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3 1833 02595 0475 

Gc 978.2 N27p v„2 
Nebf^aska State: Historical 


State Historical. Society 




V, 5^ 



91 t2j 







-Historical Papers. page 

The Relation of History to the Study and Practice of Law, by H. H. 

Wilson 5- 11 

Sketches from Territorial History, by A. G. Warner 18- 6£ 

1. In the Beginning 18-22 

2. Wildcat Banks 22- 3£ 

3. Sectional Politics , 39- 46 

4. Politics Proper 46-55 

5. Pioneer Journalism 56- 63 

The Capital Question in Nebraska and the Location of the Seat of 

Government at Lincoln, by Hon. Chas. H. Gere 63- 8C 

How the Kansas-Nebraska Boundary Line was Established, by Hon. 

Hadley D. Johnson , 80- 92 

Slavery in Nebraska, by Edson l|. Rich 92-107 

Illustrative documents 107-1 OS 

John Brown in Richardson County, by A. R. Keim 109-113 

A Visit to Nebraska in 1662, by Judge James W. Savage 114-131 

Appendix 131-132 

Forty Years among the Indians and on the Eastern Borders of Ne- 
braska, by Rev. Samuel AUis 133-166 

Notes on the Early Military History of Nebraska, by Lieut. E. S. 

Dudley, U. S. A 166-185 

Illustrative documents 186-196 

History of the Powder River Expedition of 1865, by Capt. H. E. 

Palmer 197-229 

History of Cass County, by Dr. A. L. Child 230-25T 

History of Dodge County, by Dr. L. J. Abbott 257-274 

History of Washington County, by Hon. Perry Selden 274-292; 

History of Sarpy County, by S. D. Bangs 293-306 

Sketch of the First Congregational Church of Fremont, by Rev. 

Isaac E. Heaton 306-308 

- Early Fremont, by Hon. E. H. Barnard 308-312 

Historical and Political Science Association of the University of 

Nebraska, by S. D. Cox 313-315 

~~ The Discovery of Gold in Colorado, by Hon. J. Sterling Morton 315-31(5 

On the Establishment of an Arboreal Bureau, by Hon. J. Sterling 

Morton 316-317 

[ iii- ] 


A considerable portion of the historical matter contained in this 
volume consists of papers read at the last two annual meetings of the 
Society. However, in the suggestion of topics for some of these and 
in the selection of matter derived from other sources, the attainment 
of a certain degree of unity has been kept in view : by confining the 
discussions, so far as practicable in a publication of this character, 
to the territorial and earlier periods of Nebraska history. 

The Society has recently come into possession of a copy of the 
manuscript of the late Samuel Allis, transcribed by permission of the 
fiimily of the author by Mr. Henry Fontenelle, at the instance of 
Governor Furnas. It is here printed with the exception of the con- 
cluding portion — about one-third of the matter in bulk — which has 
been omitted as not of sufficient general interest; and, for the 
same reason, passages here and there throughout the earlier pages 
have been cut out. Some corrections of obvious errors or oversights 
have also been made without specific mention. 

It has been thought desirable to begin a reprint of the more impor- 
tant of the " Centennial " county histories. Single copies of these have 
become very scarce, and but one or two complete sets, so far as we 
know, are in existence. For the first installment, the histories of 
Cass, Dodge, Sarpy, and Washington counties have been selected, be- 
cause these are especially rich in memorials of the earliest pioneer 
life in Nebraska. For example, the account of "club-law" in Cass 
county, by Dr. Child, is an interesting contribution to tlie local his- 
tory of that peculiar organization for squatter self-help — the "claim 
association." The history of that institution, which in the primitive 
settlements of Nebraska played a more stirring part, perhaps, than 
anywhere else in the country, will, it is hoped, receive a somewhat 
detailed treatment in the third volume of the Transactions. 

Through the permission of the author and the approval of the Ne- 
braska Commandery of the Loyal Legion, Capt. H. E. Palmer's ac- 

[ vii. ] 


?ouiit of the Powder river expedition of 1865 is here re])vinted. It 
forms a valuable companion-piece to Lieut. E. S, Dudley^s paper 
on our early military history. We regret, however, that the delay in 
receiving the pamphlet edition issued by the Loyal Legion renders it 
impossible to incorporate the interesting " Addenda," which was not 
attached to the copy furnished us by the author. 

In conclusion it may be noted that President Furnas should be 
3redited with collecting and editing the biographical section of this 
volume; for the remainder the subscriber is editorially responsible. 

GEO. E. HO^^^VRD, 


Lincoln, June 2'3, 1887. 



RoBT. AV. FuENAS, President, Brownville. 

LoEENZO CeounsEj First Vice-President, Fort Calhoun. 

J. M, WooLWOETH, Second Vice-President, Omaha. 

Chas. H. Geee, Treasurer, Lincoln. 

Geo. E. Howaed, Secretary, Lincoln, 


J. Steeling Moetox, Nebraska City. 

Claea B. Colby, Beatrice. 

Ieving J. Man ATT, Lincoln. 

H. T. Claeke, Omaha. 

J. H. MacMuephy, Wahoo. 



By H. H. Wilson. 
[Read before the Society, January 12, 1887.] 

In this age of accumulated knowledge, he who would know any one 
thing well must be content to remain ignorant of many others. In 
order to bring a limited area up to its highest state of productiveness 
the ordinary man must leave a vast region uncultivated. When one 
like Mill urges that there is time for all learning, the old as well 
as the new, it is well to remember that but few can bring to the 
task the leisure, and still fewer the mind, of a Mill. The question is 
ever being asked, " How can I best employ a few years in preparation 
for active life ?" To the average young man who has but a limited 
time to prepare for the work of his life, before he will be compelled to 
enter upon it, the answer to this question is of vital importance. I 
will suppose this question to be asked by one who has chosen the pro- 
fession of law. 

It may safely be said that no other professional man finds use for 
so wide a range of knowledge as the lawyer. The nature of the law 
is such that its practice touches the practical life of man at every 
point. There is no relation in life, there is no transaction among men, 
that may not become the subject of judicial investigation. There is 
no branch of learning that may not, at some time, be of great use to 
the lawyer. The doctor's profession covers a wide domain of knowl- 
edge, but there is no branch of his practice that may not furnish the 
basis for a suit for malpractice, to successfully conduct which the law- 
yer must cope with his medical brother in the knowledge of his art. 
The management of a vast railroad system requires special knowledge 
of the several arts and sciences involved in it, yet, in fixing the re- 
sponsibility for an accident, the lawyer may have to know something of 
them all. He, however, who would master all knowledge as a prepara- 
tion for the bar will never enter the lists. Merely because a lawyer 


may be called upon to try a cause involving the proper construction 
of a broken bridge, it would not be advisable for him to master civil 
engineering before coming to the bar. That his first case may be one 
growing out of malpractice. in the setting of a limb, is not a sufficient 
reason why the mastery of surgery should form a part of his prepa- 
ration. That chemistry, natural history, geology, and even theological 
creeds may enter into the subjects of his investigations would not 
justify the lawyer in attempting to master these branches of learning 
as a part of his preparation for active life. He must necessarily 
depend largely upon experts in these various branches of knowledge, 
when it may become necessary for him to use them. These and kin- 
dred sciences are merely incident to the practice of tlie law, and while 
a knowledge of them may occasionally be of great value to the law- 
yer, an attempt to master them would leave no time for the practice of 
his profession. On the other hand, there are some branches of learning 
which, in their methods of investigation, as well as in, the knowledge 
they impart, are so closely allied to the study and practice of the law, 
that no one who would stand high in that profession can afford to neg- 
lect them. Foremost among these stands history. 

In estimating the practical value of any branch of learning as a 
disciplinary study, for a particular object, we naturally inquire what 
faculties are brought into activity, and what is the tendency or bias 
given to these faculties by such study. For instance, mathematics 
employs pure reason. The mathematician deals with the absolute. 
When his premises are granted, -the conclusion inexorably follows. 
That the prolonged and exclusive study of such a science gives a 
peculiar bias to the faculty employed, there can be no doubt. The 
natural scientist reaches a conclusion which, while not so absolutely 
certain as that of the mathematician, yet has the highest degree of 
probability. While reason is still our guide we feel much less certain 
of the ground on which we tread. We have now left the domain of 
the absolute and entered upon that of the relative. Here we can no 
longer draw our conclusions with absolute certainty ; we are now called 
upon to weigh the evidence and determine the preponderance of proof. 
Probability, very strong probability, may be reached, but not certainty. 

On the other hand, the historian is compelled to content himself 
with conclusions whose probability falls far below that which attaches 
to the conclusions of the natural scientist. Here we are met at the 


very outset with the most contradictory evidence coming from sources 
which seem to be equally credible. From the very beginning we are 
compelled to test the credibility of our witnesses, to balance the proba- 
bilities of their testimony, and after all remain content with conclu- 
sions supported only by a greater or less degree of likelihood. It is 
certainly no disparagement to any branch of learning to say that the 
study of one furnishes the best discipline for one pursuit, and that of 
another for another pursuit. 

To my mind it is this very inconclusiveness of its conclusions that 
renders the study of history so valuable to the lawyer. The histo- 
rian and the lawyer alike deal with the affairs of men, the most un- 
certain of all subjects of investigation. The lawyer is to-day dealing 
with that ever-changing life of .man which, centuries hence, will em- 
ploy the future historian. The conclusions of the historian must 
always contain an element of uncertainty, because the subject of his 
investigation is human affairs, and his evidence is usually human tes- 
timony. Not only may this testimony be willfully false, but the 
witness may have been mistaken, or so prejudiced as to render his tes- 
timony of little or no value. The iirst lesson for the student of his- 
tory is to learn the peculiarities of his author and to estimate the 
influence of his bias or prejudice upon his testimony ; or, as the astron- 
omer would say, we must first eliminate the personal equation. No 
one can safely read Hume without knowing his prejudice against the 
church, or Macaulay, without making due allowance for his bias in 
favor of the whigs. It is from a mass of contradictory evidence taken 
from sources of varying degrees of credibility, and in itself containing 
various degrees of probability, that the historian is to gather his facts 
and reach his conclusions. 

The study of history is a daily exercise in the weighing of evidence 
and drawing conclusions of such probability as the proof may warrant. 
The conclusions, while never absolutely certain, may reach that high 
degree of probability upon which we would all be willing to act in 
our own affairs even though property or life itself were at stake. 
What better training than this can be given to one whose business of 
life it will be to try the differences between man and man upon the 
diverging and often contradictory testimony of living witnesses. The 
rules which he has learned to apply in settling a controverted point in 
history are equally applicable in the settlement of controversies at 


the bar. For instance, should several witnesses narrate a transaction 
exactly alike in every detail, the historian, as well as the lawyer, would 
at once conclude that either the several narratives were copied from a 
common original, or were the result of conspiracy. Should the nar- 
ratives agree in the main, but differ as to details, this would indicate 
an endeavor to tell the truth ; and should the several witnesses who 
differed in the details of their narratives yet all agree as to a certain 
fact, the existence of this fact would reach a high degree of likelihood. 
In short, the general principles upon which the preponderance of evi- 
dence is ascertained are the same, ^vhether applied by the historian or 
the lawyer, whether the question involved be the fate of a dynasty 
or the cause of a railroad accident. 

The historian must ascertain the facts from such evidence as he may 
be able to command, never absolutely conclusive, seldom entirely sat- 
isfactory, yet always the best that can be obtained. These facts, how- 
ever well they may be proven, if unorganized, are of little or no value. 
It is their relation to life, their bearing on the course of human affairs, 
that gives them value. It is then a part of the duty of the historian 
to bring these facts, thus ascertained, into their natural relation to 
each other, and thus show, if he can, their influence upon the course of 
events. Let us illustrate this two-fold duty of the historian. It will 
fall to the lot of some future historian to ascertain from the accumula- 
ted mass of contradictory evidence what actually did occur at the great 
battle of Shiloh. And surely if a few more of the eye-witnesses of that 
memorable battle volunteer their testimony, to find the real facts will 
be no small task. This done, it will be the duty of our future his- 
torian to take the facts so found, and tell future generations the effect 
of that battle upon the progress of the great conflict, and the effect of 
the latter upon civilization. 

The value of this training to the lawyer is apparent when we look 
at the two-fold duty of the bar. While the lawyer is not the tribunal 
that in the last resort ascertains the facts in issue, yet it is his duty to 
assist in so doing. While the jury or court is to find the facts, it is the 
office of the lawyer to establish them by such evidence as a very im- 
perfect and sometimes very corrupt human nature may render avail- 
able. When the facts are thus ascertained, or should they be con- 
ceded, it becomes necessary to determine to what relief these facts 
entitle the client. In other words, it now becomes necessary to apply 


the general rules of law to the facts of the particular case. At 
first thought, this would seem a very simple matter. Suppose, liow- 
ever, the point at issue is one -which has never been decided in our 
jurisdiction. Suppose it be a (j^uestion of common law, and our own 
state decisions do not cover the point. We must then draw our pre- 
cedents from the decisions of thirty-six independent states, having 
thirty-six independent jurisdictions, whose decisions are by no means 
harmonious, even on elementary principles of common law. Add to 
these a vast system of federal courts, as well as English and colonial, 
and we have a mass of independent and often contradictory adjudica- 
tions from which the lawyer is to determine what rule applies to the 
facts of his particular case. These decisions, however conclusive upon 
the rights of the parties determined by them, cannot be considered 
the law itself, for the law cannot contradict itself; they are rather 
evidences of the law, and from them we must determine, if we can, 
the true principle applicable to the facts in hand. But where the ad- 
judicated cases are hopelessly contradictory, what shall be our guide? 
The plaintiff presents an armful of authorities holding that the facts 
entitle him to recover, and the defendant an equal number holding 
that the facts constitute no cause of action. What now shall be done? 
The later Roman lawyers solved this problem by the simple rule of 
addition. By statute the court was required to count the authorities 
holding for the plaintiff", and then those holding for the defendant, 
and then he was to decide with the majority. If the number cited 
was the same for either side and Papinian was among them, his side 
should prevail. And as Papinian had expressed an opinion on most 
questions likely to come up, it was a rare chance indeed if a judge 
needed any acquirements beyond simple addition to enable him to de- 
cide the most important and complicated cases. The modern court 
asks for the basis upon which the decisions rest. The weight to be 
given to an adjudicated precedent will depend largely upon its histor- 
ical soundness. No precedent, however well established by adjudica- 
tions, can stand long in the face of modern juridical criticisms unless 
it comport fairly with historic truth. No case to-day is so uncertain 
as that which stands on precedent alone, wath neither reason nor jus- 
tice to support it. The law is not an artificial mechanism, but a natural 
growth. There is a unity and continuity in the law that will tolerate 
no precedent long that does not harmonize with the spirit of its growth. 


The history of tlie growth of the law is but a part of the more gen- 
eral history of the race, and no mere ipse dixit of the courts can stand 
long against the admitted truth of history. The lawyer of to-day 
who relies merely on precedent, is having his foundation gradually 
sapped from under him. He must learn that error, however often 
repeated, does not cease to be error. He must learn that truth, even 
though unknown to Coke and Blackstone, is the best authority upon 
which to rest his case, and that justice is his most eloquent argument. 
It is the chief glory of the common law that it had its origin in the 
customs of the people, and that it is ever changing to meet their needs. 
Century by century principles and rules become obsolete because the 
life to which they applied has become extinct. On the other hand new 
principles and new rules arise as the necessary accomjianiment of the 
new life born of every advance of the race. The historical law, the 
law of the past, vanishes unobserved, and a new law, the law of the 
present, is ever arising to take its place. The great mass of the law 
is found in the habits and customs of a people long before it is to be 
found on the dpsty shelves of the lawyer. When the members of a 
community have voluntarily assumed certain relations toward each 
other, and such relations have existed so long that all have a right to 
rely on their continuance, and important rights depend upon such con- 
tinuance, courts of justice recognize these relations and enforce the 
rights based upon them. The courts take up and crystallize the law 
which the people have consciously or unconsciously made for them- 
selves in their daily contact with each other. Customary law is as 
truly enacted by the people as though it was adopted by the formal 
vote of their representatives duly assembled. It is therefore clear 
that when the circumstances which gave rise to any rule of customary 
law have ceased to exist, the rule itself ought no longer to be applied. 
"Where there was no express enactment of a law there is no need of 
an express repeal. It is therefore one of the familiar maxims of the 
law that when the reason of a rule ceases, the rule itself ceases. It 
needs no argument to show that in order to know what is the law of 
to-day one nuist know the history of the people among whom the law 
has grown u]). When the law^ver is asked whether or not a certain 
principle or rule of the common law is the law here and now, be- 
fore he can answer with certainty he must know the circumstances 
that gave rise to this particular principle or rule, and he must know 


whether tliose circumstances still exist. Then, whether or not a given 
proposition is the law of to-day, depends, not upon whether it is found 
in Bhiekstone or Kent, but upon its history. 

When we remember the strong tendency exhibited by la^v writers 
and judges to copy from their predecessors, it is not strange that we 
should find in text books and adjudicated cases many things laid 
down as hiw, the reasons for which have long since ceased to exist. 
It will be seen, however, that the common law contains within it- 
self a perfect remedy against any hardship growing out of the enforce- 
ment of a principle or rule after its utility has ceased. That the com- 
mon law is sometimes harsh and unjust may be admitted. A careful 
examination, however, will show that most of these defects arise, not 
from any original imperfection in the law, but from the fact that rules 
and principles have been retained and enforced long after the reasons 
that gave rise to them have passed away. For this, not the law, but 
those who administer it, are responsible. A knowledge of the history 
of its growth, and the moral courage to lop off the dead members, is 
all that is necessary to preserve the body of the common law in a 
healthy and vigorous condition. 

A forcible illustration of the doctrine just set forth is furnished by 
a recent decision of the supreme court of Kansas.* The owner of a 
large packing house in Leavenworth rented the same for a term of 
years at an agreed rent of $250 per month. The landlord insured 
the building for $10,000. Ten days after the execution of this lease 
the building was totally destroyed by an accidental fire, and the landlord 
received the full amount of the insurance. The tenant thereupon re- 
fused to pay the rent and suit was brought to recover it. Counsel 
for the landlord presented a vast array of authorities that showed be- 
yond doubt that at common law, as taught in the books, the destruction 
of the building was no defense to a claim for the rent agreed upon. 
Judge Brewer, after a masterly review of the authorities, said : '^ The 
general doctrine of the common law unquestionably was, that upon a 
covenant in a lease of lands and buildings for a term of years to pay 
rent, the rent could be recovered after a destruction of the buildings 
leased by accidental fire. The express contract and promise was not 
discharged by an act for which the lessor was not responsible. * * 
* * * This doctrine is challenged by the counsel for the defend- 

• Whitaker vs. Hawley, 25 Kansas Rep., 674. 


ants, and it is urged that it has no foundation in natural justice; that 
the reasons for its existence have disappeared with the changed con- 
ditions of society, and that it ought not to be recognized as the law of 
leases in Kansas. ***** Xhe feudal system shaped and 
modified the common law concerning real estate. Land could not be 
taken on execution. Alienation was difficult and expensive. The 
landlord was but the successor of the ancient feudal lord, and his 
rights were correspondingly sacred ; but now, the holder of real estate 
has little or no vantage over the owner of personal property. The 
distinctions growing out of the feudal system are disappearing, and this 
distinction between the lease of real property and the hiring of chat- 
tels is one which sooner or later will cease to exist.* Insurance, 
now so common, works a change in the relative position of the parties. 
Formerly, the landlord was, to a great extent, at the mercy of the 
tenant, who might put an end to his liability by firing the building, 
and being in possession could do it easily and Avithout probability of 
detection. The burden of such a loss would fall upon him who had 
so little means of prevention or detection ; hence, one source of pro- 
tection was to continue the liability for rent. But to-day the rule is 
insurance. By this, fire only changes the character of the owner's 
property from buildings to money — often a welcome change. And if 
the landlord gets the value in money, which he may put at intercut, 
he certainly ought not to receive rent for that which has ceased to 
exist, and thus double his profits, and especially when the insurance 
premiums are paid by the tenants. In this case it appeared that the 
landlord had $10,000 insurance ontlic building which he has received. 
In other words, that amount he may put at interest while demanding 
rent for the use of property no longer existing whose price that is," 

Had Judge Brewer been one of those who yield a servile obedience 
to long established precedent, closing his eyes to the truth of history 
and turning a deaf ear to the cries of justice, he would have given the 
landlord double profits on his wealth, and compelled the tenant to 
pay rent for the use of that which did not exist. And all this, not 
because it is just or reasonable, not because the safety of society of our 
day demands it, but because another people in another age found it a 
necessary restraint on lawlessness. This the court refused to do. 
Guided by the light of history, recognizing the changed conditions of 

* It was conceded in this case that no rent could be recovered for the use of mere chattels 
after their destruction. Page 686. 


the business world, and moved by the manifest injustice of the demand, 
it swept away a long line of venerable authorities and established what 
may be called a new dispensation of the law of leases. 

That the lawyer should be familiar with the history of every people 
among whom any branch of our law has had its growth, may be 
illustrated by an example from the Roman law. We borrow almost 
the whole of our law governing the liability for negligence from the 
civil or Roman law. The terms in Avhich its principles are expressed 
are taken almost exclusively from the Latin, and their exact meaning 
can be learned only from the history of the people who used them. 
A striking instance of this is found in the use of the word pater- 
familias. By the Roman law, which is also our own, a specialist 
who undertakes to do that which is within the scope of .his specialty 
is bound to exercise such diligence as is commonly exercised by a 
diligeiis, bonus, studiosus paterfamilias, and he is liable for damages 
resulting from his failure to do so. 

The diligence of the ordinary paterfamilias, as known to English 
and American civilization, would hardly come up to our ideas of the 
duty of the modern specialist. We would shudder at the thought of 
placing our property, our health, and even life itself in the hands of 
one from whom the law exacted no greater diligence than that com- 
monly exercised by the head of a family in his own aifairs. The 
paterfamilias as we know him would afford a very doubtful criterion 
of diligence and care. But when we learn* that the family of classi- 
cal Rome was indeed a principality, and its head a monarch, whose 
descendants, be they ever so remote or ever so scattered, yielded im- 
plicit obedience to his almost unlimited authority, whose daily life 
required the exercise of the highest faculties of the mind, we get 
quite a different idea of the diligence commonly exercised by the 
paterfamilias. The doctor, the druggist, the railroad engineer are no 
longer excused by showing the diligence of the head of a family as 
known to our civilization, but they are required to exerqise " the dili- 
gence shown by a good and trustworthy specialist when dealing Avith 
his particular duties." f 

* Hadley's Introduction to Roman Law, 107. 
Maine's Ancient Law, 133. 
Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Vol. IV., 341, et seq. 
+ Wharton's Law of Negligence, Second Edition, 1878, page 25. 
Man sich unter einen diligens paterfamilias einen durchaus tuechtigen Mann zudenken 
habcn, der ueber seine Angelegenheiten mit voUer Aufmerksamkeit und ganzem Fleisse zu 
wachen gewohnt sei. Die Culpa des roemischen Reclits.eine civilistische Abhandlung voa 
Johan Christian Hasse, Seite 508. (Quoted by Wharton.) 


When we enter upon the construction of constitutional and statu- 
tory law, a thorough knowledge of local history is of the utmost im- 
portance to the lawyer. The best guide to the correct interpretation 
of a constitution or statute is the condition of the people who adopted 
it, the wrongs which were to be remedied and mischief to be pre- 
vented by it. No one who does not understand the history of the 
colonies, their unsuccessful efforts to establish a general government, 
the wrongs they suffered and mischief they foresaw, would be a safe 
counselor in the interpretation of the constitution by which our sister 
states are held together. No one who does not know of the contro- 
versies, differences, clashings of interest, and final comj.>romises that 
took place in that remarkable convention, could safely undertake to 
interpret the instrument they finally adopted. In 1824, in one of the 
most important causes ever decided by the federal supreme court,* 
Chief Justice Marshall, the great expounder of the constitution, 
speaking for the court, held that the power of congress to regulate 
commerce between the states was exclusive of state control, and that 
the laws of New York granting a monopoly of steam navigation in 
the waters of that state were therefore unconstitutional and void. 
With no precedent to guide him, the great chief justice drew the 
argument with which he sustained his position almost wholly from 
the history of the colonies at and before the adoption of the constitu- 
tion. It was in the consideration of these great constitutional ques- 
tions, untrammelled by precedent, guided only by the history of the 
past, that Marshall's pre-eminent abilities shone at their best. This 
country has never yet fully recognized the debt it owes to the his- 
torical research of this its greatest jurist. In this case Webster made 
one of his most famous arguments, which in its nature was almost 
entirely historical. This form of argument had a peculiar fascination 
for Webster and was always powerful when wielded by him. No one 
can read the argument of Webster and then the opinion of Marshall 
without coming to the conclusion that the former as well as the 
latter did his part " to set free every brook and rivulet in the country." 
The concurring opinion by Justice Johnson is based almost entirely 
upon "the history of the times," and upon "the general understand- 
ing of the whole American people when the grant was made." f 

♦Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheaton, 1. 
t Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheaton, 225. 


A good example of the value of local history in construing constitu- 
tional and statutory law may be found in a decision of the supreme 
court of Michigan.* When that remarkable tide of immigration so 
rapidly turned the sparsely settled territory of Michigan into a pop- 
ulous state, the spirit of western enterprise demanded a vast system 
of internal improvements. Accordingly when the people formed the 
constitution under which Michigan was, in 1837, admitted into the 
Union, they recommended therein an extensive system of railroads 
and canals to be constructed by the state at public expense. The leg- 
islature, in carrying out this recommendation, burdened the people 
with a debt of millions; and after destroying public credit, stopjjed 
but little short of a disgraceful reiDudiation. For all this burden and 
disgrace the state had nothing to show, except some unfinished rail- 
roads, which were soon sold for a small portion of the money ex- 
pended on them. When the constitution of 1850 was adopted, the 
people, still feeling keenly the burden and disgrace brought upon them 
by these visionary schemes, provided in the new instrument that the 
state should in no manner aid works of internal improvement. Thus 
the people of Michigan absolutely prohibited in 1850 that which they 
had recommended in 1837. Soon there occurred one of those unac- 
countable oscillations in popular judgment upon financial questions 
to which the American people seem to be peculiarly subject. f In 
1869, the legislature, yielding to popular demand, provided by a gen- 
eral law for the granting of aid to railroads by the several niunicipal 
subdivisions of the state. Millions of debt had already been con- 
tracted by the cities and towns of Michigan under this statute when 
its constitutionality was first presented to the supreme court of the 
state in 1871. 

That court, in an opinion delivered by Justice Cooley, held the law 
unconstitutional and void. It was urged that other states had con- 
strued a similar provision in their constitutions as prohibiting only 
the state as such from incurring debts in aid of such enterprises, while 
it left the subdivisions thereof free to give such aid as they saw fit, 
and pay the same by general taxation. In reply to this argument 
the learned justice said, that whatever might be the just and proper 
'construction of this provision when found in the constitutions of other 

* Bay City v. The State Treasurer, 23 Mich., 449. 

fFor an interesting account of the variable policy of Michigan on the question of internal 
improvement, see Judge Cooley's "Michigan," in the American Commonwealth Series, chap. 


states, whose histoiy had been different, the public history of jSIiehi- 
gan left no doubt that its people intended to deprive, not only the 
state as a whole, but its component parts as well, of the power to 
repeat the folly of the past. This decision has become a part of the 
history of the state, and has determined its policy ever since oh the 
question of internal improvements. It is referred to here because the 
construction there given to an important constitutional provision is 
based solely upon the public liistory of the state and the well known 
feeling of the people at the time of its adoption. Here, then, we find 
one of America's foremost constitutional lawyers recognizing and 
adopting the public history of a state as the best guide in the inter- 
pretation of its fundamental law. 

When we reach the broader domain of international law, we must 
rely wholly ujwn history for our precedents. Here there is no 
supreme power to prescribe rules of action ; no court with jurisdiction 
to decide or power to enforce its decrees. The law by which nations 
are to be judged, in war or in peace, are to be learned only from the 
public history of the nations we call civilized ; and the history of the 
intercourse of one nation with another is so intimately connected with 
the internal history of each that no one can understand the former 
without some knowledge of the latter. 

Much might l)e said, did time permit, on the value of history in 
solving the ever recurring problems involving the security of life, lib- 
erty, and property. All these questions have arisen and been answered 
in some way by every civilized people. The communistic and nihilistic 
tendencies of the present would seem to indicate that these problems 
have not been finally disposed of, and that the lawyer of the near fu- 
ture may be called upon to reconsider and perhaps readjust them. In 
any discussion of these great questions, involving as they do the rights 
of all, the practical answers given to them by other nations in other 
times must always be of the highest importance. 

It is perhaps needless to say that the study of history to yield the 
benefits here indicated must be something more than the daily conning 
of a given number of pages in a text book. What the student needs to 
be taught is not the fixcts of history, but how to find them for himself. 
In no branch of study is it more important that the student should do 
the work himself than in history. No one would now attempt to teach 
chemistry and botany without requiring of the student practical work 


in the laboratory and the field. What the laboratory is to the student 
of chemistry, what the fields are to the student of botany, the well fur- 
nished library is to the student of history. The text book and the in- 
structor are valuable as guides ; but after all, that which is most valua- 
ble is obtained only by the individual research of the student himself. 
In this research the student should be led as near as possible to the 
original sources from which the facts are to be ascertained. Our own 
national history furnishes a fertile field for investigation, and the ease 
with which its primary and secondary sources may be obtained renders 
it peculiarly inviting. And may we not hope that at no very distant 
day the archives of this society may contain material for a comprehen- 
sive study of the history of our own commonwealth. 

The range of history, like that of law, is limited only by the bound- 
ary that circumscribes the life of man. The historian deals with life 
as found entombed in the mute records of the past. The lawyer strug- 
gles with life governed by the passions, the prejudices, the hopes, and 
the fears of the present. Both alike, in reaching their conclusions, 
must tread upon uncertain ground and remain content with proof far 
short of the absolute. Law stands foremost among the practical scien- 
ces as an aid to history, and history in turn becomes the interpreter of 
law. As the lawyer gathers the facts of his case from the uncertain 
memories of living witnesses, as he draws his principles from the con- 
tradictory statements contained in his books, so the student of history 
must cross-examine his authors, probe their motives, estimate the influ- 
ence of their prejudices, balance their testimony against that of oth(»rs, 
and finally determine, by a preponderance of proof, the point at issue. 
So intimate is the relation between history and law that the best prcj)- 
aration for the study of either is found in the thorough study of tlio. 



By a. G. Waener. 


One not acquainted with the early history of this commonwealth 
may be startled, while looking through a file of newspapers handed 
down from the fifties, to see the headline, " Discovery of Gold in Ne- 
braska. " The explanation is that Pike's Peak itself was once included 
within the generous limits of this territory. By the act of congress, 
which brought into existence Kansas and Nebraska, the twin children 
of Douglas' ambition to do something spectacular in national politics, 
the boundaries of the latter territory -were described as extending from 
the northern boundary of Kansas to the southern boundary of the 
British Possessions, and from the Missouri river and the western 
boundary of Minnesota on one side to the summit of the Rocky moun- 
tains on the other. This vast tract contained about 351,558 square 
miles of land, and at one time over 15,000 square miles on the 
western sloi)e of the Rockies was added. In the early days the coun- 
ties were marked out on the same magnificent scale. Though along 
the Missouri river they were soon reduced to a more manageable 
size, yet farther to the west they were for a long time planned with 
such dimensions as it was natural for men to give, who half doubted 
if away from the Missouri bottoms the land would ever be worth 
ten cents a township. 

In preparing for the first election of councilmen and representatives, 
■acting Governor Cuming marked off certain preliminary counties. 
Among others was "Jones county," the boundaries of which extended 
from "a point sixty miles west of the Missouri river, at the northwest 
corner of Richardson county," thence west along the south bank of the 
Platte river to the Rockies, thence southwesterly to the Kansas line, 
and so back to Richardson county and around to the place of begin- 

* Acts of Ter. Assem., Vol. I. 


Jesse Lowe was sent to find how many inhabitants there were in this 
vast district, and to make arrangements for the election of a correspond- 
ing number of assemblymen. His report of December 10, 1854, is 
almost pathetic in its simple acknowledgment of the uselessness of his 
mission. After taking half a page to state Avhat he was sent to do, 
and to describe the boundaries of the would-be county, the report 
comes to a sudden stop with the information that " said county con- 
tains no inhabitants at all, save a few in one corner that properly be- 
long in Richardson, and who ought to vote there." Localities did 
not ahvays wait for a census or for any formality when they wished 
to hold an election. It is said that the first election held in the town 
of Platsmouth, for sheriif and city officers, was peculiar in that 
there was no authority for it whatever. It was before land had been 
opened for pre-emption, no one had any legal claims to anything, and so 
it was just as correct to hold an illegal election as it was to live there 
at all. Besides it was a kind of natural necessity to hold an election 
of some kind, for the citizens were genuine Americans, and whereso- 
ever two or three Americans are gathered together in a community, 
there will politics be also. It was a festive occasion, as such early 
gatherings usually were. The partisans of the different men voted 
industriously, and in lieu of the modern method of " tapping his bar'l," 
the candidate for sheriff removed the head from a five-gallon keg of 
whisky and put therein a long-handled tin dipper.* 

In the first assembly there were eight counties, represented by thir- 
teen councilmen and twenty-three representatives. Small, however 
as was the number either of representatives or constituents, acting Gov- 
ernor Cuming could not escape the charge of having gerrymandered 
the election districts. He had been invested with autocratic power by 
the government at Washington (or rather the office to which he suc- 
ceeded after the death of Gov, Burt had been so invested), and in this 
instance, as often subsequently, the appointed governor had a personal 
or political axe to grind, which the people of the territory were most 
loth to sharpen. When the assembly met, a series of resolutions was 
introduced, and under various forms kept being reintroduced during the 
session. The object of these resolutions was to get Cuming to make 

*I tell this tale " as 'twas told to me." In these sketches, whenever there is no belter au- 
thority than the personal recollection of one man, I shall indicate the fact in a foot-note, and 
the reader can take it for what it may be worth. For the most part I sliall not give the names 
of my informants, but would say in general, that only those who know of the events of which 
they spoke at firsthand have been accepted as authorities. The unaided memory is not a very 
reliable guide. 


known the census returns upon which he had based his apportionment 
of assemblymen, or even to induce him to tell what instructions he 
had given the census takers, or finally, to secure the appointment of a 
committee to investigate these matters.* But a majority seemed to be 
always ready to stand by the governor ; the resolutions were bundled 
about from the table to the committees, and from the committees l>ack 
to the table, and the returns of the first census of Nebraska remain a 
state secret even until this day. 

It is very credibly stated that nearly all the members of Nebiuska's 
first territorial assembly came over from Iowa for the express purpose 
of being elected to that body. To make perfectly sure of this devoutly- 
wished for consummation, many of them also imported their constitu- 
encies in a body from the other side of the " Grand Father of Waters.'^ 
Thus, for instance, as acting Governor Cuming had marked out the 
limits of Burt county and had apportioned to the same two represent- 
atives and a councilman, and as there were no inhabitants at all in the 
district designated, it seemed only an act of neighborly kindness in the 
citizens of Council Bluffs to arrange a little excursion to go over there 
and hold an election. Accordingly, at the proper time, two wagon 
loads of the " uncrowned sovereigns of this great and glorious country" 
provided theuiselves with the necessary ballot boxes, election blanks, 
and a goodly qnantity of very refreshing refreshments, and started off 
to hunt up Burt county. It was a long distance, however, and their 
patriotism and horses flagged before they got there. Not to disap- 
point the expectant soul of Cuming, they concluded that one neck of 
the woods was just as good for their purpose as another, and so, care- 
fully failing to take note of the exact locality, they stopped in a piece 
of woodland in Washington county, and held a pic-nic there. The 
result was a set of vastly formal election returns, by which the desired 
number of assemblymen were returned. The councilman who thus 
came to represent the alleged county of Burt was Mr. Fulsom, and 
there is a story still extant which relates how he was given, as a sort 
of sub-rosa " mark of respect," the title to considerable real property 
of much value in the city of Omaha. He had awakened the regard 
of the donors by allowing himself to be " open to conviction" regarding 
the location of the capitol at that city. This property, or part of it, 
has since come into the possession of Mrs. Cleveland. f 

• See House and Council Journals of First Assembly, per index, 
t Pers. Kec. 


A work which, according to the fashion of the times, was pushed 
vigorously by the early assemblies of the territory, was the passing of 
special acts of incorporation. An insurance company was the first to 
get itself born during March 1855. Then in this and succeeding 
years followed a vast swarm of railroad companies, universities, paper 
cities, land-claim associations, medical societies, and wild cat banks. 
Two universities and a college were incorporated the first year and 
others soon after. Some of these, like the " Nemaha University at 
Archer", are not more dead than the would-be towns in ^vhicll they 
were established. Each act for the incorporation of an institution of 
learning declared that its object was " the promotion of the general 
interests of education, and to qualify students to engage in the several 
pursuits and employments of society, and to discharge honorably and 
usefully the various duties of life."* 

More truthfully speaking it might have been said that their object 
was to give the territory an excuse for teasing congress for land grants, 
and to enable immigration agents to point to our advanced j)osition 
in educational matters. 

The land claim associations were numerous and aggressive ; but as 
the whole subject will be treated by another member of the Nebras- 
ka Historical Society, it may be passed over here with only the remark 
that tliese helped to swell the number of special acts with which the 
assembly was burdened, and of the town companies a few words can 
best be said here. Wherever a town site had been laid out the only 
way to get an approximately sound title to the land was to get the 
town incorporated — lack of inhabitants in no way interfering with 
that ])rocess. There was so much of this work to be done that the 
acts were cut down to essentials, and the public printer was scandal- 
ized by such an abbreviated form as this : 

"An act to incorporate the town of Margaretta in the county of 

" Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the council and house of representatives 
of the territory of Nebraska, that the town site claimed by the Rich- 
land (Rich land ?) company upon which the town of Margaretta is 
located and situated, together with all additions that may hereafter 
be made according to law, is hereby declared to be a town, by the 
name and style of the town of Margaretta. 

* See acts of first assembly, per index. 


"Sec. 2. The said town is hereby made a body corporate and 
politic, invested with the same power and corporate rights and priv- 
ileges as are granted in an act entitled 'An act to incorporate Nebraska 

"Sec. 3. "This act shall take effect and be in force from and after 
its passage." * 

Most of these cities were brought into being merely that the own- 
ers might sell the lots to some "greenhorn" for enough to a good 
deal more than pay expenses. One of these fiat towns, which from 
the mining analogy might be said to have been "loaded," was "worked 
off" with consummate skill. Dr. Henry, one of the early specula- 
tors, found a Pawnee village located on the Platte river, and he at 
once concluded it would be a good place to mark out a town. A 
map was accordingly made of the place, engraved in the highest style 
of the art ; splendid lithographs represented whole fleets of merchant- 
men sailing majestically up the Platte ; and these baits were taken 
east with the confidential assurance to all who were inclined to pur- 
chase that the town already had eight hundred inhabitants. Along 
the river front the jealous owner would only sell half lots because 
they were sure to be so valuable, but further back whole lots and even- 
half blocks were reluctantly parted with.f Many other "towns" 
went the same pretentious road to oblivion. 

But of all the "artificial persons" in the form of bodies "corporate 
and politic" which were created by the territorial assemblies, by far 
the most mischievous were the Avild cat banks. Bribery was charged 
in the securing of their charters, rascality was obvious in the manage- 
ment of most of them, and a sort of epidemic cholera infantum des- 
troyed them all before any one of them had celebrated its third birth- 


Just at the beginning of the present century, in the Empire state — 
that congenial home of all forms of political rascality — Aaron Burr 
had tried his prentice hand at stealing a bank charter througli the 

* See acts of first assembly, per index. 

f Tie facts regarding Henry's spec lation were given me by A. D. Jone^, E<q., of Omaha. 
Mr. Jones was the niau wlio surveyed the town site of Omaha and was interested in many of 
the attempted towns in various parts of the stat<'. It is my experience thatthese early specu- 
lators always prefer to tell of some other man's "deal." 

X The work of collcfting the materials used in this sketch of the early banks was begun in 
the winter of '84-.^ during my senior year at the University of Nebraska; and as apart of that 
year's work in political economy under Ciiancellor Manatt, i began the preparation of a paper on 


New York legislature under the guise of a bill to incorporate "A 
company to supply the city of New York with water." * Follow- 
ing the lead of JNIassachusetts and New York, various states tried first 
special and then general acts of incorporation for banks having the 
right to issue currency, but like the traveller choosing between two 
roads in an Illinois swamp, whichever way they went they were sure 
to wish they had gone the other. 

When a special act of incorporation was required for each banking 
company, the only result was that specially active lobbyists were re- 
quired to get the bills through. Log rolling and bribery were the 
surest and often the only way to get a company sanctioned by the 
legislature, and the pass-word was virtually, " you tickle me and I'll 
tickle you." In the legislature of Pennsylvania, in the year 1813, 
those who were engineering twenty-five of these bills, incorporating 
as many banks with an aggregate capital of nine millions, combined 
and secured their passage. Gov. Snyder, however, vetoed the entire 
lot, but the only ultimate result was that the next year a more gen- 
erous policy on the part of the rollers of logs led them to include 
forty-one banks in their planning, having an aggregate capital of 
seventeen millions, of which only one-fifth was required to be paid in, 
and they were then strong enough to incorporate them all over the 
Governor's veto.f 

The birth of such a litter of wild cats as this was surely a great 
calamity, but the passage of a general enabling act which made pos- 
sible their spontaneous generation over a whole state seems to have 
been worse. In 1837 Michigan passed such an act. It was thought 
that it had been carefully drawn, but almost immediately after its pas- 
sage "banks were springing up all over the state, in unheard of 
places, in the depths of the forest, in saw-mills, in asheries, and in 
the pockets of dishonest men." % Their circulation soon became 
so enormous that there were probably $300 of it for every man, 
woman and child in the state. H. M. Utley prepared for the Michi- 
gan Historical Society a short but spirited account of this disastrous 
system, and this paper seems to be the only one heretofore published 

" state banks, and ante bcUum banking in NebrHska." At that time it was not possible to finish 
the paper because the widely scattered niaterinlci.uld not be obtained through correspondence 
alone. Later, during a visit to the older portions of the state, and finally, while in the employ 
ot the State Journal, 1 was able to go on with the work in which I had become interested, and 
to iuveiligate the subject with considerable thoroughness. 

* Fin. Rep. Gen. Gov. IS/iJ, p, 131. 

+ Fin Rep. 1^76, p. 147. 

X See H. M. Utley in Michigan Pioneer Collections, Vol V., 2u9-222. 


which deals directly with these corporate l>easts of prey. Paper 
cities were brought into existence merely to give plausibilit}' to the 
lie which made people believe that a sound bank was located in 
some unvisited corner of the state, and mortgages on the lots of 
these alleged towns were shown as the real estate security required 
by law. Speaking of the city and bank of Brest, he says that 
the contemplative traveller who should penetrate to the desolate 
frog pond which the lithographic advertisements of the place had 
filled with the navies of the world "would never dream what great 
possibilities had been unrealized on that spot." Three unhappy com- 
missioners were appointed to see that the banks complied with the 
law. Spies dogged their steps and notified each bank as they ap- 
proached it. A considerable amount of specie was carted along be- 
fore them to enable each bank in turn to make a good showing. "An 
examination into the affairs of the Lenawee county bank showed the 
requisite specie on hand. Suddenly descending upon the bank a few 
days later the amount of cash in the vaults was found to be $34.20. 
At the same time the circulation of the bills of the bank amounted 
to more than $20,000." The bills from the bank of Singapore secured 
a wide circulation. One gentleman tells a doleful story of how this 
bank "busted" while he was wandering about in the western part of 
the state looking for Singapore. 

There had never been such a place in Michigan. In 1839 the bank 
commissioners made a pathetic report, in which the}' affirmed that at 
a low estimate there were $1,000,000 of worthless notes in the hands 
of the people. In an agony of haste to get rid of the thing the law 
was repealed and declared unconstitutional at the same time. 

Referring to such banks in Indiana, the governor of that state says 
in his message for 1853: "The speculator comes to Indianapolis 
with the bundle of bank notes in one hand and the stock in the other; 
in twenty-four hours he is on his way to some distant point of the 
union to circulate what he denominates a legal currency authorized by 
the legislature of Indiana. He has nominally located his bank in 
some remote part of the state, difficult of access, where he knows no 
banking facilities are required, and intends that his notes shall go 
into the hands of persons who will have no moans of demanding 
their redemption."* 

* Fin. Rep. 1876, pp. 149-50. 


The experience of the older states seemed never to teaeli the new 
ones anything. Each one was as anxious as its predecessors to try 
the intoxicant influence of inflation, and so each in turn had to go 
through the' sickening, head-achy process of recovering from its 
financial spree. Even Nebraska was no exception. It has been said 
already that the first company ever incorporated by a Nebraska 
legislature was an insurance company. This was the " Western 
Fire and Marine Insurance and Exchange Company," and was 
incorporated March 16, 1855. The powers of tliis body to deal 
in all sorts of exchange which had been granted in the charter were 
so stretched as to enable it to do a general banking business, and 
thus the first wild cat got itself surreptitiously into existence as 
the "■ Western Exchange Bank of Omaha." The cashier of this 
company was Levy R. Tuttle, who was afterwards, under Lincoln^ 
treasurer of the United States ; the paying teller of the bank was 
A. M. Wyman, who at a subsequent period held the same high 
office. Other bank bills came up in the first legislature and ex- 
cited hot debate. A. D. Jones, then a representative of Douglas 
county, and still a resident of Omaha, claims to have been the only 
man who voted consistently against all of them. In a speech against 
them he became excited and rhetorical, concluding with the declara- 
tion that " when he should be gathered to his fathers, and an humble 
monument had been erected to his memory, upon the site of his beau- 
tiful home in Park Wild, it would gratify his soul to look down 
from the high battlements of heaven — the region of the blessed — 
and read upon that monument the simple and truthful inscription : 
'Here lies an honest man — He voted against "wild-cat" banks in 
Nebraska !' " Allen H. Bradford, who was representing Otoe county 
in the council, was a large, fat man, with a squeaky voice. Conclud- 
ing a short and sputtery speech in answer to Jones, he spoke as fol- 
lows : " He (Mr. Jones) talks about the time when he shall be a-look- 
ing down from the high battlement of heav-t'H. I wish he was there 
note, a-singing forever more, among the blessed, instead of being 
down here a-makin' speeches which don't do any good away out here 
in Nebras-ky."* 

Whether Jones's burst of eloquence won the day, or whether the 

* Besides an interview with Mr. Jones himself, my authority for the incidents here related is 
Alfred Sorenson's " Early History of Omaha," pp. 6!:»-71. He gives crerlit to "A Pen Picture from 
the Pioneer Legislature," which appeared in the Omnhsi Herald over the signature "M.I.Grant" 
(J. Sterling Morton). 


schemers could not agree among themselves, is not certaui, but at any 
rate no other bank chai-ters were granted during that session. In the 
assembly of 1856 the question again came up. J. Sterling INIoiton 
was then twenty-three years old and a member of the " lower house. 
Fresh from college and full to the brim with the principles of Way- 
land's Political Economy, he was convinced that a legitimate bank 
could only be made up out of surplus capital, and he urged that ob- 
viously there was no such capital in the infant territory.* From 
that time to this Morton has been active iu the politics of the state, 
always making a brilliant fight, and nearly ahvays an unsuccessful 
one. In this early legislature he was made chairman of a special 
committee to which was referred a bill incorporating the proposed 
bank of Richardson county. From this committee he submitted a 
minority report adverse to the chartering of this or any other l)ank, 
but this report was denied a place in the house journal, f though it 
subsequently appeared in the newspapers of the time. In that report 
it was urged that tlie legend on each bill issued by any of these so- 
called banks ''to pass as money, to act as a tool of exchange in 
measuring values, or merely as a medium of exchange should be: 
' Bill holders individually liable.' " Morton's two colleagues on the 
committee — Messrs. Wm. B. Hail and John C. Campbell — reported 
favorably to the incorporation of the bank, only making certain 
changes in the personnel of the company, which one suspects might 
have much significance if only some one yet able to interpret it could 
be found. 

The Richardson county bank was not finally chartered, but on the 
18th of January, 1856, five banks were chartered, as follows: The 
Platte Valley IBank (at Nebraska City), the Fontenelle Bank of 
Bellevue, the Bank of Florence, the Bank of Nebraska (at Omaha), 
and the Nemaha Valley Bank (at Brownville). The fact that all the 
bank bills were approved on the same day is indicative of the methods 
by which their passage was secured. Their charters had been all 
drawn in the same form. Each company was made up of less than 
a dozen persons. The stock was either $50,000 or $100,000, to be 
increased at will to $500,000, and was divided into shares of $100 
each. When $25,000 of the stock had been subscribed the company 
could organize and go to work. The stock was assignable and trans- 

* See a letter I'rom J. Sterling Morton to the author, 
t See House Journal 2nd ses., p. 139 ; Jan. 22nd 1856. 


ferable according to such regulations as the directors miglit think 
proper. The bank had power to issue notes, bills, and other certiii- 
cates of indebtedness, to deal in exchange and do a general banking 
business. The stockholders were individually liable for the redeni})- 
tion of the currency issued, but there was no provision for a fixc-d 
specie reserve, nor other guard against individual rascality or incom- 
petency.* There was indeed a provision for an annual report of the 
condition of the bank, to be made under oath to the territorial auditor, 
and to be published in three newspapers in the territory, but no such 
report w^as ever made. 

While the act incorporating the Platte Valley Bank was under con- 
sideration, some attempts were made to throw additional safeguards 
about it. Miller moved to reduce the amount of possible stock from 
$500,000 to $300,000— tabled. t Kirk offered the following amend- 
ment : 

"Provided, That no person shall become a stockholder in said bank 
by transfer or otherwise, until such person shall file a certificate with 
the commissioner, showing on his oath that he has real or personal 
property worth twice the amount of stock that he wishes to subscrihe, 
and that over and above the amount of his indebtedness, and that 
there is no mortgage or incumbrance on said property. 

" Provided further, That said stockholders shall be held individually 
liable for the issue of said bank while they are stockholders, even 
though they may transfer their stock before said issue shall be pre- 
sented for redemption." On motion of Mr. Decker, amendment 
tabled. Mr. Kirk also offered the following amendment : 

" Provided, Said bank shall not issue more than two dollars for one 
deposited, and shall not pay or loan out of its specie for any other 
purposes than for the redemption of its own notes." Tabled, and bill 
passed with all the original loopholes in a fine state of preserva- 

In the third session of the territorial assembly in 1857, there was a 
perfect swarm of bank companies struggling for future existence ; but 
by this time there was a growing suspicion that there might be '* some- 
thing rotten in Denmark," and Mills S. Reeves and James S. Allen, 
a majority of the select committee of the council to which were 

* For the charters of these banks in the order in which they are named in the text, see Acts 
of Second Legislative Session, pp. 1224, 230, 177, 20 2, 208. 

t For this and succeeding amendments, see House Journal 2d session Nebraska Legislature, pp. 


referred " suiidrv l)ank bills/' made a report discouraging the incor- 
poration of more banks. This report was not so much the outcome 
of the teachings of economic science as it was an ebullition of good 
sense and common honesty. The two men boldly say at the begin- 
ing that they are " not at all in favor of banking in general, but 
neither do they feel positive that the new state can get along entirely 
without banks, for they think that in that case eastern banks would 
send their money here and monopolize the gold and silver them- 
selves.* Your committee would further state that if it was true 
that a little of a thing was good therefore more was better, this legis- 
lature might go on and charter a bank for every county in the terri- 
tory. * * * * gj^i^ where are to be found the honest men who 
would invest capital in a banking operation when every twenty-four 
square miles has a machine for grinding out a mean representation of 
money. Your committee can easily conceive that they are recreant to 
the interests of the persons who would readily engage in the business 
of securing charters and putting bills in circulation to the extent of 
their ingenuity, and when no more could be issued a failure would 
ensue and the bill-holder would have the privilege of holding them." 
Then in a style as ungrammatical and as innocent of punctuation as 
the above, they consider the evils of inflation, and again shifting the 
view, they say : "Look now, sir, at this machine as a bank of exchange 
and tell us what banker in any of our eastern cities would honor our 
paper, none would dare because they would have no certainty that 
the soulless thing would have any existence when the draft should 
return by express." Further on they say : " But suifer us again to 
return to the issue. We have now six banks add six more and we 
have twelve, a bank for every thousand inhabitants there with a capi- 
tal stock of $250,000 ; each would be equal to |300,000 ($3,000,000 
evidently intended) ; three times that annually which is the remaining 
sum which they have a positive right to issue would be $900,000 ($9,000- 
000), this upon equal division would give to every man, woman and 
child $750 currency, allowing every fifth of our twelve thousand in- 
habitants to be business men, then we would have for each man 
$3,750. Now, sir, your committee would ask if there is a man upon 
this floor that does not see how perfectly absurd and ridiculous this 
whole affair is, even in the supposition that the capital stock was 

* Those extniot* are copied from the Council Journal verbatim et liteialim. The full report 
may be found, Council Jr., 3d ses., pp 115-17. 


reduced to fifty thongand dollars for each institutions, this Avould still 
leave for every man .f750. We would ask again; of what use would 
this money he to the bankers excej^t to loan, })ut if they should loan, 
where would be their security for $187,580 dollars? 

"There is another view of this matter it would be well to look at. 
Who are the men that ask for these charters? Are they sovereign 
squatters of Nebraska? Not at all; most if not all of the leading 
men are from other states, who would be much obliged to us no^v to 
legislate to them the opportunity of tilling our pockets with their bills, 
but who would laugh us to scorn when they had our gold and our 
property in their possession." In speaking of these banks as places 
of deposit, the committee say : " Who in his senses would think of 
intrusting money in the vaults of such institutions, if past experience 
would teach us anything. We would dread them as a highway rob- 
ber, for hundreds who have had confidence in them have woke up in 
the morning and have found that the body of the soulless thing had 
evaporated and that there was nothing to represent their pocketful of 
bills but an old store, the counter, and a broom." The committee 
next take high moral grounds, for after saying that "it will avail 
us little to wail our folly and wickedness when the territory is bank- 
rupt," they point to the fact that " privileges, exemption, and facilities 
for speculation " encourage and multiply rascals. " The honest portion 
of the community with vice constantly before their eyes become as- 
simulated with it, its odious features and soon become familiarized, 
they wink at the monster and it is well for them if. they are not fascin- 
ated and become parties in a grand swindle of the confiding and un- 
thinking portion of the community." 

Thus far, the report of Messrs. Reeves and Allen is climacteric, 
and one only wishes that the public printer had helped them out more 
on the grammar and punctuation, but tlie conclusion is weak. They 
"are not willing to assume the responsibility of saying that there shall 
be no more banks chartered at this session of the legislature," and 
only recommend certain amendments in case the council should see fit 
to pass any of the bills referred to them. The amendments recom- 
mended limited the amount of stock to .^300,000, reduced the maximum 
interest chargeable to eighteen per cent per annum, provided for the 
deposit of adequate securities with the state treasurer, and made the 
stock non-transferable except after three months' notice of the contem- 


plated transfer. A minority report from the same select committee 
favored the chartering of the six banks in question, but later the stand- 
ing committee on corporations, S. M. Kirkpatrick, chairman, reported 
adversely, as more than a dozen banks had applied, and it would be 
madness to charter them all.* The result of the struggle was, that 
during the third session only two more banks were turned loose to 
pre}' upon the wealth of the young territory — the bank of DeSotof 
and the bank of Tekama, j both acts being finally passed Feb. 13, 1857. 
Both were vetoed by the territorial governor, Mark W. Izard, and 
both were passed glibly over his veto. In the message relative to 
the bank of Tekama, he said complacently that he had many good 
reasons for refusing his assent to the bill, but thought it only need- 
ful to affirm his honesty in pursuing the course he did, and concluded 
as follows : '' Acting upon the principle that it is better that one man 
should die for the state than that all should perish, I most cheerfully 
take the responsibility of withholding my signature from the bill 
above recited, and herewith return it to the house in which it originated 
for its reconsideration," § As hinted above, the legislative gulf swal- 
lowed down this would-be Curtius without the slighest difficulty and 
still yawned horribly for more. 

This ended the incorp -^rating of banks by the territorial assembly 
of Nebraska, for in the summer of 1857 came a financial panic, and 
those in existence failed unanimously. But yet another attempt was 
made in 1858, and that of a more ambitious kind than any that had 
preceded it. In the autumn of '58, during the 5th session of the ter- 
ritorial assembly, a sleek gentleman by the name of Richardson ap- 
peared in Omaha, and began to "wire" through a bill to incorporate 
the "State Bank of Nebraska." This was to be an extensive affiiir, 
having direct dealings with the state. It was to be located at Omaha, 
but to have branches in other parts of the commonwealth. The coun- 
cil passed the act of incorporation, but rumors of bribery and other 
illegitimate methods of influencing votes began to circulate, and finally, 
according to a newspaper account of the time. Dr. Miller found upon 
his desk a note, promising that if he would support the measure he 
should receive $250 in cash and the privilege of making a loan of 
$5,000 without interest as soon as the bank should get to doing busi- 

* Council Jr., 3d ses., p. 161. 
+ Acts, 3d Leg. ses., p. 145. 
J Acts, 3d Leg. ses., pp. 143-4. 
g House Jr., 3d ses., pp. 174-5. 



ness. He made a public exposure of the attempt to bribe him, and 
the result was that the legislature joined in the general cry to hunt 
down the wild "cat" that had thus been let out of the bag.* Mason, 
in the liouse, moved an investigation of the charges of bribery f but 
nothing came of it, though no man dared to vote against the appoint- 
ment of the committee. 

I have dwelt thus at length uj^on the origin of Nebraska's territorial 
banks because the political part of political economy is so often the 
most important portion, and because this is especially apt to be true 
where strictly economic forces have their origin in what is known as 
"practical politics." 

The only statistical statement relative to the condition of these early 
banks which I have been able to find is the one given below, taken 
from the report of the comptroller of the currency for 1876. Cor- 
respondence with that officer assures me that the statements from which 
the table was compiled are no longer in existence. 


Principal Resources 

Principal Liabilities 





O t, M 










8 ' 
























In the study of this table it is to be noticed, (1) That not all the 
banks reported, and that only those which were in the best condition 
would do so ; (2) That the returns seem to have been made for June 
of the year to which they are assigned, and so the panic which reached 
Nebraska in the fall of '57 is not indicated by the table till 1858 ; 
and (0) That for this year the names of some banks that had already 
failed must have been counted, as there were certainly not six solvent 
banks in the territory at any time in 1858 ; and furthci-more it is not 
credible that there could have been six banks doing business with an 
aggregate capital of only $15,000. 

* See an article of a column and 
session of Mr. Reed, of Omaha. 
t House Jr., 5th ses., p. 168. 
X Fiu. Rep. 1876, 230-31. 

half in the Florence Courier for Nov. 4, 1858, copy in pos- 


Before taking up the story of the panic of 1857, it may also be of 
interest to see how far the assertion that the banks were not owned by 
" sovereign squatters" of the territory, made by our valorous commit- 
teemen, Keeves and Miller, was borne out by the facts. After ruin had 
struck the banks in Nebraska, a correspondent of the St. Louis Repub- 
lican thus places the ownership of the capital that had been invested 
in them : 

Nemaha Valley Bank, Galesburg, 111. 

Platte Valley Bank, Nebraska City, Neb. 

Fontanelle Bank of Bellevue, Elgin, 111. 

Western Exchange, Fire and Marine Ins. Bark, Galva, 111. 

Bank of Nebraska, Council Blufis, la. 

Bank of Florence, Davenport, la. 

Bank of DeSoto, Wisconsin. 

Bank of Tekama, Bloomington and Gossport, Ind.* 
Thus we see that with one exception the banks were owned by men 
who had nothing more than a merely speculative interest in the terri- 

In September, 1857, what Morton called "John Lawism" in Ne- 
braska came to its usual calamitous conclusion. The panic of this 
year began in Cincinnati by the failure of the Ohio Life &, Trust 
Company, and the collapse in New York of the then famous broker, 
John Thompson. Financial storm signals are often but tardily 
heeded ; newspapers especially are inclined to insist that everything is 
secure, when in fact everything is imperiled. Thus the Omaha Ne- 
braskian'f on September 12, 1857, published a clipping from the 
Chicago Times, which speaks of the failures of eastern bankers, and 
congratulates the west on the sound financial condition of this region 
in general and of the western banks in particular, and then adds com- 
placently, " Even should there be a much greater tumbling among^ 
these institutions (the eastern banks) than we now have any reason 
to expect, our western banks will scarcely feel the shock. Wall 
street may be the money center, the great stock and currency 
regulator, but the money strength of the country is in the west." 
This rather obscure and illogical declaration of financial independence 
failed to nullify the laws of trade. The five older banks, those char- 
tered in 1856-7, were "circulating" their paper currency as fast and 

* Keprinted in tbe Rrowiiville Advcrliscr of July 8, 1858. 
fSee file in State Library. 


far as possible. As the wave of bankruptcy swept towards the state, 
it became the journalistic duty of Robert^ W. Furnas, who had started 
and at that time still edited the Brownville Advertiser, to express his 
confidence in the solidity of Nebraska banks. September 24 he gives 
it as his opinion that the failure of the Ohio Insurance, Loan and 
Trust Company is only used by certain rotten concerns as an excuse 
for failing and that no one need fear for really well established insti- 

On the day previous to this issue of the paper, the 23d day of Sep- 
tember, 1857, the Western Exchange and Fire and Marine Insurance 
Bank of Omaha closed its doors, and the president, Thomas H. Ben- 
ton, jr., issued an address to the public saying that the business would 
be wound up as quickly and economically as possible. Lowe, Parker, 
and Wyman were appointed trustees. The company had been the 
first one of any kind incorporated by the territorial legislature, and 
its life, dating from the 16th of March, 1855, was quite extendetl for 
an institution of the kind and time. It had issued currency without 
check, apparently, as its charter conferred no power to do so, and there- 
fore no regulations regarding the issue. 

The assets, as given in the schedule published by the trustees, 
would not be very satisfying to anxious creditors. There were $288,- 
083 of " bills receivable and notes discounted." There also purported 
to be "stock certificates" to the amount of $80,000, and besides those 
more than doubtful resources there were only $191.30 in specie and 
$121 in bills of the insolvent banks.f 

The Nemaha Valley Bank had begun operations November 10, 1856^ 
under the presidency of S. H. Kiddle. He had been succeeded by 
Barkalow and the latter by McKoy, and at each change of adminis- 
tration the Brownville Advertiser expressed renewed confidence in its 

As John L. Carson was sitting in his private bank at Brownville.^ 
one fine midday in the fall of 1857, Alexander Hallam, cashier of the 
Nemaha Valley bank, came in at the rear door with an anxious look 
upon his face. Carson understood the condition of things well enough 
so that he guessed the cause, and said : 

" What's the matter, Hallam, bank closed ? " 

* See Furnas' file of Advertiser. 
t History of Nebr., p. 693. 


" Well, not closed exactly," was the answer, " No use of closing, 
nothing to close up on." * 

But the cashier was not quite so confidential with everybody. At 
his request Editor Furnas of the Advertiser inspected the accounts of 
the concern an<:l finds that the bill holders are secure against all possi- 
ble loss. The resources of the bank are : Stock notes, $73,000 ; dis- 
counted paper at thirty and sixty days, over $5,000 ; cash, over $1,000. 
The l:)ooks also show that there are $33,000 of the bills of the bank 
in circulation. t 

The above is a very fair example of the kind of " statements" that 
newspaper men are apt to get stuffed with whenever it is thought 
necessary or best to "keep uppulilic confidence." Were a bill holder 
at all inclined to be suspicious he would liardly get much reassurance 
from such a presentment of the case. Suppose, for instance, that it 
should transpire that the $73,000 of "stock notes" were virtually 
"worthless. Such a thing is not by any means improbable, as the 
stockholders often " paid up" the capital they had subscribed by put- 
ting in their personal notes, and then, if so inclined, they could easily 
take measures to render these as worthless as so much waste paper. 
Then suppose, further, that the discounted paper had been received 
from those who were not reliable, at least during a financial crisis. 
Suppose also that the $1,000 in alleged "cash" was merely a collec- 
tion of the bills of other banks as worthless as the one under inves- 
gation ; and suppose, finally, that the books had been " doctored " and 
that there was much more than $33,000 of the bills of the bank out- 
standing. Such w^ould be about the condition of the typical wild cat 
bank, and such was nearly the condition of the Nemaha bank in the 
fall of 1857, 

The Brownville Advertiser noted it as a misfortune that ]McKoy, 
the presideiit of the bank, was absent in the east at the time of the 
crisis. This may have been a misfortune, but certainly it was not so 
for the gentleman himself. Nor did he hasten to get back with all 
the speed that had been expected of him. In fact he never came back 
at all. The paper that had regretted his absence on his own account 
came eventually to regret it on accoiuit of others. " Legal notices" 
were published to inform him that he was wanted, and the calls were 
loud and frequent which summoned " Thomas L. McKoy to come into 

* Pers Rec. 

t Adverliser. Oct. 1, ]S57. 



court." It might have been thought that when the steamboat tied up 
at the Brownville landing that fine September noon and the hands 
and others started up town to get their supply of Nemaha Valley 
currency turned into specie, that the end of the thing had come. It 
seemed quite final to the men that held the bills when they found that 
Hallam had closed the front door and slipped out of the back one, 
and they had to return to untie their steamboat, and float off, some- 
what wiser and a good deal poorer than they had landed. But some 
of the most interesting incidents concerning such money mills are 
apt to come out after their emaciated ghosts get to haunting the law 

In the cramped pigeon holes '•' where sleeps in dust" all that is le- 
gally mortal or memorable of bygone misfortunes and departed vil- 
lainies, one may at times even happen on to a sort of intimation of 
something that might in its time have been almost humorous. In the 
records of the district court which then sat at Bro^\'nville, we find 
four cases against the Nemaha Valley bank.* Hallam, McKoy, and 
all that had been connected with the bank suddenly vanished. Ad- 
vertisements failed to bring them to light, but each tirne as a given 
case was about to go against them by default, an attorney would put 
in an appearance, and spend his time making technical pleas designed 
to delay proceedings. Property was levied on that turned out to be- 
long to other folks; a lot or two was sold. Finally, in June, 1850, 
Sheriff Plasters levied upon a safe, a table, a stove, and a letter-j)ress, 
which altogether brought $63, and subsequently, in the case of S. F. 
Nuckolls vs. the Nemaha Valley bank, an execution is returned un- 
satisfied, the sheriff reporting that he can find nothing to levy on. 
Stored away with .the other evidences in these cases, is nearly a thou- 
sand dollars' worth of the old currency. The engraving is excellent. 
The writer thoughtfully held one of the old, worthless promises to 
pay up to the light, half expecting to find a water-mark representing 
a wild cat rampant, but none was visible. The printer had done his 
utmost to make the bills valuable, and so well had he accomplished 
his purpose that long after the bank had failed, an enterprising citizen 
of Brownville took a pocketfull of the currency down below St. Louis 
and passed it as good money. f The last plea which McKoy ever 
ventured to make (even by attorney), in a Brownville court, was that 

♦ Records of Nemaha Co., Disc. C. Cases i;, 78, 81, 175. 
t Pers. Kec. 


the "Nemaha Valley bank," so called, could not legally be sued since 
as a matter of fact it had never been incorporated at all ! 

Most of the other concerns died ignobly, without the formality of 
" trustees," or " addresses," or " statements," or anything else pertain- 
ing to a decent or orderly taking oif. For instance, we find the bank 
of Tekama leaving more than $2,000 of its currency to gather dust 
in the vaults that hold the records of the district court of Omaha. 
The bills are quite captivating. Miss Columbia, at the top of the ones, 
is leaning over to tickle with the rod of Mercury the ribs of a very 
Greek-like Indian, and from opposite ends of the fives, James Buch- 
anan seems to be carrying on a flirtation with a lackadaisical girl, who 
has curly hair and bare feet. This bank was also advertised for in 
the Nehraskian, and reported by the sheriff of the county as "not 
found." The last suit this bank was engaged in, Messrs. Frank and 
Matsenbaugh put $428 of the currency in evidence, and J. M. Wool- 
worth, as attorney of the bank, moved to quash the attachment, be- 
cause in the petition the plaintiffs had brought suit against " The Bank 
of Tekama, in Burt county," whereas the institution had been incor- 
porated as "The Bank of Tekama, in Burt county, Nebraska terri- 

The only record we find of the assets of the Bank of Nebraska, at 
Omaha, is in the return of a writ of execution by the sheriff of the 
county, when he reports having levied upon and sold the following 
property: "Thirteen sacks of flour, one large iron safe, one counter, 
one desk, one stove drum and pipe, three arm chairs, and one map of 
Douglas county." 

Though there was much trouble about finding some of these banks, 
yet others have continued to keep their existence, or rather their hav- 
ing existed, before the public for a very long time. The name of the 
Bank of Florence remains in gilt letters upon the old building even 
unto this day, though the old Mormon town of Florence has long 
ceased to be Mormon and has also ceased to be a town. DeSoto was 
also at one time an ambitious place, but has since evaporated to such 
an extent that there is nothing left of it but an old mill building. 
Kountze, at that time a real estate man of DeSoto, and still prominent in 
Omaha business circles, redeemed the issue of the bank of DeSoto in 
a sort of desultory manner, buying it up for what it was selling at in 

* App. Docket " B," case 76, Dis. Co., Douglas Co. 


the market, and so getting most of it out of the way. This bank did 
not try to start up till after the panic of '57, and some of its bills 
bear a date as late as 1863. 

When one of these banks was in any sense secure it was because 
the men who established it were honest enough to be willing to sutfer 
themselves rather than to let others do so in consequence of their mis- 
takes. This was the case with the Platte Valley Bank. So great 
was the confidence of the people in that institution that even after the 
banks at Omaha had failed and the rush upon this one at Nebraska 
City had begun, many of those who happened to have gold or silver 
on hand went to the bank and deposited it.* This mark of perfect 
confidence and tender of practical assistance could not, however, pre- 
vent the suspension of specie payments. But in this instance public 
confidence had been well placed. All the bills of this bank More re- 
deemed at par, and it was the only territorial bank of issue of which 
this could be said. It was true of the Platte Valley bank, not be- 
cause the institution was intrinsically sound and prosperous, ])ut be- 
cause S. F. Nuckolls would never allow it to be said that paper bearing 
his name had been worth less than its face value. f 

One effect of the circulation of so much bad money in the territory 
was, that people came to feel as though anybody had a right to start 
a bank if only he could get the bills properly engraved. All the 
banks that had taken the trouble to secure charters soon violated even 
the loose provisions of those slip-shod documents, and therefore it did 
not seem very extraordinary that banks should start business without 
any charters at all.;j; 

Such, for instance, was the " Waubeek Bank of DeSoto." In July, 
1857, the DeSoto Pilot felt it its duty to Avarn people against this in- 
stitution, saying that the bills were being circulated at a distance and 
that when the crash came the reputation of the town would snffer. 
'The Ouidiha, Nebrashian alluded to the item in the Pilot and urged that 
such a bank was just as safe as those that had charters, since it must 
at best all depend upon the individual stockholders, and then took ad- 
vantage of the occasion to call attention to the advertisement of the 

* Brownville Adv., Oct. 1. 1857. 

t The same is claimed by Sorenson (earlj- hist. Om.), for Konntze and the bank of DeSoto. 
The statement made in the text regarding the latter bank is based on the statements of three 
different men who were acquainted with the circumstances, but it may not do the concern 

X A requisition of Governor Richardson to the district attorney of the first district, ordering 
him to proceed against tliese institutions, seems tohave led to very little, if to any good. 


Waubeek bank in another column.* Other banks that operated with- 
out charters or under a strained construction of some general statute 
were numerous. Such were the Omaha and Chicago bank, the 
Bank of Dakota, the Corn Exchange bank at DeSoto, and the Omaha 
City Bank and Land Company.f The paper of these banks looks as 
well as that of the others, and no one seemed to have cared whether 
the date and fact of charter were in one corner or not. The state was 
in much the condition in which Wisconsin found herself when, as is 
stated by a some time member of her senate, the members of her legis- 
lature used to have to sort their money each morning after reading 
the paper, and throw away what was worthless. 

An article that might have served for such a purpose appeared in 
the Omaha Times for April 5, 1858.| This article was clipped 
from the Council Bluffs Bugle, and from its general tone may, I 
think, be taken to be unreliable. According to this statement the 
issues of the Bank of Nel^raska, and of De Soto, and of the Platte 
Valley and Waubeek banks were then at par ; Nemaha Valley at 
fifty per cent, Western Exchange at seventy-five per cent, Fontanelle 
Bank of Bellevue, at sixty per cent, and Bank of Florence at eighty 
per cent discount ; Tekama nowhere. 

So great was the tendency to manufacture money that even the 
" Brownville Hotel Co." issued scrip to enable them to put up a hotel, 
and the Advertiser endorsed their action.§ Omaha early took ad- 
vantage of the same method of borrowing money without interest. 
The need in this case was certainly pressing. The general govern- 
ment had made a limited appropriation for the erection of a capitol 
building on the spot where the Omaha High school now stands. The 
territorial authorities, setting an example which has been assiduously 
follow^ed l)y their successors of the state, adopted plans for the build- 
ing whicli called for more than double the amount of money at their 
command. The general government, strange to say, refused to believe 
that more money was needed, and the walls of the abortive structure 
stood piteously incomplete, ruined and stormed on, and rapidly falling 
into decay. Other towns that wanted the capitol themselves were 
greatly tickled at the prospect. 

So, during the recordership of H. C. Anderson, and while Jesse Lowe 

* Nebraskian. July 8, 1857, file at State Library. 
+ See Reed's collection of the early bank Issues. 
1 See Reed's file. 
gNov. 5,1857. 


WHS mayor, the city issued $50,000 of scrip; this sum being speedily 
exhausted, and the capitol still being unfinished, another issue of the 
same amount was made. There are still dark rumors wandering- 
through the back alleys of Omaha, that some of this was not applied 
in a manner to promote most rapidly the building of the needful 
edifice, but they are intangible and it is idle to pursue them. The 
scrip issued at first passed at par, but soon depreciated, was good only 
to pay city taxes with, and most of it was a dead loss in the hands of 
the holders. The people of Omaha were quite complacent regarding 
the issue even after it had become worthless. They looked upon it as 
" a war measure," necessary to keep the capitol, and as citizens of the 
town were for the most part the losers by the depreciation of the stuff, 
so they also were the chief gainers by the completion of the capitol. 

In the possession of Byron Reed of Omaha is an almost complete 
collection of the issues of all the above named banks. Only the 
Platte Yalley and the Bank of Nebraska are not represented, and the 
collector would gladly give face value for specimen notes of these 
banks. Looking at the two large frames filled with these, for the 
most part, dishonored promises to pay, one may have a very instruc- 
tive object lesson in finance. Only two of the banks issued bills of 
a denomination as high as ten dollars, and none higher, and the inten- 
tion was obvious that they should wander away and never come Ijack 
for redemption till the concern that issued them should be " beyond 
redemption." We have tried the experiment of cheap state-begotten 
banks, and the experiment has taught us that the power to issue 
money should not be left to the regulation of various state legisla- 
tures, because many of these are sure to prove unwise, and some of 
them dishonest. The currency must, on the other hand, be cojit rolled 
by a power wise, and honest, and strong enough to properly under- 
stand and minister to the needs of the whole people. If this lesson 
has been thoroughly learned it is worth what it has cost. 


Some indication of early political methods has been given in the 
first of these sketches ; and all the virulence of the early fights turned 
mainly on sectional issues. 

Party lines hardly existed in early times. The patronage of the 
territory was in the hands of the democratic appointees of the demo- 


cratic administration at Washington, and so large a portion of all who 
meddled with politics were democrats, who had come here for the ex- 
press purpose of sharing in that patronage, that none ventured to dis- 
pute the claim of the dominant party. This left the field clear for 
family quarrels of tremendous vigor within the party itself, made 
personalities the stock in trade of the political newspapers and the 
stump speakers, and left sectional issues to play havoc with all good 
feeling between the different districts of this state. No political con- 
ventions were ordinarily held in the counties. Each man announced 
himself, through a newspaper or on the stump, as a candidate for a 
certain office, and then took off his coat and went into the general 
hair-pull with all the vindictiveness and all the skill that nature had 
vouchsafed him. As high as fourteen candidates at one time blos- 
somed out in Nemaha county wh«i only four could possibly succeed.* 
In state politics each man fought for his section, in county politics 
eaeh man fought for himself. The location of the capital was of 
course the main bone of contention, and the whole of this long fight, 
together with the initial struggle Ijetween Bellevue and Omaha, is told 
at length in another part of the present volume. The first capital 
fight was carried on by a knot of schemers gathered about F. B. 
Cuming. Had they been able to raise |1 5,000 more than they could, 
in fact, command, or had Father Hamilton consented to bribe Cum- 
ing, the capital would have gone to Bellevue instead of to Omaha. 
It was felt at the time and has since been acknowledged by all that 
Bellevue was the place where it should have l)een located. It was 
nearer the center of the settlements then existing, was situated in a 
much better location for the development of a large city, and would 
have had a much easier exit for a west-bound railroad. The recog- 
nition of all these facts helped to intensify the jealousy with which 
the successful city was regarded by the rest of the river towns, and 
the attitude of territorial politicians was most easily stated by the 
formula, " Omaha against the field." Besides this enmity felt towards 
a growing and aggressive town there was tlie ever ])resent and ever 
useless contest between the sections of the north and south Platte. 

The struggles engendered by these jealousies culminated during the 
session of the territorial legislature in the early part of January, 
1858, and the manner of waging the contest was so characteristic 

* Pers. Rec. See also any of the early files of the Omaha papers for examples of these ad- 
vertisements. Omaha Tinus, of July, 30, '57, contains eishteeu such advertisements. 


that it will be worth while to describe it at length. At Florence, on 
the 9th day of Jannar;, 1858, the following manifesto was issued :* 

'' To the People of Nebraska, Fellow Citizens : The general assem- 
bly of Nebraska territory is no longer able to discharge its legitimate 
functions at the Omaha seat of government. Owing to the organized 
combination of a minority of its members, aided by an Omaha 
mob, and encouraged by the Omaha Executive, they have been com- 
pelled to adjourn their present session to the nearest place of safety. 
They accordingly assemble to-day at Florence, pursuant to adjourn- 

^'The sovereign power of legislation for this territory is now exer- 
cised alone at this place. The house of representatives, J. H. Decider 
speaker, retains twenty-four of its thirty-five members. The council, 
L. L. Bowen, president, retains nine of the thirteen members, being 
two-thirds of their respective bodies. 

"It has been long supposed that whenever the interests of Omaha 
became concerned, it became hazardous to attempt 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 the seventh instant. On 
that day the factionists, allied with Omaha ruffians, dragged the 
speaker of the house by force from his stand while attempting to dis- 
charge his duties, and the Omaha mob, armed and ready for any 
emergency, applauded the foul act — affixing to Nebraska legislation 
an indelible stain, and covering the fair name of Omaha with in- 
effiiceable 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 wheels of legislation at 
the capital ! ! 

" Omaha can boast of liaving driven the legislature from the seat of 

"Yet Omaha still retains the Capitol, bought with such an in- 
famous past of corruption, violence and crime, l^ut the sceptre of 

* This manifesto was copied carefully from the printed circular issued at the time, a copy of 
which I found loose between the leaves of the first volume of the Brownville Advertiser, the 
file kept by R. W. Furnas. This is the most complete file of early papers I have yet found in 
the state, and my thanks are due to Gov. Furnas for courtesy shown in permitting me to use 
the same. 


legislation has departed from the ill fated city, and the law givers 
from its riotous halls foreyer. 

''The issne 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 q\iestion as to the location of the city of 
their government merely. It has now become a question as to the 
right of the people to rule ! It can have but ONE answer — (he 
majority must preraeY. 

"The legislature is now free from faction and from violence. Its 
acts will be free and untrammeled. It will finish out its organization 
at this place, zealously devoted to the legitimate legislation 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 resi^onsibility with the accidental Executive, who, albeit not 
elected by or responsible to the people, while clothed in a little brief 
authority, in the absense 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 responsi- 

This document was signed by the following members of the as- 
sembly : 


James H, Decker, Speaker C. T. Holloway 

J. G. Abbe Wingate King 

W. B. Beck T. ^I. Marquett 

W. G. Crawford D. B. Robb 

J. C. Campbell P. M. Rogers 

S. A. Chambers J. S. Stewart 

P. G. Cooper L. Sheldon 

E. A. Donelan S. A. Strickland 

James Davidson J. M. Taggart 

Joseph VanHorn A. J. Benedict 

Amos Gates Alonzo Perkins. 
W. B. Hail 



Leavitt L. Bowen, President S. M. Kirkpatrick 

Mills S. Reeves Wm. Clancy 

James S. Allen R. W. Furnas 

Jacob Safford A. ^Y. Puett. 

A. A. Bradford 

Turning, however, to look at the matter from the Omaha stand- 
point, we can get a good view of their side of the case by glancing 
over an ''extra" issued by the Omaha NebrasJcian on January 8, 
1858.* As is usual on such occasions it was a document rich in head 
lines and exclamation points : 

" Boeder Ruffianism in Nebraska ! Kansas Outdone ! ! 
Bold Attempt at Revolution ! ! ! Speaker Decker Head- 
ing THE Revolution ! ! ! ! JRevolutionists to Organize Another Gov- 
ernment at Florence under the Protection of Brigham You7ig!!!!!" 
Then the "extra," settling down to ordinary type and contenting it- 
self with only an occasional eruption of exclamation points, like the 
recurring sobs of an aggrieved child, goes on to talk of the "infamy" 
of the majority of the legislature and proceeds to give the "facts" in 
the case. According to this account the house had gone into com- 
mittee of the whole on the election of a public printer. A bill had 
been previously introduced for removing the capital from Omaha. 
While in the committee of the whole, certain Omaha members, hav- 
ing obtained the floor, began to talk against time, so that the commit- 
tee of the whole could never rise till the friends of the capital bill 
would promise not to push it. While Poppleton and Clayes were 
speaking ad libitum, Decker and his conspirators withdrew to the 
Douglas house, there to caucus, leaving the " committee of the whole" 
to grind out eloquence without a quorum. In the caucus it was re- 
solved, according to this account, to get possession of the chair at all 
hazards — "get it or die," Decker is reported to have said. Rumors 
assert that they armed themselves with revolvers and knives, but the 
Nebraskian does not state this as established. Returning to the 
capitol building they persuaded the clerk of the council to go into the 
house with a message from the upper chamber. To receive this in 
the usual parliamentary manner it would be necessary for the speaker 
of the house to resume the chair. This of course was what Decker 

* A copy of this extra is also preserved with vol. 1, Br. Adv. 


was ready and anxious to do. The chairman of the committee of the 
whole, however, saw fit to ask if the conncil was in session. As it 
was not he ruled that the message could not l)e received. Decker and 
his followers then assaulted the chairman, seized or attempted to seize 
the gavel, and a general melee ensued. Decker being at the head of 
the assaulting party, his life was at one time in immediate danger, but 
Hanscom of Omaha valorously interposed and saved him by " quickly 
rolling him under the tables without waiting to suspend the rules.' 
The lobby during all these performances was very "quiet and 
orderly" and was soon afterwards cleared at the request of a member 
from Omaha. The next morning the house adjourned to meet at 
Florence, which being wholly inadvisable, and the clerk of the house 
refusing to remove the records or to record such a motion, the minor- 
ity continued to meet in Omaha and adjourn from day to day, not 
having a quorum. At the time the motion to adjourn to Florence 
was made in council. Dr. Miller was- in the chair, and ruled the 
motion out of order, as it took a joint resolution, passed with the con- 
currence of the governor, to adjourn to any other place. Appeal was 
taken to this decision and sustained by a majority, but as he still re- 
fused to put the motion, the member who made it put it, and those 
who had voted for it moved off to Florence. The "extra" concludes 
by saying that they have talked with disinterested men from all parts 
of the territory, and that it is everywhere conceded that the position 
of the minority is "legal, parliamentary, and correct." 

Taking another position to see if haply we can get yet another 
view of this affair, we will look at it through the eyes of the editor 
of the Nebraska Pioneer, a paper published at Cuming city, the 
editor of which was at Omaha during the excitement, and who 
hastened to get out an "extra" as soon as possible, which was on the 
tenth of January.* He did not use so many headlines as the 
Nebraskian, but the body type was much larger, which perhaps 
answered as well. He goes back to relate how on the 6th inst. Mr. 
Abbe, of Otoe, had introduced in the house of representatives a bill 
for the removal of the Capital from Omaha. As soon as it was in- 
troduced a motion was made by an Omaha member to adjourn. Much 
confusion prevailed, but the motion being put, was lost by a vote of 
25 to 10. " Then commenced a scene which places border ruffianism 

• With Br. Adv. vol. 1. 


far in the shade. One of the members from our county (Mr. Perkins) 
was rudely assaulted by two prominent citizens of Omaha, and it is 
with deep regret that we state that one of these gentlemen was a 
member of the council. The war was now fairly open — Omaha 
against 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, 'condescended ' to allow it to be read the 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. 
Strickland in the chair. Mr. Strickland, wishing to make some re- 
marks On the question, called Morton to the chair; the minority then 
boasted that they had the chair. and would keep in committee of the 
whole the balance of the session unless the majority would agree to 
withdraw the capital bill. Mr. Poppleton, getting the floor, com- 
menced his famous speech against time ; he spoke of all conceivable 
subjects except public printing, beginning as far back as Gulliver's fa- 
mous history of the Lilliputian war. The lobbies were crowded, and 
Mr. Poppleton was loudly applauded by the Omaha lobby members.'^ 
Leaving to get something to eat, the editor of the Pioneer on his re- 
turn 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 announced and the speaker went 
to the stand to receive it. Hanscom rushed to the speaker and drag- 
ged him from the chair and after some scuffling threw him violently 
under a table." Beyond this point the account given by the Pioneer 
is lurid and wrathful, concluding with an apparent afterthought to the 
following effect: "We have just received an extra issued by the 
Omaha NebrmJcian which we unhesitatingly pronounce a tissue of 

Still more journalistic light is shed upon the occurrences of that 
exciting Thursday by an account written by Robert W. Furnas for 
his paper, the Nebraska Advertiser. -f He was one of the seceding 
members of the council, and took his time to prepare his two-column 
statement of the case, which did not appear in the Advertiser till the 
28th of the month. According to this account it seems that Omaha 
had published a list of property in the city which was said to be 

t Br. Adv., Jan. 28, 1858. ~~~' ' ~ "' 


pledged for the redemption of the scrip issued to complete the capitol 
building. Among the rest was placed the " Capitol square and the 
building thereon." This was an eye-opener to the members of the 
assembly from outside Omaha, who had supposed that the territory 
owned the square and building too. The capitol bill was then drafted 
as a means of bluffing the Omaha authorities into deeding the capitol 
and grounds to the territory. Furnas promises to bring affidavits to 
prove that had this been promptly done the capitol bill would never 
have been introduced. The other party was, however, ready to go 
them one better on the bluffing game, and things had to come to a 
crisis. With thorough appreciation of western character Furnas says 
that wdien the parties got to "you must," and "we will not," it was 
nothing strange nor unexpected that a " general pitch in, knock down 
and drag out" should occur among the members. 

The Nebraska City News * commented on tiie affair as a most for- 
tunate occurrence, because it led to the division of the territory on the 
line of the Platte, and this the editor considered most desirable : 
" The gentlemen may cry ' peace, peace,' but there is no peace." 

The fact seems to be tli^t the territorial assembly could not in any 
case have removed the capitol from Omaha without the consent of the 
executive, so that this affair w^as in its last analysis a mere ebullition 
of gratuitous lawdessness. At any rate the session of the majority of 
the assembly at Florence brought about nopermanent results. 

For further information regarding the early sectional squabbles the 
reader is referred to the paper by C. H. Gere in this volume on 
"The Capital Question." 


It may very properly be said that Samuel G. Daily was the Moses 
of tlie Republican party in Nebraska. There was no such organiza- 
tion till he was nominated as the party candidate for the place of ter- 
ritorial delegate to congress ; to that position he was elected, and in it 
he was installed after a most bitter contest with Estabrook. Before 
this time nothing was considered a w^orse charge than to accuse a per- 
son of aiding or abetting the "Black Republicans." This fearful 
slander was bandied back and forth by the neM^spapers and politicans. 
An old copy of the Omaha City Times is even unto this day black in 

* Jan. 16, 1858. 


the face (with head lines) so vehemently did it resent this imputation 
on the part of the Nebraskian. Between these two papers there was 
constant war. It has already been told how early political struggles 
centered about personal and sectional issues. These two papers were 
both in Omaha, and so were agreed on sectional questions, and the 
feud was necessarily a personal one. The Omaha postmastership was 
one of the bones of contention. The editor of the Times wanted the 
position, and held it periodically, according as his influence or that 
of Bird B. Cliapman could be most efficacious in " working " the ad- 
ministration at Washington. 

This Bird B. Chapman was an Oberlin graduate, who had taken 
the trouble to come all the way from Ohio to be made congressional 
delegate from the new territory. His first care was to establish a 
newspaper, the Nebraskian, which he left in good hands while absent 
in Washington, contesting for or occupying a seat as territorial dele- 
gate. The early papers talk about him and his carpet-bag, and he 
seems in reality to have been the prototype of the vast swarm of 
carpet-baggers that the south afterwards claimed to be overrun with. 

Like others of that ilk, his success was- more flattering at first than 
later. In 1856, we find Hiram Bennett contesting his seat. The 
majority of the house committee on elections reported in favor of the 
contestant. But no one need conclude from this that there was any 
show for Brother Bennett, On the contrary, they had concluded that 
Chapman was to have the i)lace, but had made a report of the kind 
stated merely to mollifv Bennett, and to make it appear right and 
fair that congress should vote to pay his mileage and per diem while 
contesting.* This way of doing M-as quite common, as it may be yet, 
and gave enterprising statesmen a chance to visit Washington and 
spend some months there agreeably and even profitably. Chapman 
got his seat and Bennett got the mileage and per diem as had been 
predicted by the metropolitan papers at the time of the committee 
report. The seat was hardly won, however, before the term expired 
and Chapman came home to wage fierce struggle for re-election. 

One of the first attempts at a party convention was made during 
the summer of 1857. It was ostensibly a family gathering of deino- 
crats, but in reality was only a caucus of one wing of that party. 

The Omaha papers declare that only two counties were actually 


represented, while individual men who happened to be present and 
"in sympathy with meeting," were allowed to cast the entire vote of 
two or three other counties. The Nebraskicm* in a long and labori- 
ous attempt to make fun of the whole affair, has the customary irrup- 
tion of headlines, and breaks out all over its bespeckled surface with 
italics and exclamation points. With long drawn out type, appar- 
ently intended to represent a typographic grin, it declares that the 
mountain (the Bellevue convention) has labored and brought forth a 
mouse (Judge Fenner Ferguson). The convention had certainly not 
been the most decorous and regular in the world, for the Brownville 
Advertiser speaks of the hubbub and brawling, in which "pistols, 
bowie-knives, and such like representatives of the people," played no 
inconsiderable part. As a matter of fact the convention was made 
up of those hostile to the interest of Omaha, and the Nehraskian 
calls Ferguson " Strickland's and Mitchell's great anti-Omaha, anti- 
democratic candidate for congress." 

To say that he was an anti-democratic candidate was a damning 
charge. It was in this campaign that Thayer took occasion in a speech 
in Omaha to clear himself of an alleged taint of republicanism, and to 
declare himself a supporter of the administration of James Buchanan.f 
It was just before the beginning of this campaign that Robert W. 
Furnas declared that his paper, the Advertiser, was no longer to be 
independent in politics, but would be henceforth strictly democratic^ 
and a " firm supporter of the great principles of the party of Jeffer- 
son, Jackson," et al.| It was long after this campaign that Judge 0» 
P. Mason thought it right and very expedient to take the stump for 
a democratic candidate.§ But in 1857, though Ferguson had been 
nominated by a would-be territorial democratic convention, yet his 
two opponents claimed to be more intensely democratic than himself. 
One of these was the above mentioned Bird B. Chapman, and the 
other was Gen. Estabrook. The name of the latter gentleman had 
been set at the head of the Omaha City Times as a candidate for dele- 
gate. The post-office fight was now at its hottest. The editor of the 
Times had recently been removed from office, a mass had been called 
to get indignant over the outrage, and the editor of the Times had 
used the following language relative to his brother editor of the Ne~ 

* July 15, 1857. 

t Nebraskian, Sept. 2, 1857. 

i June, 1857, at beginning of second year of Advertiser's existence. 

I For Kinney against Daily, 1862. 


braskian : " This editor, the slave of a man who is so contemptil>le 
his name defiles the mouth that speaks it, has taken this opportunity 
to insult and spite the people of this place. The whole faction of 
imported bobtails and sneaks feel the utter loathing which our towns 
have for them, and they cannot help casting their poisoned missiles on 
every occasion."* 

To add zest to this triangular contest for the delegate's seat in con- 
gress, as many as eighteen different persons advertised themselves in 
one of the July numbers of the Times as candidates for various local 
or territorial offices. These midsummer campaigns, intensified l)y 
such heated rhetoric as seems to have made up the stump speeches of 
the day, must have "made things hot" for political aspirants in more 
senses than one. But at that time there was nothing else for it. Each 
man had to go campaigning with his own conveyance, and travel 
about from one of the scattered settlements to another; allowing for 
bad weather and other detentions made it necessary to consecrate 
much time to the holy Avork of enlightening the people as to their 
duties as citizens. The candidate for congress had to know nearly 
every "squatter sovereign" in the territory, and win, in so far as pos- 
sible, his personal approval. All this took time, and so the campaign 
of '57 dragged on. On July 23, Estabrook published his personal 
" platform," which appears in the Times, and reads much as though it 
had been written by the editor. He makes a personal appeal for sup- 
port, but in the next week's j)aper withdraws from the race. We gather 
from the invective used by his pet editor — or rather the editor tliat; 
made a pet of him — that he took this step, believing that he had no 
chance of success, and that his candidacy might endanger the interestB 
of Omaha. The Florence Cowiei- had used headlines to ask the 
question, "Shall an Omaha man be our delegate ? " and the city began 
to fear that question would be answered in the negative. The Thnes 
on the day before the election had to content itself with a long 
exordium to the voters of the territory to appreciate the awful respon- 
sibility that rested upon them, and to choose wisely the man who wa,s 
to receive the high honor of their support, without naming any siu h 

Long after the early election had taken place it w'as uncertain w ho 
had won. It was the common practice of each side to reserve one or 

* Times of either June llth or 18th, 1857. 


two of the backwoods counties that they might doctor the returns there- 
from to suit the exigencies of the case. The Nebraska correspondent 
of the St. Louis Republican writes that ''the official vote is in from the 
entire territory with the exception of Pawnee county, to which Gov. 
Izard has dispatched two messengers, whether for the purpose of get- 
ting the returns, or with a commission to smell out illegalities and 
frauds, as his organ, the Nebraska City News, proclaims, or to manu- 
'ufacture votes, as a great many believe, is a matter of doubt." * 

The official count gave the election to Ferguson. But as a matter 
of course Chapman made preparations to contest, and it is with some 
returning pride in our American institutions that one is able to state 
that he not only failed to unseat Ferguson, but that he did not even 
get paid, as previous contestants had done, for waging a useless con- 
test, and wasting the time of congress. Before he got through with 
the affiiir he also was accused of having sold himself to the powers of 
darkness in the shape of " Giddings, Greeley, Douglas (Frederic), For- 
ney, etc." t 

As appro})riately following the fall elections of 1857, the Omaha 
City Times proceeded to publish an obituary notice of the republican 
party. After saying that it is customary to speak well of the dead, 
whether they deserve it or not, the editor implies the inference that, 
like the immortal G. W., he cannot lie, and is therefore constrained to 
break away from precedent. "Let that remain for some more deluded 
genius who claims to have been its friend and supporter. Let Gid- 
dings or his political compeer, Fred Douglas, bid their own adieus 
and sing their own requiems over the political abortion of their own 
paternity. In other words, ' let the dead bury the dead.' On all 
the issues they have raised they have been defeated, the outcry con- 
cerning the repeal of the Missouri compromise has howled itself into 
silence, the ravings about the Dred Scott decision have long since died 
away and are now only known as a matter of history, with much 
more to the same purpose.^ Verily " pride goetli before destruction, 
and a haughty spirit before a fall." 

