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Full text of "Publications of the Nebraska State Historical Society"

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1237385 



GENEALOGY rDL.L.ECTION 



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Nebraska State Historical- 
Society. 

puel-ications of the nebraska 
State Historical Society 



TRANSACTIONS AND REPORTS 



NEBRASKA 



State Historical Society. 



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"VOXiTJIMIE x^r. 






LINCOLN, NEB.: 

STATE JOURNAL COMPANY, PRINTERS. 

1892. 



1237385 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



-Historical Papers. page 

From Nebraska City to Salt Creek in 1855, by J. Sterling Morton... 11- 18 

Old Fort Atkinson, by W. H. Filer 18- 28 

Map of Fort Atkinson 29 

The Indian Troubles and the Battle of Wounded Knee, by W. F. 

Kelley 30- 50 

O. P. Mason, by J. H. Broady 51- 61 

Judge James W. Savage, by C. A. Baldwin 61- 70 

Byron Eeed, by William D. Beckett 72- 78 

Thomas B. Cuming, by J, M. Woolworth 78- 87 

Eeminiscences of Early Days in Nebraska, by M. F. Piatt 87- 95 

The Romantic History of a Man Well Known to Nebraskans 95- 98 

Old Fort Calhoun 98-106 

Arbor Day — Progress of the Tree-Planting Movement 106-110 

What Causes Indian Mounds, by Alf. D. Jones 111-112 

The First Postmaster of Omaha, by Alf D. Jones 113-114 

Supreme Judges of Nebraska, by W. Morton Smith 115-119 

Omaha Public Library, by Miss E. E. Poppleton 119-127 

Judge Lynch's Court in Nebraska, by Gov. John M. Thayer 128-134 

Stormy Times in Nebraska, by C. W. Bishop...., 134-140 

County Names, by M. B. C. True 142-144 

Lieut. Samuel Cherry 144-151 

Origin of the Name Omaha According to Indian Tradition, by 

Alf D. Jones 151-152 

Omaha's Early Days, Alf D. Jones 152-154 

Early Days in Nebraska, by James Her 155-156 

Personal Sketch of Rev. Moses Merrill 157-159 

Extracts from the Diary of Rev. Moses Merrill, a Missionary to 

the Otoe Indians from 1832-1840 160-191 

Some Incidents in Our Early School Days in Illinois, by W. H. 

Woods 192-194 

Personal and Other Notes of Early Days, by George L. Miller.... 194-198 
Papers Read on the Laying of the Corner Stone of the Lancaster 

County Court House 199-207 

Hardy Pioneers of Dixon County 207-211 

(3) 



4 TABLE OF CONTENTS. 

II.— Biographical Notices. page 

S. R. Majors 215-218 

James W. Savage 218-232 

Coagressman James Laird 232-235 

Rev. William S. Horn 235-2.36 

John Heth 236-238 

Hon. N. B. Larsh 239-240 

W. F. Chapin 240-241 

Dr. James Porter Peck 241-243 

James Thomas Allan 243-245 

iMrs. Mary McComas 246-247 

Mrs. Douglass 247-248 

Mrs. Orpha Dinsmoor 249-251 

Gen. O. Funke 251-232 

.Toel T. Griffin 253-256 

Alexander Reed 256-257 

Guy A. Brown 257-259 

Colonel Lorin Miller 259-260 

Sterling Parker Rounds 261-268 

Charles Morter, Sr 268-270 

Meyer Hellman 270-271 

III.— County Histories. 

The History of Butler County, by Charles L. Brown 275-305 

Tribute to the Wives and Mothers of the Pioneers — Customs and 

Characteristics of the People, by W. W. Cox 305-312 

IV.— Proceedings. 

Secretary's Record 315-320 

Constitution of the Nebraska State Historical Society 321-323 

By-Laws 323-324 

Treasurer's Report 325 

Standing Committees 325 

List of Members 326-327 

Index 329-336 



Lincoln, Nebraska, June 1, 1892. 
To the Hon. James E. Boyd, Governor of Nebraska: 

Sir— In accordance with the provisions of law, we herewith sub- 
mit our report of the proceedings of the State Historical Society for 
the past year. 

Very respectfully, 

J. Sterling Morton, 

President, 
Howard W. Caldwell, 

Secretary. 



(5) 



NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



OFFICERS. 

J. Sterling Morton, President, 
S. B. Pound, First Vice-President, 
Chas. E. Bessey, Second Vice-President, 
Charles H. Gere, Treasurer, 
Howard W. Caldwell, Secretary, 



Nebraska City. 

Lincolu. 

Lincoln. 

Lincoln. 

Lincoln. 



BOARD OF MANAGERS. 
The above officers, by the new constitution, constitute the Board of 
Managers. 



(7) 



I.-HISTORICAL PAPERS. 



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FROM NEBRASKA CITY TO SALT CREEK IN 1855. 



Read before the State Historical Society, January 13, 1892, by Hon. J. Sterling 
Morton, of Nebraska City. 



During the Mexican war the site of Nebraska City was a military 
post, called Fort Kearney. Among the non-commissioned officers of 
the garrison was Sergeant Hiram P. Downs, and when the government 
abandoned the military occupation of Fort Kearney, all the buildings 
on the reservation, consisting of log barracks for the soldiers and officers, 
a block house, and a hospital, were placed in charge of Sergeant 
Downs. And when his time of enlistment expired he filed his claim 
as a pre-emptor on the 160 acres of land which embraces the principal 
business portion of the Nebraska City of to-day. 

But in 1854 and 1855, he transferred his claim to the Nebraska 
City Town Site Company for the sum of $2,000. Therefore when I 
came to know Sergeant Downs (who, by the way, became subsequently 
major of the First Nebraska Volunteers), I, being only twenty-two 
years of age, looked up to him as the primary pioneer of Otoe county, 
and, in fact, of Southern Nebraska, to whom alone I could apply for 
reliable information as to the agricultural possibilities of the country 
lying westward of Otoe county. During the winter of 1854, and in 
the early spring of 1855, I became quite intimate with Downs, and 
asked him a great many questions as to the probable area of arable 
land south of the Platte river in Nebraska. Downs was an unedu- 
cated man, and, therefore, very dogmatic, and especially so in his de- 
cisions as to the inhabitability of any part of the western country. 
During the early summer of 1855 I was busily engaged in construct- 
ing my first cottage at Arbor Lodge, residing meanwhile in my log 
cabin. In the evening, my wife being absent at Detroit, I often 
whiled away an hour at the Downs hotel, in company with a young 
man named Oliver Perry Mason, who subsequently became chief jus- 
tice of the state, and whose recent death brought sorrow to his imme- 
diate family, and elicited eulogy from every section of this great 

(11) 



12 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

commonwealth. Together Mason and I examined and cross-exam- 
ined Downs as to the agricultural value of lands in this vicinity. Mr. 
Downs had the voice of a stentor, and when he denounced, as abso- 
lutely sterile, all the land west of Salt creek, by declaring in strident, 
nasal tones, with here and there a profane interjection, that " it wouldn't 
raise white beans," his utterances became so vehement that they might 
have been mistaken for a fog-horn on the coast of his native state of 
Maine. But the more Downs said relative to the Great American 
Desert's being bounded on the east by Salt creek, the more Mason and 
I desired to visit this region of country. Therefore, we managed to 
secure a covered lumber wagon to whioh were attached a horse and a 
mule, and to procure as co-explorers with ourselves, Mr. William B. 
Hall, Mr. D. F. Jackson, and Mr. M. W. Moore, making, with our- 
selves, a party of five, whose purpose it was to penetrate the American 
Desert by going to and crossing Salt creek, and camping on its west- 
ern bank. Besides the wagon and its team, Mason and I had each a 
saddle horse. 

It was a bright beautiful morning in August, 1855, when this equip- 
ment left Nebraska City on its tour of exploration to the land where, 
Downs said, white beans could not be raised. We followed the Cali- 
fornia trail, and, four miles west of Nebraska City, passed the last 
claim cabin, and between the site of that cabin and the Rocky moun- 
tains there was not a single human habitation belonging to civilized 
beings. From that point to the Mormon valleys of Utah there was 
not a single plow furrow on the plains, where now there are millions of 
acres under cultivation, and tens of thousands of contented homes. 

About half past four in the afternoon, as we were ascending from 
the valley of the Weeping Water, Mason and I riding on horseback 
in advance of the others, he called my attention to some dark looking 
knobs which were just visible, now and then, above the crest of the 
acclivity we were traversing, and, in a most tragic manner, informed 
me that those were the heads of Indians, whereupon I expressed my 
doubts, as I was fully aware that the imagination of my friend was 
quick and vivid as lightning. He, however, reiterated his opinion 
originally expressed, that the knobs were the heads of the aboriginal 
possessors of these prairies, and he did it with great vehemence. And 
before I had time to argue the negative, sure enough there sprang out 
of the crest of the hill and over it, and on horseback came plunging 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 13 

towards our party, somewhere between fifty and a hundred howling, 
yelling, whooping Indians. When about 200 feet from the wagon 
they stopped, and sent out two of their men to meet Mason and my- 
self before coming up to the wagon. We would have given all our 
interests in Nebraska and the possibilities of its future to have been 
back on the Missouri river listening to the condemnation of these 
lands by Major Dowais. But the politeness of the prairie compelled 
us to shake hands with these unexpected breech-clouted proprietors of 
the ])lains. They could not speak English, and we could not speak 
Indian, so the parley began in sign language, where hands, thumbs, 
fingers, eyes, shoulders, and all the features of humanity become vol- 
ubly vocal. While we were engaged in this silent but neither satis- 
factory nor soothing conversation, the whole band of savages had 
quietly gathered around us and the wagon. By signs we were in- 
formed that they wanted sugar, flour, in fact anything edible, and 
also that they wished powder, lead, and smoking tobacco. 

In the meantime our entire party, by universal consent, were look- 
ing very expectantly down the trail leading to Nebraska City, and 
informing the Indians, by holding up fingers, of a great number of 
people who were to follow us immediately. There was no doubt a 
good deal of wicked deceit as to the immediate concourse that would 
follow our then subjugated and depressed procession. But the mill- 
ions who have followed our footsteps since then may be cited in ex- 
tenuation of the symbolic lies which, under duress, and in great fear 
of bodily harm, we then so fluently gave to our aboriginal captors. 
Really, they were professors of the jn-otective tariff philosophy, and 
were merely taxing us for their own benefit, and against our will. In 
demonstration of this theory the head man of the band handed me a 
piece of paper. Upon it was freshly written, being dated the day be- 
fore, " If you are a strong party, whip this Indian and all his band. 
They made us give them a steer before they would let us cross Salt 
creek." The signatures to the above we could not make out. In 
fact, the handwriting was not very good, and, besides that, the sudden 
presence of so many strangers was quite embarrassing. 

Meantime our party had so intensified the expression of expectancy 
on each face, and had become so skilled in looking honestly, hoi)ef "idly, 
down the eastern trail for our imaginary followers, that the Indians 
seemed really to believe a large number of people were close upon our 



14 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

heels. So the entire band left us and started northwards towards the 
Platte. Not a tear was shed, nor a regret expressed at their depart- 
ure. They were a bad lot of predatory Pawnees. 

Left to ourselves we pushed forward, resolved to make Salt creek 
that night or perish in the attempt. We wanted to see the American 
Desert. Just as the sun began to grow red in the western horizon, 
and the scorched prairie to glow in its declining rays, like a vast sea 
of molten gold, the alert and vigilant Mason, pointing eastward down 
the trail, called my attention to a lonely horseman, who seemed to be 
leisurely keeping us in sight. He was not the stereotyped G. P. R. 
James style of horseman, which the modern novel depicts as riding in 
the sunset glow, but a pusillanimous Pawnee Indian on a pony. He 
was watching to know where we camped. Mason declared that he 
had been detailed for the purpose of locating our stopping place, and 
reporting to his superiors so that they might steal our stock that night. 

Finally, the last ray of sunlight had gone out, the aboriginal spy 
still in sight, when darkness enveloped the plain, and we found our- 
selves not yet at Salt creek. But between nine and ten o'clock we 
got into the valley of that stream, of which, metaphorically, I and 
many other democrats have since become experienced political navi- 
gators. During the day we had killed quite a number of prairie 
chickens, and your narrator had been awarded the honor of cooking 
them for supper. Therefore, while Mason and the other members of 
the party M'ere taking care of the horses and getting out the dishes, 
the same being tin plates and cups, I was frying the prairie chicken 
in a skillet, and boiling the coffee for our evening meal. The chick- 
ens received the commendation of the entire party; and the cook was 
so proud of his achievement that his palate remembers the flavor of 
that meal and the zest of that appetite, even down to the present mo- 
ment. But in our happiest moods there are always flitting shadows 
of sorrows, in our highest triumphs memories of defeat; thus, while 
the chickens were commended, the coffee was denounced. It had been 
made of salt water; its caffeine properties were subdued, but its saline 
merits were pronounced. The meal being over, pipes were lighted, 
and, extended upon the grass, or sitting on the wagon pole, the ])arty 
was enjoying itself in the utmost tranquility, when Mason said, " I 
do not hear the horses; we must look for them. Those Indians are 
about and will steal them." At once all hands were searching for 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 15 

the animals, which had been loosened to graze, just around the point 
of a little bluff where we were located. But it was an hour before 
they were found and brought back to camp. An Indian, placing his 
robe or blanket over his head, and his extended arms, and then get- 
ting on his knees, silently moving his arms up and down, looks like 
a huge bat waving its wings. In that guise and attitude, without 
making the slightest sound, an Indian could stampede an entire herd 
of horses toward the point where his co-laborers were waiting to catch 
or corral them. Knowing this fact, cognizant of this cute custom, we 
concluded to move camp at once and go over to the west side of Salt 
creek up on a high point, which was dimly visible against the even- 
ing sky. This was accomplished with great alacrity, Salt creek having 
been forded meantime and our camp made on the very summit. 
Then it was arranged that two men should stand guard while the 
others slept, and the night should be divided into three watches. Our 
animals were all tied fast to the wagon. 

Towards day-break the mule became uneasy, and gave that pecu- 
liar snort which is said to indicate either fear or irritation ; but Mason 
said that it indicated Indians, that the American mule disdainfully 
smelled and disliked them whenever they came into his immediate 
vicinity. And, sure enough, again Mason was right in his premoni- 
tions and perceptions, for we had not finished breakfast before a dozen 
or more Pawnee Indians were standing about us. We were not par- 
ticularly pleased with their presence, but were inclined to treat them 
as kindly as a lamb would behave toward a wolf which he did not 
feel competent to fight. 

It had been suggested before the Indians came up, that the point 
where we were camped would make a good town site, and that, as the 
land seemed just as good as it was on the Missouri, there might be, 
sometime, quite a village built up there. In accord with this view, 
Mr. Moore had taken out a tripod and compass and set it up with the 
purpose of running some lines and, possibly, staking off 320 acres for 
a town. Mr. Moore was a millwright by profession, and he said there 
was good water power for milling purposes right at that point on Salt 
creek. 

As soon, however, as the Pawnees saw the compass, they flew into 
a great passion. They ordered it taken down and put into the wagon, 
and told us, in sign language which was vehement and actually ex- 



16 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

pressive, that if we were found on that spot the next day when the 
sun was in the zenith, we would all be scalped. Their assurance 
of the certainty of that event was so hearty and sincere, and our cre- 
dulity was so sensitive, that we had full faith that they would perform 
the exquisite surgery that they promised. Their urgent invitation for 
us to go home was so pronounced, and so in accord with our desire to 
see home once more, that we accepted it with unfeigned felicity. 

While, however, we were packing our traps in the wagon and gear- 
ing up the animals, seven white covered wagons loomed up on the 
prairie a mile or so to the northwest, coming our way. Never before 
or since have wagons or vehicles of any kind, coming my way, ap- 
peared half so beautiful, half so benignant, so benevolent, as those 
ponderous prairie schooners appeared. They soon reached us. They 
were in command of a French trader from St. Joseph, Missouri, named 
Edward Moran, who had been hauling goods to Fort Laramie for the 
sutler, and also making a few exchanges on his own account with the 
Indians about that post. We soon informed Mr. Moran of our ex- 
periences with the Indians that morning and the day before. He told 
us that the Pawnees, while professing friendship for, and having treat- 
ies with, the whites, were really a treacherous and revengeful tribe; 
that they were continually committing depredations and charging 
them to the Sioux. He therefore said it would be unsafe for us to 
remain longer at that place, and that we had better proceed at once to 
Nebraska City with his outfit as our escort. 

The fact that Moran and his party had for some weeks been en- 
tirely out of salt, and the avidity with wdiich they partook of ours, 
impressed upon my mind that the difference between a delicacy and a 
necessity of life is dependent entirely upon environment and condi- 
tions, for to those men that salt was a delicious luxury. Before mid- 
day we were all under way, eastward bound, having left our camping 
ground, where now stands the village of Ashland, and the high point 
upon which we slept, and upon which the high school of Ashland is 
now established, quite a distance in our rear, and in undisputed Pawnee 
possession. The animals belonging to the Moran train were so foot- 
sore and weary, and we made such slow progress, that the Weeping 
Water crossing was not made until after dark ; then we camped. 

The fire was kindled — the coff'ee boiled, the bacon sputtered, and 
the heavy bread fried — while we, with keenest appetite, anticipated 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 17 

the feast. It came, we devoured it. Pipes were lighted, and we 
calmly disposed ourselves for a tranquil smoke. I shall never forget 
a faintly nauseating odor which, borne on the breath of a south wind, 
just then assailed my nostrils. I was seated on the tongue of a wagon, 
and one of the Moran party next to me. I asked him if he detected 
that peculiar sickening smell. 

He replied promptly, saying, "O yes ; that is the dead man in this 
wagon. He was killed by the Indians up the Platte ; so we wrapped 
him up in a wagon cover, and put tar all over the outside of it, and 
covered the tar with Platte river sand, and then rolled him in another 
wagon cover; and we are taking him home to bury at St. Joseph." 
Before that terse and ghastly narrative was concluded, I had given up 
my seat, and was standing at quite a distance from the vehicle which 
contained the silent passenger. 

By ten o'clock Mr. Moran and party had graphically described so 
many skirmishes with the Indians — ambuscades, massacres, and 
slaughters, so many burnings-at-the-stake, and other tortures by the 
Pawnees and Sioux, that it would have taken all the opiates in the 
territory to put our party to sleep. Even our mule and the horses 
seemed to have had their imaginations fully aroused, and to have be- 
come infected by the fear of Indians, which, I am free to say, satur- 
ated my personality with profound dread. Even Mr. Moran himself, 
who had been the most vivid, constant, and entertaining relator of 
Indian assaults and barbarities, became restless and uneasy to such a 
degree that he declared it unsafe for us to remain there until morning. 
Therefore, by midnight our caravan was again moving along the Cali- 
fornia trail toward the Missouri river and the little settlement 
thereon, called Nebraska City. 

Finally, the sun tiirew the first gleams of dawn along the eastern 
horizon, and then came the red light of the early morning, and, at last 
the full effulgence of a glorious new born day, a day which, in the 
Pawnee presence, I had seriously thought our eyes might never be- 
hold. But by eight o'clock that morning we were safe at the hotel of 
Major Downs, engaged in a controversy with that garrulous pioneer 
as to " whether white beans could be raised anywhere west of Salt 
creek on the Great American Desert in the territory of Nebraska!" 

Thus, thirty-seven years ago, that party of five men followed the 
California trail from Nebraska City to the Salt Creek crossing, where 



18 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Ashland now stands, through an entirely unsurveyed, uninhabited, 
and unknown country. Four out of the five have followed the short 
trail from the cradle to the grave, along which, for centuries, the 
laughter and groans, the songs and sobs of humanity have been ever 
sounding, and have crossed another river into another unknown land ; 
and a great multitude is following them now, as it followed them then. 
And as that lone Indian scout watched for, and finally found our 
camping place for the night, though he vanished from our sight with 
the setting sun, so, at last, I shall find their silent tents of green. The 
sun of my life is already declining, and soon I shall be going out into 
the darkness, perhaps to be remembered and recalled only, like the 
Indian, to adorn a tale, told on a winter evening like this. 
Arbor Lodge, January 9, 1893. 



OLD FORT ATKINSON. 



