; B. 
D. Slaughter, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — George W. Doane, John D. Howe. 
J. B. Dinsmore, President ; Sherwood Burr, Sec- 
retary. 

The Twenty-fifth was a special sessi6n, 
convened Maj' 10, 1882, in which there was 
no change in the membership from Douglas 
County. 

Twenty-Sixth Session, Convened J.\n. 2, '83. 

Representattves — Fred. W. Gray, Frank Col- 
petzer, Alexander McGavock, Hugh G. Clark, 
John Christopherson, William Turtle and Henry 
Sussenbach. George M. Humphrey, Speaker ; B. 
D. Slaughter, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— Charles H. Brown and George Can- 
fleld. A. H. Conner, President ; George L. Brown, 
Secretary. 

Twenty-Seventh Session, Convened Janu- 
ary 6, 1885. 
Representatfves— James E. Riley, Thomas C. 
Bruner, William Turtle, William G. Whitmore, 
James H. Winspear, John Mulvihill, P. McArdle 
and A. C. Troup. Allen W. Field, Speaker : James 

F. Zediker, Chief Clerk 



82 



)F THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Senators— John A. McShane and Frederick 
Metz. Church Howe, President ; Sherwood Burr, 

Secretary. 

TwKXTV-ElGIITH SksSION, CONVENED JANU- 
ARY 4, 1887. 

Representatives — William G. Whitmore, Geo. 
Heimrod, John Mathieson, J. R. Young, Patrick 
Garvey, C. J. Smyth, David Knox and Philip 
Andres. N. V. Harlan, Speaker : Brad. D. Slaugh- 
ter, Chief Clerk. 

Senators — George W. Lininger and Bruno 
Tzschuck. George D. Meikeljohn, President ; 
Walter M. Seely, Secretary. 

TwENTV-NiNTU Session, Convened Jan. 1,'89. 

Representatives- R. C. Gushing, R. S. Berlin, 

W, A. Gardner, J. H. Hungate, F. R. Morrissey 

(the last named was afterwards declared by the 



committee on elections to be not entitled to a seat, 
and a certificate was given to George M. O'Brien), 
William Neve, Adam Snyder, John McMillan and 
S. B. Fenno (unseated and place given to Christian 
Specht). John C Watson, Speaker; Brad. D. 
Slaughter, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— J. T. Paulsen and William A. Paxton. 
Church Howe, President ; Walter M. Seely, Sec- 
retary. 

TiiiKTiETH Session, Convened Jan. 6, 1891. 

Representatives— George Bertrand, W. S. Fel- 
ker, Jesse B. Huse James C. Brennan, Joseph J. 
Breen, George J. Sternsdorf, Patrick Ford, Thomas 
Capek, W. A. Gardner. S. M. Elder. Speaker: 
Eric Johnson, Chief Clerk. 

Senators— Warren Switzler, John C. Shea, 
George Christofferson. W. A. Poynter, President; 
C. H. Pirtle. Secretary. 




i/8. 



CHAPTER X. 



• Early Dorxos of the City Council — The Old Capitol Building 
OF Local Legislation — List of City Officials. 



The municipal government of Omaha 
dates from the spring of 1857 ; public 
business previous to that time having been 
conducted by the county officials. The origi- 
nal charter, passed by the Territorial l^egisla- 
ture, was approved February 2d of that 
year, a supplemental act, approved February 
7th, and an election held on the first Monday 
in IMarch, when the following officials were 
elected : 

Jesse Lowe, Mayor; H. C. Anderson, 
Recorder; Lyman Richardson, Assessor; J. 
A. Miller, City Marshal; A. D. Jones, T. G. 
Goodwill, G. C. Bovey, H. H. Visscher, 
Thomas Davis, William U. Wyman, Wil- 
liam N. Byers, C. H. Downs and Thomas 
O'Connor, Aldermen. 

Pursuant to a call of the Mayor, the 
Council convened March 5, 1857, and the 
rules of the Council of the Legislative 
Assembly were adopted for its guidance. 
At this meeting work was at once entered 
upon with characteristic western vigor, 
notice being given of the introduction, at 
an early day, of bills for ordinances upon 
the following subjects: "To prescribe the 
duties of the City Recorder, respecting 
official bonds and oaths; to protect the Mar- 
shal in the execution of his duties; to 
establish the boundaries of wards; to pre- 
vent hogs from running at large; to create 
the office of Citj^ Engineer, and define the 
duties thereof; to establish and build a city 
pound; to regulate the sale of intoxicating 
liquors; to regulate billiard and bowling 
alleys, and for the suppression of gambling 
and gambling rooms. ' ' 



In order to insure enough business to 
keep itself occupied, this first Board of 
Aldermen adopted the following, which the 
Recorder was directed to have printed and 
posted in conspicuous places: 

"Notice is hereby given that the City Council 
of the City of Omaha has organized for the trans- 
action of sucli business as ma^' be brought before 
them for the welfare of said city, and at the first 
session thereof it was resolved that all petitions 
to their honorable body be addressed or pre- 
sented to the City Recorder, and by him pre- 
sented to tlie Council for their consideration, and 
that the citizens of said city be and are hereby 
requested to make their wishes known bj' peti- 
tion at as early a day as possible." 

At the second meeting of the Board, 
evidence of modesty in a marked degree 
was given by the adoption of a motion 
recommending that hereafter the Recorder 
omit the use of the word "Alderman" in 
making up his minutes, and the wild charac- 
ter of the surroundings is shown by the 
notice given by Mr. Jones that he proposed 
introducing a bill for an ordinance " to 
prevent the setting of fires," which referred, 
of course, to prairie fires. A report is pre- 
sented to the effect that " Ilapburn & 
Chapman would furnish city printing at 
the following figures: 

" One-fourth sheet bills 1st 100 .... |4 00 

" Each subsequent 100 3 00 

" One-half sheet bills 1st 100.... 8 00 

" Blanks per 100 ... . 4 00 

" Blank ordinances, 1000 ems, first time 75 

" Blank ordinances, each subsequent 40 

" Printing proceedings of Council, gratis." 

As T. H. Robertson was at this meeting 
elected city printer, there is a good reason 



84 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



to suppose that the scale of prices above 
given were not considered satisfactory. The 
standing committees of the Council were: 
Judiciary, Claims, Streets and Grades, 
Improvements and Printing. The first ordi- 
nance introduced was by A. D. Jones to 
established ward boundaries, and one to 
regulate the sale of liquors was No. 5, 
introduced by T. G. Goodwill. 

Early in the history of the government 
the Recorder was directed to procure from 
Chicago, " or some other well regulated 
cit3^," ten copies of its city ordinances for 
the use of the Council. Thus left with a 
wide discretion, the Recorder e.vidently con- 
cluded that Chicago was not a proper model 
for Omaha, as later on in the records appears 
mention of a bill from the Recorder of " the 
city of Iowa" for ten copies of city ordi- 
nances, hence we may conclude that it was 
to Iowa, and not to Illinois, that our first 
city law makers turned for forms and prece- 
dents, and that, after a calm and careful 
investigation. Recorder Anderson decided 
that, even in that early period, Chicago was 
not " a well regulated city. ' ' 

It is interesting to follow the official 
record of this first Board of Aldermen, then 
planning ways and means for governing a 
hamlet, since grown into a might}' city. 
That they were an industrious body of men, 
is shown by the fact that they met in the 
daytime, and almost every day, for the first 
few months, afterwards changing to Tuesdaj' 
night of each week. There was a strong 
desire to have erected a large hotel, and the 
Council was willing to aid in an enterprise 
of so much importance. March 13, 1857, 
a petition was presented by " George L. 
Miller and 129 others" in relation to appro- 
priating a part of " the Park ' ' (seven 
blocks bounded by Eighth, Ninth, Jackson 
and Davenport) towards such building, which 
was referred to the committee on public 
grounds. At this meeting the following 
resolutions were adopted: 



Resolved, That a portion of the public grounds 
known as "the Park" be donated for the purposes 
of securing the erection of a hotel, worth not less 

than thousand dollars, said hotel to be 

located between Fifth and Twentieth, and Howard 
and Webster Streets, said location, with the above 
restrictions, to be determined by the builder; 
and, be it further 

Resolved, That a committee of three be ap- 
pointed to receive proposals for the building of 
said hotel, and that the3' be authorized to close a 
contract with a responsible party who will under- 
take to build said hotel for the least quantity of 
said grounds. 

The committee to whom this matter was 
referred recommended that a " plan and 
specifications of such house be made by a 
proper and experienced architect, to be 
reported to and acted upon by this Council, 
and after said plan and specifications shall 
have been agreed upon, the same shall be 
published in the papers of Omaha and 
Council Bluffs for two weeks, and give 
notice that all bids shall contain all the 
securities' names which may be offered, and 
the bids sealed and'directed to the President 
of the City Council, which bids shall specify 
what number of lots on said Park they will 
ask as a donation by the city as a bonus 
towards the erection. Said proposals shall 
be handed in before the 1st da^' of April, 
and shall be opened and acted upon in open 
Council at the first regular session after that 
date. ' ' 

This report was adopted and at the Coun- 
cil meeting, held April 7th, four bids were 
presented, and, on motion of Alderman 
Byers, " Dr. George L. Miller was declared 
the successful bidder for the hotel contract," 
and the City Attorney was directed to draw 
up a contract, to be signed by the jMa^yor 
and Dr. Miller. It was the intention then 
to have the proposed hotel built on some 
portion of the ground known as " The Park," 
and the City Engineer was directed to pro- 
ceed at once in platting that tract into lots 
and blocks, to correspond with those adja- 
cent. Later on Dr. Miller and his associ- 
ates, Lyman Richardson and George Bridge, 



'HE FIKST BOARD OF ALDERMEN. 



85 



were given permission to erect the hotel on 
lots 7 and 8, block 124, and the brick build- 
ing, four stories high, known as the Herndon 
House, was erected by those gentlemen, at a 
cost of 175,000. It is now, very much 
enlarged and improved, occupied by the 
Union Pacific Railway headquarters. 

One of the first duties of the Council was 
to elect a City Attorney, and this impoi'tant 
matter was attended to at the meeting held 
iNIarch 12th. .John A. Horbach, .John I. 
Redick, Charles Grant and Jonas Seeley were 
the candidates. On the first ballot Horbach 
received one vote, Redick and Seeley two 
each, and Grant three. On the second bal- 
lot Grant received four votes, Redick one, 
ai»d Seeley three. Grant was declared 
elected. June 23d following he resigned 
and James M. AVoolworth was elected in his 
place. At this meeting of March 12, a City 
Engineer was also elected, A. S. M. Morgan. 

March 13th a committee, "to whom was 
referred the matter of releasing to Douglas 
County, Washington Square," reported the 
matter back to the Council, and the follow- 
ing was offered and laid over under the 
rules: 

" Resolved, That a committee be appointed to 
make arrangements with the Commissioners of 
Douglas County to provide for the disposition of 
Washington Square, in Omaha City, for the pur- 
pose of having erected thereon such buildings as 
may be agreed upon, to be used as a court house 
and jail, a portion of which to be appropriated for 
the use of Omaha City, with Instructions to report 
to this bodv at its earliest 



March 18th a special session of the Council 
was held " to ratify the contract made by 
the committee appointed to confer and stip- 
ulate with the County Commissioners of 
Douglas Count}', for the appropriation of 
Washington Square, to be used in the erec- 
tion of a court house and jail thereon." A 
contract, prepared by the City Solicitor and 
signed b}' Jesse Lowe and Thomas Davis on 
the part of the county, and T. G. Goodwill and 
William N. Byers on behalf of the Council, 
was presented and approved by the Council. 



Washington Square was the block bounded 
by Farnam, Douglas, Fifteenth and Six- 
teenth, now the most valuable square in the 
city. The court house was built on lots 5 
and 6, the present site of the Paxton Block, 
the title to which lots was conveyed by the 
city to the county. The desire of the city 
to occupy a portion of the court house free 
of expense was not complied with, however, 
the county claiming and exercising exclu- 
sive ownership in the building after it was 
finally completed. 

March 14th, 1857, the Mayor was author- 
ized " to enter, without unnecessary delay, 
in the name of the City of Omaha, in 
accordance with the provisions of an act of 
Congress of May 23d, 1844, the following 
subdivisions of the government land, to- wit: 
The northeast quarter and the north half of 
the northwest quarter of section twenty-two, 
and lot two in fractional section number 
twenty-three, township fifteen, north of range 
thirteen, east of the sixth principal merid- 
ian. ' ' The Maj^or was further instructed to 
(after having made such entry) " proceed to 
deed to the proper owners thereof all lots 
and grounds situated within the above 
named tracts of land upon payment by such 
owner of his proportion of the cost of said 
entry and all other charges as are prescribed 
by the laws of this territory, in such cases 
made and provided. ' ' 

And thus was inaugurated a tedious and 
vexatious system of dealings in connection 
with real estate titles which circumstances 
combined to complicate and render exceed- 
ingly difficult to carry out successfully. 
The fact that the city was located upon land 
which still belonged to the government, and 
had not even been surveyed, caused much 
difficulty, bitter personal feuds, the perpetra- 
tion of gross wrongs in isolated cases, and 
litigation as to titles which kept the courts 
occupied for many subsequent years. All 
this, however, resulted from the situation 



86 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



and not from the method adopted by the 
Council to perfect the cit3^'s title to the real 
estate within its boundaries. 

The providing of funds to carry on the 
city government proved a very serious 
problem, and one which the Council had to 
confront early in its history. Money had 
been furnished to erect a capitol building on 
the ground now occupied by the High School, 
with the understanding that the sum thus 
advanced would be refunded bj' the general 
government. Mny 26tli, 18.57, Alderman 



^^^R^ 




Tine TERRITORIAL CAPITOI.. 

Bovey (who, with Major George Armstrong, 
erected the capitol building) offered the fol- 
lowing, which was adopted : 

" Resolved, That the Mayor of the City of 
Omaha be and is hereby instructed, to proceed 
immediately with the erection of the capitol 
building, expending- thereon such money as there 
may be in tlie treasury, appointed for that pur- 
pose, which funds he may increase at such times 
as he may think best, by selling the lands set 
apart for that purpose, or by using tlie credit of 
the city." 

Following this, appropriations were made 
at various times, until $110,000 had been 
expended on the building. 

June 23d the Mayor was authorized " to 
procure plates and to have $30,000 of city 
scrip issued and to enter into a contract with 
the different banks for the circulation and 
redemption of said scrip on the best possi- 
ble terms," and July 8, John H. Kellom 
(who had been elected to fill a vacancy 
caused by the failure of a man named Allen 



to qualify after having been elected), moved 
by a desire to uphold the city's credit, offered 
the following, which, however, was not 
adopted : 

"Whereas, The City of Omaha is about to 
issue its bills of credit to the large amount of 
•130,000, for purposes of vital importance, and it is 
both just and expedient that security of a tangi- 
ble nature, and which will inspire business men 
and the public generally with entire confidence, 
be provided to protect said issue : 

Resolved, That deeds of trust be executed in 
the manner provided in Ordinance No. , con- 
veying to , as trustee, 

the public property of said city, not otherwise 
pledged or appropriated, to be held by liim in 
trust as security for the redemption of the scrip 
issued. 

The Mayor's authority as to the issuance 
of city scrip was extended at a special ses- 
sion held August 29th, when the following 
proposition was received, and the issuance 
of $50,000 authorized: 

"We, the undersigned, do hereby agree to receive 
from the Mayor of the City of Omaha, of the 
scrip to be issued by the city, the amount set 
opposite our names, and to protect the same for 
nine months from the date of the scrip, for ten 
per cent interest for the nine months, to be 
promptly redeemed in currency, provided the 
amount issued shall not exceed $30,000, unless 
protected by a responsible party who shall stamp 
the same, and redeem it either in Omaha City or 
the City of Council Bluffs, but in no event shall 
the issue exceed |50,000. It is understood that 
this agreement shall not be binding on us until 
arrangements be entered into to protect the whole 
amount issued. (Signed,) 

A. U. Wyman, W. E. F. & M. lus. Co |o,000 

Samuel Moffatt, Cashier Bank, Nebraska . . 5,000 
Bank of Tekamah, F. M. Akin, Cashier .... 5,000 

F. Gridley & Co 3,000 

G. C. Monell 3,000 

Banking House. S. E. Rogers & Co., B. B. 

Barkalow, Cashier 3,000 

William Young Brown 3,000 

John McCormick & Co 2,000 

This proposition was accepted by the 
Council, and the Ma3^or empowered to close 
the contract. 

At a meeting held September 22d, an 
additional $10,000 worth of scrip was 



OMAHA CITY SCRIP AND BONDS. 



87 



ordered printed, to be loaned to the Hotel 
Company, " upon their giving satisfactory 
security to the city that they will pay all 
expenses incurred in printing, procuring 
and issuing said scrip, to protect the circu- 
lation of said scrip, and redeem the same 
and deliver it up to the city authorities at 
the end of one year, provided the said com- 
pany procure the concurrence of the bankers 
with whom the city has made contract, 
before the resolution shall take effect. ' ' 

The bankers evidently made no objection, 
for the loan was made, and the Mayor 
instructed to take security on the property 
of the Hotel Company " for the sum of 
$10,000 heretofore agreed upon," thus 
making the total amount of city scrip issxied 
$60,000. In the meantime the financial 
disaster of 1857, which affected the entire 
country, was bringing peculiar hardship to 
the new metropolis of N ebraska. . November 
10th of that year a resolution was adopted, 
reciting that the Farnam Street Hotel Com- 
pany had displayed remarkable energj^ in 
the erection of their hotel " under the most 
depressing circumstances, owing to the un- 
precedented pressure in the money market, 
and conseqent stagnation in business and 
decline in the value of real estate," and 
asked that the time for the completion of said 
building be extended from .January 1st, 
18.58, to .June 1st of that year. 

December 14th, a resolution was adopted 
favoring the issuing of city bonds to the 
amount of 8.50,000, and declaring against a 
proclamation previously issued by the Mayor 
for an election to be held December 24th, 
on a proposition to issue §60,000 in bonds 
to redeem citj^ scrip to that amount; also 
directing the City Recorder to notify Messrs. 
Westwood, Hay & Whitney to print no more 
Omaha scrip, except by order of the Council. 
At a meeting held the following day, the 
Mayor was directed to issue his proclama- 
tion for an election to be held December 
26th, to pass upon the question of issuing 
bonds to the amount of $57,500 to redeem 



city scrip, and the City Recorder was di- 
rected to have 2,000 affirmative ballots 
printed and 500 negative. When the bal- 
lots cast at said election were counted, it 
was found there were 598 in favor of and 
43 against the bonds, a total of 641 votes 
cast at an election of so much importance, 
that it may be deemed a fair showing of 
the voting strength of Omaha at that time. 

Notwithstanding the "unprecedented pres- 
sure in the money market, decline in the 
value of real estate," etc., the Omaha coun- 
cilmen of those days retained their lofty 
aspirations, and their energy and zeal suf- 
fered no abatement. March 30, 1859, Dr. 
George L. Miller was elected " to proceed 
to Washington and use the best efforts to 
procure the passage of acts of Congress to 
reimburse the City of Omaha for money 
expended on the eapitol building ; to locate 
the Surveyor General's office in the City of 
Omaha ; to locate the Pacific Railroad north 
of the Platte River and in the Platte valley; 
to make Omaha the military depot for the 
Utah war; to make an appropriation for the 
removal of snags from the Missouri River; 
to make the City of Omaha a port of entry; 
to make the postoffice at Omaha a distribut- 
ing office, and to aid and assist in the 
enacting of such other acts as may be to 
the advantage of the City of Omaha." 

Hopeful words these, and hopeful, enthu- 
siastic and courageous hearts back of them! 
A task of generous proportions this, en- 
trusted to one who has continued for more 
than thirtj' years since that date laboring to 
develop and promote the highest interests 
of the city which claimed his affection and 
loyalty in the days of his energetic young 
manhood, and which has since witnessed no 
abatement of his ardor. To the zeal, energy, 
confidence and ability of the chosen few 
who attended to the public affairs of Omaha 
in those early days of difficulty, hardships, 
poverty and privation, can be directly traced 
much of the prosperity which has attended 
her in these later j'ears. and in none of their 



88 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



recorded acts are those qualities more clearl3' 
shown than in the instructions thus given 
their ambassador to AVashington. 

But there was very little in the treasury' 
in those days. The Treasurer was directed 
to receive only gold and silver in the 
redemption of lots sold for non-payment of 
taxes; and a committee, appointed to inquire 
of that oHicial why he had not complied 
with an order by the Council to pay the 
claim of one Shennehan to a small amount, 
received the reply that he had previously 
been directed " to reserve the first $500 
received as a special fund to pay the expenses 
of the poor and the land office trials." 

Certain repairs being demanded on the 
capitol building, a special committee was 
appointed to investigate the matter, which 
committee reported that " it would require 
$150 to make the necessary repairs; and, 
taking in consideration the large amount 
already expended by the city to preserve 
from total ruin the materials of which it 
was erected, and the indifference manifested 
by the general government to reimburse the 
city, together with the embarrassing state 
of the financial affairs of the country in 
general, and of this city in particular, it 
would be neither wisdom nor policy for the 
city to incur any further expense on the 
capitol building, until other demands were 
paid; and your committee recommend that 
no further action be taken at this time." 
The report was adopted. 

But the desperate condition of the city 
finances is probably more clearly shown in 
certain proceedings had by the Council, 
August 10th, 1858, than elsewhere in the 
Clerk's records. An ordinance, of which, 
unfortunately, but a brief mention is made 
(hence its provisions cannot be given), had 
been previouslj' referred to the judiciary 
committee; and, at this meeting of the Coun- 
cil, Mr. Thomas Davis, chairman, presented 
the following: " The committee on judici- 
ary, to whom was referred the ordinance 
providing for the payment of city warrants, 



would respectfully report that they have 
had the same under consideration and would 
recommend that the bill do not pass, for the 
reason that j'our committee are fully of the 
opinion that the bill is a virtual repudiation 
of the debt of the city, known as the scrip 
debt, which has been ratified by a vote of 
over two-thirds of the citizens." ISIr. M. 
W. Keith, of the same committee, took an 
entirely different view of the situation, and 
thus reported: "In the first place the city 
cannot proceed to make any improvements 
of streets and bridges, payment of its offi- 
cers, relieving of the poor, or even burying 
the dead, in those cases of citizens who are 
so unfortunate as to die poor, unless we 
re-establish the credit of the city by paying 
its legitimate indebtedness in preference to 
any other class of claims. The undersigned 
is fully of the opinion, from information 
derived from citizens, that nine-tenths of the 
citizens are in favor of the bill now under 
consideration, and therefore he respectfully 
recommends that the report of the chairman 
be laid on the table and that the bill do now 
pass and become a permanent ordinance of 
the city." The Keith report was adopted. 

November 30th, 1859, O. D. Richardson 
and .John H. Sahler were appointed a com- 
mittee to go to Washington and urge certain 
legislation in behalf of the city, and were 
voted $1,000 for their expenses, and later on 
they were authorized to expend money 
" upon contingency of success to an amount 
not to exceed $3,000." These gentlemen 
proceeded to Washington, where they spent 
some time, and upon their return presented 
the following report: 

In pursuance of your appointment, we re- 
paired to Washington and consulted with our 
delegates upon tlie best mode of effecting the 
passage of the bill to remunerate the City of 
Omaha for the outlay upon the capitol ; the bill 
for an appropriation for the completion of the 
capitol ; the bill for the bridging of the Loup 
Fork : the bill allowing the Mayor to pre-empt 
outside the 330 acres, and the bill appropriating 
lands for raih-oads in the Territory, etc. After 



SEEKIN^Cr FEDERAL REIMBURSEMENT. 



89 



.tgreeing upon the course to be pursued, we 
devoted our time and best energies to the business 
we had in charge. 

The several bills were introduced and referred 
to the committees and, as a general thing, they 
met with a favorable reception, none denying the 
justness of our claims, but we were met with the 
fact that there was a short session, with scarcely 
time to pass the bills in their regular order, and 
even if there was, there was no money in the 
treasury. Aside from these obstacles there 
seemed to be a strong disinclination on the part 
of a majority in Congress, especially in the House, 
to do the business before them and which the pub- 
lic interests demanded. This was manifested by 
long speeches on things relevant and irrelevant 
and by constant calling for the yeas and nays at 
almost every opportunity. Notwithstanding all 
this we succeeded in getting two of our bills 
reported, the one appropriating |33 000 for a pen- 
itentiary and the one appropriating 130,000 for 
the completion of the capitol. These, under the 
rules of the House (in bills appropriating money), 
must be referred to the committee of the whole, 
and thej' were so referred, but were never reached 
in their order, and, though a strong efl'ort was 
made to pass them by tacking them to another 
bill, that effort failed. In addition to the fore- 
going matters we were often at the general land 
office to put our lands in market, both those 
within the city limits and throughout the Terri- 
tory. The Secretary of the Interior decided that 
all lands should be put in market by the 10th of 
July. 

The subject of the division of our Territory 
came up after we arrived there. Sevei-al persons 
appeared there to represent those favorable to 
the measure. When the subject had been referred 
to a committee we appeared before the committee 
and stated our reasons against the proposed dis- 
memberment, and the absurdity and injustice of 
such dismemberment were so apparent that the 
committee reported adversely to the purpose of 
the bill. 

We very much regret that we could not 
accomplish more for the benefit of the Territory 
and city than we did, but we believe the failure 
of the passage of our bills was not owing to any 
want of labor or effort on our part, but to causes 
over which we had no control, and which were 
manifest to all who were familiar with the trans- 
actions of the late Congress. 

Later on Doctor Lowe presented the fol- 
lowing additional statement: 



To THE City Council of Omaha : 

Gentlemen: Under a commission of your prede- 
cessors, of December 21, 1858, 1 proceeded to Wash- 
ington in the winter of 1858 and 1859, to urge upon 
the general land office prompt action in considering 
and canceling, the private preemptions illegally 
made within the corporate limits of the city and 
to do what else I could In matters of Interest to 
Omaha, which were then pending in Congress. I 
reached Washington about the 20th of January, 
and, remained there until the 4th of March, 1859, 
devoting all my time to the objects of my mis- 
sion, and succeeded in obtaining a hearing and 
favorable decision of much the larger and most 
important portion of the cases; but, not being able 
to get all of them taken up within that time, and 
being unable to remain longer, I employed M. 
Thompson, Esq., to attend to the remaining cases; 
and having no money to pay him I agreed to send 
him a deed for five of my own lots, within the 
limits of Council Bluffs, where the titles were 
complete, for $250. This I have done, as you will 
more satisfactorily learn from his own acknowl- 
edgment, herewith submitted, and I now respect- 
fully ask to be reimbursed therefor. I disclaimed 
at the outset any compensation for my time and 
services, but I cannot afford to give also the 
money actually paid out for necessary personal 
expenses in going and returning, and for my 
board while there. Therefore I submit the follow- 
ing charges and ask their allowance In cash or 
its equivalent, viz : Paid to Thompson for city, 
$250; actual expenses going to and returning 
from Washington, $120 ; board forty -tvi'O days, at 
$1.50 per day -$63— $433." The doctor was voted 
an equal number of lots in Omaha to reimburse 
him for the Council Bluffs lots, which he had 
deeded away, and in addition was given $183 In 
cash, on account of his expenses. 

In November, 1864, the following was 
presented and adopted, as the report of a 
special committee, appointed in that behalf- 
To THE City Council : 

Your committee, to whom was referred the 
proposition to employ P. W. Hitchcock, Esq , to 
procure from Congress an appropriation to reim- 
burse the city the money expended by it in 
completion of the capitol building, respectfully 
report that they have had the matter under con- 
sideration and have had interviews with Mr. 
Hitchcock and others interested in the subject ; 
that in consequence of his position they do not 
deem It advisable to enter into the engagement 
proposed, and we understand Mr. Hitchcock him- 
self to be understood as desiring no compensation 



90 



tISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



for himself, but only necessai-y means to receive 
the support of influential parties in aid of the 
measure. We believe Mr. Hitchcock will aid this 
matter to the utmost of his ability, out of regard 
to his position as delegate elect and interest in 
the affairs of our city, and so understood him to 
state: and we think his aid will be much more 
efficient in supporting some other person than it 
would be under the engagement proposed. Mr. J. 
M. Woolworth is to be in Washington this winter, 
on professional business, and he would undoubt- 
edly enter into like engagements and at the same 
time have the aid of Mr. Hitchcock in the matter. 
It seems to your committee likely to meet with 
more success if entrusted in the first instance to 
the hands of some person whose official position 
did not seem to compromise his honor. No per- 
son can doubt the justice of the claim made upon 
the government, nor the advantage to the city of 
securing the appropriation. 

Your committee, therefore, present the follow- 
ing resolutions : 

Where.\s, In order to complete the capitol of 
this Territory, the City of Omaha issued scrip to 
a large amount, which was expended for tliat 
purpose under the promise of Governor Izard, the 
agent of the United States, that they would reim- 
burse the city the sum so expended, which, ss 
yet, the government has failed to do, and by 
reason of large claims made against the city on 
account of the.se said scrip, our credit is greatly 
impaired. 

Hesolved, That J. M. Woolworth, Esq., be and 
hereby is appointed the agent of the City of 
Omaha in this behalf, and is empowered to use all 
proper means to obtain from the United States 
the funds to liquidate the sums so expended, and 
to that end this committee and tlie proper officers 
of the city make to hmi a power of attorney, 
authorizing him so to act in the premises, and 
that for his services he receive twenty-Sve per 
cent of the sum which he may obtain from the 
United States for said purpose, he to receive no 
other compensation for his services, whether he 
succeed or fail in the said business. 

Resolved, That whatever sum is realized for 
the benefit of the City of Omaha from the general 
government in accordance with the foregoing res- 
olution shall, when received, be applied to tlie 
settlement of the claims against the city arising 
from the completion of the capitol by the said 
Citj' of Omaha, and for re-imbursing the city for 
its outlay upon said capitol, and such equitable 
manner as the City Council may determine. 

These gentlemen having all failed to 
accomplish tlie object in view, .September 27, 



1865, a resolution was adopted giving to 
" Samuel Clinton, of Iowa, a power of attor- 
ney to solicit an appropriation by the 
United States government to refund the 
money expended upon the capitol building, 
l)y the City of Omaha,' ' and for his services 
lie was to receive twenty-five per cent of the 
money collected. And again, January 9th, 
1867, O. P. llurford was appointed the agent 
of the city to prosecute this claim for money 
expended on the capitol building, and was 
to receive as compensation the twenty-five 
per cent, which seemed to be the regular 
figures in fixing the remuneration to be 
received b^' the various parties designated 
by the city to make periodical assaults upon 
the National Congress. A year later a reso- 
lution was adopted by the Council revoking 
the authority previousl}^ given Samuel Clin- 
ton, James M. Woolworth, "and any and 
all persons" to whom such authority had 
been granted, and full power was conferred 
upon A. J. Poppleton to represent the city 
in the premises; and in June, 1869, all pre- 
vious appointments were revoked, and David 
L. Collier was selected by the Council as the 
proper man to collect this money from the 
general government. All these efforts proved 
futile, however, the government at Washing- 
ton adding to a long list of instances of its 
injustice to individuals and communities by 
ignoring entirely the claim the City of 
Omaha had upon it for the large sum 
expended in providing a capitol building 
for the Territory. 

The amount appropriated by the general 
government for the erection of a Capitol 
building was 150,000; the City of Omaha 
expended $60,000 additional, and in his 
message to the Legislature in 1859, Governor 
Izard stated that a further sum of $30,000 
would be required to complete the building 
in good shape, and recommended memorial- 
izing Congress to that effect, when, in his 
opinion, the amount required would be 
promptly voted by the National law makers. 
The building never was completed, but 



tECOKDS OF INTERESTING LEGISLATION. 



91 



served the purpose until tlie capitol was 
moved to Linnoln in 1867, and a few years 
later was torn down to give place to the 
High School building, as elsewhere referred 
to at length. 

These old recoi-ds are full of interesting 
facts. For instance, Omaha, in those early 
days, seemed to be threatened very fre- 
quently with outbreaks of hydrophobia in 
an epidemic form, and legislation of the 
most vigorous character was directed against 
the dogs of that period. Mr. Charles P. 
Birkett, after he came into the Board, was 
jjarticularly active in this direction. Then 
there was much fear of small pox. In Jul}', 
18.57, the following resolution was adopted: 

Whereas, Tlie small pox has commenced to 
prevail in the City of Omaha ; and, 

Whereas, It is currently reported and be- 
lieved that said disease prevails to a considerable 
extent among- the Indians temporarily staying in 
and about said city, and among the Mormon emi- 
grants passing through said city on their way to 
the west, and that the said disease has been intro- 
duced by said Indians and Mormons ; now, there- 
fore, be it 

"Resolcnl, That the City Marshal be instructed 
and required forthwith to cause said Indians to 
remove from and remain outside the corporate lim- 
its of said city, and also to cause sucli Mormon emi- 
grants as may be camped within the said limits 
to remove without the same, unless it shall satis- 
factorily appear to the City Marshal and the City 
Physician that said camps are not infected with 
said disease; and that the City Marshal be in- 
struched to immediately notify the officers and 
proprietors of tlie ferry boat, plying between 
Om.ha and Council Bluffs, that said boat will not 
be allowed to carry over and land, within the 
corporate limits of said City of Omaha, any 
trains of emigrants coming from the east, until 
this order is annulled; and in enforcing the above 
orders the City Marslial is hereby vested with all 
the powers granted in the ordinances creating his 
said office, for the purpose of making arrests, 
quelling riots, and other like duties." 

In the winter of 1857-8 the following was 
adopted : 

Whereas, It has but recently come to the 
knowledge of the members of the Council tiuitit 
is in contemplation hy certain parties to open a 



saloon in one of the rooms in the basement story 
of the Territorial Capitol building ; and, 

Whereas. We believe that the establishment 
of such an institution m the place named is an 
insult upon the dignity of the Territorial Legisla- 
t'U'e soon to convene in said building, and that it 
will be detrimental to the reputation of the City 
of Omaha, and injurious to its future prospects ; 
therefore, be it 

Resulved, By the City Council of Omaha that 
we hereby instruct, empower and direct the pres- 
ent superintendent of said building to proceed 
forthwith to take measures to prevent the estab- 
lishment and opening of said saloon in the place 
named, and for that purpose he will, if necessary 
call in the aid of the City Marshal, with such 
aides as the Marshal maj' deem necessary. 

Upon this resolution. Aldermen Kellom, 
Byers, Downs, Davis, Creighton and Vis- 
scher voted in the affirmative, and Aldermen 
>Y3rman and O'Connor in the negative. 

Various suggestions were made as to 
means to increase the city funds, including 
schemes to sell all of the city property, 
including Jefferson Square; and, in 1858, the 
City Solicitor (George I. Gilbert, Esq.,) 
presented a report on that subject, adverse 
to the proposition, in the course of which he 
cited instances in the cities of Detroit, Cin- 
cinnati and Allegheny, where sales of the 
city property had been made by the munici- 
pal authorities of those cities, and deeds 
given to purchasers, and in some instances 
the parties had erected buildings upon the 
property purchased; that legal measures 
were subsequently resorted to for the recov- 
ery of the property by others, on the part of 
the cities mentioned, and the courts vacated 
the deeds, and declared the buildings that 
had been erected on the property a public 
nuisance. Steps were afterwards taken to 
dispose of various lots owned by the city, 
but Jefferson Square was not included. At 
that time that block of ground was esti- 
mated to be worth $4,000, or $500 per lot. 
(The property is now valued at $400,000.) 
At one time it was proposed to use lots 3, 
4, 5 and 6, in this block, for public school 
l)urposes, but the scheme was not carried 
into effect. 



92 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



All sorts of enterprises calculated to ben- 
efit the city were encouraged in the most 
liber.-il manner. In 1859, three hundred lots 
were donated by resolution to " Messrs. Irv- 
ing & Co., said lots supposed to be of the 
average value of $200 per lot, upon condi- 
tion that said Irving & Co. will keep and 
maintain during the continuance of their 
contract with the United States, at or within 
two miles of the City of Omaha, a deposit 
(depot?) for the reception and delivery of 
goods to be transported by them for said 
government. ' ' 

June 11, 1860, a committee was appointed 
to prepare a memorial to Howell Cobb, Sec- 
retary of the Treasury of the United States, 
in relation to repairing the damages done 
the capitol building by the late storm; and 
at the same meeting of the Council the 
IMayor was directed to issue a notice, to be 
recorded in the office of the Register of 
Deeds, warning all persons to not purchase 
from D. C. Sutphen lot 3, in fractional sec- 
tion 23, township 15, range 13, " the same 
being within the incorporated limits of tlie 
City of Omaha, and the title to the same 
having been illegally obtained by the said 
Sutphen." The tract referred to in this 
"warning" lies near the river bank, and 
consists of a trifle over 31 acres. Mr. Sutphen 
obtained his patent for the land, but it was 
afterwards annulled, and Mr. Durant filed 
on it on behalf of the Union Pacific Com- 
pany; the land was ordered sold at public 
auction, and Mr. Sutphen bid it in at a dol- 
lar and a quarter an acre. Additional 
difficulty was experienced, however. Mr. 
Sutphen 's money being tendered him by the 
land officers at Washington, Mr. Byron 
Reed became interested in the matter, and 
the result was that a second patent was 
granted Mr. Sutphen, with the understand- 
ing that he was to deed an undivided half of 
the property to Mr. Reed, which he did. 

In July, 1860, a special meeting of the 
Council was held to take action with regard 
to a tract of 160 acres north of town, in 



which Mr. E. Y. Smith, and the city were 
rival claimants. Mr. Smith had made a 
proposition to the Council to the eflfect that 
he should be permitted to purchase the 80 
acres in section 15, and the city should take 
80 acres in section 10, and after considerable 
discussion the proposition was accepted. 

The pre-emption undertaken to be made 
by Mr. Ileman Olass was the subject of a 
good deal of controversy. September 18th, 
1860, Mr. Glass made a statement to the 
Council with regard to his case, and the 
following was adopted by the Board: 

Re.iolvfd, That on condition that Heuian 
Glass give a bond to the City of Omaha that he 
will pay to the city $1,000 in city scrip when his 
pre-emption is sustained, the Citj' of Omaha 
hereby conseats tliat the entry of the said Glass 
be perfected, and that the Mayor be and is liereby 
instructed to withdraw all opposition to the con- 
firmation of the pre-emption title of Heman 
Glass to the south-west quarter of the south- 
west quarter of sectioQ 21, township 15, range 13. 

This description comprises 80 acres of 
land, extending from Twentieth Street on 
the east to Twentj^-Seventh Street on the 
west, and from Leavenworth on the north 
to Pacific Street on the south, which bound- 
aries include Millard Place, McCandlish 
Place, Marsh's Addition, Redick's Second 
Addition, and Briggs' Place. 

October 29th, 1860, the Council adopted a 
resolution to withdraw all opposition to the 
confirmation of the pre-emption of Paul 
Neilson to the east half of the south-west 
quarter of section 22, and the east half of 
the north-west quarter of section 27, town- 
ship 15, range 13, in consideration of receiv- 
ing 81,250 in scrip from said Neilson. This 
tract is a mile in length, north and south, 
and a quarter of a mile wide, extending 
from Center Street on the south to the alley 
south of Harney Street on the north, and 
from Sixteenth Street on the east to Twen- 
tieth on the west. It includes Hartman's 
Addition, Kouutze & Ruth's Addition, and 
the triangular tract north of St. Mary's 
Avenue and east of Twentieth Street, 



REAL ESTATE AND OTHER LEGISLATION. 



93 



platted as Kountze's Reserve. With respect 
to this entrj', on the 13th of March, 1862, 
this record appears in the proceedings of 
the Citj' Council: 

On leave, Messrs. Kountze and Ruth made a 
statement to the Council in relation to their note 
held by the city. Alderman Kennedy presented 
the following resolution, which was adopted : 
ResoUed, That Messrs. Kountze and Ruth 
be released from all liability upon their note 
now held by the City of Omaha for the pay- 
ment of $1,250 in city scrip or orders, dated 
October 30, 1860, and from all obligation to 
the said city in relation to the PaulNeilson entry, 
being the east half of the south-west quarter of 
section 33, and the east half of the north-west quar- 
ter of section 37, upon payment by -said Kountze 
and Ruth to the City Treasurer the sum of .f 1,000 
in city scrip or orders ; and, further, tliat they 
take up the note of Heman Glass to said city for 
•1930, dated September 17, 1860, payable in city 
scrip or orders. 

For many years this man Neilson lived 
in a small house on this tract, just north of 
St. Mary's Avenue. July 21, 1874, he hung 
himself in an out-building. He was then 
66 years old, and lived with his married 
daughter and her husband, Christian Peter- 
son. It was reported that he had been 
poisoned, and the bod3' was taken up after 
burial and a 2Mst mortem examination had. 
Mr. and Mrs. Peterson, who discovered the 
dead body in the barn, at first reported that 
death had resulted from an attack of cholera- 
morbus, but the coroner's inquest disclosed 
the facts; when the body was dug up, it was 
found that a good suit of clothes in which 
it had been dressed for burial had been 
removed by someone, and an old suit sub- 
stituted. 

There was evidently " a watch dog of tlie 
treasury" in the earlier historj" of our city 
government, however it may have been in 
later years, as the records show an almost 
universal habit of cutting down on claims 
presented for payment. For instance, in 
1860, the city printer, M. II. Clark, pre- 
sented one bill for $110.00, which was 
referred to the Judiciary Committee, which 
committee reported, recommending that he be 



paid $70.00, but the Council thought this was 
too much, and voted the sum of $.50.00 as a 
payment in full; M. W. Keith wanted $ 1 1.50 
for the use of a room for election purposes, 
and was voted $3.50; Jerry McCheane asked 
for $3.00 for his services as clerk of election, 
and was given just fifty per cent, of his 
claim, and Timothy Kelly was treated in 
like manner when he demanded $5.00 to pay 
for his services as judge of election, and 
for the use of a room for election purposes. 

In those early days there seemed to be no 
lack of poor in the city, as frequent refer- 
ences are made to that class in the Council 
proceedings. At one time the City Clerk 
was instructed to " issue city orders on the 
treasury, not exceeding $100 in the aggre- 
gate, as any person will volunteer to cash 
at par, the money to be appropriated for the 
relief of the poor of the city." At another 
time, in 1862, a committee was appointed to 
solicit donations from citizens for the support 
of the poor. Mr. Kellom seemed to be an 
active conservator of the public morals in 
those early days. Mr. Peter Hugus pre- 
sented a petition in 1863, praying that steps 
be taken to prevent steamboats discharging 
their cargoes at the Omaha levee on Sunday, 
which petition was referred to a committee, 
of which Mr. Kellom and Mr. D. C. Sutphen 
were members. The former presented a 
report, recommending that the prayer of the 
petitioner be granted. An adverse report 
was presented by Mr. Sutphen, and the 
petition was re-referred to the same com- 
mittee and evidently never saw the light of 
day again. 

In December, 1864, an appropriation of 
$100 was made to pay for clearing away the 
brush on Ninth; Tenth and Eleventh streets, 
south of Jones, and as late as 1866 residents 
in that part of the city were allowed to work 
out their poll tax bj^ cutting out brush from 
the public streets. 

In 1865 there was an ordinance passed 
" Dedicating streets, alleys, levee, Jefferson 
Square, and the Park, to public uses." The 



94 



IIISTOKi' OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



same j^ear Ebenezer Dallow was granted 
license " to open and keep a theatre in his 
building, on block 119, in said city, for the 
term of one month," for which privilege he 
was taxed 110. General W. T. Sherman, 
being expected to visit tlie eit}% the Council, 
at its meeting of October 7, 1865, adopted 
a resolution tendering him the hospitalities 
of Omaha. The schools were evidently very 
modest in their demands in those days, as 
we find the Board of Education, consisting 
of George B. Lake, B. E. B. Kennedy and 
Lorin Miller, petitioning tlie Council for a 
deed, February 21, 1866, to the west half 
of lot 5, in block 2.32, for school purposes. 
This lot is situated at the northeast corner 
of Pacific and Tenth. 

Early in 1866 the Council passed a resolu- 
tion declaring that the privilege heretofore 
granted E. B. Chandler to stack haj^ in 
certain streets of the city shall expire on 
the first day of May, 1866. March 22d,of 
that year, a police force was elected by the 
Council, consisting of Patrick Swift, .John 
Morrissey, Thomas Welch and .John Logan; 
and the " Captain of the City Police ' ' was 
instructed to " place his men on their beats 
from 8 o'clock until sunrise. ' ' A few weeks 
later this army was increased by an addition 
of two, but as John Morrissey had been 
dismissed in the meantime, there was a net 
gain of but one. 

During this same month an ordinance was 
passed requiring barbers to close their shops 
on Sunday, which action evidently created 
considerable dissatisfaction, as a few weeks 
later Alderman Ingalls gave notice that he 
would introduce a resolution to rescind the 
action previously taken; but, as no further 
record was made with regard to it, his 
purpose was evidentlj' not carried out. 

The following list comprises the principal 
city officers since the organization of the 
city government: 

Mayors— Jesse Lowe, 1857; A. J. Poppleton, 
1858; George Armstrong, 1859; D. D. Belden,1860; 
Clinton Briggs, 1861; Ueorge Armstrong, 1862; 



B. E. B. Kennedy, 1863; A. R. Gilmore, 1864; Lorin 
Miller, 1865; Charles H. Brown, 1867; George M. 
Roberts, 1868; Ezra Millard, 1869; Smith S. Cald- 
well, 1871; Joseph H. Millard, 1873; William M. 
Brewer. 1873; C. S. Chase, 1875; Reuben H. Wil- 
bur, 1877; C. S. Chase, 1879; James E. Boyd, 
1881; C. S. Chase, 1883; P. F. Murphy (to 
complete the unexpired term of C. S. Chase), 
1885; James E. Boyd, 1886; W. J. Broatch, 1887; 
R. C. dishing. 1889; George P. Beniis 1891. [In 
1887, Judge Wakeley decided, in a quo warranto 
proceeding brought by C. S. Chase, thatthe latter 
had been illegally ousted as Mayor by the Coun- 
cil in 1884, and in a hearing before Judge Clark- 
son in June, 1890. the Court directed the jury to 
(ind for plaintiff in a case where Chase was seek 
iiig to recover the amount of the Mayor's salary 
paid to Murphy while acting as Mayor, to the 
amount of nearly $1,000.] 

City Clerks— H. C. Anderson, 1857 ; James W. 
VanNostrand. Joseph R. Stokes, R. C. Jordan, 
18,58; James W. Van Nostrand, 1859; George R. 
Smith, Byron Reed, 1860; Byron Reed, 1861-2-3-4- 
.5-6; William L.May, 1867; C. L. Bristol, 1868-9- 
70-71; Joseph M. McCune, 1872-3-4; O. C. Ludlow, 
1875-6-7; Zachary Taylor, 1878; James F. Mc- 
Cartney, 1880; J. J. L. C. Jewett, 1881-2-3-4-5; J. 
B. Southard, 1886-7-8; John Groves, 1889-90-91 
(still in office). 

City Treasurers— John H.Kellom, 1858; Joseph 
H. Millard, 1859; R. H. Brown, 1860; Daniel Gantt, 
1861 to 1864; Frank Murphy, 1864 to 1868; Henry 
Gray, 1868 to 1871; John Steen, 1871 to 1873; Ed- 
ward A. Johnson, 1873 to 1875; C. Hartman, 1875 
to 1879; SamueJ G. Mallette, 1879tol882; Truman 
Buck, 1882 to 1887; John Rush, 1887 to 1891; Henry 
Bolln, 1891. 

Police Judges — (Previous to 1868 the Mayor 
served as Police Judge also). John Sahler, 1868; 
John R. Porter, 1868 to 1873: Erwin G. Dudley, 
1873; R. H. Wilbur, 1874; John R. Porter, 1875; 
Gustave Anderson, 1877: P. O. Hawes, 1879; Gus- 
tave Beneke, 1881 to 1885; E. M. Stenberg, 1885; 
Louis Berka, 1887; Lee Helsey, 1889; Louis Berka, 
1891. 

City Attorneys— (This official was formerly 
called City Solicitor) — Charles Grant, James M. 
Wool worth, 1857; George I. Gilbert, 1858; no rec- 
ord to 1866. in which last named year George B. 
Lake filled the position ; B.E. B. Kennedy, 1866-7; 
George W. Ambrose, 1868; J. P. Bartlett, 1869 to 
1870; George E. Pritchett, 1873; John M. Thurs- 
ton, 1874; Charles F. Manderson, 1877; John D. 
Howe, 1881; William J. Connell, 1883; John L. 
Webster, 1887: A. J. Poppleton. 1889; W. J. Con- 
nell, 1891. 





/ ' / 



ITY OFFICE! 



PAST AND PRESENT. 



t»5 



City Engineer— A. S. Morgan. 18.57 ; Chauucy 
Wiltse, 1858; O. F. Davis. 1860 to 1866; George 
Smith, 1866; R. C. Barnard, A. J. Wilgocke, 1867; 
William Kipp, 1868 to 1871; J. E. House, 1871; 
Andrew Rosewater, 1871 to 1874; Edmund But- 
ton, 1.874; Andrew Ro.sewater, 187.5; Wilbur F. 
Hawe.s, 1876 to 1878; Henry Rohwer, 1878 to 1881; 
Andrew Rcsewator, 1881 to 1887; George W. Till- 
son 1889; Andrew Rosewater, 1891. 

City Marshals and Chiefs of Police— J. A. 
Miller, J. H. Wheeler. 18.57; J. H.Wheeler, 1858; 
Thomas L. Sutton. 18.59 to 1861: T. J. Torrey, A. 
L. King. 1862; Thomns Riley, 1863 to 1864; Crock- 
ett Wilson, 1865; Thomas Riley, William P. Snow- 
den, 1866; William P Suowden, 1867; W. W. 
Angel. H. L. Seward, 1868; William G. Hollins, 
1869 to 1870; H. L. Seward, 1871; Richard Kim- 
ball, 1872; Gilbert Rustin. 1873 to 1874; William 
P. Snowden. 1875 to 1876; John H. Butler, 1877 to 
1878; C. J. Westerdahl. 1879; D. P. Angel, 1881 to 
1883; Roger C. Guthrie. 1884; Thomas Cumings, 
1885; Webb S. Seavey, 1887 (still in office). 

Gas Inspector— George W. Gratton, 1869 to 
1873. The office was then vacant until the pres- 
ent incumbent. James Gilbert, was appointed in 
1886. 

Fire Wardens and Chiefs of Fire Depart- 
ment— Benjamin Steckles, 1862 to 1866; W. J. 
Kennedj', 1806: Andrew J. Simpson, 1866; Joseph 
F. Sheely, 1869; J. E. Markel, 1871; Charles Simp- 
son, 1873; Stephen N. Mealio, 1874: John J. Galli- 
gan, 1874; Frank Klelfner, 1875; John J. Galligan, 
1876 to 1883; John H. Butler, 1883 to 1886; John 
J. Galligan, 1886 (still in office). 

Health Officers and City Physicians— A. 
Chappel, 1857; J. P. Peck. 18.58; George L. Miller, 
1861; A. Roeder, 1863; G. C. Monell, 1864; J R. 
Conkling, 1865 to 1868, from which date the office 
was vacant for several years. R. C. Moore, 1876 
to 1879; P. S. Leisenring. 1879 to 1887; J.B.Ralph, 
1887 to 1889; Clark Gapen, 1889; A. B. Somers, 
1891. 

Street Commissioners— Jeremiah Mahoney, 1858 
to 1859; Jeremiah Mahoney, 1867: John Logan, 
1868; William Knight, A. R. Hoel, 1869: B. B. 
Case, 1870; Jerry Dee, 1871; Robert G. Jenkinson, 
1873 to 1874; Patrick Ford, 1881 to 1884; Michael 
C. Meaney, 1.H84 to 1889; Josiah Kent, 1889; J. H. 
Winspear, 1892. 

Board of Public Works— See chapter entitled 
" Public Improvements." 

Fire and Police Commissioners— See chapter 
on Police. 

Building Inspectors— George C. Whitlock, 1887; 
James F. Filley, 1891. 



Comptrollers — Charles S.Goodrich, 1887: Tlieo- 
dore Olsen, 1891. 

Plumbing Inspectors — Robert D. Dnncan. 1887: 
George Dennis, 1889. 

City Auditors— Eben K. Long, 1885 to 1887, 
Mr Long is the only person tilling this office, the 
title being changed in 1887 to City Comptroller. 

Councilmen— (The city was first divided into 
three wards, with the Council composed of tliree 
members from each ward, to serve two years, 
after the first year, when half the Board was 
elected for only one year. Afterwards the city 
was re-districted into six wards, each having two 
members in the Board. At present there are nine 
wards, with a Council composed of eigliteen 
members, half of whom are elected from the 
respective wards, and the others from the citj' at 
large). A. D. Jones, T. G. Goodwill. G. C. Rovey, 
H. H. Visscher, Thomas Davis, William N. Byers, 
William W. Wyman, Thomas O'Connor, C. H. 
Downs, John H. Kellom and James Creighton — 
the last two named being elected to fill vacancies 
caused by the resignation of A. D. Jones and death 
of T. G. Goodwill— 1857; John E. Dailey, William 
W. Keith, Lorin Miller, B. T. C. Morgan, G. W. 
Wood, Jonas G. Seely, O. P. Ingalls, D. F. Rich- 
ards, John Campbell, H. M. Judson, Albert S. 
Clarke, John Richards and O. D. Richardson — 
there were six vacancies caused by resignations 
during the year— 1858; Thomas Davis, William 

A. Gwyer, Harrison Johnson, A. J. Hanscom, John 
McCormick, John Ritchie and Joseph Barker, Jr., 
1859; G. C. Monell, John R. Meredith, J. G. 
Megeath, H. Z. Curtis, Edwin Loveland, Moses F. 
Shinn and Francis Smith. 1860; James K. Ish, 
Charles P. Birkett, J. J. Brown, John R. Porter, 
Asa Hunt and W. J. Kennedy, 1861; B. E. B. Ken- 
nedy, St. John Goodrich, D. C. Sutphen, Henry 
Gray, Joseph F. Sheely and William F. Sapp, 
1863; ThomasO'Connor. St. John Goodrich, George 

B. Lake, Henry Grebe, John Campbell and John H. 
Kellom, 1863; Vincent Burkley, George M. Mills, 
Joseph E. Sheely, L. C. Huntington, John R. Por- 
ter, J. B. Allen and William E. Harvey, 1864; 
James B. Callahan, Jonas Gise, Charles H. Brown, 
O. P. Ingalls and George Smith, 1865; C. P. Bir- 
kett, A. J. Simpson, O. P. Ingalls and D. F. Rich- 
ards, 1866; John H. Green, Charles Maguire, John 
R. Porter, Julius Rudowsky, Henry Bruning, 
James Creighton, William Jones and Edwin Pat- 
rick, 1867; George W. Doane, Robert C. Jordan, 
John R. Meredith, N. P. Lsaacs, C. L. Gambell, J. 

C. Ambrose, David T. Mount and John Evans, 
1868: Jnlius Rudowsky, Thomas Davis, George C. 
Merrill, George W. Homan, J. E. Kelley, David 
T. Mount, L. C. Richards, J. S. McCormick, George 



HISTORY OF THE CITY 



OMAHA. 



O. Williams, James Creighton, Joseph W. Pad- 
dock, S. C. Rose and Jesse H. Lacey, 1869; E. A. 
Allen, Richard P. Kimball, John A. Horbach and 
George Smith, 1870; M. J. McKelligon, George W. 
Homan, James S. Gibson, Henry Luhens, John 
Campbell, John A. Horbach, Byron Reed, James 
Creighton, J. P. Bartlett and Thomas Martin, 
1871; Thomas Swobe. A. J. Doyle, John M. Thurs- 
ton, John D. Jones, L. L. Bristol and Henry J. 
Lucas. 1873; James Stephenson, James S. Gibson, 
W. J. Hamilton, D. C. Sutphen, A. A. Gibson and 
W. W. Marsh, 1873; O. C. Campbell. A. McGavock, 
Charles Bankes, Lewis Brown. H. J. Lucas M. H. 
Brown, Isaac W. Miner and Thomas Swobe, 1874; 
John P. Kelley, Charles J. Karbach, M. Cumings 
Charles C. Sperry, William N. Dwyer and Edwin 
Loveland, 1875; A. McGavock. Edward C. Mc- 
Shane, August Aust, Bernard Shannon Lewis S. 
Brown, C. V. Gallagher and E. V. Smith. 1876; 
Robert G. Jenkinson, James G. Megeath Charles 
Bankes, George H. Boggs, Fred W. Gray, William 
M. Dwyer and Robert K. Taft. 1877; Isaac S. Has- 
call, Owen Slaven, Dennis Cunningham, Bernard 
Shannon, George W. Lininger, Orrin G. Dodge 
and Joseph Redman, 1878; Charles Kaufman. 
George F. Labagh, Fritz Riepen, John D. Jones. 
Levi J. Kennard, Thomas H. Dailey and James 
Stephenson. 1.879; Edward Roddis, Charles A. 
Thieman. Henry Hornberger, Tliomas Blackmore, 
James E. Boyd and William Dailey, 1880; A. Mc- 
Gavock, M. A. McNamara, Martin Dunham, W. I. 
Baker. Richard O'Keefe. Fred Del lone, Homer 
StuU. J. O. Corby and Samuel H. Herman. 1881; 
C.C. Tluane. Fred Behm, D. L. McGuokin. Martin 
Dunham Edward Leeder and W. I. Baker, 1882 ; 
William Anderson, Isaac S. Hascall, Charles 
Kaufman, Charles D. Woodworth, P. F. Murphy 
and Josiah B. Redfield 1883; C. C. Thrane, Fred 
Behm, D. L. McGuckin, Martin Dunham Edward 
Leeder and W. I. Baker, 1884; Patrick Ford, W. F. 
Bechel, John B. Furay, Charles Kaufman, Isaac 
S. Hascall and P. F. Murphy, 188.5; Charles F. 
Goodman, Michael Lee, Louis Shroeder, Charles 
S. Goodrich. Thomas H. Dailey and Francis E. Bai- 
ley, 1886; Adam Snyder, John F. Boyd. Charles 
Van Camp. Jacob M. Counsman, Jeff. W. Bedford, 
Leavitt Burnham, T. J. Lowry, Frank S. Kasper 
and Charles D. Cheney, 1887; William G. Shri- 
ver, Dan. H. Wheeler, Edward O'Connor, A. H. 
Sanders, Edwin P. Davis, Clarence L. Chatt'ee, F. 
E. Bailey, Isaac S. Hascall and Patrick Ford, 1888; 
William F. Bechel, F. L. Blumer, F. D. Cooper, 
James Donnelly, Sr., B. F. Madsen, John McLearie, 
Edward F. Morearty, Theodore Olsen and Henry 
Osthoff, 1889; Clarence L. Chaffee, Edwin P. 
Davis, Thos. J. Lowry, Charles E. Bruner, Thomas 



F. Tuttle,' Richard Burdish, Peter Elsasser, Timo- 
thy Conway and Christian Specht, 1890; Peter M. 
Back, William S. Bechel, A. G. Edwards, Edward 

E. Howell, Halfdan Jacobsen, George F. Munro. 
John McLearie, Sol Prince and John Steel, 1891. 

Board op Education (since the establishment 
of the present school sj'stem) — Theodore Baumer. 
Charles M. Conoyer, Flemon Drake, Vincent 
Burkley, Charles W. Hamilton, A. Boehme, Ho - 
ard Kennedy, Alvin Saunders Thomas F. Hall, 
James Creighton, John T. Edgar, 1872; P. P. 
Shelby, Flemon Drake, James Morris, Howard 
Kennedy, David Harp.ster, Charles K. Coutant, 
1.873; Alvin Saunders, C. A. Baldwin. James 
Creighton, A. Boehme, Vincent Burkley, William 
Stephens. Jr., 1874; Eben K. Long. John Newell, 
L R. Steel, M. G. McKoon, W. Mulhall. Charles K. 
Coutant 1875; W. H. S. Hughes, John Morrell. 
Charles Powell. William A. Gwyer, H. G. Clark, 
Howard Kennedy, Robert McConnell, Joseph W. 
Paddock, W. W. Marsh, 1876; W. J. Broatch, T. J 
Staley, George W^ilkins, Daniel Sullivan, J. J' 
Points, Thomas H. Dailey, Robert Calderwood. 
1877; George C. Bonner, Simeon Bloom, Peter 
O'Malley, 1878; Charles M. Conoyer. E. K. Long, 
R. E. Gaylord, Robert McConnell. W. W. Marsh, 
John Dwyer, 1879; John Bamford. John Morrell, 
Charles D. Woodworth, Howard Kennedy, M. G. 
McKoon, A. A. Gibson, 1880; George Thrall, F. J. 
McShane, A. N. Ferguson, William Anderson, 
Charles M. Conoyer, 1881; J. J. Points, E. K. 
Long, Charles M. Conoyer, 1883; A. N. Ferguson, 

F. J. McShane, William Anderson, 18.83; W. E. 
Copeland, W. A. L. Gibbon, R. S. Hall. Henry 
Livesey, A. A. Parker, Christian Specht. 1884; 
Henry Livesey, William Coburn. H. G. Clark, 
1885: R S. Hall, J. J. Points, Charles Conoyer, 
W. E. Copeland, R. S. Hall, W. A. L. Gibbon. 
1886; H. G. Clark, E. K. Long, Henry Livesey, 
William Coburn, T. W. Blackburn, H. E Davis, 
1887; Frederick W. Gray. D. V. Sholes, Edward A. 
Parmalee, Robert McConnell, Aug. Pratt, Wil- 
liam A. Kelley, W. E. Copeland, J. J. Saville, S. 
S. Auchmoedy, Morris Morrison, Henry T. Clarke. 
1888; Charles Wehrer, Frederick R. McConnell, 
Frank Spoor, S. K. Spaulding, S. K. Felton, C. F. 
Goodman, Alfred Millard, Samuel Rees, 1889; W. 
S. Gibbs, Morris Morrison, H. B. Coryell, C. J. 
Smyth, Charles E. Babcock, 1890; W. N. Babcock, 
Charles S. Elgutter, R. W. Gibson, Clinton N. 
Powell, C. L. Jaynes. 1891. 

The city has nine wards, and the Council 
is composed of eighteen members, one half 
of whom are elected from the city at large, 
at the regular city election, and the other 



SALARIES OF PRESENT CITY OFFICIALS, 



97 



half are elected by the respective wards oii 
intervening years, for a term of two years, 
so that but one half the membership is made 
up of new members at any time. Following 
named are the present city officials: 

JIator — George P. Bemis. 

Treasurer — Henry Bolhi. 

COiMPTROLLER— Theodore Olseu. 

Police Judge— Louis Berka. 

CouNClLMEN AT Laroe (terms expire January 1, 
1894)— Peter M. Back, William F. Bechel, A. G. 
Edwards, Edward E. Howell, Halfdan Jacobson, 
George F. Muino, John McLearie, Sol. Prince, John 
Steel. 

Ward Codncilmen (terms expire January 1, 
1S93)— T. J. Lowry, Peter Elsasser, Richard Bur- 
dish, Thomas F. Tuttle, Timothy J. Conway, 
Christian Specht, Clarence L. Challee, Charles E. 
Bruner and Edwin P. Davis. 

Board op Public Works— P. W. Birkhauser, 
Chairman; A. E. Egbert, J. B. Furay. 

Engineer- Andrew Rosewater. 

Building Inspector— James F. Tilly. 

Boiler Inspector— Charles Soudenberg. 

City Clerk— John Groves. 

Plumbing Inspector — Robert L. Duncan. 

Gas Inspector— James Gilbert. 

Street Commissioner— J. H. Winspear. 

Sidewalk Inspector— John E. Bonewitz. 



Meat Inspectors — Frederick Hickstein, A. 
Halle. 
City Physician— Dr. A. B. Somers. 
City Veterinarian— Dr. H. L. Ramacciotti. 

Omaha's officials are paid as follows: 

Mayor, $3,100; City Clerk, $2,000; Treasurer, 
$6,000; City Attorney, $3,000; Chief of Police, 
$3,000; Police Judge, $2,500; Comptroller, ,13,500; 
City Physician, $3,000; City Clerk, .|2,000; City 
Engineer, $3,000; Assistant City Engineer, $2,000; 
Chief of Fire Department, $3,000; Board of Pub- 
lic Works— Chairman, $3,500, other members, 
$1,000; Assistant City Attorney, .f3,000; Building 
Inspector, $3,000; City Prosecutor, $1,500; Gas 
Inspector, $1,500; Boiler Inspector, $1,500; Plumb- 
ing Inspector, .|1,800; Sidewalk Inspector, $1,200; 
Street Commissioner, $1,800; License Inspector, 
$1,200; Meat Inspectors (two), $1,200 each; Super- 
intendent of City Schools, $3,600; Clerk of Board 
of Education, $1,800; Fire and Police Commis- 
sioners, $1,000; City Councilmen, .$800; Chairman 
Park Gommissioners, $600, the other four mem- 
bers $200 each; Policemen, $85; Captains and 
Sergeants not exceeding $100. 

In the early history of Omaha the JMayor 
had the legal jurisdiction of a Justice of 
the Peace, and tried the class of cases now 
disposed of by the Police Judge. 



CHAPTEPv XI, 



The Claim Club — The Purpose of its Okganization — Some Facts Regarding Early 
Land Titles. 



Claim clubs were a feature in the early 
settlement of Nebraska which the situation 
rendered necessary. The land had not been 
surveyed, hence titles could not be perfected 
and the protection of the rights of the 
settlers by a combination of interests was 
the only method possible. The Omaha 
Claim Club was organized precisely as clubs 
were organized in every town in the- Terri- 
tory, with the exception that it allowed its 
members to hold 320 acres of land, while 
the rule with others was to protect their 
members in claiming but 160 acres each. 
The good of the mauy was secured bj' these 
organizations, though in some instances 
injustice may have been done the few. The 
Omaha Club was composed of such men as 
John M. Thayer, A D. Jones, A. J. Hans- 
com, A. J. Poppleton, Lyman Richardson, 
Governor Cuming, Dr. George L. Miller, 
Dr. Enos Lowe, Jesse Lowe, Joseph and 
George E. Barker, Joseph Barker, Sr., O. D. 
Richardson, Byron Reed, M. C. Gaylord, 
Robert B. Whitted, S. Lewis, John I. Redick 
and James M. "Woolworth — indeed its mem- 
bership comprised almost all of tho male 
residents of the town in 1854 and 1855. In 
many instances valuable improvements were 
made upon claims taken by members of the 
club, and the transfer of the rights of claim- 
ants formed a considerable part of the 
commercial transactions of those early days, 
in the absence of anj'tliing more substantial. 
The difficulties which followed were attrib- 
utable, chiefly, to the fact that a half section, 
instead of a quarter section, could ))e held 
by each claimant, and the further fact that 



nearly 4,000 acres were claimed by the origi- 
nal town site company. Later comers 
objected to so wide an expanse of territoiw 
being held by so few; claims were " jumped ' ' 
and conflicts with the claim club resulted. 
Under its regulations the only course to be 
pursued was to notify each intruder that the 
land he claimed had previously been taken 
by a member of the club; that the latter 's 
rights would be protected and that the new- 
comer must vacate to avoid trouble. In a 
very few instances personal resistance was 
made, and, of course, the club carried out 
the purposes for which it was organized. 

Jacob S. ShuU, locating in 1855 on a 
quarter section just south of town, a portion 
of which had previously been platted by 
Roswell G. Pierce as Pierce's Addition, 
received a visit from the club; but, being 
warned of the intended honor, did not wait 
to receive his unwelcome guests. His shanty 
was destroyed and for several days Mr. 
Shull was concealed under the counter of 
J. J. Brown & Brothers' store, corner of 
Douglas and Fourteenth, fearing personal 
violence. He finally decided to surrender 
his claim to the land and that ended the 
diflicult3'. The following spring he brought 
his family to Omaha, and died a few months 
later. Mrs. Shull then made claim to the 
land; the circumstances of the case were 
brought to the attention of the land depart- 
ment at Washington, an investigation fol- 
lowed and she was declared the legal owner 
of the property — now of great value. 

The tract now known as Redick 's Addi- 
tion, Terrace Addition and Bartlett's Addi- 



THE OMAHA TOWNSHIP (:LAIM ASSOCIATION. 



99 



tiou was claimed by Governor Cuming; 
and in order to hold it he had a small house 
built and hired a man named Callahan, at 
145 per month, to occupy it. Callahan 
concluded that this was an excellent oppor-, 
tunity to get some land of his own, and 
made his filing at the land office. He was 
taken in charge by the club, asked to surren- 
der his certificate, and, upon his refusal, was 
ducked in the Missouri River, and thereupon 
concluded that he did not care very much 
for that particular tract of land, and gave 
up the paper. 

The claim club was first organized as "The 
Omaha Township Claim Association," July 
22, 1854, with A. D. .Tones as Judge; S. 
Lewis, Clerk; M. C. Gaylord, Recorder; and 
Robert B. Whitted as Sherifif. The duty of 
the judge was to preside at all the meetings; 
the clerk kept a record of the proceedings; 
the recorder kept a register of quit claim 
deeds, description of claims and decisions of 
arbitrators in disputed cases; and the sheriff 
executed the judgment of arbitrators and 
the orders of the club, and was empowered 
to call out the entire membership, if neces- 
sary, in the performance of his duties. 
Under the re-organization afterwards effected 
Dr. Lowe and A. J. Hanseom served at 
different periods as president of the club, 
and Jesse Lowe as captain. Moral suasion 
was first used in all cases where conflicts 
arose, but where that failed tlie club was 
prepared to adopt harsher methods to carrj^ 
out its objects. 

Judge John I. Redick had a little experi- 
ence witli the claim club in the winter of 
1856, which he tells in this way: " Several 
of us who were boarding at the Tremont 
House, on Douglas Street, attended a tem- 
perance meeting one night, held in the 
Methodist Church, just around the corner 
on Thirteenth Street. It was proposed to 
organize to secure the adoption of the Maine 
Liquor Law, and I was asked to say some- 
thing. I objected to the proposition, and 
said that such a law could not be carried out 



in Nebraska, and remarked, incidentally, that 
the United States laws allowed a man to 
enter but 160 acres of land, while tlie 
Omaha Claim Club said he could hold twice 
that .amount and declared its readiness to 
defend him in claiming that amount. Next 
morning I went to mj^ oftice, and was met 
with a scolding by mj^ partner, James G. 
Chapman, who said I had got myself and 
the firm of Redick tt Chapman in a nice 
muddle. He kept on with a regular tirade, 
but I finally got him to explain what he was 
talking about, .and learned, to my astonisli- 
ment, that I had been reported as using 
treasonable language against the claim 
club. I soon found the town was posted 
with notices for a meeting of tlie club, and 
concluded that I had stirred up a good deal 
of a rumpus, without intending to. The club 
was a powerful organization, I knew, for I 
was a member of it. I laid in a revolver 
that day, loaded it, and put it in my over- 
coat pocket. Then I told Chapman that he 
owed it to me to see that I had a cliance to 
speak when the club met. The meeting 
was held in the Pioneer Block, and the first 
speech was made bj' A. J. Hanseom, the 
president, who spoke in a veiy reasonable, 
moderate way. He was followed by Mitchell, 
of Florence, who was verj' abusive of new 
people who were coming into the Territoiy 
to break down local institutions. Then a 
man from Bellevue talked, and he was fol- 
lowed by John M. Thayer in a ponderous 
sort of a way, and in a tone similar to that 
of Mitchell; and then Jim Chapman said 
that his partner ought to be given a chance 
to explain his views as to claim clubs and 
other domestic institutions. Tliereupon 1 
came to the front, and for ten minutes 
dwelt upon the advantages of the Territory 
of Nebraska, and predicted its glorious 
future. Then I praised the claim club, and 
said I had improved the first opportunity I 
had to join it upon coming to Omaha, a few 
months previously. I then said that I had 
had no intention to reflect upon the club. 



100 



HISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



and that what I had said had not been cor- 
rectly reported. I added that 1 knew that 
every man present was at least an ordinarily 
brave man, and with that I produced my 
revolver with one hand, and took out my 
watch with the other, and said: 'I denounce 
the man who has thus misrepresented me as 
a liar, a coward and a sneak, and will give 
him one minute in which to come out and 
face me.' As the time was ticked off, no 
one moved, and when I announced that the 
time had expired, there was a burst of 
applause, and I was convinced that I had 
nothing to fear." 

The tracts in ^'orth Omaha, afterwards 
entered by John A. Ilorbach and George 
Smith, were included in an addition platted 
by the Council Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry 
Company in 1855, and known at that period 
as Scrip Town. The survey was made by 
Colonel Lorin Miller, who received as pay 
for his services a block of eight lots and 
$2,000 in money. lie selected his block of 
ground. No. 172^, but made no improve- 
ments thereon. Years afterwards, that portion 
of the Scrip Town plat having, in the mean- 
time, passed into the ownership of Mr. 
Horbach, and the stakes defining lots and 
blocks being obliterated, he sued Mr. Hor- 
bach to gain possession of his propertj'. 
The latter demanded that its exact location 
be defined by Colonel Miller, which proved 
a matter of considerable difficulty, but was 
iinally accomplished to the satisfaction of 
the District Court and the Supreme Court. 
The litigation lasted for several years, and 
resulted in a single block being platted in 
that portion of the Horbach tract, then 
used for market garden purposes, desig- 
nated by the number it bore in the original 
platting made more than a quarter of a 
century before, and for several years this 
block stood solitary and alone on the city 
maps. It is located about the intersection 
of Paul and Twenty-First Streets. 

The first tract of land owned in this 
vicinity by the Kountze family — now svich 



extensive real estate proprietors — consisted 
of three fifteen-acre lots, purchased by Augus- 
tus Kountze, located in what was called tlie 
Clancy Claim. Additional ground adjoining 
was secured, and the 160 acres, now platted 
as Kountze Addition, grew out of the origi- 
nal tract of fort3'-five acres. 

The main town site was entered by Jesse 
Lowe, as Mayor, March 17, 1867, and 
certain odds and ends claimed by the Council 
Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry Companj^ were bid 
in by John McCormick as Trustee, July .0, 
1859. The opening of the land office in 
1857 was awaited with great anxiety by the 
settlers, as, previous to that time, valid 
titles to their land could not be obtained, 
and the country was overrun with men 
known as claim jumpers, whose chief charac- 
teristic was a reckless disregard for the 
rights of other 'people, and who usually 
carried revolvers and indulged in a great 
deal of bluster about what they would do if 
interfered with. Killings on one side or the 
other were not infrequent, and the chance 
to purchase the land claimed was hailed as a 
period which would end an unsettled con- 
dition of society whicli all law-aljiding 
citizens deplored. 

The claim of 400 acres of land which 
Thomas Davis traded to Samuel S. Bayliss 
for the sawmill, elsewhere referred to, Mr. 
Bayliss traded to A. J. Ilanscom; and a por- 
tion, 160 acres, was pre-empted bj' Mr. Ilan- 
scom when the land came into market in 
1857. He sold part of his claim to Roswell 
G. Pierce,who laid it out as " Pierce's Addi- 
tion." It was within the boundaries of the 
ShuU tract, however, and Pierce was not 
able to perfect his title. The pre-emption 
laws allowed the entry of only 160 acres bj' 
each settler, but the hiring of others to pre- 
empt was a very common thing at that pe- 
riod : and in this way one purpose of the 
law— securing a general ownership of land — 
was frustrated. 

The first paper put on record in the Doug- 
las County deed records was a description 



FIRST REAL ESTATE TRANSFERS. 



101 



of tracts of lands claimed by A. D. Jones, 
dated November 6, 1854, and recorded 
February 20, 1855, by Lyman Richardson, 
the first register of deeds for this county. 
It is as follows: 

Commencing at the mouth of Purgatory Creek 
and running thence east to the Missouri River ; 
thence down the said river to near the mouth of 
the sloug-h : thence west to the bluff' ; thence up, 
under the bluff to the place of beginning, contain- 
ing about 40 acres between the slough and the 
river, and bounded as follows : north by Peter- 
son; east by the Missouri River; south by Reeves 
and west by Hanscom and Allen. The lines 
are all distinctly and well marked so they 
can be easily traced, and all the improvements 
are on the part of my claim, south of Omaha 
City, and also another part of my claim north 
of Omaha City, described as follows : north 
by H. D. Johnson ; west by W. Johnson ; south 
by W. Clancy ; and east by T. Jeffries, con- 
taining about 160 acres ; and is well staked, so 
the lines can be easily traced ; and a furrow on 
the north, west and south. 

The second transfer recorded was one by 
which Enos Lowe conveyed the title to sis 
lots to A. J. Hanscom, for a consideration of 
$600.00 ; in the third, Lyman Richardson 
deeds away an undivided one-twentieth part 
of a claim, " bounded on the north by A. J. 
Hanscom; on the east by Clancy and Jef- 
fries; on the south by Hadley D. Johnson, 
and on the west by Murphy ; containing 
273^ acres." The fourth transfer recorded 
recites, that in consideration of the building 
of a house, the town site company convey 
to A. J. Hanscom lots seven and eight, in 
block 105 ; and lots one and two, in block 
138. The first lots are situated at the north- 
west corner of Douglas and Fourteenth, and 
the other two at the southwest corner of 
Farnam and Fourteenth, the ground now 
occupied by the Paston Hotel. These two 
lots he sold in 1867 for $15,000. The build- 
ing referred to, the erection of which was 
the consideration, was put up on one of the 
Paxton Hotel lots for a printing office — the 
first in Omaha. 