In the next campaign the republican party was an organized body 
backing Daily for the position of delegate. His opponent was Gen. 
Estabrook. The personal element was still present in the political 

* Reprinted in Omaha Times, Oct. 1, 1857. 
t Times, Oct. 14, '58. 
X 'limes, JSov. 25, '57. 


work, as it always must be, and the sectional feeling was also present, 
as in this state it always has been. Daily was a man with warm 
friends, and many of them, though democrats, braved the stigma of 
being called republicans in order to support him. Besides this he was 
a South Platte man, and this prejudiced that section in his favor, while 
shrewd diplomacy kept the northern counties from breaking with 

There is one story of these early stumping expeditions which says 
that Daily used to take with him a gigantic friend by the name of 
Green, whose duty was to cow the roughs that might be inclined to 
interrupt the meetings, while Daily was then at liberty to take his 
hands from his pistol handles and be free to use them in the persuasive 
gesticulations fitting the occasion. The first campaign concluded with 
the official returns in favor of the democratic candidate, Gen. Esta- 
brook. Congress was democratic, and in the opinion of Daily's friends 
it was useless to contest the seat. But as a matter of course there 
were the usual western counties with no inhabitants and big returns, 
all in favor of one man, in this case the democratic candidate. Daily 
was a fighter by nature and had become more so by practice, and pre- 
pared to wage a contest on his own account, whether his friends thought 
it wise or not. The evidence submitted to the committee on j)rivileges 
and elections made a good sized octavo volume, and so complete was 
his exposition that the committee were practically unanimous in re- 
commending that he be given the seat. Time had dragged on till the 
republican convention had met at Chicago, and the debate on the 
adoption of the report of the committee was long and turned in a meas- 
ure upon national issues. When the vote was finally taken that ousted 
Estabrook, that gentleman arose and made his final speech in the 
congress of the United States as follows : 

'' Mr. Speaker, I thank the house for making me a sacrifice to the 
gods of the Chicago convention."* 

One fight followed speedily upon the heels of another. Hardly 
was the contest settled before Daily was compelled to begin a new 
canvass in the territory. The Nebraska City News, a rabidly demo- 
cratic sheet, casting about for something to hurt Daily with, could 
find nothing more effective than such a paragraph as this : 

" There is a well authenticated rumor abroad that Daily has secured 
* Cong. Rec. 


the support of many of the electors of Omaha city upon a written 
pledge to devote himself in congress to their interests, to the sacrifice 
and exclusion of other portions of the territory. He is known to have 
made the remark that ' South Platte has sold me out and can have no 
favors to ask, and damn me if I have any to give them.'" His op- 
ponent this second time was the wily and versatile Morton. The 
result was, as usual, disputed. Gov. Black issued the certificate of 
election to Morton. But about this time the war was beginning, and 
Black, though a democrat, was a patriot, and prepared to go to his 
home in Pennsylvania and enlist. Daily visited him at Nebraska 
City a short time before his departure. The differences between a 
republican and a war democrat were so few that it was hardly strange 
that they became very friendl)\ Daily was always an admirer of 
good horses and conveyances and bought Black's horse and carriage. 
It is not known how much he paid, but it is understood that it was 
enough to satisfy the retiring governor. So Daily drove back to his 
home near Peru inside the new carriage, and inside his pocket was an- 
other certificate of election, signed by Gov. Black and revoking the one 
that had been given to Morton. The latter knew nothing of the trans- 
action, and Daily had all the papers from his side made out and sent 
in as though he were an ordinary contestant, relying wholly on the 
justice of his cause to set aside interfering technicalities. But he took 
the precaution of hieing to Washington a few days ahead of Morton, 
presented his certificate of election, secured his seat, and left Morton 
to appear in the unexpected rdle of a contestant. The much mentioned 
" versatility " of the latter was put to a severe test. He got his papers 
ready, however, as soon as possible and began the battle. In the 
meantime ex-Gov. Black had been killed at the head of his regiment. 
Congress was no longer overwhelmingly democratic. When it ciime 
to look at these two certificates of election, it naturally inquired, 
"What kind of a man was this Black, anyhow, who seems to have 
done such very contradictory things?" Duini, of Indiana, made an- 
swer that he was a man who had resigned a lucrative place under the 
corrupt administration of James Bucluuian to go and give his life for 
an imperiled country, and this fact, eloquently sprung upon the house, 
made them conclude to accept Black's decision of the question, which 
was accordingly done.* 

* Pers. Recol. and Coug. Rec. 


The first election, so conducted that no one thought it worth while 
to contest, was between Daily and Judge Kinney. Daily's hardest 
work at this time had been to secure the republican nomination, as 
he was only selected as the party candidate on the forty-seventh ballot. 
In this campaign there was a good deal of joint discussion. Perhaps 
the bitter contest in the convention had weakened Daily. At least 
O. P. Mason was among those who worked and spoke against him? 
but keen observers noticed that Mason's speeches did not hurt Daily 
much, and it was shrewdly suspected that he did not intend they 
should. The majority for Daily when the returns were all in was 
only one hundred and thirty-six,* but things had been so closely 
watched that Kinney saw no use of contesting. Through the whole 
campaign it had been urged against him that he was holding a place 
under the government in the territory of Utah, and the republican pa- 
pers and speakers always referred to him as " Chief Justice Kinney of 
Utah," and insisted that government was paying him six dollars per 
day for supposed services in Utah, w'hile he was campaigning in Ne- 
braska. After the election his conduct went far to prove that he was 
a typical carpet-bagger, for he flitted off to one of the other territories 
and soon got returned to Washington as delegate from there. While on 
his way west to begin this second campaign, he stopped one night with 
Daily and had a long and friendly talk about the struggle just closed. 
*' ^^'ell, Sam," he said at last, " that campaign cost me four thousand 
dollars, and I believe if I had spent another thousand I should have 
downed you." Then he added, after a thoughtful silence, clinching 
his fist as he spoke, "and I'd have spent it too, but" (regretfully) "I 
thought I had spent enough. "f 

It is not the intention to draw much material for these sketches 
from this side the fifties, but having passed that limit it may do no 
harm to give just one glimpse of politics during the war. This pur- 
pose will be sufficiently well answered by reproducing a few extracts 
from a speech of J. Sterling Morton, delivered May 9, 1863, be- 
fore the Council Bluffs Democratic Club, and afterwards published 
in the Nebraska City News.X The extracts are of interest mainly as 
examples of how mountains of rhetoric and ostensible logic may get 
melted down by the tumbling seas of political commotion like so many 

* Files of Omaha Republican have been used for this campaign. 

f Pen-. Kecol. 

J I copy from a chance preserved copy of the News, kindly given me by Mrs. Samuel G. Daily. 


Ararats of loaf sugar. The speaker began by telling how bewildered a 
common rustic is when he first enters Barnum's museum, and then 
added : " So an unpractised speaker who attempts to-day the investi- 
gation of the politics of the present administration, and endeavors to 
collect and put upon exhibition some of the political monstrosities of 
abolition, is at once lost and dumbfounded amidst the magnificence of 
the imbecility and the grandeur of the knavery which has filled that 
great curiosity shop of corruption at Washington City, over which 
Mr. A. Lincoln — inimitable anecdoter of Illinois — presides with a 
mirth and merriment as potent for side splitting as his arm and axe 
were once for rail splitting, or his present conduct of public affairs i& 
for union splitting." He goes on to show how the black republicans 
had contrived to force the south into rebellion and to " draw from 
them the first fire," how the abolitionists had brought it all about to 
obtain their own nefarious ends, and how the president, yielding at 
last to pressure, had '' advised emancipation as the wonderful patent 
abolition panacea for a sick nation." After detailing the results of 
this policy, he asks : 

*'Do we desire to investigate still further in the African business? 
Has it not declared a dividend ? Go over the battle field, look down 
through the green sod into the hastily filled graves of good and brave 
men. These grinning skulls, these meatless limbs, these slimy worms 
that revel in forms once animate and strong as yours or mine — forms 
whose images are photographed upon the heart tablets of weeping 
widows, mourning mothers, and dimly shadowed in the souls of the 
fatherless. Is not tJiis its dividend? Its full fruition? Abolition 
has paid fat contractors ; has paid the brother-in-law of the secretary 
of the navy (for buying old hulks to sink in Charleston harbor) $65,- 
000 in five months — more than has been appropriated to all the terri- 
tories in the last year. Abolition has paid Beecher, paid Greeley,, 
paid Phillips, paid Garrison, paid those transcendental and loose jointed 
intellects that shed a sickly light through solemn rolling eyes upon 
the cadaverous branbread faces and crazed heads that sometimes sur- 
mount a white cravat and other garb of solemn mien, and im})iously 
call themselves preachers of Christ and Him crucified. Sucli men, 
such things it has paid." 

And after some eight columns of similar eloquence he nears his con- 
clusion thus : "As the voice of God called unto Abraham of old, say- 


iiig unto him: ^Abraliam, take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, 
whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land Moriah, and oiFer 
him there for a burnt oifering/ so during the fall elections in the 
great states of Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, and New York, a voice — vox 
populi vox Dei — like the sound of many waters, has cried unto our 
Abraham, saying : ' Take now thy well beloved friend and brother 
Abolition, and get thee into the boundaries of the constitution of thy 
fathers, and ofier him there for a peace oifering.' But in vain ! Abra- 
ham of this generation is stiff-necked and heedeth not the reprimand- 
ing voice of a displeased people. He and his party proceed, emanci- 
pating and to emancipate, and if to-night God in His infinite mercy 
and goodness should call the weary spirit of every black slave in all 
this broad land to come up higher, to pass from earth and to float 
triumphant up through the stars and the shining worlds to heaven, 
Lincoln and his nigger-crazed counsellors would awake to-morrow 
and weep bitter tears because there would be no more niggers to free, 
to feed, to clothe, and to tax us for." 

From the intensity of such sentiments we may judge of the white 
heat- of enthusiasm in which those persons labored who opposed and 
triumphed over them. Long afterwards, when the war was over and 
nothing was left but the reconstruction quarrel between Andy John- 
son and congress, enough of the ante-rebellion hatred was left to lead 
an aged minister to make a most unusual prayer. It was in the old sand- 
stone "seminary," in the town of Lancaster — the geographical prede- 
cessor of Lincoln — at a meeting of the Protestant Methodist conference. 
Perhaps he was one of those that Morton would have described as 
having " solemn rolling eyes and a crazed head," but though old, his 
appearance was certainly not cadaverous. The struggle between John- 
son and congress was at its bitterest. As the minister in the course 
of his long prayer besought divine guidance for the various classes of 
public oflicials, he warmed to his work. He prayed for all the vari- 
ous ranks of functionaries that they might be wise, and courageous and 
faithful. When he came to congress, he ventured to ask that the^ 
might have "facesl ike anvils, to bear any amount of hammering." 
At last he said after a pause — " And our president (long pause) — Oh 
Lord (minor pause) we don't wish him any harm. But be pleased to 
grant him a very short life and a happy death ; and as long as grass 
grows and water runs, deliver us from such another."* 

* Pers. Recol. 


The first editorial ever written for an Omaha paper was as fol- 

" Well, strangers, friends, patrons, and the good people generally, 
wherever in the wide world your lot may be cast, and in whatever 
clime this Arrow may reach yon, here we are upon Nebraska soil, 
seated upon the stump of an ancient oak, which serves for an editorial 
chair, and the top of our badly abused beaver for a table, we purpose 
editing a leader for the Omaha Arroiv. 

"•An elevated tableland surrounds us ; the majestic Missouri, just 
oif on our left, goes sweeping its muddy course adown towards the 
Mexican gulf, whilst the background of the pleasing picture is filled 
up with Iowa's loveliest, richest scenery. Away upon our left, spread- 
ing far away in the distance, lies one of the loveliest sections of 
Nebraska. Yon rich, rolling, widespread and beautiful prairie, 
dotted with timber, looks lovely enough just now, as heaven's free 
sunlight touches off in beauty the lights and shades, to be literally 
entitled the Eden land of the world, and inspire us with flights of 
fancy upon this antiquated beaver, but it won't pay. There sticks our 
axe in the trunk of an old oak, whose branches have for years been 
fanned by the breezes that constantly sweep from over the ofttimes 
flower dotted prairie lea, and from which we purpose making a log 
for our cabin claim. 

"Yonder come two stalwart sons of the forest, bedecked in their 
native finery. They approach, and stand before us in our sanctum. 
The dancing feathers which adorn their heads once decked the gaudy 
plumage of the mountain eagle. The shades of the rainbow appear 
on their faces. They extend the hand of friendship with an emphatic 
"cuggy how" (how are you, friend), and knowing our business, re- 
quest us by signs and gesticulations to write in the Arrow to the 
Great Father that the Omahas want what he has promised them, and 
they ask us also to write no bad about them. We promise compli- 
ance whilst they watch the progress of our pencil back and forth over 
the paper. But let us proceed. What shall we say ? But little. 

"The Arrow^s target will be the general interest and welfare of this 
highly favored, new and beautiful territory upon which we have now 

* Omaha Arroir, Vol. 1, No. 1, whioh appeared Jul}' 28, 1846. Part of it was reprinted by 
Soreusou, Early Ilist. Omaha, pp. 46-6. 


for the first established a regular weekly paper. Our caste is decidedly 
* Young Amei'ican' in spirit and politics. We are in favor of any- 
thing that runs by steam or electricity, and the unflinching advocates 
of the ' sovereigns of the soil.' 

" The pioneering squatter and the uncivilized red man are our con- 
stituents and neighbors. The wolves and deers are our travelling 
companions, and the wild birds and prairie winds our musicians, — 
more highly appreciated than all the carefully prepared concerts of 
earth. Surrounded by associations, circumstances and scenes like these, 
what do you expect from us, anxious reader? Do not be disappointed 
if you do not always get that Avhich is intelligible and polished from 
our pens (we mean those of the east and south, the pioneers under- 
stand our dialect). Take, therefore, what you get with a kindly heart 
and no grumbling. In the support of the national democratic party? 
the advocacy of the Pacific railroad upon the only feasible route — the 
Platte valley — the progress, of Nebraska and the interest of the people 
among whom we live, always count the Ai^oiv flying, liitting, and 
cutting. We shoulder our axe and bid you adieu until next week." 

J. W. Pattison, the author of this almost amateurish salutatory, 
was the editor of the Arrow during its short existence of twelve 
weeks, when it was conducted in a manner which attracted considera- 
ble attention from eastern papers and subscribers. This was in reality 
the main object of the enterprise. If any one should happen to 
wonder how a newspaper man who had no better editorial tripod than 
a stump could have much of a printing establishment, it must be con- 
fessed that this paper, ostensibly a Nebraska enterprise, was really 
printed in Council Bluffs. However, it was run in the interest of 
Nebraska settlers, either present or prospective, and was already culti- 
vating a contempt for its place of origin, the Bluffs — this alone would 
mark it as being indubitably Omahogish in nature. J. E. Johnson, 
who was joined with Pattison in the undertaking and was the busi- 
ness manager of the affair, was a Mormon and had three or four 
wives. Being so well supplied in this regard, it was but natural that 
he should also have a large number of callings by which to earn a 
living for himself and them. Besides managing the business part of 
the Arrow he also practiced law, ran a blacksmith shop, was an insur- 
ance agent, and carried on a general merchandising business. Perhaps 
he would now be a shining light in this state in some of these lines, 


but his habit of frequent marrying made advisable his departure for 
Utah in 1856.* 

Pattison was an eminently quotable writer, and as he seems to 
have worked with his eastern readers in his thoughts, his editorials 
and locals throw much more light upon the early times than those 
of the later newspaper men. For instance, one of the editorials in 
the first number was headed "A Night in Our Sanctum," and was as 
follows : 

" La,st night we slept in oiu- sanctum — the starry -decked heaven for 
a ceiling and mother earth for a flooring. It was a glorious night and 
we were tired from the day's exertions. Far away on difierent poi'- 
tions of the prairie glimmered the camp fires of our neighbors, the 
Pawnees, Omalias, or that noble and too often unappreciated class of 
our own people known as pioneers or squatters. We gathered around 
onr little camp fire, talked of times of the past, of the pleasing pres- 
ent, and of the glorious future which the march of civilization would 
open in the land whereon we sat. The new moon was just sinking 
behind the distant prairie roll, but slightly dispelling the darkness 
which crept over our loved and cherished Nebraska land. We thought 
of the distant friends and loved ones, who, stretched upon beds of 
downy ease, little appreciated the unalloyed pleasure, the heaven- 
blessed comfort that dwelt with us in this far-oif land. No busy 
hum of the bustling world served to distract our thoughts. Behind 
us was spread our buifalo robe in an old Indian trail, which was to 
serve as our bed and bedding. The cool night wind swept in cooling 
breezes around us, deep laden with the perfume of thousand-hued and 
varied flowers. Far away upon our lea came the occasional howl of the 
prairie wolves. Talk of comfort — there was more of it in one hour 
of our sanctum camp life, and of camp life generally upon Nebraska 
soil, than in a whole life of fashionable, pampered world in the set- 
tlements, and individually we would not have exchanged our sanctum 
for any of those of our brethren of the press who boast of its neat- 
ness and beauty of artificial adornment. 

" The night stole on, and we in the most comfortable manner in the 
world — and editors have a faculty of making themselves comfortable 
together — crept between art and nature, our blanket and buffalo, to 
sleep, and perchance to dream, of battles, sieges, fortunes, and perils, 

* See Early Hist. Omaha, chap. vii. 


the imminent breach. To dreamland we went. The busy hum of 
business from factories and the varied branches of mechanism from 
Omaha city reached our ears. The incessant rattle of innumerable 
drays over the paved streets, the steady tramp of ten thousand of an 
animated, enterprising population, the hoarse orders fast issuing from 
the crowd of steamers upon the levee, loaded with the rich products o^ 
the state of Nebraska, and unloading the fruits, spices and products 
of other climes and soils greeted our ears. Far away fi-om toward the 
setting sun came telegraphic dispatches of improvements, progress, 
and moral advancement upon the Pacific coast. Cars full freighted 
with teas, silks, etc., were arriving from thence and passing across the 
stationary channel of the Missouri river with lightning speed, hurry- 
on to the Atlantic seaboard. The third express train on the Council 
BluiFs and Galveston railroad came thundering close by us with a 
shrill whistle that brought us to our feet knife in hand. We rubbed 
our eyes, looked into the darkness beyond to see the flying train. 
They had vanished, and the shrill second neigh of our lariated horses 
gave indication of the danger near. The hum of business in and 
around the city had also vanished, and the same rude camp fires were 
before us. We slept again, and daylight stole upon us refreshed and 
ready for another day's labor." 

At the risk of turning this sketch of early journalism into a series 
of extracts from the Ai'row, we venture to quote still further from the 
file of that paper now treasured by Mr. Byron Eeed, of Omaha. The 
file is complete with the exception of the sixth number, is proba- 
bly the only one in existence, and was secured by him at a cost of 
thirty dollars, or something more than two dollars and a half per 
number. On the first issue we find this surprising item : " As many 
of our foreign friends will be unable to pronounce the word Omaha, 
we will from our Indian dictionary assist them. The proper pronun- 
ciation is ' O-maw-haw,' accenting the middle syllable." There is also 
a notice that Omaha has just been surveyed by A. D. Jones, and that 
the colored maps and plates, without which no " city " could in those 
days achieve greatness, were in course of preparation. Later on the 
editor of the Arrow felicitates himself on the receipt, "clear out here 
in the wilds of Nebraska," of a copy of G(xlcy's Lady's Book, which 
one would suppose that his partner, Johnson, might have had more 
use for. An extended trip up the Platte with a company of land 


hunters supplied him with material for an interesting series of sketches 
entitled 'Mourneyings and Jottings in Nebraska." In the second num- 
ber we find an account of a visit from Mr. Reed, of the Bellevue 
semi-monthly Palladium. The accounts which the two editors pre- 
pared of their trip together over the site of the alleged city of Omaha 
differ widely, one being written by a man whose business it was to 
boom that town, and the other by one whose business it was to 
boom a rival place. On the 3d of November the Arrow published 
five columns of very flattering notices of itself clipped from other 
papers, and only survived this ebullition of egotism one week. 

Its place at Omaha was taken by the Nebraskian, which was started 
late in the year 1854, tor the purpose of getting Bird B. Chapman to 
congress, and succeeded to perfection. This paper, from which fre- 
quent quotations have been made in the previous articles of this 
series, continued to lead a vigorous and belligerent existence, fighting 
with valor and bitterness the battles of its owners, of Omaha, and of 
the North Platte wing of the unterrified democracy, till in 1865 it 
subsided to make room for the Omaha Herald. Like most of the 
early papers its rhetoric was often more forcible than correct, and 
sometimes more startling than either, as when, in speaking of the 
character of Izard, who had just retired from the governorship, it 
said that " as perfection is seldom attained, it would be well to let the 
mouth of charity descend over his faults." 

On June 11, 1857, appeared the first number of the Omaha City 
Weekly Times. The motto of this paper (most of the papers of the day 
considered it necessary to have a motto — some of them two) was the 
old couplet, 

"Pledged but to truth, to liberty and law, 
No favor sways us, and no fear shall awe." 

It observed, rather obscurely, in its salutatory, that " Public opinion is 
the mark of this modern civilization. The public opinion of Rome 
was once the thought of Cicero, The public opinion of Euroi3e was 
once the will of Charlemagne. As the great engine of power is the 
mark of our modern civilization it has made for itself its own in- 
structor — an instructor als6 and equally a peculiarity of our age — this 
is the Press." 

In 1857 was published a prospectus of the Omaha Daily Times, 
which was to begin as soon as there was sufficient advertising patron- 
age secured to warrant the outlay of publishing an evening paper, but 


nothing came of it, and in 1859 the Times Avas merged into the 

"AVestward the star of empire takes its way," was the appropriate 
motto of the first daily ever published in the state. Henry Z. Curtis 
was the manager of the Omaha Daily Telegraph, which began to be 
issued on the 11th of December, 1860. The editor had a talent for 
quoting and misquoting Shakespeare. The paper circulated both in 
Omaha and Council Bluffs, but the patronage was not sufficiently large 
to keep it up. At the end of six months it was reduced in size so 
that it could be printed on a hand-press, and soon after ceased alto- 

To aid the republican party, which had just begun to struggle into 
existence in this territory, the Omaha Republican was established in 
1858, a paper that has since had a continuous and most prosperous 
career. As the war drew on it adopted for its motto, " Liberty and 
union, now and forever, one and inseparable," and fought it through 
on that line. 

Turning from Omaha we find various papers in the different river 
towns. The earliest was probably the Bellevue Palladium, already 
mentioned. At Brownville, on the 7th of June, 1856, appeared the 
first number of the Nebraska Advertiser, " an independent newspaper, 
devoted to matters of general interest to the community at large." 
Robert W. Furnas was the editor, and thus strikes into the high hero- 
ics in his salutatory : " At the call of duty we bestir ourself, and at 
the expense of our own peace and happiness tread the path she lays 
out for us — tread it though paved with thorns and sown thick with 
perils." In enumerating the classes he wishes to serve, the editor says 
the paper is to be " for the ladies a mirror, from which may be reflected 
their numberless virtues and winning graces." The cause of the in- 
sertion of this gallant passage may perhapsbethat a company of young 
people had gathered at the printing office just before the stock and 
press arrived, and had dedicated it with a most enjoyable dance. After 
awhile the jidvertiser seemed to become dissatified with the objects it 
had been aiming at, and became a paper "devoted to art, science, 
agriculture, commerce, news, politics, general intelligence, and the in- 
terests of Nebraska." This was surely a comprehensive programme for 
a weekly paper of those early days, even though it did claim, but with- 
out entire justice, to be the largest paper above St. Joe. In politics it 
was strictly non-partisan the first year, but while Furnas was absent 


as a member of the territorial assembly the " sub" who managed 
things in his absence felt the restraint sorely. '' We are trammeled by 
neutrality. We deprecate, we despise neutrality, but contrary to our 
feelings the path already marked out must be followed. We can say 
this much — which, by the way, is consoling — if the editor lingers at 
Omaha one hour beyond his time, up goes our banner at the masthead 
with some kind of principles inscribed thereon." To prevent such a 
catastrophe in the future, Furnas, at the beginning of the second 
year, announced the Advertiser as a democratic sheet, and it proceeded 
to read the slavery question out of politics, to hurrah for Douglas, to 
complain of Daily's fanaticism in trying to organize the republican 
party, and to conduct itself in other regards after its kind. One thing 
to be noticed about this paper from the start was the attention paid to 
agriculture. Though a department was given up to poetry, and an- 
other to " select tales," and such like matters, that now fill the "pat- 
ent" portions of the country press, yet the farm department was well 
taken care of. It was announced at the head of the editorial columns 
that the editor had " a fine lot of upland cranberry plants for sale." 
The paper published tlie entire premium list of the first Nebraska ter- 
ritorial fair, to be held at Nebraska City, September 21-3, '59, and in 
many ways the future successful secretary of the state board of agricul- 
ture prophesied of himself by his method of conducting the paper ; 
while on the first of October, 1859, he began the publication of a 
monthly called the Nebraska Fanner. 

The Florence Courier, John INI. Mentzer editor, had much to say 
on sectional topics, and with an eye to the future terminus of the trans- 
continental railroad chose for its motto : " We would rather be in 
the right place on rock bottom, than have the capital of the territory." 
The people of Florence found before they were through with it that 
another kind of "rocks" than those at the bottom of a river might 
have influence in directing the course of a railroad line. 

It had been the intention to speak of some of the other territorial 
papers — of the Plattsmouth Jefersonian, of which ]\Iarquett was ed- 
itor for a time, of the DeSoto Pilot, of that rabid democratic sheet, the 
Nebraska City Neics, and other journalistic enterprises of the fifties. 
But enough has been said to indicate the nature of territorial journal- 
ism. It did a great work in the development of the territory ; it was 
rough and pugnacious, but withal manly and efficient. Nothing is 


more to be regretted in regard to our early historical records than tlie 
very general destruction of the old newspaper files. A couple of de- 
fective volumes at the state library, a complete file of the Advertiser 
in the possession of ex-Gov. Furnas, carefully preserved files of several 
papers in the possession of Byron Reed, and a few scattered volumes 
being kicked about the lumber rooms of the older newspapers, seem 
to be almost the extent of such records yet in existence, though some 
of the old settlers have preserved still others. 

The State Historical society could very profitably undertake the 
work of cataloguing these newspaper files, the recording of the names 
of the owners, and the places of deposit. 


By Hon. C. H. Gere. 
[Read before the Society, January 12, 1886.] 

To found a city is a human ambition older than history. The 
name of the engineer that set the metes and bounds of the first block 
and street in Jertisalem, or Athens, or Philadelphia, or Minneapo- 
lis, may be obliterated by the tides of time, but his work endures 
to this day, and the man who would tamper wdth his records or shift 
his landmarks, is a miscreant by the unanimous voice of the nations. 
But there are other ambitions almost as exigent. Other than dreams 
of immortality nerve many a pioneer to make the fight for his rival 
site for the seat of government of a state, or of a county, or for a 
railroad station. It is a dream of corner lots, of speculation, of bonds 
and mortgages, and deeds and commissions, and sudden w^ealth. 

The transformation of a rough pebble to a diamond, of a fragment 
of dirty looking carbonate, trodden under foot by a hundred prospec- 
tors, to a button of shining metal, are realizations of the fairy tales of 
childhood, no more seductive to the bearded son of the child, than the 
transformation of a square mile of wilderness, for the present dear 
enough at the cost of measuring it with compass and chain, by the 
breath of a law or an ordinance into a realm worth a prince's portion. 


Upon the area of a new commonwealth, therefore, are waged incess- 
ant contests. The larger armies fight for capital sites, lesser powers 
war for county seats, and finally small squads here and there struggle 
over the location of a post-office or a sawmill, and wounds are given 
and received, and graveyards filled with the politically slaughtered on 
the field or in the skirmish line, with as much recklessness as though 
the fate of administrations and the control of empires depended upon 
the issue. 

The first governor of the territory of Nebraska was clothed with 
imperial powers by the organic act and the appointment of the presi- 
dent in the matter of setting up his official residence. Empowered to 
select the spot for the political center of his virgin domain, he wielded 
for a time, in the minds of his fellow citizens, the thunderbolt of Jove, 
and guided the coursers of Apollo. But hardly had he arrived in Oc- 
tober, 1854, at the old mission house at Bellevue, the site of the first 
white occupation of the territory, before he sickened, and in lesj than 
a week he was dead. His last hours were troubled by the delegations 
on hand and forcing their way to his bedside, who came to urge the 
respective claims of Omaha, or Florence, or Plattsmouth, or Nebraska 
City foi>the seat of government. Bellevue considered herself safe, and 
the words of the dying.Burt are often quoted by old citizens to this day 
as indicating that she would have won the crown, had the governor 
lived long enough to issue the necessary proclamation. 

His secretary of state, now his acting successor. Gov. Cuming, unem- 
barrassed by the past, pledged to no one, because no one had dreamed 
of his approaching greatness, had an embarrassment of riches in the 
shape of eligible sites offered him at once. Bellevue had perhaps the 
first claim, because she had the largest settlement and the greatest pres- 
tige. But all along the muddy banks of the Missouri, above and be- 
low her, were other cities, mostly on paper, though some had arrived 
at the dignity of a few scattering log cabins and dug-outs, that wres- 
tled for the supremacy. Most of their inhabitants lived over in Iowa, 
but the fact that they intended to elect, and did elect, a goodly portion 
of the coming territorial legislature, was a sufficient excuse for their 
pleading, and they made the executive ears warm with their argu- 

By what pathways the acting governor was led to pitch the impe- 
rial tent upon the plateaux of Omaha it is not our province to inquire. 


If the statesmen of Kanesville, later Council Bluffs, had a hand in the 
matter, that city soon had reason to mourn that the nest of the new 
commonwealth was lined with plumage 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 across the 
four miles of dreary bottom that separates the waxing from the waning 

For the time being Omalia was the capital, and the first legislature, 
with ample power to endorse or cancel the governor's location, was the 
next object of the executive attention, and it was his chiefest care to 
fortify and defend Omaha. A pretended enumeration of the inhabi- 
tants of the territory was made in November, 1854, upon which the 
governor proceeded to base the representation of the members of tho 
territorial council and house of representatives. Four counties were 
constructed north of the Platte, named Burt, Douglas, Washington, 
and Dodge. Four were assigned to the South Platte — Cass, Pierce, 
Forney, and Richardson. Douglas county extended to the Platte, 
embracing what is now Sarpy and Pierce, and Forney stood for what 
are uov/ the counties of Otoe and Nemaha. 

To the counties north of the Platte were apportioned seven council- 
men and fourteen representatives, and to the southern counties were 
given six councilmen and twelve representatives. The enumeration 
made next year showed that the four northern counties contained 2,065 
inhabitants, and the four counties south of the Platte contained 2,944. 
Here was the beginning of the trouble, the inequitable apportionment 
of the legislative representation, by which the section of the state knowrt 
thenceforth as the ''South Platte" country, was arbitrarily placed in 
the minority in each branch of the legislature, though greatly prepon- 
derating in population and wealth. 

It is a matter of tradition that there was no definite eastern bound- 
ary of the territory during that first legislative election. The candi- 
dates were often residents of Iowa, who had claims on the other side 
of the great river, whose name as well as birthright had been stolen 
by a lesser affluent of the JNIississippi to the eastward, and were voted 
for in Pottawatamie, and Mills, and Fremont, as well as in Washington, 
Douglas, and Cass. Sometimes the electors would form a camp for 
polling purposes on Nebraska soil, but where this was inconvenient it 
is rumored that they transacted the necessary business without leavinj; 


their Iowa homes, and merely dated their papers from the new com- 

The governor's location was not disputed by that body, or the next, 
^ut when the third annual session of the territorial legislature opened 
in 1857 the trouble began immediately. The council still numbered 
seven from the north and six from the south, while the house had 
been increased to thirty-one members, sixteen from the north, and fif- 
teen from the south. Douglas county absorbed twelve of the sixteen 
North Platte members. But her delegation was divided against itself. 
The memory of the lost chances that had stricken Bellevue with dry 
rot and had blighted the budding hopes of the Florentines, rankled in 
the bosoms of two representatives, one of whom hailed from the 
southern, and the other from the northern, extremity of the county. 
Youthful politicians wear out their hearts with the vain imagining 
that "to get even" is the chiefest end of statesmanship, and these 
united with the chafed warriors of the south in a raid on Omaha. 

A bill was passed early in the session by both houses locating the 
seat of government " in the town of Douglas, in the county of Lancas-r 
ter." It was a curious prophecy of the event ten years later. Stephen 
A. Douglas was then the rising star of the party that had been domi- 
nant for thirty-two out of the forty years last past. He was the idol 
of the democracy of the north, and was exhausting the resources of an 
acute and fertile intellect in plans for conciliating his southern breth- 
ren without losing his hold upon the affections of the north. He was 
certain to be a candidate for president, and if the party was united was 
certain of election. Three years later he and his cunningly devised 
statesmanship were swept away, his old townsman and hitherto almost 
unknown competitor, had supplanted him as the great popular leader, 
and ten years later gave the name to the capital of Nebraska. " 

Govenor Izard, who had in the meantime relieved acting Governor 
Cuming of the burden of executive honors, promptly vetoed the bill. 
He explained in his message that it was a sudden movement of the en- 
emies of Omaha, that the question had not been agitated by the peo- 
ple, that the alleged town of Douglas, in the county of Lancaster, was 
a mere figment of the legislative imagination, invented for the occasion 
and that its actual location in the county named was problematical, 
being as yet the football of factions within the faction that had passed 
the remov^al bill. 


A year later, at a meeting of the fourth legislative assembly, the 
quarrel broke out afresh. Governor Izard had resigned, and Richardson, 
his successor, had not arrived, and Secretary Cuming was again in the 
chair. Nine days prior to the expiration of the session, on the 7th of 
January, a bill M-as introduced for the removal of the capital to Flor- 
ence. The various tactical obstructions in the reach of the minority, 
engineered by such rising young statesmen as' Dr. Geo. L. Miller, 
president of the council, and A. J. Poppleton and J. Sterling Morton 
in the house, made it impossible to accomplish the object without 
strategy. The strategy resorted to was simple, but startling. On the 
morning of the 8th Mr. Donelan of Cass placidly rose in his place 
and moved " that we do now adjourn to meet at Florence to-morrow 
morning at the usual hour." Speaker Decker, who was one of the remov- 
ers, put the question from, the chair, as though it was the most natural 
thing in the world to meet at Florence to-morrow morning; and the 
motion prevailed, and the speaker and all but thirteen members of the 
house picked up their hats and left the chamber. The thirteen held 
the fort, elected Morton speaker pro tern., and gallantly effected an ad- 
journment to meet again on the morrow at the old stand. 

A similar scene was transpiring in the council. Dr. Miller, in the 
chair, refused to put the motion to adjourn to Florence, and it was put 
by Reeves of Otoe, declared carried, and eight councilmen stalked out 
into the cold world and prej)ared themselves for an eternal exodus to 
the village up the river. As to this emigration Douglas county was' 
again divided against herself. Bowen and Allen, the one representing 
Florence, and the other standing for that cruel Juno, Bellevue, whose 
lofty mind still revolved vengeance for the judgment of Paris and her 
injured beauty, were the leaders in the race, and behind the twain 
marched Bradford and Reeves of Otoe, Kirkpatrick of Cass, Safford 
of Dodge, and Furnas of Nemaha. 

Governor Richardson arrived about this time, to find two capitals 
and two legislatures in full blast, and himself the unwilling arbitrator 
of tlie war. He promptly refused to recognize the Florence legisla- 
ture, though it had the majority in both houses. The forty days limit 
of the session broke up both bodies, and they each adjourned, leaving 
the business of the session undone, and the territory without a code 
of criminal law, and thus ended the first and last attempt recorded in 
history to attach the removal of a seat of government to a motion to 
adjourn until to-morrow morning. 


The consequence was an extra session not long after, in 1859, at 
which much business was done, and in which Mr. Daily of Nemaha 
introduced a bill to abolish slavery in the territory, but during which 
the capital agitation slumbered and slept. 

Then there was an interregnum. The civil war quenched sectional 
bickerings, and the ambitions of leaders had objects more alluring than 
the founding of cities. But the war came to an end, and when the last 
territorial legislature of 1867 met, the old question of unfair apportion- 
ment came to tlie front again. The population of the South Platte 
section had increased until it was about double that of the counties 
north of the troublesome stream. But the superior tactics of the Doug- 
las county leaders held down its representation to such an extent that 
it had but seven of the thirteen councilmen, and twenty-one of the thir- 
ty-seven representatives. Two threads of policy had intertwisted to 
make the resistance to a re-appointment, based upon actual population, 
sufficiently strong to overcome the justice supposed to be latent in the 
minds of statesmen. 

The first was the fear entertained by Douglas county of the re-open- 
ing of the capital agitation. The North Platte was now about a unit in 
favor of Omaha, as against a southern competitor. The second was a 
political consideration. A re-apportionment meant a cutting down of 
the representation from Otoe as well as Douglas counties, both demo- 
cratic strongholds. These counties, with the assistance of some lesser 
constituences in the north of the Platte, which sent democratic delega- 
tions, were able to hold a very even balance in the legislature against 
the republicans, though the latter had an unquestionable majority in 
the territory. Now that statehood was imminent, and there were two 
United States senators to be elected by a state legislature soon to be 
called, in case President Johnson should succeed in his plan of defeat- 
ing our admission under the enabling act of 1864, it was of immense 
importance to stave off a re-apportionment. 

Hence for capital reasons the republicans from the North Platte, and 
the democrats from the South Platte, worked in harmony with Doug- 
las county members in preserving a basis of representation in its origi- 
nal inj ustice. The usual bill for a new apportionment had been intro- 
duced and passed the senate, and came to the house, but the four votes 
from Otoe county being solid against it, it was sleeping the sleep of 
the just. In the speaker's chair was Wm. F. Chapin of Cass, an ex- 


pert parliamentarian, cool, determined, watchful, and untiring. The 
session was drawing to a close, and it was Saturday; the term expired 
at 12 o'clock, midnight, on the following Monday, and as usual the 
results of pretty much all the toil and perspiration of the forty days 
depended upon a ready and rapid dispatch of business during the 
remaining hours of the session. 

There was something sinister in the air. It was whispered about 
that morning that the re-apportionment bill had at last a majority in 
case Deweese of Eichardson, who was absent on leave, should put in 
an appearance. A vote or two had been brought over from some of 
the northern districts, remote from Omaha, and anxious for republican 
domination. " Fun " was therefore expected. It came very soon after 
the roll was called in the opening of the session. The credentials of 
D. M. Rolfe of Otoe, who had not been in attendance during the ses- 
sion, but who was an anti-re-apportionist, were called up, and it was 
moved that they be reported to a special committee. The ayes and 
nays were demanded. Pending roll call, it was moved that a call of 
the house be ordered. The call was ordered, and the doors closed. All 
the members answered to their names but Deweese of Richardson, and 
Dorsey of Washington. Then the other side made a motion that fur- 
ther proceedings under the call be dispensed with. The ayes and nays 
were demanded, and there were seventeen ayes and sixteen nays. 
Speaker Chapin announced that he voted " no, " and that being a tie, 
the motion was lost. An appeal was taken from the decision of the 
chair, and the vote resulted in another tie, and the appeal was declared 
lost. The rule is, that an affirmative proposition cannot be carried by 
a tie vote, but that all questions are decided in the negative. The usual 
form of putting the question by the speaker is, " Shall the decision of 
the chair stand as the judgment of the house?" The negative would 
be that it should not so stand. But in that case a decision of the chair 
is reversed by less than a majority of the members voting, which is 
of course absurd. It was a deadlock. The house still refused to sus- 
pend proceedings under the call, and there was no recourse except by 
revolution. The result was a curious demonstration of the absurdity 
of manipulating a proposition by the use of misleading formulas so 
that the negative side of a question may appear to be in the affirma- 

The hours passed, but "No Thoroughfare" was written on the 


of the re-apportionists. They said that until they had some assurance 
that a re-apportionment bill would be passed before the adjournment, 
they would prevent the transaction of any more business. Secretly 
they expected Deweese, who was rumored to be well enough to attend, 
and they waited for his appearance. But he did not come. The door- 
keeper and the sergeant at arms had orders to let no man out, and when 
noontide passed and the shadows lengthened, the members sent for re- 
freshments and lunched at their desks. The night came. Some of 
the refreshments had been of a very partisan character, and there was 
blood on the horizon. Many became hilarious, and the lobby was ex- 
ceedingly noisy. From hilarity to pugnacity is but a short step. 
Arms and munitions of war were smuggled in during the evening by 
the outside friends of both sides, and it was pretty confidently M'his- 
pered about that the conclusion was to be tried by force of revolvers. 
A little after 10 o'clock p.m., Augustus F. Harvey of Otoe rose 
and moved that Speaker Chapin be deposed, and that Dr. Abbott of 
Washington be elected to fill the vacancy. He then put the question 
to a viva voce vote, and declared the motion adopted and Dr. Ab- 
bott elected speaker of the house. The stalwart form of Mr. Par- 
malee, the fighting man of the faction, immediately lifted itself from 
a desk near by, and advanced, with Dr. Abbott, toward the chair, 
backed up by Harvey and a procession of his friends. As he placed 
his foot upon the first step of the dais, Speaker Chapin suddenly un- 
limbered a Colt's navy duly cocked, and warned him briefly to the 
effect that the Pythagorean proposition that two bodies could not cc- 
cupy the same space at the same time was a rule of the house, and 
would be enforced by the combined armament, at the command of the 
proper presiding officer. Daniel paused upon the brink of fate, and hes- 
itated upon his next step. To hesitate was to be lost. The speaker 
announced that in accordance with the rules of the house in cases of 
great disorder, he declared the house adjourned until 9 o'clock Monday 
morning, and sprang for the door. The Omaha lobby had promised 
faithfully when the crisis came to guard that door, and permit no rebel 
from the South Platte to escape. The first man to reach the door A\as 
said to beKelley of Platte, who had joined the forces of the re-appor- 
tionists, and it is a tradition that he leaped over the legislative stove to 
get there on time. The door was burst open, and before the volun- 
teer guard could recover its equilibrium, the seceders had escaped 


and were out of the building, scattering to the four quarters of the 
globe. But they had a rendezvous agreed upon in a secret place, and 
in a half an hour they were safely entrenched and on guard against 
any sergeant-at-arms and posse that might be dispatched to return 
them to durance vile. 

The Abbott house immediately organized, admitted Eolfe of Otoe 
to full membership, and proceeded to clear the docket of accumulated 
bills. Members of the lobby trooped in and voted the names of the 
absent, and everything proceeded in a unanimous way that must have 
astonished the walls of the chamber, if they had ears and memory. 
About dawn, however, the situation began to lose its roseate hue and 
an adjournment was had till Monday morning. 

Before that time arrived, the hopelessness of the situation dawned 
on both factions. They perceived that nothing whatever would come 
of the deadlock. Neither party had a quorum. Deweese of Richard- 
son could not be brought in to cast his vote for re-apportionment, and 
by common consent a peace was concluded, and Monday was spent in 
an amicable settlement of the arrearages of routine business. 

But this episode created a sensation all over the state, and intensified 
partisan and sectional feeling. The adjournment took place on the 
18th of February, and two days later, on the 20th, the state legisla- 
ture chosen at the same time, under the enabling act, met at a call of 
Governor Saunders, to accept or reject the "fundamental condition" in- 
sisted on by congress as a condition precedent to the admission of the 
state. The condition was that the word " white " in the constitution 
theretofore passed by the legislature, and ratified by the people, should 
not be construed as debarring from the franchise any citizen of Ne- 
bi'aska, on account of color or race. 

The state legislature promptly ratified the " fundamental condition," 
and declared that white meant in their constitution any color what- 
ever. Ten days later and the president's proclamation had been is- 
sued declaring Nebraska a state in the union. The state officers were 
sworn in immediately after official notice had been given, and Governor 
Butler began at once to prepare his call for a special session of the leg- 
islature to put the machinery of state in motion. 

It was insisted upon by the leaders of the republican party in the 
south and Avest, that a re-apportionment of members of the legislature 
should be one of the objects of legislation enumerated in the call. This 


was bitterly opposed by many republicans in Douglas and other 
northern counties. It was also asked, this time by democrats as well 
as republicans from Otoe, as well as from Cass and Richardson, and 
the south-western counties, that a clause should be inserted making 
the location of the seat of goverment of the state one of the objects 
of the special session. The Governor was averse to commencing his 
administration with a capital wrangle, but thought it would be good 
policy to make use of the suggestion, for the purpose of securing re-ap- 
portionment, without a repetition of the bitter struggle of the winter. 
He therefore opened negotiations with the Douglas county delegation 
to the coming legislature, and promised them that he would leave 
out the capital question, provided they would pledge themselves to sus- 
tain a re-apportionment. They flatly refused. They claimed that the 
legislature could not constitutionally re-apportion the representation 
until after the next census, and as for capital removal, they were not 
brought up in the woods to be scared by an owl. The Otoe delega- 
tion, however, had changed its base. The senators had been elected 
and seated, and political considerations had lost their force with the 
democrats in that county. They wanted the capital removed south of 
the Platte, and they promised if the governor would " put that in " 
they would march right up and vote for apjjortionment. 

His excellency had gone too far to retreat, and when his call was 
issued it embraced both capital removal and re-apportionment, having 
consulted a distinguished constitution constructor. Judge Jamison of 
Chicago, on the latter point, and obtained an elaborate opinion that it 
was not only in the power of the legislature, but its bounden duty, 
under the constitution, to re-apportion the representation at its first 

The legislature met on the 18th of May, and the lines were quickly 
drawn for the emergency. Ee-apportionment was a fixed fact, and 
after a few days spent in reconnoitering, a solid majority in both houses 
vSeemed likely to agree upon a scheme for capital location. Mr. Harvey, 
who had led the assault upon re-apportionment at the late session 
of the territorial legislature, was an active leader of his late antagon- 
ists for relocation. Party affiliations were ruptured all along the 
line, and the new lines were formed on a sectional basis. The bill 
was prepared with deliberation, much caucusing being required before 
it would satisfy the various elements in the movement, and it was 


introduced in both houses on the 4th of June. It was entitled " An 
act to provide for the location of the seat of government of the state 
of Nebraska, and for the erection of public buildings thereat." It 
named the governor, David Butler, the secretary of state, Thomas P. 
Kennard, and the auditor, John Gillespie, commissioners, who should 
select, on or before July 15, a date changed by a supplementary bill to 
September 1, 1867, from lands belonging to the state lying within the 
county of Seward, the south half of the counties of Saunders and But- 
ler, and that portion of Lancaster county lying north of the south line 
of township nine, a suitable site of not less than 640 acres lying in 
one body, for a town, to have the same surveyed, and named " Lincoln," 
and declared the same the permanent seat of government of the state. 

The bill directed the commissioners, after the site had been surveyed, 
to offer the lots in each alternate block for sale to the highest bidder 
after thirty days advertisement, having appraised the same, but that no 
lots should be sold for less than the appraised value. The first sale 
should be held for five successive days at Lincoln on the site, after which 
sale should be opened for the same duration, first at Nebraska City 
and next at Omaha. If a sufficient number of lots should not by 
this time be disposed of to defray the expenses of the selection and 
survey and to erect a building as described in the bill, further sales 
might be advertised and held in Plattsmouth and Brownville. All 
moneys derived from these sales, which sliould be for cash, should be 
deposited in the state treasury and there held by the treasurer as 
a state building fund. From the proceeds of these sales the com- 
missioners should proceed to advertise for plans and contracts and 
cause to be erected a building suitable for executive offices and the 
accommodation of the two houses of the legislature, that might 
be a part of a larger building to be completed in the future, the cost 
of which wing or part of a building should not exceed fifty thousand 
dollars. The bill passed the senate on the 10th day of June. Those 
voting for it were Jesse T. Davis of Washington, James E. Doom 
and Lawson Sheldon of Cass, Oscar Holden of Johnson, Thos. J. 
Majors of Nemaha, Wm. A. Presson of Kichardson, and Mills S. 
Reeves and W. W. Wardell of Otoe. The noes were Harlan Baird 
of Dakota, Isaac S. Hascall and J. N. H. Patrick of Douglas, E. H. 
Rogers of Dodge, and Frank K. Freeman of Lincoln. 

The house passed the bill two days later, under suspension of the 


rules, forwarding it to its third reading. As in the senate, so in the 
house, the opponents of the bill resorted to strategy for stampeding 
the friends of the measure, and offered numerous amendments to locate 
the capitol or the university or the agricultural college at Nebraska 
City, or in the boundaries of Cass or Xemaha counties. But all 
amendments were steadily voted down by a solid phalanx. The gen- 
tlemen in the house voting "aye" on its final passage were David M. 
Anderson, John B. Bennett, Wm. M. Hick 1 in, Aug, F. Harvey and 
George W. Sroat of Otoe, J. E. Butler of Pawnee, John Cadman of 
Lancaster, E. L. Clark of Seward, W. F. Chapin, D. Cole, A. B. Ful- 
ler and Isaac Wiles of Cass, Geo. Crowe, Wm. Dailey, Louis Waldter 
and C. F. HayAvood of Nemaha, J. M. Deweese, Gustavus Duerfeldt, 
T. J. Collins and J. T Hoile of Richardson, Henry Morton of Dix- 
on, Dean C. Slade and John A. Unthank of Washington, Oliver 
Townsend of Gage, and George P. Tucker of Johnson — 25. 

The "noes" were O. W. Baltzley of Dakota, Henry Beebe of 
Dodge, Geo. N. Crawford and A. W. Trumble of Sarpy, Geo. W. 
Frost, Joel T. Griffin, Martin Dunham, J. M. Wool worth and Dan 
S. Parmalee of Douglas, and John A. Wallichs of Platte — 10. 

It will be observed that several votes were cast for the bill from 
the northern counties. Tied up with the capitol removal was a bill 
engineered by the secretary of state, Mr. Kennard, then a resident of 
Washington county, and Senator Davis, appropriating seventy-five 
sections pf state internal improvement lands for the building of a rail- 
road, now a part of the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley line, 
running from the river near Blair to Fremont. It was then called 
" The North Nebraska Air Line." Another measure was also at- 
tached to these two to make the syndicate solid in Nemaha, the only 
county that had sent up a remonstrance against the removal of the 
capital. It was a bill accepting for the state the tender of the INIetho- 
dist Episcopal seminary at Peru for a state normal school, and donat- 
ing twenty sections of state lands for the endowment of the same. 
The three bills and the re-apportionment bill received virtually the same 
support in both houses and all passed about the same time. 

The plans of the capital movers so far had not met with the deter- 
mined resistance that had been anticipated, although the parlimentar- 
ians from Douglas and other counties had exhausted the resources of 
ordinary tactics at the command of the minority. The fact was that 


for several months Omaha had been making such a rapid commercial 
growth, owing to the extension of the Union Pacific railroad to the 
frontier and the incoming of the Chicago & Northwestern road from 
central Iowa to Council Bluifs, that her business men had their hands 
full. Their ambition had expanded. The capital question was dwarfed 
by the prospect of becoming in the near future a great commercial 
metropolis. Real estate was going up like a rocket. Capitalists were 
crowding in every day, and the faces of the new comers seen on the 
streets greatly outnumbered the familiar physiognomies of the old 
settlers of 'fifty-four and 'sixty. What had Omaha to fear even if 
the Utopian scheme of founding a " city fifty miles from anywhere," 
as they called it, should succeed? It was too far away from the 
Union Pacific and the Missouri to be of any importance. The lobby 
was therefore conspicuous for its absence. There was more money to 
be made in a day in trading lots and securing railroad contracts than 
in a month of wrestling with the fads of rural legislators. Just at that 
time, it is due to historical truthfulness to say that Omaha cared little 
for the questions that were taking up the attention of the law makers 
at the state house. 

The departure of the capital commission to hunt a site for Lincoln 
was a subject of merriment to the newspapers of the old capital. Not 
until after much traveling to and fro, looking at the sites through 
the length and breadth of the territory definetl by the act, the commis- 
sioners on the 29th of July having issued their order locating Lin- 
coln, in Lancaster county, on and about the site of Lancaster, its 
county seat, and commenced to survey the same into blocks, lots, 
reservations, streets and alleys, did the press of Omaha wake to the 
realities of the situation. 

Then there was music in the air. The act provided that within ten 
days after its ] »assage the commissioners should qualify and give bonds 
to be approved by a judge of the supreme court. The bonds were to 
be filed with the state treasurer. Now it had been ascertained that 
though the commissioners had sent in their bonds to the chief justice, 
and he had approved them in the stipulated time, they had not been 
filed with the treasurer inside, of the ten days. It was announced, 
therefore, that they had no authority to do anything under the law, 
and that if they sold what purported to be lots in the town site of 
Lincoln, the treasurer, Hon. Agustus Kountze of Omaha, would re- 

76 np:braska state historical society. 

ceive the money and hold it for future disposition, but he wouldn't 
pay out any of it as a capitol building fund. At any rate injunction 
would be applied for to prevent him. The announcement was calcu- 
lated to discourage those intending to become purchasers of Lincoln 
lots. It did have a very depressing effect. The commissioners said 
that to be forewarned was to be forearmed, and as they had determined 
to avoid litigation and the possible tying up of the money until the 
meeting of the next legislature, they should keep it in their own 
hands and pay it out without the intervention of the treasurer. This 
promise was faithfully kept. The next legislature formally legalized 
this and other departures from the strict letter of the law made by 
them in the pursuit of success, but for the time being it was a very 
serious embarrassment. 

The sale of lots opened on the new site in October. The commis- 
sioners were on the spot with quite a number of possible purchasers. 
The auctioneer was a handsome man and had a good voice. There 
was a band of music in attendance, and it played as well as any band 
ought to play so far away from civilization. But not a bid could be 
coaxed from a single soul. The commissioners had decided, upon 
consideration, that they would not personally invest. It was deemed 
proper to observe the proprieties very strictly, and to avoid future 
scandals they would keep out. But this was a matter of suspicion 
to the crowd present. If the commissioners haven't enough confideiace 
in the new city to purchase a residence or a business lot, why should 
we venture any investment ? Night came on and not a lot had been 

A council of war was summoned in the evening in the Donovan 
House, and the commissioners and certain gentlemen from Nebraska 
City were in attendance. The Nebraska City capitalists said that the 
commissioners ought to bid on lots, and the commissioners said that 
the Nebraska City men who were so much responsible for the scheme 
ought to bid. Finally it was conceded that both ought to bid. The 
Nebraska City men formed a syndicate that agreed to bid the ap- 
praised value on every lot as it was offered and as much more in case 
of competition as they thought safe, until they had taken ten thou- 
sand dollars w.»rtli of lots. But there was a proviso that in case the 
sales did not amount in live days to twenty-five thousand dollars, in- 
cluding the syndicate's ten thousand, the whole business should be 


declared " off," the enterprise abandoned, and no money be paid in. The 
commissioners also rescinded their compact against becoming personal 
bidders, for they saw that matters were in a very precarious condition 
and they had to imbue the people present with some confidence in 
Lincoln. The next day business began in earnest. When tlie five 
days had passed $44,000 had been realized, and the prospects were 
considered certain for the erection of a capitol building. By the time 
the sales at Nebraska City and Omaha had been finished $53,000 had 
been taken in, and no supplementary sales at Plattsmouth and Brown- 
ville were held, though comparatively few lots had been disposed of, 
to realize the necessary amount. 

Lancaster, the site of which had been swallowed up by Lincoln 
after the proprietors had deeded it to the state in consideration of the 
location of the capital, was a hamlet of five dwellings, a part of one 
being used as a store, and the stone walls of a building commenced as 
a se-.^u'nary by the Methodist church, but wliich had partly burned 
before completion and had been temporarily abandoned. The residents 
on the original plat of Lincoln were Captain AV^. T. Donovan, whose 
house stood on the corner of Ninth and Q, on the site now occupied 
by the Peoria House; Jacob Dawson, Avliose log dwelling was on the 
south side of O, between Seventh and Eighth, and who had commenced 
the foundations of a residence on the corner of Tenth and O, where 
the State National Bank now stands ; Milton Langdon, who lived in a 
small stone house east of Dawson's, between O and P ; Luke Laven- 
der, whose log cabin stood in Fourteenth, just south of O, and John 
McKesson, who was constructing a frame cottage two or three blocks 
north of the University. Scattered about just outside the city limits 
as then established, on premises that have since been brought in in the 
shape of additions, were the residences of Rev. J. M. Young, Wm. 
Guy, Philip Humerick, E. T. Hudson, E. Warnes, and John Giles. 
Between the date of the location and the first sale of lots a number of 
buildings were erected on the site, the owners taking their chances at 
the sales of securing their titles by purchase. There were two frame 
stores, one occupied by Pflug Brothers, and another by Eich & Co., a 
law office by S. B. Galey, a shoe shop by Robert and John Monteith, 
a stone building, afterwards rented to the Commonwealth, the pre- 
decessor of the State Journal, by Jacob Drum, a hotel called the 
" Pioneer House/' by Col. Donavan. These buildings were located 


on or in the vicinity of the pnblic sqnare and fixed the business cen- 
ter of Lincohi. 

As soon as the sale was finished the commissioners proceeded to 
advertise for plans for a capitol building. John Morris was the suc- 
cessful architect, and Joseph Ward secured the contract for its con- 
struction on his bid of forty-nine thousand dollars. 

The excavation was commenced in November, and by the first of 
December of the following year, 1868, was sufficiently completed for 
occupancy, and the governor issued his proclamation transferring the 
seat of government to Lincoln and for the removal of the state offices 
and archives to the new building. The first capitol was constructed 
of sandstone, quarried at various points within Lancaster county, with 
a facing of magnesian limestone from a quarry near Beatrice. This 
stone was hauled the forty miles over roads and bridges in part con- 
structed by the contractor. 

The considerations that led the commissioners to select Lincoln in 
preference to the sites offered at Ashland, Milford, Camden, and other 
points, were, first, the fact that in the several preliminary surveys 
made from various points on the Missouri river from Plattsmouth down 
to Falls City, all had this place as a common point : It was the nat- 
ural railroad center, to all appearances, for the large and irregular par- 
allelogram running west from the Missouri, between the Platte on 
the north, and the Kansas or Kaw on the south, to the plains of east- 
ern Colorado. The eastern portion of this parallelogram was even 
then alleged by enthusiastic Nebraskans to b^ the garden spot of 
the continent. It has produced the largest average of corn to the acre 
of any equal and continuous area reported by our census gatherers. 
At that time, though its capacity for corn was not fully appreciated, 
it was regarded as a wonderful wheat growing section. It has lost 
its prestige in spring wheat, but it holds its own in corn, oats, grass 
and fruit, and is all that the fancy of the fathers of '67 painted it. 

Tlie second consideration was the proximity of the great salt basin, 
in which all the salt springs of the state that gave promise of future 
importance were located. It was generally believed that the salt man- 
ufacture alone would build a stirring city. The third reason was that 
it was about as far from the Missouri river as it was advisable to go. 
To take it twenty miles further west would be to remove it from any 
immediate expectation of rail communication, and so increase the ex- 


pense of building that it would be impossible to dispose of the lots 
or to erect a capitol with the proceeds within the two years, and hence 
the enterprise would fail. It was furthermore generally believed that 
the site selected was about midway between the western limit of arable 
land, and that it would always be the center of population. 

The legislature met in January, '69, in the new capitol, approved 
the acts of the commissioners without very much criticism, provided 
for the erection of a state university and agricultural college on the 
site reserved, and for an insane hospital on state lands secured by the 
commission on Yankee Hill, and ordered the sale of the remaining 
lots and blocks belonging to the state to furnish the funds for such 
buildings in connection wdth certain lands available for the purpose. 
They also made appropriations amounting to about sixteen thousand 
dollars for completing the capitol building with a dome, and for de- 
fraying the expense of " extras" ordered by the commissioners on the 
state house to make it comfortable and habitable. Several thousand 
dollars were used in grading the grounds, fencing the same, planting 
them with trees, and erecting outbuildings. The total cost of the 
building, fittings and grounds, is finally stated at $83,000, 

Under the various acts and appropriations of that legislature the 
sale of lots continued at intervals during 'G9 and '70. Three hun- 
dred and sixteen thousand dollars was the sum realized from these sales, 
making a sum total of about $370,000 that the original site of Lin- 
coln brought into the state. It w'as not a bad investment for young 
Nebraska, but its success as a real estate speculation was almost wholly 
due to the energy and pluck of the commissioners, that led them from 
time to time to overleap technical obstacles and defects in the law, and 
take desperate political and financial chances as the alternative of the 
ignominious failure of the schemes. They were applauded and hon- 
ored in '69 and '70, but a reaction set in in '71 and they met a Nemesis 
that for a time threatened them not only with disgrace but absolute 

But for three years these men played the star parts on the political 
stage in the infant state, and they have left a monument to the effi- 
ciency of their work, to their business sagacity, and to their political 
courage, that bids fair to be as enduring as history. 

In its first year, Lincoln grew to be a village of about 800 inhab- 
itants. In 1870 the census revealed a population of 2,400. In 1875 


it was the second city in the state and numbered 7,300. In 1880 it had 
13,000 people, and in 1885 it had readied and passed twenty thou- 

When it was surveyed the nearest raih'oad connecting with the 
eastern markets was at Omaha and St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1880 
it had eight diverging lines to all points of the compass, and in 1890 
it bids fair to have a round dozen spokes to its commercial wheel. In 
this remarkable progress, she is but an exemplar of her state and her 
people. A century of improvement in twenty years is the rule in 
Nebraska, and has been from the day she took her place in the galaxy 
of the union. 


By Hon. Hadley D. Johnson. 
[Read before a meeting of the Society, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 1887.] 

When I received a letter from the President of your society, the 
Honorable Robert W. Furnas, asking me to so time a contemplated 
visit to Nebraska as to meet you on this occasion, although the visit 
had only been spoken of as likely to occur, but not positively decided 
on, my thoughts naturally reverted to the past ; and indeed I have 
proved the saying to be true, at least in my own case, that in youth 
we are always looking forward to the future, while in old age our 
thoughts are more intent upon a review of the past. I recalled to 
mind early days in Nebraska, and many of the incidents occurring in 
the struggles of her earlier settlers to build up a new state appeared 
fresh in my memory ; there came trooping up before the gaze of my 
mind's eye the men who were my friends and co-laborers in the work 
of rescuing this beautiful land from the possession of the wild ani- 
mals infesting it, and to build upon its broad bosom a commonwealth 
of which we could feel proud, and one which would add to the ma- 
terial wealth, comfort, and happiness of unborn generations as well 
as of the people then in existence. 


When, as I say, this letter of Governor Furnas was received, I did 
not hesitate, but at once decided that I woukl respond to his invita- 
tion and meet you on the present occasion and strike hands once more 
with such of the men of 1853, '4, and '5 whose familiar faces I might 
once more gaze upon in life. Of course I did not know' how many 
of them I should meet and recognize. I was prepared to meet with 
many unfamiliar faces, faces of men who had never looked upon, 
perhaps had never heard of me. I knew that many of my old asso- 
ciates of those early days had crossed the silent river and joined tlie 
vast majority in an unknown land ; and now as I am here and moot 
with you, so small a number of whom I recognize, I confess to a fool- 
ing of sadness more easily felt than described, and I beg of you to 
pardon me if I should seem more melancholy than the occasion will 
justify, for really I think that we all have abundant cause to " rejoice 
and to be exceeding glad" when contrasting the present condition of 
Nebraska with the Nebraska of 1854. 

When in looking over this assemblage I fail to behold the faces of 
quite a number of persons who were my colleagues and co-laborers 
in setting in motion the machinery of this magnificent state, and wiio 
I know are no longer numbered with the living, I can readily adopt 
as my own the following lines written by Dr. Young, a poet «if 
another age : 

" When in this vale of years I backward look, 

And miss such numbers, numbers, too, of such, 

Firmer in health, and greener in their age, 

And stricter on their guard, and fitter far. 

To play life's subtle game, I scarce believe 

I still survive." 

In response to the request of your President I am here to beg your 
kind indulgence while I read the following crude and doubtless not 
very interesting paper, which has been prepared under many disad- 
vantages, having to depend mainly upon memory for many of tlie 
facts here set down ; it is quite probable that many which might ])o 
interesting to you are omitted, and others of little or no interest in- 

If the object of the President of your society in asking me to at- 
tend this meeting was to draw from me such items concerning the 
early history of Nebraska as I alone may be in possession of, witJi 
the thought and wish that they might be preserved through youi- so- 


ciety for information to the future historian, I certainly ought not to 
refuse to impart such information. A correct history of Nebraska 
cannot be written without inchiding a portion of the history of its 
neighbor, and I may add its mother Iowa, and the future historian of 
Nebraska -will not discharge his duty properly should he fail to give 
to Iowa and to her citizens proper credit for their endeavors in behalf 
of the organization of the territory of Nebraska. 

The first settlement by white people to any extent in what is now 
Nebraska, of which I have positive proof, took place in the year 1846. 
In the latter part of that year a portion of a body of professed 
religionists, calling themselves "Latter Day Saints," but known to 
the world as " Mormons," having been expelled from the state of 
Illinois, took up the line of march westward, and arriving in small 
companies, numbering in all probably five thousand persons, called a 
halt and encamped on the Missouri bottom at or near the site of Coun- 
cil Bluffs, were ferried across the Missouri River at or near the trad- 
ing post of the American Fur Company, managed by Peter A. Sarpy. 
After crossing the river they proceeded northw^ard, and most of them 
located at a place called by them " Winter Quarters," now Florence. 
Several hundred of them, however, went north to the land of the 
Poncas, where they wintered. Those who located at Winter Quar- 
ters spent the winter of 1846-7 there, putting in crops in the spring 
of 1847. On account of exposure and want of proper food much 
sickness prevailed among the people while occupying the site of Flor- 
ence, and great mortality ensued. About this time the Indians who 
owned the lands occupied by the Mormons, seeing that the latter were 
killing the game and using up the timber in their vicinity, made com- 
plaint to the government, in consequence of which the settlement ^^'as 
abandoned in 1847, a portion of the Mormons proceeding in that 
year to Salt Lake, while those who did not accompany them recrossed 
the river and settled on the Pottawatomie lands in Iowa, 

I think that it was about the year 1841 that a INIr. Whitney, who 
was the first person to suggest the practicability of constructing a 
railroad to the Pacific, commenced the agitation of the subject, and 
from that time people, especially in the west, kept up the agitation. 
As you all doubtless remember, there were two lines suggested for the 
future great national highway. One was opposite to and was favored 
by the citizens of the state of Missouri, and I think was to follow the 


valley of the Kuw river. The other was opposite to the state of Iowa, 
the route suggested being up the valley of the Platte river. This 
route was favored by the citizens of Iowa as being not only the best 
route, but probably of greater interest to that state, as similarly was 
the lower route to the people of Missouri. 

In October, 1850, your reader, a native of Indiana, who had spent 
most of the earlier years of his life there, and who had read and 
thought much of the west and of the railroad scheme, decided to "go 
west," long before advised to do so by Horace Greeley, and, having 
faith in the ultimate construction of a Pacific railroad, as well as in 
the Platte route, removed to Iowa, and in 1851 located at Kanesville, 
now Council Bluffs. 

In 1852 I was elected to the Senate of Iowa, and in obedience to 
the wishes of my constituents attended the session of the legislature 
of 1852-3 at Iowa City. In going to and returning from that place, 
in the absence of a public conveyance of any kind, I traveled the 
entire distance on horseback, going in December and returning in Feb- 
ruary. At this time there were but few houses on the route traveled 
between Winterset and the Missouri river, and so far apart that in 
several instances you would not see a house or a human being from 
morning until night, such houses being so located as to afford shelter 
at night for the few travelers who ventured across the prairies during 
the winter. 

Under such circumstances you can readily imagine how much com- 
fort was enjoyed by me in my lonely pilgrimage. If I remember 
correctly, my senatorial district included about forty counties, extend- 
ing from Mills county to the Minnesota line, although my constitu- 
ents did not number more probably than five thousand persons, 
nearly all of them in the counties bordering on the Missouri river. 
In the interior counties (being unsettled and unorganized) my vote was 
very light, inasmuch as prairie wolves were not allowed to vote. 

By way of digression, and that the law makers of to-day may 
compare the past with the present, I will remark that I received, as 
my per diem and mileage, allowance' for my 600 mile horseback ride 
and 50 days service as a legislator, the insignificant sum of one hun- 
dred and sixty dollars, which was paid in gold coin. 

It may be remembered by some of this audience, that, at a previous 
session of the Iowa Legislature, a memorial was adopted, asking con- 


gress to donate land to aid in the construction of a railroad from Keo- 
kuk to Dubuque. This route was known as the " Ram's Horn," 
the design being to start at Keokuk, and extending the road out into 
the interior of the state some thirty or forty miles, to terminate at 
Dubuque, both ends of the road resting on the Mississippi. Hence 
the term " Ram's Horn." This plan would accommodate a few pop- 
ulous counties, but would be of comparatively little benefit to the 
state at large. 

One of the first, and to them seemingly one of the most important 
objects of the men composing the legislature of 1852-3, was to substi- 
tute for the " Ram's Horn" a more comprehensive railroad system 
for the state, and one better adapted to what they regarded as the 
future wants of a great and growing state, at the same time having in 
view the final location of the contemplated national highway ; and in 
pursuance of this idea, after a somewhat protracted struggle, we suc- 
ceeded in adopting a memorial to congress, embracing four distinct lines 
across the entire state, and asking for appropriations of land to aid in 
their construction, much to the disgust of a few of the friends of the 
"Ram's Horn." 

I hope that I may be pardoned for what may seem to be egotism on 
my part, when you are reminded that three of the' lines proposed were 
designed to strike my own town, Council Bluifs; but you will please 
bear in mind that I claim no special credit for the act; on the contrary, 
hold that it was done partly in view of the expected national railroad, 
in connection with the popularity of the Platte Valley route, which 
insured the adoption of the memorial, for I presume it will readily 
occur to you, that the design of the legislature in asking for this dona- 
tion was to insure the construction of those several roads to a common 
point opposite to the Platte Valley, thus, as they reasonably argued, pro- 
viding for the future initial point of the projected Pacific railroad, 
which would enable them to make connections with roads in all parts 
of the country; at all events this was my idea at the time, and although 
I make the suggestion, I hope, with becoming modesty, I do so with 
a firm conviction that the scheme was a wise one, not only for the 
state of Iowa, but for what has since become the state of Nebraska, as 
I believe that the construction of the lines of road referred to assured 
the more speedy developement of these states, and probably tended to 
hasten the construction of the Pacific Railway. 


As an Item of information, connected with the history of tiie legis- 
lation to which I have referred, I append a list of the members of the 
senate and of the honse of representatives of the Iowa Legislature at 
the session of 1852-3, that it may be filed with your archives, being 
as I think entitled to a place in the history of Nebraska. But the 
brief history just read, of the acts of your neighboring state, does not 
furnish the only reason why she should be duly remembered by the 
future historian of Nebraska. As I have said, there were two routes 
suggested upon one of which the anticipated Pacific railroad should be 
built ; people of the state of Missouri advocating the route up the 
valley of the Kansas river, while the people of Iowa advocated the 
Platte river route. 

As early as 1848, the subject of the organization of a new territory 
west of the Missouri river was mentioned, and in congress I think a 
bill was introduced in that year, but did not become a law, and in 
1852 the subject having been long discussed, a bill was introduced, but 
again without result. In 1852, however, the railroad question having 
been agitated more generally during the preceding year, during the 
session of 1852-3, a bill was reported to congress providing for the 
organization of the Territory of Nebraska, within the boundaries, sub- 
stantially I believe, now embraced in the states of Kansas and Ne- 
braska. Prior to this, however, some of the citizens of Avestern Mis- 
souri, and a few persons residing or staying temporarily in the Indian 
country west of the Missouri river, took steps to hold an informal elec- 
tion of a delegate who should attend the coming session of congress and 
urge the passage of the territorial bill. This election, though not sanc- 
tioned by any law, and informal, was ordered to be held by a meeting 
of a number of persons held in the Indian country south of the Platte 
river, who fixed a day on which the election was to be held, and desig- 
nated certain places at which votes would be received. Among the 
places named, appeared Bellevue or Traders' Point. A newspaper 
printed somewhere in Missouri, containing a notice of this election, 
accidentally came into my possession a few days prior to the date fixed 
for the election. On reading this announcement, I immediately com_ 
municated the news to prominent citizens of Council Bluffs, and it 
was at once decided that Iowa should compete for the empty honorg 
connected with the delegateship. An election at Sarpy's was deter- 
mined on ; arrangements made with the owners of the ferry boat at 


that point to transport the ivipromptu emigrants to their new homes, 
and they were accordingly landed on the west shore of the Missouri 
river a few hundred yards above Sarpy's trading house, where, on the 
day appointed, an election was held, the result of which may be learned 
from the original certificate hereto annexed, a copy of which was 
sent to the Honorable Bernhart Henn, the member of the house of 
representatives from Iowa, by him submitted to the house, and re- 
ferred to the committee on elections, but for reasons obvious to the 
reader of the proceedings of congress immediately following, no re- 
port was ever made by that committee in the case. * 

I may remark here that I consented with much reluctance to the 
use of my name in this connection, and for several reasons : I was 
poor and could not well aiford to neglect my business and spend a 
winter at Washington ; the expenses of the trip I knew would be a 
heavy drain upon my limited exchequer ; besides I had so lately neg- 
lected my private affairs by my service at Iowa City. However, I finally 
yielded to the earnest request of a number of my personal friends, who 
were also ardent friends of the new scheme, and consented to the use 
of my name, at the same time pledging my word that I would pro- 
ceed to Washington if chosen and do the best I could to advance the 
cause we had in hand. In addition to the ballots cast for me for dele- 
gate at this election, the Rev. William Hamilton received 304 votes 
for provisional Governor ; Dr. Monson H. Clark received 295 for 
Secretary, and H. P. Downs 283 for Treasurer. 

These proceedings at Sarpy's landing were followed by various pub- 
lic meetings in Iowa, (and also in Missouri) at which resolutions were 
adopted, urging the organization of Nebraska territory. Amongst 
others, meetings were held at Council Bluffs, St. Mary's, Glenwood, 
and Sidney, at which the actions at Sarpy's were endorsed. Earnest 
and eloquent speeches were made by such leading citizens as Hon. W. 
C. Means and Judge Snyder of Page county, Judge Greenwood, Hiram 
P. Bennett, Wm. McEwen, Col. J. L. Sharp, Hon. A. A. Bradford. 

* Belview, Nebraska Teritory, Oct. 11, 18.i3. 
Be it known that at in pursuance of Resolutions heretofore adopted an election wss held at 
this place on this the Eleventh day of October 1853 being the second Tuesiay in said mouth 
for delegate to Congress for tlie Teritory of Nebraska at which the undersigned were duly 
appointed Judges and Clerks 

And we do hereby certify that the number of votes cast at said election was three Hundred 
fifty-Eight Votes of which Hadley D. Johnson received Three Hundred fifty-Eight votes. 

Marshall Finley "| 
R. P. Snow > Judges. 

MuNsoN H. Clark 
Franklin Hall 
Jefferson P. Cassady 

j Clerks 


L. Lingcnfelter, C. W. McKissick, Hon. Benjamin Rector, Charles W. 

Pierce, Dan. H. Solomon, Downs, I. M. Dews, George Hepner, 

Wm. G. English, Geo. P. Stiles, Marshal Tiirley, Dr. M. H. Clark, 
and others. 

In the month of November, Council Bluffs was visited by Hon. Au- 
gustus C. Dodge, Col. Samuel H. Curtis, and other distinguished citi- 
zens of other states, who attended and addressed meetings of the people 
of the town, warmly advocating the construction of our contemplated 
railroads, and the organization of Nebraska territory. In its issue of 
December 14, 1853, the Council Bluffs Bugle announced that "H. D. 
Johnson, delegate elect from Nebraska, passed through our place on 
his way to Washington last week." 

In compliance with my agreement, I set about making arrangements 
to visit the national capital, which, as you may suppose, was not easily 
accomplished. Before starting, however, a number of our citizens who 
took such a deep interest in the organization of a territory west of 
Iowa, had on due thought and consultation agreed upon a plan which 
I had formed, which was the organization of two territories west of 
the Missouri river, instead of one as had heretofore been contemplated, 
and I had traced on a map hanging in the office of Johnson & Cassady 
a line which I hoped would be the southern boundary of Nebraska, 
which it finally did become, and so continues to the present time. 

In starting out upon this second pilgrimage, I again faced the dreary 
desolate prairies of the then sparsely settled Iowa, but not as a year 
before, solitary and alone. B. R. Pegram, then a young and enterpris- 
ing merchant of Council Bluffs, being about to visit St. Louis, it was 
agreed that we should travel in company to Keokuk, he with a horet 
and buggy, I with a horse and saddle. The trip was accomplished in 
safety, and on arriving at Keokuk, we took a steamer for St. Louis, 
shipping the horses and buggy. 

On arriving at St. Louis, I tried in vain to sell my horse for a sat- 
isfactory price, and leaving him with a friend to be sold afterwards, 
I took a steamer bound for Cincinnati, whence I boarded a railroad 
train for Washington. (I remark in parenthesis that my horse was 
not sold, but subsequently died, to my great grief and considerable 

On my arrival at Washington (early in January, 1854,) I found that 
a bill had already been introduced in the senate, and I think referred 


to the committee on territories, of which the Hon. Stephen A. Douglas 
was chairman. This bill provided for the organization of the ter- 
ritory of Nebraska, 'including what is now Kansas and Nebraska, or 
substantially so. I also found, seated at a desk, in the House of Rep- 
resentatives, a portly, dignified, elderly gentleman, who was introduced 
to me as the Reverend Thomas Johnson. He was an old Virginian ; 
a slave holder, and a Methodist jDreacher. This gentleman had also 
been a candidate for delegate at the informal election, and was credited 
with having received 337 votes. He had preceded me to Washington, 
and together with his friends, ignoring our Sarpy election, had, through 
some influence sub rosa, been installed in a seat at a desk aforesaid, 
where being duly seryed with stationery, etc., he seemed to be a mem- 
ber of the house. 

Previous to this time, in one or two instances, persons visiting Wash- 
ington, as representatives of the settlers in unorganized territory, and 
seeking admission as legal territories, had been recognized unofficially, 
and after admission had been paid the usual per diem allowance as 
well as mileage, and in the present case I think my namesake had 
looked for such a result in his own case, but for my part I had no 
such expectation. 

On being introduced to Mr. Johnson, who seemed somewhat stiff 
and reserved, I alluded to the manner of my appointment to the pres- 
ent mission, which, like his own, was without legal sanction, but was 
fot a purpose ; told him there was no occasion for a contest between 
us for a seat to which neither of us had a claim ; that I came there to 
suggest and work for the organization of two territories instead of 
one ; that if he saw proper to second my efforts, I believed that we 
could succeed in the objects for which we each had come. 

After this explanation the old gentleman thawed out a little, and we 
consulted together upon the common subject. 

Hon. A. C. Dodge, senator from Iowa, who had from the first been 
an ardent friend and advocate of my plan, introduced me to Judge 
Douglas, to whom I unfolded my plan, and asked him to adopt it, 
which, after mature consideration, he decided to do, and he agreed that, 
as chairman of the committee on territories, he would report a sub- 
stitute for the pending bill, which he afterwards did do, and this sub- 
stitute became the celebrated "Nebraska Bill," and provided, as you 
know, for the oi'ganization of the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. 


The Hon. Bernliart Henn, at that time the only member of the 
liouse from Iowa, ^^•ho also was my friend and warmly advocated our 
territorial scheme, fi iding- that the Rev. Thomas Johnson was seated 
in the house and posing as a member, and not washing to see him 
more honorably seated than myself, interceded, I presume with one of 
the doorkeepers, who admitted me into the house and seated me at a 
desk beside my friend, the minister, who it afterwards appeared was, 
like myself, surrej^titiously «( mitted to the seat occupied by him, un- 
known to the speaker, or perhaps to the chief doorkeeper. 

The fates decreed, however, that w^e were not to hold our seats a 
great while, for one day the principal doorkeeper approached me as I sat 
in my seat, and politely inquired who I was, and by what right I occupied 
the seat; and being by me answered according to the facts, he informed 
me that as complaint had been made to the speaker, he was under the 
necessity of respectfully asking me to vacate the seat, as such was the 
order of the speaker. I replied to him, that of course I would do so, 
but, I added, as my neighbor on my left occupied his seat by a right 
similar to my own, I felt it to be my privilege to enquire why I should 
be ousted while he was jjerniitted to remain. On this the doorkeeper 
turned to Mr. Johnson, who corroborated my statement, whereupon 
the "two Johnsons," as we were called, were incontinently bounced 
and relegated to the galleries. 

I never learned, nor did I care to know, whether I was removed at 
the instance of the friends of Mr. Johnson, or whether a Mr. Guthrie, 
who had also been a candidate for delegate, had fired a shot at his ad- 
versary, the Rev. Thomas. If the latter was the case, in firing he hit 
two birds. I did not feel hurt by this event, but believe that the dig- 
nity of the other Johnson was seriously touched, and himself mortified. 

I ought perhaps to mention the fact, that in our negotiations as to 
the dividing line between Kansas and Nebraska, a good deal of trouble 
was encountered, Mr. Johnson and his Missouri friends being very 
anxious that the Platte river should constitute the line, which obvious- 
ly would not suit the people of Iowa, especially as I believe it was a 
plan of the American Fur Company to colonize the Indians north of 
the Platte river. As this plan did not meet with the approbation of 
my friends or myself, I firmly resolved that this line should not be 
adopted. Judge Douglas was kind enough to leave that question to 
me, and I offered to Mr. Johnson the choice of two lines, first, the 


present line, or second, an imaginary line traversing that divide be- 
tween the Platte and the Kaw. After considerable parleying and Mr. 
Johnson not being willing to accept either line, I finally offered the 
two alternatives — the fortieth degree of north latitude, or the defeat 
of the whole bill, for that session at least. After consulting with his 
friends, I presume, Mr. Johnson very reluctantly consented to the for- 
tieth degree as the dividing line between the two territories, whereupon 
Judge Douglas prepared and introduced the substitute in a report as 
chairman of the committee on territories, and immediately, probably 
the hardest war of words known in American history commenced. 

I have omitted thus far in this sketch to record a circumstance, 
which perhaps ought to have been mentioned in its order, and which 
was one of the incidents which led me to believe that the American 
Fur Company was opposed to our scheme, because I felt sure that 
Missouri men were on good terms with the Indian department. 

When I first called on Col. Many penny, the commissioner of 
Indian affairs, being introduced by Gen. A. C.Dodge, and after inform- 
ing him that my object in calling was to request him to take prelimi- 
nary steps to making a treaty with the Omaha Indians, for the pur- 
chase of their lands in order to open the country to settlement by the 
whites, the Colonel, in a somewhat stilted and pompous manner, replied 
to my request by saying : " Mr. Johnson, the Omaha Indians do not 
wish to sell their lands, and it would not do any good to make the at- 
tempt. " As I had heard similiar remarks from friends or representa- 
tives of the Fur Company, I supposed that the Colonel had received his 
impressions from that quarter, but in answer I said to him : " Col. 
Manypenny, you are misinformed, and are laboring under a mistake, 
for I know positively that they are willing to sell, and assure you that 
if you will send for some of the principal men of the tribe, you will 
be able at once to made a satisfactory treaty with them." 

After some little delay, Col. Manypenny, who had in the mean- 
time had an opportunity to obtain more information than he was in 
possession of when we had our first conversation, sent for some of the 
chief men of the Omahas, who went on to Washington, when, as I 
had foretold, a treaty was made and ratified, by which their lands were 
turned over to the government, and in the following July were opened 
to settlement, whereupon quite a stampede took place, that is after the 
Nebraska Bill became a law and officers were appointed whose duty 


it became to legally set in motion the machinery of a territorial gov- 

It may not interest you to be informed that the first celebration of 
our nation's birthday of which I have any knowledge as having oc- 
curred in Nebraska, took place July 4, 1854 (before any whites were 
permitted under the treaty to permanently locate on these lands), on 
the hill at Omaha, near where the capitol building formerly stood, and 
as near as I can locate it, on a spot occupied now by Davenport street. 

A small number of persons on the day just mentioned, crossed the 
Missouri river from Council Bluffs, taking a few articles for a picnic. 
I remember that on the spot named, some resolutions were adopted, and 
a few brief speeches made; the stand on which the speakers stood 
was a common wagon, owned by my old friend Harrison Johnson, 
now no more, who, with some of the members of his family, consti- 
tuted a portion of the party. 

I do not think it necessary for me to extend this sketch to much 
greater length, having brought these reminiscences down to a period 
when the territory was organized, the circumstances of which you are 
no doubt acquainted with. My object in writing as I have on the 
subject being through your Society to furnish, for the benefit of "whom 
it may concern," a plain and unvarnished, yet correct, account of the 
manner in which it became possible for Nebraska to start, at so early 
a period, upon a career so useful and so honorable, as I in my inmost 
soul believe to be her final destiny. 

I deem it not inappropriate for me to suggest the deep regret which 
I feel in the fact that circumstances have rendered it impossible for 
me to share with you the financial benefits, and the honors attending 
the grand career of the state which I always claim as " my Nebraska.'' 

I have introduced in my manuscript the names of quite a number 
of the men of Iowa and other states, who assisted in the great work 
of which I have been speaking, to whom credit belongs for their 
action ; but I have not spoken of others who at a later date labored 
in the same direction, and I cannot conclude without naming some of 
them, and although probably their names already appear in the records 
of your Society, I will here set down the names of several persons 
whom I remember as active, zealous, and efficient state builders in the 
years of which I have written. Among them are : Dr. Enos Lowe, 
Jesse Lowe, B. E. Pegram, James A. Jackson, Col. Lysander W. 


Babbitt,, Joseph E. Johnson, Samuel S. Bayliss, Wm. D. Brown, A. 
J. Hanscom, I. P. Casady, Wm. Clancy, Sylvanus Dodge, G. M. 
Dodge, Samuel E. Rogers, E. Estabrook, Thomas Davis, John Davis, 
A. D. Jones, T, B; Cuming, O. D. Richardson, Augustus Kountze. 
Samuel Brown, Dr. G. L. Miller, Col. Lorin Miller, George Mills, 
A. J. Poppleton, S. A. Strickland, Byron Reed, C. H. Downs, George 
Stevens, Clarke Irvine, John M. Thayer, T. G. Goodrich, R. W. 
Furnas, J. Sterling Morton, I. W. Paddock, A. S. Paddock, Harrison 
Johnson, B. R. Folsom, S. F. Nuckolls, Geo. M. Shilcott, W. W. 
Wyman, besides a host of others. 


By. Edson p. Rich. 
[Read before the Society, January 12, 1886.] 

It is curious and somewhat romantic to note, that this territory, 
which was for several years the battle ground of a constitutional 
struggle over the question of slavery, Avas, if we are to accept the 
theory so eloquently defended by Colonel Savage,* first pointed out to 
a modern race by one himself a bondsman ; and that later, a patriotic 
slave, in order to save his own country from the ravages of the Span- 
iards, led them to this territory in search of the "seven cities of 
Cibola, " in the land of Quivera. It had been the dream of the 
Spaniards to rob these cities of their fabled wealth, and enslave the 
people. The project, however, was but one of the many romantic 
schemes of this chivalrous race in his search after tlie marvelous, 
a disease of the age, of which the Spaniard was typical, and not con- 
fined to any particular nation. Instead of the cities whose steeples 
shone in the liglit of the sun resplendent with gold and silver, these 
adventurers, weary with their long journey, found only a country ter- 
rifying in its barrenness and vastness of extent, peopled by a race 
whose aspect was so unforbidding,and wliose nature so fierce and war- 
like, their only wealth vast herds of untamed buffalo, that after offer- 

* In lecture before State Historical Society, April 16th 18S0. 


ing up the life of the false slave as some attonement for the hardships 
they had undergone, they turned their faces wearily towards Mexico. 

Three centuries and one decade intervene, and this same vast terri- 
tory becomes again the scene of an invasion ; but now the strangers 
were armed with far different weapons of warfare from their predeces- 
sors ; the struggle was now to be between man and nature, and not be- 
tween man and man. Although this latter race enjoyed the light of 
three centuries of progress, many among them still clung to that false 
idea of (x-onomics Avhich teaches that the confiscation of the results of 
the labor of one class contributes to the material prosperity of another 
class. The instinct of the early Spanish discoverer, which le<:l to the 
plundering and then the enslaving of the victims of his rapacity, was 
not more subversive of good morals and good government, than was 
the economic creed of that body of men who composed the slavocracy 
of the nineteenth century. 

In the many histories that have been written of slavery in the 
United States, since the settlement of the question, the majority deal 
too exclusively with political questions purely, leaving out of sight 
the economic principles underlying and determining the whole matter, 
and in this connection almost wholly ignoring the influence of the 
new territory of the west and north-west on the growth and final cul- 
mination of the slave power. The most authoritative writer* upon 
our constitution has said that the true history of the slave movement 
remains yet to be written, and that when the final word has been said, 
it will be found to be, that the solution of the whole matter rested 
upon the respective relations of the north and the south to the new and 
unsettled portions of the Avest and the northwest. 

In this connection, the struggle over the Kansas-Nebraska bill was 
especially important, because it was decisive; deciding for all time 
whether or not the people of the respective territories had the power, 
under the constitution, to legislate slavery into, or prohibit it from, 
these territories. 

When the struggle between the north and the south first began, it 
was upon the basis stated by Alexander Stephens, namely : That the 
whole question rested upon the grounds as to whether, a- a system, 
slavery was immoral or sinful. On such a basis the issue would have 
remained long uncertain. 

* Dr. Von Hoist, in a series of lectures delivered at Johns Hopkins University durins the 
winter of 1883. ^ 


As tlie number of slaves increased, a new problem arose ; becoming 
not a question of ethics, but of economics. It was simply as Von 
Hoist puts it, that the " south was crowded out of its position by force."* 
It was necessary either that the slavocracy be completely triumphant 
or that it be completely annihilated, for it was imperative, geographi- 
cally, that the United States, as such, be preserved. 

For a time the growth of the south was rapid, but after reaching a 
certain point, that institution, which at first promised so much in point 
of material prosperity, was the one which ultimately retarded, in the 
greatest degree, its growth. The chief product of the south being 
raw material, it was greatly dependent upon the north for its manu- 
factured staples, and since it could not keep pace with the rapid growth 
of the north, in order to perpetuate the institution of slavery, it was 
necessary for it to retain the balance of power in the federal admin- 
istration, and, to do this, new slave territory must be acquired. 

Here, then, the struggle began, first over the northwest territory, 
ending in the celebrated ordinance of 1787. In the terms of this or- 
dinance slavocracy read more than immediate defeat ; it dreaded the 
eifect of this measure as a precedent. The question became one of 
relative numerical strength between the two sections, and a few states- 
men, even at that day, saw that compromise would avail little or noth- 
ing, Seward being the first to speak of the " irrepressible conflict."t 
The weakest element in the economic system of the south became, 
when attacked, the exact measure of the strength of that system. 

After the Louisiana purchase in 1803 the struggle was renewed, 
ending in 1820 in the Missouri compromise. In 1850, the com- 
promise over the admission of California, in consequence, repealed 
that of 1820, and by so doing imperatively callaifor a re-adjustment 
of the principles involved in the whole discussion. 

This was in effect the status of the struggle at the time the Kansas- 
Nebraska controversy arose. 

At this time all the region lying west and north-west of Missouri 
was known as the Platte country, in which white settlers were forbid- 
den to locate, until the extinguishment of the Indian title, which was 
consummated in the year 1854. Notwithstanding this prohibition on 
the part of the general government, a large number of settlers ven- 
tured to establish trading posts in the territory, comprising what is 

* Baltimore lectures. 

t Von Hoist's Baltimore lectures. 


now known as Nebraska; and a mneh larger number, the more timid, 
were camped along the banks of the Missouri river, on the Iowa side. 
Petitions had been presented from trading posts in this Indian coun- 
try from the people in western Iowa, as early as the year 1851, ask- 
ing for the erection of the Platte country into a territory, but no action 
tion was taken until the following session of congress, when Mr, Hall 
of Missouri presented a bill to the house, providing for the organiza- 
tion of the territory of Platte. This bill was referred to the commit- 
tee on territories, and from that committee Mr. Richardson of Illinois 
presented a bill providing for the organization of Nebraska. The bill 
was opposed by the south aud reported from the committee on the 
whole with a recommendation that it be rejected. It finally, however, 
passed the house by a vote of 98 to 43, but was defeated in the senate. 

During the winter of 1853, a mass convention met at the then vil- 
lage of St. Joseph, Missouri, for the purpose of preparing a memorial 
to the jjresident and to congress, calling attention to the necessity of 
opening up the Platte country for settlement. The committee on 
resolutions spent one whole night in wrangling over a resolution to 
the effect* "that the emigrants in the territories ought to receive the 
same protection to property that they enjoyed in the states from which 
they emigrated." The word property meaning slaves. Charles F. 
Hally, the chairman of this committee, being one of the earliest 
slaveholders in Nebraska, at that time living at Nebraska City. 

In 1853, meetings were also held at Bellevue, then a trading post 
and mission, and at old Fort Kearney, now Nebraska City, for the 
purpose of electing delegates to represent at Washington the interests 
of the squatters. Mr. Hadley D, Johnson, then living at Council 
Bluffs, Iowa, was chosen as such delegate, and although he had no seat 
in congress, yet exerted a great influence in the preparation of the bills 
introduced, and was especially relied upon by Mr, Douglas in his 
study of the question.^ 

In December, 1853, Mr. Dodge, of Iowa, submitted a bill to the 
senate, "to organize the territory of Nebraska." This bill was 
reported back from the committee on territories with certain amend- 
ments, but none touching the vital point. Douglas, who Avas chair- 
man of this committee, had hoj)ed by his silence on the slavery ques- 
tion to gain southern influence, but was forced into a new course by 

* Trans, aud Rep. of the Neb S. H. S., Vol. I., p. 38. 
t Johnson's History of Nebraska, p. 40. 


threatened legislation. Profiting by this experience, in introducing a 
new bill with the same object in view, he made several radical changes: 
first, he divided the territory named in the first bill into two territo- 
ries; that portion lying directly west of the Missouri to be called 
Kansas, the remainder Nebraska. On the question of slavery, he em- 
bodied that celebrated principle, which became known as "the stump 
speech in the belly of the bill." 

It is needless to follow this bill through its eventful course in the 
house and senate, but it is sufficient to say, that its passage was looked 
upon by the southern members as a victory for the south. 

The struggle which immediately took place in Kansas is well known 
but it did not greatly affect Nebraska, since the trouble was fomented 
principally by slaveholders in the adjoining state of Missouri, while 
Nebraska was joined on the east by an anti-slave state. 

The government of the new territory was entirely in the hands of 
the democrats. President Buchanan appointing a number of the officers 
from the extreme south. On the other hand, a large majority of the 
settlers were from the north, so that it soon became evident that the 
question, whether the soil of Nebraska was to be slave or free, would 
not be decided without a bitter struggle. 

A majority of the officers appointed brought with them a few 
slaves, merely as servants, however, it being recognized by the south 
as well as the north, that at that time Nebraska offered no remunera- 
tive field for slaves in large numbers. 