At Our Camp on the Missouri River. 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society : At the instance of Mr. Secretary Howard, some time last 
July, I agreed to prepare and deliver an address upon the most ob- 
scure subject belonging to the occupation, settlement, and development 
of our Nebraska country, at the old frontier post on the Missouri 
river now known as Fort Calhoun, and within the present confines of 
Washington county, of this state. 

The first mention of this beautiful place, after the Lousiana jmr- 
chase, is that made by Captain Meriwether Lewis, who, with his sail 
boats and two horses, traveled from the ancient Iowa village, near the 
mouth of the Boyer river, in a westerly direction, on the 30lh day of 
July, 1804, and landed at the foot of the high river bank, now due 
east of the present Fort Calhoun railway station, a distance of three 
and one-fourth miles from his starting point. This was probably at 
that time the mutual meeting place of the Indian tribes who lived in 
that vicinity. Describing this place he says, " The land here consists 
of a plain above the high-water level, the soil of which is fertile and 
covered with grass from five to eight feet high, interspersed with 
^opses of large plums and a currant, like those of the 'States.' Back 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 19 

of this plain is a woody ridge, about seventy feet above it, at the end 
of which we formed our camp. Still back of this is a prairie, with 
grass ten or twelve inches high, extending back about a mile to an- 
other elevation of eighty or ninety feet, beyond which is one contin- 
ued plain." This place is further described as being situate one day's 
journey from the Otoes, one and a half from the Great Pawnees, two 
from the Mahas, two and a half from the Pawnee Loups, convenient 
to the hunting grounds of the Sioux, and twenty-five days' journey 
from Santa Fe, It was to this lovely spot that the name of Camp 
Missouri was applied by the engineers of JNIajor Long, and the army 
of General Atkinson, and which, for a period of eight years, was the 
busy home of some twelve hundred men, in the uniform and under 
the banner of the United States. It was the greatest western outpost 
of our little regular array during the administrations of James Mon- 
roe and John Quincy Adams, and continued for a period of eight full 
years to be the advanced guard of our government against the turbu- 
lence of Indian tribes and of British aggression. Mr. Wilson Price 
Hunt and his party, and Mr. Manuel Lisa and his foreign trappers 
and voyageurs alone had touched its shores, spread their tents, and ad- 
mired its beauties. 

Seventy-three years ago Chariton, Missouri, was the nearest post- 
office to Nebraska, and it was the address of the officers and men of 
this army of occupation during its stay on Nebraska soil. 

The administration of Mr. Monroe, admonished by our experience 
with Great Britain in the second war with that power, early in 1817, 
began preparations to establish a line of posts from la^e Michigan 
westerly to the mouth of the Yellowstone river. Black Hawk and his 
bands of British Sacs and Foxes had been both uniformed and armed, 
enlisted and arrayed, and had actually participated in the battles at 
some western posts during the war of 1812. Many hundreds of In- 
dians along the forty-ninth parallel then carried British fusees, and 
hunted the buffalo and the elk with British powder and ball. This 
continued, notwithstanding the treaty of peace with that power, and 
our citizens were overpowered and driven from our hunting grounds 
by unfriendly menaces from the subjects of our adversary power, who 
were also reaping the rich profits from the Rocky mountain fnr trade 
upon American soil. It was to re-assert American supremacy to Wis- 
consin, Minnesota, Dakota, Montana, and our own Nebraska land, 



20 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

that appropriations were made and two expeditions fitted out under 
the action of congress, at the instance of Mr. President Monroe and 
Mr. Calhoun, his secretary of war. One under Colonel Leavenworth, 
following the Mississippi river, resulted in the occupation of Rock 
Island, Prairie du Chien,and the falls of St. Anthony on the Missis- 
sippi; and the other, under that superb veteran, Gen. Henry Atkinson, 
following the Missouri, was known as the Yellowstone expedition. 

The movement of the army under General Atkinson was com- 
menced in the year 1818, but the riflemen from Col. Talbot Chambers' 
regiment proceeded no farther than Cow island in the Missouri river, 
south of the fortieth parallel north latitude. Here the companies of 
Captains McGee, Martin, and Riley of our rffle regiment constructed 
Cantonment Martin, and waited for the advance of General Atkinson 
the following season. This Captain Riley was afterwards the distin- 
guished Gen. Bennet Riley, the founder of Fort Riley on the Santa 
Fe route, who, by personal merit, rose to his rank from the shoemaker's 
bench, and who was as brave as a lion and a true pioneer soldier. 

The government went into the steamboat business in the year 1818, 
and not only chartered Colonel Johnson's line of steamers for this ex- 
pedition, but constructed that neat little sidewheel craft named "The 
Western Engineer," capable of making three miles an hour, and under 
command of Major Long and his engineers. Colonel Johnson not 
only furnished the steamboats for the expedition but jnirchased the 
commissary stores, and entered into a contract to transport the troops, 
the commissary and quartermaster's goods, and the ordnance and 
munitions o£ war from Pittsburg to the mouth of the Yellowstone 
river. This contract also authorized the expenditure of large sums of 
money, amounting to about one-third of a million dollars, and an 
equal amount for his own services and transportation. The ordnance 
and stores weighed nearly five hundred tons, and some sixty-three 
thousand dollars were advanced Colonel Johnson by the government. 
The steamboats furnished by him were named The Expedition, The 
Johnson, The Jefferson, and The Calhoun, and reached St. Louis just in 
time for the June rise of the Missouri river. After serious delays, on 
account of drift-wood and injuries to his boats. General Atkinson and 
staff finally embarked about the 5th of July, 1819, but did not pass St. 
Charles until the 1 1th. None of these boats reached their destination; 
the Calhoun was so weak in her machiuerv that she was unable to go 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 21 

beyond Boone's landing near the present railway station of Washing- 
ton on the Missonri river. Two of the boats reached the little French 
settlement opposite the mouth of the Osage, and the fourth failed be- 
fore she reached the mouth of the Kaw river. General Atkinson's 
men were compelled to assist the contractor in transferring his goods 
from the boats to barges and keel boats, which were cordelled up the 
stream by human strength, by the use of ropes and pulleys attached 
to the trees on the low river banks. It was a weary march of great 
privations to the men, and resulted in the loss of Colonel Johnson's 
entire fortune, his bills for transportation being refused by the action 
of congress. It was not until late in September that the army reached 
the Council Bluffs, still one thousand miles short of their destination. 
The delay was providential, as the presence of an army was never more 
greatly needed in the Dakota country until the construction of the 
Northern Pacific Railway, many years afterward. 

The troops of this new expedition consisted of the rifle regiment 
commanded by Colonel Chambers, the Sixth Infantry, under Major 
Wooley, and three detachments of artillery, in all about twelve hun- 
dred men, the whole being under the command of General Atkinson. 
The Sixth regiment marched altogether, or rather tugged, as history now 
shows, on foot and on barges a distance of 2,628 miles from Platts- 
burg, New York, to their new camp on the Missouri river; and their 
endurance was only less remarkable than the debates in congress upon 
the Missouri compromise. The riflemen came from Philadelphia, 
Prairie du Chien, and Baton Rouge. 

Upon a September morning, worthy of a {3oet's pen, and in which 
Nebraska stands alone by reason of her temperature and scenery, a 
small body of horsemen rounded the Rockport hills from Lisa's trad- 
ing house (known in after years as Cabanes fort), climbed the ascent 
to the undulating lands of the Garryowen settlement of Washington 
county, as it is now known. In this cavalcade was General Atkinson in 
his regimentals, his adjutant, orderly, Colonel Chambers, Dr. Gale, 
Governor Clark, of Missouri, then ex-officio superintendent of Indian 
affairs. Major O'Fallou, with other officers and servants, and a small 
body of footmen. The procession proceeded by the foot-hills of Fort 
Calhoun, crossing Turkey creek and following the beautiful semi-circle 
of hills until the scene of this sketch was reached. When they reached 
the present vicinity of the Calhoun depot, they filed to the right and 



22 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

advanced in au easterly direction until they reached the Council Bluft 
so well known to Governor Clark, who sixteen years before was the 
" Red-hair" at the Indian council held there by himself and Captain 
Lewis. From this bluff, where for years the Indians had driven the 
buffalo to destruction in their annual hunt, was located the new camp 
of the little army, and the eight years' occupation began. There was 
not a mile of railway in all the United States. There was not a white 
settler in the state of Iowa, excepting Julian Dubuque and a score of 
French miners on the Mississippi river. The wild bees had not yet 
reached the Linden bloom, nor sucked the golden rod of this far-off 
land. In a short time the Sixth regiment reached this same point and 
the Yellowstone expedition began to construct its winter quarters. It 
was at once christened witli the name of Camp Missouri, and its log 
houses soon demonstrated tiie industry of American soldiers. 

General Atkinson, notwithstanding the popular misapprehension and 
newspaper abuse of this expeditiou,*was a real hero upon this occasion, 
and suffered many privations. His little army and his colored serv- 
ant were his admirers and friends. His invention to propel flat- 
boats, which consisted of a long unwieldy crank, had served only to 
blister their hands as they tugged not in vain against the current 
and drifts of floating timber. Notwithstanding this they loved him. 
He was a veteran of the war of 1812, but not a graduate of West 
Point. His greatest achievement was in after years, when he won 
the heart and grasped the hand of Miriah Bullet and led her to the 
altar as his bride. He continued at this camp, in command of these 
forces, until October 21, 1821, when, by promotion, he was succeeded 
by Lieut. Col. Henry Leavenworth, while he was promoted to the 
rank of brigadier general and placed in command of the department 
of the Mississippi, with headquarters at St. Louis. In 1822 he 
visited the camp again, but returned in the autumn by Fort Smith 
to St. Louis. At tiie close of the Arickaree war in 1823 he visited the 
camp again, returning to St. Louis in November. His fourth, and 
last visit of which we have any record, was in the year 1825, when 
fitting out his army for an expedition into the Crow country, from 
which he returned in November. It was upon this expedition that 
the wild Crows came near outgeneraling him. Wiiile in the act of 
writing his treaty they filled the touch-holes of his cannon with dirt 
and then raised a tumult, which by good fortune was quelled in time, 
and his life and array were saved. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 23 

After the promotion of General Atkinson, in 1821, the place was 
no longer called Camp Missouri, but all correspondence from it there- 
after is dated Fort Atkinson. From that time Colonel Leavenworth 
was in command until December 1825, when he was made colonel of 
the Seventh regiment and went into the Indian territory to take his 
command. He was succeeded by Colonel Wooley, who commanded 
the post until its evacuation in June, 1827. Fort Atkinson, however, 
was always in the department and under the general command of its 
old commander. 

The rifle regiment remained until the fall of 1821, when the post 
was occupied wholly by the Sixth until sometime in 1823, when it re- 
ceived reinforcements owing to the Arickaree war which was con- 
ducted from Fort Atkinson under the command of Colonel Leaven- 
worth. It numbered at that time 371 officers and men, present and 
absent, and rec^ved seven new lieutenants from West Point who 
traveled a new route to their post of duty, going up the Hudson river 
following the great lakes, then crossing over to Prairie Du Chien, 
thence by St. Louis to the camp. 

When the whole army arrived in 1819 it numbered 1,120 officers 
and men besides the servants and laundresses. We do not believe that 
this number includes the three detachments of artillery accredited the 
post. The camp as laid out is located upon an elevation with the 
Missouri river upon the east, Hook's Hollow on the south, a deep ravine 
on the west, and covered a tract of land about 1,320 feet square. The 
north was commanded by a strong stockade ; and in the center of this 
enclosure was the jack-pole upon the color line which extended east 
and west, and is about the center of Madison street of old Fort Cal- 
houn as surveyed in 1855. The block lying southeast of the jack- 
pole was chosen by Governor Izard when he was taken into the old 
Fort Calhoun Land Company, and his name is now so marked in ink 
upon the original plat. About fifty feet east of the jack-pole is an old 
cellar walled with brick and overgrown with vines, where probably stood 
the building occupied by the commander as headquarters. About 
twenty feet to the east of the jack-pole and running thence north about 
three hundred feet, are the ruins of one line of barracks, still plainly 
marked, and probably occupied by the officers as officers' quarters. 
From the north end of the ofiicers' barracks, running thence west about 
three hundred feet, is a row of soldiers' barracks consisting of log 



24 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

houses without foundations. From the west end of the soldiers' bar- 
racks, running thence south about three hundred feet, the cook houses 
without brick foundations probably stood, and here the kitchen wastes 
were afterwards found in great quantities. South of the color line 
some thirty feet and extending from the south end of the kitchen for 
a distance of near five hundred feet, was another row of soldiers' bar- 
racks, in the middle of which were constructed large fire-places, attested 
by piles of ashes and brickwork to show their exact location. South 
of the east end of this row of barracks was situated the old Trading 
Post of Major O'Fallon, and a road was digged down the bluff from 
that point to the mouth of Hook's Hollow and to the steamboat lauding, 
altogether not farther than a thousand feet. Still further east of this 
south row of barracks were the commissary buildings; these ran out 
to near the edge of the river banks, near a bluff thence north about 
three hundred and forty feet; east of the jack-pole^ and upon a line 
with the south end of the officers' barracks, stood the hospital build- 
ing; some of the brickwork still remains there. A little northwest 
of this are the ruins of an old well, and beyond it is a steeper road 
leading down the bluff to the boat landing. The remains would indi- 
cate that this latter road leads from the boat lauding to the artillery 
park, and a line of stables is indicated as having been constructed 
north of this park on a line with the original survey of Court street. 
A large number of caves, or caches, were digged in this bluff, the re- 
mains of which show for themselves, and then extended for seven 
hundred feet along the bluffs. These were possibly the winter quarters 
of the soldiers when pressed with cold weather to seek shelter from the 
terrific storms of the northwest. The sufferings of our soldiers at this 
camp were intense. The timber was cottonwood and elm, and stoves 
were not in use at the time. North of the soldiers' barracks and 
within the rifle pits stood the stockade, the dimensions of which are 
now forgotten. It was constructed of logs and was large and well- 
nigh impregnable. These works were constructed early in the fall of 
1819 and are mentioned in the report of the secretary of war to con- 
gress, of date November 30th, as being ample for the protection of 
one thousand men. 

The cannon numbered nine six-pounders, one four-pounder, and 
five twenty-four-pounder howitzers, four hundred and t\venty fusees, 
six hundred and forty-five muskets, and six hundred and twenty-five 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 25 

rifles. It was supplied with 89,400 musket cartridges, tweuty-two 
pounds of slow match, six cartridge paper reams, and twenty-two 
thousand five hundred and sixty pounds of pig lead, seven thousand 
seven hundred musket flints, sixteen hundred and ninety pounds* of 
cannon powder, four thousand eight hundred and twenty-six pounds 
of musket powder, and the necessary accoutrements to aid in holding 
the position rendered strong by nature. 

The presence of Governor Clark in the Indian country was the first 
step taken by the government to reduce our Nebraska aborigines to 
agency Indians, which, after three-quarters of a century of expendi- 
ture and suffering, is a partial success. Right lustily did Big Elk and 
White Cow with their four hundred Omahas shout its praises. Upon 
invitation they reached the camp on the 14th of October and were ad- 
dressed by Major O'Fallon, Mr. Douherty, and other white men. 
Both chiefs spoke u})on this occasion and the whole band joined in the 
revelry which followed. Not long after this the Pawnees came also, 
and the festivities were extended to the camp of Major Long's engi- 
neers, who were encamped on the land now owned by the Union Pa- 
cific Railway Company at the northeasterly point of Rockport hill. 
Big Elk was lionized by the white people and assumed to go where 
he pleased and to do what he liked with impunity. Near midnight 
he pleased to attempt an entrance into Manual Lisa's trading house 
but was ])romptly knocked down at the door with a whisky keg by 
the owner or one of his clerks. This laid him out flat, and the offense 
was afterward atoned for by the keg and its contents. The eight 
thousand dollars appropriated by congress were used in presents dis- 
tributed to the chiefs and in the construction of an agency building. 

Tlifc hunting was good and game was plentiful in September, but 
the presence of a thousand Indians and more than a thousand soldiers 
and hunters soon banished the buffalo and all larger game, so that by 
December it was impossible to find a hoof in less than about one hun- 
dred miles, although in February the hunters killed twelve bison near 
the Big Sioux river, which were given to the camp in honor of the day. 

More than one hundred deaths occurred by March 8, owing to the 
scurvy which broke out in the camp, due to the want of fresh meat 
and antiscorbutics. Three hundred men were sent down the Missouri 
river in barges bound for the hospitals at St. Louis. Major Long's 
engineers fared better, although their camp was only five miles to the 
3 



2G NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

south and east of Camp Missouri. They were under a less exacting 
discipline, were better provided with hunters, and were allowed to kill 
the rabbits with musket balls, of which Corporal Norman killed 
twenty-seven in one day. The death rate at Fort Atkinson was al- 
ways high, owing to the sickness of the soldiers, the arduous duties 
they performed, the exacting discipline they were under, and the 
homesickness and privations to which they were subjected. 

The fort proper is not a matter of mere conjecture; many marks 
yet remain to show where and how the soil was broken and the struc- 
tures erected. Stone in large quantities was used, and brick was 
moulded and burned at the point of the hill south of the boat landing; 
a lime kiln was erected near the blacksmith shop, and a paved way was 
constructed from these brick along the main wagon road ; brick and 
mortar and stone were used extensively in the construction of founda- 
tions of houses and of old-fashioned chimneys and fire-places, and in 
the powder magazine, the remains of which stood until a few years 

ago- 

The government also went into the farming business and established 
an experiment station, providing abundance of seeds of all kinds, ex- 
cepting seed corn. This they bought from the Omahas as it was con- 
sidered best adapted to the climate. A large tract of land was put in 
a fine state of cultivation, a farm was enclosed and stocked with horses 
and cattle. Vegetables abounded, and the camp was made almost 
self-supporting the last few years of its occupation. The farm ex- 
tended to the northeast corner of the old Paddock place, east and 
north, one mile square. A large cottonwood tree still marks the cor- 
ner of this traditional tract. Thousands of bushels of corn were 
grown upon this farm and ground at the government grist mill. A 
good saw mill was also constructed and the native walnuts and elms, 
witlt other timbers, were turned into lumber. The pioneers of Piatt 
I'Oinitv, Missouri, came to the Fort Atkinson mills with their grain and 
tii.i; i<<'t'ed their meal along the river to St. Louis. An account is 
gjveu i)y some one in which it is stated that one barge load was mar- 
keted in New Orleans. 

During the occupation of Fort Atkinson it had many eminent visi- 
tors, besides those already named, among whom were Major Long and 
his engineers, and Dr. James, his surgeon and the historian of his ex- 
plorations. Gen. John E. Wool, inspector general of our armies, and 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 27 

Lieut. Jefferson Davis, afterwards president of the confederacy, were 
also there upon detached duty. Gen. W. S. Harney visited the place, 
and Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, as a brevet second lieutenant, 
served his apprenticeship here. Lieutenant Van Swearingen, and 
other martyrs of the Florida war, first learned to be soldiers at Fort 
Atkinson. Old Ben Riley studied the Indian character here, and the 
accomplished Col. William Davenport and his estimable lady rode in 
the fashionable circles of Fort Atkinson, among the wives and daugh- 
ters of other prominent pioneer officers. The last distinguished visitor 
was the veritable Maj. George Croghan, at whose name the western 
Indians had often trembled. This was in the year 1826. He was 
inspector general of the army at the time, and it is probable that his 
report determined the government to abandon the fort, which it did in 
the June following. Fort Croghan is the name given to a camp on 
Cutoff island, some distance east of the present lead works, where a 
boat was snagged and the troops cast ashore. The army could not 
have wintered at Camp Croghan, as narrated by Mr. Sorenson in his 
history of Omaha, for the reason that upon the 1st of October, 1827, 
the Sixth regiment was at Jefferson barracks, Missouri, and numbered 
€ighty-four sick, nineteen on extra duty, thirteen under arrest, and 
two hundred and twenty-one present for duty. No mention is made 
in the army register of the division of this regiment at that time. 
Fort Atkinson was evacuated about the 27th of June of that year. 

During the occupation of the fort some ten courts-martial were held 
of minor consequence, the rejjorts of which are not before us. 