George Francis Train became identified 
with Om.aha at an early period, through his 



connection' with the Union Pacific Railroad. 
In 1865 he purchased of the Kountze Broth- 
ers and Samuel E. Rogers a tract of 500 
acres of land, of irregular form, the extreme 
northern boundary being a line 132 feet 
south of Pierce Street, the southern, the 
north line of Deer Park, the western. Twen- 
tieth Street, and the eastern. Second Street, 
as now platted. Eighty acres in the north- 
east corner of this tract he platted into lots 
and christened it " Credit Foncier Addi- 
tion. ' ' Here he had erected ten houses, at a 
cost of §1,200 each, the buildings being 
framed and prepared for erection in Chi- 
cago, from which citj' even the bricks used 
for foundations and chimneys were brought. 
This addition he sold to the organization 
known as the " Credit Foncierof America," 
of which he was president, and George P. 
Bemis, secretary. James G. Chapman was 
local superintendent. These Chicago-built 
cottages were rented to some of the leading 
people of Omaha at a rental of $60 per month. 
Train paid from $100 to $200 per acre for 
the land, and sold the platted portion for 
$250 per acre. He paid only $38,000 cash, 
giving notes secured by mortgages for the 
remainder; and the court records of Doug- 
las County, Nebraska, disclose much inter- 
esting information as to the result of this 
investment, suits being brought in 1872 by 
the Messrs. Kountze and Rogers to foreclose 
the mortgages held by them, which suits 
were finally successful. Train fought this 
litigation at long range, and under decidedly 
unfavorable circumstances, being confined in 
the Tombs Prison, New York Cit_y, a portion 
of the time, on the charge of publishing ob- 
scene literature in his newspaper. The Train 
Ligue. He had been making a lecture tour 
throughout the countr}^ ostensibly as a can- 
didate for the presidency of the United 
States, and his arrest occurred in November, 
immediately following the election of 1872. 
He had somewhat championed the cause of 
the Woodhull Sisters, and therebj' incurred 
public ill will; and when he printed in his 



102 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



paper certain quotations from the Bible, in 
a spirit of bravado, lie was arrested at once, 
and that edition of the Ligue confiscated by 
the authorities. He was confined in the 
Tombs for several months, and an effort was 
made to prove that he was insane. The 
charge of circulating obscene literature, it 
was found, could not be established, and 
Train was finally discharged. In the mean- 
time the foreclosure proceedings were car- 
ried on in Omaha against Train personally, 
and his counsel undertook to have them set 
aside on the ground that a guardian should 
have been appointed to protect his interests, 
claiming that, as a matter of fact, he was 
then of unsound mind, at least temporarily, 
and citing this experience with the New 
York authorities in support of their position. 
The direct action against Train was held by 
the court to be legal, however, and in due 
time decisions in favor of the plaintiffs were 
rendered, and they recovered all of the land 
except the " Credit Foncier Addition. ' ' The 
notes drew twelve per cent, interest, and 
with the costs of foreclosures, added very 
considerably to the amount of the principal, 
so that there was nothing left for the defend- 
ant. In these suits, George W. Ambrose 
was counsel for Mr. Rogers; James M. Wool- 
worth and George I. Gilbert appeared for 
the Kountzes, and John I. Redick, Arthur N. 
Ferguson and William J. Connell for Mr. 
Train. The tract thus recovered includes 
the ground since platted as Kountze's Ad- 
dition, Supplement Addition, Kountze's 
Second Addition, Kountze's Supplemental 
Addition, Kountze's Fourth Addition, S. 
E. Rogers' Addition, Bowery Hill, Rogers' 
Plat of Okalioma, Improvement Associa- 
tion Addition, the Hascall Tract of ten 
acres on Thirteenth Street, and a large tract 
of unplatted ground, east of Thirteenth 
Street and west of Supplement Addition, 
and is now of immense value. The various 
mortgages, now included in the court files, 
are embellished with the internal revenue 
stamps then recjuired by the government. 



One of them, given to secure three notes, 
amounting to $24,999, bears two ten dollar 
stamps and one of five dollars, indicating 
that the general government was enriched 
to the extent of twenty-five dollars by that 
one mortgage. 

May 2, 1876, a petition was filed in the 
District Court by George P. Bemis, in a 
suit against Mr. Train, as follows: 

The plaintiff, George P. Bemis, represents to 
the Court that about the month of November, 
1864, he entered into a verbal contract with 
one George Francis Train, in the capacity of 
his private secretary; that the said Train, at that 
time, was a man of large influence, and was 
indirectly connected with some of the lai-gest 
enterprises in the United States, to- wit: the cor- 
poration known as the " Credit Mobilier of Amer- 
ica," and the successful construction, in tlie short- 
est possible time, of tlie Union Pacific Railroad, 
procured the passage of an act in Nebraska, by its 
legislature, incorporating what is known as the 
"Credit Foncier of America," whose pretended 
object was to buy large tracts of land along the 
line of tlie Union Pacific Railroad; as well also 
being engaged in the construction of street rail- 
ways in London, as well also being an aspirant 
for the highest office in the gift of the American 
people. 

Plaintiff further says: That, bj' reason of his 
various business connections with these important 
enterprises and his unbridled ambition for politi- 
cal preference and glory, he deemed it important 
and necessary to employ some competent and 
true man to act as his confidante and private 
secretary, in all his business and political rela- 
tions. 

Plaintiff furtlier saj's: That, to that end, about 
the date aforesaid, he, the said Train, employed 
this plaintiff by the year, agreeing to pay him 
for his services the sum of |5,000 per annum; and, 
in consideration of said promise and agreement 
intliat behalf, the plaintiff entered into Ills service 
and employ about the 15th day of November, 
1864, and continued in his employ, faithfully 
performing tlie services demanded or required by 
him, of every kind and nature, in many instances 
jeopardizing his own personal safety and life, 
while acting as his secretary, to carry out his 
wishes and desires; in many instance:! working- 
nights as well as days, and has so continued in 
his employ up to and including November 1.5th, 
1874: that all of said services were accepted by 
said defendant, and to his entire satisfaction; that 



georg: 



BEMIS vs. GEORGE FRANCIS TRAIN. 



103 



he has paid said plaintiff, upon said contract, from 
time to time, in cash and otherwise, the first 
payment being made from the date first aforesaid 
to January 1, 1865, and at divers and sundry 
times since that, upon said contract, to December 
10, 1875, amounting to $17,974.65, leaving a 
balance due this plaintiff of §47,660.68. 

Plaintiff further says : That is all he has 
received upon said contract, and here submits to 
the Court an Itemized statement of account 
between plaintiff and defendant, marked "A," 
and asks that it be made a part of the petition 
herein. 

Plaintiff further says: That he has performed 
in every respect his part of said agreement, and 
that the said sum of 147,660.68 is ihe balance due 
and owing to him on said contract, and for that 
amount he prays judgment against said defendant, 
with costs. 

Mr. Bemis clearly established his case and 
was awarded judgment for the full amount 



claimed. Mr. Train's interest in the Credit 
Foncier Addition was levied upon, and the 
property sold, and a portion of the judgment 
thus satisfied, Mr. Train's interest not being 
sufficient to pay the full amount. The City 
Directory for 1871 contains the following, 
under the heading Real Estate: "Train, 
George Francis— N. P. A. (Owner of 5,000 
lots, a hotel and ten other buildings in 
Omaha, 1,000 lots in Council Bluffs and 
7,000 lots and a hotel in Columbus). Repre- 
sented by his private secretary and agent, 
George P. Bemis, Cozzens House." The 
N. P. A. stood for ''Next President of 
America." Mr. Train's connection with 
the Cozzens' House enterprise is referred 
to elsewhere, in the chapter relating to 
hotels. 



CHAPTER XII 



The Pioneers — Biogkapiiical Sketches — Personal Points Concerning the Early 
Settlers — "Sons of Omaha." 



Miich of the prosperity of a cit.y depends 
upon its founders — their energy, liberality, 
public spirit, judgment, general information, 
knowledge of man, foresight, appreciation 
of the situation, or the lack of these qual- 
ities — all becoming important factors in the 
development or retarding the growth of 
a new settlement. In these respects, Omaha 
was peculiarly fortunate, its founders being 
men of far more than ordinary sagacity and 
enterprise. The first plat was made bj^ the 
Council Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry Company, 
an organization perfected under the laws of 
Iowa for the purpose of establishing a ferry 
opposite Council Bluffs, across the Missouri 
River. This company was composed of Dr. 
Enos Lowe, Milton Tootle, James Jackson, 
Samuel S. Bayliss, Joseph H. D. Street, 
Bernhardt Henn, Jesse Williams, General 
Samuel E. Curtis, Tanner & Downs and 
Street & Eedfield. Upon the admission of 
Nebraska as a Territory, May 23, 18.54, the 
importance of securing a town site on the 
west bank of the river became apparent to 
these gentlemen, and Alfred D. Jones was 
employed to make a survey, in which work 
Captain C. H. Downs (both of these gentle- 
men are still residents of Omaha) assisted 
by carrying the chain and driving the stakes. 
The task was completed early in July of 
1854, the town site consisting of 320 blocks, 
each 264 feet square, with streets 100 feet 
wide, and allej's of 20 feet. Mr. Jones says 
that if he had the work to do again he would 
make the lots 75 by 100 feet, twelve in a 
block. Capitol Avenue, running eastward 
from Capitol Square, and Twenty-First 
Street, running northward from the same 



point, were each made 120 feet wide. The 
event was celebrated on the 4th of July by 
the owners of the town site and their friends 
coming over from Council Bluffs and having 
a picnic on Capitol Hill, the present site of 
the High School building. The task of 
building upon this spot, so recently diverted 
from the possession of the Indians, homes and 
successful business enterprises for a popu- 
lous community was at once entered upon 
with zeal and earnestness, a rapid increase 
of population marking the good judgment 
of the founders of the town. 

The legislative enactment by which Omaha 
was incorporated, dated February 2, 1857, 
defines the following described tracts of 
lands as constituting the site: Sections 15 
and 22; fractional sections 11, 14 and 23; 
the south half of fractional section 10; the 
south half of the north half of fractional 
section 10; the south-east quarter of section 
9; the east half of section IG; the north-east 
quarter of section 21; the east half of the 
south-east quarter of section 21; the north- 
east quarter of the north-east quarter of 
section 28; the north half of the north half 
of section 27; the north half of the north 
half of fractional section 26 — all in town- 
ship 15, north of range 13, east of the sixth 
principal meridian. The name, " The City 
of Omaha," was given in the charter, and 
the " middle of the main channel of the 
Missouri River" was defined as the east 
line of the city. The officers designated 
were: Mayor, nine Aldermen, Recorder, 
Treasurer, Assessor and Marshal. The 
Legislature of 1858 amended the charter, 
reducing the number of Aldermen to six. 




Any -hyF aXmrninJ/y 



CJ/:^ 



LIST OP NAMES OF THE PIONEERS. 



105 



To Captain William P. Wilcox and 
Charles M. Cono3'er belong the distinction 
of having first, of those now resident in 
the city, seen the site upon which Omaha is 
now built. lu 1849, the former as clerk 
and the latter, then a boy of eight years of 
age, were on the steamer El Paso, while that 
boat was engaged for several weeks in trans- 
porting, across the Missouri, emigrants to 
the newly discovered gold fields of Cali- 
fornia, at a point just below the plateau on 
which Omaha now stands. Mv. Conoyer's 
father was at that time an employe of the 
American Fur Company, and the father of 
Captain Wilcox was one of the few passen- 
gers aboard the first steamboat which 
ascended the Missouri River, as is noted 
elsewhere in these pages. Captain Wilcox 
became a resident of Omaha in 1864, and 
for many years, as a member of the firm of 
Stephens & Wilcox, was extensively engaged 
in business in this city. Mr. Conoyer 
located in Omaha in June, 1860, and has 
since made this his home. He is now Secre- 
tary of the Board of Education, and has 
served many years in that capacity. Mr. and 
Mrs. William P. Snowden, however, enjoy 
the honor of being the oldest continuous 
residents of this city, thej- having located 
here July 4, 1854, moving into the old Claim 
House, a log structure erected by the Town 
Site Compan}', on the 11th of July. They 
were employed bj' the company to board 
the hands then engaged in manufacturing 
brick for a liuilding which the company 
erected for Territorial Capitol purposes. 
The enterprise proved a failure, however, as 
the brick makers were not familiar with the 
soil of Nebraska, and the result was that 
Council Bluffs brick entered into the erec- 
tion of the first brick structure in Omaha. 

In the fall of 1854, Mr. A. D. Jones built 
a home on a claim he had taken south-east of 
the town site. Previous to the organiza- 
tion of the .Steam Ferry Company, Mr. 
William B. Brown, father of Mrs. Alfred 
Sorenson and Mrs. Alexander McKenzie, 



was engaged in transporting passengers 
across the river at this point by means of a 
flat-boat. He became interested with the 
Steam Ferrj' Companj^ in their enterprise 
on this side of the river, and located here in 
1854. 

Among the pioneers who gave tone and 
character to the new settlement may be 
mentioned the following, all of whom 
located here in 1854, several bringing their 
families, and others a newly acquired wife: 
Dr. George L. Miller, Col. Loria Miller. 
A. J. Poppleton, George Armstrong, 

O. D. Richardson, Alexander Davis, 

John Davis, Thomas Davis, 

Lyman Richardson, Patrick Swift, 

Thomas Swift, Gen. E. Estabrook, 

John M. Thayer, Themes O'Connor, 

Samuel E. Rogers, William Rogers, 

P. G. Peterson, Joseph W. Paddock, 

Maurice Dee, Dennis Dee, 

Michael Dee, John Keuneally, 

John Riley, Dr. Enos Lowe, 

Jesse Lowe, A J. Hanscom, 

Hadley D. Johnson, A. B. Moi-e, 

Tim Sullivan, Thomas Barry, 

James Ferry, Joseph Mannien, 

M. C. Gaylord, Timothy Kelley, 

O. B. Selden, James G. Megeath, 

John Withnell, A. D. Jones. 

Among those who settled here the follow- 
ing year were: 

H. H. Visscher, R. N. Withnell, 

David Richards, Edwin Patrick, 

John Logan, O. P. Ingalls, 

John P. McPherson, Rev. Reuben Gaylord, 

Moses Shinn, S, M. Marston, 

Allen Root, W. W. Wyman, 

A. U. Wyman. W. N. Byers, 

John Mulvihill, Jerrj' Mahoney, 

Patrick Quinland, Rev. Thomas B. Lemon, 

Dennis Carroll, Charles B. Smith, 

G. C. Bovey, Byron Reed, 

Richard Kimball, Theodore H. Robertson. 

The list of those who came here in 1856 
and 1857 is considerabl}- larger. Among 
these may be mentioned: 
Charles W. Hamilton, Augustus Kountze, 
Herman Kountze, O. F. Davis, 

John Breen, • James E. Boyd, 

Henry A. Kosters, Michael Roebling, 

Thomas Murray, Harrison Johnson, 



106 



[STORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



George Smith, 

Aaron Calm, 

James Creighton, 

Joseph Creighton, 

Frank Creighton, 

Jolin A. Horbach, 

Henry Pundt, 

John Smiley and sisters, 

George B. Lake, 

Col. John Patrick and 

daughter, now Mrs. 

Joseph Barker, 
S. R. Brown, 
A. J. Simpson, 
E. F. Cook, 
Joseph F. Sheely, 
John R. Porter, 
Edwin Loveland, 
George W. Homan, 
Peter Hugus, 
P. W. Hitchcock, 
Joseph Millard, 
John Campbell, 
Joel T. Griffin, 
Henry Grebe, 

A. F. Salisbury, 
Peter J. Karbach, 
Charles Childs, 
George Barker, 
Charles Behm, 
Robert C. Jordan, 
Philip Von Wiadheim, 

(known as Peter Wind- 

heim). 
Marsh Kennard, 
William G. Florkee, 
J. S. Gibson, 
Harry Deuel, 
Jacob Shull and family, 
William A. Gwyer, 

B. E. B. Kennedy, 
Joseph P. Manning, 
J. C. Carson, 

Dr. G. C. Monell, 
A. R. Orchard, 
James M. Woolworth, 
J. B. Plummer, 
W. H. Demarest, 
Charles B. King', 
O. P, Hurford, 
Judge J. E. Hyde, 
Henry Gray, 
Robert S. Kuox, 
J. Cameron Reeves, 
Harrison J. Brown, 
John M. Yerga, 



M. He 11 man, 
John Creighton, 
Edward Creighton, 
Harry Creighton, 
William Sexauer, 
George M. Mills, 
George H. Guy, 
Vincent Burkley, 
James M. Woolworth, 
J. N. H. Patrick, 
M. T. Patrick, 
A. S. Patrick, 
William F. Sweesy, 
Charles Beindorf, 
Frederick Schneider, 
John R. Meredith, 
Dr. J. P. Peck, 
Augustus Roeder, 
Edward P. Peck, 
Eb. Dallow, 
Ezra Millard, 
William A. Little, 
E. L. Eaton, 
Frederick Drexel, 
Jonas Seeley, 
Charles J. Karbach, 
W. J. Kennedy, 
Joseph Barker, 
John I. Eedick, 
S. S. Caldwell, 
John F. Behm, 
William Lehmer, 
Frank Murphy. 
Levy Kennard, 
David L. Collier, 
A. S. Paddock, 
Joseph Frenzer, 
Charles Powell, 
Henry Y^ates, 
W. H. S. Hughes, 
George L Gilbert, 
John H. Kellom, 
William F. Wilder, 
Dr. N. C. Richardson, 
Samuel A. Orchard, 
Charles C. Woolworth, 
The Durnall family, 
William Ruth, 
N. W. Keith, 
Daniel Gantt, 
Benjamin Stickles, 
James G. Chapman, 
Joseph Clark, 
George W. Rust, 
Thomas L. Sutton, 
Henry L. James, 



W. L. Pickard, 
Henry C. Crowell, 
David Whitney, 
Frank Smith, 
Moritz Roebling, 
William Gray, 
F. Bunn, 
A. R. Gilmore, 
George A. McCoy, 
George Herzog, 
John F. Taylor, 
David H. Moffatt, 
Rev. H. W. Kuhns, 
Rev. William Leach, 
The Latey family, 
John Shoaf, 
N. P. Isaacs, 
Chris Hartman, 
George W. Doane, 
E. B. Chandler, 
J. C. Wilcox, 
Dr. WilliamMcClelland, 
Luke McDermott, 
Frederick Krug, 
Jacob King, 
Mrs. C. W. Koenig, 
Patrick Clifford, 
Johu McCreary, 
Frederick Davis, 
S. M. Curran, 
Jacob Tex, 
Porter Redman, 
James T. Allan, 
Daniel Sullivan, 
James M. Winship. 
The Barkalow family, 
John M. Sheely, 
E. V. Smith, 
Charles P. Birkett, 
Thomas O'Connor, 
The Forbes family, 
Charles M. Aumock, 
Paul Harmon, 
Michael Liuahan, 
A. N. Ferguson, 
Patrick Connolly, 
Patrick Dinan, 
Frederick Kumpf, 
Andrew J. Bruner, 
John H. Sahler, 
George Sylvester, 
John McCormick, 



George W. Crowell, 
William B. Crowell, 
Johu McBride, 
Henry B. Meyers, 
William Nile, 
Thomas Martin, 
F. L. Ruf, 
Ralph Bowman, 
Emerson S. Seymour, 
Michael Cormody, 
Samuel Moffatt, 
Wiley Dixon, 
Rev. Peter Cooper, 
Rev. Isaac F. Collins, 
Randal Shoaf, 
Bernard Koster, 
Frederick Court, 
William A. Paxton, 
Randall Brown, 
George Medlock, 
Martin Dunham, 
Henry Livesey, 
Charles Turner, 
Andrew Wasserman, 
Dr. James H. Seymour, 
Jeremiah McCheane, 
John M. Clarke, 
H. M. Jcidson, 
J. S. McCormick, 
Julius Rudowsky, 
Joseph Redman, 
David Harpster, 
Clinton Briggs, 
Frank Dellone, 
Frederick Dellone, 
The McAusland family, 
Rubin Wood, 
Frank Kleffner, 
Jerry Mahoi.ey, 
J. W. VanNostrand, 
John Pety, 
Samuel Megeath, 
A. J. Harmon, 
Jerry Linahan, 
A. F. Frick, 
Michael Connolly, 
Patrick McDonough, 
John J. Bruner, 
Uriah Bruner, 
Frank Coffman, 
J. W. Tousley, 
J. J. Brown. 



Dr. Enos Lowe, President of the original 
Town Site Company, was one of the organ- 
izers of the Council Bluffs ife Nebraska 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLERS. 



107 



Ferry Conipaii}'. He was born at Guilford 
Courthouse, North Carolina, May 5, 1804, 
moving to Bloomington, Indiana, with his 
parents at an early age. He graduated with 
high honors at the Ohio Medical College, of 
Cincinnati, and practiced medicine for a 
number of j^ears in Indiana. In 1837 he 
located at Burlington, Iowa, where he re- 
mained ten years, during which period he 
was a member of two constitutional conven- 
tions, of one of which he was President. 
In 1847, President Van Buren appointed 
him receiver of public moneys at the Land 
Office in Iowa City, and in 18.53 he removed 
to Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa, where 
he held the same position for two years. 
The platting of Omaha was done under the 
supervision of Dr. Lowe, as President of 
the Ferry Company and Town Site Com- 
pany; and from that date until his death, 
February 12, 1880, he was actively identi- 
fied with the best interests of Omaha, and 
during that period was a continuous resi- 
dent here. In securing the location of the 
Union Pacific bridge at Omaha, Dr. Lowe 
rendered peculiarly efficient service, being a 
member of the committees sent by the City 
Council and the citizens to the headquar- 
ters of the railroad company at New York. 
This was a critical period in the history of 
th-'s city on account of the many antago- 
nisms with which Omaha had to contend 
in connection with the building of the 
Union Pacific Railroad. During the' war. 
Dr. Lowe served for some time as surgeon, 
entering the service with the First Nebraska 
Infantry. He built the first brick residence 
of considerable size in Omaha, which build- 
ing is yet standing at the southwest corner 
of Harney and Sixteenth Streets. He was 
a man of large means, broad and liberal 
views, of the highest personal character, and 
devoted to the advancement of the best 
interests of the city he had seen spring up 
from the prairie sod. He was President of 
tlie Omaha Gas Manufacturing Conipan}-; 
Vice President of the State Bank of 



Nebraska; a director and moving spirit in the 
Omaha and Southwestern Railway Com- 
pany; and took an active part in the build- 
ing of the Grand Central Hotel. He was 
prominent in the initial steps taken to secure 
the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, 
and was one of the incorporators of the 
Council Bluffs & St. Joseph Railroad. Dr. 
Lowe's only son. General W. W. Lowe, is 
the only survivor of the family. He was 
educated at West Point, served with dis- 
tinction during the war, and, since his resig- 
nation from the army in 1869, has been a 
resident of this city, actively engaged in 
many important enterprises. 

Alfred D. .Jones, who surveyed the origi- 
nal town site of Omaha, and also of Des 
Moines and Council Bluffs, Iowa, was born 
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 30, 
1814, and learned a trade as plasterer and 
bricklayer. He located in Omaha, in 1854; 
was a member of the first City Council; 
served as a member of the Territorial Coun- 
cil in 1855, and was Speaker of the Territo- 
rial House of Representatives in 1861; he 
was the first postmaster of Omaha, and was 
elected Judge of its first Claim Club; he 
was admitted to the Douglas County bar in 
an early da}% but has never practiced; was 
a charter member of the first Odd Fellows 
Lodge instituted here, and in that Order has 
served as Grand Master and Sovereign 
Representative. ]Mr. Jones is also a Mason 
in high standing, and a member of the 
Knights of Pythias, of which latter order he 
has been Grand Chancellor and Supreme 
Representative. Since the day of his 
location here Mr. Jones has been a con- 
tinuous resident in Omaha, a useful, honored 
citizen. For several years past his time has 
been fully occupied with looking after his 
property interests. 

General Samuel R. Curtis, another member 
of tlie Council Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry 
Company, was a man with a national 
reputation. He was born in 1803, in Cham- 
plain, N. Y. He graduated at West Point 



108 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Ill 1832, and served in the Indian Territory 
at Fort Gibson, about a year, wlien he 
resigned and was appointed Chief Engineer 
of the Muskingum River, Ohio, Improve- 
ment Company, where he served from 1836 
to 1840. From 1840 to 1846, he practiced 
law at AVorcester, Ohio, during which period 
he served as Adjutant General of Ohio. 
During the Mexican "War he was Colonel of 
tlie Third Ohio Volunteers, and in 1847 
came to Iowa as Chief Engineer of the Des 
Moines River Improvement Company. From 
1849 to 1853 he was City Engineer of St. 
Louis. From 1853 to 1855, he was Chief 
Engineer of the projected railroad from 
Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Council Bluffs, 
Iowa. He was elected Mayor of Keokuk, 
Iowa, in the spring of 1856, and in the fall 
of that year, was elected to Congress, where 
he served three terms in succession. He 
was appointed Colonel of the Second Iowa 
Infantry, upon the breaking out of the war 
in the spring of 1861, and resigned his 
position as Congressman. In July of that 
year, he was appointed Brigadier-General, 
and in the spring of 1862, was appointed 
Major-General. In 1862 he commanded the 
arni}^ of the Southwest; in 1863 the Depart- 
ment of Missouri; in 1864 the Department 
of Kansas, and in 1865 the Department of 
the Northwest. He served as Indian Com- 
missioner in 1866, and as Commissioner of 
the Union Pacific Railroad, also. He died 
at Council Bluffs, on the 22d of December, 
1866. He became interested in the Council 
Bluffs & Nebraska Ferry Company in 1853; 
and, from the date of the acquirement of 
California, was an ardent advocate of the 
building of the Pacific Railroad, and con- 
tributed materially to the success of that 
great enterprise. He was Chairman of the 
Pacific Railroad Committee in the House of 
Representatives for three years, and passed 
through the House the first Union Pacific 
Bill. He was tendered the Presidencj'of the 
Union Pacific Railway Company upon its 
organization, but, it lieing a time of war, 



and having been educated at "West Point, 
he declined this tempting offer, believing 
that at that period his services belonged to 
his country. His son, Major Henry Z. 
Curtis, was the proprietor of the first daily 
paper printed in Omaha, The Telegraph. 
Another son. Colonel Samuel S. Curtis, has 
been for many j^ears a resident of this city. 
Both of these gentlemen were officers in the 
Union Army during the war, the former 
giving his life in support of the flag. 

Dr. George L. Miller, the first practicing 
physician in Omaha, was born at Booneville, 
New York, July 1, 1831. He graduated, in 
1852, from the New York College of Physi- 
cians and Surgeons, and practiced for two 
3'ears at Syracuse, New York. He located 
in Omaha, October 19, 1854, and the 
following year was elected a member of the 
Territorial Council, in which body he served 
three terms, being the presiding officer of 
the last Council of which he was a member. 
From 1861 to 1864 he held the position of 
sutler at Fort Kearney, and, upon his return 
to Omaha in 1864, was nominated by the 
Democratic part^^ as a candidate for Con- 
gress. The following year, in connection 
with Dan "W. Carpenter, he established the 
Omaha Herald, as an evening paper, and 
continued his connection therewith as editor 
and joint proprietor until March 1, 1887; 
Mr. Lyman Richardson, who purchased Mr. 
Carpenter's interest soon after the estab- 
lishment of the paper, being associated with 
Dr, Miller during all this period. As a 
strong and fearless editorial writer. Dr. 
Miller soon acquired a national reputation, 
and almost from the start The Herald was 
recognized as a paper of commanding influ- 
ence. It was especially active in advocating 
every measure that tended to build up 
Nebraska and Omaha; and during the trying 
days of the early history of the Union 
Pacific Railroad, when the life of Omaha 
was at stake, no man rendered more valuable 
services in behalf of the city than did Dr. 
Miller, whicli fact is more full}' appreciated 





Jl^^/Z^-^ 



BIOGKAFIIICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLERS. 



109 



by the older residents of Omaha than by 
those who liave located here in later years, 
and who cannot possibly appreciate the 
critical position our city occupied at that 
time, when it was only by the most per- 
sistent effort that the Union Pacific bridge 
was secured for this point, a powerful 
pressure being brought to liear to locate it 
six miles down the river, at a point known 
as Child's Mills. In the National Demo- 
cratic nominations, Dr. Miller has always 
exercised a powerful influence, and could 
have secured political preferment on manj' 
different occasions, had he not chosen, 
instead, to retain his place with The Herald, 
which he deemed a place of much greater 
importance. Dr. Miller has large real estate 
interests in the citj-, the management of 
which occupy a considerable portion of his 
time. In 1888 he was appointed manager 
for Nebraska of the New York Life Insur- 
ance .Company. He is President of the 
Board of Park Commissioners, and is taking 
an active interest in the development of the 
park and boulevard system of Omaha. lie 
has recently built an elegant stone residence 
just outside the city limits on a large tract 
of ground, known as Sejnnour Park, of 
which he is the owner, and is now disposed 
to enjoy the comforts and advantages of a 
quiet life. The doctor's family consists of 
but himself and Mrs. Miller. 

Andrew J. Ilanscom was born in Detroit, 
Michigan, February 3, 1828. He served 
during the Mexican war as First Lieutenant 
of Company C,in the 1st Michigan Infantry. 
In the fall of 1849, he located in Council 
Bluffs, being then on his way to California, 
that being the .year of the great gold excite- 
ment. During his residence in Council 
Bluffs, he built a mill, established himself 
in the mercantile business, and also practiced 
law. In 1854, he moved to Omaha and was 
elected a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives of the first Legislature, of which 
body he was chosen Speaker. He also served 
in the sessions of 1857 and 1859. In the early 



daj-s he was a member of the School Board 
and also of the City Council, and was active 
in building the first public school house of 
the city, which was erected on Jefferson 
Square. He has alwaj's been largely inter- 
ested in real estate in this citj^ and for the 
p.ast twenty years has devoted all of his 
time to those interests; though in the 
early years of his residence here, he 
was engaged in the practice of law. His 
second home here was the block bounded 
hj Capitol Avenue, Davenport, Sixteenth 
and Seventeenth Streets, on which he 
built what was then considered one of 
the best houses in the city, planted the 
ground out in fruit, shade and ornamen- 
tal trees, and transformed the square 
into a beauty spot, which was for man3- 
years one of the attractions of the city. 
Mr. and Mrs. Hanscom brought to their 
Nebraska home a famil}^ of three children, 
two daughters, Georgia and Virginia, and a 
son, Duane — after whom three important 
streets of this city were named. In the 
early history of Omaha, especially in the 
capital location fights, which were a feature 
of every session of the Territorial Legisla- 
ture, Mr. Hanscom was particularly efficient. 
A man of strong character, and excellent 
judgment, he was specially adapted for 
leadership in critical emergencies. As Pres- 
ident of the Omaha Claim Club, he was a 
powerful factor in securing to those who 
located here in an early day, and endured 
all of the hardships and privations incident 
to frontier life, that protection which the 
law of the land seemed to be inadequate to 
give; and, while he was always earnest and 
energetic in carrying out the duties of that 
position, he was ever disposed to recognize 
the just and proper claims of others. 

James T. Allan located at Bellevue, 
Nebraska, in December, 1855, coming from 
Pontiac, Michigan, where he was born Sep- 
tember 30, 1831. In April, 1856, he removed 
to Bellevue, bringing with him fruit trees, 
ornamental shrubs, and a bushel of apple 



110 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



seeds, for the future orchards of treeless and 
fruitless Nebraska. The failure of Bellevue 
to be designated the capital of the Territorj- 
induced his removal to Omaha in 1859. He 
took charge of the llerndon House, then 
recentl3^ completed b}' Dr. Miller and Lyman 
Richardson, in the spring of 1861, and 
conducted it for six j'ears. Afterwards, he 
held positions in the Omaha postofflce, under 
Postmasters Wj'man, Kellom, Griffin, Yost 
and Hall. He was superintendent of the 
first free delivery system of this citj', 
inaugurated by Mr. Yost, and superintended 
the removal of the postoffice into the build- 
ing it now occupies. He was a deputy for 
E. B. Chandler, Clerk of the District Court, 
when he had his office in the old Pioneer 
Block. In 1869, he embarked in the seed, 
plant and tree business, and in 1880 was 
made superintendent of tree planting bj- 
the Union Pacific Railway Companj-. For 
many j-ears he was a member of the State 
Horticultural Societj', serving as Secretarj^ 
and President, holding the first mentioned 
position at the time of his death, November 
20, 1885. Mr. Allan was the author of 
several works on horticulture, and was 
enthusiastic and tireless in his efforts to 
develop the fruit and timber interests of 
Nebraska. His widow and six daugliters 
are still residents of Omaha. 

Governor James E. Boj'd, who was born 
September 9, 1834, in County T^'rone, Ire- 
land, arrived in America June 10, 1844, and 
first settled in Belmont County, Ohio, 
moving from there to Zanesville, Ohio, in 
the fall of 1847, and locating in Omaha 
August 19, 1856. He left school- at the age 
of thirteen, and, after working three j-ears in 
a grocery store, began work at the car- 
penter's trade, and continued until 1858. 
August 22, 1858, he was married, in the 
Paciflc House, Council Bluffs, to Miss Ann 
H. Henry, a sister of Dr. Henry. In Decem- 
ber, 1858, Mr. Boyd moved to Wood River, 
Buffalo C<)unt3% Nebraska, and engaged in 
farming and raising cattle. He began con- 



tracting for the Union Pacific Road in 1867, 
and had contracts for the grading of over 
three hundred miles of the road bed. In 
February, 1868, he moved Ijack to Omaha and 
helped to build the Omaha Gas Works, of 
which he had the management for a year or 
two. He built the first packing house in 
Omaha, in 1872, and slaughtered 4,500 hogs 
that season — all that could be purchased in 
the country. This business he continued 
for fifteen years, in some seasons killing as 
many as 150,000 hogs. He built Boyd's 
Opera House in 1880-81, at that time )jy far 
the best building in the city. He was presi- 
dent of the Omaha & Northwestern Rail- 
road Company at the time of its being built 
from Omaha to Blair, in 1869-71. He 
organized the Omaha Savings Bank, of which 
he was president for some time. He was 
elected Clerk of Douglas County in 1857; 
was a member, from Buffalo County, of the 
first State Legislature; represented Douglas 
County in the Constitutional Conventions 
of 1871 and 1875; served as President of 
the Omaha City Council in 1880; was Maj-or 
in 1881 and 1882; declined re-nomination in 
1883, but was again elected Mayor in 1885, 
and served two j-ears. During his adminis- 
tration in 1881, the high license law went 
into effect, — the first city in the United 
States to enforce it — and its enforcement 
here met with great opposition on the part 
of the saloon interests, which was finall}' 
overcome with much difficulty. During his 
first administration. Mayor Boj'd visited 
Detroit, Michigan, and made a careful inves- 
tigation of its laws with respect to paving 
and other public improvements, and it was 
at his suggestion that the city charter was 
amended so as to provide that paved inter- 
sections of streets and alleys should be paid 
for by the citj^, and that the property 
holders shovild have five years in which to 
pay for the remainder. The present system 
of paving, curbing, guttering and sew- 
erage, was adopted during Mr. Bo3'd's 
administration as Mavor. He erected, in 




.^ 



t^ ^^^L^ 




BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLERS 



111 



1891, another opera house, on a much more 
extensive scale, at the southeast corner of 
Harney and Seventeenth Streets. Novem- 
ber 7, 1890, he was elected Governor of 
Nebraska. A question being raised as to 
Governor Boyd's citizenship, he was ousted 
out of office by the Supreme Court of the 
State shortly after being inaugurated, and 
did not again enter into the discharge of 
his duties until February 8, 1892, the 
United States Supreme Court having decided 
tliat he was and had been a citizen ever 
since 1867. A more extended account of 
this celebrated contest will be found else- 
wliere in this worlv. Governor and Mrs. 
Boj'd have tliree children, Eleanora, Marga- 
ret, and James E., Jr. The eldest, now 
Mrs. Ellis L. Bierbower, born May 6, 1860, 
was the first wliite child born in Buffalo 
County. 

Ex-Governor Alvin Saunders was ap- 
pointed Governor of Nebraska by President 
Lincoln, in 1861, locating in Omaha in the 
spring of that year, and re-appointed in 
1865. In 1868 he was a delegate to the 
National Convention which nominated Gen- 
eral Grant, and in 1877 was elected to tlie 
United States Senate. He was active in the 
efforts made to secure the location of the 
Union Pacific bridge at this point, being 
chairman of a committee appointed hj the 
citizens for that purpose; and the citj- lots 
which were donated to the company in aid 
of the construction of said bridge and depot 
were deeded to Governor Saunders by the 
city and the various parties owning them, 
in trust, to be by him transferred to the 
Railroad Company, upon certain conditions. 
He was one of the builders of the Omaha & 
Southwestern Railroad, and at one time 
vice president of the company; and was 
also president of the Board of Regents of 
the High School which had charge of the 
erection of the High School Building. For 
several years he^was president of the State 
Bank of this city, and was one of the 
original stockholders in the Omaha Smelting 



"Works. He was born in Fleming County, 
Kentuck}-, Julj- 12, 1817, locating at Mount 
Pleasant, Iowa, at an early date. He was a 
member of the Constitutional Convention in 
1846, and in 18.54 and 1858, served as a 
member of the Iowa State Senate. He was 
a member of the Iowa delegation to the 
Chicago Convention which nominated Mr. 
Lincoln, in 1860. Governor Saunders has 
two children, Charles, now engaged in the 
practice of law, and a daughter, now Mrs. 
Russell Harrison. 

Byron Reed located in this city November 
10, 1855, and the following year established 
himself in tlie real estate business, which he 
has continuous!}' followed since that date. 
In 1860 he was elected city clerk, and 
served for seven j-ears. From 1861 to 1863 
he was deputj- county clerk, and in the fall 
of 1863 was elected count}' clerk, and 
served two j-ears. In 1871 and 1872 he was 
a member of the City Council, serving as 
president during the latter j-ear. Prospect 
Hill Cemetery, comprising fourteen acres of 
land, was given to the city for that purpose, 
by Mr. Reed, in 1859. For many years 
he devoted much time and energy to the 
collection of coins, rare books, etc. His 
collection of coins, valued at $50,000, is 
one of the most extensive in the country. He 
was a corresponding member of the American 
Numismatic and Archaeological Society, of 
New York. He was one of the largest owners 
of real estate in Omaha, and was one of its 
wealthiest citizens. Some three years since 
he organized the Byron Reed Company, with 
a paid up capital of $200,000, and gave less 
attention to business, entrusting his affairs 
to a considerable extent to his son. Abraham 
L. Reed, secretary and treasurer of the 
Byron Reed Companj-. Mr. Reed died June 
6, 1891, leaving a widow and two children, 
a son, Abraham L. Reed, and a daughter, 
Mrs. Frank B. Johnson. He quite gener- 
ously remembered the city, which ■ he had 
seen grow from a small hamlet to a prosper- 
ous metropolis, by bequeathing to it a lot 



112 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



for a library building and his very valuable 
cbllection of coins, rare books, etc. This 
bequest is more fully set forth in the chapter 
on the public library. 

pjdward Creighton, who rendered such 
valuable services to the West in pushing the 
construction of the telegraph line from the 
Missouri River to the Pacific, aided mate- 
rially in bringing Omaha to the attention of 
the whole country in the earlier years of its 
existence. He was born August 31, 1820, in 
Belmont County, Ohio, and came to this 
city in 1856, and in 1858 engaged in build- 
ing telegraph lines in Missouri and Arkansas. 
In 1860 he constructed the telegrai^h line 
from St. Louis to Omaha, and tlie following 
year entered upon the great undertaking 
which made him famous, and completed 
direct telegraphic communications between 
the two oceans. Mr. Creighton became a 
heavy stockholder in the Pacific and "Western 
Union Telegraph Companies, purchasing 
when these organizations were in their 
infancy and the stock in little demand, and 
accumulated an immense fortune in conse- 
quence of the rapid rise in value of the 
interest so purchased. He made large and 
wise investments in Omaha real estate, and 
at the time of his death, Nov. 5, 1874, was 
reputed to be the wealthiest man in Omaha. 
For several years he had had large sums 
invested in the cattle business on the. plains, 
being one of the pioneers in this line, and 
his profits from this source were very great. 
He was one of the incorporators of the First 
National Bank, and was its first president. 
He was also interested in the building of 
the Omaha and Northwestern Railroad. He 
was a man of broad and liberal ideas, and in 
his will bequeathed large sums of money 
for the benefit of various Catholic institu- 
tions of Omaha. 

Closely identified with Mr. Creighton 
were his brother, John A. Creighton, and 
cousin, James Creighton, in his various 
enterprises. In 1883 these two gentlemen 
took a cattle train loaded with supplies to 



Montana, then in the midst of the great gold 
excitement, and the former located in Vir- 
ginia City, where he remained for three 
years, engaged in mercantile pursuits. For 
two j'ears he was connected with the build- 
ing of a telegraph line from Salt Lake City 
to Helena, Montana, and in 1868 engaged 
in the wholesale grocery business with 
Frank C: Morgan, under the firm name of 
Creighton & Morgan. Upon the death of 
his brother he became administrator of the 
estate, charged with the disbursement of 
large sums of money. He was one of the 
incorporators of the Nail Works; a large 
stockholder in the Cable Street Railway, and 
in the South Omaha Land Sj'ndicate. He 
was a delegate to the Chicago Convention 
in 1884, which nominated Grover Cleveland. 
He has been very generous in behalf of the 
interests of the Catholic Churcli. Mr. 
Creighton was born in Licking County, 
Ohio, October 15, 1831, and came to Omaha 
June 10, 1856. In 1859 he was clerking in 
the store of J. J. and R. A. Brown. His 
wife died in 1888, leaving no children. 

Mr. James Creighton, born in Guernsey 
County, Ohio, March 1, 1822, located in this 
city May 26, 1856, and for several years 
was engaged in the freighting business be- 
tween Omaha and the western gold mines. 
In 1861 he had the contract to deliver poles 
for the Pacific Telegraph line on the section 
between Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger. 
He had grading contracts on the Union 
Pacific during its construction. He was ap- 
pointed a member of the City Council in 
1857 to fill out the unexpired term of T. G. 
Goodwill, and was re-elected to several 
terms afterwards. He was a member of the 
House of Representatives in 1877, and ap- 
pointed chairman of the Board of Public" 
Works upon its organization in July, 1882. 
He was also a member of the first Board of 
Education under the present system. 

ICzra Millard, who located in Omaha, in 
1856, bore a prominent and useful part in 
the early history of this city. Upon coming 



lUOGKAl'iriCAL SKETCHES OF EAItLY SETTLEHS. 



118 



liere he became a member of the banking- 
firm of Barrows, Millard & Co., the style of 
which was soon changed to Millard, Caldwell 
& Co. Upon the organization of the Omaha 
National Bank, in 1866, Mr. Millard was 
elected president, and held that office until 
1884, when he severed his connection with 
that institution and organized the Commer- 
cial National Bank, of which he was elected 
president. This position he held at the 
time of his death, August 26, 1886. Mr. 
Millard served this city as mayor in 1870 
and 1871, and was a member of the Territo- 
rial Council in 1860. In 1886 he assisted 
ill organizing the Cable Railwaj^ system of 
Omaha, and was elected treasurer of the 
company. He was a man of great energy 
of character, of the strictest integritj', pos- 
sessed unusual business ability, and was held 
in the highest esteem by all classes of 
citizens. Everything concerning the best 
interests of Omaha he made a matter of 
personal concern, and for thirty years this 
city had the benefit, at all times, and on all 
occasions, of his ripened judgment and fore- 
sight. H is son, Alfred JMillard, is cashier of 
the Commercial National Bank, and bears 
evidence of having inherited to a consider- 
able degree the father's financial ability. 

Herman Kountze, president of the First 
National Bank, has been identified with the 
interests of this city since the fall of 18.56, 
when he engaged in the banking business 
with his brother Augustus, under the firm 
name of Kountze Bros. Upon the organi- 
zation of the First National Bank of this 
city, in 1864, he was appointed cashier and 
afterwards vice president, and upon the 
death of Mr. Edward Creighton, in 1874, 
became president of the bank. In connec- 
tion with his brothers, Augustus, Luther and 
Charles, he is interested in the Colorado 
National Bank, of Denver, and the New 
York Banking House of Kountze Bros., of 
which latter institution Augustus Kountze 
is president. Herman Kountze owns a 
great deal of valuable real estate in Omaha, 



including, until recently, a tract of 160 
acres in the northern part of the city, which 
he platted a few years since as Kountze 
Addition, and which is now one of the 
choice residence localities of the city. Mr. 
Kountze was married to Miss Elizabeth 
Davis, of this city, May 10, 1864. 

Joseph H. Millard located here in 1856, 
beginning business as a real estate dealer, in 
a small building near the corner of Farnani 
and Tenth, handling chiefly wild lands in 
various portions of the Territory. He 
became a member of the banking firm of 
Barrows, Millard ife Co., upon its organiza- 
tion, and in the spring of 1864 established 
a banking business at Virginia City and 
Helena, Montana, which he continued for 
nearly three years. He became identified 
with the Omaha National Bank in January, 
1867, which relationship he still maintains, 
having been its president since 1884. In 
1872 and 1873 he served the city acceptably 
as mayor, and was for six years a Govern- 
ment Director of the Union Pacific Railroad. 
He was married atDavenport, Iowa, in 1861, 
to Miss Carrie G. Barrows, and has two 
children, "Willard D. and Jessie II. He was 
born in 1836, in Hamilton, Canada. 

Charles W. Hamilton, president of the 
United States National Bank, located in this 
city in May, 1856, and in the spring of 1862, 
was employed as book-keeper in the firm of 
Barrows, Millard & Co., bankers, becoming 
a member of the firm three years later, when 
the style was changed to Millard, Caldwell 
& Co. In 1868, the style was again changed 
and became Caldwell, Hamilton & Co., and 
so remained until 1883, when the United 
States National Bank was organized, with 
Mr. Hamilton as president. During all this 
time, the business has been conducted at the 
south-west corner of Farnam and Twelfth 
Streets. The present bank building is one 
of the most substantial structures in the 
city, built of Ohio blue stone, and is five 
stories in height. Mr. Hamilton was mar- 
ried in 1858 to Miss Fannie Murphy, of this 



114 



HISTORY OF TIIK CITY OF OMAHA. 



city, a sister of Frank Murphy and Mrs. 
Thomas Cumings. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton 
have six children, C. Will, Frank, Millard 
Caldwell, Stella, May and Frederick. The 
first son is assistant cashier of the United 
States National, and the second paying- 
teller in the Merchants' National. 

Jesse Lowe, the first mayor of Omaha, 
was a man of strong character. At the 
time of the passage of the Nebraska-Kansas 
Bill, he was a resident of Council Bluffs, and, 
crossing the Missouri in a skiff, on the 23rd 
of July, 1853, one year before the town was 
platted, he took up a claim just west of the 
land upon which the town site was located, 
in 1854, and this property he still had at 
the time of his death, April 3, 1868. He 
was an active member of the Omaha Claim 
Club, and prominent in everything relating 
to the best interests of the city in its early 
history. He was born in Raleigh, N. C, 
March 11, 1814, and educated in Blooming- 
ton College, Indiana. During the Mexican 
War, he was Commissary of the Missouri 
Regiment commanded bj' Colonel Sterling 
Price, afterwards prominent as a Major- 
General in the Confederate army. Mr. 
Lowe was emploj^ed in the ofHce of his 
brother, Dr. Lowe, Receiver of the Land 
Office, during his residence in Council Bluffs. 
He dealt extensively in real estate in this 
city, and was recognized as one of Omaha's 
leading business men from the date of his 
arrival here. At the time of his death he 
owned valuable real estate in all portions of 
the city, in addition to his homestead of 320 
acres west of town, all of which is now 
within the city limits and is of immense 
value. 

William A. Paxton came to Omaha in 
January, 1857, in the employ of a contractor 
named Regan, who was engaged in building 
bridges on the old military road, and after- 
wards in the construction of the telegraph 
line between Omaha and Salt Lake. During 
the construction of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, Mr. Paxton was a contractor, and his 



profits earned in this business he invested in 
cattle in 1869, and for the next twelve years 
was extensively engaged in the cattle busi- 
ness on the plains, and accumulated a 
handsome fortune therefrom. In the mean- 
time, he had contracts with the government 
for supplying beef to the Indian agencies. 
Mr. Paxton is one of the leading stockhold- 
ers in the First National Bank; is vice 
president of the Union Stock Yards National 
Bank; is president of the Union Trust 
Company; vice president of the South 
Omaha Land Company; a member of the 
firm of the Paxton k Vierling Iron Works 
Company, and of the firm of Paxton it 
Gallagher, wholesale grocers. He has 
invested in buildings in this city three- 
fourths of a million dollars, and, for a dozen 
years past, has been recognized as one of 
Omaha's most entei-prising and public- 
spirited citizens. His block at the north- 
east corner of Farnam and Sixteenth, six 
stories high, and 132 feet square, cost nearly 
half a million dollars. He was married 
February 21, 1858, to Mary J. Ware, and 
has one son, William A., Jr. 

Samuel E. Rogers, who was born in Flem- 
ing County, Kentucky, in 1822, came to 
Omaha from Havana, Illinois, in August, 
1854, locating here as a resident, with his 
family, October 28th, of that year, his first 
home being in a house which stood on the 
present site of the Dodge Street School 
building. His father, William R. Rogers, 
claimed a tract of 320 acres just south of 
town, in 1854, but died October 14th of that 
j'ear, his property rights descending to his 
son Samuel, who moved upon the land in 
1856, and for four years lived in a little 
house on the ground now covered b}- the 
residence of Thomas L. Kimball, on Sixth 
Street. At that time Mr. William Ruth, a 
brother of Mrs. Augustus Kountze, lived in 
a log house in the same vicinity, on the 
present site of Herman Kountze's home. 
Mr. Rogers served in the first four sessions 
of the Territorial Council. He was one of 




.^^. 



BIOfiRAPIIICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLERS 



115 



the original stockholders in the State Bank, 
now Merchants' National, of which he be- 
came vice president in 1875, and has held 
that position ever since. Twelve years ago 
he became interested in Florida lands, and 
owns nearl}' 700 acres in the vicinity of 
Sutherland, where he spends the winters. In 
1879, in company with Frank Murph}^, 
General W. W. Lowe and James L. Lovett, 
he secured valuable oil interests in Wyoming, 
these gentlemen now owning 3,200 acres of 
patented lands in the Shoshone Basin, 
Beaver and Rattlesnake Districts, and have 
developed three spouting wells, with a 
capacity of 1,200 barrels per day. These 
wells are now plugged, as the exportation of 
the oU will not pay expenses until railroad 
facilities are secured. Mr. Rogers is a 
graduate of Wabash College, Indiana, and 
received therefrom the degree of Bachelor 
of Arts, in 1852. He was married to Miss 
Martha Brown, in Michigantown, Indiana, 
in 1848. Their only cliild is G. S. Rogers, 
the third teller of the Merchants' Nationa\ 
Bank. Mr. Rogers, Sr., is one of the 
wealthiest men in the city. 

One of the first notaries appointed for 
Douglas County was Major J. II. Cryer, 
now living on his five hundred acre farm, 
five miles west of the city, a portion of 
which land he entered as a pre-emption 
claim in 1857. His mother, it is said, was 
the first woman ever naturalized in the 
United States, her papers as a citizen being 
taken out February 14, 1857, at the Douglas 
County Court House. At that time Major 
Joseph W. Paddock was clerk of the court. 
During the war Major Cryer was an officer 
of a Pennsylvania regiment, and afterwards 
resided for many years in Philadelphia, 
where he is yet a large property holder. 

Major Joseph W. Paddock came to this 
city September 24, 1854. He was clerk of 
the first House of Representatives, and the 
first clerk of the first District Court held 
in this District, Judge Ferguson presiding. 
He served as a member of the House of 



Representatives in 1858, 1865, 1866, and as 
a member of the City Council in 1869. 
Upon the organization of the first Nebraska 
Infantry, he was appointed captain of 
Company K, and served four months with 
the regiment, when he was detailed on staff 
duty, in November, 1861. He was appointed 
to the Adjutant General's Corps in 1862, 
and attached to the staff of General Steele. 
After getting out of the army at the close 
of the war, he was secretary and manager of 
the Western Transportation Companj', which 
was engaged in freight transportation from 
the end of the Union Pacific Railroad to 
the mountains. For a number of years he 
was the Stock and General Claim Agent for 
the Union Pacific Railroad, and of late 
years his time has been devoted to his own 
interests. In Januarj^ 1891, he was 
appointed by President Harrison Govern- 
ment Director of the Union Pacific Rail- 
road. He was born in Matena, New York, 
April 27, 1825, and was married at Canton, 
New York, in 1858, to Miss Susie A. Mack. 
He has two children, Ben S., and a daughter, 
now Mrs. W. E. Annin. He is now living a 
few miles west of the city on a handsome 
place of 340 acres, a portion of which is his 
original claim, made before the land came 
into market, of 160 acres. It was by the 
merest chance that Major Paddock lived to 
accomplish what he has during the past 
thirty-six years. In January, 1855, while 
crossing the Missouri River on the ice, he 
stepped into an air-hole, and would undoubt- 
edly have drowned but for the fact that he 
was holding under his right arm a buffalo 
robe rolled up in a long bundle, and this, 
catching on the ice, held him until assistance 
could be given him. Major Paddock is now 
serving Douglas County in the capacity of 
commissioner, having been appointed to fill 
a vacancy. 

Jesse H. Lacey and John McCormick 
established the first wholesale grocery house 
in Omaha, and, for that matter, the first 
established in the territory, beginning 



116 



I'OKY OF TlIK CITY OF OMAHA. 



business in tlie spring of 1859 under the 
firm name of Lacey & McCormick, which 
was afterwards changed to John McCormick 
<fc Co., the company including Jesse II. 
Lacey, Josiali S. McCormick, Finley McCor- 
mick and Albert JMcCormick. Finley was 
accidentally drowned in Mill Creek, on the 
Iowa side of the river, in 1865, and Albert 
died in 1878. In the old Pike's Peak 
mining days, tliis firm did an immense 
business in furnishing supplies to the 
miners, and for many years their annual 
sales reached an enormous figure. John 
McCormick and Mr. Lacey married sisters, 
the Misses Miser. In 1875, John McCormick, 
with Messrs. Barringer and Davis, erected 
the first grain elevator built in this city, 
and was engaged in that business at the 
time of his death, in 1885. When he came 
to Nebraska in 1856, he established himself 
in the banking business, and took an active 
part in the financial affairs of the city. As 
trustee for the various claimants, he bid off 
at the public land sale Jul}' 5, 1859, a 
considerable portion of the town site. Mr. 
Lacey, who now occupies a responsible 
position in the First National Bank, came 
to Omaha in 1859. He served as a member 
of the City Council in 1869-70, and was 
Government Inspector of Indian Supplies 
for several years, receiving his appointment 
in 1870. Mr. J. S. McCormick has also 
served the cit}' in the Council. He was 
married January 3, 1863, to Miss Hannah 
Mills, who died February 27, 1888. 

Among the pioneer merchants of this city 
were J. J. and R. A. Brown, who were born 
in Stephentown, New York, and located 
here in 1856, in a frame building which 
they erected at the south-east corner of 
Fourteenth and Douglas, where they were 
engaged in the dry goods and grocery 
business, wholesale and retail, for many 
years. J. J. Brown served as a member of 
the City Council for one year, and R. A. 
acted as City Treasurer for one year. The 
former was married to Miss Missouri 



Kennedy, in Florence, New York, March 1, 
1865. They have five children, Clara, 
Randall K., James J., Charles II., and Jeanie 
Dean. Mr. Brown was one of the incorpo- 
rators of the Omaha National Bank, in 
which he has, since its establishment, been a 
director. He is vice president of the 
Omaha Loan & Trust Company, and also of 
the Omaha Fire Insurance Companjr. He 
was one of the incorporators of the Omaha 
Motor Line, and is a director of the Consol- 
idated Line of Street Railway. He is one 
of the leading capitalists of the city, and 
has been active in advancing its material 
interests. R. A. Brown carried on for 
several years an extensive dry goods 
business on Douglas Street, near Fourteenth, 
but of late years has devoted his time to 
the management of his real estate interests. 
Associated with J. J. Brown for many years 
was a younger brother, Lewis, whose high 
ability as a business man and prominence 
warrant personal mention here, though he 
was not, strictly speaking, a pioneer. Lewis 
Brown located in Omaha, in 1868, entering 
at once into partnership with J. J. Brown in 
his mercantile business. Just previous to his 
death, which occurred about 1879, he served 
as a member of the City Council. 

Lyman Richardson was the first Register 
of Douglas County, and also the first 
Assessor of the city. He located here with 
his father in January, 1855, studied law 
in the office of Judge Lake, and was 
admitted to the bar in 1858, but never 
practiced his profession. He enlisted in the 
First Nebraska Infantry in July, 1862, and 
was promoted to the position of captain in 
that regiment. He became a partner of 
Dr. George L. Miller in the management of 
The Herald, soon after its establishing, and 
remained as the business manager of the 
paper for nearly twenty years, during which 
period he was also half owner. He has been 
engaged for the past eight years in real 
estate transactions on his own account, and 
by the rapid rise of Omaha property has 




MjiiyWT.B<^tkir in- 




BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLERS. 



117 



accumulated a fortune. Mr. and Mrs. 
Richardson have but two children, Minnie, 
now Mrs. AV. R. Morris, and Ralph. The 
success of The Herald was due in a large 
measure to the rare financial ability of Mr. 
Richardson, who gave to the management of 
the paper all of his time and attention. He 
was born in Michigan in 1834, and graduated 
at the State University at Ann Arbor, 
in 1854. His father, Origen D. Richardson, 
was Lieutenant Governor of Michigan from 
1844 to 1848. During his twenty- three 
years in Omaha, lie was one of the leading 
lawyers of the cit}'. He took a prominent 
part in preparing the first code of laws for 
the Territory in 1855, and, in 1867, assisted 
by J. S. Sharp and Andrew J. Poppleton, 
prepared the revised statutes of Nebraska. 

P'rom the date of his arrival here, in the 
spring of 1859, until his death, June 26, 
1884, Smith S. Caldwell was recognized as 
one of the leading business men of Omaha. 
He came from Marion, New York, where he 
was born in 1834, with a view of practicing 
law, having been admitted to tlie bar shortlj'^ 
before his departure from New York, but 
soon after locating in Omaha entered upon 
tlie banking business with Barrows, Millard 
<fe Co. The style was then changed to 
Millard, Caldwell & Co., and so continued 
for several years. When the Omaha 
National Bank was organized another 
change was made, and the firm of Caldwell 
& Hamilton, consisting of Mr. Caldwell and 
Charles W. Hamilton, was formed. Later 
on the firm became Caldwell, Hamilton & 
Co., and so continued until that banking 
house was merged into the United States 
National Bank, in 1883. Mr. Caldwell was 
one of the incorporators of the Omaha & 
Southwestern Railroad Company, of which 
he was president in 1869; was active in 
securing the erection of the Grand Central 
Hotel, and contributed very materially to 
the success of that important enterprise. 
In 1871 he was elected Mayor of Omaha, 
and served with credit to himself and satis- 



faction to the people. An addition in the 
northern part of the city was platted by 
Mr. Caldwell and IMr. Ezra Millard as 
Millard & Caldwell's Addition, now solidly 
built up. In April, 1863, Mr. Caldwell was 
married to Miss Henrietta M. Bush, of 
Tioga, Pennsylvania. His family, consist- 
ing of Mrs. Caldwell and two sons, Victor 
and Samuel, now live on a beautiful plat of 
•two and a half acres of land, covered with 
a natural grove, which he purchased in 1864 
from John I. Redick for residence purposes. 
It was then far out from the settled portion 
of the city, but is now considered " down 
town," and is of great value. It fronts on 
Twentieth Street, and joins on the north the 
homestead of Charles W. Hamilton, pur- 
chased of Mr. Redick at the same time and 
of like dimensions. 

William F. Sweesy is a New Jersey man, 
who dates his residence in Omaha from May, 
1856. During that 3^ear, in company with 
his brother-in-law, Aaron Root, he built the 
Tremont House, on Douglas just west of 
Thirteenth Street, and they also managed it 
until the spring of 1857, when a man named 
Hornberger became proprietor, Messrs. 
Sweesy ife Root retaining ownership of the 
building, however, until the Caldwell Block 
wks built, in 1865 and 1866. In 1866 he 
purchased from A. J. Poppleton and J. M. 
Woolworth a tract of land of twentj--two 
acres, just south and west of the present site 
of Creighton College, which he platted as 
Sweesy 's Addition. The following year he 
was appointed Register of the United States 
Land Office here, which place he held for 
four years, O. F. Davis being his chief 
clerk a considerable portion of that period. 
In 1876 he was appointed United States 
Marshal for Wyoming Territory, and served 
three years. He has valuable real estate 
interests here, which now occupy his time 
and attention. In 1891 Mr. Sweesy erected 
and opened the Hotel Brunswick, on the 
corner of .Sixteenth and Jackson streets. Mr. 
and Mrs. Sweesy have three children — Frank, 
Charles C. and Willard K. 



118 



niSTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



John A. Horbach has been for thirty-four 
years a prominent resident of Omaha, 
locating here April 24, 1856. He came from 
Pittsburg, where he had been engaged in the 
railroad business for five years previously, 
and for three years was a clerk in the office of 
Colonel Gilmore, United States Receiver of 
the Land Department, and then engaged in 
the steamboat forwarding and commission 
business. He bore an active part in the. 
building of the Omaha ife Northwestern 
Railroad, of which company he was the vice 
president and manager, buying all of the 
material for the construction of the line 
between Omaha and Tekamah. He remained 
with the company until the consolidation of 
this line with others in 1880, and represented 
the old company in closing up its business 
during the next two years. Since 1874 he 
has been connected with various railroad 
enterprises, and in establishing a large cattle 
ranch business in south-western Kansas. He 
has extensive real estate interests here, and 
is classed among the wealthiest citizens of 
Omaha. He was married in Allegheny City, 
Pennsylvania, in December, 1854, to Miss 
Sallie Wallace. Mr. and jMrs. Horbach have 
two children, Mollie F. (now the wife of 
Major Jolm G. Bourke) and Paul AV. 

Harry P. Deuel, as a member of the firm 
of Porter & Deuel, conducted a very large 
business in the old steamboat daj^s, as agent 
for the St. Joseph Packet Line. Upon the 
completion of the Kansas City <fe St. Joseph 
Railroad, he was appointed the Omaha agent 
of that line, and was afterwards ticket agent 
for the Chicago. Burlington & Quincy and 
Burlington <fe Missouri Railroad Companies, 
until January, 1888, when he was appointed 
the City Ticket Agent for the Union Pacific 
Railroad Company. He was married Janu- 
ary 6, 1858, at Tiskima, Illinois, to Miss F. 
J. Miller. They have had two children, 
Blanche, who died in November, 1881, and 
Charles. 

John Evans, one of the best known men 
througliout the West in Odd Fellow circles. 



came to Nebraska in April, 1855, and has 
been a continuous resident here since. He 
was a member of the School Board, as 
treasurer, for many years previous to the 
establishment of the present school system. 
He represented Dodge County in the Terri- 
torial House of Representatives, at the 
second session, and was a member of the 
City Council of Omaha in 1864. He has 
served as Grand Secretary of the Grand 
Lodge I. 0. O. F. and as Grand Represent- 
ative for several years, and has also been 
the Grand Scribe of the Grand Encamp- 
ment of that order. He rendered the city 
efficient service as secretary of the Com- 
mittee of Fifteen which drafted the 
Metropolitan Chai'ter of Omaha, in 1886, 
and as Chairman of the Committee of 
Twenty-one which was selected to draft 
certain amendments to the Charter in 1888. 
He was married in Philadelphia, to Miss 
Eliza P. Davis. He has five children — 
Charles, John B., Perla (Mrs. Samuel Hous- 
ton), Mary and Edward D. Since 1864, 
Mr. Evans has been engaged in business in 
this city, first in the general grocerj^ line, 
and for tlie last eight years dealing in seeds, 
garden implements, etc. 

John and Richard N. AVithnell have been 
for thirty-five years the leading brick man- 
iifacturers and contractors for the erection 
of brick buildings in the city. In the year 
1855 they were sub-contractors under Bovey 
ife Armstrong in the erection of the Terri- 
ritorial Capitol and the Douglas County 
Court House. They established a brick 
making business about that time, which tliey 
have gradually and steadily increased until 
their plant is by far the most extensive in 
the city. John Withnell located in Omaha 
September 15, 1854 ; liis brother, Rieliard, 
arriving here in the spring of 1855. both 
coming from St. Joseph, Missouri. The 
former has been married twice, the first time 
in February, 1853, at St. Louis, and the 
second in January, 1887, at Omaha. He 
has eight children, Eliza A., Elizabeth C, 



bioCtRapiiical sketches of early settler 



111) 



Cora B., Charles H., Blanch C, John IT., 
Alwilda, and Frank R. Richard Withnell 
was married at Omaha in 1858 to Miss 
Alwilda Boegle. 

Meyer Hellman, born in 1834, in Germany, 
came to America in 1850, and located at 
Cincinnati. In 1856 he became a resident 
of this city, and entered into the clothing- 
business with Aaron Cahn, under the style 
of M. Hellman & Co., which firm continued 
in business until 1887, when Mr. Hellman 
purchased Mr. Cahn's interest. M. Hellman 
tfe Co. alwa3-s conducted a very extensive 
business, and for many years occupied a 
large, five-story building at the south-west 
corner of Farnam and Thirteenth Streets. 
Mr. Hellman died March 29, 1892, at his home 
in this city at St. Mary's Avenue and Twenty- 
fourth Street. In 1871, at Louisville, Ken- 
tuck}', he was married to Miss ilaria Rau. 
Ilis widow and six children were left in 
comfortable circumstances. 

William J. Kennedy, one of the best 
known men in Nebraska, was born in 1832, 
in Baltimore, Maryland; married, November 
4, 1856, at St. Louis, Missouri, to Miss Mary 
JNI. Mundie, and located in Omaha, December 
9, 1856, engaging in the watch and jewelry 
business. He was a member of the City 
Council in 1861, and closed up the business 
of the last " wildcat" bank of this city, 
known as the Omaha & Chicago Bank. In 
1865, he became connected with the steam- 
boat, storage and general commission business 
established by John A. Horbach. Afterwards 
he carried on a large agricultural implement 
business on his own account, until 1887. 
The Omaha Fire Department received in its 
formative period mucli valuable assistance 
from Mr. Kennedy, who was one of the 
originators of the volunteer system, of which 
he was a member for many years. Mr. 
Kennedy was strongly recommended by the 
leading business men of Omaha for appoint- 
ment to the chairmanship of the Board of 
Public "Works, at the expiration of Mr. 
Balcombe's term in 1890. He has but one 
child, Tiieodocia C. 



Dr. Gilbert C. Monell, who located in 
Omaha in 1857, was born in IMontgomery, 
New York, October 20, 1816, and at the age 
of nineteen graduated at Union College. 
In 1836 he was married to Miss Lucinda 
Carpenter. Graduating at New York as a 
physician, he was engaged in active practice 
for twenty years in the east, and for a con- 
siderable period af^er coming to Omaha. In 
1859, he was associated with Thomas Gibson 
and W. N. Byers in establishing Denver's 
first newspaper. The Rocky Mountain News. 
He was instrumental in establishing in this 
city the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, which 
was conducted for two years as a private 
institution, and its final success was due in a 
great measure to the energy and business 
ability of Dr. Monell. He was likewise 
active in the erection of the Presbyterian 
Church building, on the corner of Dodge 
and Seventeenth Streets, and contributed 
freely of his means to that important enter- 
prise. He bore an active part in the 
organization of the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company, and during his entire life here 
was recognized as a man of rare judgment, 
honorable and upright in his dealings, and 
of benevolent and sympathetic nature. He 
died September 30, 1881. Doctor and Mrs. 
Monell had two children, John J. Monell, 
still a resident of Omaha, and a daughter, 
the late Mrs. P. W. Hitchcock. 

The residence in Nebraska of Captain W. 
W. Marsh, dates from February, 1856. For 
six years he was interested in the mail 
business between Dakota City, Nebraska, 
and Niobrara, Nebraska, and Sioux City, 
Iowa, and Fort Randall. In 1863 he bought 
an interest in the Council Bluffs & Nebraska 
Ferry Company, and managed its business 
for ten years; and for a large portion of this 
time he was superintendent of the Missouri 
River and Union Pacific Transfer Company, 
and had charge of the running of all their 
steamboats, until the completion of tlie rail- 
road bridge in 1873. In July of that year 
he bought a controlling interest in the 



120 



HISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Omaha Horse Railwa3' Company, and since 
that date has devoted his energies and 
money to its development, and has lived to 
see the street railway system become one of 
the most complete in the country, as the 
result of the merging of the original horse 
railway with the cable and electric motor 
systems established during the past few 
years. Captain Marsh is now the treasurer 
of the consolidated lines incorporated as 
the Omaha Street Railway Company. He 
has served several terms in the City Council 
and on the Board of Education. In 1866, 
upon the organization of the Union National 
Bank, he was elected president of that 
institution, which place he still retains. 
He was married to Miss Florence M. 
Atwood, at Livermore Falls, Maine, in 
January, 1863. The}' have four sons, Charles, 
Frank, AVilliam and Allan. The former is 
assistant cashier of the Union National 
Bank, Frank is assistant treasurer of the 
Street Railway Company, "Wi'Uiam is teller 
of the Union National Bank, and Allan is a 
student at Phillips Academy, Andover, 
Massachusetts. 

Henry Grebe is one of the best known 
residents of Omaha. He was born in 
Giessen, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, Maj' 
28, 1828. Coming to this country in 1850, 
he located at Wheeling, Virginia, where he 
learned the trade of carriage and wagon 
making. In 1853 he moved to Davenport 
Iowa, and four years later came to tliis 
count}', locating six miles north of town, at 
Florence, moving into Omaha in 1861, and 
engaged in the wagon making business, 
which he has continued since. He was 
elected to the Territorial Legislature in 
1860, and to the City Council in 1863. He 
served as a member of the Town Board of 
Florence in 1859, and as treasurer in 1860. 
In 1869 he was elected sheriff of Douglas 
County, and re-elected in 1871, serving four 
years. During this period he succeeded in 
breaking up the notorious gang of three- 
card inonte men which infested this part of 



the country, under the leadership of William 
Jones, alias Canada Bill. In 1870 he took 
to Lincoln the first lot of prisoners confined 
in the new penitentiary. He served as a 
member of the State Convention, in 1875, 
which drafted our present Constitution. ISIr. 
Grebe was married at Davenport, Iowa, 
April 24, 1856, to Miss Emil}' Kroeger, the 
daughter of a well-known Lutheran clergy- 
man of that city. Thej' have had seven 
children, three of whom are living, and 
residents of Omaha: Louis, Henry and 
Theodore. Mrs. Cirebe died in this city 
August 11, 1890. 

Charles J. Karbach, now a wealthy man, 
simplj' because he could not sell his Omaha 
real estate when it was cheap and did not 
have money enough to get away with his 
family and locate elsewhere, unless he could 
sell, located here in May, 1858, and engaged 
with Peter Frenzer in the wagon-making and 
blacksmithing business, at the southeast 
corner of Fifteenth and Dodge, where the 
Frenzer Block now stands. In 1859 he es- 
tablished a business of his own, on the 
present site of the Continental Block. In 
1862 he bought a full lot, 66x132 feet, at 
the southwest corner of Douglas and 
Fifteenth for $2,100, and has owned it ever 
since. It is now worth about $200,000. In 
1861 he bought the lot 66x132 feet at the 
corner of Howard and Fifteenth, now 
covered by the Karbach Block, for 11,000, 
but an offer of $100,000 for the ground 
to-day would not be a sufficient inducement 
for Mr. Karbach to part with it. He was 
elected to the City Council in 1867, and to 
the legislature in 1869. His residence 
propert.v on Twentieth Street, near Leaven- 
worth, is valued at $25,000. 

Dr. James P. Peck took high rank among 
the phj'sicians of Omaha. He learned the 
printing business in the offices of the Ohio 
Observer, and OJiio Statesman, devoting nine 
j'ears to that calling. He was born October 
11, 1821, in what is now Summit Count}-, 
Ohio. In 1842 he commenced the study of 



BIOIiliAPIIICAL SKETCHES OF EAl 



■iETTLEi:.- 



21 



medicine in tlie office of Dr. Wills, of 
Chillicothe, Ohio; but for want of means 
went back to the printing business, and for a 
time published a ])emocratic paper at 
Chillicothe, resuming his medical studies in 
tlie fall of 1848, graduating at the Cleveland 
Medical College in 1850, and locating in 
Akron, Ohio. He was married at Cleveland 
in June, of that year, to Miss Elizabeth H. 
Ames. In 1856 he removed to Omaha with 
his wife and two S(ms, the eldest, William 
Ames, d3'ing in this citj^ the following 
April. The other son, Edward P., is an 
active member of the Omaha Elevator 
Company. Dr. Peck built up a very large 
and profitable practice in this cit}'. He died 
February 20, 1887. 

Captain C. 11. Downs is one of tlie oldest 
residents of this city — in fact, he resided on 
the ground now included in the town sita 
before it was platted. He purchased an 
interest m the Council Bluffs & Nebraska 
Ferry Company, April 25, 1854, and on the 
following day took charge of the steam 
ferry boat, the General Marion, and shortly 
afterwards moved into a cabin the company 
had erected on the Xeliraska shore, and 
lived therein during the summer of that 
year, superintending the men employed on 
the boat, and also assisting Mr. Jones in 
surveying the town site, which work, he 
claims, was commenced Jul^^ 17, 1854, and 
completed in August. Captain Downs 
retained the management of the ferry, in 
a general way, until 1862. In 1869 he took 
an active part in the organization of the 
Smelting Works Company, and was its first 
president. He was also one of the leading- 
spirits in the Omaha & Northwestern Rail- 
road Company, and one of the directors of 
that company. On the 14th of February, 1860, 
Captain Downs and Miss Cornelia C. Smith 
were married at Ludlow, Vermont. They 
have two children-, Anna and Carlotta, both 
born in Omaha. In 1857-8, Captain Downs 
served a term in the City Council. In the 
early histor}^ of Omaha he was a conspicu- 



ous figure, and took an active interest in 
everything calculated to adv.ance the inter- 
ests of the city. 

Charles Turner has been a resident of 
Omaha since the 4th day of April, 1855, 
coming from Oconto, Wisconsin. He was 
for many years activelj^ engaged in the 
lumber business in Wisconsin, where he had 
large and valuable interests. At an early 
date he purchased considerable real estate 
here, from which he has amassed a fortune. 
About the date of his removal to Omaha, 
he was married to Miss Charlotte Kenned}', 
a sister of B. E. B. Kenned}^ Esq. Mr. and 
Mrs. Turner have one son, Curtis Turner, a 
civil engineer by profession, and a daughter, 
J\Iiss Mary Turner. 

Milton Rogers located in Council liluffs, 
then called Kanesville, August 26, 1850. 
He was born in Horford, Marjiand, June 
22, 1822. In New Lisbon, Ohio, he learned 
the tinner's trade, and followed the business 
at Muncie, Indiana, and at Cincinnati, before 
coming West. Seeking a new location, he 
visited St. Louis, Weston, Lexington, Inde- 
pendence, Savannah and St. Joseph, Mo., 
and would have established himself at the 
latter point, but was unable to rent a build- 
ing, the town being then filled with people 
on their way to the newl}' discovered gold 
mines in California, for which St. Joseph was 
the chief outfitting place. Establishing a 
tin and stove store in Council Bluffs, upon 
deciding to locate there, he started a branch 
business in Omaha in June, 1855, probably 
the first of that kind in Nebraska. In 
October, 1861, he moved to Omaha, and has 
made his home here ever since, continuing 
the same line of business. He was first 
located in a frame building, 20 li}- 40 feet in 
size, on a lot now covered by a portion of 
the old Bee building, on lower Farnam 
Street. This frame building was gradually 
added to, until it was 132 feet deep. He 
then rented one of the Sfeoi-es of the Pioneer 
Block, on Farnam Street, between Eleventh 
and Twelfth. In 1861 he put up a frame 



122 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



building, 22 by 60 feet, on a lot, 22 by 132 
feet, he had bought at the south-east corner 
of Farnam and Fourteenth, and moved into 
it in March, 1862. In 1867-8 he joined 
with other propert}' holders in that block in 
building the three-story brick structure 
which now covers that side of Farnam 
Street, and first occupied it in .June, 1868. 
A few years later he bought of Dr. Ish the 
twenty-two feet joining him, and throwing 
the two stores into one has, since that date, 
carried on a very extensive business. His 
sons are now associated with him, the style 
of the firm being Milton Rogers & Sons. 
Mr. Rogers was married at Council Bluffs, 
November 27, 1856,toiMiss Jennie S. Spoor, 
a sister of Captain N. D. Spoor. They 
have had five children, Thomas J., Warren 
M., Alice L. (now Mrs. Oscar Williams), 
Herbert M. and Will S. In the purchase of 
the tract of laud now platted as South 
Omaha, ]\Ir. Rogers bore an active part, 
being one of the original stockholders of 
the South Omaha Land Company. He was 
also one of the organizers of the South 
Omaha Stock Yards Company, and of the 
Citjr Water Works Company. 

Vincent Burkley dates his residence in 
Omaha from the 12th of May, 1856. He 
was born in Germany, April 5, 1818, and 
came to America in 1839, settling at Colum- 
bus, Ohio, where he was married, August 8, 
1842. His first business enterprise in Omaha 
was the establishment of the Morning Star 
Clothing House, on Farnam street, the 
pioneer clothing house of the city. He 
served two terms in the City Council, was a 
member of the first Board of P^ducation and 
was also a member of the first State Legis- 
lature. For three years, 1886 to 1889, he 
was Inspector of Customs for the Port of 
Omaha. He is now the head of the Burkley 
Printing Company, which includes also his 
sons Frank J. and Harry. For many years 
Mr. Burkley was connected with the business 
department of the Omaha Herald. 