Those in power were more or less affected by the struggle in Kan- 
sas for the reason that so long as the soil of that territory remained 
free it offered an asylum for fugitive slaves, many of whom came to 
Nebraska. This state of affairs had its effect upon the slaves within 
the territory, and to prevent this for the future the democrats deter- 
mined upon the initiative in legislation concerning this question. The 
matter was made still more urgent from the fact that about this time 
John Brown made his appearance upon the scene, and in the autumn 
of 1855 made his preliminary survey of what afterwards became his 
famous "underground railway" through Nebraska.*- Falls City 
was the first station in this territory, Nemaha City the second, and 
Nebraska City the third. At this point the fugitive slaves were crossed 
over the Missouri river into Iowa. This was a part of the route 

*A. R. Keim in the Richardson County Leader, December 24, 1885. 


from Missouri to Canada, for which point the fugitives were Ijound, 
but many of them remained in Nebraska, where they were practically 
free. During the session of 1857, a bill (see Appendix "A") was intro- 
duced in the senate to prevent free negroes from settling in the terri- 
tory.* The Journals fail to record the fate of this bill, but do re- 
cord f the tabling of a bill from the house of the same import. This 
bill provided that any negro or mulatto settling in the territory " with 
the intention of making it his residence," upon conviction should be 
fined ten dollars, and imprisoned until he consented to leave the terri- 

In June, 1858, occurred the first formal organization of the demo- 
cratic party in the territory. The party was divided about equally 
on the Lecompton constitution, being made up of Douglas and Bu- 
chanan democrats.! The dividing line between the republicans and 
democrats was not clearly defined ; in fact a majority of the Douglas 
democrats afterwards voted with the republicans. In April, LSoS, 
the democracy of Dakota county, in convention assembled, resolved : 

"That we cherish an abiding faith and confidence in the great doc- 
trine of popular sovereignty, as set forth in the Kansas-Nebraska act, 
and that we regard it as a vital element of democracy, and as embrac- 
ing the fundamental principle of all free governments." To such 
democratic doctrine the republicans heartily gave their assent, while 
the Buchanan democrats denied this power as resting in the people, 
according to the terms of that act. After a glance at the composition 
of the legislature of the winter of 1858, it is a matter of great wonder 
that united action could be had upon any measure affecting the slave 
power. The house and council together consisted of fifty-two mem- 
bers, making the following showing as to political creeds : § 

Douglas democrats 9, independents 7, democrats 22, republicans 13, 
whigs 1. 

Although greatly in the minority, the republicans had determined 
upon constant agitation of the one absorbing question, yet not blind 
to the fact that it could have no immediate result. On November 1 
1858, on leave, Mr. Daily introduced "a bill for an act to abolish 
slavery in the territory of Nebraska." On failure of a motion by a 
facetious member || to postpone further consideration of the bill until 

♦Council Journal, Third Ses-ilon, p. 127. 
t Council Journal, Third Session, p. 160. 
t Omaha Ntbraskian Aprd 21, ISSC. 
g Omaha ^ebras^.ia7l, Oct. 13, 1858. 
II Mr. Rankin. 


the ensiling fourth of July, it was referred to a special committee of 
five.* The committee were divided in their opinion concerning the 
bill, and on the following day Mr. Daily brought in a majority report 
favoring its adoption, citing an organic act of the territory as confer- 
ring power upon the legislature to pass an act of this kind, and deny- 
ing the assertion contained in President Buchanan's message, that 
Nebraska was as much a slave territory as South Carolina or Georgia. 

The minority report presented by Mr. Eankin denied that slavery 
existed in the territory in " any practical form," and could not so ex- 
ist without " affirmative legislation ;" that it was deemed not only un- 
necessary but extremely unwise and unpatriotic, in the present state 
of the public mind, " to hurl this fire-brand of strife into our peace- 
ful territory," hoping and trusting that the word slavery would never 
disgrace the fair pages of the statute book. This report recommended 
the indefinite postponement of the bill. Both the minority and ma- 
jority reports were laid upon the table by a vote of fourteen to twelve, 
and further attempts to legislate upon this question were abandoned 
for the session. 

Previous to this period in the history of the territory, the only evi- 
dence of the existence of a republican party consisted in a scattering- 
opposition to the democracy on the part of a few men, holding a variety 
of political tenets. In the Omaha Republican of October 27, 1858, 
appeared a call for a meeting of the republican executive committee 
of Nebraska, indicating that there had been a previous organization 
of this party. Such however was not the fact. In March of 1859, the 
Douglas county democracy gave the opposition a friendly invitation 
to select candidates to be voted for at the next general election, for the 
purpose of testing the numerical strength of the respective parties. This 
invitation resulted in the first effort at republican territorial organiza- 
tion, which took place in the convention assembled at Bellevue, August 
24j 1859. The assembling of the heterogeneous body caused great 
merriment in the ranks of the democracy. It was asserted that no 
two men of the convention held similar opinions upon any question 
except that of the territorial government, and that was for the reason 
that none but democrats were office holders. The Omaha Nehmskiayi,-\ 
in commenting upon what it was pleased to call '' The Kepublican 
Fandango," said : 

* Messrs. Daily, Rankin, Tafife, Stewart, and Fleming, 
t Issue of August 27, 1859. 


" That convention, which in courtesy is styled republican, was com- 
posed of a motley crew ; embracing abolitionists, northern and southern 
know-nothings, men who preach squatter sovereignty in one breath 
and rail against it in. the next, men who favor congressional interven- 
tion to keep slavery out of the territories, and those who desire it as 
a means of getting slaveiy into the territories." 

Although coming as this stricture did from the opposition, there 
was much of truth in it. In movements of any kind, and especially 
in those of a political nature, men are influenced more by the person- 
ality of the leaders than by the principles they profess to teach ; so 
that in a body of men such as made up this convention, drawn from 
almost every state in the union, and but lately come to know each 
other, it would be but natural that each one should bring with him 
the eifects of his home training. 

This assembly would not have been a political convention, had not 
some of the counties been represented by several difierent delegations. 
The convention, however, observed no fixed rule in admitting them. 
Of the two delegations from Cass county, the one claiming no other 
creed than eternal opposition to the democracy, was the one admitted . 
while the contest from Otoe county was compromised by admitting 
an equal number of both delegations, one of which was composed of 
representatives of the " people's party," the other of uncompromising 
" black republicans." 

The point of interest concerning this whole matter was the platform 
adopted, proclaiming in the new territory for the first time, as the 
doctrine of a party: 

" That the citizens of the United States emigrating to this territory 
bring with them their inherent rights to legislate for their protection 
and welfare, subject only, under the constitution, to the regulations of 
congress. That the people of this territory should be allowed to elect 
their own officers and regulate their own domestic institutions, and 
that it is the duty of the territorial legislature, in exercise of its power, 
to prohibit slavery in the territory."* Here for the first time were 
the party lines drawn distinctly, and the unanimity of action on the 
part of the men composing the convention left no doubt as to their 
intentions for the future. A resolution had been offered that the 
Philadelphia platform of 1856 be adopted, but was soon disposed of 
since that platform recognized the power to prohibit slavery from or 

* Territorial republican platform of 1859. 


legislate slavery into the territories as vesting only in congress and 
not in the territorial legislatures, nor even in the people of the terri- 
tories in constitutional convention assembled.* 

In the campaign of the fall of 1859 the question of slavery was not 
made a practical issue, although in reality its influence was most potent. 
Orators pronounced as the issue of the campaign, whether Nebraska 
should be a free or slave territory,t and yet at the same time the dis- 
cussions were not carried on with that bitterness and harshness which 
characterized the campaigns in many of the states. The wrangle over 
the public printing tended to overshadow the slave problem and to 
give the local coloring to the canvass. The question was referred to 
incidentally rather than directly ; for instance, in the charges made by 
the democratic papers that the republican candidates Avere in favor of 
negro equality and of admitting negro testimony in the courts ; also in 
the denunciations of this party as ''black republicans" and "nigger 

Apropos of the term " black republican," Mr. Marquett relates an 
amusing incident which occurred during the term of Governor Black. 
At that time, although the republicans were rich in principle, they 
were poor in pocket. In fact it has been asserted that in January 
1858, counting rich democrats and all, there was not an average of 
$2.50 to each inhabitant of the territory.^ This being the state of 
affairs, and the greater part of this little stock of wealth in the hands 
of the democrats, that party gave all the champagne suppers, and in fact 
all the good things of the land fell to the lot of the party in power — 
a sort of Dives and Lazarus state of society. The republican party 
was eventually made to rejoice by the accession to its ranks of a man 
who claimed to have a bank account somewhere in the east, and who 
proposed to give a banquet to his party at his own expense. During 
this banquet, which as a matter of fact did come to pass. Governor 
Black and his secretary entered, and being invited to take part in this 
the first feast of the republicans, the secretary thought to create some 
amusement at the expense of this party by proposing a toast to Gov- 
ernor Black without the republicans. One of that party immediately 
arose and proposed a toast to the republicans without the Black ; to 
this toast the Governor heartily assented. 

In the fall elections the showing made by the republicans was a 

Cooper's "American Politics," p. 
Speech of Joiin M. Thayer at Om 
; Address of J. S. Morton, Council Journal, Sixth Session, page 174. 

t Speech of John M. Thayer at Omaha, Aug. 23, 1859. Omaha Nebraskian, Sept. 3, 1859. 


matter of surprise to the democrats, who were considerably angered 
from the fact th.^t Falls City, with the aid of Jim Lane abolition voters 
run over from Kansas and Missouri, returned one hundred and forty- 
three votes out of the total one hundred and seventy-two cast ; yet not- 
withstanding this abolition aid, the republicans were generally defeated 
throughout the territory, and the democratic papers* hastened to pro- 
claim in bold headlines the "joyful tidings," ''Abolitionism in Nebras- 
ka wiped out." Abolitionism, however, had taken firm root in the 
new territory, and on the assembling of the legislature in December, 
bills providing for the prohibition of slavery in Nebraska were intro- 
duced into both the council and house of representatives. The bill 
introduced into the council was prepared by Messrs. Marquett and 
Taylor, and introduced by the latter. (Appendices "B and C") The 
bill provided for a fine in case of any person holding slaves in the terri- 
tory, including white persons and Indians in its provisions as well as 
negroes and mulattoes. 

On the second reading it was referred to a select committee of three.f 
This committee, after due deliberation, seemed to have mutually re- 
solved that each and every member thereof should present a rejiort 
after his own mind, which was accordingly done. 

Mr. Taylor, the chairman of the committee, favored the passage of 
the bill for the reason that slavery did exist in the territory, and for 
the further reason, that the territorial legislature had the power to 
pass such an act, citing in support of his first reason the fact that 
various democratic office holders, as well as members of the legislature 
were the owners of slaves at that time. 

Dr. George L. Miller, in his report, questioned the power of the 
legislature to pass such an act, and further denied that practical slav- 
ery existed in the territory. He affirmed that the bondage of the few 
so-called slaves was voluntary, and that one- of them at least was a 
burden to his master, by reason of his being subject to fits, leaving 
to the " candid and careful consideration " of the council to consider 
what could " be done to lighten the burden of the master and remedy 
the terrible malady of the slave." Furthermore, that "under the 
operation of incidental causes, aided by the stealing propensities of an 
unprincipled set of abolitionists, the number has been reduced to the 
insignificant figure of four and one-half slaves all told," and that 

Neoraskian, October 15, 1n59. 
t Messrs. Taylor, Miller, and Doane. 


this fact furnished " abundant proof of the entire uselessness of the 
legislation" for which the bill called.* Mr. Doane would not admit for 
an instant that slavery existed in Nebraska, but questioned the pro- 
priety of " confiscating " property providing it was held. He was of 
the opinion that the territorial legislature had the power to pass an 
act of this kind but thought the introduction of the bill untimely. (See 
Appendix D.) At this point the bill was dropped and one from the 
house on the same subject taken up. This bill had been introduced in 
the house by Mr. Marquett, then of Cass county, and after a spirited 
contest of several days had passed by a vote of twenty-one to seven 
teen. In the council a joint resolution, taking the place of the bill, 
was offered by Mr. Porter and adopted. Here for the first time the 
Douglas democrats joined with the republicans, this giving them a 
clear majority. 

In the house these resolutions were referred to a committee of three, f 
A majority report of this committee, signed by Messrs. Marquett and 
Lake, earnestly recommended the passage of the resolutions, with cer- 
tain amendments. The minority report of Reynolds denied the neces- 
sity of the intended legislation, as slavery did not exist in the territory. 
The resolutions having been amended,| passed the house in the form 
of a bill, and on January 3, 1860, the council concurred in the amend- 
ments of the house. 

On the ninth, the bill was returned unsigned by the Governor. The 
message accompanying the bill first set forth that the passage of such 
an act would be a dire«t violation of the treaty made at the time of 
the Louisiana purchase. The third article of this treaty provided that 
" the inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the 
United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the pro- 
visions of the federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, 
privileges, and immunities of citizens of the United States ; and in the 
mean time, they shall be protected in the free enjoyment of their lib- 
erty, property, and the religion which they profess." 

Nebraska being a portion of that territory and not yet admitted as a 
state, the people were still subject to the provisions of the cession 
treaty, and according to the tenor of this doccument, slaves were prop- 

In the second place the message denied the power and authority 

* Council Journal, sixth session, p. 46. 
+ Messrs. Marquett, Lake, and Reynolds. 
I House Journal, sixth session, page 189. 


of the territorial legislature to pass such an act, since this body did 
not constitute the "people," as contemplated in the organic act, but 
interpreted the word people to mean the people of the territory in con- 
vention assembled. 

The action of the Governor was not unexpected, as he was known 
to be an ardent pro-slavery man, one of Buchanan's pets, appointed 
from Pennsylvania. On the breaking out of the war, however, he 
returned to Pittsburg, entered the service as colonel of a Union regi- 
ment, and was killed in the seven days' fight about Pichmond. 

Several days after the veto,* upon motion of Mr, Furnas, the 
whole matter was indefinitely postponed and received no further atten- 
tion at that session. 

The real object in introducing the bills at this session had been 
to see just where certain men stood ; to determine the actual attitude 
of the Douglas democrats, as well as a body of men known as inde- 
pendents, who were opposed to the democracy, but did not go to the 
extreme of black republicanism. The action of the legislature had 
also been urged by New England abolitionists, that the position of 
the new territory might be determined as speedily as possible. Let- 
ters were also received from Charles Sumner and Colfax, thanking 
the republicans of Nebraska for what they had done and urging upon 
them the necessity of persistent agitation. 

During this session the contest had been of a nature both offensive 
and defensive, the democrats again bringing forward their free negro 
bill, which was introducied in the house by Mr. Nuckolls, of Pichard- 
son county. At that time many of the free states had laws prohibit- 
ing negroes and mulattoes from settling within their borders, Indiana, 
the native state of Mr. NuckolLs, being one of these. 

After a first and second reading the bill was referred to a special com- 
mittee of three, consisting of Messrs. Nuckolls, Johnson, and Mar- 
quett. In the minority report presented by the latter gentleman, he 
exposed the whole intent of the bill, when he said that it was simply 
intended as " political buncombe." In fact, this bill, as well as the 
resolutions offered by Mr. Donelan, was intended as an off-set to the 
republican bills. The Nuckolls bill provided that negroes or mulat- 
toes remaining in the territory for a period longer than sixty days 
were guilty of a misdemeanor. By a vote of twenty-one to fifteen 
the enacting clause was stricken out, thus killing the bill.f 

* Friday, January 13, 1860. 

t House Jourual, SLSih session, page 129. 


The Buchanan democrats were furious at the desertion of the 
Douglas democrats, but laid all the blame upon the black republicans. 
One of the democratic papers, in commenting upon the legislature 
said : " The black republican party is founded upon the great element 
nigger ; it is fed upon nigger ; its motive power is nigger. The 
African party are clothed in garments of sable, and their faces are 
of ebony and they masticate charcoal." 

Nowithstanding the frequent assertions of the democrats that 
slavery did not exist in Nebraska, several incidents occurred in the 
interval between the closing of the session in January 1860 and the 
following session in December of that same year, which went very 
far to prove the contrary. During the summer of 1860, a colored 
woman Eliza, a slave belonging to Nuckolls of Nebraska City, es- 
caped, (an unfavorable comment on her " voluntary bondage," ) and 
was captured in Chicago, but taken away from her captors by a mob 
of negroes and whites, the whole matter terminating in a lawsuit " 
which became widely known as the " Chicago rescue case." The Times 
and Herald of that city raised a great outcry over the affair and de- 
clared the nation lost. 

During this year there were also several suits in the Iowa courts 
growing out of the disputes arising from the attempt of slaves held in 
the territory to escape. In one case a citizen of Iowa recovered a 
judgment of several thousand dollars against a citizen of Nebraska 
.City, who had broken into the house of the former while in pursuit 
of a fugitive slave. The evil effect of the system began to he felt in 
Nebraska, since, by reason of disputes arising over the ownership of 
certain slaves, the trade of a good part of the country adjacent to 
Nebraska City was transferred to other towns. 

About this time an advertisement of sheriff's sale appeared in the 
democratic paper published at Nebraska City, which announced that 
Sheriff Birclifield, by virtue of an execution in favor of William B. 
Hall against Charles F. Holly, would, on the fifth day of December, 
offer at public sale to the highest bidder, the ''following describetl 
pro]>crty, to-wit : One Negro man and one Negro woman, known as 
Hercules and Martha." The republican paper* published at Ne- 
]jraska City, commenting at length upon the affiiir, called upon the 
legislature to settle the matter at once, for all time, and in the fall 
elections, the question was made a direct issue. There were several 

* Nebraska Ciiy Press. 


incidents connected with this sale which still further aroused tlie re- 

The democrats themselves held that the act of bringing a slave 
into the territory virtually gave him his freedom, since it was neces- 
sary to positively legislate slavery into the territory before it could 
legally exist; yet at the same time execution was issued out of a pro- 
slaveiy court upon a negro as property, whom in the same breath it 
declared to be free. The republicans instituted proceedings against 
the judgment creditor, Hall, as a kidnapper, but nothing came of the 
affiiir further than the effect produced by the incident upon the suc- 
ceding legislature.* 

One is forced to the conclusion, that at the beginning of this con- 
test lx)th parties were agitating the question for political capital, but 
at this time the matter had become a question of real seriousness to all 
parties concerned. The democrats realized that slavery could never 
tlourisli in Nebraska, and that an attempt to force the matter but 
rendered the " irrepressible conflict" the more imminent. The pro- 
slavery men had never made a united effort to legislate slavery into 
the territory, since it was expected that the result of the conflict in Kan- 
sas would virtually settle the matter for Nebraska as well.f 

The year 1860 had been a prosperous one for Nebraska. The pop- 
ulation had been greatly increased by settlers, the majority of whom 
were republicans. In the fall elections, this party swept the terri- 
tory, so that out of thirteen members elected to the council, eight were 
republicans, while out of thirty-eight members elected to the lower 
house the democrats could claim but eleven.^ The democratic pa- 
pers| made great sport of the promised reforms by the " kinky haired" 
republicans, and before the close of the session one of them became so 
abusive that its editor was excluded from the floor of the House.§ 

On the assembling of the legislature there were not wanting signs of 
the intention of the republican majority. William Taylor, better 
known as " Handbill Taylor," so called from his fondness for posting 
men wIkj refused to give him such personal satisfaction as was de- 
manded by the code of honor, and known as one of the most violent 
anti-shu-ery men in the territory, was chosen president of the council. 

* See speech of Downes, of Otoe Count5% in House of Representatives, December 12 18G0 
t Private conversations with Mr. Marquett. Browiiville Advertiser, January 3, 1861. 
t Omaha i? publican, November 29, 1860. j > ^ • 

I Omaha Nebraskian, December 1, 1860. 
i Brownville Advertiser, Dec. 20, 1860. 


On the 4th of December, Governor Black read what was to be his 
last message to a Nebraska legislature. He appeared oppressed with 
the thought of impending danger to the nation, and was fearful lest 
the republican majority, in the exercise of its newly acquired power, 
should do something to hasten that event, which he so dreaded, namely, 
the dissolution of the union. He urged upon them the distinction be- 
tween legislation which might abstractly be right, and legislation 
which would be both right and beneficial in its results. He called es- 
pecial attention to the fact thaj: the proposed measure would injure 
their commercial relations, since no steamboat, with a " hired slave " on 
board, could ^vith safety touch the shores of Nebraska. He believed 
that slavery, like every human institution, would have its day, that 
it had in fact passed its culminating point; but that if the union should 
perish the evil would then become irreparable. Finally, if it was 
not in the power of the legislature "to do something towards bring- 
ing back the days of other years, when peace prevailed," at least to 
do nothing "towards making the present gloomy, and the future 
hopeless." * 

Men of the opposite party respected the spirit of patriotism and 
love which dictated words of such moderation, in a time so exciting, 
but they had pledged themselves in their platform to do all in their 
power to secure the passage of a bill prohibiting slavery in the 
territory, let come what might, believing that disunion without 
slavery was preferable to slavery and union. Early in the session 
bills to this effect were introduced in both houses,t and although the 
opposition was confined to fewer men than in the former sessions, yet 
the debates were more spirited and the enthusiasm more genuine than 
at any previous time. The democrats acknowledged the power of a 
territorial legislature, but denied their moral right, in view of the 
threateued disunion, to pass a bill of this character. The bills 
passed rapidly to a third reading, in the council there being three and 
in the house biit two dissenting votes on the final passage. 

The governor again vetoed the bill, and in his message went over 
about the same ground as in his former one, characterizing the pass- 
age of the bill as " most ill-timed and unpropitious." The reading of 
the message in the House caused great excitement, one member, not 
particularly noted for the exactness of his knowledge, spoke of it as 

* Governor's mesi-age, Council Journal, 7, session, page 126. 

t In the House, December 6, I860; in the Council on the following day. 


the " extraordinary dictum of king James vicegerient" and branded 
Governor Black as "Judas I-ScarioC'* 

The bill was soon afterf passed over the veto, the vote standing the 
same as on its final passage, and declared to be a law by the secretary 
of state. X 

The statute prohibited slavery or involuntary servitude in the ter- 
ritory, but provided no penalty for its infringement. 

In 1862 a similar law in Kansas was declared unconstitutional, and 
for a time in this territory it was feared that this law might be dis- 
posed of likewise, but no occasion occurred for testing is validity. 

The bill had passed in January, 1861; in April, the same year, 
began that struggle, which for a time was to make the future seem 
" at best but hopeless." In the time of peril, Nebraska gallantly 
responded to the call for aid ; her war record needs no eulogy. 


JOINT EESOLUTION for the Prohibition of Slavery. 

Whereas, Some of our citizens seem to fear that slavery or involuntary servi- 
tude may be a fruitful source of discord and disunion in the territory, and in order 
that we may not have any further agitation upon this unpleasant subject, and that 
the same may be forever settled, therefore, 

Be UeiMded by the Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Nebraska: 
That slavery or involuntary servitude, except for the punishment of crime be 
and the same is forever prohibited in this territory. 

Amendments adopted in the house: 

Strike out the words "joint resolution " in the title and insert in lieu thereof 
"a bill." 

Add as Section 2: 

This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the first day of July 
A.D. 1860. ' 



AN ACT to prevent free negroes from settling in the territory of Nebraska. 
Read first time February 9, 1857. 
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Terri- 

* Omaha Nehraskian, Jan. 5, 1861. 

t In the Council Jan. 3, and in the House Jau. 5, 1861. 

X Hon. J. Sterling Morton. 


tory of Nebraska : That hereafter no free negro or mulatto shall be permitted to 
emigrate to, or to take up his abode in this territory. 

Sec. 2. Any negro or mulatto, who shall, after the passage of this act, come 
into this territory with the intent of making it his residence, shall be fined in the 
sum of $10 on conviction before any justice of the peace, and shall be imprisoned 
until he assents to leave the territory. 

Sec. 3. This act shall take effect from its passage. 



A BILL for an act to abolish and prohibit slavery or involuntary servitude. 

Read 1st time December 7, 1859; read 2d time December 8,1859. 

Section 1. Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of the Terri- 
tory of Nebraska : That slaveiy or involuntary servitude in this territory is for- 
ever abolished and prohibited, except for crime. 

Sec. 2. If any person or persons whomsoever shall violate the foregoing pro- 
vision by holding in slavery any negro, mulatto, Indian, colored or white person 
against his, her, or their consent, the person so offending shall be deemed guilty 
of a misdemeanor, and shall, upon conviction thereof in any court of competent 
jurisdiction, be punished by fine not exceeding three thousand dollars nor less than 
five hundred dollars. 

Sec. 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the first day 
of May, A.D. 1860. 



JOINT RESOLUTION relative to slavery. 

Introduced by Doane, December 21, 1859. 

Whereas, Slavery does not exist in this territory, and there is no danger of its 
introduction therein, 

Eesolved, That being opposed to the introduction of slavery in this territory, and 
asserting the exclusive power of territorial legislatures over the whole subject of 
slavery in the territories by right of inherent sovereignty in the people to regulate 
their domestic institutions in their own way, and by virtue of the provisions of the 
Kansas-Nebraska bill, this legislature is prepared in any proper and practical way 
to take whatever action may be necessary to prohibit or exclude slavery from this 
territory at any time when such legislation may become necessary. 

Resolved further, That, believing the agitation of this question at this time, by the 
attempt to legislate upon the subject of slavery in this territory, to be ill-timed, 
pernicious, and damaging to the fair name of our territory, the members of this 
legislature will oppose all such attempts. 



By a. R. Keim. 
[Communicated to the Society.]^ 

In 1855 John Brown went to Kansas "for the sole purpose of 
fighting if need be for liberty." He soon had occasion to teach the 
" Border Ruffians" that he could strike hard blows in behalf of free 
homes and an enslaved race. In repeated encounters, with a handful 
of men, he worsted the pro-slavery forces that came against him, and 
his success at the battle of Black Jack, and Ossawatomie, and Law- 
rence made old John Brown of Ossawatomie, one of the foremost men 
of Kansas. The Missouri slave holders recognized him as the most 
vigorous and uncompromising of all their enemies. He was the most 
to be feared, because on all matters pertaining to this contest his con- 
victions were intensely sincere. He believed in the god of battles and 
conceived his mission in life to be to free the slaves. In religion and 
conduct he was a puritan of the sternest sect. He was sixth in descent 
from Peter Brown, who landed from the Mayflower at Plymouth 
Rock in 1620, and the same motive that induced his ancestor to flee 
from the tyranny and persecution of king and clergy actuated John 
Brown to begin an armed resistance to the slave power — the love of 
liberty. He was true to the inherited instincts of his race, and in the 
language of James Redpath " He planted his feet on the Rock of Ages, 
the eternal truth, and was therefore never shaken in his policy or 
principles." He was not satisfied merely to defend Kansas against 
invasion, but, leagued with kindred spirits, carried on a predatory war- 
fare against Missouri, releasing slaves and aiding them to escape to a 
place where their freedom would be secure. To get these freed men 
away from Missouri is what brought John Brown to Richardson 
county. A passage for him through Missouri was impossible, and to 
reach Canada, it was necessary to make a wide detour through Ne- 
braska and Iowa, where public sentiment was on the side of the run- 
away slaves, and though Judge Taney had held that good citizens 
ought to return these fugitives, the people of Falls City in those early 

*Read before the Richardson County Teachers' Association, Dec. 12, ISib. 


days tlionght otherwise ; consequently a warm friendship grew up be- 
tween our people and Brown. He had been in Kansas somewhat 
more than a year when he made his first trip to Falls City. It was in 
the autumn of 1855 that his wagon, containing; a sincrle fusritive slave, 
crossed the Nemaha near the falls. He was on his way to New Eng- 
land in search of aid and friends to use in the Kansas troubles. A 
large portion of the journey was made in his wagon. It was on this 
trip he made the preliminary survey of the famous underground rail- 
road, which afterwards became well worn by the feet of those who fled 
in fear and trembling from cruel task-masters. A route along the 
Missouri river was impracticable, for Leavenworth, Atchison, and 
other river towns were full of pro-slavery men, as was also Lecomp- 
ton, on the Kaw, and then, too, the Iowa Sac and Fox Indian reserva- 
tion stretched directly across this route. The negroes were afraid of 
the Indians, and perhaps they had good grounds for their fear. Doni- 
phan, only a short distance from Atchison, was a hot-bed for aboliti- 
onists, among whom were Gen. Lane, afterwards U. S. Senator, James 
Redpath, the historian, and John Martin, present governor of Kansas. 
This town would have been on the river route, but taking all things 
into consideration it was thought "to have too many pitfalls for the 
unwary African. 

Most of the fugitives were started from near Topeka, Kan.; travel- 
ing a little west of north, they came to Syracuse, whence the course 
was slightly east of north until Falls City was reached. Three or four 
days were usually required to make this journey. Nemaha City was 
the second station in Nebraska, and the Missouri was crossed at Brown- 
ville and Nebraska City, usually Nebraska City. At Tabor, Iowa, 
the fugitives were comparatively safe, and there they were outfitted 
for Canada, the money for this purpose coming largely from Puri- 
tan New England. Brown had trusty friends along the way to whom 
fugitives applied for food and protection and direction from one station 
to another. The old hotel that once stood on Ed. Bell's corner was 
the head-quarters of John Brown, Gen. Lane, and other anti-slavery 
men who frequented Falls City between 1856-60. This building 
may now be seen on the north east corner of Roy's addition on the 
street leading to the old cemetery. Its reputation since its removal 
has fallen into so low esteem that the neighborhood would gladly be 
rid of it. Squire Dorrington's barn, which so long occupied the lots 


in the rear of Dorrington's briek block, near Mrs. Ralston's boarding 
house, was used as a hiding phice for Brown's freemen. Many a time 
did the old barn do glorious service in this way, and the squire's noble 
wife, with true Christian heroism, gave them food to refresh their weary 
bodies and sympathy to cheer them on their way. Elias Meyers has 
recently put a windmill, one mil^ north of town, on the very spot 
where once stood the humble hut of one William Buchanan, poor in 
worldly goods but rich in love and sympathy for the wretched slaves 
whose treadmill of life was harder than his own. To him was in- 
trusted the care of the first station on the underground railroad in 
Nebraska, and though he may have proved unfaithful to his trust in one 
or two instances, driven by hard necessity, yet upon the whole the 
blacks who roused him in the night received a kindly welcome and 
were sent on to Nemaha City, after resting awhile with him. Brown 
made four or five visits to Falls City, each time bringing slaves. He 
crossed the Nemaha near the falls and drove up through the town, 
making no effort to conceal the nature of his cargo. A mile or two 
beyond a camp would be selected. At nightfall the negroes would be 
hurried off to Buchanan's or Dorrington's barn, so that in case of an 
attack on theecamp the negroes could escape. Strict watch was kept 
on his camp without the appearance of so doing. Brown himself 
would usually be found in town in close conversation with his friends. 
After two or three raids had been made into Missouri, the slaves along 
the border got it into their heads that ''the year of jubilee" was at 
hand, and began to emigrate singly and in bands; of course these came 
unattended by white men. It is now nearly 27 years ago that a 
negro named Jim came secretly across the border one night to Brown's 
cabin and told that himself and family had been sold and would be 
sent off to Texas next day. Dividing his band into two parties 
Bro\vn set off to the rescue. Several places were visited and the slaves 
taken ; one Missourian who offered resistance was killed. This act 
roused Missouri against him. The governor of the state offered a 
reward of $2,500 for him, and President Buchanan added $250 more. 
Many of Brown's Kansas friends, through policy, now turned against 
him, and he knew that the time had come for him to strike the blow 
that he had planned to be the climax of all his efforts. So he began 
to move slowly through Kansas, pursued at times by pro-slavery par- 
ties, which were either eluded or defeated. When between Falls City 


and Topeka, a short distance from the latter place, he captnred squire 
Dorrington's mail carrier and brought him far enough back toward 
Nebraska, so that before any information could come to the knowledge 
of the U. S. authorities from this source he would be many miles on 
his way to Falls City, and pursuit would be useless. The mail carrier, 
now a resident of this city, was then an admirer and sympathizer 
of Brown. Finding that danger of persuit was over when he reached 
this place, he remained in the neighborhood two or three days. The 
last night was spent at the cabin of Buchanan in discussing with his 
friends — among whom Wilson M.Maddox was one — his Harper's Ferry 
campaign. It is reported that he camped one night at the place of 
John Herkendorf on the Muddy, and his negro women in cooking the 
meal broke a cup of Herkendorf's, which Brown insisted on paying 
for. In all his transactions with our people he was scrupulously hon- 
est. " Finding it necessary to his success that slaves should have 
horses, and that the masters should not," he never hesitated to take 
them from the Missourians. This is the last time Falls City saw 
John Brown, and she heard no more of him until the news flashed 
over the country on Oct. 17, 1859, that the U. S. arsenal at Harper's 
Ferry was in possession' of an armed band whose profe^ed object was 
to free the slaves. When asked by what authority they had taken 
possession of public property the reply was, " By the authority of 
God Almighty." Of the many thousands who heard the news on 
that morning, few understood what it really portended. The busy 
men of the north saw it merely as the wild adventure of a fanatic; to 
a little band of New Englanders it bore a different message. The 
south was bewildered, alarmed, and enraged; their homes and property 
no longer seemed secure. Virginia, wild with excitement, rushed to 
Harper's Ferry to look upon the man who had hurled the firebrand 
into their midst, the man who struck the first real blow at slavery^ 
who had sounded the tocsin of civil strife and committed the first act 
of war. To quote Frederick Douglas, the most gifted orator of his 
race: "Not Carolina, but Virginia — not Major Anderson, but John 
Brown began the war that ended American slavery and made this a 
free republic. Until this blow was struck the prospect for freedom 
was dim, shadowy, and uncertain. The irrepressible conflict was one 
of words, votes, and compromises. AVhen John Brown stretched forth 
his arm the sky was cleared, the time for compromising was gone, the 


armed host of freedom stood face to face over the chasm of a broken 
union, and the clash of arms was at hand." Brown's own opinion of 
his work at the Ferry is best shown in his conversation with Mason, 
of Virginia, and Vallaudingham, of Ohio, while in prison. " I claim to 
be here carrying out a measure I believe to be perfectly justiiiuble and 
not acting the part of an incendiary or ruffian ; on the contrary I am 
here to aid those suffering under a great wrong. I wish to say fur- 
thermore that you had better, all you people of the south, prepare 
yourselves for the settlement of this question, it must come up ibr 
settlement sooner than you are prepared for it, and the sooner you 
commence that preparation the better for you. You may dispose of 
me very easily, I am nearly disposed of now, but this question is still 
to be settled — this negro question I mean. The end of this is not 
yet." It seems that every great cause must have its heroes and mar- 
tyrs; "blood must be sprinkled in the faces of the people" before tliey 
recognize what eternal justice demands. The cause of slavery de- 
manded at the hands of this nation the blood of John Brown, of 
Abraham Lincoln, and of many thousand good men besides. The one 
died on the scaffold, the death of a traitor to his country, than whom 
none loved her better, heartily condemned and hated by more than 
half the nation, and with but little sympathy expressed for him by 
the other portion ; yet it v/as but a few years until the " Boys in Blue, " 
around their evening camp iires and on the march, sang with a right 
good will, 

"John Brown's body lies mouldering in the grave. 
But his soul goes marching on." 

Then his triumph was complete. 



By Judge James W. Savage. 
[Communicated to the Society.] 

When, a few years since, a paper was read before this society,* con- 
taining some reasonable grounds for belief in the theory that Coronado, 
in his expedition to the mysterious kingdom of Quivira, reached the 
territory now embraced within the state of Nebraska, there was little 
foundation for an argument that the gallant and uxorious knight 
marched any considerable distance beyond its southern boundary. The 
relation of his patient and painstaking follower, Castaneda, and his own 
report, left him at the fortieth parallel of latitude, now the dividing 
line l^etween the states of Kansas and Nebraska; and the only reason 
for supposing him to have prolonged his journey farther to the north 
was the difficulty of believing that so adventurous a soldier would 
liave turned back until he was stopped by some natural obstacle at 
least as formidable as the Platte or the Republican river. From the 
sources of information then at hand therefore, the author of that essay, 
while, suggesting that he may have reached the Platte, was inclined 
to place Quivira south of that stream, and somewhere between Gage 
county, in this state, on the east, and Furnas on the west. 

The recent publication, by Mr. John Gilmary Shea, of a manu- 
scriptf found in Madrid by the late Buckingham Smith, enables us to 
supplement the conjectures which were made in that communication, 
and perhaps to come a little nearer the exact location of a kingdom 
which has eluded the search of geographers for more than three cen- 

It is easy to understand that the daring Spanish cavaliers, with their 
ardor for adventure and renown, and the holy friars, no less brave, 
M'ould not rest satisfied with the meagre fruits of Coronado's march. 
The Franciscan monk, John de Padilla, as we have seen,| returned to 
<iuivira with a small party of followers, and materials wherewith to 
minister alike to the physical and spiritual wants of the subjects of 
Tatarrax, the king ; but the natives being in no mood to change their 

* See Transactions and Reports, Vol. I., pp. 180-202. 

fPeualosa's Expedition to Quivira. 

i The Discovery of Nebraska, p. 39. Trans, and Reports I. p. 201. 


religion, speedily put hini in the way of obtaining the martyr's crown 
which he had travelled so far to seek. 

Fifty-seven years after the journey of Coronado, in the year 1599, 
the Spaniard, Onate, made an effort to reach Quivira ; but the accounts 
of his expedition are so ambiguous and indistinct that the point to 
which he penetrated cannot yet be very definitely ascertained. We 
gather from them, however, that he marched from Santa Fe, over 
prairies and by rivers of varying magnitude, some seven or eight hun- 
dred miles to a populous Indian city extending for several leagues. 
Here the cowardice of his followers constrained him to relinquish his 
undertaking and return to Santa Fe. Of him and his expedition we 
can only say, that he may have reached Nebraska, as, if he travelled 
his " two hundred leagues and a little further " in the right direction, 
he certainly did. But the obscurity and indefiniteness of his report 
forbid us to say more than that 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 sublime enthusiasm 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 descriptions. 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 some 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 party had 
a happier fortune. They reached a nation north of Quivira, in the 
region now known as Dakota, and converted the tribe so suddenly and 
effectually that the venerable priests could only attribute the result to 
the direct and miraculous interposition of divine grace. 

The expedition to which your attention is now invited is that of 
Don Diego, count of Penalosa, which took place in the year 1662. 
The life of this knight was marked by all the glitter, romantic enter- 
prise, and vicissitude which so charmed the Spanish soldiers of the six- 
teenth and seventeenth centuries. Penalosa was not, however, himself, 
a Spaniard, but a Creole, that is a native of America of Spanish descent. 
Born at Lima in the year 1624 of quite illustrious ancestry, if we are 


to believe his own somewhat turgid storv, he becaaie, at the immature 
age of fifteen, regidor of the city of La Paz ; then alcalde and judge of 
the same ; soon after a captain of cavalry, governor of a Peruvian prov- 
ince, and finally, by a judicious outlay of money, provincial alcalde of 
the city of La Paz and of the five provinces dependent thereon. At 
this point his upward career was checked for a little time by a diffi- 
culty with the brother of the Peruvian viceroy. This altercation, and 
the desire for seeing Spain, as he naively remarks, induced him to 
leave Peru. Probably the altercation, as he calls it, had more to do 
with his expatriation than any yearning after the country of his ances- 
tors, for his flight ended in Mexico, where fortune once more smiled 
on him and turned her wheel. The viceroy of Mexico took him into 
distinguished favor, gave him high commands in his army, made him 
governor of several provinces, and bestowed upon him other conspicu- 
ous evidences of regard. At last, grave complaints being made to the 
viceroy against the governor of New Mexico, the latter officer was re- 
called from his command, and Penalosa was selected to rule in his 
stead. His commission as governor and captain-general of New 
Mexico was issued to him in the year 1660, when he had arrived at 
the age of thirty-six years. It was not, however, until the following 
year that he proceeded in a leisurely manner to the scene of his du- 
ties, halting two months at Zacatecas on his way, and another month 
at Parral, New Biscay, for equipage and provisions. 

The position of a governor of New Mexico in those days, though 
important and dignified, was not without its difficulties. While, on 
the one hand, the command of the province was largely left to his dis- 
cretion — while his distance, over a rugged and dangerous road, from 
the Mexican viceroy gave him an apparent independent freedom from 
controlment which the adventurous always covet, on the other, there 
was a dark and portentous shadow which never failed to hang over 
his return. The very remoteness and inaccessibility of his dominion, 
the unexplored regions which bordered it, the rumors of wealth and 
magnificence in larger cities to which Santa Fe was suj^posed to be the 
gateway, and the romantic fictions which for more than a century had 
inflamed the imagination of the covetous and domineering Spaniards, 
were constantly raising high expectations of each new governor, which 
as constantly were disappointed. His very isolation not unfrequently 
enhanced the precariousness of his position ; for an enemy or rival 


could spread in Mexico complaints and slanders, and poison the minds 
of superiors for a long time before any opportunity for refutation 
could be afforded. At the period of Penalosa's accession another 
element of danger existed in the Inquisition, whose officers had pene- 
trated New Mexico, and, willing to bear a part in the temporal as 
well as spiritual control of that province, were not averse to occasional 
collisions with its haughty and high-spirited rulers. From the last 
inconvenience we shall presently see that the hero of this sketch was 
not able to exempt himself. 

For years, therefore, each new commander had sought to signalize 
his administration by the accumulation of precious metals and gems, 
the annexation of new territory, the conquest of opulent cities, or, not 
least in order of importance, the discovery of the mythical land, shaded 
by stately trees, where golden bells were jangled by summer breezes; 
traversed by rivers where golden birds adorned the barges of royalty ; 
the land where the commonest utensils were of beaten silver, and the 
poorest ate from golden plates and drank from golden beakers. It 
was a glittering and gorgeous dream from which, one after another, 
the luckless governors of New Mexico awoke to disgrace or inglorious 
obscurity. The Quivira of the Spaniards' fancy was never to be trod- 
den by the foot of the explorer. 

The count of Penalosa spent the first few months after his arrival 
at Santa Fe in making war ujjon the Apaches, then as now implacable 
and deadly foes of the white invader, in erecting several public build- 
ings, and in founding one or two new cities. But these were little more 
than the ordinary routine duties of the captain-general of New Mexico. 
He felt that the fame which he had hoped to win from his command 
would elude his grasp unless he could report to his superiors more im- 
portant exploits. He therefore set on foot his expedition to Quivira. 

On the 6th of March, in the year 1662, when in New England and 
Virginia hardy colonists were laying the foundations for an empire 
which was destined, in less than two centuries, to extend over Quivira 
and New Mexico also, Penaloso marched in state from Santa Fe to 
explore the realms to the eastward and north, and to follow the tracks 
which Coronado had made one hundred and twenty years before. The 
coinjjosition of the expedition shows the fondness of its leader for 
luxury and pomp. There marched in his train a thousand Indians 
armed with bows and arrows, and fourscore Spanish knights of good 


family and repute rode before them. Thirty -six wagons carried his 
provisions and munitions of war ; six cannon, eight hundred horses, 
and three hundred mules accompanied the force. Two chaplains, 
with their vestments and materials requisite for the celebration of 
mass, added to the brilliancy of his array ; Avhile for his personal ease 
he had j)rovided, besides horses, a commodious coach, a litter, and two 
sedan-chairs. Thus comfortably furnished, the count led his force in 
a northeasterly direction for three months, through pleasant and fer- 
tile prairies, "so agreeable," says the reverend friar, Nicholas de 
Freytas, one of the two chaplains, and the chronicler of the enterprise, 
"that not in all the Indies of Peru and New Spain, nor in Europe, 
have any other such been so delightful and pleasant." They admired, 
as had the soldiers of Coronado, the enormous herds of bufialo, the 
numerous and beautiful rivers, the luxuriant forests and fruit trees, 
the useful and fragrant plants, clover, flax, hemp, and marjoram, the 
partridges, quails, turkeys, deer, and elk, the oceans of roses, the great 
abundance of delicious strawberries, and, at a later period, no doubt, 
though they are spoken of in the same category, the plums and the 
huge clusters of grapes, whose flavor seemed to their thirsty palates 
finer even than that from the vines of their beloved Spain. 

With their senses thus regaled, the adventurous band proceeded 
dm-ing the balmy months of spring, along their course, until their 
progress was impeded by a wide and rapid river. Here they encoun- 
tered a war party of the Escanzaques nation, who dwelt along the for- 
tieth parallel of latitude, and who represented themselves as bound for 
one of the great cities of Quivira, with whose inhabitants they were 
at war.* Joining this force, which numbered about three thousand 
warriors, Penalosa and his men marched westwardly for a day along 
the right bank of the rushing river, until it made a bend so that its 
current 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 covered with signal smokes, and understood that the natives 
were advised of their approach. Still pressing forward, for a time and 
distance left by the chronicler provokingly obscure, they at last halted 
at a spot where on the opposite side another beautiful river, flowing 

* This was probably the tribe since kuown as the Kansas. Father de Smet found them still 
at war with the Pawnees in 1841. 


from the ridge, entered the stream they had previously followed. Here 
they found themselves within sight of a vast settlement or city, situ- 
ated in the midst of a spacious prairie, and upon both banks of the 
last mentioned stream. 

This was the city, or one of the cities, of Quivira. It contained 
thousands of houses, mostly circular in shape, some two, three, and 
even four stories in height, framed of a hard wood which seems to have 
been black walnut, and skillfully thatched. It extended along both 
sides of this second river for more than two leagues, at which distance 
a third stream flowed 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 lay was some eighteen or twenty miles in breadth, and 
when the army came in sight of it and bivouacked over against it on 
the south side of the river, the vast number of inhabitants, men, 
women, and children, who came out to gaze at the invaders, excited 
the liveliest curiosity. Soon appeared a delegation of some seventy 
caciques or chiefs, splendidly attired, who welcomed Penalosa with 
many marks of love and respect. The gentle savages brought with 
them, as tokens of their good will, many gifts of their most precious. 
possessions — furs of ermine, otter, and beaver, deer, and buifalo skins, 
pumpkins and beans, bread of maize, with great stores of wild game 
and fresh fish of various sorts. These they gave as an earnest of the 
hospitable reception promised when the Spaniards should cross the 
river on the next day. 

Two of the chiefs who thus visited the count were detained by him, 
says the friar, with good words and better deeds, until far into the 
night. It is to be hoped that no more persuasive measures to secure 
their stay than fair speeches and presents were resorted to ; but before 
morning, after long examination by the general and his chaplains 
about their country and its tribes, they became alarmed, found means 
of escaping, and recrossed the river to their city. 

The pathetic story of cruelty, and rapine, and oppression, of which 
the histories of Spanish conquests are so full, and which are not ab- 
sent from American annals of later days, had been retold during the 
night. Undercover of the darkness, the Escanzaques had, without the 
orders or knowledge of Penalosa (as the writer declares, and as perhaps, 
in the absence of any opposing testimony, we are bound to believe), 


forded the river, fallen upon the peaceful dwellers of the city, and 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 

The soldiers spent the day in extinguishing the flames, and in 
efforts to repress the fury of the Escanzaques. The next day they 
marched through the town, admiring the vast number of dwellings, 
the innumerable paths wdiich entered the city from the highlands be- 
hind 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 them like a j)aradise. But their search for the 
golden birds, or bells, or rich dishes, or precious stones, was as vain as 
that of their predecessors had been ; so that Don Diego, after sending 
a small force still farther on, who could report no end to the settle- 
ment, no new discoveries, and above all no signs of gold, concluded 
to return. The reasons, he assigned for this sudden abandonment of 
the enterprise were that the pursuit of fleeing men would be fruitless, 
that there was no certainty that his huge, lumbering coach could find 
passage over the broken grounds before them, and that he had no 
orders to proceed farther. It is pretty evident from the nature of 
these excuses that when the hope of finding gold vanished, the count's 
zeal in the undertaking disappeared also. On the 11th of June, 1662, 
therefore, he turned his face southward, and after a journey without 
special adventure, except a sanguinary battle with his former allies, 
the Escanzaques, regained his post in New Mexico. 

Such, so far as they relate to our special purpose, are the principal 
features of the narration of Father Nicholas de Freytas. The object 
of this paper is to show that the termination of Penalosa's expedition 
was in the state of Nebraska, not far from where now flourishes the 
city of Columbus, in that fertile and attractive regiou, along the bor- 
ders of the Loup, which the novelist, Cooper, has celebrated as affbrd- 
ing a last hunting-ground and a grave for his hero, Leatherstocking, 
which, at the cession to the United States by the Pawnees, in 1857, of 
their vast possessions, was retained by them as the dearest and most 
valuable of their spacious hunting-grounds, and which allured the 
experienced eye of the Mormon exile as he fled westward from civil- 


ization, in 1856.* But before presenting in detail the arguments which 
seem to lead irresistibly to this conclusion, it may not be uninteresting 
to trace, in a few words, the life of the leader of the march to the end 
of his romantic career. 

Penalosa was, so far as can be inferred from our scanty materials, 
a man of inordinate vanity, arrogant, high spirited, and supercilious. 
Upon his return to Santa Fe, he addressed to the Spanish crown a 
memorial of his journey, and awaited with impatient anxiety the re- 
sponse which he expected would add to his numerous self-bestowed 
titles that of Duke of Quivira.t 

But he could not humble himself to the Inquisition, then asserting 
supreme authority in all the Spanish provinces, nor conciliate its 
oflftcers. It Mas not long before he came into actual collision with 
them. Wishing, as he said, to check the tyrannical and extravagant 
flights of the commissary-general of the order, he was rash enough to 
place that officer in arrest and to keep him confined for several days 
in the palace at Santa Fe. As in New Mexico he possessed sufficient 
power to sustain himself, his temerity went for a time unpunished ; 
but when, two years afterwards, he ventured into Mexico, the Inqui- 
sition, which could afford to delay chastisement, though never to 
pardon so glaring a breach of its authority, had him arrested, detained 
in prison for nearly three years, deprived of his governorship, and 
condemned to a fine which left him penniless. Nor was this all. On 
the 3d of February, 1668, that tribunal celebrated a special auto-da-fe 
at the convent of Santo Domingo, at which Don Diego de Pena- 
losa, governor of New Mexico, was condemned to penance for irreverent 
language towards the priests' and lords' inquisitors, and certain wild 
freaks which seemed almost blasphemous. He came forth to walk in 
the procession of penitents, with a green candle in his hand, his hair 
carefully dressed, arrayed in a skirt of exquisite fineness, ungartered 
hose, and wide ruffles about his wrists of Flemish point-lace. Thus at- 
tired, says a writer of that day, he was an object of sincere comjiassion. 

* The district now known as Nance county was the home of the Pawnees, until their re- 
moval to the Indian territory, in 1879. Within its limits the Mormons established, about 1856, 
a settlement, which they called Genoa, where they dwelt until they were driven out by the 
United States troops, at the request of the Indians. 

tThe relation of Freytas, doubtless prepared under the count's supervision, thus describes 
him : "Don Diego Dionysio, of Penalosa, Bricena and Verdugo, Ocampo and Valdivia, lord of 
the cities of Guarina and Farara, and their eleven towns, tributary knight vassal in the city of 
La Paz, provincial alcalde and perpetual ruler therein, and in the five provinces of its district, 
governor and captain -general of New Mexico, lawful successor and heir of the marquisate of 
Arauco, the couutship of Valdivia (province of Chili), the viscountship of La Imperial, and 
the marquisate of Oristan, claiming to be marquis of Farara, and count of Santa Fe de Pena- 
losa, adeiantado of Chili and of the Great Quivira in the west of this new world of America." 


With this indignity ended Penalosa's services to the Spanish govern- 
ment. He made some ineifectual efforts to obtain redress ; but as the 
power of the Inquisition had become too great for his feeble opposi- 
tion, he determined to seek more grateful and less superstitious patrons. 
Soon after, he appeared in London ; but driven thence as he asserts 
by the persecutions of the Spanish ambassadors at the English court, 
he betook himself to France, where in 1682 he addressed a memorial 
to the French government, proposing the occupation of Texas, and 
the despatch of an expedition, of wdiich he should be the commander, 
to co-operate with La Salle in the foundation of a French empire in 
the New World. His project seems to have been looked upon with 
some favor and carried out so far as La Salle was concerned ; but for 
some reason the support of the government was withdrawn, La Salle 
was left to his fate in the Texan wilds, and Penalosa's schemes of 
power were again frustrated. He lingered four or five years longer 
in Paris, a wrecked, unhappy man, and died in that city at the age of 
sixty-three. Of his eventful career, liis glowing ambition, his bold 
projects, his journeys, his quarrels, his successes, his disappointments, 
and his death, we have but these vague and unsatisfactory outlines. 
But there is some reason to hope that close investigation may yet 
bring to light further details of the life of a man who was certainly, 
whatever his weaknesses or his faults, a type of the brave and stirring 
western adventurer. 

It may prove a dull task to examine with minute criticism all the 
evidences which point to the valleys of the Loup and Platte rivers as 
the location of the city which Penalosa visited ; but the importance 
of the inquiry to those interested in the early annals of Nebraska will 
perhaps justify a somewhat searching and thorough investigation of 
the story of De Freytas. Ambiguous and desultory as his account is, 
a careful study of it enables us .to fix upon a few ascertained localities ; 
and a comparison of its statements w^ith those of other explorers and 
with our knowledge of the country will, it is thought, serve to estab- 
lish in the minds of impartial students the situation of the kingdom 
and city of Quivira beyond reasonable doubt. 

In determining this point we can first assure ourselves that Quivira 
lay north-easterly from Santa F6. 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 Castaueda. Gomara, in his narra- 


tive of the expedition, declares that tlie march was towards the north- 
east. The missionary fathers previously mentioned traveled in the 
same direction. Freytas constantly speaks of it as '' the north-east 
land ; " and the Indian guides always persisted that the route to it by 
way of Taos was shorter and more direct than that usually followed. 

We are able to come somewhat nearer the spot by the certainty 
that it was north of the fortieth parallel of latitude. Coronado re- 
ported that he penetrated thus far to the north; and in' this state- 
ment he was supported by the evidence of all who accompanied 
him. Penalosa, more than a century later, found the Escanzaques, 
enemies of the Quiviras, dwelling along that parallel, and ranging 
over the couutry northward. With them he marched nortli to attack 
the Quiviras. This statement, if true, proves incontestably that the 
habitations of the latter were above that line. 

The distances travelled by the several explorers, while not always 
either definitely given or harmonious, all indicate that the region we 
are discussing was at least as far from Santa Fe as Nebraska. The 
length of Coronado's march has already been made a topic of inquiry 
in the paper upon his expedition read before this society in 1880, and 
it is unnecessary to say more about it here than that it appeared of 
sufficient length to have ended in this state. The march of Onate 
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 Ordnance Manual, 3.42 American miles, we may fairly suppose 
that he travelled between six hundred and seventy-five and eight 
hundred and fifty miles. Freytas, writing from Santa Fe his account 
of the expedition we are now considering, declares that " this north- 
east land, so populous and wealthy, begins one hundred and fifty 
leagues from here, and stretches to where the city commences almost 
as far again." In other words, he makes the distance of the chief 
city of Quivira from Santa Fe between two hundred and fifty and 
three hundred leagues ; that is between eight hundred and fifty and a 
thousand miles. 

Now by the " Map of the Territory of the United States, west of 
the Mississippi River, prepared by the authority of the Honorable the 
Secretary of War, in the office the chief of engineers," in the year 
1879, the distance in an air line from Santa Fe to Columbus, Neb., 
is nearly six hundred miles. By rail the distance from Santa Fe to 


the river Platte is nine hundred and eighty-six miles ; and inasmuch 
as the Atchison and Santa F6 Railroad follows very closely the old 
and natural route so well known to travellers as the Santa Fe trail, it 
is not a violent presumption that all the early adventurers pursued 
for a portion of their journey this easy pathway. After making, 
then, liberal allowance for guesses, imperfect measurements, and 
exaggerations, we are forced to the conclusion that the reported length 
of the various marches confirms our hypothesis. 

Another belief of the Spanish geographers with regard to the site 
of Quivira was, that it was nearly surrounded by the sea. This, while 
at first it may seem opposed to our view of the situation, affords on 
examination a powerful argument in support of it. " It is known by 
evident proof," says Freytas, "that the sea encircles and surrounds 
all that land in those four points, — east, north-east, north, and west." 
But this "evident proof" was manifestly only the stories of their 
Indian guests and captives ; for we have abundant assurance that the 
Spaniards did not themselves reach any large body of water. That 
the unlettered topographers of the region, in attempting to trace for 
their visitors the course of the Missouri River, should, in their de- 
scription of the largest stream they had ever seen or heard of, have 
conveyed the idea that they were speaking of the ocean, can be readily 
comprehended.* If it were otherwise, the savages Avere simply seek- 
ing to deceive, for there is no spot which Coronado or Penalosa could 
possibly have reached in their respective marches which is thus sur- 
rounded by salt M-ater. Assuming, however, that by the word or 
sign which the Spanish cavaliers translated " sea," the Indians meant 
" great river," we can at once perceive that the proposed situation of 
Quivira would answer precisely to the description. From the site 
which is now suggested that majestic current can be reached by a 
journey, not long, neither to the north-west, north, north-east, or east. 

Taking it for granted, then, that the metropolis of this vast 
kingdom of Quivira lay north-east-svardly from Sana Fe, our nearest 
absolutely ascertained point, at a distauce of between six Iwuidred and 
a thousand miles; that it was encircled by a stream or body of water 
from the nortll-\^'est round to the east, and that it was Avatered by 

*Mrs. Elvira G Piatt, the matron of the Indian school at Genoa, an accomplished Jady who 
has lived among the Pawnees for many years, informs me, in corroboration of this explanation, 
that the name given by this nation to 'the Missouri means, "the miraculous water." Others 
define it "the medicine water." The word translated "medicine," or "miraculous," was 
applied to whatever was so far out of their experience or above their comprehension as to 
the idea of divine power. 


various rivers, as mentioned in the foregoing pages, let us endeavor, 
from the equivocal account we have, to trace out Penalosa's exact 

The course of his march, though in one place it is spoken of as 
towards the east, was, as we have seen, in a north-easterly direction, 
and the first object to be identified is the wide, rapid, and beautiful 
river where they encountered their Indian allies, the Eseanzaques. As 
this tribe dwelt along the fortieth parallel of latitude, and were at 
this time marching northward to attack the Quiviras, this river 
must have been north of the present state of Kansas. No stream 
answers to the description given and to the subsequent details except 
the Platte; and I am of opinion that they strack that river about 
where the Missouri Pacific Railway from Omaha to Hiawatha makes 
its crossing. 

Along the banks of that stream they marched westward for a day, 
reaching a point not far from the present site of the attractive village 
of Ashland. Here the Platte, as we know, makes an abrupt bend, 
and for some twenty miles flows from north to south. The narrator's 
account is as follows: "From this point," that is, the spot reached by 
them after their first day's march with the Indians, " we directed our 
course to the north, following the river which drew its current thence, 
keeping the eiist on our right hand, and that day the army encamped 
on its prairies." This halt, if our conjectures thus far have been 
correct, was in Saunders county, opposite the city of Fremont. 

On the next day they resumed their journey, still following up 
the course of the river, and after a march of fifteen miles, noticed 
upon a high ridge to the north frequent signal smokes by which the 
spies of Quivira w^ere announcing the approach of strangers. This 
would indicate a point not far from the town of North Bend, fifteen 
miles west of Fremont, where the ridge which borders the valley of 
the Platte on the north draws near to that stream, and fairly answers 
to the description given by Freytas. It is at least doubtful if at any 
spot within a thousand miles of Santa Fe so many conditions of the 
problem presented can be satisfied as have already been met. 

The narrative proceeds as follows : " Soon after we discovered the 
great people or city of Quivira, situated on the broad prairies of 
another beautiful river which came from the range to enter and join 
that which we had been following." It is to be regretted that these 


words "soon after"* are so indefinite. They may indicate a march 
of an hour, a day, or a week. Indeed, as the account was manifestly 
written after the return of the force to Mexico, it may well be that the 
chaplain's own mind was not clear as to the precise distance. But 
the other features of the story can only be identified by admitting 
that this picturesque river coming from the range was the Loup. The 
distance from North Bend to a point on the Platte opposite the mouth 
of that stream is about thirty miles ; not certainly a very long dis- 
tance to the veteran troops who had then been in the field upwards of 
three months, and must have been inured to travel. 

It has not escaped notice that the river up which the Spaniards had 
been marching, while it is spoken of as rapid and broad, was ford- 
able. This, while it disposes finally of any theory that it could have 
been the Missouri, exactly describes the Platte. The latter is a stream 
as wide in many places as the Missouri, and nearly as swift ; and yet 
there are few points where a ford eannot be readily discovered. The 
buffalo in their migrations were rarely compelled to swim its tide, and 
the older members of this society have not infrequently in early days 
driven their vehicles through its turbid and rushing current, at spots 
much nearer its mouth than our adventurers had now reached. 

Let us now, therefore, cross the Platte with Penalosa and his men, 
and examine the features of the country to the north of it. After 
arresting the conflagration kindled by the implacable Escanzaques, 
the army, we are told, proceeded through a city whose buildings they 
numbered by thousands some two leagues until they came to a halt 
upon the bank of another stream which flowed through it, and into 
what we have called the Loup. If we have correctly traced the 
march up to this point, and its line was on the left bank of the Loup, 
this halt was probably upon either Lost creek or Looking-glass 
creek, little streams which flow into the Loup about eight or ten 
miles from the Platte.f " At this point," says the narrator, " the 
ridge or lofty range which ran along the right side of the city 
towards the north was distant from it some six leagues." This 
description corresponds fairly with the condition at the mouth of Lost 

* Poco despues. 

t Mrs. Piatt is inclined to think that this was Cedar creek, which unites with the Loup at 
Fullertou; and it cannot be denied that the former is now a stream which would present more 
of an obstacle to an invading force than either of the rivulets mentioned. But two hundred 
years may have altered the bulk of these water-courses very materially ; and, inasmuch as 
their position answers more nearly to the narative, I have ventured, not without hesitation, 
to adhere to the statement in the text. Lost creek it must be admitted, at present hardly rises 
to the dignity of a stream. 


creek, the valley of the Loup being at that place apparently some 
fifteen or twenty miles in width. 

From this point northward, the army proceeded no farther. A 
small detachment of soldiers was sent to examine the town, but did 
not reach its northern boundary, and the men reported upon their re- 
turn that streets and houses stretched far beyond the ultimate spot of 
their exploration. The city, according to these reports, must have 
extended along the borders of the Loup for a distance, upon the most 
moderate calculation, of not less than twenty miles. 

Such are the evidences of the size and situation of the famous city of 
Quivira which are to be derived from the narrations of early explor- 
ers and the natural features of the country. They point so convinc- 
ingly to the mouth of the Loup as the location of this mysterious and 
long-sought-for capital, that, even if we should discover upon the 
indicated site no traces \\diatever of ancient habitation or signs of 
human occupation, we could content ourselves with responding to 
criticism founded on the absence of such proofs, that no such remains 
have been detected at any other place which could possibly answer a 
single one of the conditions of this investigation. It would certainly 
not be strange if the lapse of more than two centuries, with their 
desolating wars, conflagrations, and tornadoes, should have utterly 
effaced all vestiges of the lofty structures of earth and wood, the skin 
garments, the pictorial records, and the frail implements and utensils 
of this primitive people. 

Fortunately, however, for the advocates oi the location now sug- 
gested, such evidences do exist in great abundance. From near where 
the Union Pacific Railway crosses the Loup about two miles from the 
Platte, for several miles north-westwardly along the margins of the 
former stream, have been found for many years, and by the careful 
observer may still be discovered, unmistakable traces of a once dense 
population. Prominent among these are the fragments of pottery. 
Time and the elements have reduced tliese frail memorials, in most 
instances, to so small a size that the shape of the vessels of which they 
formed a part cannot be ascertained; but a few utensils have been 
secured so nearly entire as to warrant the assertion that they corre- 
spond remarkably with those which are still occasionally brought to 
light in the vicinity of the Aztec Pueblos, of New Mexico. Mr. 
Eugene L. Ware, one of the civil engineers intheemploy of the Union 


Pacific company, and a zealous antiquarian, to whom I am much in- 
debted for help in the preparation of this essay, while professionally 
engaged in the construction of the railroad now running up the Loup, 
was struck with the immense number of these potsherds which strew- 
ed the ground for miles. Many of the largest he secured ; and a col- 
lection of them, made by him, is, or should be, now in the museum of 
the state university. The ornamentation of these pieces consists of 
lines and figures rudely indented in the clay, while plastic, by a stick 
or finger. In this respect they differ from the work of the modern 
Pueblo Indians, who usually, after baking or drying, draw with a 
brush their uncouth devices upon the surface. But they correspond, 
in a remarkable degree, with some of the more ancient specimens still 
to be found about the ruined cities of Cibola, which Coronado visited. 
A little fragment from the edge of a plate or bowl, shown me by Mr. 
Ware, so closely resembles a piece of similar size picked up near the 
deserted village of Pecos, that it is difficult to distinguish them. 

Upon the prairie strewn with these shards are also noticeable several 
artificial mounds. If the people who reared these mysterious fabrics 
were, as it seems not improbable, of the Aztec race, the structures 
were perhaps (unlike the mounds of the Miami valley and the East) 
sacrificial altars, such as the teocallis of the city of ISIexico and Cholula. 
Whatever their use, however, they mark the centre of a huge popula- 
tion, and belong to a period removed at least tliree centuries from our 
own time. 

Whether the inhabitants of this city were of kindred with the race 
which Cortez found on the table-land of Mexico bears upon our in- 
quiry only so far as it may show that the former were not of the' 
nomadic tribes which then roamed at will over a large portion of the 
western prairies. But if we can convince ourselves that the Pawnees 
have for centuries dwelt upon the Loup,* have customs in common 
with the Aztecs, and have traditions of such a city as Quivira, a cir- 
cumstance, however slight, will be added to the mass of proof already 

In 1673, only eleven years after Penalosa's visit, Father Marquette 
passed the mouth of the Missouri on his voyage down the Mississippi. 
He questioned the natives whom he found at the confluence of those 
streams, and from the information thus gained, and his own observa- 

* There were four divisions or tribes of the Fawnees— iho Tapages, the Republicans, the 
Grands, and the Skidis. The statements in the text generally reter to the last named. 


tion of the country west of the Mississippi, prepared a map, wliich, 
after being lost for nearly two centuries, was discovered a few years 
ago in St. Mary's college in Montreal. Upon this map appear the 
Pauls, a nation occupying the very position \vhich we have assigned 
to Quivira. 

When the French and English traders began to pass over the terri- 
tory, the Pawnees were a warlike race, living mainly by the chase, 
and at first sight differing but little from that of their neighbors. But 
they had certain customs not known to other tribes. Prominent 
among these was the practice of offering human sacrifices as a religious 
rite. It is well known, of course, that all the Indians of the plains 
tortured and murdered their captives. Revenge and barbarity were 
in their eyes lofty and ennobling traits of character. But it is be- 
lieved that the Pawnees were alone among them in regarding such 
cruelty in the light of a sacrifice, and in regularly practising it as a 
means of propitiating their deities. In the pampering* of their victims 
prior to immolation, in the solemn festivals and processions on the 
sacrificial day, and especially in the tearing out of the still palpitating 
heart of the unhappy sufferer and the tasting of the flesh by the exe- 
cutioner, the resemblance to the Aztecs is extraordinary., I subjoin 
in a note at the close, for those whose sensibilities may allow them to 
read it, a description by Father de Smet of a Pawnee sacrifice, which 
may be compared with Prescott's narrative of similar rites by Mexi- 
can priests. 

The traditions of the Pawnees are, that at a period so remote that 
details have been lost, their ancestors migrated from a land far to the 
south, and subduing the nations in the vicinity of the Platte, took pos- 
session of their territory and held it by right of conquest. 

In their fondness for white magic or jugglery, also, the Pawnees 
resembled the inhabitants of Anahuac. The^r medicine-men possess- 
ed apparently, the power of imbuing inanimate objects with life and 
motion; they shot arrows through their bodies and crushed in their 
skulls with tomahawks without harm ; they planted corn in the eartlj 
and in a few minutes made it grow to maturity, and performed many 
such adroit tricks and cunning sleights as the followers of Cortez ad- 
mired in Mexico. 

Their lofty dwellings, three and four stories in height, their gentle 
welcome to the white invaders, and their offerings of food and orna- 


ments, remind us of the people of Montezuma and the cities of Cibola; 
and, in short, so many features and habits disclose this similarity, that 
it is difficult to believe that the Pawnees of 1662 were not the des- 
cendants of Aztec ancestors, changed by climate and surroundings, but 
still retaining many of the traits of their forefathers. 

This being the case, it is easy to see how the Spanish conquerors 
heard on all sides the fable of the opulent city in the northeast, which, 
in its luxury and splendor, rivalled the dreams of eastern potentates, 
and which excited the cupidity of adventurers, and the religious zeal 
of pious ecclesiastics. 

It may be added, finally, that all who have sojourned long enough 
among the Pawnees to become familiar with their oral records, have 
noticed their tradition of a once great city upon what was from 1859 
to 1876 their reservation. They still boast of its glories, and believe 
in its magnificence. Loath to leave its site, when a Christian civiliza- 
tion drove them southward, they yearn in their new home for its 
familiar scenes, and a few remnants of the tribe yet linger within its 
loved boundaries. 

At the risk of incurring the censure of tediousness, all of which, 
like DogV)erry, I could find in my heart to bestow on this topic, I 
venture to recapitulate the principal indications which serve to estab- 
lish the site of Quivira on the Louj) Piver near Columbus. 

It was situated north-easterly from Santa Fe. 

Its distance from the latter city was eight or nine hundred miles. 

It was north of the fortieth parallel of latitude, the southern boun- 
dary of Nebraska. 

Inasmuch as none of the narrations of the several expeditions to 
Quivira speak of so formidable an impediment to a march as the 
Missouri would have formed, a fair presumption rises that the city 
was west of that river. 

It lay north of a wide but fordable stream, upon an affluent of it^ 
which in its tuin received another water-course flowing through the 

All these conditions are fulfilled upon the Loup, at a place where 
are found many vestiges of an ancient city. 

The natural features of the surrounding country correspond with 
the relation of De Freytas. 

At the period of Penalosa's march, and for two hundred years after- 


wards, the territory was occupied by the Pawnees, a nation having 
many traits in common with the Aztecs. 

Traditions of the Pawnees confirm our theory. 

No otlier spot has been suggested which will at all conform to the 
descriptions of the several explorers. 

If these evidences do not amount to a demonstration, we can at 
least say, with Gibbon, that " though each of the proofs may be singly 
weak and defective, their concurrence has great weight." I have, 
however, purposely reserved for the close of this monograph an argu- 
ment, crowning and conclusive to the fortunate homesteader along 
the fruitful, black-soiled banks of the Loup and its tribi^taries, and 
not without its force to dwellers in less favored parts of this state. 
" There were on this journey," explains the chronicler in a burst of 
enthusiasm, "men of divers nations of Europe, Asia, Africa, and 
America; and all with one voice declared that they had never beheld 
a land so fertile, fair, and agreeable as that ;" and in the common sen- 
timent, all that has been hitherto conquered and colonized under the 
name of America is unlovely in comparison with what is comprised 
in this new portion of the New World. 


The description of the Pawnee sacrifice, referred to in the text, is as follows: 
*'The Pawnees are in some respects true believers with regard to the certainty of 
a future life, and display a pharisaical punctuality in the observance of their 
superstitious rites. Dancing and music, as well as fasting, prayer, and sacrifice, 
form an essential part of their worship. The most common worship among them 
is that which they offer to a stufied bird, filled with herbs and roots, to which 
they attribute a supernatural virtue. They protest that this Manitoo had been 
sent to their ancestors by the Morning Star, to be their meditator when they should 
stand in need of some particular favor. Hence, whenever they enter upon some 
important undertaking, or wish to avert .some great evil, they expose the Mediator 
bird to public veneration ; and in order to render both him and the Great Manitoo 
(or Spirit), by whom he is sent, propitious to them, they smoke the calumet, and 
blow the first smoke that issues from it towards the part of the sky where shines 
their protectress. 

" On the most solemn occasions, the Pawnees add a bloody sacrifice to the obla- 
tion of the calumet; and according to what they pretend to have learned from the 
bird and the star, the sacrifice most agreeable to the Great Spirit is that of an ene- 
my, immolated in the most cruel manner. It is impossible to listen without hor- 


ror to the recital of the circumstances that attended the sacrifice of a young female 
of the Sioux tribe, in the course of the year 1837. It was about seed-time, and 
they thus sought to obtain a plentiful harvest. I shall here give the substance of 
the detailed account which I have given of it in a former letter. This young girl 
was only aged fifteen; after having been well treated and fed for six months, under 
pretence that a least would be prepared for her at the opening of the summer 
season, she felt rejoiced when she saw the last days of winter roll by. The day fixed 
upon for the feast having dawned, she passed through all the preparatory ceremo- 
nies, and was then arrayed in her finest attire, after which she was placed in a 
circle of warriors who seemed to escort her for the purpose of showing her defer- 
ence. Besides their wonted arms, each one of these warriors had two pieces of 
wood which he had received at the hands of the maiden. The latter had, on the 
preceding day carried three posts, which she had helped to fell in the neighboring 
forest ; but.supposing that she was walking to a triumph, and her mind being 
filled with the most pleasing ideas, the victim advanced towards the place of her 
sacrifice with those mingled feelings of joy and timidity which, under similar cir- 
cumstances, are naturally excited in the bosom of a young girl other age. 

"During their march, which was rather long, the silence was interrupted only 
by religious songs and invocations to the Master of life, so that whatever affected 
the sen'^ses tended to keep up the deceitful delusion under which she had been till 
that moment. But as soon as she had reached the place of sacrifice, where nothing 
was to be seen but fires, torches, and instruments of torture, the delusion ))egan 
to vanish and her eyes were opened to the fate that awaited her. She burst into 
tears; she raised loud cries to heaven; she begged, entreated, conjured her execu- 
tioners to have pity on her youth, her innocence, her parents; but all in vain ; 
neither tears nor cries nor the promises of a trader, who happened to be present, 
softened the hearts of these monsters. She was tied with ropes to the trunk and 
branches of two trees, and the most sensitive parts of her body were burnt with 
torches made of the wood which she had with her own hands distributed to the 
warriors. When her sufi^erings lasted long enough to weary the fanatical fury of 
her ferocious tormentors, the great chief shot an arrow into her heart, and in an 
instant this arrow was followed by a thousand others, which, after having been 
violently turned and twistetl in the wounds, were torn from them in such a man- 
ner that her whole body presented but one shapeless mass of mangled flesh, from 
which the blood streamed on all sides. When the blood had ceased to flow, the 
greater sacrificator approached the expiring victim, and to crown so many atrocious 
acts tore out her heart with his own hands ; and after uttering the most frightful 
imprecations against the Sioux nation, devoured the bleeding flesh amid the accla- 
mations of his whole tribe. The mangled remains were then left to be preyed 
upon by wild beasts, and when the blood had been sprinkled on the seed to ren- 
der it fertile, all retired to their cabins, cheered with the hope of obtaining a 
copious harvest. "-i^«rra/nc of a Year's Residence among the Indian Tribes of the 
Rocky Mountains. By P. J. De Smet, S. J., 1843. 



By Rev. Samuel Allis. 

I was born in Conway, Franklin Co., Mass., Sept. 28, 1805. My 
parents were members of the Congregational church of that place, 
Rev. John Emerson, pastor. 

I was dedicated to God in baptism at the age of five years, and like 
most in those days, raised to honor my parents. I was catechised by my 
mother on the Sabbath, and taught to keep it holy. I was raised to 
industry and good morals, for which I have been ever thankful. My 
educational advantages were limited, consequently, should this come 
before the public they will not expect much that will interest them. 
I shall endeavor to give a short history of what has transpired during 
my life of seventy years, especially since my stay in the Indian coun- 
try and on the western frontier. 

In my father's family there were eight children, five boys and three 
girls, I was the sixth of the family. Four of us at this date, 1876, 
are living. At seventeen years of age I went to live with the Hon. 
Phineas Bartlet, in Conway Center, to learn the saddle and harness 
trade. I stayed with him till I was twenty-one, and sat under tlie 
preaching of Rev. Edward Hitchcock, afterwards president ot Am- 
herst College. After this I resided six months in Williamstown, 
Mass., where I worked at my trade. I was there under tlie influence 
of good society and religious privileges. Rev. Dr. Griffin was then 
president of Williams College. While there I thought I obtained a 
hope in Christ. From there I went to Troy, New York, and worked 
sixteen months with a Quaker friend by the name of Williams. Be- 
ing among strangers and not having united with the people of God, I 
got somewhat back into the world, but did not give up fully my hope 
in Christ. I then went to Ithaca, New York, and commenced work 
with a Mr. Kirkum, a good old Presbyterian. I worked for him and 
others until I left for the west. While in Ithaca I united, for the 
first, with the Presbyterian church under the charge of Dr. Wm. 
Wisner, who since died at his son's, at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 


In the winter of 1834 the chnrch of Ithaca were desirous of raising^ 
funds to support amission among the Indians, and consequently made 
known their object to the A. B. C. F. M. The board approved and 
accepted their proposition, and found a Rev, John Dunbar who was 
willing to go. He came to Ithaca, and with Rev. Samuel Parker and 
myself as assistants, was fitted out by the church under the patronage 
of the above named board of missions. We left in the spring of 1834 
with instructions to cross the Rocky Mountains, destined to the Flat- 
heads or Nez Perces. We proceeded by steamboat down the Cayuga 
Lake to the Erie Canal and took a packet boat for Buffalo, then took 
a steamer on Lake Erie. The wind blowing very hard, the captain 
became alarmed for the safety of the crew and stopped at Salem. We 
there took stage across Ohio. About three o'clock at night before we 
reached the Ohio river, it being a dark night and having a drunken 
driver, the stage upset, cutting a bad wound over my left eye. I tied 
my handkerchief over it. We soon got to a hotel where we changed 
horses and the driver for a sober one. We proceeded on safely and 
arrived at Beaver on th^ Ohio river about sunrise. We breakfasted 
and took a boat for Cincinnati. Here we stopped the Sabbath, went 
to church and heard Dr. Lyman Beecher, who was then president of 
Lane Seminary, Walnut Hill. Harriett Beecher Stowe's husband was 
a professor. 

On IVIonday, took a boat for St. I^ouis ; when we arrived there we 
found that the traders for the mountains, whom we intended to accom- 
pany, had gone. Ascertaining from the agent for the Pawnees that 
there was a mission among that tribe, after conferring together and 
with the Indian agent, we decided that Rev. Parker should return by 
the way of Mackinaw, see a Mr. Stewart who was agent for the Hud- 
son Bay Company, and get a reinforcement the coming spring in sea- 
son to cross the mountains. Rev. Dunbar and myself proceeded on 
to the Pawnees. After conferring with the Pawnee agent we found 
we could not effect anything until the coming fall, when he would 
meet us with the Pawnees and make known our business. We pro- 
ceeded to Fort Leavenworth and summered there, at Liberty, Clay Co.,. 
Missouri, and among the missions of the Kickapoos, Shawnees, and 
Delaware Indians. Their agent was Major Comings, a good agcnt^ 
who retained his office under the government some twenty years, and 
had great influence with the tribes in his agency. The mission breth- 


ren treated us very kindly while we were there. Our time was agree- 
ably spent in learning the Indian character, customs, and manners. 

At Liberty we spent some time and enjoyed the hospitality of Col. 
Doniphan, Mr. Morse, merchant, and Rev. Zantis, a Presbyterian 
minister. This was the spring after the Mormons were driven out of 
Jackson county, Missouri. I saw three or four families camped by 
the side of a large log with loose boards to shelter them from the win- 
ter storms, and dependent upon the hospitalities of Clay county people. 
I was at a meeting in Clay county court house between the Mormons 
and Jackson county citizens. I heard Joseph Smith make a speech. 
Col. Doniphan and Rev. Zantis took the part of the Mormons. Prob- 
ably both parties were to blame, but many of the Jacksonites were des- 
peradoes. I came very near being mobbed myself in going from the 
Shawnee mission to Liberty. If the Mormons had not been so perse- 
cuted formerly, probably they would not have become so numerous. 
Persecution is calculated to build up any religious sect. 

We spent some time at Fort Leavenworth. I had a letter of in- 
troduction to Major Thompson, from a nephew of Mrs. Thompson of 
Ithaca. We were kindly received by ]Major Thompson and other 
officers of the fort, also Major Morgan, sutler. Major Thompson 
commanded a regiment of infantry, and was afterwards killed in the 
Seminole war. He was superseded by Col. Dodge, who commanded 
a regiment of dragoons, and was appointed provisional governor of 
Wisconsin, also elected United States senator. His son, A. C. Dodge, 
was also senator from Iowa, his colleague, Senator Jones, and Hon. 
Bernhart Henn, representative — the first congressional term of Iowa. 

The Kickapoos in those days resided near Fort Leavenworth. The 
prophet's band had a sort of catholic form of worship. They would 
meet on the Sabbath for worship, and the prophet would preach in 
their language. AVhen they broke up, they would form in a line and 
commence marching in single file three or four times around, saying 
or singing their prayers, which consisted of characters cut on a paddle, 
at the same time shaking hands with the audience as they passed by. 
The characters represented words. As they left they would repeat 
those prayers till they got to their Father's house or heaven. Their 
house was marked at the top of the paddle. I had it on paper, but 
lost it. They had three or four correctors, who carried whittled hickorv 
Hicks about the length of a raw hide. The tribe would meet on Fri- 


days and confess their faults, and receive three or four cuts by those 
correctors^ according to the magnitude of their crime. 

There was a French trader by the name of Pensano, who traded 
with the Kickapoos. His trading house stood where Weston, Missouri, 
now is. Jos. Rubideau and sons traded with the lowas, and a small 
band of the Sacs and Foxes. His post was where St. Joseph now is, 
it being named after him. In those days there were plenty of deer, 
wild turkeys, prairie chickens, raccoons, squirrels, and other small game 
and abundance of bees. White settlers, in the spring of 1834, just 
commenced marking claims at the Nodaway river. At that time there 
were no settlements above Clay county, Missouri. Some two miles 
above E-ubideau there were a few hovises at a place called Jimtown. 
All of the country above Clay county has been settled up since. 

After spending the summer as I mentioned before, at and near Fort 
Leavenworth, we proceeded up to Bellevue, which was the agency for 
the Omahas, Otoes, and Pawnees. There we met the agent with the 
Pawnees in council. When he made known to them our object, they 
appeared much pleased that we came among them to teach them and 
their children, and teach them the truth of the Great Spirit, for their 
minds are dark. After council with them, one of the chiefs of the 
Loup band wished one of us to go with him to his people, to which 
we consented. Rev. Dunbar went with the Grand Pawnees, and I 
with the Loups, or Wolf Pawnees. They are divided into four bands. 
Grand Pawnees, Pawnee Tappags, Pawnee Republicans, and Pawnee 
Loups. The latter band speak a different dialect from the others, that 
is, different pronunciation of words, and different names for some 
things, but their language is similar. The Arickarees upon the Mis- 
souri river, near the Mandans, speak a dialect similar to the Pawnees. 
The Otoes, Missouries, and lowas speak the same. The Omahas, 
Poncas, Kaws, and Osages speak a similar language. 

After remaining three or four days at Bellevue, Nebraska, we sepa- 
rated, Rev. Dunbar going with the Grand Pawnees, and I with the 
Pawnee Loups. These were a delegation of the tribe who came to 
Bellevue to council with their agent, and receive their annuities. Our 
first camp was at the Fur Company's fort, about two miles above the 
present city of Omaha. Major Pitcher, in charge of the post, politely 
invited me to the fort to partake of his kind hospitalities. I declined 
the offer, knovving there must be a first time of Indian campment. 


This was the first time I ever slept on the ground, and the novelty 
of it prevented sleep, but I had full confidence in my host and red 
travelling companions, although I knew nothing of their language. 

Our second camp was near the IClkhorn river. I was awakened 
about three o'clock in the morning by the Indians hurrying to saddle 
up and leave camp, as the prairies were on fire. This was the first sight 
of the kind I ever witnessed. I could see by their movements that 
we were in danger. All were hurrying to pack their ponies, and the 
reader can readily imagine something of the fix I was in, for I had two 
horses, a saddle and a pack horse. I do not often get excited, but have 
to acknowledge I was at this time. My host was true to me in assist- 
ing me to get away. I was as awkward in packing a horse as a mon- 
key would be running a threshing machine, but I soon learned the art 
perfectly. The old chief deputized two young Indians to assist me, 
and even held my stirrups, as if I had been General Sherman, or some 
other noted general. They have often talked and laughed at my first 
prairie experience, but I have since, for six months at a time, slept on 
the ground, without seeing a white man's house. When I was once 
mounted I had to thank the good Lord for my deliverance. On that 
same trip, another party camped on the Platte bottoms ; the fire sur- 
rounded them, and burned to death four Indians and several horses. 
I have several times been exposed to prairie fires, and sometimes had 
to fight to my utmost ability. I could relate many instances of great 
destruction of life and property among the traders and freighters 
from this cause. 

The third night we camped on the banks of the Platte Kiver. 
There I learned my first Pawnee word — the name of the moon — and 
began to become acquainted with the Indians. Mine host, his braves, 
and deputies took great pains to entertain me. The fourth night we 
arrived at the village. The chief introduced me to his queens — he 
had three — also to his children, six in number. As soon as I was 
seated the old queen placed before me a wooden bowl of buffalo meat 
and a dish of what the French trader calls bouillon, or the soup that 
the meat was boiled in, with a buffalo horn spoon. I had scarcely 
finished my bountiful meal before I had an invitation to dine with 
one of the members of the cabinet and was escorted to his wigwam 
with great pomp, my guide having painted his face to cover the dirt 
and put on his new robe. There I again had introductions to the 


squaws and children. I soon had several invitations from the cabinet 
officers, and if I could have conversed should have been as proud as 
any foreign minister. Having been feasted to my heart's content I 
retired to rest on the best in the lodge, a pair of blankets, a robe, and 
a deer skin pillow filled with deer hair, which served as pillow and 
cushion both. 

The next day they were busy distributing their goods and getting 
ready for their winter's hunt. I was sent for to go to the trader's 
lodge. There I found three Canadian Frenchmen : Laforce Pappan, 
Frangois Guittar, and a waiter by the name of Piere. They were in 
the employ of Pierre, Chauteau & Co., of St. I^ouis, who owned the 
trading post which I have mentioned on the Missouri River, al)ove 
Omaha city. I felt somewhat relieved, for although they spoke 
broken English I could understand them. One of them, F. Guittar, 
is still living in Council Bluifs. After we started on the hunt I was 
separated from my French friends and did not see them until Christ- 
mas. During this time I had no alternative but to learn the Indian 
language. I went at it in earnest, learning the names of things, and 
soon got so as to put words together and connect sentences. 

Christinas came and I was spared to meet my French friends again. 
We got up at the chief's lodge, in which Mr. Pappan traded, a dinner 
of buffalo sausage meat, fried fritters, and coffee. The women of the 
lodge also added to our sumptuous feast by their cookery. I trust I 
did not forget the object for which that day should be celebrated. I 
shall never forget that day, separated from home, Christian friends 
and associates, but I trust God Avas with me. I had solemn reflec- 
tions of the past, present, and future, and pleaded to Him who held 
even the destinies of the poor heathen, and asked him to enlighten 
them with that knowledge which will make them the heirs of eternal 

During the winter my time was engaged in various pursuits, learn- 
ing the language, hunting buffaloes with the Indians, taking items in 
cooking, drying meat, dressing robes, and other employments, going 
to feasts, attending powwow balls, concerts, and medicine feasts, from 
all of which I could learn something useful. When one is called to 
feast they consider it is all his or hers they invite one to. In order 
to please you must take to the lodge in which you live all which you 
cannot eat, consequently I have carried many buffalo tongues, ribs. 


and other dishes to my boarding house or lodge. They watched, and 
some young miss or boy would meet me with a smile and receive the 
bounty, therefore they are glad to have one feasted abroad often. 
When I went buffalo hunting with the Indians they would give me 
tongues and ribs as presents, which were always agreeable to my 

They have soldiers for the buffalo hunt, appointed by the chiefs, 
whose duty is to keep order. They keep young men and women 
from the buffalo towards the village, least they frighten the buffalo 
a^vay. If any is caught in the direction of the bufialo, or go hunt- 
ing without a general order from the chiefs, he gets a severe flogging. 
When the order is given for a hunt they prepare and go together, the 
soldiers taking the lead. When they get near the buffalo they dis- 
mount and prepare for the chase. They again mount their ponies, 
the soldiers still leading till they are discovered by the game, when 
the soldiers give the word " go," and then everyone for himself. Those 
who have the fastest horses, and are the most expert with the bow and 
arrow, kill the most game. They often make a charge on a herd of 
ten or twelve hundred, killing four or five hundred at one "surround." 
An Indian knows when he shoots the buffalo in the heart ; he often 
does it at the first shot. He rides after another and so on until the 
game is scattered beyond reach. They then look up their game. 
Every Indian knows his own arrows, and seldom has any disputes 
in this respect. If the Nimrod finds a footman skinning buffalo he 
looks on like a lord, and gives the poor man half of the meat but re- 
serves the skin. In this way the poor get meat for their families. 
Some Indians kill as many as three or four at one "surround." When 
he finishes he puts for home, not waiting for the others. The last 
ones on the ground are in danger of the enemy, and have been at- 
tacked in this way by the Sioux. When they commence a chase there 
are no wolves in sight, but before they leave the ground the coyotes 
are running about like dogs for the spoils. 

Now comes the cutting and drying the meat, feasting, making medi- 
cine feasts, etc. The women cut and prepare the meat, dress the skins, 
and make moccasins. The men can aud do make moccasins while on 
the war path. The women get most of the wood and water and do 
most of the drudgery, while the men kill the game and the boys take 
care of the liorses. They often get scoldings or whippings for neglect 


in their duties. There are more broils, jealousy, and family quarrels 
caused by horses than all other troubles combined. The horse fre- 
quently causes separation between man and wife, sometimes for life. 

The Indians are great gamblers, especially the men and boys. The 
women sometimes gamble in small articles when they get time. The 
men go it largely, from a horse down to a butcher knife. They have 
three or four ways of gambling similar to billiards, using the ground 
for a table. They receive one benefit from it, that is exercise. 

They are great for feasting. I have often been called to twenty or 
thirty feasts in one day, perhaps that is the cause of my being such a 
great eater. I acquired the habit while with them on their hunts. 
They eat several times a day when they have plenty, and when they 
have it not, fast M-ithout complaining. The most delicious dish with 
them is the young taken from the buifalos they kill ; the younger the 
better — the more tender. Besides the buifalo they kill elk, deer, bear, 
beaver, otter, raccoons, badger, and other small game, and sometimes 
dogs when they get short of food. I partook of a dog feast once and 
it would have eaten well if I had not known what it was. In the spring 
and fall they dig large quantities of wild potatoes that grow in the 
sand among the willows. These have often kept them from starving. 
They raise quite a quantity of corn, beans, pumpkins, and squashes. 

A long time before the white man brought hoes, axes, knives, etc., 
among them they used flint rocks for axes, knives, arrow points, etc.; 
the shoulder blade of the buffalo for hoes ; and made stone ware for 
kettles. Some of the poor old squaws used those pots after I went 
among them. Some used dogs for hauling their baggage by tying two 
poles, about eight feet long, at one end over the dog's neck and two 
cross sticks behind the dog, forming a litter, then place a pack of 
seventy or one hundred pounds, according to the size of the dog. These 
animals travel with the caravan of some two thousand souls, besides 
horses, mules, and jacks. In crossing a stream some of the important 
Indians would pitch a dcg, that happened to be in the way, heels over 
head, pack and all, which would cause a cry among the canines, an- 
swered from all sides by the wolves, and causing many ejaculations 
from the old women against their lords. At some of their old places 
that had been deserted I have found relics of pottery, knives, arrow 
points, and other stone curiosities that were used many years before. 

They are very apt in sleight of hand, such as swallowing sticks, 


knives, arrows, etc. They will also let a person shoot a gun at them 
but are careful to load it themselves. 

They have medicine men as doctors, priests, and so on, who prac- 
tice their deceptions on the majority of their people. These old hum- 
bugs rank with chiefs and braves and control most of tlie tribe as they 
please. They are initiated into the order while young and trained to 
practice deception. I do not know that they have a high priest who 
alone enters the holy of holies once a year ; but they have priests who 
alone handle their sacred oracles, and the common people are not per- 
mitted to enter such places while they are in session. They have altars 
and burn the heart and tongue of some animal in devotion to the 
Great Spirit. Every priest has a sacred bundle made up of a variety 
of nonsense, consisting of the skins of eagles, hawks, owls, cormorants, 
woodcocks, and a variety of small birds which are considered as war 
birds ; also skulls of panthers, wild-cats, and other animals ; medicine 
pipes and arrows taken from their enemies in battle, or presents from 
other tribes in peace parties. Arrows and pipe stems are tied on the 
outside of the bundle; the small birds are stuifed and enclosed in a 
buckskin bag with a draw string around the neck, the head sticking 
out. The arrows have killed some of their enemies and many have 
been handed down and preserved for generations. 

When a party goes to war or on a friendly visit, before leaving 
some priest makes a feast and the warrior* attends. The priest fills a 
sacred pipe, consecrates it, and ties a piece of skin over the bowl. The 
warrior takes it with him for success. If on a friendly visit he pre- 
sents it and it is accepted and they smoke the pipe together. The 
peace is good. They exchange pipes and presents, receive goods, horses, 

WhcB they go on the war path they have two objects in view, to 
kill, and to steal horses ; but they generally prefer stealing without 
killing, as they do not endanger themselves so much as by killing. 

When they go on the calumet dance the Indian adopts a son in 
the tribe to which he goes, makes a bundle of goods worth from 
twenty to one hundred dollars, presents them to his adopted son. 
His son's friends are invited to the bale of goods and each takes a 
blanket, shroud, or some other article, and gives a horse. In this way 
one often gets from ten to twenty horses for thirty or forty dollars, 
worth of goods. 

* " Partisan" in thie copy of original manuscript. 


We returned in the spring to their permanent village, not having 
made a good hunt on account of the Arickarees being in their country, 
traveling above them, consequently driving oiF the buffalo. The 
home of the Arickarees is upon the Missouri river above the Man- 
dans as I mentioned before, and they speak a similar dialect. They 
cauie down on a visit. They are bad Indians, and the Pawnees were 
glad to get rid of them. They are a very superstitious tribe and 
often cut their arms and breasts as acts of mourning, to appease the 
Deity. When Gen. Harney made a reconnoissance up the Platte in 
1835, the Arickarees got wind of his coming. They were then 
camped at the forks of the Platte and left the day before the soldiers 
arrived. The latter found a bundle tied to a pole with an Indian's 
finger wrapped in it. What their object was no one could tell. 

They relate a story of a beautiful young Arickaree girl in their 
tribe to whom several young Indians made proposals of marriage by 
offering horses and other presents, all of which she rejected. At 
length one young Indian by improper advances succeeded in seduc- 
ing her. After an act of mourning she from day to day frequented 
a certain bluff, a little dog accompanying her. Finally she and the dog 
became a monument of rock and are there to this day. I leave the 
reader to believe this or not. I do not, but relate the Indian story 
as it was told me. Such are their superstitions, which they are full 
of, but useless to relate. 

The condition of the wandering tribe is such there is little hope of 
benefiting in any way their spiritual condition; but we should not 
give up the hope, for we are commanded to go into all the world and 
preach the gospel to every creature. 

They are trained to kill and steal from each other, and it is difficult 
to make permanent peace, when they do, it is only for selfish purposes 
and they often break the peace no matter how sacred. They have 
frequent alarms of the approach of their enemies which are often 
false. They live in constant fear, yet bring much of it on themselves. 
Most of the tribes kill and plunder for the sake of honor and dis- 
tinction ; the more scalps an Indian can count the greater the man in 
rheir estimation. As a mark of distinction, when a man can wear a 
pole-cat skin on one knee and an otter on the other with hawk bills 
fastened to the tails of the skins he feels as grand as a lord. 

Most of the chiefs inherit their chieftainship, hence they are nu- 


merous, but the majority have little influence. Some of their best chiefs 
are made so by their agents. They are like the white man, crafty to 
gain distinction, but are more honest than our politicians, for they do 
not rob and plunder the government — had rather steal from each 

They are more hospitable than we are. If a white man goes 
among them they do not wait for him to beg, but set before him the 
l)est they have to eat, sometimes asking for tobacco, for they know it 
comes from that source. If we go among them they will divide their 
last meal without stopping to see if we are going to pay for it. 

They returned from their summer hunt the last of September, 
1835, with a large quantity of dried buffalo meat; put on the kettles 
and greased the door posts. Here could be seen feasting in earnest. 
Their feasts consist of meat, corn, beans, and pumpkins, drumming 
and pow-wowing, day and night. If a person was not used to their 
noise he could not sleep. Their corn crop was good, and as they had 
plenty to eat they enjoyed it hugely. 