After the abandonment of the fort it was never again occupied by 
the troops, and only occasionally visited before the extinguishment of 
the Indian title to the country. Lieut. G. K. Warren mentions hav- 
ing camped there when on his way up the Missouri river to make the 
survey of the Northern Pacific railway. Neither Nicollet nor Fremont 
mentioned the place in their survey of the Missouri river, but it is 
certain that they took observations there and also tried to find the eno-i- 
neers' encampment, in 1839. 

The location is never mentioned by General Atkinson other than as 
our " Camp on the Missouri river." Upon the other hand it is al- 
ways mentioned by Colonel Leavenworth and other officers as Fort 
Atkinson, in their correspondence with their superiors and with the 
secretary of war. With reference to the name of Fort Calhoun, it is 



28 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

nowhere to be found in the reports prior to the year 1833, at which 
time General Jessup recommended its reoccupation by the government ; 
and inasmuch as the government was engaged during the years from 
1819 to 1827 in constructing Fort Calhoun, Virginia, it is hardly 
probable that this place was called by the same name at the same 
time ; in fact it was not a fort, although strong by nature, and some- 
what entrenched. 

Having now given the society the benefit of my researches, I place 
on file with this paper a plat of Fort Atkinson, as nearly as I can 
fashion it from the remains, landmarks, and information at my com- 
mand. I have personally visited and inspected the ground with Mr. 
A. W. Beals, its owner, and with Hon. E. N. Grenuell, who himself 
saw it when still in a state of nature. About one-fourth of the entire 
plot still remains unbroken prairie land, extending north and east of 
the jack-pole. I was also able to find an old gunflint, some buttons, 
and l)alls, and one small silver coin, which are the property of the so. 
ciety. Above all I have for years enjoyed the pleasure of knowing 
Capt. Benj. Contal, the son of the drum major of the Sixth regiment, 
who was with his father at old Fort Atkinson from the spring of 
1822 until its evacuation, and who rose from a drummer boy of the 
Sixth regiment to the rank of captain of cavalry in a fifteen years' 
service, wliose reminiscences I have presented this society, and to whose 
memory I would dedicate a volume were I able to write one. 

W. H. Eller. 

The ten sheets of paper forming this address are fastened with 
clasps exhibiting buttons from the coat and cape of a rifleman's uni- 
form. W. H. E. 



30 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 



THE INDIAN TROUBLES AND THE BATTLE OF 
WOUNDED KNEE. 



Read before the State Historical Society, January 13, 1892, by W. F. Kelley. 



It may be said that conflicts with Indian tribes have been features 
of American civilization from the beginning of the seventeenth cen- 
tury. The natural progressiveness and constant extensions of the 
white race have made Indian wars unavoidable. Enterprise has grad- 
ually deprived the red man of his former domains. Many times he 
has not relinquished his possessions without a bitter strife. Although 
vanquished habitually, the struggle has left enmity deep and enduring 
within his breast. From the Indian's own peculiar nature, in his op- 
position to the modes of civilization, and in the ever trespassing ten- 
dencies of the whites, were found the sources of these constant con. 
flicts. In brief, it has been the old tale of energy and thriftiness, in 
combat with ignorance and idleness. In not a few of these many 
struggles has the Indian proven a foe formidable to his more civilized 
pursuer. Though conquered for the moment, the struggle was not in 
vain in the lesson left behind. Unable to be the victor, the Indian, 
to men at least, has proven the prowess of his kind ; at the mention 
of his name and cruelties, women speak with trepidation. 

Tardy legislation has often urged the Indian to perpetrate unmen- 
tionable cruelties and crimes, in hope of redress. Indian officials have 
been men without character, who have pilfered and abused him, or 
have not been solicitous as to his needs. The Indian's fiery nature 
has again broken from all restraint, upon trivial pretext, inaugurated 
a strife that has cost many lives and the destruction of much property. 
In quarrels begun without adequate cause, in effect the Indian was of 
course the loser. Military regulations were more strictly enforced ; his 
confines became more and more limited; but the instincts of his nature 
were not subdued. The prospect of an Indian war is an object to be 
dreaded by those most directly concerned. It is productive of great 
damage, not only during the period of the conflict, but for an indefi- 

*The writer, Mr. W. F. Kelley, was present on the battlefield of Wounded Knee. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 31 

nite time succeeding. Visions of the Indian's anger and ferocity 
liaunt the people in the surrounding country. This is sufficient to put 
a check upon progress and development, and is detrimental to com- 
merce and trade. No safety for man or property is felt in his vicinity. 
The Indian's enmity wlien aroused is not soon suppressed ; time is 
needed for it to slumber into extinction. Therefore an anxiety, war- 
ranted by past experiences, was felt throughout some of the western 
states during the summer, fall, and winter of 1890, on account of the 
threatening cloud of trouble with several of the Indian tribes. 

During the summer months, rumors, both many and varied inciiar- 
acter, and sometimes thrilling in detail, were sent over the country, 
indicating an uprising of various Indian tribes, within the states of 
Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Utah Territory. So incessant were 
these reports of that which the Indian was doing, or about to do, that 
gradually a feeling of alarm and fear became definable and took pos- 
session of settlers in these various states nearest to the different Indian 
reservations situated therein. That these apprehensions were need- 
less and almost causeless, appears now to be true except in regard to 
the several Sioux tribes in South Dakota. These latter had some real 
and some fancied grievances, that sooner or later, diplomacy or force 
of arms would have been compelled to meet and adjust. The ghost 
dance was the immediate cause of these disturbances. A few words 
as to this almost universal infection, for so it may be termed, are nec- 
essary to an understanding of the subject. An increasing excitement 
for months had been visible among the tribes over the supposed com- 
ing of the Indian Messiah. It was suspected, and became well known 
subsequently, that the best informed and most intelligent among the 
Indian chiefs placed no faith in this novel doctrine; still they 
awaited in silence, or from ambitious motives; while many, aspiring 
to as yet a secret result, encouraged their more credulous brethren in 
this belief. The Christ was reputed to be coming in the form of a 
buffalo; it was said that he would cause the vast herds of buffido and 
deer again to inhabit the plain and mountains ; that he would renew 
the youth of the aged; that the Indian dead would be resurrected, 
and that the white man would disappear. Again would the Indian's 
home be the whole of the north and west, whose eastern boundary 
would i)e the great river, the Mississippi. These promises were all 
very alluring to the Indian's heart, and well calculated to arouse In- 



32 NEBRASKA STATE HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. 

dian sentiment to an extraordinary degree. It is difficult to compre- 
hend tliatthe Indian could sincerely believe in such promises, and that 
sucii events as these predicted would take place ; but it is nevertheless 
a fact that in them many Indians had implicit faith. So old and ex- 
perienced a chieftain as Red Cloud himself sent two couriers to the far 
west to ascertain any news of the Messiah, as well as to investigate 
the authenticity and sources of information concerning the Messiah, 
of which he had heard so much. 

The report soon became general that the Messiah had been seen in 
"Washington, then in Oregon, and finally in Utah ; that he was moving 
eastward, visiting the several Indian tribes. Representatives were 
sent from the Sioux at Pine Ridge and Rosebud, the Cheyennes at 
Tongue River agency, the Arapahoes, Shoshones, and other tribes, to 
behold and to converse with the Messiah, at a designated point in 
Utah, among the mountains, where he was reputed to be at that time. 

A few of these messengers returned and reported that they had seen 
the Messiah at a distance, and generally at night; but ti)ey became 
frightened and dared not approach him. Others, through various ad- 
verse circumstances, were unable to reach him ; but were more firmly 
convinced than ever of the reliability of his near approach. As a conse- 
quence the excitement increased rapidly ; agency business of all kinds 
was at a standstill; progress was retarded or forgotton ; schools were 
abandoned wholly or partially; and other undertakings beneficial to 
the Indians' daily welfare were sacrificed to this popular idea and idol 
of tiie moment. 

Among the different tribes, and about their reservation, this agita- 
tion had thus far been harmless, as far as any actual danger to white 
men and their families was concerned. Some of the less courageous 
settlers had been seized with fright and fled, but it must be said such 
hasty actions were without sufficient cause. Ghost dancing was being 
freely indulged in and becoming more attractive to all the Indians. It 
was said the Messiah had commanded them to dance six days and 
nights at the beginning of every new moon. The dances at these 
times were always largely attended, so many enthusiasts were created. 
These prolonged dances were usually followed by feasts, while at other 
times the dancing went on when desired. The dancing Indian would 
continue the monotonous tread, until in exhaustion he fell to the 
ground in a fainting condition. While in this state he was to hold 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 33 

communion and receive revelations from the Christ. No weapons, 
other than a knife, perhaps, were allowed by the Indians themselves 
to be on their persons during the progress of the dance. 

As nothing of a serious nature developed from the dancing of the 
various tribes, except the Sioux, we shall confine our attention wholly 
to tiiem. The agent and his Indian police soon had under control the 
Cheyennes and other tribes, but the Sioux were by far too numerous 
and excited to be tiius restrained. The demoralizing influence of the 
<;raze increased among the Sioux with great rapidity when once it had 
obtained a start. The first indication of what the craze was leading to 
was exhibited on August 22, 1890, by their demeanor and defiance of 
authority. A large number of Indians met on White Clay creek to 
hold a religious festival. Agent Gallagher, of the Pine Ridge Agency, 
with a few of his Indian police, went to the appointed place to reason 
with the Indians and disperse the dancers to their homes. Upon the 
agent's appearance, many fled, others ran to their tepees for their arms 
and stripped themselves for a fight, ordering the police and agent not 
to approach. The agent, being greatly outnumbered, and seeing a 
fight likely to ensue, thought discretion better than valor, and with 
his force withdrew to the agency. The incident is trivial, otherwise 
than as it illustrates the dangerous spirit prevailing in thus bidding 
defiance to the government's agent. Sometime afterwards Dr. Royer, 
who had succeeded Gallagher as agent, was openly assaulted, without 
provocation, by a few Indians at the agency proper. A mob gathered 
which threatened to burn the government store houses. This feeling 
was with much difficulty quieted and peace restored. 

At Pine Ridge the situation was becoming perilous to life and prop- 
erty. The agent with a small force of Indian police at his command 
was unable to maintain order. At this time the Standing Rock 
Agency Indians and those at the agency on the Cheyenne river (Big 
Foot's band) were beyond police control, as were also the Brules at 
the Rosebud Agency. They refused to discontinue dancing and the 
agent's orders were treated with contempt in all other matters. Royer 
at once took prompt measures. He called for troops to protect the 
government property, and stated to the department that they were 
needed at once. The leaders of the young men were sublimely pas- 
sive when appealed to by the agent for assistance in quelling these 
disorders. These young chiefs were at that time using this dance as 



34 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

a cover under which to plan an outbreak, and also encouraging the 
dance as a means of uniting the turbulent into a common cause. As 
the young men advocated these popular measures, and were determined 
to be the leaders, the older men among the chiefs were more or less 
compelled to give a tacit assent, or see themselves and their power set 
aside. It should be remembered that from first to last these disturb- 
ances were instigated and animated by the young chiefs. 

The Indians were assuming an impudent attitude at all the Sioux 
agencies toward the government and its representatives ; committing 
some petty depredations ; but the spirit of the hour was not on the 
wane. The dancing was causing them to become wilder as each day 
passed. The Indian police were frightened and afraid to cope with 
them. 

In accordance with instructions from the war department, General 
Brooke, with five companies of the Second infantry and three troops 
of the Ninth cavalry, arrived at Pine Ridge on November 20th. 
Several companies were at and near Rosebud. Reinforcements were 
sent to Standing Rock and vicinity, the home of Sitting Bull's band. 
That wily chieftain had not as yet committed himself to any act of 
hostility. While he was too intelligent to be a ghost-dancer himself, 
yet he openly encouraged it among his band and friends, though often 
requested by his agent to do the contrary. 

Upon the arrival of General Brooke and his troops, an order was 
sent to all the Indians scattered over Pine Ridge reservation to come 
and camp at that agency. Those who complied would be considered 
as friendly, the others would be treated as hostile. Whether friendly 
or hostile, soon an immense camp was established about the agency, 
consisting of several thousand Indians and their families. 

More troops were constantly arriving at Pine Ridge. The govern- 
ment, through the war department, evidently intended to assume no 
half-hearted attitude. Five more companies of the Second infantry, 
and eight troops of the Seventh cavalry were soon in the field ; also 
some batteries of artillery arrived, with Hotchkiss and Gatling field 
pieces and a few rifled cannon. With these additional troops affairs 
began to look reasonably secure about the agency for the first time, 
notwithstanding the immense numbers of Indians around Pine Ridge. 
These Indians were much divided in regard to their position and in- 
tentions toward the government. The principal source of trouble it 



HISTORICAL, PAPERS. 35 

was supposed would be at Pine Ridge, on account perhaps of the num- 
ber of Indians at that place. But no sooner had the greater number 
of troops begun to concentrate at that point than news reached them 
that more than two thousand Brules had worked away from the 
Rosebud agency under the leadership of Two Strike, Short Bull, and 
Kicking Bear; the latter was a prominent and noted young warrior, 
and the high chief of the ghost dancers among all the Sioux. These 
Brules made direct for the Bad Lands, situated north of the White 
river, and destroyed everything in their path to that place. The 
greater part of the damage to property during the entire trouble was 
done by these Brule Indians on their flight to the Bad Lands. They 
had too great a start to be overtaken, and any attempt made to check 
them would have been futile. Small bands circled out from the main 
body and pillaged the country on every side, wantonly destroying all 
that could not be carried away with them. No white settlers were in 
this region ; the country through which they passed was the reserva- 
tion of the Ogallalas. The property, consisting of domestic effects 
and Indian annuities, was unprotected, or in the charge of squaws, 
whose husbands were at Pine Ridge and friendly, obeying the order 
of the authorities to camp there for the present. The stock of ponies 
and cattle was largely the property of squaw-men and half-breeds. 

In all the United States there could not have been found a better 
spot for these hostiles to select than these Bad Lands. They were 
wholly inaccessible except in one or two narrow places. There was a 
scarcity of water; it was found in one place only, in a group of 
springs about which the Indians were camped. If the troops should 
be successful in entering, horses and army conveyances would be un- 
able to traverse the country, owing to the steep declivities, the narrow 
gullies, and the rocky nature of the ground. At this place these 
Brules spent a month, holding a high carnival, having a merry ghost 
dance each day and constantly receiving small accessions from their 
Ogallala sympathizers. They maintained a semi-military discipline 
about their camp, no Indians being permitted to leave the same. One 
or two peace embassies only of the many sent to them were allowed 
to enter the limits of the camp and depart; usually they were forced 
to remain on the outside, and were but the bearers of insolent mes- 
sages to the commander of the troops in his endeavors to ha^'e them 
come to Pine Ridge, or to return to their own reservation. As 



36 NEBRASKA- STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

a diversion soon after their arrival, these Brules confiscated a herd 
of nearly two thousand government cattle grazing in the vicinity; 
and killed a faithful herder, named Miller. Thus these Brules lived 
in the midst of such luxury and abundance as they had perhaps 
never before experienced, and such as it is probable they will never 
experience in the future. It may well be supposed something more 
than vague and uncertain promises as to the future and in regard to 
what would be their punishment, was necessary to tempt the Indians 
to abandon this easy and comfortable life. Some more definite con- 
ditions than the commander of the troops was authorized to make 
them, was needed. The one condition that the Brules on their part 
always did insist upon was that the troops be taken away from Pine 
Ridge before they would consent to leave the Bad Lands. Evasive 
answers were of course the reply of the military authorities. Peace 
parties of friendly Indians were continually sent to the Bad Lands. 
Those that succeeded in entering the limits of the hostile camp, passed 
through an experience they did not wish to have repeated. Fanati- 
cism was king of the hour. The most successful of these peace com- 
missions was that headed by Father Jutz, a most estimable Catholic 
priest, who has devoted his life to mission work among the Indians. 
He prevailed upon Turning Bear, High Hawk, and some other leaders 
of the young men to come in and hold a council with General Brooke 
and officers. When all had spoken, the council adjourned with many 
promises on the Indians' part, which in the end availed nothing, if 
we except, on the Indians' behalf, immense quantities of crackers and 
tobacco, which they induced the military commander to give them to 
vary their daily diet, after their return to the Bad Lands, during their 
deliberations over his propositions. 

While matters were thus progressing at and near the Pine Ridge 
Agency, an episode of a startling nature occurred near the Standing 
Rock Agency which culminated in the death of the famous Sitting 
Bull and some others. Sitting Bull with his small band was on the 
point of setting out to join the Brule hostiles in the Bad Lands; his 
arrest was attempted by the Indian police and, in the melee, his death 
took place. It was thought this death would prove an unfortunate 
event, but in the Indian world he was a man of less power and in- 
fluence than was generally supposed. Clothed as he had been by 
numerous writers with all those virtues and characteristics that ap- 



HISTORICAL PAPEES. 37 

proach the idyllic in mauly character, his friends among the white 
people in the conntry — and he had many — had become fascinated by 
this so-called patriot of his race. His supposed leadership at the Cus- 
ter massacre gave the fame and lustre to his name, as did also to some 
extent the subsequent retreat of the Sioux over the border into Can- 
ada })ursued by a large military force. That his influence among his 
people was much overestimated by the American public, is best 
shown, perhaps, by the fact that at his death no more emotion or sen- 
sation was aroused among the Sioux than would have been by the 
death of a chief of humbler pretensions. The sudden death in this 
manner of any one of a dozen chiefs would have caused extreme com- 
motion or violence, but of these Sitting Bull was not one. He was not 
a warrior, neither was he a leader at the Custer fight as is popularly 
supposed. He was present with his tribe but not in any sense a par- 
ticipant on that day. Sitting Bull was a crafty and shrewd politician. 
He used every device at all times to fix public attention upon himself. 
He was successful to a degree that speaks well for his ability as a pol- 
itician. Those who knew him best say that he was a genial, raanlj 
companion. His death marked no change, as was apprehended by the 
country at large; it was a benefit to the Indian and white man alike; 
his bitter hatred of the whole white race was well known ; he was an 
uncompromising opponent of every measure advocated towards civili- 
zation for his people; he was a born agitator whose mind was never 
at peace ; his nature demanded it, and because of it he came to an un- 
expected death. 

Life at Pine Ridge was varied by the arrival of a man, Hopkins 
by name, who appeared among the Indians, claiming to be the long 
awaited Messiah. His advent in the friendly Indian camp was not 
known for some days, during which time he lived quietly, praying 
among the Indians constantly. His presence becoming known, his 
arrest by the Indian police followed ; he was finally conducted to Chad- 
ron and dismissed. The Indians treated him with consideration and 
respect, as is their custom to the demented. That he was not the 
Christ was best proven to them in that he was wholly ignorant of their 
language. The man was modest, genteel in bearing, an attractive man 
in person. In conversation he was singularly well versed in natural 
theology, philosophy, and the sciences. He modestly but firmly main- 
tained that he was the Messiah. The unfortunate man soon disap- 
peared. 



38 . NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

The troops heretofore mentioned extended across the country from 
Pine Ridge to Rosebud agencies, and to the northeast, as a protec- 
tion, and to prohibit any raids being made toward the south ; while 
on the north and northwest were stationed infantry companies at va- 
rious points, but the Sixth and Eighth cavalry in detachments of troops 
or battalions were the eifective forces of guards in these directions. 
Some citizen soldiery of South Dakota, under the command of Colonel 
Day, on the staff of Governor Mellette, did some service in patrol- 
ling the country across the South Fork of the Cheyenne river, which 
is on the northern and northwestern side of the Bad Lands. 