James G. Jlegeath located in Omaha in 



1854, stopping here while on his way to 
Virginia from the gold mines of California, 
where he had been extensively engaged in 
merchandizing for several years, in Calaveras 
County. He entered upon the same line of 
business in Omaha, in company with his 
brother, Samuel A. Megeath, and Burr H. 
Richards, in 1856, and so continued for 
eleven years, though the style of firm was 
changed, in the meantime, from S. A. 
Megeath & Co. to Megeath, Richards & Co. 
and then to Megeath Brothers & Co. 
Their first store was a frame building, on 
the south side of Farnam, three doors east 
of Fourteenth, and their second in the build- 
ing now occupied by John S. Caulfield's 
book store, on the north side of Farnam, 
just west of Thirteenth, which building they 
erected. The full lot, sixty-six feet front, 
was bought by Colonel Cochran from Samuel 
Bayliss, in 1854. for $31.25. It could not 
be purchased now for $100,000. Samuel A. 
Megeath died in March, 1868, and Mr. 
Richards returned to the South, and has been 
for many years engaged in business in Bal- 
timore. In 1867 James G. Megeath formed 
a company under the style of Megeath &l 
Co. and engaged in the receiving, forward- 
ing and commission business, operating from 
the terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad, 
wherever that happened to be, and was so 
engaged until the completion of the line. 
This business assumed such proportions that 
during the last fourteen months it was 
conducted the firm paid to the Union Pacific 
Company $2,000,000 on freight bills, paying 
$40,000 in a single day, on one occasion. 
Mr. Megeath secured 380 acres of land in 
an early day, and has also been the owner of 
valuable city property since first locating 
here. His acre property included the 
ground now covered by Burr Oak Addition, 
the south two-fifths of Ilanscom Park, Clark 
Place, Arbor Place, Windsor Place, Anna- 
vale, Dwight ife Lyman's Addition, Lyman's 
Addition and other tracts of land not yet 
platted. The north line of his property 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKIiTCIIES OF EARLY SETTLKR 



r_>a 



was the present line of Park Street, and the 
present Twent^'-seventh Street marks the 
east line. He joined with Andrew J. Hans- 
cora, in 1872, in donating to the city the 
beautiful plat of ground known as Hanscom 
Park, comprising fifty-seven and a half 
acres, together with a street eighty feet wide 
all around it, the only condition exacted 
being that the city should expend $25,000 
in developing the Park and keep that and 
the streets in repair. Mr. Megeath was born 
November 18, 1824, in Loupoum County, 
Virginia, and was married in 1851 to Miss 
Virginia Cooter, of that State. Their 
children are: George W., Joseph P., S. 
J., Samuel A. and Bettie T., the latter 
the wife of Lieutenant E. B. Robertson, 
of the Eighth United States Infantry. 
Jlr. Megeath was Speaker of the House 
in the Territorial Legislature of 1866, 
and a member of the special session 
of the State Senate held in July, 1866, to 
ratify the New Constitution. He has also 
served in the City Council with distinction 
and to the advantage of the cit3^ 

George Armstrong was born iu Baltimore, 
Maryland, August 1, 1819, and when eight 
years old moved with his father to Ohio, 
where, at an early age, he learned the trade 
of printer. In 1843, local division in the 
Democratic party caused him to found the 
True Democrat, of which he was editor and 
proprietor until 1845, when, the object of its 
existence having been attained, it was dis- 
continued and its name changed to the 
Ancient Metropolis, a family paper indepen- 
dent in polities, of which i\Ir. Armstrong 
was editor and proprietor until 1854, when 
he sold it and journeyed to the west to select 
a place for a future home. After visiting 
various cities and towns, he decided that 
Omaha was the place for his little family to 
"grow up with the country," and in 1855 
he moved to this place. In the following 
year, he formed a partnership with George 
C. Bovej', a practical builder. The firm of 
Bovey ik Armstrong immediately began the 



manufacture of brick and built the territo- 
rial capitol, the Pioneer Block and other 
buildings. In 1856 and in 1857, Mr. Arm- 
strong was elected representative from 
Douglas County and served during the third 
and fourth sessions of the territorial legisla- 
ture. During these two .years, he assisted in 
organizing a lodge of Odd Fellows and a 
Masonic lodge, in each of which he presided 
for several years; and, at the organization of 
the Masonic Grand Lodge, in 1857, he was 
elected Grand Secretary, and in 1861 was 
made Grand Master, to which office he was 
re-elected the year following. In 1859, he 
joined the volunteers called out by Gov- 
ernor Black against the Pawnee Indians, 
who were committing depredations upon the 
frontier settlements. The campaign was 
energetically conducted, and the Indians 
were trailed, overtaken and brought to 
terms. He was elected mayor of the young 
City of Omaha, in 1861, to fill the vacancy 
caused by the resignation of A. J. Popple- 
ton. To this office he was re-elected in 1862. 
During a portion of his mayoralty he was 
Probate Judge of Douglas County. Resign- 
ing both these offices in 1862, he responded to 
the Nation's call for defenders and engaged 
in organizing the Second Nebraska Cavalry, 
the first battalion of which was mustered 
into the United States service in November, 
of that year, and George Armstrong was 
commissioned major. At the expiration of 
its nine months term of service, Major Arm- 
strong was commissioned to raise an inde- 
pendent battalion of cavalr}^ to serve during 
the war; and tlie following year the First 
Battalion of Veteran Cavalry was mustered 
in, and George Armstrong, Captain of 
Company A, was commissioned major com- 
manding, and senior major after the 
consolidation of this battalion with the "Old 
Nebraska First," which was from that time 
known as the First Regiment of Nebraska 
Veteran Cavalry. Major Armstrong's mil- 
itary sei-vices were confined to Nebraska 
and Colorado, in expeditions against the 



124 



HISTORY OF THE OITY OF OMAHA. 



Indians, and to staff duty under Generals 
Craig, McKeon, Mitchel, Connor and 
Wheaton. After the war had closed, for 
meritorious services, Major Armstrong was 
commissioned Brevet Lieutenant Colonel, 
and later Brevet Colonel, bj^ President 
Johnson. After the organization of the 
State government, Colonel Armstrong, in 
1866, was appointed clerk of the District 
Court of Douglas Countj^, and served in 
that capacity for nine years. In 1866, he 
was also appointed clerli of the .Supreme 
Court of Nebraska, but, after a year's ser- 
vice, and when the court was removed to 
Lincoln, he resigned the ofHce. In 1877, he 
was employed in the law department of 
the Union Pacific Railroad Company, in 
Omaha. From 1878 to 1883, he filled the 
office of chief deputy and cashier during 
the terms of United States Revenue Col- 
lectors Robb and Crounse. Mr. Armstrong 
erected a large warehouse at 1308, 1310, 
1312 Izard street, in 1886, and engaged in 
the agricultural implement trade with his 
son, Ewing L., under the firm name of Arm- 
strong & Co., and continued in that business 
till January, 1891, when he retired from the 
firm and active business, and now passes his 
time in leisure and the enjoyment of his 
ample fortune. Colonel Armstrong, in 1844, 
married Miss Julia A. Ewing, daughter of 
Alexander Ewing, of Chillicothe,. Ohio. 
Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong came to Omaha 
with three children, viz: Ewing Latham, 
George Robert and Rose. The latter died 
in 1857. Another daughter, Ella Rebecca, 
now the wife of George S. Gould, of Bell- 
wood, Nebraska, was born in Omaha. 

Joseph and George E. Barker have been 
identified with the business interests of 
Omaha since the spring of 1856, coming 
here from Salem, Ohio, with their father, 
mother, and sister. The father, Joseph 
Barker, Sr., died in this city in 1873. One 
of the first investments in real estate which 
the Barkers made in Nebraska was in a large 
tract lying four miles west of town, a 



portion of which has been platted as Bellaire. 
Here they engaged in farming and stock 
raising on an extensive scale, and in the 
meantime carried on an extended real estate 
business in the city, purchasing many corner 
lots which they still own, and which are now 
of great value. The family removed to 
Ohio from England in 1851, and in 1868 
George E. returned to Sheffield, England, to 
get a wife, Joseph, Jr., marrying Miss Eliza 
E. Patrick, of this city, in 1873. The Barker 
Brothers were among the incorporators of 
the Omaha Gas Company, and have always 
retained their interests therein. In 1886 
they became identified with the private 
bank established on Sixteenth Street, by 
Messrs. Garlich & Johnson, and the style 
was then changed to the Bank of Commerce. 
When the National Bank of Commerce was 
organized in 1888, they were also active as 
incorporators and were, and have been ever 
since, heavy stockholders. Mr. George 
Barker is a director in the Nebraska Savings 
Bank, which institution he assisted in 
establishing. 

Silas A. Strickland was born in Rochester, 
New York, and was of a good family, being 
a cousin of President Millard Fillmore on 
his mother's side. "When he was but a year 
old his father died. At the age of seven he 
left his mother and her family and went to 
live with a brother-in-law, with whom he 
remained till he was twelve, and for three 
years after that he labored on a farm for an 
uncle for six dollars a month through the 
summei-. During these j^ears he attended 
tlie winter term of the district school. About 
the time he was fifteen j^ears old his mother 
married a thriving farmer near Rochester 
and Silas returned home and entered Roch- 
ester Collegiate Institute, and later attended 
an academy in Cayuga County and another 
in Orleans Count}^ Subsequently he taught 
school during the da}^ and read law at niglit, 
finally entering the office of Fillmore, Hall 
& Ilaren, in Buffalo, and was admitted to 



BIOGKAPTIICAL SKETCHES OF EARLY SETTLEKS 



1-2 5 



the bar in 1850, but was too poor to enter 
upon the practice of his profession. 

On the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska 
Bill by Congress he came to Nebraska, taking 
up his residence in the territory October 18, 
1854. Mr. Strickland located at Bellevue 
and was soon appointed district attorney for 
the first judicial district. In 1856 he 
resigned that office and was elected to the 
territorial legislature. This was a stormy 
session and he was most active in organizing 
a majority of the house for the removal of 
the capital and the division of Douglas 
County, which latter resulted in the 
formation of the County of Sarpy. Mr. 
Strickland soon became a leader in the 
house and was elected a member of the 
legislature for the two succeeding terms. 
In 1859 he was made speaker of the lower 
house and the following year he was elected 
to the territorial council. 

At the breaking out of the rebellion, in 
1861, Ids patriotism prompted him to resign 
liis seat in the legislature and assist in 
raising the First Nebraska Regiment. 

jMustered in a private he was elected 
Second Lieutenant by his company and com- 
missioned b}^ acting Governor Paddock. 
Later he was promoted to the rank of 
adjutant. After the battles of Donaldson 
and Shiloh he resigned his commission and 
went to Cincinnati. 

"Within two months he again enlisted and 
was immediately commissioned by Governor 
Todd as Lieutenant Colonel of the Fiftieth 
Ohio Volunteers. lie commanded the regi- 
ment at the battle of Perryville, losing 156 
men in fifteen minutes. Later in the battle 
his brigade and division commanders were 
killed and Colonel Strickland was assigned 
to their command by General Rosecrans. In 
command of his brigade he crossed the 
Cumberland Mountains in a severe snow 
storm, the baggage and cannon being hauled 
by hand. He served through the entire 
Atlanta campaign. He was at Columbia, 
Tennessee, cut his way through the rebel 



lines at Spring Hill, and held the post of 
honor at Franklin, where he lost 503 men, 
twenty-three line and seven staff officers. 
For gallant service he was brevetted Briga- 
dier General. At the close of the war he 
resumed the practice of law. 

In 1867, when Nebraska was admitted 
into the Union, General Strickland was 
appointed United States District Attorney 
for Nebr.iska, which office he filled until 
1871. 

In 1868 he was chairman of the Nebraska 
delegation to the Chicago Convention which 
nominated General Grant and Schuyler 
Colfax for the chief offices of the Nation. 
After resigning the office of district attorney, 
in 1871, General Strickland was elected 
delegate to the convention called to frame a 
new State Constitution, of which bodv he 
was elected president. He was one of the 
founders of the order of the Grand Army 
of the Republic in Nebraska, a charter mem- 
ber of G. A. Custer Post of Omaha, and 
Past Department Commander. 

General Silas A. Strickland, when at the 
zenith of his career, was one of the fore- 
most lawyers in Nebraska. Possessing the 
inherent qualities of leadership he soon 
became powerful in the political arena and 
won for his name an abiding place in the 
annals of Nebraska politics. He died at his 
home in Omaha, in 1878. Ills widow and a 
daughter, Mrs. J. B. Haynes, still survive 
him. 

In the chapter entitled " Bench and Bar ' ' 
will be found additional sketches of the 
pioneer settlers of Omaha. 

In the " Sons of Omaha," Omaha has a 
most unique society. The founder of the 
society is Dr.' George L. Miller. He 
conceived " the plan to call together the 
representative young men of the best families 
of Omaha and form them into a society to 
perpetuate the memor}' and deeds of their 
fathers, the founders of Omaha." The 
members of this society are natives of 
Omaha, who have passed the age of twenty- 



126 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



one years. The objects of the society are : 
art, historj^ and literature; and every thing 
that tends toward culture and refinement is 
in its scope. Already the society has a credit- 
able collection of historical documents, and 
the munificent gift of four hundred volumes 
liy the founder, Dr. George L. Miller, has 
created the nucleus for a fine library. In the 
not distant future this society contemplates 
erecting a handsome club house. To promote 
this purpose a scheme is already operative, 
and funds are collecting in the hands of the 
treasurer. The present membership is forty- 
five. The officers are: Mr. W. S. Popple- 
ton, president; Mr. C. D. Sutphen, vice presi- 
dent; Mr. Augustus F. Kountze, secretary; 
Kev. Luther M. Kuhns, librarian; Mr. W. H. 
Koenig, treasurer. 

On the 26th of April, 1890, the Nebraska 
Society of the Sous of the American 
Eevolution was organized in Omaha. The 
purposes of the society are " to keep alive the 
patriotic spirit of the men who achieved 
American independence; to collect and 



secure for preservation the manuscript rolls, 
records, and other documents relating to the 
War of the Revolution, and to promote 
social intercourse and fellowship among its 
members, now and hereafter." Any person 
may be eligible for membership who is 
above the age of twenty-one years, and who 
is descended from an ancestor who assisted, 
while acting in any of the following 
capacities, in establishing American inde- 
pendence during the Revolutionar}^ AVar: A 
military or naval officer; a soldier or a 
sailor; an official in the service of anj^ one 
of the thirteen original states or colonies; 
an official in the United States or colonies; 
a recognized patriot who rendered material 
service to the cause of independence. The 
officers are: W. W. Copeland, Omaha, presi- 
dent; Dr. Aurelius Bowen, Nebraska City, 
first vice president; W. H. Alexander, Omaha, 
second vice president; P. L. Ferine, Omaha, 
secretary; Paul W. Kuhns, Omaha, treasurer; 
Rev. L. M. Kuhns, Omaha, registrar. 



CHAPTER XIII 



Indian Graves at Bkllevue — Two Famous Omaha Chiefs — How Louan Fontenei.le 
WAS Killed — Sarpy and Decatur. 



The following interesting sketch is fur- 
nished by A. N. Ferguson, Esq., wlio located 
at Bellevue, a mere lad, in 1854, when his 
father, the first Chief Justice of Nebraska, 
removed to the Territorj^: 

The pioneer of 1854, in crossing the 
Missouri lliver to reach the trading post of 
Peter A. Sarpy, afterwards known as Belle- 
vue, noticed on the summit of a high hill 
to the south and west of the Fur Company's 
buildings a number of Indian graves, sur- 
rounded by palisades of circular form. On 
a plateau, north-east of this hill, was another 
burial place, with the graves protected in 
like manner. It was the custom of some of 
the Indian tribes to bury their dead braves 
in a sitting posture, wrapped in buffalo 
robes or blankets, though the Sioux place 
the bodies of their dead, securely tied, upon 
high scaffolds, where they are left until 
decomposed by the action of the elements. 
In the case of the death of a noted chief of 
vhe Omahas, his favorite horse would be led 
to the grave and there sacrificed, so that its 
spirit might accompany the former owner 
to the other world. On the highest point of 
the hill referred to, known as Elk Hill, was 
the grave of Big Elk, one of the most noted 
of the Omaha chiefs, known to have been a 
resident of that vicinity as far back as 1811. 
His Indian name was Ongpatonga. He was 
a man of dignified and solemn mien, devoted 
to the advancement of his people, and prom- 
inent in the treaties of those years. Mr. 
Brackenridge, who visited the Omahas in 
1811, says the village then had a population 
•of three thousand souls. On the occasion 



of the death of Black Buffalo, a famous 
Sioux chief. Big Elk made a speech of great 
dramatic power.* He was a party to several 
treaties made by his tribe with the govern- 
ment previous to 1821. In 1854, the 
advancing line of whites began to surge 
against the barriers of the red man in 
Nebraska, and the palisades surrounding 
these Indian graves graduallj^ disappeared, 
until, in 1856, the last vestige marking their 
location was swept awa}'. Now this spot is 
a portion of a cultivated field, covered 
annually b_y fields of cultivated grain. The 
elevation is still known as Elk Hill, which 
name, I trust, it may bear forever. 

Another distinguished Omaha chief, Logan 
Fontenelle, was buried at Bellevue. He was 
a firm friend of the whites in the first 
settlement of the countiy. The town of 
Fontenelle, in AVashington Count}-, was 
named in his honor, in 1854, as was also 
Logan Creek, a stream of considerable size 
which empties into the Elkhorn lliver just 
above Fontenelle. In order to get the 
exact facts in relation to the tragic death of 
this famous man I wrote to his brother 
Henry, now residing with the tribe at Black- 
bird, and received the following reply: 

" Logan Fontenelle was born at Fort 
Atkinson, at or near the present site of Fort 
Calhoun, on May 6,1825. Fort Atkinson, 
at tliat time, was a garrison. Father, Lucien 
Fontenelle, at that time was trading with 
the Indians. He afterwards went to Belle- 
vue and built the trading post that V. A. 

*This address is print- d elsewliere in Ibis work, in Ibe cliap- 



128 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OM.VIIA. 



Sarpy occupied. From that place Logan 
was sent, with a younger brother, to St. 
Louis to school. lie was there but two 
years when father died, and Logan and 
brother were brought home. At sixteen 
years old, he was appointed United States 
interpreter for the Omahas, and held that 
position until 1853. When overtures were 
made by the United States to purchase their 
.country, he was created principal chief, by 
acclamation, of the Omahas, and was such 
until he was killed by the Sioux, on the 15th 
of June, 1855, in a battle on the head of 
Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Loup Fork 
River. 

" His influence over his tribe was absolute, 
and he was respected and honored. Years 
before he was chief, he used all his influence 
in trying to instill into them the great 
advantage of becoming civilized, educated, 
and to follow the peaceful pursuits of 
agriculture. But their one great vice of 
drunkenness — that must be rid of before 
any civilizing influence could be brought to 
bear on them — he determined to put his foot 
down upon. The first step was to appoint 
twenty trustworthy young men as police to 
protect the village and to arrest any fellow 
that was caught intoxicated, give him a 
good threshing with their whips and demol- 
ish his jugs of whisky. Many a hard tussle 
they had with some pugnacious fellows, but 
it had the desired effect, and the Omahas 
became a sober, virtuous and law-abiding 
people, and are so to-day. 

" He generally went with them on their 
semi-annual buffalo hunts. About the 20th 
of May, 1855, the Omahas received their 
first installment of annuities in money for 
their lands. As soon as they could get 
ready, they started off on their buffalo hunt 
and traveled up the Elkhorn River until 
they found buffalo, when, in making their 
first surround of buffalo, they (not unex- 
pectedly) found their enemies, the Sioux, 
awaiting to give them battle, when two of 
the Omahas were killed. The Sioux pur- 



posely kept with the buffalo, in order to give 
battle everj^ time the Omahas made a sur- 
i-ound after them. The Sioux were too 
numerous for the Omahas, wlien, after 
considering in council, the Omahas con- 
cluded to retreat towards home. After 
traveling four days, and thinking they were 
out of danger, Logan, in company with 
three Omahas, started ahead of the caravan 
and were off three or four miles, when they 
espied some elk, off in the distance, and 
Logan proposed chase. AVhen they got 
among the elk, each one took after his game 
and scattered. That was the last seen of 
Logan alive. Soon after they got among 
the elk, the others espied the enemy and 
made a hasty retreat for camp. They no 
sooner reached camp than the Omahas were 
surrounded by the Sioux. A battle ensued, 
which commenced about 10 o'clock a. m. and 
lasted until about 3 p. m., when the Omahas 
saw a Sioux riding (they thought) Logan's 
mare, and holding a stick with a scalp dang- 
ling on the end. A Ponca Indian, who 
could speak every language, that was with 
the Omahas, was sent to the Sioux with a 
truce, to ask for a parley for the purpose of 
knowing if Logan was killed. He returned 
with the woeful announcement that their 
fears were verified. The whole village sent 
up a wall for the loss of their loved and 
honored chief. The Sioux then went off 
and the battle ended. 

''The first impulse of Logan's nearest 
friends and relatives was to find his body, 
which they did, about five miles from tlie 
village, or battle ground. The}^ found him, 
pierced with seven arrows in the breast, and 
gun wounds in other parts of the body, the 
side of his head broken by a tomahawk, 
and a small piece of scalp taken off. Two 
pools of blood were found near him. They 
tenderly took up the body and laid it on 
a blanket and washed it, and put it into 
another suit of clothes, and wrapped it in 
a ' sar- flesh' (a partly tanned hide, so called 
liy the French voyageurs), as no such a 



DEATH AND BUKIAL OF LOGAN FONTENELLE. 



129 



thing as a coflin could be procured by them 
where they were. They put the body upon 
a Utter, carried by a horse, which was pre- 
sented to the dead body for the purpose, 
until they struck the emigrant trail, where 
they found a deserted wagon and harness, 
which they took possession of and put the 
bod_y on. To this they harnessed a span of 
horses and hauled it into Bellevue, where he 
was buried by the side of his father. At his 
funeral a concourse of about 150 people, 
from Council Bluffs, and other places, came 
to pay their respects to the dead. At the 
grave Stephen Decatur gave to the assembly 
a fitting eulogy, touching upon the character, 
life and death of Logan. After all the peo- 
ple dispersed, his trusted friends, about 
twenty of the braves, gathered around his 
grave, when one of them, gifted in oratory, 
expressed the worth and goodness of their 
departed friend and benefactor, and regret- 
ting the loss of him they so much depended 
upon. When he finished they paid their 
last tribute of love in bedewing his grave 
with hearty and earnest tears, invoking Ms 
departed spirit to guard over them. 

" When Logan separated from the others, 
in the chase after the elk, twenty Sioux made 
chase after him, but as he was mounted on 
a very fleet mare they could not near him. 
After chasing him about fifteen miles they 
gave up and stopped. At that moment 
Logan was seen to go down into a creek. 
Tliey looked to see him come out on the 
opposite side; but, as they did not see him 
come out, they sent one of their men to go and 
see what had become of him. He approached 
the place in a stealthy manner and found 
Logan in the act of trying to get his horse 
out of the mire. lie signalled the others to 
approach; and, as they did so, Logan ran up 
the braik on the other side and stood to 
flglxt; and, as the first one made a charge at 
him, Logan sent him rolling off of his pony. 
The next one met the same fate, but was not 
killed and is still living, to relate the 
deathly encounter. After Logan discharged 



the two shots they closed in on him with 
their arrows, guns and tomahawks, and 
killed him instantly. Ills memory is fresh 
in the minds of the Omahas to-day, and he 
is often spoken of, especiall}^ in their times 
of trials and privations. Had Logan lived 
till now, no doubt the Omahas would have 
been further advanced in civilization than 
they are, as his influence was so potent in 
reasoning with them; but as it is the 
Omahas are making rapid strides toward 
civilization, and I hope they may keep on 
until they are upon the same status with 
their white brethren, and be a people among 
people. ' ' 

When the townsite of Omaha was platted, 
the Omaha Indians were located on the Pa- 
pillion, just west of Bellevue. Under the 
treaty made just previous to this date, they 
were to remove to the Blackbird Hills, their 
present location. As a boy, I had for play- 
mates the lads of the Omaha tribe, and 
spent many happy days in their village, 
and in hunting and fishing excursions. 
Major Hebburn was the agent for the 
Omahas at that time. When Colonel 
Manypenny, the Indian Commissioner, 
visited the tribe in 18.52, to learn whether 
they would sell their lands, the principal 
chiefs were : White Cow, Village Maker, 
Little Chief, "lellow Smoke, Fire Chief and 
Standing Hawk. Joseph La Flesche, a half- 
blood Ponca, was there as the guardian of 
Big Elk's grandson, who would have been 
chief of the tribe, had he lived. Logan 
Fontenelle was the interpreter, and spoke 
the English language readily. Peter A. 
Sarpy's trading post buildings were at the 
river landing. The Indians named were all 
called to Washington in the winter of 1853 
and 1854 to close the treaty, at which time 
Logan Fontenelle was made head chief of 
the tribe. La Flesche, who had some hopes 
of filling that position, alwa3's claimed that 
it was Sarpy's influence that made Fonte- 
nelle the chief. Major Gatewood endeavored 



130 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



to get the Omahas to locate on the Blue 
River, with the Otoes, but they chose their 
present home. 

In the spring of 1856, the Indi.ans planted 
corn in their fields — near Sohlings Grove — 
and soon after received orders from Wash- 
ington to prepare for immediate removal to 
their new reservation. This was done, the 
government assuring them of protection 
from the Sioux, but they had scarcely got 
settled before they were attacked by the 
Sioux. The killing of their chief, "White 
Ant, on the hunt that summer, added to 
their distressed condition. They returned 
to their old village, at Bellevue, to spend 
the winter, poverty-stricken and discouraged. 
Rev. William Hamilton, missionary for the 
Presbyterian Board, rendered them m>ich 
assistance in getting through the winter. 
Efforts to prevent the settlement of the 
Indians at Blackbird were at once resumed, 
and finally some of their friends brought the 
matter directly to the attention of President 
Pierce, who promptly decided that the 
Indians should be sustained in their choice 
of a home, and in the summer of 1856 a 
final removal to that point was effected. 
The day they started out a drizzling rain 
added to the gloom of the occasion, the 
Indians leaving their old home with great 
reluctance. For a long time we watched the 
procession slowlj^ wending its way over the 
bluffs. My father then occupied, with his 
family, a large log house known as the 
agency building, in front of which still 
remained the upright posts and lirush cover- 
ing under which the Fourth of July had 
first been celebrated bj- the whites, in 1854. 
Suddenly the people of the agency were 
startled by a tremendous whoop and a band 
of about forty painted Omaha braves, 
including the leading men of the tribe, 
dashed up. A scene of leave-taking fol- 
lowed, marked by deep feeling on the part 
of both whites and Indians, and tlien, with 
a loud yell, the latter dashed away to rejoin 
their people. So passed away from this 



locality those who had, for so many j ears, 
occupied the country, who loved it for its 
old associations, to seek a new home, where 
the remnant of the tribe have since made 
much progress in civilization and useful- 
ness. 

From Hon. Bruno Tzschuck, ex-Secretary 
of State, the following points, with respect 
to Colonel Peter A. Sarpy, have been 
obtained. Mr. Tzschuck was in Sarpy's 
employ for several years, from the spring of 
1853, having charge of the business con- 
ducted on the Iowa side of the river. -Sarpy 
came to Nebraska in the service of the 
American Fur Company (the successor of 
the Astor Fur Company), in 1825, and was 
given the management of the trading post 
at Bellevue, which liad been located there 
some years previously. In the course of 
time Colonel Sarpy also established a busi- 
ness on the Iowa shore opposite, at a place 
called Traders' Point, for the accommoda- 
tion, more particularly, of the whites, as the 
store at Bellevue was for the Indian trade. 
In consequence of the encroachments of the 
river. Traders' Point was abandoned in the 
spring of 1853, and a new location made at 
St. JNIary's, a small town four miles down 
the river. Here a very large business was 
conducted, the furnishing of outfits for 
miners and plainsmen being an important 
feature. A ferry boat, to l)e managed with 
oars, was built in St. Louis in 1853, for 
Sarpy's use, but he failed in getting it up 
the river and the ferrying that year was 
done by the Highland Mary, a small steamer 
which was hired for the season, to be suc- 
ceeded in the spring of 1854 by the fine 
steam ferry boat, Nebraska No. 1. This 
boat he sold in 1856, to the Council Bluffs 
ife Nebraska Ferrj' Company, and for many 
years it was used between Omaha and Coun- 
cil Bluffs. The furs handled by the American 
Fur Company, at St. Marj^'s and Traders' 
Point, were mainly brought down the Mis- 
souri in Mackinaw boats, and it was nothing 
unusual for thousands of bales, many of 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF COLONEL SARPY. 



131 



them of great value, to be stored in the 
company's warehouses, awaiting the arrival 
of a steamer to carry them down to St. 
Louis. Mr. Tzschuck describes Colonel 
Sarpy as possessing remarkable vigor and 
endurance. He was a keen business man, 
kind to his employes, and of courteous and 
polished manners. Like nearly all frontiers- 
men of that day he would indulge, at times, 
in the use of liquor to excess, and, on those 
occasions was wont to indulge in much loud 
talk, of a boasting character, but was never 
vicious or abusive. At these times he could 
not be induced to do any business, for fear 
of being overreached. His knowledge of 
the Indian character, gained by a lifetime 
spent in the "West, was not surpassed by that 
of any of his associates throughout the 
Indian country. In the spring of 1854, the 
Omalias were driven in by a band of Sioux, 
while out on a hunt, and a large party took 
refuge in a willow grove two miles up the 
river from Bellevue. Decatur then had 
charge of the trading post at Bellevue, and 
sent word to Sarpy that he feared an attack 
by the Sioux. It was late at night, but 
Sarpy, accompanied by Mr. Tzschuck and 
one or two others, crossed the river in a row 
boat, landing at the hiding place of the 
Omahas, where they had a talk and then 
proceeded down to the post. Sarpy per- 
sisted in dropping behind the others, and in 
talking to them in a verj'^ loud voice, as they 
passed along the edge of the bluffs in whicli 
the besieging Indians were concealed. The 
party succeeded in reaching the post safely, 
and then Sarpy explained that they would 
have certainly been killed by the ambushed 
Sioux if his loud talk had not served to 
inform them that the persons passing were 
white men. 

Colonel Sarpy removed to Plattsmouth 
about 1862, and there made his home during 
the few remaining years of his life. He 
owned, at one time, considerable St. Louis 
real estate. His brother, John A. Sarpy, 
resided at St. Louis and was a prominent 
member of the American Fur Company. 



In 1853 Colonel Sarpy established flat 
boat ferries across the Elkhorn River, near 
where Elkhorn City was afterwards located, 
and on the Loup Fork near the present site 
of Columbus. He came to Omaha, on the 
occasion of the first meeting of the Legis- 
lature, as a contestant for a seat in that body; 
but the adoption of Mr. Poppleton's resolu- 
tion to not go behind the certificates of 
election issued by acting Governor Cuming, 
shut him out. On that occasion he appeared 
in all the glory of a semi-civilized garb, and 
with an abundance of revolvers and bowie 
knives, which weapons were assumed more 
for effect than with a view of anticipated 
need. Sarpy had no children, and was never 
married to a white woman, though he had 
an Indian wife for whom he always cherished 
a high regard. He was of French parentage, 
was about five and a half feet in height, 
strongly built, remarkably active .<ind famous 
far and near for his bravery and determina- 
tion. 

The following sketch of a man well-known 
in the early history of Omaha is furnished 
by Mr. John A. MacMurphy: Among the 
characters who figured in the early days in 
Nebraska, and served to give force and 
piquancy to its earlier days, was one callLng 
himself Stephen Decatur, and as he claimed 
to be a nephew of the old original Commo- 
dore Decatur, the title of Commodore was 
tacked to his name too, and as " Commodore 
Decatur," he cut a pretty wide swath at 
times. He claimed to have come here from 
Jackson County, Missouri, and to have 
served in the Mexican war in Donovan's 
famous Missouri regiment, and I think this 
was true. About the first that was known 
of him here, he was one of Sarpy's employes 
at the old Trading Post there, and after- 
wards at Bellevue. 

He could speak the Omaha Indian lan- 
guage fairly, as well as Ponca, Pottowata- 
mie and Sioux. During the earlier California 
emigration he ran a ferry across the Loup 
Fork for Sarpy, and lived there. Later on 



132 



IIISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



be was found at Bellevue, part owner with 
Sarpy in the town site there, as well as at 
Tekamah and Decatur, Bu^t County, which 
last mentioned town was named after him. 
This was in 1856. About this time he mar- 
ried the widow of a Mr. Thompson, at 
Council Bluffs, a former editor of the Bugle. 
Mrs. Thompson was of a most excellent 
family in Michigan. The principal original 
owners of the town sites of Tekamah and 
Decatur were P. A. Sarpj^, Benjamin R. 
Folsom and iStephen Decatur. 

In the summer of 1857, Decatur moved 
up to the town of Decatur, taking his wife 
and her three children, a large number of 
cattle, some ponies, wagons, etc. He settled 
just west of the town, on "Decatur's Claim,' ' 
as it was then known, and which he had 
selected in 1856, at the laying out of the 
town, on account of a large spring thereon, 
still known as Decatur Spring. 

The Omahas were troublesome then, at 
times, and on account of bis knowledge of 
their language, his connection with Sarpy, 
his ownership of the lots and the name of 
the town, he became at once the most 
prominent man in and about the new village. 
Disputes with Indians were left with him to 
settle, lots to be donated for various purposes 
were selected bj' him, he kept peace among 
the members of town company, and was in 
truth and verity the Commodore, or com- 
mandant of local affairs. 

He bore himself with dignity, his decis- 
ions were just and moderate, he had a good 
deal of influence with the Indians, and may 
be said to have been sailing in high feather. 
Once in a while he took a little too much 
liquor, but who did not in those days ? Old 
Sarpy took his "periodicals," and raised 
Cain, too, while Decatur generally got out 
of the way, and was quiet until the spell 
was over. He was a striking figure, rather 
short, very straight, square and strongly 
built, with a marked face, flashing eyes set 
deeply in the head and unusually long, 



overhanging eyebrows. He knew how to 
dress picturesquely, too, so as to set these 
advantages off. 

The original proprietors had sold half the 
town site of. Decatur to a New York City 
town site company, or "syndicate," as it 
would be called now, of which Roswell Gr. 
Pierce, then of some note in "Wall Street, 
was the head, and a Dr. Thompson the local 
agent at Decatur. The town company hav- 
ing offered lots to any one free, who would 
build a house, a fellow took x\p the best of 
these, erected a small shanty, and then claimed 
his deed. It was refused, upon the ground 
that he had not built a house within the 
meaning of the term. Just then Decatur 
rode in from his place, and the dispute was 
left for him to decide. Straightening him- 
self up, he rode around the structure once 
and then burst out: "Call that a house.' 
Give a lot for that.' It ain't a house, it's 
an abortion; pull it down!" and, jumping 
from his pony, he caught some loose planks 
and almost tore the thing to the ground 
himself. 

During that summer, 1858, quite a tragedy 
occurred on the Omaha Reservation. Tecum- 
seh Fontenelle — brother of Logan Fonte- 
nelle, the old chief whom the Sioux killed 
in 1855— was stabbed to death by his 
brother-in-law, a part-blood Indian, named 
Louis Neil, who had married Susan Fonte- 
nelle, a flne-looking, well-educated woman. 
They lived on the half-breed tract down on 
the Nemaha, in this State. Neil and his 
wife were up to the Omaha Reservation on 
a visit, by the wish of Tecumseh, or " Dick" 
Fontenelle, as he was always called. Dick 
and Neil had some trouble down at the 
Nemaha tract, about some ponies, but it had 
all been made up. presents exchanged, and 
Neil and his wife were living in one of 
Dick's tepees. One afternoon thej- both 
came down to Decatur, got some liquor and 
went tearing and whooping home about dark. 
Somehow, on the way home, the old quarrel 
broke out; and no sooner had thej' rolled off 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF STEPHEN DECATUR. 



18;^ 



tlieir horses at Dick's tent than he grabbed 
a butcher knife and attacked Xeil, cutting 
him badly, and would probably have killed 
him, but Susan, his sister, who was cooking 
supper, turned a hot frying pan of grease 
over on Dick's back, making him let go his 
hold. Neil, in his turn, thoroughly enraged, 
drew a weapon and stabbed Dick so effectu- 
ally that he died that night. Neil fled to 
the bushes, while the squaws were howling 
over Dick, and, wounded as he was, some 
friends threw Neil on a horse and brought 
him down to Decatur for protection. About 
midnight, when it was found Dick would 
die, a yelling band of Omahas, Dick's friends, 
came down to the town, surrounded the 
hotel where Neil was and demanded his life. 
The Indians outnumbered all the whites in 
town and the little band of pioneers were at 
a loss what to do. They did not want to 
see Neil murdered before their ej'-es (for it 
was known that Dick began the affair) , and 
they were not strong enough to resist the 
Indians in an attack. Some one suggested 
Decatur, and a mounted man was sent after 
the "Old Commodore," the Indians agree- 
ing to wait his return, and through the 
influence of Decatur and others, bloodshed 
was avoided and, on a solemn promise, made 
by the whites to Henry Fontenelle, Dick's 
brother, it was agreed that Neil should be 
taken to Omaha, and delivered over to the 
Agent, to be dealt with bj^ white man's law, 
part of the escort to be composed of Omahas, 
to see that no escape could be planned. 
Neil was tried, but never hanged. He was 
sentenced to the Iowa Penitentiary for a 
term of years, came out and is alive now on 
liis own land in the Indian Reservation, near 
Pender. It is said that he never drank 
liquor afterwards, and is now a substantial 
citizen. 

In some way it got about that " Commo- 
dore Decatur" was not what he seemed — 
not a nephew of the Old Commodore, not 
even a Decatur. Some pooh-poohed the 
whole thing, and said the Commodore was 



all right, while others insisted there was 
something in it. One story was that one 
time Decatur and others of the set, were at 
Keith's saloon, in Omaha, drinking together 
one evening, when a young armj^ officer and 
his friends walked in. Keith's saloon was 
on the northeast corner of Tliirteenth and 
Harney, and was tlie swell place of the town 
then. The moment this young officer saw 
the Commodore he said: "You're the man 
they call Decatur, ain't you? You are my 
brother and your name is not Decatur. Whj^ 
don't you acknowledge j'our famil}', and 
give j^our true name?" Decatur denied 
ever seeing the party, said his name was 
Stephen Decatur, and that he would fight any 
man who said it was not. " There is a scar 
on your h.and,' ' said the other, " that I made 
with a hatchet. If the scar is there, you are 
my brother, if not, you may be Decatur for 
all I know." Decatur refused to allow an 
examination; said he would not be dictated 
to, or forced, by any man; talked fight, and, 
in short, braved it out so boldly, that the 
new comer half acknowledged he was mis- 
taken, and his friends took him awaj'. 
Singular as it may seem this matter was 
hushed up at the time, and it was agreed that 
nothing should be said about the affair. The 
Commodore stood as well as ever with most 
of his friends. His family, of course, never 
heard any of these stories. 

Decatur was not a good manager, and ran 
through his property m Nebraska, and sud- 
denly left his home, telling his wife he was 
going away to make his fortune again, and 
would then return. Some years after, they 
got track of him as being connected with 
the Georgetown Miner, a newspaper at 
Georgetown, Colorado. It was a wild and 
rough country then, but he had wandered 
over the ridge, and there, in the heart of 
the mountains, had named another little 
town and mining camp Decatur. In the 
wildest spot he could find, he erected a cabin 
and for 3'^ears lived there alone, except for 
those he entertained — for he was as hospitable 



134 



IIISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



as he was reckless — and he would come 
over to Georgetown now and then, bringing 
specimens, discourse learnedly on mines and 
minerals, leave some articles for the Miner, 
and then back to his cabin again. Some 
years since a party of noted gentlemen took 
a trip across the continent. One of these 
was Horace Greeley; Schuyler Colfax, Vice 
President of the United States, was another, 
and William Bross, editor of the Chicago 
Tribune, and once Lieutenant Governor of 
Illinois, was a third. At Denver, Bross said, 
" I want to stop here a bit; I believe I have 
a long-lost brother here, somewhere, shut up 
in the mountains, a kind of hermit. I have 
traced him once or twice and now I intend 
to find him and settle the fact whether he is 
the man or not." So off poked the good 
deacon to Georgetown to hunt his brother. 
Whether he had to go clear over to the cabin, 
at Decatur, or found his man at Georgetown, 
I do not know, but when he struck the fellow 
he thought was his brother, it was our old 
friend " Commodore Decatur." The deacon 
tried to convince him of the relationship, 
but Decatur would not have it that way, 
and Bross came away, partly in sorrow, 
parti}' in anger. From this time forth it 



came to be pretty well understood b^'^ many 
that our Commodore was really Stephen 
Decatur Bross, brother to Deacon Bross 
and tlie Bross family of Illinois, who left 
his family in Scranton, Pennsylvania, j'ears 
before, clianged his name, soldiered in Mex- 
ico, traded for Sarpy, became familiar with 
the Indian tribes, lived with tliem and 
learned their language, pioneered through 
the mines of Colorado, and did other curious 
things. He was well educated and could 
talk, or write, intelligently upon almost any 
subject. 

From Georgetown he drifted down to 
Silver Cliff, in southern Colorado, and in 
1876 was appointed Centennial Commis- 
sioner for Colorado at the Philadelphia 
Exposition, where a number of us old 
Nebraskans saw him, straight as .an arrow, 
his gray whiskers shaved off, a long droop- 
ing mustache alone setting off his fine fea- 
tures, and he was cock of the walk there 
too. He had the most curious collection 
on the grounds, and was proud of it. He 
was followed by crowds wherever he went, 
seeming to possess a special fascination for 
women; they'd stick to him like a burr. 
He died in Colorado in 1889. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



Vigilance Committees — The Court House Tragedy — Execution of Tator and Baker 
— Hanging of Xeal — Lynciiixg of Smith. 



There have been but three legal execu- 
tions in Douglas County. In the early days 
the country was infested with a band of 
horse thieves, regularly organized, with sta- 
tions for the concealing of stolen stock, 
extending across Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. 
In the bluffs, near DeSoto, a cave was found, 
in 1859, which had been occupied as head- 
quarters by these gentry. Valuable papers 
were here discovered, including articles of 
organization, signed by the members of the 
band, which contained the names of several 
settlers who had previously been supposed 
to be men of good character. These settlers 
at once left the country, without waiting to 
be asked for explanations. Just north of 
Fontenelle resided, for several years, an 
Ohio man who had an abundance of horses, 
vehicles and harness at intervals, and who 
came and went in a mysterious sort of way. 
When the headquarters at DeSoto were 
broken up, the man disappeared for good, 
and it was then found that he was a mem- 
ber of the gang and that his farm was one 
of the stations for the collection of stolen 
property. This man was well connected in 
Ohio, and his wife was the daughter of a 
man of prominence and high character. He 
had been defended in an assault and battery 
ease by an Omaha lawyer — still residing 
here — and one day drove up to his ofHce 
with a horse and buggy, which he turned 
over to the attorney for services rendered, 
and also left an envelope well filled with 
papers, and securely sealed, which he asked 
to have kept for him for a short time. The 
envelope was put in tlie office safe and no 



further attention paid to it for the time. 
The horse was afterwards traded off, or sold, 
by the lawyer, who was waited upon some 
time after that transaction by a man who 
claimed that the horse and buggy had been 
hired at a St. Joseph, Mo., livery stable by 
the man who had sold them to the attorney. 
The latter then, in the presence of witnesses, 
opened the sealed package and found it 
contained $5,000 in bills. A year and three 
months after leaving the parcel the owner 
suddenly re-appeared and claimed it, stating 
that he wanted to pay some debts with the 
money. 

In 1856, two horse thieves were publicly 
whipped, in the presence of a large crowd, 
near the Douglas House, and in the spring 
of 1858 Harvey Braden and John Daley 
were hung by a vigilance committee for the 
crime of horse stealing. The execution took 
place on tlie hill northwest of Florence, near 
the Fort Calhoun road, the prisoners being 
taken from the jail in Omaha, placed in a 
wagon and driven rapidly to the scene of 
the tragedy. A convenient tree being 
found, no time was lost in adjusting a rope 
to the necks of the prisoners and they were 
at once suspended. A coroner's inquest 
disclosed the fact that there were many 
witnesses of the hanging, but those who 
took an active part therein were never 
arrested. 

In February, 1861, Mrs. George Taylor, 
who kept a famous hotel at the point where 
the military road crosses the Big Papillion, 
twelve miles west of Omaha, was robbed by 
two men, who entered her bed room in the 



186 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



night, tied her, band and foot, and, present- 
ing a revolver at lier head, threatened 
instant death if she did not disclose the 
whereabouts of her money and other valua- 
bles. Mrs. Taylor happened to be the only 
occupant of the house that night, with the 
exception of a hired man, who was also 
bound and gagged, so that he was entirely 
helpless. Under the circumstances the rob- 
bery was effected without risk and with but 
little delay, a considerable amount of booty 
being obtained, after which the two men 
returned to Mrs. Taylor's room, and one of 
them insisted upon killing her to prevent a 
possible identification, in case they should be 
arrested. To this the j'ounger and smaller 
of the two robbers made such earnest oppo- 
sition that the other abandoned his purpose. 
A man driving in to Omaha from the west 
stopped at the house about 10 o'clock the 
following day, and found Mrs. Taylor and 
the hired man so securely bound as to be 
unable to help themselves. He at once 
relieved them, heard their story and spread 
the news of the outrage. Several persons 
were arrested on suspicion, among them 
James F. Bouve and .John S. Her, two 
strangers who seemed to have considerable 
money in their possession. Mrs. Taylor was 
brought to town bj^ her husband and taken 
into a room where these men, with a large 
number of others, were ranged in line, and 
she was directed to identifj^ the two who 
had robbed her. Stopping first in front of 
Bouve she cried out, in great excitement: 
"You are one of them. Oh, those ej^es! 
those eyes! ' ' Her was next identified with- 
out hesitation and the two were confined in 
separate rooms, on the east side of the court 
house, then in the course of completion, on 
the corner where the Paxton building now 
stands. Here Her broke down and confessed, 
telling where the bootj^ was buried. The 
following day a mass meeting of citizens 
was held in front of the Pioneer Block, on 
Farnam street, and arrangements made to 
tr.v the two prisoners bj' Lynch law, twelve 



men being selected as jurors. William A. 
Little and Robert A. Howard were assigned 
to protect the rights of the two men. A 
full investigation of the case was had and 
the prisoners found guilty, with a recom- 
mendation to leniencj'^ as to Her. The 
verdict was reported to the waiting crowd 
outside, who ratified the action of the jury. 
At midnight that night Marshal Thomas 
Riley was overpowered at the jail by a body 
of masked men who hung Bouve to a beam 
in his cell. An inquest was held, by Coro- 
ner Emerson S. Sej-mour, over the remains, 
the following verdict being returned: " An 
inquest, holden at the county jail, in the 
City of Omaha and Count}^ of Douglas, on 
the 9th day of March, 1861, before me, 
coroner of said county, upon the body of 
James F. Bouve (supposed to be) hanging 
dead, by the jurors whose names are hereto 
subscribed, and said jurors, upon their oath, 
do say that he came to his death by hanging, 
by persons unknown to the jury." This 
was signed by Francis Smith, A. J. Hans- 
com, M. W. Keith, Benjamin Stickles and 
T. L. Shaw, jurors, and the coroner. Her 
was soon afterwards released, on condition 
that he would leave the Territor}' immedi- 
ately. 

August 28th, 1863, Cyrus H. Tator was 
executed, by due process of law, for the 
murder of Isaac H. Neff, the hanging taking 
place north of town, near Sulphur Springs. 
Neflf and Tator were encamped in that vicin- 
ity the June previous, having come in from 
Denver together with several empty wagons 
belonging to Neff, who disappeared, and 
Tator started on his return to Denver with 
one of the teams, which he claimed he had 
bought of Neflf. The body of the latter was 
found, weighted down with heavy chains, 
in tlie Missouri River. Tator was arrested, 
brought back to Omaha and tried before 
Judge Kellogg, George B. Lake and Charles 
H. Brown appearing for the prosecution and 
A. J. Poppleton and William A. Little for 
the defense. The accused was a man of 



EXECUTION OF TATOR, BAKER AND NEAL. 



137 



character and ability, thirtj^ _years old, who 
had been a probate judge and a member of 
the legislature in Kansas. He protested his 
innocence to the last, and on the scaffold 
read a carefully prepared statement of his 
case. The Supreme Court was appealed to, 
but to no effect beyond the afflrming of the 
proceedings in the District Court. The 
execution was witnessed by several thousand 
people. 

February 14, 1868, Ottway G. Balvcr was 
hanged, by order of the court, the scaffold 
being erected in a valley about half a mile 
west of the site of the High School building. 
In November, 1866, he was employed as 
porter in the store of Will. R. King, and 
slept in the building with Woolsey D. Hig- 
gtns, the bookkeeper. After banking hours, 
on the 21st of that month, $1,500 in money 
was received and placed in the safe, of whicli 
Higgins carried the key. While the latter 
was sound asleep, the night following, Baker 
quietly arose, procured an axe, and killed 
his bedfellow, took the safe keys and secured 
the money. This he placed in an empty 
oyster can and hid it under the plank side- 
walk on the west side of Eleventh Street, 
near Harney. He then set the store on Are, 
and shot himself through the arm in order 
to give color to his pretense that the build- 
ing had been entered by burglars. His 
conduct excited suspicion, however, and his 
arrest and conviction followed. His trial 
was had before Judge George B. Lake, 
District Attorney George W. Doane being 
assisted in the prosecution by John I. Red- 
ick. Baker was defended by James W. 
Savage, Ben. Sheiks, George C. Hopkins and 
Mr. Parks. The Supreme Court having 
affirmed the verdict of the juiy, finding liim 
guilty of murder in the first degree. Baker 
made a confession of the crime and told 
where the stolen property was concealed. 

On the morning of February 14, 1890, the 
bodies of Allen Jones and his wife, the former 
seventy-one years of age and the latter sixt_y, 
were found concealed in some rubbish about 



the stable on the Dr. Pinue}- farm, six miles 
west of Omaha, bearing marks of a brutal 
murder. The old couple were the onlj'^ ten- 
ants of the farm and had been left to care 
for several head of cattle, none of which 
could be found on the premises. Investiga- 
tion disclosed the fact that eight head of 
cattle and six horses had been driven from 
the farm into South Omaha and there sold 
by a stranger a day or two previously. A 
description of this man was given with such 
accuracy that E. D. Neal was arrested at 
Kansas City, Februaiy 20th, and brought to 
Omaha. City Editor Edward O'Brien, of 
the Omaha Bee, achieved much distinction 
by his persistance in following up various 
clues which resulted in the capture of Neal. 
Several other parties were arrested on sus- 
picion, but these were all discharged after a 
full investigation of the circumstances in 
each case. The trial of Neal v.-as commenced 
before Judge J. R. Clarkson, May 14, 1890, 
Prosecuting Attorney J. J. Mahoney being 
assisted by J.C. Shea in the conduct of the case 
on behalf of the State, and Lee Estelle, since 
one of the judges of the District Court, and 
William F. Gurlej-, appearing on behalf of 
the defendant. iMay 22nd the jury returned 
a verdict of murder in the first degree 
against" Ed. D. Neal, alias C. E. Neal, alias 
Livingstone, alias Katon," as the prisoner 
had been referred to in the proceedings by 
all of these names. Tlie case was appealed 
to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Tri- 
bun.al, however, refused to interfere with the 
verdict as rendered by the District Court, 
and the day of execution was set for the 9th 
dajr of October, 1891. He was executed 
within an enclosure which was erected for 
the purpose at the southwest side of the 
count}^ jail. Sheriff John F. Boyd officiating. 
Notwithstanding Neal had maintained his 
composure during the whole time from his 
arrest until the day of his execution, and 
had always claimed to be innocent, he made 
a full confession on the scaffold, acknowledg- 
ino- his ^uilt and admittino- tliat he alone 



138 



[ISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



had committed the heinous crime. There 
were but few witnesses of the execution, 
except raenihers of the jury, the relatives of 
the victims, the necessary officers and the 
reporters. • 

A da}' or so before Neal was hanged tliere 
had been committed upon a little girl, m 
the northern part of the city, a dastardly 
assault. It was reported that her assailant 
was a negro, and that she was so badly 
injured that she could not possibly live. A 
negro nimed George Smith was arrested, 
charged with the crime, and he was in jail at 
the time of Neal's execution. Smith had, 
a short time before, been arrested on a charge 
for a similar crime, committed in East 
Omaha, and had been discharged at the 
preliminary examination, at Council Bluffs, 
by reason of the unsettled condition of the 
boundary line between Nebraska and Iowa, 
the justice holding that the crime had been 
committed in Nebraska. 

While Neal's execution had been as pri- 
vate as such affairs are usually, the city was 
filled with suppressed excitement. Not much 
was said, but apparently nearl}' every one 
felt that there would be an attempt made to 
lynch Smith during the night. The officers 
of the city and county, however, did not 
believe that there was any danger, and hence 
made no effort to remove him to a more 
secure place. With this indescribable feel- 
ing in the community, that one good act had 
been performed in the hanging of Neal, and 
that the work would be complete now if 
Smith was hanged, it was no wonder that, 
when one of the evening papers announced 
that the little girl had died, a crowd of 
determined fellow- workmen of the father of 
the child should have organized for the pur- 
pose of wreaking avenging justice on the 
negro, who was guilty of the crime. Soon 
after dark, as it appeared afterward, an 
organization was effected in the northern 
part of the city and the crowd marched to 
tlie jail, where a large number of people had 
gathered before their arrival. l'>v !) o'clock 



in the evening there must have been at least 
five thousand people on Harney Street side 
of the court house, and the leaders of the 
mob demanded entrance to the jail, which 
was i-efused. Sheriff Boyd, tired out bj' his 
unpleasant duties of the day, had gone to 
his home; but hearing of the trouble imme- 
diately repaired to the jail, and addressed 
the crowd, telling them that the law made it 
his duty to protect the prisoner, and that he 
should endeavor to do so. Before he had 
finished speaking, however, he was made a 
prisoner, disarmed, hurried into a hack and 
taken up to a point back of the High School, 
where he was kept until the affair was over. 
Governor James E. Boyd, Judge George W. 
Doane and others spoke to the excited mul- 
titude, urging them to disperse and to allow 
the law to take its course, but without effect. 
Everj' minute gave accessions to the crowd, 
not alone of men, but of women, also; and 
while many were there out of curiosity it 
was plain to be seen that very many were 
in sympathy with the mob, and by half- past 
10 o'clock there must have been at least ten 
thousand persons present. 

Several ineffectual attempts were made to 
disperse the crowd. The fire department 
was ordered out for the purpose of turning 
the hose on them, but no sooner did the hose 
carts arrive than shouts arose to cut the 
hose. As fast as the hose were unreeled 
there were man}- willing hands, with knives 
flashing in the weird light shed bj' the elec- 
tric lamps, putting into effect the suggestion, 
and many lengths of valuable hose were 
irretrievably ruined. In the meantime the 
leaders of the mob were not idle. They had 
effected an entrance into the jail by way of 
one of the heavily barred windows, which 
had been broken in by means of a battering 
ram, improvised from an ordinary street car 
rail. On the approach of the mob tlie negro 
was placed in an almost impregnable steel 
cage, and the mob found it the work of at 
least two hours to break into this cage. 
After breaking into it and securing the negro 



EXECUTION OF GEORGE SMITH. 



139 



there was quite a bait in the proceedings for 
the purpose of being sure of identification. 
Becoming satisfied that there was no mistake 
a rope was fastened around Smith's neck, 
and he was rushed across Harney Street and 
an effort made to throw the rope over one of 
the arms of a telegraph pole. Not being 
successful here, the poor wretch, more dead 
than alive, was di-agged down across Seven- 
teenth Street^a rope passed over one of the 
wires which sustains the trolly wires of the 
electric motor lines, and Smith was drawn 
up to the wire, where he was left hanging. 
It was about 1 o'clock on the morning of 
the 10th day of October, 1891, that Smith 



was hanged. The report of the death of the 
little girl was an error. 

After Smith was in the hands of tlie mob 
the police made several attempts to rescue 
him, but were powerless and unable to do 
an3'thing. 

The better element of the community 
deplored the resort to violence, but very few 
felt otherwise than that Smith was justly 
dealt with. 

District Attorney T. J. Mahoney filed 
complaints charging the most active leaders 
of the mob with murder, but, after doing his 
full duty in bringing them to trial, they 
were discharged. 



CHAPTER XY. 

Inxidents and Experiences — Tjie Great Flood — Olden Time Buildings — Pattee' 
Lottery, Etc., Etc. 



The first issue of the Omaha Airoiv, dated 
July 28, 1854, printed the following edito- 
rial: 

" The Indians require ten dollars from each 
settler for the right to build and make 
improvement upon the lands for which they 
have not yet received payment nor relin- 
quished their rights. We consider this a 
just demand and have, ourselves, fully com- 
plied. The amount should only be paid to 
Logan Fontenelle (the chief), H. D. John- 
son or ourselves." 

When Nebraska's first election was held, 
in the fall of 1854, there were but two vot- 
ing places in Douglas County, which included 
the present Sarpy County, one being at 
Bellevue and the other designated in Gov- 
ernor Cuming's proclamation as " the brick 
building in Omaha," otherwise the State 
House, the first brick building erected in the 
Territoiy. 

Under the heading, " Tlie Future of 
Omaha," the Times of June 7, 1857, presents 
these facts and figures: 

" The growth of Omaha astonishes — is a 
fact few can comprehend. Look at its 
chronology: 

1853, June— Town claim made bj' the company 
and kept by them by paying tribute to the Indians, 
whose title had not been extinguished. 

1854, June— No settlements but a single house, 
the old St. Nicholas, of round logs, sixteen feet 
square, built by the company as an improvement 
to hold the claim. 

1855, June— Number of inhabitants 250 to 300. 
Best lots sold at $100. 

185(5, June— Number of inhabitants about eight 
hundred. Best lots sold at $600. 

185fi, October— Number of inhabitants 1,600. 
Best lots sold at $3,500. 



1857, April— Number of inhabitants 2,000. Best 
lots sold at 13,500. 

1857, June— Number of inhabitants 3,000. Best 
lots sold at $4,000. 

" Judging the future by the past, we can 
safely calculate upon numbering five thou- 
sand people by the first of October, and 
property will, on Farnam, Douglas and Har- 
ney streets, run up to one hundred dollars 
a foot. The rapidity of growth in the past 
establishes public confidence in the future 
and tends to run prices up partly in antici- 
pation. We were shamefully cheated out of 
our appropriation to finisii the capitol, in 
Congress. The City Council has made the 
Mayor, Jesse Lowe, sole commissioner, in 
behalf of the city, to do this work of neces- 
sity to the honor and comfort of our Terri- 
tory, and an ornament to our place, b.y an 
expenditure of S50,000. The work has 
begun. 

"Jesse Lowe and Thomas Davis, county 
commissioners, are in charge of the erection 
of a court house, at an expense of 135,000. 
G. L. Miller & Co. are building the finest 
hotel west of St. Louis, to cost $60,000. 
Fifty houses have already been erected here 
this spring. As many more are in course of 
erection; three hundred will be erected this 
year." 

The first resolution offered in the House 
of Representatives at the first session of the 
Territorial Legislature was presented b^y A. 
J. Poppleton, and the second motion made 
in the Council, at the same session, convened 
January 16, 1855, was made by Samuel E. 
Rogers. Omaha men were then, as now, 
always prominent in public affairs. 




Looking Northeast frum Coirt Hou^e Si^dare— 1880 




Looking Southeast from High School Grounds 



INTERESTING SKETCHES OF EARLY INCIDENTS 



141 



The first marriage in Omalaa was that of 
John Logan and Caroline M. Hosier, the 
ceremony being performed by Rev. Isaac F. 
Collins, Nov. 11, 1855. Mr. Logan died in 
tliis city March 13, 1891. 

W. J. Kennedy established the first watch- 
repairing and jewelry store in Omaha, in 
1856. 

Charles S. Goodrich, late city comptroller, 
and Charles Sherman, editor of the Platts- 
mouth Journal^ set the type on the first 
regular daily paper printed here. The Tele- 
graph, t\\& edition consisting of four hundred 
copies, half of which were distributed in 
Omaha, and the other half in Council Bluffs. 
Mr. Goodrich came to Omaha in 1860, with 
his father, S. J. Goodrich. 

Mr. Hellmancame to Omaha from Cincin- 
nati in 1856, driving a two-horse wagon. 

David T. Mount, who came here in 1863, 
made the first light buggy harness and the 
first Shafto saddle made in this city. The 
former was for Dr. McClelland and the latter 
for Jesse Lowe. 

Peter Windheim, who died March 14,1891, 
was induced to locate here in 1857, by the 
great quantity of ducks which he saw in 
this vicinity, he being at that time on his 
way up the Missouri River, on a steamer. 
Mr. Windheim, with the Bruners, Henry A. 
Kosters, Chas. Behm and others of Omaha, 
were interested in platting West Point and 
Columbus. 

Daniel AV. Carpenter came to Bellevue in 
October, 1854, and assisted in the piibliea- 
tion of the Palladium, J. Sterling Morton 
and Thornas Morton being associated with 
him in that enterprise. In 1864 he came to 
Omaha and formed a partnership with Dr. 
George L. Miller, for the publication of the 
Herald, first printed as an evening paper. 
It has been generally believed that the Her- 
ald succeeded the NebrasTiian, but such is not 
the fact. The paper was supplied with an 
entire new outfit, which Mr. Carpenter 
brought from Cincinnati. 

James G. Megeath's fli'st visit to Omaha, 



in 1854. was for the purpose of voting. lie 
was at that time temporarily stopping at 
Council Bluffs, and in 1857 removed to this 
city with his family. 

Charles Childs established the first grist- 
mill in this vicinity. In May, 1856, he 
erected a steam saw-mill, six miles south of 
the city, and put in one run of stone to 
grind corn, farmers coming from as far west 
as Grand Island and the Wood River settle- 
ments to patronize his establishment, though 
he ground only on one day in the week. 
Afterwards he put in a flour mill and made 
the first flour manufactured in Nebraska. 

The first saw-mill in Omaha was put up 
by Samuel S. Bayliss and Alex. Davis, his 
brother-in-law, on Otoe Creek, just north of 
the present site of the Union Pacific depot, 
and traded to Thomas Davis for a claim on 
four hundred acres of land. The explosion 
of the boiler of this mill, about 1856, cre- 
ated a great sensation. Mr. Davis after- 
wards built a large flour-mill in the same 
localitj'' and for many years carried on a 
very extensive business. His residence, 
which was in the same block, is still stand- 
ing, at the corner of Jackson and Ninth 
Streets. 

There has been some difference of opinion 
as to who was the first white child born in 
Omaha. On this point Mr. John Rush, city 
treasurer, says: "My father-in-law, James 
Ferr}', came here with his family in the 
spring of 1854. He had no time to make 
proper preparations forhis wife and children, 
so a 'dug-out' was scooped in the bank at 
what is now Twelfth and Jackson Streets, 
where the family and several men that Mr. 
Ferry had working for him lived during the 
winter of 1854 and 1855. But even before 
this primitive excuse for a house had been 
made, he had constructed a hay hut near 
where the Union Pacific depot now stands, 
the tall grass of the bottoms affording 
material for one of the first and certainly 
one of the crudest habitations in Nebraska. 
The first white child born in Omaha could. 



142 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



if she bad lived, boast of baving bad this 
unique dwelling for her birth-place. It is 
contended that AVilliam Nebraska Reeves, 
son of the late Jesse Reeves, was the first 
white child born in Omaha, but this is a 
mistake. It is true that Mr. Reeves' son 
was born before Mr. Ferry's child, a month 
or so, but he was born outside of the city 
of Omaha as it was then platted, his birth- 
place being in what is known as Park 
Wilde." Mr. Ferry's child was born in 
October, 1854. 

Mr. A. J. Ilanscom first located on what 
is now known as Shinn's Addition, in 1854. 
Here he built a claim house and about the 
same time put np a frame house, at the 
southwest corner of Fifteenth and Farnam, 
which building was used as a printing ofHce 
by the proprietors of the Nebraskian. When 
the land was surveyed he found that his 
claim was on the school section; and, fearing 
he would have difHcultj' in getting his title, 
accepted a proposition to trade, which was 
made him by Mr. Samuel Bay less, of Council 
Bluffs, and exchanged the 240 acres he had 
claimed for a tract of four hundred acres 
southwest of town, a part of which, now 
known as Hanscom Place, is one of the 
choicest residence portions of the city. 
The land he had first claimed was finall}^ 
entered by Moses F. Shinn, who secured 
the passage of a special act of Congress in 
order to get possession of the land. 

Elias L. Emery, who came here in 1862, 
lived for several years in the only building 
west of the Capitol Hill, a frame structure 
on the ground now occupied by Howard 
Kennedy's comfortable residence on West 
Dodge Street. 

E. L. Eaton is the oldest photographer 
in the city. Locating here May 1, 1856, 
he opened a gallery in the old Pioneer Block 
the following year. In 1858 and 1859, he 
was engaged a considerable portion of the 
time in taking photographs, at Florence, of 
the Mormons and their outfits. During the 
war he spent four years in the camps of the 



Union soldiers, following his profession, in 
various portions of the countrj\ For more 
than twenty years he has occupied his pres- 
ent location, on Farnam Street. 

When Thomas Riley was citj" marshal in 
an earlj' da}', it was a part of his official 
dutjr to at intervals drive the Indians away 
from their camps in the suburbs of the 
town. At times the original owners of the 
soil refused to recognize his authority and 
on those occasions he would be compelled to 
call the citizens to bis assistance. 

When Mr. St. A. D. Balcombe purchased 
the Hanscom homestead, the block bounded 
by Capitol Avenue, Davenport, Sixteenth 
and Seventeenth Streets, in 1865, for seven- 
teen thousand dollars, the old settlers told 
him he was throwing his money awaj', 
although the ground was covered with bear- 
ing fruit trees, shade trees and ornamental 
shrubbery, with a large house and barn, the 
contents of both buildings being included 
in the purchase price, the furniture being- 
valued at two thousand dollars. The ground 
alone is now worth $400,000. 

During the war J. C. McBride was given 
a lot at the southwest corner of Thirteenth 
and Jackson Streets, bj' the city, in consid- 
eration of his taking care of certain small- 
pox patients which the city officials were 
burdened with. This he afterwards sold and 
with the proceeds purchased a good farm in 
Sarpy County. The lot is now worth forty 
thousand dollars. 

Thomas O'Connor was the second register 
of deeds, being first elected in the fall of 
1855, and for two j^ears thereafter was re- 
elected. He crossed the river November 
28, 1854, in a canoe, and since that date 
has never been outside the citj' limits for a 
period of three daj's at a time. He had for 
fellow-passengers, on the occasion referred 
to. General John M. Thayer and an Irish- 
man known as General Bojie, who had views 
of his own on the important topics of the 
day. These two became engaged in a violent 
discussion and Mr. O'Connor savs that he 



I'ASSAdK OF A BILL PKOHIBITIXG 



143 



was impelled to call out: '"For Heaven's 
sake keep still, gentlemen, or we'll all go to 
the bottom of the river with this rickety 
old dug-out!" clutching, meanwhile, both 
sides of the craft in his endeavor to pre- 
serve the balance. 

Acting Governor Cuming came to 
Nebraska from Keokuk, Iowa, and most of 
the Irishmen who located in Omaha in 1854 
and 1855 were induced to do so by that 
official. Governor Cuming was a private, 
during the Mexican war, in the company of 
the Second Michigan Infantry which was 
commanded b.y A. J. Hanscom. The latter 
and A. J. Poppleton were schoolmates in 
Michigan in their boyhood days. 

Major George Armstrong won the life- 
long esteem, in 1855, of Colonel Sarpy and 
Commodore Decatur, by exposing the char- 
acter of supplies then being furnished the 
Indians by an agent who made his head- 
quarters on the Iowa side of the river, 
opposite Bellevue. In coming to Nebraska, 
in the fall of 1854, Major Armstrong jour- 
neyed for some distance by stage with 
Colonel Manypenny, then Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs, in whose newspaper office in 
Ohio Major Armstrong had acquired a 
knowledge of the art of printing. Samples 
of the supplies being shown him after his 
arrival here. Major Armstrong wrote some 
sharp articles on the subject for the Nebras- 
kian, and also addressed a communication to 
the Indian Commissioner, the result being 
that the agent was promptly i-emoved and 
the father of T. H. Robertson, editor of the 
Nebraskian. appointed in his stead. Major 
Armstrong removed with his family to 
Omaha in the spring of 1855, driving all the 
way from Chilicothe, Ohio, in a carriage. 
His firm, Bovey & Armstrong, built the 
Territorial Capitol, the Congregational 
Church, Pioneer Block and many other 
buildings of the ante-bellum days. 

Law and order were not as closely observed 
in the early history of Omaha as at present. 
At the session of the Territorial Legislature 



of 1858, a resolution was adopted in the 
House, providing that the speaker and mem- 
bers of that bodj' should "be exempt from 
arrest during the session. ' ' 

Christmas day, 1860, a Dr. Vincent, of 
Tabor, Iowa, then famous as a station of the 
"underground railroad" for assisting run- 
away slaves, called at the residence of Colonel 
Gilmore,the brick building owned by Aaron 
C^alin, on the south side of Dodge, just west 
of Fifteenth Street, recently torn down, and 
in the course of a conversation was asked b.y 
John A. Parker, Jr., a hot-blooded young 
Virginian, where he lived, to which ^'^incent 
replied "Tabor, Iowa," whereupon Parker 
inquired if he " was one of those men who 
stole niggers?" Vincent responded: "When 
a colored man comes there hungry we feed 
him; naked, we clothe him; foot-sore, we 
take him in a buggy and carry him on his 
wa}' rejoicing." Thereupon Parker jumped 
up in a rage, drove the visitor from the 
house, striking him as he left the door and 
then fired at him twice with a revolver, but 
fortunately- failed to hit him. 

A bill prohibiting slavery in Nebraska 
was passed by the Legislature of 1861, vetoed 
by Governor Black and passed over his veto 
by a vote of ten to three in the Council, and 
thirty-three to three in the House. 

In one of the early sessions of the Legis- 
lature a bill was introduced " prohibiting the 
settlement of free negroes and mulattoes in 
the Territory of Nebraska." It was referred 
to the House judiciary committee and, in 
the rush and hurr}^ of business, was evidently 
lost. 

Keferring to the appearance of Omaha in 
1860, Mrs. Silas A. Strickland, who removed 
to the citj- from. Bellevue with her husband 
in that year, saj's that Farnam was then the 
only well-defined street in the place. From 
her residence, at the corner of Eighteenth 
and Capitol Avenue, then the outskirts of 
town, she had an unobstructed view of the 
river landing, where she could see boats 
loading and unloading. 



lU 



IIISTOIIY OF THE CITY OF OMAllA. 



E. F. Cook, who came here iu September, 
1856, and managed the Omaha Branch of 
JMilton Rogers' store business, tlie main store 
being in Council Bluffs, found no town to 
speak of, but a community full of hope and 
enterprise, with a lively real estate market. 
The winter following, vegetables, eggs and 
apples were received and sold in a frozen 
condition. Prairie wolves could be seen 
skipping about over the to^vn site. On tl^e 
Council Bluffs side of the river, he saw the, 
dead body of a man hanging to a tree, 
placarded : " Hung for his many crimes ! ' ' 

AVhen the fli-m of Nave, McCord ife Co.. 
wholesale grocers of St. Joseph, Mo., located 
a branch house in Omalia in 1861, then a 
village of but 3,000 inhabitants, it was con- 
sidered a very important event. Henry W. 
Yates, now president of the Nebraska 
National Bank, came up to assist in taking 
care of the business, being ten days in making 
the trip, by Missouri River steamer. The 
firm had previously established a branch 
liouse at Council Bluff's, in charge of Will 
R. King, but upon locating here Mr. King 
was transferred to Omaha. In the fall of 
1863 Mr. Yates became identified with the 
banking house of Kountze Brothers, which 
was merged into the First National Bank, 
and remained with it until the organization 
of the Nebraska National Bank, in 1882. 

It is a fact not generally known that the 
interference of the wife of President Lincoln 
prevented tlie appointment of an Omaha 
attorney to the chief justiceship of Nebraska 
Territory. The members of the bar of 
Omaha, Republicans and Democrats, with a 
single exception, joined in presenting appli- 
cations for the appointment of John R. 
Meredith, Esq., backed by the highest 
endorsements as to his character and profes- 
sional standing; but ]\Irs. Lincoln had her 
candidate for the place, in the person of 
William Pitt Kellogg, w4io afterwards 
achieved celebrit3% if not distinction, as 
Governor of Louisiana, and he secured the 
appointment, though Jlr. Meredith was the 



President's choice. The position of associ- 
ate justice was then tendered him and 
afterwards that of collector of internal 
revenue for Nebraska, but both offers were 
respectfully declined by Mr. Meredith. 

The first city directory of Omaha was 
published in 1866, by Charles Collins, a 
newspaper man of this city who was active 
in the publication of tlie Evening Times. 
He afterwards became identified with the 
press of Sioux City and took a prominent 
part in opening up the Black Hills mining 
region to white settlers. 

The fact that St. Mary's Avenue runs at 
an angle is due to the desire of Harrison 
Johnson to get to and from the village of 
Omaha by the most direct route from his 
homestead, a log house which occupied a 
sightly spot just west of Mr. Woolworth's 
present home. In time this private way 
became a county road and additions platted 
later on were conformed thereto. In recent 
years strong efforts were made to secure a 
change, so that the street miglit run directly 
east and west, but were not successful. 

Ellas L. Emery, who has been a continu- 
ous resident of Omaha since June 1, 1862, 
has borne a very active part in the improve- 
ment of cattle and swine in Nebraska. He 
was one of the first importers and breeders 
of shorthorns in the North Platte country, 
and in various sections of the State ai-e now 
found entire herds of the direct decendants 
of Mr. Emery's importations. To this 
gentleman is also due the credit of estab- 
lishing pedigrees for hogs, now a feature of 
swine breeding all over the civilized world. 
In February, 1871, in a letter to the National 
Live Stock Journal, of Chicago, now the 
Breeders' Gazette, he called attention to the 
importance of tliis subject. The Farmers' 
Institute of New York at once took the 
matter up and ajjpointed a committee to 
consider the subject in all its bearings. The 
leading breeders and dealers all over the 
land became interested and the result was 
the estalilishment of a swine herd book, as 



OMAHA LIBRARY LEGAL GIFT ENTEUPRISK CONCERN. 



145 



accurately kept as are the records of horses 
and cattle. For many years Mr. Emery has 
been a contributor to the leading stock and 
horticultural journals of the country. 

In August, 1871, a lottery was estab- 
lished in Omaha by J. M. Pattee, and styled 
"The Omaha Library Legal Gift Enterprise 
Concern," Lj-ford & Co. being the ostensi- 
ble managers, the alleged object being to 
provide the city with a public library. Just 
what was done in that regard will be found 
elsewhere printed in this work, in the chap- 
ter devoted to "Libraries." The first 
drawing took place at the Academy of 
Music, on Douglas Street, November 7, 1871, 
in the presence of a large audience. The 
principal prize of $20,000 was announced 
as having been drawn by E. H. Dillingham, 
of Boston. The enterprise was carried on 
in a very successful manner for about two 
years, during which time Pattee trans- 
acted a large business through the post- 
offlce, his. correspondence covering a large 
extent of countrj'. In May, 1873, his 
mail in the Omaha postofflce was seized by 
Postmaster Yost, by order of the depart- 
ment at Washington, and forwarded to the 
dead letter office. The impression having 
been given out that the scheme had received 
the official endorsement of the City Council, 
the following resolution was adopted by 
that body, February 25,1873: 

"Resolved, That in the opinion of this Council 
the lottery now advertised by J. M. Pattee, in this 
city, is a fraud, and the same is not and will not 
be endorsed by any member of this Council." 

This was puljlished in the city ])apers as 
an advertisement. Previous to this Pattee 
had purchased the Redick Opera House 
building (afterwards known as the city hall) , 
corner of Farnam and Sixteenth, for thirty 
thousand dollars, and here was employed a 
large number of young ladies in sending 
circulars out all over the countrj-. May 20, 
1873, the fourth drawing occurred in this 
building, in the presence of a large audience. 
Considerable formality was observed, .Judge 



John R. Porter being elected president of 
the assemblage, General S. A. Strickland, 
vice president and J. M. McCune, city clerk, 
secretary; Councilmen D. C. Sutphen, John 
M. Thurston, A. J. Doyle and Henry J. 
Lucas, ex-Citjr Marshals, Richard Kimball, 
J. C. Lea, ex-City Attorney, J. P. Bartlett, 
Colonel Saunders, Colonel Burke and L. P. 
Hale were chosen as a committee to see that 
the proceedings were fair and regular, J udge 
Porter administering an oath binding them 
to a faithful performance of their duties in 
that regard. A short address was made by- 
General Strickland, who introduced Mr. 
Pattee. The latter made a brief speech, 
setting forth his honesty of purpose in the 
management of his gift enterprise. Two 
wheels were used, one a large one for the 
tickets and the other a smaller one for the 
prizes, a blindfolded boy being stationed at 
each wheel to draw for the numbers. On 
this occasion the grand prize was $75,000, 
one John B. Duff, of Council Bluffs, being 
declared the winner thereof. A month later 
James Donnelly, who had been employed by 
Pattee as a clerk, swore out a warrant in the 
police court, charging the lottery proprietor 
with having carried on a fraudulent business 
by the issuance of duplicate and triplicate 
tickets. Pattee was then at Leavenworth, 
and Sheriff Grebe went after him and brought 
him to Omaha. Being taken before Judge 
Porter, of the police court, an examination 
was waived b.v the prisoner and he was 
bound over in the sum of three hundred 
dollars to appear for trial in the District 
Court, and there the case terminated. Mr. 
Pattee died at St. Louis, where he was then 
residing, a few years since. 

In the summer of 1877, the great army of 
tramps was so largely represented in Omaha 
that heroic measures were resorted to to 
abate the nuisance. A vigilance committee 
of two hundred men was quietly organized 
and each member sworn as a special officer, 
with power to make arrests. Captains were 
selected and the force divided into squads 



140 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



and assigned to the various wards. At a 
late hour at night this force started out on a 
general "round-up" and b}" daylight hud 
arrested nearly four hundred men, some of 
whom were able to give a satisfa,ctorj^ 
account of themselves and were released. 
The others were locked up until their cases 
could be investigated, box cars on the rail- 
way tracks being utilized for the purpose 
after the city jail had been filled. Sensa- 
tional disclosures were made, in which men 
of alleged respectability figured, and many 
dangerous characters were arrested. One of 
the incidents of the night was the finding of 
a pair of shoes under a window of the 
bishop's residence, on Ninth Street, and the 
discovery of the owner of the shoes inside the 
building in the act of burglarj-. 

The spring of 1881 witnessed the highest 
recorded stage of water in the Missouri 
A'"alley. The flood reached Omaha Ajtril 
€th, a heav3^ ice gorge at Yankton, Dakota, 
having given way, and soon the banks of 
the river were overflowed. The rip-rap, 
which had been put in by the government, 
and which protected the Union Pacific shops 
and smelting works, gave way, and tlie 
grounds and buildings were flooded so that 
all work was susjjended. The coal and lum- 
ber yards in the vicinity were submerged 
and it was only by the most active exertions 
on tlie part of a large force of men that any 
of the material in the lumber j-ards was 
saved. The bottom lands lying between 
Omaha and Council llluffs were covered by 
a rushing torrent, varying from two to ten 
feet in depth. Steamboats anchored in the 
neighborhood of the Transfer Hotel, and, 
from that point eastward, the Union Pacific 
built a bridge, half a mile long, of flat cars. 
Steamers wended their way over the Union 
Pacific grounds on the west side of the river 
and took on coal from the company's supply. 
For four days a steady gain of water was 
reported, the highest stage being reached at 
6 o'clock p. M. of the 9th, when a depth of 
twenty-two feet above low water mark, two 



feet higher than ever before known, was 
reported, at which time the river extended 
from the bluffs just east of the Union Pacific 
headquarters to the Northwestern depot in 
Council Bluffs, a distance of five miles, the 
surface covered with broken ice, trees, tim- 
bers, fence rails, lumber, logs, fragments of 
houses and all the debris which a sudden 
flood of such awful magnitude would gather 
in its restless course. The loss of property 
here was considerable but tliere were, fortu- 
nately, but two lives sacrificed. Thaddeus 
AVren, Michael Cunningham and Nicholas 
Keenan were coming in a skiff from a barn 
belonging to the Union Pacific Company and 
attempted to cross a stream some fifty feet 
wide which poured into the river through a 
break in the rip-rap, when they were whirled 
out into the river. Mr. Wren clung to the 
boat and was rescued but the others jumped 
out and were drowned. Since that date 
immense sums of money have been expended 
by the government in protecting the river 
bank, and by the Union Pacific and Smelting 
AVorks people in raising the ground upon 
which their buildings are located, and they 
are now considered perfectly safe from dam- 
age by water. The increase in the value of 
the bottom lands on this side of the river 
has caused a general raising of the grade for 
a distance of two miles north of the Smelting 
Works, and the extension of the river pro- 
tection sj'Stem by the government adds to 
the security of that part of .the city. 