Their permanent lodges are in shape of a large coal pit except an 
entrance that projects out some ten feet ; five feet wide and the same 
in height. They build round with two tiers of large forks, the inner 
forks the higher, with strong poles in the forks ; then long poles upon 
top reaching to the center of the lodge with small willows tied cross- 
wise with bark to the poles; and covered with hay and dirt to the 
depth of six or eight inches, a round hole cut in the center for the 
smoke to pass out. But some of their lodges smoke so badly that a per- 
son gets a good share of the smoke before it passes out. The fire place 
is made in the center of the lodge by digging a circular hole in the 
ground four feet in diameter and six inches deep, with forks for a pole 
to hang kettles on. Some of their largest lodges are fifty to sixty feet 
in diameter, the entrance usually facing the east, though in what con- 
sists this singular superstition I do not know. The berths or beds are 
neatly built in a hollow circle at the back of the lodge, two feet high, 
with willows put upon forks. The partitions between the berths are 
built light of small willows or flags ; the front built in the same man- 
ner, with a hole in the center large enough for a man to crawl into. A 
place is reserved in rear opposite to the entrance. This has no front 
partition but is left open for their guns, bows and arrows, whips, and 
for their sacred bundle, buffalo skulls, and other sacred relics. This 


was my berth or bedroom. They often put much before the okl skulls 
and say they eat it when they know that the hungry dogs devour it. 

I will now give a description of their skin or travelling lodges. 
These are built of dressed ^kins from their stammer's hunt that are 
useless for robes. They take the hair off and dress them soft for lodges, 
except a few that they leave for parflesh, for meat bales, corn bags, 
and moccasin soles. Their lodge skins are dressed similar to elk or 
deer skins, sewed together witli sinew in such a shaj)e as to form a hol- 
low circle. The largest contain as many as sixteen to eighteen buffalo 
skins, and are set up with long, straight, peeled and seasoned poles. 
Wlien they are on the move these poles are tied three or four together 
on each side of their ponies, fastened below the packs, and drawn 
with one end dragging on the ground. The ponies drag these poles, 
besides carrying two bales of meat, weighing eighty pounds each, or 
four bushels of corn, and in addition to this, perhaps, two kettles, pans, 
and other traps, and perhaps a papoose and two or three pups. 

Soon after we got to the village, I started with Brother Dunbar and 
some sixteen Indians for Fort Leavenworth. We went for our mail, 
and on other business, and the Indians for goods. The first night we 
camped on the fork of the Big Blue river. Here we found some ex- 
cellent wild plums. The second day about three p.m., we arrived at 
the Big Nemaha, where one of the chiefs killed a yearling elk, also 
found a bee tree — cut the limb off with my hatchet, and got about two 
gallons of honey. We stopped for the night, of course, and devoured 
the elk and honey. Here we met with two Frenchmen, and had jolly 
times, feasting and smoking — in the latter of which I never indulge. 

Next morning we started on our journey, and camped on Salt CreeJi 
— a little stream near the fort ; went into the fort in the morning. We 
stopped three days, and started back by way of Bellevue ; stopped a 
day or two there, then left for the village, and arrived after fifleen days' 
absence. We found the women busy harvesting their crops and pre- 
paring for the winter hunt. 

When they go on their hunt they take several sacks of sweet corn 
and beans, dry corn for mush, dried pumpkins, dig a quantity of wild 
potatoes — they grow in abundance up the Platte bottoms — these they 
boil, peel, and dry, and cook with dried pumpkins. 

They made a good hunt in the winter of 1836, killed buffalo, also 
some elk and deer, at the head of Grand Island. There were plenty 


of large rushes on the island in those days, and the deer were very fat. 
Tkey also caught plenty of beaver and otter that autumn, it being 

They had a skirmish Avith the Sioux, but had no success from the 
fact that there was an Indian with the Sioux who was once a Pawnee. 
He had been killed in battle by their enemies, and left on the battle- 
field to be devoured by wolves and ravens. The wolves finally gath- 
ered his bones together, and restored him to life, when he went among 
other tribes, on acount of the barbarous treatment of his own people 
in leaving him to be so devoured. And whenever he came to war with 
the enemy it was useless for the Pawnees to fight, for their guns would 
flash in the pan, and their bow-strings break. His name was Paho- 
catawa — I do not know the meaning. He will probably exist as long 
as there is a Pawnee ; they report having seen him several times. They 
also say that if an Indian or squaw is scalped alive in any tribe, he or 
she is discarded, and goes to live with a scalped tribe under ground — • 
probably meaning dugouts. 

An old Indian told mo once he knew one of his tribe to whom ap- 
j^eai'ed a beaver, that wanted him to give the beaver his three sons — 
for he had three — to go and live in the beaver's family ; by doing so he 
would prosper, and have good success through life. He refused, for 
he loved his sons much. The animal then asked for two, but still he 
declined, when the beaver left apparently very much dissatisfied. It 
bore heavily on his mind for some time after the beaver left, and he 
began to have bad luck. Finally he could not sleep nights, so he — - 
after consulting the Great Spirit — made up his mind to accept the 
proposition in part. He was satisfied that the Great Spirit was dis- 
pleased with his former decision, for he had had bad luck ever since 
the beaver left. The proposition was agreed to by the beaver, and he 
returned with the messenger, and took one of the sons. The boy lived 
several years with the beaver tribe, and finally returned to his father a 
fine looking fellow — I believe many Indians would improve their ap- 
pearance in a similar way. I do not know how far that father's faith 
would compare with Abraham's in offering up his son Isaac, but it 
would appear from the history to be more selfish. I did not learn^ 
but probably, like ]Vebuchadnezzar, he ate grass and his finger nails 
grew like eagle's claws. 

I could mention other similar superstitions which appear foolish, and 


might not interest the reader. The beaver story reminds me of one 
thing I have observed. They appear to be divided into clans or fami- 
lies : the Buffalo, Elk, Deer, AVolf, Bear, Beaver, Otter, Eagle, Owl, 
Hawk, etc. Although they intermarry from one clan to another, still 
they are tenacious to their own, as it is evident by their names and 
paintings. One Indian will always paint a bear, another an eagle, etc., 
on his skin lodge. The clans or families exist, so far as I have learned, 
among all Indian tribes ; some of them consider the wolves so near 
relatives that they will not kill them. The most of them sometimes 
appear wolfish, as if they partook of the animal's nature. 

Yet, notwithstanding their numerous superstitions, many of them 
are, in point of intellect, superior to the Negro race. I was United 
States interpreter some eight years ; heard many speeches to the 
government officers from the president down, and know them to be 
good orators. In tact and good sense some of their speeches would 
not disgrace the halls of congress. They are uneducated, hence their 
superstitions — unlearned white men are often superstitious, and even 
learning and better judgment do not always prevent it. 

It is generally supposed that there is not mudi ceremony in their 
courtships, but it is a mistake. When an Indian sees a squaw he 
wishes to marry, he goes to the lodge and sits down on the outside. 
He sits there for some time in a humble attitude, with his head in his 
blanket or robe, without speaking to anyone ; then leaves and repeats 
his visit the next day ; takes the same humble posture for a while, 
then departs. On the third visit he ventures into the lodge and seats 
himself at the back of the lodge in the same humble attitude, and 
leaves without making known his business — but it is understood. 
On the fourth visit he takes the same position, and if his visits are 
agreeable the father or guardian invites him to the fire. When some 
few visible steps are taken, for success, he returns and his friends 
make some presents. He is then invited to the affianced's lodge, and 
takes her to his; some of his friends give one or more horses accord- 
ing to rank or number of horses. They don't leave to enjoy the honey- 
moon, but he lives Avith her in her father's lodge. It is customary 
for a young man to marry into a family, and if there is more than one 
daughter he takes the oldest, and so on as fast as they mature, and 
gives an extra horse for every additional wife. In this way one some- 
times gets as many as six or seven wives. They are like the Mor- 


mons in some ways ; the oldest wife is Sister Young or Sister Kimbal 
and so on, and is mistress of the lodge. Each woman, however, has 
her own bundle of meat, corn, etc., and takes her turn in cooking ; 
and the lord sleeps by turns in different parts of the lodge to avoid 
jealousy. Some of them have their women in different lodges and 
own a share in each lodge. In this way they fare better. They have 
so much system in cooking, dressing robes, corn-fields and other work 
that they get along better than one would suppose. 

My travels with the Indians are now closed. I have been with 
them two winters and one summer, in all about sixteen months, for 
the purpose of acquiring their language. I have advanced consider- 
ably in the knowledge of the same, learned something of their man- 
ners and customs. I have feasted and sometimes fared hard, but have 
no reason to complain. They have invariably shoM'n me kindness, 
and I am convinced that when the Indians learn a person and prove 
him to be their friend, they are kind and generous ; but such is the 
treatment of them by the majority of white men that go among Ihem 
that they have no confidence in the white man until they prove him. 
I shall say more on the subject hereafter. 

I forgot to mention that a year ago (18.35) Rev. Saml. Parker re- 
turned with Dr. Marcus Whitman on their way to the Flatheads and 
Nez Perces, over the Rocky Mountains. They were in company with 
Mr. Fontenelle, trader at Fort Laramie — or Black Hills. I accom- 
panied them up the Platte as far as Pawnee village. While we were 
travelling up the Platte valley, near where Fremont now is, Mr. 
Parker remarked that before forty years church bells would be ring- 
ing there — meaning the Platte country. It is not thirty-six years yet, 
and we have years ago seen what he predicted ; and the vast structure 
of the Union Pacific Railroad completed, and towns and cities have 
sprung up even on the mountain tops. But to the subject before us. 

The missionaries arrived at their destination and established their 
mission. Brother Parker returned to New York by the Sandwich 
Islands, and Dr. Whitman returned on horseback in the winter of 
1836,* and went to Washington to transact some important business 
connected with what is now Washington Territory, which was likely 
to fall into the British possessions. 

The spring following Dr. W. came back with a reinforcement of 

* Written 1856 in the copy, probably by mistake. 


his wife, Rev. H. H. Spalding and wife, and Mr. Gray, for the Ore- 
gon mission ; and Dr. B. Satterlee and wife, and Miss E. Palmer 
— now my wife — for the Pawnee mission. I heard of their coming 
and went to Liberty Landing to meet them. We stopped at Col. 
Allen's. There Mrs. Satterlee died of consumption. This looked 
dark for us to part wnth her before she reached her field of labor, but 
we tried to become reconciled and feel that it was the hand of God. 
By request of Dr. S. and her friends we called in the physicians of 
Liberty, and Dr. Whitman performed the operation of opening and 
examining her lungs, which proved to be a bad ease of consumption. 
The next day we followed her remains to the grave — the home of all 
the living. We then returned to our boarding house with sad hearts, 
with one of our number left behind, or gone before to her eternal rest 
in heaven. Mrs. Satterlee was from Fairfield, New York. She had 
a brother. Dr. Wm. Mathew, who was a professor in the Medical 
College in Fairfield. Dr. S. was from Elmira, New York. 

One week after JNIrs. Satterlee died we were married by Rev. Spald- 
ing — destined to the Oregon mission. When I went down tlie river 
from Bellevue to Liberty, I went on the fur company's boat, and en- 
gaged a passage for our trip up the river ; but when the boat returned 
there was another captain, who would not stop to take us on board, 
consequently I had to purchase a wagon and three yoke of oxen, and 
go up by land. Our Oregon brethren bought horse teams, and left 
us at the Big Nemaha. We proceeded up the Platte. When we got 
there found the June freshet had swollen the river, which was full al- 
most to the banks. We procured a skin canoe of the Otoe Indians, 
and hired a white man to help us. We had to make several loads, 
but the doctor and our man were good swimmers. We swam over half a 
mile before we could reach the opposite shore. AYe finally got across, 
loaded up, and started for Bellevue, which was about fourteen miles 
distant. After arriving at Bellevue, I procured four acres and a gar- 
den spot^ — this was in June of 1836 — and raised a good garden and 
some corn. 

The Pawnees at this time were about to change their location, con- 
sequently we could not move out until they had moved to their new 
home, which was on their reservation where they have since resided 
until the spring of the present year — 1876 — when they were moved 
to the Indian Territory. 


Myself and wife stopped at Bellevue, and jNIessrs. Dunbar and Sat- 
erlee went out to spend the summer with the Indians, on their sum- 
mer's hunt. They were gone about two months, and returned to us 
at Bellevue ; stayed about two months with us, and went back for 
their winter's hunt. 

I ought here to mention, that Brother Dunbar went east for a wife, 
and got a small book published in the Pawnee alphabet, and words, 
and syllables, and returned in the spring, with his wife. 

I went to St. Louis in February witJi P. A. Sarpy, on horseback, 
and returned in April with Brother Dunbar and wife. Left St. Louis 
on the sixth of April, 1837. First night stopped at Luten Island, 
above the mouth of the Missouri river. There came a snow eighteen 
inches deep — was fourteen days going from St. Louis to Bellevue — 
got home and planted some corn — got the varioloid from a Jim Beck- 
with, who resides with the Blackfeet Indians. This Beckwith was a 
negro. He gave the small pox to several on the boat, three of whom 
died on their way up the river. Several of the Indian tribes above 
caught the small pox. Beckwith and some 20,000 died of it.* 

After they had travelled several days on their winter's hunt, Dr. 
Satterlee left with the Pawnees for Bent and Sauvrois' fort on the Ar- 
kansas river. On their way back, when they got below the forks of 
the Platte, they discovered a smoke near the head of Grand Island. 
The Indians said it was probably Sioux, and proj^osed going around 
by the bluifs. The Platte bottoms were wide there. The doctor told 
them that they could go around, but he was going straight down the 
Platte, Above there, however, his horse had died, and he hung his 
saddle on a tree. When the Indians left him he was afoot. They 
were then about seventy miles from the Pawnee village. The two 
Indians got to the village, but the doctor never arrived. The smoke 
mentioned proved to be from the camp of three Indian traders, two 
men and a boy. The head man's name was Brady, M-ho had some 
dispute with the other man, who probably killed Brady. The doctor 
being present, and probably taking Brady's part, was also killed. 
The man and boy came to the Pawnee village; the man being 
wounded in the bowels, appeared to be crazy, raised up from his bed 
in the night, tried to tear open his wound, and to kill the boy. He 
left the Pawnees, and was supposed to die from his wounds, or killed 

* This estimate is, of course, an exaggeration ; but it has not seemed best to omit the pas- 
sage.— Editor. 


himself. In June, afterwards, some men were coming down the 
Platte in skin boats, loaded with robes ; when landed at Plum Creek, 
near the head of Grand Island, found the clothes of Dr. Satterlee, his 
bones, some hair, and his rifle standing by a bush, with the muzzle 
down, and the powder horn hanging on the gun. Some of his ribs 
were broken. His silver pencil was found in his pocket, and a paper 
with some writing. He was brave, and a good shot, and would not 
stand to be killed without defending himself, and probably shot the 
crazy man, and died in self-defense. Here we were deprived of an- 
other of our associates. The doctor's bones were left to bleach on the 
prairies, and to be destroyed by the wolves. His labors were short, but 
his heart was in the work. 

Mr. Dunbar went to housekeeping in an old trading house at Belle- 
vue, and we still lived, during the summer, with a Frenchman, where 
we spent the year previous. In the autumn I built a temporary house 
to live in, until we could move to the Pawnees. August 7, 1837, our 
first child was born. 

Just previous to this Gen. Atchinson moved the Pottawattomies 
where we now live opposite Beilevue. Dr. Edwin James was their 
agent. The doctor was the surgeon in Major Long's expedition across 
the Rocky mountains. There is a peak in the mountains called James' 
Peak. When I came to this country he was in Delivan's temperance 
office in Albany, New York. I called to see him for the purpose of 
getting some information, then expecting to cross the Rocky moun- 
tains. He made a good agent, stopped boats as government required, 
and examined them to see if they had liquor on board. He was so 
strict a temperance man that the Indian traders used their influence ta 
get him away. The Indian department oifered him a situation among 
the Osages, but he declined it. 

Our son died at thirteen months old and was buried at Beilevue, 
where we then resided. It was a sad bereavement. 

When I first arrived at Beilevue Rev. Moses Merril was there as 
missionary to the Otoes from the Baptist Board of Missions. They 
soon moved to their location at the Platte river six miles from Beile- 
vue. He died there and was buried near where Smith's saw mill now 
is, south-west of Council Blufls. 

There was also a Baptist mission established in 1837 or 8 — Rev. 
Samuel Curtis and wife missionaries. They stopped awhile at Belle- 


vue until the agent established a smith's shop among the Omahas ; 
they were then located at Blackbird Hills near M'here the Omahas now 

Mr. Curtis was appointed teacher for the Omahas. His house was 
built at government expense and cost some twelve or fourteen hundred 
dollars. He moved up and staid about a year, then moved back to 
Bellevue; the smith also moved back. The agent sent men to appraise 
the house, as the mission board was to defray half the expense of 
building it. They took off the doors and windows avA cached them 
and some Indians burned the house. Here was an expense of some 
sixteen hundred dollars to the government, and I don't know how much 
to the mission board, without any benefit to the Indians. He had no 
influence with them. The board and government withdrew their sup- 
port, and he was left on his own resources. He lived about a year in 
that condition until he exhausted his means of support ; then wishing 
to return to the States for his wife's sake, the people made up a sub- 
scription paper, and I circulated it and raised means, with what little 
they had, sufficient to take him back. 

I don't mention this to speak disrespectfully of missionaries, or the 
cause in which they are engaged, but to show how likely they are to 
fail if not competent for their work. Mr. Curtis could preach a good 
sermon and probably ^vould be useful in the states, where all was 
pleasant and agreeable, but did not succeed with the Indians. 

An Indian missionary needs to be as wise as a serpent and as harm- 
less as a dove. Missionaries have a great many trials, therefore need 
strong faith in God and His promises. They need to pray much, labor 
much, and be kind and affectionate to the heathen tribes among whom 
they dwell in order to gain their aifections to win them to Christ, and 
then they may fail. The influence of Indian traders and sometimes 
government officials and employes, is bad. This, together with their 
superstitions and heathenish practices, retard the progress of mission- 
ary labor. Christians in gospel lands don't pray enough and give 
enough to aid missionaries in their arduous work. It is consoling to 
them to know that many of their brethren meet at the monthly con- 
cert of prayer to pray that God will bless those who give their lives 
and spend most or all of their days in heathen lands away from civil- 
ized society and dear friends. 

On account of the hostility of the Sioux we stopped with our fami- 


lies at Bellevue until the spring of 1842, when we moved out on the 
reservation, where we commenced operations. 

There was connected with us one year George B. Gaston and wife. 
He then became one of the government farmers, of whom there were 
four, who broke considerable prairie for the Indians. There were also 
two blacksmiths, with their assistants as strikers. These were in com- 
pliance with treaty stipulations. 

We were divided into two settlements as soon as we could prepare 
buildings. Geo. Gaston, that I mentioned as being one of the farm- 
ers, after leaving the Pawnee country, moved to Tabor, Fremont Co., 
Iowa, where he resided until last year, when he departed this life, a 
consistent, earnest Christian. His family still reside at Tabor. The 
forepart of January, 1844, I moved my family to the upper station, 
three miles from Mr. Dunbar. The snow was so deep we had to go 
up on the ice of the Loup fork of the Platte to the mouth of Willow 
creek near our residence. We suffered severely that winter, beginning 
anew and not being very well provided for. It was also hard on the 
stock. My calves all died and I froze my fingers several times milking. 
We had a young babe three weeks old, and the house not very warm. 
March was the most severe of the winter, and I think it was the cold- 
est winter I have experienced in this country. Myself, wife, and three 
children in one bed, and the last calf at the foot of the bed, and even 
then it died. The Indians lost most of their horses and several of the 
Indians froze to death. Many froze their feet and hands, and one 
Indian boy froze his limbs so badly he walked several years on his 
knees till he died. 

In the spring I commenced in earnest to fence me a garden and lit- 
tle field ; broke the ground, finished my house, built stables, sheds 
and was well provided for the coming fall. The winter of 1845 M^as 
warm and mild and we were well secured from the cold, for which we 
were thankful. Passed the winter comfortably. 

The summer of 1845 I built a school-house — did the work myself, 
at the beginning of which I split my foot from big toe to instep, two- 
thirds through my foot. My wife was there at the time. She did not 
stop to look at the cut, but ran home one-fourth of a mile and sent 
a man back with a horse. During this time I hobbled about on my 
heel and picked up my tools. I then rode home and it just com- 
menced bleeding. There was no one who dared sew it up, and I had 


to do it myself. When I had nearly finished I faulted from pain and 
loss of blood. It was some time before I could get about to do much. 
I recollect caning an Indian some three months after for stealing my 
corn. Some of them are consummate thieves — that is, the women and 
the lower class of men, for if they were caught at it they were not much 
disgraced since they had little influence. 

The spring preceding* I commenced school and the chiefs would set 
their old criers — daily journals — to harangue the village, and on came 
two or three braves leading a band of some hundred and fifty children. 
Not more than one-third could get into the house. I had a card with 
large letters on it and would point with a long stick and name the 
letter and they would repeat it after me. When they had read the 
braves would turn them out and fill the house with another flock, and 
so on till they had all finished reading. The braves would then lead 
them home. Their attendance was very fluctuating, some days if 
they were not harangued there would be but thirty or forty. They 
soon, however, got so they could repeat the letters without my telling 
them. But when winter came or when they went on their hunts 
they would take their children with them because they were afraid 
of the Sioux, consequently the most of what had been learned would 
be forgotten. Their being molested in this way by their enemies re- 
tarded our usefulness, besides our families were in danger, our women 
bsing in constant fear when the Pawnees were on their hunts. 

The Sioux and Poncas came several times, killed some of our cat- 
tle and stole our horses in the absence of the Pawnees. One time my 
wife was shot at at brother Ranney's out in the yard going from the 
chicken house toward the house. She heard a noise like the snap of 
a gun, looked around and saw two Indians standing about four rods 
from her. One had a gun, the other was fixing the flint. She was so 
frightend that it appeared to prevent her running until they shot at 
her. She had a child in her arms. There were two balls in the gun, 
one lodged in a log the other passed through the chinking and lodged 
in the house back of the bed. As she ran past the corner of the house 
she staggered and they suppose that they had shot her for they went 
home and reported that they had killed a white woman. She then ran 
home, but how she got through the fence she does not know. She got 
into the house, fell or sat down on the floor, and said that the Sioux 

* "Proceeding" in the copy. 


shot at her and Mr. Ramiey. I caught my gun and ran up to Mr. 
Ranney's. The Indians had then got about twenty rods away. I 
hailed them. They then turned and shot at me. They shot at my 
dog, and one of the party shot one of our best work oxen and killed him. 
That night Ave gathered all the women and children into one house and 
we men stood guard, but they did not come back to molest us. They 
frequently came to our houses when the Pawnees were absent on their 
hunts, but generally in small parties. They were sometimes friendly, 
and sometimes not so much so. They would leave our houses and go 
to the village and burn some of the lodges ; and if in summer time, 
Avould ride through the corn fields, cut and destroy the corn. They 
Avere often lurking about in small parties AAdien the PaAvnees AA^ere at 
their village for the purpose of killing some poor squaAVS Avho were 
after Avood or in their corn fields. Sometimes Avould steal a fcAV 
horses. This is the custom of all tribes Avith their enemies and the 
Pawnees are as bad as any other tribe in this respect. 

One time the Avomen of one of the PaA\'nee Loup chiefs Avere out 
after wood, and a Sioux Indian lay skulking in the bush Avatching 
them like a Avild animal for his prey. A PaAvnee saAV him. He was 
so intent Avatchiug the women he did not see the PaAvnee until he had 
crept near enough to capture him. He took the felloAV to the village 
and gave him up to the husband of the squaAvs. This Sioux, they 
said, had killed tAvo AVomen of the same chief the previous year. The 
chief said he thought a good deal of his sci[uaAvs, but Avould not kill 
the Indian, and gave him to a chief of another band, Avho kept him 
some time and protected him from the PaAvnees until the spring fol- 
loAving. The chief had Mr. Sarpy in his lodge trading robes. The 
traders build a breastAA^ork of lodge skins, some fiA'e feet high, at the 
back of the lodge to trade behind, and to protect their goods. A grand 
PaAvnee brave came into the lodge Avith his gun. The Sioux was sit- 
ting by thje fire Avhen the PaAvnee struck him Avith the butt of his gun 
on his head. The Sioux, although stunned by the bloAV, jumped up 
and made a leap to get in Avhcrc the trader Avas, but they jerked him 
back, and in less than a minute they had him out. of the lodge, and all 
the old squaAVS that could get at him Avere beating him Avith tlieir 
hoes and axes, giving the Avar Avhoop and powAvoAving over him. 
Such is the Indian practice — an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, 
only more so. 


Sometimes the Sioux came in large parties and attacked them in 
their villages, and have sometimes driven them from their village, 
killed several, and stole most of their horses and mules, and burned 
the village. Some three years after we first moved among them, and 
they had not all moved over from the Platte — the Loup band had 
moved, and the other three had j^artly moved, and had built about 
sixty lodges. They were attacked early in the morning by a large 
party of Sioux. They fought until about 2 p.m. Some Pawnees 
came eigliteen miles to assist, bat few of the Loup band assisted. 
They staid at home and fortified their village. The Sioux would 
make a charge from a high bluff one-fourth of a mile from the vill- 
age, kill some, fire some lodges, steal some horses, and ride back to 
the partisan on the bluff; at his command would make another charge, 
and so on until they had killed about sixty Pawnees, stole several 
hundred horses, and fired thirty lodges. The Pawnees finally all got 
into the principal chief's lodge, made port-holes — his horse pen was 
tilled with horses — and there was a desperate battle. Several Sioux 
were shot, but they would throw their dead and wounded across their 
horses and carry them off to prevent their being scalped. The Sioux 
finally found the Pawnee fire too hot for them and retreated back on 
their trail with their booty. 

The Pawnees were so badly frightened they threw their dead into 
corn caches and heads of ravines, covered them lightly, picked up 
some of their traps and left some in their lodges, crossed the river 
and went about three miles that night. It was on the twenty-seventh 
of June, I think in 1845. The next day we went to the village; 
found two dead Pawnees and one Sioux, which we buried ; also found 
a Pawnee lying in the grass near a creek below the village with one 
leg broken at the knee. We took him home with quite a number of 
their traps. There were seventeen dead ponies near the principal 
chief's lodge. The head chiefs of two of the bands and several of the 
Republican band, La Shappell, the interpreter (Spanish), with several 
of their braves — in fact their best fighting men — were mostly killed. 
The women and children were barricaded in the chief's lodge. 

They made the attack on Middle Chief, who was head chief of the 
tribe, early in the morning, about a mile from the village. He was 
on foot, with a double-barrel gun, but no load in it; he kept retreat- 
ing and pointing the gun at them. They fired several shots at him, 
and shot arrows at him, but did not hit him. 


I had Dr. Satterlee's amputating instruments in my house and 
offered to amputate the Indian's broken limb; he said he would 
rather die. I told him he would in that situation, and he died in 
about three days, mortification took place and killed him. One Paw- 
nee brave ^vas killed near where the battle first began. His head and 
hands were severed from his body, and a rifle, with a dint in the bar- 
rel, stuck into his body up to his neck, and he was shot full of arrows ; 
such is the cruelty of Indians. We were where we could see most of 
the battle, but thought best not to interfere. Sin is the cause of all 
battles. If all nations, civilized and heathen, were Christians indeed, 
and would follow the true principles of Christianity, there would be 
no wars. 

We remained at the Pawnees' about four years and four months, 
and left in August, 1846. While there we labored hard in building 
houses, making 'conveniences for our cattle, breaking ground for our 
fields and gardens — which we were obliged to do as means of subsist- 
ence — at the same time trying to teach the Indians, and benefit them 
as much as we could hoping the way would be opened, that we could 
be made useful to them, and exert an influence for their spiritual wel- 
fare, but our hopes were soon blighted by the frequent hostilities of the 
Sioux, and the neglect of government to give them the protection they 
had promised, consequently much hard labor and expense were lost. 

We were in the country eight years, doing what we could to prepare 
the way, Ijefore we could move among them with our families. Dur- 
ing that time. Brother Dunbar and myself traveled with them some 
eighteen months, for the purpose of acquiring a knowledge of their 
language, manners, and customs. The remainder of the time we were 
with our families at Bellevue, living in suspense, hoping that the way 
might be opened that we could go among them. During that time 
we had but little access to them, but more with the Otoes and Omahas, 
who were living most of that time near Bellevue. I could under- 
stand considerable of their languages, especially that of the Otoes, whose 
language is pretty and easily acquired. 

When we finally left the Pawnee country, before leaving we held a 
council with the government employes, and .decided that it was not 
safe for us to remain there any longer, for by doing so we exposed 
ourselves and families. 

A few days before leaving a party of Sioux came to our house. 


Tliey visited the school-house where L. W. Piatt had a boarding school 
of Pawnee children. They let the Sioux into the yard, previously, 
however, putting the children into the cellar. One of the Sioux went 
half of the way up the chamber stairs, and seeing no one came down, 
and after they had explored as much as they wanted, they went away ; 
when Mrs. Piatt ascertained that one of the Indians was asleep on a 
bed upstairs, but the Sioux did not discover her. 

A few days after, the same Sioux returned with a reinforcement 
"VVe saw them coming, and put our women and children with the 
school children upstairs in the school-house. We armed ourselves 
with the determination that we would not let them inside of the yard. 
They had an American flag, and one of them handed it over to us, 
and wanted to get inside. He alone got over the fence, and when he 
was palavering, and saying " very good," — meaning the flag — some of 
them managed to take two horses from the stable, which was outside 
the fence, when a man upstairs, behind the women, cried out " Our 
horses are gone." The Indian inside the fort, with the flag, was about 
as badly frightened as Mr. Cline, and in his hurry to leave, leaped the 
fence, and forgot the flag, which we thought first of retaining, and 
him with it ; but we finally thought, for our own safety, we had bet- 
ter let them go. If we had all been like Cline they would have over- 
powered us, for they were three to one. They went to the Pawnee 
village, and set fire to several of the lodges. 

At last we decided to cache our things that we could not take with 
us, and leave. We did so, and left for Bellevue. Mr. Piatt had six- 
teen Indian children which he took there for protection. 

About that time the Mormons had arrived from Nauvoo. A Col. 
Allen had drafted a regiment of Mormon soldiers for the INIexican war 
of 1846. A Mormon bishop by the name of Miller had started with 
about forty families for Salt Lake, as the first company across the 
plains. We accompanied them back to get the remainder of our things, 
and when we arrived at our houses we had been gone just one month. 
During that time no Indians had been there to molest. The last day 
of our trip we went eight miles ahead of Miller's camp. Soon after 
we arrived, however, two companies of Poncas met, one direct from 
their village, the other a war party that had been south — about thirty 
in number. There were only five of us and three from Miller's camp. 
The Indians did not behave very well. Most of our men lay down 


to sleep, but two of us concluded the safest the best policy, so stood 
guard. They told me to sleep, they would not harm anything. I 
told them all right, they could sleep, I was going to stand guard. They 
laid down and were soon asleep. In the night we started two messen- 
gers back to Miller's camp for reinforcements for we did not know 
what they might do. The men arrived about daylight and came so 
still they w^ere upon them before they knew it, being asleep. The In- 
dians were so surjjrised and agitated in their hurry, Avere plagued to 
get their traps. But they soon left and went over to Mr. Renney's (the 
house) that he had occupied. They went upstairs, cut open some 
sacks containing wheat that we had stored there and let the wheat run 
down through a loose floor, then took the sacks Avith them. We did 
not know it until they had got so far away we could not overtake 
them. That day Bishop Miller arrived with his company. We sold 
them the wheat, loaded up, and the next day started for Bellevue. 
Brigham Young sent word to Miller not to go to Salt Lake. We 
returned north to Ponca county and wintered there. The spring fol- 
lowing Brigham Young with a company of men left for Salt Lake. 
That was in 1847 — the first emigration to Salt Lake, 

The Indian agent turned over the boarding school of Indian child- 
ren to me, and Mr. Piatt went to Civil Bend, Fremont Co., Iowa, to 
live. Mr. Dunbar went to Oregon, Mo., and Mr. Ranney back east 
and afterwards to the Cherokees, and stayed there until the war broke 
out in the south. Mr. Dunbar bought a farm near the mouth of the 
Nodaway river, Mo., taught school some, preached some, and attended 
his farm. Afterwards sold his farm and moved over to Kansas, where 
he and his wife died. I am unable to say whether Mr. Ranney and 
his wife are alive, or I am left alone to tell the story. 

I kept the boarding school two years ; after that W' e lived at Belle- 
vue until 1851, when we moved to St. Mary, Mills Co., Iowa, on a 
farm, and lived there two years. I think I bought where I now live 
fourteen years ago. The government urged me for about eight years 
to become United States interpreter. I was United States interpreter 
for Gen. Danver's treaty with the Pawnees, which, I believe, was in 
August, 1856. After President Buchanan's inauguration in the au- 
tumn, I went to Washington with Major W. W. Dennison and a dele- 
gation of sixteen Pawnees to have the treaty ratified. We stayed there 
all winter waiting for congress to quarrel over the admission of Kan- 


sas as a state. Almost every member of congress had to make a speech 
on the Kansas question, and kept us there till April. One of the 
braves died there and was buried in the congressional burying ground 
under the direction of Hon. Chas. Mix, acting commissioner of Indian 
aifairs, with great pomp and honor to the poor Indian. After the rati- 
fication of the treaty we made our way back by way of New York 
City, where the Indians, by order of the commissioner, received a 
quantity of presents. 

We arrived home safely the last of April, 1857. They then lived 
on the south side of the Platte river, opposite and below where Fre- 
mont now is in Nebraska. They received one payment there and then 
moved where they now live, on their reservation at Beaver creek, 
twenty-two miles above Columbus, Nebraska. 

Although Indian children make good progress in reading, and es- 
pecially in writing, it does them but little good, as they leave the 
school and forget all they have learned, particularly the boys, for it 
is difficult to keep them in school after they are some sixteen years 
old. At that age they commence going to war. They establish their 
character as braves by stealing horses and killing their enemies. The 
Pawnees generally prefer the horse stealing, as they are fond of plenty 
of horses for packing and killing buffalo, but they don't often keep 
them long, for their enemies do as they do — steal them — and they lose 
many by exposure to cold. They also use them roughly in packing 
and on the chase. 

I believe in the spring of 1851 we moved to St. Marys, Iowa, and 
lived two and a half years on a farm called the Fielder farm, three- 
fourths of a mile south of where we now live and have lived for 
twenty years. We lived here in Iowa when I was United States 
interpreter, consequently I was absent from home considerable of the 
time among the Indians, where I had a better opportunity to learn 
their manners and customs than when I lived in their country. When 
they moved to their present location — in 1859 I believe — they had a 
new agent, Hon. J. L. Gillis, from Pennsylvania. I acted as United 
States interpreter until his time expired, about the time of the civil 
war. A Major De Pue succeeded Judge Gillis. While there the Paw- 
nees had several attacks from the Sioux. Gen. Sulley, who was in 
command of Fort Kearney, was stationed at the Pawnees, with a com- 
pany of infantry, and Lieut. Berry with some twenty dragoons, and 


when there was an alarm of Sioux the Pawnees would run them three 
or four miles before the dragoons got saddled, but still it gave them 
courage having the soldiers there. Judge Gillis was upwards of seventy- 
years old, but would buckle on his pistols, mount his horse, and go 
with the Pawnees in pursuit of their enemies. This he promised for 
their protection, as he feared not the face of man, especially an Indian. 
The Sioux came several times while the Pawnees were on their hunts, 
and two or three times burned some of their lodges and rode through 
their corn fields to destroy their corn, but we were not strong enough 
to prevent it. 

The Indians are obliged to live compact in villages for mutual pro- 
tection and to plant their corn in large fields near by, when if they 
could scatter out and have their family farms they would do much 
better ; but they have these difficulties to encounter, which greatly re- 
tard their progress and prosperity. So it is, and I don't see any pros- 
pect for the better. Some of the tribes have one difficulty and some 
another, and all are diminishing fast every year, and will continue to 
diminish until they are finally extinct, and that will be soon, unless 
some plan can be devised by our government to urge or force them to 
form a colony and establish a government similar to our own ; and 
then they would need a different rule from ours, for they are not suf- 
ficiently enlightened to send delegates to our congress, unless, from the 
Cherokees or Choctaws. I have had forty years' experience, more or 
less, and am ready to admit that their future prospect looks dark. 
Our government is disposed to be humane with them, but there is a 
great deal of money and time spent that is useless. I know this, for I 
have had experience enough to know that many of our Indian agents 
who go among them are inexperienced — know little or nothing of In- 
dian character, and care less. If they are smart enough to write a 
good report^ and, having a salary of some fifteen hundred dollars, can 
steal as much more from the government and Indians, and cover their 
tracks and let other employes do the same, they come through the 
mill all right. Then people who travel through the Indian country 
often wrong the Indians and then complain of their depredations. 
There is surely a cause for bad Indians; they are made so by bad 
white men. This I know in a great measure to be true. I do not by 
any means uphold the Indians in wrong doing, at the same time I am 
bold to say they are treated wrong and often without redress. JVIany 


white men are ready to trample them under foot without considering 
the true cause of the Indians' complaints. 

Several years since — soon after the first emigration to Denver and 
California — there was a company of whites traveling up the Platte 
bottoms between the Elkhorn river and Fremont, Nebraska. They 
camped on a little creek that empties into the Elkhorn, One of the 
company thought that he would show his bravery and shot a j^oor 
Pawnee squaw. The Indians being camped near caught the fellow 
and skinned him. I do not know whether dead or alive, and it matters 
not in my estimation. The creek has since been called Rawhide creek. 

Such are the provocations sometimes by inconsiderate white men, 
who deserve the name of demons instead of men. I go for equity and 
right — punish the Indians when they deserve it, but give no cause of 
offense. If they will not explore and improve their country before 
Ave take it from them and drive off their game and destroy their means 
of subsistence, let us deal fairly with them and remunerate them for 

that which belongs to them. 


The American Fur Company had a trading post some eighteen 
miles above Bellevue and nine above the present city of Omaha. Ma- 
jor Joshua Pilcher was in command of the post. I found the major 
one of the most prompt, candid, and reliable gentlemen I have met 
with in the Indian country. He was well informed on almost any sub- 
ject, especially respecting Indians, for he had great experience and was 
free to give any information that was interesting and reliable. Dur- 
ing the Black Hawk war the Sacs and Foxes killed their agent, and 
Major Pilcher was appointed special agent for that tribe. He was af- 
terwards appointed superintendent of Indian affairs, whose headquar- 
ters at that time were at St. Louis, and I believe he died there v/hile in 
that capacity. He once had control of most of the Indian trade from 
St. Louis to the Pacific ocean. He one winter performed a journey 
in the Pocky Mountains several hundred miles, some of the way on 
snow shoes, his provisions and bedding being hauled by dogs. He 
traveled by land almost as far as any one could toward the Arctic re- 
gion and related some startling adventures which I regret I did not 
make note of. 

Mr. Cabana, one of the members of the company, succeeded Major 
Pilcher at the fort. He was a very kind and polite gentleman and 


quite an epicure. There was plenty of wild game in those days and 
lie employed two hunters. His store-room in autumn was filled with 
venison, geese, swans, ducks, and other small game. He kept a good 
negro cook, and would visit the cook room several times a day to see 
that all was going right. Whatever was served on the table was al- 
ways in the best style, and he was very attentive to his guests at ta- 
ble and elsewhere. He made one sad mistake. Soon after Peter A. 
Sarpy made his advent into this country he was clerk for Mr. Cabana, 
and there was a Mr. LaClair who traded with the Poncas. After 
LaClair had passed Cabana's fort Mr. Cabana hired several Omaha 
Indian volunteers, headed by P. A. Sarpy, Avho pursued LaClair and 
took from him his outfit of goods, which cost Mr Cabana some thous- 
ands of dollars to make restitution. 

This I believe w^as Col. P. A. Sarpy's first act of bravery, and 
caused his promotion from lieutenancy to captain, but at Mr. Cabana's 
sorrowful expense. By the by. Col. Sarpy earned the title of " colonel " 
by some distinction, not as a military man, and I should not do him 
jutsice without giving him a prominent place among the distinguished 
Indian traders and frontier men of early days. He possessed some 
excellent qualities and traits of character ; although sometimes rough 
and uncouth, was a high-toned gentleman, who exerted a great influ- 
ence among the whites as well as the Indians. He was particularly 
generous to white men of distinction and wealth, also to the Indians 
when it paid well, but exacted every penny of his hired men and oth- 
ers who earned their living by labor. Still he was generous to the 
needy. He was active and persevering in his transactions of various 
kinds of business ; employed considerable capital in Indian and other 
trade ; but was often wronged by his clerks, which vexed him as he 
was very excitable. For a business man with a large capital he was 
rather a poor financier. Toward the latter part of his life he became 
addicted to intemperance — a habit of seven-tenths of the Indian tra- 
ders. During my acquaintance with him of thirty years he was al- 
ways kind to me and would accommodate me in every way he could. 
He was all that could be wished for a man of the world, except the 
habit of intemperance. 

He was extremely fond of good, fast horses and ahvays kept a plen- 
ty. He was also fond of good dogs and ahvays had a number. He 
had a large black greyhound that was his particular favorite, and well 


he should be, for Cuff — that was his name — was very fond of his mas- 
ter and watchful of his welfare. He kept him twelve or fourteen 
years, till at length some Omaha Indians had committed a theft wdiich 
exasperated the Colonel, and he became so enraged that he set Cuff on 
the thieves, who pursued them so closely they considered themselves in 
danger and one of them wheeled round and shot the dog dead. This 
so greatly enraged the Colonel that he swore vengeance on the whole 
Omaha tribe. He called a council of the chiefs, to whom he made a 
touching speech, appealing to them by his former fidelity and friend- 
ship, referring to the desperate conduct of their young men in killing 
his favorite dog, and, it is said, prof)osed to the chiefs that the young 
men be banished from the tribe and go to live with the Kickapoos 
for a certain time as a punishment, to which they assented. For the 
foregoing I cannot vouch, but I do know that he had the dog laid out 
in rich style, had a grave dug, and — according to Indian custom in 
burying their dead — had a wolf's tail tied upon a pole at the grave, 
and hired an Omaha Indian to go at stated times for several days and 
cry at the grave as the Indians do for their dead. During the last few 
years of his life he suffered much ; had several severe attacks/ and at 
last died in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. His relatives lived in St. Louis 
and his remains were taken there for final interment. It was said 
that he left a property of $75,000, most of which was in St. Louis. 
He had one brother, John B. Sarpy, M'ho died before him and who 
was a member of the American Fur Company. 

When I came to this country in 1834, John B. Sarpy had charge of 
most of the company's business. The firm consisted of Pierre Chou- 
teau & Co., namely, Mr. Chouteau, John B. Sarpy, Bernard Pratte, 
Capt. Sears, Major Sanford, and young Chouteau. Gov. Clark — of 
Lewis and Clarke notoriety — was then superintendent of Indian affairs 
with headquarters at St Louis. He was superseded by ISIajor Pilclier 
as mentioned above, and afterwards by Col. Mitchell. The superin- 
tendent's office was removed to St. Joseph and kept by a Dr. Robin- 
son, and then to Omaha, Nebraska, where Col. Taylor was superintend- 
ent, and so on to Superintendent Jenny. 

The Indian trader I mentioned in connection with Mr. Cabana, 
ended his existence by shooting himself. He had been intemperate 
and took a solemn oath that he would not drink any liquor for a cer- 
tain time, lived that time almost out, and was met by some friends who 


persuaded him to take a drink with them. He did so and afterwards 
on sober reflection took a pistol and deliberately shot himself. 

Lucien Fontenelle, the father of five interesting children by an 
Omaha woman, was a man of talents and well liked by those who knew 
him. He had also great influence with the Indians, especially the 
Omahas. He was a gentleman in his manners and affectionate to his 
family. He was a successful trader and in company with Major 
Drips had a trading post at Fort Laramie and in the spring of 1835 
built a log house to store their goods, which they took on pack animals 
to their fort up the Platte. The house in which he died yet stands on 
the river bank near Bellevue, close by where the cars of the South- 
western railroad run daily. Notwithstanding his excellent qualities 
and refinement he followed in the wake of most Indian traders and 
finally died from the effects of intemperance. There are many now liv- 
ing who know the history of his family. He kept his children in school 
at St. Louis until they had a fair English education. Albert, the sec- 
ond son, partially learned the blacksmith trade with John Snufiin, 
now living at Glenwood, and Avas a good smith. Henry, the youngest, 
learned the wagon maker's trade and was handy with tools. He still 
lives at the Omaha Reserve and has a fiimily, his wife being a half 
blood Pawnee. Susan, a fine girl, is now Mrs. Neils. Logan, the 
oldest, was a remarkable boy and lived to be an Omaha chief of 
great influence in his tribe, and also greatly respected by the whites 
who knew him. He was killed by the Sioux in a bloody fight in 
which he fought bravely. Albert was injured by being thrown from 
a mule which was the probable cause of his death. Tecumseh was 
killed in a drinking frolic by his brother-in-law, Louis Neil, who was 
afterwards almost literally cut to pieces by Tecumseh's friends. Our 
authorities confined Neil in the Omaha jail for sometime until he was 
pardoned by Tecumseh's friends. The only fault of the boys was 
they would sometimes get to drinking and disgrace themselves in that 

A Mr. Brurie was traveling above in the Sioux country some twenty 
years since, with three other gentlemen, one cold winter day, and rode 
on ahead to select a camping place. He rode farther than he needed 
to for that purpose and the party pursued on and overtook him and 
found him sitting on his horse frozen to death. There is so little 
timber and distances between camping places so far in the Indian conn- 


try, a person needs both caution and exjierience and sometimes }>erse- 
verance to keep from freezing. I have often been exposed in this way, 
and to prairie fires in the fall season. 

There are two missionaries now living among the Indians who came 
to this country soon after I did, — Mr. Ewing among the lowas^ and 
Mr. Hamilton among the Omahas. They are still laboring for the 
good of the Indians, I believe with success. 

There were some gentlemen among the Indians as traders in this 
vicinity that I have not mentioned. There was Laforce Pappan, who 
was in the employ of the fur company. He was on his way to St. Louis 
in company with Col. Sarpy in 1848 and took the cholera at Nishna- 
bottany and died very suddenly. He had a Pawnee woman and four 
interesting boys. She is living among the Omahas, has an Omaha 
husband. Two of the boys are also living. 

There was Stephen Decatur, a well informed gentleman, in the em- 
ploy of Col. Sarpy. He went to the gold mines and I do not know 
whether he is living. His family are at Decatur City near the Omaha 

Franpois Guittar, who was also in the employ of the American Fur 
Company, is now living in Council Bluifs. He came to this country 
about the time I did— in 1833 or 1834. 

There was also Baptiste Roy, who had a trading house near the 
mouth of the Papillion, in Sarpy county. The noted steamboat cap- 
tain, Joseph La Barge, was his clerk. 

This reminds me of a noted rascal half-breed Arickaree by name of 
Antoine Garrow, who was stopping at Roy's trading house. He was 
at Fontenelle's trading house, and Fontenelle, knowing him to have 
headed the Arickarees in killing several white men, and being some- 
what intoxicated, shot at Garrow in the yard of his fort. The ball hav- 
ing passed through Garrow's hat, he (Garrow) said, " What is that 
for ? " Fontenelle replied, " I meant to kill you." Garrow soon left 
for Roy's fort. Fontenelle got up a party of five or six men and in 
the evening went down near Roy's fort; sent two men and called 
Garrow out doors ; took him off some eighty rods and shot him. He 
was buried beside a large cottonwood tree on the bank of the Missouri 
river below Bellevue, near where Mr. Tzschuck now lives. 

Roy traded with the Otoes but also kept a " doggery." Sometimes 
there would be some twenty Otoes, Roy and his squaw, all drunk, 


pitching and rolling on the bed and floor at the same time, howling 
like so many demons from the bottomless pit. That is the way some 
men used to procure the Indian trade. 

Major Culbertson was general agent for the American Fur Com- 
pany. The opposition company was Ellis Harvey, Joe Recotte, and 
others. The company in those days sent every year a steamboat loaded 
with goods to Cabana's fort, about ten miles above Omaha City, and 
return to reload at" St. Louis and meet the June rise of the Missouri 
river ; then ascend to the mouth of the Yellowstone river and forts 
above that. 

Before steamboats ascended the Missouri river some forty years 
ago, they used to cordelle keel boats from St. Louis up the river to the 
Rocky mountains. Some days they would make ten, fifteen, or twenty 
miles. They would wade through mud, water, nettles, and brush 
with a million mosquitoes at their backs, and pull the cordelle all day, 
and eat boiled corn with a little grease for supper. If they had cof- 
fee they paid extra for it, and if they did not obey the barger or boss 
they were threatened to be left on the prairies at the mercy of the In- 


By Edgae S. Dudley, First Lieutenant Second United States 


[Read before the Society, Jan. 12, 1887.] 

At the request of the secretary of the State Historical Society, Prof. 
Geo. E. Howard, I undertook recently to look up the military history 
of the state, hoping and expecting to find in the records of the state 
department, and especially in the adjutant general's office, all necessary 
data and information. But upon examination I find that, through 
lack of appropriation for its proper maintenance, and for the care of 
the records, etc., it fails to supply what I expected, and any efibrt to 
obtain information as to the special service of Nebraska's citizens in 
the late war, beyond what is already recorded, is impracticable with- 
out great labor. I therefore end my " notes " with the beginning of 
the year 1860. 


The early military history of the state is so intimately connected 
Avith every effort for its settlement, and with the life of every pioneer 
who had to contend for possession of his lands and home with hordes 
of savages who originally occupied it, that to completely write it would 
be to give the history of the private life of each individual settler, of 
his trials, dangers, and escapes. In early days every house was built 
for defense and every stage station a stockaded fort. The soldiers of 
the regular army were here, as elsewhere, the pioneers, and within the 
radius of their protecting power, settlers came wherever they estab- 
lished a permanent post. 

Nebraska first came into the possession of the United States as a 
part of Louisiana, ceded April 30,1803. 

What people first occupied this vast territory, what changes took 
place in the character of its inhabitants, we can only guess from what 
Ave find of relics from time to time discovered. It is likely that a race 
superior to the Indian in civilization and knowledge of construction 
once occupied tliis region, for Lewis and Clarke in 1804 discovered in 
what is noAV Knox county the ruins of an ancient fortification, fully 
described in the account of their expedition, and they were informed 
by the Indians that many similar works eyisted on the Platte and 
other rivers, though they could not tell when or by whom they were 

The first white men who probably visited this country were fur 
traders. Two brothers, Pierre and August Choteau, are supposed to 
have passed beyond the forks of the North and South Platte rivers in 
pursuit of furs as early as in 1762. 

In 1803, after the cession of this territory to the United States, 
President Jefferson planned an exploring expedition for discovering 
the source of the Missouri and the most convenient water communi- 
cation with the Pacific coast. This was essentially a military expe- 
dition. Capt. Merriwether Lewis, First United States infantry, be- 
ing in charge, with Lieut, (afterward captain) William Clarke second 
in command. The party consisted, besides these, of fourteen regular 
soldiers, nine young men from Kentucky, two French "voyageurs," 
an interpreter and huntsman, and a colored servant of Capt. Clarke. 
All were enlisted, except the latter, into the service of the United 
States as privates. They left the mouth of the Missouri river May 
14, 1804, passing along the eastern border of what is now the state 


of Nebraska, and beyond it. They found it occupied by various tribes 
of Indians, of which they give the names, and July 30, 1804, went into 
camp and held a council at a place now known as Fort Calhoun, which, 
from that fact, was then called " Council Bluifs," a designation since 
given to a city on the opposite side of the river, much lower down. 

In 1805 one Manuel Lisa established a trading post on the western 
bank of the Missouri, and being pleased with its location, and the 
beautiful view from it, called it Bellevue. 

In 1810 Astor (tlie American Fur Co.) established a fur trading 
post there with Francis De Roin in charge, who was succeeded by 
Joseph Roubideaux, and in 1816 he by John Cabanne, after whom, 
in 1824, Col. Peter A. Sarpy took charge. 

In 1819 the exploring expedition of Major Long found Bellevue 
occupied by these parties, and that treaties had been made with various 
Indian tribes. 

In 1821 Missouri was admitted as a state and the territory of Ne- 
braska was practically without government. In fact there were no 
American settlers to be governed. In June of this year the war de- 
partment established the first fort, of which there is any record, in 
this state, on the Missouri river at the place then called Council Bluffs 
and named it Fort Atkinson. Its name was afterward changed to 
Fort Calhoun, in honor of John C. Calhoun, secretary of war, and in 
June, 1827, it was abandoned. The magazine of the fort was still 
standing in 1854, a solid structure, 10 by 12, with walls two feet 

In 1825 one J! B. Royce established a trading post near what is 
now the site of Omaha City. In 1826 Col. John Boulware, who 
finally settled at Nebraska City, established himself at Fort Calhoun 
and is said, next to Col. Sarpy, to have been the first white man who 
attempted to settle in the valley of the Missouri above the south line 
of the territory. 

Of the ancient battles between Indian tribes the history of one has 
been preserved. It is said that one of the most desperate battles ever 
fought on the American continent took place in 1832 in what is now 
known as Richardson county. The Sioux and their confederate tribes 
led by Oconomewoe attacked the Pawnees and their allies. No less 
than 16,000 Indians arc said to have been engaged in the fight, and 
the battle lasted three davs. At the end of this time the Sioux with- 


drew from the field, leaving 3,000 of their braves dead or prisoners. 
The Pawnees lost 2,000, and revenged themselves by burning 700 
prisoners during the engagement. They were led by Tacpohana, one 
of the most crafty and daring chiefs of the Pawnee confederation. The 
result of this battle was to make the Pawnees masters of the country 
and left them one of the most powerful of the Indian tribes of the 

Col. Henry Dodge, First United States dragoons, visited this re- 
gion in 1835, with 117 men, to induce the Arickaree Indians to accept 
a reservation and enable white men to settle the country. He en- 
camped at Cottonwood Springs, which afterward became Fort Mc- 
Pherson. From this time on until 1841, at which date the govern- 
ment transferred its agency, formerly at old Council Bluffs, to Belle- 
vue, nothing important seems to be recorded. 

In 1842 Fremont's exploring expedition traversed this country, 
meeting on their way fur traders, who had already established a fort 
at the mouth of Laramie Fork on North Fork, under the direction of 
the American Fur Company, calling it Fort Laramie. Gen. Fremont, 
on returning from his expedition the next year, sold his outfit and 
broke up his party at Bellevue, returning east by way of the river. 

In 1844 the Mormons from Nauvoo, 111., began to cross at the pres- 
ent site of Council Bluffs and continued through 1845-6-7. Many 
wintered near the present site of Omaha, some remaining as late as 

In 1847 Col. John Boulware established a ferry at old Fort Kear- 
ney — Nebraska City. This was the first fort after Fort Atkinson 
established within the present limits of the state, and there is some 
difference of opinion as to when and by whom it was located. So far 
as the official records at my service go, and the incidents of early his- 
tory, of which the establishment of the ferry above mentioned is one, 
it seems probable that the place was occupied by United States troops 
previously to 1847, but not as a permanent post. The record of Gen. 
Daniel P. Woodbury, U. S. army, shows that, whilst first lieutenant 
of engineers he was engaged as supervising engineer of the construction 
of Fort Kearney, Neb., and Fort Laramie, Dak., for protection of the 
route to Oregon from 1847 to 1850, and it is probable that at this 
time the block house was erected which, early settlers will remember, 
stood on Fifth street, between Main and Otoe, near Main. Officers' 


qiiartprs were also erected (near where the Morton House now stands) 
and a hospital building was located near the corner of Fourth and 
Main streets. This place was occupied by United States troops on 
the breaking out of the war with Mexico, and they being ordered to 
New Mexico, the post -vvas practically abandoned for a time, being left 
in charge of Wm. Ridgway English as storekeeper. 

In the fall of 1847 five companies of troops raised in Missouri for 
service in New Mexico were sent to Fort Kearney with orders to win- 
ter there, under the command of Col. L. W. Powell. They remained 
about a year and in 1 848 old Fort Kearney was abandoned, the prop- 
erty being left in charge of Mr. Hardin, succeeded a year later by Col. 
John Boulware, and he in 1850 by Col. H. P. Downs, who remained 
in charge until the government withdrew all claims to the site. On its 
abandonment new Fort Kearney was established. May, 1848, south of 
the Platte and east of the present site of Kearney Junction. This 
fort was occupied by the United States until May 17, 1871. It was 
originally intended to protect the Oregon route, the gold fields of C^al- 
ifornia not yet having attracted that multitude of gold seekers that es- 
tablished a new trail across the continent and made Fort Kearney one 
of the most important points on the route as a place of safety, rest, and 
recuperation. The history of its establishment, as related by the his- 
torian of Kearney county, is that the secretary of war, Wm. L. Marcy^ 
in 1848, ordered Capt. Childs of the Missouri volunteers to estab- 
lish a fort on the Oregon overland route at some distance from the 
Missouri river. He started early in that year and made an encamp- 
ment first near where Aurora, Hamilton county, now stands, but aban- 
doned it May 8, 1848, and moved up the Platte to what was known as 
Carson's crossing, and there on the 17th of June selected a site for the 
fort on the south side of the river and near it, but on the 8th of July 
a big rise of the Platte swept aw\ay his partially completed buildings 
and he moved to higher ground farther south, and on this site it was 
completed and called Fort Childs. This name does not appear upon 
the list of military forts of the United States, but this is probably due 
to the fact that it was not established and reported by an officer of the 
regular service and the name not authoi'Ized by the war department. 
Capt. Childs was succeeded the same year by Bvt. Maj. Charles P. 
Kuif, United States mounted rifles, and its name was changed to Fort 
Kearney, "Oregon route." 


It is stated that it was named after the famous Indian fighter Phil 
Kearney, but this is undoubtedly a mistake. The records show that 
Brig. Gen. Stephen W. Kearney, U. S A., a gallant soldier, died Oc- 
tober 31, 1848 and, as was and is the custom, it is beyond question 
that it was in honor of the memory of that dead hero that this name 
was given it, probably by orders issued from the war department that 
year, at some time during the fall, after his death. This post was con- 
tinually occupied and was at different times commanded by men of 
national reputation until 1871, when it was abandoned. It was occu- 
pied by the Second Nebraska volunteers and afterward by the First 
Nebraska under the command of Col. R. E. Livingston and has been 
commanded by other officers of Nebraska troops in United States ser- 
vice. The lands upon which this fort was located belonged to the 
Pawnees and in exchange for it they received the lands now known as 
Nance county. [Appendix "A"] 

In 1850 a military road was established from Fort Leavenworth to 
Fort Kearney through lands belonging to the Indians, but afterwards 
purchased by the United States and ceded by the Indians. 

All during this period, and for years later on, there were continual 
battles between the regular soldiers and the Indians. So numerous 
were the engagements that a simple copy of the records of officers en- 
gaged therein would occupy considerable space and awaken surprise 
that they had been unheard of or ^vere forgotten. This simple record 
of duty done and dangers encountered — of lives given up in the ser- 
vice — must remain forever, for the greater part, unpublished. 

In 1854 the bill establishing Nebraska territory passed and was ap- 
proved May 30. Francis Burt of South Carolina was appointed gov- 
ernor, and Thomas B. Cuming of Iowa secretary of the new territory. 
During this year also actual settlers reoccupied Fort Calhoun, and a 
colony under the guidance of Logan Fontenelle, a half breed chief of 
the Omahas, located a place on the Elkhorn river, calling it Fonte- 
nelle. Maj. Gatewood, Indian agent for the tribes in that vicinity, 
called them together in council at Bellevue and it is probable that 
lands were secured for them at this time. 

October 18, Gov. Burt died at Bellevue and Secretary Cuming be- 
came acting governor, and on the 23d of December he issued a procla- 
mation stating that different Indian tribes had made manifest their 
purpose to commence hostilities, threatening the frontier settlements, 


committing depredations, etc., and therefore recommending that the 
citizens of the territory organize in their respective neighborhoods into 
volunteer companies, constituting in all two regiments, one north and 
one south of the river Platte, elect their own company and regimental 
officers and keep such arms, equipments, etc., as they can procure ready 
for service, to establish night sentinels, and provide block houses foi* 
shelter in case of attack. [Appendix "B."] He also states that he 
has this day appointed one colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, and ad- 
jutant for each regiment. The records at the state capitol are not very 
definite as to who these officers w^ere, but the following are the first 
officers shown as filling these positions : 

First Regiment Nebraska Volunteers — Col. A. J. Hanscomb, Lieut. 
Col. Wm. C. James [Feb. 7, 1855], Maj. Hascall C. Purple, Adjt. 
Thos. L. Griffey. 

Second Regiment Nebraska Volunteers — Col. Jolm W. Boulware, 
Lieut. Col. J. W. Roberts, Maj. M. Mickelwait, Adjt. William Mc- 
Clennan [Jan. 30, 1855]. 

In January, 1855, he appointed John M. Thayer brigadier general, 
commanding First brigade; J. D. N. Thompson, adjutant, Peter A. 
Sarpy, quartermaster general, and Wm. English, commissary of the 
brigade. [Appendix " C."] 

The first session of the general assembly of the council and house of 
representatives of the territory of Nebraska Avas held at Omaha be- 
ginning January 16, and ending March 16, 1855. In his message to 
the general assembly Acting Gov. Cuming recommends that they me- 
morialize congress that " instead of or in addition to garrisons at iso- 
lated points, parties of 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 Pa- 
cific; that express mails shall be carried by said dragoons riding each 
way and meeting daily between the stockades, and affording complete 
supervision and protection of a line of electric telegraph constructed 
))y private entor])rise." This recommendation was acted upon by the 
legislature and its substance embodied in a long preamble to a joint reso- 
lution, in which it is stated "that it is the duty of the general gov- 
ernment to furnish adequate protection for the frontier settler" as it 
had done for the shipwrecked sailors in Japan and " in the rescue of 
Kozta from the fangs of European tyranny," and the resolution passed 
and was approved jSIarch 7, 1855. 


January 29 a joint resolution was introduced in the house by Mr. 
Richardson, which was amended in the senate, passed, and was ap- 
proved February 8, 1855, as follows : 

Eesolced, By the council and house of representatives of the territory of Nebraska 
that the governor be requested, and that we recommend his excellency, if he deem 
expedient and necessary, to commission officers to raise two or more volunteer com- 
panies (not to exceed five) of mounted rangers, not to exceed 100 men to each com- 
pany, for the protection of the frontier settlements, to be stationed at such points 
in this territory as are best calculated to accomplish this object, said companies to 
elect their own officers, who shall be commissioned by the governor. 

The committee of the house on military affairs reported as to the 
relative efficiency of volunteers and of organized militia in protecting 
the frontier settlements and approved the course already adopted and 
the organization of volunteer companies as provided l)y the above 
resolution, stating as one of their reasons therefor " that experience 
has shown that militia ' trainings ' under the old plan are too often a 
nullity and a farce, while, on the other hand, they confidently rely on 
the patriotism and honor of self-organized companies of our gallant 
settlers to fly to the rescue whenever the farms of friends and neigh- 
bors are invaded, or whenever emigrants are attacked in passing through 
our borders." Not being dated it is signed, 

" John B. Robertson, Chairman. 

Gideon Bennett. 

J. H. Decker." 

March 14 another joint resolution was passed, the preamble of which 
stated that the people had been recently much annoyed by actual dep- 
redations committed by Indians, that "the emigrants in this territory 
are under serious apprehensions, and their lives and property are in 
imminent peril from these lawless savages," and that " they are fully 
impressed with the conviction that the unprotected and defenseless con- 
dition of the frontier settlements will greatly tend to check and retard 
the current of emigration, and calls loudly for aid from the war depart- 
ment." " Be it therefore resolved by the council and house of repre- 
sentatives of the territory of Nebraska in general assembly convened ; 
that we request the Hon. Jefferson Davis, secretary of the war depart- 
ment, that, if in his power, he will send on without delay a sufficient 
military force to afford protection to the frontier settlers of this terri- 
tory from Indian depredations." 


At this time the overland freight and emigrant route across the 
plains extended up the Platte river on its south side, and ranches were 
established every few miles along the route as stations where the stages 
were supplied with fresh horses and drivers. 

Plum Creek station was one of the most important, being a stage 
and telegraph station, and as the road after leaving the station passed 
through the bluffs and near canons wliere the Indians could easily con- 
ceal themselves, this was the scene of more trouble from them than al- 
most any other point on the route. 

The Indians were quite troublesome during the year, and there were 
several encounters between them and the regular troops, the most not- 
able one being at Ash Hollow, where Gen. Harney, then stationed 
near Fort Randall, Dak., defeated a large body of Indians, punishing 
them badly. Whilst at that station also at another time he secured 
the delivery of three Indians who had caused the death of Mrs. Ben- 
ner, wife of the first settler of Dakota county, had them tried, con- 
demned, and executed. 

The records of the war department show that Fort Grattan was es- 
established at Ash Hollow, on the Oregon route 188 miles west of 
Fort Kearney, September 8, 1855, and abandoned October 1, 1855. 
This was undoubtedly located by Gen. Harney at or near the scene of 
this battle to protect those passing over this route, and abandoned 
when all danger had passed. 

Several other sharp fights are mentioned as having taken place near 

In the spring of this year Gen. John M. Thayer and Gov. A. D. 
Richardson were appointed by the governor to hold a council with the 
Pawnees concerning certain acts of depredation said to have been com- 
mitted by them, and a council was held with these chiefs at their vil- 
lages on the Platte. They denied the depredations and claimed that 
they were done by the Poncas. [Appendix " D."] 

Later on, in July, 1855, two young men breaking prairie near Fon- 
tenelle were attacked by hostile Sioux, killed and scalped. The In- 
dians then retreated, pursued by volunteer citizens. The country was 
aroused and messengers sent to Omaha for help. Other hostile parties 
of Indians being found lurking in the vicinity. Gov. Izard at once is- 
sued the following proclamation and order to Gen. Thayer : 


Ei ECUTivE Office, Omaha City, Nebraska Territory, July 30, 1855. — 
Wheheas, It has been made known to me that there is a party of hostile Sioux 
Indians lurking in the vicinity of Fontenelle, in Dodge county, and that they have 
actually made an assault upon the settlement by wantonly murdering and scalp- 
ing two of the citizens of this territory in the most barbarous manner, without 
the slightest provocation : 

Therefore, I, Mark W. Izard, governor and commander in chief of the territory 
of Nebraska, with a view to prevent the repetition of similar outrages, have issued 
and caused to be directed to Brigadier General Thayer the following order ; 

Executive Office, Omaha City, Nebraska Territory, July 30, 1855 — 
To Brigadier General J. M. Thayer, First Brigade, Nebraska Militia, Sir — You are 
hereby commanded, authorized and required to cause to be raised a volunteer com- 
pany, to be able-bodied men not to exceed forty, rank and file, armed and equipped 
for effective service, in addition to the First company of Nebraska Volunteers, which 
is hereby placed at your disposal, and forthwith cause the same to take a position 
at some eligible point in the vicinity of Fontenelle, Dodge county, Nebraska terri- 
tory, for the purpose of protecting the lives and property of the settlers from furtb'jr 
aggression, and continue to occupy said position until relieved by an adequate force 
of government troops, or otherwise. Should the above force prove insuificient, you 
are hereby authorized to call out such additional force as may in your discretion be 
deemed necessary to afford ample protection to the frontier settlements in that 
vicinity, and you are further requested to place the troops under your command in 
a position strictly defensive, carefully abstaining from and guarding against all ag- 
gressive measures. 

Given under my hand at my office the day and date above mentioned. 

Mark W. Izard, 
Governor of the Territory of Nebraska and Commander in Chief of the Militia. 

Tliere is no record at this date as to the First company, Nebraska 
volunteers, except that July 30, 1855, F. W. Fox was appointed 
second lieutenant of that company. Capt. William E. Moore raised 
the Second company, Nebraska volunteers,- under the call of Gen. 
Thayer, in pursuance of the above authority of the governor, and the 
commissions of all its officers were dated July 30, 1855. Gen. Thayer, 
accompanied by these troops, proceeded at once to the scene of trouble. 
They acted as cavalry in conjunction with a company at Fontenelle, 
commanded by AVilliam Kline, patrolling and scouting the country in 
that vicinity, until all danger and fear of attack had passed. Durino- 
this period of trouble companies were organized at several different 
places in the territory and held in readiness for service if needed. [See 
Appendix "C."] 

In December, 1855, the territorial legislature again met, and Gov. 
Izard, who had succeded Gov. Burt, speaks strongly in his message of 
the exposed condition of the frontier, and recommends the establish- 


ment of posts by the general government along the line of ceded terri- 
tory as a means of establishing '^an impassable barrier against the hos- 
tile incursions of the countless hordes of savages that inhabit the 
country north and west of us," and says that he, soon after his arrival, 
had called the attention of the war department to the necessity of an 
early establishment of military posts at suitable points, but that the 
request had not been complied with, "not from any disinclination on 
the part of the authorities, but in consequence of their inability to de- 
tail troops for that service." He says that with the opening of spring 
the troubles began and complaints were almost daily made to him, 
"accompanied by the strongest appeals from our injured citizens," for 
that protection which their exposed condition required, that he was re- 
luctantly compelled to waive these petitions for the time being, but on 
the 30th of July, receiving, an express from Fontenelle communicating 
the painful intelligence that a party of hostile Sioux had attacked citi- 
zens, robbed them of their property, wounded, and scalped men and 
wounded one woman, who marvelously escaped with her life, and 
other depredations being committed, he had issued the call and order 
to Gen. Thayer, which has been quoted above. That Capt. Wm. 
E. Moore, with forty men, for whom arms, ammunition, and equip- 
ments had been secured from every quarter, was dispatched to Fon- 
tenelle within fifteen hours from the receipt of the intelligence. 
That on their arrival it was found necessary to establish a post in 
that vicinity and also to station a small company at Elkhoru City 
(Capt. Fifield) and one at Tekama (Capt. B. E. Folsom), which 
stations were kept up until the 9th of October, when it was ascertained 
that the Indians had returned to the interior and no further danger be- 
ing apprehended the troops were withdrawn. He commends the ser- 
vices of these volunteers and says an appeal had been made to congress 
for an appropriation to meet the unavoidable expenditure consequent 
upon this demand for their service. He also says that the quota of 
arms belonging to the terrritory had been distributed to the several 
companies organized for the defense of the frontier and he urges the 
passage of a law encouraging the organization of volunteer companies, 
and providing for the distribution of arms to such companies. He also 
recommends a memorial to congress for a military road from Fort 
Pierre, Dak., to Fort Leavenworth. 

It is a historical fact that the construction of these military roads 


and bridges across the various rivers by the army under the direction 
of the war department did much to develop the territory, as did the 
establishment of military posts at suitable points. In this manner, 
as well as by its protecting power, the army has led the van of civ- 
ilization. The money expended in the maintenance of that army has 
more than repaid the people by the services rendered in such matters 
alone. It was expended for objects which inured to the ultimate bene- 
fit of the people rather than for the personal luxury, ease, or even the 
comfort of the soldier. 

During this year Col. Sarpy established a fur trading post at Deca- 
tur, on the Missouri river, between Elm and Wood creeks, Burt county. 

An act approved January 23, 1856, was passed by the legislature 
then in session, entitled "An act to organize tlie Nebraska volun- 

It provided that an independent volunteer militia organization 
should be formed, to be known as "the Nebraska volunteers," and 
that the territory of Nebraska should constitute one division, said di- 
vision to consist of two brigades, all that portion of the territory north 
of the Platte river to constitute the first brigade, and that lying south 
of it to constitute the second brigade. Regiments and battalions were 
to be formed in each brigade according, as in the opinion of the com- 
manding officers of the brigade and division, the increase of popula- 
tion and wants of the service might require, the number in each regi- 
ment, including officers and men, not to exceed 1,000. 

The companies were to be formed by the voluntary enrollment of 
individuals, not to exceed sixty-four in number, including officers 
and men, and could determine to which branch of the service they 
would belong, infantry, cavalry, artillery, or rifles. 

The officers provided for were as follows : One major general, in 
command of the division ; two brigadier generals, one in command of 
each brigade, and a brigade inspector to be attached to each. 

The regimental officers were to be a colonel, lieutenant colonel, ma- 
jor, adjutant, surgeon, quartermaster, and commissary. 

The company officers were to consist of a captain, first lieutenant, 
second lieutenant, and one orderly sergeant and one corporal. Rather 
an impossible organization for active service, so far as non-commis- 
sioned officers were concerned, if confined to this prescribed limit. 

The major general and brigadier generals were to be chosen by the 


two houses of the general assembly in joint convention, at the first 
election, and after that by election by the commissioned officers of 
each brigade and regiment, and all other brigade and regimental offi- 
cers were to be so elected by the commissioned officers of each brigade 
and regiment. Each company w^as to select its own officers, and all 
were to be commissioned by the governor. 

Each company was required to meet three times in each year, viz. 
on the first Tuesday of April, May, and June, for exercise in drill and 
military evolutions, and there was to be an encampment of each brig- 
ade of three days' duration for drill, inspection, and review. Com- 
manding officers of eacli regiment were to report on or before the 1st 
of May and the 1st of October in each year the strength and condition 
of each company belonging to the regiment, and the major general 
was required to rej^ort the same to the governor and commander-in- 

They were to be supplied with arms from the quota belonging to 
the territory, and all companies heretofore organized were considered 
as enrolled under this act. This organization was to be subordinate 
to civil authority and obey the orders of the governor and commander 
in-chief, who w^as authorized to order them into active service when- 
ever in his judgment it should be necessary in order to protect the 
lives and property of the people of the territory and preserve the pub- 
lic peace. January 24, in joint session of the council and house of repre- 
sentatives, in accordance witli the provisions of this act John M. 
Thayer was unanimously elected major general of the territory, and 
Hon. L. L. Bowen also unanimously elected brigadier general of the 
First brigade or northern district. For the place of brigadier gen- 
eral commanding the Second brigade, the southern district, the can- 
didates were Hon. John Boulware, of Otoe county ; H. P. Downs, 
H. P. Thurber, and Thomas Patterson, of Cass county. It resulted in 
the election of H. P. Downs, who. appears to have been appointed 
inspector general of the Nebraska volunteers January 31, 1855, Mdiich 
position he resigned February 20, 1856. [Appendix "E."] 

Military roads were asked for by this legislature and congress asked 
to pay the expenses of the volunteer militia which had been called 
into service and to give to each who had served at least fourteen days 
160 acres of land. 

r)Liring the entire year of 185G there were troubles with the Indians 


and a company is said to have been formed, but not called into ser- 
vice, in Njemaha county, with O. F. Lake, then deputy United States 
marshal for the South Platte district, as captain. 

A family by the name of Whitmore, living near the salt basin in 
the vicinity of where Lincoln now stands, were driven from home, and 
anticipating further trouble. Weeping Water was announced as a ren- 
dezvous and about 500 men assembled there from Omaha, Nebraska 
City, and all parts of Cass county. Gen. Thayer sent a six pound 
gun, which got as far as Plattsmouth, and followed with the force 
from Douglas county under command of Capt. Robert Collins. Scouts 
were sent out toward Ashland and the salt basin and secured one 
prisoner, who being brought in escaped during the night. It being 
ascertained that the act was that of an irresponsible party of Indians, 
and that the Pawnees were not on the war path the command was dis- 
banded and returned home. 

The chief village of the Pawnees at this time was located south of 
the Platte and a few miles from Fremont. The encroachments of 
settlers at Fremont upon the timber caused the Indians to threaten the 
lives and property of the whites if they continued to attempt to build 
a city there. The latter asked and obtained three days' grace, and im- 
mediately sent a messenger to Omaha for help. Gov. Izard furnished 
him with a box of ammunition and a squad of eight men and he re- 
kirned within the time and gathered enough to increase their force to 
twenty-five. The Indians concluded to postpone their destructive 
operations for the time being. There were other incidents of trouble 
which cannot be given for lack of time and space. 

.January 3, 1857, Gov. Izard sent his message to the territorial 
legislature, and in it says, "We have occasion to fear serious trouble 
with them (Indians) and our people during the present year unless 
they are speedily removed." Gov. Izard left the state October 28, 
1857, and Secretary Cuming again became acting governor. 

The territorial legislature met again in December, and Acting Gov- 
ernor Cuming in his message recommended a military bridge across 
the Platte river, for the reason that "All good citizens ardently desire 
that the sectional alienation heretofore existing between the two sec- 
tions of the territory shall cease forever," and it was hoped this would 
contribute to this desired result. This is especially interesting in the 
light of today, when bridges and railroads closely connect these two 


sections without as yet entirely doing away with the feeling, especially 
in political matters, where the first question as to the candidate usually 
is, Is he from the North or South Platte country? and each section 
has to be distinctly recognized. During these sessions the military 
committee of the council seems to have had but little of military 
affairs to occupy its attention. We find it principally considering 
and reporting upon other matters — as to new land districts, daily 
mails, and even matters relating to a university — whilst that of the 
house seems to have made no reports. 

Gov. Cuming complains that whilst the military spirit of the citi- 
zens seems unabated, the drill and discipline of the volunteer com- 
panies have been greatly neglected, and in many cases their organiza- 
tion was imperfect on account of changes in residence, and says their 
deficiencies should be supplied and "we should be provided at all 
times for self defense or co-operation with the government against in- 
ternal enemies." 

The last official act of Secretary Cuming is dated December 17, 
1857. He died at his residence in Omaha, March 23, 1858, aged 
thirty years. As secretary of the territory from its first organization, 
and much of the time after that until his death acting governor, his 
name is interwoven with every part of its history. No military his- 
tory is complete without his name and a partial record of his services. 
Many of the officers serving in the military organizations of the terri- 
tory were commissioned by him. No fitting tribute to his memory 
can be paid in this paper, but the historian will record the deeds of 
this man, who died young in years but old in experience and a leader 
in the affairs of the early history of this state. 

In 1858, February 19, W. A. Richardson was sworn in as gov- 
ernor, and on the death of Secretary Cuming his (Cuming's) private 
secretary, John B. Motley, became acting secretary of state until the 
arrival of J. Sterling Morton, who succeeded Cuming and who quali- 
fied July 12, 1858. 

The border troubles between this territory and Missouri occurred 
during this period and old John Brown is said to have had one of his 
fugitive slave stations near Falls City. 

September 22 Gov. Richardson sent in his last message to the gen- 
eral assembly and returned to his home in Illinois, Secretary J. Ster- 
ling Morton becoming acting governor by virtue of a provision of the 
organic act. 


During the conflict between tlie United States and the Mormons, 
against whom an expedition was sent during 1858, the settlers sympa- 
thized with the government and Nemaha county raised a company for 
service but it was not called for. Its officers were : Captain, M. A. 
Clark ; first lieutenant, W. A. Finney ; orderly sergeant, B. B. Thomp- 

In 1859 troubles with the Indians were frequent and people in all 
parts of the territory collected at night, some to sleep whilst others 
kept guard. 

Samuel W. Black having been appointed governor by James Bu- 
chanan, president of the United States, arrived and entered upon his 
official duties May 9, 1859. 

In March Acting Gov. Morton had sent a letter to the commissioner 
of Indian affiiirs relative to the depredations of the Pawnees and ask- 
ing when they would be removed. Later on in the year occurred what 
is known as 


In June the Pawnees left their camp, marching across the country 
between the Platte and Elkhorn rivers, ostensibly for their spring hunt, 
and camping just below the village of Fontenelle. A day after their 
departure therefrom a party of bucks crossed the river above that 
place and attacked and robbed a man by the name of Uriah Thomas, 
running off his stock. A day or two later parties of settlers began to 
come in from "West Point and DeWitt saying that the Indians were 
scattered through their section of the country committing depredations. 
At West Point, in the absence of the men, the Indians had demanded 
food and an ox had been given up to them. The next day they re- 
turned in a larger number, but a body of citizens had collected at the 
house of one of the settlers, and seeing an armed party of Indians ap- 
proaching, concealed themselves with the view of permitting the Indi- 
ans to enter and then to capture them. The Indians, having entered, 
were surprised and ordered to lay down their arms. They replied 
with a general attack upon the settlers, which was met by them, and 
four Indians killed. One white man, J. H. Peters, was wounded. 
This opening of actual hostilities placed the settlers in a dangerous 
position, as the Indians were said to number about 700 to 800 war- 
riors, whilst the whites could muster a force of but about fifty-five or 


A statement of these facts, and of other instances of depredation, 
was made and an appeal for help, signed on behalf of the citizens of 
Fontenelle by John Evans, John M. Taggart, S. Searte and W. M. 
Saint, committee, was sent to Gov. Black. 

The governor happened to be absent for the purpose of delivering 
an address on the 4th of July, at Nebraska City, but the matter com- 
ing to the knowledge of the citizens of Omaha, they united in a peti- 
tion, dated July 3, 1859, and signed by the prominent residents there, 
asking Secretary Morton to take immediate action as acting governor 
in the absence of Gov. Black. Secretary Morton did so. He immedi- 
ately addressed a letter to Col. Charles A. May, United States army, 
commanding at Fort Kearney, stating the circumstances and asking 
him to send down from Fort Kearney to Fontenelle, on the Elkhorn 
river, "a sufficient detachment of cavalry for the punishment of the 
Indians and the protection of a defenseless community," and in a post- 
script advises him to take the route by way of Fremont to Fontenelle. 

This letter was received at Fort Kearney July 5, but Col. May was 
not then in command there. The post at that time was commanded 
by Maj. William W. ISIorris, Fourth United States artillery, and his 
adjutant, Lieutenant AVilliam G. Gill, Fourth artillery, replied, by 
his direction, that all of his available force had, by a recent order from 
department headquarters, been sent in the direction of Nebraska City 
to protect the transportation trains of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, 
government contractors, but that he would immediately send an ex- 
press to Lieut. B. H. Robertson commanding company "K," Second 
dragoons, to proceed without delay to aiford the settlers the protection 
asked for. 

Gen. Thayer had started at once with the Omaha light artillery, 
Capt. James H. Ford, and upon arrival and investigation of the facts, 
stated that the first reports were verified and that no peace could be 
estal)lished without vigorous measures, and he was ready to proceal to 
hostilities on receipt of the governor's orders. This communication 
was received at Omaha July 5, and Gov. Black having returnctl, and 
bringing with him Lieut. Robertson and his dragoons from Nebraska 
City (which indicates that Maj, Morris must have made no delay in 
sending his express) they started July 6, with supplies, etc., for the 
scene of action. 

Upon their joining the expedition Gen. Thayer reorganized his com- 


mand, placing Lieut. RobertsoD as second 'in command on account of 
his military experience. The original petition of Omaha citizens, a 
copy of the letter to Col. May and the reply thereto, is now amongst 
the papoi-s in the adjutant general's office of the state. [Appendix ''F."] 

I have not the space to give a complete and particular description of 
this expedition. Gen. Thayer had with him about 200 men and one 
piece of artillery. They marched through a country without roads, 
not yet having been surveyed, in exceedingly hot weather, trying both 
to their animals and men. The Indians were, however, proceeding 
slowly, so that one day's march of the troops covered about as much 
ground as two days' march of the Indians, and they came up with 
them in about four days. About sunset the day before reaching them 
they discovered a single lodge occupied by "Jim Dick," an under 
chief of the Omahas, who informed them that the Pawnees had been 
joined by the Omahas and Poncas and numbered at least 5,000; that 
they would encamp about seven or eight miles further on. Holding 
this Indian and his squaw to prevent their giving information of his 
approach, Gen. Thayer determined to break camp in time to reach the 
Indians about break of day, hoping to take them by surprise. 

Accordingly camp was broken at 3 o'clock in the morning and the 
Indian encampment reached just as the sun was beginning to tint the 
prairie with its rays. The Indians were still in their tents, except the 
squaws, who were beginning to stir up the fires and make preparations 
for breakfast, all unsuspicious of attack. Gen. Thayer immediately 
ordered a charge of the entire force, baggage wagons and all, and 
halted his command just on the edge of the camp. He had the order 
to fire almost upon his lips when several chiefs, who were warned by 
squaws as they saw the soldiers coming, came running out of their 
tents with white wolf skins and other emblems of peace, and one of 
them, Peter Ncsharo, with an American flag, which had been pre- 
sented to him by President Pierce or Buchanan when on a visit to 
Washington, all crying out "no shoot," "me good Indian," etc. 

The interpreter was directed to communicate with them and he told 
them of their acts. They replied that it was their bad young men 
and asked for a council. Gen. Thayer insisted as a prior condition that 
these bad young men should be given up. This was done and thcv 
gave up seven, one of whom was found to be so severely wounded, 
having been one of the party so badly handled at Vv^est Point, that he 


could not live, and being thereupon released he soon died, leaving six 
in their hands. 

The council was held and the chiefs agreed to control their young 
men and signed a paper to that effect, and also authorized the keeping 
back of certain monej-s due them from the government to defray the 
expenses of the expedition. The government, however, failed to recog- 
nize the authority and the money was never paid to the whites. 

The six Indians were secured by ropes to the wagons and the expe- 
dition started on its return, leaving, as they supj)osed, the Indians be- 
hind them. But next morning they found that they were encamped 
near by, and a squaw being permitted to approach the prisoners, gave 
one of them a knife with which he stabbed himself, and during the 
excitement in consequence of this, she cut the ropes binding the other 
prisoners and they escaped, followed by the guards. One was recap- 
tured and the guards reported that they had killed or wounded the 
others, but, unfortunately, had shot an Omaha Indian, into whose camp 
the escaping men had run. This unfortunate accident seemed likely 
f jr a time to lead to trouble, as the Omahas were friends of the whites. 
Their chiefs assembled and came to the camp in warlike dress and 
asked for satisfaction. The matter was settled by leaving medicine for 
the wounded and paying one of the Omaha Indians for a pony unin- 
intcntionally killed. The expedition then returned safely, and thence- 
forth the Pawnees were peaceable. [Aj^pendix "G."] 

Gov. Black says in his message to the next general assembly that 
"since that time the Indians have manifested no disposition to molest 
any one, and the settlers repose under a sense of security not hitherto 
enjoyed." The place where the expedition came up with the Indians 
is the very spot on which the depot of the present town of Bf^tle Creek 
is located, about fifteen miles north-west of Norfolk. In returning^ 
the expedition struck southward to Columbus and thence followed the 
Platte back to Omaha. They had been absent about three weeks and 
a great deal of anxiety for their safety Avas felt during this time amongst 
the people of Omaha, Fontenelle, and throughout the Platte valley. 
Gen. Thayer not liaving sent any messenger back because he couldn't 
spare a man or an animal. 

With the year 1860 began the serious rumblings of a war which 
was to take from Nebraska's settlers men who had shown themselves 
able to protect their homes and the frontier and who now were ready 


to stand by the government in that great struggle which threatened its 
life. But of this little can now be told. It is a history of itself, the 
records of which, in the present condition of the papers in the adju- 
tant general's office of the state, are not easily accessible. 

I liave been struck with the fact throughout this record, that the In- 
dians, after once feeling the power of the white man — his determin- 
ation to protect himself and his property — and realizing that any overt 
act of theirs against the whites always brought its punishment by them, 
were able to restrain j;heir naturally savage dispositions and the incli- 
nation to steal, plunder, and rob. Their reasoning told them the pen- 
alty would foUow. The men with whom they had to deal in those 
days were essentially fighters in every sense of the word. Given the 
provocation and there was no need to repeat it. Every time they re- 
ceived an injury they said " we are ready/' and they waited not, but 
made the punishment so inevitable that they conquered peace, and the 
savages learned to leave the settler to peaceably till the lands once re- 
garded as their own. 

They were brave men — those early settlers — not only Mdien fighting 
the wily savage, but on the battlefields of civilized warfare, fighting for 
the union, where they made a record second to none, of which the state 
may well be proud. 

One figure, too, stands out prominently in all this history connected 
with every military aifair or expedition, the first brigadier general and 
the first major general of the territory, colonel of its first regiment to 
take the field in defense of the union ; brigadier and brevet major gen- 
eral United States volunteers, and then, after the war, United States 
senator, and now, the recently elected governor of our state, John M. 

* The sources of information from which the above has been derived are " History of Ne- 
braslia, 1882;" "County Histories;" Official Register U. S., 1779 to 1879; " CuUom's Biographical 
Register of Graduates U. S. Militaiy Academy ;" Legislative Proceedings and Reports ; Records 
of the Governor's and Adjutant General's offltee, and personal information, as to details, ob- 
tained from Governor Thayer and others. E. S. D. 




List of Commanders of Fort Kearney, Neb., from Date of Establishment 
June 17, 1848 till Abandonment in 1871, as Given in the History of 
Kearney County', Neb., in "History of Nebraska," Published in 

1 Capt. Childs Missouri volunteers, June 17, 1848. 

2 Major Ruff. U. S. Mounted rifles (Cliarles P. Ruff.) 

3 Col. Crittenden U. S. Mounted rifles .... (Major Geo. B. Crittenden.) 

4 Phil Kearney (Captjfin 1st LT. S. Dragoons.) 

5 Gen. Harney (Col. Wm. S. Harney, 2d Dra- 

goons. ) 

6 Major Morris 4th U. S. Artillery (Wm. W. Morris, 1858-9.) 

7 Capt. Wharton 6th Infantry (Henry W. Wharton.) 

8 Col. Chas. A. May (Major , and Bvt. Lieut. -Col- 

onel 2d Dragoons. ) 

9 Capt. McGowan 4th Artillery (The army register does not 

show this name.) 

10 Col. Bachus 6th Infantry (Electus Backus, his record 

does not show it.) 

11 Col. Miles 2d Infantry (Dixon S. Miles, 1860-1.) 

12 Col. Alexander 10th Infantry (E. B. Alexander, 1862-3) 

13 Capt. Fisher 2d Nebraska vols (No such name on rolls of 

Adj. Gen. ofiice.*) 

14 Col. Wood 7th Iowa vols (Probably Major John S. 


15 Col. R. R. Livingston 1st Neb. vols 

16 Col. H. B. Carrington 18th U. S. Infantry (Winter of 1865-6.) 

17 Col. Baumer 1st Neb. vols (Lt. Col. Wm. Baumer.) 

18 Maj. T. J. Majors 1st Neb. vols 

19 Capt. Ladd (Regt. not given.) 

20 Gen. Wessells (Col. H. W. Wessells, 18th U 

S. Inft., June 12 to October 
27, 1866). 

21 Lieut. Dibble (Capt. Chas. E. Dibble, 27th 


22 Major A. Dallas (Capt. 30th Infantry.) 

23 Col. Gibbon (Col. John Gibbon, 36th Inft., 

Dec. 1, 1866.) 

24 Lieut Foulk (Lieut. Wm. L. Foulk, 36th 


25 Col. Ransom (Regt. not given, probably 3d 

U.S. Artillery.) 

26 Maj. Sinclair (Regt. not given.) 

27 Capt. Fenton (Reuben N. Fenton, 27th 


28 Capt. Pollock (Capt. Pollock, 21st Inft.) 

* Gov. Furnas writes thai there was no such captain in the regiment. 




By the AcTiNcr Goveenok of Nebraska. 
A Proclamation. 

Executive Department, 

Nebraska Territory, December 23, 1854. 

Whereas, Different Indian tribes, within the limits of this territory, have made 
manifest their purpose to commit hostilities upon the pioneers of Nebraska ; some 
of them openly threatening to root out the frontier settlements; 

And Whereas, Some bands of said tribes have committed frec^uent depreda- 
tions upon parties of emigrants to Utah, Oregon, and California during the past 
season, and have threatened to renew their attacks in the coming spring ; 

And Whereas, The gifts of the government seem only to stimulate their treach- 
ery and animosity: 

Now therefore, as a protection to the pioneers who have settled upon the out- 
skirts of our teriitory, and as a guarantee of security to emigrants during the 
coming season, I, Thomas B. Cuming, acting governor of Nebraska, have issued 
this my proclamation, recommending that the citizens of the territory organize, in 
their respective neighborhoods, into volunteer companies, constituting in all two 
regiments, one north and one south of the river Platte. 

Said companies shall elect their own officers, the regimental officers being com. 
missioned by the commander-in-chief. 

Such companies are recommended to keep such arms and ammunition as they 
can procure, in good order and ready for service ; also, in the frontier settlements, 
to establish night sentinels, and to provide block houses for shelter in case of attack, 
until word can be sent to other companies. 

It is expressly enjoined that these companies are not to use force in invading or 
pursuing hostile tribes, but only in self-defense, and then no longer than may be 
necessary; but an express is to be immediately dispatched to headquarters, at the 
seat of government, whence reinforcements will be sent to pursue the invading 

In carrying out these necessary measures of self-defense and of protection of white 
settlers and friendly Indians from robbery and murder by roaming bands of sav- 
ages it is believed that every good citizen will vigorously co-operate, so that should 
the general government fail to grant our just petition for a sufficient number of 
mounted rangers, our territorial volunteers may prove themselves a capable de- 
fense of those who come among us as emigrants or actual settlers. 

In pursuance of this proclamation I have this day appointed and commissioned 
regimental officers, viz.: One colonel, one lieutenant colonel, one major, and one 
adjutant for each regiment. 

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the 
great seal of the territory. 

Done at Omaha City, this 23d day of December, in the year of our Lord 1854, 
and of the Independence of the United States the 78th, and of this territory the 

Thomas B. Cuming, 

Acting Governor of Nebraska. 



The following commissions appear from the records to have been issued at the 
dates indicated. There is no record showing the appointment of any officers prior 
to those first named, though from their rank it must be inferred that the other of- 
fices of the organization to which they belonged had been filled, and that those of 
the 1st Regiment Neb. Vols., were already filled: 


John B. Boulware, 
J. W. Roberts, 
M. Micklewait, 

John M. Thayer, 

Pierce Co. Colonel 

Richardson Co. Lieut.-Colonel 

Cass Co. Major 


2d Neb. vols. 
2d Neb. vols. 
2d Neb. vols. 

Douglas Co. Brig. Gen. 

J. D. N. Thompson, Cass Co. 


John B. Folsom, 
Peter A. Sarpy, 
\Vm. English, 
Hiram P. Downs, 

A. J. Hanscom, 
Wm. C. James, 
Hascall C. Purple, 
Thos. L. Griffey, 
John B. Robertson, 
Anselum Arnold, 
M. H. Clark, 
Geo. L. Miller, 
David M. Johnston, 

J. W. Roberts, 

M. Mickelwait, 

Wm. McLennan, 
Richard Brown, 
Gideon Bennett, 
Isaiah H. Crane, 
Wm. Hamilton, 

Burt Co. " 

Douglas Co. Quar. Mas. Gen 
Dodge Co, Com. Gen. 
Pierce Co. Inspector Gen. 

Comdg., 1st Brig. Neb. vols. 

Feb. 7, '55. 
1st Brig. Neb. vols. Jan. 20,'55. 
Feb. 7, '65. 

Douglas Co. 
Washington Co, 
Burt Co. 
Burt Co. 
Burt Co. 
Washington Co. 
Dodge Co. 
Douglas Co. 
Richardson Co. 

Lieut. Col. 
Asst. Surgeon 

Jan. 30,'55. 

1st Reg't Neb. vols. Feb. 7, 

Richardson Co, Lieut. Col. 

Cass Co. 

Pierce Co. 
Forney Co. 
Pierce Co. 
Richardson Co. 

Cass Co. 


Adj utant 

2d Reg't Neb. vols, Jan. 1855. 
(vice Boulware, resigned.) 
2d Reg't Neb. vols. (Holding 
position as previously 
2d Reg't Neb. vols. (Holding 
position as previously 
2d Reg't Neb.vols. Jan. 30, '55, 
Feb. 7, 1855. 
' Jan. 30, 1855, 

' Jan., 1855. 

Asst. Surgeon " Jan. 20, 1855. 

The following companies were organized during the year and assigned to one or 
the other of these regiments. It was proposed that the 1st Regiment be composed of 
companies north of the Platte river, and the 2d Regiment of those companies 
south of the Platte river, and from the location of the regimental officers, this seems 
to have been carried out and the companies named below will have been assigned 
to the 1st Regiment or the 2d Regiment according to its location, north or south 
of the river : 



Wm. Kline, 
John W. Pattison, 
F. W. Fox, 


Captain, Oct. 17, 1855, 

Wm. E. Moore, 
Alf. D. Goyer, 
Cameron Eeeves, 
Cameron Reeves, 
Thos. J. Latham, 

B. E. Folsom, 
Wm. B. Beck, 
Wm. Bates, 


Wm. A. Jones, 
George Eayre, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2(1 Lieutenant, 


1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 
1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

July 30, 1855, and Oct. 17, 1855, 

July 30, 1855. 