It will thus be seen from the positions of all these troops, that each 
detachment of troops formed a segment of a huge military circle, or 
nearly so, extending on every side of the hostile Brules in the Bad 
Lands. General Miles established his headquarters at or near 
Rapid City, South Dakota, and the operations and movements on the 
north wei-e under his direction, while those on the south were under 
the iui mediate supervision of Brigadier General Brooke. It was 
Miles' intention not to permit them to break through or be upon the 
outside of this military cordon. If there was to be war, to keep them 
in one large body was his purpose. The advantage of the idea con- 
sisted in the practical prohibition of small raiding bodies of Indians, 
whose excursions have always been so destructive to life and property 
in Indian wars. To the successful completion of this project, Gen- 
eral Miles threw all the energy of his character, and all the ingenuity 
derived from a successful military education in wars with many Indian 
tribes. To hold the Indians on the reservation at all hazards, was his 
aim, for then no settlers' lives could be endangered. To prevent them 
from crossing the South Fork of the Cheyenne River, into a region 
where there are so many ranches and thousands of cattle, as there are 
also to the west of the Bad Lands in Wyoming, was another impor- 
tant part of his plan. Should the hostile Brules have escaped from 
the Bad Lands, they would unquestionably have gone in one or both 
of these directions, for then they would have found all the condi- 
tions favorable to Indian warfare; cattle for food in abundance, and 
a mountainous country in which it would have been difficult for 
soldiers to pursue them. This was surely General Miles' concep- 
tion of the situation, when he came to the seat of hostilities and lo- 
■cated at Rapid City, where he remained until after the fight on 
Wounded Knee creek. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 39 

At no time was there any danger of raids to the south, along the 
Elkhoru railway iu Nebraska, except in the minds of a thoroughly 
frightened people. Surely there was no plausible reason to tempt the 
Indians southward. The country is fairly well populated, at least 
much more so than the country to the north and west of the Bad Lands. 
Towns of considerable size are found and but few miles apart; the 
country is open and presents no places for concealment; and finally, 
the ludian would place himself between the troops extending east and 
west between the Pine Ridge Agency, and the various towns in Ne- 
braska. Some time previously Big Foot's band, which was reputed 
to be a des})erate body of Indians, all implicit believers in the Messiah 
craze and the infallibility of the ghost shirt, had left the Cheyenne 
River Agency. It was supposed that it was their intention to join the 
hostile Brules in the Bad Lands. Soon after, they were captured by 
■Colonel Sumner — from whom they subsequently effected their escape 
— near a small town called Smith ville; now they were supposed to be 
heading again for the Bad Lands. On the afternoon of December 
24th an order was received from General Miles ordering a cavalry 
force to be at once despatched to intercept Big Foot. Within an hour 
Col. Guy Henry, with four troops of the Ninth cavalry, and three 
Hotchkiss guns strapped to the backs of mules, were on the march. 
Their haste was such that they marched forty miles over the desolate 
prairie before day dawned. The command scouted over the country 
near the Bad Lands without success. They were unable to find the 
Indians. This- force returned to Pine Ridge Agency on the morning 
of December 30th, the morning after the battle at Wounded Knee, ar- 
riving iu haste, to protect the agency from a threatened and antici- 
pated attack. It is worthy of mention that these troops marched 
over eighty miles in the twenty-four hours preceding their arrival. 
These negro cavalrymen constituted one of the very best regiments 
in the United States army. Its degree of excellence in soldierly 
qualities and duties was high. Several of the colored privates of 
this battalion of the Ninth cavalry were the fortunate possessors of 
gold medals voted to them by congress for bravery in action and dis- 
tinguished merit, which they proudly bore at all times pinned to the 
breasts of their uniforms. This mark of distinction is a rare one 
among the privates of the army. Exciting events were now to be the 
destiny of each day. Thrilling rumors concerning the surrounding 



40 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Indians were so plentiful as to seem to be floating on the air, inhaled 
by the inhabitants of the agency. The Indians about the agency wer& 
becoming decidedly hostile in spirit and in demonstrations. Tiie war- 
cloud which had hung apparently suspended for some weeks seemed 
now about to break. Notwithstanding the increasing hostility of the 
Indians about the agency, on December 26th, four troops of the 
Seventh cavalry, commanded by Major Whiteside, left Pine Ridge in 
a terrific sandstorm, in an endeavor to intercept the band of Big Foot. 
Success was destined to be the fate of the brave soldiers of this vet- 
eran regiment. 

For some reason, the military authorities were fearful of the pres- 
ence and influence of Big Foot's tribe, and for a week had been mak- 
ing every possible effort to learn his location and destination. During 
the afternoon the Seventh cavalry removed to the northeast twenty 
miles ; at evening, as dusk approached, some scattering Indians were 
encountered; but they could not be overtaken by the troops who 
rushed hotly in pursuit. A camp, on Wounded Knee creek, was es- 
tablished for the night. Attempts were made all the following day^ 
by means of numerous scouting parties, to learn some tidings of the 
much-wanted Indians, but without avail. On Sunday the task was 
renewed, and about mid-day they were discovered — about ten miles 
distant — by Little Bat, a noted half-breed scout. The Indians were 
marching over the prairie, carelessly enough, in the direction of Pine 
Ridge Agency, and evidently wholly unaware of the near presence of 
the troops. The troops, upon this report, in haste set out from the 
camj) on a gallop. As they neared the vicinity of the Indians, they 
moved stealthily and with caution. The troops were formed into line 
and, with a Hotchkiss gun in the center, they dismounted and lay 
quietly upon the ground, concealed near the top of a high ridge run- 
ning across the plain, waiting for the Indians to approach, which they" 
soon did, men, women, and children straggling along in an indifferent 
manner. An order was sent forward demanding an immediate sur- 
render. Astonishment and consternation took possession of the In- 
dians at the appearance of these unexpected cavalrymen. Joy and 
exultation seemed to fill the breasts of these veteran troopers at the 
prospect of combat. The Indians soon recovered from their surprise^ 
but were at a serious disadvantage to make any resistance incumbered 
as they were with women and children. After some delay spent in. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 41 

parleying, during which a considerable number of Indians sought to 
congregate about the Hotchkiss piece, also, in a casual manner, to 
flank both ends of the line of troops, which maneuvers were promptly 
and sternly checked by the commander, Big Foot and baud were 
prisoners of war. For once the Indians had been taken and overcome 
by surprise. The command was at once put in motion toward the 
camp on Wounded Knee, the Indians closely watched by the cavalry- 
men. Stringent measures were taken to guard them through the 
night. They still were in possession of their arms. Sullen anger was 
depicted upon each countenance. Their tepees for the night were 
pitched within the camp line of the troops. A chain guard encircled 
them. Loaded Hotchkiss guns were trained upon their camp from a 
slight elevation near by. 

In the baud were one hundred and forty bucks and some two hun- 
dred and fifty women and children. Many of this baud were outlaw 
Indians, and with their reputation for desperateness, it was thought 
inadvisable to attempt to disarm them with the present number of 
troops, a number but few more than the number of male Indians. 
The mere presence of a larger body of troops was deemed to be a bet- 
ter insurance against any disturbance in disarming them. An Indian 
values his gun almost as life itself, and parts with it only from urgent 
necessity. A courier brought General Forsythe, with the remaining 
battalion of the Seventh cavalry, from Pine Ridge. 

Soon after reveille in the morning most of the troops were mounted 
and massed about the Indian camp at varying distances. The Indian 
men were ordered to come from their tepees and stand in a line a few 
paces forward from their tepees, which, after considerable hesitation 
and demur, they were persuaded to do, one hundred and thirty-one in 
number. Every man of them was decorated in full war paint and 
clad in their hideous ghost shirts. About their shoulders was folded 
a blanket, under which was concealed a rifle or carbine, unknown to 
the soldiers about them. That they were on the eve of a bloody con- 
flict entered the mind of neither officer nor private. Absolute safety 
was felt from attack or opposition by the superiority in numbers of 
the troops ; and yet every precautionary measure was observed to pro- 
duce an effect upon the ludians. Eight troops of cavalry and a few 
artillerymen were there present — nearly four hundred men. Two dis- 
mounted troops, one hundred in number, were placed within ten yards 
4 



42 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

of the Indian line. For one hour and more did these troops there 
stand, and yet not a suspicion was aroused as to these hidden guns. 
Twenty Indians were counted off and the order given to them to go 
to their tepees and turn over their arms. The designated Indians with- 
drew to the rear, and returned with two or three worthless guns. A 
search of the tents, women, and camp outfit was at once begun by a 
detachment of troops, ending by some forty pieces being found, nearly 
all of which were valueless as weapons. Surprised at this scarcity, 
when but the day previous all the Indians were seen to be well armed, 
the command was given to search the Indian men in the line. A de- 
tachment moved forward for the purpose, the order was about to be 
executed, when at this critical moment, without a word, a cry, or 
symptom of warning, a shot was fired and a soldier fell. The medi- 
cine man had reached forward to the ground for a handful of earth ; 
he tossed it high above his head, threw back his blanket, and fired. 
Almost instantly, with hardly perceptible pause, was he followed by 
his comrades. So rapidly was this done, that the whole line of In- 
dians had fired ere the soldiers realized and comprehended the situa- 
tion. 

But these veterans of our army, Custer's old command, were not 
for a moment thrown into confusion, unexpected as the assault was ; 
it was an unexcelled instance of discipline. They stood their ground 
bravely, and soon a bloody carnage was ensuing. Single handed 
combats were many. Knife and Indian club wounds were numerous; 
but the fire was too close, too severe, to endure long at this short dis- 
tance. The Indians stood heroically for a time, until fifty-two of their 
comrades were dead upon the spot, and then retreated back among 
their tepees, firing as rapidly as possible the meanwhile. 

When the Indians had moved away from the troops, the Hotchkiss 
guns, not fifty yards distant, began sending their destructive little 
shells among them ; this quickened their pace, causing^them to run to 
the adjoining hills, or to take refuge in a neighboring ravine. The 
Indians were soon followed by the mounted troops, and as they refused 
to surrender in almost every instance when overtaken, very few Indian 
men lived to tell the story of that bloody day's treachery. As the 
Indians stood forward from their tents only a few yards, about which 
were the women and children, a large number of these latter were 
accidentally struck by the fire of the soldiery, before they could seek 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 43 

shelter in the ravine or flee to the bhiffs from the open prairie where 
the conflict was taking place. The results of the fight were disastrous 
to both sides. In reality, the brunt of the battle was borne by the 
two dismounted troops. Of the troops twenty-five were killed oq the 
field, and thirty-five wounded; many of the latter died soon after from 
the severe character of their wounds. 

Captain Wallace was among the dead, a man beloved alike by his 
brother officers and by the men of his troop. Wallace had acquired a 
reputation in the army, in a previous Indian war, equaled by few 
young officers, for bravery and skill in his profession. His death was 
deeply lamented by the whole command. Lieutenants Hawthorne 
and Garlington were among the severely wounded ; the latter of arc- 
tic fame, who made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Greeley in the 
frozen north. 

The Indian loss was one hundred and sixteen dead, including Big 
Foot; and among the women and children, sixty or seventy killed 
and about the same number wounded; among the latter, a sister of 
Sitting Bull. The death and injuries of the women and children were 
much deplored, but, from their position, it was certainly unavoidable • 
No one could have shown them greater kindness than did these sol- 
diers afterward when the opportunity was presented them in the hos- 
pital at Pine Ridge Agency. 

The casualties were appalling, considering the numbers engaged, the 
most disastrous that had occurred in any Indian battle for thirty 
years, if we except the last fight of General Custer. It was indeed a 
severe lesson to the Indians. 'While nearly all the Indians had guns 
under their blankets, it is difficult to believe any large number con- 
templated engaging the troops. Subsequent consideration of many 
trifling incidents, not attracting attention at the time, seemed to con- 
firm the supposition of some, that a considerable number did have 
that intention rather than give up their guns. But when the first gun 
was fired, owing to the close proximity of the contestants, there could 
be no opportunity to distinguish friend from foe. If there were those 
whose intentions were pacific at the onset, they seemed instantly to 
comprehend that their only chance for life was to fight — and to fight 
desperately. In their position that chance was indeed a poor one. 
Their misfortune, however, was brought on by the foolhardiness of 
some of their own people. Bifore night the Indians had set the 



44 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

prairie on fire in every direction toward Pine Ridge Agency; miles 
of prairie were a slumbering mass of fire, and it was with much dif- 
ficulty that the column hastened to the agency at night to the protec- 
tion of that place with their dead and wounded. The Indians were 
left where they had fallen. 

Upon the Seventh cavalry's arrival at Pine Ridge after midnight, 
they found the people gathered at that place panic-stricken and con- 
vulsed with fear. But few infantrymen were guarding the agency, 
and the Indians had occupied the afternoon shooting into the agency 
from the surrounding hills. The return of this force restored peace 
and order for a time. The following day a wagon train but two miles 
from the agency was attacked by a body of Indians. Two colored 
troopers were slain before assistance arrived. The Seventh cavalry 
pursuing the Indians for some miles brought on an engagement which 
lasted for several hours. The troops were unable to get near the In- 
dians, who were scattered about, and estimated to be from six to eight 
hundred in number. As evening approached, the Ninth cavalry came 
to the relief of the Seventh, who were in a difficult position and sur- 
rounded by Indians. As the bugles sounded over the hills, denoting 
the coming of the Ninth, the Indians hurriedly fled. Less than a 
dozen were killed and wounded upon each side, the Indians keeping 
well protected during the combat. Among the wounded was Lieuten- 
ant Mann, the remaining officer of ill-fated troop K; he died soon 
afterward. After these two days of fighting, aifairs began to assume 
a serious aspect. General Miles and the First infantry at once came 
to Pine Ridge Agency from the north. A decided change was at once 
manifest as to what would be the policy of the future. No more time 
would be spent in the endless coaxing ; the hostile Brules were to be 
answered with decision. While this experienced officer made another 
attempt to tempt the hostiles from the Bad Lands, General Miles, 
with his accustomed energy, began making preparations and taking 
vigorous measures for a winter's campaign. Fortifications of earth 
and logs, behind which were mounted cannon and Gatling pieces, 
were placed upon the highest hills around the agency proper, while 
rifle pits were scooped out across the top of nearly every small knoll, 
within these outer l)reastworks. These signs did not pass unnoticed 
and unheeded by the Indians. It was the remedy needed. The 
Seventh cavalry was camped to the south of the agency, and hardly 



HISTORICAI. PAPERS. 45 

enough troops were left iu the agency to form a sufficient guard, most 
of the soldiers being sent to strengthen the huge military circle. 

A period of indescribable panic and confusion now commenced, 
never to be forgotten by those who passed through it. The Indians, 
to the number of five or six thousand, had at last come out of the Bad 
Lands and were encamped ten miles away. General Miles had suc- 
ceeded so far, yet the Indians refused to come to the agency and sur- 
render. Almost hourly for several days were reports brought to the 
agency, by friendly Indians, that this large body of Indians were deter- 
mined to come in at night and burn the agency and government store- 
houses. Each night was their firing kept up on the out-posts and picket 
lines, which gave color to the reports. As each night passed the attack 
was thought more certain to take place on the next. As day faded and 
darkness gathered, every living thing was infected with the terror and 
excitement of the hour. Numbers of half-breed women passed the 
night through, cringing with fear at the distant' report of the guns. 
Their condition was pitiable to behold. Men, with demeanor hardly 
more manly, moved about with loaded weapons in their hands, not 
daring to sleep, such were their apprehensions of danger and attack. 

As the first streaks of day dawned, unuttered prayers of gratitude 
were in the hearts of these creatures, that another day of life was be- 
fore them. Time went by and the danger passed. From an Indian 
standpoint, it would have been the severest blow they could have in- 
flicted upon the government, within their power, and it might have 
been accomplished with comparative ease by this large body of Indians. 
Grave apprehensions of danger were felt to be imminent beyond the 
borders of Pine Ridge Agency. Two regiments of the Nebraska 
militia, under Brigadier General Colby, were soon stationed at or near 
the towns along the Elkhorn railway, southward from the Indians. 
These militia did good service in quieting the fears of the people and 
in being ready to afford protection in case of necessity. 

While the situation was becoming hopeful, the unfortunate death 
of an accomplished young officer, by the Indians, ensued. Lieuten- 
ant Casey, in command of the Cheyenne scouts, ventured too near the 
hostile camp and was shot as a spy. The grief over the loss of this 
young officer was sincere and heart-felt, but it must be said his own 
rashness was responsible for his death. He was a man who sincerely 
had the welfare of the Indian race at heart; in his death they lost a 
sympathetic friend. 



46 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

General Miles had accomplished, so far, his object in preventing the 
Indians from scattering in small bands. Some attempts to disperse 
had been made by them, but they invariably had been driven back. 
Miles was putting his troops daily through a series of skillful maneu- 
vers, to and fro ; however, not to such an extent as to seriously frighten 
the Indians. He was slowly, but surely, drawing this military circle 
of three thousand United States troops closer about the hostile camp. 
Vigilance was the watchword of troops and commander. The Indians 
were beginning to comprehend the danger of their position. Troops 
were between them and the Bad Lands, their stronghold, and it was 
hardly possible for any considerable number of them to escape through 
the ever tightening human band around them. Still defiant, many 
were beginning to see their helplessness and the folly of further re- 
sistance. 

The collapse and end was not far away. The Brules indeed, were 
still fierce and ready for war, while the Ogallalas, under Red Cloud 
and Little Wound, who had fled to the Brules after the Wounded 
Knee fight, wished to leave the Brules and surrender. Bitter dissen- 
sions were known to exist in the hostile camp. The rival factions 
clashed daily and often came to blows. The Ogallalas several times 
attempted to desert the Brules, but were prevented by force. A few 
chiefs of the former tribes finally succeeded in getting to General 
Miles, and held a council upon the terms to be granted them ; uncon- 
ditional surrender was the demand. The Sixth cavalry and Carr were 
only twenty miles to the north ; the Indians must decide quickly, and 
yet they hesitated from day to day. 

The man for the emergency was at hand. Young-Man-Afraid-of- 
His-Horses, who had been absent in Wyoming for some months, sud- 
denly returned to the agency. He was one of the four most powerful 
of the Sioux chiefs, and what was more, he was a friend of the white 
man. Through his ability and by his directions, the Ogallalas did 
desert their comrades, and joined the large friendly camp of the same 
tribe on the south side of the agency. The Brules would not yet 
abandon the struggle, hopeless as it was becoming. Under the 
pressure of troops, however, they again moved up, this time to within 
three miles of the agency. The troops were moved sufficiently to 
keep the Indians uneasy without making a positive hostile demonstra- 
tion. The Brules young men were wild and fierce at their position. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 47 

Pandemouium reigned in their camp. They fought one another. It 
seemed that they were drawn as by a magnet nearer and nearer the 
goal, against their individual will and inclination. Should no unfort- 
unate accident occur, it was deemed now that the end was near at hand. 
Time, and time alone, would cool their warlike ardor. That element 
was best needed to do the remainder after this prolonged period of 
excitement. Councils were held in vain. No definite promises could 
be obtained from General Miles. Kindness was awarded the Brules 
on every hand. Gifts of provisons and tobacco were plenty. Their 
hearts must soften. Again they moved nearer. Troops were in sight 
all about them, and the great Indian scare was terminated by the 
Brules signifying their intention to move into the agency. 

The ending was picturesque; the Indians' vanity for theatrical pa- 
rade was strikingly exhibited. Kicking Bear, a Brule leader and the 
ghost dancing chief, strode forward with haughty step and form erect, 
with folded arms ; he sternly eyed the military commander ; defiance 
faced defiance for the moment ; but in recognition of submission, this 
proud savage humbly laid his carbine at the the feet of General Miles. 
What three months before had threatened to develop into an extensive 
and bloody war had been averted ; but not before a large part of three 
states had been effectually frightened. The result had been accom- 
plished by tedious persuasion and gentleness rather than by force, yet 
the lesson administered at Wounded Knee had not been without its 
effect. The punishment of treachery was swift, the voice of govern- 
mental authority must be obeyed. 

Fully ten thousand Indians were camped about Pine Pidge. Quiet 
for a time ensued ; then a demand was made for the Brules to surren- 
der their arms. Less than a hundred were voluntarily obtained. It 
was thought best not to enforce this order by seizure. The Indians 
were too many in number, the outcome of such a course would be 
doubtful if the Indians should resist. The Brules were soon sent to 
their own reservation at Posebud ; and some time afterward, without 
pretext and without ostentation, thirty of the leaders of the trouble, in- 
cluding the famous Kicking Bear and Short Bull, were obtained and 
transported to Fort Sheridan, near Chicago. Later it was thought that 
European travel might be beneficial to them ; that it might awaken 
inclinations by which they might profit by beholding civilization 
abroad — if not in their own country, — by viewing the sights and the 



48 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

musty monumeuts of the old world; accordingly, under the chaper- 
onage of Colonel Cody, many of these Brule captives accompanied that 
gentleman to foreign shores. The grand finale was a review of all 
the troops engaged in the campaign, by General Miles, and soon most 
of them were homeward bound to their several posts. 