Doubtless the oldest house now standing 
in Omaha is one built by Timothy Kelly, a 
frame structure on Thirteenth Street, 
between Cass and Chicago, which he built in 
1864, moving into it December 20tli. Until 
recentlj- a log house, weatherboarded and 
presenting the appearance of a frame build- 
ing, stood on the south side of St. Mary's 
Avenue, just west of Mr. Woolworth's 
residence, wliich was built by Harrison 
Johnson in 1854. Tlie property had been 
owned for many years by W. J. Connell and 
a two-story building had been erected by 



BUILDINGS ERECTED AT AN EAELY DAY. 



147 



him on the south of the old structure. Mrs. 
Cuming's residence, at the southwest corner 
of Dodge and Eighteenth Streets, was built 
in 1855. A small brick building at the 
nortlieast corner of Harney and Fourteenth, 
used for many years as a blacksmith shop, 
was erected in 1855, by J. B. Allen. The 
.John M. Clarke house, northwest corner of 
Seventeenth and Capitol Avenue, was built 
in 1857, as was also the Cahn house, a brick 
liuilding on the south side of Dodge between 
Sixloentli and Seventeenth, recently torn 
down. On the north side of Dodge, between 
Fifteenth and Sixteenth, is a brick i-esidence 
which James Izard, son of the governor, 
l)uilt in 1856. In that year George Clayes 
liuilt a frame building, which is still stand- 
ing, on the west side of Eleventh, between 
Douglas and Dodge. The small brick build- 
ing just west of the First Presbyterian 
Church, on Dodge Street, was erected by 
John Withnell, in 1856. The Thomas Davis 
house, a brick building at the southeast 
corner of Howard and Ninth, was built in 
1856 or 1857. The frame building,No. 1111 
Davenport, was erected by Byron Eeed, in 
l!^')?. The brick residence on Davenport, 
near Seventeenth, known as the Patrick 
property, was built by 31. T. Patrick, in 
1857. The Goodwill house, on the same 
street, near Fifteenth, was built by T. G. 
Goodwill,. in 1856. In that year the brick 
structure standing at the southeast corner of 
Thirteenth and Capitol Avenue, owned by 
Frederick Dellone, was built in 1856. 

PLast of the Williams Block, on Dodge 
Street, is a brick dwelling, and on the north- 
west corner of Harney and Ninth is another, 
both of which were erected by Jesse Lowe, 
in 1856. The brick residence occupied by 
General AV. W. Lowe, southwest corner of 
Harney and Sixteenth, was erected b}^ liis 
father. Dr. Enos Lowe, about the year 1857. 

The frame house on the south side of 
Capitol Avenue, near Fifteenth, was moved 
to that lot, in 1860, from Florence, by Cap- 
tain C. H. Downs. That same year a frame 



building, whicli now stands on the south side 
of Cass, near Thirteenth, was erected by 
William Florkee,on the lot now occupied by 
the American National Bank Building, and 
was known for several years as the Union 
Hotel. The brick house yet standing at the 
northwest corner of Dodge and Eighteenth 
Streets was built at an early date by John 
McCormick, who died witliin its walls June 
2, 1884. In the first city directory of 
Omaha, printed in 1866, this house is referred 
to as " next to the capitol itself, it is the 
first thing that attracts the eye of the stran- 
ger visiting or passing through the city." 
Near the northeast corner of Jackson and 
Eleventh Streets, facing south, is yet stand- 
ing an old frame building which was occupied 
as a home for many years by the famil}- of 
Rev. Reuben Gaylord, two rooms of which 
Mr. Gaylord bought in the summer of 1856. 
They were a mere shell, built of cottonwood 
lumber the year previously. 

For many years it was generally believed 
that coal in paying quantities could be found 
in the vicinity of Omaha. In September, 
1871, Thomas Wardell, an experienced 
miner, made a proposition to the Council to 
prospect for coal within the city limits for a 
reasonable bonus, and in October a resolu- 
tion was offered calling for a special election 
to vote upon the proposition to issue bonds 
to the amount of $7,000 in aid of the 
project. Another resolution was offered 
increasing the amount to $10,000, to be 
expended in boring for coal " within a rea- 
sonable distance of the city," which was 
adopted. Later the amount was reduced to 
$4,000, and then a resolution was adopted 
to the effect that, if private individuals 
desire to bore for coal, in or about Omaha, 
at their own expense, they were at liberty 
to do so, and with that the subject was 
dropped. In the spring of 1871 Professor 
Hayden, of the United States Geological 
Corps, was invited to address the Board of 
Trade upon the subject of coal formations 
of the West and to give his opinion as to the 



148 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



probability of finding coal near Omaha. He 
spoke at considerable length, describing the 
coal beds of the West, and gave it as his 
opinion that if coal were found at all near 
Omaha, in veins of sufficient thickness to 
be worked, it would be at such great depth 
as to be practically valueless. In 1887 half 
a dozen public-spirited citizens of Omaha 
contributed generously to a purse to be used 
in boring for coal in the vicinity of the 
Willow Springs Distillery. The best machin- 
ery obtainable for such purposes was 
procured and the work carried on for several 
months with great zeal but was finally 
abandoned. In the meantime, as the price 
of coal has been steadily reduced to Omaha 
consumers, and manufacturing interests cor- 
respondingly benefited, the incentive to 
experiments in this line has been, to a large 
degree, removed. A hole 1,400 feet deep 
was drilled last year on the Little Papillion, 



near Lawnfield, in a vain search for natural 
gas, at the expense of a number of Omaha 
capitalists. 

The first asphaltum pavement laid in the 
city was on Douglas street, from Fourteenth 
to Sixteenth Street, in the fall of 1882. It 
was put down at a cost to the city of $2.98 
a yard, by the Barber Asphalt Company, 
under the superintendency of John Grant. 
It was composed of a six inch concrete base, 
one-half inch of cushion top and two inches 
of asphaltum. There are three classes of 
this work now done in Omaha, that above 
described being called class "A," and is the 
most expensive. Class '• B" has four inches 
of concrete base and two inches of asphalt 
top. Class " C " has a base of three inches of 
broken stone coated with coal tar, one and a 
half inches of broken stone, or slag, covered 
by a hot preparation of tar, and on this an 
inch and a half of asphalt paving material. 



CHAPTER XYI 



Military History" — Indian Dikficulties — Fort Omaha. 



The military history of Omalia dates back 
to 1855, when, pursuant to an act of the 
Territorial Legislature of the preceding 
session, two regiments of militia were " offi- 
cered" (and they consisted entirel,y of 
officers) as follows: 

First Regiment — A. J. Hanscom, colonel; 
William C. James, lieutenant-colonel; Ilascal 
C. Purple, major; J. D. N. Thompson and 
Thomas L. Griffej^, adjutants; John B. 
Roberts, quartermaster; Anselum Arnold, 
commissaiy; M. B. Clark, surgeon; George 
L. Miller, assistant surgeon. 

Second Regiment — David M. Johnson, 
colonel ; Richard Brown, quartermaster; 
Gideon Bennet, commissary ; William 
McLennan, adjutant; Isaiah H. Crane, sur- 
geon; William Hamilton, assistant surgeon. 

In July of that year a Mr. Porter and his 
wife, and a young man named Demaree, while 
encamped at Sam Francis' Lake, near Fon- 
tenelle, were surprised by a straggling band 
of Sioux Indians, who came upon them sud- 
denlj'. A short parley was had, when one of 
the Indians snatched up Deinaree's hat and 
was riding off with it when Demaree called 
out to him to bring the hat back, whereupon 
the Indians opened Are upon the whites, 
killing both the men, and rode hurriedl^^ 
away. Gi-eat excitement followed this affair. 
The settlers at Fontenelle hastily made 
preparations to resist the attack, which it 
was supposed would be made, as the country 
then abounded with Indians of various 
tribes, all more or less hostile, and the Gov- 
ernor was appealed to for aid. A few days 
later a company was sent up from Omaha, 
of which William E. Moore was captain, 



John Y. Clopper first lieutenant and George 
Hepburn second lieutenant. A companj- 
was also organized at Fontenelle, with 
William Kline as captain, Russell McXealy 
first lieutenant, and John W. Pattison (for- 
merly editor of the Omaha Arrow), second 
lieutenant. These "troops" encamped in 
tiie little settlement gave the people a sense 
of security. As no attack was attempted, 
the militiamen had no chance to show their 
bravery, or want of it, but spent so much of 
their time in fishing along the banks of the 
Elkhorn that their campaign was christened 
"the catfish war," by the grateful and 
appreciative settlers. 

At the time of the expedition against the 
Mormons, which was organized by the gov- 
ernment in the fall of 1857, anxiety was 
felt throughout the West as to the outcome. 
In April, 1858, the following contribution, 
signed "Fair "Warning," was printed in the 
Omaha Times: 

" Circumstances of the most alarming- 
character are being developed which should 
arouse attention to' the movements of the 
Mormons in this locality and which already 
warrant and loudly demand of the United 
States Government that a militaiy point 
(post?) be established not far distant from 
this cit3^ Not less than one hundred of 
these people are now housed in our midst. 
It is well-known that near Florence, but six 
miles distant from us, the Saints have a 
village on the north bank of Mill Creek, 
where are their warehouses, hotel and other 
fixtures requisite for fitting up a small army 
without risk of detection. There, too, are 
their powder magazines. 



150 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



" In our city just now a great stir is going 
on amongst them, but for wliat immediate 
purpose is not known. It is known, liow- 
ever, that every saintlj^ dollar not absolutely' 
required to keep together body and soul is 
given for the purchase of munitions of war. 
A large number of Mormons are leaving this 
vicinity this spring. They do not, as usual, 
go in hand or ox-cart trains, but small, 
straggling squads are seen moving westward 
toward South Pass. Horses and mules are 
used instead of oxen on account, as is sup- 
posed, of their better adaptation to quick 
motion movements. When met thus on their 
journey and asked their destination, the com- 
mon reply is, "Washington Territorj^, Oregon 
or California." By this means they hope to 
pass Colonel Johnston and his army, or, 
perhaps, slip around him by some of the 
secret mountain passes. 

" In the event of .failure in both these 
moves, then the Mormon city (Genoa), some 
twenty miles west of tlie Loup Fork, will 
afford a very suitable retreat whence to sally 
forth and lay waste the towns and settle- 
ments west of this point — Columbus, Monroe, 
Buchanan, Fontenelle, Fremont, North Bend, 
Elkhorn, and many others, now without the 
least show of protection. Last fall this 
Mormon city contained not less than five 
hundred souls; at this time it no doubt 
nuniliors one thousand. It is well-known 
that the Mormons are in possession of tlie 
mails whilst they are being transported across 
the plains; instance the recent depredations 
under the walls of Fort Kearney, where, in 
an <.)ld smith shop by the wayside, the United 
States mail was held twelve days and all the 
government dispatches for the army stolen 
and sent sl^iy to Brigham Young. 

" When our army in Utah shall enter the 
valley of Salt Lake the Mormons en masse 
will rise in hostile array, for they are sworn 
to resist. At that moment let the good 
people west of us look well to their safety. 
We hesitate not to say that those one thou- 
sand Mormons near Loup Fork, armed and 



equipped as they are, can and will sweep 
from existence every Gentile village and 
soul west of the Elkhorn. As to Omaha 
City, the nursling of a government hostile 
to Mormon rule, the rival of Mormon towns 
and the victim of sworn ISIormon vengeance, 
how shall she share in this strife? In the 
space of one night the one hundred Saints 
now here could lay in ashes everj' house in 
our city, whilst the armed bands in our 
vicinity should pillage and revel in our 
blood. The Deseret Neti.'s proclaims to the 
wide world from the great leader of the 
hosts of the annointed thus: ' Winter 
Quarters is ]Mine,saith the Lord. Nebraska 
will I lay waste : With fear and with sworu 
shall my people blot out from the face of 
the earth all those who kill the Prophets and 
stone the Lord's annointed.' 

" Aside from the teachers in the ]\Iormon 
Church the laymen are fully pursuaded in 
their minds that they are the chosen of the 
Lord. One thousand Mormons, imbued with 
this spirit, will, on the field of battle, defeat 
ten thousand of the regular soldiery and lay 
waste a territory whilst the government is 
yet beginning to oppose. 

" For verity of the statements herein 
contained as to the movements of this sect, 
let those who wish inquire of the merchants 
who sell ammunition here, at Florence and 
at Crescent City. Let them see if Council 
Bluffs merchants are not drained of tliese 
articles by the train which latel}' left that 
place. Then let the store houses of the 
Saints near Florence be searched, place 
scouts on the plains and there examine 
wagons and packs. That certainly should 
satisfy one and all, even the most sceptical. ' ' 

This writer's feai-s proved to be unfounded, 
however, and from the date of tlie occu- 
pancy of Utah by the military forces of the 
government, in the winter of 1858 and 1859, 
there has been no occasion for any anxiety 
with regard to the attitude of the Mormons 
towards the national authorities. 

In June, 1859, there was an outbreak of 



AN OUTBREAK OF THE PAWNEE INDIANS. 



151 



the Pawnee Indians, then living near Fre- 
mont, but on the south side of the Platte 
River. They proceeded up the Elkhorn 
River, in a northwesterly direction, on their 
annual buffalo hunt, and as they journeyed 
committed many depredations upon the 
opposite side of the river, especially at West 
Point, from which place all the settlers fled 
in terror, leaving their homes to be ran- 
sacked by the Indians. A party of whites 
from Fontenelle went up to West Point, 
well armed and equipped, but found no 
Indians. Proceeding six miles farther up 
the river to the settlement of DeWitt, sev- 
eral Indians were enticed into a log cabin in 
which the whites had concealed themselves, 
with a view of capturing them. The attempt 
proved unsuccessful, however, though sev- 
eral of the Indians were shot in the melee. 

A general uprising of the Indians being 
feared Governor Black organized a force of 
about two hundred men, which assembled on 
Maple Creek, near Fontenelle, early in July, 
to pursue and punish the Indians. In this 
there was much of " the pomp and glorious 
circumstance of war." The Governor him- 
self was present, attended b}' a staff of half 
a dozen oftieers. General John M. Thayer, 
who was in active command of the expedi- 
tion, was similarly supplied witli aides, and a 
squad of United States dragoons, under 
command of Lieutenant Beverly H. Robert- 
son (who afterwards became a cavalry 
general in the Confederate army), contrib- 
uted materially in giving a military appear- 
ance to the command. Colonel Samuel R. 
Curtis (afterwards a major general in the 
Union army in the war of the rebellion) 
also accompanied the expedition. Omaha 
contributed John McConihie, Charles D. 
Woolworth, Robert H. Howard, Witt Black, 
A. S. Paddock, Samuel A. Lowe and R. E. 
Bowie as staff officers, the following named 
being appointed battalion officers: William 
A. AVest, colonel; Beverly H. Robertson, 
lieutenant-colonel ; Peter Reed, major ; 
Samuel R. Curtis, inspector; Experience 



Estabrook, adjutant; W. T. Clarke, quarter- 
master; A. U. Wyman, commissary; Henry 
Page, wagonmaster; J. P. Peck and William 
McClelland, surgeons. The various com- 
panies composing the command were officered 
as follows: — 

Omaha Gun Squad (with a brass six- 
pounder): .James H. Ford, captain; E.G. 
McNeeley, first lieutenant; William Searight, 
sergeant. 

First Dragoons: George F. Kennedy, 
captain; J. C. Reeves, first lieutenant; C. A. 
Henrj', second lieutenant; John S. Bowen, 
sergeant. 

Second Dragoons: R. W. Hazen, captain; 
William West, first lieutenant; II. C. Camp- 
bell, second lieutenant; Abram McNeil, 
sergeant. 

Fontenelle Mounted Rifles (so called 
because the members of the company rode 
in wagons and were armed with shot guns 
and old armj^ muskets): AVilliam Kline, 
captain; James A. Bell, first lieutenant; 
William S. Flack, second lieutenant; John 
H. Francis, sergeant. 

About the 6th of July the expedition 
thus organized started in its pursuit of the 
Indians and overtook them some distance 
west of the forks of the Elkhorn River, 
encamped on the west side of a stream (since 
named Battle Creek) where it emptied into 
the Elkhorn. A lively chase for a distance 
of a couple of miles followed and the In- 
dians were induced to call a halt and a parley 
ensvied. The result was that half a dozen 
young Pawnees were surrendered by the 
tribe as the survivors of the party which had 
been perpetrating the outrages, and, with the 
agreement that the expenses of the expedi- 
tion were to be paid out of certain mone3'S 
then due the tribe from the government, 
peace was declared. The following day all 
but one of the prisoners escaped, and after 
being confined in the jail at Omaha a few 
months that one was restored to liberty. 
Those who took part in this expedition were 
disappointed in their expectation of receiv- 



152 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



ing pay from the government for their 
services, as were also the men who furnished 
horses, wagons and other supplies for the 
occasion. 

In commemoration of this expedition, the 
following verses were composed by General 
Experience P^stabrook, of this city: 
Ye warriors from battle fields gory, 

Come listen a moment to me, 
While I sing of the deeds of glory 

In the war with the bloody Pawnee. 
Beneath our commander's broad pennant. 

We marshalled our forces in line, 
And took Uncle Samuel's lieutenant, 

And made him a Colonel so fine. 

The picked men, the wise, the respected, 

The flower of the couutrj' were there: 

From these with great care was selected. 

The staff of the brave General Thayer. 

Their merits were tested severely ; 

They were men from wliom foes never ran; 
But, to give you my meaning more clearlj', 

I will say, " the subscriber was one." 
We had gi'eat men, but some didn't knoAV it — 
Men of mark with the sword and the pen — 
The statesman, the scholar, the poet. 

And candidates — say about ten. 
Were we pained with bruise, or a felon, 

The belly-ache, or a stiff neck 
We had only to call on McClellan, 

Or our own faithful surgeon, Doc. Peck. 



There are many of water suspicious. 

Especially if it be cool, 
Let such quaff a potion delicious, 

Like us, from the green mantled pool. 
'Midst the slime where the buffalo wallows. 

Let him stoop, the potion to draw. 
And reflect, while the foul draught he swallows, 

On the julip, the ice and the straw. 
At meals, 'mid confusion and clatter, 

When halting at night, or at noon, 
Some five of us ate from one platter. 

And ten of us licked at one spoon. 
Our eyelids were strangers to slumber. 

We heeded not hunger or pain. 
While we followed them, days without number. 

Over sand hill, and valley, and plain. 
No false one his treason was showing, 

No timid one wished to turn back. 
While along the dark trail we were going, 

We watched for the moccasin track. 



At length, far away in the valley. 
The light of their camp-fires appeared. 

And the bugle notes, bidding us rally. 
With joyful emotions were heard. 

Like Pat, on a peck of perates. 

Like Diedrick, on cabbage or kraut. 
So we, on those dangerous traitors 

Descended and put them to rout. 
Like rats, from a ship's conflagration, 

Like fleas, from a well littered stye. 
So scattered the whole Pawnee nation 

At the sound of our rallying cry. 

And now, when the wars are all over, 
And peace and security reign. 

Let us bring forth the big bellied bottle 
And drink to the Pawnee campaign. 



In the early part of 1861 there were wild 
rumors of invasions of Omaha contemplated 
by the secessionists of Missouri, when 
Colonel Miles, of the Second United States 
Infantry, came in from Fort Kearney, in 
April, with Companies E and F of that reg- 
iment on their way South; the command was 
encamped here several days, awaiting trans- 
portation down the river. The Omaha 
Telec/rcq^h. of April 25th, says: "As the 
Omaha is almost hourly expected the two 
companies now here will probably join the 
four expected from Fort Randall, and it is 
hardly to be supposed that six full compa- 
nies, well drilled and equipped, commanded 
by a brave and gallant officer, will allow 
themselves to be trifled with, or their orders 
go unfulfilled, in their own land b3^ a parcel 
of rebellious rowdies of no patriotism and 
less judgment. We had the pleasure of 
meeting Colonel Miles, now in command of 
the two companies here, and who will be by 
seniority of rank in command of the united 
six ; and from his personal qualities and past 
history we would caution, the people of St. 
Joseph against meddling with him or his men. 
Considerable excitement prevails in the city 
to learn what has been reallj' the fate of the 
Omaha, and what is to happen at St. Joseph 
to the troops on their way down the river. 
It is reported that the St. Joseph people will 
endeavor by mob violence to prevent the 



EUMOR OF INVASION BY MISSOt'RI SECESSIONISTS. 



153 



soldiers from obeying their orders and from 
garrisoning Fort Leavenworth, upon which 
point, we talce it, the Missourians have an 
eye for plunder. We believe that the people 
of St. Joseph will not prove such desperate 
fools as to attempt so hazardous an under- 
taking, for we feel sure that mob violence, 
opposed to the drill of the regulars, must in 
any case result greatly to the damage of the 
former, and would be ])ut amusement for 
the latter." 

On the 28th Colonel Miles and his com- 
mand embarked on the steamer AVest Wind, 
and, in order to avoid anticipated trouble at 
St. Joseph, left- the boat at Forest City, 
Kansas, and marched across the point, re-em- 
barking below St. Joseph, at Palermo. May 
3d the steamer Omaha went down the river 
with the heav.v baggage of Companies C, E 
and I, of the Fourth Artillery (from Fort 
Randall), but the soldiers were marched over- 
land across Iowa, to Eddyville, the terminus 
at that time of the Des Moines Railroad. 
The soldiers were banquetted in fine style by 
the citizens of Council Bluffs, May 4th, upon 
starting out on their march. 

In this connection it maj' be mentioned 
that on the 10th of May ten twelve-pound 
howitzers were spiked at Fort Kearney by 
Captain C. H. Taylor, Second Dragoons, 
then commanding that post, who claimed 
that he feared they would be taken by a mob 
and turned against his command. He had 
previously received orders to send the guns 
to Fort Leavenworth, but chose to disregard 
those orders, alleging lack of adequate 
escort, and deliberatelj^ destroyed them 
instead. His explanation as to where the 
mob was to come from in that early day, 
when the nearest settlements (and mere 
hamlets at that) were two hundred miles 
distant, would be of interest. 

May 18th, Governor Alvin Saunders 
issued the following order: 

''• Whereas, The President of the United 
States has issued his proclamation, calling 
into the service of the United States an 



additional volunteer force of infantry and 
cavalry to serve for a period of three years 
unless sooner discharged, and the Secretary 
of War having assigned one regiment to the 
Territory of Nebraska, now therefore I, 
Alvin Saunders, Governor of the Territorj' 
of Nebraska, do issue this proclamation and 
hereby call upon the militia of the Territory 
immediately to form in the different coun- 
ties volunteer companies, with a view of 
entering the service of the United States 
under the aforesaid call. Companies, when 
formed, will proceed to elect a captain and 
two lieutenants. The number of men 
required to each company will be made 
known as soon as the instructions are 
received from the war department, but it is 
supposed now that it will not be less than 
seventy-eight men. As soon as a company 
is formed and has elected its officers the 
captain will report the same to the adjutant 
general's office. 

"Efforts are being made to trample the 
stars and stripes, the emblem of our liberties, 
in the dust. Traitors are in the land, busily 
engaged in trying to overthrow the govern- 
ment of the United States, and information 
has been received that these same traitors 
are endeavoring to incite an invasion of our 
frontier by a savage foe. In view of these 
facts I invoke the aid of every lover of his 
country and his home to come promptly 
forward to sustain and protect the same." 

Nebraska furnished, to aid in putting 
down the rebellion, one regiment of infantry, 
the First Nebraska, which was mustered in 
at Omaha during June and July, 1861, as 
the various companies were filled by Lieu- 
tenant Lewis Merrill, Second United States 
Cavalry;, was transferred into the mounted 
infantry service by special orders from the 
headquarters at St. Louis, Department of 
Missouri, October 11, 1863, and assigned to 
duty on the plains; re-enlisted for another 
term of three years July 22, 1861, and was 
mustered out at Omaha July 1, 1866, having 
remained in the service more than a year 



154 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



after the close of the war. During its term 
of service the following named constituted 
the list of commissioned officers: — 

Colonels — John M. Thayer (promoted to 
brigadier general of volunteers, October 4, 
1862) and Robert R. Livingstone. 

Lieutenant-Colonels — Hiram P. Downs, 
William D. MoCord, Robert R. Livingstone 
and William Baumer. 

Majors— William D. McCord, Robert R. 
Livingstone, William Baumer, Allen Blacker 
and Thomas J. Majors. 

Adjutants — Silas A. Strickland (after- 
wards colonel of the 50th Ohio Infantry and 
brevet brigadier general), Francis I. Cramer 
and Francis A. McDonald. 

Quartermasters — J. >'. IL Patrick, John 
E. Allen and Charles A. Thompson. 

Commissary — John Gillespie. 

Surgeons — Enos Lowe, James H. Se}-- 
mour and William McClelland. 

Assistant Surgeons — William JMcClelland 
Napoleon B. Larsh and George Wilkinson. 

Chaplain — Thomas W. Tipton (afterwards 
elected United States Senator from Ne- 
braska). 

Sergeant-Majors — William I. Whitten, 
William W. lvor3', John P. Murphy, Andrew 
C. McMaten, Abijah S. Jackson and Edwin 
R. Capron. 

Quartermaster-Sergeants — John Gillespie, 
Edwin R. Capron and John M. Robinson. 

Commissary-Sergeants — Charles Schmidt, 
Charles Thompson, Stephen W. Moore and 
John Gillespie. 

Hospital Stewards — Edward Donovan, 
George Shultz and John M. Stewart. 

Principal Musician — Robert A. Collins. 

Chief Buglers — John Y. Hooper, Henrj^ 
Voght. 

Saddler — Carl Lindell. 

Company A: Captains — A. V. McKinne}', 
Neal J. Sharp, John jMcF. Hagood, Martin 
B. Cutler; First Lieutenants — Robert R. 
Livingstone, A. F. McKinney and Lee P. 
Gillette; Second Lieutenants — Neal J. 



Sharp, John McF. Hagood and John G. 
Whitelock. 

Company B: Captains — William Baumer, 
Charles E. Provost; First Lieutenants — 
Peter Walter, Ernest Bimmerman, Theodore 
Lubbee; Second Lieutenants — Henry Koe- 
nig, Theodore Lubbee, Anton Althaus. 

Company C: Captains — J. D. N. Thomp- 
son, Thomas J. Majors, Thomas H. Griffin; 
First Lieutenants — Thomas J. Majors, Reu- 
ben C. Berger, Thomas H. Griffin, William 
W. Ivory, David W. Smith; Second Lieu- 
tenants — Reuben C. Berger, Thomas II. 
Griffin, William W. Ivory, William A. 
Polack, AVilson E. Majors. 

Company D: Captains — Allen Blacker, 
John C. Potts; First Lieutenants — Lee P. 
Gillette, John C. Potts; Second Lieuten- 
ants — Charles E. Provost, Elias M. Lowe, 
John C. Potts. 

Company E: Captains— William G. Hol- 
lins, Sterrit M. Curran; First l^ieutenants— 
Sterrit M. Curran, William S. AYhitten, W. 
H. B. Stout; Second Lieutenants — J. N. II. 
Patrick, William S. Whitten, George AV. 
Reeves, Abijah S. Jackson, Louis J. Boyer. 

Company F : Captains — Thomas M . Bo wen, 
George W. Burns, Lyman Richardson, II enr3' 
Kuhl, Edward Donovan; First Lieuten- 
ants — George W. Burns, Alexander Scott, 
.lohn P. Murph}', William M. Alexander; 
Second Lieutenants — Alexander Scott, John 
P. Murphy, Fred. Smith, Merrill S. Tuttle,^ 
William R. Roper. 

Company G: Captains — John McConihie, 
Thomas J. Weather wax; First Lieutenants 
— John Y. Clopper, Thomas J. Weatherwax. 
Morgan A. Hance; Second Lieutenants — 
Thomas J. Weatherwax, Morgan A. Ilance, 
John S. Seaton. 

Company II: Captains^ — George F. Ken- 
nedy, William W. Ivorj^; First Lieuten- 
ants — Lyman M. Sawyer, Silas A. Strickland. 
William T. Clark, William R. Bo wen; Sec- 
ond Lieutenants — Silas A. Strickland, 
William T. Clark, Stephen W. Moore, James 
N. Nosier. 



ROSTERS OF NEBRASKA RKCilMENTS. 



J 55 



Company I : Captains — Jacob Butler, John 
r. Murplij^ Heniy H. Ribble; First Lieu- 
tenants — Henry H. Ribble, Francis I. 
Cramer, John Talbot, Emery Peck; Second 
Lieutenants — E^rancis I. Cramer, Emery 
Peck, Francis A. McDonald, George P. 
Belden. 

Company K: Captains — Joseph W. Pad- 
dock, Edward Lawler, Henry F. C. Krumme, 
Lewis Lowry; First Lieutenants-^Robert 
A. Howard, Edward Lawler, Edward Dono- 
van, James .Steele; Second Lieutenants — 
Edward Lawler, Edward Donovan, Lyman 
Richardson, Louis Lowry, Alfred Roudi- 
baugh. 

SECOND NEBRASKA CAVALUY. 

This regiment was mustered in for nine 
mouths' service, the date of muster-in 
extending from October, 1862, to March, 
1863, the various companies being dis- 
charged during the months of September, 
October, November and December, 1863. 
The following named were the officers: 

Colonel— Robert W. Furnas. 

Lieutenant-Colon-el — William F. Sapp. 

Majors — George Armstrong, John Taffe 
(afterwards congressman), John W. Pear- 
man. 

Surgeon — Aurelius Bo wen. 

Assistant-Surgeons — William S. Latta, H. 
G. Hanna. 

Adjutant — Henry M. Atkinson. 

Quartermaster — Josiah S. MeCormick. 

Commissarj' — John Q. Goss. 

Sergeant- Major — W. N. McCandlish. 

Quartermaster-Sergeant — Zaremba Jack- 
son. 

Commissary-Sergeant — Charles IL 

Hospital Stewards — Charles Powel 
uel G. Latta. 

Company A: Captain — Peter S. 
First Lieutenant — Silas E. Seel}-; Second 
Lieutenant — Elias H. Clark. 

Company B: Captain — Roger T. Beall; 
First Lieutenant — Charles D. Davis; Second 
Lieutenant — Charles F. Porter. 



King. 

, Sam- 



Reed. 



Company C: Captain — Thomas W. Bed- 
ford; First Lieutenant — James W. Coleman; 
Second Lieutenant — Henry M. Atkinson, 
Jacob R. Berger. 

Company' D: Captain — Henry L. Edwards; 
First Lieutenant — Henry Gray; Second 
Lieutenant — Wilbur B. Hugus. 

Company E : Captains — Robert W. Furnas, 
Lewis Hill; First Lieutenant — Lewis Hill, 
John H. Mann; Second Lieutenant — John 
H. Mann, Alexander S. Stewart. 

Company F: Captain — Dominie Laboo; 
First Lieutenants — Charles W. Hall, Robert 
Mason; Second Lieutenants — Robert Mason, 
Henry Newcomb. 

Company G: Captain — Oliver P. Bayne; 
First Lieutenant — Chauncy PL Norris; Sec- 
ond Lieutenant— Joseph S. Wade. 

Company H: Captain — John W. Marshall; 
First Lieutenant — Isaac Wiles; Second 
Lieutenant — Abraham Deyo. 

Company I: Captains — John Taffe, Silas 
T. Leaming; First Lieutenants — Silas T. 
Leaming, Moses H. Deaming; Second Lieu- 
tenants — Moses IL Deaming, Jacob II. lla- 
bock. 

Compan}^ K: Captain — Edwin Patrick; 
First Lieutenant — William B. James; Sec- 
ond Lieutenant — Phillip P. Williams. 

Compan.y L: Captain — Daniel W. Allison; 
First Lieutenant — John J. Bayne; Second 
Lieutenant — Daniel Reavis. 

Company 'SI: Captain — Stearns F. Cooper; 
First Lieutenant — Obadiah B. Hewett; Sec- 
ond Lieutenant — Francis B. Chaplin. 

CURTIS IIOKSE. 

Nebraska furnished four companies of 
cavalry for service in the Southern States, 
first attached to a command designated 
" Curtis Horse," but which was consolidated 
with other battalions at Benton Barracks, 
St. Louis, in December, 1861, and was there- 
after known as the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, the 
Nebraska companies being A, B, C and D., of 
which regiment General W. W. Lowe, of 
Omaha, was colonel. The first named com- 



15G 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



pany was mustered in September 14, the 
second September 21, the third September 
19 to October 3, 1861, at Omaha, Company 
D being mustered in at Benton Barracks 
November 13, following. The battalion 
served until the 11th of August, 1865. It 
was officered as follows: 

Company A: Captains — M. T. Patrick 
(afterwards promoted to lieutenant-colonel 
of the 5th Iowa), William Kelsey, John J. 
Lower, Samuel Paul, Marion A. Hinds; 
First Lieutenants — William Kelsey, John J. 
Lower, Horace Walter, Thomas W. Ritchie, 
Marion A. Hinds; Second Lieutenants — John 
J. Lower, Horace Walter, Fred. A. Williams, 
Marion A. Hinds. 

Company B: Captains — John T. Croft, 
Erastus G. McNeely; First Lieutenants — 
Milton S. Summer, Erastus G. McNeely; 
Second Lieutenants — Jeremiah C. Wilcox 
(afterwards major 5th Iowa Cavalry), Eras- 
tus G. McNeely, Douglas H. Stevens, James 
H. Wing. 

Company C: Captains— J. Morris Young, 
Alfred Matheas, Charles A. B. Langdon; 
First Lieutenants— Alfred Matheas, Charles 
A. B. Langdon, William T. Wilhite; Second 
Lieutenants— Charles A. B. Langdon, Wil- 
liam T. Wilhite. 

Company U: Captains— Harlan Baird, 
William Curl, William C. McBeath; First 
Lieutenants — William Curl, William C. 
McBeath, Joseph S. Rich, John S. Lemmon; 
Second Lieutenants— William Aston, Wil- 
liam W. Buchanan, William C. IMcBeatli, 
Joseph S. Rich, John S. Lemmon. 

FIIiST 15ATTALI0N NEmiASKA VETERAN VOLUN- 
TEERS. 

During the year 1864 a battalion of four 
companies of cavalry was organized, the 
date of muster of the various companies 
ranging from January 14 to August 31, 
of that year, for services in the AVest, which 
battalion was consolidated with the First 
Nebraska Infantry in July, 1865. The fol- 
lowing named were the officers: 



Company A: Captains — George Arm- 
strong (afterwards major of the regiment) , 
Charles F. Porter; First Lieutenants — 
Charles F. Porter, John Talbot; Second 
Lieutenants — Henry F. C. Krumme, Merrill 
S. Tuttle. 

Company B: Captain — Jerembe Jackson; 
First Lieutenants — Joseph N. Tutwiler, W. 
H. B. Stout; Second Lieutenants — Joseph 
N. Tutwiler, W. II. B. Stout, James M. 
Nasler. 

Company C: Captain — Henry Kuhl; First 
Lieutenant — Martin B. Cutler; Second Lieu- 
tenant — George P. Belden. 

Company D: Captain — F. C. Kumme; 
First Lieutenant — William R. Bowen; Sec- 
ond Lieutenant — Samuel A. Lewis. 

In these various organizations Omaha was 
well represented, furnishing more than her 
quota of men in those trying years. It is 
to be regretted that the official records in 
the office of the adjutant-general of the 
State are of the most incomplete character, 
as to showing the part borne b}^ this then 
young territory in the suppression of the 
rebellion. A compilation from these records 
was made in 1888 by Lieutenant Edgar S. 
Dudley, of the regular army, bj- the autlior- 
ity of the Governor, but it consists only of 
the roster of " Nebraska Volunteers from 
1861 to 1869," giving no information what- 
ever as to the various engagements in which 
those volunteers participated, general or 
sp33ial orders concerning them, or any of 
the details as to their service. The work, 
however, reflects credit upon Lieutenant 
Dudley, as it is evident that he has carefully 
arranged and presented all the material then 
available. 

MILITIA ORGAKIZATIOXS. 

In August, 1864, a company- of mounted 
militia was organized in Omaha and mus- 
tered into service on the 30th of that month, 
being discharged November 13, 1864. Of 
this company John R. Porter was captain, 
Allen F. Rilej', first lieutenant, and Martin 
Dunham, second lieutenant. August 30, of 



MILITIA ORGANIZATIONS AND OFFICERS. 



157 



the same j^ear, an artillery detachment was 
sworn into service, enlisting for sixty days, 
of which Edward. P. Child was captain and 
James M. Johnson, first lieutenant and Mar- 
tin Dunham, second lieutenant. At that 
time a general uprising of Indians through- 
out the West was anticipated and militia 
companies were organized and mustered in 
in various cities and to^ms of the territory. 
In addition to the companies above named, 
and previous to their being formally sworn 
into the service of the territorj-, four home 
guard companies were organized. Of these 
Roger T. Beall was captain, George C. 
Gates, first lieutenant, and J. H. Barlow, sec- 
ond lieutenant, of Company A; John Taffe 
captain, Edwin Patrick, first lieutenant, and 
Abraham Deyo, second lieutenant, of Com- 
pany B; Charles S. Goodrich, captain, Martin 
Dunham, first lieutenant, and David T. 
Mount, second lieutenant, of Company C; 
and Jesse Lowe, captain, E. Estabrook, first 
lieutenant, and O. B. Selden, second lieuten- 
ant of Company D. 

On the 10th of July, 1861, the First 
Nebraska Infantry' was banqueted at the 
capitol building in fine style by the citizens 
. of Omaha, and on the 25th the officers of 
that regiment gave a supper at Keith's 
Hotel, complimentary to Lieutenant jMerrill, 
on which occasion they also presented him 
with a handsome sword. 

In 1873 there were two military compa- 
nies in Omaha, the Guards and the Rifles. 

During the year 1879 Companies G and 
II of the State militia were organized in 
Omaha. The former was mustered into 
the service with fifty-four men. George II. 
Crager was captain, John King, first lieuten- 
ant, J. Ed. (Smith, second lieutenant, and E. 
II. Lawton, first sergeant. It was disbanded, 
after nearly three years' service, on account 
of lack of support from the State. It was 
composed of a fine body of men and was a 
very popular organization, and so well 
drilled that it carried off four prizes offered 



on various occasions for proHciencj- in drill 
and discipline. 

Company II was organized shortly after 
Company G and had a membership of sixty- 
eight. Its first officers were: Edward 
Simmonds, captain; Henry BoUn, first lieu- 
tenant; F. B. Angel, second lieutenant; and 
John Casey, first sergeant. It was composed 
almost entirely of enterprising young 
mechanics, and when the Smelting Works 
strike occurred they very seriously' objected 
to taking an active part in its suppression, 
believing the workmen had right and justice 
on their side. Lieutenant Bolln, with about 
twent}' men, were on duty at the Smelting 
Works, however, for four days. The com- 
pany was mustered out early in 1882, at 
which time Henry Bolln was captain, Edward 
Fee, first lieutenant, James Donnelly, Jr., 
second lieutenant, and D. C. Miller, first ser- 
geant. Companies G and H were armed by 
the State, but provided their own uniforms. 

The Edward Creighton Guards was the 
name of a local military company which was 
organized as a part of the military force of 
the state, was mustered in on the 3d of 
December, 1887, and discharged in Septem- 
ber, 1889. Immediately after its organiza- 
tion Lieutenant L. W. V. Kennon, of 
General Crook's staff, took charge of the 
companj' and soon brought it to a high state 
of proficiency in drill and discipline. At the 
State Encampment, held nine months after 
its organization, the company was compli- 
mented in general orders read in presence of 
the entire brigade. Its oflicers were: C. J. 
Smyth, captain; George J. Paul, first lieuten- 
ant; Edward J. McVann, second lieutenant; 
and .John J. Mullen, first sergeant. 

The Omaha Guards, organized October 
4, 1887, with about sixty members, is not a 
part of the State militia. The company is 
armed with Springfield rifles, owns a fine 
Gatling gun, has a first-class armor}' and is 
handsomely uniformed. Its first oflticers 
were: A. H. Scharff, captain, Jesse Lowe, 



158 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



first lieutenant, Charles A. Harvey, second 
lieutenant, Henry B. Mulford, third lieuten- 
ant, W. A. Webster, first sergeant, S. B. 
Reed quartermaster-sergeant, and Nat M. 
Brigham, color sergeant. The following 
named are the officers now serving: F. E. 
Bamford, captain; II. B. Mulford, first lieu- 
tenant; C. n. Wilson, second lieutenant; 
A. r. Cone, first sergeant; Eli Hodgins, 
quartermaster; W. B. T. Belt, third ser- 
geant; Wm. B. Ten Eyck, fourth sergeant; 
T. D. Daken, fifth sergeant; F. S. Knapp, 
S. F. Mills, B. L. Searle, corporals; H. M. 
Murray, lance corporal; C. H. Gardner, 
chaplain, E. W. Lee, surgeon. June 1891 
the Guards participated in an inter-State 
drill at Kansas City, and Ijrought home the 
first prize offered for the best drilling shown 
by companies which had never before com- 
peted. To Sergeant Foye was awarded the 
gold medal offered for excellence in drill 
shown by the first sergeants of the various 
companies. 

.January 11, 1891, a branch of the Union 
Veteran Corps was organized in Omaha, and 
named in honor of the late Colonel James 
W. Savage. The following named were 
elected officers: J. A. Bartlett,colouel: J. S. 
Miller, lieutenant-colonel; E. A. Shaw, 
major; L. B. Edmunds, adjutant; C. W. 
Allen, chaplain. Fifty names were enrolled 
as charter members. 

Fort Omaha, located three miles north of 
the business portion of Omaha, but now 
within the city limits, was established in 
1868 as Sherman Barracks. Jn 1869 "Omaha" 
was substituted for '"Sherman" and in 1878 
the name of the post was changed to Fort 
Omaha. In August, 1869, Ellen J. Seymour 
and husband, Emerson Seymour, convej'ed to 
the U nited States by warranty deed the north 
half of the southeast quarter of the north- 
west quarter of section thirtj-- three, township 
sixteen, range thirteen, the twenty acres 
adjoining on the north being conveyed to 
the government bj- Charles B. Wells and 
wife, September 4th following. May 27, 



1868, Augustus Kountze purchased the 
twenty acres adjoining on the soutli, the 
twenty acres which the Seymours subse- 
quently deeded to the government, and also 
twenty-two and a half acres of the north- 
east quarter of the northwest quarter of 
section four, township fifteen, range thirteen, 
which tract of fortj'-two and a half acres he 
leased to the United States in September, 
1868, for a period of ten j-ears, the govern- 
ment having the right to renew at the ter- 
mination of the lease for another term of 
ten j-ears, the land reverting to Kountze in 
case the militarj- post was abandoned before 
the expiration of the term specified. Octo- 
ber 2, 1868, a new lease was made for ten 
years, without the privilege of renewal. By 
a conveyance dated June 4, 1868, William 
D. Hall and Henrj- Hickman each acquired 
title from Kountze to a one-seventy-ninth 
interest in the forty-two and a half acres. 

August 10, 1880, Augustus Kountze filed 
a petition in the District Court for Douglas 
County against Stevens & AVilcox, Gilbert 
H. Collins, John S. Collins, Samuel K. Rog- 
ers, William D. Hall, Henry Hickman and 
others, reciting that, for the purpose of 
securing the location of a permanent mili- 
tary post adjacent to the City of Omaha, 
and the purchase of lands necessary therefor, 
the said Kountze, and seventy-nine other 
persons and firms, contributed one hundred 
dollars each, in 1868, for the purpose of 
conveying land by deed or lease to the 
government, and made their petitioner their 
trustee; that petitioner had so purchased the 
land described, had given to each of his 
associates a certificate showing their respec- 
tive ownerships of an undivided one-sev- 
enty-ninth interest. The petition recites 
the fact of the leasing to the government, 
in 1868, and a renewal by the government, 
in 1878, for one }'ear, and again in October, 
1879, for a term of twenty years, with the 
privilege of a renewal for an indefinite term, 
and then sets up the fact that a permanent 
military post cannot be established upon 



FORT OMAHA AND ITS COMMANDERS. 



159 



ground which the United States does not own 
in fee simple, and petitioner prays for a decree 
by the court directing the said Kountze to 
convey said land to the government by abso- 
lute conveyance. March 18, 1882, default 
was entered against all of the defendants 
and ten days later a decree as prayed for 
was entered. Under this decree said 
Kountze conveyed the forty-two and a half 
acres to the government by deed dated April 
17, 1882. 

When the proposition was made, a year or 
two since, to secure another location for Fort 
Omaha, it was claimed that the tract deeded 
b_y Kountze would revert to the original 
owners in case the property was abandoned 
for military purposes. The foregoing state- 
ment is based upon information derived from 
the records of the Jlidland Guarantee & 
Trust Company, of this city, and maj- be 
relied upon as correct with respect to the 
manner in which the government became 
possessed of the land the fort has occupied 
for more than twenty years, and which is 
now of great value. 

The following named have been com- 
mandants of tlie post at various dates: 
Brevet Major "William Sinclair, captain 
Third Artillery, assigned December, 1868; 
Brevet Brigadier General L. P. Bradley, lieu- 
tenant - colonel Twenty- seventh Infantry, 
assigned January, 1869; Brevet Lieutenant- 
Colonel Henry Ilaymount, captain Twenty- 
seventh Infantry, assigiaed April, 1869; 
Brevet Brigadier- General James N. Palmer, 
colonel Second Cavalry, assigned April, 
1869; Brevet Major-General John II. King, 
colonel Ninth Infantry, assigned September, 
1872; Brevet Major-General Jeff C. Davis, 
colonel Twenty- third Infantry, assigned 
September, 1874; Brevet Major-General John 
II. King, assigned 1876; Brevet Major-Gen- 
eral William P.Carlin, colonel Fourth In- 
fantry, assigned 1882; Brevet Major-General 
Frank Wheaton, colonel Second Cavalry, 
assigned 1886. 

It being deemed desirable by tlie govern- 



ment to secure more extensive grounds for 
a militar}- post. Senator Manderson intro- 
duced the following bill December 13, 1887: 
" Be it enacted by the Senate and House of 

Representatives of the United States of 

America in Congress assembled, 

" That the Secretary of AVar is liereby 
authorized to sell the military reservation 
known as Fort Omaha, near the City of 
Omaha, in the State of Nebraska, and such 
of the buildings and improvements thereon 
as can not be economically removed to tlie 
new site herein provided for. In disposing 
of said property the Secretary of War sliall 
cause the grounds to be platted in blocks, 
streets, and alleys, if in his judgment it 
would inure to the benefit of the govern- 
ment in making sale of said site, having due 
reference to the requirements of the houses 
and buildings located on said grounds, in 
such cases as they may be sold with the 
ground. The Secretary of War shall also 
cause the lots, lands, and buildings to be 
appraised and sold at public or private sale, 
at not less than the appraised value, having 
first been offered at public sale. The expense 
of advertising, appraisement, surve^y, and 
sale shall be paid out of the proceeds of said 
sale, and the balance paid into the Treasury 
of the United States. 

"Skc. 2. That the Secretary of War is 
authorized and shall purchase suitable 
grounds, of not less than three hundred and 
twenty nor more than six hundred and forty 
acres in extent, to be situate within a dis- 
tance of ten miles of the limits of said City 
of Omaha, in the State of Nebraska, and 
construct thereon the necessary buildings, 
with appurtenances, sufficient for a ten-com- 
pany military post, to be known as Fort 
Omaha, in accordance witli estimates to be 
prepared by the War Department; and a 
sufficient sum of money, not exceeding two 
hundred thousand dollars, is hereby appro- 
priated, out of any money in the Treasury 
not otherwise appropriated, to enable the 
Secretary of War to comply with the pro- 



160 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



visions of this act: Provided, That the title 
to the lands authorized to be purchased 
under the second section of this act shall be 
approved by the Attorney-General: And 
provided further, That not more than one- 
third of said sum shall be expended in the 
purchase of a site; and the whole expendi- 
ture for site and improvement shall not 
exceed the sum of two hundred thousand 
dollars. 

" Sec. 3. That section one of this act 
shall be of effect when the purchase of a 
new site provided for in section two shall 
have been effected." 

This bill passed and became a law July 
13, 1888. Bids were advertised for and in 
response thirty-one tracts of ground were 
offered the government, at various prices. 
These proposals were all examined by the 
Secretary of War and Quartermaster Gen- 
eral and referred to General .John R. Brooke, 
commanding the Department of the Platte, 
who personally viewed the various sites 
offered and recommended the one known 
as the H. T. Clarke tract, lying contiguous 
to the town of Bellevue, six miles due south 
of the southern boundary of Omaha. This 
recommendation being forwarded to Wash- 
ington, the land was inspected in May, 1889, 
by Secretary of War Proctor and General 
Schofield, with a party of military and civil 
officials, all expressing approbation of the 
judgment of General Brooke, the result 
being that this site, embracing 543 acres, 
was purchased by the government at a cost 
of $66,666 and as soon as the necessar3^ 
buildings can be erected will be occupied as 
a military post. Doubtless additional appro- 
priations will be made by the government, 
in order to properly develop the property, 
and in course of time it will certainly 
become one of the handsomest military 
stations in tlie West. The depai-tment rifle 
range is located adjacent to this tract and it 
is generally believed that it will be con- 
verted into a national range, the ground 
being admirably adapted to the purpose. 



In February, 1891, Congress changed the 
name to Fort Crook and appropriated $500,- 
000 for improvements. 

The headquarters of this military divis- 
ion, now known as the Department of the 
Platte, were located at Omaha soon after tlie 
beginning of tlie war of the rebellion. 
The department comprises twelve posts in 
Nebraska, Iowa, Utah, Montana, Wyoming 
and Idaho. At the intersection of Twen- 
tieth Street and the Union Pacific tracks is 
located the Quartermaster's Depot, from 
whence are distributed all the supplies used 
by the troops in this command. Five acres 
of land, purchased in 1880 by a number of 
public-spirited citizens of Omaha for this 
purpose, are covered with buildings and 
general facilities necessary for the transac- 
tion of the immense amount of business here 
transacted. The army headquarters occu- 
pied for several years a building erected, for 
the government's uses, by John and Ricliard 
Withnell, at the southwest corner of Harney 
and Fifteenth Streets, afterwards known as 
the Herald building. Then the government 
leased buildings to be erected for office pur- 
poses at Fort Omaha, but this was found to 
be an undesirable location and the head- 
quarters were removed to the Strang Build- 
ing, corner of Tenth and Farnam. In 1889 
another change was made to the present 
location, the fifth floor of the Bee Building. 
Brigadiei--Gencral John R. Brooke is the 
commander of the department and the fol- 
lowing named constitute the department 
staff: 

Major Michael Slieridan, assistant adju- 
tant-general; Major John M. Bacon, acting 
inspector-general; Captain P. Henry Ray, 
acting judge -advocate; Lieutenant - Col- 
onel AVilliam B. Hughes, chief quarter- 
master; Major William H. Bell, chief com- 
missary of subsistence; Lieutenant-Colonel 
Dalles Bache, medical director; Lieutenant- 
Colonel Thaddeus H. Stanton, chief pay- 
master; Captain James C. Ayres, chief 
ordnance officer; Major Daniel W. Benham, 




WiTHNELL Building— Headquarters Department of the Platte - 
Fifteenth and Harney Streets, 




Looking Northwest from Twki.ftii and Fauxam Streets, 186T 



DEPARTMENT OF THE PLATTE OFFICERS. 



161 



inspector of small arms practice; First 
Lieutenant C. C. Worden, acting engineer 
officer. The general staff officers serving 
in the department are: Captain John Simp- 
son, assistant to the chief quartermaster 
and in charge of the quartermaster's depot 
at Omaha; Captain Charles F. Humphrey is 
assigned to duty upon the construction of 
building, etc., at the new Fort Omaha; 
First Lieutenant Fa3'ette W. Roe, Third 
Infantry; and First Lieutenant Charles M. 
Truitt, Twenty-first Infantry, aides. 

It is expected, when the United States 
Custom House and Post-office building shall 
have been completed, and the courts, post- 
office, and federal offices removed into it, 
the present government building will be 
remodeled for use as the permanent mili- 
tary headquarters for the Department, and 



that it will thereafter be occupied for this 
purpose for many years to come. 

In concluding this chapter, it will not be 
out of place to say that the selection of the 
more extensive grounds for Fort Omaha, at 
a greater distance from the city, was made 
on the recommendation of General Sheridan 
and other eminent military authorities, that 
there should not be so many military posts 
in the country, but they should be much 
larger; that they should be further from the 
large cities, and yet close enough to make 
available the railroads centering there. 

The people of this city are to be congrat- 
ulated upon the fact that, with the whole 
Y>''est to choose from, and many rival cities 
struggling for the location of this important 
post, the military authorities decided upon 
Omaha as the best point for the purpose. 



CHAPTER XVII, 



NoTAiiLE Persons Visitin(: Omaha — Presidents, Princes ani 
Thev were Receivei>. 



Potentates — How 



January 12, 1872, the Grand Duke Alexis, 
of Russia, was publiclj' received in Omaha, 
taking in this city on his journey from St. 
Louis to the plains, where he proposed go- 
ing on a buffalo hunt with General Sheridan. 
He was met at the depot bj^ that officer. 
General Ord and General Palmer, com- 
manding the Department of tile Platte and 
at Fort Omaha, respectively. The three of- 
ficers were accompanied by their aides in 
full uniform, and there was also a citizens' 
committee present. The party proceeded 
from the depot direct to the residence of ex- 
Governor Saunders, a large and handsome 
building which occupied the ground, then 
some thirty feet higher than the present grade, 
upon which the city hall has been erected. 
Here an elaborate dinner was served, to 
which the leading people of the town were 
invited. At 4 o'clock, i>. m.. the Grand 
Duke and his suite departed for the West, 
accompanied by General Sheridan and his 
staff. 

King Kalakaua, of the Sandwich Islands, 
arrived in Omaha on the 21st of January, 
1875, on his return home from an extended 
visit to the United States. He was accom- 
panied by Governor John O. Dominis and 
Governor John M. Kapena, of Honolulu, 
Colonel William M. Wherry, of .the United 
States Army, H. A. Paine, of Boston, and 
Colonel A. C. Dawes and Colonel James 
N. Brown, of St. Joseph, Missouri. The 
party had dinner at the Grand Central, and 
in the afternoon a drive about the city was 
taken; a tour of the High School build- 
ing was made, and the day closed with a re- 



ception in the parlors of the Grand Central. 
The party proceeded westward the following 
day. 

November 1, 1875, President U. S. Grant 
visited this city, accompanied by Mrs. Grant 
and Fred. Grant and his wife. Private Sec- 
retary Babcock, ex-Secretarj^ of the Navy 
Boric, Secretary of War Belknap, General 
Alvord, General McFaley, General Vincent, 
General Wm. Myers, General A. J. Myers, 
Colonel Benjamin and Colonel Crosbj' were 
also with the Pi-esident, who came to Omaha 
from Des Moines, Iowa. From that citj% 
General George Crook, then commanding 
the Department of the Platte, General Periy, 
General Ruggles, Colonel Litchfield, General 
Manderson, General Thayer and A. S. Pad- 
dock had escorted the party, and were joined 
at the transfer by an Omaha committee con- 
sisting of Maj'or C. S. Chase, Ezra Millard, 
Colonel R. E. Wilbur, Senator Hitchcock, S. 
H. II. Clark, J. E. Boyd, J. C. Cowin, E. A. 
Allen. An artillery salute was fired as the 
train rolled into the Union Pacific depot, in 
which building the famous Twenty-third 
Infantry Band was stationed, discoursing 
well selected music. A long line of car- 
riages conveyed the party up Tenth and 
Farnam to the Grand Central Hotel, where 
a brief halt was made. Thence the proces- 
sion proceeded to the High School grounds, 
where were assembled the pupils of all the 
citj' schools. Here President Grant was in- 
troduced by the Mayor. In response, the 
President made one of his brief, modest 
speeches to the thousands of children, sa}^- 
ing, " I am pleased to stand beneath the 



VISI'J 



OF GENERAL AND MRS. GRANT. 



163 



ssltadow of this building wliicli is so well 
calculated to prepare you for useful occupa- 
tions and honorable stations in life. His 
Honor, the Mayor, has said that I am in fa- 
vor of free speech, and therefore I want 
other people lo do the talking." From 12 
until 1, p. M., a reception was held in the 
judges' chambers of the Custom House build- 
ing, the rooms having been handsomely dec- 
orated with flowers and flags by Mr.' .James 
T. Allan, of the post-office, and his assis- 
tants. Then dinner was taken at the Grand 
Central and the partj^ resumed their jour- 
1163- to the West in the evening. 

Dom Pedro II, of Brazil, accompanied bj^ 
three of his officials, visited Omaha April 
2C). 1876. He was traveling through the 
I'nited States in a quiet manner, as Mr. D. 
Pedro de Alcantara. The party were met 
at the transfer depot by Mr. L. M. Bennett, 
then superintendent at this point of the 
Pullman Palace Car Company, in obedience 
to a telegram from the headquarters of the 
company in Chicago. Carriages were taken 
on this side of the river and a tour of the 
city made. At the High School a piano 
duet was plaj'ed by Miss Blanche Deuel and 
Miss Nelia Lehmer. At the smelting works 
the Brazilian monarch manifested more in- 
terest than at any other point in the city. 

November 3, 1879, General and Mrs. 
Grant reached this city over the Union Pa- 
cific, on their return from their journey 
around the world. A large delegation of 
citizens met them at the depot and escorted 
them through the streets in the following 
order of procession: (1) A battalion of the 
Ninth United States Infantry; (2) the Ninth 
Infantry Band; (3) a battery of artillery; 
(4) Company G, State Militia; (5) Union 
Pacific Baud: (6) City Fire Department; 
(7) Brandt's Band; (8) Lj-ran Singing So- 
ciety; (9) Union Pacific shopmen; (10) 
civil societies; (11) Msennerchor singing 
societies; (12) University Cadets, from Lin- 
coln; (13) Grand Army posts; (14) city 
band; (15) Company II, State Militia; (16) 



trade representatives. The line of march 
was north on Tenth to Harney, east to Ninth, 
north to Farnam, west to Fifteenth, north 
to Dodge, and west on Dodge to the High 
School, where addresses of welcome were 
made by Governor Nance and Mayor Chase, 
a brief response being made by General 
Grant. The column soon after marched in 
review past a platform erected on Farnam 
and Fourteenth, on which were stationed 
the General and a number of military offi- 
cers and citizens. In the evening there was 
a banquet at the Withnell, then the chief 
hotel of the city. The next day was Sundaj-, 
and General Grant attended services in the 
morning at the First Methodist Church, a 
small frame building on Davenport, near 
Seventeenth, the sermon being preached by 
Rev. J. B. Maxfleld, from II Corinthians, 
xviii, 4. General and Mrs. Grant were the 
guests of General George Crook, at Fort 
Omaha, during their stay, proceeding east- 
ward on Monday, accompanied by their son. 
Colonel Fred. Grant, and wife, who h.nd ar- 
rived in Omaha on Sunday, coming from 
Chicago. 

President R. B. Hayes visited the West in 
the fall of 1880, arriving in Omaha on the 
morning of the 3d of September, and was 
welcomed at Council Bluffs by a delegation 
consisting of Ma3'or Chase, General Wil- 
liams, Colonel Ludington, Major John A'. 
Furay, General John King, Senator Saun- 
ders, Congressman E. K.Valentine, General 
C. F. Mauderson and John C. Cowin, Esq. 
The President was accompanied by Mrs. 
Hayes and two sons. Secretary of War Ram- 
sej^. General W. T. Sherman. General Mc- 
Cook and others. The party visited Fort 
Omaha and other points of interest, includ- 
ing the High School, where they climbed into 
the tower, at the suggestion of Mrs. Haj'es, 
obtaining thereby a view of Omaha and sur- 
roundings which could be gained in no 
other way. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon 
they returned to the depot and proceeded 
westward. 



164 



HISTORY OF THl; CITY OF OMAHA. 



In October, 1881, King Kalakaua again 
visited Omaha, tlie guest for two da3-s of 
James M. Woolwoi-tb, Esq., at whose home 
a reception was given in his honor, which 
was attended chiefly bj' j'onng people of the 
city. Previous to this Miss Woolworth and 
Miss Butterfield had visited the Hawaiian 
Islands and received many courtesies and 
kind attentions from the King, and the first 
opportunity which was offered for a return 
of these courtesies was improved by Mr. 
Woolworth and his family. On the same day 
the Marquis of Lome, then Governor-Gen- 
eral of Canada, passed through tlie city on 
his way East, witli his suite, making only a 
brief stop at the depot. 

Tlie following year, September 8th, the 
Marquis of Lome, this time accompanied by 
Ids wife, the Princess Louise, visited Omaha. 
Tlie party were met at the transfer depot by 
General O. O. Howard, then commanding 
the Department of the Platte, Thomas L. 
Kimball, John C. Cowin and others, by 
whom the Marquis and the officers with him 
were escorted to Fort Omaha and other 
points of interest, the Princess remaining in 
her car at the depot. In the afternoon tlie 
train proceeded westward. 

October 12, 1887, President and Mrs. 
Cleveland spent a few hours in Omaha, 
arriving at 9:.50 in the morning, accom- 
panied by the President's private secretary, 
Daniel 8. Lament, his former law partner, 
Colonel Bissell. of Buffalo, New York, and 
Postmaster General Vilas. They were met at 
the Northwestern Railroad depot in Council 
Bluffs, and escorted to this city b^^ a com- 
mittee composed of James M. Woolworth, 
Dr. George L. Miller, Senator Charles F. 
Manderson, George W. Holdrege, Congress- 
man John H. McShane, General George 
B. Dandy, Max Meyer, James E. Boyd, 
Charles H. Brown and J. H. Millard. Ar- 
riving at the Omaha depot the party were 
joined by acting-Mayor William F. Bechel, 
Governor John M. Thayer and Senator A. 
S. Paddock. Carriages were in readiness. 



and a tour made of the principal portions of 
the city. At Sixteenth and Farnam a tri- 
umphal arch had been erected and hand- 
somely and richly embellished. A detach- 
ment of the military from Fort Omaha was 
present, flags and banners abounded, there 
was a number of fine brass bands in attend- 
ance, and the city presented a very attract- 
ive appearance. Calls were made upon the 
President for a speech, but he declined, 
pleading lack of time. Upon leaving 
Omaha the party proceeded southward. 

December 24, 1890, Henry M. Stanley, 
accompanied by his wife, visited the city 
and was met at the depot by a delegation 
consisting of Mayor Gushing, Governor 
Thayer, Major T. S. Clarkson, Dr. G. L. 
Miller, E. Rosewater, Edward P. Roggen,G. 
M. Hitchcock and Thomas Swobe. Twentj'- 
three years previously he had been a resident 
of Omaha, being at that time western cor- 
respondent for the New York Herald and St. 
Louis Republican, and his subsequent 
achievements as an explorer were watched 
with the closest interest by the people of 
this city. The following sketch, which he 
published in the New York Herald, under 
date February 4, 1867, is now of local inter- 
est: " Omaha City, the capital of Nebraska 
and terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad, 
is beautifully located on a high, level plateau, 
forty feet above the highest water mark, on 
the west bank of the Missouri. A low range 
of hills, gradually rising to an elevation of 
eighty to one hundred feet above this plat- 
eau, and about one mile from the river, 
affords fine locations for private residences. 
On one of these hills is the territorial Cap- 
itol, surrounded by a park six hundred feet 
square. The panoramic view from these 
hills, and especially from Capitol Hill, is 
rarely if ever surpassed in picturesque 
beauty, and even grandeur. Below the city, 
with its wide, regular streets, business blocks, 
churches and buildings, there the railroad, 
winding from huge machine shops around 
the cit3r, then cutting through the hills, 



VISIT OF PRESIDENT HARRISON. 



165 



passes on its -way mills, warehouses and 
gardens. The eye then takes in the darkly- 
colored river, making a great bend of ten or 
fifteen miles around Iowa Bluffs, the steam- 
boats coming, going, or unloading freight 
and passengers on its banks, here and there 
a raft or log carried down by the swift cur- 
rent of the river. Three miles back of the 
river, directly east of Omaha, Council Bluffs, 
lialf hidden among the ravines, leans up 
against the high walls of the green bluff. 
This charming view of the river and city, 
liill and plain, affords a never-ending source 
of pleasure to the 'beholders. Omaha is 
situated very nearly on an air line and 
almost half way between New York and 
San Francisco. Her commanding position 
.IS terminus of a railwaj' destined to carry 
tlie great traffic between the Atlantic and 
Pacific, probably to revolutionize the Chi- 
nese and Japan trade of the world, gives her 
commercial advantages which, in the last 
twelve months, have doubled her population, 
.and which, sooner or later, will make her 
one of the leading cities of the Great North- 
west. Preparations for building business 
blocks, churches and private dwellings next 
sea.son are being made on a large scale, and, 
although hundreds of mechanics are ex- 
pected to arrive here in the spring, I doubt 
whether the supply will be equal to the 
demand." 

Un the 13th of May, 1891, President 
Harrison, accompanied by the Hon. John 
Wanamaker, postmaster-general. Hon. Jerry 
Rusk, secretary of the Department of Agri- 
culture, Mrs. Harrison, Mrs. McKee, Mrs. 
Russell Harrison, and others, visited Omaha, 
and were the guests of the city for six hours. 
At just 11:40 A. M. an engine, profusely 
decorated with flags and bunting, came, 
drawing the presidential train into the depot, 
and it had hardly come to a stop when cheer 
after cheer burst from the thousands of 
throats of the waiting crowd which had 
irathered to welcome the party. As soon as 



the carriages which were in waiting had been 
entered, the line of march was taken up Tenth 
Street to Farnam and up Farnam to Seven- 
teenth, where a speaking platform bad been 
erected for the occasion. The procession 
was headed by the Omaha Guards, followed 
by the Second Infantry, from Fort Omaha, 
and the carriages containing the presidential 
party and the various committees and 
municipal officers. As the line started, a 
salute of twenty-one guns was fired from 
the battery, stationed on South Twelfth 
Street. 

It was one continuous ovation from the 
depot to the speakers' stand. The sidewalks 
were filled to overflowing, and along much 
of the route the dense crowds encroached 
on the passageway that was with difficult}' 
kept open by the police. It was absolutely 
impossible to keep the crossings of the side 
streets clear, and the attempt to do so was 
soon given up. 

Every window had from three to a dozen 
occupants, and housetops and balconies could 
scarcely contain the thousands of eager ones 
who sought some vantage from which to 
view the distinguished party that was pass- 
ing below. 

Arriving at the stand Mayor R. C. Gush- 
ing delivered an address of welcome, to 
which the President brieflj- responded. Short 
addresses were also made by Postmaster- 
General Wanamaker and Secretary Rusk. 
The party then repaired through the dense 
crowds to the Bee Building, where a recep- 
tion was held in the rotunda, being probablj' 
the first time a presidential reception was 
ever held in a newspaper building. Carriages 
were then entered by the distinguished guests 
and a large number of the leading citizens 
and a drive was taken through the principal 
streets, stopping at the High School (where 
President Harrison addressed the children), 
and Creighton College, and ending at the 
hospitable home of ex-Senator Saunders, 
on Sherman Avenue, where Mrs. Harrison 



166 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



and the ladies of the party held a reception. 
At 6 o'clock the party was driven to the 
train and departed eastward. 

It is doubtful if there ever were so many 
flags and so much bunting displayed in 
Nebraska as on this occasion, and it seemed 
as though each person was determined to 
make tlie most show of patriotism possible. 

In May, 1892, the General Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church met in 
Omaha, and, necessarily, the leading men of 
this denomination from all over the world 
visited this city, where they remained nearly 
a month; but, as the Conference is more par- 
ticularly referred to in another chapter, they 
will not be especially mentioned here. 

In 1891, and again in 1892, the city of- 
flci.ils of Boston visited Omaha and were 



entertained by the city officers and members 
of the council. 

In addition to the above, there are many 
of the notable people of the country who 
make occasional visits to this city, including 
Jay Gould, of New York, Mr. Fred Ames, 
of Boston, George Francis Train, Sidney 
Dillon, and many others. 

Being located on the principal lines of 
transportation to California, Omaha is pecu- 
liarly situated, and therefore receives manv 
more notable visitors than she otherwise 
would; and it is to her credit that she has' 
never failed to extend to all the most un- 
bounded hospitality. The citizens have 
ever entertained with a lavish hand, and few 
who have partaken of their hospitality will 
ever forget it. 





(.iAr,?i^^r( iyYc^^^e^oJ^i.^^ 



CHAPTER XYIII 



Newspapers now Puulisiieu — A List of thi: Di 
AND Buried. 



The Omaha Arrow, ostensibly the first 
newspaper published in this city, was really 
printed in Council Bluffs. It had a brief 
existence, the first issue being dated July 
28, 1854, and the last November 10th of 
that year. It was a weekly published by J. 
E. Johnson and John W. Fattison, Mr. Pat- 
tison being the editor. In 1858 the latter 
was associated with W. W. Wyman for a 
few months in the publication of the Omaha 
Times. During the war he was proprietor 
and editor of a paper at Sidney, Iowa, and 
after the war was in the employ of the St. 
Louis Republican for several years as a court 
reporter. The Arrow was an enthusiastic 
advocate of everything calculated to ad- 
vance the interests of Omaha. The Palla- 
dium, published in 1854, at Bellevue, in- 
sisted that that town was the only town in 
the Territory suitable for the building of a 
great city, and affected to sneer at Omaha's 
prospects, to which the Arrow responded 
with zeal and vigor in defense of its own lo- 
cation. A Muscatine. Iowa, paper, publish- 
ing a paragraph making a sneering refer- 
ence to Omaha as " a city with six houses," the 
Arroio retorted: " Why, St. Nicholas, N. Y., 
is not a circumstance for comfort, ease and 
cheap living to its namesake in our city. 
Here you may get venison, fowl, bird, or 
flsh cooked in any manner you please. You 
may smoke in the parlor, put your heels 
upon the sideboard without injury to the 
furniture, or for variety may spread yovir 
buffalo on the green grass, and take a com- 
fortal)le smoke without fear of being run 
over by a score of wooll3^-headed servants. 



Omaha City, indeed. Why, we have edi- 
tors, squatters, deer, turke3'S, grouse, and 
other ' animals ' a plenty, and will soon show 
j-ou that Omaha City will be one of the 
cities of the West." It is unfortunate that 
a paper so zealous and enthusiastic in its 
championship of the new town could not 
have received adequate support. Mr. Pat- 
tison came West as a correspondent of the 
New York Herald, and was a writer of more 
than average ability. Mr. Johnson was a 
Mormon, and at one time published a weekly 
paper at Wood River Crossing, Neb., when 
the settlement consisted chiefly of his own 
residence and a small water-mill. He after- 
wards drifted out to Salt Lake. 

The Nebraskian, Democratic in politics, 
was established in 1854, by Bird B. Chap- 
man, Nebraska's second delegate to Con- 
gress. Four years later he sold it to Theo- 
dore Robertson, and, in 1860, it was pur- 
chased by M. II. Clark; in 186.3 it was sold 
by Mr. Clark to Alfred H. Jackson, and in 
June, 1865, its publication ceased. In 1859, 
Mr. Robertson and General John M. Thayer 
became involved in a heated political con- 
troversy, which resulted in the distribution 
of handbills, printed in the largest and 
blackest type to be found in the citj', where- 
in each characterized the other as possessing, 
in an infinite degree, all of the qualities 
which tend to make men infamous. General 
Thayer was challenged to mortal combat by 
Mr. Robertson, who was represented by 
Captain W. E. Moore, but better counsel 
prevailed, and the difficulty was bridged 
over. A gentleman of this citj' lias copies 



168 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



of these handbills, which are somewhat inter- 
esting, as indicating the character of the po- 
litical controversies of that period. 

The Times, also Democratic, was founded 
in 1857, by Wm. W. Wyman, the first issue 
being dated June 11th. In 1858, during a 
session of the legislature, a daily edition was 
published for a short time, but proved un- 
profitable; and in 1859 the publication of 
the weekly edition was also discontinued. 
Mr. AYynian was a newspaper man of expe- 
rience, and a gentleman of high character, 
who commanded the respect and confidence 
of the community to an unusual degree. 
For a number of years he was postmaster of 
this city. 

The Omaha Democrat was established in 
1858, by Hadley D. Johnson, one of the 
leading citizens of the town, and an active 
politician, but the paper was short lived. 

The Telegraph was established as a daily, 
in September, 1860, Major Henry Z. Curtis, 
son of General Samuel R. Curtis, being the 
editor and proprietor. Mr. Charles Good- 
rich, ex-city comptroller, and Charles AV. 
Sherman, now proprietor of the Plattsmouth 
Journal, did the type-setting on the Tele- 
graph. It was an evening paper and boasted 
largely of its dispatches " by the Missouri 
& Western Telegraph, Stebbins' Line," 
though said dispatches were extremely brief. 
In the fall of 1861, the proprietor of the 
Telegraph discontinued its publication and 
entered the Union army, serving with dis- 
tinction upon the staff of General Samuel R. 
Curtis. 

The Omaha Republican was first issued as 
a weekly. May 5, 1858. Edward F. Schneider 
and Harrison J. Brown were tlie first pro- 
prietors, soon succeeded by Dr. G. C. Monell. 
In August, 1859, it was purchased bj' E. D. 
"Webster, a protege of Thurlow Weed, and 
he gave the paper a standing and reputation 
throughout the country. In 1861, Colonel 
AVebster sold the paper to E. B. Taj'lor and 
E. A. McClure (the latter still a resident of 
Omaha), and during the war Colonel AA^'eb- 



ster served the country as private secretary 
to Secretary Seward. Messrs. Taylor & 
McClure converted the paper into a tri- 
weekly, and in January, 1864, commenced 
the publication of a daily edition. Since 
that date, the paper has had varying for- 
tunes, and many owners. In 1866, Major 
St. A. D. Balcombe purchased the Eepubli- 
can, and in 1871 sold a half interest to AValdo 
M. Potter. About this date a consolidation 
with the Omaha Tribune was effected, and 
for nearly two years the paper was called 
the Tribune a)id Republican, the " Tribune" 
portion of the name being dropped in Jan- 
uary, 1873. In 1875, the Republican be- 
came the property of a stock company, with 
Casper E. Yost as business manager, and 
Isaac AV. Miner as secretary. In 1881 Mr. 
Yost and Fred Nye bought the paper, and 
in the fall of 1886, sold it to S. P. Rounds, 
Sr. (recently public printer at AYashington) , 
and Cadet Taylor, for the very handsome 
sum of 1105,000. The death of Mr. Rounds, 
a year later, plunged the paper into fresh 
difficulties, and in December, 1888, Mr. 
Yost again took charge of the Republican, 
this time as receiver, appointed by the court 
to protect the interests of the various stock- 
holders, Messrs. Rounds k Taylor having 
organized a stock company to conduct the 
affairs of the paper. Early in 1889, Mr. 
Nye again became interested in the owner- 
ship of the Rejmblican, this time with Frank 
B. Johnson as a partner. In October, fol- 
lowing, Major J. C. AVilcox, of the Evening 
Dispatch, purchased the Republican, the job 
department connected with the paper being 
retained by Messrs. Nye & Johnson. Major 
AVilcox, finding the longer publication of the 
paper unprofitable, gave up the contest, and 
the daily Republican ceased to exist July 29, 
1890. It is now published as a weekly. 

The Omaha i>aj7i/ Herald, Democratic, was 
established by Dr. George L. Miller and 
Daniel AA^. Carpenter, in 1865. Three years 
later the paper was purchased by Lyman 
Richardson and John S. Briggs, though Dr. 




The Bee Building. 



NEWSPAPERS NOW PUBLIC 



169 



Miller retained the editorship, and soon af- 
ter bought Mr. Briggs' interest; and the firm 
of Miller & Richardson, as proprietors, con- 
tinued until March, 1887, when they sold 
the paper to John A. McShane, who con- 
trolled it for a year, and it then passed into 
the management of R. A. Craig, and in 
March, 1889, the paper was purchased by G. 
M. Hitchcock. Under the management of 
Miller & Richardson, though published in a 
State that was overwhelmingly Republican 
in politics, the Herald took high rank, and 
attained great popularity. Indeed, its 
popularity was not confined to Nebraska, 
or the West, but assumed a national charac- 
ter. Dr. Miller was a writer of unusual 
vigor, and possessed strong convictions on 
all important topics, with a courage to de- 
clare them. The Herald was an earnest and 
persistent advocate of the benefits of tree 
culture in Nebraska, and to its efforts in 
this direction is due much of the develop- 
ment that has been made in forest culture in 
Nebraska during the past twenty-five 3-ears. 
'J'he Daily Evening Tribune was the out- 
come of a desire on the part of certain citi- 
zens of Nebraska to defeat General John M. 
Thayer in his aspirations for re-election to 
the United States Senate in 1871. The first 
issue appeared July 20, 1870, the necessary 
funds being furnished chiefly bj' John I. 
Redick, Wallace R. Bartlett, Clinton Briggs, 
Charles F. Hickman, and Phineas W. Hitch- 
cock, small amounts being subscribed bj' a 
large number of Omaha people of both po- 
litical parties, though Mr. Redick was the 
main promoter of the enterprise. Mr. 
Hitchcock, being elected to the senate in 
January, 1871, defeating General Thayer, 
was induced, soon afterwards, to take $20,- 
000 worth of stock in the paper. The Trib- 
une was a handsomely printed, spirited pub- 
lication, edited bj' C. B. Thomas, who came 
from the East to take charge of that depart- 
ment of the paper. It was said that he had 
formerlj' been a clerg3'man, but that fact 
was never betrayed by the character of tlie 



editorial columns of the paper. Joseph B. 
Hall was president of the Tribune Company, 
and brought with him, from the State of 
Maine, the greater part of his working force. 
The paper was Republican in politics, and 
waged bitter warfare upon the Daily Re- 
publican, which was responded to in kind, 
but that fact did not interfere with the con- 
solidation of the two papers in 1871. 

The first issue of the Evening Bee, Repub- 
lican in political faith, appeared June 19, 
1871, starting out with the bold announce- 
ment in the first issue, that it was " the 
best advertising medium in the city." H. 
H. Geralde was the ostensible editor and 
proprietor. July 27, the following editorial 
was printed: "The popular favor hereto- 
fore accorded the Bee as a gratuitous adver- 
tising medium, and the general desire ex- 
pressed by a large number of our citizens 
for its enlargement as an evening journal, 
warrant the hope of its future success as a 
thoroughly fearless and independent expo- 
nent of public opinion. Mr. Harry Geralde 
will continue as the editor-in-chief, assisted 
by gentlemen of journalistic experience. It 
will be the aim of the publisher, from the 
outset, to make the Bee a newspaper in the 
true meaning of the word." This was 
signed by Edward Rosewater, as publisher 
and proprietor. The growth of tlie paper from 
that date, has been continuous and rapid, 
though many were the obstacles with which 
it was forced to contend. Starting as an 
evening paper, it has, for many years, 
printed a morning edition also. In 1878, a 
stock company was formed to manage the 
business, Mr. Rosewater retaining the con- 
trolling interest and remaining in charge of 
the editorial department. In June, 1889, 
the establishment was moved to the new 
building erected by the Bee Building Com- 
panj', on Farnam and Seventeenth Streets, 
seven stories high, and covering an area of 
132 feet square, the largest newspaper 
building, as to ground covered, in the world. 
It is a strikingly handsome and substantial 



170 



[STOItY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



structure, costing nearly half a million dol- 
lars, and is one of the chief points of inter- 
est pointed out to strangers visiting the city. 
Edward llosewater is president of both tlie 
Bee Publishing Company and the Bee Build- 
ing Company, George B. Tzscliuck being 
secretary and treasurer of the first named 
organization, and N. P. Fell, a son-in-law 
of Mr. Rosewater, secretary and treasurer of 
the second compan}'. 