July 30, 1855 (resigned Aug. 30, 1855). 

July 30, 1855, 

Aug. 30, 1855, 

3d company; tekama volunteers. 
1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

4th company; elkhorn volunteers. 
1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

Thos. Allen, 
Theodore Thompson, 
Thos. Low, 

Thos. Patterson, 
Wm. T. Laird, 
Martin M. Neff, 

Wm. Thurber, 
W. A. Finney, 
Hiram Alderman, 

James Kidwell, 
Wm. Rakes, 
Wm. Ellington, 

Joseph Dyson, 
Hugh McNeely, 
Wm. Wiley, 

Jonathan Kearnes, 
Allen Watson, 
Lloyd Lucas, 

5th company; calhoun rangers. 
1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant 

rock bluff horse 3UAEDS. 


1st Lieutenant, 

2d Lieutenant, 



1st Lieutenant, 

2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

plattsmouth cavalry. 
1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

Aug. 7, 1855. 
Aug. 6, 1855. 

Aug. 7, 1855, 
Aug. 26, 1855. 

Aug. 15, 1855, 

Sept. 8, 1855, 

Sept. 8, 1855. 

Oct. 8, 1855, 

Oct. 11, 1855. 

Oct. 11, 1855. 



James Cardwell, Captain, Oct. 11, 1855. 

Henry Watson, 1st Lieutenant, 

Z. Cardwell, 2d Lieutenant, 

Wm. Larimer, Jr., Captain, Oct. 17, 1855. 

S. N. Mahon, 1st Lieutenant, 

Clias. E. Watson, 2d» Lieutenant, 

Chas. D. Davis, Captain, Oct. 22. 1855. 

Z. Jackson, 1st Lieutenant, ^'' '| 

A. Phinuey, 2d Lieutenant, 

Chester M. Hamilton, Captain, Oct. 24, 1855. 

Thos. C. Hungate, 1st Lieutenant, 

John Thorp, 2d Lieutenant, 

It seems probable that Capt. Wm. Kline of the 1st Company, located at Fonte- 
nelle, and Lieuts. Pattison and Fox, held their positions long before the date of the 
comrnission as herein given, as the 1st Company was to be at the disposal of Gen. 
Thayer, by Gov. Izard's order of July 30, 1855, and in connection with Capt. Wm. 
E. Moore's Co. (the 2d Co. ) patrolled and scouted the country around Fontenelle 
until all danger had passed. 



With the Pawnee Chiefs Concerning Certain Acts of Depredation 
Charged Against the Pawnees. 

Executive Office, Omaha City, 

Nebraska Territory, May 23, 1855. 
It having been made known to me that depredations have recently been com- 
mitted upon the property of sundry citizens of Dodge county, Nebraska terri- 
tory, supposed to have been done by the Pawnee Indians ; in order that the truth 
may' be known and the peace of our citizens be preserved, I, Mark W. Izard, gov- 
ernor of the territory of Nebraska, do hereby appoint, authorize and require Gen. 
John M. Thayer and Gov. O. D. Eichardson to proceed at once to the Pawnee vil- 
lage situated on the Platte river, in company with the government interpreter for 
said tribe, and, through him, to hold a council with the principal chiefs, touching the 
matter, and to ascertain whether or not the above charge is well founded, assur- 
ing the Indians that the whites entertain no hostile feelings toward them, and are 
anxious to live in peace with them, but that they cannot suffer them to steal and 
drive ofl" their stock with impunity, but will hold them responsible for any depre- 
dations they may commit. 

Given under my hand at my office the day and date above mentioned. 

Mark W. Izard, 
Governor of the Territory of Nebraska. 


With PAWNEE Indians in Accordance With the Direction of Gov. 

To His E,cellency, Governor Izard: ^''^""^ ^'''^'^ ^^^ "' ^S^^' 

We, the undersigned, having been appointed by you to proceed to the Pawnee 

rin'the / Tk' "r^"^ ^■'^*'^'- '""^ ^^'^^^ ^"^-- «f *^« tribe are r 
on he Elklr!' r ^f ^^^^^^^"^^ "P- the property of the white settlers 
on the Elkhorn nver, etc beg leave respectfully to state that on the day of the 
reception of the notice of our appointn^ent we left this place for the vil a. el by the 
way of Bellevue, and there we were met by Mr. Allis, the U. S. interpr tfr for the 
Pawnees, who accompanied us on this service 

of ?he't n *''''' h''^/™'" '''" ''""' "'"" '''^^'''''' ^« ^''^''^ ^' the upper village 

01 the Loupe and Tapa bands of the Pawnees and had a talk with the chiefs fn 
cound ,n presence of the bands, numbering, perhaps, two or three hundred We 
were received and treated in a very friendly manner by them. After statin JIo 

structions to us they replied through the interpreter that they we e glad to he^r 
of the kuid and fr.endly feelings that were entertained toward them by the ^ov 

eTr: trusThttr ''^ ''"T7- ^'-^ ^^^^*^^^ -^^^^^ *« reo^f^TenT; 

terms with us-that they were glad we had come among them; that they knew 
of no depreda ions committed by the Pawnees upon the ;hites;'that the Ponea" 
were frequent y about and were enemies of theirs, constantly annoyin. them and 
they presumed the Ponca.s did the thing complained of ' 


whites of Nebraska; that a few days since some of the Poncas were aboT..^ 
hey sent out a number of their tribe to find them, and they cir L oss L :' 
that was wounded; that they killed the ox and used him; that the ox Ldsevera^ 
Ponca arrows in him and they supposed from that that Ihe Poncas had shot h" 

rirrj.r ^^ *^" ''-'^ '-^^ ^^^ -^^^^^^ ^-^her t. do with the aiiS?h : 

In answer to the question, how it happened that the ox was in the direction of 
their village from the Elk Horn, they said it was a trick of the Poncas to dr've the 

(P«l::if).^" ''''''' '^ *'™^^ ^"^^P^^^^'^ ^'-^^ "---^- -to the p:ncas! 

The chiefs of both bands were distinctly told that thoucrh the whH.= 
Hendly to the Indians, yet they will not suffer the IndiansT; ak hl^';:!^^ 
or injure hem in any way, and that the Indians will be held to a str t 4eoun^ 
and pun.shed lor any injuries they may inflict upon the whites. We le^ d from 
a party ot white men from the Loup Fork, that a band of about a d zen Po! " 
had passed down two days before the oxen were driven off and the Pawnees n 
formed us that they had stolen several ponies from them 



We regret that we were unable to obtain any definite information in regard to 
the matter, but we applied to every source within our^ power, with the above 

^^^^^^- • Respectfully submitted, 

J. M. Thayee. 



In 1856 under the new laws the following commissions appear to have been 

John M. Thayer, 
L. L. Bowen, 
H. P. Downs, 
H. P. Downs, 

Major General, 

Brig. General comm'g 1st Brigade, 

Inspector General Nebr. Vols., Jan'y 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 
In 1857 the following commissions were issued: 



1st Lieutenant, 

2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 



1st Lieutenant, 

2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

Isb Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

Isaac Albertson, 
George Emerson, 
H. O. Jopp, 

John Rickley, 
J. P. Beeker, 
John Wolfel 

John Clemnow, 
W. T. Laird, 
L. Young, 

R. F. Fimple, (?) 

J. Rakes, 

J. M. F. Haygood 

I. T. Bergen, 
Wm. Pozier, 
Wm. Herald, 

W. B. Ball, 

G. "W. Boulware, 

I. C. Cook, 

Fr.ank Bell, 
A. McGregor, 
A. F. Harvey 

Jan'y 24, 18r6. 
Jan'y 24, 1856. 

30, 1856, (resigned 
Feb. 20, 1856). 

Oct. 31, 1856. 

Nov. 5, 1856. 

Nov. 21, 1857. 

Mar. 21, 1857. 

April 20, 1857. 

April 20, 1857. 

April 20, 1857. 



H. R. Benjamin, 
M. W. E. Purchase, 
I. Hnrd, 

R. G. Doom, 
S. Stafford, 
N. Lawton, 

C. O'Connor, 
John Tracey, 
J. McCarty, 

Wm. B. Hail, 
G. W. Boulware, 
I. C. Cook, 

Frank Bell, 

D. C. McGovern, 

Aug. C. Havoc, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant, 

1st Lieutenant, 
2d Lieutenant. 

April 25, 1857. 

June 11, 1857. 

July 1, 1857. 

Nov. 5, 1857. 

Nov. 5, 1857. 

* See above : Nebraska City Light Infantry, 
t See above : Otoe lUfles, 





Petition of Citizens or Omaha to Secretaky Morton to Issue his Order, 
AS ACTING Governor, for a Military Force to Protect the Citizens 
OF Dodge and Cuming Counties From Indian Depredations.* 

Omaha City, July 3, 1859. 

Eon. J. Sterling Morton, Secretary of the Territory of Nebraska : 

In the absence of the governor, believing that serious depredations have been 
and are now being committed by the Pawnee Indians upon the persons and prop- 
erty of our citizens in the counties of Dodge, Cuming, etc., the undersigned re- 
spectfully request you to forthwith issue an order, as acting governor, for a suffi- 
cient mUitary force to protect such citizens in their person and property. 

Very respectfully, 

W. Thos. Clarke. 
P. Golay. 
O. P. Ingalls. 
Jesse Lowe. 
Menzo W. Keith. 
John I. Paynter. 
G. M. Mills. 
Albert M. Snyder. 
Byron Reed. 
J AS. A. Jones. 
Eeuben Wood. 
W. M. Keith. 
Artemas Sahler. 
Jas. W. Van Nostrand. 
W3t. S. Walker. 
Thomas Riley. 
T. B. Selden. 
^ George Johnston. 
P. A. Demarest. 
Timothy Kelly. 
C. A. Staring. 
Mich'l Barry. 
Thos. Mennelley. 
Thomas Nelson. 
Daniel Kerns. 
A. L. King. 

S. A. Megrath. 

Geo. L. Miller. 

Lyman Richardson. 

E. Estabrook. 

S. S. Caldwell. 

P. F. Wilson. 

O. D. Richardson. 

H. M. Judson. 

Geo. Armstrong. 

William McClelland. 

Wm. a. West. 

J. C. Reeves. 

Geo. C. Bony. 

C. B. King. 

Thomas L. Suttle. 

Leavitt L. Bowen. 

Henry Page. 

Thos. Acheson. 

J. W. Paddock. 

George Clayes. 

William A. Gwyeb. 

A. D. Jones. 

James G. Chapman. 

A. Mason. 

John M. Clarke. 

John A. Parker, Jr. 

• Original copy in office of adjutant general of the state. 


Letter of Secretary Morton to Col. May. 

Executive Department, Omaha, Nebraska, 

Sunday, July 3, 1859. 
Colonel— The Pawnee Indians are committing depredations upon thesettlers in 
the counties of Dodge and Cuming in this territory. They have driven off one 
hundred head of cattle, robbed dwelling houses, destroyed two post offices and 
attacked with guns and arrows a party of settlers and wounded one man. The 
Pawnees (so messengers from there state) miaster seven or eight hundred warriors 
in those counties. 

At the request of the prominent men and upon the representation of a majoritv 
ol the people of the beleaguered district, I am induced to call upon you for aid and 
protection. You are thefore earnestly requested to send down from Fort Kearney 
to Fontenelle, on the Elkhorn river, a sufficient detachment of cavalry for the 
punishment of the Indians and the protection and defense of the community. 

Any communication from you will be brought to me by the bearer, Mr. Thomas 

Hoping, sir, that you may immediately comply with this request, I have the 
honor to be, your obedient servant, 

J. Sterling Morton, Secretary, 
(And in the absence of the Governor) Acting Goiernor of Nebraska Territory 
To Colonel Charles May, Commander of Fort Kearney, Nebraska Territory. 

N. B.— Take the route by way of Fremont to Fontenelle. 

Refly to Secretary Morton's Letter to Col. May. 

Headquarters, Fort Kearney, N. T., 
J. Sterling Morton, Acting Governor of Nebraska Territory: "^"^^ ^' ^^^^' 

SiR-I am directed by Major Morris, commanding the post, to inform you that 
he has just received your letter of July 3d. 1859, and in reply he desires me to in 
form you -that all of his disposable force has, by recent order from the department 
headquarters, been sent in the direction of Nebraska City to protect the trans 
portation trains of Russell, Majors, and Waddell, government contractors- but that 
he will immediately send an express to Lieutenant B. H. Robertson, commanding 
Company K, 2d Dragoons, and order him to proceed without delay with his com- 
pany to afford the settlers the protection your communication asks for.* 
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Wm. G. Gill, 

ist Lieut. 4th ArVy. Post Adrt. 
10 J. bterhng Morton, Acting Governor of Nebraska Terr if wy. 

* These papers are now in the office of the adjutant general of the state >i.,h th;. {IZ ~" 

endorsed upon the back : "Found in a barn by Joy Morton, Sunday Juae'>iS7' an i^k^'' h f'* 
venentble paternal relative respectfully referred to Dr Geor<Je L Miiw^nH 7hf n" '^"'^ ^V '}'* 

" Preserve the originals. 

J. S. M. 

"Secretary Gosper will perhaps file these among the legendary papers of his offifeid oblte 

J. S. M."'' 



List of Officers in Pawnee Expedition 

Gov. Sam W. Black, Commander-in-chief. 

Staff, r Lieut. Colonel Jolin McConihe, Omaha. 
J Lieut. Colonel K. E. Bowie, " 

I Lieut. Colonel Chas. D. Wolworth, " 
[ Lieut. Colonel Samuel A. Lowe, Elkhorn. 
Maj. Gen. John M. Thayer, commanding the expedition ; Lieut. Colonel Sam- 
uel R. Curtis, inspector general. 

Staff, r^ 4. • f R. H. Howard. 
' Captainsj^g p^^^^^^^j^_ 

Will Black. 
J. W. Pattison. 

Regimental organization adopted after the joining of Gov. Black and Lieut. Rob- 
ertson with his troops of cavalry : 

Wm. A. West, as colonel. 

Lieut. Beverly H. Robertson, U. S..A., as lieut. colonel. 

Reed, as major. 

Experience Estabrook, U. S. A., as adjutant. 

W. R. Clarke, as quartermaster. 

A. U. Wyman, as commissary. 

Henry Page, as wagonmaster. 

T P Peck ~l 

Wm'. McClelland, r^^g^^'^^' 


r Capt. Jas. H. Ford. 
No. 1. Omaha Light Akt'y, with one 6 pdr. gun, j 1st Lieut. E. G. McNeeley. 

( Sergt. Wm. Searight. 
Capt. George F. Kennedy. 
1st Lieut. J. C. Reeves. 
2d Lieut. C. A. Henry. 
1st Sergt. J. S. Bo wen. 
r Capt. R. W. Hazen. 
J 1st Lieut. Wm. West. 
1 2d Lieut. A. C. Campbell. 
^ Sergt. Abram McNeil. 
r Capt. Wm. Kline. 
„ ,, -r, 1st Lieut. James A. Bell. 

No. 4. FONTENELLE Mntd. RANGERS, ^^ Lieut. Wm. S. Flack. 

[ Sergt. John H. Francis. 
C Capt. Michael Weaver. 
No. 5. Columbus Infantry, < 1st Lieut. Wm. Graveman. 
( Sergt. John Browner. 
r Capt. J. Rickley. 
No. 6. Columbus Guards, -I 1st Lieut. J. P. Becker, 
i 2d J. C. Wolfel. 

The following company was organized in lSo9, but does not appear as part of the 
expedition, at Genoa, Monroe county, Nebraska : 

Joseph Huff, Captain, Jan. 31, 1859. 

Thomas Bradshaw, 1st Lieutenant, " *' 

Thomas Davis, 2d Lieutenant, " " 

No. 2. First Dragoons, 

No. 3. 2d Dragoons, 


DITION OF 1865. 

By H. E. Palmer, Late Captain Company A, Eleventh Kansas 

Volunteer Corps. 

[Eead before the Nebraska Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion 

of the United States, February 2, 1887.] 

In August, 1864, 1 was ordered to report to Gen. Curtis, who com- 
manded the department of Kansas, at Fort Leavenworth, and ^^-as by 
him instructed to take command of a detachment of the Eleventh Ohio 
Volunteer corps, sixty men, every one of them lately confederate soldiers 
with John Morgan on his raid into Ohio, captured there and confined 
at Columbus; they had enlisted in the federal service under the pledge 
that they were to fight Indians and not rebels. I was to conduct 
those men to Fort Kearney, and there turn them over to Capt. Hum- 
phrey ville of the Eleventh Ohio. 

On my way out, near Big Sandy, now Alexandria, Thayer county. 
Neb., I met a party of freighters and stage coach passengers on horse- 
back, and some few ranchmen, fleeing from the Little Blue valley. 
They told me a terrible story ; that the Indians were just in their 
rear ; and how they had massacred the people west of them, none 
knew how many. All knew that the Cheyennes had made a raid in- 
to the Little Blue valley, striking down all before them. After 
camping for dinner at this place, and seeing the last citizen disappear 
toward the states, I pushed on toward the Little Blue — camping in 
the valley — saw two Indians about five miles away on a hill as I 
went into camp. Next day I passed Eubank's ranch ; found there 
little children, from three to seven years old, who had been taken by 
the heels and swung around against the log cabin, beating their heads 
to a perfect jelly. Found the hired girl some fifteen rods from the 
ranch, staked out on the prairie, tied by her hands and feet, naked, 
body full of arrows and horriJjly mangled. Not far from this was the 
body of Eubank, whiskers cut off, body most fearfully mutilated. 
The buildings had been fired— ruins still smoking. Nearly the same 
scene and desolation and murder was witnessed at Spring ranch. 
Camped that night at Liberty farm. Next day passed trains, in one 
place seventy wagons loaded with merchandise, en route for Denver. 


The teamsters had moimted the mules and made their escape. The 
Indians had opened boxes containing dry goods, taking great bolts of 
calicos and cloths, carried off all they wanted, and had scattered the bal- 
ance, all they could, around over the prairie. Bolts of cloth had been 
seized by Indians on horseback who had dropped the bolt, holding on 
to one end of the cloth and galloped off over the prairie to stretch it out. 
Five wagons loaded with coal oil in large twenty gallon cans had been 
inspected by the Indians; some fifteen or twenty cans had been 
chopped open with hatchets, to see what w'as inside. None of them 
had sense enough to set the coal oil on fire, otherwise the entire train 
would have been destroyed ; several wagons had been fired and burned^ 
These Indians had attacked the troops at Pawnee ranch under the 
command of Capt. E. B. Mui-phy of the Seventh Iowa cavalry, 
and had driven them into Fort Kearney, although he had with him 
about one hundred and fifty men and two pieces of artillery. By this 
time the main body of the Indians were far away in the Eepublican 
valley, en route for Solomon river. I followed their rear guard to a 
point near where the town of Franklin, in Franklin county, on the 
Bepublican, now stands. Camped there one night and then marched 
north to Fort Kearney. On that day's march we saw millions of 

This raid on the Blue was made by the Cheyennes under the com" 
mand of Black Kettle, One Eyed George Bent, Two Face, and oth- 
ers. Mrs. Eubank and Miss Laura Roper were carried away cap- 
tives. We ransomed them from the Indians, who brought them to 
Fort Laramie in January, 1865. Just prior to this outbreak on the 
Little Blue a number of the same Indians had attacked a train near 
Plum creek, thirty-one miles west of Fort Kearney, on the south side 
of the Platte, and killed several men. From Plum creek they moved 
on down the Little Blue, passing south of Fort Kearney. 

Col. J. M. Chivington, commanding the First Colorado, was in 
command of the district of Colorado, headquarters at Denver, and dur- 
ing October and November, 1864, made, several raids after these In- 
dians. On the 29th of November, 1864, Col. Chivington, wdth three 
companies of the First Colorado and a detachment of the Third Colo- 
rado under command of Col. George L. Shoup, attacked Black Kettle, 
Avho with White Antelope, One Eyed George Bent, and other bands, 
were encamped on Sand creek, 110 miles south-southea<':)t of Denver. 


He attacked tliem just at daylight after a forty mile ride in the dark 
by the troops. The Indians were surprised, and according to the very 
best estimate 500 or 600 were killed, men, women and children. The 
fight was made in the village and the troops had no time to pick for 
men and save the squaws. The half-breed Indian chief, One Eyed 
George Bent, a son of Col. Bent, an educated rascal, was found among 
the dead. This M-as the first great punishment the Indians of the 
plains liad received since Harney's fight in Ash Hollow 

On the 7th of January following, the military and stage station at 
Julesburg, at the old California crossing on the south bank of the 
Platte, was attacked by the Indians. Capt. Nicholas J. O'Brien, 
familiarly known among the white men as " Nick O'Brien," and by 
the Indians as O-zak-e-tun-ka, was in command of the troops. The 
Indians, Sioux and Cheyennes, to the number of about 1,000, ran the 
stage into the station, killing one man and one horse. Capt. O'Brien 
left a sergeant and twelve men in the fort to handle the two pieces of 
artillery, and mounting the rest, thirty-seven men and one officer be- 
sides himself, went to meet the savages. As the men neared the top 
of the hill they saw the large force opposed to them, but never flinched. 
The Indians charged on them Avith great fury and killed fourteen of 
the soldiers. Capt. O'Brien ordered his force to fall back, which they 
did in good order, leaving their dead comrades to fall into the hands 
of the Indians. The red skins endeavored to cut them off from the 
fort, and came very near doing it. The men finally gained the fort 
and held the enemy at bay with artillery, two mountain howitzers. 
Night put an end to the conflict. The Indians withdrew during the 
night, and in the morning no one was in sight. The soldiers went out 
to find the bodies of their dead comrades ; found them, but nearly all 
were beyond recognition, stripped of clothing, horribly mutilated, 
their fingers, ears, and toes cut oft!, their mouths filled with powder 
and ignited, and every conceivable indignity committed on their per- 
sons. The Indians, as they afterwards admitted, lost over sixty war- 
riors. None were found on the field, as they always carry away their 
dead Avith them. 

In the winter of 1865, some time in December, I think. Brevet 
Brigadier General Tom Moonlight, now governor of Wyoming, was 
placed in command of the district of Colorado and, until in May, had 
his headquarters at Den\'er, Some time during this month he made 


his headquarters at Laramie. In March the district of the plains was 
created and Gen. P. E. Conner was ordered from his command at 
Salt Lake to take command of the new district with headquarters 
first at Fort Kearney, then at Denver, and in June at Julesburg. At 
Laramie Gen. Moonlight organized an expedition to punish these 
marauding Indians. Before starting out on his expedition he learned 
from some of the trappers that two white women were with Two 
Face's band near the south base of the Black Hills. Through inter- 
preters, trappers and Ogallala Sioux communication was opened up 
with these Indians, and for a large number of ponies, blankets, and a 
quantity of sugar, etc., two white women were purchased from the In- 
dians and brought into Laramie. Two Face and two of his best war- 
riors came in with the prisoners to surrender them. The armistice 
was violated — Two Face and his warriors arrested and hanged in 
chains about two miles north of the fort on the bluiF, where their bodies 
were allowed to hang until the crows carried away all the flesh from 
their bones. One of these women, Mrs, Eubank, was the wife and 
mother of the massacred party at Eubank's ranch, near Spring ranch, 
on the Little Blue in Nebraska, now one of the best settled portions of 
the state. I had known Mrs. Eubank before the Indian troubles ; 
met her at her home in the spring of 1861, just after she had moved 
from Ohio to brave the dangers of a pioneer life and to do the cook- 
ing for stage coach passengers on the old Ben Holliday line. She was 
a fine looking woman, full of youth, beauty, and strength; but a short 
time married, with bright prospects for the future. I remember, too,, 
that her log cabin was unlike anything else I had seen on the road 
west. The dirt roof supported by heavy timbers was hid by cotton 
cloth, which gave to the interior of the cabin a clean, tidy look ; the 
rough board floor was covered with a plain carpet, real china dishes, 
not greasy tin pans and cups, appeared on the table. That, with a fine 
dinner, made an indelible impression upon my mind. As I stood at 
the smoking ruins of her home in August, 1864, knowing that her 
body could not be found and wondering if she were a captive among- 
the Indians, I thought then : Would I ever see her again alive? A 
few weeks after her rescue from the Indians, I met her again at Fort 
Laramie. The bright eyed woman appeared to me to be twenty years 
older; her hair was streaked with gray. Her face gave evidence 
of painful suffering and her back, as shown to Gen. Conner and my- 


self, was one mass of raw sores from her neck to her Avaist where she 
had been whipped by Two Face's squaws. The sores had not been 
permitted to heal, and were a sight most sickening to behold. The 
poor woman was crushed in spirit and almost a maniac. I sent an 
escort Avith her and her companion, Miss Laura Roper, with an am- 
bulance to Julesburg, where they were placed upon a coach and re- 
turned to the east. Miss Roper lived and married in Beatrice, Ne- 
braska. Mrs. Eubank went back to her friends in Ohio and I have 
never heard from her since. 

Moonlight's raid after the Indians w'as a failure. Through the 
grossest mismanagement he allowed his command to be ambushed . 
his horses captured, and several men killed — retreating to Fort Lara- 
mie in time to receive an order from Gen. Conner to report to the com 
manding officer at Fort Kearney, Nebraska, for muster out of service. 

My company was ordered upon the plains in February, 1865. 
Left Fort Riley on the 16th. After experiencing a most fearful 
snow storm and blizzard the command, about six hundred 
strong, reached Fort Kearney, Nebraska, on the third day of March, 
1865, and in a few days pushed on to Lodge Pole creek and camped 
near the present town of Sidney, where they went into winter quar- 
ters, remaining there, however, only a few weeks; then they were or- 
dered to Mud Springs, where they again attemptetl to build winter 
quarters ; from there to Laramie, Platte Bridge, and Fort Halleck ; 
then they were strung put on the overland stage route with some twenty- 
five hundred men in all, guarding the through mail line. I had 
returned to Fort Leavenworth from Fort Kearney on detached ser- 
vice, and in June, 1865, was ordered to report to Gen. Conner : found 
him at the old California crossing on the Platte. 

Gen. Conner had with him two companies, L and M, of the Second 
California cavalry, and a detachment of the Eleventh Ohio under com- 
mand of Capt. Humphreyville and Capt. O'Brien with his compav of 
the Seventh Iowa cavalry and two mountain howitzers, manned by 
Capt. O'Brien's men and commanded by him. The command were 
delayed several hours trying to cross the Platte, which was receiving 
snow water from the mountains and was even with the bank. The 
crossing was made by swimming the stock and floating over the stores 
-svagons, etc, in wagon boxes covered with tarpaulins. The men 
were also crossed on rafts. We camped on the Lodge Pole. In the 


afternoon after the first day's march from the Platte the men indulged 
in fishing in Lodge Pole creek. Trout and pike were hauled out by 
the bushel with gunny sack seines. While we were cooking our fish, 
forty mules that had made themselves useful drawing headquarters' 
wagons and ambulances, etc., feeding on the opposite bank of the creek, 
about 100 yards from headquarters, were frightened by a jack rabbit. 
One of the mules leading the band was feeding close to a monstrous 
jack rabbit sitting behind a bunch of sage brush. Lieut. Jewett, aide- 
de-camp, and myself happened to discover the rabbit just before the 
mule saw it. He remarked that he thought we would see some fun 
when the mule got a little closer to the rabbit. Sure enough, when 
the mule got within a few feet of the rabbit, Mr. Jack made a mon- 
strous jump to change location. The mule gave a snort and started 
back among the herd on a gallop ; all the rest of the mules joined the 
leader, becoming more frightened at every jump and away they went 
for the hills about a mile away, no stop or halt until they disappeared. 
The general ordered a squad of cavalrymen to gather their hobbled 
animals and start in pursuit. This was done but " nary " a mule was 
seen afterwards. When the cavalry reached the hills they were met 
by a band of Indians who beat them back. Before we could assist 
them both Indians and and mules were far away, and before we got 
near them they were across the North Platte near Ash Hollow, en 
route for the Black Hills. Next day we were attacked by Indians 
near Mud Springs and gave them a lively chase, the fight not ending 
until about ten o'clock at night, when the men gathered in camp to 
prepare their supper. 

Soon after their return to camp Gen. Conner decided he must send 
Lieut. Oscar Jewett, his aide-de-camp, who had great experience in In- 
dian warfare, to Chimney Rock, some thirty miles north, where a large 
supply train in charge of Leander Black was encamped. Over- 
hearing the instructions to Lieut. Jewett, that he must go alone and 
run the risk of riding among the Indians, I begged Gen. Conner to 
allow me to accompany Jewett. At that time I had not been assigned 
to any particular duty — was simply a passenger in the general's 
ambulance, en route to join my company, which was supposed to be 
stationed at Platte Bridge on the North Platte, west of Laramie. To 
impress the general with my claims, I gave him to understand that 
I had seen much of the Indians and was as capable of dodging their 


arrows as Lieut. Jewett. After some hesitancy the general consented 
tliat I might go, but instructed us to ride at least six hundred yards 
apart, one behind the other. We left at 11 o'clock, and at daylight 
next morning we were in the camp of the supply train, and had the 
men aroused ready to meet an attack expected at daylight. The ride 
was a very interesting one, the night being as dark as any I ever ex- 
perienced ; neither one of us heard or saw the other until we met in 
Black's camp. 

Next day Gen. Conner issued an order assigning me to duty as as- 
sistant adjutant general, district of the plains. Our march from this 
point (Chimney Rock) to Fort Laramie was devoid of anything par- 
ticularly exciting. We were detained at Fort Laramie until the 30th 
day of July, awaiting supply trains. During this time three expedi- 
ttons were organized by Gen. Conner, supplied with trains of provis- 
ions and munitions of war, and started for a general rendezvous at the 
mouth of the Rosebuds, on the south bank of the Yellowstone river. 
One of these expeditions, composed of the Sixteenth Kansas under 
command of Col. Thompson, left us at Laramie, marching in an easterly 
direction toward the headwaters of the Niobrara, where they inter- 
cepted the second column, composed of the Eleventh and Twelflh 
Missouri mounted infantry, under command of Col. N. P. Cole. The 
entire command, amounting to some 1,600 fighting men, were or- 
dered to pass north of the Black Hills across the Powder river to 
the Rosebuds. 

Before starting we had a lively little matinee Avith the Sixteenth 
Kansas, who mutinied, the entire regiment refusing to go after the 
Indians. They alleged that their term of service would be up before 
the expedition could be terminated, and that they had not enlisted to 
fight Indians — had not lost any red devils and were not disposed to 
hunt for any. This mutiny was promptly checked by Gen. Con- 
ner, who appeared on the scene with his two companies of Califor- 
nia troops (who were devotedly attached to the general), two pieces of 
artillery, and a detachment of the Eleventh Ohio cavalry, and formed 
them in line of battle ready for an immediate attack upon the Kansas 
camp unless they fell into line within five minutes and promised 
obedience to orders. The Kansas boys were smart enough to smell 
danger and to take the general at his word. They fell into line and 
went out upon the dismal, unprofitable, inglorious hunt after ''scalp 


Before leaving Laramie, about the 25th of July, I was relieved as 
adjutant gen vral by Capt. C. J. Lauraiit, a regular assistant adjutant 
general, who had been sent by the secretary of war to report to Geu. 
Conner. The general refused to let me join my company and issued 
an order announcing me as his acting assistant quartermaster, and in- 
structed me to provide transportation, forage, etc., for the expedition. 

I found that there were only about seventy government wagons at 
Fort Laramie; that the commissary stores and forage required for 
the expedition, and required by the command under Col. Cole, wotild 
require in the neighborhood of 200 Avagons to transport the same. I 
was compelled to press citizens' outfits into the service. 

I pressed into the service forty wagons belonging to Ed. Creighton, 
which were under charge of Thomas Ashlop ; captured Tom Pollock's 
train of thirty wagons, and other trains too numerous to meutioUj 
until I had a train of 185 wagons. 

Our command left Fort Laramie on the 30th day of July, 1865, 
enroute for the Powder river. Our column was known as the ''Pow- 
der river Indian expedition," and was composed of sixty-eight men 
belonging to Company E, Seventh Iowa cavalry, under command of 
Capt. N. J. O'Brien, with First Lieut. John S. Brewer, Second Lieut. 
Eugene F. Ware ; sixty men of Company E, Eleventh Ohio volunteer 
cavalry, under Capt. Marshall ; seventy men of Company K, Eleventh 
Ohio volunteer cavalry, Capt. J. L. Humphreyville ; fifty-seven men 
of Company E, Eleventh Ohio volunteer cavalry ; sixty-one men of 
Company M, Second California cavalry, commanded by Capt, Geo. 
Conrad ; fourteen men, a detachment of the Second INIissouri artillery; 
fifteen men, a detachment of the signal corps of the L^nited States 
army, under command of Lieut. J. Willard Brown, assisted by Second 
Lieut. A. Y. Richards; fifteen men on detachment service from the 
Eleventh Ohio cavalry serving in the quartermaster's department; 
seventy-five Pawnee scouts under command of Capt. Frank North, 
and seventy Winnebago and Omaha Indians under command of Capt. 
E. W. Nash ; together with six companies of the Sixth Michigan 
cavalry, numbering about 250 men, under command of Col. Kidd. The 
Michigan troops were intended as a garrison for the first military post 
established, to be located at Powder river, and were not properly a 
part of the left column on the Powder river Indian expedition. Not 
including the Michigan troops, we had, all told, 404 soldiers and 145 


Indians, together with about 195 tejimsters and wagonmasters in the 
train, which was in the direct charge of Robert Wheeling, cliief train 
master. The general's staff was limited to five officers : Capt. J. C 
Laurant, A. A. G.; Capt. Sam Eobbins, First Colorado cavalry, chief 
engineer; myself as quartermaster; Capt. W. H. Tubbs, A. C. S., and 
Oscar Jewett, A. D. C. 

"We arrived at the south bank of the Platte August 1, expecting to 
cross at the LaBonta crossing. The general and his guides and ad- 
vance guards had arrived the night before, expecting from informa- 
tion furnished by his guides that he would find a good crossing here. 
Our guides, chief among whom were Maj. James Bridger, Nick 
Janisse, Jim Daugherty, Mich. Bouyer, John Resha, Antoine I^aDue, 
and Bordeaux, were supposed to be thoroughly posted on this coun- 
try, especially the region so near Fort Laramie, where they had 
been hundreds of times ; but the treacherous Platte was too much for 
them. The spring flood that had just passed had washed away the 
crossing, and after ten hours' diligent searching not one of the cavalry 
escort could find a place to cross the river without swimming his horse 
and endangering his life. Coming up with the train, which had been 
delayed and did not reach camp until afternoon, I found the general 
thoroughly discouraged and more than disgusted with his guides. The 
river had been examined for four miles each way from LaBonta cross- 
ing, and not a place could be found where it would be possible to cross 
a train. The alternative was presented to march to Platte bridge, 
one hundred and thirty miles out of our regular course. Soon after 
packing the train I rode o& by myself, on my government mule, up 
the river searching for an antelope. Without noticing the distance 
traveled, I was soon nearly five miles from camp, and out of sight of 
same, over a sharp bluff near the river. Just beyond this bluff I dis- 
covered a fresh buffalo trail leading down into the water, and across 
the river, on the opposite bank, could distinguish tracks that the buf- 
falo had made coming out of the stream. Curious to know how they 
could cross so straight without swimming in the rapid current, I rode 
my mule into the river and crossed on a good soHd bottom. Return- 
ing by the same route, I marked the location in my mind, rode back 
to camp in time for supper. Soon after feasting on antelope steak 
that I had captured on my expedition, and having lit my pipe, I 
strolled up to Gen. Conner and asked if he proposed crossing the 


Platte at this point, or if he intended to go round by the bridge. The 
general seemed put out by my question, which, under the circum- 
stances, he considered aggravating, and answered me rather roughly 
that we would have to go round by the bridge. I told him if it was tiie 
train that bothered him about crossing, I would guarantee to have it 
on the opposite bank of the river by daybreak the next morning. The 
general's reply was, "Very well, sir; have it there." After 9 p.m., 
when all was still in camp, I detailed a gang of teamsters, about forty 
men with picks and shovels, and marched them up the river to the 
buffalo trail and set them to work making a road. It being a moon- 
light night, the work was easily prosecuted, and by break of day ou 
the morrow the lead team of 185 wagons stood — leaders in the river — 
waiting the command to march. As soon as it was light enough to 
distinguish the opposite shore, I rode in ahead of the leaders and gave 
the command forward. There was no break or halt until the train 
was parked opposite the general's camp, all before sunrise. In fact, 
the entire train was parked, the mules turned loose to graze, and the 
men preparing their breakfast, when the sentinels on the opposite 
bank of the river discovered the train beyond the Platte and gave 
the alarm to the general, who rushal out of his tent in his stocking 
feet to see what he did not believe was true. He immediately ordered 
" boots and saddles " to be sounded, and in a short time the entire 
command was with us. After breakfast our column moved on, pass- 
ing over a country perfectly destitute of grass and timber, and scarcely 
any water, only one or two places between the Platte and Powder 
river. . We found water by sinking iron-bound casks and empty 
cracker boxes in the apparently dry sand beds of the main streams 
and tributaries of the south, middle, and north forks of the Cheyenne 
river — not a drop of water visible in the main branch. Our route 
followed a Lodge Pole trail over a very barren, rough country, along 
ridges, up and down ravines, where wagons had never passed. 

August 9 we obtained our first view of the Big Horn mountains, 
at a distance of eighty-five miles northwest, and it was indeed mag- 
nificent. The sun so shone as to fall with full blaze upon the southern 
and south-western sides of Cloud Peak, which is about ten thousand 
feet above sea level, and the whole snow-covered range so clearly 
blended with the sky as to leave it in doubt whether all was not a mass 
of bright cloud. Although the day was exceedingly warm, as soon 


as we struck this ridge we felt the cooling breezes from the snow-clad 
mountains, which was most gratefully appreciated by man and beast. In 
front, and a little to the northeast, could be seen the four columns of 
the Pumpkin Buttes, and fifty miles further east, Bear Butte, and be- 
yond, a faint outline of the Black Hills, The atmosphere Avas so 
wonderfully clear and bright that one could imagine that he could see 
the eagles on the crags of Pumpkin Buttes, full forty miles away. 

August 11. — Broke camp at the usual hour, traveled down Dry 
creek, passed two or three mud holes, where the stock was watered. 
After eight miles marching, got to a spot where we could see the long 
looked for Powder river ; saw columns of smoke down the river, indi- 
cating an Indian village a few miles, away. It proved to be a fire 
which the hostile Indians had made a day or two before. The Powder 
river is at this point a very rapid stream, water muddy like the Mis- 
souri, timber very plenty, ranging back from the river from one-half 
to one mile ; grass not very good, no chance to cut any hay anywhere 
on the river. Train reached camp at two o'clock, and camped in the 
timber on the river bank. In the evening the general, some members of 
his staff, and the guides, with an escort, went down the river to see if 
there were any signs of Indians. Found a "good Indian" very lately 
sewed up in a buffalo hide and hung up in a tree — many such sights 
along the Powder river. The country traversed by the general was 
similar to the camp ground. 

August 12. — Train remained in camp. An exploring expedition 
was sent up the river under the command of Lieut. Jewett with or- 
ders to proceed twenty miles to look for a better location for a mili- 
tary post. Twenty-five of the Sixth Michigan cavalry went up the 
river with Lieut. Jewett to the crossing of the old traders' road from 
the Platte bridge to the Big Horn mountains, and past the same, known 
as the Bozeman trail, made in 1864 by J. M. Bozeman, of Montana. 
Lieut. Jewett found bottoms on both sides of the river banks heavily 
timbered, flanked by high bold bluffs, with Indian signs all along the 
stream, scarcely a mile where there had not been Indian villages; 
some within a few weeks, some that were probably made years and 
years ago ; some very large camps gave evidence that the Indians had 
very large droves of horses, as the trees were badly girdled. Numer- 
ous Indian burial trees were found, with lots of " good Indians" tied 
up in them. Several bands of buffalo were seen during the day. 


Lieut. Jewett returned to camp the same day, having made a fifty 
mile march. 

August 14. — The first timber was cut to-day for building a stock- 
ade, the general having decided to erect a fi^rt on the opposite bank 
of the river at this point, on a large mesa rising about one hundred 
feet above the level of the river, and extending back as level as a floor 
about five miles to the blufis. A very fine location fi^r a fort, the 
only disadvantage being scarcity of hay land. Our stockade timber 
was cut twelve feet long and was from eight to ten inches in thickness. 
These posts were set fi3ur feet deep in the ground in a trench. Every 
soldier and all the teamsters who could be urged to work were sup- 
plied with axes and the men seemed to enjoy the exercise, chopping 
trees and cutting stockade timber. 

August 16. — Command still in camp waiting for a train of supplies 
from Fort Laramie before we proceed. Indian scouts discovered a war 
party to-day, and the soldiers gave them a running fight, Capt. North's 
Pawnees in the advance with only a few staif officers who were smart 
enough to get to the front with the Pawnees. Capt. North followed 
the Indians about twelve miles without their being aware of our pur- 
suit ; then the fun began in earnest. Our war party outnumbered 
the enemy, and the Pawnees, desirous of getting even with their old 
enemy, the Sioux, rode like mad devils, dropping their blankets be- 
hind them, and all useless paraphernalia, rushed into the fight half 
nJied, whooping and yelling, shooting, howling, — such a sight I 
n 'ver saw before. Some twenty-four scalps were taken, some twenty- 
four horses captured, and quite an amount of other plunder, such as 
saddles, fancy horse trappings, and Indian fixtures generally. The 
Pawnees were on horseback twenty-four hoiu's, and did not leave the 
trail until they overtook the enemy. There was a squaw Avith the 
party ; she was killed and scalped with the rest. On their return to 
camp they exhibited the most savage signs of delight, and if they felt 
fatigued did not show it^ — rode with the bloody scalps tied to the end 
of sticks, whooping and yelling like so many devils. In the evening 
they had a war dance instead of retiring to rest, although they had 
been up more than thirty hours. The war dance was the most sav- 
age scene I had ever Avitnessed. They formed a circle and danced 
around a fire, holding up the bloody scalps, brandishing their hatchets 
.and exhibiting the spoils of the fight. They were perfectly frantic 


with this, their first grand victory over their hereditary foe. During- 
the war dance they kept howling, "Hoo yah, hoo yah, hoo yah," ac- 
companying their voices with music (if such it could be called) made by 
beating upon an instrument somewhat.resembling a drum. No one 
Avho has never witnessed a genuine Indian war dance could form any 
conception as to its hideousuess — the infernal hoo yahs and din din of 
the torn tom. 

These howling devils kept up the dance, first much to our amuse- 
ment, until long after midnight, when finally the general, becoming 
thoroughly disgusted, insisted upon the officer of the day stopping 
the noise. After considerable talk, Capt. North, their commander, 
succeeded in quieting them, and the camp laid down to rest; but this 
war dance was kept up every night until the next fight, limited, how- 
ever, to 10 o'clock P.M. 

August 19. — Several of the staff officers, myself included, went on 
a buffalo hunt in the afternoon. We killed several buffalo ; one of 
the scouts reported having seen a large body of Sioux Indians. Capt. 
North started with his company in pursuit — killed one Indian chief 
and captured six head of horses. Col. Kidd went out in another di- 
rection with twenty-five men and reported over five hundred to one 
thousand Indians. Capt. O'Brien and Lieut Jewett with fifteen men 
went ten or twelve miles down the river, and camped until 3 o'clock 
on the morning of the 20th, then struck across the country towards 
camp, but saw no Indians. Capt. Marshall with forty men of the 
Eleventh Ohio went in pursuit of another band of Indians — killed 
two Indians and captured eleven head of stock. All of these scouting 
parties retiu-ned to camp, some on the 19th, some not until the 20th. 

August 22. — Broke camp at sunrise ; started from Powder river 
going north, leaving part of the train at the fort ; also all the Sixth 
Michigan cavalry. Traveled twenty-three and one half miles, and 
made camp on Crazy Woman's fork of the Powder river, so named 
because of the fact that some fifteen years before, a poor demented 
scpiaw lived near the bank of the river in a "wickup" and finally 
died there. The water of this stream is not so good as that of the 
Powder river, more strongly impregnated with alkali ; grass not very 
good ; sage brush abundant ; some timber on the stream. Saw some 
signs of Indians, but none very recent. 

August 23. — Left Crazy Woman's fork at 6 o'clock a.m.; traveled 


north five miles; came to a dry creek; passed several of the same 
kind during the day ; did not find any running water ; stock suffered 
some for want of same. The country is rolling, still seems more com- 
pact and gives us a much better road than we had on the south side of 
the Powder river. The Big Horn mountains lying right to our front 
seem to be within rifle range, so very near that we could see the buffalo 
feeding on the foot hills— the pine trees, the rocks, and crags appear 
very distinct, though several miles away. Fourteen miles from Crazy 
Woman's fork we struck the Bozeman wagon trail made in 1864. 
Made camp at 3 o'clock; grass splendid; plenty of water, clear and 
pure as crystal and almost as cold as ice. The stream was full of trout 
and the boys had a glorious time in the afternoon bathing in the ice 
water and fishing for trout with hooks made of willows. Several 
bands of buffalo had been feeding close to camp and about 5 o'clock 
P.M. about twenty-five cavalrymen rode out and surrounded a band and 
drove them into a corral formed of our wagons, and there fifteen were 
slaughtered and turned over to the commissary department. 

The general and a few of his staff officers, myself included, went 
up the stream to a high mesa some three miles above camp and got 
a beautiful view of the country and the surrounding hills, when we 
ran upon a monstrous grizzly, who took shelter in a little plum patch 
covering about an acre of ground. One of our party. Trainmaster 
Wheeling, with more daring than the rest of us cared to exhibit, rode 
up to within a few rods of the patch ; the bear would rush out after 
him, when he would turn his mule so quickly that the bear could not 
catcii him, the bear close to his heels snapping and growling, at the 
same time receiving the fire of our Sharpe's rifles. After receiving 
same, Mr. Grizzly would retire and again Wheeling would draw him 
out of the plum patch, and again we would pour cold lead into his 
carcass. The fight was intensely interesting. When we downed 
grizzly we found we had perforated his hide with twenty-three balls. 
The animal was one of the largest of its species; according to the very 
best estimate it weighed about 1,800 pounds. 

From this point on to Montana, in fact all along the whole base of 
the Rocky mountains to the British possessions, the country is per- 
fectly charming, the hills are all covered with a fine growth of grass, 
and in every valley there is either a rushing stream or some quiet 
babbling brook of pure, clear snow water, filled with trout, the banks 


lined with trees — wild cherry, quaking asp, some birch, willow, and 
Cottonwood. No conntry in America is more picturesque than the 
eastern slope of the Big Horn mountains. 

August 25. — Broke camp at the usual hour ; pushed on north, 
passing along the base of the Big Horn mountains. Crossed several 
streams, one of which we named Coal creek, because of the fact that 
near the center of the stream lay a block of coal about twenty-four 
feet long, eight feet thick, and twelve feet wide, the water having 
washed through a vein of coal that cropped out at this point. We 
found coal here enough to supply our forges and to enable |the black- 
smith to do some needed repairs. Seven miles from Clear fork we 
came to a very pretty lake, about two miles long and about three- 
fourths of a mile wide, which Major Bridger told us was DeSmet 
lake, named for Father DeSmet. The lake is strongly impregnated 
with alkali, in fact so strong that an egg or potato will not sink if 
thrown into the water ; large red bluffs are to be seen on both sides, 
and underneath the lake is an immense coal vein. Not many miles 
from this lake is a flowing oil well. A scheme might be inaugurated 
to tunnel under this lake, pump the oil into the lake, set the tunnel 
on fire and boil the whole body of alkali water and oil into soap. We 
made our camp on the Piney fork of the Powder river, about two or 
three miles below Fort McKinney, where there is now a flourishing 
city known as Buffalo, county seat of Johnson county, Wyoming. 
Just after we had gone into camp a large band of buifalo that had 
been aroused by our flankers came charging down the hill directly 
into ou.r camp. Many of them turned aside, but several passed through 
among the wagons, much to the dismay of our animals, mos't of which 
were tied to the same, taking their evening meal of grain. One mon- 
strous bull got tangled in the ropes of one of our tents, and was killed 
while trampling it in the dust. 

August 26. — Left Piney fork at 6 o'clock a.m. ; traveled north 
over a beautiful country until about 8 a.m., when our advance reached 
the top of the ridge dividing the waters of the Powder from those 
of the Tongue river. I was riding in the extreme advance in com- 
pany with Major Bridger. We were two thousand yards, at least, 
ahead of the general and his staif ; our Pawnee scouts were on either 
side and a little in advance ; at that time there was no advance guard 
immediately in front. As the major and myself reached the top of 


the hill, we involuntarily halted our steeds ; I raised my field glass tO' 
my eyes and took in the grandest view I had ever seen. I could see 
to the north end of the Big Horn range and, away beyond, the taint 
outline of the mountains beyond the Yellowstone. Away to the north- 
east the Wolf river range was distinctly visible ; immediately before 
us lay the valley of Peno creek, now called Prairie Dog creek, and 
beyond the Tongue river valley and many other tributary streams. 
It was as pretty a picture as I had ever seen. The morning was clear 
and bright, not a breath of air stirring. The old major, sitting upon 
his horse with his eyes shaded with his hands, had been telling me for 
an hour or more about his Indian life, his forty years' experience on 
the plains, telling me how to trail Indians and distinguish their tracks 
from those of different tribes — a subject that I had discussed with him 
nearly every day. In fact the major and myself were close friends. 
His family lived at Westport, Missouri. His daughter, Miss Jenny, 
had married a personal friend of mine, Lieut. Wiseman, and during 
the winter of 1863 I had contributed to help Mrs. Bi-idger and the 
rest of the family, all of which the major had been acquainted with, 
which induced him to treat me as an old time friend. As I lowered 
my glass the major said " Do you see those 'ere columns of smoke over 
yonder?" I replied, "Where, major?" to which he answered "Over 
by that saddle," meaning a depression in the hills not unlike the 
shape of a saddle, pointing at the same time to a point fully fifty 
miles away. I again raised my glass to my eyes and took a long, 
earnest look, and for the life of me could not see any columns of 
smoke even with a strong field glass. The major was looking with- 
out any artificial help. The atmosphere appeared to be slightly hazy 
in the long distance, like smoke, but there were no distinct columns of 
smoke in sight. Yet, knowing the peculiarities of my frontier friend, 
I agreed Avith him that there were columns of smoke, and suggested that 
we had better get off our animals and let them feed until the general came 
up. This we did, and as soon as the general with his staff arrived, I 
called his attention to Major Bridger's discovery. The general raised 
his field glass and scanned the horizon closely, but after a long look 
he remarked that there were no columns of smoke to be seen. The 
•major quietly mounted his horse and rode on. I asked the general to 
look again, that the major was very confident that he could see col- 
umns of smoke, which, of course, indicated an Indian village. The 


general made another examination and again asserted tliat there were 
no cohmms of smoke. However, to satisfy curiosity, and to o-ive our 
guides no chance to claim that they had shown us an Indian village 
and we would not attack it, he suggested to Capt. Frank North who 
was nding with the staif, that he go with seven of his Indiahs in the 
direction indicated, to reconnoitre, and to report to us on Peno creek 
or Tongue river, down which we were to march. I galloped on and 
overtook the major, and as I came up to him, overheard him remark 
about " these damn paper collar soldiers " telling him there were no col- 
umns of smoke. The old man was very indignant at our doubtincr 
Ins ability to outsee us, with the aid of field glasses even. The joke was 
too good to keep and I had to report it to the general. In fact I don't 
I)el,evethe major saw any columns of smoke, although it afterward 
transpired that there was an Indian village in the immediate locality 
designated. Bridger understood well enough that that was a favorite 
ocahty for Indians to camp, and that at most any time there could 
be found a village there; hence his declaration that he saw columns 
of smoke. 

Our march down Peno creek was uneventful, the road beino- very 
good, much better than we had before found. This stream takes its 
name from a French trapper by the name of Peno, who had been trap- 
ping for beaver. A band of buifalo close by tempted him to take a 
shot, whicli he did, slightly wounding a large bull. The bull took 
after him and Peno fled for his life. Just as he reached the steep bank 
of the creek some fifteen or twenty feet above the stream, Mr Bull 
caromed on his rear and knocked Peno clear over the bank, head fore- 
most into the creek, the bull tumbling in after him. Fortunately the 
fall was more disastrous to the bull than to the man, who was able to 
make his escape. Such is the story as told to me by Major Brido-er 
Our camp that night was in a valley of the Peno creek, not far from 
Tongue river, sixteen miles from Big Piney. 

August 27 and 28.-Traveled down Peno creek and Tongue river- 
country near the river very barren, no grass. After camping, four of 
the Omaha scouts went out a short distance from the camp and met a 
grizzly bear, which they very imprudently fired upon. The o-rizzly 
closed u]>on them, killing one of the scouts and fearfully ma'io-lin'g 
two others before a relief party of the same company could drive awav 
the bear. Just after sunset of this day two of the Pawnees who went 


out with Capt. North towards Bridger's columns of smoke two days 
previous came into camp with the information that Capt. North had 
discovered an Indian village. The general immediately called me to 
his tent and instructed me to take command of the camp, keeping the 
wagons in the corral, protect the stock, and hold the position until he 
should return — that he was going out to fight the Indians. I had 
never been baptized with Indian blood, had never taken a scalp, and 
now to see the glorious opportunity pass was too much. So, with 
tears in my eyes, I begged of the general to allow Lieut. Brewer, of 
the Seventh Iowa cavalry, who I knew had just reported to me as very 
sick, to remain with the train, and that I be allowed to accompany 
him in the glorious work of annihilating savages. The general granted 
my request. The men were hurried to eat their supper, just then 
being prepared, and at 8 o'clock p.m. we left camp with two hundred 
and fifty white men and eighty Indian scouts as the full attacking force. 
From our calculation as to the distance, we expected to strike the vil- 
lage at daylight on the morning of the 29th. Our line of march lay 
up the valley of the Tongue river, and after we had passed the point 
where our wagons had struck the stream we found no road, but much 
underbrush and fallen timber, and as the night was quite dark, our 
march was very greatly impeded, so that at daylight we were not within 
many miles of the Indian village. The general was very much dis- 
appointed at this delay, which compelled us to keep closely under cover, 
and in many instances to walk along by the water's edge, under the 
river bank, in single file, to keep out of sight of the Indians. I liad 
worked myself to the extreme advance, and like, possibly, many others 
in the command, had begun to think that there was no Indian villauc 
near us, and that we would have no Indians to fight. Arriving at 
this conclusion, I had become somewhat reckless, and had determined 
that Capt. North, who had joined our command soon after we left 
camp, should not reach the village in advance of myself. As we rode 
along close together conversing, I managed to forge in ahead of him 
just as we dropped down into a deep ravine. The bank on the side 
just beyond the stream was much higher than the bank from whicli 
we came, and the trail led up this steep bank. As I rode up the 
bank and came to the top, my eyes beheld a sight as unexpected to me 
as a peep into sheol. Just before me lay a large mesa or table, con- 
taining five or six hundred acres of land, all covered with Indian 


ponies, except a portion about one-half mile to the left, which was 
thickly dotted with Indian tepees full of Indians. Without a mo- 
ment's hesitation, I grasped the bit of my horse with my right hand 
and his nostrils with my left, to prevent him from whinneying, threw 
myself from the saddle, dragging the horse down the bank against 
Capt. North's horse, and whispered to him that we had found the vil- 
lage. Capt. North held my horse while I ran back, motioning the men 
to keep still. In fact, the general had issued orders when we left 
camp that no man should speak above a whisper, and that when the 
horses attempted to whinney they should be jerked up with a tight 
rein. During the last one-half hour of our march several men had 
become somewhat careless, and were not as cautious as they had been 
during the night. I soon met the general, who was close to the ad- 
vance, and told him of my discovery. The word was passed back for 
the men to close up and to follow the general, and not to fire a shot 
until he fired in advance. Gen. Conner then took the lead, rode his 
horse up the steep bank of the ravine, and dashed out across the mesa 
as if there were no Indians just to the left; every man followed as 
closely as possible. At the first sight of the general, the ponies cov- 
ering the table land in front of us set up a tremendous whinneying 
and galloped down toward the Indian village, more than a thousand 
dogs commenced barking, and more than seven hundred Indians made 
the hills ring with their fearful yelling. It appeared that the Indians 
were in the act of breaking camp. The ponies, more than three thou- 
sand, had been gathered in, and most of the warriors had secured 
their horses ; probably half of the squaws and children were mounted, 
and some had taken up the line of march up the stream for a new 
camp. They were Arapahoes, under Black Bear and old David, with 
several other chiefs not so prominent. The general watched the move- 
ments of his men until he saw the last men emerge from the ravine, 
when he wheeled on the left into line. The whole line then fired a 
volley from their carbines into the village without halting their 
horses, and the bugle sounded the charge. Without the sound of the 
bugle there would have been no halt by the men in that column ; not 
a man but what realized that to charge into the village without a mo- 
ment's hesitation was our only salvation. We already saw that we 
were greatly outnumbered, and that only desperate fighting would save 
our scalps. I felt for a moment that my place was with the train ; 


that really I was a consummate fool for urging the general to allow 
me to accompany him. I was reminded that I had lost no Indians, 
and that scalping Indians was unmanly, besides being brutal, and for 
my part I did not want any dirty scalps ; yet I had no time to halt ; I 
could not do it, my horse carried me forward almost against my will, 
and in those few moments — less than it takes to tell the story — I was 
in the village in the midst of a liand to hand fight with warriors and 
their squaws, for many of the female portion of this band did as brave 
fighting as their savage lords. Unfortunately for the women and 
children, our men had no time to direct their aim ; bullets from both 
sides and murderous arrows filled the air ; squaws and children, as 
well as warriors, fell among the dead and wounded. The scene was 
indescribable. Tlicre was not much of the military in our movements, 
each man seemed an army by himself. Standing near the " sweat 
house," I emptied my revolver into the carcasses of three Avarriors. 

One of our men, a member of the Eleventh Ohio cavalry, formerly 
one of John Morgan's men, a fine looking soldier with as handsome 
a face as I ever saw on a man, grabbed me by the shoulder and turned 
me about that I might assist him in withdrawing an arrow from his 
mouth. The point of the arrow had passed through his open mouth 
and lodged in the root of his tongue. Having no surgeon with us a 
higher grade than a hospital steward, it was afterwards within a half 
hour decided that to get the arrow out from his mouth, the tongue 
must be, and was, cut out. The poor fellow returned to camp with 
us, and at this late date I am unable to say whether he lived or died. 
Another man, a sergeant in the signal corps, by the name of Charles 
M. Latham, was shot in the heel ; he had been through the entire 
war in the army of the Potomac and M'ore a medal for his bravery, 
had passed through many battles and had escaped unharmed. This 
shot in the heel caused his death ; he died in a few days afterwards 
of lock-jaw. The Indians made a brave stand trying to save their 
families, and succeeded in getting away with a large majority of their 
women and children, leaving behind nearly all their plunder. Thev 
fled up a stream now called "Wolf creek. Gen. Conner in close pur- 
suit. Soon after we left the village, Gen, Conner advised me to in- 
struct Capt. North to take his Indians and get all the stock he could 
possibly gather. This was done, and with a few stragglers 1 iollriwcd 
a small band of Indians up the main Tongue river about tliivL' miles 


until thev became strong enough to turn back upon us, and force us 
back. Gen. Conner pursued the fleeing savages fully ten miles from 
camp, wlien he found himself accompanied by only fourteen men ; our 
horses had all become so fatigued and M'orn out that it was impossible 
to keep up. The general halted his small squad and attempted to 
take the names of his brave comrades, when the Indians, noticing the 
paucity of his numbers, immediately turned upon him and made a 
desperate effort to surround him andhis small squad of soldiers. They 
fell back as rapidly as possible, contesting every inch, reinforced every 
few moments by some stragglers who had endeavored to keep up. 
With this help they managed to return to camp, where Capt. North 
and myself had succeeded in corralling about eleven hundred head of 
ponies. One piece of artillery had become disabled. The axletree of 
the gun carriage, a mountain howitzer, was broken. We left the 
wheels and broken axle near the river and saved the cannon. The 
command rendezvoused in the village, and the men were set to work 
destroying Indian property. Scores of buffalo robes, blankets, and 
furs were heaped upon lodge poles, with tepee covers, and dried buf- 
falo meat piled on top, and burned. On one of these piles we placed 
our dead, and burned their bodies to keep the Indians from mutilating 
them. During our halt the Indians pressed close up to the camp, and 
made several desperate attempts to recover their stock, when the moun- 
tain howitzer, under the skillful management of Nick O'Brien, pre- 
vented them from completing their aims. Our attack upon the vil- 
lage commenced at 9 o'clock a. m. The rendezvous in the village was 
about 12:30. We remained there until 2:30. In the intervening time 
we destroyed an immense amount of Indian property — fully 250 In- 
dian lodges and contents. At 2:30 we took up the line of march for 
the train. Capt. North, with his eighty Indians, Uwidertook to drive 
the stock. They were soon far ahead, while the rest of the force were 
employed in beating back Indians. The Indians pressed us on every 
side, sometimes charging up within fifty feet of our rear guard. Tliey 
seemed to have plenty of ammunition, but did most of their fighting 
with arrows, although there were some of them armed with muskets, 
with which they could send lead in dangerous proximity to our men. 
Before dark we were reduced to forty men who had any ammunition, 
and these only a few rounds apiece. The Indians showed no signs of 
stopping the fight, but kept on pressing us, charging upon us, dashing 


away at the stock, keeping us constantly on the move until fifteen 
minutes of twelve o'clock, when the last shot was fired by our pur- 
suers. At this time I had gone ahead to communicate some order 
from Gen. Conner to Capt. North relative to handling the stock. 
Having completed my work, I halted by the side of the trail and 
waited for the general who was with the rear guard, I remember, as 
I was getting from my horse, I heard the last shot fired some two or 
three miles in the rear. 

After I had dismounted, I realized that I was fearfully tired, so 
tired that I could not stand up. I sat upou the ground, and in a mo- 
ment, in spite of myself, was in a sound sleep, and was only awak- 
ened by being dragged by my horse, which was an Indian pony that 
I had saddled from the captured stock. Nearly all our men had re- 
mounted themselves while we were rendezvousing in the Indian village, 
otherwise we would not have been able to keep out of the way of the 
pursuing Indians. My lariat was wrapped around my right arm, and 
with this the pony was dragging me across the prickly pears when I 
awakened. Realizing that I was on dangerous ground, I quickly 
mounted my pony and listened long for the least sound to indicate 
wdiether the general had come up or not. There was no noise — not a 
sound to be heard — the night was intensely dark and myself so bewil- 
dered that I scarcely knew which way to go. Again jumping from 
my horse, I felt with my hands until I found the trail and discov- 
ered that the footprints of the horses led in a certain direction; taking 
that as my course, I rode away as rapidly as possible and after three 
miles' hard riding, overtook the general and his rear guard, who had 
passed me while I was asleep. All congratulated me on m}- narrow 
escape. We arrived at camp at daylight, after marching fully one 
hundred and ten miles without any rest or refreshments except the 
jerked buifalo that the boys had filled their pockets with in the In- 
dian village. The incidents of this fight would make interesting 
reading. Many acts of personal bravery cannot be recorded. Suffice 
it to say that every man was a general. Not a command was givea 
by the general after the first order to charge — not a man in the com- 
mand but that realized that his life was in the balance. We must 
either whip the Indians and whip them badly, or be whippal our- 
selves. We could see that the Indians greatly outnumbered us ; that 
our main dependence was our superior equipments ; we were better 


armed than they. As for fighting qualities the savages proved them- 
selves as brave as any of our men. The fight commenced at 9 o'clock, 
was offensive until about 11 a.m., when the general was driven back 
into camp with his small squad of men ; from that time until mid- 
night we fought on the defensive. Yet we had accomplished a grand 
victory. Two hundred and fifty lodges had been burned with the en- 
tire winter supply of the Arapahoe band. The son of the principal 
chief (Black Bear) was killed, sixty-three warriors were slain, and 
about 1,100 head of ponies captured. While we were in the village 
destroying the plunder, most of our men were busy remounting. Our 
own tired stock was turned into the herd. The Indian ponies were 
lassoed and mounted ; this manceuver afforded the boys no little fun, 
as in nearly every instance the rider was thrown or else badly shaken 
up by the bucking ponies. The ponies appeared to be as afraid of 
the white men as oiir horses were afraid of the Indians. If it had not 
been for Capt. North with his Indians, it would have been impossible 
for us to take away the captured stock, as they were constantly break- 
ing away from us, trying to return towards the Indians, who were as 
constantly dashing toward the herd in the vain hope of recapturing 
their stock. 

Many exciting scenes were witnessed upon the field of battle. Dur- 
ing the chase up Wolf creek with the general, one of North's braves 
picked up a little Indian boy that had been dropped by the wayside. 
The little fellow was crying, but when picked up by the soldier In- 
dian, fought like a wild cat. One of our men asked the Indian what 
he was going to do with the papoose. He said : "Don know ; kill 
him mebby." He was told to put him down and not to injure the 
bright little fellow. The Indian obeyed, and at least one papoose 
owed his life to the kind hearted soldier. Several of our men were 
wounded ; some of them quite severely. Three or four of them after- 
wards died of their wounds. Two of our soldiers, white men, I for- 
get their names, were found among the dead, and three or four of 
North's Indians were killed. 

Lieut. Oscar Jewett, the general's aide-de-camp, the general's bu- 
gler and orderly were among the wounded. Lieut. Jewett was shot 
through the thigh and through the hand, and yet was compelled to 
ride over forty miles after receiving his wounds. We were absent 
from camp thirty -three hours; had marched, as before stated, one 


hundred and ten miles ; during that time had had nothing to eat, ex- 
cept a few hard tack and some jerked buffalo meat. If there is a bet- 
ter record to the credit of the volunteer cavalry soldier I am not aware 
of the fact. We brought back to camp with us eight squaws and 
thirteen Indian children, who were turned loose a day or two after- 

August 30 and 31.-^ We marched twenty-two miles down Tongue 
river. September 1, early in the morning, a cannon shot was heard^ 
No two persons could agree in what direction the sound came from, 
but as this was the day Rxed for the general rendezvous of Cole and 
Conner's command near the mouth of the Rosebuds, some eighty miles 
away, it Mas supposed that the sound came from that direction. Gen. 
Conner directed that Capt. North, with about twenty of his Indians, 
and Capt. Mai-shall, with about thirty men of the Eleventh Ohio cav- 
alry, push on rapidly to the rendezvous to communicate with Cole. 
Marched fifteen miles September 1. 

September 2. — Did not leave camp until 1 o'clock p.m. ; marched 
down the river eight miles ; valley has narrowed up very much ; the 
country appears rough and irregular. Last night several "medicine 
wolves" were heard to howl about camp. Ever since we left Fort 
Laramie our camp has been surrounded with thousands of wolves, that 
made the night hideous with their infernal bowlings, but not until 
to-night have we heard the " medicine wolf," which old Bridger claims 
to be a supernatural sort of an animal, whose howling is sure to bring 
trouble to camp. Bridger, Nick Janisse, and Rulo, being very super- 
stitious, were so frightened by this peculiar howling that they took up 
their blankets and struck out for a new camp, which, according to 
their theory, was the only way of escaping from the impending dan- 
ger. They went down the river about half a mile and camped in 
the timber by themselves. 

September 4, — Weather not quite so cold as yesterday, not so disa- 
greeable; country very rough, scarcely any grass — not a spear was 
seen for miles on the march. Passed down Tongue river; Avas com- 
pelled to cross the stream dozens of times. A messenger from Col. 
Sawyer's train of emigrants came into camp to-night with the news 
that his train had been attacked by the Indians, supposed to be the 
same ones that we had fought ; that Capt, Cole, of the Sixth ]\Iichigan, 
and two of his men, -were killed; that the train was parked and the 


men doing their best to defend themselves. From him we learned 
that Col. Sawyer, with about twenty-five wagons and one hundred 
men, were en route from Sioux City to Bozeman, by way of the Big 
Horn or "Bozeman route;" that they had passed over the country 
by way of the Niobrara, north fork of Cheyenne, between Pumpkin 
and Bear Buttes, intersecting our trail near Fort Conner ; that CoL 
Kidd, whom we had left in command at Fort Conner, had sent Capt. 
Cole with twenty men as an additional escort for the train, to help 
them through the Arapahoe country. 

Capt. Brown, with two companies of California troops, was hastily 
detached from our command and marched west about forty miles to 
relieve tlie train. When they reached the train they found that the 
Indians had given up the attack, and on the next day the train pushed 
on, Capt. Brown accompanying them. Our command continued their 
march fifteen miles down the river. 

September 5. — Lay in camp all day waiting for some word from Capt. 
Marshall. The general is very anxious to get some news from the 
column under the command of Col. Cole. Capt. Marshall's guide 
returned from the Rosebuds to-night with no news from Cole's com- 
mand. Capt. Marshall reached camp with his men soon after, having 
been to the rendezvous and finding no evidence of our supporting col- 
umn there. 

September 6. — The command about-faced to-day and marched back 
up the river fifteen miles to find better grass for the stock. A scouting 
party under Capt. North having returned from the mouth of the 
Tongue river on the Yellowstone, and reported no grass and no siga 
of Cole's command. 

September 7. — Marched up the river fourteen miles; found grass,, 
and camped. 

September 8. — Capt. Frank North, with twenty of the Pawnee' 
scouts, left for the Powder river this morning. Capt. Humphrey- 
ville and a part of his company were ordered to the Rosebuds ; small 
scouting parties were sent in every direction to obtain, if possible, some 
news of Cole's command. No signs of Indians; weather very cold 
and disagreeable. 

September 9. — Still raining and snowing; roads are frightfully 
muddy, almost impossible to move the train ; has been raining and 
snowing for three days. 


September 10. — Stopped raining this morning; several mules and 
horses have died from the effects of the storm. No news from the 
other column. The Tongue river has risen about two feet, and we 
find it impossible to cross. 

September 11. — Moved camp one mile up the river to better grass. 
Capt. Humphreyville returned from the Rosebuds to-day, reporting no 
signs of Cole's command. Capt. North also returned from Powder 
river and reports that he found between five and six hundred dead 
cavalry horses, undoubtedly belonging to Cole's command ; most of 
them were found shot at the picket line. From that it appears that 
Cole has been hard pressed by the Indians, and has been compelled to 
dismount his men and to shoot his horses, the Indians giving them 
no chance to forage. A large number of saddles and other property 
had been burned. His trail was well marked, and shows that he has 
pushed on up the river in an opposite direction from the course which 
he had been ordered to take. This startling news shows conclusively 
that we are nearing the end of our expedition which we fear must end 
disastrously. As acting commissary of subsistence, as well as quar- 
termaster, I realized that Cole's command must be out of provisions ; 
that they had provisions until only about the 3d or 4th of September, 
when they were supposed to meet our train ; that by this time, Sep- 
tember 11, they must be either out of provisions, or that they had 
been living on half rations for some time previous. The situation 
was indeed a critical one. Here a superior force had been attacked 
by the Indians at a point only seven miles east of us, and had been 
driven from their line of march to take another route, and had been 
so hard pressed by the savages that they were compelled to shoot 
their horses to save them from falling into the hands of the enemy, 
and to enable the men to do better fighting on foot. Our fighting 
force was only about 400 men, counting sixty men with Capt. Brown, 
who was then 100 miles away; theirs 1,600, four times our number. 
What would be our fate should these Indians turn from the pursuit 
of Cole, and cross over from the Powder river to Tongue river, and 
concentrate with the Arapahoes in an attack upon us ! We knew, or 
at least Capt. North and his Indians knew, that the Indians who were 
pressing Cole were the Sioux and Cheyennes, and that they numbered 
thousands ; according to the very best estimate, 5,000 or 6,000 Indi- 
ans. Nearly all the men realized that they must be prepared to do 


some very good fighting ; that our only chance of escape from the 
country depended upon cautious movements as well as good luck. 
Early in the morning of September 12 we took up our line of march 
for Fort Conner. By doubling teams, as many as thirty span of 
mules hitched to several wagons, we managed to drag our loads across 
the river, and by hard work made twenty miles to-day. Ran across 
two very large herds of elk that had been driven into the timber by 
the storm. This morning early Gen. Conner dispatched one white 
man, whose name I have forgotten (it ought to have been preserved, 
as he was a hero), a member of the Seventh Iowa cavalry who volun- 
teered to go with five Pawnee Indians, at the risk of his life, and 
supplies for his men, a fact known to Col. Cole. This move was an 
important one, aild the scouts were instructed to travel only by night, 
and to run the gauntlet at all hazards, otherwise Cole and his men 
might perish within close proximity to the fort where there was an 
abundance of supplies, food, and ammunition. This party made the trip 
safely ; traveling only by night, they managed to reach Cole's camp, 
and to communicate with him, which to his starving troops was glori- 
ous news, that if they pushed on rapidly they would find plenty to 

September 13. — Continued our march up the river eight and one- 
half miles, when the teams were so badly played out that we could 
march no further. 

September 14. — Marched thirteen and one-half miles. Another de- 
tachment of scouts. Pawnee Indians under command of Capt. North, 
also Capt. Marshall, with a small squad of the Eleventh Ohio cavalry, 
were started for Powder river this evening, with instructions to fight 
their way through to Cole's command. The general is risking our 
entire force for the salvation of Cole's men. If our force should be 
attacked now, it would be short work for the Indians to massacre the 
entire party. 

September 15th and 16th were spent in recuperating our stock, as 
we found the mules too weak to pull the wagons. 

September 17. — Marched up the river fourteen miles and camped. 
About three o'clock to-day while the train was crossing the river, 
experiencing a great deal of trouble. I struggled on ahead of the com- 
mand to the advance guard and beyond. I had my Sharpe's rifle with 
me and thought I would push on a little farther and see if I could not 


shoot an elk. Crossing over a little divide, I found that to reach the 
next point of timber, I had a bottom of about two miles in width to 
cross. Not seeing any Indians, or signs of Indians, I very recklessly 
gave my fast walking mule the rein and continued on. Soon after 
reaching the timber I concluded I was getting too far ahead of my 
command, led my mule a short distance off the road, tied him to a 
sapling, took my gun and set myself on a log, when suddenly I heard 
the clank of horses' hoofs on the rocks just ahead of me. Glancing 
in that direction I saw just before me a party of Indians, sprang to 
my feet and raised my rifle, as they pulled their reins, having noticed 
me ; just at that moment the face of a white man appeared behind the 
Indians, and they threw up their hands to show that they were friendly. 
The white man, who proved to be Lieut. Jones, of the Second Mis- 
souri artillery, rode up. He Avas from Cole's command, and had 
been sent by Cole with the five Indians to communicate with Gen. 
Conner the safe arrival of our scouts, and that he would push on to 
Fort Conner. Jones had left Cole's command in the opposite direction 
from the Indians ; had gone around them ; discovered our trail near 
Big Piney, and folloANcd down Peno creek to Tongue river to the 
point where we met, I was so rejoiced at hearing from Cole's com- 
mand that I could scarcely keep back the tears, and when I rode back 
to the train the news made the men wild with joy ; Cole's command had 
been found. Lieut. Jones reported that soon after passing to the right 
of the Black Hills they were attacked by the Sioux who had continued 
to fight them from that time until they had reached Tongue river. 
By that time their stock had become so worn out for want of feed that 
they were compelled to shoot their horses and burn up a large supply 
of saddles, stores, and accoutrements, and to turn from their course 
towards the Wolf mountains to the Rosebuds, the country before 
them being so rough that they could not drag their wagons after their 
command. Col. Cole, being so early surrounded by the Indians, made 
up his mind that Gen. Conner must have been massacred, and that if 
he ever reached the Rosebuds, he would be in more danger than he 
was ; that his only chance for escape now would be in retreating up 
Powder river, making his way, if possible, to Fort Laramie. Several 
of his men had been wounded by the Indians, and for several days 
the men had to subsist on mule meat, being absolutely out of pro- 


September 18 and 19, we continued our march up the river, camp- 
ing on the 19th on Peno creek, three miles above our old camp. 
Large bands of elk passed the command to-day and several of them 
were stopped by our bullets. 

September 20, continued our march up Peno creek sixteen miles. 
September 21.— The command marched twenty-one miles to-day. 
Just before we left camp this morning I prevailed upon the general to 
allow Lieut. Jewett, Capt. Laurant, and myself with three men to ride 
two or three miles to the right of the command, to the front of the 
right flankers, to give us an opportunity to kill some elk; the coun- 
try seemed full of them. The general made us promise that we would 
keep together, and being well armed we might fight off the Indians if 
they should attack us, and make our way back to the train. We ex- 
tended our ride some two or three miles to the right of the line of 
march, and out of sight of the train in the foot hills of the mountaii^g. 
About eight o'clock we ran across a large band of buffalo, and as we 
Avere out upon a hunt, dashed among them to see how many we could 
kill. I took after a fine bull, one of the best in the herd, who with a 
small band of buffalo struck up a ravine. It was short work to down 
the fellow and cut out his tongue as a trophy and to remount, when 
I discovered that there was not one member of the party in sight; I 
was entirely alone. I rode up on a hill expecting to see the party a 
short distance away, but saw nothing excefj^ here and there buffiilo 
all on the gallop, and here and there an antelope. Thinking I was 
pretty close to the men, I pushed on in my regular course south, par- 
allel to the train, dropping a little to the left, expecting soon to 'come 
in sight of the wagons. After riding about half a mile and reaching 
the top of a little ridge, I discovered, just before me, an antelope so 
very close that I could not resist the temptation to chance a shot. 
Jumping from my pony, which, by the way, was a wild Indian pony 
captured out of the herd a day or two before, I threw the lariat over 
my arm, raised the gun and fired. The pony gave a jump and drag- 
ged the rope through my hand, blistering the same very badly, and 
escaped. He galloped off" in an opposite direction from which I was 
going. My first impulse was to fire on the pony ; turning, I saw that 
I had shot the antelope, and that he was getting onto his feet again. 
As he was so close by, I dropped my gun on the ground, pulled my 
revolver, ran up towards ihe antelope and fired as I ran. The ante- 


loj^e gained his feet and started down the slope, I had fired the last 
shot from my revolver and had no time to reload, and as I had wonnded 
the antelope, continued the pursuit. For nearly half a mile I followed 
the antelope in a very winding course until, tinally, he fell to the ground 
in his death struggles. I cut his throat and took the saddle — the two hind 
■q larters. Started back to the hill to get my gun ; found I was on the wrong 
hill. Was compelled finally to return to the carcass of the antelope 
and retrace my steps to where I fired at the antelope, tracking my 
way by the blood. This work delayed me fully an hour, but I was 
rewarded b}^ finding the gun. Then, as I was so far behind the train 
(it was now 10 o'clock), I concluded it to be dangerous to attempt to 
follow it, and as I was afoot, my only salvation was in keeping at 
least four miles to the right of the train, away from the Indians who 
would probably follow the train, and to make camp in the nighttime. 
I hung on to the saddle of antelope and with my gun took up the 
tramp. After walking two or three miles I came to a ridge over- 
looking a little valley, and in the valley saw a horse, wliich upon 
closer inspection I determined to be my own horse, which had by a 
roundabout course struck the valley ahead of me. The animal was 
feeding by himself, not another animal in sight, I resolved at once 
to make an effort to recapture the horse. Slipping down to the 
creek, I deposited my gun and antelope meat in the limb of a dead 
Cottonwood and commenced crawling through the grass, wliich was 
very high and fine, towards the horse. After more than an hour's 
work, slowly dragging myself along, I just managed to get hold of the 
end of the rope, but not with sufficient grip to hold the startled pony 
who again escaped me. This only aggravated me and made me re- 
solve that I would have the pony or die trying. One, two, and more 
than three hours passed before I could again get hold of the rope ; 
and finally it was about 4 o'clock p.m. when I managed to capture the 
pony. I had worked up the valley three or four miles above where 
I had left the antelope meat and my gun, but after mounting my pony 
it was a short ride back to these articles, and after lunching I took up 
my line of march for the camp; and without further incident of im- 
portance reached the camp at daylight next morning, having gone 
fifteen miles out of my way to avoid the possible chance of running 
upon the Indians. The other members of the party had joined the 
camp about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and after 9 o'clock that night 
nearly every man in the camp had given me up for dead. 


September 22. — Capt. jSIarshall and a detachment of his company 
came from Fort Conner with a letter to Gen. Conner with the news 
that he had been relieved of the command of the district of the plains • 
that Col. Cole with his two regiments of Missouri troops and the 16th 
Kansas cavalry had reached Fort Conner in a very destitute condition, 
half of the men barefoot, and that for fifteen days they had had no 
rations at all and had subsisted entirely upon what little game they 
could get close to camp, and on mule meat ; and that they had been 
obliged to burn a large portion of their train together with camp equi- 

September 23. — Camped on Crazy Woman's fork, and on Septem- 
ber 24th reached Fort Conner, having traveled twenty -fiv^e miles to-day. 
The general and staff reached the fort about eleven a.m.; train got in 
just before sundown. 

Cole's command looked as if they had been half starved, and are 
very ragged and dirty ; tlie men resemble tramps more than they do 
soldiers. They have had but little suffering since they left the Platte 
river, and are as completely disgusted and discouraged an outfit of 
men as I ever saw. They reported having fought the Indians six 
days on the Powder river, and claim they killed three or four hundred 
of them. This day's march ends the story of the Powder river In- 
dian expedition. Gen. Conner will return with a small escort of men, 
leaving the command of the expedition to Col. Cole, who will make 
his way back to the states by slow marches. Gen. Frank Wheaton 
has been assigned to the command of the district of the plains and we 
expect to meet him at Fort Laramie. 

I persuaded Gen. Conner to allow me to take back to Fort Laramie 
the captured stock, that he might have credit therefor. 

On the 26th of September the general pushed out for Laramie 
with three ambulances, Capt. North with his Indians driving the 
stock. The general remained at Fort Laramie until October 4, when 
I received receipts from Capt. Childs for six hundred and ten head of 
horses ; all that had been save'd out of the eleven hundred head cap- 
tured from the Indians. Horses had escaped from us every day on 
the march, and during the storm on Tongue river several had perished. 
On our march up Tongue river at least three or four hundred made 
their escape, at one time a band of more than forty in one drove. In 
the four days' lay-over at Laramie I had completed my reports to the 


quartermaster and commissary departments, receiving the general's ap- 
proval on all my pajDers, and his thanks for services rendered, and 
was enabled to accept an invitation to a seat in the ambulance and 
rode with him to Denver, where we had been invited by the citizens 
to a reception in honor of Gen. Conner. We left Fort Laramie with 
an escort of twenty men who accompanied us as far as Fort Collins; 
from that point we pushed on to Denver without an escort, arriving 
there about the 15th of October. We were received with all the hon- 
ors that could be bestowed, a grand feast was prepared for us at the 
Planters' hotel, and the best people of Denver, almost en masse, turned 
out to the reception. The next day we were escorted by more than 
thirty carriages, filled with prominent citizens, to Central City, forty 
miles away in the mountains, where we were again received and toasted 
in the most hospitable manner. I returned to Denver in time to leave 
on the first coach that had been started from Denver for three weeks. 
Capt. Sam Robbins and Capt. George F. Price (who had been chief of 
cavalry for the general, and whom he had left at Fort Laramie in 
charge of the office as adjutant general of the district of the plains 
while we were on the expedition), together with B. M. Hughes, 
attorney general of Ben Holliday's overland mail line, and two Pacific 
railroad exploring engineers, with Johnny Shoemaker as messenger, 
who had with him ^250,000 in treasure, were fellow passengers. We 
left Denver at ten a.m. October 19, met with no incidents of an ex- 
citing nature until we reached Larry Hay's ranch about daylight the 
second day out. 

Just as we were driving up to the station, we heard the roar of mus- 
ketry and the infernal yells of the Indians who had attacked a train 
camped close to the station. The chief wagonmaster, Wells of Fort 
Lupton, was killed in the attack. I had just climbed out of the coach 
to a seat with the driver. Johnnie Shoemaker was in the boot asleep 
and every one in the coach was asleep, except the driver and myself. 
I had remarked to the driver that it was daylight and asked him hoAv 
far it was to the station; he said it was close by, a mile or two ahead. 
Just then we heard the firing, the driver whipped his six mules into 
a run, and away we went pell mell for the station, expecting momen- 
tarily the arrows and leaden messengers of death. Fortunately for us 
the Indians were on the opposite side of the station and before we 
had reached the same had been driven away by the teamsters and 


wagon men. At O'Fallen's bluff, near Baker's ranch, we were again 
attacked by the Indians and ran into the station, where we defended 
ourselves until morning. 

Next day pushed on with the coach with all the passengers on foot 
as an advance guard and flankers. Fortunately for us two compa- 
nies of a West Virginia cavalry regiment were on the march up the 
Platte and happened to meet us in the worst part of the hills. Their 
presence had driven away the Indians and we were enabled to drive 
through the bluffs in safety. This is the last incident worthy of rec- 
ord of the Powder river Indian expedition. 

As a summary of general results, I can only say that, even with 
the disastrous ending of Cole's expedition, the Powder river Indian 
expedition of 1865 was not a failure. The general's plans to "carry 
the war into Egypt " succeeded admirably ; the warrior element by 
the movement of these columns were compelled to fall back upon their 
village to protect their families, and during the progress of the cam- 
paign the overland line of travel became as safe as before the Indian 

It was not until Gen. Conner retraced his steps by order of the war 
department back to Laramie, with all the soldiers, that the Indians, 
thinking he had voluntarily retired from their front, again hastened 
to the road, passing Gen. Conner's retreating column to the east of his 
line of march, and again commenced their devilish work of pillage, 
plunder, and massacre. 

Gen. Conner's ability, sagacity, and courage, and best of all, his suc- 
cess as an Indian fighter, remains unchallenged in all the western 
country. His early schooling in Indian wars especially fitted him 
to become, as he was, the " big medicine man " of their hereditary foe. 

Gen. Patrick Edward Conner first enlisted in the regular army 
November 29, 1839 ; was discharged November 29, 1844; was com- 
missioned colonel of the Third California infantry volunteers Septem- 
ber 29, 1861 ; fought the famous Bear river fight (263 dead Indians 
to tell the tale) January 29, 1863 ; was promoted brigadier general 
March 29, 1863; fought the battle of Tongue river August 29, 1865; 
promoted brevet major general for gallant and meritorious conduct 
March 29, 1866. This grand old warrior was a captain of volunteers 
in the Mexican war; was three times severely wounded, and is drawing 
a pension for his disability. He was stationed at Council Bluffs, a 
member of the Fourth dragoons, in 1840, forty-seven years ago. 



By Dr A. L. GfiLD.' 

In March, 1876, the U. S. Congress passed a joint resolution recom- 
mending throughout the republic a general observance of this hun- 
dredth anniversary of our national independence, and that, in addition 
to the usual observances, each county and town cause an historical 
sketch of said county or town, from its foundation to the present day, 
to be prepared, and that a copy of it be filed in the clerk's office of 
the county, as also in the office of the librarian of congress, to the in- 
tent that a complete record may thus be obtained of the progress of 
our institutions during the first centennial of their existence. 

This resolution was approved by President Grant on March 13, 
and he issued his proclamation to this effect, further recommending 
that the governor of each state and territory also issue a like proclama- 
tion to the people of said state or territory, that notice might thus be 
brought directly to the mass of the people. 

In accordance with this recommendation Governor Garber issued 
his proclamation from Lincoln on the 25th of April, 1876. 

The conception of this idea, with whomsoever it originated, and 
these acts of our authorities, are worthy of all praise. The importance 
and value of such a photograph of our country at this peculiar time, 
which finds the whole country aroused and excited on this subject, and 
on every side pondering upon and pouring forth reminiscences of the 
past, will be above all price. It is a most happy time for such a pur- 

On May 10, 1876, the Plattsmouth city council, through his honor 
the mayor. Gen. Livingston, proposed to me that I should under- 
take to prepare a sketch of the history of the city of Plattsmouth, 
including so much of a history of Cass county as might be necessary 
to show its connection with and relation to the city. 

The county commissioners had neglected to undertake any action 

*The original pamphlet of Dr. Child is entitled, "Centennial History of Plattsmouth City 
and Cass County, Nebraska, with an Appendix from the Records and Files of the Pioneer Asso- 
ciation of Cass County, Nebraska." On aecount oi lack of space the editor has been able to 
reprint only that portion relating to the county proper. 


under the above recommendations for a history of the county, and the 
city council, of course, could act officially only for the city. As I felt 
the great importance of a more extended history of the county than 
the action of the council indicated, I obtained permission of that body 
to enlarge and extend the history of the county, and thus make it a 
sketch of the history of Cass county and the city of Plattsmouth. 

It is needless to say that much very important and interesting mat- 
ter, requisite for such a sketch, is already lost, or exists in such a 
mutilated and contradictory form that it is not available; while what 
was written, that still remains, was so imperfectly executed that it' 
conveys but little reliable information. And yet our task in Nebraska 
as compared with that of the older states is light and easy. We have 
the history of the youth but just arrived at the years of manhood 
(22 years) to record, while they have that of the hoary veteran of from 
one to two and a half centuries. 

In the following sketch much care and labor have been expended 
in sifting and authenticating the information obtained, and only that 
has been recorded which seemed most reliable ; yet with the many 
conflicting recollections and imperfect records it will be strange indeed 
if errors are escaped. 

A treaty between the U. S. government and Indians, in which the 
Indians relinquished their title to the lands bordering on the Avest bank 
of the Missouri river, was concluded and ratified on April 17, 1854, 
and proclamation by President Pierce, of this treaty and the extin- 
guishment of the Indian title, was made on the 24th of June follow- 
ing. Previous to this, however, large numbers of people, in expecta- 
tion of these events, had gathered along the east bank of the river, 
ready at a moment's warning to ''jump the river" and drive their stakes 
for "claims" on the long coveted grounds of Nebraska, the govern- 
ment having up to this date rigorously blockaded the passage by mil- 
itary posts on both sides of the river, and this blockade seems to have 
been decidedly more effective than that attempted during the year past 
around the Black Hills. No person was allowed to settle or remaia 
on Nebraska soil except by special permit of the secretary of war. 

The first permit of this kind within the bounds of Cass county was 
obtained by Samuel Martin, to establish a trading post on the Mis- 
souri river, below the mouth of the Platte. Under this permit, Samuel 
Martin, assisted by James O'Neil and others, early in the spring of 


1853, built the old two-storj log house at the foot of Main street, on 
the north side, on lots 6 and 7, block 31, so well remembered by all 
our old settlers. It M^as placed on nearly the same ground now occu- 
pied by the brick erected by Wm. Herold in 1864, and subsequently 
used as the printing office of the Nebraska Herald. The " old bar- 
racks," as this was more generally called, was subsequently used for 
different purposes — stores, offices, post-office, etc., till it was removed 
to make room for the brick. The logs of the " old barracks " were 
from an old house in Iowa, and brought over on the ice before it broke 
up in the spring of '53. In the fall of '53 James O'Neil also built 
for the same Samuel Martin the smaller log house, a little north and 
west of the first, which in later days was largely used for county 
offices, and where many of us in 1857 and '58 paid our first tax in 
Nebraska, which, in consequence of illegality of proceedings in assess- 
ment, was subsequently refunded. 

The occupation of this trading post in the spring and summer of 
'53 by him made Samuel Martin the first white settler in Cass county. 

On the extinguishment of the Indian title, June 24, 1854, a rush 
was made for the most valuable claims, and but a few days passed 
before most of the more desirable lands in Cass county near the Mis- 
souri river were staked and marked with the claimants' names. 

I do not propose to cumber this record with the names of those who 
came here simply for the purpose of speculating in "claims," and who 
often forced the real pioneer to pay two, three, or half a dozen prices 
for his homestead, and then returning to his home in other states, or 
else passing on to repeat the same process in newer fields, left the 
pioneers to fight their own battles and endure all the privations and 
hardships incident to such life. The claims of these two classes to 
the regard of the later population of Nebraska are widely diverse. 

The speculator and claim jumper, in violation of all right and jus- 
tice, and almost invariably by perjury, seized upon the just and legal 
rights of the real settler, and by forcing him to pay two or more prices 
for his land, thus stripped him of his small means which were necessary 
to enable him to successfully accomplish the task he had undertaken, 
and to him, living meanwhile in a "dug-out" but little better than a 
hole in the ground, scantily clothed, and ofttimes in need of food he 
could not obtain, the real jjioneer (whose name let us honor), we owe 
the Nebraska of 187G. 


Before the legal organization of the territory of Nebraska, some 250 
roen had penciled their names on stakes within what is now Cass 
connty. As this matter of "claims," and ''clnb law," which attended 
it, is not as familiar to the later population as it was to the old settler, 
a few words in explanation may not be amiss. A claim was any sub- 
division of a section (a square mile), as a half, a fourth, or an eighth 
of a section, the lines conforming to and parallel with the lines of the 
section, if already surveyed. If not surveyed, the claimant fixed his 
own boundaries, but after the survey was made by the government he 
must adapt his lines to those of the survey. 

The U. S. laws allowed a claim only of 160, 120, 80, or 40 acres, 
unless it was in case of a fraction, when the whole fraction might be 
claimed. The clubs generally allowed and protected claims of 320 
acres, looking to further legislation by congress to authorize such en- 

To take a claim was to stake out any of the above described quan- 
tities and write the claimant's name and perhaps a description of the 
land upon the stakes, then have this description filed and recorded 
by the secretary of the club, and this constituted a "claim." 

To "jump a claim " was to remove the stakes already set, and , put 
up others with the jumper's name upon them. 

Club law was the personal government of the settlement by the 
settlers themselves in club meeting assembled. 

Before the organization of our territorial government it was found 
necessary to have some tribunal for the settlement of disputes, and 
eacli settlement defining its own boundaries formed itself into a 
" club " for this purpose. A president, secretary, and treasurer Avere 
elected, a constitution and by-laws adopted, and provision made for 
regular and special meetings. The secretary kept a journal of the 
proceedings of the meetings, also a " claim record." To make a claim 
valid it must first conflict with no other member's rights, and then be 
recorded with the number of section, township, and range, also the 
date. Most of the clubs also required the positive assurance tliat it 
was intended for a bona fide settlement. These clubs varied much in 
character, according to location. The earlier settlements near the river 
were largely composed of speculators, who often equaled, if they did 
not outnumber, the real settlers ; while farther back from the river 
the number of pioneers largely predominated. Of course the differ- 


ent clubs varied in character. On the one extreme self-interest ruled 
largely in most of the proceedings ; while on the other the general in- 
terest and welfare of the settlement was the ruling principle. 

An offender against the laws or decisions of the club was generally 
summarily dealt with. There was no machinery for assessing fines ; 
no jails or prisons ; hence little or no attempt was made to grade the 
punishment according to the oifense. In the clubs controlled by real 
settlers the offender had a fair trial and was informed what he must 
do to retain his membership, and the penalty of refusal to conform at 
once to the judgment of the club. The penalty of obstinate and un- 
yielding disobedience was " removal from the territory," or, in the 
language of the day, to be " put over the river," and in extreme 
cases the word "over" did not reach the other side. Very few had 
the hardihood to resist the judgment^f the club, for it was well known 
that persistent offenders would be so effectually removed that they 
could cause no more trouble. 

There was probably but one case in Cass county when it became 
necessary to resort to this extreme penalty. This one, but too vividly 
remembered yet by many citizens of Plattsmouth, was when four un- 
happy men were started on their last journey ove?- the river; but their 
arrival on the other side has never been rejwrted, nor have they been 
seen or heard from since. 

Other clubs had hard cases to deal Math, but they yielded or left 
before coming to this last fearful resort. 