It is worth while to uotic.e that the progressive and Christian In- 
dians, those who had been influenced by Indian schools, were almost 
universally loyal. They participated in none of the disturbances, and 
were unaffected by the Messiah craze. Some, indeed, were forced by 
circumstances or by their chiefs to go to the Bad Lands, but they con- 
tributed no small part to the final termination by their desertion of the 
hostiles at the critical moment. These frieudlies suffered greatly by 
their loyalty, in having their property ruined or stolen. The govern- 
ment was prompt in its legislative action, and made an appropriation 
immediately to reimburse them for their loss. This justice of the 
government at once allayed antagonistic feelings, which it was thought 
might terminate in future trouble. Had not this appropriation been 
made at once and when needed, resentment would have displaced 
friendship among many of these loyal Indians, which would have 
been the principal source of apprehension as to any renewal of the 
trouble in the spring of 1891. 

As has been stated before, the disturbances were instigated and fos- 
tered by the young men. The ghost dance had its purpose in the 
minds of aspiring leaders. But the Sioux had grievances; at least a 
portion of them had; no prospect of redress being visible, ambitious 
chiefs were ready to seize the opportunity. The very large reduction 
of the great Sioux reservation, brought about by the Sioux commission, 
composed of Major Warner, General Crook, and the present secretary 
of the treasury, Foster, some time previous, had been a constant 
source of dissatisfaction, especially among the young men. While 
the reduction was made with the consent of a large majority, jt was 
bitterly opposed by an influential minority, who afterwards allowed no 
opportunity to pass to stir up dissension among tiiose who had favored 
the agreement in consideration of certain allowances. A change was 
made by the committee in the boundary line between the Rosebud 
and the Pine Eidge reservations. The line had been replaced farther 
eastward, and consequently had given more land to the Ogallalas, who 
report to the agency at Pine Ridge. The Brules thus aifected were 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 49 

given other quarters equally as good. No trouble or hardship was 
made them, but owing to their irritable mood dissatisfaction prevailed. 
The boundary line was thus changed to make the amount of land 
proportionate to the number of Indians at each agency; the Ogallalas 
exceeding the Brules in number. 

Two censuses taken, each by special agents Lea and Wright of the 
Indians at Rosebud, showed that the Rosebud Indians had been draw- 
ing rations largely in excess of what was due the actual number of 
Indians at that place. A decrease of rations at once took place, based 
upon the census. Again, one condition promised by the Sioux com- 
mittee, in lieu of the lauds ceded away, was the unchanged amount of 
provisions per capita. Not long afterward, by the reduced and de- 
layed appropriations of congress, the amount of rations and supplies 
were for a time reduced. No suffering or want was necessitated, but 
those Avho opposed the cession of lands did not forget or allow others 
to forget their position on that question at that time. The next year, 
the winter of 1891, after the disturbance, congress put the rations back 
to the former amount by appropriating sufficient funds. The ques- 
tion of rations is of supreme importance to the Indian ; nothing, in 
fact, lies so close to his heart. The amount of his happiness is meas- 
ured by the amount of rations obtainable. 

These are, in brief, the principal causes of dissatisfaction that led to 
the hostile position assumed by the Sioux ; and they apply more par- 
ticularly to the Brule Sioux than to the other branches of that tribe. 
Other reasons were now and then heard of, but they were on the 
whole unworthy of notice. 

Belief in the ghost dance among the Sioux has long since passed 
away. The Indian victims at Wounded Knee and other places wher- 
ever reliance was placed in the ghost shirt to prove the ineffectiveness 
of bullets, have all tended to enlighten the less intelligent among 
them regarding this unique theory. Many Indians bitterly resented 
the consequences of this delusion, into which they and their friends 
had been led by their leaders and others. Since 1876-7 no trouble of 
note had been experienced with the Sioux Indians. In that time 
many thousands of male children had risen to the estate of young 
manhood. The traditions of their race are all of war. A large num- 
ber of these young men were ardent sympathizers of the young chiefs 
in their efforts to inaugurate a war, as decidedly in its favor as the 



50 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

older Indiaus were opposed to it. It offered a means for them to ele- 
vate themselves to distinction among their fellows, and as young blood 
is full of ambition and spirit, they naturally at once favored any ave- 
nue leading to that end. 

Schools and education among these Indians are fast accomplishing 
their task. Most of the schools are largely attended voluntarily by 
the children, and with the consent of their parents. Thus progress 
and contentment are rapidly on the increase. Every year marks a 
greater proportionate change in this direction. Many of the older 
and most powerful war chiefs in their prime are enthusiastic reform- 
ers, and personally take an interest in these changes for the welfare of 
their people, and freely discuss with the authorities plans and ideas 
leading to that result. Many of the real, influential men among these 
(the Sioux) Indians to-day are those who endorse and assist in these 
progressive tendencies. It will not be many years ere the sullen, idle 
brave of the past, disdainful of labor, will have no important place 
among them. Theirs is a peculiar nature. Patience and kindness to 
guide them while they learn the habits and benefits of civilized life is 
the rule needed. Sensitive to rebuff and pained by sternness, it is 
only necessary now carefully to nurture these ideas awakened at last 
among a considerable number of these Indians. Education will 
swiftly do its work when actual interest is manifested. The intelli- 
gent Indian among the Sioux knows as well as his white brother that 
the race is doomed to extinction if it continues in the paths of igno- 
rance and idleness. Those who are the real lovers of the welfare and 
happiness of their people, and there are many such Indians, are the 
sincerest supporters and patrons of the changed conditions. May the 
time be not far distant when this hitherto unfortunate race of people 
shall be welcomed into the ranks of the prosperous and happy among 
the heterogeneous people of this continent. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 51 



O. P. MASON. 



A paper read before the State Historical Society, January 13, 1892, by Judge 
J. H. Broady. 



The first settlers of a country stamp their impress upou it more thau 
any other people. 

In the beginning of this great commonwealth, Nebraska was a vast 
treeless plain of wild, weird desolation, in the winter traversed by 
blizzards, and in summer the thunder's home. In the absence of these 
tumults of the elements, the day was awfully silent, stirred only by 
the chance appearance of untamed beasts, and the scattering, sly steps 
of uncivilized men; and the night was made hideous by the howling 
of the wolf, and the hooting of the owl. There was nothing about it 
''buttoned up," and it was no field for "buttoned-up people." 

The economy of creation is such that characters at the proper time 
are provided to fit every occasion. The time had come for the Great 
Creator to commence to change the Great American Desert, which had 
been truly named, to one of the most fertile lands, inhabited by one 
of the most refined and enlightened peoples on the big round globe. 
Among other things there was to be a character of superlative indi- 
viduality and strength, at times as severe, rough, and tempestuous as 
the storms of winter, and at times as tender and soft as the moonshine 
of summer — a son of thunder, who fed on broad-gauge, rough-and- 
tumble contests. 

At Nebraska City, on the evening of the 10th day of July, 1855, 
the hour and the man had come. He was twenty-six years old. In 
height, nearly six feet; in weight, one hundred and thirty-five pounds; 
five pounds less than T. M. Marquett then weighed; he was straight 
and slim; his chest full and deep, and his shoulders broad; his head 
was covered all over with bushy, jet-black, curly hair ; his complexion 
a clear blood-red; his prominent dark-gray lustrous eyes seemed 
crowded by the head packed in so close all around them. His features 
were regular but indicative of uncommon strength. His was a phy- 
sique that might well be the envy of men. 



52 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

J. Sterling Morton says: "I remember perfectly well his personal 
appearance when he came to the territory in 1855. His hair was 
very black and curly. He weighed not to exceed one hundred and 
forty pounds. Physically he was the perfection of strenuous, ambi- 
tious, fiery young manhood." 

When O. S. Fowler saw him, he paused to exclaim: "What a 
splendid animal." And so it was; so much so, that the strong intel- 
lect and moral sentiment seated in its dome could not control it. 

In speech he was exceedingly fluent, magnetic, aggressive, and full 
of fervor, abounding in flights of imagination and fancy, and his mind 
moved like a hurricane. But for " that chip on his shoulder," he 
would have made an orator who would have tied the populace to his 
chariot wheels. 

This was O. P. Mason. From the start he fought his own battles; 
combativeuess was his predominant trait. 

Those were days of democratic supremacy and patronage, when it 
was common for men who had political aspirations to take the demo- 
cratic side ; not so with Mason ; he took the weaker side as was his 
nature. He at once took front rank as a public speaker. Such a 
character was bound to go to the front, in such a place. He at once 
became a champion in claim contests, and against the Claim Club 
laws. 

In 1858 he was elected to the lower house of the legislature. Two 
years after, he was elected to the council, the upper house, in which he 
continued until the territory became a state. 

In the meantime his reputation as. a lawyer had grown and spread 
all over the country. He was most noted as a criminal lawyer. He 
successfully defended more men charged with murder than any law- 
yer in the territory. It is said that in Richardson county alone, 
which does not even adjoin the county of his residence, he had eight 
such cases. 

He was a leader of leaders in the formation and adoption of the 
constitution under which the territory was admitted as a state. During 
the campaign for the adoption of the constitution and election of of- 
ficers to administer it, the anti-state party called a meeting at Brown- 
ville, with the notorious George Francis Train, who was then operat- 
ing at Omaha, and was at the height of his fame as an orator, as the 
speaker. When Train came, the local leaders of the state party, in- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 53 

eluding Charley Dorsey, now of Beatrice, dispatched to Nebraska City 
for their champion, O. P. Mason. Mason drove down at night in 
time to hear Train. As soon as Train stopped speaking, Mason 
mounted the platform, and proceeded with a most terrific attack 
against Train and his speech. As Sam Jones would say, very soon 
fragments of bones, bowels, hide, toe nails, and hair were scattered all 
over the grounds. Train tried in vain to suppress the speaker, but 
finally retired in disgust, leaving his burly antagonist in full posses- 
sion of the field. The balance of the night that historic town was 
hardly large enough for the state party. 

In Chief Justice Mason's dissenting opinion in Brittle v. People, 2 
Nebraska, 226, he says of the drafting of that constitution, in which 
he was such a factor, " A small number of men, without authority of 
law, drew up the constitution." 

On the constitutional and political struggles, at the birth of Ne- 
braska as a state into the Union, I adopt the language of Hon. Charles 
H. Brown: "At this session of the legislature, Hon. O. P. Mason 
was a member of the council and took an active and influential part 
in the drafting of the constitution, as well as in securing the passage 
of a bill submitting it to the people for adoption or rejection. 

"The constitution was drafted in the office of Hon. W. A. Little, 
which was located at about number 1506 Farnam Street, Omaha. 
Nightly those in favor of a state government used to meet at Mr. 
Little's office and discuss and formulate the provisions of that organic 
act. By this, I mean those who were the most ardent and persistent 
favorers of state government, met at the above mentioned place and 
"got up" the constitution. The men who were the most efficient in 
this measure, as 1 now recollect their names, were W. A. Little, who 
was elected first chief justice over Mason; Judge William Kellogg 
(not Pitt), O. P. Mason, E. B. Taylor, G. B. Lake, Judge Maxwell, 
Governor Saunders, and A. S. Paddock. Of course, there were others 
who were conspicuous in their labors, in the adoption of the old first 
constitution. As I now remember, it was, in the main, drafted by W. 
A. Little, Judge Kellogg, O. P. Mason, E. B. Taylor, and G. B. Lake. 

At the time the measure was first introduced into the legislature, with 
the bill submitting it to the vote of the people, it encountered strong 
opposition; but the constitutionalists, by hard work, succeeded in con- 
verting some of the opposition, and neutralizing the influence of others, 



54 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

and ill the end carried the measure by a good majority vote of the 
legislature. Mason worked incessantly and aggressively for the sub- 
mission of the bill. An examination of the legislative journals will 
disclose the fact that Mason in early days did much towards founding 
the institutions of our state, and impressing his character and ability 
on the laws of Nebraska. He possessed a wonderful individuality. 
It was strong and at all times most assertive, and he loved the excite- 
ment of a powerful and doubtful conflict, as in such a contest he found 
an opportunity to use with effect the large resources of his mind. He 
was a man of mark and would have been in any community. The 
early pioneers of the state were men of great mental strength." 

The Hon. William A. Little, mentioned by Mr. Brown, was a man 
of commanding talent — a born leader of men. He was the only man 
on the democratic ticket elected. Mason was the only man on the 
republican ticket defeated. Mason met Little in that campaign with 

"The stern joy which warriors feel 
lu foemen worthy of their steel." 

Ever after that, Mason spoke of Little in words of unstinted praise, 
and with a feeling of devout personal friendship he rarely displayed. 
In the halo of his own gallantry, Judge Mason arose phoenix-like to 
the height of his glory with all parties, from the ashes of defeat. 
Very soon after his election, and before he ever occupied the bench. 
Chief Justice Little died. On June 15, 1867, following the admis- 
sion of Nebraska into the Union on March 2, Governor David Butler, 
whom Dr. Geo. L. Miller says was by nature the nearest to the 
masses of all Nebraska's public men, filled the vacancy by appointing 
Oliver Perry Mason chief justice of the supreme court of Nebraska. 
At the next general election the people ratified the appointment. 

Having glanced at the career of this striking character from the 
time he crossed the Mississippi river till he became chief justice of 
the state, let us go back to where, perhaps, we should have started. 

Judge Mason was born on a farm at Brookfield, Madison county, 
New York, on the 13th of May, 1829, of English-Irish ancestry that 
traces back to the army of Oliver Cromwell. He came in about the 
middle of a family of eleven children. He was the conspicuous child, 
who in mental and physical characteristics took intensely from his 
mother, his father being just the opposite. His parents being poor, 
and with a large family, were unable to furnish the children with 



HISTORICAL PAPERS, 55 

more than a common school education. But by some "hook or crook" 
Oliver got the selection for a place in the normal school at Albany, 
where he graduated. 

Getting away from home, he learned that the world was wide, 
which may have had much to do with the whole channel of his life. 
When she was a little school girl, he took a fancy for Mary J. Turner, 
of Munsville, in the same county of Madison, which he followed up 
more than her father, who was a man of property, thought best. Mr. 
Turner was instrumental in getting young Mason off to Texas, on a 
Texas pony expedition, as a cure. Mason's life in Texas had a smack 
of romance, insurrection, and tragedy, in which he was shot and 
wounded. After Texas, he taught school and studied law in Ohio, 
where he was admitted to the bar in 1854. The same year he went 
back for his girl, who was then nineteen, and got her. They were 
married at her home, all opposition having been overcome. His wife 
was with him when he came to Nebraska. 

We now find this son of a poor farmer, this gallant lover, this Texas 
ranger, this Ohio school teacher and law student, this stormy terri- 
torial politician and brilliant lawyer, at thirty-eight years old, the head 
member of the supreme bench, as Nebraska starts in the sisterhood of 
states. 

As a member of the supreme court he fully maintained his high 
reputation for legal ability. His work there is recorded more fully 
than I have time now to do, in the published reports. His decisions 
show a clear conception of the vitals of the case, and they cannot be 
misunderstood. In these he expresses himself with a glowing vigor 
that will attract even the general reader. The only criticism is that 
he too often displayed too much of his individuality and combative- 
ness. 

There were three judges of the supreme court, who also held the 
several district courts of the state, each having a district containing 
one-third of the state. 

Mason's district was the southern part of the state, extending from 
the Kansas line to the northern boundary of Otoe county. As a judge 
he usually had a rough exterior, but back of that a fine, warm, and active 
sense of justice, and a largeness and courage that caused him to change 
his rulings and reverse himself when he concluded, as he often did, 
that he had gone wrong. 



56 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

While he enjoyed the approbation of others, he was not what is 
termed an opinionated man. He did not think his own assertion 
settled things. It was no uncommon thing for him at night, in think- 
ing over his rulings of the day, to conclude that he had decided wrong, 
and in the morning correct the error. 

While his manner and style on the bench often intimidated and 
discouraged young attorneys who did not understand him, a presenta- 
tion of either sense or authority always received an appreciative re- 
sponse. He grasped the decisive points of a controversy readily, and 
his legal learning was extensive, enabling him to pursue the subject 
in all its bearings in the full light of precedent. He despised toady- 
ism to the strong. In his court, it seemed, if there was any difference, 
that the preferable side was where both attorney and client were of 
the minority political party and opposed to the politics of the judge. 
If he believes, at this moment, that I am guilty of that fault, he will, 
if he can, rise up in resentment from the tomb, like Ossiau's ghosts 
"In the thunder of night, when the clouds burst on Cona, and a thou- 
sand ghosts shrieked at once on the hollow wind." His inclination 
was to side with the weak. If he had been in the conclave of knights 
when Rebecca of Ivanhoe appealed to trial by battle he would have 
turned against his own side and volunteered as the champion to do 
battle for the Jewess. He had an irresistible impulse to tramp on 
dudes — dudes of all sorts, dudes in dress, dudes in scholarship, dudes 
in politics, dudes in rhetoric, and dudes in oratory, which displayed 
itself towards John J. Ingalls when he came into his court in Tecum- 
seh, from Atchison. 

Once in his court in Brownville, a poor fellow called Buck Mc- 
Daniel was indicted. Defendant' was drunk, but free from artifice. 
The issue of "Not guilty" was formed according to a dudish way that 
Judge Mason had adopted, by reading the indictment to defendant, 
having him say, " Not guilty," and then the clerk say to him, " You are 
guilty." Then Buck looked at the clerk with contempt from the 
bottom of his boots, and turning to the judge, said : " Maybe this clerk 
of yours knows more about this than I do." This was more powerful 
than an army with banners to move Judge Mason to drop this non- 
sensical "jaw-back" of the clerk. 

At another time in his court, at Brownville, where the popular sa- 
loon keeper of the town was on trial for some sort of whiskey crime, 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 57 

an inoiFensive, good-uatured, but intensely earnest German, whom 
everybody, including the judge, well knew, came into court "pretty 
full." He stopped in the middle of the room and stood awhile, then 
said : "Mr. Mason, Mr. Mason, Mr. Mason," till he caught the eye of 
the judge, then proceeded in the deliberate, quiet, happy-go-lucky style of 
B, mellow man : "It is my obinion dot Billy Valleau is not guilty," and 
then old Wentil Grant sat down. All was still. If such a thing had 
been done by one of more importance, a storm would have arisen from 
the bench that would have made the rafters rattle. The judge first 
scowled, then tucked down his head, as was his habit, his eyes sweep- 
ing the room, then showing a merry twinkle, but he said not a word. 
He had conquered his verbosity. Then in a voice of ethereal mildness, 
he said to the state's attorney : " The prosecutor will proceed." Al- 
though he had more talent than tact, at times he was master of the 
latter. This was one of those times. The* case went right and justice 
was done. The jurors were of that rough-and-ready caste who would, 
in their verdict, as he well knew, have retaliated against any "big- 
injun" game from the bench. 

I will refer to another case. Jake Bear, the express agent at 
Brownville, embezzled from the express company. He fled. The 
company pursued him like blood-hounds on the trail. In about two 
years they caught him, away off in Oregon, and brought him back 
for trial. Mason was on the bench. Bear pleaded guilty. At length, 
he told the story of his life. He told how he had been buffeted " by 
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." He told the dismal 
tale of the two dark years with the detectives on the hunt. He told 
how his identity must be concealed ; how he was in the dark as to his 
young wife and two babies, he knew not how nor where they were, nor 
whether dead or alive ; and he dare not write nor ask. When he 
threw himself on the mercy of the court, and placed himself, as it 
were, in the hollow of the judge's hand, the tears copiously streamed 
down Judge Mason's cheeks, and he passed the lightest sentence the 
law allowed. Before the time expired. Bear was pardoned, presum- 
ably through the influence of Judge Mason. 

Few men have been so successful as he was, in life-long efforts, 

through a vanity to always appear stern and strong, to conceal his 

better nature, and create a false and detrimental estimate of his real 

character. Hon. J. Sterling Morton aptly says : " He really had a 

5 



58 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

warm and generous heart. He in vain would endeavor to make one 
believe he had no heart at all. He endeavored at times to appear a 
cynic, and while to the casual acquaintance the endeavor may have 
appeared a success, to those who knew him best it was always a con- 
summate failure." 