The publication of the Evening World was 
commenced in August, 1885, G. M. Hitch- 
cock, Frank .J. Burkley, Alfred Millard, W. 
F. Gurley, and AV. Y. Rooker being the pro- 
prietors, with the first named as editor-in- 
chief and principal stockholder, Mr. Burk- 
ley, business manager, and Mr. Rooker as 
managing editor. In March, 1889, the Her- 
ald was purchased, and the two papers 
merged under the name of World-Herald. 
A building on Farnam Street, between 
Fourteenth and Fifteenth, three stories high, 
was purchased in 1889, and fitted up in the 
most convenient manner for a first-chiss 
newspaper office. The paper is now in a 
strong financial condition, is ably edited, 
and rapidly increasing its subscription list. 
Mr. Hitchcock is still the chief owner, witli 
Mr. Burkley in charge of the business de- 
partment, and Mr. Robert B. Peattie as 
managing editor. 

October 27, 1888, .Major .1. C. Wilcox be- 
gan the publication of the Evening Dispatch, 
a Republican paper (or, rather, resumed its 
publication, as he established a paper by that 
name in 1873, but discontinued it after a 
few months' experience). October 13, 1889, 
he purchased the Omaha Republican, and for 
a time continued both publications, but in 
December, 1889, he ceased publishing the 
Dispatch, and gave his entire attention to 
the Eepublican. On the 1st of July, 1890, 
the paper announced itself as favoring 
the adoption of the constitutional amend- 
ment prohibiting the manufacture and sale 
of intoxicating liquors in Nebraska, which 
announcement created a decided sensation 



throughout the State, as the paper had pre- 
viously opposed the amendment, and the 
question at issue was one which was then 
attracting great attention. 

The Omaha Demoa-at, an evening paper 
of Democratic faith, is the successor of tlic 
Inter-State Herald, formerly the Council 
Bluffs Herald, which latter paper was estab- 
lished in Council Bluffs by R. E. Ingraham. 
S. T. Walker, and W. A. Spencer, in 1882. 
It was purchased b.y W. R. Vaughan, Octo- 
l)er, 18.S8, and was at once removed to 
Omaha, where its puljlication was continued 
for a time as the Inter-State Herald, then as 
the Inter-State Democrat, and on October 1. 
1889, the name was changed to the Omaha 
Daily Democrat. It was owned by a stock 
company, M. V. Gannon being president, 
W. R. A'aughan, vice-president and manag- 
ing editor, William McIIugh, treasurer, 
and B. A. Fowler, secretary. They sus- 
pended publication early in 1891. 

The Nebraska Tribune is a German daily 
and weeklj^ which has built up a large circu- 
lation. It was established eight 3'ears ago b.y 
F. C. Festner, recently deceased, and was for 
many years edited by Frederick F. Schnake. 
Otto Kinder and Joseph Wortenberger are 
the present editors. 

The Danske Pioneer is a Scandinavian 
weekly of much influence with that class of 
citizens. It has a large circulation, and is 
ably edited by Mr. Sophus F. Neble, the 
present owner. The paper was established 
in 1871, by Mark Hansen. 

The Pokrok Zapadu, edited and owned 
by Jolin Rosicky, is a weekly printed in the 
Bohemian language. The paper has been 
under the control of Mr. Rosisckj' for many 
3'ears, and has attained a wide circulation. 
It was founded in August, 1871, by Edward 
Rosewater, and published bi-monthly. 

The Swedish Tribune and Swedish Post 
are both well conducted weeklies, which cir- 
culate extensively among the Swedish peo- 
ple. The former is edited by Claes Algotel- 
men, and the latter, by C. A. Jacobson. 



WEEKLY NEWSPAPEliS XOW PUBLISHED. 



171 



Tlie Westliche Courier, a Germau weekl}', 
edited by Mr. Bruno Tzschuck, formerly Sec- 
retary of State for Nebraska, and, later. Con- 
sul to Vera Cruz, Mexico, after several 
years' existence, was sold to Mr. Frederick 
F. Schnake, formerly of the Nebraska 
Tribune, who changed its name to the Ne- 
braska Banner, and still publishes it. 

The Dannebrog, a Danish weekl}', is edited 
by Otto Wolf. 

The Omaha Weekly Mercury was estab- 
lished by F. ]M. MacDonagh, at Plattsmouth, 
Nebraska, in 1871, under the name of Ne- 
braska Watchman, and moved to Council 
Bluffs in 1878, and to Omaha in 1879. Mr. 
MacDonagh died in this city, June 5, 1885, 
and tlie following year the paper was pur- 
chased by A. L. Pollock, who sold it to 
John T. Bell in the latter part of 1888. In 
January, 1890, Messrs. A'ictor E. Bender 
and Frederick W. Taylor purchased the pa- 
per, the latter selling his interest to Mr. 
Bender in May, 1890. It is devoted more 
to the legal interests than any other, and is 
the recognized organ of the bar of this city. 

The Omaha Excelsior was established as 
an amateur paper about fifteen years ago, by 
Clement C. Chase, then a boy at school. It 
has since developed into a paper of consider- 
able influence, under the management of its 
founder, and is the chief society paper of the 
city. It is published weekly, and has con- 
nected with it a valuable job printing es- 
tablishment, of which Mr. Chase and George 
B. Eddy are proprietors. 

The Eailway Xetcs and Reporter, Daniel 
B. llonin, editor and proprietor, is a weekly, 
devoted especially to tlie interests of rail- 
road men. 

The Omaha Times, a weekly, published by 
Blackman &: Garton, II. G. Boluss, editor, 
was established in September, 1890. 

Progress is the name of a weekly pub- 
lished by the colored men of Omaha, and 
which shows considerable ability. The first 
issue appeared during the latter part of 1889. 

L'nited Labor is a weekly pulilication, 



which was commenced in October, 1890. It 
is devoted to the interests of the local labor 
associations. William S. Sebring is the 
business manager. 

The Knights' Jewel is published in the 
interest of the Knights of Pythias, by Will. 
L. Seism. 

The Omaha Original, Mrs. Helen A. \'an 
Camp, publisher, is a weekly family paper 
which made its first appearance on Easter 
day, 1891. 

There are several trade papers published 
in Omaha, among them being The Omaha 
Furniture Journal, a monthly', devoted, as its 
name implies, to the interests of the furniture 
and kindred trades, edited by Mr. A. Spitko; 
the Western Merchant, owned by Mr. A. II. 
Comstock; and the Western Printer, published 
by the Great Western Type Foundry in the 
interest of their business. 

The Western Newspaper Union, George 
A. Joslyn, manager, supplies " ready prints " 
to over three hundred outside papers, and 
this matter is ably edited by Mr. Cal. 
Shultz, an experienced newspaper man who 
has been connected with the Omaha press for 
nearly a quarter of a centur_y. The Auxil- 
iary, a monthly publication issued from this 
office, is a very handsome publication, 
devoted to furthering the interests of the 
house. The American Press Association. 
M. (J. Perkins, manager, also does a large 
business in furnishing stereotyped matter for 
weekly papers. 

Omaha, like all other cities, can point to 
a long list of newspaper wrecks: The 
Nebraska Daily Statesman, wliich was born 
July 17, 1864, and died three days later; 
the Evening Times, started in 1869, as the 
result of a printers' strike, by Charles Collins, 
P. F. O'Sullivan, William E. Cook and John 
Howard, and which lived about six months; 
the Daily Union, also the outgrowth of a 
printers' strike in 1873, and which publica- 
tion was discontinued after ten months on 
the part of Cal. D. Shultz, Billy Edwards, 
Tliomas AVolf, George W. Frost, E. N. Sweet 



172 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



and others; The Independent, which T. H. 
Tibbies commenced to publish in September, 
1877, and which lived less than half a year; 
the Commercial Exchange, published for a 
year or two by W. C. B. Allen previous to 
1880; the Evening iVeiUs, established by Fred 
Nye in May, 1878, and discontinued in June, 
1880; the Evening Telegraph, by S. F. Don- 
nelly and H. S. Smith, which lived for 
nearly two years from May, 1880; Center- 
Union Agriculturist, published by George W. 
Brewster, discontinued about 1882; the Agri- 
culturalist, published for many years by 
Jeremiah Behm and discontinued about 
fifteen 3^ears ago; Nebraska Journal of Com- 
m«-ce, Taylor Bros., proprietors; The Vesten, 
published by O. R. Nelson and Ilalfdan 
Jacobson previous to 1882; the Omaha Post, 
by CharlesBankes, discontinued about 1884; 
the Evening Dispatch, first known as the 
Union, was a printers' paper, afterwards 
owned bj- Frank Sweezey and Leonard Live- 
sey and, later, by George C. and Robert 
Wallace, was established in the fall of 1883, 
and lived about a year; the Sunday News, 
owned and edited by Harry Merriam. was 
established May 10, 1885, and survived for 
ten months; the Sunday Mirror was owned 
by Daniel Shellej'^ and Frederick Benziuger, 
but they discontinued its publication after 
issuing half a dozen copies, in 1889; the 
Chronicle, Thomas Cotter, proprietor, and 
G. M. Crawford, editor, was published for 
several months in 1887 and 1888. The fore- 
going list of newsi^aper enterprises which 
have not proved profitable is not given as 
a complete list, but it is sufliciently extended 
to show that the business is a precarious 
one, in which the failures far exceed the 



The High School Journal was first pub- 
lished, commencing December, 1872, bj- an 
association of pupils of the High School, 
styling themselves the High School Publish- 
ing Association. Henry D. Estabrook was 
editor-in-chief; Miss Stacia Crowley, assist- 
ant editor; Miss Kate Copeland, "culling" 



editor; Charles R. Redick and John Creigh- 
ton, local editors; Miss Josie Ord, and 
Lucius Wakeley, exchange editors; Martha 
Crar3', Frederick Knight and George Jewett, 
business managers; Arthur C. AVakeley, 
Miss Etta Hurford, Miss Claire Rustin, Miss 
Blanche Deuel, Arthur Remington and Cas- 
sius Gise, directors. Although it was issued 
onlj- once a month, the work evidently 
proved too much for this editorial and 
business force, for within half a year the 
paper passed into the management of James 
F. McCartney (afterwards city clerk), who 
ceased its publication in December, 1881, 
having in the meantime changed the name 
to the Omaha Home Journal. Mr. McCart- 
ney- died September 4, 1883, at Denver. 

In 1876, Henry D. Estabrook and James 
Ross began the publication of a monthly, 
stj'led the Miscellany, which was soon after- 
wards purchased by John H. Pierce, and the 
name changed to the Western Magazine. It 
was a publication of decided merit but suc- 
cumbed to financial pressure after a year's 
experience. 

In 1888, the Rising Tide, afterwards the 
Omaha Leader, was establislied as the organ 
of the temperance associations. It sus- 
pended in the fall of 1890, upon the defeat 
of the prohibition amendment. George H. 
Gibson was editor and proprietor. 

With respect to the first issue of a morn- 
ing paper in Omaha the following account, 
from the pen of Mr. Cal. D. Shultz, editor 
of the publications of the Western News- 
paper Union of this city, was printed in the 
World-Herald March 2, 1891. Mr. Shultz 
has been connected with the Omaha press 
for a quarter of a century and is excellent 
authority on newspaper matters. He says: 

" In a recent issue of the World-Herald 
reference was made to its being the oldest 
paper in the city and some interesting remin- 
iscences given of its pioneer days and its 
perplexities and difficulties under which it 
labored at that time, [n the article alluded 
to no reference was made to the fact that 



EAKLY MORNING PAPERS OF OMAHA. 



173 



the World-Herald printed the finest morning 
daily ever given out in Omaha, as well as 
that it is now the oldest paper in the citj-. 
Its old-time manager and editor, Dr. Miller, 
made this claim some months ago, in a series 
of articles contributed to the Omaha Bee on 
the subject of early journalism in this citj', 
and the writer hereof adds his testimony to 
the correctness of the doctor's conclusions. 
.Tohn S. Briggs, who is still a resident of 
Omaha, could tell the story about the first 
morning daily publication in the Nebraska 
metropolis, as its writer heard liim tell it 
nearly twenty-five jj^ears ago. He was an 
important factor about the Herald building, 
on the corner of Thirteenth and Douglas in 
those early days. He it was, I think, who 
officiated as 'make up' of not only its first 
dail}^, but the first weekly forms of what has 
now grown to be a powerful and widely 
circulated journal in this prosperous and 
progressive city. But not to digress from 
the original thought — that of the first morn- 
ing daily paper in Omaha — the fact is now 
recalled that the Eejmbh'can appeared as a 
morning daily the same day the Herald did, 
but its inspiration came from the indom- 
itable energy and push of the editors and 
managers of the democratic paper, who were 
constantly on the alert for new fields to con- 
quer, and, as a consequence, was a little 
behind that sheet in getting before the pub- 
lic in its nevr form, accompanied with the 
announcement that it would hereafter issue 
in the morning instead of evening. Both 
the Republican and Herald had for many 
months been putting forth daily evening 
editions, but Dr. Miller, alive to the signs of 
the times, saw there was a demand for later 
and more satisfactory news, such as could 
only be secured and properly put in shape 
in a daily morning edition. The thought 
came with such force that the doctor at once 
determined upon the change. 

"The contemplated new departure was 
communicated to Foreman Briggs, and that 
gentleman, after the evening edition had 



gone to press, notified the compositors (of 
which there were less than half a dozen in 
those days) to be prepared to represent their 
cases at an early liour in the evening, 
explaining that the Herald henceforth and 
hereafter was to be a morning daily. In 
the meantime arrangements for lighting had 
been perfected, the pressman notified of the 
new order of things and other preliminaries 
arranged for inaugurating the change that 
was about to take place in publication hour. 
It is surmised, too, that the foreman cau- 
tioned the printers not to mention out of 
the office the information that had been com- 
municated to them. There is good ground 
for the supposition, for the proprietor of the 
Herald had in view the surprising of the 
public, as well as the publisher of the Bepiih- 
lican. 

" The scheme worked well enough so far 
as readers of the paper were concerned, but 
Major Balcombe ' got onto the racket,' so 
to speak, either by seeing operations going 
forward in the Herald building, or through 
information communicated to him by some 
of his printers, who had been given a 
'pointer' by brother workmen doing the 
night act on ' the sheet over the waj'.' 
Then there was a hurrying to and fro, print- 
ers were hunted up in various parts of the 
city, some of them called out of bed, it may 
be, and told to present themselves at the 
office without delay. They obeyed promptly, 
and thus the Repuhlican was enabled to 
present a morning daily on the same date of 
its contemporary, though, perhaps, not as 
early in the day or in quite as good shape. 
It is due to say of the Republican, however, 
that it ' got there ' in very good shape, for 
Major Balcombe", although not the aggressor 
in journalistic innovations, was capable of 
doing some tall rustling when about to be 
distanced by some rival paper. 

'•Thus was inaugurated daily morning 
journalism in Omaha, and credit must be 
given the Herald and its energetic publishers 
of that day, not alone for having issued a 



174 



IIISTOItY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



little in advance, but for having furnished 
the inspiration that called two Omaha 
morning dailies into the field almost simul- 
taneously. The World-Herald is still on the 
ground, being now issued every day in the 
year, instead of six days in the week, as was 
the case when the change was made and for 
iiianv years thereafter." 



The Trade Journal of the Business Men's 
Association of Nebraska, which was published 
for a couple of years as a small paper, has 
recently been enlarged to a twenty-eight 
page royal quarto, and is published weekl}'. 
It has a large circulation. It is devoted to 
the interests of the business men of the 
State, and gives very full market quotations. 



CHAPTER XIX, 



The Lii^iroR Tuaffic — Kakly Prohiiutiox ix Nep.raska — Tin; III 
OF 1881 — PitoiiiiiiTiON Battle of 181t0. 



In these later daj-s of prohibition, it is in- 
teresting to note that the first Territorial 
Legislature passed an act prohibiting, abso- 
lutely, the manufacture and sale of intoxi- 
cating liquors. Following is the full text 
of the law: 

Section I. Be it enacted by the Council and 
House of Representatives, of the Territory of Ne- 
braska: That from and after the first day of 
April, A. D., 1835, it shall not be lawful for any 
person to manufacture, or give awaj', sell, or in 
any way, or bj' any manner or subterfuge, traffic, 
trade, exchange, or otherwise dispose of, any in- 
toxicating liquors within this Territory, to be used 
as a beverage. 

Section II. The places commonly known as 
dram shops are hereby prohibited and declared 
public nuisances, and their establishment shall be 
presumptive evidence of a sale of intoxicating 
liquor, within the provisions of the foregoing sec- 
tion. 

Section III. The establishment, or the keeping 
of a place of any description, whatever, within or 
without a building, coming within the spirit and 
intent of this act, and the establishment, or the 
keeping a place of any description where other 
l^ersons are accustomed to resort, providing their 
own liquors, of the prohibitory character, pur- 
chased elsewhere, and drinking the same there, 
shall be taken to be within the meaning of this 
act. 

Section IV. Every person engaged in any of the 
acts above prohibited, or in any way aiding or as- 
sisting in such illegal acts, whetherasprmclpal or 
clerk, bookkeeper, or otherwise, shall be subject 
to the penalties herein provided. 

Section V. Courts and juries are required to 
construe this act so as to prevent evasion and 
subterfuge, and so as to cover the act of giving, 
as well as of selling, in the places above pro- 
hibited. 

Section VI. Whoever is guilty of violating any 
of the provisions of this act, on conviction there- 



of, shall be fined in a sum not less than ten, nor 
more than one hundred dollars, or be imprisoned 
in the county jail not more than ninetj' days, or 
both, in the discretion of the court; and may be 
prosecuted therefor either by indictment or bj' in- 
formation before a justice of the peace; the pun- 
ishment shall be fine only. 

Section VII. Any person being convicted for a 
second or anj' subsequent violation of this aci 
shall be fined in a sum not less than one hundred 
dollars, or be imprisoned not more than one year, 
as provided in section six of this act. 

Section VIII. An information or indictment un- 
der this act may allege any number of violations 
of its provisions, by the same party, and he may 
be found guilty of, and punished for, each offence, 
as under separate information or indictment, but 
a separate judgment must be entered in which 
a verdict of guilty is found. 

This act was approved March 16, 1855, 
and was so completely and absolutely ig- 
nored by the residents of the Territory that 
the fact that such a law was passed is prob- 
ably not remembered by a score of the old- 
est of Nebraska's old inhabitants. In no 
portion of the Territory was the slightest 
attention paid to its provisions, and on the 
4th of November, 1858, a license law was 
approved bj' the Governor, which repealed 
the act of March 16, 1855, and provided for 
the issuance by county commissioners of 
licenses to sell malt, spirituous and vinous 
liquors to responsible applicants, upon paj'- 
ment of a fee of not less than twenty-five 
dollars, or more than five hundred dollars. 
A bond of not less than five hundred dollars, 
or more than five thousand dollars, was re- 
quired; the selling to Indians, minors, idiots 
and insane persons was prohibited, and liq- 
uor dealers were held responsil)le for the 



176 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



support of all persons who became a public 
charge in consequence of intemperate habits. 
Suits for liquor sold in quantities of less 
than five gallons, except in cases where it 
was used for medicinal, mechanical, or sac- 
ramental purposes, could not be instituted. 
Cities and incorporated towns were author- 
ized to increase the amount of the annual 
license fee to one thousand dollars. 

In 1881 the Nebraska legislature passed 
what has since been known as the " Slocumb " 
law, for the regulation of the traffic in in- 
toxicating liquors. This law was the out- 
come of strong efforts which were made at 
that session of the Legislature, and the ses- 
sion of 1879, to pass a prohibitory law. In 
the preparation of the Slocumb bill some of 
the best legal talent of the State was em- 
ployed, and in its operation the law has so 
commended itself to all but uncompromis- 
ing prohibitionists that it has served as a 
model for many other States in legislating 
upon this subject. Briefly stated, the law 
provides as follows: 

Section one provides that the county 
board of each county may grant licenses for 
the sale of malt, spirituous, and vinous liq- 
uors, if deemed expedient, upon the ap- 
plication, by petition of thirty of the resi- 
dent free-holders of the town, if the county 
is under township organization. The county 
board shall not have authority to issue any 
license for the sale of liquors in any citj^ or 
incorporated village, or within two miles of 
the same. 

Section two provides for the filing of the 
application, and for the publication of the 
application, for at least two weeks before the 
granting of the license. 

Section three provides for the hearing of 
the case if a remonstrance is filed against 
the granting of a license to the applicant. 

Further sections provide for the appealing 
of the remonstrance to the district court; 
the form of license; the giving of a five 
thousand dollar bond by the successful ap- 
plicant for the license. 



Sections eight, nine and ten make it an 
offense, punishable by a fine of twenty-five 
dollars, for any licensed liquor dealer to sell 
intoxicating liquor to minors or Indians. 

Section eleven provides that any person 
selling liquor without a license shall be 
fined not less than one hundred dollars, nor 
more than five hundred dollars, for each 
offense; and section twelve provides for the 
trial of such offenders. 

Section thirteen makes it an offense, pun- 
ishable by a fine of one hundred dollars and 
a forfeiture of license, for any licensed liq- 
uor vender to sell adulterated liquor. 

Section fourteen makes it an offense, pun- 
ishable bj' a fine of one hundred dollars, for 
any person to sell or give away any liquor 
on Sunday, or on the da}' of anj' general or 
special election. 

Sections fifteen to twent3'-three, inclusive, 
define the liability of saloonkeepers for dam- 
ages sustained by anj'one in consequence of 
the traffic, and provide the steps necessary 
to collect such claims. 

Section twentj--four relates to the is- 
suance of druggists' permits. 

The local option feature of the law is 
contained in section twenty-five, the salient 
part of which reads: "The corporate au- 
thorities of all cities and villages shall have 
the power to license, regulate and prohibit 
the selling or giving away of any intoxicat- 
ing, malt, spirituous, and vinous liquors, 
within the limits of such city or village. 
This section also fixes the amount of the li- 
cense fee, which shall not be less than five 
hundred dollars in villages and cities hav- 
ing less than ten thousand inhabitants, nor 
less than one thousand dollars in cities hav- 
ing a population of more than ten thousand. 

Sections twenty-six and twenty-seven re- 
late to druggists' registers and penalties for 
violation of the rules governing the same. 

Section twentj'-eight makes drunkenness 
an offense, punishable by a fine of ten dol- 
lars and costs, or imprisonment not exceed- 
ing thirty days. 



KILLING OF COL. WATSON 



,MITH. 



177 



Section twenty-nine provides that the 
doors and windows of saloons shall be kept 
free from screens and blinds. 

Under this law, the license to sell liquor 
in Omaha was fixed at one thousand dollars. 
At that time there were one hundred and 
sixty-five saloons in the city, with a popu- 
lation of about thirty-two thousand. The 
number was largely reduced by the opera- 
tion of the new law, the license having pre- 
viously been only one hundred dollars a 
year; but with the growth of the city the 
number of drinking places gradually in- 
creased, but not in like ratio. For the year 
ending April 1. 1886, there were 143 
licenses issued; during tlie next year, 176; 
for the year ending April 1, 1888, 223; for 
the 3'ear following, 262; from April 1, 1888, 
to January 1, 1890, 2'17; and for the year 
1890, 240; the population having increased 
in the mean time from 32,000 to 142,000. 
In 1891 there were 247, and in 1892, 237. 
The number of licenses referred to includes 
those issued to drug stores, wholesale dealers, 
and all places where liquors are sold. 

The attempt to enforce the provisions of 
high license, just after its passage, excited 
the most intense opposition on the part 
of the saloon men of this city. Among 
those who took an active interest in carry- 
ing the law into effect, was Colonel Watson 
B. Smith, clerk of the United States courts, 
and this activity resulted in his receiving 
numerous anonymous letters and postal 
cards of a threatening character; and at var- 
ious times, it was reported, he was followed 
by one or more persons as he returned to his 
home in the evening after office hours. On 
the morning of the 5th of November, 1881, 
he was found lying dead in the hall of the 
third story of the custom house and post- 
office building, in front of his office door. 
The body was lying in a pool of blood, with 
a bullet hole through the head, and on the 
door casing was found a mark made by the 
ball after it had accomplished its fatal work. 
Colonel Smith had been detained at the of- 



fice until a late hour the night before, and 
it was evident that he had reached the hall 
and was about to lock the office door for the 
night, when he met his death. He had, in 
consequence of the receipt of the letters re- 
ferred to, been carrying a revolver for self- 
protection, and this weapon, with one empty 
chamber, was found lying near the body, as 
was also a bundle of letters and papers which 
he had apparently had under his arm as he 
attempted to lock the office door. 

As the news of the killing was spread 
over the cit}-, great excitement prevailed, 
the general supposition then being that the 
liquor interests of the city were responsible 
for a cowardly assassination. An inquest 
was held by the coroner, the jury returning 
the following verdict: "The jury find that 
the deceased came to his death at the door 
of his office, in the United States court house 
and postoffice, in the City of Omaha, Ne- 
braska, after 10 o'clock and fifteen minutes, 
on the night of November 4, 1881, b}'^ a gun- 
shot wound through the head, inflicted by 
some person, or persons, unknown, and we 
do further find that the killing was premed- 
itated murder." A citizens' mass meeting 
was held in the afternoon, at the Academy 
of Music, and $4,500 subscribed as a reward 
for the apprehension of the murderer (after- 
wards increased to $5,000); the liquor deal- 
ers of the city — then organized as " The 
Merchants' and Manufacturers' Union" — 
offered a reward of five hundred dollars; 
the Good Templars' societies, two hundred 
dollars; and Governor Nance added the 
two hundred dollars which the State is au- 
thorized to offer under such circumstances; 
making a total of $5,900. Extraordinary 
efforts were made to capture the guilty 
party, or parties, but to no purpose, and to 
this day the mystery of Colonel Smith's 
death remains unsolved. December 15, 
1881, one August Arndt was arrested on 
the charge of threatening the life of E. S. 
Dundy, United States District Judge, and it 
was then thought that he was implicated in 



178 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



the killing of Colonel Smith, but sufHeient 
proof to warrant his indictment was not ob- 
tained. He was tried before Judge Foster, 
of Kansas, on the charge of threatening the 
life of Judge Dundy, convicted, and sen- 
tenced to a confinement of three months in 
the Douglas County jail, which sentence 
was carried into effect. The threats referred 
to were alleged to have been made* in con- 
sequence of certain rulings by the court in 
connection with a land suit Arndt had had 
in Judge Dundy's court with the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad Company. 

The prohibition sentiment having largely 
increased in Nebraska, the Legislature of 
1889 passed the following act: 

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Ne- 
braska : 

Section l. That, at the general election to be 
held on the Tuesday succeeding the first Monday of 
November, A. D. 1890, there shall be submitted 
to the electors of this State, for approval or 
rejection, an amendment to the Constitution of 
this State in words as follows : " The manufac- 
ture, sale, and keeping for sale of intoxicating 
liquors as a beverage are forever prohibited in 
this State, and the Legislature shall provide by 
law for the enforcement of this provision." And 
there shall also at said election be separately 
submitted to the electors of tliis State, for their 
approval or rejection, an amendment to the Con- 
stitution of the State in words as follows : "The 
manufacture, sale, and keeping for sale of intox- 
icating liquors as a beverage, shall be licensed 
and regulated by law." 

Sec. 2. At such election, on the ballot of each 
elector voting for the proposed amendments to 
the Constitution, shall be written or printed the 
words: "For proposed amendment to the Con- 
stitution, prohibiting the manufacture, sale and 
keeping for sale of intoxicating liquors as a beve- 
rage;" or "Against said proposed amendment to 
the Constitution, prohibiting the manufacture, 
sale and keeping for sale of intoxicating liquors 
as a beverage." There shall also be written or 
printed on the ballot of each elector voting for 
the proposed amendment to the Constitution the 
words : " For proposed amendment to the Con- 
stitution that the manufacture, sale and keeping 
for sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage in 
this State shall be licensed and regulated by law ;" 
or, "Against said proposed amendment to the 
Constitution that the manufacture, sale and keep- 



ing for sale of intoxicating liquors as a beverage 
shall be licensed and regulated by law." 

Sec. 3. If either of the said proposed amend- 
ments shall be approved by a majority of the 
electors voting at the said election, then it shall 
constitute section twenty-seven (27) of article one 
(1) of the Constitution of this State. 

In the fall of 1889 those favoring prohi- 
bition in this city organized for work. The 
members of the Woman's Christian Temper- 
ance Union, the Good Templars, Non-Par- 
tisan League and the Prohibition Club 
formed a combination for the campaign, with 
John Dale, president; W. N. McCandlish, 
secretary; Charles Watts, Luther A. Har- 
mon and Mrs. George W. Clark, executive 
committee. In order to secure tlie support 
of the city churches the following was 
printed as a circular and thoroughly dis- 
tributed : 

" To the Pastors and Officers of the Churches in 
Omaha: 

"De.\r Brothers — A meeting was held 
in the First Baptist Church, in this city, 
October 21, 1889, in response to a call 
signed by about thirty pastors, with a num- 
ber of other temperance workers. 

" The object of the meeting, as presented 
in the call by its originator, Mr. L. L. 
Abbott, is briefly summed up in the necessity 
for the immediate organization of a Gospel 
Temperance Union, through whicli could be 
secured the united efforts of all Christians 
and moral people in opposition to the rap- 
idlj' growing power of the rum traffic. Also: 

" a. That this Union work should be built 
upon the teachings of the Bible: 

" 1. That we are our brother's keeper. 

" 2. Cursed is he that giveth his neighbor 
drink. 

'• 3. No drunkard shall inherit the King- 
dom of Heaven; and 

" 4. I will not be with j'ou except ye 
destroy the accursed thing from among you. 

'' b. That this work should be upon a line 
that will unite all who love our Lord, and 
others who, through love of humanity and 
our nation, desire to labor for the protection 



THE PROHIBITION BATTLE — JOINT DEBATES. 



179 



of our j'outh and homes from the Great 
Destroj'er — Intemperance. 

" c. That to do this successfully the work- 
ers should invite the men, women and 
children of our State, without regard to 
religious or party affiliations, to unite in one 
grand effort to outlaw the liquor business, 
and thus speedily drive it from the land. 

" This is not a secret society, but an open 
union in which all can unite and work. 

" The fact may not be recognized bj^ all 
that the struggle only one year ahead of us 
in Nebraska will probablj' concentrate more 
money and effort on the part of the liquor 
interests than any other place or period in 
the past. 

•' The times demand a fearless ministry 
and people in battling witli the rum traffic, 
and it is within the power of the professing 
Christians in this State to close eveiy saloon, 
and in neglecting to do so they are and 
forever will be held responsible. 

"At the meeting alluded to the under- 
signed were appointed a committee to sug- 
gest plans for action until a more formal 
organization shall supplant them. We come 
to you with these proposals: 

" 1st. That a public gospel temperance 
service be held every Sunday afternoon, at 
Boyd's Opera House, whereat, perhaps, the 
churches by turn may principally conduct 
the services. 

" 2d. That in each church such a service 
be held one Sunday evening each month. 
That these for greater interest and union be 
inter-denominational, in that the speakers 
at the meeting in a Methodist Church, for 
instance, come from a Presbyterian Church, 
and so on — ui-ging each pastor to call out 
his lay talent to assist him. 

" 3d. That a Union be organized in each 
church, to render more effective the work of 
all, and such Union appoint one representa- 
tive to the central organization. 

" Will you kindly express your views on 
this svibject to the chairman or secretary at 
as early a day as convenient? Earnestly 



implore the guidance of the Holy Spirit in 
this matter." 

Bo^yd's Opera House was occupied on 
Sunday afternoons during the fall and win- 
ter. Then the Exposition Building was 
occupied for a short time and in the spring 
the old Acadamy of Music — which had 
degenerated into a variety hall known as 
the " People's Theatre " — was leased and 
fitted up, at considerable expense, for the 
purpose of holding public meetings. Large 
sums of money were raised in various parts 
of the country, and sent to Omaha and other 
portions of the State to aid in carrying 
the prohibition amendment. Rev. Dr. 
Thomas, of Chicago, ex-Governor St. John, 
of Kansas, Dr. Kynett and other speakers of 
prominence delivered addresses at the thea- 
tre, and a large tent was erected in a grove 
at the intersection of Twent3r-Eighth and 
Mason Streets, and here public meetings 
were conducted during the summer, under 
the auspices of the Good Templars, where 
addresses were made by a dozen or more 
speakers, hailing from various States of the 
Union, and so generally bearing the title of 
" Colonel " that that distinction was applied 
in derision to all prohibition orators, by the 
opposition, during the closing months of the 
campaign. 

THE JOINT DEBATES. 

June 5th and 7th a debate was held at 
Beatrice, in the presence of nearly six 
thousand people. Professor Samuel Dickey, 
of Michigan, chairman of the executive 
committee of the National Prohibition 
party, and Rev. Sam. Small, of Utah, 
appearing as advocates of the prohibition 
cause, and Edward Rosewater, editor of the 
Omaha Bee, and John L. Webster, Esq., of 
Omaha, as defenders of the high license 
system. A full shorthand report was made 
of this debate, printed in the Bee and sent 
broadcast over the land. In September a 
similar discussion was held at Grand Island, 
ex-Governor Larrabee, of Iowa, and ex- 
Attorney-General Bradford, of Kansas, rep- 



180 



HISTORY or THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



resenting the prohibition cause and Messrs. 
Rosewater and Webster, the high license 
doctrine. Complete shorthand reports were 
also made of these speeches and published 
in the Bee, with a view of giving the widest 
circulation to the arguments on both sides 
of the question. The Grand Island debate 
was noticeable for the valuable mass of 
information on this important subject pre- 
sented by the speakers. The exponents of 
the high license system had made a close and 
careful study of the question, its history in 
the various States where prohibitor}- laws 
had been enacted, with the practical results 
arising therefrom. This fact, together with 
the official positions recently occupied b.y the 
champions of prohibition in their own States, 
in one of which statutory, and in the other 
constitutional prohibition had been the law 
of the land for nearly a decade, gave charac- 
cter and force to the arguments advanced. 

In addition to their services on these 
occasions Messrs. Rosewater and Webster 
spoke in various towns and cities through- 
out the State against the prohibitorj- amend- 
ment, Mr. Webster making thirty speeches, 
and Mr. Rosewater nearly as many, during 
the closing weeks of the campaign. 

In the meantime the friends of the amend- 
ment were very active. To Rev. M. L. 
Holt was given charge of the organization 
of the Omaha churches in behalf of the 
cause, and a very active campaign was made. 
The local press, with the exception of the 
Leader, a weekly paper of limited circula- 
tion, opposed the amendment, but the city 
was flooded with copies of a New York 
weekly called the Voice, which claimed to be 
the organ of the National Prohibition partj-, 
and the Lincoln Call. The publishers of the 
Voice devoted a great deal of space to the 
Nebraska campaign and many thoiisands of 
copies of the paper were distributed gratu- 
itously throughout the State. They also 
undertook the collection of a fund in aid of 
the amendment, and a sum variously esti- 
mated at from $15,000 to $40,000 was thus 



secured and sent to Nebraska, the contribu- 
tions coming from every State in the Union. 
The interest of the children and 3'outh was 
elicited by means of contests for Demorest 
medals of silver, gold and diamonds, offered 
as prizes for distinction in oratory, the selec- 
tions being confined to a book of essays 
detailing the evils of intemperance. During 
the month of October an entertainment of 
some sort could be found at the old Academj' 
of Music (which had been re-christened 
"Amendment Headquarters") nearly every 
evening. Mrs. Helen Gougar, Miss Frances 
E. Willard, Mrs. Mary Lathrop, Mrs. Rus- 
sell, ex-Governor St. John, of Kansas, and 
other speakers of like prominence, followed 
each other in rapid succession. On the 
Sunday immediatel^y preceding election day 
Governor St. John was billed to appear, in 
tlie following sensational manner: "Free 
Grand Barbecue at Amendment Hall next 
Sunday Afternoon! Ex-Governor St. John 
will Roast Editor Rosewater and Eat Him 
in the Evening!" A challenge to St. John 
was tliereupon printed in the Bee by Rose- 
water, and the Coliseum Building, capable 
of seating eight thousand people, was 
secured for a meeting at 2 o'clock Sunday 
afternoon, on which occasion at least five 
thousand people assembled to hear the antic- 
ipated discussion ; but Mr. Rosewater was the 
only speaker. At the afternoon meeting at 
Amendment Headquarters, Governor St. 
John announced that upon arriving in 
Omaha that afternoon he learned that he 
had been challenged by Rosewater; but, in 
view of the fact that a large package of 
that morning's issue of the Call of Lincoln 
(a prohibition paper) had just been distrib- 
uted among those present, containing an 
interview at Lincoln held the night before 
with St. John, who then refused to accept 
Rosewater's challenge, which was the subject 
of the interview, mauj- of his liearers 
declined to accept the inference he plainly 
meant to convey, to-wit: that he had not 
heard of the challenge until he arrived in 



MISS FRANCES E. AVILLAED S ADDRESS. 



181 



Omaha. He made a brief address that after- 
noon and in the evening spoke at length, 
but distinctly declared that he had no inten- 
tion of participating in barbecues or posing 
as a cannibal. 

The last few weeks of the campaign were 
especiall}' exciting, as the impression gener- 
ally prevailed that the vote would be close. 
Those who favored the amendment began 
the campaign early in the spring, and every 
hamlet in the State was visited by their 
speakers. Their opponents began their task 
later on, and, in many sections of the State, 
no anti-amendment speeches were made. 
However, a great deal of literature, tending 
to show the discouraging features of the pro- 
hibitory law in States where it liad been 
adopted, with facts and figures as to the 
remarkable development of Nebraska under 
the high license system, was circulated, 
chiefly by an organization, composed of 
leading business men of tlie State, known 
as " The Bankers' and Business Men's As- 
sociation," and called by the prohibitionists 
" Bummers' and Boodlers' Association." 
Edward P. Roggen, of Lincoln, ex-Secre- 
tary of State, was put in charge of the 
anti-amendment work, by this association, 
and devoted all his time for several months 
to the task. An organization called " The 
Personal Rights League," of which Louis 
Heimrod, of Omaha, was president, com- 
posed mostly, if not entirely, of foreigners, 
or those of foreign parentage, canvassed the 
State against the amendment. These two 
associations collected a considerable sum of 
money, at home and abroad, for campaign 
purposes. 

The following address, headed, " To the 
"Women of Nebraska," by Miss Frances E. 
AVillard, President of the National Women's 
Christian Temperance Union, was given 
wide circulation throughout the State, dated 
October 1, 1890: 

'•My Valiant Comrades in the Fight: — I 
know 'your work of faith, and labor of 
love, and patience of liope.' Soon you will 



come even unto the last, when the ounce of 
power will tell beyond tons of power that 
have been expended hitherto. The Brewers' 
Journal, commenting upon the great decis- 
ion just before 3-ou, says: 'If the Second 
Amendment is carried, local option will be 
wiped out, for it will make prohibition in 
the State unconstitutional.' Nothing, I am 
sure, has spurred you onward like this con- 
sideration. No canvass has ever been made 
under such pressure, for in none has the al- 
ternative been so distressing. But, on the 
other hand, if you succeed, you will have 
such promise of enforcement as has never 
Ijcen enjoyed, for your State will be practi- 
cally surrounded by prohibition territory. 
To m}' mind, the crucial question of this 
campaign is, ' Will the women go to the 
polls.?' Good and true men from all parts 
of the countrj' are urging me to urge j'ou to 
take upon you this final, and, as you think, 
heaviest cross. Go with prayer and song, 
with pledge and temperance literature, with 
coffee and sandwiches, and ballots. Estab- 
lish yourselves as near the polls as practica- 
ble; embellish j^our headquarters with what- 
ever can suggest the appearance of a Christ- 
ian home; furnish, when you can, a button- 
hole bouquet to each of those who vote for 
God, and home, and native land; bring out 
the children in battle array, with songs and 
banners. Sometimes they have been con- 
veyed in wagons from one polling place to 
another, singing such songs as: 

' Dare to do right, dare to be true; 

You have a work that no other can do.' 
" Two or three days before the voting, fit 
out every child in Sunday school and pub- 
lic school with an amendment ballot, asking 
them to see that somebody votes it for tlieir 
sakes. This has been a method of great value 
in past campaigns. The young ladies have 
helped us greatly in arranging for the cru- 
sade by the children. Let the older women 
assemble for prayer in the church, on the 
principle of ' old women for council, young 
women for war,' and let the bells be rung 



182 



HISTORY or THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



every hour, when the leaders are changed in 
the prayer meeting. Sometimes the bells 
have been rung every seven minutes, as this 
is the interval of the passing knell of ruined 
lives because of drink. Let me encourage 
you by the statement that, having been at 
the polls many times, I have never found 
any such lions in the way as the imagina- 
tion had previously contrived. Men in 
America, in the masses, at least, always treat 
women with courtesy. Their morale is ex- 
cellent in this regard. 

" A dignified and womanly bearing fur- 
nishes the best credentials. Read the ac- 
counts in ' Women and Temperance ' of how 
the women went to the polls in different 
States, and see what a high day it was in 
Zion by reason of their presence. Even the 
conservative women of the South now, in 
several of the States, are habitually present 
when the local option fight is on. The min- 
isters are there illustrating applied Chris- 
tianity all day long, in their efforts to win 
votes for the home as against the saloon, and 
many a time, when victory turned on Zion's 
side, the good pastor has led the victorious 
group of work-a-day Christians in singing 
the doxology, and lifted up his faithful hands 
in blessing as the day's work ended. So may 
it be in many a hamlet, village and town 
throughout the great, young commonwealth 
whose destinjr is to be decided on next No- 
vember 4th, and whether you win or lose God 
will defend the right." 

A few days before the election the Omaha 
friends of the amendment began the publi- 
cation of a four-column, four-page paper, 
for free distribution throughout the city, 
called the Daily Bumble Bee, under the aus- 
pices of " The Prohibition and Non-Parti- 
san County Central Committees," which 
publication was discontinued as soon as the 
result of the election was definitely known. 
Though its existence was brief, it was ex- 
citing, and the paper attracted its full share 
of public attention for a week. Personal 
feeling between the opposing factions be- 



came very bitter. In his speech at the Col- 
iseum, November 2nd, Mr. Rosewater said he 
was in receipt of many threatening letters, 
and read the following, which he said had 
come to hand that day, postmarked Nelson, 
Nebraska: " If prohibition is defeated, four 
of us have decided that you must die, and 
"Webster, too. It will take time, but we 
will not let you slip, nor him, either. We 
have children, and we know what prohibi- 
tion does. If j'ou had done as much as you 
could without lying, we would have let you 
and Webster go. We thought we would 
give you and him one chance for your 
worthless carcasses, and only one." 

On election day, November 4th, the weather 
proved exceptionally pleasant. An earnest 
effort had been made in Omaha to secure a 
full registration of voters, and to this end 
large placards, ornamented with the admo- 
nition: "Register to-day!" were hung on 
street cars, displayed at the doors of busi- 
ness houses, attached to coal and lumber 
wagons, etc., etc., while the daily papers 
used every means possible to impress upon 
the local voter the necessity of not onlj' reg- 
istering, but of also being on hand at an 
early hour of the morning to cast his vote, 
in order to " avoid the rush " which was an- 
ticipated for the closing hours of the day. 
It was feared that there would be trouble at 
the polls, each party charging the other with 
premeditated outrage and violence. To guard 
against any thing of that kind, forty special 
policemen and forty-five sheriff's deputies 
were sworn in for special service at the 
polls and for a reserve at police headquar- 
ters, subject to call from any part of the 
city. In addition, six officers and sixty- 
eight patrolmen were detailed for duty at 
the voting places, and a force was added to 
the specials held as a reserve. No doubt 
these precautions aided in preserving order, 
though it is reasonable to suppose that an- 
ticipations of riot and bloodshed were largely 
due to the exaggerated statements of both 
parties. Certain it is, that Omaha was 



NOTICE OF CONTEST OF THE ELECTION. 



183 



overwhelmingly opposed to the amend 
and the fact that at a few polling places 
those who attempted to distribute Republi- 
can, Democratic and Alliance tickets, but 
favoring the amendment, were so roughly 
treated that they were compelled to desist, 
has, since the election, been fully established. 
The contest for all of the State offices, which 
the leaders of the Farmers' Alliance party 
made, was based almost entirely upon this 
fact, as is shown by the following points in 
their notice of contest: 

" That illegal combinations were organ- 
ized in the city of Omaha and in the State, 
known as ' The Bankers' and Business 
Men's Association,' and 'The Personal 
Rights League,' whose object and purpose 
was to defeat and deprive voters of Omaha 
and tlie State of the right to vote freely 
and fully, to defeat the will of the 
voters, corrupting voters, and creating 
wholesale sentiment against a free and fair 
election, the boycotting and ostracizing of 
those who were opposed in sentiment to 
these societies, and the discharge of em- 
ployes and threats of boycotting and dis- 
charge of all who opposed them. 

" That these societies brought into the 
State large sums of money for the purpose 
of defeating a free and fair election. That 
these parties caused about 2,800 aliens to 
be naturalized, and paid fees for such nat- 
uralization in a manner that would consti- 
tute a bribe. 

"That the city council of Omaha were 
members of this conspirac3',and, for the pur- 
pose of preventing a legal registration, ap- 
pointed prejudiced and partisan persons on 
the boards of registration, and denied rep- 
resentation to other parties. 

" That the count}^ commissioners became 
parties to the conspiracy by appointing par- 
tisan judges and clerks of election. 

" That the postmaster, and the common 
carriers of Omaha, were in the conspiracy 
and refused to deliver matter which did not 



agree with the views of the conspirators, and 
that the press co-operated by inciting a dan- 
gerous and criminal state of excitement. 

" That in certain specified voting pre- 
cincts in the City of Omaha the ballot boxes 
were not kept in view, as required by law, 
while the votes were being cast and counted. 

"That in over thirty polling precincts, 
tickets bearing the name of contestant were 
taken from the hands of persons who were 
distributing them and torn up, and these 
men by threats and intimidation driven from 
the polls. 

" That, by a corrupt and illegal agreement 
between Republicans and Democrats in the 
City of Omalia, it was arranged that neither 
Democratic nor Republican tickets should 
be challenged, if printed in accordance with 
the views of the conspirators, and that chal- 
lengers from any other parties should be 
prevented from exercising their rights. 

"That the Omaha conspiracy exists yet, 
and that threats have been made to prevent 
persons from divulging the fraudulent 
methods by which the election was carried. 

" That in the fourth precinct of the third 
ward in Omaha, 150 votes cast for Powers 
were not counted." 

The taking of testimony in the case was 
commenced at Lincoln, December 4, 1890. 
Among the witnesses who testified as to 
scenes of personal violence, in most of 
which they were the victims, were Samuel 
Macleod, G. W. Clark, J. Phipps Roe, L. L. 
Abbott, M. Osterholm, M. J. Smith, Walter 
B. Prugh, Rev. John H. Henderson, Charles 
EUson, .1. M. Taylor, Rev. Q. A. Shinn, F. 
A. PhiUeo, Silas W. Wilson, Rev. E. E. 
Erling, Anthony Johnson, W. H. Sherwood, 
Rev. P. S. Merrill, A. Thomas, W. E. Greene. 
These witnesses testified that they were not 
interfered with in casting their votes, the 
disturbances resulting entirely from efforts 
made to distribute tickets reading, '' For the 
prohibitory amendment," which tickets 
otherwise followed the form of the Repub- 



184 



HISTOEY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



lican, Democratic and Alliance tickets — the 
TOter exercising his own choice ' in that 
regard. 

The last two weeks of December were 
devoted to taking testimony in Omaha, but 
here the evidence of those opposing as well 
as those favoring the amendment was given. 
Among the former were Bishop AVorthing- 
ton, Rev. John Williams, Rev. W. J. Harslia, 
Rev. C. H. Gardner, Rev. J. T. Dnryea, 
Judges Wakelej% Doane, Clarkson and 
Dundy, Mayor Gushing, ex-Mayor Broatch, 
Police Commissioners Hartman, Bennett, 
Gilbert and Smith, Chief of Police Seavej% 
Editors Rosewater and Hitchcock, Dr. 
George L. Miller, Postmaster Clarkson, 
Sheriff Boyd, and many others, all of whom 
testified that the election was one of unusual 
quietness and good order, and that the vio- 
lent telegrams sent out during the day to 
the effect that the city was in the hands of 
a mob and that the chief of police had 
declared his inability to maintain order were 
unwarranted by the facts. Some testimony 
of a character similar to that secured at 
Lincoln was also given bj' a few witnesses. 
A full State ticket had been nominated bj' 
the Prohibition party, but it received but 
little attention in Omaha, the main object 
here being to carry the amendment regard- 
less of the party nominees. 

As an offset to the claims of ri'oting made 
by the friends of the amendment, the follow- 
ing report, made by Police Chief Seavey 
to the board of fire and police commis- 
sioners, is of interest: 

" I have the honor to report that during 
election day, the -Ith inst., there were ninety- 
two police officers and fortj-one special 
policemen on duty at the polls and elsewhere 
about the city. The policemen on day duty 
worked thirteen hours, those on night duty 
sixteen hours, and the special policemen were 
on duty twelve hours. I read the law gov- 
erning elections to all the men and instructed 
them accordingly, and, notwithstanding the 
several complaints that the police exceeded 



their authority in some instances, and that 
certain persons did not receive police pro- 
tection, I have reason to believe that the 
police department performed its duty 
thoroughly and well. Several quarrels 
occurred at the different polling places, which 
were immediately stopped by the police, 
thereby preventing any serious disturbance. 
There were thirty-one arrests made during 
the twent3'-four hours ending at 7 a. m., 
November 5th, thirteen of which were for 
drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Two 
saloon keepers were found doing business on 
election day, namely, John Didam, at Shee- 
ly's,and F. llunzicker, 414 South Thirteenth 
Street, both of whom will be prosecuted. 
The important and memorable election of 
November 4, 1890, was one of the most 
quiet general elections held in Omaha during 
my term of office. I attribute the good 
order of that day to the fact of the saloons 
being closed, the orderly conduct of our 
citizens and the vigilance of the officers." 

During the campaign, the Central West, a 
prominent Presbyterian weekly of this city, 
strongly supported the amendment; hence, 
the following article, published as an edito- 
rial, after considerable testimony had been 
taken in Omaha, may be considered a fair 
summing up of the situation: 

" In its issue immediately after the late 
election, the New York Voice published a 
dispatch from Omaha, the gist of which is 
contained in the following extract: 

" ' The whole citj- is given entirely over to 
the whisky mob. There is riot and blood- 
shed in nearly everj^ ward. Men, ladies of 
the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, 
are being insulted, mobbed, and driven from 
the polls b}- the drunken rabble. Ministers 
of the gospel are slugged, beaten, and 
dragged from the polls and compelled to flee 
for their lives.' 

" This dispatch shows upon its face that it 
was sent while the election was in progress. 
It was evidently not based upon a calm and 
complete review of the situation, and is 



A SUMMIJSTG UP OF THE SITUATION. 



185 



open to the suspicion of being part of a 
preconceived plan to throw discredit upon 
tlie election in this citj''. It has laid the 
foundation of the assaults upon Omaha 
which have appeared in religious and other 
journals. 

" This paper has taken occasion to say that 
such representations were not warranted by 
the facts. The Investigation which has 
been conducted in this city and at Lincoln 
has sustained this opinion. A large amovmt 
of testimony has been taken. A consider- 
able part of it, however, is worthless as 
evidence, unless the recognized laws of evi- 
dence are to be ignored. A number of the 
witnesses testified as to their opinions, and 
what they thought, and what they feared. 
The witnesses who were so free in expressing 
their opinions, on cross-examination, testified 
to a state of facts which materially dis- 
counted the value of their opinions. For 
instance, on their examination in chief, seve- 
ral witnesses declared that the election was 
not a fair one, while on cross-examination 
the same witnesses testified that no one was 
prevented from voting as he saw proper. 

" The testimony shows that, while there 
were individual instances of bad treatment, 
there was no such state of affairs as the 
Voice correspondent represented. The city 
was not given over to the whisky mob. 
There was no mob, neither was there an}- 
riot. There is not a particle of evidence 
that there was bloodshed in any ward. There 
is no evidence that ' ministers were slugged, 
beaten and dragged from the polls,' or that 
anyone had reason to flee for his life. More- 
over, there is not a syllable of evidence to 
the effect that any minister was ridden on a 
rail. That some men, and even ladies, were 
insulted, we do not undertake to question. 
These are the acts of a low class of men to 
be found in ail cities. Their conduct admits 
of no apologj', and deserves the severest 
reprobation. 

" The matter of interference with ticket 
peddlers figures quite largely in this testi- 



monj^ It is a noticeable fact that every man 
who claims to have experienced an^' ill- 
usage was peddling tickets of all parties. 
Upon its face this seems to have been a dis- 
interested course to pursue, but in reality it 
was not. For example, among other tickets 
peddled by them was one which was headed 
'Democratic Ticket.' Below the names on 
the ticket were the words, ' For the Prohibi- 
tion Amendment,' etc. Now the State 
Convention of that party had squarely 
pronounced against the prohibitory amend- 
ment. The authorized ticket of that party 
was made up in accordance with this declar- 
ation. Under the laws of Nebraska the 
ticket so presented was the only regular 
ticket. Of course it was the privilege of 
any Democrat who wished to vote for the 
amendment to substitute in writing the word 
' for ' for the word ' against.' But neither 
he nor any set of men could print a ticket 
which in a material point differed from the 
ticket prepared bj' the authorized committee 
of that party. The laws of Nebraska recog- 
nize a ' regular ticket,' and they make it a 
misdemeanor to offer a ticket which contains 
a printed alteration of any name which 
appears upon the regular ticket. In view 
of the fact that the statute uses the phrase 
'regular ticket,' the interpretation would 
doubtless hold that no departure in a sub- 
stantial particular from the regular ticket 
would be admissible. At all events this 
opinion was generally held, and hence all 
other tickets were regarded as bogus. The 
fact that such tickets were circulated largely 
contributed to irritate the situation. It was, 
so far as results were concerned, an attempt 
to mislead voters. The caption, which pre- 
sumably defined the character of the ticket, 
led some voters to suppose that the whole 
ticket was what it purported to be, when in 
fact it was not. There was no propriety or 
wisdom in resorting to such tactics. It was 
the trick of a ward politician. More than 
fifteen hundred votes were cast in favor of 
the amendment, and the testimony fails to 



186 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



show that anyone experienced ill-usage in 
casting his vote. 

" Men of the highest standing, like Judges 
Wakeley and Clarkson, Rev. Drs. Duryea 
and Harsha, Bishop Worthington and Rev. 
John Williams, testified to the orderly and 
peaceable character of the election in Omaha. 
Their testimony was direct and positive, 
being based upon their own observations 
and also upon their knowledge of previous 
elections, and should carry conviction to 
every fair-minded person. 

" It seems strange to us that there are 
Christian people, and even ministers, who 
have shown a disposition to resent any 
attempt to deny or disprove these charges. 
The Central West gave the amendment an 
honest and consistent support while it was 
pending, but it by no means follows that it 
is the duty of this paper to countenance or 
endorse all the tactics of those who claim to 
be prohibitionists. "We aim at all times to 
speak the things that we believe to be true. 
The commandment, ' Thou shalt not bear 
false witness against thj" neighbor,' covers 
the community as well as individuals. 
Those who bear the name of Christ should, 
of all others, evince a spirit free from cen- 
soriousness, and a positive I'eluctance to 
believe evil of an individual or community 
until it has been fulljr and irrefutably estab- 
lished." 

The result of tlie election was a surprise 
to both parties, the amendment receiving 
but 82.390 votes as against 112,043. As a 
majority of all the votes cast was necessary 
for the adoption of the amendment, it was 
defeated by a majority of 50,277, though 
the majority of votes cast in opposition was 
only 29,653. Douglas County polled 1,555 
votes for the amendment and 23,918 against 
it. The amendment to make the licensing 
of saloons a constitutional measure was also 
defeated, the vote being 75,515 for and 
91,035 against, Douglas County casting 
22,786 for the proposition and 1,940 against 



it. The prohibition vote in Omaha was 
materially affected by the practical effect of 
the law in Iowa, as witnessed in Council 
Bluffs, where, for nine years tlie efforts made 
to carry out the law had proven futile, the 
result being that that city had last year and 
still has a much larger ratio of saloons to 
population than Omaha, run in utter and 
open violation of law by men of no finan- 
cial responsibilitj'. Contrasted with this the 
Nebraska high license law has secured a 
comparatively strict regulation of the saloon 
business and greatly reduced its evils. 

A quarter of a century ago the Good 
Templars' organization w.as very popular in 
Omalia. A number of lodges were organ- 
ized, and the membership included a large 
proportion of the young people of the city, 
but tlie interest gradually decreased, and, 
for a dozen years past, the order has not 
been active in Omaha. Life Boat Lodge, 
No. 150, meets every Thursday evening at 
Marathon Hall, Cuming and Twenty-Fifth 
Avenue, Roger Dickens, C. T.; Guy S. 
Andrus, P. C. T.; Miss Jessie Smith, V. T.; 
T. B. Barnes, L. D.; Mrs. S. L. Forby, S. J. 
T.; Miss Theresa Schock, R. S.; Miss Nellie 
Askwith, L. S.; T. L. Combs, A. S.; G. M. 
Frazer, Treasurer; Q. R. Shinn, C; Ed- 
ward Shinn, M.; Miss Viola M. Barnes, D. 
M.; Miss Rosa Dewey, G.; Lee Forby, S. 

The first organization of the Woman's 
Christian Temperance Union in this city 
was effected in June, 1879, mainly through 
the efforts of Mrs. W. B. Slaughter, at a 
meeting held in the Methodist Church, on 
Davenport Street. At this meeting Mrs. 
Slaughter was elected president, Mrs. M. E. 
Gratton, secretary, Mrs. D. C. Sutphen, 
treasurer, and Mrs. W. L. Beans, corres- 
ponding secretary. The movement proved 
a popular one, and in a few months a great 
many of the ladies of the leading churches 
of the city were enrolled as members. The 
passage of the high license liquor law in 
1881 gave the Union an opportunity for 



SOME OF THE TEMPERANCE WORKERS. 



187 



active work, and it bore an important part 
in the task of carrying the law into effect, 
in spite of the strong opposition of the liq- 
uor interests. In April, 1884, a restaurant 
was established on Fifteenth Street, near 
Capitol Avenue, where excellent meals were 
served at low prices, the main object being 
to compete to some extent with the free lunch 
business of the saloons. It was at this time 
that Mrs. G. W. Clark became identified 
with the work here, coming to Omaha from 
Cleveland, Ohio, armed with the experience 
of the famous " Woman's Crusade " of that 
section of the country, and from that day to 
this she has continued her efforts in the ref- 
ormation of Omaha's unfortunates, with 
such rare judgment, zeal and earnestness, 
that she is now known throughout the 
length and breadth of the State. In the 
fall of 1884, the Union leased the notorious 
Buckingham Theater, on Twelfth Street, 
near Dodge, where a home for the needy was 
established, with a restaurant of the same 
character as that on Fifteenth Street, read- 
ing and sleeping rooms; and in the main 
apartment, where for years a variety enter- 
tainment of the most vicious character had 



been conducted, religious services were held 
nightly. 

For two 3'ears this work was carried on, 
with the most gratifying results, the full 
extent of which will not be known until 
the great last day. The sale of the prop- 
erty compelled the ladies to vacate the 
building, and that class of work has not 
since been engaged in. In the meantime, 
other unions have been formed in various 
portions of the city. The present officers of 
the original Union, now known as the Buck- 
ingham, are: Mrs. Watson B. Smith, presi- 
dent; Mrs. M. J. Richardson, secretary; 
Mrs. G. W. Clark, corresponding secretary. 
Of the Watson B. Smith Union, of Walnut 
Hill, Mrs. Fannie Webster is president; 
Mrs. M. E. Gratton, secretary; Mrs. Mars- 
ton, treasurer; Mrs. Silas Wilson, corres- 
ponding secretary. Holmes Union: Mrs. E. 
A. Misner, president; Mrs. Graham Park, 
secretary; Mrs. C. W. McNair, treasurer. 
Leavitt Union: Mrs. M. Rhoads, president; 
Mrs. F. J. Brown, secretary; Mrs. E. L. 
Trace, treasurer. Jennie Smith Union: 
Mrs. E. Jackson, president; Mrs. Mary Roe, 
secretary; Mrs. C. Dawson, treasurer. 



CHAPTER XX, 



Governor Boyd's Election — The Contest Before the Legislature — Governor 

Thayer's Claim — The Case in the Courts — Governor Boyd Declared 

A Citizen by the United States Supreme Court — Takes his Seat. 



One of the most exciting elections ever 
held in the State of Nebraska was the State 
election of 1890. There were three princi- 
pal tickets in the field: the Republican, 
headed by Hon. L. D. Richards, of Fremont, 
as candidate for Governor; the Democratic, 
led by Hon. James E. Boyd, of Omaha; and 
the Farmers' Alliance, with Hon. John H. 
Powers at its head; and, as the result showed, 
the voters were very equallj^ divided among 
the three parties. As noted in the preced- 
ing chapter, the question of prohibition en- 
tered largely into the campaign, as what 
was known as a prohibitory amendment to 
the constitution was to be voted on at the 
same election. 

Each of the parties made a very vigorous 
canvass, and the result showed that James 
E. Boyd was elected Governor, receiving 
71,331 votes, against 70,187 cast for John 
H. Powers, the Independent and Alliance 
candidate, and 68,878 cast for L. D. Rich- 
ards, the Republican candidate. Notwith- 
standing the fact that Mr. Boyd was clearl_y 
elected b^^ the returns, he did not reach the 
position without a contest, and was after- 
ward ousted from the executive chair and 
deprived of his oflfice for nearly one-half its 
term. The World Herald of February 2, 
1892, contained the following history of the 
contest: 

A HISTORY OF THE CASE. 

Fridaj', November 21st, Mr. Boyd was 
served with a notice of contest, served at 
the instance of John H. Powers, who, in his 
affidavit, significantly stated as his first 
ground of contest, to-wit: 



" I was, on and prior to the 4th day of 
November, 1890, and am now, a qualified 
elector of the State of Nebraska, and was a 
candidate for, and eligible to, the office of 
Governor of this State." 

Knowing ones, who, aware of a discovery 
made by Mr. Boyd while on a visit to his 
father, then residing at Zanesville, Ohio, 
could read between the lines that his politi- 
cal opponents had found a flaw in his title 
to citizenship, which affected his eligibility 
to the office of Governor. The secret was 
not, however, made public until later. 
Meanwhile the attorneys for Powers and 
Boyd began to hear testimony in the con- 
test, before notaries, in the manner pre- 
scribed bjf the election laws of the State, 
and a great mass of testimony, covering a 
wide range of topics, was submitted, most of 
which was irrelevant. 

The first knowledge which the public re- 
ceived that there was a question of Mr. 
Boj'd's citizenship and eligibilitj^ to the ex- 
ecutive office was obtained from a dispatch 
which appeared in the World-Herald on the 
morning of December 13, 1890. The dis- 
patch was as follows : 

Cleveland, O., Dec. 12. — A special from Zanes- 
ville, Ohio, says : A curious complication has 
arisen in the case of Governor-elect Boyd, of Ne- 
braska. He was born in Ireland in 1834, and came 
to this city with his father, Joseph Boyd, in 1849. 
Tlie father filed a notice of his intention to become 
a citizen, but did not take out his final papers un- 
til November, 1890. The son did not take out 
papers here, and it is stated that lie has never been 
naturalized in Nebraska. The statutes provide 
that where the father was naturalized his sons 




^^^^^ 0f%u^L^ 



THE CITIZENSHIP OF GOVEKNOR BOYD QUESTIONED. 



189 



under twenty-one years of age are naturalized. 
In this case the father filed his declaration in 1849, 
but did not take out his final papers until 1890. 

So important a discover}' naturally caused 
a great deal of discussion among lawyers. 
Henry Estabrook, Esq., in an article which 
appeared in the World-Herald of Sunday, 
December 8, 1890, gratuitously advanced 
the doctrine-of- relation argument, which he 
has since so sturdily maintained in both the 
State and National Supreme Courts. Joseph 
H. Blair, an attorney previously almost un- 
known in Omaha, and, as after events 
proved, a strong Kepublican partisan, com- 
batted this and other arguments in Mr. 
Boyd's behalf, maintaining that the Govenor- 
elect was not a citizen, and that, neither 
Powers nor Richards having been elected, 
Govenor Thayer would hold over. 

Thus matters drifted along; the taking of 
evidence in the Powers' contest was contin- 
ued from day to day, until Monday, Decem- 
ber 29th, but nothing affecting the citizen- 
ship question was disclosed. 

When the Legislature had been organized, 
and both branches met in joint session, 
Wednesdaj', January 7, 1891, as required by 
the constitution, to canvass the returns, a 
hitch occurred. The Independents had a 
majority of the membership, and undertook 
to abandon custom and precedent and have 
the Speaker act as presiding officer instead 
of the President of the Senate. Lieutenant 
Governor Meiklejohn resisted this rather 
revolutionary proceeding, and with remark- 
able courage held the gavel, refusing to 
recognize motions to adjourn, and rapping 
down rebellious members who refused to 
recognize him as the presiding officer. He 
maintained that the law was plain, and that 
the duty of the Speaker in the premises was, 
under the constitution, purely clerical — to 
open and canvass the returns as handed in 
by the Secretary of State. This, Speaker 
Elder of the House refused to do. After 
hours of struggle a compromise resolution, 
submitted by Chiirch Howe, for a recess 



until 10 o'clock the next morning, was ac- 
cepted. 

During the night a caucus of the Alliance 
members was held, and it was determined to 
take heroic measures to secure control. The 
doors of the assembly hall were locked and 
strongly guarded, admission being allowed 
only through the cloak room, and only to 
those who held tickets of admission signed 
by Speaker Elder. By this means the room 
was packed with partisans of the Alliance 
members. Lieutenant Governor Meiklejohn 
was not permitted to stand at the presiding 
officer's desk, but he had brought a gavel 
with him, and took his station at the Clerk's 
desk, just in front of the Speaker, and took 
control of the joint convention. On a sug- 
gestion from Representative Watson, of 
Otoe County, he addressed a note to Gov- 
enor Thayer, calling upon him for protec- 
tion, and a company of militia was promptly 
marched into the corridors of the capitol, 
where a turbulent throng had assembled, 
clamoring for admission to the assembly 
hall. Order was restored quickly, and 
meanwhile a conference committee, consist- 
ing of four Republican, four Democratic, 
and four Alliance members, was agreed 
upon, and, while the said committee was in 
consultation, a do-nothing status was main- 
tained in the joint convention. 

The attorneys for Governor Boyd had 
meanwhile gone before the Supreme Court 
with a petition for a peremptory writ of 
mandamus upon Speaker Elder to compel 
him to canvass the returns. This was 
granted and turned over to the sheriff of 
Lancaster County, who took a strong 
posse and proceeded to the assembly hall. 
Admission being' denied them, the officers 
promptly broke in the main doors, and as 
promptly served the writ upon Speaker 
Elder. Another recess was then taken and 
a conference held, which resulted in Speaker 
Elder's proceeding to discharge his duty. 
The canvass of the returns was completed at 
5:10 p. M., Thursday, January 8th, Speaker 



190 



HISTOEY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Elder declaring that "for Governor, James 
E. Boyd has received the highest number of 
votes, and is therefore duly elected and 
qualified as Governor." 

Governor Boyd immediately proceeded to 
the Supreme Court chamber, where Judge 
Cobb administered the oath and approved 
his bond of $50,000, and the most exciting 
legislative episode in the history of the State 
was terminated. 

While these exciting events were trans- 
piring in the legislative halls, proceedings as 
revolutionary were being enacted in the ex- 
ecutive department. John M. Thayer, 
whose term as Governor ceased when his 
successor had been formally declared elected 
and sworn in, announced that he would not 
vacate the executive apartments in the cap- 
itol building, asserting that Boyd was not 
legallj^ Governor; that no election had 
taken place; and that he would, under the 
constitution, hold the office until his succes- 
sor was chosen legally. Governor Boyd, 
accompanied by his attorney, called at the 
executive office, around which Thayer had 
placed a cordon of militia. He was per- 
mitted to enter. Tha3'er and his attorne3'S 
then formally declared that they would not 
surrender the apjirtments. Governor Boyd 
retired, and Thayer remained in the office all 
night under guard to prevent a surprise. 

The other State officials, who had been 
declared simultaneously elected with Gov- 
ernor Boyd, promptly recognized him as the 
real Governor, and, as they constitute the 
State board of public lands and buildings, 
they assembled as such board and speedily 
supplied Governor Boyd with other apart- 
ments, which they officially designated the 
" executive offices." Governor Boyd was 
installed in there, the federal authorities, 
mail carriers, janitors, etc., recognizing him 
as the Governor, bringing him the execu- 
tive correspondence, etc. 

There were Indian troubles on the fron- 
tier at the time, and Governor Boyd ap- 
pointed General Victor Vifquain his adju- 



tant general, and placed him in charge of 
the militia department. General Vifquain 
promptly cleared the militia out of the Capi- 
tol and ordered them to report for duty at 
Eushville, the center of the Indian troubles. 

Meanwhile Thayer and his attorneys had 
applied to the Supreme Court on Frida}', 
January' 9 th, for a writ of quo ivarranto to 
compel Boyd to desist from acting as gov- 
ernor. Leave to file the petition was not 
granted until Tuesday, the 13th. Judge 
Cobb, C. J., in making the ruling, said: 

" Last Friday morning application was 
made to file information in the nature of a 
quo warranto by John M. Thayer against 
James E. Boyd. We have been given an 
opportunity for consultation and considera- 
tion of this matter. But, as time is passing, 
and these matters are of great importance to 
the parties in court, as well as to the people 
generally, we have concluded, as a mere 
matter of form and proceeding, and as a 
matter of notice, as well as jurisdiction, to 
indicate that a summons may be issued, re- 
turnable according to the statutes govern- 
ing the issuance of summons in the district 
court here. And we have determined in con- 
sultation that I should say that, if it should 
appear at any time in the course of these 
proceedings that the person who was elected 
Lieutenant-Governor at the last election 
should desire to intervene in this proceed- 
ing, in view of a decision in a certian wa}- 
as to the eligibility of the present incum- 
bent of the executive office, that the Court 
will allow such intervention, and, further- 
more, while it may seem somewhat out of 
place that what I am about to say should 
come from this place, we have deemed it ad- 
visable that it should be said that, during 
the pendency of these proceedings, so far as 
the matter may ever be decided by this 
Court, unless we should be advised differ- 
ently from what we now are, that the rela- 
tor will lose nothing by a quiet and orderly 
submission to the present order of things 
growing out of the recognition of James E. 



THE LEGISLATURE RECOGNIZES GOVERNOR BOYD. 



191 



Bo\'d as the legal Governor, as now recog- 
nized by this Court and all departments of 
the State government." 

Despite this plain appeal to Thayer to 
vacate the rooms he was occuping in the 
capitol, he refused to surrender; so on the 
following day the board of public lands 
and buildings made a formal demand upon 
him to leave. At 11 o'clock the next morn- 
ing, Thursday, January loth, Thayer, under 
this order, vacated, and Governor Boyd 
was promptly installed. 

Some of the Alliance leaders in both 
branches of the Legislature were still dis- 
posed to refuse recognition to Governor 
Boyd, pinning their faith to the contest, 
which thej' expected to result in displacing 
Boyd with Powers. On Friday, January 
16th, however, a motion was passed in the 
Senate, by a vote of fourteen yeas to thir- 
teen nays, recognizing Boyd as Governor. 

Monday, January 19th, John M. Thayer, 
by his attorney, filed an affidavit of notice 
of application for a restraining order on 
January 29th, claiming in the affidavit that 
he (Thayer) had been unlawfully ejected 
from the Governor's office by one James E. 
Boyd, etc. "When the 29th arrived, the ap- 
plication was not called up, it being regarded 
as ridiculous. 

Thursda3\ January 22d, the Supreme 
Court decided that the House having re- 
fused to recognize Governor Boyd, all joint 
proceedings must be annulled until resolu- 
tions, bills, etc., are approved by the 
Governor. 

Thayer delivered his closing message to 
the Legislature, Thursday, February 5th; a 
resolution having been passed, the House, by a 
vote of fifty-four to forty-six, decided to 
recognize Boyd as Governor that day. The 
message of Governor Boj'd was read to 
both Houses the following day. 

Monday, February 16th, Governor Boyd's 
attornej'S filed a motion to dismiss the quo 
warranto proceedings begun by Thayer. 
Accompanying the motion was a demur- 



rer, setting forth that Thayer, not being a 
party in interest, was not concerned in the 
citizenship question. This motion was 
argued before the Court on Wednesday, 
March 4th, and the following day a decision 
was handed down overruling the demurrer 
and fixing Tuesday, March 16th, as the 
date when Governor Boyd must answer to 
question of citizenship. 

Thursday, March 12th, the case was 
argued before the Supreme Court, the coun- 
sel for Governor Boyd making a splendid 
showing. Counsel maintained: 

First. That the Court has no jurisdiction 
to determine this contested election. 
Second. That Thayer is not eligible. 
Third. That James E. Boyd is a citizen 
of the United States as fully as any native 
born citizen, not only since he took out the 
papers on the 16th of December, but ever 
since the year 1867, when the State of 
Nebraska was admitted to the Union. 

Arguing the latter vital points, his counsel 
held in these words: 

" I assert that James E. Boj'd is a citizen 
of the United States. It is conceded b}' all 
that James E. Boyd is competent and capa- 
ble under the laws of the United States to 
become a citizen without any act on his 
own part. It does not come under the cate- 
gor}' of those who have an act affirmatively- 
to perform. When he was a hoj of nine 
years the constitution was such that it was 
competent for Mr. Boyd to become a natural- 
ized citizen without any affirmative act on 
his part. A great many rights are given to 
persons as citizens after they have taken out 
their first papers. The rule has been adopted 
that a person who has taken out his first 
papers is entitled to the protection of the 
Government, and it has never been ques- 
tioned, unless under some treaty between 
this Government and the original country 
from which the party came. But this is not 
the point I was going to make. Let me refer 
to another matter. Thej- say in our answer 
that we state on information and belief that 



192 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Joseph Bo.ycl took out his papers. 'Why 
did you not name the court ? ' thej- say. 
The information that came to me was that 
Josepli Boyd's vote was challenged, and that 
he qualified himself — that was after he took 
out his first papers; that some of the records 
of the court are burned. These are matters 
that we ascertained, and I would not permit 
it to be put in that he had done it, but it 
-was our information and belief. Joseph 
Boyd is an old man nearly eight_y years old 
to-day. If he took out his final papers, it 
was nearly forty j^ears ago, and he might 
have forgotten whether he had taken them 
out or not. He supposed he had. The 
Supreme Court of the United States has de- 
cided that it is not necessary to have a 
judge of the court admit a person to citizen- 
ship. They say, 'Why did you take out your 
papers on the 16th of December.?' There 
was a question about these matters, and, as 
Mr. Boyd was elected Governor of this State, 
he wanted to place himself in a position 
that there would be no question about his 
citizensliip at the time that he entered upon 
the duties of his oflBce, although we concede 
that that may have no bearing upon his 
eligibility ; but at least he is a citizen now, 
and has been a citizen beyond question 
from the time that he took out his papers. 
That is the reason that this was done- 
I will venture the assertion that there are 
thousands of instances where the papers are 
taken out the second time. They tell us 
there are only two ways of acquiring citi- 
zenship, and that is naturalization and native 
born. I say no. There are very many ways of 
acquiring citizenship. It may be by treat}', 
by general law, as has been in this case. 
The position I take, in my opinion, cannot 
be gainsaid. It is incontrovertible. On the 
admission of the State of Nebraska into the 
Union in 1867, everj^ bona fide inhabitant of 
that territory became, by that union, a citi- 
zen of the State of Nebraska and of the 
United States. The organic act providing 
for the organization of tlie territory pro- 



vided, among other things, for the qualifica- 
tion of voters, and the only thing that can 
be urged against it is that there is the quali- 
fication with respect to voters, and it was 
not intended that any other persons should 
be citizens. After the organic act it was 
competent for the Legislative Assembl}' 
to adopt any rules which it saw fit, with 
respect to the eligibility of persons to hold 
office and vote — to give the right of fran- 
chise to residents of one, two, three months, 
or six years.* The right to citizenship and 
the right to vote have nothing in common, 
as a general thing. Persons may be citizens 
and not have the right to vote, and vote 
and not be citizens. The restriction with 
respect to the elective franchise has nothing 
to do with the question of citizenship. All 
women born or married here are citizens. 
The children are citizens. The question of 
the restriction of the elective franchise has 
nothing whatever to do with the question of 
citizenship. Under the act of 1864 this 
State shall be admitted on an equality with 
the original thirteen States. 

When Massachusetts was formed into a 
State, the people of the State of Massachu- 
setts, every bona-fide inhabitant of the State, 
were clothed with the inalienable right of 
citizenship. The question of the admission 
of the older States has exactl}' the same 
conditions, and it is the inalienable right of 
all parties in the territory to become citi- 
zens. I assert that every State that comes 
into the Union, leaving out of consideration 
the condition of the rebel States, comes in 
with every bona-fide inhabitant as a citizen 
of that State, on an equality with the in- 
habitants of the original States. Congress, 
by the enabling act, called upon the actual 
inhabitants, the men out upon the frontier, 
to form a government for themselves. They 
promised them if they would do so accept- 
ably to Congress, they should be admitted 
into the Union, in conformity with the 
rights of the original States, in all respects 
whatsoever. The right of citizenship, under 




^-^ 



'~^ik¥ .^ 










Omaha as Seen from East Side of JIissouri River— 1889. 




UMAHA & Grant Smeltinu and Refining Works. 



Tr.IAL IN THE STATE SUPREME COURT. 