Much has been said and published over the country of these clubs. 
They have been called mobs, lynchers, and many other bad names. 
Some of this talk was probably justified and deserved by wrongful 
and abusive acts, but in the main it was not. Some of them, in the 
vicinity of the Missouri river, were largely composed of speculators 
and outlaws, congregated there and remaining only long enough to se- 
cure claims, j)erliaps several, raise what they could upon them and 
then return to their homes. Devoid of truth, honor, or integrity 
they obtained titles to land by perjury. They had no interest in the 
country except what they carried out of it in their pockets. Some- 
times outnumbering the real settters in the clubs they overruled its 
action in their own interest, and thus brought disgrace and scandal 
upon " club law." But the settlements more remote from the border 
were less infested by this class, and here club law, although very ex- 


pensive from the amount of time required of each member in personal 
attendance, formed the best government, in my judgment, that I ever 

Before seeking Nebraska I had heard much of the lawless crowd 
congregated here, and really expected to find little else than ruffians 
and blacklegs on my arrival. On the evening after I first saw Cass 
county I learned that a club meeting was to be held near by on the 
same evening. Full of curiosity I attended the meeting, expecting to 
see an assemblage of anything hut men. As they gathered in,to the num- 
ber of some forty -five or fifty, I watched closely for the cloven hoofs, 
and scanned the faces for the features of the outlaw and ruffian. But 
my search was in vain ; I discovered none of the characteristics for 
which I sought. I was much surprised, and still more so by the 
tone, order, and character of the proceedings — and after some two years' 
of membership in that club I should to-day have no hesitation in sub- 
mitting any question in which I had an interest, of whatever impor- 
tance, even of life or death, to that club, in preference to any legal 
court I have ever known, either in Nebraska or elsewhere. 

The speculator has been the curse of Nebraska. Not only did he 
demoralize our clubs. His object was "claims," and no course, how- 
ever vile or rascally, was too low if it led to this object. He sneaked 
around through the settlements talking of his "great desire for a fixed 
home," of his "wife and children who would be delighted to come into 
such a settlement,''^ thus adding to the society and helping to build up 
schools, churches, roads, bridges, etc. This, he well knew, was the 
^weak side of the pioneer, who with his wife and children were home- 
sick and lonely. It was impossible with his scanty means to build 
school houses and support schools, and it was a severe trial to see his 
children growing up without education. Many were also deeply anx- 
ious for the gospel privileges left behind ; and bridges, an absolute 
necessity, it was often impossible to supply — and more settlers only 
could supply these demands, and remove the evils. To obtain them 
and this relief he threw his cabin or " dug-out " door wide open to 
strangers, divided his last meal with them, perhaps not knowing 
where the next could be obtained ; gave up his bed and slept upon the 
floor, if he was so fortunate as to have one ; left his work and went 
out over the prairie to hunt up a claim for the promising stranger ; 
or perhaps showed him the fine one he had picked out and been writ- 


ing back to the old home, urging the relative or friend to come out 
and occupy — anything and everything to increase the settlement. 

Well, our wolf in sheep's clothing, hugging himself and chuckling 
over his own shrewdness and the greenness of the pioneer, procures 
four stones, puts them in his pocket, and goes out to take possession 
of his claim. He drops the stones at the supposed four corners of a 
house, takes a small stick, splits one end, puts a bit of window glass 
in the split and sticks it on one side of the house for a window; bor- 
rows a blanket or two and perhaps a bit of plank from his host and 
goes out at night to his new home, throws down his plank, places his 
blanket over it and lays down to sleep. Then, with the most posi- 
tive assurance that in so many days or weeks he will be back with his 
family to settle down for good, he leaves for the land office and sol- 
emnly swears that he has taken a claim, so and so ; that he has built a 
dwelling house upon it with glass windows and a plank floor ; that it 
is for the sole purpose of a home; that he wishes to enter it, and that 
it is his home and he has moved into it as such. He gets his dupli- 
cate, steps out, and leaves for his home and family, if he has one, con- 
gratulating himself on his sharpness as a speculator. He has entered 
a fine tract of land at a cost of sixty to eighty cents per acre, which 
he assures himself will soon sell for $10, $20, or perhaps $50 per 

Some may think this is an exaggeration or overdrawn sketch. But 
if you doubt it ask any old pioneer for the facts in the case, and he 
will duplicate it as many times as you wish. The result of such oper- 
ations to the pioneer was disheartening and disastrous. He was thus 
gradually hemmed in and blockaded by speculators' lands, which, by 
reason of falling prices, remained on their hands unsold and unim- 
proved. He had by his own generosity and kindness helped these 
vampires to isolate himself from neighbors ; and he had not only to 
paddle his own canoe alone, but he was forced by long and severe pri- 
vation and toil, gradually improving and enhancing the value of his 
own land, to also paddle the canoe of his adversary, by raising the 
value of surrounding lands till they could be sold at a satisfactory 

And yet this movement did not result in such entire success to the 
speculator as he had anticipated. He overdid himself. The times 
were not favorable to a rise of laud values ; and again, he grabbed so 


largely and crippled the pioneers and hemmed them in so closely that 
they could not open up and improve land enough to increase the values 
of sui-rounding lands to much extent. Hence many were obliged to 
sell at prices far below the cost of entering, interest and taxes. And 
large quantities are held to-day in Cass county by those who have 
nearly if not quite lost all hope of ever recovering the money ex- 

But for these men there would have been to-day but few, if any 
acres of unimproved land in Cass county, and the county wou'ld have 
been millions richer than it now is. For twenty years emigrants 
have been rolling through our county who would gladly have pitched 
their tents with us, and often with large capital. But there was no 
room for them. 

Am I not fully justified in denouncing the land speculator as a 
curse to our county? 

From my own recollections, aided by several kind friends in differ- 
ent parts of the county, I give the names and time of settlement of a 
few of the pioneers. Many of the first on the ground in several pre- 
cincts were merely speculators, or of a transitory character, selling 
out their claims and passing on; I therefore omit them ; many entire 
precincts and settlements are omitted also, as letters of inquiry remain 

In Martin's Precinct, now Plattsmouth, the following names 
are found in 1854, viz. : Samuel Martin, Jacob Adams, Wm. H. 
Shafer, J. W. O'Neil, W. Mickelwait, C. H. Wolcott, Levi Walker* 
Stephen Wiles, A. J. Todd, and Wm. Gullion. ' 

EocK Bluffs— N. R. Hobbs, Wm. Young, F. M. Young, sen., 
Wm. Gilmour, sen., Abram Towner, Benj. Albin, J. McF. HavL^ood' 
1854. ^^ ' 

Four Mile Creek— Lorenzo Johnson, 1855; Thomas Thomas, 
Wm. L. Thomas, Samuel Thomas, Peter Beaver, Capt. D. L. Archer' 
1856. ' 

Eight Mile Grove— John Scott, 1855; John Mutz, Geo S 
Ruby, J. P. Ruby, 1856. 

Louisville— Adam Ingram, James Ingram, 1856; A. L. Child 
1857; Wm. Snyder, Conrad Ripple, Pat. Blessington, Fred. Stohl- 
man, 1858. 


AvoCA — Jolin Kanoba, J. G. Hanson, 1856 ; Amos Teft, sen., 
Amos Teft, jr., Orlando Teft, 1857; Geo. W. Adams, 1859. 

Liberty — Joseph Van Horn, 1854; Samuel Kirkpatrick, 1855; L. 
Sheldon, J. F. Buck, Stephen Hobson, 1856. 

The dates indicate the time when the pioneer planted his stakes for 
a home, although his family might have still been left behind ; yet 
then and there he identified his interests with that of the county, as 
proved by continued residence np to the present time. Some, how- 
ever, have changed their residence to other parts of the county, and 
several stood faithfully at their posts till mustered out of service for 
their final settlement. 

As before said, the Indian title was extinguished in June of 1854, 
and soon after Francis Burt was appointed governor of Nebraska 
Territory, and Thomas B. Cuming, secretary. On October 10, 1854, 
Gov. Burt arrived and made his headquarters at the old Mission 
House, Bellevue, but delayed in his arrival by sickness, he continued 
to fail till Oct. 18, when he died. T. B. Cuming, then acting gov- 
ernor, immediately set about preparing the machinery of a territorial 
government. He appointed marshals and ordered an enumeration of 
the population. The enumeration to be commenced Oct. 24, 1854, 
and returns to be made on or before November 1. His instructions 
to the marshals were to be very cautious and careful to include no 
one in this enumeration but actual and bona fide settlers, with strin- 
gent oaths in case of doubt. 

Under this census Cass County returned inhabitants. On 

this enumeration he apportioned, out of the twenty-six representatives 
allowed for the territorial legislature by the organic act, three mem- 
bers to Cass county, and one councilman out of thirteen, and ordered 
an election to be held for a legislature on December 12, 1854. In 
the proclamation calling this first election, Cass county was described 
as "the county lying between the Platte river on the north and the 
Weeping Water on the south, and from the Missouri river on the 
east to the limit of the ceded lands on the west" (about 100 miles). 
It was divided into two voting precincts, viz., Martin's precinct, vot- 
ing at the Old Barracks, with James O'Neil, Thos. G. Palmer, and 
Stephen Wiles as judges, and T. S. Gaskill and L. G*. Todd, clerks; 
and the second, "Kanosh" precinct, to vote at the house of Col. 
Thompson, J. S. Griffith, Thos. B. Ashly, and L. Young, judges, 


and Benj. B. Thompson and Wm. H. Davis, clerks. At this first 
election in Cass county on Dec. 12, 1854, I find the poll books for 
Martin's precinct (now Plattsmouth) and the number of voters 78. 
The Kanosh poll books I do not find, but infer from figures and cal- 
culations made about the election, that there were some sixty votes 
polled there. 

N. P. Giddings was elected as Nebraska's first delegate in congress, 
Lafayette Nuckolls, councilman from Cass county, and J. M. La- 
tham, J. D. N. Thompson, and Wm. Kempton, representatives. It 
is said that this J. M. Latham sold out the interests of his constitu- 
ents for a consideration, and not long after died drunk in a ditch in 
St. Joe. 

Of the voters whose names are recorded at this first election in 
Martin's precinct, who are still with us or remained with us till the 
close of their lives, I find Samuel Martin, who died three days afiber, 
viz., Dec. 15, 1854, thus being not only the first white settler in the 
county, but filled the first white settler's grave. He was buried on 
the hill where several other graves now are, in Young & Hayes Ad- 
dition, west of the High School building.* 

The other voters were Jacob Adams, Wm. H. Shafer, Broad Cole 
Wm. Gullion, James O'Neil, W. Mickelwait, John Watson, Henrv 
Watson, Joshua Murray, A. J. Todd, Samuel Hahn, L. G. Todd 
Levi AValker, Stephen Wiles, Joshua Gappen, and 63 others, most of 
whom had no legal right to vote but still remained and intended to 
remain citizens of other states. 

Acting Governor Cuming convened the first legislature, January 
16, 1855, which adopted a large part of the Iowa civil code, which 
gave the probate judge a very important part to play in the adminis- 
tration of county affairs. This legislature also further defined the 
boundaries of Cass county as follows, " On the north by the Platte 
river, east by the Missouri, south by Pierce county (now Otoe), and 
extending west twenty four miles on the south line." Pierce county, 
the northern line of which now became the southern boundary of Cass, 
was to commence one and a half miles north of the mouth of Weep- 
ing Water, and thence running twenty-four miles west. 

The register of deeds was required to act as clerk to the probate 

* The bones disturbed a few years since while grading the street east of the Episcopal church 
were those of a woman passing through, westward, wlio died and was buried here in 1852 or 


judge, and the two performed all the present duties of county com- 
missioners, recorder, and county clerk. On INIarch .30 the governor 
appointed Abram Towner probate judge, and Thomas J. Palmer rco-. 
ister of deeds, as also Thomas B. Ashley, justice of the peace for Ka- 
nosh precinct. On the same day Judge Towner opened his court and 
by order divided Cass county into two precincts by the following 
lines : " Beginning at the mouth of Rock Creek, then up the creek to 
the main fork near John Clemmons', thence up the north fork to the 
old emigrant road, and thence westward along the same to the west 
line of the county." North of this line to be Plattsmouth precinct, 
and south of it Rock Bluffs. He also ordered the first county elec- 
tion to be held on April 10, 1855, and appointed James O'Neil, Elias 
Gibbs, and Stephen Wiles as judges, and Charles Walcott and P. 
Shannon as clerks of Plattsmouth precinct; and Thos. B. Ashley 
Frank McCall, and Curtis Rakes, judges, and Wm. H. Davis and 
John Griffith, clerks of Rock BluiFs precinct. No returns or poll 
books are to be found of this election, but I learn from Judge Towner 
that L. G. Todd and Allen Watson were elected as justices of the 
peace for Plattsmouth precinct; and Thos. B. Ashley and Thos. 
Thompson for Rock Bluffs ; and Bela White county treasurer. 

On May 1, 1855, Thos. J. Palmer was removed from the office 
of register of deeds, because he was not a resident of the county, and 
Wm. H. Davis appointed in his place. 

June 4, 1855, A. C. Towner, previously appointed sheriff by the 
governor, was ordered to assess the county. Of this assessment I find 
no record. The first legislature (of January 16 to March 16, 1855) 
provided for an annual general election on the first Tuesday in No- 
vember, for which the probate judge was required to appoint judges 
and clerks. 

At this, the second general election, H. C. Wolph was elected probate 
judge, and Wm. Young, county surveyor. No record is to be found 
of the members of the legislature, but there was a tie vote on sheriff. 
Allen Watson and Moses Jackson were elected justices for Platts- 
mouth precinct, and Matthew Hughes for Rock Bluffs. A special 
election was ordered for a sheriff, m ith a second tie as the result ; and 
a third election was ordered. A little skillful maneuvering this time 
detached a few of ]\Ir. Lucas' supporters on a surveying trip, and re- 
turned W. R. Ellington as sheriff. 


On January 7, 1856, H. C. Wolph entered upon liis duties as 
probate judge. On Mareli 3 he divided Rock Bluffs precinct into 
Cassville and Kanosha. He also appointed a grand and petit jury 
preparatory to the holding of a district court in the county in April. 
The names of these jurors are missing. 

Judge Edward Harden presided at this first session of the district 
court in Cass county in April of 185(3, and A. C. Towner seems to 
have acted as sheriff, although W. R. Ellington was elected in No- 
vember previous. 

On May 5, 1856, Sheriff Ellington was ordered to assess the 
county; and on September 10, on j^etition of several citizens of Clay 
and Lancaster counties, the probate judge created the precinct of 
Chester, and on the same day divided Cass county into three com- 
missioners' districts named Plattsmouth, Kanosha, and Cassville, pre- 
paratory to the election of county commissioners, as the legislature of 
1855-'56 had repealed the previously adopted Iowa code, and pro- 
vided for a board of county commissioners. Hence, with the general 
election of November 4, 1856, or rather on January 1, 1857^ wlien 
the newly elected officers entered upon their duties, the large po^vers 
of the probate court came to an end. 

The choice of lands in 1854 was confined almost entirely to the 
vicinity of the Missouri river; few, if any, were taken at any consid- 
erable distance from it. 

In 1855 a few settlers reached out to Four Mile creek, Eight Mile 
grove, and a short distance up the valley of the Weeping Water; but 
in 1856 there was a more general extension. The several earlier set- 
tlements were much enlarged, and in addition the Weeping Water, up 
to and above the Falls, Cedar, Thompson's Fountain, and Salt creek, 
had considerable settlements. 

The frontier wave of settlers has rarely if ever become fixed and 
made a permanent settlement. After a few years, and sometimes only 
months, for recuperation and rest, it rises again and rolls on toward 
the west. 

^ This class of pioneers has held a prominent position in our national 
history from the earlier settlements on the Atlantic to the present day— 
a class but too generally intolerant of the restraints of law, order, or 
civilization, and not greatly noted for love of industry, truth, rights, 
or justice, yet including many sturdy, upright, and honest men, who 


cannot endure the artificial trammels of society nor the technical quib- 
bles of law, by which honest men so often suffer and rogues and vil- 
lains fatten. 

This class has generally gathered on the western border of the set- 
tlements (as there was always roorii there, but not always in any other 
direction), and as the hated habits, forms, and powers approached, 
they receded from the]n. Like Cooper's old " Leatherstocking," they 
could not endure the white man's clearing or his wasteful ways. 

They have moved, moved, and moved again, till the great barrier, 
the Pacific ocean, 3,000 miles from their starting point, has arrested 
the movements of some, but not of all ; for some, with a great bound, 
liave reached the Sandwhich Islands, and others, with a still greater, 
liave landed in the Russian possessions in northwestern Asia. 

Many of this class, moved by their natural impulse, and others 
under the excitement of the newly discovered gold fields, left the 
■county from 1858 to '60-'61 ; but the vacancies were filled, or per- 
liaps overfilled, in the two or three following years, by the crowd from 
the east, hurrying from the "wrath to come" in an expected draft into 
the army. 

In all new settlements hardship, privation, and severe toil are almost 
■always necessary attendants, and though often talked of and most acutely 
felt by the old pioneer, are seldom realized by the inexperienced hearer. 
■Some of these were peculiar to our situation. In 1854, '55, '56 money 
was plenty and easily obtained by those who had means ; but prob- 
ably here for the first time many realized that money, although the 
pocket might be full, would not stop the cravings of hunger nor shield 
the body from the fierce winter winds and snows. We were not on 
the frontier of an old productive country, but on a frontier of a fron- 

A new settlement is usually composed of industrious, hardworking 
men and women, nearly, if not all, bees, and no drones. Our popula- 
tion was at least one-half non-producing speculators — drones, who con- 
sumed the larger part of what the bees produced or procured. They 
were here to make money, by taking claims and selling them at large 
profits ; to plat cities on paper, sell corner lots, and then perhaps find 
a location to drop the plat upon, and some never found an abiding 
place on which to rest, while many with a price current for lots, quoted 
daily, never had a building upon them; a legion of them in this 


-county flourished under wonderful acts of incorporation, had splendid 
and costly lithographs and engravings of them, exhibiting their mag- 
nificent parks and public buildings. While many held the location 
of the state or territorial capital, none had less than the county seat 
and county buildings. 

Thousands of dollars were invested in these cities, in which some- 
body surely made money, and just as surely somebody lost, for to-day, 
with the exception of some half-dozen villages, their names and loca- 
tions are only in the history of the past. 

This large portion of our population with ready means secured a 
large proportion of the provisions and other necessary articles which 
could be obtained, and left the pioneer to get what he could, which 
was often little or nothing. Under these circumstances, with but few 
real producers, and those necessarily much restricted in their farming 
operations by the first demand of a shelter for the family, where there 
was but little if any material to construct one of, and the further task 
of providing food, during at least the first year, from outside his farm, 
and often nothing to be obtained at any price within a day's travel, 
and with the average pioneer but little if any surplus of money to buy 
with, you will see he had a hard row to hoe. 

Permit me to give you a brief history of one pioneer of 1856, who 
well represents the class, except in one point — he brought more money 
with him than the average pioneer, hence could command assistance 
and necessaries which many could not. Money enabled him to defend 
rights which others were obliged to yield to the rapacity of the specu- 
lator, and again, he was near a point in the county where such sup- 
plies as could be obtained were more easily reached. At some forty- 
five years of age he had sold his farm in an eastern state, which he 
had cut out of the solid timber, and this is generally considered equiv- 
a,lent to the life work of a man, viz., to clear up and put in runnino- 
order a heavy-timbered farm. The man who has done it is rarely 
worth much, physically, after. 

He crossed the Missouri with a large family late in the summer of 
1856, with some $2,800 in his pocket, but the speculator was ahead 
of him. He could find no land unclaimed without going far out from 
the river. He therefore yielded his rights to these robbers and gave 
them $305 for the privilege of buying a homestead — that is, he bought 
a claim of them — and then set himself to work to make a home. A 


few Cottonwood boards from Clark's saw mill, over near St. Mary's, 
in Iowa, enabled him to build a shanty 10x15 feet square, a rather 
roomy place for a family of eight or nine, with household goods, beds, 
furniture, etc., but he soon found large opportunities to fill up the extra 
room with travelers, wayfarers, and new settlers, who else would have 
been forced to camp on the open })rairie. 

He had brought with him a large load of provisions, but his neigh- 
bors, less provident or able, had nearly or quite exhausted their stores, 
and as only chance supplies could be obtained from passing boats, he 
was obliged to divide out, so that as winter approached his stores were 
nearly exhausted also. A much-traveled road passed his place, and a 
constant train of newcomers and old settlers from more distant settle- 
ments were continually calling for food, and often a night's lodging. 
It was not the habit of the pioneers to pull in the latch string, and 
the hungry traveler must have his meal, even if it left but a scanty 
supply for the farmer or the family on the morrow. Further sup- 
plies must be had, and his team was sent — not down into Egypt, but 
over to the already badly-ravaged land of Iowa. After considerable 
search, however, they were successful in loading their wagons ; but on 
their return, on reaching the river, they found it impassable from 
floating ice. A cold snap since they passed over had filled the river 
with ice, and our friend Mickelwait, who then as now ran the ferry, 
a flat-boat at that time, dared not venture in the heavy ice. Well, 
there was nothing to do but to — wait. Meantime our pioneers, and 
many others, nearing the point of destitution of food, were watching 
and waiting on the bank of the river for the time when the boat would 
venture out. At length the time came, after days of delay. The boat 
ventured out, and landed the teams in safety on the Nebraska shore, 
and the threatened famine was for a time postponed. 

In March of 1857, after much difficulty from high water and peril 
from floating ice, he succeeded in reaching the land ofiice at Omaha, 
entered his land, and received his duplicate ; but his troubles were far 
from over yet. A gentleman (?) speculator, a member of the club, 
fancied he saw a chance for a speculation. In a club meeting, of 
which both parties were members, he alleged he had a prior claim to 
the entered land. A majority of the club were speculators, and sym- 
pathized with the brother shark. The record book bearing the evi- 
dence of our pioneer's membership and rights under club law very 




^cuiently disappeared, and was not to be found, and after a one- 
iided investigation, the club decided that tlie pioneer Avas not a mem- 
ber of the chib and had no rights which the ckib were bound to re- 
spect, and that he must deed 160 acres of the land to the speculator. 
He had first paid a heavy price to the speculator for it as a claim, then 
paid the full price to the government and held the land office dui^li- 
^ate for the money, and now must yield it to the speculator. It was 
fully proved in the club trial that the speculator hehl like claims on 
over 1,000 acres, while no club law authorized over ;^ 20 acres and 
tliat wa,s double the amount allowed by U. S. law. But this produced 
"o effect; the judgment had been decided upon before the trial took 
place, and now the deed must be made or the offender would be - put 
•over the river." 

A council was held by the real pioneers, and it was decided to submit 
to no further outrage of this character. They were well armed • they 
saw that their homes, families, and even lives, were at stake, and fur- 
thermore they were of the class who do not scare easily. The clubs 
that IS, the speculator portion, aided by such others as they could con- 
trol, a,s they advanced to put their judgment in execution learned that 
they were to be received at the muzzles of rifles and revolvers, and 
that some thirty shots were ready to greet them from under a good 
cover. Fui .her, our speculator friends well knew that the small band 
thus entrenched and armed M^ere the very men to offer very decisive 
arguments in defense of not only their rights but their lives This 
information and the situation had a very soothing effect upon the 
speculator and his allies ; they concluded it was not a good time to 
try on the "oyer the river " movement. But the judgment of the 
dub-as inflexible as the laws of the Medes and Persians-what could 
be done with the judgment? An adviser, long since gone to his last 
rest, suggested further search for the lost record book, which .n/^vA^ 
develop grounds for the removal of the judgment. This kind of a 
crowd, -generally much more ready to creep out of some back door 
than staiid up and make a fair fight, readily seized upon the su< 
tion. The record was a.s conveniently found as it had been previously 
lost, and lo ! all was found right and plain; the pioneer was after all 
a niember, his claims were all right, and the judgment Avas reversed 
But the speculator, mortified and disgusted by the failure of his 
.scheme, resolved to try it on again, but in a shape less perilous to his 


own person. He appealed to the land office, and tried to break the 
entry of the lands. But there, although he succeeded in causing the 
pioneer an expense of some hundreds of dollars in defending his rights, 
he again met with a signal defeat, and soon after in great disgust left 
the settlement ; and the grief at his departure was not great, even with 
the wife and children then and there deserted. 

The general features of this case are the same as those of very many, 
only that with less or no means they could not defend and maintain 
their rights, where money was required, and to procure necessaries of 
life and buildings was more difficult. Unable perhaps to procure 
any material for building, they resorted to the "dug-out" till they 
could raise the means of living above grovind. The "dug-out" is a 
room excavated generally in the side of a hill, a couple of rails or posts 
make a door frame, and a wall of square cut prairie turf forms the 
front and fills up the angles between the front wall and the side hill. 
A roof, sloping back on to the hill, of rails or poles covered by a 
thick layer of prairie grass and then with earth, makes a not uncom- 
fortable shelter for summer or winter. But they are not particularly 
nice or clean, especially in long or heavy rain storms. 

A prominent feature in our pioneer life from 1854 to '59 '60 was 
the Indians. 

In early days the Indians were in the habit of roaming through the 
settlements, from the single individual up to fifteen or twenty in num- 
ber. I have no knowledge of their ever attempting any personal in- 
jury to any settler in our county. Still, with the record of their hor- 
rible and savage deeds in most all of the early settlements of our coun- 
try, handed down and too vividly remembered, they were a source of 
great terror to women and children, as also to husbands and fathers, 
lest they should attack the family in his absence ; and, possibly, many 
of them were not so totally devoid of j)ersonal fear; but then it would 
never do to own this. 

The Indians very much preferred the absence of the men in their 
visits to the settlers' houses, as they found that the women when un- 
protected by the men were much more ready to yield to their ever un- 
satisfied and unlimited demand for food. In a settlement, however 
large, they would enter every house they could get into, and eat all 
they could get, repeating this operation from house to house. If they 
found a door unfastened they walked in, asking no leave, and then it 


was "eat," "eat," "eat," or if they could command a little more Eng- 
lish, "Me heap hungry." If they were seen in their approach, and 
the door fiistened, they would seek a window through which the fam- 
ily inside could be seen, flatten their noses and faces up against the 
glass, and there, with the patience only of an Indian, often stand for 
hours watching the proceedings of the family, till the poor woman,, 
frightened almost to death, would unfasten the door and feed them im 
order to get rid of them. 

The Indians cannot well be dismissed without a brief reference tQ> 
our Indian scares, which were generally the result only of panie 
founded on the morbid fears and imagination, fostered for a century or 
more by the barbarities of these cumberers of the ground. The sev- 
eral scenes connected with them made an impression too deep on the 
memories of the people to be soon forgotten, but the particular dates, 
are much mixed up. As these, however, are not very essential I give 
some of them as near their time and order as I am able to trace them^ 

The VVhitmore scare occurred late in the summer or fall ofl856> 
A Mr. Whitmore had built a cabin in the vicinity of the Salt Basin,, 
in Lancaster county, and settled there with wife and children. Mr., 
Whitmore left for the river on business, and was soon followed by his; 
wife and children in the night, draggled and wearied almost to death 
by a foot race to escape from the Indians. She made a fearful report 
of the atrocities and fearful deeds of the savages, in the abuse of her- 
self, destruction of furniture, ripping open feather beds, scattering the 
feathers in the wind, etc., etc. Her tale spread on all sides as she ad- 
vanced toward the river, supplemented and enlarged by all kinds of 
variations that fear and imagination could supply ; and as it reached 
the river settlements it was indeed a fearful one. The number of In- 
dians had increased to hundreds and thousands, and not a house was 
left unburned or a scalp on its original owner's head. Comp-anies; 
were formed in hot haste at Plattsmouth, Rock Bluffs, and Xcbraska 
City, and they hastened towards the scene of devastation. Advance 
scouts, sent out to reconnoiter, met the companies and reported the 
whole thing to be a scare! It is still a matter of dispute whether any 
damage at all was done by the Indians. "VVe have very positive evi- 
dence on one side, that the first parties on the ground found Whit- 
more's house and goods all safe and unharmed ; and that the scare all 
originated in the usual visit of the Indians for food, but that Mrs. 
Whitmore, terribly frightened, ran for her life. 


On the other side, we have just as positive testinicaiy that furniture 
was found broken up, beds ripped open, feathers scattered, etc., but 
no one testifies to personal injury. 

A sequel to this scare, or a transaction following it, was the collis- 
ion of a small company of settlers in the following February, with 
about the same number of Indians, between Eight Mile Grove and 
Mt. Pleasant, in which the whites attacked the Indians, with no other 
excuse that I can hear of than that these Indians might have been 
connected with the previous scare. The whites fired upon the Indians 
and broke one Indian's arm, took two or three prisoners and some 
twelve or fifteen ponies. The prisoners were brought to Plattsmouth 
and the ponies were put where they would perhaps do the most good ; 
or where they would be safe from observation. 

These raiders were soon followed by a company of some one hun- 
dred Indians and three chiefs. They took great care, in passing by 
houses or settlements, to keep the band from offering any injury or 
wrong, and on arriving in Plattsmouth demanded their men and 
ponies. After getting an interpreter down from Bellevue and having 
a " talk," they were allowed to take the prisoners, and hunt up and 
take their ponies if they could find them. They camped down in the 
bend just above Hocky Point for several days, and succeeded in re- 
covering nearly if not all of their ponies, and then quietly returned. 

I have no great affection for an Indian, but I cannot but think that 
in this case somebody ought to have suffered some, and that body not 
an Indian either. 

During the latter part of the war, in '63 and '64, reports were cur- 
rent that the rebels were tampering with the Indians, and exciting 
them to attack our settlements. These reports caused much anxiety 
and uneasiness, especially in the more exposed neighborhoods; and 
almost every settlement had formed regular organizations for drill, 
defense, rendezvous, etc. 

In the fall of '64, word swept through the county M'ith more than 
the speed of Sir Walter Scott's "Cross of Fire," that the Indians 
were on Salt creek in lai'ge force, perpetrating their usual atrocities, 
and sweeping down towards the Missouri, Mith the purpose of exter- 
minating the white settlements. The writer, whom please consider 
your "war correspondent" for the hour, hastened to the rendezvous 
at Louisville, where some forty-five men were soon gathered, all 


who o«ll«l the™,selves "veterans" from service in the civil war, then 
ir l"""' ^°"'' <'°"-«'l"'"dent might have obtained some befitting 
otiioe in this movement (a sutlership at least) 

.o!:r1l "^ *tf™' "'"■' ""'''"« P"^*' '°"'= "■'"> «»'^'= household 
goods others with none, some with proper clothing and others 
qn, e the reverse But all with an eye over their sh:nlder, wW 
lashing and pnnchmg up the team; urged to stop and help in the 

diidien Well where were the Indians? " Close behind "-"just 

;::f i;!; z: ''""^ ''^"' '- '"^ *^*^"- - "^^ '-■-- -"'p^ p-^'^ed 

^ With teeth set, muscles strained to almost cracking tension and 
indomitable resolution, we waited the onset-till— we— we e 
^red We then sent out a scout of ten men to ascertain where the 

-waLT^llb """' ""^^ ^"^ "'^ -' "'-^' » »" "-" »d 

After some eight hours of this lively kind of life (which as we had 

count«, time, had stretchol over as many days), our scours Xnj 

bringing in ten scalps-on their own heads, and that was all No 

n:w;i". ""~™ '"""^ "'^ °' '"'"«^— "-^ '-' »»<• 

The whole scare originated with an Irishman at old Mr. Barnhill's 
ranch, a li tie above Ashland. He had been left alone at the an L 
and a couple of Indians came along and wanted whiskey. He sold 
to them til l«y ra,.secl a war dance, when the Irishman incontine ly 
fled and yelled : " Indians! " " Indians' " ^ 

Meanwhile while the yell was ringing and echoing over the whole 
of Cass county, the Indians had got over their "dTunfand J„e 
quietly on their way. *= 

The legislature of '55 and '56, as before said, repeale<l the law giv- 
.ng to the probate judge such extensive jurisdiction, and provLl 
for a board of county commissioners to transact the county business 
At the general election of November 4, 1866, J. VallerV Ir n 
Palmer, and W. D. Gage were elected as our first board f cou'nty 
commissioners. They have been succeeds as follows : 


1857— Wm. Young, R. R. Davis. 1867— Jas. O'Neil. 

1858— Geo. Mayfield. 1868— J. B. Moore. 

1859— John Mutz. 1869— Benj. Albin. 

I860— L. G. Todd. 1870— J. Vallery, Jr. 

1861— J. Vallery, Jr. 1871— L. H. James. 

1862— Wm. L. Thompson. 1872— T. Clark. 

1863— Isaac Pollard. 1873— M. L. White. 

1864— M. L. White. 1874— W. B. Arnold. 

1865— D. Cole. 1875— B. S. Ramsey. 

1866— A. Carmichael. 1876— E. G. Dovey (to fill vac'y). 

Our county clerks have been as follows, each election being for two 
years : 

1857— J. N. Wise. 1869~Isaac Pollard. 

1859— D. H. Wheeler. 1871-73— D. W. McKinnon. 

1861-'63-'65-'67— B. Spurlock. 1875— C. P. Moore. 

Our sheriifs, also elected for two years : 

1855— A. C. Towner (appointed). 1863— P. P. Gass. 

1855— W. R. Ellington. 1865— A. B. Taylor. 

1857— W. D. McCord. 1867-'69-'71— J. W. Johnson. 

1859— W. D. McCord. 1873— M. B. Cutler. 

1861— C. H. King. 1875— M. B. Cutler. 

Our treasurers, also elected for two years : 

1855— Bela White. 1861-'63'-'65-'67— S. Duke. 

1856— Welcher Cardwell. 1869-'71— W. L. Hobbs. 

1857-'59— J. D. Simpson. 1873-75— J. C. Cummins. 

The population, by enumeration at diilerent periods, shows as fol- 
lows : 

September, 1855—712. 1870—8,151. 

1856—1,251. . 1874—10,397. 

1860—3,369. 1876—10,885. 

The valuation of property as assessed for taxation has been as fol- 



1868 $1,896,432 

1869 2,136,835 

1870 3,099,856 

1857 $1,062,962 

1859 1,096,074 

I860 975,456 

1861 1,013,570 

1862 828,019 

1863 3,737,184 

1864 1,137,486 

1865 1,746,829 

1866 1,592,678 

1867 1,729^052 

The items of the assessment for 1874, the latest itemized list ob- 
tainable, are as follows, showing 313,331 acres at an average value of 
$7.96 per acre: 








Land $2,492,600 

Town lots 313,872 

Merchandise 104,394 

Manufactures 39,300 

Horses (5,962) 309,943 

Mules and asses (438).. 62,873 

Neat cattle (15,598)... 206,586 

Sheep (659) 1,223 

Swine (25,202) 31,438 

Wagons, carr'ges (1601) .$ 61,668 
Money and credits... 




Furniture 20 957 


Other property 

Kailroads 343,897 

Telegraph lines 950 


The foregoing list does not embrace ordinary house furniture, libra- 
ries under $100, tools of mechanics and artisans, but a small share of 
the agricultural implements on the farm, or the stores of the produce 
of the farm still on hand ; and when it is considered that property is 
rarely assessed for taxation at more than sixty or seventy-five per cent 
of its real value, we may safely add twenty-five per cent to the fore- 
going value, which would increase it to over five and one-half mill- 
ions. In the valuations of the property of Cass county it Avill be 
noticed that there are great fluctuations. Probably much of this is 
owing to the various modes of assessment by the different assessors, 
ranging all the way from one-half up to the supposed cash value! 
But this, even wide as the margin is, will not account for the showing 
of 1862-'63-'64. From 1862 to 1863 it is more than quadrupled, or 
increases about four and one-half times, and then in the following 


year^ 1864, falls oif to less than one-third of 1863. One reason for 
this extraordinary increase of 1863 is that the assessors in the spring 
of 1863 caught large amounts of property with the crowds coming 
into the county to escape the draft into the army ; and then, as a large 
portion of this property remained in the county only long enough to 
be assessed, and then passed on westward, it would in like manner 
diminish the values of the next year. This movement unquestionably 
produced considerable change in values, but that it alone worked such 
changes is hardly credible. The number of acres (313,331) assessed 
in 1874 shows nearly 30,000 unentered^ or if entered, not yet liable 
to assessment, as the county embraces about 339,200 acres. I find no 
data of the number of acres under cultivation since the U. S. census 
of 1870, which gives the number as 55,520. 

So far as can be ascertained, the first marriage in the county was 
that of Elza Martin to Sarah Morris, on November 16, 1854, by 
Abram Towner, and recorded by Joseph Lousignont, register of deeds, 
the first appointment to that office by Governor Cuming. 

The second marriage that appears on record was Thomas Hammond 
to Permelia A. Walker, on May 20, 1855, by L. G. Todd, J. P. ; and 
the third, J. McF. Haygood to Mary E. Brown, August 28, 1855, by 
W. D. Gage. 

The first white child born in this county was Nebraska Stevens, 
son of Wm. Stevens, in December, 1854, or January, 1855. 

The second, Levina Todd, daughter of L. G. Todd, in February of 
1855, now the wife of Thomas J. Thomas. 

[It is stated that Samuel Martin and A. J. Todd had each a child 
born previous to the above. Such may be the case, but I can obtain 
no reliable evidence of the dates of their births.] 

From the meager statistics to be found on the subject of agriculture 
in our county, it seems hardly worth the while to name the subject. 
That Cass county is one of the best, if not the best agricultural county 
in the state, is by all conversant with the subject admitted; but the 
statistics to prove this fact are wanting. The early pioneers seem to 
have taken a deeper interest in the matter of associations and fairs than 
the citizens of later days. Under an act of incorporation by the legis- 
lature of the territory, an association was organized August 30, 1856, 
with H. C. Wolph, president ; Wm. H. Davis, secretary ; Timothy Gas- 
kill, treasurer ; and a membership of fifty-seven names, each of whom, 


under the requirements of the by-laws, paid their nieml^ersliip fee of 
$1. A very interesting fair was held at Eock Blulfs in September, 
1856, and again in 1857, with a membership of fifty-two. After this, 
notwithstanding the earnest efforts and labors of several individuals, 
the society languished and died. It has been revived in later days, 
but it is only by persistent and continuous effort of a few individuals 
that it yet lives. The mass of the people seem to. feel but little inter- 
est in the matter. 

The production of the county is large, yet at a most unprofitable 
cost. ^ Land in new counties is plenty and cheap, and, especially in 
prairie counties, easily opened ; and an immediate return to the pioneer 
for his investment in land is not only desirable, but often seems nec- 
essary, and the great temptation is to bleed the land to extreme weak- 
ness, if not to absolute death— that is, to open as large an area as he 
can scratch over, and take what he can get from the land and make no 
return to it. 

The soil is rich, and even the subsoil full of the elements of vege- 
tation ; still there is a limit to the best soil, beyond which this kind 
of flu-ming becomes a dead loss. The returns will not pay for seed 
and labor, and farm and money invested in it are sunk. The old Vir- 
ginia farms, long since abandoned as worthless, as also to-day the 
seemingly inexhaustible valleys of the Miamis and Scioto, of Ohio, 
prove this position but too plainly ; nor is it necessary to leave our own 
county for this proof, as of the farms here for only twenty years in 
cultivation under this system, but few, if any, produce now more than 
forty to sixty per cent of their first crops. 

The records of our schools are probably as deficient and mutilated 
as the records of other departments of our history, and what remain 
have been carried away from the county seat, and are thus, without 
time and labor which could not be spared, inaccessible for the pur- 
poses of this sketch. Application for information by letter to the 
present county superintendent of schools, procured a— promise, no- 
thing more. But were these records accessible and entire, they would 
not be likely to serve much purpose here. 

The rise and progress of school systems, from pioneer efforts in 
widely scattered settlements, composed of residents also widely scat- 
tered and usually of limited means, present much the same features 
hroughout the whole country. The parent is anxious that his chil- 


dren should be educated, but they must be fed and clothed ; hence the 
school must wait for a time. A record would be interesting and val- 
uable, as it might perpetuate the memory of those who have more 
earnestly and vigorously labored and developed our present system. 
The means and progress are little other than a repetition of what has 
occurred in other places again and again. 

Under the circumstances I do not see that I can do better than 
reproduce a tabulated report, made by Prof. U. W. Wise, late super- 
intendent of our public schools for the county, and kindly furnished 
to me for this use. The report is as yet unpublished, having been 
prepared for the state superintendent at the close of the year 1875. 

Figures are generally dry reading, but the reader who has but a 
slight interest in education will note much of hope and promise as 
well as much of actual possession in this report. It embraces a com- 
parative showing of progress for four years. It is as follows: 

1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 

Number of school districts 75 79 79 81 

" " school houses 49 60 70 84 

"schoolchildren 3315 3329 3555 3749 

" children attending school... 2056 2380 2706 2952 

Per cent of children attending school.. 62 71 76 78 

Number of teachers employed 114 133 136 123 

Aggregate numberofdays taught by all 7537 9006 9421 10349 

Numberof visits of superintendent.... 42 117 96 128 

" of district officers 149 227 237 240 

District tax to pay teachers | 394 51 | 1221 20 $2488 94 $ 1957 56 

" " to erect school houses 4735 25 27860 10 7124 23 11869 21 

" for other purposes 109 90 1110 25 2134 27 8246 12 

Money paid for apparatus, etc 233 25 14102 188 00 2160 90 

Paid male teachers 6553 18 9519 00 8640 00 10433 96 

Paid female teachers 4533 95 5303 27 6573 72 9307 06 

Since writing the above I have received the following items from 
G. B. Crippen, county superintendent: 

Number of school houses in Cass county, June, 1876 : stone 2, brick 10, frame 67, 

total 79. 
Number of school districts in Cass county, June, 1876, 83. 
Number of school children, 4135. 
Number of children attending school, 3342. 

The first sermon preached in the county was in October, 1854, at 
the house of Thos. B. Ashley, by Abram Towner. 



I think no well-informed and dispassionate person will dispute the 
proposition that a " community will prosper in all their surroundings 
only as it enacts and faithfully executes good and wholesome laws." 

Yet it is well-known that general laws cannot be made to fit with 
exact justice to special cases ; as also, that through the agency of money 
and subtle lawyers a large proportion of our vilest criminals escape 
the just penalties of their villainous deeds, while many an innocent 
person is made to suffer cruel and grievous wrong, or is perhaps 
brought to a horrible and disgraceful death. This uncertainty in the 
administration of criminal law has induced many intelligent and oth- 
erwise law-abiding citizens to enter upon acts and deeds from which 
they shrink with aversion and horror, and which, under other cir- 
cumstances, they would utterly refuse. 

The peculiar circumstances attending the stealing of horses and the 
facilities for the escape of the thief, on the borders of new settle- 
ments, has indicated the class of horse thieves as one demanding sure 
and speedy extinction. From hasty action under this feeling proba- 
bly many innocent men have suffered, while a much larger number 
taken red-handed in the act, have speedily been put beyond the reach 
of further offence. 

During several years preceding 1864 a number of citizens of Cass 
county suffered much loss and hardship from this class of villains. 
About the first of June of that year — 1864 (some say 1863) — two horses 
were taken from Capt. Isaac Wiles and one from John Snyder, of this 
county. Pursuit was immediately made. A quarrel between the thieves 
about the division of the horses induced one of the throe to betray the 
other two. The informer was secured, and on the information given the 
two were followed and found secreted in a loft at " Mullen's Ranch," 
on the divide south of South Bend. They were secured and the party 
returned with them to Eight Mile Grove. In the trial of the men 
which followed before the self-constituted court, there was not nor 
could be any denial of guilt. They were horse thieves taken in the 
very act. No possible mistake in their identity, design, or act. A 
plea was offered for the one who betrayed the other two. But it was 
considered that, as no repentance or better feeling had induced this 
action, but only revenge and malice toward his fellow criminals, it 


gave no shadow of an excuse for sparing him, perhaps to repeat the 
offence before another day ; and without a dissenting voice, sentence 
was passed and followed by immediate execution. And death then 
and th^re closed the career of those three miserable men. 


Previous to 1874 the precincts of Cass county were arranged to ac- 
commodate the settlements, but in 1874 the county commissioners re- 
arranged them, conforming their boundaries to those of the congres- 
sional townships of the county, except the fractional townships in 
range 14, which were included in the precincts of range 13, as per 

Plattsmouth, the county seat of Cass county, will be found described 
in the "History of the City of Plattsmouth." 

Rock Bluffs, on the Missouri river, in Rock Bluffs precinct, was 
settled and laid out about the same time as Plattsmouth, and was for 
a time a somewhat formidable rival to Plattsmouth, but it is now in 
a decline. With a population of 175 it has two trading houses, a mill, 
smith shop, and post office, Joseph Shera, P. M. 

Kanosha and Liberty, on the Missouri, below Rock Bluffs, were 
towns in early days of considerable promise, Kanosha with some 
thirty houses, and Liberty with fifteen or twenty. They are now 

Cleveland, still lower on the river, a town which ivas to be but 
never was. 

Union, or Folden's Mills, hardly a village, but rather a compact 
settlement gathered about the Mills, on the lower Weeping Water, in 
Liberty precinct, has a population of about sixty, with a post office 

Factoryville, also on the Weeping Water, a short distance above 
Union Mills, has a population of some twenty-five. 

Weeping Water, at the Weeping Water Falls, in Weeping Water 
precinct, was settled in 1857. A mill and a few houses were built, after 
which, for several years, it had a struggle for existence, till 1869-'70 
it was roused up and commenced a new life. It has now a population 
of some four hundred, six trading houses, a hotel, and livery stable, 
two well-built churches, a high school building, and three mills in the 
vicinity, and a post office. 


Louisville, at the mouth of Mill or Thompson's creek, in Louis- 
ville precinct, was laid out in 1856, and one log cabin built, and thus 
slept until 1870, when, under control of Capt. J. T. A. Hoover and 
brother, and the B. & M. E. K. Co., it was re-surveyed and com- 
menced life anew. It now has a population of some two hundred^ 
four trading houses, a hotel, station house on the B. & M. R. R., a 
grain warehouse, lumber yard, and three smith shops, J. T. A. Hoover, 

South Bend, in South Bend precinct, also of early date, slept till 
the railroad revived it. It has now a grain warehouse and trading 
house, and a population of twenty-five or thirty. 

Eight -Mile Grove, a close settlement on the corners of the four 
precincts of Plattsmouth, Rock Blufis, Eight Mile Grove, and Mt. 
Pleasant, has a population of about one hundred, two churches, a, 
school house and a post office, C. H. King, postmaster. 

Glendale, a traveling post office in Eight Mile Grove precinct, 
after four removals, expired in 1875. 

Greenwood on the B. & M. R. R., in Salt Creek precinct, has a 
population of about fifty, three trading houses, two churches, a grain 
warehouse, a hotel, two smith shops, school house, and post office, H. 
H. Alden, postmaster. 


By De. L. J. Abbott. 

^Ye meet to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of our national 
birthday. To-day, we as a nation exhibit to the world a solution of 
the problem that not only in numbers, in wealth, in the advancement 
of commercial and agricultural prosperity, in our ability to protect our- 
selves from both foreign and domestic enemies, but also in age, in 
permanency, a government " of the people, for the people, and by the 
people " can endure. The history of the world for the past two thou- 
sand years has been marked with the successive rise and fall of repub- 
lics. Greece and Rome, Venice and Genoa have, for short periods, 
assumed republican forms of government, but it is reserved for the 
United States of America to mark the epoch in modern history of a 



republic enduring a century. To those fathers of the republic, to those 
.grand men who, one hundred years ago this day, affixed their signa- 
tures to the immortal declaration which has just been read in your 
Clearing, and who, in sujjport of that declaration, "pledged their lives, 
their fortunes, and their sacred honor," do we owe this national pros- 
perity, this perpetuity of free institutions. On this centennial day 
-over forty millions of free people arise and call them blessed ; their 
names have become household w^ords, their memories are embalmed 
in the hearts of liberty-loving people, not only of our own, but of all 
lands. They laid the foundations of civil government for a free peo- 
•ple broad and deep. They seemed to be endowed with almost prophetic 
wisdom, and of all the state papers of ancient or modern times, the 
-Declaration of Independence of 1776, the Ordinance of 1787, and the 
Federal Constitution of 1789, all emanating from almost the same 
sources and receiving the assent and approval of the same statesmen 
and legislators, stand, after one hundred years of trial, as enduring 
snonuments of political wisdom unsurpassed, unequaled, incompara- 

Until this morning our own Nebraska was the 37th and latest born 
^of all the states. To-day another state, Colorado, is added to the 
Federal Union ; both Nebraska and Colorado being portions of the 
territory purchased from France by President Jefferson, by treaty 
signed in the city of Paris, April, 1803— Robert P. Livingstone and 
James Monroe, commissioners on the part of the United States, and 
.Biirbe Marbois, commissioner on the part of Napoleon, first consul of 
France. This treaty, ^^^hich comprised the largest purchase of terri- 
tory ever acquired by any nation by strictly peaceable means, and 
the most important of all our national acquisitions, is the first land- 
mark in our state history. 

The passage by congress of the organic act, known as the Kansas 
and Nebraska bill, which provided for a territorial organization, ap- 
proved by President Pierce, May 30, 1854, is the next great event of 
political interest to citizens of Nebraska. 

Immediately after the passage of the Kansas and Nebraska bill the 
territory of Nebraska was organized with Francis W. Burt, of South 
Carolina, as governor, and T. B. Cuming, of Iowa, as secretary. 

In accordance with the provisions of the organic act, T. B. Cumino-, 
acting governor of Nebraska territory (Governor Francis Burt hav- 


iug died on the morning of the 18th of October, 1854), did on Satur- 
day, the 21st day of October, 1854, issue a proclamation for an enume- 
ration of the inhabitants of this territory, which enumeration was to 
commence on'the 24th of the same month. 

On the 21st day of November, 1854, Acting Governor Cuming is- 
sued a proclamation for the first general election ever held in Ne- 
braska, and for the purpose of this election he divided the territory 
into counties and gave names and boundaries to the same. To the 
county in which we live he gave the name of Dodge, in honor of Sen- 
ator Augustus Caesar Dodge, of Iowa, who had been an active friend 
and supporter of the Kansa.s and Nebraska bill. 

The first boundaries of Dodge county were as follows : Commenc- 
ing at a point on the Platte river twenty miles west of Belleview, 
thence westerly along the Platte river to the mouth of Shell creek, 
thence north twenty-five miles, thence east to the dividing ridge be- 
tween the Elkhorn and Missouri rivers, and thence southerly to the 
place of beginning. 

The territorial legislature, at its first session, in an act approved 
March 6, 1855, again redescribed the boundaries of Dodge county 
and in this act fixed the county seat at Fontenelle. 

At the fifth session of the legislature, March 2, 1858, after the 
government survey, the eastern boundary was again redefined. 

On the 22d of December, 1859, the territorial legislature changed 
the southern boundary of the county, fixing it where it still remains, 
upon the south bank of the Platte river. 

At the seventh session, January, 1860, the eastern boundary was 
again changed and placetl upon the Elkhorn river. This boundary 
left the county seat, Fontenelle, in Washington county, and Dodge 
county without a capital. In February, 1867, a portion of the terri- 
tory lost by the act of 1860, known as Logan Creek, was re-annexed 
to Dodge. In March of the legislative session of 1873, some changes 
were made in the county boundaries, and in February, 1875, the legis- 
lature described the limits of the county as they exist to-day, contain- 
ing about 345,600 acres. 

Fremont, the capital of Dodge county, is located in 41 degrees 26 
minutes north latitude, and 96 degrees 29 minutes west longitude ; the 
main portion of the county lies north and west of this point. 

The southern boundary of the county is the Platte river, the largest 


stream in the state, named by Lewis and Clarke in 1804, on account of 
its width and shallowness ; its general direction is from west to east ; 
it falls at about six feet to the mile. 

The Elkhorn river a tributary of the Platte is the secjond stream of 
importance in the county. It received its name many years ago, prob- 
ably from Lewis and Clarke, at least from some of the early voyageurs. 
It runs through the entire county from north-west to south-east, a 
distance of thirty miles. 

Rawhide creek received its name from the fact that during the Cal- 
ifornia travel of 18-49 a white man is said to have been flayed alive by 
the Pawnee Indians on its banks. It is a small, slnggish stream, of low 
banks, and runs from west to east through the entire county and 
empties into the Elkhorn river near the south-east corner of the 

Maple creek rises in the southern portion of Stanton county and 
has a general direction from west to east through Dodge county and 
empties into the Elkhorn river at a point nearly opposite the old town 
of Fontenelle ; it derived its name from the large maple grove origi- 
nally growing near its mouth. 

Pebble creek has the same general direction as the Maple. It rises 
in Cuming county and discharges its waters into the Elkhorn river 
near the flourishing village of Scribner. It was named Pebble from 
the unusual number of pebbles found in its waters at the ford, where 
the volunteer soldiers crossed it in the Paw^nee war of 1859. 

Cuming creek rises in Cuming county and flows in a southerly di- 
rection a distance of about five miles in Dodge county and adds its 
waters to the Elkhorn a little above the mouth of Pebble creek. This 
stream was named in 1855 in honor of T. B. Cuming, first secretary 
and acting governor of Nebraska. 

Logan creek, the third stream in point of size in the county, rises 
in Cedar county and flows in a southerly direction and its waters are 
discharged into the Elkhorn about five miles above the mouth of Ma- 
ple creek. It was named by Col. Wm. Kline, in 1854, in honor of 
Logan Fontenelle, a friendly Omaha chief. 

Clark creek, the smallest of all the streams in Dodge county, rises 
in Burt county and flows in a southerly direction and joins the Elk- 
horn nearly two miles below the mouth of Logan. It was also named 
by Col. Kline, in honor of Dr. M. H. Clark, the first member of the 
territorial council from Dodge county. 


Dodge county is beautifully diversified with valley and upland; 
about one-third of it being valley or bottom-land and the remaining 
two-thirds uplands. Fully eighty per cent of the entire area is suit- 
able for cultivation, and the remaining twenty per cent is. valuable for 
pasturage and timber culture. 

The landscape is charming in its quiet beauty. The drainage is 
•excellent, and the soil (highland and lowland) is rich, productive, 
and susceptible of easy tillage. In its general features, number of its 
never-failing streams and springs, and richness of its soil. Dodge 
county is equaled by few and surpassed by none in the state of Ne- 

The first election held in Dodge county was on the 12th day of De- 
cember, 1854, at Fontenelle, at which election Dr. M. H. Clark was 
chosen first member of the territorial council, and Judge J. W. Eich- 
ardson and Col. E. R. Doyle were elected members of the house of 
representatives. Each of them was unanimously elected, having re- 
ceived all the votes cast to the number of eight. 

The first territorial legislature convened at Omaha on the 16th of 
January, 1855, and whilst Messrs. Clark, Richardson, and Doyle were 
attending the legislature the town of Fontenelle and county of Dodo-e 
were deserted by their inhabitants; Col. Wm. Kline, then and now 
a highly respected citizen of Fontenelle, and a half-breed Indian 
named Joe, were the only constituents left to the honorable members 
of Dodge. 

Col. Kline can tridy be said to ha^ e had, at one time in his life 
the largef?t representation according to population of any gentleman 
in Nebraska, if not in the United States. 

During this first session Dr. Clark, on the 16th of February, 1855, 
made a most exhaustive report to the territorial legislature upon the 
subject of a Pacific railroad and the Platte valley route. Viewed in 
the light of twenty years it seems almost prophetic, and indicates 
largely what must have been the character of the man. From that 
report we extract the following : 

" It leads to all those great mountain passes which are the gateways to Utah 
■California, Oregon, and Washington. It is the best route and the adopted road to 
nil these states and territories, and it is believed bj'your committee, some of whom 
Irive been through these routes and for years intimate with those who traverse the 
mountains, that it is the Platte valley alone that affords all these western divisions 
any natural, easy, and common way which will commingle their travel with that 
of the eastern states." 


In concluding this report he said : 

"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 accom- 
plished, and with liberal encouragement to capital, which your committee are dis- 
posed to grant, it is 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." 

The first territorial legislature ordered an enumeration of the in- 
habitants to be taken, commencing on the lltli of September, 1855, 
and upon the basis of those census returns the governor ordered a new 
apportionment.* Under this apportionment Dodge was entitled to but 
one member of the lower house. 

On the first Tuesday of November, 1855, Thomas Gibson was 
elected that member. 

At the third election for members Silas E. Seeley secured forty-four 
votes and Thomas Gibson forty-one votes. Gibson contested Seeley's 
seat on the ground that Seeley had not resided long enough in the 
legislative district. The legislature vacated the seat held by Seeley 
on his certificate, but did not declare for Gibson, thus leaving Dodge 
unrepresented in the lower house the winter of 1857, and furnishing 
a precedent to the last republican state convention in the matter of 
the contestants from Douglas county. 

Since the year 1858 the following gentlemen were the members of 
the territorial house of representatives from Dodge County : 

J. M. Taggart, of Fontenelle, for the years 1857 and 1858; H. W. 
DePuy, Maple Creek, for the years 1858 and 1859; E. H. Rogers, 
of Fremont, for the years 1859 and 1860; M. S. Cotterell, North 
Bend, for the years 1860 and 1861; E. H. Barnard, Fremont, for the 
years 1861 and 1862; I. E. Heaton, Fremont, January, 1864; W. 
H. Ely, North Bend, January, 1865; J. G. Smith, Fremont, Janu- 
ary, 1866; J. E. Dorsey, Maple Creek, January, 1867. 

E. H. Rogers, of Fremont, was a member and president of the ter- 
ritorial council for the year 1867, and the last presiding officer of that 

In February, 1867, the state legislature passed the enabling act re- 
quired by congress, and in March f(>llo\\ ing, Nebraska took her place 
among the states of the Union. 

E. H. Rogers was the first state senator from this district and was 
the first president of that body. 


After the state organization H. P. Beebe, of Fremont, was the first 
member of the house of representatives, 1867 and 1868. 

E. PI. Barnard, Fremont, 1869 and 1870; A. C. Briggs, Logais 
Creek, 1871 and 1872; Milton May, Everett, 1873 and 1874; Joha 
Seeley, Pebble Creek, 1875 and 1876. 

Immediately after the passage of the act approved January 1%, 
1860, which divided the county of Dodge, another act to reorganize 
the county was passed and approved January 13, 1860, which pro- 
vided for an election to be held on the first Monday of February, 1860-. 
At this election Fremont was selected for the county seat; E. H. 
Barnard, probate judge; William S. Wilson, sheriflP; H. C. Campbell, 
treasurer ; J. F. Reynolds, county clerk ; and George Turner, county 
commissioner, who with George Turton and Thomas Fitzsimmons 
constituted the first commissioners' court, after the re-organization, of 
the county. The county at this time was divided into the three pre- 
cincts of Fremont, North Bend, and Maple Creek. 


Having followed the history of the county up to the date of Fre- 
mont becoming the county seat, let us glance for a moment at her 
early history. 

The site of the present city of Fremont was claimed by E. IP. Bar- 
nard and John A. Kountz in the name of Barnard, Kountz & Co.., 
August 23, 1856. They set their first claim stake on the swell of 
ground near the corner of D and First streets, then passing west ou 
the California road about two miles they reached the cabin of Seth P^ 
Marvin in time for dinner. This cabin was the first sign of civilized 
life thus far west of the Elkhorn river, and was the most easterly out- 
post of the McNeal and Beebe settlement, at that time three months 
old. Mr. Marvin's family consisted of a wife and two children, Gleii 
and May ; they had arrived at their new home about three weeks pre- 
vious, from Marshalltown, Iowa. Mr. Marvin received and enter- 
tained the strangers hospitably ; he was a good talker and had un- 
bounded faith in the future of the great Platte valley as a whole, and! 
in that precise locality in particular. It was largely if not chiefly due; 
to his efforts that the town company was organized a few days later. 

After making their claim Messrs. Barnard and Kountz went further 
up the valley and returned two days afterward to the house of Mr, 


Marvin, where they learned that during their absence a party of fonr 
liad made a claim which somewhat conflicted Mith theirs. At first 
these gentlemen thought they would give the matter no attention, but 
Mr. Marvin urged them to remain with him until the next day and 
meet the adverse claimants and arrange the matter satisfactorily to all. 
The advice was accepted and acted upon and that night the parties all 
met at the house of Marvin for the first time. 

The party of four consisted of George M. Pinney, James G. Smith, 
Hobert Kittle, and Robert Moreland, the latter a hack driver from 
Iowa City, and the others three passengers whom he had picked up at 
Des Moines. 

Mr. Marvin proposed that the conflicting claimants throw up their 
respective claims and then proceed to form a new town company, tak- 
ing him in as a member. The proposition was finally agreed to, and 
■on the next morning, August 26, 1856, the new company was organ- 
ized under the name of Pinney, Barnard & Co., who immediately 
proceeded to lay off a plot of ground one mile square for a town site. 
On the 3d of September the company adopted the name Fremont 
for tlieir town, in honor of Gen. John C. Fremont, the great Western 
explorer, and then candidate of the republican party for president of 
the United States. The town company consisted of Seth P. Marvin, 
of Michigan ; James G. Smith and John A. Kountz, of Pennsylvania ; 
Robert Kittle and E. H. Barnard, of New York ; and Robert More- 
laud, of Ireland ; who elected the following officers : 

James G. Smith, president ; Robert Kittle, vice president ; John A. 
Kountz, secretary ; George M. Pinney, treasurer ; E. H. Barnard, 

In the evening of August 26, 1856, the Platte Yalley Claim Club 
was organized with Seth P. Marvin for president; J. W. Peck, vice 
president ; E. H. Barnard, secretary ; and George M. Pinney, recorder 
of claims. The Claim Club was an association of claimants upon the 
public lands ; organized under the laAvs of the territory, for mutual 
protection in the holding of claims, and was vested with limited legis- 
lative powers. At that time the Platte valley west of range 9 had not 
been surveyed, so that tlie club law was the only law by which claims 
could be regulated, and the Claim Club was one of the necessary insti- 
tutions of the times. Its committees sat in judgment on all matters 
of dispute arising out of conflicting claims, and had power to call upon 


the band of regulators to enforce their decrees. All the members of 
the town company, except Mr. Pinney, either remained or soon re- 
turned, and by their united eiforts, contributed to form the nucleus of 
the future city. ISTor was this any easy task ; houses had to be built ; 
the soil cultivated ; roads opened ; bridges constructed ; in fact every 
thing had to be done to foster the growth of their town in the midst 
of a wilderness fully three hundred miles away from the nearest rail- 
road station. They had also to contend against rival settlements and 
opposition town site enterprises. Fortunately they comprehended the 
situation and worked to win. 

The first step towards the making of a town was the resolution by 
the town company to donate house logs from their timber land and 
two town lots to any party that would erect a house of hewn logs, 16 
x20 feet, one and one-half stories high, with sawed lumber floors and 
shingle roof. 

The second step in the progress of Fremont, and, at this early date, 
its most important advance, was the passage of a resolution by the 
Claim Club allowing claimants to surrounding lands adjacent to the 
town site to build their houses upon the village lots and not upon 
their "claims," without the danger of their being jumped. This res- 
olution encountered bitter opposition from the McNeal and Beebe 
settlement, who looked upon Fremont as a rival. At the time of the 
passage of this resolution both sides met in full force, and upon put- 
ting the question viva voce, the resolution was lost, two or three boys 
of about eighteen voting "no." The friends of the resolution de- 
manded a call of the roll of members and the resolution passed by a 
majority of one. By this action of the club the one hundred dollars 
necessary to be spent upon a land claim could be expended in the 
"city;" house logs could be obtained gratis of the town company, and 
two city lots donated near the center of the future great town. The 
interests of the town company and the new settler were made one, and 
every Frcraonter became at once a missionary, whose chief dutv it 
was to inform every immigrant of the superior advantages of the new 
city, always including social privileges and mutual protection against 

The first shanty erected in our now beautiful city was upon tlie lot 
now owned and occupied by the Congregational Church, comjjleted 
and used for the first time by its owners, Barnard and Kountz, on the 


lOtb of September, 1856 ; Robert Kittle, James G. Smith, and Wil- 
liam E. Lee, their boarders, and Leander Gerard, now banker at Co- 
lumbus, cook. Until this rude cabin was built, Marvin's had been 
headquarters, although some had camped upon the town site. That 
cabin, insignificant as it Avas, broke the solitude of the wilderness. It 
was a station upon the Great American Desert, a hotel, boarding house, 
and wonder to the Pawnees, whose village, 1,500 strong, was upon 
the high bank of the Platte three miles south. Tlje Pawnees justly 
claimed ownership in the country, for although the general govern- 
ment had made a treaty with the Omahas for this land and paid them 
for it, the Pawnees, who were joint owners with the Omahas, had re- 
ceived nothing. In October, 1856, the Pawnees notified the white 
settlers that they must leave within three days, or they would kill 
them and destroy their property. A council of the settlers was 
called, and a messenger, James G. Smith, dispatched to the governor 
for assistance. 

Gov. Izard gave him a box of muskets, some ammunition, and re- 
inforced the settlers with an army of eight men, which, added to tlie 
inhabitants of Fremont and surrounding country, made a total grand 
army of about twenty -five, who, by marching and counter-marching, 
by bonfires and torch light processions, andtheburningof hay stacks, 
produced the impression upon the Pawnees that it was a vast army, 
and had the effect of overawing them, so that at the end of three days 
they sent a flag of truce and a messenger, saying that the chiefs had 
reconsidered the matter and concluded to let them go unmolested for 
the present. 

During the winter of '56 and '57 the settlers were much annoyed 
by the Indians, who demanded pay for the timber that had been cut 
upon their lands, and made all sorts of threats to compel paj'meut. 
The settlers pursued a pacific policy, promising that the Great Father 
at Washington would make it all right with them, and fortunately for 
their reputation for veracity the general government made a treaty 
early in 1857, whereby an annuity was settled upon them, and a res- 
ervation west of Fremont granted to them. To the credit of both 
Pawnee and Fremouter be it said that after the troubles of that fall 
and winter no citizen of this place was ever harmed by them, and 
when, in the summer of 1859, the Pawnees started on the war path 
against the whites of the Elkhorn valley, they made no hostile demon- 


stration until several miles beyond Fremont, although the war party 
passed through the town on their way out. 

The cabin of Messrs. Barnard and Kountz continued to be used as 
a boarding house and hotel, not less than fifteen sleeping in it at one 
time, until the memorable snow-storm, which begun at 11 o'clock 
A.M., Monday, December 1, 1856, and was the commencement of the 
longest continued cold weather and deepest snows ever known in the 
history of our state. Driven by the snow to better quarters, on Tues- 
day, December 2, they commenced moving. The "cook, with the 
grub," was carried by the wind into a hole, which he supposed to be 
a well, near by, but which proved to be the entrance to Judge Smith's 
dug-out, directly in line with the wind. 

It is a mooted question as to who built the first permanent house 
in Fremont, that honor lying between Robert Kittle and William G. 
Bowmtm — a majority of the old settlers favoring the former. There 
M'as but a few days interval between the completion of each. 

The Rev. Isaac E. Heaton's was the first family in the place, and 
he was the first clergyman. The first blacksmith was John C. Hor- 
mel, who was induced to remain by the offer of a town share (nine 
lots) and material for a shop. James G. Smith was the first merchant ; 
John C. Flor the first regular hotel keeper, and S. B. Colson the 
first shoemaker. E, H. Rogers and William Cartney made the first 
brick, and E. H^ Rogers was the first chairman of the town board 
that acquired the government title. The first male child born in Fre- 
mont was Fred Kittle, and the first female child Alice Flor, both 
still living. The first marriage took place August 25, 1858, between 
Luther Wilson and Eliza Turner. The fii-st death occurred October 
30, 1857, in the person of Nathan Heaton, father of Rev. I. E. 

The failure of the banks and the financial panic which followed, in 
1857 and 1858, retarded the growth of all Western communities. Fre- 
mont suffered from this cause equally with other towns. 

The discovery of gold on Cherry creek in 1858, and the immense 
emigration to Pike's Peak which followed, brought the first real com- 
mercial and agricultural prosperity Fremont ever received, and al- 
though the town did not increase fast in population, the channels of 
trade thus opened brought material wealth and lifted the founders of 
the town into positions of comparative pecuniary independence. It 


was, however, reserved for the Union Pacific raih-oad, which reached 
Fremont January 24, 1866, to give it a substantial basis, and place 
it upon the great highway of present and prospective prosperity ; a 
prosperity which has continued as the years pass on, until now it is 
the second town in population, wealth, and beauty along that road of 
over one thousand miles. 

Lightning, in the shape of the Western Union Telegraph Company, 
struck it in 1860, and five or six passengers" looked at it daily for 
years out of the great overland coach ; but it is steam alone that 
makes modern towns ; without it they are nothing. Under its in- 
spiriting influences real estate began to rise, immigration started anew 
from all parts of the East, and the town of a few log houses was, as it 
were, built up in a night to a size and population astonishing when 
compared with the growth of Eastern towns. 

On the 12th day of February, 1869, the Sioux City & Pacific rail- 
road made junction with the Union Pacific at Fremont, and on De- 
cember 31, 1869, the first ten miles of the Fremont, Elkhorn & 
Missouri Valley railroad were completed. 

On the 24th day of July, 1868, Fremont's first paper, the Fremont 
Tribune, was issued by J. Newt. Hays, and on the 2d day of August, 
1871, the Weekly Herald was established by Wm. T. Shaffer. 

The total amount expended in buildings during the past eight years 
is about one million dollars. Our wholesale trade is more than any 
other town in the state north of the Platte, except Omaha. Her re- 
ceipts and shipments of grain for 1875 exceeded six hundred thousand 
bushels, and that, too, in a year immediately following the plague of 
locusts. This year the amount Avill probably reach one million 

Her banking resources are ample. Three well-organized fire com- 
panies are ready and able to furnish protection from the devouring 
element. Lodges of Masons, Odd Fellows, and of the Grand Army of 
the Republic are among her charitable institutions, and the Turners 
and other societies supply the essential organizations for social enjoy- 
ment. Seven churches and nine organized religious societies give op- 
portunities to all to worship God in the manner and in the place 
where they may think best. 

Her manufactories, although only in their infancy, exceed those of 
most other towns of her size. Flour, carriages, wagons, or grain 


harvesters of our own manufacture, equal to the best, are furnished by 
our own citizens. Good public buildings, spacious school rooms, taste- 
ful private residences, well-built and well-shaded walks, and this de- 
lightful public park afford to our citizens all that could be expected 
or desired in an inland country town. 


Arthur Bloomer, now of Platte, formerly of Maple precinct, is the 
oldest settler, of continuous residence, in the present county of Dodo-e. 
There are others such as Mr. John Batie and John Cramer, of Maple 
and Samuel Whittier, of Fremont, who came to Fontenelle previous 
to Mr. Bloomer coming into Dodge, but none who have lived so many 
years continuously in this county as he. John and Arthur Bloomer 
made their claims near the mouth of Maple creek early in April, 1856, 
and broke, in the first of May following, twenty-five acres of prairie. 

The first settlers in Dodge, in the Platte valley, were Mrs. A^^ealthy 
Beebe and her minor children, and her son-in-law, Abram McNeal 
and family, who located two miles Avest of Fremont, May 25, 1856. 

The first children born in the present county were twin daughters 
to Mr. and ]\Irs. A. McNeal, on August 8, 1876; both are still liv- 
ing and reside in Oregon. The first settlement made west of Beebe's 
was by George Emerson, who also laid out a town, in 1857. The 
first settlement made at North Bend was on July 4, 1856, just twenty 
years ago, by a colony of ten adults and ten children — George Young 
and wife, Robert Miller and wife, John Miller and wife. Miss Eliza 
Miller, now Mrs. AV. H. Ely, William and Alexander Miller, and 
George McNaughton. 

The first election held in the present county, for county officers 
was at North Bend, February, 1860. 

The first steam mill in the county was at North Bend, brought from 
Cleveland, O., by M. S. Cotterell, John M. Smith, James Humphries 
and Alexander Morrison in July, 1857. 

Seth Young, son of George Young, was the first birth at that place 
November 30, 1856; his mother died a few days after his birth 
and was the first death at the Bend. 

Out of a total population not exceeding four hundred. Dodge county 
furnished, during the Bebellion and for frontier protection, twenty- 
five volunteers, as large a per cent of troops to adult male population 
as any county in the United States. 


Not over one hundred and sixty acres of land was broken in this 
county previous to and durino; the summer ofl85G, and about one 
hundred persons, adults and children, resided in Dodge the unparal- 
leled cold and severe winter of that year. 

Harvey J. Robinson has been the original proprietor and builder of 
all the water power flouring mills ever erected in the county; one on 
Maple creek the summer of 1859, one on Logan creek in 1859, one 
on Logan creek in 1863, and one on Pebble in 1867 and 1868. 

A literary society organized at Glencoe, November, 1872, has the 
largest membership of any in the county and is in a most flourishing 


The first sermon preached in the county was by Rev. I. E. Hea- 
ton, of the Congregational denomination, November 2, 1856. Text, 
Psalms cxi. 10 : "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." 
The next Sabbath, November 9, public worship was commenced in 
Fremont in the house of Robert Kittle. From that time public wor- 
ship was -regularly sustained in Fremont. 

The second minister was Rev. Mr. Cooley, of the Campbellite 
Baptist denomination, who arrived and located near Timberville in 
February, 1857. The Congregational church in Fremont was organ- 
ized, with Rev. I. E. Heaton as pastor and seven members, August 
2, 1857. Mr. Heaton remained their pastor for twelve years. 
This church now numbers sixty-four- members. In September, 1858, 
Rev. J. Adriance organized Methodist Episcopal churches in Fremont 
and North Bend, the former with fifteen members and the latter with 

The first church building in the comity was fitted up by the Con- 
gregationalists, in Fremont, in 1861 ; they dedicated a second and 
larger one, August 2, 1868, and extended it in the spring of 1874. 
Until within a few days it contained the only bell in Fremont, weigh- 
ing 1,118 pounds, which has been used for church, school, and public 
meetings, for fire alarms, and for all purposes of a general public 
nature. St. James Protestant Episcopal church, of Fremont, was 
organized August 27, 1866, the late Rev. O. C. Dake presiding, 
with seven members. The church building was erected the summer 
of 1867, and consecrated September 15, 1867, by Bishop Clarksun ; 


present number of communicants, forty; adult baptisms, twenty; 
infants, eighty-three ; marriages, twenty -five ; burials, forty-eight. 
The M. E. church building in Fremont was erected the summer of 
1869, and dedicated in December of the same vear. 

Rev. Father Ryan, of Columbus, held Roman Catholic services in 
Fremont prior to the coming* of Father John Lonergan, in 1868, 
who at that time organized their church with twenty families, or 
about one hundred persons. Their church building was erected and 
dedicated in 1869. Within Dodge county the present number of 
Roman Catholics is about fifteen hundred; the number of Catholic 
marriages in Fremont has been seventy-one ; adult baptisms, twenty ; 
infant baptisms, about two hundred. Father Lonergan still con- 
tinues their priest. 

The Baptist church in Fremont was organized by the late Rev. 
John McDonald, December 19, 1869, with nine members; their 
present membership is forty-six. Their church building M^as dedi- 
cated December. 31, 1871. 

The Evangelical German church in Fremont was organized by 
Rev. Mr. Yost, and their church building erected and dedicated in 

The Presbyterian church in Fremont was organized by Rev. A. 
S. Foster, November 23, 1873, with ten members, and their church 
building was dedicated January 3, 1875 ; their pre'^'ent ijiembership 
is thirty. Rev. Foster still continues their pa.stor. 

The United Presbyterians organized two churches in the county 
early in its history ; one at Fremont and the other at North Bend, 
and erected a church building in the latter place. At this date regular 
services arc not maintained at either place. 

The Universalists have had occasional services by different minis- 
ters for years past. 

They have recently organized the Free Congregational church, with 
Rev. W. E. Copeland as their pastor and fifty-seven members. 

The whole number of church buildings in the county at this time 
is fourteen : seven in Fremont, three in Logan, two in Webster, two 
at North Bend. 

Religious organizations have been formed in all the precincts in the 
county, and religious services are held in school houses every Sabbath 
throughout its entire length and breadth. 


The first funeral services held in the county were over the body of 
Mr. Stedman Hager, who lost his life in a fearful snow-storm Dec. 
2, 1856, and was the first death in the county. His remains were 
not found until April following, Eev. Mr. Cooley conducted the 

The first marriage in this county was in Fremont, Luther Wilson 
to Miss Eliza Turner, August 25, 1858. The first marriage at 
North Bend was John W. Waterman to Miss Elizabeth K. Graham, 
July 28, 1859. 

Thirteen hundred scholars attend twenty-eight Sabbath schools, an 
average of forty-six to each school ; one-half the number enrolled in 
the county between the ages of five and twenty-one. The Sabbath 
school libraries contain about 1,580 volumes and distribute annually 
9,000 papers. The expenses of these schools for the past year have 
been |590, or forty-five cents per scholar. 

A private school taught by Miss Charity Colson in Fremont, the 
summer of 1858, was the first ever taught in the county. The first 
public school was taught in Fremont the summer of 1859, by Miss 
McNeal, of Elkhorn City ; the same summer Miss Mary E. Heaton 
taught the first public school at North Bend. In 1861 there were 
the following school districts: Fremont, Timberville, North Bend, 
and Maple Creek, with one hundred and eight children between the 
ages of five^and twenty-one, of which seventy were enrolled as attend- 
ing school. One school building at North Bend valued at $120; 
resources for schools that year, |367.65; expenditures, |330. 

1868: school districts, sixteen; children, 559. 

1875: school districts, thirty-one; children, 1,100; 415, or less 
than two-fifths of the whole, attended school. Total resources for 
the year, $9,426 ; paid teachers, $2,855. 

For the year ending April 3, 1876, the number of school districts 
was sixty -two and two fractional districts ; number enrolled between 
the ages of five and twenty-one, 2,625 ; number attending school, 
1,910. Certified teachers in the county: ladies, fifty -one; gentle- 
men, thirty-one ; average wages paid gentlemen, $43.50 per month ; 
ladies, $35.81 per month. 

There are sixty frame school houses and one brick, costing, with 
the furniture, $50,000. Total receipts for public schools, $28,225.84; 
totiil expenditures, $27,700.74 ; average cost of tuition of each scholar 
at school for the past year, $7.93. 


The total valuation of all the property in Dodge county, real and 
personal, was, in 1855,^14,455.00; 1856, $20,794.50 ; 1867, $1,292,- 
306.00; 1875, $2,281,105.58; 1876, $2,390,681.25. 

Dodge county paid into the territorial treasury in 1861....$ 132.06 

" 1864... 283.64 
" " " " state " " 1873... 9,805.00 

" " " " " " " 1875... 12,791.9^ 

Number of cattle in Dodge county in 1866 was 1,380, 1876, 7,640 
" " horses " " " ' " " " 344 ; " 4,228 

The first post office established in the county was in the summer of 
'57, with James G. Smith postmaster. Present number of post offices, 
twenty ; seven of them receiving daily mail. 

Two agricultural societies exist and have held fairs since 1872. 
The Centerville fair was organized first, and its priority of organiza- 
tion has entitled it to the state fund for such purposes. 

The number of pounds of grain shipped from North Bend in 1870 
was 572,000; in 1875, 5,389,000. 

The grain trade of Hooper for 1875 was 225,000 bushels. 

The grain trade of Scribner for 1875 was 165,000 bushels. 

The population of Dodge county in 1860 was 309 ; in 1870, 
4,212, of which 2,556 were born in the United States and 1,656 were 
foreign born. The population in April, 1876, was 8,332. 

There are in this county at this date sixty-one and thirty-seven- 
one-hundred ths miles of railroads and the same of telegraph lines. 

There are 1,503 farmers, cultivating 112,700 acres of land, an av- 
erage of seventy-five acres each. 

Briefly and in a very imperfect manner I have traced portions of 
the history of our state, county, and city for the past twenty years. 
All around me are those who lived in the state when there were less 
than ten thousand persons in it, and in this county when its enu- 
meration did not reach one hundred persons. My aged friend who sits 
upon this platform preached the first sermon ever delivered in this 
county ; another here present drove the first stake in the survey of 
this beautiful city. The hands that erected the first buildings in our 
county and city, and that planted this beautiful grove, whose delight- 
ful shade so well protects you all, are yet among us, still strong and 

" Homes for the homeless and lands for the landless," was the motto 


inscribed upon their household altars a score of years ago. Others of 
you came with the new life, energy, and development that accompanied 
the building of the Union Pacific railroad. The Sioux City & 
Pacific and Elkhorn Valley roads, and the influences which came 
with those great arteries of trade and commerce, induced others of you 
at a later date to make this your abiding spot. All of you have 
been participators and actors in this building up and unfolding of a 
new state and county. Yet much as you have done, rapid as has 
been your progress, a commencement in development, in population, 
in the adornment of homes, in material wealth, is but just begun. 


Ly Hon. Perry Selden. 

The county of Washington, in a historical point of view, assumes 
more importance than that of any other county in the state of Nebraska, 
and dates back to the administration of Mr. Jefferson, and the famous 
expedition of Lewis and Clarke, in a.d. 1804. Although there 
is an honest doubt existing as to the exact locality, yet it is gen- 
erally accepted as a fact that the original "Council Bluffs" of Lewis 
and Clarke was at what is now known as Fort Calhoun. 

Certain it is, that in the year 1824, during Mr. Monroe's adminis- 
tration, a military post was established there and named in honor of 
John C. Calhoun, who was at that time secretary of war. 

Thirty years later, Fort Calhoun was re-occupied by actual settlers 
at an earlier period than any other portion of the county, and as 
early as the earliest in the state, then the unorganized territory of Ne- 

On the 30th day of May, 1854, the "Organic Act" was passed by 
congress, opening for settlement the territories of Kansas and Nebras- 
ka, and providing a temporary government for each. In anticipation 
of this event, many had crossed the river from the border counties of 
Iowa and Missouri, and taken land claims, and an occasional actual 
settler had ventured to locate permanently in Nebraska. 

In April, 1854, Anselm Arnold located upon, and permanently 
occupied, a land claim at Fort Calhoun, being joined soon after 


by Geo. W. Nevelle and Dr. Wm. Moore, and by his family early 
in October following. This was the first settlement, and Mr. Arnold's 
the first family within the county, the second, a German family named 
Leiser, arriving at Fonteiie-lle a few days later in the same month, 
viz., October 21, 1854. 

Francis Burt, having been appointed the first governor of Nebraska, 
came from his home in South Carolina to enter upon the dis- 
charge of his duties as such, and was taken sick upon the way. He 
died soon after his arrival, at the old Mission House at Bellevue, 
on the 18th day of October, 1854. 

By the death of Governor Burt, the secretar}" of the territory, Thos. 
B. Cuming, became acting governor. 

The first official action of Gov. Cuming was a series of proclama- 
tions : One ordering a census of the territory upon which to base an 
apportionment ; another fixing the time of holding the election and 
convening the legislature, and one dividing the territory into counties 
and fixing boundaries to the same. 

By the terms of the proclamation last referred to, we find that 
said Washington county is bounded as follows: "Commencing at a 
point on the Missouri river one mile north of Omaha City, thence 
due west to the dividing ridge between the Elkhorn and the Missouri 
river; thence north-w estwardly twenty miles to the Elkliorn river; 
thence eastwardly to a point on the Missouri river two miles above 
Fort Calhoun ; thence southerly along said river to the place of be- 

" There shall be one precinct or place of voting in said Washington 
county, viz., at the post office in Florence. Anselm Arnold, Charles 
Howe, and Wm. Bryant shall be judg-es of said election, and Henry 
Springer and William Moore clerks of said election." 

The first election of the county of Washington was held at the 
time and place designated by the governor's proclamation, viz., at the 
(imaginary) post office at Florence, on the 12th day of December, 
1854 ; at which time some 65 or 70 votes were polled, and although 
it has been strongly intimated by those that ought to know that there 
was not at that time to exceed ten or twelve voters (legal or other- 
wise) in the county, yet the fact of there being a legal election is es- 
tablished beyond a doubt. When the returns were "all in-," when 
those present had voted as many times as they thought prudent, and 


when the vote Avas counted, it was found that James C. Mitchell was 
elected councilman, and Anselm Arnold and A. J. Smith were elected 

About this time the first county officers were appointed by Gov. 
Cuming, and were as follows: Stephen Cass, probate judge; Thos. 
Allen, sheriff; Geo. W. Nevelle, clerk and recorder; and Geo. Mar- 
tin, treasurer. 

The first territorial legislature met at Omaha on the 8th day of 
January, 1855 ; and the principal work of the session was making a 
permanent organization for the several counties, defining the bound- 
aries, and establishing county seats for the same. 

On the 22d day of February, 1855, an act was passed declaring 
that a " county shall be organized to be called Washington, and shall be 
bounded as follows : Commencing at a point on the Missouri river,, 
two miles north of Florence, or Winter Quarters, thence north, fol- 
lowing the meanderings of said river to a point in a direct liue, twenty- 
four miles from the place of beginning, thence west to the dividing 
ridge between the Elkhorn and Missouri rivers, or to the eastern 
boundary line of Dodge county, thence south along said line twenty- 
four miles, thence east to the place of beginning. The county seat 
of said county shall be and hereby is locatal at Fort Calhoun." 
■ During the fall and winter some half dozen families were added to 
the settlement at Fort Calhoun, while early in the spring of 1855 
there was a remarkable increase in activity and numbers. 

The city was mapped and surveyed, and, although not incorporated 
until November 4, 1858, was at once prepared to assume all the dig- 
nity and importance of a county seat, not however without great dan- 
ger of being distanced in the race by rival candidates for county honors. 

DeSoto was founded in the fall of 1854 by P. C. Sullivan, Wm. 
Clancy, J. B. Robiuson, and others; but no actual settlements took 
place until the following spring. It was incorporated by act of the 
legislature March 7, 1855. 

A ferry being considered indispensable and essential to the success 
and future greatness of all river towns, an early effort was made ta 
establish one at DeSoto. First, a charter was granted to E. P. Stout, 
in March, 1855, for a flat-boat ferry. Again in January, 1856, a 
charter was granted to Wm. Clancy and P. C. Sullivan to establish 
and run a steam ferry, and city bonds were voted to the amount of 


$30,000 to aid the enterprise, P. C. Sullivan being dispatched to the 
East for the purpose of disposing of the bonds and procuring a steam 
ferry boat. It is needless to add that this great financial scheme was 
a total failure, as DeSoto city bonds were not quite up to "par" 
among Eastern brokers. With this failure the steam ferry project 
was abandoned, together with the charter, and subsequently, in May, 
1857, a flat-boat ferry was established by Isaac Parrish. 

During the summer of 1855 a semi-weely mail route was estaWished 
from Omaha to Tekamah. P. C. Sullivan was appointed postmaster 
at DcSoto. 

By act of the legislature, passed over the veto of Gov. Izard, in 
February, 1857, the Bank of DeSoto was incorporated. Also about 
the same time, under the general incorporation laws of the territory, 
the Corn Exchange Bank and the Waubeek Bank became incorpo- 
rated. These three institutions, bearing the marks of the animal in 
all its feline rapacity, were in active operation for a number of years; 
and to assure ourselves that they were conducted strictly upon busi- 
ness principles, we need only be made aware of the fact that our pres- 
ent energetic fellow-citizen and genial banker, Mr. A. Castetter, was 
the presiding genius of the Waubeek Bank. 

DeSoto has also an important literary record. Weekly newspapers 
succeeded each other very frequently, each in its turn adding to the 
speculative enthusiasm of the times, each shedding a halo of glory 
within its peculiar sphere for a few short m(mths, or a year at the 
farthest, then promptly taking in its little sign and leisurely retiring 
from the gaze of an admiring public. Among the many weekly pa- 
jiers that have each in its time been the hope and pride of DeSoto 
may be mentioned the DeSoto Bugle, established in 1856 by Isaac 
Parrish ; the DeSoto Pilot, established in 1857 by Merrick & Maguire; 
the Wanhington County Sun, established in 1858 by P. C. Sullivan; 
and the DeSoto Enquirer, established in 1858 by Z. Jackson. 

About the 1st of July, 1856, the first saw mills in the county were 
put in operation. The first by Alonzo Perkins, the second by Powell 
& Cutts. Previous to this, however, a saw mill was in operation at 

At the fall election of 1855, two of DeSoto's prominent citizens, P. 
C. Sullivan, who became speaker of the house, and J. B. Robinson, 
were elected representatives, while J. C. Mitchell, the councilman 
elected in 1854, held over for two years. 


DeSoto continued a live and prosperous city for many years ; in fact 
until the advent of railroads, when it was forced to accept the situa- 
tion and yield to the influence of that great civilizer. 

By act of the legislature, the county seat was removed from Fort 
Calhoun to DeSoto in November, 1858, where it remained a period 
of eight years. 

Dnring the season of 1854 a colonization company was formed at 
Quincy, Illinois, and eight of its members sent out on a prospecting 
tour. This company traveled in their own wagons coming out, and 
cooked their own provisions. At Council Bluffs they were joined by 
Dr. M. H. Clark and William Kline. Crossing the Missouri river 
at Omaha, they there met Logan Fontenelle, the chief of the Omaha 
Indians, and were by him conducted to the present site of the town of 
that name. They were so well pleased with the location that they at 
once decided to look no further, and immediately made a purchase for 
one hundred dollars of a right to claim and locate a tract of land 
twenty miles square, and the place was named Fontenelle, in honor of 
the chief from whom the purchase was made. 

The party then returned to Quincy and made a report to their 
friends, which was favorably received, and immediately Mr. J. W. 
Richardson was outfitted and sent forward by the company to take 
actual possession, and prepare for the reception of the entire colony 
in the early spring of 1855. 

On the 20th of September settlement was commenced at Fontenelle 
by Dr. M. H. Clark, William Kline, Russel McNeely, Christian 
Leiser, William Taylor, William Keep, and a German called " Fred."" 
Mr. Richardson, as agent for the Quincy company, after being joined 
in Omaha by Col. Doyle, the territorial U. S. marshal, and others,, 
among whom was the family of Christian Leiser, arrived at Fonte- 
nelle on the 21st day of October. 

Late in October and early in November a census of the so-called 
"Western district," extending from Bell creek to Fort Kearney, was 
taken by Deputy U. S. Marshals William Kline and William Taylor, 
and at the election on the 12th day of December at Fontenelle, Dr. 
M. H. Clark was elected councilman, and J. W. Richardson and CoL 
E. R. Doyle were elected representatives for Dodge county. Fonte- 
nelle had been previously designated by Gov. Cuming as the only 
voting place in Dodge county, and by act of the legislature of March 
6, 1855, it became the county seat. 


Fontenelle at this time was not only a " city of magnificent dis- 
tances," but also one of "great expectations," for although it con- 
sisted of nothing more than a few rudely constructed cabins, and a 
dozen or fifteen inhabitants, yet the most brilliant hopes were enter- 
tained by its founders. Having secured the county seat, a vigorous 
and determined effort was made to secure also the location of the terri- 
torial capital at that place. In this interest two of the most distin- 
guished members of the company at Quincy were sent out to assist 
the Dodge county members as lobbyists. The most sanguine hopes 
were entertained by those who supported the measure, and its failure 
produced a feeling of disappointment and chagrin among those inter- 
ested in the town, both at Fontenelle and at Quincy. During the 
winter the party sent out to lobby for the Fontenelle capital scheme 
made a visit to that place, and on the night of their arrival their team 
of mules was stolen by a party of Sioux Indians. Mr. William 
Kline took the trail in pursuit, overtook the Indians near the mouth 
of Big Sioux river, and by stratagem succeeded in recovering the mules. 
Consternation and fear had so completely mastered the distinguished 
"members" from Quincy, that upon recovering their mules they de- 
parted for Omalia instanter, not daring to pass another night on such 
dangerous ground. 

Fontenelle was incorporated and became a city, by act of the legis- 
lature, March 14, 1855. The Quincy Colonization Company was 
incorporated during the month of March, and on the 28th of Febru- 
ary the Nebraska University was incorporated and located at Fonte- 
nelle, by act of the legislature. 


The erroneous idea prevailed among the founders of Fontenelle that 
the Platte and Elkhorn rivers could be used for purposes of naviga- 
tion, and that a water communication could be established between 
Plattsmouth and Fontenelle. With this object in view, the company 
at Quincy secured a small steamer of the ferry-boat style, and while 
the remainder of the party started overland with wagons, a portion 
of them with their families embarked at Quincy on the steamer 
" Mary Cole," bound for Fontenelle. The trip was made safely until 
near the mouth of the Platte river, where she was snagged and com- 
pletely wrecked. The lives of the passengers were saved with diffi- 


•ciilty, but the cargo was almost entirely lost. This was a great mis- 
fortune to the colonists, as their finances were very limited, and the 
boat's cargo consisted of their entire stock of provisions, tvith the tools 
and implements necessary in all new settlements. Nothing daunted, 
however, they picked up the fragments of their little fortune and 
pushed on, arriving at Fontenelle on the 10th of May, and on the 
15th occurred the division of shares and the drawing of town lots. 

The early summer of 1855 was spent by the colonists in erecting 
cabins for the protection of their families and in preparing the virgin 
soil for future tillage. The prospects were very flattering at this time. 
Peace, prosperity, and comparative plenty reigned, and all were buoy- 
•aut with hopes for the future. Their star of destiny seemed fairly to 
he in the ascendant, when there occurred an incident which not only 
-cast a cloud of sorrow over the entire settlement, but nearly proved 
fatal to the interests of the town. 


On the 4th day of July, two members of the colony, Porter and 
Demoree, while at work breaking prairie one mile east of Fontenelle, 
were shot and killed by a party of Sioux Indians, who, after scalping 
their victims, beat a hasty retreat, and were pursued a considerable 
•distance by volunteer citizens. A general consternation and panic 
■seized upon the citizens of the town. They had no fortress or other 
smeaus of defense, and knew not in what moment the savages might 
appear in force. At this critical juncture some members of the colony 
desei-ted their associates, and panic stricken returned to their old 
iiomes at Quincy, while the others bravely stood their ground, deter- 
mined to sacrifice their lives rather than abandon their new homes. 
Messengers were dispatched to Omaha, where a volunteer company of 
'Cavalry was raised, and under command of Captain William Moore 
started immediately for the scene of trouble. 

Arriving at Fontenelle, Captain Moore established a military head- 
^quarters there, and in conjunction Avith a volunteer company raised at 
Fontenelle, commanded by Capt. William Kline, proceeded to carry 
'On a vigorous campaign against the Indians. This consisted in placing 
the city under martial law ; patrolling and scouting the country round 
about ; hunting and fishing. Wild game was at that time compara- 
tively plenty, and from the fact that so much of the active service of 


those volunteers consisted in fishing from the Elkhorn river, this 
period has been facetiously termed the " Catfish war." 

In September the army disbanded, the Omaha boys returning to 
Omaha, while the Fontenelle people turned their attention from the 
exciting influences of active (imaginary) warfare to the more congenial 
occupations of preparing for winter, and other peaceful industries. 
No Indians were seen during the entire campaign, and it is more than 
probable that none were in the country during the whole summer, 
excepting the party that killed Porter and Demoree. 

During the season a semi-weekly mail route was established from 
Omaha to Fontenelle, and J. W. Richardson appointed postmaster. 

In 1856 a suitable building was erected for an academy, as prelimi- 
nary to the University of Nebraska, aud a school opened, under the 
auspices of the Congregational society, with Professor Burt as principal. 

A very little wheat was raised — more as an experiment than other- 
wise, and with gratifying results. 


Fontenelle continued to be the county seat of Dodge county until 
the 12th day of January, 1860, when, by an act of the legislature, 
entitled " An act to redefine the western boundary of Washington 
county," the Elkhorn river was made the line between Washington 
and Dodge counties ; and thereby Fontenelle became a portion of 
Washington county. By this act Dodge county was left without a 
county seat, and, except two commissioners, without county officers. 
This necessitated another act of the legislature to " re-organize Dodge 
county," passed January 13, providing for a special election of county 
officers and for the selection of a county seat by ballot, at the same 
time. This important change proved the death blow to the future 
prospects of Fontenelle as a city. Yet, although the sceptre has 
departed from her, her citizens have lost none of that energy and 
determination which characterized their early struggles. Many who 
in those dark days faced adversity unflinchingly are now reaping 
their just reward of merit, being in one of the most populous and 
wealthy portions of the state, surrounded by, and themselves enjoy- 
ing, all the comforts and many of the luxuries of modern civilization. 