True to his instinct for the side of the weak, or those in any way 
under disadvantage, he favored woman suifrage, and advocated it in 
the constitutional convention of 1871. He was among the most 
powerful and eifective members of that convention, and his mark was 
conspicuous in the constitution it framed. It is said, and generally 
believed, that that constitution died of an overdose of O. P. Mason. 

In January, 1873, he retired from the bench and returned to the 
bar, where he remained the balance of his life. He at once took a 
conspicuous place in the front rank of his profession. The next year 
his wife died. This seems to have been the beginning of the decline 
in his career. She was the balance he so much stood in need of. 
She was a lady of delicate and slight stature, but her work in the 
domain of home was far beyond the capacity of most women. She 
had in the superlative degree fidelity and affection, which are 
woman's crowning glory. Nebraska City, and all the country round 
about, are full of her praises, which will go in tradition to genera- 
tions to come. Judge Mason was a man of deep affection for his 
family. When away holding court, or crossing the prairies from one 
county to another, his conversation, ever and anon, would revert to 
his wife and children at home. All who were very intimate with him 
knew the good traits of his wife, and the characteristics of his chil- 
dren. When at home, his little millennium had come, when that little 
wife of his would do with him as she would, as the little child shall 
lead the lion. 

Soon after the death of his wife he moved to Lincoln. He became 
more careless and reckless. He had grown corpulent and continued 
to grow more so, until he was incumbered with a surplusage of flesh, 
which played sad havoc with his shape, and modified his former ac- 
tivity and pride. 

At the bar he was, as he formerly had been, most prominent in crimi- 
nal cases of high degree. He was in no sense a technical lawyer. He 
was not cast in the mould for continuity of research in dry, abstruse, 
and complicated branches of the law. He was a student, but not so 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 59 

much exactly in the law as in the border-land between statesmanship 
and law. He studied not so much what the law actually was, as what 
it ought to be; and while he was always strong, there are branches of 
the law in which he did not excel. But for forensic eloquence to the 
court, on broad fundamental principles of public policy, and as an 
advocate before a jury, as the champion of the oppressed, in cases of 
fraud and outrage, he remained until his death, among Nebraska law- 
yers, altogether matchless. The life of the law was what he most 
cared for. He was always agreeable to the court. He took some 
pride in the fact that he had defended so many people charged with 
murder, and none of them had been hanged. He was much worried 
over the outcome of the Bohanan case, while it looked as if his record 
was to be broken, but fate came to the rescue. 

In later years, at the bar, he did not come up to expectation from 
the splendor of his former record. This was not because he had been 
overrated, but because the circumstances had changed. He himself 
had changed, and he had lost his great domestic balance. And times 
had also changed. It was no longer the age of chivalry. It was no 
longer the primitive, formative, and heroic period, when individuality 
was everything. It was an age of discipline, and no other man suf- 
fered more for the want of that. He would not be disciplined. Like 
Roderick Dhu, he would not be 

" Moved by such fixed cause 
As gives the poor mechanic laws. " 

A denser population had brought its fixed formulas, refinements, and 
requirements of doing things by the combinations of the obscured in- 
dividualities of many. He refused to surrender his individuality, his 
combativeness, or verbosity. He stood out in the solitude of his own 
individuality as a monumental reminder of other days, like the gnarled 
and shaggy oak, sometimes found solitary and alone on the high bluffs 
of the Missouri river, with its scars from the Nebraska winds and the 
Indian fires of the long ago. 

He was not of the cast to accumulate fortunes. Money was not his 
idol. He always had political aspirations, and but for his willful ef- 
forts to the contrary, the public might have understood that he was 
born among the common people, and that in sympathy and in habits, 
he lived among the common people. Had he kept out of his own 
light, lesser men could not, as they did, have kept him at bay, which 



60 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

galled him to the quick. At times he was morose and sour, and some- 
times very rude. For example, a woman came to him with a bogus 
Sherman county warrant for collection. She went from him to Mar- 
quett. Marquett wanted to know what Mason said. She did not 
want to tell. Marquett insisted. Then said the woman : "He said, 
Madam, long after you and I are both dead and in hell, Sherman 
county will still live, and it may be, that in the course of ten thou- 
sand years, some man may arise of genius so transcendent as to be 
able to collect this warrant." 

If he had been a more perfect man, he would have been a less con- 
spicuous character. He stood in his own light. He was not one of 
those rare heroes who conquer themselves. Had he had the tenacity 
of purpose to be such, and the cool steady will of a General Grant to 
support it, increased success must have staid with him to the end. 
That trait made Grant the greatest captain of his time. He had the 
most unconquerable will in either array. There is nothing on this 
earth so invincible as an indomitable will. Strength and support 
Destle up to its side, and difficulties vanish from before it, like ghosts 
before a rising sun. We don't know why they go, nor where they go, 
but they get out of the way. 

Mason was generally either in heaven or hell. The difference be- 
tween heaven and hell is the difference between looking at the bright 
side and looking at the dark side of things. The only way to go to 
either is to take it with you. Heaven is everywhere and hell is there 
also. 

Mason firmly believed in the immortality of the soul, and he also 
believed that he recognized and communicated with the spirit of his 
departed wife. Under date of December 14, 1889, he wrote to his 
nephew in answer to news of impending death of one of his brothers, 
as follows : " Death, it seems to me, is but passing through a dark entry, 
out of one little dusky room of his Father's house into another that 
is fair, and large, and lightsome, glorious, and divinely entertaining." 
He died at Lincoln on the 18th day of August, 1891, and was 
buried at Nebraska City beside the graves of his wife and five little 
daughters who had gone before. He leaves surviving him four daugh- 
ters, namely: Jessie Ella, wife of Fred L. Harris; Grace Adams, 
wife of Hiland H. Wheeler; Alice Cathleen, wife of T. L. Teasdale; 
Bessie Buttrick, wife of E. O. Bradley. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 61 

He is gone from the "little dusky room" where he was so much 
misunderstood, let us hope " into another that is fair, and large, and 
lightsome, glorious, and divinely entertaining," 

In his death Nebraska lost a great character, whose duplicate will 
Dot be produced, whose individuality stood solitary and alone, and 
whose brain was active and effective in the making of the state, and 
whose name shall be everlasting in its history. 



JUDGE JAMES W. SAVAGE. 



A paper read before the State Historical Society at its annual meeting January 12, 
1892, by Hon. C. A. Baldwin, of Omaha. 



Oft and again, within the past few years, has the pale flag of death 
been planted in the midst of this Society, and now, standing beneath 
its sombre shades, we look about us and are admonished of the frailty 
of human existence. We see that there is no armor impenetrable to 
the shafts hurled by the great destroyer. Death. Birth, rank, station, 
are but shadows, not substantial things. Sadly we realize that "there 
is no fireside, howsoe'er defended, but has its vacant chair." It is well, 
therefore, that we pause for one brief hour to consider 

" Humanity's poor sum and story. 
Life, death, and all there is of earthly glory." 

And to-night we would pay our heartfelt tribute of respect to the 
memory of one who was at all times an active, earnest worker in the 
field of labor here, a learned and faithful lawyer, a just and conscien- 
tious jurist, a much loved and greatly respected citizen, James W. 
Savage. 

On the 22d day of November, 1890, at his home in Omaha, after 
a brief illness, at an age but little past the meridian, at latest in the 
early afternoon of his day of life, surrounded by all those conditions 
that tend to make life here most pleasant, and while journeying under a 
clear and cloudless sky, on a smooth and unruffled sea, with most 
favoring winds, his ship of life went suddenly down, and he to his 
death. 

It was known to all that his life was in great peril ; but we thought 
of him as the picture of health and physical strength that he had so 



62 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

recently presented. We remembered that but a few days before, and 
during the term of our court then in session, he had been in his accus- 
tomed place, attending to his business in court, with all the strength 
and vigor of former years. We could not, did not, come to feel that 
his day of life was so near an end. From his sick chamber we were 
advised of the cheerful courage with which he bore his illness. We 
knew that he was surrounded by those who would bestow upon him 
all of that care and attention that comes from a loving family, true 
friends, and the most skillful medical attention and treatment. But 
to his attendants, as each day passed, it was easily discernible that his 
disease was fast undermining his recuperative powers; that his physi- 
cal strength grew less and less each day. His cheerful courage, how- 
ever, gave great hope to his friends of his ultimate recovery. No 
such hope presented itself to his medical advisers, who saw the deadly 
work of the disease preying upon him. A consultation of the most 
eminent physicians and surgeons, men in whom he had great confi- 
dence, resulted in a proposition to attempt an arrest of his disease by 
an intricate surgical operation. He deliberately considered and 
weighed the chances offered him, then turning to his medical advisers, 
with truer courage, and greater bravery than that of Napoleon, who 
in mid-winter at the foot of the Alps, with his vast army, sought to 
cross the mountain; and who, inquiring of his engineers if the route 
was practicable, on being told by them "barely passable" commanded 
his army to "to move forward." Judge Savage, having inquired of 
his physicians if by the surgical operation they proposed, the way for 
his restoration to health was made practicable, and being told " barely 
possible," said "Proceed, gentlemen, science may be benefited, if 1 am 
not." The courage of one, was that of a selfish, heartless, military 
despot, clothed with power, sending other men to great suffering, peril, 
and probable death ; the other, of a Christian and a philanthropist, who 
alone took the fearful responsibility of the order. The operation was 
successfully performed but his powers of endurance were overtaxed ; 
the shock was too great, and he, as well as his attendants, recognized 
the fact that the time for his departure was close at hand. He spoke 
of dying without fear, and as one in anticipation of a pleasant journey. 
Having before that time put his worldly matters in perfect order, he 
quietly waited for the time to come when he would start on the looked- 
for journey that would bring to him much needed rest. He spoke of 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 63 

those that had gone before, and of meeting them beyond death's dark 
river, just as he would have spoken were he in health, and contemplat- 
ing a journey to England for the purpose of meeting friends there. 
Truly it may be said of him, he estopped death of its sting, and the 
grave of its victory over him. 

On the morning after his death, it being announced in court, an 
adjournment was taken to attend his funeral; and the judges and 
most of the bar of the district, together with a very large number of 
our people, went to his late residence to pay their tribute of respect to 
his memory. Brief funeral services were had, and then the casket 
containing his body was brought from the house and placed upon a 
catafalque beneath a canopy of his country's flags, the stars and stripes 
thereon reflecting back the proud record of his soldier life. An op- 
portunity being given, hundreds looked again upon that familiar face. 
Then, in compliance with the wish he had expressed, the further con- 
duct of his funeral was placed in charge of the Loyal Legion, of 
which order he had been an honored member. Slowly and with sol- 
emn tread the funeral cortege bore his body to its last resting-place, 
and near the close of that sad day all that was mortal of him whose 
memory we to-night would honor and respect, was laid to rest in its 
narrow house of clay; and as the solemn words "earth to earth, dust 
to dust" were being spoken, in pursuance of the rights of the order 
so in charge, a soldier with his bugle "sounded taps," the military or- 
der "lights out," and all was over. But to him that bugle sound was 
not necessary, the light of his life was already out, and as that bugle 
sound went reverberating from hill to hill it was echoed back upon 
our ears but to pain and sadden the heart. 

Alone, and in that dark and cheerless grave, we left his body. The 
wintry blasts sweep over it and disturb him not; the springtime 
comes with its warm and genial sun, bringing with it the fragrant 
flowers and the music of the feathered songsters, but to him there is 
no change; ever and forever the cold, dump, cheerless house of clay. 
Eternal solitude is his; and there we must 

" Let his lifeless body rest, 
He is gone that was its guest; 
Gone as travelers haste to leave 
An inn, nor tarry lantil eve." 

But of all men whom I have met, and from Avhom been parted by 



64 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

death's relentless power, I know of no one, were it possible to open 
their mute lips and obtain an answer, of whom I would so anxiously 
inquire as of him — 

"Traveler, in what realms afar, 
In what planet, in what star, 
In what vast, aerial space 
Shines the light upon thy face ? 
In what gardens of delight 
Eest thy weary feet to-night?" 

No answer can come. We cannot know; but this we do know, 
that the daily journal of his life is made up, the record thereof is 
complete; and with that record, inspired by the Christian's hope, we 
trust he has gone before a tribunal for final judgment thereon where 
infinite wisdom reigns, where no error can creep in, and where perfect 
justice will be done him. 

From an intimate acquaintance with Judge Savage, of almost daily 
association at the bar and on the bench, for twenty-two years of his 
Nebraska life, I will speak of the record he made, as I understand it. 
As I commence to do so it does seem to me that I can hear his familiar 
voice speaking to me in the language that Cromwell addressed to his 
artist, " Paint me as I am," speak of me as I was. This I will most 
faithfully attempt to do. 

Judge Savage was born at Bradford, Hillsborough county, New 
Hampshire, February 2, 1826. He was the son of a Presbyterian 
minister, was educated at Harvard, graduating therefrom in 1847. He 
spent the following year as a tutor in a private family in Georgia. At 
the expiration of that year he returned to his New England home and 
commenced the study of law, and was admitted to practice in 1850, at 
the age of twenty-four years. He then went to New York, where he 
commenced the practice of law, continuing in practice there until July, 
1861, when he enlisted in the military service and was appointed on 
the staff of Gen. John C. Fremont, with the rank of captain. In the 
fall of that year General Fremont was removed from his command; 
Major Savage, as he was then called, went to Washington, where he 
remained until the following March, when Fremont Avas reinstated, 
and Savage was reappointed on his staff with rank of lieutenant- 
colonel. 

In 1863 he obtained authority from Governor Seymour, of New 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 65 

York, to organize a regiment. He raised the Twelfth New York 
cavalry and was made its colonel. He continued in active service un- 
til the war closed, when he went to Mississippi and engaged in cotton 
raising for a couple of years, and in 1867 came to Omaha, Nebraska, 
where he at once opened a law office and engaged in the active prac- 
tice of the law. He continued in the practice until the fall of 1875, 
when he was elected judge of the then Third judicial district. He 
was re-elected in 1879, resigning his office shortly after the close of the 
second term by reason of ill health. He remained a bachelor until 
1875, when he was married to Mrs. LucyT. Morris. Of his life and 
record as a soldier I know little, but this I do know, that when the 
white dove of peace again found a resting place for its feet, on this, 
our torn and distracted land, and law and order reigned, he laid 
down his sword, put off the tinsel and showy trappings of war, 
never to be resumed by him again, unless in obedience to his country's 
call for his services. 

I can produce, and will here give the testimony of a gentleman who, 
as a soldier, served under him, and could and did speak intelligently 
of him. I met this gentleman on a trip I was taking east some years 
since; he, learning that I was from Omaha, inquired of me about 
Colonel Savage, then I of him about Colonel Savage's record as a sol- 
dier. In answer to my inquiry he, in short, said, a braver man and 
one whose true courage was less questioned, never lived. That his 
courage was not of the kind evinced by words, rash or useless demon- 
strations. That whether directing his command at a dress parade, to the 
soul-inspiring music of a trained band, or leading them into the fierce 
furies of a raging battle, to the dread music of the clash of arms, the 
rattle of musketry and the cannon's awful roar, where death and car- 
nage reigned supreme on every side, he was the same careful, thought- 
ful, but active and efficient soldier and trusted commander, ever acting 
from a conscientious sense of duty to be performed. He did whatever 
was required of him by his superiors without hesitation, without ques- 
tion, and without debate, and he expected and exacted the same serv- 
ice of the men he commanded. He was a strict disciplinarian, yet 
ever watchful and careful of his men, and as tender of the sick and 
wounded sufferers as a woman. I accepted that testimony as entirely 
reliable, and turn it over to you as such. 

Through all of his life he devoted much time to literary pursuits, 



66 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

and delighted most in making researches into the past ; he, with his 
own pen, added many pages to the ponderous volume of historical 
literature, of most interesting and valuable matter. He traveled 
largely in the broad fields of classic literature, gathering rich gems of 
thought from the poets there, with which he stored his mind for fut- 
ure use. As a Shakespearean student he stood but little behind the 
most advanced. In his library he had collected the leading published 
editions of Shakespeare's writings. On his visit to England a few 
years since, he purchased at a large price one of the earliest, rarest 
published editions extant, that he might come nearer and nearer to its 
author by consulting the same. He never doubted that the " Bard of 
Avon " was the true author of the works ascribed to him. He took 
no stock in Donnellyism, and when in England he visited the church 
at Stratford-on-Avon — in the chancel of which was placed the body 
of Shakespeare — to do homage to his memory at his shrine there. 

But it is as a lawyer and a judge I knew him best. For twenty 
years and more, at the bar and on the bench, we met almost daily in 
the pursuit of our profession. He was not what is called a great or 
a profound lawyer; to reach that position requires great and constant 
labor in the one direction. He had neither taste nor inclination to 
seek results by the way of cold, heartless logic and abstract principles 
of law ; yet he was a careful, safe, and prudent adviser, and a fairly 
successful practitioner. In his time he had familiarized himself with 
the writings of Blackstone, Kent, Story, and other elementary works ; 
and had stored his mind with the fruits of legal knowledge thus ob- 
tained for future use; when occasion required, he took from the store 
that was garnered there, without resorting to the labor of re-reading, 
to enable him to pass judgment upon the question before him. He 
remembered well M^hat he had read, and, with his well disciplined 
mind, made good use of that which was in point, touching the matter 
he was considering. Nor was he what we call a "case lawyer," that 
is, he did not spend his time in searching the reports to find how 
many times the question had been determined one way and how many 
times another, that he might strike a balance and tender the result; 
nor that he might pursue the one line thereof most favorable to his 
immediate purpose. If the question had been passed upon by our 
own supreme court he recognized the decision so made as the law, and 
followed it. He was not what is called an orator, and yet, before a 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 67 

court or jury his style and raauuer of speaking secured for him, and 
he at all times received, marked attention. He had no overflow of 
words to dispose of in the presentation of his cause. As you listened 
to him, it became more manifest that he had carefully prepared be- 
forehand the dress in which to clothe his ideas, and the language even 
that he would use to present them in. Indeed, he at one time told me 
that he never attempted, on any occasion whatever, to speak publicly 
without some time spent in preparation therefor. 

His leading criminal case was the defense of Baker for murder, in 
1867, in Omaha. There can be no doubt that he entered upon and 
made that defence with an honest belief in the innocence of Baker ; 
hence it was extremely difficult for him to rally from the surprise 
caused by the confession of Baker, that he had committed the murder, 
and proved it by pointing to the spot where the money of the mur- 
dered man was placed, and afterwards found. His entire make-up 
was of such a nature that it was almost impossible for him to make a 
radical change of programme in the trial of a case, when forced to do 
so by some unexpected exigency arising in the trial; nor had he the 
power to hide from observation the eiFect upon him of a sudden sur- 
prise, occurring in the trial of a case ; he could not seem to feel what 
he did not, to be what he was not. 

In his practice before going on to the bench, he undertook and per- 
formed the ordinary business of an attorney, appearing for clients in 
all the courts from a country justice up. After his retirement from 
the bench and return to practice, he engaged only in the more im- 
portant cases brought to him, leaving matters not requiring his par- 
ticular attention to the other members of the firm with whom he was 
associated. He was appointed a government director of the Union 
Pacific Railroad Company by President Cleveland, which position he 
held until his death. He did not regard his duties in that office as 
very arduous, or productive of much good. It was a position he did 
not seek, as he knew but little about railroading ; however, his gen- 
eral intelligence, gentlemanly deportment, genial and pleasant man- 
ners endeared him to all with whom he came in contact in the per- 
formance of the duties connected with his office. 