193 



the constitution of the United States, and 
the constitution and laws of the several 
original States, was a right not confen-ed by 
the original colonies upon the organization 
of the several States, nor was it a right con- 
ferred bj^ the constitution of the United 
States, nor any laws enacted thereunder; but 
the fact is that citizenship in the original 
colonies, upon organization into States, was 
one of the inalienable rights of man as a 
member of the society organizing a civil com- 
munity, a State, and every State was an or- 
ganization of the inhabitants thereof. And 
the Nation was an organization of the in- 
habitants thereof, as well as the constituted 
States. And, upon the formation of the gen- 
eral government, everj^ State that was ad- 
mitted into the Union carried with it the 
right of citizenship to every hona-Jkle inhab- 
itant of the several original States, not by 
virtue of any law, but by virtue of the in- 
alienable right of man in his association 
with others to form a government. There- 
fore, every bona-fide inhabitant of the orig- 
inal States, on the admission of such States 
into the Union, became ipso facto citizens of 
the United States. Every new State that 
has been admitted into the Union has been 
admitted into all the rights, privileges and 
immunities awarded to the original States. 
And I claim for Nebraska, as a constituent 
member of the great Union, and for ever}-- 
one of its bona fide inhabitants, the same 
rights granted by the enabling act of Con- 
gress that belonged to the inhabitants of 
Massachusetts, New lork, South Carolina, 
and every other original State, making every 
one of our bona fide inhabitants citizens, 
upon admission to the Union. To deny us 
this right is to deny us that grand right of 
equality with the other States. 

"After the war with England, of 1812, a 
law was enacted in the Territory of Orleans, 
being a portion of the Louisiana grant, pro- 
viding that all foreigners should become 
naturalized within a certain time, under the 



laws of Congress, providing a uniform rule 
of naturalization, and on failure to do so 
they should be considered alien enemies and 
liable to arrest and punishment. After the 
admission of the Territory of Orleans into 
the Union, in 1812, as the State of Louisiana, 
a large number of persons, claiming to be 
British subjects and aliens, were arrested as 
aliens who had failed to become naturalized. 
Several of them were discharged by the Su- 
preme Court of the State of Louisiana, on 
the ground that they were not aliens, though 
they had never been naturalized under the 
natui'alization laws of Congress. So great 
was the excitement concerning the matter, 
that several cases were transferred to the 
Federal Court to obtain the opinion of that 
tribunal on the question of citizenship. The 
United States Court held that, as these 
persons, though never naturalized under the 
naturalization laws of Congress, were bona 
fide inhabitants of the Territory of Or- 
leans at the time the territory was admitted 
into the Union as the State of Louisiana 
upon terms of equality with the original 
States, which was the exact language of the 
admission act of the State of Nebraska, they 
became, the Court declared, by that act of 
admission, i^iso facto citizens of the United 
States and of the State of Louisiana." 

The Court reserved its decision until after 
the Legislature adjourned, it being openly 
charged that the majority of the Court, being 
in sympathy with the railroads, was holding 
the decision over the Governor's head as a 
club to intimidate him against approving 
any legislation inimical to the railroad in- 
terests. It is a fact that the railroad regu- 
lation measure, known as the " Newberry 
Bill," did pass both houses and was vetoed 
by Governor Boyd, April 3, stirring a furi- 
ous storm of indignation among the people 
of the State, and it was stated that, the ev- 
ening previous to affixing his veto, the syl- 
labus of an opinion by one of the justices 
was shown him. It was favorable to the 



194 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Governor, but the judge, who it was alleged 
■wrote it, cast the balance of power in the 
Court against hira. 

Tuesday, May 5, 1891, just one month 
after the adjournment of the Legislature, 
the Supreme Court handed down a decision 
adverse to G-overnor Bo.yd. The following 
is the syllabus: 

State ex rel. John M. Thayer vs. James E. 
Boyd. Quo icarranto judgment of ouster. 

The Supreme Court has jurisdiction to 
entertain proceedings by information in the 
nature of quo icarranto., instituted for the 
purpose of determining the rights of persons 
claiming the office of Governor. 

Second. Under the provisions of Section 2, 
Article IV, of the constitution, no person is 
eligible to the office of Governor who has not 
been a citizen of the United States, and of 
this State, for at least two years next pre- 
ceding the election at which such officer is 
to be chosen. 

Third. Where a plurality of votes are cast 
for a person for a public office who is ineli- 
gible, the election is void. 

Fourth. Under the fourth section of the 
act of Congress, entitled "An Act to Estab- 
lish a Uniform Rule of Naturalization," ap- 
proved April 14, 1802, the child of an alien 
under twenty-one years of age, though born 
in a foreign country, becomes a citizen by 
the naturalization of his parent, if dwelling 
within the United States at the time the 
parent is admitted to citizenship, but it does 
not have that effect if the child is over 
twenty-one years old at the time the parent 
is naturalized. 

Fifth. The order of a court admitting an 
alien to citizenship is a judicial act, in the 
nature of a judgment, and can be proved 
only by the record. 

Sixth. The fact that an alien has, for many 
years, voted at the elections held in this 
State, and filled important public offices, 
does not establish that he is a citizen of the 
United States. 

Seventh. Where an alien is naturalized 



under the naturalization laws, his citizenship 
dates from the time the order of the Court 
is made admitting him to citizenship. 

Eighth. The alien inhabitants of the Terri- 
tory of Nebraska, at the time of its admis- 
sion as a State, did not become citizens of 
the United States by virtue of the act of 
Congress admitting the State into the Union. 

Ninth. The words," Citizens of the United 
States," as used in Section 2 of Article lY of 
the State constitution, are construed to 
mean a person who is an American citizen 
hj birth, or a person of foreign birth who 
has been duly naturalized under the provis- 
ions of the uniform rule of naturalization 
established by Congress. 

Tenth. Under Section 1 of Article Y. of 
the constitution, a person elected to the 
office of Governor is entitled to discharge 
the duties and receive the emoluments of 
the office, for the term of two years, from 
the first Thursday after the first Tuesday in 
January, following his election, and until 
his successor is duly elected and qualified. 

Eleventh. When the person receiving the 
highest number of votes for the office of 
Governor is ineligible, under the constitu- 
tion, to be elected, the then acting Governor 
holds over. 

Twelfth. The duties of the chief executive 
office of the State devolves upon the Lieu- 
tenant-Governor, in certain contingencies, 
among which are the failure of the Govern- 
or-elect to qualify, and the disability of the 
Governor. It cannot be said that there has 
been a failure to qualify where no person 
has been constitutionally elected to the office. 

Thirteenth. The words," Other disabilities 
of the Governor," appearing in Section 16, 
Article Y, of the constitution, have no ref- 
erence to the ineligibility of the person to 
be elected. But these words cover any dis- 
ability of the Governor not specifically 
enumerated in the Section, after the com- 
mencement of his term of office occurring. 

Fourteenth. Held, that, when the non-elec- 
tion of a person to a public office is ascer- 



( 



SYLLABT^S OF THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT 



195 



tained bj- the proceedings in quo warranto, 
the person entitled to hold over m\ist then 
re-qualif}'. 

The opinion was written by Judge Cobb, 
Judge Nerval assenting, Judge Maxwell 
dissenting, holding that, when a Territory is 
admitted to Statehood, the enabling act so 
operates as to make every resident of the 
Territory a citizen of the State, just the 
same as though it was a foreign territory 
acquired by the United States. 

The opinion was handed down at 4:30 in 
the afternoon, and the Court immediately 
adjourned. At 5:15 Governor Thaj-er en- 
tered the executive chamber and demanded 
that the office be turned over to him, under 
writ of ouster, which had been procured to 
head off any motion for stay of proceedings, 
pending an appeal to the Federal Supreme 
Court. Governor Boyd quietly yielded the 
office to him, and the great wrong was 
accomplished. 

Governor Boyd's attorneys at once began 
to prepare an appeal to the Supreme Court at 
Washington, and on Friday, May loth, Jus- 
tice Brewer, for the Court, granted the appli- 
cation for a hearing on a writ of error. 

When the Supreme Court met, after the 
summer recess, application was made for its 
advancement on the docket, and it was 
granted, the arguments being listened to by 
the full bench on Tuesday, December 8th. 

On Monday, February 1, 1892, the United 
States Supreme Court handed down its 
opinion in the case, fully sustaining the 
position of Governor Boyd's attorneys. 
Below will be found the syllabus of the 
Court: 

Boyd v. State of Nebraska ex rel. Thayer. 
February 1, 1893. 

jurisdiction of supreme court -FEDERAL 

QUESTION constitutional LAW NATU- 
RALIZATION. 

1. A decision, by the Supreme Court of a 
State, that a person, bom in a foreign coun- 
try, and claiming to have become a citizen 
of the United States by the operation of its 



laws and constitution, is not such a citizen, 
and therefore not eligible to the office of 
Governor, under the requirements of the 
State constitution, involves the denial of a 
right or privilege claimed under the consti- 
tution and laws of the United States, and is 
reviewable in the Supreme Court thereof. 
Field, J., dissenting. 

2. In a proceeding to oust a person from 
a State office, on tlie ground that he is not a 
citizen of the United States, a demurrer to 
an answer which set up facts alleged to show 
a naturalization necessarily presents a fed- 
eral question, which is reviewable in the 
United States Supreme Court. Field, J., 
dissenting. 

3. Congress has plenary legislative power 
over the Territories of the United States 
and their inh.abitants, and, upon the admis- 
sion of a Territory into the Union, may, if 
it so desires, effect a collective naturaliza- 
tion of its foreign born inhabitants as citi- 
zens of the United States. 

4. When a State is admitted into the 
Union upon an equal footing with the origi- 
nal States, all residents thereof, who are en- 
dowed by Congress with political rights and 
privileges, or who, with the consent of Con- 
gress, are permitted to participate in the 
formation of the new State, become citizens 
of the United States by adoption, even 
though, being foreigners, they have never 
complied with the requirements of the 
naturalization laws. 

5. The Nebraska Enabling Act (13 U. S. 
St. p. 47) declared that all persons qualified 
to vote for Representatives of the Territor- 
ial Legislature should be entitled to vote 
upon the acceptance or rejection thereof, and 
should be eligible to election as members of 
tlie convention. By the existing laws of 
the Territorj^, foreigners who had declared 
an intention to become citizens were enti- 
tled to vote at elections, and this provision 
was carried into the constitution of the new 
State, as ratified by Congress. Held that, 
upon the admission of the State into the 



196 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Union, all persons of this class became citi- 
zens of the United States. 

6. When a foreigner takes the oath declar- 
ing an intention to become a citizen of the 
United States, his minor sons thereby ac- 
quire an inchoate status as citizens; and, if 
they attain majority before their father com- 
pletes his naturalization, that status is capa- 
ble of being converted into complete citi- 
zenship by other means thjin the direct 
application provided for by the naturaliza- 
tion laws. 

7. Where a foreigner takes the oath declar- 
ing an intention to become a citizen, -while 
his son is yet a minor, and the son, on com- 
ing of age, votes at an election under the 
erroneous belief that his father has com- 
pleted his naturalization, and soon after- 
wards removes to a distant territory, and 
for man}^ years endures all the privations 
and dangers of frontier life, votes at elec- 
tions, is elected to oflice, takes an oath to 
support the constitution of the United S tates, 
and takes part in the formation of a State 
constitution and government, he is entitled 
to the benefit of his father's declaration of 
intention in the same manner as if he him- 
self had made the declaration; and, where 
the Territoi'ial laws and the new State con- 
stitution, with the sanction of Congress, con- 
fer political privileges upon foreigners who 
have made such declaration, he will be con- 
sidered as belonging to that class, and on the 
admission of the State will become a citizen 
of the United States. 

8. When no record can be produced show- 
ing the naturalization of a foreigner, natur- 
alization ma}' be inferred from the fact that 



for a long time he voted, held office, and 
exercised all the rights and privileges of a 
citizen. 

9. On an information to oust from office a 
foreign born person, on the ground that he 
is not a citizen, an answer, upon information 
and belief, that the respondent's father com- 
pleted his naturalization before respondent 
reached his majority, and prior to that 
time exercised all the privileges of citizen- 
ship, is admitted by a demurrer, and is 
sufficient to show that respondent himself is 
a citizen. 

48 N. W. Rep. 739, reversed. 

John L. Webster, John H. Blair, Omaha, 
G. M. Lambertson, O. P. Mason, Lincoln, 
and Judge Dillon, of New York, appeared 
for Governor Thayer. John C. Cowin, John 
D. Howe, Henry D. Estabrook, Omaha, rep- 
resented Governor Boyd, assisted by ex-At- 
torney General Garland, of Washington, and 
Charles Ogden, of Omaha. 

One curious circumstance in connection 
with this case was the fact that the Wash- 
ington correspondents, by some means, ob- 
tained, .ind published to the world, a synop- 
sis of the Supreme Court's decision several 
weeks before it was handed down by the 
Court. 

Notwithstanding there had been much 
speculation as to the course Governor Thayer 
would pursue, he very gracefully surrendered 
the office to Governor Boyd, who took pos- 
session on the afternoon of February 8, 1892. 

The event was duly celebrated at Lincoln, 
on Monday, February 15th, large delegations 
visiting the capital city from all parts of the 
State. 



CHAPTER XXI. 



Navigation — The First Steajier on the Missouri — Scenes of Later Years. 



Before the era of railroads, Omaha de- 
pended upon the Missouri River as a " base 
of supplies," and for several j^ears the 
" levee " — now within the boundaries of 
Iowa — presented a lively scene upon the 
arrival or departure of the steamers then 
pl.ying the river. The steamboat first ven- 
turing to ascend the Missouri was the Inde- 
pendence, Captain Nelson, of Louisville, 
which left St. Louis May 15, 1819, with pas- 
sengers and a miscellaneous cargo for the 
thriving town of Franklin, Howard County. 
Missouri, the site. of which town was long 
since swept away by the changing stream. 
Among the passengers on this pioneer steamer 
was Major J. D. Wilcox, father of Captain 
Wm. P. Wilcox, of this city. The occasion 
was a memorable one in the histoiy of that 
section, and a dinner, in honor of that event, 
was tendered Captain Nelson and the pas- 
sengers, by the delighted citizens of Frank- 
lin, when the following toasts were presented 
and properly responded to: (1) ''The Mis- 
souri River; its last wave will roll the 
abundant tribute of our region to the Mexi- 
can Gulf in reference to the auspices of this 
da}'." (2) "The memory of Robert Ful- 
ton, one of the most distinguished artists of 
the age; the Missouri River now bears 
upon her bosom the first effect of his genius 
for steam navigation." (3) " The memory 
of Franklin, the philosopher and statesman; 
in anticipation of his country's greatness, he 
never imagined that a boat at this time 
would be propelled by steam so far west- 
ward to a town bearing his name on the 
Missouri." (4) "Captain Nelson, the pro- 
prietor of the steamboat Independence; the 
imaginary dangers of the Missouri vanished 



before his enterprising genius." (5) " Louis- 
ville, Franklin and Chariton; they become 
neighbors by steam navigation." (6) " The 
republican government of the United States; 
by facilitating the intercourse between dif- 
ferent points, its benign influences may be 
diffused over the continent of North Amer- 
ica." (7) " The policy resulting in the ex- 
pedition to the Yellowstone." (8) " South 
America; may an earl}' day witness the 
navigation of the Amazon and La Plata by 
steam power, under the auspices of an inde- 
pendent government." (9) "International 
Improvements; the New York Canal, an 
imperishable monument of the patriotism 
and genius of its proprietor." (10) " The 
Missouri Territory; desirous to be num- 
bered with the States on constitutional prin- 
ciples, but determined to never submit to 
congressional usurpation." 

The expedition to the Yellowstone re- 
ferred to in the foregoing, for which we are 
indebted to an old copy of the Missouri In- 
telligencer, was a government undertaking. 
Major S. II. Long, of the United States Top- 
ographical Engineers, was in command of 
the part}', which left Pittsburg, Pennsyl- 
vania, May 3, 1819, on the steamer Western 
Engineer. Proceeding down the Ohio and 
up the Mississippi to the mouth of the Mis- 
souri, the expedition reached the town of 
Franklin on the l-3th of July, to a descrip- 
tion of which place considerable space is 
given in an interesting account of the trip, 
published by Edwin James, geologist and 
botanist of the expedition. The members 
of this part}' were also hospitably entertained 
by the citizens of Franklin, and it is inter- 
esting to note the following comments upon 



198 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



the prospects of the settlement, bj^ Mr. 
James: " It is doubtful whether the present 
site of Fraulilin will not, at some future 
day, be occupied by the river, which appears 
to be at tliis time encroaching upon its bank. 
Opposite Franklin is Booneville, containing, 
at the time of our visit, eight houses, but 
having in some respects a more advanta- 
geous situation, and probably destined to ri- 
val, if not surpass, its neighbor." 

In this connection it may not be improper 
to give space to a story of Indian warfare, 
as related by Mr. James: " Mr. Munroe, a 
resident of Franklin, stated that, being on a 
hunting expedition in 1816, on a branch of 
the Le Neine River, he found the relics of 
the encampment of a large body of men, 
whether of white troops, or Indian warriors, 
he could not determine. Not far from this 
encampment he observed a recent mound of 
earth, about eight feet in height, which he 
was induced to believe must be a cache, or 
place of deposit for the spoils which the 
party occupying the encampment had taken 
from the enemy, and which they could not 
remove with them on their departure. He 
opened the mound, and was surprised to find 
in it the body of a white officer, apparently a 
man of rank, and which had been interred 
with extraordinary care. The body was in 
a sitting posture, upon an Indian mat, the 
back resting against some logs placed around 
it in the manner of a log house, enclosing a 
space about three by five feet, and about 
four feet high, covered at the top with a mat 
similar to that beneath. The clothing was 
still in sufficient preservation to enable him 
to distinguish a red coat, trimmed with gold 
lace, golden epaulettes, a spotted buff waist- 
coat, finished also with gold lace, and pant- 
aloons of white nankeen. On the head was a 
round, beaver hat, and a bamboo walking- 
stick, with the initials " J. M. C." engraved 
upon a golden head, reclined against the 
arm. On raising the hat it was found that 
the deceased had been hastily scalped. In 
elation to this stor^', General Smith ob- 



served that, when he commanded the United 
States troops in this department, he was 
informed of an action that had taken place 
near the Le Xeine, in the autumn of 1815, 
between some Spanish dragoons, aided by a 
few Pawnee Indians, and a war party of 
Sacs and Foxes. In the course of this action 
a Spanish officer had pursued an Indian bo}', 
who was endeavoring to escape with a musket 
on his shoulder, but who, finding himself near- 
ly overtaken, discharged the musket behind 
him at random, and had killed the officer on 
the spot. The skirmish continuing, the body 
was captured and recaptured several times, 
and at last remained with the Spanish 
party." 

On the lyth of July the expedition re- 
sumed its course up the river, the AVestern 
Engineer thus being the first steamboat to 
ascend the Missouri River above the town of 
Franklin. September 15.th, the mouth of 
the Platte River is reached, and two days 
later " the trading establishment of the 
Missouri Fur Company, known as Fort Lisa, 
and occupied by Mr. Manuel Lisa, one of 
the most active persons engaged in the Mis- 
souri fur trade." The position selected for 
the establishment of winter quarters for the 
exploring party was " on the west bank of 
the Missouri, about half a mile above Fort 
Lisa, five miles below Council Bluffs, and 
three miles above the mouth of Boyer's 
River," which location is but a short distance 
above the site of Florence, and in the imme- 
diate vicinity of where the reservoirs are 
located from which Omaha is now supplied 
with water. This point was reached Sep- 
tember 19,1819. On the 3rd of October the 
party were visited by a band of Otoe and 
Iowa Indians, for the purpose of holding a 
council. A dance was given by the Indians, 
with a recital of their martial deeds, the lat- 
ter exercise being preceded by the respective 
narrators' striking a post with a stick, indi- 
cating that what he was about to say would 
be " the truth, the whole truth and nothing 
but the truth." Of this part of the enter- 



NARRATIONS OF INDIAN MARTIAL EXPLOITS. 



199 



tainmeut, jMr. James says: " letan went on 
to narrate his martial exploits. He had 
stolen horses seven or eight times from the 
Konzas; he had first struck tlie bodies of 
three of that nation slain in battle. He had 
stolen horses from the letan nation, and 
had struck one of their dead. He liad 
stolen horses from the Pawnees and struclt 
the body of one Pawnee Loup. He had 
stolen horses several times from the Omaw- 
haws and once from tlie Puncas. He had 
struck the bodies of two Sioux. On a war 
party, in companj' with the Pawnees, he had 
attacked the Spaniards and penetrated into 
one of their camps; the Spaniards, excepting 
a man and boy, fled; himself being at a dis- 
tance before his party, he was shot at and 
missed by the man, wliom he immediately 
shot down and struck. Little Soldier, a war- 
worn veteran, took his turn to strike the 
l)ost. He had struck dead bodies of individ- 
uals of all the nations around, Osages, Kon- 
zas, Pawnee Loups, Pawnee Republicans, 
Grand Pawnees, Puncas, Omawhaws, Sioux, 
Padoncas, La Plais or Bald Heads, letans, 
Sauxs, Foxes and loways; he had struck 
eight of one nation, seven of another, etc. 
He was proceeding with his account wlien 
letan ran up to him, put his hand upon his 
mouth and respectfully led him to his seat. 
This act was no trifling compliment paid to 
the well-known brave. It indicated that he 
had still so many glorious acts to speak of 
tliat he would occupy so much time as to 
prevent others from speaking, and put to 
shame the other warriors by a contrast of 
his actions with theirs." 

Mr. James gives many interesting details 
of their experiences at this point during the 
winter. "Mr. Fontenelle," the father of Logan 
Fontenelle, visits the camp and states that 
the Omawhaws (Omahas) "had been much 
necessitated for food, subsisting for some 
time upon the fruit of the red haws, wliich 
tlie squaws sought for under the proper 
trees, beneath the snow." The Sioux, he 



reports, are suffering from the mumps, after 
having had a scourge of small-pox. Big 
Elk, the famous Omaha chief, also pays liis 
respects to the explorers. " He observed 
that we must think them strange people to 
be thus constantly wandering about during 
the cold of winter, instead of remaining 
comfortably housed in their villages. ' But,' 
said he, ' our poverty and necessities compel 
us to do so in pursuit of game, yet we some- 
times venture forth for our pleasure, as in 
the present instance, to visit the white peo- 
ple, whom we are always delighted to see.' 
Then he warned the party against Indians 
of otlier tribes, who made false protestations 
of love; the Omawhaws alone, of all the 
Indian nations in the land, had never stained 
their hands with the blood of the white man. 
He added a strong expression that, such was 
his attachment to us, he believed he should, 
at a future day, be a white man himself." 

The river is measured just below and 
above the camp, and found to be, at those 
points, 100 and 277^ yards, respectively. A 
measurement of tlie current shows a veloc- 
ity of 1,324^ feet per hour on the surface, 
and of 2,680 feet per hour at a mean depth 
of ten feet. In June, 1820, the camp called 
Engineer Cantonment was broken up, tlie 
exploring party proceeding westward up the 
Platte River, by land, and the steamboat was 
sent down to the Mississippi River. 

Captain La Barge, who was at Omaha 
with his steamboat, the John M. Chambers, 
in 1877, assisting in tlie rebuilding of the 
railroad bridge, made his tirst trip up the 
Missouri in 1827, when a lad thirteen years 
of age, going up to the mouth of the Yel- 
lowstone in a steamer completed at Pitts- 
burg that 3fear for the American Fur Com- 
pany's service. La Barge spent the winter 
of 1827 with Cabanne, a trader, located in the 
vicinity of the former site of Engineer 
Cantonment. In 1834 a new boat, the 
Assinniboyne, was put in service on the 
Missouri by tlie Fur Company, which boat 



200 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



was burned to the water's edge in 1835, the 
company losing about $75,000 worth of 
furs. 

For many years there was a lively traffic 
carried on by steamers on the Missouri Iviver 
as far north as Fort Benton. Among the 
vessels engaged in the business after the 
founding of this city were: The West Wind, 
Lizzie Bayless, E. A. Ogden, D. A. J.anuary, 
T. C. McGill, Omaha, Watossa, E. M. Ry- 
land, Platte Valley, Hattie Florence, May 
Little, Martin Gr.aham, Denver, Sam. Getty, 
Chippewa, Spread Eagle, St. Mary's, Ad- 
miral, Fanchon, Fannie Tatum, Katie P. 
Kountze, Kate Kinney, J. H. Lacey, Only 
Chance, Yellowstone, Deer Lodge, St. Johns, 
Prairie State, Effle Deans, Montana, Spray, 
A. B. Chambers, Fontenelle, Kate Howard, 
Camilie, Monongahala, Sultan, Polar Star, 
J. M. Converse, Morning Star, J. II. Lucas, 
New Lucy, David Tatum, Emma, Star of 
the West, Wm. Campbell, F. X. Aubrey, 
Australia, Cataract, Edinburg, Emigrant. 
Hannibal, T. E. Tutt, Carrier, D. E. Taylor 
and Amazon. 

In 1857 there were fiftj^ boats regularlj'- 
employed on the Missouri, running as far 
north as this city. For many years the firm 
of Porter & Deuel — John R. Porter and 
Harry Deuel, the latter now city passenger 
agent for the Union Pacific — carried on a 
business as steamboat agents which amounted 
to a million dollars annually. John A. 
Horbach also did a heavy business as steam- 
boat agent here for m.-iny years. 

In 1849 Captain W. P. Wilcox, for many 
years a resident of Omaha, and kno-wn all 
over the West as a member of the firm of 
Stephens & Wilcox, was clerk of the steamer 



El Paso, which was engaged for two weeks 
in ferrying California emigrants across the 
Missouri at this point. 

Captain W. W. Copeland, of this city, 
spent the period between 1860 and 1867 on 
the river, running between Vicksburg and 
Fort Benton, a considerable portion of which 
time was given to the service of the St. 
Joseph and Omaha line. On the Fourth of J 

July, 1861, the West Wind, of which he was 
clerk, was tied up at St. Joseph. The Sec- 
ond Iowa Infantrj', encamped in that citj^, 
discovered a peculiar looking flag floating 
from the flag-staff of the steamer, and Cap- 
tain Clautman was sent with his company, 
K, to secure its prompt removal, under the 
impression that it was a " rebel rag." Cap- 
tain Copeland, happening to be the only one 
of the boat's officers on board at the time, 
was directed by Captain Clautman to at 
once " haul down his colors," which command 
was received with considerable surprise. 
Explanations followed, and the patriotic 
contingent from the Second Iowa were soon 
convinced that the colors in question were 
not the emblem of treason, but a flag used 
by the steamer before the passage of South 
Carolina's ordinance of secession. This 
was the last anniversary of the Na- 
tion's independence Captain Clautman was 
permitted to witness. On the 16th da_y of 
February, following, confronted by genuine 
rebel flags, with volleys of rebel musketrj- 
and cannonading shaking the ground be- 
neath his feet, the air thick with sulphurous 
smoke, his life was willingly yielded up by 
him in order that victory might be achieved 
bj' his comrades on the bloody field of Don- 
elson. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



Benevolent and Charitable Institutions — Nebraska Institute for the Deaf and 

DuMi; — St. Joseph's Hospital and Similar Institutions — Douglas County 

Hospital and Poor Farm. 



In the way of institutions to aid tlie sicli 
and unfortunate, Omaha is far behind many 
cities of less population and importance. 
The needs in this direction are fully appre- 
ciated by the better class of citizens, and, 
doubtless, the next five years will witness 
great advances in this line. 

Northwest of the business portion of the 
city, now within the municipal boraers, is 
located the State Institute for the Deaf and 
Dumb, opened for the admission of pupils in 
April, 1869. The act of the Legislature 
authorizing its establishment was approved 
February 7, 1867. 

The first efforts for the establishment of 
this institution were those of Rev. H. W. 
Knhns, then a member of the Omaha School 
Board, to whom the parents of Kate Calla- 
,han, a little deaf mute of this city, made 
application to have her educated at the ex- 
pense of the State. Mr. Kuhns saw the 
necessity for a State institution for the pur- 
pose of educating the deaf, and agitated the 
question of having one provided. The sub- 
ject was taken up by other citizens and the 
newspapers, and the act of the Legislature 
authorizing its establishment was approved 
February 7, 1867, and in April, 1869, the 
institution was opened for the admission 
of pupils. The law required the location 
of the asylum to be within three miles of 
Omaha. The first board of officers were: 
John S. Bowen, Blair, president; Joseph H. 
Millard, Omaha, treasurer; Rev. Henry W. 
Kuhns, Omaha, secretary; Dr. G. C. Monell 
and Rev. Henrv W. Kuhns, Omaha, executive 



committee; John S. Bowen, Blair, E. II. 
Rogers, Fremont, Dr. Aurelius Bowen, Ne- 
braska City, Dr. G. C. Monell, Omaha, Dr. 
Abel L. Child, Plattsmouth, and Dr. John 
McPherson, Brownville, directors. Prof. W. 
M. French, a deaf mute, was the first super- 
intendent, and his sister, Mrs. Jennie Wilson, 
was the first matron. In their first re- 
port, dated December 1, 1869, the directors 
speak as follows with respect to the opening 
of the institution: "No sooner was the 
principal, "W. M. French, appointed, than, 
with the concurrence of the Board, he issued 
a circular, and engaged in correspondence, 
inviting all the deaf mutes of the State, of 
suitable age, to the institution. A building 
sufficient for the immediate requirements of 
the pupils was obtained and supplied with 
the necessary furniture, and the little family 
of the first pupils gathered to their tempo- 
rary home. They came tardily. Parents 
could not spare them; some could not afford 
the expense of such clothing as they deemed 
needful; the institution was new and untried; 
but gradually the number of pupils has in- 
creased, and at the date of this report thir- 
teen pupils are regularly entered." 

An additional hindrance was that these 
children were generally the objects of solici- 
tude to their parents, because of their afflic- 
tion, and it was, therefore, with great unwill- 
ingness that the}' were entrusted to the care 
of strangers. 

The citizens of Omaha donated ten acres of 
ground, and in 1871 an appropriation of 115,- 
000 was made for the erection of more suitable 



202 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



buildings, and a brick structure, 44x60 feet, 
three stories high, was completed and ready 
for occupancy January 1, 1872. In tlie mean- 
time Professor R. H. Kinney and wife had 
succeeded Professor French and Mrs. Wilson, 
who had resigned, and Mrs. Mason, and two 
assistant teachers. Miss Maggie Bickford and 
Miss Gertrude Jenkins, were employed. 

The act of 1867 made no appropriation 
of funds to begin work, and much difficulty 
was experienced in getting the enterprise 
established. A small building located in the 
woods south of St. Mary's Avenue was first 
rented, and this was occupied until the build- 
ing north of the city was completed. There 
was great rejoicing on the part of the friends 
of the institution when the appropriation of 
$16,000 was secured, the money being car- 
ried up from Lincoln by Secretary' Kuhns. 

In 1875 .another appropriation of $15,000 
was made by the Legislature, and a second 
building was erected. In the meantime, an 
additional ten acres of land had been pur- 
chased, trees planted, a substantial barn 
erected, the grounds fenced and the property 
put in excellent condition. In the latter 
part of 1876 the buildings and land were 
valued at $40,000. September 1, 1878, 
Professor J. A. Gillespie, the present incum- 
bent, was appointed principal of the institu- 
tion, in the management of which he is 
assisted by Mrs. Gillespie. At this date 
there were fifty- two pupils, and the following 
named officers: J. A. Gillespie, principal; 
J. A. McClure, F. L. Reid and Mrs. M. T. 
Benson, teachers; Mrs. S. A. Thompson, ma- 
tron; Dr. J. C. Denise, physician; and S. F. 
Buckley, foreman of the printing office. Pro- 
fessor McClure was connected with the insti- 
tute for fifteen years, resigning some three 
years since on account of failing sight. For 
many years the pupils have printed a paper. 
The Mute Journal, first as a monthly and 
afterwards as a semi-monthly publication, 
and have made it a very spicy and interest- 
ing journal. The institute is now a credit 
to the State, and has become, under the 



faithful and efficient management of Profes- 
sor Gillespie, the agencj- of great good to 
the unfortunate class it was designed to aid. 
The status which the Nebraska home for 
the deaf and dumb has attained, in the esti- 
mation of those who make the care and in- 
struction of these unfortunates a specialty, 
is shown in an interview with Professor 
Alexander Graham Bell, on the occasion of 
a recent visit to Omaha by that gentleman, 
as printed in the Bee. Professor Bell said: 
" The Nebraska institute is celebrated the 
world over for its progress in the matter of 
teaching the deaf to hear. The method in 
use here was originated by Professor Gilles- 
pie, and is revolutionizing the manner of 
instructing these unfortunates. For a num- 
ber of years teachers in these institutions 
have been accustomed to summon their pu- 
pils by ringing a dinner bell, but it never 
seemed to occur to any one that a child who 
could hear a bell might be taught to hear 
speech. It remained for Professor Gillespie 
to do this, and he has demonstrated that 
fully sixteen per cent, of our deaf mutes maj- 
be taught to hear and speak; and, when you 
consider that the census of 1880 reports about 
thirty-four thousand deaf mutes in this coun- 
try, you see how important this matter is. 
A child which is born deaf never learns to* 
speak because it does not hear an}'^ one else 
speak, but the organs of speech are not de- 
fective, and the so-called dumb maj be 
taught to speak. The method pursued bj- 
Professor Gillespie is to form those pupils 
who can hear any loud noise, such as a din- 
ner bell, into classes, and teach them to 
articulate, thus transforming them from deaf 
mutes into ordinary deaf people. This 
method has been thoroughly tested, and is 
now in practical use in three institutions 
beside the one here. These are the State 
institutes of Arkansas and New York, and 
the Voice and Hearing school, in Englewood, 
near Chicago. The latter is a private insti- 
tution, conducted by a former instructor in 
the Nebraska institute. While I was in 





^^^^ 



THE "WOMAN S OHEISTIAN ASSOCIATION. 



•2oa 



Europe I was questioned very closely about 
the Nebraska institute and the work it was 
doing, but was unable to give a very extended 
idea of the matter, as I had never visited 
it; so I resolved to avail myself of the first 
opportunity and investigate the method 
full_y. Professor Gillespie has gained a rep- 
utation in this thing, which is world-wide, 
and has done more to change the general 
idea regarding this subject than any one 
ever dreamed of." 

He has also introduced into this school a 
method of presenting language to the deaf, 
which, though in use but a short time, gives 
evidence of being a reformation in this line 
of work. It is simply to present language 
to these pupils in the form of complete 
thoughts, instead of in simple ideas. They, 
having no language of their own, are de- 
pendent upon their teachers. By the 
method here introduced the teacher will 
supply the smoothest idiomatic expression 
for the thought presented, and the pupil, 
after giving this expression, written on the 
blackboard, a moment's attention, is re- 
quired to reproduce it, and it thus becomes 
his own. Many of the difficulties met with 
by the deaf to master the P^nglish language 
are thus overcome. 

The institute now has 130 pupils. The 
following named persons constitute the 
board, officers and teachers: J. A. Gillespie, 
A. M., principal and steward; T. F. Moseley, 
A.M., R. E. Stewart, A. B., C. C. Wentz, A. 
M., Mrs. T. F. Moseley, Miss Ella M. Rudd, 
teachers; W. E. Taylor, A. M., Mrs. W. E. 
Taylor, Mrs. C. E. Comp, Mrs. C. C. Wentz, 
oral and aural teachers; Miss May Murraj% 
art teacher; Mrs. J. A. Gillespie, matron; 
J. C. Denise, physician; Miss Helen Mc- 
Clieane, clerk; Mrs. Anna Richards, nurse 
and supervisor of large boys; Miss Mamie 
Sutter, seamstress; Miss Lelia Foote, super- 
visor of girls; C. E. Comp, foreman of 
printing office; D. J. Richards, foreman of 
carpenter shop. 

The Woman's Christian Association is an 



incorporation formed by a number of the 
ladies of Omaha for benevolent purposes. 
An organization was effected December 4, 
1883, and three small rooms were rented in 
the old City Hall building, which were 
occupied for more than a yenr. No. 1606 
Farnam Street, a small frame building, was 
then secured, and during the year practical 
assistance was rendered to more than two 
hundred women and children, and from that 
date the work of the association has steadily 
increased. A building on Burt Street, No. 
2718, was purchased in 1887 for $5,000, the 
money being raised by subscriptions to make 
the first payment of $1,500. Here a perma- 
nent home for aged women and a transient 
abode for destitute women and children has 
been successfully conducted since October, 
1887. E. A. Benson gave the association 
two lots on Dodge and Forty-first Streets, 
in 1887, and there it is proposed to erect a 
spacious and handsome building in the near 
future. In November, 1887, arrangements 
were made for establishing a home for 
3'oung women who were endeavoring to sup- 
port themselves, the object being to afford 
to this class comforts and conveniences 
which would otherwise be beyond their 
reach, and at the same time throw about 
them protection and care. A three-story 
building on Dodge Street, near Nineteenth, 
was secured and soon filled with young 
women employed in offices and stores. This 
home is now at 109 South Seventeenth 
Street, Mrs. E. J. Evans, superintendent. 
In April, 1888, a Woman's Exchange was 
established at No. 1617 Farnam Street, 
where various articles of home manufacture 
are sold. All of the enterprises of the asso- 
ciation are supported by donations and sub- 
scriptions, which fact renders their success 
much more creditable to the association. 
Following named are the officers: Mrs. P. L. 
Ferine, president; Mrs. II. M. McCague, 
Mrs. J. B. Jardine, Mrs. M. A. Elliott, Mrs. 
II. Ludington, vice presidents; Mrs. Ida C. 
Tilden, treasurer; Miss Ilattie Collier, cor- 



204 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



responding secretary; Mrs. L. L. Boltz, 
recording secretary. Mrs. H. M. McCague 
is at the head of the executive committee 
for the management of the Burt Street 
Home, and Mrs. Ida C. Tilden for that of 
the Young Women's Home. 

St. Joseph's Hospital, formerly Mercy 
Hospital, Twelfth and Marey Streets, was 
first opened for the reception of patients 
September 1, 1870, a two-story frame build- 
ing, containing two wards and ten rooms, 
having been erected by the Order of the 
Sisters of Mercj', at a cost of ten thousand 
dollars, the money being obtained by per- 
sonal solicitation by the Sisters. Two years 
later the capacity of the building was 
doubled, at an outlay of fourteen thousand 
dollars, the monej' being secured in the 
same way as before. April 10, 1880, the 
management passed into the hands of the 
Order of Sisters of St. Francis. In 1882 
these Sisters rendered the city efficient ser- 
vice by taking charge of a temporary small- 
pox hospital provided by the Council to 
treat several cases which made their appear- 
ance here. For two months this service 
continued, at the close of which, James E. 
Boyd, then IMayor, sent the Sisters his per- 
sonal check for a handsome sum, in recogni- 
tion of their self-denying work. It was sug- 
gested that tlie Council appropriate a rea- 
sonable sum to the hospital in this connec- 
tion, but the suggestion was not adopted. 
The growth of the city having rendered the 
late location of the hospital undesirable for 
that purpose, a building to accommodate 
four hundred patients has been erected on 
a beautiful site, consisting of four lots, at 
Tenth and Castellar, donated 'by John A. 
Creighton, whose wife, recently deceased, 
bequeathed fifty thousand dollars to aid in 
the erection of the new edifice. It has 
a frontage of two hundred feet on Tenth, 
with two wings extending eastward one 
hundred and fifty feet. It is built of brick, 
three stories high, and basement, and cost 
one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. 



The institution is known as " The Creighton 
Memorial." The corner stone was laid on 
November 23, 1890, with impressive cere- 
monies, conducted b}' Bishop Scannel, of 
Concordia, Kansas, and the building com- 
pleted and occupied June, 1892. 

It is proposed that the building lately 
vacated shall be occupied by the J. A. 
Creighton Medical College, an institution 
that has been lately projected. 

The Immanuel Hospital and Deaconess' 
Institute is located in Monmouth Park, in 
the northwest portion of the city. The plan 
of the building is quite extensive, onlj' the 
south wing being completed at this time. 
It occupies a A'erj' commanding position, the 
grounds compi'ising half a block — twelve 
lots — and cost eight thousand dollars. The 
purpose of the founder of tliis institution 
includes also the building up of a Deaconess' 
Institute, for the training of Protestant 
women to engage in services similar to tliose 
performed by the Sisters of Charity of the 
Catholic Church. In 1879, the founder of 
this hospital. Rev. E. A. Fogelstrom, came 
to Omaha and took charge of the Swedish 
Lutheran Church, of which he was pastor 
for ten years, during which time he erected 
the present handsome church building, at 
the corner of Xineteenth and Cass Streets, 
at a cost of $30,000. He has been activelj' 
engaged in enlisting tlie interests of the 
citizens of this place in this enterprise, and 
securing the necessary funds to carry it out. 
In both these respects he has been wonder- 
fully successful, as is attested by the mag- 
nificent building recently completed. In 
January, 1890, an incorporation was effected, 
in order to hold the pi-opertj', under the 
name of " The Evangelical Immanuel Asso- 
ciation for Works of Mercy," with eleven 
incorporators, including Dr. George L. Mil- 
ler, Fred. Drexel, Alfred Millard, Wm. L. 
McCague, G. A. Lindquest, John Johnson, 
Guy C. Barton, Anthony Johnson and .lo- 
seph Barker. Rev. E. A. Fogelstrom is man- 
ager, and Wm. L. McCague, treasurer. Up 



THE BISHOP CLARKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL. 



205 



to January 1, 1891, forty thousand dollars 
bad been expended in improvements, with 
only one-third of the building, contemplated 
in the plans, completed. On the date named 
the institution was opened for the reception 
of patients. 

The Deaconess' Home was erected as a 
separate institution, in 1891, on tlie block 
east of the hospital, at a cost of .$5,000. 
It is a two-story building, with room for 
thirty sisters. 

The Creche, or day nursery, for the care 
of children of women who are compelled to 
go out from home to work, is the outgrowth 
of a suggestion made by the late Mrs. Orpha 
C. Dinsmoor to a society of ladies called the 
" Unity Club." September 20, 1887, an or- 
ganization was effected with Mrs. Dinsmoor 
as president; Mrs. II. C. Aiken, vice-presi- 
dent; Mrs. T. M. Orr, secretary; Mrs. G. A. 
Joslyn, treasurer; Mrs. T. L. Kimball, Mrs. 
H. C. Aiken, Mrs. E. D. Van Court, Mrs. W. 
E. Burlingim, Mrs. Ada T. Walker, Mrs. L. A. 
Groff, Mrs. Alma E. Keith, Mrs. G. A. Jos- 
lyn and Mrs. T. M. Orr, trustees. An incor- 
poration under tlie name of " The Omaha 
Charity Association" was perfected, and a 
lease for twenty-five j'ears, at a nominal 
rental, was made with the city for a lot at 
the northeast corner of Harney and Nine- 
teenth Streets. For a j-ear an old frame 
building, previously used for a tool house bj' 
the city, and which occupied the rear of the 
lot, was used; but on Washington's birthday 
anniversary, 1889, the ladies threw open to 
the public their new brick building, just com- 
pleted at a cost of about nine thousand dollars, 
two stories high, containing twelve rooms. 
The funds necessary were obtained from do- 
nations, and from two charity balls, held in 
the Exposition building. The enterprise 
has proven a success in every respect, and it 
is the purpose of the ladies to add to the 
building so as to provide room for a kin- 
dergarten and a training school for servants. 
The present officers are: Mrs. T. L. Kimball, 
president; Mrs. James Van Nostrand, vice- 



president; Mrs. Ada T. Walker, treasurer; 
Miss S. J. Barrows, secretary. 

Tlie Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital, 
formerly the Child's Hospital, located at 
number 1716 Dodge Street, was established 
in December, 1881, through the efforts of 
Bishop Robert Clarkson. Miss Sarah Mat- 
tice, of New York City, who had had con- 
siderable experience in similar institutions 
in the East, came to Omaha in the fall of 
188JI, and rendered most efficient service in 
the most trying period of the history of the 
hospital. She solicited funds, gave practical 
assistance in designing the building, and 
was'manager of the hospital until March 10, 
1884. The work was first carried on in a 
little, old frame building which occupied the 
ground now covered by the present brick 
structure, and the first money deposited in 
the bank, to the credit of the enterprise, was 
fifty dollars sent by Mrs. John Jacob Astor. 
Soon afterwards Mrs. Ogden, of New York, 
sent Mrs. Clarkson five thousand dollars. 
The further sum of three thousand dollars 
was raised, mainly in Omaha, by donations, 
and the substantial brick building now used 
was put up, at an original cost of eight 
thousand dollars, which has since been in- 
creased to twelve thousand, and opened for 
the receipt of patients just previous to the 
death of Bishop Clarkson, which occurred on 
the 10th of March, 1884. Miss Mattice was 
matron, as well as manager, until tliat date, 
and was succeeded as matron by Mrs. Maria 
Belt, who served in that capacity for three 
years, when the present matron, Mrs. F. A. 
Moore was installed. Mrs. Robert Clarkson 
was elected member for life upon the death 
of her husband. Mrs. A. J. Poppleton is 
secretary. The ' property is owned by the 
Triuitj^ Cathedral Chapter. 

The Open Door is an establishment con- 
ducted under the auspices of Buckingham 
Union of the Women's Christian Temper- 
ance Union, for the reception and reforma- 
tion of young girls who have gone astray. 
A comfortable building, number 2630 Cap- 



200 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



itol Avenue, was secured and opened for 
boarders in the summer of 1888, and from 
that date the capacities of the institution 
have been taxed to the utmost. Later 
better quarters were secured on North 
Twentieth Street, opposite the Coliseum, 
and January 1, 1892, the establishment was 
moved to 1607-9, Lathrop Street. Mrs. G. 
W. Clark, an active member of the State 
Board of Charities, lias had the manage- 
ment of the institution from the first, 
and has devoted to the service all lier time 
and energies. In fact, the Open Door was 
established at her suggestion, and she has 
been the cliief factor in the collection of 
means for its support. In the collection of 
monej' she has been greatl_y assisted by Mrs. 
Watson B. Smith. The following named 
constitute the board of managers: Mrs. G. 
W. Clark, Mrs. Watson B. Smith, Mrs. M. J. 
Eichardson, Mrs. L. C. Blackman, Mrs. A. 
S. Potter. The physicians of the city have 
rendered their services gratuitously to the 
inmates of this institution. 

The County Hospital, first occupied De- 
cember 22, 1890, will afford accommodations 
for one hundred and sixty-five patients. In 
addition, provision is made for fifty-six in- 
sane patients in pavilion number two, and 
eighty-five in pavilion number four, a total 
of three hundred and six. Ai-rangements 
are made for classifjdng the patients accord- 
ing to their needs and condition. There are 
also administration buildings, work shops, 
and buildings for the domestic department, 
all arranged for adding increased facilities 
for the care of patients, as the needs arise. 
The estimated total cost is as follows: ad- 
ministration buildings, $35,000; domestic 
buildings, $27,000; boiler house, $15,000; 
isolated pavilion, $23,000; medical pavilion, 
$37,000; insane pavilion, $40,000; isolated 
insane, $23,000; corridor, $3,000; total 
$213,800. The contract price was $120,033, 
but several changes in the plans were made, 
and during the progress of the work compli- 
cations with the contractors, Edward Walsh 



and Jerry Ryan, and the architect, E 
E. M3'ers, of Detroit, arose, causing long 
dela.ys and gi-eat additional expense. The 
building has a frontage of three hundred 
feet, and extends back a distance of four 
hundred and ten feet, exclusive of engine 
and boiler rooms. Its general appearance is 
not so attractive as might have been ex- 
pected from so large an outla3', and during 
the erection of the building the local press 
had much to say in condemnation, not only 
on account of the delays, but also of the 
character of the work. The interior ar- 
rangements, however, are convenient and 
well planned, so that the inmates will be 
made as comfortable as can well be, provided 
it can ever be made substantial enough to 
be safe. The building is located on the west 
side of the county farm, surrounded by a 
tract of several acres of land set aside for 
the purpose, and the development of the 
grounds will add much to the appearance of 
the institution. 

As the Douglas County hospital and poor 
farm have ever been a source of great ex- 
pense to the county, and have probably 
caused more trouble to the people of the 
city and county than any other one thing, 
the following history from its inception to 
the present time is given: 

During the early days of 1859 the county 
commissioners, James H. McArdle, Sylvanus 
Dodge and Harrison Johnston, conceived 
the idea that it would be a capital plan for 
Douglas Countj^ to have a poor farm. They 
spent several weeks in looking for a site and 
in getting prices, but were unable to find 
anything that just suited. At the meeting 
held on March 1st of that year, H. Z. Chap- 
man, long since deceased, appeared before 
the board and made a proposition to sell the 
county 170 acres of ground, it being the 
northeast quarter of section 29, township 15, 
range 13, the tract being what is now known 
as the count}'' poor farm. He wanted 
$6,000, $1,000 in cash, with the balance to 
be paid as follows: $1,100 in one year. 



■HE PUliCJIASE OF THE POOK FAKM. 



207 



$1,200 in two years, $1,300 in three j^ears, 
81,400 in four years, wliieh amounts were 
to include principal and interest at the rate 
of 10 per cent, per annum. 

Action upon this proposition was deferred 
until March 4th, when the county commis- 
sioners again met, and, after some discus- 
sion, made the purchase, giving Mr. Chap- 
man $2,000 in county warrants, put in at 
fifty cents on the dollar, and their own per- 
sonal notes for $4,000, due in one, two, three 
and four years, drawing interest at the rate 
of 10 per cent, per annum. To secure tlie 
payment of these notes, they, as county 
officials, mortgaged the land, giving Chap- 
man the first lieu. 

For just one year everything was serene, 
hut at the end of that time Mr. Chapman 
wanted his money which was due upon the 
first note. "When he made the demand the 
three commissioners told him to whistle — 
that his claim was not worth the revenue 
stamps that were upon the mortgage. They 
told him in addition to tliis that there was a 
territorial law forbidding county commis- 
sioners from mortgaging county propertJ^ 
Mr. Chapman hoped that the three gentle- 
men would do a little considering, but he 
hoped in vain, for they proposed nothing of 
the kind, and when the last note was due he 
went into our courts and was knocked out, the 
judge deciding that the commissioners had 
exceeded their authority in executing the 
mortgage, and that the county was not lia- 
ble. General Experience Estabrook de- 
fended and there won his spurs. 

Chapman was not discouraged, but at once 
appealed to the supreme court of the State. 
In due course of time a trial was reached 
and the decision of the lower court was sus- 
tained. Then he gave up the fight and left 
the State. The disappointment was too 
much, and in a few years he died. 

The old debt remained until about 1878, 
when Attorney Bonney from Chicago, rep- 
resenting tlie Chapman heirs, appeared upon 
the scene to demand tlie paj-ment of the 



notes, together with tlie accrued interest, or 
the return of the land, which in the mean- 
time had become valuable. 

Elated by former victories, the commis- 
sioners told Mr. Bonney to try his hand at 
collecting, and advised him to sue for the 
money. 

Bonney said that he would do that verj^ 
thing, and immediately brought suit in the 
United States circuit court. 

As upon former occasions, the county 
won, the court holding that the commis- 
sioners had no authority to mortgage county 
property, and that in doing so the creditor 
should have to look to them and not to the 
county for payment. 

Bonney was not to be bluffed, and at once 
he appealed to the United States Supreme 
Court. J. M. Woolworth was employed and 
paid thirteen hundred dollars to assist J. C. 
Cowin, who was then county attorney. In 
November, 1885, a final decision was 
reached, and the judgment of the court was 
that the County of Douglas was liable for 
the whole debt, both principal and interest, 
amounting to 114,732.07. At that time the 
county was short of funds, but on July 3, 
1886, the Chapman heirs were paid $9,500, 
and fifteen days later the balance. 

About this time the commissioners, R. 
O'Keefe, F. W. Corliss and George W. 
Timme, were convinced that there was an 
urgent demand for a county hospital and a 
poor farm, as the old Ilascall building, which 
had been occupied as a poor house, was al- 
together too small. 

How to raise the money to erect a new 
building was the question. But a real es- 
tate boom was at its Iieight that year, and 
the commissioners thought that by platting 
fifty acres of the poor farm and selling the 
lots, a fund could be created. The longer 
they thouglit the more determined they be- 
came, and at last they decided to Lay out 
and sell 235 lots. 

Commissioner Corliss, of Waterloo pre- 
cinct, fathered the resolution and it went 



208 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



through. The laud was platted by the 
county surveyor, and on November 3, 188C, 
the proposition to sell was submitted to the 
voters of the county, but unfortunately it 
was not carried by a two-thirds majority, 
and, as a result, parties who purchased lots 
at the subsequent sale have brought suits 
against the county aggregating something 
over $100,000, asking for the return of their 
money, on the ground that the election was 
void and that the sales were illegal. 

On February 26, 1887, J. H. McCulloch, 
who was then county judge, appointed John 
Rush, Chris. Ilartman and John L. McCague 
to appraise the lots which were to be sold. 
On March 3rd they took the oath of office 
and the proceedings were reported to the 
county commissioners. Mr. McCague was 
absent from the State, and on April 8th 
William Gibson was appointed to fill the 
vacancy. 

These appraisers visited the premises, and 
on April 13th reported under oath that the 
lots were worth $206,450, or an average of 
$878.51 per lot. These lots were in that 
portion of the farm known as the east fifty 
acres. 

About that time the commissioners 
adopted a resolution that the proceeds of 
the sale should be appropriated to the erec- 
tion of a suitable building for the care and 
protection of the county poor and insane. 

In April, of 1887, after duly advertising 
the event, a public sale was held. Thousands 
of persons followed a brass band and jour- 
neyed to the poor farm. The auctioneer, 
Thos. Riley, mounted a dry goods box, and 
offered lot one, block one, for sale. After 
some spirited bidding it was knocked off to 
W. I. Kierstead at $2,650, and after the dis- 
posal of the 235 lots the commissioners 
found that they had a hospital fund of 
$330,480 on hand, $191,035.16 of which was 
cash and the balance was notes secured by 
mortgages on lots sold. 

Shortly after this the commissioners took 
steps looking to the construction of a build- 



ing. Architect E. E. M3'ers, of Detroit, was 
employed to prepare the plans and the de- 
tailed drawings, and upon these a number of 
parties bid. Ryan & Walsh were the lowest 
bidders, and were awarded the general con- 
tract at $106,937.34, while .J. S. Pope & Co. 
were awarded the steam heating contract at 
$25,519. 

Dan. L. Shane was employed as superin- 
tendent at one hundred dollars per month. 
Work upon the building commenced and 
proceeded until the structure was up as high 
as the water tables. Then it was ordered 
stopped by Mr. Shane, he declaring that 
poor material, such as would not pass in- 
spection, was being used by the contractors. 

A short time thereafter Mr. Shane was re- 
tired and a Mr. Ross appointed to fill the 
vacant place. As time rolled along, the 
fact of poor material having been used be- 
came apparent, and not only that, bul evi- 
dence of poor workmanship was visible. A 
section of the south wing, being unable to 
sustain its own weight, tumbled out and fell 
to the ground. Shortly after the roof had 
been raised the corridor arches of the north 
wing gave way and fell, nearly wrecking 
that portion of the building. 

Other evidences of poor work were visi- 
ble on everj^ hand, and it was not until 
after two coats of mineral paint had covered 
the exterior of the hospital that it had any- 
thing like a presentable appearance. 

During the progress of the work, the 
newspapers were very severe in their de- 
nunciation of the character of the work done 
by the contractors, and also of the action of 
the architect. That they had sufficient 
grounds for their condemnation has since 
become apparent. Early in the morning of 
the 12th of May, 1892, Superintendent of 
the Poor Mahoney arrived at the court 
house and reported that the building was 
settling rapidly. The trouble was in the 
north wing, which was 160 feet long and 
three stories high. Mr. Mahoney reported 
that just after midnight his family were 



THE DOUGLAS COUNTY HOSPITAL. 



209 



awakened by a loud sound, like unto the 
report of a cannon. He hastily dressed him- 
self and went on a tour of inspection, but 
discovered nothing wrong. In the morning, 
however, feeling that there must be some- 
thing wrong, Mr. Mahoney arose early and 
began a more thorough investigation, and 
was not long in discovering that the unoc- 
cupied north wing of the structure had set- 
tled during the night, and that the interior 
and exterior walls were badly cracked from 
the roof to foundation. Superintendent of 
Buildings Tilly at once made an inspection 
and immediately ordered all the inmates out 
of that part of the building, and directed 
tliat the doors be locked. It was estimated 
that the amount that would have to be ex- 
pended to save the building would be at 
least §25,000. The county commissionei-s 
found themselves in a dilemma. The hos- 
pital fund was exhausted, and would not 
possibly have any money available until 
.July, 1892. The general fund was in a de- 
pleted condition, as were all the other funds 
except the bridge fund. Notwithstanding 
this condition of affairs, the board at once 
took measures to prevent any further dam- 
age. They employed Mr. Richard Smith, a 
contractor, to go out with Inspector Tilly 
to ascertain what was necessary to save the 
building. An account of the visit which 
these gentlemen made was published in the 
Omaha Bee, of May 13, 1892, and is, with 
slight correction, as follows: 

■' The commissioners instructed Inspector 
Tilly to employ an expert to ascertain 
what was needed to save the building. Act- 
ing under these instructions. Contractor Dick 
Smith's services were secured, and together 
the two men journeyed to the hospital. 
They had inspected the exterior walls and 
gone through the basement, first and second 
story corridors. Then they were about to 
go into the garret, under the roof, along the 
center to the north end, but, on account of 
the lack of light, an attendant was sent after 
a lantern, when, a moment later, and without 



any warning, the corridors fell with a loud 
crash, filling the place they occupied with 
dust and debris. A second later there was 
another crash, as the floor below was too 
weak to stand the strain. 

"The whole mass fell to the main floor, 
and for a moment it sustained its load, but 
finally broke, and the whole mass of brick, 
mortar, wood and iron went into the base- 
ment. The corridor walls swayed back and 
forth, but at last they straightened up, and 
are now standing, although bulged and 
twisted out of shape. 

" The men hurriedly left the building, ex- 
pecting that the outer walls and the roof 
would go next, but they stood the strain, 
though the}^ look as if a cyclone had passed 
over that section of the country. 

" The slate roof has cracked and in some 
places sunk down a foot, while the walls, 
from the water tables to the eaves, have 
sprung out in places at least eight inches. 

■' Inspector Tilly states that the entire wing- 
will have to be torn down. To do this, it 
will be necessary to prop all of the partition 
walls to hold them from falling. Then the 
outer walls will have to be braced, in order 
to prevent the roof from dropping in. After 
this is done, the roof will have to be taken 
apart and the entire wall pulled down, brick 
by brick. 

" This is not the worst thing that is liable 
to happen. The walls of the south wing- 
have commenced to crack, and to-day a crack 
in the ceiling of the floor of the corridor of 
the south wing extends from the main build- 
ing to the south end. While this work is 
not such as to cause any alai-m, it is as large 
as the crack's in the north wing were when 
the building was visited by a Bee reporter 
yesterday. 

" An attempt will be made to save the 
south wing. Contractor Smith has been 
instructed to employ a force of men and 
work night and day until this portion of the 
building is in a safe condition. He stated 
that he would put iron rods through the 



210 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



building at intervals of ten feet, and if tliis 
could be accomplislied before an accident 
occurred the structure could be saved. 

" If the south wing should fall witliout a 
moment's warning, as did the corridors of 
the north wing, the loss of life would be 
great, as the administration rooms, the 
insane and sick wards are all in that por- 
tion of the building. 

"The falling of this wing is attributed 
to two causes, the first and principal one 
being poor construction bj^ Ryan & AValsh, 
the contractors. The second cause was that 
for months water had run down the eave 
spouts and into the ground around the foun- 
dation walls, causing them to settle. By 
the settling, the walls had been drawn apart, 
leaving nothing to support the brick arches 
over the corridors. 

" The falling walls this morning nearly 
resulted in a panic among the inmates, but 
by the coolness and presence of mind of 
Mrs. Mahoney several serious accidents were 
prevented. 

" When the arches went down, all the steam 
pipes in that portion of the building were 
broken, and great clouds of steam hissed 
through the south corridor, where the insane 
congregated. As this steam enveloped 
them, they made a wild dasli for the south 
windows, preparatory to jumping to the 
ground, twenty feet below. Mrs. Malione_y, 
although frightened nearly to death, rushed 
down the corridor and was the first person 
to reach the windows. There she held them 
back, and, by her nerve and coolness, held 
them at bay until the steam was sliut off 
and until assistance arrived." 

During the construction of the building, 
from common reports, it was almost impos- 
sible for the contractors to keep the walls 
standing; and, as there was a large bill for 
extras, we give herewith a few of them: 

After the north wing had been repaired, 
Ryan & Walsh put in a bill of $5,880 for 
196 beam arches, 17.840 for turning the 
brick over the same, §130.90 for tearing out 



those portions of the arches that did not fall, 
S165 for putting tlie material back, $432 for 
seventy-three yards of cement placed in the 
floor that was broken, $152 for lumber used 
in the new floor and 850 for nails. Then 
there was another bill for extras for making 
the same repairs. These figures were $1,890 
for sixty-three center beams, $2,520 for 
turning the brick arches, $182.12 for brick 
used in the gable and $386.10 for extra brick 
used in repairing the walls of the corridors. 

These bills of extras were not all, by any 
means. They kept on until thej^ had piled 
up to the enormous sum of $50,612.49 over 
and above the price at which Ryan & Walsh 
contracted to erect the building. Messrs. 
Coots and Shane, the superintendents, al- 
lowed, after a careful inspection, $7,852.82 
of the bills, rejecting $42,759.67. Then the 
balance went before the commissioners, 
where it was again rejected, after which 
Ryan & AValsh broug'ht suit in the district 
court for the full amount. The case was 
tried and a verdict rendered in favor of 
the count}'. An appeal was taken to the 
supreme court, where the decision of the 
lower court was set aside. The supreme 
court issued its mandate, instructing the 
county to pay Ryan ct Walsh $37,000, but 
it is doubtful when the judgment will be 
paid, as suit has now been brought against 
the contractors and the bondsmen to recover, 
and hold them for the damage to the hos- 
pital caused by the recent falling of the 
corridor arches. 

On the night of May 17, 1892, a heavy 
wind also wrecked the new brick barn at the 
poor farm, and so frightened the inmates of 
the hospital who were in the south wing, 
that they remained up all night, expecting 
the remaining portions of the building to 
collapse at any moment. Fortunately-, the 
iron rods which had been put in so strength- 
ened the structure that it remained unin- 
jured. 

When the Convent of St. ]Mary's was sold 
in 1888, the proceeds were used to erect the 



HOSPITALS AND MISSIONS AND THEIR OFFICERS. 



211 



building at tiie comer of Fifteenth and 
Castellar, known as the Convent of Mercy 
Orphanage. It is a substantial structure, 
supplied with all recent improvements for 
buildings of its character, with ample play 
rooms, school rooms, dormitories and chapel. 
It is also the mother house of the Sisters of 
Mercy in Nebraska. But a more retired sit- 
uation is now deemed necessarj', and ground 
was broken in July, 1890, for another or- 
phan asylum on a much larger scale, at Ben- 
son Place, where a tract of ten acres has 
been secured, and will be handsomelj' devel- 
oped. There are many private charitable 
organizations connected with the Catholic 
Churches, notabl.y, the St. Vincent De Paul's, 
the Catholic Knights of America, the Catho- 
lic Mutual Benefit Association, and the 
Catholic Young Men's Union. 

The Methodist Episcopal Hospital and 
Deaconess' Home Association, at Omaha, was 
organized March 3, 1891, and soon after in- 
corporated with Rev. J. W. Shank as presi- 
dent, J. J. McLain, vice-president, and J. 
E. Cowgill, secretar}^ The constitution 
declares that the purpose of the association 
is to care for the sick, regardless of race, 
color, or religious belief. Free member- 
ship tickets are to be given bishops, elders, 
and the editors of religious papers, but a 
membership fee of ten dollars a year is 
cliarged other applicants, the payment of 
two hundred and fifty dollars securing a life 
membership, and all members of the associa- 
tion not in arrears for dues to receive free 
treatment at the hospital. A suitable build- 
ing was purchased, and furnished, on Twen- 
tieth Street, between St. Mary's Avenue 
and Harney Sti-eet, and the institution 
opened on the 28th of May, 1891. During 
the first year 2i3 patients were treated, 
fifty-seven of whom were charity patients. 
The following named persons are the oflflcers 
for the present year: president, J. W. 
Shank; vice president, J. J. McLain; secre- 
tary, H. R. Day; treasurer, S. W. Lindsay; 
auditor, W. C. White. The trustees are B. 



R. Ball, Rev. G. M. Brown, S. W. Nichol- 
son, S. W. Lindsay, J. J. McLain, F. ^Y. 
Hills, Rev. PI. A. Crane, John Dale, Rev. A. 
Hodgetts. Miss Pfrimmer is matron. 

The Presbyterians of the city, in 1890, 
established a hospital at 1626 Wirt Street, 
with accommodations for a limited number 
of patients. Dr. W. O. Henry is the medical 
superintendent, and the following are the 
board of trustees: Robert McClelland, C. A. 
Starr, W. R. Drummond, Colonel Charles 
Bird, Lew Anderson, L. B. Williams, J. L. 
Welshans, G. W. Hervey, M. M. Van Horn, 
W. C. McClain,, Alex G. Charlton, Z. T. 
Lindsay, J. C. Denise, Harry Lawrie and 
Frank Koze. The following rules govei-n 
the institution: Five thousand dollars will 
endow one bed permanently; 1300 will sup- 
port one bed one year; $20 will support one 
bed one month; §7 will support one bed one 
week. Permanent endowment of one bed 
entitles the donor to name the bed. Churches, 
Sunday Schools, societies, or individuals who 
make donations as above, will receive a cer- 
tificate from the Presbyterian association of 
Omaha. Donations of all kinds of hospital 
supplies and medicines are solicited and will 
be thankfully acknowledged. Charity pa- 
tients will receive medical and surgical 
attention free. Pa5ang patients occupying 
a general ward will be charged $10 per week. 
Patients occupying private rooms will be 
charged $15 per week. Medical and surgical 
attendance to paying patients will be the 
usual fees, or as per agreement. All regular 
physicians in good standing have equal priv- 
ileges in access to the hospital. It was 
incorporated as the Presbyterian Hospital 
in Omaha, May 2, 1892, with the following 
incorporators: C.'A. Starr, R. McClelland, 
J. C. Denise, S. M. Ware, and W. G. Her- 
ve}'. The hospital has a large and talented 
medical staff. 

The Omaha City Mission was organized 
under the name of the Christian Workers' 
Association, October 22, 1875, the object 
being to advance the interests of the Chris- 



212 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



tian religion by active work. In November 
of that 5'ear it was resolved that a Sunday 
School should be established for the benefit 
of newsboys, boot-blacks and other children 
of the more neglected class. C. E. Brewster 
was elected superintendent and K. J. "Wilbur 
and T. W. Lemon assistants. In order to 
reach the children, a grand dinner was given 
them on Thanksgiving Day in a vacant store- 
room in the Visscher Block, which occupied 
the present site of the Millard Hotel. At this 
spread the boys and girls of the class it was 
desired to reach showed their appreciation 
of the efforts made in their behalf, by re- 
sponding to the invitation to the number of 
more than three hundred. The purpose of 
the proposed Sunday School was explained 
to them at length, and with full hearts (and 
stomachs) they voted unanimouslj^ in the 
affirmative, when asked if they would all be 
present at the Second Baptist Church build- 
ing, on Harney Street near Fifteenth (now 
used as a blacksmith shop), on the following 
Sunday afternoon, when the opening session 
of the school would be held. The hour hav- 
ing arrived witnessed the sad spectacle of 
an attendance of four of the three hundred 
and over who had partaken, with so much 
zeal and enthusiasm, of the society's hospi- 
tality but three short days before. However, 
the superintendent and his two assistants 
divided these four — all boys — among them, 
as best they could,without resorting to Solo- 
mon's proposition for securing an absolutely 
equal division, gave them much sensible and 
seasonable instruction and told them to come 
again, with judicious hints as to Maj-^ day 
festivities the following spring. As events 
indicated, these four lads were present, evi- 
dently, as spies sent out to inspect the land, 
and that their report was favorable was evi- 
denced by the largely increased attendance 
the following Sunda3\ In a short time more 
room was found necessary, and this was se- 
cured in the quarters then occupied by the 
Y. M. C. A. Later on the school was held 



in the Academy of Music, and then in Gise's 
Hall, in the Caldwell Block. In January, 
1876, an industrial school for the instruction 
of girls in habits of industry was established, 
with Mrs. J. B. Jardine as superintendent. 
During this year a building on Eleventh 
Street, formerly used for public school pur- 
poses, was offered the association free of 
charge, by the city authorities, and the free 
lease of a lot b3' Dr. G. C. Monell, in the 
same block, on Tenth Street, was promptly 
accepted. A number of citizens contributed 
to a fund to pay for the removal of the 
school building on to this lot, and there it 
has since remained. At the annual meeting 
in October, 1876, a change to the Omaha 
City Mission was made, in the name of the 
association. Three departments have been 
successfully conducted by the mission for 
many years: The industrial school, Sunday 
School and a relief department. By means 
of the latter, charity work is done during 
the entire year, but especially in the winter 
months, on an extensive scale and in a thor- 
oughly practical way. In the two schools 
the attendance averages about the same — 
one hundred and twenty-five. In connec- 
tion with the mission the Provident Dispen- 
sary was instituted in March, 1892, and Dr. 
E. T. Allen, who had done much for the 
work, was made phj'sician in chief of a 
corps of about forty physicians. Here indi- 
gent persons may receive treatment for ten 
cents a visit, including medicine. The 
officers of the association are: A. P. Hop- 
kins, president; J. A. Gillespie, first vice- 
president; E. T. Allen, second vice-presi- 
dent; Miss Mary Goodman, secretary; 
Alfred C. Kennedy, treasurer; P. S. Leisen- 
ring, superintendent Sunday School; Mrs. A. 
P . Hopkins, superintendent industrial school ; 
Mrs. J. B. Jardine, chairman relief commit- 
tee; Rev. A.W. Clark, missionary; J. B. Jar- 
dine, Thos. Kilpatrick, C. F. Goodman, W. 
J. Broatch, Wm. McCague, and George O. 
Calder, trustees. 



i 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



Financial Facts — Public and Private Improvements — Grading Down Hills and 
Filling Depressions — Present City Officials. 



Omaha's increase in population and com- 
mercial importance has been rapid. In ten 
years, 1880 to 1890, she has advanced from 
the sixty-fourth place in the list of Ameri- 
can cities to twenty-first place. The first 
years of her history were marked b}^ wild 
speculations which the financial panic in 1857 
suddenly blasted, and business depression fol- 
lowed. Then the gold discoveries at Pike's 
Peak, and in the sands of Cherrj^ Creek, in 
1858, resulted in this city's becoming an 
outfitting and freighting point. The inaug- 
uration of the Union Pacific Eailwaj- enter- 
prise, in 1864, with Omaha as the initi.al 
point, gave the town a new impetus. The 
financial crash of 1873 was damaging to 
Omaha, as it was to all western towns, and 
for three years thereafter real estate could 
be bought for a song; and, in view of the 
enormous increase in city projierty since, it 
is surprising that no one took advantage of 
the prices quoted in those days of depres- 
sion. Lots fronting east on Pleasant Street, 
now a choice residence location, were offered 
at S300 each, with no takers; east front lots 
on Twenty-fourth, between Farnam and 
Dodge, were offered at from $500 to $800; 
and in Byron Eeed's Addition, west of the 
High School, lots now worth thousands of 
dollars were offered in vain at from $300 to 
$400 each. In the spring of 1877 there was 
a slight demand for Omaha real estate, which, 
steadily increasing from that date, has re- 
sulted in the general up-building of the city. 
Additions have been made north, south and 
west, until the city contains twent3'-ttve 
square miles of territory within her borders. 

In 1860 Omaha had a population of 1,861; 



in 1870, 16,083; in 1880, 30,518; in 1885' 
61,835; in 1886 (estimated), 70,410; in 1887 
(estimated), 96,717; in 1888 (estimated), 
121,112; in 1890 (United States census), 
140,452, an increase of 358 per cent, in ten 
years. The present growth of the city is all 
that could be desired. In the business por- 
tion, substantial blocks are being erected, in 
manjr instances by eastern capitalists, and in 
the residence localities thousands of work- 
men are engaged building homes for a pros- 
perous, enterprising people. 

An insight into public receipts and ex- 
penditures in the early history of Omaha is 
shown by a report made by an auditing 
committee at the council meeting held March 
23, 1859. For the j-ear preceding, the ex- 
penses of the city clerk's office were $12,- 
593.48, but disbursements were made by that 
office in those days of a character not now 
within its i:)rovince, as is shown by the fol- 
lowing '• bill of particulars." 

EXPENDITITRES. 

Pre-emption cases $ 382 15 

Capitol Building 6,998 09 

Scrip (bill for printing) 95 00 

Elections 14 00 

Repairs 90 50 

Printing 50 00 

Rent 81 73 

Stationery 46 64 

Solicitor 353 00 

Recorder .... 531 50 

City Physician 100 00 

Treasurer 43 75 

Street Commissioner 153 00 

Marshal 468 60 

Collector 193 35 

Assessor 153 00 

City Engineer 134 00 

Protection of the Poor 331 59 



214 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Criminal Proceedings .' 100 00 

Improvements 1,153 67 

Incidental Expenses 1,221 41 

RECEIPTS. 

The total amount returned by 

ccity oUector was $ 3,901 45 

Scrip received for taxes 1.658 94 

Warrants received for taxes 1.678 26 

Cash 561 20 

$7,799 85 
The receipts of the treasurer's office were 
$5,875.89, as follows: 

Scrip $2,767 89 

Warrants 2,169 64 

Cash 938 86 

The disbursements for the year footed up 
$.0,806.07, leaving the magnificent total of 
$69.82 in the city treasury. 

The report of the city assessor, dated 
November 22, 1858, fixed the assessed valu- 
ation at $202,074; personal propert}', $178,- 
362; total, 81,491,114. On this amount a 
tax of five mills was levied, which would 
make the city revenue from this source 
$7,455.51, for the fiscal year ending March 
10, 1859. To the above amount was 
added $347.50 derived from licenses, and 
$39.84 received by tlie mayor in the deed- 
ing and redeeming of city lots; and, as the 
total expenditures were $12,593.48, the com- 
mittee found a deficit of $4,750.57. They 
took a cheerful view of the situation, how- 
ever, saying: "As a large portion of the 
expense was to defray the liabilities of the 
city on account of the capitol improvements, 
which will not again occur, and as other 
items of expenses can be dispensed without 
detriment to the general prosperity of the 
city, it is hoped that, by a judicious and 
economical administration of the citj- finan- 
ces, the receipts will defray the expenses of 
the present fiscal year, and perhaps cancel a 
portion of tlie city debt." The amount of 
scrip issued to that date, $60,000, warrants 
then outstanding, $12,414.14, and a floating 
debt of $275.45, brought the total liabilities 
up to $72,689.59. To offset this large sum,the 
committee presented the following as assets: 



Taxes due the city $ 3,554 12 

Amount received at tax sales 1,286 03 

Bond and mortgage of Hotel Company, 15,000 00 

City engineer's instruments, etc 200 00 

Scrip on hand redeemed 2.868 68 

City warrants redeemed 3,130 39 

Cash in treasury 69 82 

Balance in collector's hands 83 03 

Four lots in block H, estimated value. . 3,000 00 
Eight lots in block D, estimated value. 3 000 00 
Two lots in block G, estimated value. 1,000 00 
Fifty-six lots in J, K, L, M, N, O, P, es- 
timated value 5,1 00 00 

Four lots in block 128, estimated value 5,000 00 

Eight lots in Jefl'erson Square 4 000 00 

Twenty lots in Market Square 1 ,000 00 

Interest in court house, say 3,000 00 

Total $51,197 07 

These represent a total of $51,197.07, 
which left a balance of 821,492.52 on the 
wrong side of the ledger. The committee 
close their report by recommending that the 
city property be sold in order to cancel the 
debt. 

The financial standing of Omaha in the 
money centers of the East is now so well 
established that for several years past her 
bonds, bearing but five per cent, interest, 
have commanded a handsome premium. 
The bonds sold during 1890 bore interest 
at but four and one-half per cent, and 
sold for a premium of three per cent. The a.s- 
sessed real estate and personal valuation for 
taxation for 1891 was $20,000,176.50, 
though the actual value of real estate alone 
is conservativelj' estimated at ten times 
that amount. The tax levy for city pur- 
poses for the 3'ear 1891 was 8761,128.34. 
The total collections from all sources, for 
the year ending December 31, 1891, were 
$1,595,038.83. January 1, 1892, the city's 
bonded debt was $2,036,109, while the value 
of the real estate owned by the city is $ 1 ,- 
792,255, and of personal property, $95,- 
904.91; total $1,888,159.91. In 1860 the 
revenue from taxes was $5,299; in 1870 it 
was $134,446; in 1880, $177,478; in 1885, 
$374,773; in 1886, $475,932; 1887, $625,- 
000; 1888,8739,331; 1889, 8994,881. The 



CLEARIXG HOUSE REPORTS. 



215 



increase in the city debt has been as follows: 
1879,8200,000; 1880, $228,900; 1881,8328,- 
900; 1883,8528,900: 1884,8698,900; 1885, 
$818,900; 1886,81,048,900; 1887,81,223,- 
900; 1888, 81,458,500; 1889, 81,661,100. 
There is an additional amount of 81,614,450 
of bonded indebtedness, but this is not a 
city obligation, proper, but represents bonds 
issued on account of paving-, curbing and 
guttering, whicli amount is taxed up against 
the abutting property, and is paid for by 
yearly installments, extending over a period 
of ten years. The paving at intersections of 
streets and alley's is paid for by the citv. 

Omaha now ranks seventeenth in the list 
of clearing house cities, and the banks 
showed aggregate deposits, March 1, 1892, 
of 820,109,563.97, distributed as follows: 
nine national banks, 816,623,467.99; nine 
savings banks deposits and two State 
banks, 83,486,095.98. The aggregate capi- 
tal of the national banks is 84,000,000; of 
the savings banks, $625,000; and of the two 
State banks, 8104,000. The clearing house, 
AV. H. S. Hughes, manager, was estab- 
lished in 1885, for which year the clearings 
were 861,384,000; 1886, 893,793,000; 1887, 
8147,714,000; 1888, 8175,714.000; 1889, 
8208,790,000; 1890, 8255,557,652; 1891, 
8214,758,386, with some of the banks not 
reporting througii the clearing house. In 
addition to the figures given above, the 
South Omaha banks, of which three are 
national, are really a part of the Omaha 
banking s.ystem, and make quite an addition 
to the capital and the business of the city. 
During this period the percentage of annual 
increase has varied from nineteen to flftj- 
two. 