Cuming City, one of the ancient and not very well preserved cities 
of W^ashington county, was discovered and ''claimed" by P. G. Cooper 


and two others, in September, 1854. No settlement was made, how- 
ever, until the spring of 1855, when actual settlers early made their 
appearance in sufficient numbers to justify the project of a city. 
Accordingly a " site " was located, mapped, surveyed, and named in 
honor of the acting governor, T. B. Cuming. It is claimed that the 
election for Burt county, in September, 1854, was held near Cuming 
City, on South creek ; while others again claim for that honor a posi- 
tion in the wallows on the bank of the Missouri river, near De Soto. 
The latter is, no doubt, the most valid claim, as t!.e parties to that 
election came up from Omaha on the day of voting, and were not 
likely, under the circumstances, to go farther than across the county 
(imaginary) line, which was at that time between De Soto and Fort 
Calhoun. Be this as it may, certain it is that the regular election at 
Cuming City, in November, 1855, was held under a cotton wood tree, 
near the present bridge on South creek. 

Flattered and encouraged with the patronage of territorial officials, 
Cuming City soon became a place of importance and great future pros- 
pects. The inevitable ferry charter was granted to P. G. Cooper in 
January, 1856, by the legislature, and the same month ''Washington 
College " was incorporated and located at Cuming City, and the same 
act appointed a board of trustees consisting of the following distin- 
guished persons, viz.: B. R. Folsom, James Mitchell, T. B. Cuming, 
Mark W. Izard, P. G. Cooper, William B. Hail, John C. Campbell, 
and J. B. Radford. 

In 1856 The Nebraska Pioneer, a weekly newspaper, was started, 
under the editorial management of a man named Dimmick. At the 
election in November, 1856, oneof tlie representative men of Cuming 
City and an early settler, James S. Stewart, w^as chosen as a represent- 
ative, together with E. P. Stout and William Connor, wliile AV^illiam 
Clancy was elected councilman. 

In 1857 there were in Cuming City fifty-three dwelling houses, 
three stores, three hotels, besides several boarding houses and a num- 
ber of saloons; and at the election this year Cuming City was again 
honored by the selection of two of its prominent citizens as represent- 
atives: Mr. James S. Stewart was re-elected, with P. G. Cooper, of 
Cuming City, and Alonzo Perkins, of De Soto, as colleagues. 

In 1858 c-ame into existence and flourished for a while the Cuming 
City Star, a weekly newspaper conducted by L. M. Kline. In No- 


veraber, 1858, by act of the legislature, the "Cuming City Ferry 
Company " was incorporated, and by the same act the former charter 
granted to P. G. Cooper was revoked. This ferry company consisted 
of P. G. Cooper, L. M. Kline, George A. Brigham, and others. 

The importance of Cuming City at this period is again apparent in 
the fact that at the election in November, 1858, two of her citizens 
were again elected representatives, viz.: P. G. Cooper and L. M. 
Kline, with Charles D. Davis as colleague, and George E. Scott, 

The first general fourth of July celebration in Washington county 
occurred at the grove on North creek, near Cuming City, in 1860. 
Almost the entire population of the county was in attendance. Hon. 
J. S. Bowen was the orator of the day. A band from Tekamah was 
in attendance, and altogether the affair was a grand success without 
precedent or parallel in the history of the county. Cuming City at 
this time appears to have been more powerful and populous than at 
any more recent date. Although it continued a place of some im- 
portance, yet the zenith of its glory had been reached and for the en- 
suing nine or ten years there was no perceptible change. 

The early history of the county is a history of suffering, privation, 
and mishap, of which we at the present day, saving those who were ac- 
tual participants, have little or no realizing sense, and in detail would 
fill volumes with incidents of suffering and adventure by those hardy 
pioneers, who, braving every peril, sacrificing at once the comforts of 
home and the society of friends in other states, following to the west- 
ward that never-setting "star," — came to found an "empire" here. 

Energy and determination, coupled witli extreme powers of endur- 
ance, physically, have ever been developed by the pioneer in all new 
countries, but probably in no instance have these qualities been de- 
veloped to a greater extent, and rarely indeed has there been an occa- 
sion when they were more required than by those who first proclaimed 
the civilizing influences of the nineteenth century, and unfurled the 
banner of freedom in Washington county. 

CENSUS OF 1855 AND 1856. 

The official census of the territory, taken in October, 1855, gives the 
population of Washhigton county as 207. The next census, taken in 
August, 1856, shows a very healthy growth. From 207 the county 


had increased, in ten months, to 751 ; and until the financial crash of 
1857 the ratio of increase was equal to, if not greater, than that shown 
by the census of 1856. 

Daring the years 1855, 1856, and 1857, the prospects were very 
flattering. Money was plenty and almost without value. Specula- 
tion during those years was rife, and reached its greatest altitude. 
Ordinary industries were almost wholly neglected. Most of the in- 
habitants yielded to the surrounding influences and were seized with 
the speculative mania of the times. Land claims and corner lots were 
the best stock in trade and changed hands often, for a cash considera- 
tion, at enormous prices. Desirable corner lots in DeSoto at one time 
found a ready market at $1,500 each, while land claims were bought 
and sold at from $300 to $1,000. Prairie breaking was bought and 
paid for at $8 in gold. 

During this period the settlers occupied rudely constructed log cab- 
ins, usually with earthen floors, but in some instances those who excelled 
in the matter of luxuries secured split logs or puncheons for floors, 
and lined the house with cotton cloth for a white finish. 

'' Squatter sovereignty " was the fundamental principle of all law, 
and "claim clubs" were formed in every town and settlement by the 
actual settlers for the purpose of protecting themselves and their inter- 
ests from the lawless and the desperate, who then, as now, were to be 
found in every locality. Contentions frequently arose ; severe meas- 
ures were often resorted to, and the lives of men, in many instances, 
were sacrificed in defending a mere claim to unimproved and unsur- 
veycd land. 

In August, 1855, a portion of the town site of Fort Calhoun was 
jumped by one Charles Davis, who was backed and supported by the 
people of DeSoto. Taking possession of a cabin on the premises, with 
a posse of fifteen or twenty men, he boldly defied the rightful claim- 
ants. The Fort Calhoun people rallied in defense of their claim, and 
twenty-five or thirty strong proceeded to besiege the cabin. A bloody 
battle ensued, in which Goss, the leader of the Fort Calhoun party, 
was killed, and Purple and Thompson were wounded. One of the 
besieged party was also wounded. The battle terminated in a com- 
promise, whereby Davis was induced, for a consideration, to abandon 
his claim. 

The winter of 1856-7 will ever be remembered by the early settlers 


as one of unparalleled severity. Snow for a period of tliree months 
lay upon the ground from tliree to five feet deep, with a crust on top 
sufficiently strong to enable a man to walk on it, while the heavier 
animals would break through. The native grasses and rush beds 
along the river -were entirely covered, and these were mainly relied on 
for wintering stock. Most of the cattle in this and adjoining counties 
literally starved. In some instances whole herds of cattle starved and 
froze to death within a mile or two of ample supplies of hay, not, 
however, without every exertion being put forth that was possible to 
move the cattle to the hay. The crust would not carry their weight, 
and they could not advance against it, and when effort was made to 
break a trail the flying and drifting snow would completely obliter- 
ate all traces of the work before the object could be accomplished. 
Many persons were frozen to death, some almost at their own doors. 
Snow^ storms that filled the air, and would in a few moments utterly 
blind the traveler, were of such frequent occurrence that traveling, even 
short distances, say from one house in a town or city to another in the 
same place, was oftentimes extremely perilous. Previously the wild 
turkeys and deer had abounded in great profusion, but during the 
winter the turkeys mostly died of starvation, and deer were slaughtered 
by the wholesale ; for in their frantic efforts to escape they would 
break through the crust while a man could walk on top of the snow 
and dispatch them easily with knife or club. The settlers were poorly 
sheltered and ill prepared to withstand the severity of the season, 
and none except those who were here will ever realize the extent of 
the anxiety and suffering that pervaded the settlements at that time. 

In the spring of 1857 occurred thegreat flood or overflow of the Mis- 
souri river, also unparalleled in the history of Nebraska. The waters of 
the Missouri river covered the entire bottoms, or lowlands, from the 
bluffs of Iowa to the bluffs of Nebraska. Settlers on these bottoms 
were washed out and their houses carried away, and in many instances 
people were drowned. The river was from ten to fifteen miles in 
width and crossing was only accomplished in small boats or skifi^. 
The town of "Hiawatha," located on the river bank east of Cuming 
City, was washed away, and the steam saw mill, which mainly con- 
stituted the "town," is presumed to be still buried at that place be- 
neath the turbulent waters of the broad Missouri. 



With the financial crasli of 1857, the era of speculation passed 
away. Fancies were replaced by matters of fact. From building air 
castles and paper towns, the attention of the settlers was mainly di- 
rected to the solving of a single problem, viz., how to procure subsist- 
ence for themselves and their families. All the wheat flour was im- 
ported from Missouri and Iowa. Groceries and dry goods came by 
river from St. Louis, and none of these could be procured without 
money. This useful article became singularly scarce — in fact, entirely 
ceased from circulation, and many of the best men (financially), 
men whose property was valued at thousands, could not command the 
wherewith to purchase even a single sack of flour, costing at that time 
from ten to twelve dollars. Corn bread became the " staff of life" — 
the wealthiest and best families living on corn bread and vegetables 
for several months at a time, and as there were few mills for grinding, 
the supply of corn meal was usually procured by the aid of ordinary 
coffee mills. 

The citizens of Fontenelle were particularly fortunate in the pos- 
session of an old style "corn and cob crusher," owned and operated 
by Thomas Gibson. It is related by a prominent citizen of to-day 
that upon one occasion, after his family had dieted on corn bread for 
many months, he very fortunately became the owner of a sack of flour, 
and arrived home with it late one evening. The next morning before 
daylight his cliildren arose from their beds in a state of great excite- 
ment and expectation in anticipation of the important event of having 
wheat bread for breakfast. 

The years of 1857, 1858, and 1859 are known as the "era of hard 
times." The financial crash deadened all business enterprises, and as 
up to that time speculation had superseded sober industrial pursuits, 
when the crisis came many or all of the mere adventurers left the 
country in disgust. They left the better class — those who came to 
make permanent locations and build up homes for their families — to 
face the crisis and survive as best they could. 

As if to add to the anguish of their already overburdened spirits, in 
the month of July, 1858, by proclamation of James Buchanan, a land 
sale was ordered at Omaha, and thus their homes placed in the market. 
This was a source of great financial embarrassment to all the settlers of 
the county, and many, by the force of this, circumstance alone, retired 


from the territory in disgust and ill-liumor at the policy of the presi- 
dent, whereby they were virtually deprived of their possessions. And 
to the few who at that time clung to their new homes — living upon 
corn bread and vegetables, without money, and without a market for 
their products — we only regret our inability to pronounce a fitting 

With the Pike's Peak excitement and the remarkable emigration 
to those mines in 1859, suddenly, and as if by magic, a market was 
opened up along the Platte and to the westward. This to our pioneers 
was the dawning of a bright and glorious day, after a night of fear- 
ful gloom and uncertainty. 

In the spring of 1859 occnrreed an incident which, although un- 
pleasant in detail, properly belongs to the history of the county. Two 
persons of very doubtful character had been arrested for horse steal- 
ing and bound over for trial. There being no jail in Washington 
county, they were placed in the Douglas county jail at Omaha for 
safe keeping. One dark night in February or March a posse of 
masked men waited upon the jailer, secured possession of the keys, 
and in a very prompt and expeditious manner took from the jail the 
two prisoners referred to above and with them quietly departed. 

Excitement ran high the next day when the two men were found 
hanging by the neck on the limb of a tree about three miles north of 
Florence, near the southern boundary line, yet within the county of 
Washington. An eifort was made to ferret out and punish the per- 
petrators of this crime, and at least three, at that time prominent citi- 
zens of this county, were arrested and tried for complicity in the affair, 
with the result of a failure to convict. This circumstance is no doubt 
fresh in the memory of many of the early settlers, yet some of these 
there are who would gladly forget the hanging of Braden and Daily. 

At a very early period imaginary territorial roads were located by 
the legislature connecting all the principal cities and towns. Promi- 
nent among them was the main road from Omaha to Dakotah City, 
running through the river towns of Washington county, located in 
March, 1855, by David Lindly, B. R. Folsom, and James C. Mitchell, 
commissioners appointed for that purpose. Although it seemed an 
easy matter to locate and establish roads by legislative enactment, yet 
traveling was attended with great difficulty for want of bridges until 
the summer of 1858 ; no w^ork having been done authoritatively un- 


til the winter of 1857-8, when bridges were built and the road placed 
in a passable condition from Omaha to Tekamah. 

At the election in 1859, James S. Stewart and John S. Bowen were 
elected representatives. 

The official census of 1860 returned a population for this county of 
1,249, and from that year may be dated the real prosperity of the 
county, and its increase in population. Farming had been reduced 
to a system. The Platte river and Pike's Peak trade made a steady 
market for all farm products, at good prices, while prospects were 
bright and money reasonably plenty, and those who had lived out the 
hard times of the preceding three years were made glad by the a})pear- 
ance of many new settlers. 

At the election tJiis year, John A. Unthank was elected councilman, 
and Giles Mead and Henry W. DePuy were elected representatives, 
the latter being elected speaker of the house. 

By the act of the legislature in 1855, the northern boundary was 
fixed about six miles north of the present site of Blair, and in Febru- 
ary, 1857, this boundary line was moved north four miles, where it 
remained until by act of the legislature, March 3, 1873, the present 
north and south boundaries of the county were established. 

In 1861, E. A. Allen and John S. Bowen were elected representa- 

In 1862, George W. Doane, of Burt county, was elected council- 
man, and L. R. Fletcher and Dean C. Slader were elected representa- 
tives. These members were not seated, however, as the session of the 
legislature for the winter of 1862-3 was dispensed with by act of con- 
gress, and the money equal to the expense of the session applied to 
war purposes. 

The election of 1862 witnessed a radical change in the politics of 
the county. For eight years from its organization the suppoi'ters of 
the democratic principles were in the majority, and this was the first 
republican victory. From that time to the present the county has 
been largely republican in sentiment. 

In 1863, H. J. Rohwer and John Evans were elected representa- 

In April, 1863, the Enabling Act was passed by congress, author- 
izing the territory to organize a state government, and at a special 
election held in June of that year Elam Clark and A. Castetter were 


elected to attend the state constitutional convention. This convention 
adjourned without forming a constitution. The legislature of 1865-6 
prepared the state constitution which was submitted to the people and 
adopted at a special election held June 2, 1866, at which time Frank 
Welch, of Burt county, was elected the first state senator, and David 
McDonald and W. R. Hamilton were elected first state representatives. 

At the fall election in 1864 E. A. Allen was chosen councilman, 
and H. M. Hitchcock and N. McCandlish were chosen representatives. 

In October, 1865, E: H. Clark and Charles Eisley were elected 
territorial representatives. 

• At the October election of 1866 there were two sets of legislators 
elected. John D. Neligh, of Cuming county, for councilman, and A. 
S. Warrick and Dr. L. J. Abbott, territorial representatives, while 
Jesse T. Davis was elected state senator, and John A. Unthank and 
Dean C. Slader were elected representatives. 


At the fall election of 1866 the county seat, which had long been 
a bone of contention between the two towns, was by a vote of the 
people taken from DeSoto and relocated at Fort Calhoun. 

Up to this time the interior portion of the county was compara- 
tively unsettled, but the homestead law passed by congress in 1862 
began about this time to have a salutary effect upon the heretofore 
unoccupied prairies of Washington county. A new impetus was 
given to immigration, and from that to the present time the growth 
of the county has been rapid and of a permanent and substantial 

On the 1st day of March, 1867, by proclamation of Andrew John- 
son, Nebraska was formally admitted as a state. 

In 1868 W. J. Goodwell, of Burt county, was elected state senator, 
and W. H. B. Stout and Christian Rathmann representatives. 

In 1869 the new towns of Blair and Bell Creek were founded and 
began to assume some importance as the railroad towns of the county ; 
the county seat being removed from Fort Calhoun to Blair during the 

In 1870 B. F. Hilton Avas elected state senator, and Elam Clark 
and H. C. Riordan representatives. 

In 1872 L. W. Osborn was elected state senator, and Henry Sprick 


representative, a new apportionment having given the county but one 
member of the house. 

In 1874 for state senator was elected Waldo Lyon, of Burt county, 
and E. S. Gaylord, the present representative of Washington county. 

Since the organization of the state, the county of Washington has 
been honored with the selection of one secretary of state, the Hon. T. 
P. Kennard, and one member of congress, the Hon. Lorenzo Crounse, 
who is now serving his second term as congressman. 

The railroad interest of the county dates back to the years 1864-5- 
6, when during each of those years preliminary surveys were made 
across this county by some of the Iowa railroad companies. The 
"Northern Nebraska Air Line Railroad Company" became incorpo- 
rated first in 1864. Subsequently the organization was dissolved, and 
re-organized again in 1866-7. 

A grant of land was made to this company by tlie legislature in 
June, 1867, of seventy-five sections. This proved too much for those 
virtuous Washington county incorporators. Seventy-five sections of 
land was more than they would consent to receive for the building of 
a paltry railroad, and they wisely determined to shift the responsibil- 
ity from their own to shoulders more broad. 

The result was, the Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Company be- 
came the owners of the "Northern Nebraska Air Line," together with 
the seventy-five sections of land, and during the years 1868 and 1869 
built and put into operation the first line of railroad in this county, 
extending from DeSoto, via Blair and Bell Creek, to Fremont, in 
Dodge county, together with a "plug" or branch from Blair to the 
Missouri river, thus crossing the entire county from east to west. 

The Omaha & Northwestern railroad, constructed in 1871-2, also 
passes the entire distance through the county, from north to south, in- 
tersecting and crossing the Sioux City & Pacific railroad at Blair, 
making a total of forty-four miles of railroad in the county. 

During the doubtful days of the great rebellion, Washington county 
was not lacking in those patriotic and loyal principles which actuated 
so many brave men of the nation. She promptly furnished company 
"A" of the First Nebraska volunteers, of which Peter A. Reed, of 
Richland precinct, was captain; Silas Seeley, of Fontenelle, first lieu- 
tenant ; and E. H. Clark, of Fort Calhoun, second lieutenant. 

The educational interests of the county appear not to have been 


lost sight of during the speculative excitement of early days, nor dur- 
ing the darker days of 1857, 1858, and 1859. As early as 1856, 
schools were established at Fort Calhoun, DcvSoto, Cuming City, and 
Fontenelle. The first session of the territorial legislature passed an 
act in ^larch, 1855, establishing a public school system, very imper- 
fect but answering all the requirements of the time. In November, 
1858, was passed an act "for the better regulation of schools in Ne- 
braska." This also has been amended from time to time, until now 
our public school system will compare favorably with that of any 
state in the Union ; wliile its workings in this county are a credit alike 
to the county and the state. 

The Blair High School building, erected in 1872 at a cost of $15,- 
000, is one of the finest in the state, and with its present efficient 
corps of teachers is fast acquiring a reputation as a first-class institu- 
tion of learning. 

There are at the present time within the county, forty-six school 
districts each provided with a good house for school purposes, varying 
in cost from $500 to $15,000. These houses will compare very favor- 
ably in appearance and accommodations with the school houses in many 
of the older states, and are mostly supplied with maps, charts, and 
globes — in fact all necessary apparatus for teaching upon the most im- 
proved modern principles. 

There are annually employed in the county seventy-four teachers, 
male and female, and the total number of children of school age is 

The amount of wages paid to teachers for the fiscal year ending 
July 1, 1876, was $11,626.95, and the total value of school property 
in the county at the present time is $49,970. 

There is little to be said concerning the religious interests of the 
county in early days ; probably these were mostly neglected, as such 
has been the ease in new countries generally. There was, however, a 
Congregational society organized at Fontenelle in May, 1856. Also 
the same month and year, Mr. T. M. Carter, of DeSoto, purchased the 
first library and organized the first Sabbath school in the county at 
that place. During the season of 1855, there were two religious so- 
cieties at DeSoto struggling feebly to counteract the influences of many 
saloons that infested the place at that time. 

Whatever may have been the status of church affairs in former 


times, certain it is that the interests of religion are well represented 
to-day. There are at the present time in the county twenty-three or- 
ganized church societies, representing thirteen denominations, with a 
nundjcr of substantial buildings in Blair, and others in various parts 
of the county. 

The present towns of the county are Blair, with a population of 
1,500; Bell Creek, with two or three hundred; Fort Calhoun, and 
Herman, all thriving railroad towns, and each the pride of the people 
in their respective localities. 

There are at present in the county four Masonic organizations, three 
Odd Fellows' organizations, and two weekly newspapers — the Blair 
Times, established in July, 1870, and conducted by the Hon. J. S. 
Bowen; and ihe Pilot, established in this county in 1874, and con- 
ducted by L. F. Hilton. 

In 1874 the census returned a population for the county of 5,404 ; 
and the census of ISIarch, the present year, shows little less than 7,000 
inhabitants, making an increase of population of nearly one thousand 
per year. 

With her natural advantages of soil, climate, and location, her 
schools and churches, the advanced state of morals and society, her 
railroads, her city of Blair — second to none of equal age in the state 
— and last, though not least, the general intelligence and energetic 
character of her inhabitants — her future power and glory are by no 
means uncertain, nor far distant ; and we have every reason to feel a 
glow of honest pride and satisfaction at the present situation and fu- 
ture prospects of Washington county ; confident in the assurance that 
she will, in the future, as in the past, ever be found ranking first 
among her sister counties — an honor alike to the state and to the mem- 
ory of him whose name she bears. 



By S. D. Bangs. 

At the time that Napoleon was first consul of France, the French 
possessions in North America were exposed to the maritime power of 
Great Britain, wuth whom France was at war, and were really a source 
of weakness to the mother country from tlieir remote situation and 
their liability at any moment to fall into the hands of the enemy. 

In this emergency Napoleon resolved to abandon his cherished no- 
tion of colonial dependencies, which could not be protected, and entered 
into negotiations with the United States for their relinquishment. 

In 1803 a treaty was consummated between the two countries, which 
secured the whole of this vast territory for the sum of $15,000,000. 

The Louisiana purchase (although unauthorized by the Constitution) 
is an imperishable memorial of the wisdom of Jefferson's administra- 

It extended the broad domain of the republic from the Mississippi 
to the Pacific. It opened out its immense resources to the struggling 
masses of the Old and New World, and states and territories have arisen 
within its borders, possessing every variety of soil and climate and 
rich in mineral and agricultural wealth. 

In 1804 an expedition was fitted out by the United States govern- 
ment, under command of Lewis and Clarke, for the purpose of explor- 
ing this newly acquired territory, and a vivid description is given 
in their journals of their descending the Missouri river in boats from 
St. Louis, and touching at a point nine miles above the mouth of the 
Platte river, within the present limits of Sarpy county. 

It is stated that in 1805 Manuel Lesa, a Spanish adventurer, with 
his party, visited the site on which Bellevue is now situated, and upon 
viewing the magnificent panorama that was spread before them, Capt. 
Lesa, with a spontaneous burst of admiration, exclaimed, " Belle vue ! " 
(or beautiful view) a name by which it has since been recognized. 

In 1810 the American Fur Company established a trading post at 
Bellevue, and api)ointed Francis DeRoin Indian trader, who was 
succeeded by Joseph Roubideux, who served a term of six years, when 
his place was supplied by John Cabonne, until superseded in 1824 by 


Col, Peter A. Sarpy, the distinguished Indian trader, who continued in 
that capacity for about thirty years. 

In 1823 Council Bluffs Indian agency at Fort Calhoun was re- 
moved to Bellevue, and included in its limits the Omaha, Otoe, Paw- 
nee, and Pottawattamie tribes of Indians. 

In 1834 the Pev. Moses Merrill, a Baptist missionary, erected a 
mission house among the Otoes. A stone chimney still remains to 
point the spot where a faithful missionary sacrificed his life in the dis- 
charge of his duty. He died in 1835, and at the request of his wife 
was buried on the Iowa side of the Missouri. His wife and child re- 
turned to the New England states, and the river has long since washed 
away all traces of his last resting place. 

The property upon which the mission stood is now owned by John 
F. Payne, who has resided there thirteen years. 

In the fall of 1834 Samuel Allis and Rev. John Dunbar, under the 
directions 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, where these Indians were paid 
their annuities. Messrs. Allis and Dunbar opened a school among 
the Pawnees at Council Point, up the Platte, which was afterAvards 
abandoned on account of the hostility of the Sioux, and Mr. Allis re- 
turned to Bellevue and taught the children of the Pawnees at the 

Gen. Fremont, after exploring the South Pass, stopped at the In- 
dian agency on his return in 1843, and sold his mules and wagons at 
auction and then descended the Missouri river on boats to St, Louis. 

In the fall of 1846 Rev, Edward McKinney, acting under instruc- 
tions of the Presbyterian board of foreign missions, selected a site on 
the south-east part of the plateau at Bellevue for a mission house and 
school for the Otoes and Omahas, which was approved by the Hon, 
Walter Lowry, the secretary of the board, on his visit in the spring of 
1847, and the buildings were commenced in the fall of 1847 and com- 
pleted in 1848. 

In 1847 the first detachment of Mormons under Brigham Young^ 
their leader, reached the Missouri river on their journey to Salt Lake, 
in a weak and destitute condition, but were relieved by the generosity 
of Col. Sarpy, who furnished them supplies, sheltered them from the 
storms of winter, and in the spring crossed numbers of them over his 
ferry at this point free of expense. 


Council Bluffs or Bellevue (as it was now called) had become an 
important point on the Missouri river, and the present Council Bluffs 
was known as Mormon Hollow or Kanesville. 

The trading post at Bellevue received the furs and robes collected 
from the trappers and traders along the upper Missouri and Yellow- 
stone rivers, which were floated down the Missouri in Mackinaw boats, 
and afterwards reshipped to St. Louis. 

Freights and merchandise directed to Council Bluffs landed at the 
trading post. 

In 1849 the Nebraska post office at Bellevue was established. This 
year Col. Sarpy's ferry boat from St. Mary's to Bellevue M^as kept 
constantly employed in passing over gold hunters on their way to 

In 1852 Major Barrows, Stephen Decatur, and others projected a 
town organization at Bellevue, which seems to have existed only in 
name. In this year the Rev. Mr. McKinney built a log dwelling 
house some distance north of the mission house, where he resided with 
his family, but shortly after resigned, and the vacancy was supplied 
by Rev. Wm. Hamilton, who arrived with his family June 6, 1853. 

In 1853 the Indian agency buildings and blacksmith shops were 
erected on the plateau south of the mission lands, under the direction 
of Major Gate wood, the Indian agent. 

On the 9th of February, 1854, the Bellevue Town Company was 
formally organized, with Col. P. A. Sarpy, Stephen Decatur, Hiram 
B. Bennett, Geo. Hepner, James M. Gatewood, Geo. T. Turner, P. J. 
McMahon, A. W. Hollister, and A. O. Ford as the original proprie- 
tors of the town, known as the "Old Town Company." 

About this time Col. INIaypenny, commissioner of Indian affairs, 
and Major Gatewood, Indian agent, held a council with the Omaha 
chiefs with reference to selling their lands to the United States. The 
Indians appointed Logan Foutenelle, a half-breed, as their head chief 
to assist in negotiating a treaty, and a delegation of chiefs, headed by 
Fontenelle, proceeded to Washington. A treaty was entered into 
March 16, 1854, and ratified June 21, 1854, which extinguished the 
Indian title to a large portion of Nebraska. 

On the 27th of May, 1854, a bill was approved by congress organ- 
izing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, which received the 
sanction of the president. The territory of Nebraska, extending 


north of the Kansas line to the British possessions, opened up a coun- 
try that is unsurpassed for fertility, although at one time regarded as 
part of the great American desert. 

The 4th of July, 1854, was observed with much enthusiasm. An 
immense vine-clad arbor was erected near the agency buildings; the 
star spangled banner floated in the breeze, and a salute was fired for 
•each state in the Union, including one for the new territory. D. E. 
I^eed acted as chairman. Among the toasts was one by L. B. 
Kinney, viz., "Bellevue, the belle of the West, the center of our 
Union," which was responded to in appropriate terms. Another toast 
by Stephen Decatur, viz., " Nebraska ! the keystone of the federal 
arch," elicited the wildest applause. 

Bellevue has the credit of publishing the first newspaper in the ter- 
ritory, which appeared on the 15th of July, 1854, and was entitled 
The Nebraska PaUad'mm, D. E. Reed editor and, proprietor. It was 
printed at St. Mary's, Iowa, until the middle of November, 1854, 
when it was brought over the river and placed in the south wing of 
the McKinney house. Dr. E. N. Upjohn, now residing in the county, 
struck oif the first paper, and Thomas Morton set up the first column 
of the first newspaper printed in the territory. It died a natural 
death in April, 1855. 

In October, 1854, the territorial officers appointed by President 
Pierce for this territory began to arrive. 

Gov. Francis Burt, of South Carolina, and his staff landed at Belle- 
vue on the 8th of October, 1854, followed shortly by the secretary, 
Hon. Thomas B. Cuming. On the 11th Chief Justice Fenner Fer- 
guson arrived at the same place, each of whom were received with 
the honors due their respective stations. Gov. Burt exhibited symp- 
toms of disease on his arrival, which proved fatal on the 18th of Octo- 
ber, 1854: He died at the mission house of a disease that bafiled the 
skill of his physicians, who bestowed on him the most unremitting 
attention. He also received the utmost care and kindness from Rev. 
Wm. Hamilton, with whom he was staying as an invited guest. His 
remains were taken to Pendleton, South Carolina, his former home, 
under a suitable escort. 

Deputations and citizens from Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, and 
other ]-)oints waited upon Gov. Burt, each urging their respective 
claims for the location of the capital, and it was his intention to have 


examined each point and then decided on the most meritorious one for 
its location ; but being prostrated by sickness, he was unable to do so, 
and after his death a public meeting was held, at which the acting gov- 
ernor made a proposition to locate the capital at Bellevue, providing 
the mission and town company would donate to him 100 acres oiF the 
north end of the mission reserve, which was indignantly refused, and 
in a few days Omaha was selected as the future capital of the territory. 

As emigration poured into the territory, it was deemed necessary to 
organize claim clubs to protect actual settlers in the possession of their 
claims on the public lands, and the first claim club north of the Platte 
was organized at Bellevue in the fall of 1854, with Judge Gilmer as 
president, and James Gow, C. T. Holloway, and Abner W, Hollister 
as committee to draft a constitution and by-laws. 

The boundaries of the various counties in the territory having been 
defined, Douglas county included all of what is now Sarpy county, 
and on the 20th of November, 1854, were appointed four councilmen 
and eight representatives, in accordance with the first census returns 
made by the acting governor. The county of Douglas was divided 
into two election precincts, viz., the Omaha and Bellevue precincts. 

November 30, 1854, having been appointed by the acting gov- 
ernor, T. B. Cuming, as Thanksgiving, it was observed at the mission 
house with services by Rev. Wm. Hamilton. 

At the election for representatives to the territorial legislature, held 
December 12, 1854, Bellevue precinct polled ninety-three votes, and 
elected S. A. Strickland, Chas. T. Holloway, Stephen Decatur, A. W. 
Hollister, and Philander Cook to serve as members at the first ses- 
sion of the territorial legislature, which convened at Omaha, January 
16, 1855, but were not allowed to take their seats. 

At this session of the legislature Bellevue was incorporated as a city. 

In the latter part of January, 1855, D. E, Reed was appointed 
postmaster. The post office Avas held at the mission house, where his 
wife taught the first white school in the territory. 

Nebraska Lodge No. 1 of A. F. and A. M. was instituted at Belle- 
vue in March, 1855, although meetings were held at the old trading 
post in 1854. 

A number of complaints were made to Major Hepner, the Indian 
agent, that depredations were being committed by the Omahas on the 
persons and property of the whites, and a council was held at the mis- 


sion house in Bellevue in April, 1855, at which were present White Cow, 
Yellow Smoke, Standing Hawk, and other chiefs, with Henry Fonte- 
nelle, a half-breed, as interpreter. The agent told them that the tribe 
must not stay longer to harass the whites, but must leave for their re- 
serve provided for them in the treaty. The chiefs replied by stating 
their grievance in having to leave their old hunting grounds and 
home ; that they could not restrain their young braves from stealing 
from the pale-faces when away from the village, and appealed to their 
father to ask the father at Washington to send them more ponies and 
guns, as they were poor and needed them to defend themselves when 
attacked by the Sioux. 

In an interview the writer had with Chief Logan Fontenelle the 
day before the Omahas left for their reserve, in June, 1855, he ex- 
pressed himself as dissatisfied with the government in sending a weak 
and defenseless tribe of less than 1 ,000 souls to be massacred by the 
Sioux, having thousands of warriors; and that a company of troops 
should be sent with them to afford protection. " But," he added, 
pointing to his Colt's revolver, "if attacked I am good for six of 
thera." The sequel proved his fears w^ere true. 

Logan Fontenelle was a half-breed, his father being French. He 
was educated in St. Louis ; spoke English fluently, and was at this 
time about thirty years of age, of medium height, swarthy complex- 
ion, black hair, and dark, piercing eyes. In the middle of the sum- 
mer of 1855 a procession might have been seen wending its way 
towards the old home of Logan Fontenelle on the bluifs overlooking 
the Missouri river, and above the stone quarries at Bellevue. It moved 
slowly along, led by Louis San-so-see, who was driving a team with 
a wagon, in which, wrapped in blankets and buffalo robes, was all 
that was mortal of Logan Fontenelle, the chief of the Omahas. On 
either side the Indian chiefs and braves, mounted on ponies, with the 
squaws and relatives of the deceased, expressed their grief in mourn- 
ful outcries. His remains were taken to the house which he had left 
a short time before, and now, desolate and afflicted, they related the 
incidents of his death. He had been killed by the Sioux on the Loup 
Fork thirteen days before, while on a hunt with the Omahas. Hav- 
ing left the main body with San-so-see, in pursuit of game, and while 
in a ravine that hid them from the sight of the Omahas, they came 
in contact with a band of Sioux on the Mar path, who attacked them. 


San-so-sec escaped in some thick underbrush, while Fontenelle stood 
his ground, fighting desperately and killing three of his adversaries, 
when he fell, pierced with fourteen arrows, and the prized scalp lock 
was taken by his enemies. The Omahas did not recover his body un- 
til the next day. It was the wish of Col. Sarpy to have him interred 
on the bluffs fronting the house in which he had lived, and a coflfin 
was made which proved too small without unfolding the blankets 
which enveloped him, and as he had been dead so long it was a disa- 
greeable task. After putting him in the coffin his wives, who wit- 
nessed the scene, uttered the most piteous cries, cutting their ankles 
until the blood ran in streams. An old Indian woman who looked 
like the Witch of Endor, standing between the house and the grave, 
lifted her arms to Heaven and shrieked her maledictions upon the 
heads of his murderers. Col. Sarpy, Stephen Decatur, Mrs. Sloan, 
an Otoe half-breed, and others stood over the grave when his body 
was lowered, and while Decatur was reading the impressive funeral 
service of the Episcopal church, he was interrupted by Mrs. Sloan, 
who stood by his side and in a loud tone told' him that "a man of his 
character ought to be ashamed of himself to make a mockery of the 
Christian religion by reading the solemn services of the church." He 
proceeded, however, until the end. After the whites, headed by Col. 
Sarpy, had paid their last respects, the Indians filed around the grave 
and made a few demonstrations of sorrow ; the whites dispersing to 
their homes, and the Indians to relate their own exploits, and the 
daring of their dead chief. 


In April, 1855, Col. Peter A. Sarpy was keeping a store at St. 
Mary's, Iowa, then a station on the stage route from St. Joe to Coun- 
cil Bluffs, As my destination was Bellevue, Nebraska, I stopped 
here and alighted from the stage with Col. Gilmore, a friend of Sarpy; 
who received us with a cordial and aft'ectionate greeting. We were 
invited to the store, where refreshments were served, and I had a good 
opportunity to observe the eccentricities of our worthy host. He w as 
about 55 years of age ; rather below the medium height ; black hair, 
dark complexion ; well-knit and compact frame, and a heavy beard that 
had scorned a razor's touch for many a year. His manner was com- 
manding ; his address fluent, and in the presence of the opposite sex 



polished and refined. Col Sarpy was of French extraction, and edu- 
cated in St. Louis, where his relatives occupied high social positions. 
He preferred the freedom of the western prairies to the society and re- 
finement of civilized life, and was never happier than in visiting the 
Omaha wigwams under the bluffs near the old trading post, the Omahas 
regarding him as their Ne-ka-gah-he, or big chief. To one of their num- 
ber— Ne-ko- ma, his reputed wife— he was more than once indebted for 
the preservation of his life when attacked by hostile Indians. She had 
been the wife of Dr. Cole, the surgeon of the post at the Indian agency 
at Fort Calhoun. Her influence with the tribe was unbounded, and 
to please her they were often feasted at Sarpy's expense. She is now 
living at the Omaha agency, enjoying a pension from his estate. But 
I am digressing. The conversation turned upon the action of the acting 
governor in removing the capital from Bsllevue to Omaha; the kill- 
ing of Hollister by Dr. Henry, and other topics of general interest 
in the newly organized territory; and while Sarpy portrayed in 
glowing colors the noble traits of the red man and the injustice and 
wrong they had suffered "at the hands of the whites, he was interrupted 
by a tall, gaunt looking specimen of humanity, who approached him 
and said : "This talk about the Indians as good, brave, and intelligent 
may suit you traders who have been enriched by exchanging your 
gewgaws for their valuable buffalo robes and defrauding them of 
their annuities, but I have lived among them, too, and I know them 
to be a lying, thieving, treacherous race, incapable of distinguishing 
right from wrong, and the sooner they are exterminated the better it 
will be for the country." Sarpy advanced to the front of the speaker, 
and in an excited manner addressed him in reply "Do you know who 
lam, sir?" with emphasis: "I am Peter A. Sarpy, sir! If you 
want to fight, sir, I am your man, sir ! I can whip the devil, sir ! 
Choose your weapons, sir ! Bowie knife, shotgun, or revolver, sir ! I'm 
your man, sir!" He snapped his pistol at the lighted candle on the 
table, a distance of about three paces, which left us in total darkness, 
when the stranger availed himself of this opportunity to make his exit 
by the side door, glad to have escaped the unerring marksman, who 
might have extinguished him in like manner. 

At the fall election in 1855 General I.. L. Bowen was elected coun- 
cilman from this part of Douglas county, and the next spring he se- 
cured a separate election district embracing the j^resent limits of Sarjjy 


Our first justice of the peace was Squire Griffin, who was an eccen- 
tric character, and had peculiar notions of the dignity of his position. 
In appealing to his legal knowledge, he used to say : "If the court un- 
derstands herself and she thinks she do, the law reads thus." His 
form of an oath was also peculiar, rounded as it was with the ''finan- 
cial period." Commanding the witness to hold up his right hand, he 
proceeded : "You do solemnly swear that the evidence you shall give 
in this case shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but^he 
truth, as you shall answer at the great day twentv-five cents." In 
the trial of a suit before him in which B, P. Rankin and S. A. Strick- 
land were opposing counsel, they became very excited and personal in 
their remarks, and liar and other epithets were freely used by both 
parties, when the court felt it his duty to assess a fine of $5 each for 
contempt of court. Rankin advanced to the desk and threw down a 
$5 gold peice, saying: "Your Honor, there is the five dollars, and I 
beg you to understand that I have always felt, and do still feel, the 
most profound contempt for this court" Before the court could re- 
cover from its surprise, Rankin had disappeared, and was allowed to 
go in peace. Strickland was stung to the quick and begged implor- 
ingly of the court to remit the fine, as his reputation was at stake, but 
the Squire was inexorable, and when the fine was paid his Honor re- 
marked that "the dignity of this honorable court must be upheld." 

The first Indian scare was in 1855, when John Saling rushed into 
Bellcvue on horseback and reported that thirty-three head" of cattle had 
been stolen at Saling's Grove by the Indians, and been driven off. 
Everybotly turned out, armed with every kind of weapon ; some on 
horseback and others in wagons. The Bellevue delegation met the 
Omaha delegation, commanded by Col. Thayer (since Gen. Thayer), 
at Saling's Grove. Scouts were sent in every direction to find the 
trail, but no traces of it could be found. A council of war was held 
and these hardy veterans commanded to make forced marches to the 
Pawnee village, recover the cattle, and strike terror into the ranks of 
the redskins. At night they camped near a stream in a grove about 
eight miles south-west, known as Lang's grove, and at present Aver's 
grove, and, as many were tired and hungry, loud murmurs of discon- 
tent arose when a few stale crackers and a piece of rusty bacon were ap- 
portioned by the commissary as rations for each recruit. While they 
were sleeping on the dead leaves, with a stump of a tree for a pillow. 


some dreamed of home, others of the morrow. A few who were 
awake, heard the tinkling of the cow bells not far from camp. In 
the morning a courier arrived with the news that the Avhole of the 
cattle had been found near the mouth of the Platte river, but that 
during the night a number of Jonas Mitchell's cattle had been driven 
oif by the Pawnees, who must have passed close by the camp. 

This baffled the generalship of the whites, and further pursuit of the 
Indians was abandoned. Those who participated in the campaign 
were afterwards known as "the survivors of the Pawnee war," 

Charles Child claims to have built the first flouring mill in the 
territory, in 1855, at a point on the Missouri three miles north of 
Bellevue, since known as " Child's mill." 

In January, 1856, the mission reserve was incorporated within the 
limits of Bellevue by an act of the legislature, being a section of land 
reserved in the treaty with the Omahas to the Presbyterian board of 
foreign missions, and for which the government afterwards granted a 

The Fontenelle bank was incorporated in 1856, and transacted 
business in Bellevue until the financial crash of 1857. During this 
year the Benton House was completed and kept as a hotel by George 
Jennings, and the mission house converted into a hotel kept by James 
T. Allen, and known as the Bellevue House. 

A city organization for Bellevue was eftected in the election of Reu- 
ben Lovejoy, mayor ; and Wm. D. Ro\vles, J. T. Allen, and A. H. 
Burtch, aldermen. Yo^mg America, a newspaper printed at Bellevue 
by Wm. M. Thompson, figured about this time, but was short-lived. 
It was succeeded by the Bellevue Gazette, which launched its first num- 
ber to the public October 23, 1856. 

The Presbyterian church was completed in 1856, and Rev. Wm~. 
Hamilton installed as minister in charge. 

At an election held in November, 1856, Gen. L. L. Bowen and J 
S. Allen were elected councilmen of this election district, and S. A. 
Strickland, C. T. Holloway, John Finney, and Joseph Dyson repre- 
sentatives ; and through their exertions Sarpy county was set oft' from 
Douglas county and its present boundaries defined by an act of the 
legislative assembly of Nebraska, approved February 7, 1857. Gen, 
L. L. Bowen, C. T. Holloway, and S, A. Strickland were the com- 
missioners appointed to locate the county seat, and Bellevue was 


Tlie first election after the organization of the county was held May 
25, 1857. Wm. H. Cook was elected judge of probate; C. D. 
Keller, register of deeds ; S. D. Bangs, county clerk ; W. F, Wiley, 
county treasurer ; H. A. Lansdorf, superintendent of common schools ; 
H. W. Harvey, county surveyor; John M. Enoch, sheriff, and John 
B. Glover, Robert McCarty, and Philander Cook, county commis- 

The county commissioners held their first session, which was a spe- 
cial session, on the 19th of June, 1857, at the court house in Bellevue. 
They next met in regular session July 6, 1857, and divided the 
county into three commissioners' districts and two election precincts, 
known as the Bellevue and Plattford precincts. The clerk was in- 
structed to issue notices of the general election for territorial and 
county officers, to be held August 3, 1857. 

At this election the Hon. Fenner Ferguson, of Sarpy county, hav- 
ing received the highest number of votes, was elected delegate to con- 
gress. He resided at Bellevue until his death, which occurred No- 
vember 11, 1859. His successor as chief justice was the Hon. 
Augustus Hall, of Iowa, who arrived in Bellevue with his family in 
March, 1858, and died at his residence near that place February 1, 

Bellevue lodge No. 4, 1. O. O. F., was instituted August 9, 1857, 
W. H. Cook, N. G. 

We have said this much in reference to the early history of Belle- 
vue, as it is intimately connected with the history of the territory be- 
fore and since its organization. We have many historical facts and 
reminiscences relating to other portions of Sarpy county, which must 
necessarily be omitted in this article for want of time, but which will 
appear in the complete history of the county. 


The original town of La Platte was situated directly on the Mis- 
souri river, between the Platte river and the Papillion creek, and east 
of its present location. In 1855 the proprietors of the town. Gen. 
W. Larimer, Col. R. Hogeboom, B. P. Rankin, and Gov. Cuming, 
erected a double log house as a hotel, and built a steam saw-mill cost- 
ing $7,000. Daniel Turner, Rev. John Hughes, and G. W. Tozier 
were among the first settlers. The town, from its proximity to the 


river, was subject to periodical overflows, and in 1856 was abandoned 
for higher ground. A new town, west of there, extending to the edge 
of the table-land, was organized and platted by Larimer and Hoge- 
boom, who purchased the land owned by Turner & Hughes, and it 
was named Larimer, in honor of one of its founders. The first hotel 
was built by Col. Hogeboom and kept by Mr. Shannon. 

Between this place and the Missouri river a town named Platona 
was surveyed and platted by Daniel Gantt, who built a hotel. This 
town has long since ceased to exist. 

Another town east of this and the Missouri river, called Triaqua, 
shared the same fate. 

The present town of La Platte was laid out by the O. & S. \V. R. 
R. Co., in 1870, and is situated nearly in the south-east corner of the 
county, embracing a portion of the original Larimer town site. It 
may be said to command the key to the Platte valley, being not far 
from the junction of the Platte river with the Missouri. The lime- 
stone quarries, a short distance above town and south-west, afford em- 
ployment to large numbers. The stone is shipped to Omaha, Lincoln, 
and other points by the B. & M. P. R. Co., who have an excellent 
station at this place. There is a hotel, grist mill, store, blacksmith 
shop, and other buildings, and a good shipping trade is carried on in 
grain and other articles of merchandise. 

The railroad bridge crosses the Platte river near this place, and is 
on the line of the B. & M. railroad. 


Was designed by its originators as a suitable location for the county 
seat. It is about ten miles from the mouth of the Platte river, on a 
high and beautiful plateau, and surrounded by well-improved farms. 
The Methodists have a flourishing church and Sunday-school in oper- 
ation. As a town it has proven to be a failure. 


As earlv as 1857, John L. Beadle, of New York, visited this 
county and pre-empted a portion of the land on which Papillion now 
stands. He was a practical man and had studied the topography of 
the country with a view to its future development. He considered 
this point in the Papillion valley as the natural outlet to the rich agri- 
cultural country extending south and west to the Platte river, and be- 


lieving; that the nation's highway to the Pacific would, in time, trav- 
erse this valley to reach the Platte, his faith in its future prosperity 
was unbounded, and had he lived he would have seen his fondest 
wishes realized in the beautiful little town which is now our county 
seat, and around which, in future, the historical associations shall 

The first building erected was by Dr. D. E. Beadle (a brother of 
John L. Beadle) in November, 1869, and the town was surveyed and 
platted in October, 1870. He also started the first store in January, 
1870, and sold his interest to Sander & Bro. in August of the same 

S. M. Pike, who owned the land adjoining on the south, had a por- 
tion of it surveyed and platted as 'SSouth Papillion," and from this 
time its growth has been steady, until now it reaches about 400. 

The Sarpy County Sentinel, edited by Geo. T. Hatfield, was pub- 
lished here; afterwards edited by J. C. Newberry, until its removal to 
Sarpy Centre during the exciting canvass for county seat in 1875. 

The PapUlion Times commenced its publication in November, 
1874, with A. R. Kennedy as editor, who has continued in that capac- 
ity ever since. 

The court house and public school, both built of brick, are orna- 
ments to the town. There are also a number of tasteful private resi- 
dences. There are two good hotels, several stores, a flouring mill, 
warehouses, shops, public hall and post office. Also a German Meth- 
odist church. Several other churches are in contemplation. 

This being an important station on the U. P. railroad, a large 
amount of grain is annually shipped at this point. 


lies nearly in the geographical centre of the county. The id.^a of 
laying out a town was first conceived by Capt. J. D. Spearman, who 
purchased the land. A company was organized and the town sur- 
veyed and platted in 1875. For a time it disputed gallantly with 
Papillion for the county seat, but was defeated at the last general elec- 

There is a good hotel, store, blacksmith shop, and other buildings. 
The Satpy County Sentinel is published there. 

There are good roads converging at this point from every direction, 
and an excellent business is carried on with the surrounding country. 



was organized as a town April 18, 1858, with Barney Scott, Peter 
Forbes, Matthew J. Shields, AVm. Sayles, and Geo. B. Ackley as 
trustees. ' It is a town of modest pretensions and has never boasted of 
a large population. It is settled by an industrious, thriving people, 
and as its natural resources become developed the town will improve, 
and should the projected bridge across the Platte, connecting Saunders 
with Sarpy county, be built at or near this point, its future prosperity 
is doubly assured. 


on the U. P. railroad, ten miles from Omaha, was laid out by the 
U. P. R. R. company, which built a substantial depot on the line at 
that point. David Leach afterwards laid out an addition to the town. 
These parties have since succeeded in having it vacated. 

Papillion City, laid out in 1857, at a point about two and one-half 
miles north-east of the present town of Papillion ; Plattford, Hazel- 
ton, towns in this county, organized in an early day, have long since 
returned to their primitive state. 

We have thus taken a retrospective view of some of the events that 
have transpired in the early history of Sarpy county, preferring in 
this centennial year to omit its later history, as this will eventually be 
embodied in the general history of the county. 


By Rev. I. E. Heaton. 

October 28, 1856, I arrived in Fremont. Sabbath, November 2, 
I preached the first sermon in this vicinity. This yvas at the house 
of Seth Marvin, a mile and a half west of Fremont. No house in 
Fremont was sufficiently finished to contain an assembly of twenty- 
five. The next Sabbath we commenced a service in Fremont in the 
house of Robert Kittle (in a little shanty just south of the knoll on 
Military Avenue on which E. Abbott's house now stands). From 
that time Sabbath services were continued with special exceptions. 


August 2, 1857, the First Congregational church was organized 
with seven members. Four of these are still numbered with us; 
these are E. H. Barnard, H. A. Pierce, my wife, and myself. I was 
the pastor for about twelve years. About 1860 we collected timber and 
boards for a church. The timber was nearly framed; some Indians 
were passing this way, and arrived here late in the evening. They 
made a fire near our timber. Early in the morning we found the 
timber was on fire. It was chiefly burned. We then purchased an 
unfinished house, and fitted it for a church. It became afterward 
the residence of Thomas Wilson. In the spring of 1867 we com- 
menced the erection of a church 28x40 feet. It contained a tower 
and a bell. Our numbers were then small. The population of Fre- 
mont was small. The church was erected with perhaps as much en- 
ergy, effort, and self-denial as have been exhibited in the erection of 
our present commodious church. We disposed of our first church 
building, expecting to soon occupy the new church. But delays oc- 
curred; the church was not completed for use till its dedication, Aug. 
5, 1868.^ During the winter wc occupied the school house; it stood 
west of the present Baptist church. The use of the school house was 
by necessity divided among three denominations. One Sabbath in 
January it was my lot to preach in the evening. Saturdav afternoon 
my wife and I went away, expecting that I should preach in the morn- 
ing. A young lady had been left in my care by the will of her 
mother by adoption. We left her M^ith another young lady in charge 
of the house. By her slight want of caution our house took fire and 
was burned in the evening. When I returned Eev. Mr. Van Anda, 
the Methodist brother, suggested to me that perhaps I would not feel 
like preaching after returning and finding my house burned. I re- 
plied that I could just the same as on other occasions. I did so. This 
was, of course, a severe loss ; all my books and papers were gone. But 
I took this view of the case ; the loss had already occurred, I could 
not recall it. I Mould endeavor to make the best practicable improve- 
ment of present circumstances. So far as my loss might be considered 
providential I would neither murmur or repine. I remembered these 
lines : 

Behind a frowning providence, 
He hides a smiling face. 

Providence smiled upon me. Friends were kindly liberal. I was 
enabled to erect our present house. In the spring of 1869 I was af- 


flicted with severe rheumatism and resigned my office as pastor of tliis 
church. I suggested that some younger man might be more useful. 
October 1, Rev. James B. Chase became our pastor. He continued 
so for two years. In January, 1872, Ros well Foster became our pas- 
tor. He continued so for three years and some months. During his 
pastorate we enlarged our church building, by adding twenty-two feet 
to the north end. In January, 1876, Rev. George Porter became our 
pastor, and continued so for a year and a half. Our present pastor 
Rev. A. T. Swing, commenced labor with us February 1, 1878. 


By Hon. E. H. Baenard. 

When in the early autumn of 1856, from the bluffs near Elkhorn 
City, my eye first beheld this portion of the great Platte valley, I 
thought I had never seen so goodly a landscape. For many miles 
the windings of the Elkhorn and Platte rivers were outlined by a 
fringe of timber, bounding the valley on either side, while the mean- 
derings of the now classic Rawhide were as distinctly traceable by an 
occasional tree and clump of bushes. The sight filled me with rapture 
and made the blood fairly bound in my veins. In all my life I had 
never seen its like and I never expect to again. Here was this grand, 
and beautiful, and fertile country, spread out like a map at my feet. 
And what made it more fascinating was the fact that it ^xs^slmoccujyied 
except by Indians and wild beasts. What wonder that those who saw 
this valley then should be seized with a strong desire, as was Moses 
of old, to go in and possess the land. 

Well, we went in, a few of us, and just here the jyoetry of this nar- 
rative ends. Instead of the flesh pots of Egypt, made i-eady and 
awaiting us, we found hardships and privations on every hand. No- 
body had been in advance to build us houses and dig us wells, to lay 
out roads and build bridges, school houses, and churches : nor men to 
plant groves for us. We had all these things to do for ourselves. 
The man who has a good house to live in while he builds a better 
one, docs agfjod thing, but he who builds a shelter while he is himself 

*Kead at the iircwell service held in the Old Church, June 21, 1884, first printed in the Fre- 
mont Tribum ; reprinted by permission. 


unsheltered does quite a different thing, and just that the first settler 
always has to do in a new country. Everything had to be done in 
the way of building before we were ready to begin to live, and all the 
while we were preyed upon most persistently by flies and gnats in the 
daytime and fleas and mosquitoes by night. Insect life was animated 
and held high carnival, and I can assure you there is quite a differ- 
ence between the music of the festive mosquito jusi outside the screen, 
and the same voice, and bill, too, on the rim of one's ear, as some of 
you may know. Well, we didn't have screens then, nor any place to 
hang them either, which was worse. And further, besides all these 
impediments and pull-backs, we had the Indians to pacify. All this, 
however, was to have been expected, and as long as money held out 
to buy provisions with we were content. The first human habitation, 
so far as is known, was built upon the very spot where a part of this 
church now stands. I say human habitation because it sheltered 
men ; but you may regard it as an inhuman place to live in when I 
tell you that it was built of logs, about 12x16 feet, and covered with 
hay. It was occupied first as a boarding house and afterward as a 
hotel, furnishing lodging to as many as fifteen or sixteen persons on 
one occasion over night. Such was the first cabin. In due time it 
gave place to this church edifice, and now that we are to remove 
this old building from this site, how fitting that a monumental church 
should be erected in its place, thus marking for generations to come 
the precise spot where that first cabin stood. 

I had intended to relate some experiences with the Indians, who 
were more or less troublesome all of that autumn, but I forbear as 
that would prolong my narrative too far for this warm morning. 

The winter which followed was one of great severity, and a large 
proportion of the stock which had been brought into the settlement 
in the fall, having nothing to ei^t but hay, mostly cut in October af- 
ter it had been struck by the frost, peinshed. 

I well remember that of the eight oxen brought here by Mr. Hea- 
ton, or perhaps I might better say, that brought him and his effects 
here, three survived. And here I want to relate a little incident. 
One of the most respected citizens, then as now, built a sled, an ox- 
sled, rather large as it was intended to haul house logs on, and as the 
weather was bad he was delayed in his work so that the vehicle was 
not completed until perhaps midwinter. When all was ready he 


hitched his oxen to it, but by that time the snow was so deep and the 
oxen had become so poor and weak and the sled was so heavy that 
they were unable to stir it out of its place. How handy it would 
have been if he could have had a span of those fat, powerful Perche- 
ron horses, of which Fremont now boasts, to put in their places. 
But then we didn't have Percheron horses. 

During the winter provision had to be brought from Omaha through 
snowdrifts that M^ere well-nigh impassable. It used to take a week 
to make the round trip, and sometimes longer. On one occasion, 
towards spring, when there was a crust on the snow strong enough to 
bear the weight of a man in most places, a couple of sacks of flour 
were brought over from Fontenelle on a hand sled to piece out until 
our regular supplies could be got from Omaha. The winter was 
tedious, both in its monotony and its weather. But in the spring all 
was bustle and stir in the settlement ; every man felt well and was 
full of courage and hope. Considerable prairie was broken up in 
time for planting corn, of which there was, very providentially, a 
good sod crop raised and harvested. The corn was of the variety 
familiarly known as squaw corn, because it was cultivated by squaws 
before we came. It was similar to^ Yankee or Canada corn, ex- 
cept that the kernel was softer. It was of all colors, and when ground 
or beaten into meal was the most perfect specimen of variegated colorfe 

This corn, while it was good for food, could not, at that time, be 
sold for cash, nor even traded for other provisions, for the simple 
reason that there was not any cash or provisions in the country 
demanding it. It had a value, however. It was good to donate ta 
the minister and for some other purpose. I have been thus particular 
in describing tliis corn because it was destined soon to become the 
staple article of diet in the little hamlet. If it had not been for that 
crop of corn there is no knowing what would have become of the 
colony. The settlement must have been retarded if not scattered per- 
manently. This may seem strange to the present well-fed inhabitants 
of this prosperous little city, but it should be remembered that like 
most first settlers in a new country, the first here were, for the most 
■ part, poor in this world's goods, and it will be readily seen that the 
expenses incident to building houses and buying everything needed 
for a year's subsistence and without any income whatever, were con- 


siderable, so that it was not strange that the second winter found most 
of the settlers with very lean or quite empty purses. One man who 
had spent all, applied to his grocer in Omaha for credit on a supply 
of groceries until he could raise another crop. He got for answer 
that groceries were cash; but the merchant very kindly offered to 
furnish dry goods on time, but dry goods were not wanted. Our 
friend came home without either, and with Puritanic firmness sternly 
determined to stay and go without until such time as he could buy for 
cash. That man was E. H. Rogers, afterward and for many years 
cashier and presiding genius of the First National Bank of Fremont. 
How he and his family luxuriated on corn meal that season I leave 
you to imagine. 

I well remember the case of two families, father and son, living in one 
house on corn meal alone for several weeks, until toward spring their 
cow, taking compassion on them, graciously consented to add the 
luxury of fresh milk to their diet. I say luxury because I mean it. 
The necessaries of life are really very few, or as a certain ex-judge of 
this county once expressed it, they are mostly imaginary. People 
sometimes become discontented and complain of hard times, simply 
because they are not* quite as well off as some of their neighbors. 
They think they are frugal and saving. What would they think of 
a regular diet of corn meal and salt, with variations, and plenty of 
good water three times a day for 90 days or so? 

One thing is evident, if the early settlers of Fremont are not all 
in comfortable circumstances it is not for want of enforced lessons in 
practical economy, for they certainly had them and plenty of them, and 
fully illustrated. 

A little anecdote may serve as a pointer and to illustrate the style 
of those days. A small boy recently transplanted from a home in 
Western New York had taken his place at table and was about to 
begin his repast, when his grandma told him he hadn't said grace. 
The little fellow looked up in his surprise and impatience and said : 
" I don't see what we have to give thanks for; we live in beggar 
houses and eat beggar victuals, and have to sit on old trunks and three- 
legged stools instead of chairs." He could't see it and the old lady 
had to perform that duty for him. 

In June, 1857, with many others came a man with three P's, which 
being interpreted read, poverty, providence, and pluck. He reached 


the little hamlet of log cabins, on foot — worn, dusty, and penniless — 
as did many others. He at once sought and found a place where he 
could work for his board — and such board — until he could do better. 
Well, he managed by hook and by crook to keep soul and body to- 
gether and by the next spring had succeeded in borrowing money 
enough from some friend East to buy a breaking team consisting of 
two yoke of oxen and a plow, but before he had turned a furrow the 
Indians stole three of his oxen, and while searching for them the other 
ox strayed off, so he lost all — and had the borrowed money to pay. 
That was a little discouraging, wasn't it? He might have sat down 
and wrung his hands and prated that the Avorld was against him, or 
he might have packed his knapsack and gone off cursing the country, 
but he did neither. He stayed and kept at it. That man to-day is 
the head of one of the great commercial houses of this city and a l>ank 
president — Theron Nye. 

About the same time a family settled here from one of the Western 
states. The ladies, some of them, called upon the new-comer, as you 
know ladies do sometimes, and the hostess informed them that she 
had not been accustomed to such society, nor to living in such houses 
with such furniture. "Why," she said, "where I came from we had 
our houses painted on the inside and had painted furniture, too." As 
if the ladies of Fremont at that day never had seen paint. The next 
spring there was a rush of travel to Pike's Peak, and this very woman 
had tacked up on her house a sign which read, " Buter for Sale Here." 
She was believed to be the first codfish aristocrat of Fremont — she 
doesn't live here now. I have spoken thus of the humble begin- 
nings, of the hardships, and the poverty and self-denial of those 
early days, which are in such marked contrast to the affluence and 
luxury of the present — that the disheartened and unfortunate may 
take courage by knowing wliat others have had to endure, that the 
lavish may learn to save, that the haughty, if there are any such, 
may be humble, and that all may remember not to despise the day of 
small things. 



[A Communication from S. D. Cox, Secretary of the Association.] 

Lincoln, Neb., Jan. 12, 1886. 
Geo. E. Howard, Sec'y of the State Historical Society : 

Dear Sir : — I have the pleasure to transmit herewith a brief his- 
tory of the organization and transactions of the Historical and Politi- 
cal Science Association of the University of Nebraska. As the object 
of the Association is the study of economic and historical problems 
with special reference to local questions, its transactions will be of in- 
terest to your society, with which it is a co-laborer in a common field. 

The association was organized Nov., 1884, with the following char- 
ter members : Chancellor I. J. Manatt, Prof. Geo. E. Howard, H. 
W. Caldwell, Sam D. Cox, Laurence Fossler, Edson Rich, W. P. 
Sullivan, A. W. Foote, N. Z. Snell, Flora E. Frost, Clara Parks, and 
H. H. Wilson. 

The following additional names have been added to the roll of mem- 
bership by election : Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Field, Mrs. Geo. E. How- 
ard; and Miss M. A. Treeman, E. J, Churchill, A. G. Warner, and 
C. G. McMillan have become members as post-graduates. 

Honorary members have been elected as follows: C. H. Gere, Al- 
bert Watkins, J. D. Calhoun, W. W. W. Jones, Mr. and Mrs. S. B. 
Pound, Mrs. J. L. McConnell, and Mrs. J. S. Dales, of Lincoln ; Dr. 
Jesse Macy, of Grinnell, Iowa, and Dr. Albert Shaw, of the Minne- 
apolis Tribune. 

The nature and object of the association can not be more concisely 
explained than by quoting the simple plan of organization, which 
.serves as a constitution and by-laws : 

I. Tlie general object of this association shall be the co-operative study of eco- 
nomic and historical problems with special reference to local questions. 

II. The membership shall consist of the following classes: (1) Ex-Officio, (a) 
Professors and instructors in history and political science; (&) Seminary students: 
post-graduates studying for a degree. (2) Charter members and such other per- 
sons as may be elected by the association. (3) Honorary members: (a) Professors 
and instructors in other departments of the university; (b) Persons interested in 


this line of work who may be elected by a two-thirds vote of all the members 
present at any regular meeting. 

III. Officers. — The chancellor of the university, or in his absence, the profes- 
sor of history, shall be president of the association. 

The recording secretary and corresponding secretary shall be elected 
from the members of the association and shall each hold his office for 
one academic year. 

The association was organized by the election of Sam D. Cox re- 
cording secretary and Howard W. Caldwell corresponding secretary. 

Six meetings have been held, all of which have been of an interest- 
ing and profitable character. Besides the papers, much matter of in- 
terest has been brought out in the discussions of the papers and inci- 
dental topics. The papers and talks which have been presented before 
the association have been as follows : 

Nov. 16, 1884, a paper by H. H. Wilson on "The Unwritten Ele- 
ments of the Federal Constitution," and a report by A. G. Warner, 
"Wampum, Clam Shell Currency, and Indian Records." 

Dec. 6, a paper, "The Income Tax in the United States," by 
Howard W. Caldwell. 

April 3, 1885, a talk by Prof. Macy, of Grinnell, Iowa, on the 
question of " Educational Methods in their Application to Practical 
Life and Politics." A talk by Prof. Geo. E. Howard on the " De- 
velopment of the Township and the Evolution of Institutions." 

May 28, 1885, a paper by Edson Rich on "The Jews in Mary- 
land." A paper by Prof. Macy, of Grinnell, Iowa, on "The Rela- 
tion of Schools to Politics," read by Chancellor Manatt. 

Nov. 14, 1885, a paper by Prof. Howard on "The Evolution of 
the County." 

It will be noted that the papers that have thus far been presented 
have not treated local questions. This is due to the fact that most of 
them have been papers that were in preparation at the time of the 
organization of the society and were brought out at the earlier meet- 
ings when not time enough had elai^sed for the preparation of pa})ers 
denovo upon questions of local interest. 

It is the object of the association to pursue original investigations 
of economic and historical questions in a thoroughly scholarly way, 
and it expects to do work in these lines, the results of which shall be 
of real and permanent value. We look to the State Historical Society 
for the collection and preservation of much of the material which our 


association shall use in the investigation of local historical questions, 
trusting that there shall exist between the two organizations a hearty- 
sympathy and co-operation which shall prove to be of great mutual 


[Letter of Hon. J. Sterling Morton to Secretary Howard, Jan. 2, 1886.] 

Since replying to your letter this a.m., in looking over a daily jour- 
nal for 1859, I find recorded on the 5th day of January of that year 
the advent to Omaha from the Rocky mountains, of Al. Steinberger 
and Colonel Wynkoop, bringing the first gold from Cherry creek 
placers, where Denver now stands. The precious metal was in goose 
quills. The feather end had been cut off below the pith, right where 
the hollow trunk begins, and into this delicate, translucent receptacle 
the scale gold had been poured. There were not to exceed six quills 
full altogether, but there were enough to energize, organize, and en- 
thuse a cavalcade of fortune hunters the succeeding spring which 
reached from the Missouri river to Pike's Peak. 

The indices of Denver, the pointing fingers of fortune, were gloved 
in those insignificant auriferous feather ends. The marvelous unlock- 
ing of nature's safety deposit of silver at Leadville and gold at George- 
town and Golden, which has followed the discoveries of 1859, make 
the advent of Steinberger and Wynkoop at the old Herndon, in 
Omaha, on the 5th day of January of that year, a sort of metallic mile- 
stone in the development of the mighty mineral resources of the Rocky 

*The loUowiug extract from a letter of Mr. A. G. Barnes, of Lincoln, was published in the 
Daily State Journal, Jan. 15, 1886 : 

" I notice in a report of the meeting of the Historical Society a letter written by Hon. J. 
Sterling Morton, wherein he says: ' In looking over a daily journal for 1859, I find recorded ou 
the 5th day of Jannary of that year the advent to Omaha f-om the Rocky mountains of Al. 
Steinberger and Colonel Wynkoop, bringing in the first gold from Cherry creek placers.' The 
coming of these men at that time is true— I knew them well and both were from St. Joe, 
Missouri — but they were not the first to return from Pike's Peak to the river with gold dust. 

" un the 25th day of December, 1858, I landed at Plattsmoulh, and in a quill from a mountain 
eagle I carried about fifty cents worth of gold dust which I bad found and panned myselt at 
what was called the Mexican diggings, three miles above the mouth of Cherry creek on the 
banks of the Platte river. 

"At that time there were about half a dozen Mexicans working there and getting from fifty 
cents to 81.50 a day per man. 

" Moses Stocking, Milo Fellows, and myself, leaving part of our company, started about 
November 20, 1858, for Plattamouth, 600 miles distant, w th cattle. In about twenty days we 



[A letter of Hon. J. Sterling Morton to Secretary Howard, Jan. 5, 1886.] 

Prof. Egglestou, chief of the forestry bureau at Washington, puts 
the annual vahie of forest products at $8,000,000 in the United States, 
and Prof. Sargent made the estimate for the year 1880 to be .|7,000,- 
000. Tliat is more than the cash worth of our annual corn crop, 
twice our yearly wheat crop, and outvalues the yearly production of 
hay, rye, oats, barley, potatoes, buckwheat, and tobacco, all lumped 
together in silver dollars. The forests of the United States contrib- 
ute more in value to the channels of commerce each year by more 
than ten times than all the gold and silver mines of the continent. 

The denudation of all the hillsides, plains, valleys, and mountains 
in the Eastern and Middle states is making a history of the decline of 
agriculture, the increase of drouths, and the annual destruction by 
floods in spring time along rivers whose banks have been shorn from 
source to mouth of timber growth. And while deforesting is keeping 
a diary of destruction there and making hard history with the ax 
and the saw, cannot we, here in Nebraska, reforesting the plains from 
the Missouri river to the Rocky mountains, keep legitimately, a record 
of our tree increase, tree growth, and tremendous prosperity in agri- 
culture because of arboriculture"? 

If the State Plistorical Society will only establish within itself an 
arboreal bureau and appoint a competent person or persons to gather, 
for preservation therein, the history of all the orchards and all the 
tree plantations of Nebraska, from the earliest to the latest planting, 
it will do a most practical and philosophical thing. And thus — after 
some years — a datum will be conserved which will materially aid in 
solving the question of climatic changes being brought about by ar- 
got to Fort Kearney. There, the cattle being foot-sore, I left Stocking and Fellows to come in 
at their leisure, and started for the river alone. Before getting far on my way, however, I 
tell in with Ben Holladay, who was returning with mule teams from Salt Lake City, and who 
is known, by the way, as the man who first ran a mail across the 'Great American Desert.' 

"We traveled in company to Salt creek ford, where the town of Ashland now stands, when 
Holladay went on to Nebraska City and I to Plattsmouth. 

" I rode a very small mul", whose bridle was made of bed cord, while my saddle was com- 
posed of a piece of blanket and an antelope pelt. 

"Wherefore it is that I claim first blood in getting gold from Pike's Peak, as it then was 
known, to the Missouri river." 


boriculture. And more than that, this arboreal bureau will act as a 
signal station does upon a stormy coast, and warn the race in Ne- 
braska and elsewhere from danger to its very existence which shall 
come from non-attention to forestry — too much activity in cutting 
down and too little in planting out trees. The dead lands in the 
Orient, in Spain, in China, where man destroyed and never planted 
forests, teach a lesson that we should understand now. The Histor- 
ical Society of Nebraska can with great propriety, it seems to me, 
take this matter intelligently in hand and preserve, in the manner 
suggested, very valuable facts — facts which involve human life and 
happiness — for the use of succeeding generations. 

Men like Gov. Furnas and Dr. George L. Miller, who have prac- 
tically planted forests, who have, with keen relish, zealously studied 
trees and their adaptability and growth in Nebraska, can, by taking 
hold of the biography of all the planted trees in the state, lift into view 
valuable facts and render humanity a vast service. 




By Judge Samuel Maxwell. 

Among the pioneers of this state entitled to honorable recognition, 
who assisted in the formation of its laws and the founding of its insti- 
tutions, was E. H. Rogers. The subject of this sketch was the second 
son of a Methodist minister, and was born at Litchfield, Herkimer 
county, New York, January 12, 1830. 

We have but few incidents of his early life. The meagre compen- 
sation accorded to ministers generally seems to have taught him the 
necessity of care in the expenditure of money, and also that true hap- 
piness does not depend upon the possession of wealth. It is worthy 
of note that the most successful business men, and those who feel most 
keenly the misfortunes of otlicrs, and extend a helping hand, are those 
who themselves, in boyhood or youth, have felt the pinchings of pov- 
erty. In the year 1851 Mr. Rogers married Miss Lucy Golf, and 
soon thereafter removed to Wisconsin. In 1856 he moved to this; 
state, and settled at Fremont. No person who has not him&elf suf- 
fered the inconveniences and privations of pioneer life in a new state 
can fully aj)preciate its hardships. The open houses through which 
the wintry winds penetrate; the want of adequate facilities for li eat- 
ing, and consequent inability to render them comfortable ; the want of 
variety in food, and in some cases, the insufficient supply ; the coarse 
and rude furniture and utensils of those accustomed to better things,, 
would discourage any but the bravest. Even those with sufficient 
means to purchase articles deemed to be necessary, suffer ; while the ver\^ 
poor are frequently compelled to submit to the most severe hardships. 

Mr. Rogers sustained his full share of the discouragements of pio- 
neer life. In 1858 he was admitted to the bar of the then third ju- 
dicial district before Judge Wakely, now of Omaha. In 1859 he was 
elected from Dodge county a member of the lower house in the terri- 

*VVe omitted in the first volume of the Transactiong to credit Mon. James M. Woohvortb, 
Omaha, as the author ot the biography of Mrs Caroline Joy Morton. 

Believing it no more than simple justice, and as being legitimate history, to present as a por- 
tion of our work short biographical sketches of those who were piominent and active parlic- 
ipanls in the first decade of our territorial existence, we continue what we began in the fiist 
voli: me.— [Editor. 

22 [321] 


torial legislature. The house of representatives during that session 
•contained a number of persons who have since occupied prominent po- 
sitions in the state, among whom may be mentioned T. M. Marquett, 
then of Plattsmouth, now of Lincoln, the first member of Congress 
after the admission of the state; John Taife, then of Dakota county, 
the second member from this state, and who held the office three terms ; 
George B. Lake, of Omaha, afterwards judge of the highest court of 
the state for seventeen years ; S. F. Nuckolls, of Nebraska City, the 
founder of that city, an enterprising, liberal man ; John S. Bowen, 
of Washington county, who would honor that county by any office in 
its gift ; A. H. Hanscom, of Omaha, always on the alert, and ready to 
meet either friend or opponent ; W. R. Davis, then of Cass county, 
now of Seward, a valuable member, etc. 

In the council were Dr. Miller, late the editor of the Omaha Herald) 
Judge Dundy, afterwards territorial judge of the second judicial dis- 
trict, and for nearly twenty years last past judge of the U. S. district 
court of Nebraska ; and Robert W. Furnas, governor of the state from 
1873 to 1875. During this session a bill to prohibit slavery in 
the territory passed both houses. It received the earnest support of 
Mr. Rogers. The bill was vetoed by Governor Black and failed to 
become a law. The necessity for such a measure arose from the fact 
that it was generally reported and believed that there were a few 
slaves in the south-eastern portion of the territory, and while it was 
evident that this would not become a slave state, still there was a 
strong determination not to permit slavery to obtain a foothold, and 
to keep this fair state for homes for free men. The territory at that 
time greatly needed intelligent, enterprising settlers and these could 
only be secured upon the assurance that this would be and remain free. 

D. D. Belden, then of Douglas county, introduced a bill prescrib- 
ing and regulating the procedure before justices of the peace. It was 
passed without much opposition, and has remained without material 
change until the present time — a deserved tribute to the fairness of the 
author of the bill. A bill was also passed providing for a stay of ex- 
ecutions, which has not been materially changed, except to shorten the 
time for which a stay may be taken ; also a bill to provide for home- 
stead and exemptions, bills to regulate partition enclosures, to au- 
thorize a suit to be brought on a written instrument in the name (in- 
itials) by which it was executed, to prevent overdrawing public funds 


in counties, to protect game, to regulate the rate of interest on money, 
etc. Most of these acts remain on our statute books without material 
change and attest the practical character of the legislature. During 
the session one R. W. Steele, a former resident of Omaha, who had 
removed to Denver, Colorado, and been elected by the settlers provis- 
ional governor, in a communication to the house set forth the advan- 
tages of that territory, and the necessity for a separate organization 
and protested against the creation of new counties on the eastern slope 
of the Rocky mountains. The territory of Nebraska at that time ex- 
tended from the Missouri river along the fortieth parallel to the east 
boundary of the territory of Utah, thence northward on the summit of 
the Rocky mountains to the forty-ninth parallel, thence east to Minne- 
sota, thence southward to the Missouri river, thence down said river 
to the place of beginning. 

The communication of Steele will be found in the house journal of 
that session, page 287. This seems to have induced Mr. Rogers to 
emigrate to that territory, which he did in the spring of 1860. Soon 
after removing there, he was elected judge of the miners' court of 
Russell district, and held that position until his return to this state in 
the autumn of 1861. He was then elected clerk of Dodge county, 
and held the office two terms. At the election held in June, 1866, 
Mr. Rogers was elected senator from Dodge county under the new 
constitution, and at the meeting of the senate on July 4 of that year 
was chosen its presiding officer. The only purpose of the first state 
legislature was to elect senators, who, in conjunction with the member 
of congress elect would apply for the admission of the state into the 
Union. If the state was not admitted, all the proceedings of the leg- 
islature would be void. The members paid their own expenses, the 
prospect for receiving remuneration therefor being somewhat remote. 
Grave doubts existed in the minds of many as to the expediency of 
adopting a state government, and a constitutional convention which 
had assembled in Omaha two years before in pursuance of the pro- 
visions of an enabling act had, after organizing by the election of 
officers, adjourned mie die without a dissenting vote. The building 
of the Union Pacific railroad, however, and the near approach of the 
C and W. railroad to Omaha had the effect to encourage immigration 
and create a sentiment in favor of organizing a state government. 
The continual and rapid advancement of the state in population and 


M-ealth has sufficiently attested the bericfits flowing from state organi- 
zation. A territorial form of government at best is but temporary 
and provisional, and intended to continue only until the territory con- 
tains sufficient population to bear the burdens of supporting a state 
government. There are many drawbacks to a territorial form of gov- 
ernment, among which are the inability to derive any benefit from the 
school lands, or to make available the university and capitol building 
lands, and lands set apart for the erection of a penitentiary. Many 
of the most desirable immigrants, finding the educational system of a 
territory entirely undeveloped and surrounded by uncertainty, turn 
aside to some state where they are able to educate their children, hence 
are lost to the territory. In October, 1866, Mr. Eogers was elected 
a member of the territorial council, and also of the state senate, and 
was chosen the presiding officer of both bodies. The state was ad- 
mitted into the Union on the 8th day of February, 1867, upon con- 
dition " that there shall be no abridgement or denial of the exercise 
of the elective franchise, or any other right to any person by reason 
of race or color, excepting Indians not taxed ; " and upon the further 
condition that the legislature of said state assent to this condition. 
The governor at once convened the legislature and the condition was 
by it " ratified, adopted, and accepted," and so declared by the presi- 
dent of the United States, March 2, 1867. Governor Butler called 
an extra session of the legislature to meet in Omaha in June, 1867. 
Among the important acts passed at that session were the removal of 
the capital from Omaha to Lincoln, and to provide for the appraise- 
ment and sale of the school lands of the state. The constitution at 
that time fixed the minimum price of such lands at ^5.00 per acre. 
The legislature, however, fixed the minimum price at $7.00 per acre, 
and that pi-o vision was incorporated into the constitution of 1875. 
The effect has been to preserve to the state a permanent school fund 
which, when the lands are all sold, probably will not be less than 
$50,000,000, and may considerably exceed that sum, and the income 
from which, at the p-esent time, is more than $200,000. In 1875 
he was president of the republican state convention, and in 1872 and 
and 1876 a lay delegate to the general conference of the M. E. 
Church. In 1867 he organized the private bank of E. H. Roge'rs 
& Co., and continued as chief manager of such bank until 1872, 
when it was converted into the First National Bank of Fremont, 


with Theron Nye as president, and E. H. Rogers as cashier. He re- 
tained this position until the autumn of 1880, For some years prior 
to 1880 he had been troubled with a bronchial aifection, so slight as 
to cause no alarm to his friends ; as a precaution, however, he spent 
the winter of 1877-8 in Florida, returning home in the spring much 
improved in health. The indolent habits of the Florida people, and 
the want of some congenial employment to engage his attention ren- 
dered his stay in Florida quite irksome : hence, in the fall of 1879, 
relying upon certain representations as to the healthfulness of New 
Mexico, he was induced to spend the winter there. Prior to his de- 
parture a large number of his neighbors, as a token of their esteem, 
presented him with an elegant gold watch and chain. The presenta- 
tion address was made by the Hon. E. H. Barnard, of Fremont, who 
himself had borne the burden of pioneer life, and spoke as a friend 
to a friend. Upon the return of Mr. Rogers to Fremont, it was ap- 
parent that his stay in New Mexico had been unfavorable, and an 
effort was at once made by his friends to procure his appointment as 
consul at some port where the climate was mild and equable ; after the 
inauguration of Garfield, he was appointed and confirmed consul at 
Vera Cruz. He was at that time residing in Florida, but accepted 
the appointment. He sailed from New York about the 1st of July, 
1881, in one of the steamers that skirt the southern shores of the Gulf 
of Mexico, and reached Vera Cruz about the 15th of that month and 
assumed the duties of his office. The soft breezes of the gulf re- 
vived his spirits, and he seemed endowed with new life, but after his 
arrival at Vera Cruz a reaction set in, and he died August 1 of that 
year. The surviving members of his family are his widow and two 
daughters, one the w^ife of Mr. L. M. Moe, and the other the wife of 
Mr. Yager, who reside in Fremont. 

From boyhood he had been a consistent member of the M. E. 
church, and was one of its most liberal supporters and contributors. 
His benefactions, however, were not limited to his own denomination, 
but so far as his means permitted were freely made whenever an op- 
portunity was presented to better the condition of mankind or relieve 
suffering. The lessons of his early years were deeply impressed on 
his heart, and he regarded himself as a steward in the use of the 
means with which he was blessed. In every relation of life he was 
an upright, honorable, reliable man, and true to every trust. 



James Thomas Allan, the only child of James and Jean Bowman 
Allan, was born in Pontiac, Oakland county, Michigan, Saturday 
September 30, 1831. 

From his Scotch father he inherited a strong intellect and a tenac- 
ity of opinion, which was chastened and refined by his more sympa- 
thetic English mother, while from both he received a reverence and 
faith in a higher power, which in times of deepest gloom never 

His education was principally in the academy of his native city. 
There he earned the reputation of a scholar, not only in the English 
branches, but also in the Greek and Latin languages, of which he was 
especially fond. To further satisfy his desire for knowledge, he 
taught school in Pontiac, after finishing at the academy. His parents 
had long cherished the idea of having their only son join the ministry, 
and for this purpose sent him at the age of eighteen to Princeton. 
Being too active for a sedentary life, and with ideas more liberal than 
the dark, austere creed of the Scotch Presbyterians of the day, he re- 
mained there but a short time. 

On June 23, 1853, he was married to Miss Elizabeth A. Buding- 
ton. He was greatly interested in agriculture and horticulture, of 
which from his early youth he was passionately fond. His home was 
that of the typical country gentleman. In the garden spot of our 
Northern states he inhaled a love of nature with each breath, and the 
eifect was seen in the care and delight with which he cultivated her 
works. His especial pride was in new and rare varieties of fruits and 

Becoming seized with the Western fever, in 1855 he paid his first 
visit to Nebraska territory. Bellevue was his destination, where his 
father had preceded him in Jiuie. He arrived December 19, 1855. 
Having made all arrangements to open the old mission house (which 
had been built in 1842) as a hotel, he returned to Pontiac to arrange 
his affairs preparatory to his change of residence. 

* This biograjihy of Jnmes T. Allan was writt.n and presented to the State Historical Society 
by his daugiiter Grace— Mrs. Bradley. 


In April, 1856, full of ambition and energy, with his wife and in- 
fant daughter, he left the beautiful home of his birth to brave the 
dangers of a new land. He took with him everything needful for 
not only comfort but luxury, not forgetting one thousand young ap- 
ple trees, many of which are still bearing in Bellcvue, together with 
an abundance of small fruits and flowering shrubs to relieve thewild- 
ness of a new country, and to perpetuate the memories of his old 

They came up the river from St. Louis to St. Joe on the steamer 
"West Wind," the rest of the journey being on the steamer '"Omaha" 
in company with J. H. Kellom, O. P. Ingalls, and Joseph Chapman, 
with their respective families. They landed May 4, 1856. The fol- 
lowing June he opened the Bellcvue House, which far exceeded in all 
its equipments any hotel in Nebraska. Judges Ferguson, Black, and 
Hall, Governor McComas, Generals Bowen and Strickland, Col. 
Peter A. Sarpy, Logan Fontenelle, and in fact the leading spirits of 
the territory made the house their stopping place. 

Here was organized the Presbyterian church in Nebraska, with 
Rev. William Hamilton as minister. Mr. and Mrs. Allan, Mr. and 
Mrs. C. P. Storrs, and the Misses Maria and Elsie Hamilton as the 

In this year Bellcvue was incorporated as a city, with Reuben 
Lovejoy as mayor. He was ably assisted by James T. Allan, W. D. 
Rowles, and A. H. Burtch, aldermen. Young America, the first 
newspaper of Bellevue, issued its initial sheet in Mr. Allan's house. 

Mr. Allan removed to Omaha in October, 1859. He became chief clerk 
of the post office under W. W. Wyman, and E. B. Chandler's deputy 
clerk of the court. He assumed proprietorship of the Herndon House, 
a name suggestive of many memories to the early settlers. For years 
this was the stopping place of many men distinguished in civil, mili- 
taiy, and political life. Receptions to General Curtis and General 
Sherman were given here, and it is doubtful if subsequent gatherings 
have ever been honored with more noted men than these. This 
house was the scene of the inception of the Union Pacific and of alii 
the large merrymakings and celebrations of the embryo city. For 
six years Mr. Allan was the genial, generous host, ably assisted by- 
Mrs. Allan, and many will remember to-day the hospitable welcome 
they received from them upon their arrival in the new country^ 


Could the walls of the old building speak, they would tell talcs of 
many people stranded in pocket book, as well as ambition, wlioiii he 
quietly helped with money and sympathy, and sent them on their 
way rejoicing. 

Through failure to re-lease the hotel, Mr. Allan was compelled to 
abandon the Herndon in 1867, and for two years turned his attention 
to eating houses at Julesburg, Cheyenne, and Plum Creek. During 
Mr. Ivellom's, Mr. Griffin's and Mr. Yost's terms as postmaster, he 
was employed in the Omaha post office as chief clerk, for which po- 
sition he was pre-eminently adapted, gifted as he was with a remark- 
able memory. He inaugurated the system of free delivery in Omaha, 
and was at all times the accommodating, efficient, and pleasing right 
hand man of the office. 

Owing to the split in the republican party the change of postmaster 
in 1878 necessitated a change in the higher officials of the depart- 
snent. It was at this time that he returned with renewed zeal to his 
first love, and henceforward devoted himself to horticulture and agri- 
culture in all their branches. A long hoped-for wish was realized when 
he was made superintendent of tree planting on the U. P. railway. 
It had always been a pet theory with him that to jilant trees along the 
iron highways would obviate the necessity of snow sheds and fences, 
besides furnishing the railroad company with ties. Through in- 
sufficient aj)])ropriations he was never able to put his plans in full 
operation, but a beginning is made that will yield abundant fruit. 
This has not been fully realized as yet, but in years to come the parks 
at the stations of the great overland route will be his monuments. 

Mr. Allan was very active in collecting for Union Pacific displavs 
at our state fairs, and for exhibits at eastern and western agencies. 
It was on one of these tours that a runaway accident resulted in a 
double fracture of the leg. From this he never fully recovered his 
physical strength. 

In the winter of this year he was a delegate to the American Agri- 
cultural Association, convened at Chicago. He delivered an address 
<on the "Meat Resources of Nebraska," which is thus commended by 
the Inter- Ocean: 

"Proof is multiplying that the work of Mr. J. T. Allan before the late session 
cf the American Agricultural Association was about the only bright spot in a 
dreary and sterile waste. Mr. Allan is receiving much well-earned praise from 
the leading agricultural journals of the country." 


On his return he was principally employed in writing articles on 
the advantages of Nebraska. He is the author of five pamphlets pub- 
lislied by the Union Pacific. Two hundred thousand copies were 
circulated. These, with innumerable newspaper articles, undoubtedly 
award to Mr. Allan the honor of causing more immigration to the 
state than any other man. 

In the winter of 1882 he spent some time in the mountains collect- 
ing specimens of building stone on the lines of the Union Pacific for 
the Smithsonian. The cold and exposure of such a journey at this 
season of the year was more than his constitution could bear, and from 
that time his energy seemed to desert him. It was the last railroad 
business in which he was engaged. 

January, 1883, he was elected secretary of the State Horticultural 
Society, which office he held at the time of his death. In 1884 he 
published a pamphlet of 67 pages, on the " Forests and Orchards of 
Nebraska," which received the highest praise from prominent horti- 
culturists and the press. In February, 1885, he joined the Nebraska 
delegation at the New Orleans Exposition. He was an indefatigable 
writer, never lacking for words, and writing with ease and accuracy. 

In addition to the articles published by the Union Pacific, Mr. 
Allan wrote many addresses and essays. In 1873 a committee con- 
sisting of Messrs. Thompson, Aughey, and Benton, appointed to pass 
U})on the essays on the timber question, reported in favor of award- 
ing the premium to Essay No. 4, written by James T. Allan, and 
henceforward known as the Prize Essay. Four thousand copies were 
distributed, and it was also published in the Washington Agricultural 
Report. Others were, "Forest Culture," ''Diversified Agriculture," 
" Evergreens and Hardy Plants of the Rocky Mountains," " Nebraska 
and its Resources," "Nebraska and its Settlers," "Corn is King," 
"Meat Resources of Nebraska," etc., etc. He was a valued corre- 
spondent of the Americari Journal of Science and Arts, Silliman's 
Journal, Boston Advertiser, Chicago Inter-Ocean, and, Tribune, Edin- 
burgh Journal of Forestry, Rural New Yorker, Country Gentleman, 
Breeders' Gazette, and many others. 

Mr. Allan was vice president of the State Board of Agriculture for 
1871-2, vice president of the State Horticultural Society, 1871, presi- 
dent of the same, 1873-4-5, and secretary, 1883-4-5. 

In September, 1873, INIessrs, Allan, Furnas, and Masters repre- 


sented the state at the Pomological Exhibition in Boston, where Ne- 
braska was awarded the Wilder medal for the finest display. The 
previous year he, with Mr. Morton, was appointed delegate to the 
National Agricultural Convention in Washington. 

In 1875 Mr. Allan attended the convention of the American Pomo- 
logical Society in Chicago, where, as president of the Horticultural 
Society, he had the honor of receiving another medal awarded to Ne- 
braska, At this meeting the American Forestry Association was or- 
ganized. To quote from a published report: "J. T. Allan of Ne- 
braska believed that the time had come for a national forestry associ- 
ation." He was honored with opening the meeting, and the presidency 
tendered to him. With characteristic courtesy and modesty he declined 
in favor of an older forester, J. A. Warder, of Ohio, but was appointed 
chairman of the committee on statistics to report at the Centennial. 

In January, 1878, as a recognition of valuable services for years 
in furnishing essays on various subjects, statistics, and other informa- 
tion, Mr. Allan was elected a life member of the State Horticultural 

He was also a charter member of the State Historical Society, be- 
ing one of the committee on constitution and by-laws ; of the x4.mer- 
ican Foresty Association ; secretary of the Nebraska Academy of 
Science, and an honorary member of the Massachusetts Horticultural 

He was active in the formation of the republican party in Nebraska, 
and was among the first to draw the party lines. Though always 
maintaining an interest in the politics of the state, they never absorbed 
his attention. It was in the horticultural annals that he aspired to 
have his name, and in this branch of industry that he most benefited 
his fellow-men. 

Although Mr. Allan's health had been failing for some time, his 
condition did not excite serious apprehension. Thursday, November 
19, 1885, he spent at his home, reading his favorite author. Sir Walter 
Scott, and attending to his correspondence, although not able to an- 
swer the same. Toward night he seemed to grow better, and was 
soon quietly sleeping. 

Friday dawned with all the warmth and promise of a day in May. 
Becoming restless, Mr. Allan rose and read for some time, and wish- 
ing to go out doors, left his book open, and his glasses beside it. 


He Avas soon followed by his daiiglitcr Mary, but the dread mes" 
seiiger had already come, for 

" When the sun in all his state 

Illumed the eastern skies, 
He passed through glory's golden gate 

And waked in Paradise." 

This closed the earthly existence of one gifted with the strength 
of a man and the tenderness of a woman, of one who never intention- 
ally, by word or deed, injured a fellow-man. Generous and modest 
to a fault, his deeds were never blazoned before the public. 

" He was a man of large intelligence and conspicuous usefulness. 
Always in advance of a distrustful public, he lived to see his most 
sanguine views and predictions realized. Few men will be more 
missed from the influential circle in which he moved." 

When the affairs of the present shall engross the coming generations 
of a great and prosperous commonwealth, many of the men who 
'- helped to plant civilization, and who shook hands with the Indian 
before he had been pushed away from the home of his fathers," will 
be forgotten. But when the name of James T. Allan is forgotten by 
men, God's lesser creatures — the trees which he planted and caused 
to be planted — will continue to teach the lesson he taught, " Plant 
trees, plant trees." 

JAMES S. ALLAN, father of James T. Allan, born in Glasgow, 
Scotland, November 5, 1805. Jean Bowman Allan, mother of James 
T. Allan, born in Richmond, Yorkshire, England, about the year 1797. 
They were married at Raby Castle, and sailed at once for America. 
James Thomas Allan, born in Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan, Sat- 
urday, September 30, 1831. Elizabeth A. Budington, born in Perry, 
Wyoming Co., New York, July 5, 1833. The children are, Jean 
Marion Allan, born in Pontiac, Oakland Co., Michigan, July 2, 1855 j 
Grace Isabel Allan, born in the mission house, Bellevue, 8arpy Co.^ 
Nebraska, August 9, 1857; Mary P. Allan, born in the mission 
house, Bellevue, Sarpy Co., Nebraska, October 2], 1859; Jessie, born 
in the Herndon House, Omaha, December 15, 1861 ; Donald Bud- 
ington Allan, born in the Herndon House, Omaha, August 27, 1866; 
Blanche Ayers, born in Omaha, December 16, 1869; Elizabeth Peck 
Allan, born in Omaha, October 21, 1872. 

Grace Isalx?l Allan and A. P. Bradley were married in Omaha, 
April 25, 1878. Her present residence is St. Libory, Howard Co«, 


Nebraska. Grace Virginia, Elizabeth Buclington, and Allan B.ea(\ 
are the names of their three children. 

Jean Marion Allan and W. R. Johnson were married in Omaha, 
June 11, 1879. Her present residence is Omaha. Her three child- 
ren are Robert, Erwin, and Donald Allan Johnson. 


Died, November 3, 1883, at "Headwood," the family residence, in 
Otoe county, near Nebraska City, Nebraska, of the infirmities inci- 
dent to old age, John McMechan, aged 83 years and 23 days. The 
McMechan family is of Scotch origin, and lived in Ayreshire, but 
being active and leading members of the ''Solemn League and Cove- 
nant," was forced, l)y religious persecution, to leave Scotland in 1650, 
and settled in the county Antrim, in Ireland, near " White Abbey," 
five miles from the city of Belfiist. 

John McMechan, the father of the subject of our sketch, was a 
wealthy land-owner, and the family estate in Ayreshire and Antrim 
■county numbered several thousand acres of grazing and tillable lands. 
His wife was a Miss Mary Ballentine, daughter of David Ballentine, 
of Ayreshire, and grand niece of Lord John ]5allentine, a cousin of 
Mary Queen of Scots. John McMechan was born on October 10, 
ISUO, at the family homestead "Carmonia," near the "White Abbey," 
five miles from Belfast. He had four brothers and five sisters. He 
survived all of his brothers and two of his sisters. In 1810 the 
family came to America and settled in Belmont county, Ohio, eight 
miles from Wheeling, Virginia, and his father in the same year pur- 
chased the "Indian Springs " farm, so called from the (Springs at 
M'hich the Indians camped previous to attacking AVheeling. 