But it is as to his career upon the bench I desire more particularly 
to speak, and here he has left a most enviable record, a record that 
should be written in letters of gold, and placed in the liandsof every 



68 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

man occupying a judicial position in all our laud, that they may read 
and imitate his example. I do not claim, I would not insinuate, that 
he was a Taney, a Marshall, or a Waite; but this I do say, I never 
knew a judge to hold the scales of justice he was using with a steadier, 
firmer hand, and with a more watchful eye, that nothing whatever 
should be permitted to interfere with their true and perfect balance 
than did Judge Savage. He listened attentively and patiently to every 
one, young or old, with or without experience, that had a cause for his 
hearing. If the attorney supported his argument by authorities, he 
considered well each one presented, and would always give the greater 
weight to the better reasoning found in them. The magnet that at- 
tracted him, the goal he sought, was right and justice, and so to apply 
the rules of law in each particular case as not to wrong any one, and 
to deal justly by all. After the case was submitted to him, he de- 
termined it upon his own good judgment with the aid of the light 
furnished him, without searching further in the fields of legal lore to 
fortify his judgment. Asa trial judge he was always pleasant to 
attorneys and suitors, willing to hear from both sides, quick to see the 
point made or intended to be made, and ready to determine the ques- 
tion when submitted, thereby giving great dispatch to the business 
before him. In passing judgment against transgressors of the law he 
never overlooked the teachings of Shakespeare's Portia — 
"That earthly power does then show likest God's, 
When mercy seasons justice," 

and followed it from the hour when he first went on to the bench, 
until nearly eight years thereafter, when he resigned his position there. 
He so performed the duties of his high oflSce that no man has ever 
questioned his strict integrity, and the honest, conscientious fairness of 
his every act upon the bench. No higher encomiums could be be- 
stowed upon any man ; no less are his just due. 

A brief reference to one act of Judge Savage, reflecting his true 
character as a judge and as a man, I trust will not be out of place 
here. It was during the campaign of 1876, when Tilden and Hayes 
were the standard bearers of their respective parties. The campaign 
and the contest for position had been waged with great fierceness on 
either side, and each party employed every means within its reach to 
accomplish the election of its candidate, without stopping long to 
question the justness or fairness of the act. Reason and good judg- • 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 69 

ment on all sides gave way to the one idea, success, and how to ac- 
complish it. The election occurred November 7, and the result was 
apparently close. The change of a single electoral vote might deter- 
mine the choice of a president. Judge Savage was a democrat, not 
merely a supporter but a warm personal friend of Samuel J. Tilden. 
He had spent ten years of active life among the great leaders of the 
democratic party in New York. They were his friends, he was their 
friend, and in his heart he felt as strong a desire for the success of 
his chosen candidate as did any man living. 

Under the law, the electors chosen in Nebraska were to meet at the 
capitol on the first Wednesday in December, to cast their vote, rep- 
resenting the vote of Nebraska for president. On November 30, 
a petition was filed in the district court of Douglas county, by 
the democratic electors as plaintiffs against the republican electors 
as defendants, one of the democratic electors living in Omaha, for 
an injunction restraining the republican electors from meeting and 
casting their votes for president. In their petitition they set forth 
the fact that an election had been held in the several states of the 
Union, that so far as they then, knew and believed, had resulted in 
the choice of 184 democratic electors, who would cast their votes 
for Tilden and Hendricks; that it required 185 votes, that is just 
one more than they then had, to secure the election of Tilden ; 
that a large vote had been cast in Nebraska for said plaintiffs as such 
electors, and while it was true that a somewhat larger vote had been 
cast for the defendants as the republican electors, yet the fact was that 
Amasa Cobb, one of the candidates of the republican party for an 
elector, held an office of trust and profit under the general govern- 
ment that rendered him ineligible to the position of an elector ; that 
his pretended election was illegal and void; and that notwithstanding 
that fact there was a strong probability that said defendants, as such 
republican electors, unless restrained by an order of the court, in open 
violation of the law, would meet in Lincoln and cast their votes for 
Hayes; and they closed their petition by a no doubt heartfelt prayer 
that the defendants be enjoined from so doing ; and the first signa- 
ture to that petition, and nearest that prayer, was written the name of 
one of Nebraska's then most distinguished lawyers, one of Nebraska's 
then and to-day most respected citizens, an ex-judge of our courts, 
and a warm, personal, and political friend of Judge Savage, and of 



70 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

a mau in whom he placed the greatest confidence. On that day Judge 
Savage issued a restraining order, and set down the hearing for the 
allowance of an injunction at 4 P. M. December 4th. The question 
had now become one of national importance, attracting the attention 
of every state in the Union, and it was discussed from the Atlantic to 
the Pacific, and the name of Judge Savage, before whom it was to 
be heard, became widely known and a household word. 

A remarkable incident in connection therewith is the fact that dur- 
ing the four days intervening the democratic papers generally, not 
alone the Omaha Herald, contained leading articles, inspired by the 
best of legal minds, discussing the question, full of logic and citing 
many precedents sustaining the right to grant the prayer of the peti- 
tion, creating thereby a safe harbor of refuge against any storm that 
could be brought against him in case he granted the injunction as 
prayed for. Money, position, everything was within his easy reach and 
ready for delivery without demand. It was known that electoral 
votes were being sought for from Oregon to Florida by both parties, 
and if delivered would be received and no questions asked. It was 
in his power to do a great thing for his party and for himself. On 
the lips of all was the inquiry, will he do it? It is an easy matter 
now to look back and say his duty was plain, he could not grant the 
writ. He who answers so does not comprehend the times or his sur- 
roundings. Nor is it necessary to speak of the complications that 
would or would not have arisen, nor the result of his act if the writ 
had been allowed, or of the way those complications could have been 
removed. I desire only to direct your attention to what he did that 
you may fix your own estimate upon the act of a man placed in the 
situation he was. He refused the injunction. Seek from among a 
thousand for one who would have done as he did, and you will have 
your labor for your pains. I am permitted to speak with this degree 
of certainty from the fact that soon after similar questions come on for 
determination, and fifteen of the best, and, as was thought, most reliable 
and honorable men of the nation were selected and called upon to pass 
judgment thereon, and in every instance their judgment was in strict 
accord with their political preferences and party affiliations. In his 
make-up there was no eight to seven composition. He did just as he 
believed right, and there was no power on earth to swerve him from 
a conscientious performance of his duty. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 71 

In his intercourse with his fellows, whether as judge, lawyer, or 
citizeu, he was ever the pleasant, aiFable, but dignified gentleman. He 
never spoke unkindly of any one. He had one peculiar faculty in 
passing judgment upon the cause of suitors, in doing so in a manner 
not to offend the defeated. When deciding against a man he injected 
no foreign substance, no poisonous matter into the wound made, to 
cause thereby a festering sore. The vanquished as well as the victor 
was satisfied with the result, and became his closer friend. 

But his work on earth is done, and as future years roll by 
" You will meet and you will sever, 
But there'll be one vacant chair " 

here that will speak to you in mute but unmistakable language of the 
noble qualities he bore — the genial, pleasant, learned, and useful mem- 
ber he was. With him I have considered the question propounded 
by the patriarch, " If a man die, shall he live again ? " and say to you 
he never questioned the fact of a future existence, but he never 
clouded his hope and belief in that future existence by sectarian no- 
tions. 

He is gone, we say, he is dead. But permit me again to repeat the 
beautiful words of Lord Lytton, so dear to the Christian heart, so 
expressive of his hope : 

" There is no death ; the stars go down 
To rise upon a fairer shore, 
And bright in Heaven's jeweled crown 

They shine forevermore. 
There is no death ; the earth we tread 

Shall change beneath the summer showers 
To golden grain or mellow fruit 

Or rainbow tinted flowers. 
There is no death ; an angel form 

Walks o'er this earth with silent tread. 
And bears our dear loved ones away, 

And then we call them dead. 
But ever near us, though unseen, 

Their angel forms do tread, 
For all God's universe is life — 
There are no dead." 

Though gone, he has left us the rich inheritance of the record here 
given as an example we may imitate, and the fond remembrance of 
"An honest man, the noblest work of God." 



72 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



BYEON KEED. 



A paper read by William D. Beckett before the State Historical Society, 
January 12, 1892. 

Every man's life, meaning thereby what he has said and done on 
this earth, may, without metaphysical refining, be said to have both a 
biographical and a historical aspect. As it began and ended with the 
individual, it is a subject for biography; as it has influenced the col- 
lective life of humanity, it is a subject for history. 

Now of the biographical significance of a man's life, though much 
may be thought, imagined, or believed, but little can be said. He 
lived and loved and hoped and died. What remains for him after 
death is not a subject for biography, but for speculation or prophecy. 

Therefore it is that the language of those who speak about the dead 
as individuals is always the same. There is but one thought, and long 
ago that thought was spoken in words whose fitness compels all later 
speech to repetition. " He is like the flower of the field that grows 
up in the morning and in the evening is cut down and withers away; 
his frame is dust ; his life is but a breath in the nostrils ; nay, even 
less substantial than that — it is a figment ; an unreal thing such as 
poets and lunatics imagine and body forth in words; it is a tale that 
is told." 

So men do not form biographical societies. They would perpetuate 
nothing but memories; their proceedings would be uninspiring; their 
records would be brief and monotonous, like the book of Chrouicles 
or the generations of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah written in 
one chapter, "All the days of his life were so many, and he died." 

But in its historical bearings a man's life is an enduring force and 
expands to proportions so vast that no human eye can see its limit. 
Like the pebble that is thrown into the ocean, it rests quietly upon the 
ocean's bed, but the circles it has started go on widening and crossing 
and combining with other circles to rock the ocean and sway its cur- 
rents through all eternity. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 73 

In the first place, every man is a sojourning workman upon earth, 
and his work, that is, the material and social changes he makes there, 
must modify all life that comes after him. In the second place, and 
more influential than the thing he has done, is the spirit that moved 
him to it and his manner of doing it. Thus, not the humblest car- 
penter is a mere builder of houses wherein people may temporarily 
live; he is also a teacher in the art of housebuilding and in the use of 
tools, and the master builder's great work may not be any visible 
structure, but ouly his idea of a house, which never is built, yet which 
is potent in architecture wheu his houses of brick and iron have crum- 
bled into dust. 

By the individual man this terrestrial globe were uuimpressible, 
like that magic well which filled up between the strokes of the pick; 
but as a part of collective humanity he becomes, as it were, immortal, 
and works in the might of the generations. The seas are filled up,, 
the mountains are leveled, the whole face of nature is transformed. 
This chaotic, unintelligible world is wrought into form, is classified,, 
divided, and subdivided till the original is no longer known. Not the 
earth and the sky, but religions, philosophies, science, creeds, and sys- 
tems constitute the creation into which men are now born; not death's 
but humanity's creation, and filled with its trophies, statues, tombs, 
and stories, its victories, its triumphs, and its glories. 

On the sixth day of June, 1891, Byron Reed, a member of this 
society and a citizen of this state since the year 1855, died at his resi- 
dence in the city of Omaha. His death was not unexpected, for, 
though he was not an old man, ill health had made him feeble, and 
his hold on life had for some time been a frail one. Among Mr. 
Reed's papers was found a sketch of his life written by himself in the 
last few weeks preceding his death. Because what one says of him-, 
self doubly describes him, and also because this sketch is an accurate 
and concise summary of Mr. Reed's life, it is here set forth verbatim: 

"Byron Reed was born at Darien, Genesee county, N. Y., March 
12, 1829. He attended the Alexander Classical school, but left be- 
fore graduating by reason of his family, with several other families of 
the same town, moving to the far west, the then territory of Wiscon- 
sin. They, settled on the virgin prairie in Walworth county, naming 
the new settlement "Darien," after the old home. Mr. Reed first 
entered business life as an operator. The electric telegraph was in- 
6 



74 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

vented in 1844, and in less than five years the large eastern cities were 
connected and the wires extended as far west as Cleveland. From 
1849 to the beginning of 1855 Mr. Reed worked on the Cleveland 
and Pittsburg line, most of the time at Warren, O., midway between 
the two cities. He was one of the first to adopt the system of receiv- 
ing by sound, a system which is now universal, although at first re- 
ceived with doubt and hesitation. Even after the first year's trial it 
was condemned and ordered abandoned by most of the lines then in 
0))eration. When the act of congress organizing the territory of Ne- j 
braska was passed, in 1854, Mr. Reed gave notice to the superintend- ' 
entof his company that he wished to leave the next month. He was 
prevailed upon to stay, however, until the next year, when he left for 
Nebraska, arriving at Omaha, November 10, 1855. A few weeks 
later he went down to Kansas, and passed the winter at Leavenworth, 
Kansas City, Lawrence, and other places, during which time he 
acted as correspondent for the New York Tribune. The territory of 
Kansas at this time was the theatre of the 'border ruffian war,' cele- 
brated in history as one of the preliminaries to the great rebellion. 
The Tribune published the most complete and truthful accounts of 
this eventful period in letters from Mr. Reed, Mr. Phillips, and 
others. When the papers containing these letters found their way 
back to Leavenworth City and other pro-slavery strongholds, they 
caused much excitement and rage among the slaveholders and leaders 
of their party. The writers found it necessary to exercise great cau- 
tion in concealing their identity. More than once Mr. Reed heard the 
remark made that if the correspondent of the New York Tribune 
could be discovered his life would not be worth an hour's time, but 
not the slightest suspicion at that time was entertained that Mr. Reed , 
was himself that correspondent, or one of theta. He was soon discov- j 
ered, however, through the theft of some of his letters, and his arrest 
ordered forthwith. He escaped by a narrow chance, leaving the 
city in the middle of the night. Mr. Phillips, another correspond- 
ent, was also discovered, but being a resident of the city (Leaven- 
worth), and a very })rominent man, they did not like to attack him with- j 
out some further pretense. The further pretense was found and Mr. 1 
Phillips was attacked and killed about four months afterward. (See 
Greeley's American Conflict, volume 1, page 245). One object of 
Mr. Reed's visit to Kansas was to make choice between that territory 



HISICRICAL PAPERS. 75 

and Nebraska for his future home. His experience of about four 
months in Kansas effectually settled that question in favor of Ne- 
braska. He returned to Omaha, opened an office in the old state 
house building, and established the real estate and conveyancing busi- 
ness which he has conducted up to the present time with a measure of 
success equaled by no other business enterprise in the state, starting 
without capital and without pretenses. The Byron Reed Company is 
now a corporation with a paid up capital of $200,000, and probably 
does a business as large as the best of our national banks. 

" Mr. Reed was elected to the office of city clerk of Omaha in 1860, 
at a time when no emoluments were connected with the office. He 
served as such for six terms in succession, being succeeded by William 
L. May in 1867. In 1863 he was elected county clerk for the term of 
two years, having served the previous term as deputy. During the 
two years from 1861 to 1863 he recorded all the instruments and doc- 
uments that were filed, in his own handwriting, quite a contrast with 
the amount of business in that office at the present time. He was 
councilman, representing the Fourth ward in J 871, and president of 
tiie city council in 1872. 

*'Mr. Reed gave to the public fifteen acres of land on Prospect Hill, 
to be used as a cemetery. This is one of the most beautiful locations 
in the city limits, and the land is now of great value. It is usual, in 
gifts of this kind, for the donor to provide that when the land has 
served the purpose for which it was given, it shall revert to the donor 
or his heirs. In this case the deed of gift provides that in case the 
cemetery be discontinued or removed the laud shall go to the city of 
Omaha in trust for the use and benefit of the public, to be used as a 
public park, or for the erection of public buildings, or for any other 
use wherein the public will receive the benefit. The deed also con- 
tains the condition that no portion of the land shall ever be alienated or 
leased for a valuable consideration. When the cemetery was estab- 
lished Mr. Reed undertook the management of it. It was indispen- 
sable that some one do it, and everybody else refused. The result was 
that Prospect Hill cemetery soon became the finest and best appointed 
cemetery in the west, and at a cost to its patrons of only about half 
as much as in other cities of the same class as Omaha. The Forest 
Lawn Cemetery Association was formed through the efforts of Mr. 
Reed and the late John H. Brackin, with the understanding that 



76 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Prospect Hill should be turned over to the new association as soon as 
it was organized. This was done in 1885." 

Here this sketch ends — not finished, but broken off. From the date 
therein last mentioned Mr. Reed lived quietly, spending most of his 
time in his office and his library. In February, 1891, he was ap- 
pointed by President Harrison one of the commission to make the annual 
test of the coinage at the Philadelphia mint. This was his last public 
service but one. 

By his will he gave to the city of Omaha a parcel of land as the 
site for a public library, and also his collection of coins, medals, manu- 
scripts, autographs, and literary relics, together with his own private 
library. The gift is in every respect a generous one, and in itself is- 
a public service such as few men are able to render in a lifetime. 

It only remains to make a brief and necessarily imperfect estimate 
of his character. Mr. Reed's life must have been based upon a faith. 
No such life as his could have been founded upon sentiment or im- 
pulse, or upon any doctrine of chances. To accumulate a fortune of 
millions by the slow process of accretion, to bear up against the grind 
and worry, the vexations, disappointments, losses, and lawsuits, as 
surely proves a faith as does religious or political martyrdom. And ta 
understand a person's faith, to know what he thinks that good thing 
to be, which a man should do all the days of his life, is to have the 
key to most that is valuable in him. Now, in spite of many personal 
traits which caused Byron Reed to be regarded as a peculiar man, 
which indeed, to a great extent, isolated him from his fellow men, I 
believe that his ruling motive was to obtain the approval of his fellow 
men. Not of this or that particular man or set of men, for no one 
seemed more indifferent as to whether it was some poor tenant or an 
ex-president of the United States that spoke to him, but of that whole 
body of men whom he looked upon as the select men of the world. 
It is said that one's reading more than anything else shows what his 
ideals are. Mr. Reed was an historian. His ideal seemed to be what 
may be called the historic character; whether it wei-e Cromwell and 
his band, arraigning a king for treason, or Daniel Boone holding a 
council with the Indians, or John Smith making the first entry under 
a new homestead law, the man and the event had for his mind a 
peculiar charm. They were marked with the historical sign. His 
coins and ancient manuscripts were, in my opinion, chiefly regarded by 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. <7 

him for their historical associations. Thei-e was the story of the na- 
tions stamped in metal — in the faces of the kings, in symbolical feasts 
and triumphal processions. Tiiere were the original records from 
which history is made, the edicts of the emperors, ])aj)al bulls, state 
trials, and contemporaneous accounts of political and military conflict. 
As corroborative of this view, it may be said that Mr. Reed was, in 
most things, a conservative. He believed that the social structure up 
to this time is substantially built, and that what is needed is not a 
departure from ancient forms, but a closer adherence to them. In 
short, he was one whom the ideals and achievements of the race suf- 
ficed. He wanted no new doctrine, he desired no new inspiration. 
To live worthily and obtain a good name among the men of his time 
was his highest ambition. In his method and manner of working, 
Byron Reed was an example which it were profitable for any man to 
study. Accuracy, thoroughness, patient application of means to ends; 
in these he put his trust. All his dealings were marked by exactness 
and attention to detail. No point was overlooked, no contingency was 
left unprovided for. He believed that the laws of business were as 
certain as those of mechanics; that plan and purpose would bring 
financial gains as surely as they turn wheat into flour. Ev^en in the 
court room and before juries, where all is proverbially uncertain, he 
thought there were conditions of success; that, on the whole, it was 
well for him who had the most witnesses and the best lawyer. In all 
his long record as a conveyancer, as notary public, and as county clerk, 
it is doubtful if a single error has ever been discovered. So high was 
his reputation in this regard that abstractors were accustomed to accept 
his notarial certificates as conclusive of the regularity of the instru- 
ment. All matters of importance he put in writing, besides much that 
seemed of no importance; at what date he took possession of a lot, 
what was said to the officer who served a writ of ejectment. On ac- 
count of his accuracy he was considered one of the best witnesses in 
the trial of a lawsuit in Douglas county. Other things being equal, it 
could be argued with absolute confidence that the opposing witness 
must be mistaken. It is believed that during his life Mr. Reed repre- 
sented more foreign capital invested in Nebraska than any other man in 
the state. He held more unlimited powers of attorney than any other 
six men in Douglas county, and the facts show that those who joined 
with him in business enterprise made gains when he made thera. 



78 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

There are many persons in Douglas county whose fortunes are to be 
counted from the date of their association with Byron Reed. 

This is the day of reformers and social doctrinaires — persons who 
hold the present lot of man to be barren of all that is good or noble — 
not worth the attention of high-minded people. So they profess no 
interest in it, but 

Dip into the future far as human eye can see; 

Paint the vision of the world and all the wonder that will be. 

It is not for us to scorn the work of Utopia builders or despise 
these tellers of dreams. They are the signs of a living humanity, for 
that is the sleep of death in which there are no dreams. But let it be 
remembered that the only hope of the future is in the faithful workers 
of the present. This social structure will not go higher except by 
diligent use of the tools which are iu the hands of each of us. Truly, 
there is much philosophy in the world, but not many philosophers. 
The life of Byron Reed was a life of work well done. The world is 
less inharmonious and more in order for his having been in it. And 
what truer test of the value of a life is there than that? Has it been 
a force to clear humanity's path and help bear its burdens? Has it, 
so far as it went, made the rough places plain and the crooked places 
straight? If so, then was it good. 