The pulilic improvements carried on by 
the city were insignificant in extent, until 
about 1882, when the necessity therefor 
became so apparent that a general system of 
grading, sewerage, and paving was inaugu- 
rated. In January of that year, a board of 
public works was appointed b_y the mayor 
and council, consisting of .James Creigh ton, 



chairman, Joseph Barker and John Wilson. 
The first meeting of the board was held 
January 22d. In July, 1884, Mr. Barker 
was succeeded by Clark Woodman, and in 
March, 1885, Fred. W. Gray was appointed 
as the successor of Mr. AVilson. In July, 
1885, J E. House was appointed chairman 
of the board in place of Mr. Creighton, re- 
signed, and in October of that 3^ear T. C. 
Brunner succeeded Mr. Gi'ay. Mr. AVood- 
man resigned and Albert Schaul was ap- 
pointed to fill the vacancy November 22, 
1885, and in September of the following- 
year Henry Voss succeeded Sir. Brunner. 
In 1887 the board was legislated out of 
existence by the new charter, and in May a 
new one was appointed by the mayor and 
council, consisting of St. A. D. Balcombe, 
for three j'ears; C. E. Maj'ne, two years; and 
Louis Heimrod for one year; the first named 
being designated as chairman. In October, 

1888, .John B. Furay succeeded Mr. Ileimrod 
and AVilliam I. Kierstead was appointed to 
fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of 
Mr. Mayne; he was re-appointed in July, 

1889, for three years, and resigned January 
13. 1891. A. A. Egbert was appointed to 
fill the vacancjs February 17, 1891. 

Previous to the appointment of this 
board, a very considerable sum had been 
expended by the city, under direction of the 
street commissioner, for grading, and Far- 
uam Street had been macadamized from 
Ninth to Fifteenth at a cost of $25,000; 
but general improvements were conducted 
so loosely that the aggregate amount thus ex- 
pended cannot now be ascertained. The work 
done on Farnam proved a useless expenditure, 
and a few years later that street was paved 
with Sioux Falls granite in the most sub- 
stantial manner. Originally the Waring 
system of sewerage was adopted, but that 
also proved to be a costly experiment, the 
remarkable growth of the city since not 
having been anticipated or provided for 
when the sewers were built, .and they were 
soon found to be entirelj- inadequate. 



216 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



At the close of the j^eav 1888, the Board 
of Public AVoi-ks reported (including an 
estimated expenditure for 1882) a total out- 
lay by the city for public improveinents, 
from 1882 to 1888, inclusive, of $5,035,- 
518.07, but did not take into account sundry 
expenses, inspection, etc., which would 
amount to nearly $60,000 more. The 
Eleventh Street viaduct cost $95,734.92, 
and that on Sixteenth Street, $38,793.05, 
both being built in 1887. The foundation 
for the city hall, practically lost by the 
change of plans in 1888, cost $38,650.95. 
With the close of the year 1888, there were 
fortj' miles of street pavements laid and 
sixty-six miles of sewers constructed. Pre- 
vious to 1882, $50,000 had been expended 
on sewer construction, which amount is in- 
cluded in the total given above. The 
material used for paving is Sioux Falls 
granite, Colorado sandstone, asphaltum, 
cedar and cypress blocks, and vitrified 
brick. In addition to the outlay by the 
city, the street railway companies have ex- 
pended manjr thousands of dollars in paving 
their right-of-waj- on various streets. 

During the year 1889 the Board of Public 
Works expended $846,665, paying $77,415 
for nineteen miles of curbing; $103,668 for 
six and seven-tenths miles of sewers; $483,- 
482 for eleven miles of paving; $182,000 for 
twenty-two miles of grading. The cost of 
sidewalks (taxed against property owners) 
laid during the year was about $112,000. 
The sum of $55,000 was expended in park 
improvements by the South Omaha Com- 
pany, and about $20,000 by the Omaha Park 
Commission. Since January 1, 1883, fifty- 
one miles of streets had been paved, at a 
cost of $3,182,952, the largest disbursement 
for this purpose having been made in 1888, 
when $1,000,464 was expended. There had 
been nineteen miles of stone curbing laid, 
at a cost of $77,415; over seventy-two 
miles of sewer built, costing $1,217,172; and 
one hundred and three miles of streets 
graded, making a total outlay for this class 



of public improvements to January 1, 1890, 
of $6,540,472. June 25, 1890, P. W. Birk- 
hauser succeeded St. A. D. Balcombe as 
chairman of the board. 

In the paving contracts let since 1890, 
wooden blocks have not been considered, the 
experience of the past in that regard having 
proven unsatisfactory. During the year 
1890 nine and one-fifth miles of streets 
were paved at a cost of $506,480, making 
the total mileage of paved streets a trifle 
over sixty-one miles. Street curbing was 
done to the extent of nineteen and one- fifth 
miles, at a cost of $72,355. Twelve miles 
of sewers were constructed, costing $112,- 
430, making a total of eight3--five miles of 
sewers. Twenty-two and one-half miles of 
streets were graded, at an outlay of $208- 
253. Thirty thousand dollars was expended 
in building twentj'-two miles of sidewalks, 
in addition to an expenditure of $22,000 bj' 
property holders. The total outlay for pub- 
lic improvements during the year, including 
county expenditures, on cit}' streets, was 
$32,350; bonds voted for the Tenth Street 
viaduct, $150,000, and $200,000 expended 
on the city hall foot up $1,377,317. 

The following information on the im- 
provements of the city is obtained from the 
city engineer's report for t!ie j'ear ending 
December 31, 1891: There was expended for 
sewers, $70,376.03; for curbing, $16,562.71, 
for about five miles; grading, $150,868.85; 
paving, $136,531.16. The total mileage is 
as follows: sewers, 92.11 miles; curbing, 
117.64 miles; grading, 136.6 miles; paving 
64.22 miles. The total amount expended 
for these improvements during the nine 
years ending June 1, 1892, was: for sewers, 
$1,412,334.50; for curbing, $609,996.32; fol- 
grading, $1,154,990.54; and for paving, 
$3,796,662.66. 

In 1889 new plans for a citj' hall were 
adopted, Messrs. Fowler & Beindorf, of 
Omaha, being the successful architects in a 
competitive examination, and the building 
is now in course of erection on the site 



LAYIXG THE CORNER STONE OF THE CITY HALL. 



217 



chosen by the voters of Omaha, in 1882, and 
again at an election held in the spring of 
1889, the northeast corner of Farnam and 
Eighteenth Streets. John F. Coots, the 
builder of the Douglas County Court House, 
was awarded the contract for the building, 
which cost about $550,000. The corner 
stone was laid June 19, 1890, with appropri- 
ate ceremonies, by the Grand Lodge of 
Masons of Nebraska, which happened to be 
in session in Omaha on that date. An in- 
teresting feature of the occasion was the 
presence of ex-Maj'ors A. J. Poppleton, 
George Armstrong, B. E. B. Kennedj', 
Charles H. Brown, Joseph H. Millard, Cham- 
pion S. Chase, James E. Boyd and "Wm. J. 
Broatch. Following is the address of Mayor 
E. C. Gushing: 

" Felloio Citizens of Omaha, Gentlemen of 
the Common Council and of the Masonic Fra- 
ternity : We are assembled to-day to deposit 
a block of enduring granite stone which will, 
we trust, uphold years after all present shall 
have departed, a fabric devoted to our city's 
business. 

" To its sealed recesses we confide such 
evidences of our city's present size and pros- 
perity as ma}^ serve to interest the busy 
populace of some future generation, when 
these Arm walls shall have crumbled and the 
secrets of this corner stone shall have been 
brought to light. 

" The pyramids and sphinx of the Nile 
tell to-day an Egj'ptian tale better than the 
ashes of the great Alexandrian library. The 
ruins of our ancient cities, for instance, the 
Coliseum of Rome, speak louder in the de- 
scriptive than the scribes of that day. 
Therefore, it is altogether fitting that such 
memorials of our day should be entrusted to 
the strong guardianship of stone. 

" Here and there, even at this time, as our 
hills are leveled, or our foundations laid, the 
busy spade of the workman exhumes, from 
its long forgotten grave, Indian relics, some 
domestic utensil, or some weapon of war, 
upon which we g.aze with absorbing interest 



as the sole histories of nations long vanished. 

" In their rugged outlines we may venture 
to read something of their wars, their daily 
pursuits, and their homes, which, but for 
these recovered implements of stone, would 
have been a blank forever. 

" To the people of some long distant day, 
we offer a more legible storj', and one which, 
we believe, is more in accord with the spirit 
of the present age. From this recess, here- 
after, will be taken no weapon of death, no 
evidence of barbaric wars, but tokens only 
of peace and prosperity, which have hitherto 
blessed this city, and which we devoutly 
hope maj^ continue to bless it for ages yet to 
come. 

" Upon the stone now to be placed will 
rise, we hope, a structure which will be an 
honor to our citj' and a satisfaction to its 
inhalntants. Within its walls, we trust that 
no ignoble motive, no coi-rupt suggestion, 
may ever find a place, and that it may be 
not only an edifice for the transaction of the 
city's business affairs, but also a temple of 
integrity, justice and patriotism. And may 
the figure which the architect has designed 
for its summit look down for many years 
upon a community happy, united, prosper- 
ous, honest and charitable. 

" To .you, gentlemen of the Masonic Fra- 
ternity, I now extend mj^ most heart}' 
thanks for your interest in the occasion, and 
turn over this block to be fitted in its place 
by your skillful and experienced hands." 

It is only within a few years past that there 
have been erected in Omaha business houses 
of any considerable size or cost. Boyd's 
Opera House, built in 1881, cost $125,000; 
the Ware Block, built in 1885, cost 186,000; 
the Omaha National Bank building, erected 
in 1882, and added to in 1889, cost about 
8140,000. The Nebraska National building 
was erected in 1883 at a cost of $65,000. 
The First National Bank building, costing 
8250,000, the Merchants' National, costing 
$180,000, and the United States National, 
costing $150,000, were all completed in 1888. 



218 



HISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



The New York Life Insurance Companj^ 
building, ten stories high, cost about $900,- 
000, and was completed in 1889, as was also 
the magnificent structure erected by the Bee 
Publishing Company at a cost of 8500,000. 
The Paston Block was completed in 1888 at 
an expense of 1361,000; the Barker Block, 
finished the same year, cost $70,000; the 
Granite Block, erected by AVilliam A. Pax- 
ton, who also built the Ware and Paxton 
buildings, cost §40,000; the Withnell was 
built by John and Richard Withnell, in 1887, 
at a cost of $40,000; the Karbach, completed 
in 1892, and owned by Charles J. Karbach, 
cost $150,000; the Kamge, the property of 
Frank J. Ramge, finished in 1888. and cost 
$100,000; the Sheely was built in 1887-8 
by Joseph Sheely, and cost nearl.y $100,- 
000; the Commercial National Bank build- 
ing, built in 1890, cost about the same 
amount; the Murray Hotel, built by Thomas 
Murray, cost $140,000; the Dellone, built 
by Frank Dellone, cost $100,000; the Pax- 
ton Hotel, built by Charles W., James B. and 
Richard Kitchen, cost $275,000; the Millard 
Hotel, built by the Millard Hotel Companj-, 
cost $200,000; the Wool worth Block, on 
Howard Street, built by James JM. Wool- 
worth, cost about $100,000; the Dr. S. D. 
Mercer Blocks on the same street, cost 
$250,000; the Fred Ames buildings, corner 
of Eleventh and Howard and Sixteenth and 
Farnam, each cost about $100,000; the 
buildings owned bj' the Ezra Millard estate, 
located on both sides of Harney, corner of 
Eleventh, cost $204,000; Dewey ifc Stone's 
building, on Farnam near Twelfth, cost $40,- 
000; the Chamber of Commerce building 
cost $100,000; the Exposition building, with 
alterations, cost $113,000; the Strang build- 
ing, erected by A. L. Strang, cost about 
$35,000; the Union Pacific Headquarters 
building cost $200,000, and the Burlington 
& Missouri River building, about half that 
sum; the buildings used by Mr. Fred Krug, 
for brewery purposes, cost $150,000; J. J. 
Brown's buildino-, corner of Sixteenth and 



Douglas, $100,000; the Kirkendall building 
corner of Sixteenth and Dodge, cost $50,000; 
the American National Bank cost $120,000; 
Charles Turner's business block on Tenth 
and Harney cost $36,000, and his residence 
on west Farnam Street a like amount; the 
Rector & AVilhelmy building. Tenth and 
Jackson, cost $25,000; the Smith building, 
corner of Harney and Twelfth, cost $40,000, 
and the W. H. Cremer building, adjoining 
on the west, $30,000; the W. J. Broatch 
building, on Harney, near Thirteenth, cost 
$25,000; the John McCreary building, on 
Douglas, east of the Millard Hotel, cost about 
$50,000; the Hellman Block, corner of 
Farnam and Thirteenth, about $40,000; the 
Young Men's Christian Association build- 
ing, Douglas and Sixteenth, $90,000; A. S. 
Paddock's building, corner of Douglas and 
Twelfth, $90,000: the Pacific Express Com- 
pany's building, Fourteenth and Harney, 
$130,000; the First Methodist Episcopal 
Church, Davenport and Twentieth Streets, 
$95,000; Parlin, Orendorf & Martin build- 
ing. Ninth and Jones, $30,000; the Max 
Mej-er & Brothers' building, Farnam and 
Eleventh, $45,000; the McGavock building, 
$40,000; the New St. Joseph Hospital, 
$150,000; the J. L. Byers' Block, Douglas 
and Fifteenth, $122,000; the Estabrook 
Block, Sixteenth and Chicago, cost $60,000; 
the J. W. Lytle Block, on Farnam between 
Eleventh and Twelfth, cost $35,000; Trinity 
Cathedral, $100,000; First Congregational 
Church, $60,000; and many others. 

The building of handsome and attractive 
residences in all portions of the city has also 
been a marked feature of Omaha's progress 
during the past few j-ears. 

The conversion of the village of Omaha 
into the present city has involved the re- 
moval of a vast amount of earth, in the 
grading down of hills and the filling up of 
ravines. In its earlier stages this work of 
transformation, now so gratifying to behold 
in its results, caused much bitterness of 
feeling on the part of old-time friends and 



STKEET GRADING AND IMPKOVEMENT. 



!19 



neiglibors and damage suits without num- 
ber against the city. This era of street im- 
provement dates bacic to 1873, when a radi- 
cal grade was established for St. IMary's Av- 
enue, or, rather, a grade tlien considered 
radical, but which in these latter years ad- 
jacent property holders would reject as not 
providing for a sufTicient filling in of the low 
ground and cutting down of the hills. But 
the grade then proposed for that street met 
with indignant opposition from heavy prop- 
erty owners on both sides of that then im- 
portant thoroughfare, and a compromise 
grade was finally accepted, the result being 
that the avenue has lost its prominence, and 
adjacent streets have absorbed its business. 

Farnam Street has had three changes of 
grade, involving a cut of forty-five feet at 
the intersection of Seventeenth, and a fill of 
quite that much between Twentieth and 
Twenty-fourth. Previous to this the block 
bounded by Farnam, Harney, Seventeenth 
and P^ighteenth had been purchased by the 
county commissioners as a court house site, 
on account of its commanding elevation. 
Anticipating a i-eduction of the grade on 
Farnam, the commissioners removed consid- 
erable earth from the court house block, and 
complaints were freely made that that beau- 
tiful site was being destroyed by a lot of 
men who had no eye for the picturesque. 
1)11 1 those whose business requires them to 
climb the long flights of steps now reaching 
to the building from the street level do not 
complain because a few feet of earth were 
scaled off of the top of the hill by the county 
board, " but, on the contrary, quite the re- 
verse." This improvement of Farnam 
Street also caused the destruction of the 
handsome and expensive residence Governor 
Saunders had built at the northeast corner 
of Farnam and Flighteenth, the present site 
of the city hall. West of Twenty-fourth 
the cuts and fills were not so radical, which 
fact people owning the abutting property 
have already lived long enough to regret. 

Cuming Street has been converted from a 



hilly country road into a magnificent street, 
with an ascending grade westward so slight 
that it is scarcely perceptible. The creek, 
through which a sluggish stream flowed east- 
ward along the line of Nicholas Street, 
breeding pestilence and death' in tlie hot 
summer months, has been filled \ip and in its 
place are now the sites of substantial brick 
structures. Directly north of this stream, 
on Sixteenth Street, was formerl}' a hill of 
considerable steepness on which, west of the 
road, stood the -'claim shanty" in which 
Mr. John A. Ilorbach lived when he per- 
fected his entry of eighty acres of land, 
paying therefor the government price of a 
dollar and a quarter an acre. On the Six- 
teenth Street bridge, by which the stream was 
crossed, a well-known citizen, Henry Dur- 
nall, was killed late one night by being- 
thrown from his buggy by his runaway 
horse. This bridge was afterwards pur- 
chased by the county commissioners and 
placed across a stream near Florence. 

South Sixteenth and South Eleventh 
Streets have been improved at great expense 
to the city and lot owners. At the inter- 
section of .Jones, the former street has been 
cut about fifty feet, and Eleventh Street, at 
the intersection of Pierce, was cut sixty-six 
feet. Jones Street was formerl}^ the bed of 
a stream called Otoe Creek (afterwards 
South Omaha Creek), and property in that 
vicinity was of little value. East of Eighth 
Street, frcfm this creek northward to F'ar- 
nani, was a high bluff under which, just 
south of Farnam, was for many years a 
large pond which was used for skating pur- 
poses in the winter by the giddy youth of 
that period. The bluflf has been graded 
down, the low levels raised, and a net work 
of iron placed thereon to accommodate the 
immense railway business of which Omaha 
is now the center. 

But the greatest change, perhaps, is that 
which has been wrought on Leavenworth 
Street. A dozen years ago it had five dis- 
tinct and separate names — Leavenworth, 



220 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Plum. Sherman, Grant and Third — the va- 
rious parties platting additions which ex- 
tended the street westward fixing such names 
to the portions thus platted as suited their 
exuberant fancy. At one point the street 
was only about forty feet wide, while high 
elevations and deep ravines characterized it 
from one end to the other. For two years a 
bitter warfare waged, with the proposed im- 
provement of this street as the bone of con- 
tention. Petitions and remonstrances by 
the dozens were sent in to the council. Va- 
rious boards of appraisers were appointed 
and their reports rejected. Meetings of 
interested property holders were held and 
enlivened by loud talk and personal abuse. 
Some of the heaviest property holders on the 
street opposed the enterprise most strenu- 
ously, and on one occasion Mayor Boyd 
(during whose last term the fight occurred) 
remarked to a delegation which waited upon 
him in that connection that the council liad 
devoted more time during the year preced- 
ing to Leavenworth Street than to any other 
half dozen streets in the city. However, the 
progressive element succeeded; twenty-foot 
cuts were made, ravines filled, narrow places 
widened and one name given the street for 
its entire length. It is now one of the most 
promising east and west thoroughfares in 
the city, is paved for a distance of over two 
miles, has a double-track electric motor line, 
and the solid business blocks completed, or 
now being built, along the street prove the 
wisdom and prudence of those who advocated 



the improvement of the street. And a sim- 
ilar experience has followed in all portions 
of the city where first-class grades have been 
established, regardless of public and private 
expense. In every case the property affected 
has been largely increased in value, and sub- 
stantial and expensive improvements have 
resulted. 

An immense amount of eastern capital 
has sought investment in this city, chiefly 
through the local loan associations, the prin- 
cipal of which are: The American Loan & 
Trust Company, O. M. Carter, president, 
capital $400,000; the Omaha Loan & Trust 
Compan}', A. U. Wynian, president, capital 
$350,000; the Union Trust Company, W. A. 
Paxton, president, capital $300,000; the 
Anglo-American Mortgage & Trust Com- 
pany, L. W. Tulleys, president, capital 
$300,000; the Equitable Trust Company, 
Lewis S. Reed, president, capital $200,000; 
Home Investment Company, Edwin S. Row- 
ley, president, capital and surplus $280,000; 
McCague Investment Company, John L. 
McCague, president, capital $200,000; Mu- 
tual Investment Compan3^, ^V. H. Russell, 
president, capital $75,000; Globe Loan & 
Trust Company, H. O. Devries, president, 
capital $300,000; Mead Investment Com- 
pany, '\Y. D. Mead, president, paid in capital 
and surplus $80,000; Omaha Mortgage Com- 
pany, Thomas Brennan, president, capital 
$100,000. Many of the leading money syn- 
dicates of the East also have resident agents 
in Omaha. 




^^' ^^^Z^'^.^^^^^^.^;^^^.-..^ 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



Bench and B.a 



-Personal Mention of Members of a Distinguished Profession 
■ Organization of Territorial and State Courts. 



[As is well-knowD, Judge Savage was first selected to 
write this chapter, as well as others, but his untimely death 
rendered it necessary for-some other person to perform that 
duty ; and, at the requestof the executors of the late judge, the 
writer consented to prepare these pages, knowing full well the 
loss to the profession, as well as to the puhlication, in that 
Judge Savage had not completed his task. But, having 
accepted the oflBce, I trust that I have given such attention and 
consideration to th« subject as it deserves, and that it will be 
satisfactory to the members of the bar, as well as to the public 
generally. Geo. W. Ambeosk.] 

Personally, I deem the subject of this 
chapter an important one, and I' trust my 
view of it is not exaggerated. " Mine office " 
must not be magnified, however; but those 
wlio come after us may care to know some- 
thing of the order of men with whom the 
meanest as well as the greatest of individ- 
uals have to deal. The legal profession, it 
is said, " is a republic open to all," and from 
among its members are taken those, who, in 
a large degree, make as well as administer 
the law, and each, in the eloquent words of 
Bishop Home, " when he goeth up to the 
judgment seat, puts on righteousness as a 
glorious and beautiful robe, and to render 
his tribunal a fit emblem of the eternal 
throne of which justice and judgment are 
the habitation." 

The bar of Omaha has always been a 
prominent one iu tlie territory as well as 
in the State. The writer recollects that, in 
the early seventies, at one time when Asso- 
ciate Justice Miller, of the Supreme Court 
of the United States, was in attendance in 
this city, holding the circuit court, that he 
remarked that nowhere in the eight states 
then composing this circuit was there an 
abler bar than in Omaha; and such has 
been its reputation, not onlj^ in the State, 



but in the surrounding states as well. 
In the early territorial days the member- 
ship of the bar included many who are not 
here now, and it has been impossible for the 
writer to obtain some of their names; but 
Thomas B. Cuming, afterwards secretary 
and acting governor of the territorj^, to- 
gether with one Turk, were, in 1868, a lead- 
ing firm, conducting a general business, and 
it is said that Governor Cuming especially 
was a silver-tongued orator of great abilitj^ 
Jonas Seely, now dead, was then a resident 
of Omaha, engaged in the general practice, 
and Jolm I. Redick and Clinton Briggs 
were then, as for many years thereafter, a 
prominent firm of attorneys, and, together 
with Poppleton, Lake, Woolworth, Brown, 
Kennedy, Little, Richardson, Estabrook, 
Hitchcock and Daniel Gantt, formed a com- 
bination of brains and pluck and push — all 
of them good lawj'ers, and all of them rose 
to eminence in their prof ession in later years. 
None of us who knew him could forget Dan- 
iel Gantt, a thorough chancery lawyer, im- 
bued with great love for his profession; 
nothing so delighted him as to have fall into 
his hands an intricate and complicated case 
in chancery. He was the last United States 
District Attorney of the Territory. Soon 
after the admission of the State he removed 
to Nebraska City and was afterwards made 
Chief Justice, and died in office in 1878. 
No purer man or brighter legal mind has 
ever adorned the bench of Nebraska. The 
personal mention of otliers of the territorial 
bar will be made under the proper head, in 
comments upon the bar of the cit}'. 



222 



HISTOEY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



TEREITOniAL DAYS. 

The organic act under which Nebraska 
was created a territory was passed by Con- 
gress in May, 1854. Under that act, on the 
29th day of June, 1854, President Pierce 
commissioned Fenner Ferguson Chief Jus- 
tice, and Edward E. Hardin and James 
Bradley Associate Justices, of the Supreme 
Court. These judges came to Kebraslta in 
the fall of that year. Chief Justice Ferguson 
taking the first judicial district, consisting 
of Douglas and Dodge Counties, Judge Har- 
din the second district, comprising the ter- 
ritorjj^ south of the Platte Eiver, and Judge 
Bradlejr the third district, which embraced 
Washington and Burt Counties. These as- 
signments were made by Hon. Thomas B. 
Cuming, secretar.y of the territory, who, by 
reason of the death of Governor Burt, was 
the Acting Governor. Tlie first term of the 
Supreme Court was fixed for the third Mon- 
day of February, 1855, at Omaha, and the 
first term of the District Court for this dis- 
trict was assigned to be held on tlie second 
Monday in jSIarch, 1855, at Bellevue, which 
was then a part of Douglas County. Feb- 
ruarj^ 10, 1855, the Supreme Court was or- 
ganized at Omaha, in the Hall of Represen- 
tatives, in the old State House, on Nintli 
Street between Farnam and Douglas Streets. 
There were present Chief Justice Ferguson ; 
Judge Hardin; Expei-ienceEstabrook, United 
States Attorney; and J. Sterling Morton, 
clerk. 

There was nothing done at that term, ex- 
cept to take an adjournment until the June 
following, when the court again convened 
with the same judges and the district attor- 
ney present. At this term there were ad- 
mitted, upon motion of General Estabrook, 
0. D. Richardson, A. J. Poppleton, A. J. 
Hanscom, Silas A. Strickland, L. L. Bowen, 
A. D. Jones and Samuel E. Rogers, as mem- 
bers of the bar, and their admission consti- 
tuted the only business transacted at tliat 
term of court. 

By an act of the Territorial Legislature, 



passed March 16, 1855, terms of the Supreme 
Court were appointed to be held at Omaha 
on the second Tuesday of December, and 
the second Tuesday in June, of each year. 
There were no other terms of the court held 
from June, 1855, until June, 1857. Judge 
Ferguson held his first term of District 
Court for this district at Bellevue, March 
12, 1855, at which time the onlj^ business 
transacted was the appointment of Silas A. 
Strickland as clerk of tlie court. 

On the 12th of April, following, the court 
met, but immediately adjourned until Octo- 
ber 16, 1855, at which term Allen Root and 
O. P. Mason, who have become historic 
characters in this State, were admitted as 
attornej^s. 

October 22, 1855, the first grand jury of 
the territorj- was convened, and consisted 
of the following named persons: R. Iloge- 
boom, I. P. Halleck, Sj'lvanus Dodge, Jesse 
Lowe, foreman, A. Davis, J. F. Kimball, H. 
Johnson, A. W. Trimble, S. Driskall, J. C. 
Reeves, J. Sailing, P. Cassidy, H. H. Smith, 
W. II. Smith, and J. R. Allen. The first in- 
dictment for murder was returned by this 
jury, Mr. Henrj' being the accused. He 
was defended by A. J. Poppleton and O. P. 
Mason, and was acquitted. 

In 1856 Judge Bradley- resigned, and re- 
turned to La Porte, Indiana, and Judge 
P^leazer AVakeley, of AVisconsin, Avas ap- 
pointed b_y President Pierce in Januarj-, 
1857, to fill the vacancy; which position 
Judge Wakeley occupied until soon after the 
inauguration of President Lincoln, in 1861, 
when he returned to Wisconsin, again locat- 
ing in Nebraska in 1868. 

Judge Ferguson, the first judge of this 
district, was elected a delegate to Congress 
in 1857, serving two years, and was suc- 
ceeded on the bench by Hon. Augustus Hall, 
of Iowa. Judge Ferguson was born in Col- 
umbia Count}', New York, in 1814. He 
studied law in the office of Koon &: Branhall, 
at Albany, was admitted as an attorne}' in 
1840, and as a counselor in 1843. His res- 



BENCH AND BAR IN TEREITOIIIAL DAY: 



223 



idence in Nebraska was at Bellevue, then 
the trading post of the American Fur Com- 
pan.y under the agencj- of the famous Peter 
A. ^arpy. The death of Judge Ferguson 
occurred there November, 1859, at the age 
of forty-five, where his family continued to 
reside for many j-ears. 

Augustus Hall was appointed judge of 
this district in 1857. He died in 1861 at the 
age of forty-seven years. His residence was 
at Bellevue. He continued to act as judge 
until his death. His widow and son, Richard 
S. Hall, now of the firm of Hall, McCulloch 
& English, still reside in Omaha. Judge 
Hall was succeeded by William Pitt Kellogg, 
of Illinois. The last territorial judge of 
this district was "William Kellogg, who was 
also of Illinois, and was the immediate suc- 
cessor of William Pitt Kellogg. The latter 
went into the ariny of the rebellion, and 
after the war removed to the State of Louis- 
iana, where he subsequentl}' became known 
through the offices which he held as Gov- 
ernor of Louisiana and as Senator of the 
United States. Judge Wakele^' was suc- 
ceeded b.y William F. Lockwood, who held 
the office until the admission of the State, 
in March, 1867. A verj" pleasing incident 
may here be noted. The territorial judges, 
Ferguson, Hall and Wakeley, have each 
sons in the active practice of the law in 
Omaha. Arthur Wakele3% Richard S. Hall 
and Arthur N. Ferguson (Mr. Ferguson hav- 
ing, as noted elsewhere, been appointed 
judge), also Experience Estabrook, the first 
United States Attorney, has a son, Henry D. 
P^stabrook, engaged in the practice — all of 
them "chips of the old blocks." 

One of the institutions of those early days, 
and which has since become historical, was an 
organization known as the Omaha Claim Club. 
This organization was composed of about 
two hundred individuals who were among 
the earliest settlers of Omaha and the 
surrounding community. The land laws of 
the United States permitted every person 
who came within their terms to settle upon 



160 acres of government land, and perfect 
his title and secure his patent; but the 
early settlers thought that, because they came 
here in an early day, they had acquired 
superior rights to even the laws of Congress 
upon the subject of tlie location of govern- 
ment land, and so this organization was for 
the purpose of protecting any of its members 
in pre-empting and holding 320 acres of 
land; and no person who came upon this 
soil, and sought to locate in the exact terms 
of the law upon government land, was per- 
mitted to enjoy the fruits of his labor, but 
whenever he attempted it he was waited 
upon by a committee and informed, under 
certain pains and penalties to be adminis- 
tered by the club, that he must deed his 
land to the member of the club desiring 
it. If not, at times he was ducked in the 
Missouri River; at other times his little 
shanty, located upon his government land, 
was burned down; or perhaps a stray shot 
wovild " wing" him; and at last he would 
be driven from the land, if he was so contu- 
macious as not to comply with the require- 
ments of the club. 

This organization became a fruitful source 
of litigation in this community, not only 
during the territorial days, but in the days 
of Statehood: but the. majority of the mem- 
bers of the Claim Club were enabled to hold 
their lands by some means, and manj' of 
them, who have since become rich and hon- 
ored in the community, have lieconie so 
because of their membership in this club. 
Many a case has gone through the courts of 
the territory, as well as through the courts 
of the State, involving the historj' and action 
of this Claim Club, and two notable ones 
were decided by the Supreme Court of the 
United States; one, the case of Pierce vs. 
Brown, in 7th Wallace, 214, the other, 
Alexander H. Baker vs. William S. T. Mor- 
ton, et al., decided in 12tli Wallace, 150. 

Mr. Baker,who was for a great many years 
a well-known citizen of this city, and who 
is now a resident of Grand Island, located 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



upon 160 acres of land in what is known as 
Orchard Hill, and Brown located upon the 
adjoining 160 acres. Neither Brown nor 
Baker were members of the Claim Club, but 
Pierce was, and he feasted his greedy ej-e 
upon those choice 320 acres, and set about to 
obtain them; and he did, as is alleged in the 
case, with other persons who were members 
of the club, procure a deed both from Baker 
and Brown for their pre-emption claims after 
the title had inured to them under the land 
laws of the United States. This was brought 
about by Pierce, with other members of the 
club, going to these two gentlemen and 
threatening to take their lives by hanging or 
drowning them, or in such other manner as 
the agents of the cluli might think fit and 
proper to employ. 

This was in 1857; and, upon their acquir- 
ing the pre-emption title from the govern- 
ment, these threats were about to be carried 
into execution, when these gentlemen con- 
veyed to Pierce their pre-emption entries. 
Afterwards, bills in equity were filed in the 
territorial courts, alleging these threats, 
and that the conveyances were obtained by 
duress. The courts of the territory, as weU 
as the Circuit Court of the United States for 
this district, decided against the gentle- 
men and sustained the conveyances thus 
obtained. Upon appeal to the Supreme 
Court of the United States, that court made 
very swift work of setting aside the decrees 
of the Circuit Court of the United States, 
and held that the convej'ances were obtained 
by duress, and reinstated Mr. Baker and Mr. 
Brown in their titles. 

The attornej'S who were instrumental in 
obtaining the decision of the Supreme Court 
were Messrs. Redick and Briggs, while the 
attorney who contended for Pierce and 
Morton was Mr. Woolworth. The records of 
the testimony in those two cases are still 
extant, and the student who desires to be- 
come acquainted with the modes and opera- 
tions of the early settlers in Nebraska Ter- 



ritory will find very choice reading by 
consulting those printed records.* 

DAYS Of STATEHOOD. 

Nebraska was admitted as a State March 
1, 1867. The constitution was adopted in 
1866 by a vote of the people, at which time 
AVilliam A. Little was elected Chief Justice 
and George B. Lake and Lorenzo Crounse 
Associate .Justices. Mr. Little died before 
having qualified for the office, and Governor 
David Butler appointed O. P. Mason, of 
Nebraska City, to fill the vacancy. The 
State then consisted of but three districts. 
Judge Mason was assigned to the first dis- 
trict. Judge Lake to the second, and Judge 
Crounse to the third. These judges, under 
the constitution, were judges of the Supreme 
Court, with power to hold the courts of the 
three districts, and twice a year they met as 
a Supreme Court to listen to appeals and 
writs of error, the judge from whom the 
appeal or writ of error was taken not sitting 
in the appellate court. This condition of 
things continued until the adoption of the 
constitution in 1875, when they ceased to 
hold the district courts, the State having 
been re-districted and other judges elected 
for the district courts. The first term of 
the court for this district, the second under 
the State constitution, was held at Omaha, 
April 16, 1867, Judge Lake presiding, with 
George Armstrong, clerk, Andrew Del- 
lone, sheriff, and George W. Doane, prose- 
cuting attorney. The members of the bar, 
then engaged in active practice here, were 
James M. Wool worth, A. J. Poppleton, John 
I. Redick, Clinton Briggs, George W. Doane, 
John R. Meredith, Charles H. Brown, Ex- 
perience Estabrook, Albert Swartzlander, 
George 11. Roberts, Silas A. Strickland, J. 
C. Ambrose, John D. Howe, Cieorge C. Hop- 
kins, George M. O'Brien, Ben. Sheeks and 
Charles P. Burkitt. 

*The writer wishes to acltnowledge tbe receipt of valuable 
information, concerning tliose early days, from Charles P. 
Birkett, and from Hon. James JI. Woolworth in his article m 
Volume IX of Magazine of Western History. 



Pi 




^^^^^ 



BE>X'U AXD BAR KEMINISCENCES. 



Tluit term was held in the old court house, 
then standing at the corner of Sixteenth and 
Farnam. Upon the assembling of court that 
morning, the writer, having arrived in 
Omaha the mouth previous, walked into the 
court room for the first time, and his recol- 
lection of its surroundings are quite vivid. 
Tiie judge's raised desk was at the south 
end, in front of which sat the clerk. The 
bar was fenced off with a wooden railing, 
and on either side were the petit and grand 
jury boxes, on raised seats. Two old-fash- 
ioned heating stoves warmed the room, the 
space outside of the railing being allotted to 
witnesses and spectators. 

Time has made wonderful changes since 
those daj-s. Old age, with its gray hairs and 
wrinkled brows, has taken the place of 
youthful activity. Wealth has favored 
some, and the plodding of everyday life still 
exists with the many. But, with all this, 
let a plurality of those wise, gray heads and 
(by no means few) bald-heads get together, 
and the live scenes of our court room enact- 
ment are still the subject of much merri- 
ment. 

Upon the opening of court, James W. 
Savage, John C. Cowin, Champion S. Chase, 
and the writer were admitted to the bar. 
Of these four, James W. Savage has been 
the first to solve the mystery of the Infinite; 
and, of those who were then active practi- 
tioners, Clinton Briggs, John R. Jleredith, 
Silas A. Strickland and George M. O'Brien 
have died. The balance of those then pres- 
ent are still here, with the exception of 
George 11. Roberts, George C. Hopkins, 
Ben. Sheeks and J. C. Ambrose, either en- 
gaged in the active practice of their profes- 
sion, or retired upon a competency. The 
business of the court, after the admission of 
the gentlemen named, proceeded in the usual 
way, with a call of the docket and the an- 
swers of attorneys who were fortunate 
enough to have any business. There were 
then no printed dockets, and the writer rec- 
ollects that the clerk had prepared his docket 



for the use of the court, from which the at- 
torneys had abstracted their cases, in little 
pass books, and, as the judge made the call, 
notations were entered in these little books 
as to the disposition of the various suits. 
The first jury case, in the second district, 
taken up at this first term of court under 
the State government was entitled, " State 
of Nebraska vs. Ottway G. Baker, for mur- 
der," and the first jury called consisted of 
the following named persons: James Slight- 
man, Wm. T. Clark, Charles Powell, Edward 
Whitehorn, Tholemiah A. Megeath, Wm. 
Neighly, Borland L. Clapp, Enos Scherbe, 
James L. Hawkins, Wm. H. Lawton, James 
M. Parker, and Milton C. Outhwaite. The 
history of this trial is referred to elsewhere. 

The district court continued to be held 
by Judge Lake as associate justice of the 
Supreme Court until the adoption of the 
present constitution in 1875. In November 
of that year, James W. Savage was elected 
judge of this district, now become the third 
under the re-districting of the State, and 
composed of the counties of Sarp}-, Douglas, 
Washington and Burt. He was nominated 
as a Democrat, in a district supposed to be 
overwhelmingly Republican, his competitor 
being John M. Thurston, to whom it was 
no reproach to be defeated by Judge Sav- 
age, under the circumstances, for the latter 
was much more generally known throughout 
the district, was more advanced in years and 
practice, and possessed great personal popu- 
larit_y. Mr. Thurston has since achieved 
such distinction that his defeat at that time 
has been to him a subject of congratulation. 
In November, 1879, Judge Savage was 
re-elected for another term of four years, 
but resigned in 1882, when James Neville 
was appointed to fill out his unexpired 
term. 

In 1879 Judge Savage's competitor was 
Charles A. Baldwin, Esq. Tlie Legislature 
of 1883 having made provisions for two 
judges of this district, Hon. Eleazer Wake- 
ley was appointed by Governor Dawes to 



226 



niSTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



serve with Judge Neville. Altliough a 
Democrat of pronounced views, Judge Wake- 
ley was unanimously selected by the bar 
of the district to fill the position, and was 
also heartily endorsed for the appointment 
by the citizens of the district generally, irre- 
spective of politics. In the fall of that year 
these two judges were elected for a term of 
four years, at the end of which period Judge 
Neville announced his decision to retire from 
the bench. In the meantime there had been 
such an increase in the business of the court 
that the Legislature of 1887 passed an act 
providing for four judges for this district, 
and Governor Thayer appointed Lewis A. 
Groff, Esq., of this city, and M. R. Hope- 
well, Esq., of Burt County, as the two addi- 
tional judges. Just previous to the election 
in November, 1887, at a meeting of the bar 
of the district. Judges Wakeley, Hopewell 
and Groff were unanimously endorsed for 
renomination. The two latter being Repub- 
licans left the fourth place to be filled by the 
Democratic convention, which placed in 
nomination the name of W. A. Stowe, of this 
city, who was entirely acceptable to the bar. 
The nomination was made on Saturday, and 
on the Tuesday following, while attending a 
case in the Supreme Court at Lincoln, Mr. 
Stowe was stricken with apoplexy, and died 
a few days later. 

The members of the bar then, in a peti- 
tion universally signed, requested Hon. 
George W. Doane to allow his name to be 
used upon a ticket with the other three 
judges, as a non-partisan, to which he as- 
sented, and the four gentlemen named were 
all elected, notwithstanding an exciting po- 
litical contest, the Republican party having 
placed in nomination for the position four 
lawyers belonging to that party. In Sep- 
tember, 1889, Judge Groff resigned to ac- 
cept an appointment as commissioner of the 
general land office, tendered to him by Pres- 
ident Harrison. As his successor, at a bar 
meeting held for that purpose, Joseph R. 
Clarkson, Esq., was selected, and again the 



Republican party placed its own candidate 
in nomination, in the person of Herbert J. 
Davis, Esq., who was appointed b}' Gov- 
ernor Tha3'er to serve until the general elec- 
tion, in November following. Mr. Clarkson 
was elected by a decisive majority and 
served until March, 1891, when he resigned 
the position. 

In 1891 an act was passed by the Legisla- 
ture providing for three additional judges 
for this district, on account of the remarka- 
ble increase of business, and the bar again 
convened for the purpose of making nomi- 
nations for judges, three to comply with the 
provisions of the act, and one to fill the va- 
cancy caused by the resignation of Judge 
Clarkson. The meeting was held March 28, 
1891, when Herbert J. Davis, Frank J. 
Irvine, Lee S. Estelle and Arthur N. Fergu- 
son were chosen, and on the 31st of March 
they were appointed by Governor Boyd. 
In November, 1891, the following judges 
were elected by vote of the people: George 
W. Doane, M. R. Hopewell, C. R. Scott, A. 
N. Ferguson, W. W. Keysor, Frank Irvine, 
II. J. Davis. 

As illustrative of the growth of the legal 
business of this county, it may be stated 
that the first printed docket, dated Novem- 
ber, 1871, contained 409 cases; the docket 
of the June term following contained 321 
eases; that of the June term, 1880, contained 
418 cases; the docket of the May term, 
1888, contained 1,389 cases; and that of the 
February term, 1891, contained 2,407 cases. 
In these dockets only civil cases appear, no 
attention being paid to printing the docket 
of the criminal calendar. 

In the first printed bar docket for this 
countj^, appear the names of fift3--six attor- 
neys, while on that of the docket for the 
February term, 1891, are the names of 350 
attorneys. 

The space allotted will allow personal 
mention of but a few of the large number of 
attorne3's now in active practice, and the 
writer has been under the necessity of con- 



DOUGLAS COUNTY BAR MEMBERSHIP. 



227 



fining liimself to such of tlie older class of 
lawyers as, by their years and prominence 
in the profession, would seem to require 
more than a mere mention in the general 
list. 

The following is the present membership 
of the Douglas County bar, June 1, 1892: 

Abbott, L. I.; Adams, Ben. S.; Adams, Isaac; 
Ambrose, Geo. W.; Anderson, Gustave; Anderson, 
W. A.; Andrews, I. R. ; Anstine, S. E. 

Bachelor, I. C; Baker, Ben. S.; Baird, William ; 
Baldridg-e, Howard H.; Baldwin, Arthur E.; Bald- 
win, Charles A.; Balliet, C. H.: Barnard, J. C; 
Bartholomew, W. O.; Bartlett, Edmund M. ; Bax- 
ter, Irving F.: Beckett, Williara D.; Beekman, W. 
H.; Benson, H. H.: Benson, N. I.; Bertraad, George 
E.; Bevins, Andrew: Birkett, Charles P.; Blair, 
Joseph H.; Bloom, Simeon; Boucher, J. J.; Bow- 
man, G. G.; Bradley, Edgar S.; Bradley, L. H. ; 
Breck, C. H.; Breckenridge, C. F.; Breckenridge, R. 
W.;Breen, JohnP.; Broderick, T. S.; Brogan, F. 
A.: Brome, H. C; Brown, Charles H.; Brown, 
George F.; Bryant, James S.; Burbank, B. G.; 
Burgner, John Q.; Burnham, Leavitt. 

Calder, George O.; Capek, Thomas; Carr.James 
W.; Carr, John L.; Carroll, W. J.; Cartau, D. L.: 
Gathers, John T ; Cavanagh, J. A.; Charlton, 
Paul; Chase.Qhampion S.; Christofferson.George; 
Churchill, A. S.; Clair, W. J.; Clapp, Charles E.; 
Clark, C. H.; Clarkson, J. R ;Cobb,Silas; Cochran, 
B. F.; Cochran, H. E.; Congdon, Isaac E.; Connell, 
W. J.; Cooley, Julius Smith: Cooper, George W.; 
Copelaud, L. B.; Cornish, Edward J.; Corson, W. 
A.; Cowherd, Williani M.; Cowin, John C; Covell, 
George W.; Cralle, C. K.; Crane, Herbert; Crane, 
Thomas D.; Crofoot, Lodowick F.; Cromelien, 
John F.; Crosby, S. M.; Crow, Joseph; Crow, Wil- 
liam H.; Crowell, Edward; Curtis, W. S. 

Daniels. Edward; Davis, H. J.; Davis, John P.; 
Day, Curtis L.; Day, George A.; Day, H. L.; De 
Bord, W. A : DeFrance, W. H.; DeLamatre, C.W.; 
Detwiler, J. O.; Dick, R. A. L.; Dillon, John T.; 
Doane, George W.; Doane, William G.: Dolan, 
Bernard; Donovan, D.; Duffie, E. R.; Duim, 1. J. 

Edgerton, J. W.; Elgutter, C. S.; EUer, J. W.; 
Elliott, Clarence D.; Elmer, W. D.; English, J. P.; 
Estabrook, H. D.; Estelle, Lee; Evans, J. W. 

Farnsworth, E. T.: Fawcett, Jacob; Felker, W. 
S.; Ferguson, A. N.; Fitch, F. W.; Foster, W. A.; 
Fowler, C. A.; Eraser, A. A.; French, E. R. 

Gannon, M. v.; Garton, A. E.; Gay lord, R. E.; 
Gilbert, George I.; Giller, W. M.; Gilmore, George 
F.; Godwin, Parke; Goss, Charles A.; Green, Alex. 



D.; Greene, C. J.; Gregory, D. D.; Griffith, J. C. ; 
Grossman, J. H.; Gurley, William F. 

Hale. L. F.; Hall, M. A.; Hall, R. S.; Haller, C. 
W.; Halligan, C. P.; Halligan, J. J.; Hamilton, 
James W.; Harrison, C H.; Harrigan, J. D ;Hawes. 
Pat.O.; Hawley, J. B.; Healey, Wm. E.; Heller, 
Frank; Helsley. Lee; Herdman, W. H.; Herdman, 
R. E. L.; Hitt, H. C; Holden. S. E.; Holland, John 
S.; Holmes, Louis D.; Holsman, H. B.; Horton, 
Richard S.; Houder, J. W. ; Howe, John D.; Hub- 
bard, N. M.; Hunt, George J.; Hyde, M. D. 

Ives, W. C; Irvine, Frank; Irwin, H. B. 

Jeffrej', George; Johnson, D. L.; Johnston, 
John W. 

Kaempfer, Charles F.; Kaley, J. L.; KaufF- 
man, E. N.; Keller, Charles B.; Kelly, W. E.; 
Kennedy, B. E. B.; Kennedy, Howard, Jr.; Ken- 
nedy, E. L.; Kent, L. H. ; Keysor, W. W. 

Lake, George B.; Lander, Dana S.; Lane, E. C. 
Laiigdon, Martin; Lapslej', D. L.; Learned, M. L. 
Ledwich, James; Lee, Charles C; Legge. George 
Lindsay, M. S.; Lunt, A. J.; Lytle, John W. 

McCabe, James; McClanahan, A. A.; McCloud 
Imri L.;McCoy, F. L.; McCulloch, J, H.; McDuffie, 
Robert A.; McGilton, E- G.; McHugh, W. D.; 
Mcintosh, James H.; McWilliams, H. L; Macfar- 
land, J. M.; Macomber, J. H; Mahoney, T. J.; 
Magney, George A.; Marple, C. H.; Maxwell, H. 
E.; Meikle, James B,; Mercer, D. H.; Merrow, D. 
W.; Miles, Charles V.; Minahan, T. B.; Montague, 
R. v.; Montgomery, C. S.; Montgomery, Eugene; 
Morearty, E. F.; Moriarty, J. T.; Morris, W. R.; 
Morris, L. M ; Morrow, M. Henry ; Morsman, W. W. ; 
Morton, James F.; Munn, F. E.; Murdock, A. H.; 
Murdock, L. H. 

Nelson, William T.; Neville, James; Nevin, 
J.E. 

O'Brien, George M., Jr.; O'Brien, Moses P.; 
O'Connell, Daniel; O'Connor, J. J.: Oft'utt, 
Charles; Ogden, Charles; O'Hollaren, F. C; Olm- 
sted, R. H. 

Page, E. C; Parish, J. W.; Parker, F. A.; 
Patrick, Robert W.; Pennock, Henry W.; Peart, 
W. L.; Perley, Lyman O.; Piatti, L J ; Pilcher, 
J. D.; Place, George H.; Points, J. J.; Pope, O. G.; 
Poppleton, A. J.; Poppleton, W. S.; Powell. Clin- 
ton N.; Powers, H. E.; Powers, James A.; Poyn- 
ton, G. W.; Pratt, E. D., Jr.; Prichard, George A.; 
Pritchett, G. E. 

Ransom, F. T.; Read, A. C; Read, Guy R. C. 
Redick, W. A.; Rich, Edson; Richards, David H. 
Richardson, R. W.; Richmond, R. M.; Riley, A. K. 
Ritchie, A. S.; Robbins, J. James; Robbins, Silas 
Robertson, Bernard N.; Rogers, J. W.; Rood, E. S. 



228 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Roiidebush, J. W.; Rush, S. R.; Rutlierfoi-d, G. A. 

Saunders, W. A.; Schomp. John.; Scott, C. R.; 
Scott, E. H.; Scott, Edward Harlan ; Sheean. J. B.; 
Shields. George W.; Shoemaker, W. S.; Simeral, 
E. W.; Simeral. William; Slabaugh, W. W.; 
Smith, Ed. P.; Smith, George S.; Smith, How- 
ard B.; Smyth, C. J.; Stoddard, H. P.; Strawn, 
"Win. S.; Striclder, V. O.; Sturdevant, F. M.; 
Sturges, Hiram A.; St. Clair, L. E.; Sues, 
G. W.; Swartzlander, Albert ; Swezey, Field W.; 
Switzler, Warren. 

Talbott.JohnF.: Taylor, J. W.; TeiiEyck, W. 
B.; Thomas, B. F.; Thomas, Dexter L.; Thomas, 
E. E.; Thomas, E. G.; Thompson, H.; Thurston, 
JohnM.; Tiflany, F. B.; Tipton, J. G.; Tooley, T. 
J.; Townsend, George W.; Trauerman. Moses R; 
Troup, A. C; TunniclifF, N. H.; Turkington, 
George E.; Tuttle, Charles F. 

Van Dusen. J. H.; Van Etten, D.; Van Gilder, 
W. C; Vinsonhaler, D. M. 

Wakeley, A. C; Wakeley, E.; AValker, Will I.; 
Wappich, W. F.; Ware, J. D.; Weaver, F. L.; 
Webster, John L.; W^ebster, John R.; Wessells, 
Frank W.; West, Joel W.; Wharton, J. C; White, 
B. T.; White, John F.; .Winter, Phil. E.; Wilcox, 
Seymour G.; Williams. John T.: Williams. Wil- 
liam N.: Wittum, George F.; Wolcott, E. C; 
Wood, E. C; Woolson, J. L.; Woolworth, J. M.; 
Wright, L. R. 

Yeiser, John O. 

Of the members of the Douglas Couutj' 
bar, many have received distinction at the 
hands of the people, and also b^'^ appoint- 
ment from the President of the United 
States. P. W. Hitchcock served as delegate 
to Congress in the territorial days. He was 
United States marshal for Nebraska, and 
served as United States senator for six 
years. Charles F. Manderson is now serv- 
ing his second term in the United States 
Senate. William J. Connell has just con- 
clu'ded a term as congressman. John I. 
Kedick was appointed one of the judges of 
New Mexico by President Grant. James 
W. Savage served several terms as one of 
the government directors of the Union Pa- 
cific Railway, by appointments from Presi- 
dent Cleveland and President Harrison. 
Experience Estabrook, Silas A. Strickland, 
James Neville, and George E. Pritchett 
have each served as United States attorney 



for the district of Nebraska. Mr. Barnes, 
William H. Morris, and William Gaslin were 
elected judges of other districts in this State. 
Eleazer Wakelej", Expei'ience Estabrook, 
James M. Woolworth. Clinton Briggs, 
Charles F. Manderson, George B. Lake, 
Isaac S. Hascall. John L. Webster, Silas A. 
Strickland, and Charles H. Brown were mem- 
bers of the constitutional conventions of 
1871 and 1875. A. J. Poppleton, George 
Armstrong, Clinton Briggs, B. E. B. Ken- 
nedy, George H. Roberts, Charles H. Brown, 
and Champion S. Chase have served as mayors 
of the cit}'. Watson B. Smith was for many 
years clerk of the United States Circuit and 
District Courts of Nebraska. Howard B. 
Smith and George I. Gilbert have each 
served as members of the fire and police 
commission of Omaha, by appointment from 
Governor Thayer. 

Since the admission of Nebraska as a 
State, taking into account the large num- 
ber of lawyers that have been in Omaha and 
are still residents of the city, there have not 
been as many deaths as one would at first 
imagine; but Clinton Briggs, Silas A. 
Strickland, E. F. Smythe, General George 
M. O'Brien and Judge James W. Savage 
have died. I mention these out of the num- 
ber because of their particular prominence. 
The writer of this chapter can not forego 
passing some slight eulogy upon the charac- 
ter of Clinton Briggs, both as a lawyer and 
as a man. He was one of the most genial, 
pleasant-spoken gentlemen who ever trav- 
eled the streets of Omaha. He was every- 
body's friend. In a long and intimate ac- 
quaintance with him, the writer never knew 
him to speak ill of man or woman. He was, 
in fact, beloved by everybody. As a law- 
yer, he was consulted upon the gravest ques- 
tions which have ever arisen in this State. 
His acquaintance extended to every count}^, 
and his advice was sought by men in every 
walk of life, in every part and section of 
the State of Nebraska. He was not an orator. 
He disliked talking to juries, but with his 




^^M 



SKETCHES OF THE BENCH AND BAR. 



pen and paper, in the solitude of liis office, 
lie could prepare au argument equal to any 
that was ever submitted to anj' court. He 
was deeply interested in the litigation whicli 
sprang up in the early seventies in Nebraska 
between the Union Pacific and the Burling- 
ton (.fe Missouri River Railroad Companies 
and the counties in the State, in relation to 
the question of taxation of land obtained by 
those roads from the government to aid in 
their construction. A case had gone up 
from the State of Kansas, involving the 
rights of the counties of Kansas to tax the 
lands of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. The 
decision of the Supreme Court of the United 
States was against the right ,of taxation. 
P.ased upon that decision, the attorneys of 
the two roads in Nebraska -filed a large num- 
l)cr of bills, enjoining every county in the 
State through which these two roads ran, 
from collecting the taxes which had been as- 
sessed upon their lands. Judge Briggs, 
among others, was retained by the counties 
to aid in the defense of those suits. The 
case was tried before John F. Dillon in the 
Circuit Court of the United States, and, 
upon an appeal to the Supreme Court 
of the United States, Judge Briggs made 
the argument; the result of that argu- 
ment, and the consideration given to it 
by that august tribunal, gives to Judge 
Briggs the high distinction of being the first 
man in the United States to cause the Su- 
preme Court to reverse itself. Judge 
Briggs' biography will appear elsewhere in 
this book, and it is unnecessary for the 
writer to enter into any specific account of 
his character, or of minute details of his life. 
Judge Briggs had a large clientage in this 
city, where he was actively engaged in the 
practice of his profession from the 3'ear 1856 
to the day of his death. 

James W. Savage came to Omaha in 
April, 1867, having practiced law in the 
city of New York prior to the war; and, 
after having done honorable service as colo- 
nel of a regiment of New York cavalrj',had 



gone to Mississippi to engage in the raising 
of cotton; and, finallj^, desiring to resume 
his profession, came here. The writer never 
will forget the first time that he met Judge 
Savage, which was two days after his arrival 
in the city. From that time until his death 
they were friends, and in a somewhat active 
professional life to both there never was any 
necessity of a written stipulation as to the 
conduct of any law suit. His term upon the 
bench, of seven years, was important, in 
that he was the first judge in this district 
under the constitution of 1875, and many 
questions arose before him which were new, 
and which had not been passed upon by the 
Supreme Court. He was painstaking and 
patient as a judge, always pleasant and af- 
fable, and ver_y considerate, especially of the 
feelings of younger men at the bar. The 
full history of Judge Savage's life is written 
elsewhere. The writer, at the memorial 
services held by the bar at his death, took 
occasion to speak of him: 

" It is a great mistake to think that the 
best thoughts of man find utterance in hu- 
man language. They come to us all in silent 
meditations and adoration, and no ear ever 
hears, and no heart is ever gladdened, except 
the heart of Him who is the Father of us 
all. The nature of Savage was spiritual, 
earnest, highly poetic and sympathetic; and, 
if the incandescent light of the past could be 
turned on, the glow would reveal that the 
unuttered thoughts of him we mourn were 
far brighter than any of those which have 
pleased us when we heard them. Savage 
was a copyist. Did you ever view the paint- 
ings of the old masters, side by side of which 
hung the copy? Go, look, if you never 
have, and observ.e that, while the old is per- 
fect and massive, the new, touched by a 
master hand as well, is resplendent with 
roseate hues and a newer life, touched with 
the ever present. In such a sense he was a 
copyist. His mind was stored with the lore 
of the masters of literature. He made large 
drafts upon thejn,but what he liroughttous 



230 



HISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



from them was tinctured with a newer life 

and a holier purpose. 

"'Noise aud heat are born of earth, and die with 

time; 
The soul, like God. its source and seat, is solemn, 
stiil, silent, sublime.' 
" So with our brother." 
Silas A. Strickland was a native of the 
State .of Ohio, and, in the early days, under 
Judge Ferguson, served as a clerk of the Dis- 
trict Court of this district. His residence 
was at Bellevue, which was at that time in 
Douglas County. He served in the Legisla- 
ture of the Territory for man^' terms. He 
was an important factor in the legislative 
assemblies. He always fought against 
Omaha and for Bellevue becoming tlie 
capital of this State. Upon the breaking 
out of the war, General Strickland entered 
as a private of the First Nebraska Infantry 
and was soon promoted to adjutant, and re- 
signed in 1862. He was then mustered in 
as lieutenant-colonel of the Fiftieth Ohio 
Volunteer Infantry, and was afterwards, in 
1865, promoted brevet brigadier-general. 
He was a distinguished officer and served 
with credit to himself and his country. 
Upon the admission of Nebraska as a State, 
he was appointed by General Grant as 
United States attorney for this district and 
returned to Omaha with his family, which 
consisted of his wife and one child, who 
still survive him, and are residents of this 
cit3^ General .Strickland served as United 
States attorney for four years. In politics 
he was an ardent, hard- working Republican; 
he was a man wlio was always a friend to 
those who had befriended him. No more 
genial gentleman ever graced this bar: and 
no one was ever listened to with keener de- 
light than was General Strickland. He was 
an impassioned orator, and after his retire- 
ment from the office of United States attor- 
ney his practice was coniined almost exclu- 
' sively to criminal Inisiness. As an illustra- 
tion of his style the writer remembers a 
defense made by liim of a criminal in the 



District Court of the United States for Ne- 
braska, but tlie cliaracter of tlie offense is 
forgotton; but, when General Strickland had 
completed his argument and left the court 
room, the writer, together with General Man- 
derson, picked up a sheet of foolscap upon 
which were entered in the general's hand- 
writing the heads of his argument. The face 
of the sheet of foolscap was covei-ed with his 
notes, in the logical order of the facts, as 
presented; and, ending up in large letters in 
lead pencil, underscored, were these words, 
"then a blaze of gloiy;" and Strickland 
might be called a " blaze of glory " when- 
ever he was at his best. The effect of those 
words can be imagined better than described. 
General Strickland died in this city some 
twelve years or more ago, and his memory is 
still fresh among those who knew him. 

Edwin F. Smythe was a native of New 
York and came to Omaha in the early 
seventies. He married the only daughter 
of the late Jesse Lowe, who is mentioned 
elsewhere as the first maj'or of the city. In 
many respects Mr. Smythe was a remarkable 
man. He was in no sense a student, but his 
intuitive perception of tlie law was very 
great. He had a fine, retentive memor.y and 
a great adaptability to the circumstances 
with which he was surrounded. It is no 
slur upon other members of the profession 
to say that there is no lawyer who has ever 
practiced at this bar who had the number of 
clients that Mr. Smythe had. By his genial 
nature, and riglit adaptation to the circum- 
stances, he had a large circle of friends and 
acquaintances, who, notwithstanding the 
vicissitudes of his life, never deserted him. 
He was a friend to everybody and every- 
body was his friend. He died in the prime 
of life, leaving a wife and one daughter. 

General George M. O'Brien was an Irish- 
man by birth, and served in the army of the 
late rebellion as brigadier general. His ser- 
vice was mostly confined to the western ter- 
ritory, but that service was an honorable 
one to him and a credit to his country. In 



THE BEXCII .VXD BAK 



231 



1866 he commenced the practice of law in 
Omaha, and continued until his death in 
1885. Mr. O'Brien was a painstaking law- 
yer and had the confidence of a large client- 
age. He was a great friend and admirer of 
General Logan, and the writer remembers 
that the death of the lamented Logan was 
learned in Omaha on Sunday night. Gen- 
eral O'Brien then heard of his death and re- 
turned to his home greatly shocked and de- 
pressed at the death of his favorite general. 
A'ery soon thereafter he was taken sick. He 
said to his wife when first taken, " Mother, 
I am called." General O'Brien was held in 
esteem by a large circle of friends and ac- 
quaintances, and died in the prime of his 
life, leaving a large family: his two sons, 
Moses V. and George M. O'Brien, succeeding 
him as lawyers in his practice, and are now 
prospering beyond most j^oung men of their 
years. 

Hon. James M. Wool worth has been a res- 
ident of Omaha since the 31st of October, 
1856. He was born in Onondaga Countj', 
New York, in 1829, and was educated at 
Hamilton College, graduating with distinc- 
tion in 1849. He was admitted to the bra- 
two years before locating here, and has fol- 
lowed that pursuit from the date of his ad- 
mission. He served as the first city attor- 
ney of Omaha, and was also a member of the 
Legislature in the territorial days, and was 
a member of the Constitutional Convention 
of 1871. In 1873 he was the Democratic 
nominee for chief justice, but the over- 
whelming Republican majority which char- 
acterized Nebraska in those days prevented 
the election of any of the Democratic candi- 
dates. He has been prominently identified 
with the advancement of the interests of the 
Episcopal Church in this city, and was for a 
quarter of a century a vestryman of Trinity 
Church. He contributed generously to the 
erection of Trinity Cathedral, but soon after 
its completion severed his connection with 
that society, and organized the All Saints' 
Church Society, bearing a very heavj^ por- 



tion of the financial obligations connected 
therewith, and taking an aitive part in the 
church management. For several years he 
has held the position of chancellor of the 
diocese of Nebraska; is a trustee of Racine 
College, Wisconsin, and of Brownell Hall, 
in- Omaha, which former institution con- 
ferred the degree of LL. D. upon him, in 
1875. He was one of the projectors of the 
Union Stock-yards Company, one of the 
original trustees of the South Omaha Land 
Syndicate, and is a director of the South 
Omaha Land Company, counsel of the Stock- 
yards Company, and a director of the First 
Nation.al Bank. His professional practice 
has been for many years confined to in;por- 
tant cases, and, as a chancer}' lawyer, he en- 
joys the distinction of standing at the head 
of his profession in the West. He has been 
identified with many important cases in 
which the Union Pacific Railroad Company 
was a party, notably the legal battle which 
resulted in transferring the " initial point" 
of the Union Pacific Road from the Ne- 
braska to tlie Iowa side of the Missouri 
River. Mr. Woolworth has always held 
large real estate interests in this city, which 
have contributed to make him one of tlie 
wealthy men of Omaha. 

General Experience Estabrook, the first 
United States Attorney for Nebraska, ap- 
pointed by Pi-esident Pierce, came to Omaha 
in April, 1855, from Geneva Lake, Wiscon- 
sin. During the summer of 1855, he brought 
his family, consisting of Mrs. Estabrook, a 
daughter Augusta, now Mrs. Robert dowry, 
and son, Henry D., a prominent member of 
the Douglas County bar. G eneral Estabrook 
was born in Lebanon, New Hampshire,April 
30, 1813, and just previous to coming to 
Nebraska filled the position of attorney gen- 
eral of Wisconsin, thus being a member 
of two administrations in the conduct of 
public affairs, in speaking of which, recently, 
he said that he had learned upon investiga- 
tion that of all of the officials forming those 
administrations he was the only one yet liv- 



232 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



ing. In 1855 he helped General Curtis pre- 
pare the first bill for a Paeiflc railroad char- 
ter which was passed by any legislative bodj', 
being the bill passed by the Nebraska Leg- 
islature, in February, 1855. The draft of 
this measure was made in the office of Dr. 
Lowe, then receiver of the land office in 
Council Bluffs. General Estabrook was re- 
tained as attorney by the Council Bluffs & 
Nebraska Ferry Conipanj', and, in part con- 
sideration of his services, was given the 
block upon which he has resided for thirty 
years, bounded by Chicago, Cass, Sixteenth 
and Seventeenth Streets, now valued at over 
$300,000. He was a member of the Consti- 
tutional Convention of 1871, and of 1875, 
and has always taken, until recent years, a 
lively interest in State politics, though 
never in any sense an office seeker. He has 
been recognized during all of his residence 
in Nebraska as a lawyer of decided abilit_y, 
though he has not made the efforts to dis- 
tinguish himself at the bar which have char- 
acterized many of his associates in that pro- 
fession who located here at an early period. 
Hon. Andrew J. Poppleton, one of Omaha's 
pioneers, located here October 13, 1854. He 
was born at Troy, Michigan, July 24, 1830, 
graduating from Union College of Schenec- 
tady, New York, in July, 1851. In Octo- 
ber. 1852, he was admitted to tlie practice 
of law by the Supreme Court of IMichigan, 
and soon after entered upon the practice of 
that profession in Detroit, which pursuit he 
has followed during all of his residence in 
this city. He was a member of the first ter- 
ritorial Legislature, wiiich assembled Jan- 
uary 16, 1855, and also of the sessions of 
1857 and 1858. The location of the terri- 
torial capital was a subject of paramount 
importance to be considered by the first 
Legislature, and it was only by the most 
careful management on the part of the 
Omaha members, of whom Mr. Poppleton 
was the leader, that this city secured the 
prize, by a majority of one vote. His ser- 
vices in tills connection are more particu- 



larly referred to elsewhere in these pages. 
In 1858, Mr. Poppleton was elected mayor 
of Omaha, and in 1867, and again in 1868, 
was the choice of the Democratic party of 
Nebraska for congressman; but the Repub- 
licans, being in the majority, succeeded in 
defeating the Democratic nominees. Decem- 
ber 3, 1863, he was appointed attorney for 
the Union Pacific Railroad, which position 
he retained until 1888. During this period 
he had charge of the company's interests in 
litigation in Nebraska, Colorado, AVyoming, 
Kansas, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and 
Iowa, appearing frequently in cases before 
the Supreme Court at Washington. His con- 
nection with the hearing in that tribunal of 
the vexed question of the eastern terminus 
of the Union Pacific Railroad is set out in 
detail in the chapter relating to the location 
of the Union Pacific bridge. Mr. Poppleton 
has alwa3's stood at the head of the Nebraska 
bar, and is widely known for his ability as 
a public speaker, though he has confined 
himself exclusively to the practice of his 
profession. In 1879, he represented, in the 
United States Court here, a party of Ponca 
Indians who appealed to that court for pro- 
tection in certain legal rights then, for the 
first time in the historj- of this country, 
claimed by the red man. The questions in- 
volved were novel and, of course, with no 
precedent to guide in their determination. 
In this litigation, Jlr. Poppleton attracted 
national attention from all classes of people, 
and succeeded in putting the Indians upon a 
higher plane, with respect to their relations 
with the government, than they had ever 
before occupied. This service was rendered 
a defenceless people, without hope of fee or 
reward, though it involved much hard labor 
projected into a life already one of unusual 
activity and mental strain. In 1887, the 
degree of LL. D. was conferred upon ]Mr. 
Poppleton in recognition of his unusual at- 
tainments in a literary way. Upon resign- 
ing the position of general attorney of the 
Union Pacific, it was Mr. Poppleton's inten- 



i 



^KKTC1IES OF THE HENCII AND BAK. 



2B3 



tion to refrain from active pursuits; but the 
charms of his profession were not to be re- 
sisted, and, when he was offered the position 
of city attorney by Ma3'or Gushing, in Jan- 
uarj-, 18i)0, he accepted, to the decided 
satisfaction of all classes of Omaha people, 
who felt that their interests could not be in 
better hands in litigations in which the city 
might be a partj-. 

lion. John R. Meredith, for many jears a 
prominent lawyer of this cit3', was born at 
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, April 15, 1820, 
but soon after moved with his parents to 
rittsburg. He used to say, in a joking 
way, that liis grandfather was in the revolu- 
tionary war, his father in that of 1812, and 
he in tlie war of the rebellion, Mr. Meredith 
having been one of the guards at the White 
House in the early days of 1861, sleeping 
beside General Hunter, on the floor of the 
east room. A certificate of this service was 
afterwards sent him, and is now in the pos- 
session of the family'. Mr. Meredith secured 
a classical education, in spite of financial 
difticulties, and was admitted to the practice 
of law at Steubenville, Ohio, in 1848, where 
lie served for some time as prosecuting at- 
torney, and while filling this position was 
successful in a famous criminal case, where 
tlie prisoner was defended by Edwin M. 
Stanton. He located in Omaha with his 
family in 1858. In 1867, Mr. Stanton, then 
Secretary of "War, telegraphed Mr. Meredith 
at Omaha, as follows: "You are appointed 
on the board of examiners at AYest Point." 
I>ut this honor Mr. Meredith declined, and 
aliout this time Salmon P. Chase wrote him 
tliat he would be appointed judge of the 
first district of Nebraska, if he would ac- 
cept, but this position was also declined. 
He was urged for the chief justiceship of 
the territory by the lawyers of both parties, 
and it is known that Mr. Lincoln had de- 
termined upon his appointment, but was 
overruled in that matter bj^ the influence of 
jMrs. Lincoln and her friends, and the place 
was given to William Pitt Kellogg, then 



colonel of an Illinois regiment. After tlie 
death of Mr. Meredith, October 21, 1880, 
there was found among his papers a letter from 
Mr. Stanton, stating that he would gladly ap- 
point Colonel John M. Thayer, of the First 
Nebraska Infantry, a brigadier-general, as a 
personal favor to him. About 1865, he 
formed a law partnership with George W. 
Doane, wliich continued for five years, dur- 
ing which period Mr. Meredith was for 
some time collector of internal revenue for 
this district. In the fall of 1871 he was 
stricken with paralysis, which necessitated 
his retirement from active business. He was 
an elder in the Second Presb3'terian Church 
(now known as the First) and contributed 
liberally toward the erection of the building 
at the corner of Dodge and Seventeenth 
Streets. A man of winning, lovable charac- 
ter, Mr. IMeredith was universally esteemed. 
He was active in all good works, honorable 
in all his dealings, and of the highest Chris- 
tian character. December 30, 1852, he was 
married to Miss Annie M. Collier, of Pliila- 
delpliia. 

Judge George W. Doane located at De- 
catur, Nebraska, April 18, 1857, and three 
vears later moved to Fort Calhoun, coming 
,to Omalia in tlie fall of 1864. He repre- 
sented Burt, Washington and Sarpy Coun- 
ties at the fifth session of the legislative as- 
sembly, and Douglas County at the twelfth. 
He also represented this count}' in the State 
Senate at the regular session of 1881 and 
the special session of 1882. In August, 
1857, after a residence of but four months 
in tlie territory, he was elected district at- 
torney of this judicial district, and re-elected 
in 1859. In 1865, he was elected prosecut- 
ing attorney of Douglas Countj^, and during 
the term prosecuted and convicted Ottway 
G. Baker for the murder of Woolsey D. 
Higgins, being the second conviction under 
which a legal execution took place in Doug- 
las County. In 1887 he was elected one of 
the judges of the third judicial district for 
a term of four years. He was re-elected in 



234 



IIISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



November, 1891, for four years. Mr. Doane 
■while at the bar always convinced the court 
and opposite counsel that there was a lawj'er 
trying liis side of the case. As a judge, 
he Is always prompt in attendance, decisive 
in his judgment and makes a model trial 
judge. 

Judge George B. Lake was born in Sara- 
toga County, Xew York. He came to 
Omaha November, 1857, from Elyria, Ohio, 
and has made this city his home since that 
date. He has had various professional part- 
nerships in the meantime, the first being 
with A. J. Poppleton, under the firm name 
of Poppleton & Lake; the second was with 
George I. Gilbert, as Lake & Gilbert; the 
third, with Charles H. Brown, under the 
style of Lake tk Brown; the fourth, with 
James "\V. Hamilton, formed in January, 
1888; and the fifth and present, being styled 
Lake, Hamilton ct Maxwell, Henry E. Max- 
well, a son of Chief Justice Maxwell, of tlie 
Supreme Court, having been recently ad- 
mitted to tlie firm membership. Upon the 
admission of Nebraska to the Union, Mr. 
Lake was elected one of the three judges 
then composing the Supreme Court, the 
State being divided into three judicial dis- 
tricts, and he was assigned to the district 
which included Douglas County, with nine 
otliers, and held in Omaha, in April, 1867, 
the first term of court held in Nebraska 
under State government. In 1870 he was 
elected chief justice for a term of four j^ears, 
and four years later was again elected, 
drawing by lot the short term of two 3'ears, 
as the result of which he became chief jus- 
tice for that period. In 1877, he was 
elected associate justice for a term of six 
years, under the constitution of 1875, the 
last two years of which term he was the pre- 
siding judge. He declined re-nomination 
in 188.3, and since the first of January, 1884, 
has been engaged in private practice in this 
city. He has always taken an active in- 
terest in matters of public concern. For 
years he served with credit to himself and 



advantage to the city upon the school board, 
under the old system, and was elected a re- 
gent of the high school, in 1871. He was 
four times elected a member of the territo- 
rial Legislature, and represented Douglas 
County in the constitutional convention of 
1871. He was appointed by Judge William 
Pitt Kellogg to assist Prosecuting Attorney 
Charles II. Brown in the trial of Cyrus D. 
Tator, the first man legally executed in 
Douglas County, and as judge of this dis- 
trict tried and sentenced to death Ottway 
G. Baker, the second criminal hanged in this 
county by process of law. Judge Lake has 
four children: George E., Carrie J. (Mrs. 
Jay Morton), Mary (Jlrs. Charles Deuel) 
and Fred. 

Hon. Phineas W. Hitchcock located in 
Omaha in 1857 and engaged in the real es- 
tate and insurance business, and was, soon 
after his arrival liere, admitted to the bar, 
but never engaged in active practice. His 
native place was Lebanon, New York, his 
birthday being November 30, 1831. He 
graduated in 1855 at Williams College,Mass- 
achusetts. Mr. Hitchcock was a delegate 
from Nebraska to the Chicago convention 
which nominated Mr. Lincoln, in 1860, and 
was appointed United States marshal for the 
territory in 1862, and held that otlice two 
3'ears. In 1864 he was elected a delegate to 
Congress. In 1867 he was appointed Sur- 
vej'^or General of Nebraska, and was elected 
to the United States Senate in 1871. He was 
married to Miss Annie Jlonell in 1857. His 
only surviving son, Gilbert ^M. Hitchcock, is 
the editor and chief owner of the World- 
Herald, of this city. As a lawyer he never 
took front rank, but as a politician he was a 
success, and one of the chief elements of that 
success was that he never forgot or forsook a 
friend. 

Hon. Charles II. Brown was elected mayor 
of Omaha in 1867, six years after first be- 
coming a resident of the citj-. His early 
life in the West was spent on the plains and 
in aiding in the construction of the Union 




olWe$fpT.H,t.cn 



^^. 



SKETCHES OF THE BENCH AXl) BAR. 



235 



Pacific Railroad. He was elected prosecut- 
ing attorney of Douglas County in 1862, 
and was re-elected in 1863. In 1864 he was 
elected a member of the constitutional con- 
vention and a member of the territorial - 
House of Representatives, being re-elected 
to the Legislature in 1865, in which year he 
was also elected a member of the cit}' coun- 
cil and re-elected in 1866. In 1875, he was 
a member of the convention which drafted 
our present State constitution, and in 1876 
was elected to the State Senate, re-elected in 
1878, and again in 1882. While prosecuting 
attorney of this county, he convicted Cyrus 
Tator of the crime of murder, this being the 
first case where a man was legally executed 
in the terrilory. Mr. Brown was liorn at 
Stephentown, New York, and was admitted 
to the bar of Xew York in 1860. In 1884 
he was the Democratic nominee for Cong>-ess, 
and was defeated b^' 650 votes, in a district 
of about eight thousand Republican major- 
ity. As mayor, Mr. Brown was ex-offlcio 
justice of the peace, and as such did the en- 
tire magistrate business of the cily, then con- 
taining ten thousand people. It is a remark- 
able fact that, during the j'ear he held this 
office, trying a multitude of cases, both civil 
and criminal, he had but one case appealed 
from his court, and that was dismissed lie- 
fore reaching a decision in the district court. 
Mr. Brown has a logical, judicial mind, but, 
having no particular ambition in that direc- 
tion, and no need to struggle for the al- 
mighty dollar, he has kept himself in later 
years, especially, from advancement at the 
bar. He retired from active practice some 
j^ears since. 

Hon. George I. Gilbert located in Omaha 
in 1857, and the following year was elected 
city attorne}'. In 1860 he formed a law- 
partnership with George B. Lake, and the 
following 3'ear was elected prosecuting at- 
torney for Douglas County; in 1862 he lo- 
cated in AVashington Territory, and in 1863 
was appointed by the territorial Legislature 
as probate judge of a county which embraced 



the southern half of what is now the State 
of Idaho. During the five years he spent in 
W.ashington, he was largely interested in 
mining. In 1867, he went to Chicago and 
engfiged in the commission business as a 
member of the firm of Gilbert, Wolcott & 
Comp,any. In 1869 he returned to Omaha, 
and in April, 1875, formed a partnership 
with B. E. B. Kennedy, which still exists. 
He was appointed by Governor Thayer, in 
1887, a member of the fire and police com- 
mission, which position he still holds. He 
was married several years ago to Miss Cor- 
nelia Richardson, daughter of the late Gov- 
ernor O. D. Richardson. 

Elmer S. Dundy was appointed judge of 
the Supreme Court of Nebraska Territory 
by Mr. Lincoln, in 1863, and again on the 
20th day of January, 1864, which office he 
held until the admission of Nebraska as a 
State in 1867. In April, 1868, he was com- 
missioned judge of the United States Dis- 
trict Court for the district of Nebraska b}' 
President Johnson, and has held that office 
ever since; and now in his old age he is en- 
joying life and still holding court nearly the 
year around. Judge Dundy for many years 
resided at Falls City, Richardson County, 
Nebraska, but some ten years ago removed 
to Omaha, where he with his family still 
continues to reside. Judge Dundy has 
made an able, upright judge; has adminis- 
tered tlie law, as he has seen it, in a digni- 
fied and impartial way; and is one of tiie 
most pleasant and affable gentlemen to 
associate with that there is within the bound- 
aries of the State. A man who is sentenced 
for a crime by Judge Dundy feels as thougli 
a favor has been conferred upon him, fi<im 
the urbane mannei-and kindly spirit in whii h 
the sentence is pronounced. 