His parents being Covenanters, were remarkably reverent in their 
observances of the teachings of divine truth, and he being early im- 
pressed with them, grew up with an abiding sense of duty and right, 
and a strong hostility to false pretenses. He received a good and 
thorough common school education, the best to be had in those days 
In that new and sparsely settled country. He also learned the lessons 

*T)ie biograpMes of John aud Matilda JJcWecbnu weie prepared by their son, A. C. Mc 


of a high moral culture and of industrial habits, constituting the 
basis of integrity and fidelity to duty which marked his career. At 
the age of seventeen he engaged in mercantile pursuits, for which he 
was by nature admirably fitted. When twenty-one years of age he 
moved to Mount Pleasant, Ohio, and engaged in merchandising, where 
he remained until 1826, when he went to Zanesville, in the same 
state, and on the 24th of April, 1827, he married Miss Matilda Bal- 
lentine, the second daughter of David Ballentine of that town. 

This happy union was blessed with a family of six sons and four 
daughters, of whom one son and one daughter died in infancy. 
During his residence in Zanesville he engaged in the flouring mill 
and mercantile business. In 1842 he removed from Zanesville to 
Glasgow, Mo., where he continued merchandising, and at this place 
he built and conducted the first packing house on the Missouri river. 
In 1846 he removed his family to St. Louis, Mo., where he embarked 
in the wholesale grocery business and continued until the summer of 
1853, when he closed out his business in St. Louis. 

In September, 1853, he removed to Council Bluffs, Iowa, then the 
principal outfitting and starting point for Utah and California emi- 
grants, and there he engaged in the wholesale grocery and outfitting 
business, and in freighting across the plains to Salt Lake City, Utah. 
His was the first exclusively wholesale grocery store in Council 
Bluffs, Iowa. 

"When Nebraska was opened for settlement in 1854, he was offered 
a portion of the town site of Omaha, but not liking the social element 
then predominating, he declined, but purchased several lots on the 
original town site, and for him was built one of the first business 
houses erected in Omaha. 

He closed out his business and sold his real estate at Omaha and 
Council Bluffs in the autumn of 1854, came to Nebraska, and became 
one of the original proprietors and one of the founders of Kearney 
City, which is now a part of Nebraska City, in Otoe county, 
Nebraska. He surveyed and laid out the town site, and when 
the land was subject to entry entered the same in the land office at 
Omaha. In the autumn of 1854 he purchased of Hall, Piatt & Co. 
the steam saw mill at Civil Bend, Iowa, and in the spring of 
1855 moved the same to the new town in Nebraska, it being 
the first steam saw mill erected in that place. On April 5, 1855, 


the family removed to Kearney City, where the subject of tliis 
sketch built the first frame dwelling-house erected in that town. In 
1857 he purchased of Ephraim White a farm two miles south of Ne- 
braska City, in Otoe county, where the family has resided since 1863, 
and which when purchased was named " Headwood." Soon after 
buying this farm Mr. McMechan set out a fine orchard, which was 
one of tlie first planted in that part of the territory. 

Mr. McMechan was a man of indomitable energy, and for him 
were built the "Planter's House," the first and only hotel in Kearney, 
— now a part of Nebraska City, Nebraska — the business houses of 
of T. H. & L. C. Winn & C^o., Kalkman & W^essells, and the hard- 
ware store ofD. B. McMechan, the first hardware store in Kearney or 
Nebraska City, and a large number of dwellings. In 1820 he united 
with the Associate Eeformed Presbyterian (now United Presbyterian) 
church, in St. Clairsville, Ohio, presided over by Rev. Samuel Findley, 
D.D. • and was a trustee and ruling elder for seven years in the United 
Presbyterian church in St. Louis, Mo., during his residence in that 
city. He was an earnest, energetic, zealous, consistent, and generous 
Christian; exemplary in all the duties of religion, and putting in 
practice his religious beliefs, always encouraging churches, religious 
and charitable societies ; and one of his first acts after settling in Ne- 
braska was to establish a Sabbath -school under the auspices of the 
church of which he was a working member; this was the first denom- 
inational Sabbath-school established in the territory. At the same 
time Eev. R. H. Allen, of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, came to Nebraska 
by invitation of Mr. McMechan and held divine service in Kearney — 
now one of the M^ards of Nebraska City — and preached the first ser- 
mon delivered in the new town. 

The subject of this sketch possessed a truly modest, retiring, cheer- 
ful, quiet, contented, charitable, and unassuming disposition; his 
mind was clear and his judgment had much weight, and these quali- 
ties, together with his Christian life, won for him the highest esteem 
of all who knew him. He possessed that stability of character which 
is the distinguishing mark of his countrymen. In business he was 
active, prompt, and punctual. He gave often and lavishly to the 
poor and needy, and no appeal in behalf of suffering humanity ever 
passed him unheeded, and although a Presbyterian in his beliefs and 
views, he gave liberally to all denominations wherever he lived. The 


poor of this section never knew a better friend. Socially he was 
tioreeable, entertaining, and hospitable to a fault. His peculiarly 
liappy temperament continued to the last. His perseverance in active 
well-doing was not ostentatious, but fruitful and unceasing. As a 
citizen and town proprietor he was solid and substantial, just, obliging, 
and honorable, courteous and accommodating; heartily engaging in 
every movement which seemed calculated to benefit the community or 
society at large. He gave liberally of his property and means to 
everything which tended to the advancement of religious or public 
good, to the encouragement of men struggling in business, and to 
those starting in life, or to the unfortunate and deserving. In friend- 
ship his attachments were sincere, strong, a.nd confiding. He lived to 
s ?e a large, prosperous, and enterprising town grow, aided by his own 
work, where had been dense woods and a wilderness ; fruitful fields 
and prosperous villages where naught but the bare prairies were to be 
seen when he came to the then infant territory. In his old age he 
could not boast of worldly success, but enjoyed a moderate compe- 
tence, and he gathered around his Thanksgiving table near a score of 
children and grandchildren who looked up to him with revei?ence and 
aifection. Of his life and its successes let it be written : " Mark the 
perfect man and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace." 
When his evening came the clouds in his sky were golden. The 
setting sun of life lighted them up with a radiance that heralded a 
blessed immortality. 


Died, February 5, 1886, of the effects of a fall consequent to par- 
alysis, at "Headwood," the family residence in Otoe county, near 
Nebraska City, Nebraska, Mrs. Matilda McMechan, relict of John 
McMechan, aged 78 years 10 mouths and 23 days. 

Matilda McMechan, the eldest daughter of David Ballentine, and 
a direct descendant of Lord John Ballentine, was born March 12, 
1807, at "Headwood," the family estate near Belfast, Ireland. 

In 1814 the family came to the United States and settled in Ogdens- 
burgh, New York, where she and her only sister, Agnes (" Nancy "), 


and her four brothers, AVilliam, John, Henry, and David, the latter 
twins, were educated. "When she was 17 years of age the family 
removed to Zanesville, Ohio, and there, when 18 years old, she united 
with the United Presbyterian church. She was united in marriage 
with John McMechan, April 24, 1827, at Zanesville, Ohio. The 
family moved to the West in 1842, living at Glasgow, Mo., until 1846, 
then removed to St. Louis, living there until 1853, and in the autumn 
of that year moved to Council Bluifs, Iowa, and in October, 1854, 
they came to Nebraska territory, settling in Kearney City, Otoe 
county, which Mr. jMcjSlechan laid out, and which to-day is part of 
Nebraska City. 

Mrs. McMechan had ten children — six sons and four daughters. 
Of these, two walked before her through the valley of the shadow of 
death. John and Rachel died in infancy. The eight living are : 
Mary Jane (Mrs. Alex. E. McConnell, in New Orleans, La.) ; Annie 
Clarke, residing at " Headwood," the family residence in Otoe county, 
Neb.; David Ballentine, in Kansas City, Mo.; John Henry, living at 
" Headwood," the family residence in Otoe county, Nebraska ; An- 
drew Charles, Lieut. U. S. Navy ; Matilda (Mrs. S. H. Callioun, in 
Nebraska City, Neb.); William Ballentine, and Edwin Eldridge, in 
Kansas City, Mo. Two of her brothers survive her: William Bal- 
lentine, of Kansas City, Mo., and Henry Ballentine, of Mariposa 
county, Cal. Her faithful and christian husband answered the call 
of the death angel November 3, 1883, aged 83 years and 23 days. 

She was possessed of an amiable, loving, retiring, and charitable 
disposition; gentle in manners, kind and sympathetic, refined and 
intelligent to the highest degree, and endowed with excellent judgment, 
active and efficient in every good work. As a christian woman, a 
christian wife, and a christian mother she was a model, and truly 
worthy of imitation. While she "rests from her labors," by her life 
we may hear her saying to us in words of inspiration, " Be diligent 
that ve may be found of Him in peace without spot and blameless." 
When she went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, there was no bible class in 
the Presbyterian Sabbath-school there, but she soon organized one, 
and taught it during her residence in that place. 

When the family removed to Nebraska, she, with her husband and 
family, organized in Kearney City the first denominational (United 
Presbyterian) Sabbath-school in the then infant territory, and she 


taught the first bible class. In 1877 she and her husband united with 
the Presbyterian church at Nebraska City, there being no U. P. 
church there. 

For three years before her death she was unable, because of physical 
weakness and failing sight, to attend church. 

While rising from her seat in her sitting room, on the afternoon of 
January 19, 1886, to receive some visitors, she fell, fracturing the 
right thigh bone, the fall being caused by a paralytic stroke of the 
lower limbs. She lingered until the afternoon of February 5, bear- 
ing her suffering with great fortitude and with full possession of all 
her reasoning faculties, and conscious until a few hours of her death, 
which she, like a good and true christian, calmly awaited, sleeping 
quietly and sweetly away without pain or struggle. 


"Was born in Wheeling, Virginia, September 9, 1838. His par- 
ents moved to Licking county, Ohio, when Henry was five vears 
old. He was educated in Connecticut, at Benison University. He 
came to Brown ville, Nebraska, in the spring of 1857. His first work 
in Nebraska was at the carpenter business. He then taught school, and 
afterwards read la^v in the office of E. W. Thomas, and was admitted 
to the bar in 1861. In 1862 he entered the military service of the 
United States, as adjutant of the 2d Nebraska Cavalry. After- 
wards he was assistant provost marshal of the district of Nebraska. 
Was mustered out of service at Omaha, in 1864, resuming the practice 
of law. In 1867 he was appointed register of the U. S. Nemaha 
land office at Brown ville. From 1871 to 1873 he was engaged in 
railroad construction from Brownville west. In 1873 President 
Grant appointed him a member of the Mexican border commission, 
and afterwards U. S. commissioner of pensions. In 1879 he re- 
signed that position, and was appointed U. S. surveyor general at 
Santa Fe, New Mexico, serving in that position for two terms, after 
which he engaged in the practice of law, until his death, October 1 7 

In 18.65 he was married to Miss Kate, daughter of Ex -Senator T. 


"W. Tipton, of Brownville. Four children were born of this marriage ; 
one only, Miss Alice, is living, Mrs. Atkinson died in the fall of 
1872. In 1881 Mr. Atkinson married Miss Ada J. Irwin, of Lin- 
coln, Neb., who survives him. Three children were born of this mar- 
riage. Two only are living. 


Judge J. L. Mitchell, while not of the early settlers more partic- 
ularly aimed to be embraced in this volume, on account of his official 
position is entitled to be recorded at this time. 

He was born at Belleville, Hendricks county, Ind., October 18, 
1834 He went to Sidney, Iowa, in 1856, and in 1858 there began 
tiie practice of laAv. In 1862 he assisted in raising the 29th Iowa 
A^olunteer Infantry, for the suppression of the rebellion, being at that 
time a member of the state legislature. He became captain of Com- 
pany E, same regiment, and served until August, 1864, when he was 
mustered out of service on account of wounds received at the battle of 
Jenkins Ferry, Ark. In 1875 he came to Nebraska City, and four 
years after was elected to the legislature, where he served as chair- 
man of the committee on railroads. When the additional judgeship of 
the second judicial district was created, he was appointed by Gov. 
Dawes, in 1885, judge to fill the position. The following November 
he was elected to the same position, which he held at the time of his 
death. He died at Des Moines, Iowa, February 25, 1886, where 
he had gone to attend a reunion of the ex-members of the legislature. 
He dropped dead of apoplexy of the heart, while addressing the re- 
union. He was married in August, 1861, at Sidney, Iowa, where 
his first wife died in 1880. Two daughters were born of the first 
marriage. He was married again in Indiana, in 1884. One child, a 
son, was born of the second marriage. 

In politics, the judge was a republican; in religion, a Presbyterian. 



Was born near Livingston, Overton connty, Tenn., February 16, 
1820. In 1828 he went to Illinois. In 1883, to Iowa, where he 
married Miss Rebecca Ashpangh. Then went to Oregon, Mo., and 
in 1854 came to Brown ville, Neb. He built the first house at Brown- 
ville, and his wife was the first white woman in Brownville. He re- 
sided in Brownville and vicinity fijr thirty-one years. He was a 
minister of the Christian denomination for thirty-five years. He 
died suddenly, September 23, 1885, at Bradshaw, Neb., while on his 
way to Sherman county. His wife and seven children survive him. 


Was born near Franklin, Simpson county, Kentucky, April 27, 
1819. Worked on a farm until sixteen years old. Then engaged in 
the brick and stone mason trade. In 1837 went to West Point, Lee 
county, Iowa, where he remained until 1838, when he removed to 
Jefferson county, in the same state. In 1850 he went to Liberty, Iowa, 
where he engaged in mercantile business. Here he continued until 
1857. From there he removed to a point on a line between Mis- 
souri and Iowa, where he remained only six months. From there 
he came to Peru, Nemaha county, Nebraska. He was admitted to 
the bar and practiced law at Fairfield a year or more before com- 
ing to Nebraska. He continued in the mercantile business until 
1866, when he engaged more particularly in stock raising. Politically 
he was originally a democrat, up to the formation of the republican 
party. He was president of the first Nebraska constitutional con- 
vention. In 1871 he was a member of the legislature from Nemaha 
county, and the same year was again a member of the constitutional 
convention. Through his eiforts in the legislature, the state normal 
school owes much of its present prosperous and permanent condition. 
From his youth he was a member of the Metliotlist church. 

At the age of twenty years he was married to Miss Annie Brown, 
also of Kentucky. Eleven children were born of this marriage, five 
of whom are living. His two sons, Thomas and Wilson, served in 
the Union army during the late war. 


He died July 16, 1886, at Ainsworth, Browu county, Nebraska, 
where he was visiting his son John, who, with his father, at the time 
owned a cattle ranch. 


Rev. AVilliam D. Gage was born in Pennsylvania, Dec. 5, 1803. 
Was an orphan at six years of age. Learned the shoemaking trade, at 
which he worked until twenty-one years of age. At that age he be- 
came a Methodist minister, remaining in active service until 185G. 
The date of his arrival in Nebraska we have not l>een able to obtain. 
He was chaplain of both branches of the first Nebraska legislature in 
1854. During his ministerial service he was a member of the New 
York, Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas, and Nebraska conferences. He 
was the first Methodist minister to preach in Nebraska. He married 
Miss Sarah Schoonmaker at Flatbush, N. Y., New Year's Day, 
1832. Seven children were born to the marriage, tliree daughters 
living. He died at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Bailey, at 
Weepiiig Water, Neb., Nov. 20, 1885, aged near eighty-two years. 
During his life he was an active, useful man, in and out of his profes- 
sion. His daughter, Mrs. Bailey, to whom we are indebted for his 
biography, writing us, closes with this beautiful sentence referring to 
her father : " When the waters of the dark river of death were laving 
his feet, as he left the shore of time, he called his love 1 ones around 
him and bade them farewell; then, with a shout of joy for the mer- 
cies of his Redeemer, he plunged into the turbulent waters, which had 
no terror for him, and ascended the shore on the other side, to meet 
those ' gone before.' '^ 


Was born near Dayton, Ohio, Nov. 18, 1822. Married Miss Minerva 
Hambriglit, in Montgomery county, Illinois, in 1843. From there 
he went to Columbia, Mo., and from there to Pike county, Illinois. 
In 1854 he came to Omaha, Nebraska, where he resided until the 


spring of 1880, when he removed to Brown countv, Nebraska, near 
Johnstown, where he died October 6, 1885. The family consisted of 
ten chiklren — seven sons and three daughters. 

Mr. Johnson, being one of the first settlers in the territory, an ac- 
tive participant in all that was going on, became well acquainted 
with its history. He published the first " History of Nebraska ;" 
also a number of other volumes. He was a deep thinker, good scholar 
and writer. He was widely and favorably known all over the state, 
in the advancement and development of which he always took a lively 


Dr. Geo. B. Graff was born at Hagerstown, Maryland, May 10, 
1816. October 31, 1844, he and Miss Margaret Amanda Stan- 
ment were married at Princeton, Indiana. The family came to Da- 
kota City, Nebraska, April, 1859, the doctor having been appointed 
by President Buchanan to the land office in that place. At the expi- 
i-ation of his term of office he went to Omaha, where he established 
himself in the hardware business in partnership with Mr. R. C.Jordan, 
under the firm name of Graff & Jordan. Subsequently he engaged 
withMr. J. N. H. Patrick in the manufacture of brick. Later still he 
opened a life insurance office, becoming president of a western branch. 

For the last ten years of his life he had been interested in Wyoming 
oil lands, and during the last five years devoted himself to their devel- 
opment. About two weeks before his death he returned from a final 
test which proved that his fiiith in the enterprise was fully realized. 

He had four children, of which two, a son, Robert, and a daughter, 
Fannie, died, while his wife and two other sons, Joseph, now in 
Omaha, and John, at Rawlins, Wyoming, survived him. In all his 
life Dr. Graff was a tireless and energetic worker, fitted for it, it 
.seemed, by nature. He was of stout build, heavy and rugged, with 
every indication of robust health. He was a kind-hearted and gener- 
ous man, beloved by liis family and honored by his friends. 



Was born in Tompkins county, New York, March 10,1840. He 
died at Columbus, Nebraska, March 14, 1885. He was married to 
Miss Mary L. Smith, of Bristol, Conn., December 25, 1865. Mrs. 
North died February, 1883. The only child, a daughter, Stella, sur- 

Frank North came to Nebraska in the spring of 1856 with his 
parents. His father was a surveyor, and while so employed perished 
in a terrific storm near the Papillion river, March 12, 1857. Frank 
was thus left early in life to assume the duties and responsibilities of 
maturer years. He discharged the task well. After com})leting the 
unfinished work of his father he move<l to Florence and soon after to 
Columbus, this state, where his sturdy pioneer work was continued 
in various enterprises, mostly farming and freighting. Tlirough his 
familiarity with the Pawnee language, acquired in his fi'equent inter- 
course with the Indians, Mr. North obtained a situation as clerk for 
the agent of the Pawnee reservation, which he kept until August^ 
1864, when he began the organization of the company of Pawnee 
scouts, who were enrolled for ninety days. After completing the op- 
ganization of the scouts he went out with them under Geu. Samuel 
Curtis, and served to the expiration of the time as first lieutenant. 
Gen. Curtis was so favorably impressed with the company and its 
management that he procured unsolicited a captain's commission to 
Lieutenant North before they parted. The newly promoted officer im- 
mediately set to work recruiting a company of Pawnee scouts, joining, 
with them, Gen. Conner at Jidesbtirg, thence proceeding upon the Pow- 
der river campaign. In this service Capt. North distinguished him- 
self anew. In 1866 he, with the rest of the volunteers, was musterc<l 
out. Returning then to Columbus he was appointed trader for the 
Pawnee agency, but remained only until the following spring, when 
he was again called to military duty as a major of a battalion which 
he organized himself, doing duty along the line of the Union Pacific 
railway every season until 1871, when his troops were mustered out, 
and the major became post guide and interpreter, serving in this ca- 
pacity at several military stations. Under personal instructions from 


General Sheridan, Major North went in 187G to the Indian territoiy 
and enlisted 100 Pawnee Indians for service in the department of the 
Platte, where they participated in the capture of Red Cloud and his 
baud, and subsequently went with General Crook in the winter cam- 
paign of 1876-7. Soon after he came to Omaha and formed a co-part- 
nership with William F. Cody under the firm name of Cody & North ^ 
stockdealers and producers, owning several thousand head of cattle 
raised mostly in Western Nebraska. 

Intrepid, self-reliant, versatile, a true man and a loyal friend, Frank 
J. North was a specimen of the pioneer who lends quality to a new 
commonwealth and leaves an impress upon its history which death 
cannot wipe out. 


Was born, at Martinsburg, A^a., August 9, 1800. Her maiden name 
was Tiernan. She was married to John Murphy, Wellsburg, Va., 
and died at Omaha, March 8, 1885. She came to Omaha in 1855 
from Keokuk, Iowa, w^ith her daughter, who had just married Gov- 
ernor Cuming, her own husband having died on shipboard while re- 
turning from California in 1839. She made her home with Mrs. 
Cuming ever after, and was never out of the territory or state from 
the time she came. Her son Michael came here in the same year, 
and her son Frank, the president of the Merchant's National Bank^ 
and her daughter, who married C. W. Hamilton, the banker, arrived 
in Omaha a year or two later, being in the East at school at the time 
of the removal of their mother and sister to Omaha. Thus in its 
very infancy Nebraska was blessed, through the presence of Mrs^ 
Murphy, with the refining and elevating influence that she and her 
family helped to impart. 


Among the many noted Nebraskans gathered to their fathers in the 
past few years, there were none whose deeds of bravery and adven- 
turous life compare with that of Antoine Barada, who died during the 
summer of 1866 at the little town which bears his name in Richard- 


son county, this state. In many respects he ^yas a remarkable man, 
and his varied career as chief, captive, trader, scout, and pilot deserve 
more than passing note. 

Antoine Barada was born in 1807 near what is now known as Fort 
Calhoun, in Washington county. His father, Michael Barada, was a 
"white man and represented the Omaha tribe of Indians at the confer- 
ence which drafted what is known as the treaty of Prairie du Chien 
in 1836. His mother was a full-blooded Omaha Indian woman. An- 
toine had scarcely reached his seventh year when he was captured by 
the Sioux in one of their forays on the Omahas, and was taken to the 
camp of the former. His extraordinary physical development at that 
age made him an object of curiosity to the Sioux and he was spared 
the fate of his less fortunate companions. Whenever the traders of 
the early days struck the Sioux village Antoine was kept a close 
prisoner and every precaution taken to pi'event his escape. Two years 
were thus spent in captivity before opportunity for escape presented 
itself. While playing some distance from the village the cry of "the 
traders " was raised. Young Antoine saw his chance for freedom, and 
fled to the traders, who, after much parleying, purchased his release 
for ten ponies. Shortly after returning to his parents. Colonel Rogers, 
of the United States army, secured their consent to take the boy and 
place him in the military academy. When the colonel and his pro- 
tege reached St. Louis they were met by INIadame Mousette, Antoine's 
aunt, who took the boy to her home and prevailed upon him to hide 
and not go to the academy. She was successful, and the <^olonel was 
obliged to proceed east without the young Omaha. 

The boy remained with his aunt in St. Louis until he reached man- 
hood, employed in various industrial pursuits. During this time he 
had developed extraordinary muscular powers. Being employed by 
the firm of Whitnell & Coats as superintendent for their quarries, he 
had frequent opportunities to prove his wonderful strength. One of 
his feats was to lift clear eighteen hundred pounds weight. 

In the year 1832 Antoine returned to his tribe to visit his parents 
and the scenes of his childhood. He remained with his tribe for 
several years, and then returned to St. Louis, where he was married 
to Josephene Veien, in the year 1836. In 1849 he went overland to 
California, in company with Capt. Madison Miller and Wilson Hunt, 
of St. Louis, and I'emained there six years, returning by way of 


Panama and New York. In his journey across the plains and dur- 
ing his stay in California he met with many adventures and incidents. 
One night he had camped in a small valley. In the morning while 
going to the little stream for water something attracted his attention 
up the stream. He followed up, and directly saw a man in the top- 
most limbs of a small tree, with a huge grizzly bear at the base mak- 
ing the splinters fly with teeth and claws. The old man, quick 
to perceive that it was only a matter of time as to the bear getting her 
game, quickly drew up his gun and killed the bear, and looked at the 
man, expecting to see him quickly descend the tree, but the poor fel- 
low never moved. He was completely paralyzed with fear and was 
unable to descend. " Well," says Antoine, " if you won't come down, 
I guess I will haVe to fetch you down," and up the tree he went after 
his strange acquaintance. He took him in one arm, and in that way 
descended safely to the ground with his man. He carried him back 
to his camp, finished preparing his breakfast, which he had before be- 
gun, induced his new friend to partake, stayed in camp a day or two 
nursing him, and after the poor fellow's nerves had recovered, parted 
with him with the advice, " When you have to take to a tree, pick 
one a little larger than that one, and don't drop your gun." 

After his return from California, his relatives, hearing of his re- 
turn, sent word for him to come back to his tribe again. He visited 
his people again and remained with them a! few months, then located 
in Richardson county, Nebraska, opened a farm, and was among the 
first to settle that portion of the state. 

The country at that time abounded in game, and Antoine's table was 
always supplied with game in its season. Here he raised a family 
consisting of three boys and four girls — Michael, William, and Thomas 
Barada, Mrs. Fulton Peters, Mrs. John Dupree, Mrs. William Pro- 
vost, and Mrs. John Khun, all of whom survive him. 

In 1875 Barada, in company with his son-in-law, Fulton Peters, 
and a number of his old neighbors, went to the Black Hills, but re- 
turned the same year, after many adventures. 

During his residence in Richardson county Antoine had frequently 
visited his tribe, and had always been welcomed and considered one 
of them. In his last years he had a strong desire to join his tribe, 
but on his declaring his wish to return, and making his application 
for his allotment, under the ruling of special United States Agent A. 


C. Fletcher aud United States ludiau Commissioner II. Price he 
and his family were refused particii^ation in the allotment of the 
Omaha lands. This was a source of great sorrow aud regret to the 
old gentleman in his last days. 

During his last illness he was patient, uncomplaining, and perfectly 
resigned; he was well aware of his approaching end: he received the 
last sacraments of his church and died steadfast in his faith, surrounded 
by his devoted family 

Thus died Antoine Barada, whose kind words, good deeds, and 
generous acts to friends, acquaintances, and strangers are known and 
appreciated by hundreds who are scattered from the Missouri to 
the Pacific. He was buried in the Catholic cemetery, situated just 
east of the little village of Barada, followed to his lasf resting place by 
a large concourse of relatives and friends. 


Was born near Hamburg, Germany, August 12, 1833, aud died at Ne- 
braska City, Nebraska, March 27, 1885. Her maiden na.ue wa.s Eliza- 
beth A. Hemme. Her parents came to America in 1840, first to St. 
Louis, Mo., and in 1843 to Hemme's Landing, on the Missouri river 
Atchison county. Mo. April 2, 1851, she and Robert Hawke were 
married at Rockflat, in the same county. Mr. and Mrs. Hawke came 
to Nebraska City in April, 1859. Seven children were born of the 
marriage, four of whom are living, aud Avith the father still reside in 
Nebraska City. 



Peter Hugus was born at Somerset, Pa., November 7, 180G. Here 
his boyhood was passed, his early ahication being obtainal at the 
schools in the vicinity. Among his early acquaintauccs was Jere- 
miah Black, who afterwards obtained world-wide fame as a lawyer, 
and who as an elder schoolmate used to help his younger compauion 


over the liillocks on the path of learning. In his twenty-third year 
he moved to Pittsburg, Pa., and entered the employment of John 
McCorraick, a dry goods merchant of that city, whose daughter 
E]izahe married October 7, 1832. His wife was the half sister of 
Col. John Patrick, another of the early settlers of Omaha. 

On the death of his father-in-law, Peter Hugus succeeded to his 
business, and 'for many years conducted one of the largest retail dry 
goods stores in the city of Pittsburg. 

In 1841 he gave up his business in Pittsburg, removing to Canton^ 
Stark county, Ohio, where he resided a few years, engaged in mercan- 
tile business. He then moved to Massillon, Ohio, in order to assuma 
the management of a large co-operative store. This he conducted 
until tlie year 1857, at -which time he removed to Omaha, which city 
he made his home until his death. He was county clerk and recorder 
in 18G1. At the expiration of his term he became clief clerk of the 
Hurford hardware house, which position he maintained for fifteen 
years, during many changes of its ownership, until the house was 
closed, when the increasing infirmities of old age prevented him from 
engaging further in active business. He was for eleven yeai*s senior 
warden of Trinity church, Omaha, and died on the 19th day of No- 
vember, A.D. 1885, at the age of 79 years. 

Sucli is a brief and imperfect sket<;h of the life of one of the early 
settlers of Nebraska. It would be difficult to convey to those who 
knew him not, any idea of his personality. Quiet in his manner, 
earnest in his Christianity, upright in his busin&ss relations, enjoying 
life as he found it, he was a loving and kind husband, an indulgent 
parent, and a true and st<3adfast friend. 


secretary's record and reports of officers. 


ANNUAL SESSION, JAN. 13-14, 1885. 

Januaey 13. 

The society met pursuant to the call of the president at 8 p.m., in 
the chapel of the university building. 

Geo. E. Howard appointed temporary secretary. Mr. O. A. Mullon, 
stenographer, consented to report the proceedings. The president 
stated that the organization of the society had fallen into some confu- 
sion, and that it would be necessary to determine by payment of dues 
who were active members. Dues were then paid by the following 
persons, who were informally recognized as members : R. W. Furnas, 
David Butler, W. W. W. Jones, W. W. Wilson, I. J. Manatt, C. E. 
Bessey, O. A. Mullon, H. W. Caldwell, J. B. Dinsmore, J. D. Mac- 
farland, and Geo. E. Howard. 

The president then proceeded to lay before the society his elaborate 
report and to give an abstract of its contents. By request of the soci- 
ety, that portion of the report consisting of the autobiography of 
Father William Hamilton was read in full by the secretary. At the 
conclusion of the paper remarks were called for, and the invitation 
elicited interesting comments and reminiscences from Rev. M. F. Piatt 
and J. T. Allan. 

Adjourned to meet Wednesday evening in the university chapel. 

January 14. 

Met according to adjournment, at 8. p.m. 

The first part of the evening was occupied by an address on "The 
Place of History in Modern Education," by Prof. Geo. E. Howard, 
of the state university. At the close of the lecture the society pro- 
ceeded to the election of officers for the ensuing year, with the follow- 
ing result: 

President — R. W. Furnas. 

First Vice President— J. M. Woolworth. 

Second Vice President — E. S. Dundy. 

Treasurer — W. W. Wilson. 



Corresponding Secretary — Clara B. Colby. 

Recording Secretary — Geo. E. Howard. 

Board of Directors — Silas Garber, J. Sterling Morton, 11. T. 
Clarke, Lorenzo Crounse, I. J. Manatt. 

Report of the treasnrer was then read and approved. 

The gift of a collection of photographs by Hon. E. P. Roggen was 
accepted, and the secretary directed to acknowledge the same, with 

By consent of the society, all books and documents of the organiza- 
tion to be placed in the hands of the recording secretary, provided a 
suitable room in the university building can be secured for their safe 

On motion, all those persons Avho, on the preceding evening, had 
paid their dues and subscribed to the constitution and by-laws were 
elected members of the society. The following additional persons, 
were also elected members : 

Geo, W. Post and Edson P. Rich, active members ; Alice Fletcher 
of Iowa, honorary member. 

The following bills were allowed and the secretary instructed to. 
draw orders on the treasurer for the same : 

State Journal Co., for printing $ 3.35 

R. W. Furnas, incidentals, 1883 and 1884 250.00 


ANNUxVL SESSION, JAN. 12-13, 1886. 

January 12, Afternoon Meeting. 

Met in the university chapel at 3:30, pursuant to call. In the ab- 
sence of the president — unavoidably delayed by the snow blockade — 
order was called by the recording secretary, Geo. E. Howard. On 
motion of C. H. Gere, Chant-ellor I. J. jNIanatt was chosen to preside 
until the arrival of the president. 

Minutes of the session of 1885 read and approved. 

Election of officers postponed till the evening meeting. 

The treasurer, Col. Vi. W. Wilson, presented his annual report of 


the financial condition of the society, which was referred to an audit- 
ing committee, consisting of C. H. Gere, Edson Rich, and H. W. 

The secretary read a letter from Hon. J. Sterling Morton transmit- 
ting, as a contribution to the collections of the society, three auto- 
graph letters of men celebrated in the early annals of Nebraska : one 
from Gen. Cass, of Michigan, dated May 26, 1856, responding to 
Mr. Morton's solicitations for his assistance in getting a land office 
established at Nebraska City ; one from Gen. James Craig, of Mis- 
souri ; and another from William A. Richardson, of Illinois, who at 
its writing was territorial governor of Nebraska. 

On motion, a vote of thanks was tendered Mr. Morton for his gift. 

The secretary then read two further communications from Mr. Mor- 
ton : One relative to the discovery of gold at Cherry creek placers, the 
present site of Denver ; and another suggesting the advisability on the 
part of the state historical society of establishing an arboreal bureau 
for the purpose of collecting the history of tree planting in Nebraska. 

On motion, the thanks of the society were tendered for Mr. Mor- 
ton's suggestion, and the historic note was placed on file for 

A printed pamplilet entitled : "A visit to Nebraska in 1662," com- 
municated to the society by Judge Jas. W. Savage, was presented by 
the secretary. On motion, the document was filed for future publi- 
cation in the "Transactions." 

A communication from Sam. D. Cox, secretary of the historical and 
political science association of the university of Nebraska, setting forth 
the plan of organization and summarizing the work thus far accom- 
plished by that society, was read and placed on file for fiiture use. 

Likewise a paper by A. R. Keim, of Falls City, on " John Brown 
in Richardson County" was presented to the society by E. P. Rich, 
Ordered filed for publication. 

The following named persons were elected active members of the so- 
ciety : S. P. Davidson, of Tecumseh ; S. D. Cox and Robert McRey- 
nolds, of Lincoln. Gen. C. W. Darling, secretary of the Oneida his- 
torical society, Utica, N. Y., Prof. Jesse Macy, of Grinnell, la., and 
Dr. Israel W. Andrews, of Marietta, Ohio, were elected correspond- 
ing members. 

On motion of R. W. Furnas |50 were appropriated for the pur- 


chase of the first 37 vokimcs of the "Collections of the Massachusetts 
-liistorical society." 
Adjourned till 8 p.m. 

January 12, Evening Meeting. 

Met pursuant to adjournment. Special reports were read by the 
president and secretary. 

The chief business of the meeting was listening to the carefully pre- 
pared paper of Hon, C. H. Gere, on "Nebraska and the location of the 
seat of government at Lincoln." On motion, a copy of the address 
was requested for publication. 

Hon. S. M. Chapman was elected an active member. 

On motion of C. H. Gere a committee consisting of the president, 
secretary, and Chancellor Manatt was appointed to revise the consti- 
tution and by-laws. 

On motion, Judge Davidson and Judge Chapman were added to the 
committee on revision. 

The society then proceeded to ballot for oflicers for the ensuing year 
with the following result : 

President — R. W. Furnas. 

First Vice President — J as. M. Wool worth. 

Second Vice President — E. S. Dundy. 

Treasurer — W. AV. AVilson. 

Corresponding Secretary — Clara B, Colby. 

Recording Secretary — Geo. E. Howard. 

Board of Directors — Silas Garber, J. Sterling Morton, H. T. Clarke, 
Lorenzo Crounse, I. J. Manatt. 

The committee for auditing the treasurer's report submitted the 
following : 

Lincoln, Neb., January 12, 1886. 
To the State Historical Society : 

Your auditing committee have examined the annual report of the treasurer for 
the year ending January 12, 1886, and find the same correct and accompanied by 
proper vouchers. 

(Signed) C H. GERE. 


On motion of C. H. Gere, voted that the recording secretary be al- 
lowed a salary of $100.00 a year beginning with the official year of 


1 88^16; and that the treasurer receive a salary of §25.00 per year be- 
ginning at the same time. 

Adjourned till 8:30 p.m., Wednesday. 

January 13. 

Met according to adjournment. The following named persons were 
elected to membership : Judge Samuel Maxwell, of Fremont, Hon. 
M. B. C. True, of Crete, A. H. Harrington, of Lincoln, and A. R. 
Keira, of Falls City. 

An elaborate paper on " Slavery in Nebraska," drawn from original 
documents, was read by Edson P. Rich. A vote of thanks was ten- 
dered Mr. Rich, and a copy of the address requested for publication. 

Following the paper of Mr. Rich, extracts from the Allis Manu- 
script were read by the secretary. 

A letter of regret was read from Hon. Lorenzo Crounse, who had 
intended to be jn-esent but was prevented by the stOrm. 

The committee on revision of the constitution and by-laws re- 
ported, recommending the following amendments : 

That the " admission fee " be reduced to two dollars, and that the 
"annual assessment" of two dollars on all active members be discon- 
tinued ; and that, accordingly, clause No. 1 of the title " Forfeiture of 
membership " be stricken out, and the corresponding changes made 
in the title "Initiation fee and annual assessment." 

That to the sub-title " Viee President " under the title " Officers and 
their duties " be added the words : " or inability to perform the duties 
of his office." 

That the second sentence of the sub-title " Treasurer " of the last 
named title read as follows: "He shall pay no moneys, except by a 
vote of the society, or by order of the board of directors, or of the 
president." That from the same sub-title the following words be 
omitted : " Countersigned (the official check) by the president or one 
of the vice presidents, or chairman of directors. A copy of this 
article shall be left at the place of deposit, and the signatures of the 
officers for countersigning, and of the treasurer, shall also be left 

That the title "Alteration in the Constitution" read as follows : 
" This constitution may be altered or amended by the vote of a major- 
ity of the members present at any regular meeting." 



The report of the coaimittee Avas received and all the amendments 
unanimously adopted. On motion the treasurer was instructed to re- 
fund all annual dues paid during the present annual session. 

The secretary was authorized to procure a seal for the society. 



January 12, 1886. 

Simply for a compliance with a constitutional provision of this 
organization, referring to duties of president, I have very briefly to 
say : That since our last annual meeting the first volume of our 
proceedings and work has been printed and given to the public. I 
believe it has been acceptable, at least as a beginning. 

This, you are aware, was prepared by the president after the former 
secretary had left the state, and before the present efficient secretary 
had entered upon his duties. 

In preparing this report for submission to the governor, and for 
the printer, I was necessarily compelled to keep within the prescribed 
limits of a legislative appropriation to print. We have in hand a 
collection of crude material, to be classified for future publication. I 
am pleased to announce that I have obtained a copy of what is known 
in the West as the *' Allis Manuscript" — the only copy. This is an 
accurate and detailed record of events in the Northwest, kept by an in- 
telligent, careful observing man, the Rev. Allis, who came as a mis- 
sionary among the northwestern Indians in a very early day, as far 
back as 1834. There is much in this record of valuable history to 
Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri. I have been engaged for ten years 
past endeavoring to become possessor of these papers. The secretary 
will, during this session, as may suit your pleasure, read such portions 
of interest as pertain to Nebraska. 

I am exceedingly anxious that some means be provided and in- 
augurated whereby we can the more generally enlist our people in the 
work and object of this organization. This I have repeatedly refer- 
red to heretofore, urging as one particular reason the importance of 
obtaining data from the earliest settlers, who alone can furnish them 


before they pass from among us. This is the more forcibly impressed 
at present, from the fact that since our last meeting four old settlers 
who could have given much of value have died — Hugus, Johnson, 
Graff, and Allan. Several plans are suggested. One particularly, I 
think', could be made productive of good. The quarterly meetings 
provided for by our amended constitution should be held in different 
parts of the state, and made to partake more of a social than purely 
business character. A time and place where those interested could 
assemble about a companionable board, if you please, and talk history 
in a familiar, conversational style, having a competent stenographer 
present to preserve and make record of all worthy matter. In this 
way men, women, and children might indite much of value not other- 
wise obtainable. Another feasible plan will be to enlist the " Old 
Settlers' " organization in different parts of the state as auxiliary to 
this society. 

Now that we are not, as heretofore, entirely dependent on voluntary 
membership contributions, I am inclined to the opinion that our 
membership Avould be enlarged by decreasing our membership and 
aunual dues ; the former from $'3 to $2, and the latter from .$2 to $1 ; 
or, leaving the membership as it now is, and doing away with the 

annual dues. 



January 12, 1886. 
I have the honor to submit the following report of the condition 
and progress of the society for the past year. In January, 1885, the 
library contained the following volumes : 

Catalogued books and pamphlets 144 

Uncatalogued " " 80 

Total number 224 

During the year have been added the following volumes : 

By gift from individuals 121 

By exchange 83 

Total number 204 

Number now in the library 428 


Besides this collection of books and pamphlets the society possesses 
some material in the form of manuscripts, newspaper cuttings, etc., ot 
considerable value ; also the nucleus of a collection of relics. In gen- 
eral it may be stated that while our library and cabinet are insignifi- 
cant indeed as compared with what they should be, still they contain 
material which will be precious to the future historian of Nebraska. 

Among our recent additions should be particularly mentioned a 
collection of thirty-eight centennial county histories of this state, to- 
gether with other valuable documents, for which the society is in- 
debted to ex-Governor R. W. Furnas. Several of these pamphlets 
are genuine contributions to the early history of the territory. 

The past year marks an important epoch in the history of the so- 
ciety through the publication of the first volume of our *' Transactions 
and Reports." Many copies have already been distributetl, upwards 
of 150 having been sent to historical societies and libi'aries in this 
country, and it is the intention to send others to the leading societies 
of Europe. In exchange we have already received many valuable 
books and documents. It is safe to say that ultimately we shall re- 
ceive several fold the number of volumes distributed by us in this 
way. But aside from the rapid and valuable additions to our library, 
the publication of the report has had another and more important re- 
sult : We have been brought at once into active and friendly rela- 
tions with our fellow societies throughout the country. For the first 
time we have received full recognition and taken an honorable and ac- 
credited place in the ranks of those fraternities which are taking the 
lead of all other agencies in preserving the origins of American his- 
tory. It is significant, that the most recent innovation in methods of 
instruction adopted by the great universities consists in the adaptation 
of the society plan to academic work. It may be added that our re- 
port has found a most hearty and encouraging reception in all quarters. 

In accordance with the recommendation of the society at its last 
meeting, an effort has been made to secure suitable apartments in the 
university building for our effects and collections. 

Owing to the lack of rooms for the instructors and officers of the 
institution, the best that could be done was to allow us space for the 
storage of our present collections and other property. It is prob- 
able that soon the authorities of the university will be able to offer us 
better accommodations. But this is a matter of the first importance. 


Another year should not pass without the securing of ample and well 
furnished rooms. Already several prominent gentlemen of the state 
have intimated that they stand ready to donate valuable relics, docu- 
ments, and other matter whenever the society is in a condition to pre- 
serve them safely. We must depend upon the munificence and pub- 
lic spirit of private citizens for such collections. They cannot be 
bought, and the moment we possess good and safe quarters, properly 
furnished and equipped for exhibiting them to advantage, many will 
be glad to bestow their treasures upon us. Let us keep in view the 
splendid monument which Wisconsin has erected in her own honor ! 
The magnificent library and treasures of her state historical society are 
the pride of the West. We have, unfortunately, lost the patrimony 
which would have made us independent. But, if we do our part, this 
loss will be more than repaired by the bounty of a people whose en- 
ergy has already achieved so much in public works. 



I beg leave to submit my annual report as your treasurer for the 
year ending Dec. 31, 1884, to-wit : 


1884, Jan. 1. To balance on hand as per last report $ 526.61 

" July 3. To annual state appropriation 500.00 

" To interest on warrants 2.62 

" Nov.l9. To interest on deposits to Jan. 1, 1885 41.16 



" March 24. By bill paid Nemaha Granger, 1,000 

circulars 7.50 

To balance on hand Jan. 1, '85 $1,062.89 

Respectfully submitted, 





1 have the honor to submit my report as your treasurer for the 
year ending Dec. 31, 1885 : 


To balance on hand as per last report |1,062.S9 

Jan. 13. To annual dues received 20.00 

-June 21 . To annual state appropriation 500.00 

.Dec. 31. To interest received on deposits 49.80 

Total §1,G32.69 


-Jan. 16. By balance paid Gov. Furnas for incidentals § 250.00 

By balance paid State Journal 3.35 

By balance paid State Jounyil 9.50 

June 17. By balance paid H. W. Hardy, case 40.00 

Aug. 29. By balance paid Allis Manuscript 52.55 

By balance paid Gov. Furnas, incidentals 33.75 

!Nov. 23. By balance paid A. Watkins, postage 20.00 

Total § 409.15 

To balance on hand 1,223.54 

Respectfully submitted, 






During the past two years a special effort has been made to place 
the society in proper relations with other similar organizations through 
the establishment of a permanent exchange list. The effort has been 
fairly successful, as shown by the detailed record of receipts herewith 
submitted. But it should be noted that the large correspondence car- 
ried on with this end in view has just begun to produce its expected 
results ; the greater portion of the books marked as received since 
January, 1885, have been added during the past few months. 

The generous liberality with which we have been treated by many 
of the older societies places us decidedly at a disadvantage, having, as 
yet, very little to offer in exchange. To these organizations and to 
those individuals who have made contributions it is fitting that our 
grateful thanks be here publicly expressed. 

The society now possesses the nucleus of an excellent special library. 
But it has made but a meagre beginning in collecting books, docu- 
ments, and relics relating to our OMai local history — the chief object, 
of course, of its existence. We rely upon the patriotic liberality of 
the people of Nebraska to supply this deficiency. In the following 
list appear the names of several gentlemen who have made extensive 
and valuable contributions to our local collections. To these our 
thanks are particularly offered. 

It is greatly to be regretted that the list of donors previous to Jan- 
uary 1, 1885, is necessarily incomplete. When, at that time, the 
duties of librarian devolved upon me, a considerable number of books 
and pamphlets came into my hands uncatalogued and with no record 
whatever of the sources from which they were obtained. I should be 
glad to receive any assistance from donors or others in completing the 
record of previous gifts. 



1, 1885. 

AuGHEY, Prof. Samuel: 

Register and Catalogue of the University of Nebraska, 1871-2, 1872-3, 1874-5, 

1876, 1877, 1878. 
Chancellor's Report to the Board of Regents, University of Nebraska, 1873^ 

1874, 1875. 
By-LavFS of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, 1876. 
Report of Conference held at Omaha by the Governors of States and Others on 

the Locust Question, 1876. 
Bulletins of U. S. Entomological Commission, Nos. 1 and 2. 
Catalogue of the Flora of Nebraska, by S. Aughey, 1875. 

Catalogue of Land and Fresh Water Shells of Nebraska, by S. Aughey, 1877, 
Superficial Deposits of Nebraska, by S. Aughey, 1875. 
Notes on the Food of the Birds of Nebraska, by S. Aughey. 
The Renovation of Politics, by S. Aughey, 1861. 
Two other pamphlets. 

Adair, Hon. William : 

Dakota City Mail, July 24, 1876, containing the "Centennial History of Da- 
kota County," by William Adair. 

Benton, Chancellor A. R.: 

Register and Catalogue of the University of Nebraska, 1871-2, 1872-3. 
Addresses and other Proceedings of the Indiana College Association, First 

and Third Annual Sessions, two pamphlets. 
History of Horace Mann, by A. R. Benton, A.M., LL.D. 
Address at the Alumni Reunion, Butler University, by A. R. Benton, A.M., 


Bloomer, Mrs. Amelia : 

A Manuscript History of the effort to pass a bill for universal suflVage througli 
the Nebraska Territorial Legislature, prepared by the donor. 

Bruner, Uriah : 

History of Cuming County, Nebraska, by E. N. Sweet. 

Bureau of Education : 

Circular of Information No. 6, 1884. 

Burlington & Missouri R. R. Land Department : 

Nebraska as it is. Resources, Advantages, Drawbacks, 1878, two copies. 
Description of Nebraska, Centennial pamphlet. 

the library. 363 

Chase, Col. Champion S.: 

Oration at York, Neb., July 4, 1878, by the donor. 
Mayor's Message, Omaha, 1880. 
The Great American Desert, a pamphlet. 
Address at State Fair, 1879, by donor. 

Chicago Historical Society : 

Constitution and By-Laws of the Society. 
Brief History of the Society. 
Early Society in Southern Illinois. 

Furnas, Gov. R. W.: 

Charter of Historical Society of New Mexico. 

A Sketch of Nebraska City and the Act consolidating Nebraska, Kearney, and 
South Nebraska cities. 

FiFiELD, Hon. L. B.: 

Catalogue of Minerals. 

Holmes, Hon. C. A.: 

Historical Sketch of Johnson county, Nebraska, July 4, 1876, by Andrew 


Beds of Lignite; or Brown Coal Deposits West of Missouri Kiver. 

Jackson, E. C: 

History of Washington county, Nebraska, by Hon. Perry Selden, 1876. 

Kimball, Thos. L.: 

Resources and Attractions of Utah, 1879. 

Maryland Historical Society. 

Constitution and By-Laws of the Society, 1844. 

Annual Report of the President of the Society, 1850. 

Catalogue of Paintings, Engravings, etc., of the Society, 1853. 

Catalogue of Manuscripts, Maps, Medals, Coins ; an account of the Library 

of the Society, by L. Mayer, 1854. 
Annual Report of the President, 1854. 

A Sketch of the Life of Benj. Banneker, by J. Saurin Norris. 1854. 
Martin Behaim, the German Astronomer and Cosmographer of the Times oi' 

Columbus, by John G. Morris, D.D., 1855. 
The Early Friend or Quakers in Maryland, by J. Saurin Norris, 1862. 
Who were the Early Settlers of Maryland ? By Rev. Ethan Allen, D.D., 1865. 
The Annual Address before the Society, December 17, 1866. By Hon. William 

F. Giles, 
Annual Report of the President, 1858. 
Constitution and By-Laws of the Society, 1867. 


Memoirs of Jared Sparks, LL.D. By Brantz Mayer, February 7, 1867. 
Memoir of John H. Alexander, LL.D. By William Pinkney, D.D., May 2, 

History, Possessions, and Prosperity of the Maryland Historical Society. By 

Brantz Mayer, 1867. 
The First Commander of Kent Island. By Sebastian F. Streeter. 
Peabody Memorial. By Brantz Mayer, January, 1870. 
Settlement of Ellicott's Mills, etc. By Martha E. Tyson, 1865. 
A Lost Chapter in the History of Maryland. By J. H. B. Latrohe, 1871. 
The First Steamboat Voyage on the Western Waters. By J. H. B. Latrobe. 
-Narrative of a Voyage to Maryland, 1635-8. By Father Andrew White, S.J. : 

An Account of the Colony of the Lords Baltimore, edited by Rev. E. A. 

Dalrymple, S.T.D., 1874. 
^Extracts from Different Letters of Missionaries, 1638-1677. Edited by Rev. 

E. A. Dalrymple, S.T.D., 1877. 
The Lords Baltimore. By J. G. Morris, D.D., 1874. 

Early History of Maryland. Paper relating thereto. By S. F. Streeter, 1876. 
A Sketch of the Life of Dr. James McHenry, Aide-de-Camp and Private Sec- 
retary of Washington, Aide-de-Camp of LaFayette, and Secretary of War, 

Maryland's Influence in Founding a National Commonwealth, etc. By. H. B- 

Adams, Ph.D., 1877. 
Wenlock Christison, and the Early Friends in Talbot county, Maryland. By 

Samuel Harrison, M.D., 1878. 
Expedition of LaFayette Against Arnold. By John Austin Stevens, 1878. 
Johns Hopkins University, Third Annual Report, 1878. 
Charter, Constitution, and By-Laws of the Society, with a List of Officers and 

Members, and a Catalogue of Publications, 1844-1878. 
Proceedings of the Society on 150th Anniversary, October 12, 1880. 
Character of the Province of Maryland. By Geo. Alsop, 1666, reprinted in 

Baltimore, 1880. 
Maryland Historical Society and the Peabody Institute Trustees, 1866. 
Memoir of Hon. William Hindman. By Samuel A. Harrison, M.D., 1879. 

Minnesota Historical Society : 

Charter, Constitution, and By-Laws of the Society, 1868. 

Annual Reports of the Society, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1877. 

Collections of the Society, Vol. III., Part 3. 

Biennial Report of the Society, 1881. 

Hennepin Bi-Centenary. 

A Sketch of the Objects, etc., of The Old Settlers' Association of Minn., 1872. 

Morton, Hon. J. Sterling: 

Speech at Nebraska State Fair, Lincoln, Sept. 2, 1873. By the donor. 
Commemorative Pamphlet in relation to July 4, 1876. History of Nebraska 

City and Otoe county, 2 copies. By the donor. 
The Foes of the Farmers. An Address delivered at the State Fair, Omaha, by 

Prof. A. J. Perry, of Williams College. 


Railroads, the Eelation to the Public, etc. By the donor. 

An Address on Forestry before the Otoe Horticultural Society. By John A» 

Memoir of Caroline Joy French Morton. By James M. "Wool worth. 

Paddock, Sen. A. S. : 

Report of Smithsonian Institution for 1877. 

Annual Address before the Jefferson County Agricultural Association. By the 

Public Libraries of the U. S., partsl. and II., 1876. 

Perry, President D. B. : 

Catalogues of Doane College, 1877-8 and 1878-9. 

Poppleton, Hon. A. J. : 

An Address on "Character " etc., delivered before the University of Nebraska^ 
June 27, 1877. By the donor. 

RoGGEN, Hon. E. P. : 

House Journal of Nebraska Legislature for 1864. 
House Journal of Nebraska Legislature for 1856. 

Smith, D. N. : 

Articles of Incorporation of Republican Valley Land Association, 1874, 2 copies^ 

Smith, C. A. : 

American Cattle. By Lewis F. Allen. 

Stocking, Hon. Moses : 

History of Sauudei's county, Nebraska. By the donor. 9 copies. 
Homes in Saunders county. 

St. Louis Academy of Science: 

The Charter of the Academy. 

Taggart, Rev. J. M. : 

History of Baptist Indian Missions, 1840. 

Tennessee Historical Society: 

Charter and By-Laws. 

Wheeler, Hon. D. H. : 

The "Nebraska Patron," March 31 to October 26, 1876, being eleven numbers 
— all published. 

The ''Grange Visitor," 1877. 

Iowa "Stock Journal, and Brain and Muscle," four numbers. 

"Brain and Muscle," eight numbers. Subsequently united with the pre- 

Centennial History of Plattsmouth, and Cass county, Nebraska. By Dr. A. L. 


Annual Tournament of the Nebraska State Sportsmen's Association, Platts- 

mouth, May 22, 23, 24, 1877. Address of retiring President Kennedy. 
Transactions of Nebraska Horticultural Society, 1877. 
Premium List of Nebraska State Board of Agriculture, 1878. 
Second Annual Report of State Board of Agriculture, 1868. 
Report of Illinois State on Centennial Management, 1877. 
Rocky Mountain Gold Regions, 1861. 
How the West has moved on. Address by Prof. Rodney Welch, of the Chicago 

Times, before the State Board of Agriculture, Sept 27, 1877. 
Annual Message of Governor Saunders, Omaha, January 7, 1864. 
Funeral Sermon on the death of Abraham Lincoln. By Rev. F. M. Dimick, 

April 19, 1865. 
First Annual Report of the Trade and Commerce of Omaha, December 31, 1877. 
Report of the New York Commissioners to revise the laws for the Assessment 

and Collection of Taxes. 
Dedication of the Free Public Library of Concord, Mass., October 1, 1873. By R. 

W. Emerson. 
Overland Route to California. By Andrew Child, 1852. 
Furnas-Herald Libel Suit, 1872. 

Double Track Railway from Tide-water to Council Bluffs. 
Council Journal of Legislation of Nebraska, 1864. 
Impeachment of David Butler, 1871. 

Second Annual Report of the State Superintendent of Publiclnstruction, 1872. 
Centennial History of Butler county, Nebraska. By J. L. Brown. 2 copies. 
Historical Sketch of Knox county, Nebraska. By G. S. Draper, 1876. 
Address on tlie State of Aff;iirs in Utah, 1863. 
Address of Hon. Moses Stocking at the State Fair, 1875. 
Address of Hon. A. S. Paddock at the State Fair, 1875. 
Brief History of Agriculture. By H. G. Davis. 
A Condensed History of the Great Robbery in Michigan University. 
Other Miscellaneous Pamphlets, 12 in number. 

Williams, O. T. B. : 

Emigration to Nebraska. Letters issued by the Hibernian Society of Omahai 


A.DDEMAN, Hon. I. M., Secretary of Rhode Island : 

Rhode Island Colonial Records, Vols. 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. 
Rhode Island State Census, 1875. 
Memorial of Hon. H. B. Anthony. 
Providence County Court House Proceedings. 

the library. 367 

A:merican Coxgregatioxal Association : 

Reports, 1867-1886, 20 pamphlets. 

Dedication of the CongregationtA House, and Brief History of the Association, 

American Historical Association : 

Papers of, Vol. 1, No. 3. 

American Geographical Society : 

Bulletins, 1882-7, fourteen numbers. 

American Numismatic and Arch^ological Society : 

Catalogue of Books in Library of. 
Medals of Giovanni Cavino. 
Roman Denarii, Paduan Medallions, etc. 
Journal of Numismatics, July, 1885. 

Allan, Hon. J. T.: 

Guide to the Lands of the U. P. R. R. Co. By the donor. 

Nebraska and Its Settlers. By the donor. 

Corn Is King. By the donor. •> 

Central and Western Nebraska. By the donor. 

Creameries and Dairying in Nebraska. By the donor. 

Andrews, Dr. Israel W.: 

Catalogue of Marietta College, 1885-6. 

The Fiftieth Anniversary of Marietta College, 1885. 

AuGHEY, Prof. Samuel: 

Artesian Wells on the Great Plains. 
Forestry of Mississippi Valley. 

Bangor Historical Society : 

Centennial Celebration of the Settlement of Bangor, Sept. 30, 1869 ; 8vo. 

Buffalo Historical Society : 

Publications, Vol. 1, 1879 ; 8vo. 

Annual Report of Board of Managers, 1886. 

Bureau of Education, Washington : 

Education in Japan. 

Reports of the Commissioner of Education for 1882-3, 1884-5. 

Circulars of Information, No. 5, 1885, Nos. 1, 2, 1886. 

Boston Memorial Association : 

The Constitution of, Dec. 2, 1885. 

Bradley, Rev. Caleb D., Boston : 

Twenty-five pamphlets and other documents. 


Brown, Hon. Guy. A.: 

Eeports of Nebraska State Librarian, 1883-4, 1886. 
Library Magazine, March, 1886, to February, 1887. 
Co-operative Index to Periodicals for 1886. 

Cornell University: 

The "Library," 1883-4. 

Chautauqua Society of History and Natural Science : 

Birds of Chautauqua County. 
Pioneer Homes and Characteristics. 

Carter, Charles, Deputy Commissioner of Public Lands anb 
Buildings : 

Annual Eeports of the Commissioner, 1884-6. 

Child, Dr. A. L.: 

a Manuscript Meteorological Eecord, taken at Plattsmouth, Neb., 1866-82. 

Darling, Gen. C. W., Secretary of Oneida Hist. Society : 

Anthropophagy, Historic and Prehistoric. By the donor. 

Horatio Seymour. By Isaac S. Hartley, D.D. 

Fac-simile of original signatures to preliminary articles of peace, between the 

Senecas and Sir William Johnson. 
Several additional miscellaneous papers. 

Dennis, Hon. H. J., Kansas State Librarian: 

Fifth Biennial Eeport of Librarian. 

DoBBS, Hugh J.: 

Original letter relating to Indian troubles of 1864, addressed by Capt. W. H. 
Stoner and others to Hon. J. B. Weston. 

DoANE College: 

Catalogue for 1885-6. 

Dunbar, John B.: 

Collections of New Jersey Historical Society, Vol. VII., 1872 ; 8vo. 

Dudley, Lieut. E. S.: 

Necessity for Closer Eelations Between the Army and People. By the donor. 
Poster of Ofiicers and Members, etc. 

DwiGHT, T, T., Peoria, III.: 

Original receipt to Gov. Eichardson for furniture, signed by J. Sterling Morton, 
secretary of Nebraska Territory. 

Essex Institute, Sale:^!, Mass.: 

Historical Collections of, 23 vols., 8vo. 
Bulletins, 18 vols, 8vo. 

the library. 3^9 

Franklin Institute, Philadelphia : 

Publications: Thirty-four monographs and papers on scientific subjects. 

Furnas, Gov. R. W. : 

Nebraska Town Shares, issued in Territorial days, for the following towns :* 
Douglas, about the present site of Lincoln; Pittston; Falls City; Brecken- 
ridge; Pleasantville; Deroin; Helena; Beatrice; West Archer; Glen Rock; 
San Francisco, Nemaha county; Geneva, Richardson county; North Te- 
cumseh, Nemaha county; St, George (now North Auburu). 

Kansas Town Shares : Westphalia; Oleua; Lafayette; Central City. 

Scrip: Of the City of Plattsmouth ; Of C. E. L. Holmes, Nemaha City; Of 
Brownville Hotel Company. 

Centennial Histories of the counties of Antelope, Boone, Butler, Colfax, Clay, 
Cuming, Cass, Cedar, Dixon, Dawson, Dodge, Douglas, Dacotah, Frank- 
lin, Furnas, Fillmore, Gage, Howard, Hamilton, Hall, Johnson, Knox, 
Lancaster, Merrick, Madison, Nemaha, Otoe, Polk, Pawnee, Red Willow, 
Seward, Saline, Saunders, Sarpy, Webster, Washington, Wayne, York. A 
collection of 38 pamphlets and newspapers. 

Brownville, and Nemaha county, in 1859. 

Bellevue, Larimer, and St. Mary: Their History and Descripaon, 1859. 

The Creoles of History and of Romance. By 

Corn: Its Origin, History, Uses, and Abuses. By the donor. 

Twenty Pamphlets on Agriculture and other subjects. 

Genesee County Pioneer Association: 

History, Organization, etc. 

Green, Samuel A., Secretary Mass. Hist. Society : 

Speeches of Josiah Quincy. Edited by Edmund Quincy, 1874, 8vo. 

Medical Papers Communicated to the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston, 

Inauguration of the Statue of Warren by the Bunker Hill Monument Associa- 
tion, June 17, 1857, 8vo. 

Peabody Education Fund. Proceedings of Trustees 19th-25th meetings, 7 

Peabody Education Fund. Proceedings of Trustees. 2 volumes, 8vo. 

Peabody Education Fund. Memorials of Trustees. 

Proceedings of Bunker Hill Monument Association, 1865, 1876, 1885. 

Discourse before New England Historical, Genealogical Society, March 18, 
1870. By Edmund F. Slafter, A.M. 

Town Records of Gro ton, Mass., 1G62-1678. Edited by Samuel A. Green, M.D,, 
2 copies. 

Early Land Grants of Groton, Mass. Edited by Samuel A. Green, M.D., 2 

The Geography of Groton, Mass. By Samuel A. Green, M.D. 

Old Homesteads of Groton, Mass. By Francis Marion Boutwell. 

^These are all blank shares printed at Advertiser House, Brownville, oriarinally under 
management of Gov. Furnas. They have an additional interest as being excellent samples of 
the work of one of the earliest printing houses established in Nebraska Territory. 



Two Chapters in the Early Historj^ of Groton, Mass. By Samuel A. Green, 

New Chapter in the History of the Concord Fight: Groton Minute Men at tht 
North Bridge, April 19, 1775. By Wm. W. Wheildon. 

Remarks on the early appearance of the Northern Lights in New England. By 
Samuel A. Green, M.D. 

Old Highways and Landmarks of Groton, Mass. By Francis Marion Bout- 

Old South Leaflets, 5 numliers. 

How the " Old South " Was Saved. By Wm. Everett. 

History of the Old South Church, Boston, 1866. 

The Old Town-Honse, Boston, 1883. 

The Old State-House Defended. By W. H. Whitmore, 1886. 

The "Sharpies " Pictures. By A. C. Goodell, Jr., 1887. 

A Few Facts pertaining to Currency and Banking, etc. By Geo. L. Stearns. 

Catalogue of Books and Pamphlets Relating to the American Indians. 

206th Annual Record of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company: Ser- 
mon of Rev. Geo. Putman. 1843-4. 

Report of Legislature of Massachusetts on Records, etc., of the Secretary's 

Kindergarten and Primary Schools for the Blind. By M. Anagnos, 1886. 

Ceremony of Sealing the Century Box of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery 
Company, Dec. 22, 1881. 

Iowa and the Centennial : State Address by Hon. C. C. Nourse, 1876. 

History of the Present Organization of Brown University, 1861. 

Proceedings of the R. I. Historical Society, 1882-3. 

Memoir of Abbott Lawrence. By H. A. Hill, 1883, 8vo. 

The Illustrated Fryeburg Webster Memorial, 1882. 

Address at Unveiling of the Statue of Daniel Webst<>r, New York, November 
25, 1876. By Robert C. Winthrop. 

Statue of Josiah Quincy, Dedication Ceremonies, 187'J. 

Memoir of Hon. Wm. Appleton. By Rev. Chandler Ro'ibins, D.D. 

Commemorative of Amos Lawrence. By President Hopkins. 

Addresses at Dinner to Dr. Benj. A. Gould. 

Memoranda relating to the Discovery of Etherization. By Dr. W. T. G. IMor- 

Dr. Wells, the Discoverer of Anaisthesia. 

The Manuscrijits of the Earl of Ashburnham, by Leopold Delisle. Trans, by 
Harrison Wright. 

Fourth Annual Report of the Sunday School Society, May 30, 1832. 

Thirty-fourth and Forty-second Annual Reports of American Baptist Mission- 
ary Union, 1848, 1856. 

Third, Fourth, Fiftli, and Twelfth Reports of the Boston Prison Discipline 
Society, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1837. 

Reports of Boston Board of Health, 1883-4, 1884-5, 1886, 3 Vols. 8vo. 

Agriculture of Mass.achusetts. By C. L. Flint, 1859. 8vo. 

One hundred and eighteen additional pamphlets. 

the libra ey. 375 

Georgia Historical Society: 

Suggestion as to the Origin of the Plan of Savannah. 

Eeminiscences of Service veith the First Volunteer Kegiment of Georgia. 

Eulogy on the LiJ'e and Character of the Right Rev. Stephen Elliott. 

The Old Lodge. Freemasonry in Georgia in the Days of the Colony. 

In Memoriani of Ed\Yard Jenkins Harden. 

The Life and Sermons of Major Gen. Samuel Elbert. By Chas. C. Jones, Jr.^ 

LL.D., 1886. 
Seven other Publications of the society 

Gesellschaft fur Schleswig-Holstein-Lauenburgische Ge- 

Zeitschrift, 16ter Band, 1886. 

Gesellschaft fur Pommersche Geschichte, etc.: 

Baltische Studien, 36ter Band. 

Hamilton Library Association: 

Report of the Secretary. 

HiNDLEY, George : 

First Annual Catalogue of Weeping Water Academy, 1835-6. 

Hitchcock, G. M., Editor Omaha Daily World: 

Two bills of the (Wild Cat) Bank of Tekama, 1857. 
Holmes, Jesse H. : 

Autograph Letter of James Buchanan. 

Slavery and the Slaveholder's Religion. By Samuel Brock, Cincinnati, 1846.. 

HoADLEY, Hon. C. J., Connecticut State Librarian : 

Bill of Credit for 40 shillings, Philadelphia, 1776. 

Bill of Credit for 10 shillings, Colony of Connecticut, May, 1775. 

Howard, Geo. E.: 

Sixty-three miscellaneous books and pamphlets. 

Historischer y erein fur den Niederrhein : 

Annalen, 45ter Heft 

Historischer Yerein fur das Grossherzogtum Hessen : 

Quartalblaetter, 1886. 

Historischer Yerein von Unterfranken und Aschaffen- 

Jahres-Bericht, 1885. 
Archiv, 29ter Band. 


HiSTORTSHE Gesellschaft des Kunstlervereins : 

Bremisches Jahrbuch, 13ter Band. 

Iowa State .Historical Society : 

. Iowa Historical Record, 1885-1887. 

Johns Hopkins University : 

studies in Historical and Political Science, Vol. Ill, Edited by Dr. H.B. 

Jones, Hon. W. W. W.: 

Eeports of State Superintendent Public Instruction for 1878, 1880, 1882, 1884, 

4 Vols. 
School Laws as Amended, 1883. 

Livingston County Historical Society, N. Y.: 

Proceedings at Fifth, Seventh, Ninth and Tenth Annual Meetings, four pam- 

Licking County Historical and Archaeological Society, 

Centennial History of Licking County. 

Maine Historical Society : 

Collections, Second Series, Vol. III. 

M'Eae, Sherwin, Eichmond, Va.: 

Calendar of Virginia State Papers, 1790-1792. Paper by donor. 
Communication from the Governor of Virginia. 

Mallalieu, Hon. J. T.: 

Catalogue of Library of State Reform School. 

Manatt, Chancellor I. J.: 

Nebraska and the Northv^'est. 

Constitution of U. S., with Washington's Farewell Address, 1815. 

Middlebury Historical Society : 

Papers and Proceedings, Vol. I., Part. II. 

Michigan Historical Society, Mrs. Harriet A. Tenny, Sec'y : 

Michigan Pioneer Collections, 1874-83, 6 Vols., 8vo. 
Twenty-one other Books and Pamphlets. 

Minnesota Historical Society: 

Biennial Report, 1882. 


Morton, Hon. J. Sterling : 

Outing, one number. 

Autograph Letter of Gov. William A. Richardson. 
Autograph Letter of Gen. Lewis Cass. 
Autograph Letter of Gen. James Craig. 

New Haven Historical Society : 

Papers, Vol. I., 1865. 

Nebraska State Normal School : 

Catalogue, 1886. 

Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia : 

Charter, Constitution, and By-Laws, 1865, 1870, 1883. 

Eeports, 1865-6, 1878-9, 1880-84, three pamphlets. 

On Falsification of Ancient Coins. 

Remains of an Aboriginal Encampment at Rehoboth, Del. 

Some Modern Monetary Questions Viewed by the Light of Antiquity. 

Old and New Styles Fixed Dates Calendars. 

"William Penn's Landing in Pennsylvania. 

The Books of Chilan Balam. 

Proceedings, 1885, 1886. 

Two other pamphlets. 

New England Historic Genealogical Society : 

Register, 1886-7. 

Proceedings, Jan. 6, 1886, Jan. 5, 1887. 

New YoRit Historical Society : 

Collections, 1868-1881, thirteen Vols., 8vo. 

New Jersey, Office of Secretary of State; 

Archives of New Jersey, First Series, ten Vols., 8vo. 

Eighth Annual Report of Bureau of Statistics of Labor and Industries. 

Annual Report of State Geologist. 

New Hampshire Historical Society : 

Proceedings, 1872-1884, three Vols., 8vo. 
Collections, Vols. I., II., III., V., VII., VIII. 

Ohio Historical and Philosophical Society : 

Annual Report, 1886. 

Old Colony Historical Society, Taunton, Mass.: 

Collections, 1879, 1880, 1885, three Vols. 

Old Kesidents' Historical Association, Lowell, Mass.: 

Contributions, 1874-86, three Vols. 

374 nebraska state historical society. 

Oneida Historical Society: 

Transactions, 1881-84, 1885-86. 

Col. John Brown : His Services in the Revolutionary War. 

Oxford Architectural and Historical Society: 

Proceedings and Excursions, 1878-83, three Vols. 

IPeters, Hon. A. H., City Messenger, Boston : 

Reports of Boston Record Commission : Original Tovsrn Records of Boston, 

Dorchester, Charlestown, Roxbury, eighteen vols.,8vo. 
Suffolk Deeds, Liber I. 

Pennsylvania Historical Society : 

Passages from The Life of William Penn; Philadelphia, 1882. 

Pilgrim Society, Plymouth, Mass.: 

Pilgrim Anniversary, 1870. 

Plymouth Public Library : 

Catalogue and Supplement. 

Pound, ]Mrs. S. B., Lincoln : 

Judge E. Wakely's Address Before State Bar Association, 1879. 

First Annual Address before University of Nebraska. By James M. Woolworth. 

Presbyterian Historical Society : 

Annual Reports, 1880-86. 

Providence Public Library : 

Eighth and Ninth Annual Reports of Librarian, 1885-86. 

Hhode Island Historical Society, Hon. Amos Perry, Sec'y.: 

Charter of the Society. 

Proceedings, 1885-86, 1886-87. 

Discourse before the Society, Nov. 20, 1844. By Prof. Wm. Gammell. 

Discourse on Chief Justice Durfee. By R. G. Hazard, 1848. 

The Battle of Lake Erie. Discourse of Usher Parsons, Feb. 16, 1862. 

The Spirit of Rhode Island History. By Hon. Sam. Green Arnold, Jan. 17, 

Life and Times of John Howland. By Edward B. Hall, D.D., Feb. 6, 1855. 
Officers in Battle of Lake Erie. By Usher Parsons, 1862. 
North and South America. By Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, 1865. 
Address of S. S. Arnold, June 1, 1869. 

Some New England Almanacs, etc. By Hon. Amos Perry, 1885. 
Memorial of Zachariah Allen, 1795-1882. By Amos Perry, 1883. 
Memoir of Usher Parsons, M.D. By C. W. Parsons. 
Providence County Court House. Address of Judge Stiness. 

RoGGEN, Hon. E. P.: 

Photograph of Secretaries of the State of Nebraska. 

the library. 375 

Royal Society of Canada : 

Proceedings, 3 volumes quarto. 
Three Bulletins'. 

SociETE DES Archives Historiques de la Saintoncie et de 

L' Annis : 

Bulletins, vol. VI., 3d Livraison. 

Southern California Historical Society: 

Constitution of. 

The Warm and Cold Ages of the Earth, in Northern Latitudes. 

Society of California Pioneers: 

34th and 3.5th Anniversaries, 2 Pamphlets. 

Smithsonian Institution : 

Report for 1883. 

Stenger, Hon. W. S., Secretary of State, Pa.: 

Duke of York's Laws, etc. Published by the State, 1879. 

Temple, Thos. F., Register of Deeds, Boston: 

Suffolk Deeds, vols. , II. , III. 

True, Hon. M. B. C: 

Civil Government of Nebraska. By the donor. 
Annals of Iowa, 186.5-1873, 4 vols, bound, 2 vols, in parts. 
Westminster Eeview, vol. X., 1828. 
Revised U. S. Army Regulations, 1863. 

Verein fur Nassauische Altertumskunde : 

Annalen, 1885-1886. 

Verein fur die Geschichte und Alterthumskunde Von 
Erfurt : 

Mittheilungen, 12ter Heft. 

Verein fur Thuringische Geschichte und Altertumskunde : 

Zeitschrift, oterBand, Hefte 1, 2. 

Van Name, Addison, Librarian Yale College: 

Obituary Records of Graduates of Yale College. 
Yale College in 1886. 

Virginia Historical Society: 

Collections, New Series, vol V. The Huguenot Emigration to Virginia. Ed- 
ited by R. A. Brock. 

376 nebraska state historical society. 

Weymouth Historical Society, Through the Courtesy op 
F. W. Lewis, Lincoln : 

The Original Journal of Gen. Solomon Lovell, Penobscot Expedition, 1779. 

"Worcester Society of Antiquity: 

Proceedings, 1883-1886. 

Wisconsin Historical Society: 

Catalogue of Society Library, 6 vols., 8vo. 
Eeportsand Collections 1855, 1856, 1857, 1858, 3 vols. 
Reports, 29th to 32d. 

Wilson, H. H. : 

Address of J. M. Woolworth before Nebraska State Bar Association. 
Address of J. M. Woolwortb before^ Iowa State Bar Association. 

Wing, Prof. H. H. : 

Proceedings of the First Annual Convention of Nebraska Dairyman's Associa- 
tion, 1885. 


Brain tree Town Records, 1640-1793. Edited by Samuel A. Bates. 

Local Law of Mass. and Conn. By Chauncey Fowler, LL.D., 1872. 

Mass. Colonial Records. Edited by Shurtlefif, 6 vols, quarto. 

Mass., Acts and Resolves of the Province, 1692-1780. Edited by Ames and Good- 
ell, 5 vols, quarto. 

Mass. Historical Society, Collections, 50 vols. 8vo. 

Mass. Historical Society, Proceedings, 23 vol§. 8vo. 

Magazine of American History, 1^77-1886, 16 vols. 8vo. 

Maryland, Archives of Edited by J. H. Browne, 3 vols. 

Newark, N. J., Town Records, 1666-1836. 

New Haven Colonial Records, vol. 4. 

New York, Papers Relating to the Colonial History of Edited by O'Calla- 
ghan, 14 vols, quarto. 

New York, Documentary History of. Edited by O'Callaghan, 4 vols, quarto. 

Pennsylvania Historical Society, Memoirs of 12 vols. 8vo. 

Pennsylvania Magazine. Published by State Historical Society. 9 vols. Bvo. 

Pennsylvania Colonial Records, 16 vols. 

Pennsylvania Archives, 13 vols. 

Plymouth Colonial Records. Edited by Shurtleff, 12 vols, quarto. 

Providence Plantation, History of. By W. A. Green. Folio. 

Provincial Courts of New Jersey. By R. S. Field, 1849. 

Rhode Island Historical Society, Collections, vols. I., II., III., IV., VI. VII. 

Virginia, Calendar of State Papers. Vols. I., II. Edited by Palmer and Mc- 

Worcester Town Records, 1740-1783. Edited by Franklin P. Rice. 

Worcester, Records of the Proprietors. Edited by Franklin P. Rice, 

Worcester, Records of the General Court of Sessions, 1731-1737. Edited bv 
Franklin P. Rice. 


Abbott, Dr. L. J., history of Dodge county by, 257-274; in connection with cap- 
ital fight, 70-71. 

Advertise}; founded, 61. 

Allan, Hon. J. T., biography of, 326-332. 

Allis, Rev. Samuel, his "Forty Years Among the Indians," etc., 133-166; men- 
tioned, 294. 

American Fur Company, post of, 161; established by Astor 1810, 186, 293, 

Arboreal Bureau, letter of J. Sterling Morton on establishment of, 316-17. 

Archer, paper town of, 21. 

Arroiv, the, 56-60. 

Assembly, the first Nebraska territorial, character of, 20. 

Association, the Historical and Political Science of University of Nebraska, 313- 

Atkinson, Henry Martyn, biographical sketch of, 337-8. 

Banks, wild cat, 22-39. 

Bangs, S. D., history of Sarpy county by, 293-306. 

Barada, Antoine, biographical sketch of, 343-6. 

Barnard, Hon. E. H., sketch of early Fremont by, 308-12; member of original 
Fremont Town Company, 263; secretary of Platte Valley Claim Association, 
264; mentioned, 294. 

Barnes, A. G., on first gold from Pike's Peak, 315-16. 

Biography of E. H. Rogers, 321-325; of James Thomas Allan, 326-332; of John 
McMechan, 332-5; of Matilda McMechan, 335-7; of Henry Martyn Atkinson, 
337-8; of J. L. Mitchell, 338; of Thomas B. Edwards, 339; of Sterling Perry 
Majors, 339-340; of William D. Gage, 340; of Harrison Johnson, 340-1; of 
Geo. B. Graff, 341; of Frank G. North, 342-3; of Maria Tiernan Murphy, 343; 
of Antoine Barada, 343-6; of Elizabeth A. Hawke, 346; of Peter Hugus, 346-7, 

Black, Gov., in connection with slavery question in Nebraska,. 106-7; message of, 
184; mentioned, 52-3. 

Black republicans, 46, 100. 

Bellevue, origin of name, 293. 

Bennett, Hiram, 47. 

Books added to Society library, 361-76. 

Boulware, Col. John, establishes Ferry at old Fort Kearney 1847, 169; in charge 
of Fort Kearney, 170; mentioned, 178. 

Bowen, L. L., president of council 1858, 41, 42; brigadier general, 178; council- 
man, 300. 

Bradford, Allen H., anecdote of, 25. 

Bridger, Major, 211-13, 220. 

Brown, John, in Richardson county, 109-113, 


378 INDEX. 

Brownville Hotel scrip, '38. 

Burt county, early election in, 20. 

Cabana [Cabanne, Cabonne], J., succeeds Major Pilcher, 161, 162, 163; men- 
tioned, 168, 293. 

Carson, John L., anecdote of, 33. 

Capital of Nebraska, bill to locate at Douglas, Lancaster county, 66; the Florence 
fight, 40-41, 67-68; paper on location of at Lincoln, 63-80. 

Cass county, history of, by Dr. A. L. Child, 230-257. 

Catfish war, 280-281. 

Capitol building, the old, 78. 

Chapin, W. F., in capital fight, 68, 70. 

Cheyennes, raid of on the Little Blue, 197-198. 

Chapman, Bird B., founds Nehraskian, 47, 60; territorial representative, 47-48. 

Child, Dr. A. L., history of Cass county by, 230-57. 

Childs, Capt., establishes New Fort Kearney (Fort Childs) 1848, 170. 

Chivington, Col. J. M., attacks Cheyennes, 198-9. 

Cibola, lost cities of, 128. 

Claim clubs, in Cass county, 232-6, 244-6; the Platte Valley, 264-5; in Washing- 
ton county, 284. 

Clans, Indian, named from animals, 146. 

Clark, Dr. M. H., report of, on U. P. E. R, 261-2; early settler of Fontenelle, 278. 

Cole, Col. N. P., commands portion of Powder river expedition, 203; desperate 
position of his command, 222-3, 224, 227. 

Columbus, Nebraska, probably reached by Penelosa, 120. 

Conner, Gen. P. E., commands district of plains, 200; in Powder river expedition, 
201 fif.; ability of, 229. 

Cooley, Justice, opinion cited, 15-16. 

Coronado's march, 114, 115, 118, 122, 128, etc. 

Corporations, numerous in territorial times, 21. 

Cordelling keel-boats on Missouri, 166. 

Counties, the early, 18-19, 65, 259, 274. 

Courier, the Florence, 49, 62. 

Cuming, Gov. T. B., and location of capital at Omaha, 42; proclamation of, 171-2, 
187; message of, 179-180; mentioned, 18. 

Curtis, H. Z., editor of Omaha Daily Telegraph, 61. 

Chouteau, 138, 163; Pierre and August, 1762, 167. 

Cox, S. D., communication from, 313-15. 

Daily, Samuel G., the "Moses " of the republican party in Nebraska, 46; campaign 
anecdotes of, 51, 53; bill of, to abolish slavery, 68, 97. 

Decker, Jas. H., in Florence struggle, 42-6. 

Democratic party organized in Nebraska territory, 97. 

De Roin, Francis, 168, 293. 

De Smet, Father, 211. 

Be Soto, bank of, 30, 277; the Bugle of, 277; the Pilot of, 277, 62. 

Diego, Don, Count of Penlosa, expedition of, 1662, 115-132. 

Downs, Col. H. P., 170. 

Dodge, Hon. A. C, of Iowa, favors present Kansas-Nebraska line, 88, 90; at Conn" 
oil Bluffs, 87; bill of, to organize Nebraska, 95. 

INDEX. 379 

Dodge county, history of, by Dr. L. J. Abbott, 257-274; original boundaries of, 

259; lirst election in, 261; early settlei'S of, 269. 
Dunbar, Rev. John, sent as missionary to the Indians, V.U, 136, 149; mentioned, 

Dndle}', Lieut. E. S., notes on early military history of Nebraska by, 166-196. 
Edwards, Thos. B. , biographical sketch of, 339. 
Election, the first in Nebraska, 1853, 86. 
Elkhorn river, navigation of, 279-280. 
English, William, commissary, 172. 

Escanzaqnes, identical with Pawnees, 118; encountered by Don Diego, 118, 120, 126. 
Estabrook, Gen., 48-49. 

Eubank, Mrs., captured by Cheyennes. 198; surrendered, 200. 
Falls City. John Brown in, 101-113. 
Fairview, Sarpy county, 304. 

First Congregational Church in Fremont, account of, by Rev. I. E. Heaton, 306-8. 
Florence, bank of, 26; "secession," the, 41, 46, 67-8. 
Fontenelle, Lucien, 164; his family, 164. 
Fontenelle, bank of, 26. 

Fort Kearney, the old, 169, 170; the new, 170; why so called, 171. 
Fort Grattan, established 1855, 174. 
Forest City, Sarpy county, 306. 
Fourth of July, first celebration of, in Nebraska, 91. 
Freytas, Father Nicholas de, narrative of, 120, 121. 

Fremont, Dodge county, account of, 263-7; the original town company of, 263-4. 
Fremont, J. C, expedition of, 169. 

Folsom, Mr., represents alleged county of Burt; property of, in Omaha, 20. 
Furnas, R. W., founds Advertiser, 61-2; his file of, 63; annual report as president 

of Historical Society, 356-3.57. 
Gage, William D., biographical sketch of, 340. 
Garrow, Antoine, killed, 165. 

Gere, Hon. Chas. H., paper of, on capital question, etc., 63-80. 
Gifts to State Historical Society library, 361-376. 
Gilmore, Sarpy county, 306. 
Graff, Geo. B., biographical sketch of, 341. 

Griffin, Mr., first justice of peace in Wa.shington county, anecdote of, 301. 
Guittar, Franeois, 138, 165. 

Hamilton, Father William, on removal of capital to Omaha, 40; mentioned, 165. 
Hawke, Mrs. Elizabeth, biographical sketch of, 346. 
Henn, Hon. Bernhart, 89. 

Henry, Dr., his "paper" town on the Platte, 22. 
Heaton, Rev. Isaac E., account of first Congregational Church in Fremont, 306-8; 

mentioned, 267, 309. 
History of Cass county, 230-257; of Dodge county, 257-74; of Sarpy county, 293- 

306; of Washington county, 274-292; of Powder river expedition, 197-229; 

early military history of Nebraska, 166-196; of wild cat banks, 22-39; of ter- 
ritorial politics, 39-55; of pioneer joirrnalism, 56-63. 
History, its relation to the study and practice of law, 5-17. 
Historical and Political Science Association of University of Nebraska, 313-15. 

380 INDEX. 

Horse thieves and lynch law, 255. 

Howard, Geo. E., report of, as secretary, for 1886, 357-9; report of, as librarian, 361- 
376; letters to, from Hon. J. Sterling Morton, 315-317; letter to, from S. D. 
Cox, 313-15. 

Hugus, Peter, biographical sketch of, 346-7. 

Indians, customs of, 137-144, 146; legends of, 145; clans of, named from animals, 
146; begging habits of, 246-7; Catfish war, 280-1; Forty Years Among, by 
Eev. Samuel Allis, 133-166; Pawnee war, 186-196; Whitmore scare, 247; bat- 
tle with Cheyennes, 197-8; Powder river expedition, 197-229. 

Iowa and Nebraska, relation of their histories, 82. 

Izard, Mark W., proclamation of, 175; message of, 179. 

Jewett, Lieut. Oscar, in Powder river expedition, 202, 205, 207, 219, 225. 

Jones, A. D., resists creation of wildcat banks, 25. 

Jones county, 18. 

Johnson, Harrison, biographical sketch of, 340-1. 

Johnson, Eev. Thomas, alleged delegate to Washington, 1853,88-90. 

Johnson, Hon. Hadley D., on establishment of Kansas-Nebraska line, 80-92; del- 
egate to Washington, 1853, 86-7; mentioned, 95. 

Johnsons, the two, 89. 

Journalism, pioneer, in Nebraska, 56-63. 

Julesburg, attacked by Sioux and Cheyennes, 199. 

Kansas-Nebraska line, establishment of, paper by Hon. Hadley D. Johnson, 80-92» 

Kearney, Old Fort, 169; abandoned, 170. 

Kearney, New Fort, established by Capt. Childs, 1848, 170; why so called, 171. 

Kearney, Phil, 171. 

Keim, A. E., paper on John Brown in Eichardson county, 109-113. 

Kickapoos, 134, 135-6. 

La Barge, Joseph, 165. 

Law, relation of to history, 5-17. 

La Platte, Sarpy county, account of, 303-4. 

Lesa, Manuel, 168, 293. 

Lincoln, location of capital at, 63-80; sale of lots in, 76; first residents of, 77; first 
capitol building in, 78. 

Lowe, Jesse, report on Jones county, 19. 

Lynch law, 255, 287. 

Librarian of State Historical Society, report of, 361-73. 

Majors, Sterling Perry, biographical sketch of, 339-40. 

Manypenny, Col., as to removal of Omaha Indians, 90. 

McMechan, John, biographical sketch of, 332-5. 

McMechan, Matilda, biographical sketch of, 335-7. 

Margaretta, act to incorporate town of, 21-2. 

Marquett, Hon. T. M., editor of Jcffersonian, 63; anecdote by of "black republi- 
cans," 100; introduces bill to abolish slavery in Nebraska territory, 101. 

Marquette, Father, 128. 

Maxwell, Judge Samuel, biography of E. H. Eogers, 321-5. 

Marshall, Chief Justice, the great expounder of the constitution, 14, 

Mason, Judge O. P., 48, 53. 

Martin, Samuel, establishes trading post in Cass county, 1853, 231-2, 

INDEX. 881 

Mentzer, John M., edits Courier, Florence, 62. 

Miller, Dr. Geo. L., on abolition of slavery in Nebraska, 161; mentioned, 44, 67. 

Military history of Nebraska, 166-196. 

Michigan supreme court, decision of, relative to debts for internal improvements, 

Merrill, Rev. Moses, 150, 294. 

Mitchell, J. L. , biographical notice of, 338. 

Mormons, driven from Jackson county, Mo., 135; pass through Nebraska, 82,157- 
158, 169, 294. 

Moonlight, Gen. T., expedition of, against Indians, 199-201. 

Morton, Hon. J. Sterling, opposes chartering wild cat banks, 26 ; territorial secre- 
tary, 180; letter of, to Col. May, 195; speech in 1863 on abolition of slavery in 
Nebraska, 53-54; contest with Daily, 52; letter to Secretary Howard on first 
gold from Colorado, 315 ; letter to same on establishment of an arboreal bureau, 

Murphy, Maria Tiernan, biographical notice of, 343. 

Nebraska Advertiser, 61. 

Nebraska Bank, 26, 39, 

Nebraska volunteers, act creating, 177-8, 186-196. 

Nehraskian, the, 44, 45, 47, 60 ; superseded by Omaha Herald, 60. 

Nebraska State Historical Society, proceedings of, 351-76. 

Nemaha Valley Bank, 26, 33-6. 

Nemaha University at Archer, 21. 

North, Capt. Frank J., in Powder river expedition, 204, 208, 209, 221-2, 227; bio- 
graphical notice of, 342-3. 

Notes on early military history of Nebraska, 166-196. 

Nuckolls, Hon. S. F., 37. 

Nye, Theron, pioneer in Fremont, 312. 

O'Brien, Capt., 199, 217. 

Officers of State Historical Society, 1. 

Omaha Daily Telegraph, 61. 

Omaha Republican, established, 61. 

Omaha weekly Times, 60. 

Pattison, J. W., editor of Arrow, 57. 

Padilla, John de, 114. 

Palmer, Capt. H. E., history of Powder river expedition by, 197-229. 

Palladium, the, 60-61. 

Papillion, Sarpy county, 304-5. 

Pappan, Laforce, 138, 165. 

Panic of 1857, 32, 267, 286-7. 

Parker, Rev. Samuel, sent as missionary to Indians, 134, 147. 

Pawnee Indians, identical with the Escanzaques, 118 ; the four divisions of, 128, 
136; description of a bloody sacrifice of, 131-2; customs of, 137-144, 146; le- 
gends of, 145; clans of, named from animals, 146. 

Pawnee war, 181-185; list of officers in, 196. 

Penelosa, Don Diego, Count of, character of, 121, 117; expedition of, 115-132. 

Pilcher, Major Joshua, 161, 163. 

Pike's Peak, first gold from, 315-316. 

382 INDEX. 

Pioneer journalism in Nebraska, 56-63. 

Pioneers, character of, 241-3. 

Piatt, L. W., keeps Indian school, 157-8. 

Platte, Mrs. Elvira G., 124, 126, 157. 

Platte Valley Bank, 26, 27, 39. 

Platte river, navigation of, 279-280. 

Powder river expedition, 197-229. 

Politics in Nebraska, sectional, 39-46; proper, 40-55. 

Poppleton, Hon. A. J., 45,67. 

Powell, Col. L. W., 170. 

PresidcHt ef vState Historical Society, report of, 356-7* 

Proceedings of State Historical Society, 351-376. 

Quivira, near site of Columbus, Nebraska, 120, 122, 130; mentioned, 114, 118, 119, 

122, 123, 124. 
Ram's Horn railway, 84. 
Report of treasurer of State Historical Society, 359-60; of secretary, 357-9; of 

librarian, 351-76; of president, 356-7. 
Reed, Byron, his collection of wild cat bank currency, 39; of Nebraska newspapei's^ 

Republican party in Nebraska, origin, 46, 55, 98-101. 
Rich, Edson P., paper on slavery in Nebraska, 92-108. 
Richardson county, bank of, 26; John Brown in, 109-113; battle between Pawnees 

and Sioux, 1832, in, 168. 
Rogers, E. H. , biography of, by Judge Samuel Maxwell, 321-5; mentioned. 267^ 

Roman law, liability for negligence according to, 13. 
Roper, Miss Laura, captured by Cheyennes, 198, 201. 
Roy, Baptists, 165. 

Royce J. B., establishes trading post, 1825, 168. 
Rubideau (Roubideaux), Joseph, 136, 293. 
Sarpy county, history of, 293-306. 
Sarpy Center, 305. 
Sarpy, Col. Peter A., appointed quartermaster general, 172; establishes trading 

post, 177; aids Mormon emigrants, 294; account of, 299-300; mentioned, 162- 

163, 168. 
Satterlee, Dr. B., 148, 156. 

Savage, Judge James W., "A visit to Nebraska in 1662 " by, 114-132. 
Sectional politics in territorial Nebraska, 39-46. 
Secretary of State Historical Society, report of, 357-9. 
Selden, Hon. Perry, history of Washington county b}^ 274-292. 
Shea, Jno. Gilmary, on Penelosa's expedition, 114. 
Sheriff's sale of slaves at Nebraska City, 104. 
Sioux, Catfish war with, 280. 
Slavery in Nebraska, paper by E. P. Rich, 92-108; Daily's bill to abolish, 68, 97; 

bill of Marquett and Taylor, 101, 102; sheritf 's sale of slaves in Nebraska 

City, 104; abolished, 107: documents relating to, 107-8. 
Smallpox among Indians, 149. 
Speculators, evils caused by, 232, 235-6, 244-6. 


state Bank of Nebraska, attempt of Richardson to form, 30. 

State Historical Society, officers, 1; proceedings of, 351-361; reports of officers, 

. 356-360. 
Steinberger, A., said to have biought first gold from Colorado, 315. 
Strickland, S. A., 42,45. 

Territorial history, sketches of, by A. G. Warner, 18-63. 
Tekama, bank of, 30, 36. 

Thayer, Gen. John M., appointed brig, general Ist Brigade Neb. Volunteers, 172; 
holds council with Pawnees, 174, 190-1 ; commands in Pawnee war, 1859, 180-5; 
place of, in Nebraska history, 185. 
Thompson, J. N. T., appointed adjutant, 172. 
Thompson, Major, 135. 
Towns, the early paper in Nebraska, 21-2. 
Town Company of Fremont, 263. 

Treasurer of State Historical Society, reports of, 359-60. 
Union Pacific Railway, suggested by Whitney, 82; Dr. Clark's report on, 261-2; 

established, 84-5. 
Volunteers, Nebraska, act to establish, 177; documents relating to, 186-196. 
War, the Pawnee, 181-185; the Catfish, 280-1. 
Ware, Eugene L., 127-128. 

Warner, A. G., his sketches from territorial history, 18-63. 
Washington county, history of, 274-292; original boundaries of, 276. 
Washington County Sun, 277. 
Waubeek Bank, 37. 
Webster, Daniel, use of history by, 14. 
Western Fire and Marine Insurance Company, 25, 33. 
Whitaker vs. Hawley, case cited, 11. 
Whitman, Dr. Marcus, 147-8. 
Wild cat banks, history of, by A. G. Warner, 22-39 ; of Michigan, account of, by H. 

M. Utley, cited, 23-24. 
Wilson, H. H., his paper on relations of history and law, 5-17. 
Winter of 1^56-7,. severity of, 284-5. 

Woodbury, Gen. D. P., superintends construction of Fort Kearney, 169. 
Wyncoop, Colonel, bringing gold from Colorado, 315.