Hon. B. E. B. Kennedy, who located in 
Omaha, September, 14, 1858, was born April 
20, 1827, at Bolton, Vermont, He was ad- 
mitted to the bar in 1853, and was married 
August 4, 1858, to Miss Frances Nims. He 
served as mayor two terms, being re-elected 



230 



[E CITY OF OMAHA. 



in 1863, and as city attorney in 1866 and 
1867. He was a member of the house of 
Representatives, in 1864, and of the ter- 
ritorial council in 1865 and 1866. He 
served as a school director, nnder the old 
system, from 1864 to 1872, and was a mem- 
ber of the city council in 1862, and of the 
house of representatives in 1879. He has 
been a member of the normal school board 
of the State since .June, 1872, and of the 
State fish commission since June, 1882. Mr. 
Kenned_7 has one son and two daughters, his 
youngest daughter being Mrs. Will. S. Pop- 
pleton. The writer can say of Mr. Ken- 
nedy that lie is absolutelj' without stain in 
his private .character, fair in his dealings 
with men generally, and in the trial of 
causes always open, winning no case by 
tricks, and earnest but not eloquent. His 
success has been in the domains of real 
estate and probate law; and he is withal a 
kindl^', affable gentleman. 

Judge Eleazer Wakelej- came to !\e- 
braska earl3' in 1857 as associate justice of 
the territory under appointment of Presi- 
dent Pierce, and was assigned to the third 
district, embracing all the northwestern 
portion of the territorj^, then unorganized 
into counties, with the exception of Wash- 
ington and Burt, and a few others, and 
comprising an area .of about three hundred 
and fifty tliousand square miles. He first 
took up his residence in De Soto, then 
a promising young " city " in Washington 
County. He was re-appointed by President 
Buchanan, but, on the Republicans coming 
into power under President Lincoln, he re- 
turned to Wisconsin and resumed the prac- 
tice of law at Madison, representing that 
district in the Legislature in 1866 and 
1867, returning to Omaha in the last named 
year, where he at once entered upon the 
practice of his profession. In 1871 he was 
a member of the Nebraska constitutional 
convention, and in 1883 was appointed dis- 
trict judge of the third district by Gov- 
ernor Dawes, of the opposite political party, 



in deference to the unanimous application of 
the Douglas County bar, and that fall was 
elected for a term of four years, and at its 
expiration in 1887 was re-elected. Judge 
AVakeley was born at Homer, New York, in 
1822, and was admitted to the bar in 1844, 
at Elyria, Ohio. In 1845, locating at 
Whitewater, Wisconsin, he served as repre- 
sentative in the Legislature in 1847 and as 
State senator in 1851 and 1855. 

Judge Wakele}^ left Madison, AVisconsin, 
to return to Omaha, in November, 1867; 
and his reputation as a lawyer having been 
such, during his administration as judge in 
the territory, that within two weeks after 
his leaving Madison he \Yas as.sisting Judge 
Doane in the trial of a contested and impor- 
tant jury case, so that he was not long in 
giving himself a status at the bar. From 
1871 to 1878, he was the assistant attornej'^ 
of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, hav- 
ing special charge of its Nebraska litigation, 
then very large and important. During all 
the years from 1867 to 1883, the time of his 
appointment as judge, he was verj^ busy as a 
lawyer; and the reports, from the first to the 
fourteenth, opening with the January term, 
1883, of the Supreme Court, contain many 
cases argued by him, embracing a vast range 
of subjects, including the law in relation to 
the service of process upon managing agents 
of corporations, questions of corporation 
law. grading taxes, the right to enter salt 
lands under the statutes of the United States, 
the right of husband's courtesy in real es- 
tate, the right to forfeit land grants of the 
Union Pacific corporation, the liability of 
stockholders in railroad corporations, the 
liability of sureties for tort of an officer, and 
the right to levj^ upon property in the hands 
of an administrator for taxes. All these 
questions, and many more, were litigated by 
him in the courts of the State. In the United 
States Circuit and Supreme Courts, he was 
engaged ver^v largely' in the preparation of 
arguments which were made in cases involv- 
ing various rights of the Union Pacific Rail- 





f/^^Mf, 



jKr.TCHES OF THE BEXCTI AND BAl 



;'.7 



road Company. Among these, were the 
eases against Duraut and the Wj'oming Coal 
Company and Polk County, the right of the 
Union Pacific Railroad Company to mort- 
gage its land grant, as well as many others 
of national importance. 

Judge "Wakeley has a fund of humor in 
his composition, much more than one would 
imagine, to see him administering equity 
law from the bench. He is also very quick 
in repartee. When he and Judge John I. 
Redick, noted for his ready wit and keen 
hits, met, as they frequently did in contested 
cases, they seldom failed to give and take 
sharp thrusts, and he who had the last word 
was ajjt to get the best of the encounter. 
Several such passages at arms are current in 
local legal gossip. As illustrating Judge 
AVakeley's fund of humor 1 give tlie follow- 
ing very spic}' correspondence, relating to 
that subject which is the bane of every law- 
yer's life, that of borrowing books: 

" Omaha, September 13, 1875. 
'• Hon. E. Wakelky, City. 

•'Dear Judge: — I hold your receipt for 
Abbott's Third National Digest, which was 
taken by you some four months ago. If you 
have no further use for the book I should 
like it. I often wish to consult it, but still, 
if you are not through reading it, I can get 
along without it. 

" Yours truly, G. W. Ambrose." 

"Law Office of E. Wakeley, 
"Omaha, September 14, 1875. 

'•Dear Ambrose: — I herewith comply, 
under protest, with your untimely request 
that I should return your book. 

" You remark that you have held my re- 
ceipt for it some four months. Thisisprob- 
ablj' true. But if you will read the statute 
of limitation of Nebraska, you will observe 
that it does not bar a claim, under any writ- 
ten instrument, until the lapse of five years, 
leaving you about four years and eight 
months still to reclaim your book. Why, 
then, this undue precipitancy.' 



" Will you permit me, as a searcher after 
legal knowledge, respectfully to inquire if 
you can refer me to any respectable author- 
ity requiring the borrower of a law book to 
return it within four months.'' I have read 
a large number of cases in my time, and I 
do not remember one in which such a prop- 
osition is advanced, although there may be 
an occasional dictum to the effect that the 
borrower is under a moral obligation to re- 
turn the book as soon as he becomes able to 
buy one for himself. 

" Considered upon principle and without 
reference to authoritj-, how would the prop- 
osition stand? Is it reasonable to suppose 
that a man engaged in a somewhat active 
practice can find time in four months to read 
through all the books he borrows, besides 
perusing the daily papers, answering dun- 
ning letters, and keeping up with the 
Beecher-Tilton literature.? That case, you 
will remember, was going on for some two 
months after 1 got your volume. 

" You remark that you often wish to con 
suit the book. I highly commend that reso- 
lution. You would certainly find it benefi- 
cial to occasionally read some law, and. if 
you Should become accustomed to it, you 
would find it comparativelj^ easy; only, 
don't overdo it at first. 

" The only thing I object to in that par- 
agraph is an implication that I would not 
allow you to consult the book at my office. 
This is unjust. I have never refused the 
owner of a book that privilege, even when 
it has occasioned inconvenience to myself. 

" In conclusion, permit me to suggest 
that, if you really can not afford to keep 
law books, for other practitioners to use, it 
would be a philanthropic thing for you to 
sell them to some one who can. 

" Gratefully yours, 

" E. Wakei,ey." 

Judge John I. Redick came from Lansing, 
Michigan, to Omaha, arriving October 27, 
1856. He was born in AVooster, Oliio, 



!38 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



July 29, 1828, and just previous to his 
locating here had been admitted to the bar, 
and in February, 1857, formed a partner- 
ship with James G. Chapman, under the firm 
name of Kedick & Chapman, which partner- 
ship was not of long duration. In 1859, he 
entered into partnership with Clinton 
Briggs, which continued for ten j-ears. In 
1887, he formed a partnership with W. J. 
Connell, which existed for about a year. In 
1876, he was appointed by President Grant 
Ignited States judge for New Mexico, which 
position he retained for a year and a half, 
and then served the Union Pacific Railroad 
Company, as attorney, at Denver, Colorado, 
for one year. In January, 1887, he located 
at Los Angeles, California, where he became 
actively engaged in real estate transactions, 
and served for nearly two years as president 
of the ^iouthern California National Bank. 
In the fall of 1889, he returned to Omaha, 
and will make it his permanent home. He 
has been largely interested in real estate 
in this city since the date of locating here, 
and has thereby amassed a handsome fortune. 
In 1KG9, he was one of the seven men who 
built the Omaha & Northwestern Railroad, 
and was also one of the builders of the 
Grand Central Hotel. He was chaii-- 
man of the Nebraska delegation to the 
Baltimore convention which nominated 
Lincoln and Johnson, and also chairman of 
the delegation from this State which nomi- 
nated Grant for his second term, at the 
Pliiladelphia convention. Mr. Redick was 
first married to Miss Mary E. Higby, in 
1855, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his wife 
dying in this city, in 1865. Two years later 
he married Miss Mary E. May of Omaha. 
He has seven sons, Charles R., William 
A., John I., Jr.. Clarke, Chatham, George 
M., and Elmer. No man at this bar ever 
enjoyed a more prominent place as a jurj' 
lawyer than Mr. Redick. He had his own orig- 
inal methods in the trial of causes, and great 
tact in the presentation of the facts to a 
jurj', and was ver}' generally successful, with 



his partner. Judge Briggs, to look after the 
law of the case. 

Charles P. Birkitt, Esq., is one of Omaha's 
oldest lawyers, locating here June 1, 1856, 
coming from New York. He served 
three terms in the city council, and was 
extensively engaged for a number of years 
in the practice of his profession. In 
1872 he was appointed agent for the 
Ponca Indians, at that time established ou 
their reservation in Dakota, twenty-seven 
miles below Fort Randall. This responsi- 
ble position he filled for three years, and for 
several years thereafter was established in 
Washington City. Mr. Birkitt was married 
in Omaha, in 1860, to Miss Mar3' A. Neale, 
and has three children living. 

Charles A. Baldwin was born near Utica, 
New York, October 8, 1825. Seven years 
later the family removed to Geauga County, 
Ohio, where he assisted his father in clear- 
ing a farm in the woods. At the age of 
eighteen, after receiving a good common 
school education, he entered the Western 
Reserve Academj', at Farmington, Ohio, a 
branch of the famous Oberlin College, where 
he attended during three summers, teaching 
school the intervening winters. In 1846, 
his health not being good, he abandoned his 
plan for a collegiate course and returned to 
his father's farm. Taking up the study of 
law, he engaged in regular practice in 1854. 
In 1859, he located in Akron, Ohio, and 
formed a law partnership with General L. 
V. Bierce, who had a national reputation as 
a criminal lawyer, which fact aided in giv- 
ing Mr. Baldwin a preference for that class 
of practice; and, for many yetirs after locating 
in Omaha, which event occurred in Novem- 
ber, 1868, he devoted himself almost entirely 
to the defense of persons charged with crim- 
inal offenses. The first case of that charac- 
ter with which he was connected here was 
that of the State against Hernandez, in- 
dicted for an assault upon his wife with 
intent to kill. The defendant was a mem- 
ber of Selden Irwin's dramatic troupe then, 



I 



SKETCHES OF THE HENf'H AND BAR. 



289 



in November, 1868, performing at the 
Academy of Music. Mrs. Hernandez was a 
sister of Mrs. Irwin, and a ten-j'ear-old 
daughter of the defendant, who was an im- 
portant witness for tlie State on the trial, 
afterwards became the wife of the famous 
John Dillon. Various circumstances com- 
bined to make this case one of unusual 
prominence, and it proved an excellent in- 
troduction to Mr. Baldwin in a professional 
way. Later on, his practice called him into 
other portions of the State, appearing for the 
defense in notable criminal cases in North 
Platte, in Dakota Count}', in Custer Countj"- 
and elsewhere. He successfully defended 
.lames Davis and wife, of this city, who 
were indicted for the killing of Jerry Me- 
Cormick, a western cattleman, who assaulted 
them with a revolver; and, in 1889, he as- 
sisted John C. Cowin in the defense of Liz- 
zie Beechler, who was tried for the killing 
of Harry King, at the Paxton Hotel, in this 
city. In 1870, he assisted United States 
District Attorney Strickland in prosecuting 
four Pawnee Indians for the murder of 
Edward McMurty in the unorganized terri- 
tory in the western part of the State, May 8, 
1869, when a conviction was secured; but 
Judge Dillon afterwards decided that the 
United States Court had no jurisdiction of 
the case. The prisoners were then tried in the 
district court at Lincoln, but on account of 
the impossibility of securing the attendance 
of witnesses they were finally discharged 
from custody. A very important civil case 
with which Mr. Baldwin was connected was 
that of t^ranklin Kobinson vs. A. D. Jones, 
et al., involving the title to Omaha real 
estate, valued at $200,000, recently decided 
in favor of Mr. Jones, whom jMr. Baldwin 
represented, having pitted against him at 
various stages of the case, Judge Doane 
(previous to his going upon the bench), A. 
J. Poppleton, John W. Lytle and Patrick 
O. Hawes. Mr. Baldwin was married in 
1848 to Miss M. Isidore Gridley, who, by 
the way, was a schoolmate of Mrs. Garfield, 



widow of President Garfield. Mr. and 
Mrs. Baldwin have had three children, one 
dying in infancj'. The others are Leoua, 
now Mrs. Frederick Mertzheimer, and 
Frank, who died at Denver, in 1883, while 
in tlie employ of the Union Pacific Railway 
Company. 

George W. Ambrose has been a resident 
of Omaha for nearly a quarter of a century, 
engaged in all these j'ears in the active prac- 
tice of his profession. He is now upwards 
of &tty years of age, and, while he is the 
writer of this chapter, the bar will perhaps 
excuse that he personally mentions himself 
very slightly, as a full histor}- of his life is 
written by another hand and printed in its 
proper place in this volume. Mr. Ambrose 
has been connected from the early history of 
this State with the important questions that 
have been determined bj- the courts. In all 
questions of taxation and constitutional law, 
he has been in a great degree the forerunner, 
and has been connected with cases in which 
these questions have been definitely settled 
and determined by the Supreme Court. He 
was the city attorney- and argued the case 
on behalf of the city in the case of Bradshaw 
against Omaha, reported in I Nebraska Re- 
ports, which was argued at the first term of 
the Supreme Court held in the State; after- 
wards, the ease of Turner against Althause, 
involving the same question, was decided 
and is reported in VI Nebraska Reports. The 
report of the two cases shows that Mr. Am- 
brose enjoys the distinction of being upon 
both sides of the same question in the two 
cases and beaten in both instances, which 
was no surprise to him. 

John L. Webster has been an active prac- 
titioner at this bar for the last twenty years 
or more, and, as a lawyer, citizen or friend, 
is worthy a place in any community. Mr. 
"Webster, upon whatever subject he may be 
called to address the courts, is always pre- 
pared. He makes a very fine legal argu- 
ment. He is a student of books, and he 
draws very largely for what he has to say 



240 



illSTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



upon what is contained in the books wliich 
he reads. J\Ir. Webster, as well as others 
who are in this personal mention, are more 
accurately and thoroughly described in 
their proper place in this book. Mr. Web- 
ster has lately rendered great service to 
the State in his advocacy of the question 
of high license, as against prohibition, 
and he is entitled to deserving mention 
among those who fought a very severely 
contested battle in the late election. He 
was selected as one of the four delegates at 
large to the Republican national convention 
at Minneapolis. 

John M. Thurston removed to Omaha 
from the State of AVisconsin, in 1^69, where 
he commenced the practice of law. He 
served acceptably in the city council of the 
city and as city attornej', and was elected to 
serve a term as a member of the lower house 
of the Legislature of the State. He was 
soon thereafter selected by Mr. Poppleton 
as the assistant general attorney of the 
Union Pacific Railroad Company with head- 
quarters at Omaha. Mr. Thurston at a very- 
early date established his reputation as an 
orator; and, upon the retirement of JMr. 
Poppleton as general attorney for the 
Union Pacific, Mr. Thurston was selected by 
the management to that position, and is now 
the general solicitor of that great corpora- 
tion. Jlr. Thurston has been an important 
factor in the trial of cases in this State, one 
of which was the great criminal case of the 
State against Olive, who, with others, was 
indicted for the burning of three men in the 
western portion of the State, and the trial of 
which was transferred to Adams County. 
The killing of these men caused such a 
feeling in the State that the Legislature 
passed a special act authorizing the gov- 
ernor to appoint counsel to assist in the 
prosecution. Governor Nance appointed 
Mr. Thurston as one of such counsel. The 
defendants were convicted before a jury, 
but were released upon an appeal to the 
Supreme Court. JMr. Thurston's connection 



with the case ceased after the triixl in the 
lower court, and, although lie has never 
been specially engaged in the criminal prac- 
tice, he has defended fourteen men for mur- 
der, and secured acquittal of them all. In 
some instances, his clients have been con- 
victed upon first trial, Imt the verdicts in 
every instance were set aside, as notably 
that of Lauer, at Omaha, for the murder of 
his wife. jNIr. Thurston has had equall}- 
good success in the civil branch of the law. 
He was a member from Nebraska of the 
Chicago Republican national convention, 
in 1888, and as temporary presiding officer 
of that convention made a national reputa- 
tion as an orator, which he now enjoys, and 
always, whether at the bar or on the lecture 
platform, he acquits himself to the satisfac- 
tion of all his friends. 

William J. Connell came to the city of 
Omaha as a j^oung man and engaged as a clerk 
in the store of the old firm of Tootle <fe Maul. 
Afterwards, he took up the practice of law 
and was admitted to the bar, in 1870, and 
at once, by his indomitable push, made him- 
self felt as a lawyer. Mr. Connell has had 
a marked experience at the bar. He lias 
been extremely fortunate in the trial of his 
causes. He is well read, and is a hard 
fighter, and as city attorney of this city for a 
number of years has established a reputation 
as a lawyer of great ability. In 1888, he 
was elected as a representative from the 
first Congressional district a member of 
the lower house of Congress, and served for 
two years; having been defeated in a con- 
test by his Democratic competitor, in the 
fall of 1890, and, as he has returned to the 
practice of his profession with his accus- 
tomed vigor, he will meet with undoubted 
success. He was again appointed cit}- attor- 
ney for Omaha in Januarj', 1892. 

Judge H. J. Davis came to Omaha about 
ten j'ears since and soon proved himself 
to be a lawyer of ability. He attracted 
the attention of Judge Savage, and in 1885 
the latter took him into partnership, under 




<S ^^.-^'^-^'-z^-V'f^C^^.^ 



i 



SKETCHES OF THE BEXCII AND BAR. 



241 



the firm name of Savage, Morris 6: Davis, 
;Mr. JMorris being a step-son of Judge 
Savage; the firm, as tlius constituted, made 
a good working team. In 1889 Judge Davis 
accepted the nomination at the liands of 
the Republican party as its candidate for 
judge to fill the vacanc_y of Lewis A. Groff, 
who had resigned. Upon his nomination, 
Governor Thayer appointed him as judge of 
the district court, and he served in that 
capacity for a few months, having been de- 
feated at tlie polls for election by Judge 
Joseph R. Clarkson. He then returned to 
his place in his old firm, where he continued 
until tJie death of Judge Savage, when the 
firm became Davis & Morris. Upon the 
creation of three new judges by the legisla- 
ture of 1890, in obedience to the wish of the 
bar, he accepted a nomination at its hands, 
and in March, 1891, was appointed by Gov- 
ernor Boyd as one of the judges of the 
district court of this district, and elected 
by the people in November, 1891. Judge 
Davis, while upon the bench, has evinced 
qualities which go to make a good judge, 
and there is no doubt that, with the oppor- 
tunity now presented to him, he will fulfill 
his ambition to become an excellent judge 
rather than a great lawyer. 

Judge Arthur N. Ferguson is the son of 
Chief Justice Fenner Ferguson, the first 
judge appointed in the territory of 
Nebraska. He is about forty -nine 3'ears of 
age, and for the last twenty years has been 
a resident of the city of Omaha, where he 
has practiced his profession in a quiet, unos- 
tentatious way. Judge Ferguson, in March, 
was appointed by Governor Boyd one of 
the judges of the district court, to fulfill the 
requirements of the act of 1891. He was 
selected by the bar without any personal 
solicitation upon his part, but simply be- 
cause of his calm, judicial temperament and 
his well-known upright character and his 
good standing as a citizen, as well as a lawyer. 
He was elected for four years, in November, 
1891. .Judge Ferguson married Miss Sears, 



a sister of Mrs. Andrew J. Poppletou, and 
his family reside in a comfortable, unpre- 
tentious home, in the northern part of the 
city, respected by all who know them. 

Judge Lee S. Estelle served one term 
as judge of the District Court of Douglas 
County. Mr. Estelle, as prosecuting attorney 
for the third judicial district, established 
for himself a reputation as a criminal law- 
yer, and is very fond of the practice, and 
from choice was assigned the criminal docket. 
Since his retirement from the ofhce of pros- 
ecuting attorney', and during the last six 
years, he has had to do with the defense of 
most of the important criminal cases that 
have been tried, and has uniformly been 
very successful. He is a good talker and a 
painstaking law3-er. Prior to his elevation 
to the bench he was the attorney of the 
school board of the city. Judge Estelle is a 
pleasant, affable gentleman, and has a great 
ambition to make his mark as a criminal 
lawyer, and he will have abundant oppor- 
tunity to develop himself in that regard. 
He is about forty years of age, and has a 
quiet, pleasant home, where he resides 
with his wife and familj^, an honored hus- 
band and father. Judge Estelle was de- 
feated for re-election in November, 1891, 
and has again resumed the practice of his 
profession. 

Judge Lewis A. Groff came to Omaha 
about 1880 and at once entered into partner- 
ship with Mr. C. S. Montgomery. The firm 
soon established a reputation as collecting 
lawyers, and acquired a large and lucrative 
business in that line. In 1886, he was ap- 
pointed one of the judges of the district 
court by Governor Thayer, which position 
he resigned in 1889 to accept that of com- 
missioner of the general land office, tend- 
ered him by President Harrison. Judge 
Groff, while upon the bench, gave good sat- 
isfaction; but the labor was great and the 
pay small, and it was not long until it be- 
came apparent to himself, as well as his 
friends, that his health was failing him. As 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



a commissioner of the general laud office, 
Judge Groff established a great reputation 
tliroughout the entire countrj". lie was a 
most valuable officer in that department, and 
especially to the settlers of the Northwest 
he- has endeared himself; and all classes of 
people were sorry to know that his continued 
failure of health rendered it necessary for 
him to resign and seek another clime. Judge 
Groff is an honorable and upright man and 
an esteemed citizen, and Omnlia rciirets to 
lose him; but the loss of OiiihIki -will lie the 
gain of California, to which State lie lias now 
removed. 

Hon. C. F. INIandersou came to Omaha 
some twenty years since from tlie State of 
Ohio, and formed a partnership with the late 
Judge Savage, which partnership continued 
until Judge Savage went upon the bench, of 
which fact mention has been made else- 
where. His biography is written in its 
appropriate place in this book, and it is need- 
less here to recur to his career as a soldier in 
the late war, or as senator of the United 
States. Mr. Manderson, soon after coming 
to Omaha, established a decided reputation 
as an orator. He is a pleasant, smooth 
speaker, having a fund of wit and sarcasm 
in his nature which he enjoys displaj'ing, 
and he displays it to good advantage. lie 
served a term of four years as city attorney 
and was an acceptable officer. If there 
is one thing that he enjoys more than 
another, it is telling a good story. He 
is an adept in that art. While at the bar in 
this city, he displayed great aptitude in the 
preparation and presentation of his cases to 
the jury. 

Judge James Neville came to Omaha from 
the State of Illinois, having graduated from 
the law department of Michigan University; 
and, after having practiced law for some 
years, was appointed by General Grant, 
through the instrumentality of Senator 
Hitchcock, District Attorney of the United 
States for the district of Nebraska, which 
office he held for eight 3' ears. Upon the ap- 



pointment of his successor, he returned to 
the bar, and was soon after appointed judge 
of the district court of this district, to suc- 
ceed the late Judge Savage who had resigned 
from that position. Judge Neville held the 
office of judge for eight years and declined 
a re-election. He has amassed, in this city, 
a comfortable fortune, and is of that nature 
and disposition capable of enjoying easy 
life. 

Hon. George E. Pritchett is a native of 
the State of New York; and came to Omaha 
about twenty years ago, and soon thereafter 
formed a partnership with Mr. J. S. Spaun, 
under the firm name of Spaun & Pritchett. 
j\Ir. Pritchett has served the city as city attor- 
ney; he was elected in 1876 one of the mem- 
bers of the Legislature in the lower house, 
and served his constituents acceptably. He 
was appointed by G rover Cleveland as 
United States District Attorney for the dis- 
trict of Nebraska, which offi'ce he held for 
some four years, and was succeeded by Ben- 
jamin S. Baker, upon the incoming of Pres- 
ident Harrison's administration. Mr. Pritch- 
ett is one of the most thorough lawyers we 
have at the bar, and enjoys the confidence of 
a large clientage and has amassed consider- 
able wealth. He is now mostl}' engaged in 
the business of looking after the legal affairs 
of the Omaha Street Railwa}' Company and 
the Merchants National Bank. 

Richard S. Hall is the son of Associate 
Justice Augustus Hall, and was five years of 
age at the time of the death of his father. 
Mr. Hall resided at Bellevue in this State 
with his mother, now Mrs. Stephen D. Bangs, 
until in his early manhood, when he came to 
Omaha and commenced reading law in the 
office of George W. Doane. He has been a 
practitioner for some fifteen years. He was 
formerly associated with John M. Thurston, 
as the junior partner. He is now the senior 
member of Hall, McCulloch & English. 
Judge McCulloch was formerly county 
judge of this count}' for two years, and the 
firm is considered one among the leading 



1 




/^M/jt^L^n 



^KETCHES OF THE BENCH AND BAK. 



>43 



firms of the citj', and lias acquired wealth 
and reputation in the practice of the law. 
'Mr. Hall is now one of the attorney's for the 
Missouri Pacific Railway. He is an aggres- 
sive and hard fighter, and loves a good 
story as well as a good fee in a law suit. 

The particulars of Mr. John C. Cowin's 
life appear elsewhere in this history. The 
writer has been associated with him from 
the first organization of the courts of 
this State, in 18G7. He is a man of great 
native force of character, of great forensic 
ability, and he is in earnest in the prosecu- 
tion or defense of bis cases. One thing ma3' 
alw.ays be said of John C. Cowin, and that 
is. he has never been known to forget the 
interests of his clients. As a prosecutor 
for four years in his early history, he 
established a reputation as an orator and 
as a law3'er. He has ever been a dili- 
gent student, and has had to do with very 
large interests in this city. His business 
has become very extensive, and he enjoys 
the trying of a good law suit as well to-day 
as he did a quarter of a century ago. Per- 
haps the bar will pardon the writer, but, 
whether it does or not, it is nevertheless true 
that, in the discussion by Mr. Cowin in what 
is known as the street car cases, in the cir- 
cuit court of the United States, of tlie prin- 
ciple of exclusive privilege, which was as- 
serted by the defendant street horse rail- 
way company, he displayed an ability and 
research that placed him in the front rank 
of lawyers in this country. The question is 
regarded by tliose who are at all conversant 
with the subject as one of the most difficult 
of solution in the whole range of subjects to 
which the courts have given any attention. In 
the contested election case of Thayer vs. 
Boyd, the argument made by Mr. Cowin, 
upon the question of who is a citizen of the 
United States in order to hold office within 
the State, the writer believes to be one of the 
most masterly discussions of that question 
that lias ever been made by a lawyer within 
the last century. 



Leavitt Burnliam commenced his career 
in 1870, by clerkship in the office of Wat- 
son B. Smith, clerk of the United States 
circuit and district courts, where he was em- 
ployed for some considerable time, and com- 
menced tliere the reading of law. He per- 
formed the duties of his position in a very 
acceptable manner, both to the bench and 
the bar, and was afterwards permitted to prac- 
tice, after reading for some considerable time 
in the office of Hon. A. J. Poppleton. Upon 
his admission to the bar, he still remained in 
Mr. Poppleton's office, and was engaged for 
a long time in giving attention to legal mat- 
ters in the State connected with the Union 
Pacific Railroad outside of Omaha. He left 
the Union Pacific service in 1877 and went 
into private practice. In 1878 he was ap- 
pointed land commissioner of the Union 
Pacific Railroad Companj-, having charge of 
their large land interests in Nebraska until 
January, 1886, when he resigned and again 
resumed the practice in 1890. Mr. Burn- 
liam is a citizen of probity, and has endeared 
himself to a large circle of friends, and is a 
lawyer of more than ordinary acumen and 
ability. 

John Sclionip was born in New Jersey 
and is forty years of age. He was admitted 
to tlie bar in 1868. He removed to Omaha 
in 1888, and is now engaged in tlie practice 
of law as the senior member of Schomp <fe 
Corson. Mr. Schomp is a very large man 
physically, and is equally so mentally. He 
is a gentleman in every sense of the term, 
and one whom every lawyer is glad to meet 
wherever he may. 

Warren Switzler is about thirty-seven 
years of age and was born in the State of Mis- 
souri. He commenced life in a newspaper 
office, setting type. Having been admitted 
to the bar, he removed to this city in 1877, 
where he has established a reputation as a 
careful and painstaking lawyer, and the firm, 
as now composed of Switzler and J. H. 
Mcintosh, under the firm name of Switzler & 
Mcintosh, is one of the prominent firms of 



L>44 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



the city. He has alwaj'S taken an active 
part in religious matters, being a devout 
memlier of the Presbyterian Church. In the 
fall of 1890, he was elected to the State .Sen- 
ate, where he served liis constituents in a 
very acceptable manner and added to his al- 
ready established reputation as an honorable 
gentleman and a good citizen. 

T. J. Mahoney was born April 17, 1857, 
in Crawford County, Wisconsin, of Irish 
parentage. He removed to Iowa in 1864 
and remained there until 1885. He was ed- 
ucated at the University of Notre Dame, 
Indiana. He taught school for eight years 
in Guthrie Count}', Iowa, the last three of 
which were spent as instructor in Latin and 
mathematics in the county high school of 
Panora. In 1881, he was elected county 
superintendent of schools of Guthrie County 
and served two years. In 1885, he graduated 
from the law department of the Iowa State 
University, and in the same year settled in 
Omaha and commenced the practice of law. 
In 1888, he was elected county attorney of 
Douglas County and re-elected in 1890. In 
politics, Mr. Mahoney is a Democrat. He is 
the senior member of one of the leading law 
firms of the city, Mahoney, Minnehan & 
Smyth, and is regarded very highly as a 
lawyer and citizen by the profession. 

Judge George W. Shields is essentiall}' a 
selfmade man. He started out in life in 
this city as a newsboy', at one time deliver- 
ing the entire circulation of the Omaha Her- 
ald, the cliief organ of the Democracy of this 
State. For a time he was peanut boy upon 
the Union Pacific Railroad, and, after hav- 
ing lost his left arm while engaged in 
working at a brick machine, he attended 
the high school of this city, from which he 
graduated with honors and commenced the 
study of law. Ever since his admission to 
the bar he has acquitted himself well, and in 
the fall of 1887 was elected county judge 
and re-elected in 1889, and administered 
the affairs of the office with great credit to 
himself and satisfaction to the litigants. 



Charles Ogden is a native of Louisiana 
and came to Omaha a young man, just start- 
ing out in his profession, some twelve or fif- 
teen years since. He is a pleasant, genial 
gentleman of the pure Southern type. He 
has long been connected with the Fremont, 
Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad Company 
as its local attorney, and in which capacity he 
has been very_ successful. He is one of the old- 
fashioned kind of Democrats and enjoys the 
confidence of his part}', and is considered 
one of its chief advisors in this State. Mr. 
Ogden is a student, and enjoys having the 
walls of his oflSce literally lined with books. 
His library is of very great value, and 
contains many rare volumes. 

William R. Kelly and John Schomp 
constitute the physical heavy weights of 
the Omaha bar. Mr. Kelly came to Ne- 
braska at an early date and located at 
Lincoln. Soon thereafter, he became the 
local attorney of the Union Pacific Railway 
Company, not only for Lancaster County, 
but for all of the counties in the south- 
western part of tlie State, and, after the ap- 
pointment of Honorable John M. Thurston 
as general solicitor of the road, he was 
called to Omaha to take the position of as- 
sistant general solicitor, as well as general 
attorney for the State of Nebraska. Mr. 
Kelly is not onlj' a genial gentleman but a 
good lawyer, thoroughly versed in corpora- 
tion law and well adapted to manage and 
control intricate corporation cases, which 
work he performs the greater portion of. 
Mr. Kelly is about forty-two years of age 
and enjoys a wide acquaintance, and has 
thoroughly established his reputation as a 
lawyer. 

Charles J. Greene has been a resident of 
this city for many years, where he has taken 
front rank as a lawyer and as an orator. 
Mr. Greene is local attorney for the Chicago, 
Burlington & Quincy Railway Company in 
this city, and his time is altogether taken 
up with corporation law. At the last na- 
tional convention held in Chicago, he was 



SKETCHES OF THE BENCH AND BAR. 



245 



one of the delegates from the State of Ne- 
braska, and acquitted himself with great 
credit. Mr. Greene has never been an office 
seeker, except for such as might be orna- 
mental, and in that respect he has been re- 
markably successful. Mr. Greene was a 
great admirer of Roscoe Conkling in his life- 
time, and his friends think that he has many 
of the characteristics of that great orator. 
There is no more genial companion than 
Charlie Greene. He enjoys his life and the 
work of his profession in the highest de- 
gree. 

Henry D. Estabrook is essentially an 
Omaha boy. He was born in the State of 
New York, coming to Omaha at an early age, 
where he has grown to manhood, receiving 
his education in her schools, and graduating 
with distinction from the St. Louis Law 
School. He is the son of General E. Esta- 
brook, and inherits to a great degree the 
legal abilitj' of his father, while there has 
been eliminated from his composition many 
of his father's idiosyncrasies. Mr. Esta- 
brook has established a reputation as a law- 
yer and orator, and has acquired both fame 
and money in the practice of his profession. 

Judge Edward R. DufTie was born in the 
State of New York and is about forty- eight 
years of age. He removed to Sac County, 
Iowa, when about twenty-three years old, 
and soon thereafter commenced the practice 
of law in northwestern Iowa. He served a 
term of eight years upon the bench in his 
district and established a reputation second 
to none in the State as a jurist. He removed 
to Omaha in 1887, where he has continued 
to reside with his family, and where he has 
established an enviable reputation as a law- 
yer. 

lion. George AV. Covell was born in the 
State of New York and is some fifty-five 
years of age. Upon his removal from New 
York he went to Missouri, where he studied 
law and was admitted to the bar in 1860. 
During the war he was in the rebel army, 
after which he removed to Nebraska City, 



and in 1886 came to Omaha. Mr. Covell 
held many positions of trust in Nebraska 
City, and in 1876 was elected a member of 
the State Senate, where he served with great 
acceptability to his constituents, and en- 
deared himself hy his manly and upright 
conduct to his associates. He is one of the 
stern kind of Democrats in politics. He is a 
hard fighter and a good lawyer. 

Isaac E. Congdon is the senior member of 
the oldest firm of lawyers now engaged in 
the practice in Omaha. The firm consists of 
]Mr. Congdon, Judge J. R. Clarkson and 
George J. Hunt. Mr. Congdon was a mem- 
ber of the firm of Manderson & Congdon. he 
then having just graduated from the uni- 
versity as a law3'er; afterwards, upon the 
election of General Manderson to the Senate 
of the United States, Mr. Congdon formed a 
connection with the firm of Clarkson & 
Hunt, as it had theretofore been existing. 
All of these gentlemen, in their several de- 
partments, are model lawyers. Judge Clark- 
son has lately resigned a seat upon the bench, 
to which he was elected after a very sharp 
contest about a year ago, but he liked the 
contest at the bar, together with its remun- 
eration, better than a prosy seat upon the 
lionch. 

C. F. and R. ^\. Breekenridge, father and 
son, have been residents of Omaha for about 
ten years, and are engaged in the practice of 
law together. They are well adapted as 
members of the firm, C. F., the father, hav- 
ing had years of practice and experience at 
the bar, and his son, R. W., being a young 
man full of vim and push, have made the 
firm one of considerable pecuniary profit as 
well as importance in the administration of 
justice in this city. 

Joseph II. Blair is the only really cosmo- 
politan lawyer we have amongst us. He is 
well-known throughout the United States, 
having practiced law before all the courts in 
some eight different States. He is a man well 
along in the fifties, is still active in his pro- 
fession, and there is only one thing that he 



246 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



loves better than the Jaw, and that is to sit 
upon the edge of a brook with a fish-hook 
and line in his hand and plenty of fish in 
the stream. 

Judge William O. Bartholomew came to 
Omaha in 1868, and has been a continuous 
resident ever since. In 1878, Mr. Bartholo- 
mew was elected County Judge of Douglas 
Count.y, serving two years and being re- 
elected for another term; but before the 
completion of his second term he was com- 
pelled, on account of ill-health, to resign his 
office. A misfortune to him as well as to 
the balance of the bar of the city is, that 
Judge Bartholomew has never j'et regained 
his health. While at the bar, he displayed 
remarkable judgment, and received from the 
judges of the Supreme Court the highest 
encomiums respecting an argument which 
the writer believes is the only one he ever 
made before that body. Judge Bartholomew 
still graces the court rooni with his presence 
daily, taking much part in conversation and 
reminiscences, but is unable to do any active 
work. 

Judge Charles II. Breck became a member 
of this bar in the fall of 1889, at which time 
he removed to Omaha from Richmond, Ken- 
tuck}', where he was born, and had always 
resided. He is the son of the late Judge 
Daniel Breck, so well-known in the judicial 
and political annals of Kentucky, a& a judge 
of the Court of Appeals and a member of 
Congress. He came highly commended 
by the bench and bar of his native State as 
a man of ability and experience and culture 
in his profession, and lias so proved himself. 
He is about fifty years of age. For many 
years he was upon the bench and connected 
judicially with the affairs of his native 
county. He was induced to remove from 
where he had lived a life of great activity 
and usefulness, and to sever his old associa- 
tions, by the desire to be with his large fam- 
ily of sons, who had preceded him to this 
city. 

William F. Gurley was born in Daven- 



port, Iowa, and is now twenty-nine years of 
age. He came to Omaha in 1881, and entered 
the employ of Louis Bradford, the well- 
known lumber merchant of this city. Soon 
afterwards he was appointed clerk of the 
county court, which position he held for 
several years, and then entered the office of 
Thurston & Hall, attorne3's of this city, 
where he performed the duties of clerk. In 
1884 he was appointed private secretar}' to 
Senator Manderson, which position he held 
until the winter of 1885, when he engaged 
for a short time in the real estate business. 
In June, 1886, he first threw out his shingle 
to the breeze. Later, for one j^ear, he held 
the position of assistant county attorney, 
under E. W. Simeral. In 1890, he was a 
candidate for the office of State Senate upon 
the Republican ticket of Douglas County, 
and was defeated. Mr. G urley is a fine talker 
and holds a high place among the younger 
lawyers of the cit}'. 

M. Y. Gannon came to Omaha some five 
years ago from Des Moines, Iowa, where he 
had established a reputation as a 'lawyer and 
as a prosecuting officer of some considerable 
extent. Mr. Gannon is an Irishman by 
birth, strongly and thoroughly imbued in the 
principles of the Irish cause; as an orator, 
he is in large demand at all gatherings 
where the woes of Ireland are to be dis- 
cussed. In 1891, he was elected president 
of the Irish National League, which position 
he still fills. 

Francis Albert Brogan was born in Dewitt, 
Iowa, December 6, 1860, and lived on a 
farm in that locality until his fourteenth 
j-ear. In 1875, he moved with his parents 
to Hartford, Kansas. He was educated in 
St. Benedict's College, Atchison, Kansas, 
and in Georgetown University, Washing- 
ton, District of Columbia, graduating from 
the latter institution with highest class hon- 
ors, in 1883. During the winter of 1884 
and 1885, he read law in the office of Judge 
T. A. Ilurd, in Leavenworth, Kansas, and 
the following year took a course at the 




B 



t4A 




Mjc 



1UNSELL & CO. NEW YOH 



SKKTCHES OF THE BEXCII AND F.AI 



247 



Harvard law school. lu June, 1885, he vpas 
admitted to the bar at Emporia, Kansa?, and 
began the practice of his profession there, 
being associated in practice with C. N. 
Sterry, one of the leading railroad lawyers 
in the State. In 1886, he entered the race 
ft)r county attorney, as the Democratic can- 
didate, but, although receiving the highest 
vote cast for any nominee on his ticket, he 
was defeated, his party being in a hopeless 
minority. From 1886 to 1888, he was in 
the employ of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa 
Fe Railroad Compan_y as one of its assistant 
attorneys, and was connected with much of 
the important litigation of that company. 
In July, 1888, he removed to Omaha and 
began practice here, associated with M. V. 
Gannon, under the firm name of Gannon & 
Brogan. The partnership was dissolved the 
following year, Mr. Brogan retiring from 
the firm. Mr. Brogan was married October 
17, 1888, at Emporia, Kansas, to Miss JMaude 
II. Perley, of that place. In politics, he 
has always been a Democrat. He was raised 
and educated a Roman Catholic. 

John Paul Breen was born of Scotch-Irish 
parentage on the 20th day of April, 1856, on 
a farm near the little village of Loekport, in 
the State of Illinois. In the spring of 1857, 
his parents moved to the then wild and un- 
settled portion of western Iowa, and located 
ou a farm near Fort Dodge, at that time a 
small garrisoned fort for the protection of 
the early settlers in that part of the State 
from Indian attacks and depredations. At 
an early age he commenced to attend the 
winter terms of school in the rude, rough 
log school houses of that part of western 
Iowa, frequently walking a distance of two 
or three miles through severe winter storms 
and deep snows to enjoy the meagre oppor- 
tunities afforded ljy these schools for an 
education, in the summer time working on 
the farm. From the log school house of the 
countrj^ district, he went to the village 
high school. At nineteen, he passed the 
school board examination for a teacher's 



certificate, and at twenty commenced to 
teach school near his old home at Fort Dodge, 
Iowa, and continued to teach for the next 
four years. In 1879, while principal of the 
Dayton, Iowa, school, he commenced,unaided 
and alone, the study of the law, and, in con- 
nection with his duties of school teacher, 
kept lip the study until 1882, when he was 
admitted to the bar at Fort Dodge, Iowa. 
In that j'ear he was elected to the office of 
county recorder in his home county, and 
served in that office two years. He then 
opened a law office in Fort Dodge, but 
soon removed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, seek- 
ing a wider field for operations. In 1884, 
under the auspices of the Repulilican State 
campaign committee, he "'stumped" the 
State of Iowa for " Jim." Blaine and glory. 
In 1886, he removed to Omaha and com- 
menced the practice of the law here. He is 
a pronounced cosmopolitan, in respect to all 
national distinctions, social prejudices and 
religious creeds. 

Hon. Frank Irvine, one of the judges of 
the district court of the fourth judicial dis- 
trict, became a member of the Douglas 
County bar in 1884. His experience in the 
practice of his profession at that time was 
limited. He had served an apprenticeship 
of three years in the office of George B. 
Corkhill, United States district attorney for 
the District of Columbia, and assisted in the 
preparation of the trial of the Giteau case, 
filling the position of assistant attorney for 
one year thereafter. Having in 1883 grad- 
uated from the National University, he 
took up his residence in Omaha in 1884. 
Mr. Irvine soon gained an enviable reputa- 
tion as a lawyer of unusual ability. In 
1886 he associated himself in the general 
practice of the law with Henry D. P^sta- 
brook, under the firm name of Estabrook 
& Irvine. Later, Mr. Charles E. Clapp be- 
came a member of the firm. In 1891, the 
number of the judges of the district court 
for the fourth judicial district having been 
increased bv law, the bar of the district held 



SKETCHES OF THE BENCH AND BAR. 



'249 



one of the jury dockets. He has developed 
a great capacity as a judge, his literary 
learning, as well as his legal training, hav- 
ing demonstrated that he has great capacity 
and that he is a man who will grow as a 
judge as he has grown upon his fellow mem- 
bers of the bar, as a man and lawyer, during 
his residence in this city. He has a calm, 
judicial temperament, and a very discerning 
mind; he acts with great moderation; he 
does not arrive at a point so quickly as some 
others, but when he has arrived at a conclu- 
sion is firm and decisive. He is very much 
liked upon the bench; his companionship is 
sought after and enjoj^ed by very many. 
His habits are domestic and retiring, and in 
the years to come the writer bespeaks for 
him a full measure of usefulness and honor 
in his profession. 

Edward W. Simeral, a native of Steuben- 
ville, Ohio, has made Omaha his home since 
18G9. Selecting law as his profession, he 
studied with Silas A. Strickland and John L. 
Webster, and was admitted to the bar in 
1876. He was elected as the first county 
attorne}' of Douglas C'ountj', in 1886, hold- 
ing the oftlce for two years. Since his re- 
tirement from office he has attended strictly 
to his private practice, which now requires 
his undivided attention. He is attorney 
for the Bee Publishing Compan}', tlie Mil- 
lard Hotel Company, and other corporations, 
and is recognized by his professional breth- 
ren, and the public at large, as a worthy and 
intelligent representative of the Omaha bar. 

The following have been officers of the 
United States Courts for Nebraska: 

United States Marshals.— C. E. Yost, May 
10, 1867; -Joseph T. Hoile, -January 25, 1870; 
William Daily, July 13, 1872; Ellis L. Bier- 
bower, December 11, 1880; Brad. D. Slaugh- 
ter, June 17, 1889. 

United States Attorneys. — S. A. Strick- 
land, June 15, 1867; .James Neville, May 20, 
1871 ;G.M.Lambertson, December 22, 1882; 
George E. Pritchett, February 24, 1887; 
Benjamin S. Baker, February 4, 1890. 



Clerks United States Circuit Court. — E. 

B. Chandler, May 9, 1867; Watson B.Smith, 
May 30, 1868; E. D. Frank, November 21, 
1881. 

Clerks United States District Court. — Wat- 
son B. Smith, -June 1, 1868; E. D. Frank, 
March 23, 1880; E. S. Dundy, Jr., Novem- 
ber 23, 1882. 

The following constitute the judges of the 
probate and the county court, with the dates 
of their service: Judge Scott was first pro- 
bate judge, but there are no records of his 
proceedings; Clinton Briggs, 1857 to 1860; 
George Armstrong, 1860 to 1863; Hiram M. 
Dickinson, 1863 to 1865; Isaac S. Hascall, 
1865 to 1867; Benjamin Sheeks, September, 
1867, to December 9, 1867; R. J. Stuck, 
December 9, 1867, to December 21, 1868; J. 
R. Hyde, December 21, 1868, to November 
8, 1869; L. B. Gibson, November, 1869, to 
November, 1871; Robert Townsend, 1871 
to 1873; William L. Peabody, 1873 to 1876; 

C. II. Sedgwick, 1876 to 1877; W. O. Bar- 
tholomew, July 28, 1877, to January 29, 
1881; Howard B. Smith, January 29, 1881, 
to September 6, 1881; A. M. Chadwick, 
September 6, 1881, to February 20, 1884; 
J. H. McCulloch, February 20, 1884, to Jan- 
uar}' 5, 1888; George W. Shields, January 
5, 1888, to January 5,1892; James W. Eller, 
January 5, 1892, elected for two .years. 

The bar in the last few years has received 
many notable accessions from Iowa, in the 
persons of John P. Breen, D. D. Gregory, 
E. R. Duffle, W. S. Strawn, W. W. Mors- 
man, A. S. Churchill, M. V. Gannon, Judge 
I. II. Macomber, and E. G. Thomas; from Illi- 
nois: John C. Wharton, William Baird, 
Jacob Fawcett, Louis D. Holmes, and L. II. 
Bradley; from Kentucky: Judge Charles H. 
Breck and Charles Offutt. All these gentle- 
men brought with them reputations as good 
law}-ers, which have been fully sustained, 
and are each and all of them considered ex- 
pert in the various branches to which they 
devote themselves. 

Tlie bar of Omaha has been exceedinglj' 



250 



niSTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



blessed in its oflicers. In the more than a 
quarter of a century, there has been no 
officer connected with the courts against 
whom there has been the slighest suspicion 
of dishonesty. The sheriffs of Douglas 
County have been uniformlj- able and hon- 
orable gentlemen, never shirking their 
duty, and among those who have filled that 
office the writer can not refrain from men- 
tioning the name of Henry Grebe. He 
was first elected sheriff in November, 1869, 
which office he held for four years, and 
has been for the last eleven years deputy 
sheriff under the gentlemen who have at 
various times held that office, making a 
continued service of fifteen years. Henry 
(xrebe is a well educated man of German 
descent, and is one of the pioneers of Ne- 
braska. He is by trade a mechanic. He 
served in the constitutional convention of 
187.5. During his term in the sheriff's oflSce, 
there never was a jar or discrepancy in the 
service of process by him, and the courts of 
Douglas County will be very barren when 
he shall cease to be a participant in the 
administration of justice; and the writer 
knows that he but echoes the universal 
voice of this bar, when he says, " May 
Henry Grebe's German accent sound in our 
ears for manj' years j-et to come." 

In the clerk's office, we have had, in the 



United States Courts, Watson B. Smith, who 
died an untimely death, whether by accident 
or by murder, never yet has been deter- 
mined, which occurred in November, 1881. 
He was a conscientious and faithful officer, 
and was succeeded by Elmer D. Frank, the 
present clerk of the circuit court. Elmer D. 
Frank is an affable gentleman, enjoys the 
taxing up of costs, as well as the hunting 
of bear. 

In the District Court of Douglas County, 
we have liad Armstrong and Ijanis, and 
now Frank E. Moores, who is an abbreviated 
edition of the Star Spangled Banner, and 
who keeps himself very busy in his polite 
attention to the seven courts, enjoying the 
large revenue Iw derives from his office. 
He makes a good clerk, and always has a 
salutation for ever^-body. 

This chapter has not been written as a 
homily upon what the profession should be, 
nor as an eulogy of the few who have been 
mentioned. We speak of the orators of 
ancient Greece, but there were no orators in 
Greece except at Athens. Not so here; 
there are orators at this bar who have not 
been mentioned as such. 

My work is done. It is submitted to tlie 
candid judgment of the profession, hoping 
that it may be considered in some sligiit 
degree meritorious. 




^.y ^^ 



X- /'^^-^ 



CHAPTER XXV 



Hotels of Eaely and Modern Days — Changes of Management at the Herndon- 
How THE Grand Central was Named. 



Omaha's first hotel was a log building, 
sixteen l\v eighteen feet, one story, bearing 
tlie high-sounding title of "The St. Nicho- 
las." It was put up by the Nebraska & 
Council Bluffs Ferry Company, and was 
occupied first by the family of William P. 
Snowden (afterwards city marshal). It was 
located on the corner of Twelfth and Jack- 
son Streets. 

Tlie City Hotel, a small frame structure 
at the southwest corner of Harney and 
Eleventh, was built in 185J. 

The Douglas House, a large two-story 
frame structure, at the southwest corner of 
Thirteenth and Harney Streets, was built in 
1855. The rear portion was made of cotton- 
wood slabs, set up and down, and Mr. A. J. 
Poppleton, who was a boarder at the Doug- 
las at that time, says the building was a very 
cold one in winter. For several years it was 
a leading hotel, however, and maintained a 
high tariff as to prices. Wells Brothers 
were the first proprietors. 

The Farnham House, recently torn down 
to give place to the brick block on the north 
side of Harney between Thirteenth and 
Fourteenth, was built by W. A. Gwyer, in 
1858. St. John Goodrich, father of ex-City 
Comptroller Goodrich, was one of the early 
proprietors. 

The Tremont was built in 1856, on the 
south side of Douglas Street, between Thir- 
teenth and Fourteenth, and was opened for 
business in October of that j^ear by Wm. F. 
Sweesy and Aaron Root, who were the pro- 
prietors until 1865, when the building was 
moved to the southeast corner of Sixteenth 
and Capitol Avenue. 



The Union Hotel was built in 1860 by 
William G. P^lorkee. It was a two-story 
frame house, on the northwest corner of 
Dodge and Fifteenth Streets. 

The Pacific House, a frame building on 
Tenth between Capitol Avenue and Daven- 
port, was built in 1866, by David T. Mount. 

Tlie Metropolitan Hotel, Douglas Street, 
near Twelfth, was built in 1868 by D. A. 
Van Namee. 

The Wyoming and the Cozzens were built 
in 1867, the former by Dr. Isaac Edwards 
and the latter by George Francis Train. 
Senator Paddock was the proprietor of the 
Wyoming for several years. When first 
opened, this house was called the Edwards 
House. The cost of erection was 121,000, 
and the first proprietor was Mr. Godfrey, 
who afterwards platted Godfrey's Addition. 
The building was framed in Chicago. AVhile 
owned by Dr. Edwards, Messrs. Davis and 
Nicholas were at one time in charge of the 
hotel, both of whom were drowned in 1889, 
at the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood. In 
1869 the name of the house was clianged to 
the Casement, in honor of the contractors 
who built the Union Pacific, and in 1870 was 
again changed and for many years was known 
as the Wyoming. Then as the Can field 
House it built up a great custom, under the 
management of George Canfield. Recently 
the name was changed to Hotel Paris, S. J. 
Paris, proprietor. S. H. H. Clark is the 
present owner of the property. 

The Herndon House, built in 1856-7 by 
Dr. George L.Miller and Lyman Richardson, 
now a portion of the building used as gen- 
eral offices by the Union Pacific Railroad 



252 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



Company, was tlie first hotel of any size 
erected in Omalia. The first landlord was 
Mr. M. W. Keith, and he was succeeded by 
two or three others until finally it fell into 
tlie management of Mr. James T. Allan, by 
whom it was first conducted as a high-toned 
boarding house, and afterwards as a hotel. 
Meanwhile it became the property of Dr. G. 
C. Monell, and he leased it to Mrs. Bronson. 
Mr. Allan was disposed to hold on to the 
possession, and considerable difficultj^ fol- 
lowed, which Mr. Silas Seymour, engineer of 
the Union Pacific, thus refers to in a letter 
written in October, 1866: " We found that 
the Herndon, of Omaha, was in a sort of 
transition state, and its guests, as farmers 
say, ' between hay and grass.' Our long- 
time friend and distinguished host, Mr. 
Allan, had been called upon by Dr. IMonell, 
the landlord, to surrender its use and occu- 
pation into the hands of Mrs. Bronson, who 
had recentlj' leased it and stood ready to 
enter upon the duties of hostess as soon as 
Mr. Allan could find it convenient to vacate 
the premises, all of which the said Mr. Allan 
seemed in no haste to do. An entire week 
had been spent by the parties in strategy 
and legal skirmishing, during which it was 
not unusual for Mr. Allan to visit the kitchen 
in the morning and find Mrs. Brouson's 
cooking stove standing in the place of his 
own, which had been thrown over the ad- 
joining fence during the night, and not in- 
frequentl}' were the guests of the house 
stopped in the middle of a meal (while wait- 
ing, perhaps, for more warm cakes) by the 
intelligence that the stove had just been 
thrown out of the kitchen. Fortunately for 
us, however, Mrs. Bronson's stove was out- 
side the fence when we arrived, and remained 
there during the following daj^ and Sunday." 
The Omaha Times, of P'ebruary 4, 1859, gives 
this account of " A Pleasant Occasion," which 
occurred the week previous: 

" At dinner last Tluirsday the guests of 
tlie Herndon House, at the invitation of 
Hon. Wm. A. ^Yest, prolonged their sitting 



for the purpose of testing the quality of a 
couple of baskets of excellent champagne. 
A number of toasts were proposed, among 
which were the following, quoted from mem- 
ory: 

'"Our Entertainer, Marshal West; may a 
long time elapse before his official connec- 
tion with the people of Nebraska shall be 
severed.' Drunk with all the honors. 

" ' Our Hosts of the Herndon.' Response 
by Doctor Miller, in a few feeling and ap- 
propriate remarks. 

" ' The Ladies of Omaha.' Responded to 
by Sydney Paddock, with his usual suavity 
of manner, in the course of wliich he paid a 
graceful compliment to the ladies of Omaha, 
so well represented by the brilliant array at 
the table. 

"' The Judiciary of Nebraska.' Response 
by Judge Wakeley, whose neat and well- 
turned remarks were received with applause; 

'"The Veterans of the Fontenelle War; 
they wlio shed their blood in the defense of 
their country deserve well of that country' 
in the time of securitj'.' To loud calls. 
Captain Moore responded in some forcible 
remarks, giving some striking reminiscences 
of those ' times that tried men's souls.' 

" ' The Ladj- of the Present Da}'; she wants 
but little on her head, but much below to 
make a spread.' To this toast Mr. McConi- 
hie was called upon to respond, and volun- 
teered a song, which was rendered with effect 
and received with applause. 

'"The Bar.' Jonas Seely was loudly called 
for, and responded ver}- briefly. 

(By a lady guest) "'The Omaha Bache- 
lors; there is but one thing needful — take 
unto yourselves wives.' Responded to by 
J. W. Paddock, in behalf of the brotherhood 
of which he was so lately a member, and ex- 
horting them to 'be wise in time, 'tis mad- 
ness to defer." 

'"The Navy of the United States.' Re- 
sponded to bj' Captain Curtis, of the Ferry 
Company's Steamer, Nebraska. 

"Woman; in view of the space she occu- 



HOTELS OF EARLY AND MODERN DAYS. 



>0 3 



pies, with truth may she say: ' No pent up 
sidewalk can control our powers, but the 
boundless street we claim for ours.' ' Re- 
sponse by .Joseph Millard, with song, ' I See 
Them on Their Winding Way.' " 

The Hamilton House, a brick building 
still standing, in a re-organized shape, on the 
south side of Douglas, between Fourteenth 
and Fifteenth, was built in 1856, by C. B. 
Smith and C. W. Hamilton, H. M. Judson 
and Burnham being the first proprie- 
tors, who opened the house for business in 
August 1856. Mr. .Judson bought the fur- 
niture in iSt. Louis, and on his return 
brought up on the steamboat half a dozen 
colored people as servants. Among the 
early boarders at the house were United 
States Marshal B. P. Rankin, Governor 
Cuming, Governor Richardson, John M. 
Tha3'er, and other well-known people. The 
upper part of the house was one large bed- 
room, filled with bedsteads ranged against 
the walls, and about once a week this room 
was cleaned out for ball-room purposes. On 
these gala occasions the music was furnished 
by Byron Reed, Aaron Cahn, Frederick A. 
Schneider and Washington Griffith, the last 
named a resident of Council Bluffs. 

Referring to the hotel accommodations of 
that period, Mr. James M. Woolworth, in a 
pamphlet entitled "Omaha City, the Capitol 
of Nebraska," which he published in 1857, 
says: " A company of twelve gentlemen, 
largely interested in the town, have recently 
purchased, for $15,000, a steamboat of the 
first-class — the Washington City — which is 
moored at the landing and used as a hotel. 
Cheap and comfortable accommodations are 
thus afforded to 250 persons. The necessity 
of large hotel accommodations may be in- 
ferred from the fact that there are now one 
thousand people in Omaha over our popula- 
tion of last March. It is reasonable to ex- 
pect this number will be considerably in- 
creased in two months." 

The Grand Central was the first large 
hotel built in Omaha. It occupied a quarter 



of a block, 132x132 feet, at the southwest 
corner of Farnam and Fourteenth Streets. 
The building was of brick, four stories high. 
It was commenced in 1871, the monej' being 
raised by stock subscriptions representing 
about a hundred different individuals and 
firms. The outlay exceeded the anticipa- 
tions of these contributors, the work dragged 
and many discouragements were met with. 
The house was completed in the fall of 1873, 
receiving its first guests in October. About 
this time there was a lively discussion with 
respect to the name of the hotel. The name, 
" Grand Central," had been generally agreed 
upon but a change was made and the build- 
ing was called the Pullman House. This 
change did not meet with public favor, and 
the newspapers were filled with protests and 
suggestions. One writer, disguising his per- 
sonality under the classic nowi de plume of 
" Hash," inquired: "Why not name it the 
' Buchu House?'" and added, "certainly 
llembold has done as much for Omaha as 
Pullman. Or why not name it the ' George- 
francistrain House?' There is a name whose 
owner has advertised Omaha more than any 
other man." Then L. M. Bennett, superin- 
tendent of the Pullman Palace Car Com- 
pany, called attention to the fact that in 
1863 Mr. Pullman had built a very fine car 
and christened it " Oinaha," which commun- 
ication was followed by one signed " Mod- 
esty," who suggested that there might be 
objections to specially honoring Mr. Pull- 
man in the way proposed, but there could be 
none with regard to the local superintendent 
of the Pullman Company, and that the title, 
" The Bennett House," would just about fill 
the bill. The Omaha -Herald thought that it 
would be a very neat thing to name the new 
hotel in honor of Mr. Duff, of the Union 
Pacific Road, which suggestion was endorsed 
by a correspondent who added that his first 
preference as to a name was " The Credit 
Mobilier." Thereupon Mr. George P. Bemis 
stated, through the public prints, that as 
early as 1871 George Francis Train had, in 



•25 4 



IIISTOKY OF THE CITY OF OMAHA. 



his publication styled the " Train Ligaie," 
christened the building the "Omaha House." 
It was finally agreed the hotel should be 
called " The Grand Central;" and, it may be, 
the fact that a number of persons who had 
subscribed to a fund for the formal opening 
declared that they would not pay their sub- 
scriptions, if the name "Pullman House " was 
insisted upon, had some bearing in settling 
the question. There was much litigation in 
the courts in connection with the erection of 
the building, many of the stockholders re- 
fusing to pay their subscriptions, for various 
reasons. A loan of $100,000 was made the 
company by Messrs. Edward Creighton, A. 
J. Poppleton, and others, who took a mort- 
gage on the property as security; and this 
mortgage it was found necessary to foreclose 
in 1878. April 18th, of that year, the sale 
took place, and the property was purchased 
by Augustus Kountze for $120,000, the total 
indebtedness at that time being 1190,000, no 
interest having been paid on the loan since 
March 2, 1872. There was also due With- 
nell Brothers and McCaflferty, the builders, 
the sum of $10,000 principal, and $5,000 
interest. Mr. George Thrall was the success- 
ful bidder for the lease of the hotel, and con- 
ducted the business in a manner profitable 
to himself and satisfactory to the public un- 
til the spring of 1878, when he gave up the 
liotel to go into other business. It was then 
leased by the Kitchen Brothers — Charles W., 
James B. and Richard Kitchen. They im- 
mediately began extensive improvements, 
including the putting in of an elevator. A 
large sum was expended for furniture, which 
was being delivered at the liouse when at 
half past six o'clock on the evening of Sep- 
tember 24, 1878, fire was discovered in the 
elevator shaft in which workmen were em- 
ployed that daj^ up to six p. m., and it is the 
general belief that the flames caught from a 
lighted candle thej' had been using in their 
work. There was a story circulated at the 
time to the effect that one of these men was 
eating supper at a restaurant when the fire 



alarm sounded and the announcement was 
made that the Grand Central was burning, 
and that he jumped up and rushed out, ex- 
claiming: "And I left a burning candle in 
the elevator shaft!" The building was en- 
tirely consumed, and with it were burned to 
death five brave firemen — Lewis Wilson, 
Alonzo Randall, .John A. Lee, William 
McNamara and Henry Lockfield, who had 
succeeded in gaining an entrance to the 
third floor of the building with a hose, wlien 
the floors all gave way and were instantly a 
mass of flames. The disaster was keenly felt 
by the people of Omaha, for the Grand Cen- 
tral had been the boast of the city from the 
time of its completion, and the prospect for 
its rebuilding was then exceedingly doubt- 
ful. The house had been closed for three 
months and was to have been re-opened five 
days later. The Kitchen Brothers secured 
the building at the southwest corner of Fif- 
teenth and Harney Streets, owned by the 
AVithnell Brothers, and formerly occupied as 
headquarters for the military of the Depart- 
ment of the Platte. (This property was after- 
wards purchased b}' Miller & Richardson, for 
the Herald newspaper and job offices.) The 
building was fitted up for hotel purposes, 
christened the Withnell, and here the Kitch- 
ens received their patrons and made them as 
comfortable as circumstances permitted, un- 
til October, 1882. 

The Paxton Hotel, now occupying the 
ground on which the Grand Central formerl}' 
stood, was built by the Kitchen Brothers, 
the former lessees of the Grand Central, at a 
cost of $27.5,000. The ground, 132 feet 
square, cost them $30,000; it is now worth a 
quarter of a million. The building, five sto- 
ries, is solidly built of brick and iron, lighted 
by an electric plant which cost $10,000, and 
is fitted with all the requirements for a first- 
class hotel. Tlie property is owned by the 
Kitchen Brothers Hotel Company, and is 
leased. On the night of April 12, 1891, this 
building also caught fire, inflicting a damage 
of about $25,000, and causing the death of 



HOTELS OF EARLY AND MODERN DAYS. 



255 



Michael Carter, captain of No. 2 Hose Corn- 
pan}', who with pipemen Martin Mulvihill, 
Peter McGuire and Tliomas Downs, was 
crushed by the falling of a brick wall upon 
them as they were ascending a long ladder, 
the accident occurring upon almost the same 
spot where the five firemen were killed, in 
September, 1878, when the Grand Central 
was destroyed. The three pipemen were 
all severely bruised, but escaped with their 
lives. 

The Paxton had been leased to different 
parties for several years, but, after consider- 
able litigation, the proprietors regained pos- 
session in May, 1892, and are at this time 
conducting it. 

The Millard Hotel, occupying an area of 
132 by 200 feet at the northeast corner of 
Douglas and Thirteenth, was built in 1882 
by a syndicate, composed of Samuel Sheavs, 
J. E. Markel, Thomas Swobe, Ezra Millard, 
J. 11. Millard and George Giacomini. It is 
a substantial brick structure, five stories 
high, and, with improvements made at vari- 
ous times, cost over $200,000. For many 
years the business was conducted by Messrs. 
JNlarkel & Swobe, but the former retired in 
]March, 1891, leaving the latter as sole man- 
ager. 

For a quarter of a century Thomas Mur- 
ray devoted a lot, 66x132 feet, which he 
owned at the northwest corner of Harney 
and Fourteenth, to a variety of purposes, re- 
sulting in a general collection of all sorts of 
worthless " plunder." The ground is now 
of great value, and thereon he erected a 
hotel building which was first opened for 
business under the name of the Murray, in 
September, 1888. It is a substantial brick 
structure, six stories high, 60x132 feet, 
located at the northwest corner of Harney 
and Fourteenth, and cost, with the furnitui-e, 
1140,000. The hotel has achieved great 
popularity under the management of ]\Ir. 
Benton Silloway. 

The Mercer is a new six-story hotel which 
was completed and opened in .June 1892. It 



is located on the corner of Howard and 
Twelfth Streets, and was built and is owned 
by Dr. S. D. Mercer. It contains 150 rooms 
and is vmder the management of Don II. 
Porter, a well-known and experienced hotel 
man. It cost $200,000. It deservedly 
stands well up in the list of Omaha's first- 
class hotels. Mr. G. S. Erb, of Salt Lake 
City, has leased this hotel for five years 
from the first day of August, 1892. 

The Hotel Brunswick was opened in 1892 
by Hon. W. F. Sweesy^ who had built it in 
the fall of 1891. It is located on the corner 
of Sixteentli and Jackson, and is one of the 
handsome buildings on that thoroughfare. 

The Hotel Dellone recently completed by 
Mr. Andrew Dellone, at the southwest cor- 
ner of Capitol Avenue and Fourteenth, at 
an expense of $100,000, Cliauncy Reed lessee 
and manager, is one of the handsomest and 
most substantial buildings in the city. 

The Barker, on Thirteenth and Jones, Mr. 
George Van Oman, proprietor; the Mer- 
chants', on Farnam, between Fifteenth and 
Sixteenth, Nat. Brown, proprietor; Hotel 
Case}', 1213, 1215, 1217, Douglas, J. Casey, 
proprietor; the Grand Central Hotel, Fif- 
teenth and Jackson, Peterson & Son, propri- 
etors; Hotel Esmond, Drexel & Hart, propri- 
etors; the Metropolitan, 1122, 1124, Douglas, 
Gay & Hoar, proprietors; the Windsor, 
Tenth and Jackson, Schlank & Prince, pro- 
prietors; Union Depot Hotel, Mason and 
Eleventh, W. M. Walker, proprietor, with 
many others of lesser note, now afford excel- 
lent accommodations for the traveling 
public. 

Probably there are more historical facts 
connected with the hotel now known as the 
Jennings House than with any other building 
now used as a hotel in Omaha. It was built 
by George Francis Train, in 1867, being 
erected in sixty days, and was opened by the 
Cozzens, of West Point, New York, who con- 
ducted it for a year. Mr. Philo Rumsey 
took it then, and had charge of it for three 
years, closing out in the fall of 1871. It 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF 05IAIIA. 



then stood vacant for a number of years, be- 
ing opened about 1880, and conducted b}^ 
dillerent persons, but not successfuUj'. Later 
Mr. Philo Rumse.v again returned to tlie city, 
took liold of the house, and was doing a very 
good business when, in trjing to save the 
life of a little girl in a hotel fire in Buffalo, 
New York, he lost his life. The late Dr. J. 
W. McMenamy purchased the property and 
used it for a medical institute until his death, 
after which time it was run by a Mr. A. T. 
McLaughlin as a medical institute; but, bj' 
reason of the attacks of newspapers because 
of some questionable transactions, its repu- 
tation failed, and the house was again closed. 
After remaining closed for some months it 
was again named, this time the Jennings, 
and is now doing a fair business under the 
management of Mr. Edwin Jennings. 

In concluding this chapter it may not be 



out of place to refer to some of the hotel 
schemes which have originated, been can- 
vassed among the people, and then, just as 
everyone expected to see reared skyward 
the towering buildings, there has been a 
hitch, and the scheme collapsed. At differ- 
ent times there were to be hotels on the cor- 
ner of Tenth and Farnam, where the exca- 
vation was made; on the corner of Farnam 
and Twentieth; on Sixteenth and Harney; 
and at various other places. The probabil- 
ities are that most of these schemes were 
more in the nature of real estate specula- 
tions, with a view of benefitting surround- 
ing property, than for the purpose of meet- 
ing the demands for hotel accommodations. 
There are, at the present time, prospects 
that at least one more large hotel will be 
erected in Omaha, and that a start will be 
made this summer (1892) on the work. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 



LiBHAuiKs — Early Efforts in this Direction — The Great Public Institution of 
To-day — Private Collections ok Books — Byron Reed's Bequest — The 

LlISRAUY BUILDINO. 



To Mrs. Mary Allan Bock, who was for 
several years the efficient librarian of the 
public library, the editors of this work are 
indelited for the following very interesting 
chapter. 

The lil)raries of Omaha, both public and 
private, are institutions to which her citi- 
zens may point with pride. 

Not until 1871 was there any movement 
to establish a circulating libraiy. In the 
latter part of that year, as the result of the 
efforts of John T. Edgar, Nathan Shelton 
and A. M. Henry, articles of incorporation 
of the Omaha Library Association were 
adopted and signed by the following: T. E. 
Sickles, St. A. D. Balcombe, H. W. Yates, 
Herman Kountze, George L. Miller, J. T. 
Edgar, Ezra Millard, Albert Swartzlander, 
Nathan Shelton. C. H. Brown, P. II. Allen 
and A. M. Henry. 

The first meeting of the stockholders was 
held at the rooms of the Board of Trade 
December 30th. The first board of direc- 
tors was then chosen, as follows: A. J. 
Poppleton, St. A. D. Balcombe, H. W. Yates, 
J. T. Edgar, J. Patrick, A. Swartzlander, S. 
S. Caldwell, G. L. Miller, J. W. Gannett, N. 
Shelton and A. M. Henry. January 3, 
1872, the election of officers took place, the 
result being: president, A. J. Poppleton; 
vice president, N. Shelton; treasurer, S. S. 
Caldwell; secretary, A. Swartzlander; corres- 
ponding secretary, A. M. Henry. At the 
same meeting steps were taken toward the 
collection of books. The donation by John 
T. Edgar of one thousand volumes, and the 



purchase of eight hundred voluines from O. 
E. Crosby, of Fremont, formed the nucleus 
of this library. 

In 1872, the cit}' received from J. M. 
Pattee a collection of books which, under 
certain conditions, were given the associa- 
tion, making a total of 2,600 volumes. These 
were catalogued and numbered, a room 
rented in the second story of the Simpson 
Block, on Fourteenth, between Douglas and 
Dodge Streets, and May 1, 1872, the room 
was opened, with Mrs. Aliman as librarian. 
An annual fee of three dollars was required 
to become a member. The first catalogue 
was issued in the same year. 

Mrs. Aliman served but a few weeks and 
was succeeded by Miss Louise Honey, a, 
former teacher in the public schools. She 
held the position until September 1st, 1872. 
Upon her resignation Miss Delia M. Sears 
was elected to fill the vacancy. 

In 1874 the library was moved to the sec- 
ond story of the Marshall building, on the 
north side of Dodge, between F'oureeuth and 
Fifteenth Streets, where it occupied the 
whole floor. This gave the association very 
pleasant rooms and it was hoped the list of 
subscribers would rapidlj' increase. 

On the resignation of Jliss Sears, in 
December, 1876, Miss Jean M. Allan was 
elected to the position. 

At the thirteenth special session of the 
Nebraska State Legislature, a bill was intro- 
duced in the Senate by T. B. Kennard, Jan- 
uary 16, 1877, entitled: "A Bill for an Act 
to Authorize Cities to Establish and Main- 



258 



HISTORY OF THE CITY OF OJIAHA. 



tain free rublic Libraries and Reading 
Rooms." 

This bill was referred to the judiciar.y 
committee, who reported the same back, 
with the recommendation that said bill be 
passed, with the recommendation to " Amend 
the title of the bill so as to read, ' incorpo- 
rated towns and cities.' " 

The amended bill was passed in the Senate 
February 8, 1877, by a vote of 31 to 19 and 
in the House February 15, 1877, the vote 
being 49 to 29. 

The fees charged and the pi'oceeds from 
entertainments were the only source of in- 
come. Among some old papers the follow- 
ing tickets were found by the writer: 
HOME LECTURE COURSE OF 1876. 
Omaha Library Association. 
J. M. WoOLWORTH, December 8th — " An Afteruoon 

m the Houses of Parliament." 

A. J. POPPLETON, December 15th — "Edmund 

Burke" 

John D. Howe, December 32d — ''Frauds:" 

LECTURE COURSE OF 1877. 

Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, Bishop of the Catliolic 
Church, January 31st. 

Doctor E. B. F.urfield, Chancellor. University 

of Nebraska, February 8th. 

Rt. Rev. Robert H. Clarkson, Bisliop of the 

Episcopal Church, February 1.5th. 

After struggling until June, 1877, the 
directors, convinced that with its prospect- 
ive income it would be impossible to longer 
keep open its doors, adopted this resolution: 

" Whereas, it is evident that this associa- 
tion is not able to keep the library and 
reading room open with its present and 
prospective income, be it 

" Resolved, That the president p»'o tevi. ap- 
point a committee of three to consult with 
the cit}' council of Omaha and inquire 
whether it will establish and maintain a pub- 
lic library and reading room for the use of 
the inhabitants of this city, under the act 
of the legislature approved February 17, 
1877." 

By an ordinance approved June 12th, the 
city signified its willingness to maintain 



such an institution, to be known as the 
Omaha Public Library, and elected the nine 
directors, namely: W. Wallace, N.T. Spoor, 
L. S. Reed, A. Rosewater, Lyman Richard- 
son, Mrs. O. N. Ramsey, J. XL Kellom, J.M. 
Thurston and H. J. Lucas. 

To maintain the library, a tax of one- 
fourth mill was levied, ninety per cent, only, 
being available. This gave an income of 
$1,274.80. At the first meeting of the 
directors, J. H. Kellom was elected presi- 
dent, Lewis S. Reed, secretary, and Miss 
Jean M. Allan, librarian. 

August 6, 1877, the board received from 
Leavitt Burnham, secretary of the Omaha 
Librarj' Association, a certificate, dated 
August 4th, being a transfer of the books 
and property of the said association to the 
Omaha Public Library Board; this was read 
and placed on file. With the assurance of a 
settled income, the library awoke to a new 
life; its success was certain and its growth 
rapid and uniform. In January a room was 
secured on the second floor of the Williams 
Block on the northeast corner of Dodge and 
Fifteenth Streets, the accommodations being 
a large reading room with an alcove for 
the books. 

Owing to the rapidly increasing number of 
book borrowers, it was found necessary to 
change the system used by the association, 
and blanks, methods of circulation, etc., sim- 
ilar to those used in the Chicago Public Li- 
brary, were adopted. The library was opened 
to the public in its new rooms in February, 
1878. On the opening day over two hun- 
dred cards were issued, showing that the 
citizens fully appreciated the institution. The 
first finding list, numbering seventj'-four 
pages, was published by private parties, 
every alternate page being used for adver- 
tisements. With the increased list of news- 
papers and periodicals, the reading room 
soon became a popular resort. The income 
being small, it was not until the latter part 
of April that the first installment of books 
was purchased. 



PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIBRARIES. 



259 



In 1878 the library tax levy was increased 
to one-lialf mill, amounting to $2,782.09, 
thereby allowing a sum sufficient to make 
additions, both to the library and reading 
room. Among them were man}^ juvenile 
publications, a class that had been some- 
what neglected, and, as a result, this brought 
to the rooms many young people who never 
before had known that there was such an 
institution in the city. 

There was no change in the board of di- 
rectors until August, 1879, when the council 
elected C. V. Gallagher and H. H. VonRaven 
to succeed those whose terms had expired. 

February 2, 1880, the librarian tendered 
her resignation, Mary P. Allan being elected 
to fill the position. 

The death, March 5, 1880, of II. J. Lucas, 
caused a vacancy in the board, which was 
filled by the appointment of F. R. McCon- 
nell. 

Early in the year the first finding list pub- 
lished by the libi'arj' was issued. This con- 
tained forty-seven pages and sold readily. 

June, 1880, J. II. Kelloni, president, re- 
signed, also F. R. McConnell. These places 
were filled by the election of J. W. Savage 
and J. M. Ross. Wm. Wallace was elected 
president. 

In October the work on the accession cata- 
logue was commenced, there being, up to 
that time, no complete record of the books. 

This year had seen such a decided growth 
that it was necessary to find larger quarters. 
The rooms on the same floor,vacated by F. C. 
Currier, were secured, giving much more 
space, better light and ventilation.