THOMAS B. CUMING. 



An Eulogy on the late Governor Cuming, delivered at Omaha, April 17, 1858, by 
Hon. J. M. Wool worth. 



Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: The tolling bell, the 
meeting of the citizens called to express a city's sorrow, the solemn an- 
nouncement to the court, the judge on the bench, the juror in the box, 
the counsel at the bar turning from the business all undone, the soldier 
marching with slow and measured tread, with muffled drums and 
colors furled, and arms reversed, the public buildings draped in mourn- 
ing, the public offices closed, business and labor all suspended, the 
flags at half mast, the minute guns, the lengthened process, unwhis- 
pered sympathies and sorrows, tearful eyes, sad, sad hearts, — what 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 79 

cause, what abundant cause, for all these tokens of public and private 
bereavement! 

Thomas B. Cuming dead! That form that passed and rejiassed before 
our eyes, daily, almost hourly, that mingled among us, made one of us 
on the street, in the office, at the public meeting, at the social gather- 
ing, ever present, ever welcome everywhere, so recently erect and 
proud and iron-bound, now prostrate, cold, dead. That countenance, 
set with the firmness of the ruler of a great country, yet varying with 
the varying emotions which chase each other through his mind, fixed 
now in the changeless expression of death. That eye that beamed 
ever with ardor and intelligence, and anon flashed lightning from its 
black depths with the kindlings of brilliant intellect, closed now for- 
ever. That voice which thrilled, and swayed, and commanded the 
public assembly, gasped its last words, silent now. Nerveless the hand 
that grasped a brother's hand so warmly. Pulseless the heart that em- 
braced a brother's cause so generously ever — ever as you, sir, or I, and 
how many others can testify. High ambitions, great promises, san- 
guine hopes, all shattered into dust. A people cut off from its leader, 
its stay, its hope. What cause, what abundant cause, for public and 
private sorrow! 

Thomas B. Cuming dead ! Meet are all these signs of woe. A 
great " man has gone to his long home and the mourners go about the 
streets." Let the court be closed ; he was the noblest of all its mem- 
bers. Let the soldier honor his memory ; he was the most gallant of 
all this band. Let the public officers suspend the public business; he 
was the chief and ruler of them all. Let the banker close his vaults, the 
merchant his ledger, and let the mechanic and the laborer lay down his 
tools, and let a great people assemble in this common sorrow to mingle 
together tiieir tears for one whose like we shall not see again. Let the 
long procession bear him to the capitol, lay him in the very penetralia 
of his country's temple ; let the priest of his church say over him the 
solemn office of his burial chant, over the inanimate remains the sacred 
requiem of the dead. Let the people gather around him once more 
to look on those well known features for the last time. Yes, let her — 
alas for her whose heart breaks beneath the bosom of its sorrow — let 
her gaze and gaze, and as those sad, sad words, ''Never again, never 
again," break the awful silence, let every heart melt; then let the 
tears flow unchecked, unheeded in the common sorrow for the dead and 



80 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

sympathy for the living, and then lay him in the bosom of his own 
Nebraska, beloved forever; "Earth to earth, dust to dust, ashes to 
ashes." 

And meet is it that your association, sir, should consecrate an hour 
to his memory. He was one of its })rojectors and founders. He con- 
tributed of the abundance of his learning and his eloquence to its suc- 
cess. He was on the list of lectures for the course just ended. Even 
in his last days he consulted for its prosperity. And yet, sir, I could 
have wished you had found another to do this sad office to his mem- 
ory ; to teacii you his virtues, to recite to your lasting profit the les- 
sons of his life and of his death. And yet what need of words ? 

Thomas B. Cuming dead ! Perish from among men the great prin- 
ciple of popular sovereignty 4hich he vindicated and established here 
in stormy times among enraged men who thirsted for his blood — which 
he vindicated and established here as no one else could by his own un- 
aided arm, by his own resolute will ; perish peace, prosperity, and 
progress, which by his wisdom and energy he established in the first 
days of the territory ; once and forever, perish the achievements of her 
progress, the homes of the settler, the admiration of human heroism, 
the love of human benefactors ; then, and not till then, let us say, 
Tliomas B. Cuming, dead! 

Governor Cuming was born in Genesee county, in the state of 
New York, on the 25th day of December, 1828. His father is the 
Rev. Dr. Cuming, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, an Episcopal clergy- 
man of distinguished learning, eloquence, and piety. His mother died 
while he was yet a young child. He was then removed to Rochester, 
and placed in the family of the Rev. Dr. Penny, an uncle, at that 
time a distinguished Presbyterian divine, afterwards the president of 
Hamilton College. He was afterwards removed to the home of his 
father, in Michigan, under whose care he was prepared for college. In 
his boyhood. Governor Cuming enjoyed a training of the highest 
character. His father instilled into his young mind, with all a parent's 
anxiety and care, those habits of laborious study, of thorough mastering 
of whatever engaged his attention, which eminently fitted him for the 
difficult positions to which he was destined. Especial care was had 
of his religious culture. Those elevated and severe doctrines which 
distinguished the higher school of the Episcopal church were early 
instilled into his young mind, and it is believed that through all the 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 81 

distracting scenes of his life, in the midst of the great temptations to 
easy, often sceptical notions which beset young and ardent minds in 
our day, he never ceased to revere the salutary teachings of his father 
and of the church. 

He entered the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, at a very 
early age. But young as he was he carried with him a familiar ac- 
quaintance with the Latin and Greek languages, a singular aptitude 
for their acquisition, and a native fondness for letters in general; and 
to these he added a devotion to study and an ambition to excel, very 
uncommon at so early an age. He accordingly took a high standing 
as a scholar. In the classical and belles-lettres department he had not 
an equal in the institution. He enjoyed also an uncommon flow of 
animal spirits. Perfect health was a blessing he enjoyed from his 
earliest days till his last sickness; and in a boy, health and activity 
are concomitant. He mingled in all the sports of college life, in all 
the mischief, too, and made himself notorious by them. The name of 
Cuming was known in every hamlet in the state before his first year 
in college was over. At the age of sixteen he graduated, carrying oif 
the first honors of the institution. His oration is spoken of to this 
day for the force and eloquence which distinguished it from the plati- 
tudes usually spoken by young men on such occasions. Upon his 
graduation he was appointed geologist to a scientific expedition sent 
to explore the mineral regions about Lake Superior; a position 
whose importance is evident from the immense wealth annually de- 
rived from the copper of that country. 

At the breaking out of the Mexican war he was a young man averse 
to the drudgery of any of the professions, but full of the high hopes 
and aspirations of youth. The sound to arms appealed to the military 
passions of his nature, for his nature was that of a soldier through and 
and through. He entered the army as a lieutenant, and served out 
the time of his enlistment. He always regretted that the circum- 
stances of his station prevented his mingling in those great conflicts 
which reflected such glory on American arras. 

After the war he found himself loose upon the world, without 
friends to whom he could go, without means, without advantages save 
those he had within himself. Accidentally he found employment as 
a telegraph operator, in Keokuk, Iowa. But it was not enough for 
him to feed his stomach and clothe his nakedness. The mind of the 



82 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

young man must be at work. He wrote an anonymous article to the 
Dispatch, a paper published at that place. It arrested attention. He 
wrote another ; curiosity as to who was its author was excited ; an- 
other and another appeared, and curiosity increased more and more, 
one person and another to whom they were at first attributed dis- 
claiming the authorship, they were at last traced to the young tele- 
graph operator. The ability which they displayed was not to be lost 
and he was immediately placed in charge of the paper. It was soon 
the leading paper in the state, a power in the state, and hardly ever 
was there a country paper exercising such a large influence. During 
his residence in Keokuk he married Miss Margaretta C. Murphy^ 
whose beautiful devotion to him in all the changes and trials of life, 
has been only equaled by the great sorrow which now crushes her. 

It was while in charge of the Dispatch, in 1854, and somewhat m 
reward for the eminent services which he had rendered to the democ- 
racy, that he was appointed secretary of Nebraska. He was at this 
time only twenty-five years of age. He arrived here on the 8th of 
October, accompanied by his accomplished bride. It is well known 
that very soon after Governor Burt arrived in the territory he sickened 
and died, and that Cuming thereupon became the acting governor. 
Young as he was he brought to the duties of the office qualities singu- 
larly fitted to their faithful discharge. His mind was filled with the 
idea of a Roman governor and pro-consul in Rome's best days. A 
mind stern, haughty, severe, and unyielding in the policy it had 
marked out; resolved by its own invincible will to bend all men to 
that will, to bend itself to none, to be a great power in the state, and 
then, by virtue of that policy, to plant the institution of sound and 
stable government and order and law. To teach all men the wisdom 
and the power of that great central government which granted them 
an organization, and gradually, safely, and surely to fit them for citizen- 
ship in its great confederacy. 

What a work was that for a man of twenty-five, but how nobly did 
Cuming do it! Those factious jealousies and contests so common and 
so bitter in new countries sent the territory into numerous and dis- 
tracted parties; and when the young governor took one step in the 
direction of org;.iiization he found arrayed against him the combined 
opposition of all parts of the territory, save this city alone. When he 
convened the legislature assembled here, all the fury of excited passion 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 83 

burst upon him. Any other man would have stood appalled before it; 
would have retreated before its threats; would have compromised 
with its turbulence. To do so, however, was to give up the peaceful 
organization of a territory, consecrated in the midst of national excite- 
ment, to popular sovereignty. To give fip all law and all order, to 
give up himself, all he was, all he hoped to be. He did not waver. 
He issued the certificates of election to those who were elected mem- 
bers of the assembly. He pressed the two houses to an immediate 
organization and in one week every vexed question was settled, his 
opponents defeated in their disorganizing purposes, and the territory 
secured as a new proof of the ability and the right of the people to 
govern themselves. It was the triumph of his commanding will which 
awed opposition. It was genius mastering transcendent difficulties. 
Governor Cuming lived to see the blessing of peace, order, law, and 
prosperity follow his acts. 

It is unnecessary for me to recount in your hearing the life of our 
friend. It was passed in your midst. You were sharers of its joys, 
of its generosities, of its devotions. It was a part of your own, and 
the thread of its narrative is entwined with that of yours so that you 
cannot recall the past but you recall him. It was a life of energy, of 
activity, of effort for every good word and work which concerned this 
city which was his home, and this territory over which he presided. 
Beautiful is old age ; beautiful as the rich, mellow autumn of a bright 
glorious summer. The old man has done his work and he is gathering in 
the abundant harvest of his good services in the love of the old and the 
reverence of the young. He has laid off the cares of life and waits 
placidly for the end; waits placidly for the beginning beyond the 
end. God forbid we should not call that beautiful ! But more beau- 
tiful even than that is young manhood, with strong arm and stout 
heart, in the face of storm, and wind, and rain, sowing the good seed 
of national order, prosperity, and peace ; sowing the good seed of it& 
own fame which a whole people shall embalm in the memory of its 
best affections. Raise on the spot where he lies what tomb you will, 
his true sepulchre is in our hearts, his true epitaph is written on the 
tablets of our memories. 

The resignation of Governor Izard returned Governor Cuming to 
the responsibilities of the chief executive. While in their discharge 
the late assembly convened. For some time before he had been suf- 



84 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

fei'ing from prostrating sickness, and he was little fitted to meet the 
violent contests which attended the session. He .nerved himself for 
the task and prepared the message. But the disease which prostrated 
him gave to his mind a deep coloring of sadness, of doubt for the 
future, of fear both for himself and the country. He was unable to 
prevent its tinge appearing in the message, and as he delivered it to 
the assembled houses, the deep pathos, the hopelessness of some of its 
passages, cast over the minds of those who loved him, even amidst the 
excitements of the occasion, a strange foreshadowing of a coming sor- 
row. The effort was too much for him, and he returned to his home 
to preside over the territory from his sick bed. The hopefulness of 
his nature did not at all forsake him in his painful sickness. He 
hoped he might be permitted to rebuild a better and a nobler self on 
the ruins of the old constitution; that to the services of his country 
he might add others still higher; that he might yet give wider and 
freer play to those affections of the heart, to those sentiments of Chris- 
tian duty and religion which an anxious father had early instilled into 
his mind. But it was not to be; all the love of friends, all the prom- 
ises of his young manhood and his abundant acquisitions, all his ca- 
pacities to do good, all his hopes, all his ambitions could not save him. 
He was cut down and withered. Peacefully he lies in the embrace of 
his own Nebraska, and as fond kindred grace the hallowed spot with 
marble shaft or consecrated iron, with the beauty of the flower, with 
its rare odor that comes to us as a sweet consolation, a loving people 
will turn ever and anon from the path of their prosperity to pay their 
tribute of affection to the great man buried there. 

The ciiaracter of Governor Cuming was marked by a most striking 
individuality. In these days, when the etiquette and customs of social 
life conform even the heartiest salutations and coldest reserve, the 
dress we wear, all the manners of our life to one standard of phase 
and fashion, most men lose, especially in daily intercourse, all dis- 
tinctive characteristics, become like all others, are least themselves. 
It was not so with Governor Cuming. You always met him. His 
peculiarities of phase, of manner, arising not from any desire to be 
lingular, but a natural, unconscious, yet most intense individuality, 
always impressed you. Besides, you always felt you met a man; a 
man of will, who resisted all external influences and followed the line 
of his own convictions and purposes. The physical formation of the 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 85. 

mau indicated their firm, well-knit, active nature ; every inch of him 
was alive and tremulous with the energy which poured along the 
nerves. His grasp was the grasp of the lion ; for its physical power 
first, most of all for the mighty will which directed it. This same 
organization was indicated by the eye, which no one ever looked into 
and ever forgot. That deep black iris, that fervid glance and gleam, 
indicated an organization very remarkable and seldom seen in temper- 
ate zones. It was a torrid eye, from which flashed out all the tremu- 
lous sensibilities, all the passions, and all the fire of natures born and 
bred near the sun. In the mental physiology of Governor Cuming 
imagination held a large space; but it was not the subtle imagination 
which delighted in beautiful, soft-phrased words, empty of large, strong, 
vigorous vision ; nor yet, even in its highest altitude, did it soar aloft in 
the clear but cold regions of disenchanted spirit. It was wrapped 
about, or rather, it was one with his sensibilities. It dwelt among 
and upon those visions which are beautiful because they are lovely, 
are delightful because they are creations of the heart and its affections, 
not of the cold, selfish mind. This was one peculiarity of his elo- 
quence. It was luxuriantly imaginative, but it was so full of senti- 
ment, of the warm, gushing, natural sentiments of the heart. No 
matter what the occasion, he led captive the feelings, if not the con- 
victions, of his audience. The very copiousness of his language, his 
appeals to numerous passions, the magnetic power of his figure gave 
him a command, sometimes an absolute tyranny over his hearers, very 
seldom equaled by the greatest orators. 

And yet I would not speak of these qualities to the exclusion of 
the more substantial. They were the leading peculiarities of his 
mental organism, and yet logic, large abilities at argument, what the 
Germans call the absolute reason, formed a stable and sufficient sub- 
stratum. He never laid hold of a subject but he mastered it. He 
took it in, both in its grand outlines and as a whole, and in its minute 
details. Its scientific nature and relations were clear to him. He 
could speak of them, and speak of them in the formal propositions of 
science. But when he came to speak of them to the people, when the 
full play of his powers moulded them into forms tangible to the pop- 
ular touch, visible to the popular eye, then he brought them home to 
the heart by the most singular appeals of passion, of interest, of de- 
sire. 



86 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

I have already spoken of his early studies, of his devotion to theru, 
of his ambitions and successes in them. He was known here, not at 
all as a man of books but as a man of the world, dealing with its 
appliances, means, objects, and yet to the last he was the same ardent 
student as in early days. His acquisitions in one so young, whose life 
had been in excitement little congenial to literary habits, were aston- 
ishing. No man ever crossed tlie Missouri so thoroughly educated. 
By that intense individuality of which I have spoken, he made what 
he read a part of himself. His knowledge was not something out- 
side of him; it entered into his being; out of it the muscles and sin- 
ews of his mind drew their vigor. It was always at command. It 
sounded not like some familiar words, but like himself alone, and 
graced and enforced every subject which he touched by its abundant 
illustration. 

His manner was reserved, especially of late years. He held almost 
every one at a distance. Few penetrated into the great heart within 
him. But that heart was a great fountain of affection, of sympathy, 
of generosity. The hard world, long contact with its selfish struggles 
and hates and jealousies, may have crusted it over with constraint, but 
within it was warm and true and loving as ever. In his last sickness 
it came back again to the simplicity and freshness of ingenuous youth. 
He turned back to old thoughts and feelings and pursuits. The well 
thumbed volumes of his school-boy days were once more brought out, 
and clustering thick around them the associations of early life, which 
none but the scholar knows, he read again and again the lines dimmed 
by the tears that would come. He talked of those high and holy 
things which most fill a child's wondering mind, which most fill the 
soul looking into a world where it must be a child again. It was sad 
to see him then, with such capacities for good, marked for the grave; 
to hear him wish for life with a strange hope; to hear him speak with 
deep pathos of those he loved and must leave, of himself and the past, 
and his resolves and his prayers; but who could help but feel that he 
had come back again to the freshness of youth, that lie might enter 
into that youth whose freshness is immortal. I am told by those who 
knew him in his youth, that, as he lay awaiting the last mournful testi- 
mony which we have paid to him, he looked, more than he ever has 
since, as ho did before the changes and trials of life had placed their 
marks upon him. Who shall say that that fair, bright, placid face 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 87 

"was not the symbol to lis of the spirit fairer, brighter, more placid 
above? 

Light be the turf of thy tomb; 

May its verdure like emeralds be; 
There should not be the shadow of gloom 

In aught that reminds me of thee. 

Young flowers and an evergreen tree 

May spring from the spot of thy rest, 
But not cypress or yew let us see, 

For why should we mourn for the blest. 



REMINISCENCES OF EARLY DAYS IN NEBRASKA. 



Lincoln, Neb., November 15, 1888. 

Prof. Geo. E. Hoivard, Secretary Nebraska State Historical Society, 
Lincoln, Neb. — Dear Sir : With this I hand you a letter from Rev. 
M. F. Piatt, April 5, 1886, addressed to me, containing an account of 
the first religious services held and the first Sabbath school organized 
in this place, and perhaps in this county. 

I think these facts, as well as the mention of some other incidents 
of local interest, are of character fitting to be placed in the custody of 
your society. 

Mr. Piatt was for many years engaged in active home missionary 
•work under the direction of the American Home Missionary Society, 
in Iowa and Nebraska, and for several years a resident of this city; 
leaving here in 1886 for San Diego, California, where he is at present, 
in seriously impaired health, and past the day of active service. 

Among the last of his active work in this region was the gathering 
and organizing, in 1884, of the now prosperous Congregational church 
in Beatrice. 

The first Sabbath religious exercises where Lincoln now stands, de- 
scribed in his letter on page 6, were held, as I think he told me, on 
the west side of Salt creek, near where it is now crossed by the O 
street bridge. 

A daughter of George Langdon, referred to on pages 1 and 5, is 
now the wife of S. M. Melick, the ])resent sheriff of this county. 

The Mr. Cox mentioned on page 6 is Hon. W. W. Cox (now of 
Seward county, I think), who gave a narrative of events in those days 
at the annual meeting of your society January 10, 1888. 

Yours truly, T. H. Leavitt. 



88 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ME. PLATT'S PAPER. 

lu the year 1861 the writer of the following narrative was living 
in Fremont county, Iowa, and had lived tiiere from the year 1849. I 
had been engaged in teaching most of those years just mentioned. 
But now, in the providence of God, my mind was turned towards the 
work lOf preaching the word of reconciliation to a perishing world. 
Many fields were open in both Iowa and Nebraska, but which wa& 
the one for me to enter? God settled that question perfectly satisfac- 
torily to all concerned, in the following manner. Living near me, as 
neighbor, was a very dear Christian brother. In May of 1861 he 
made a visit to the salt basin in Nebraska, stopping over night with 
an acquaintance of ours, Mr. Langdon. (Mrs. Melick, the wife of 
our sheriff, is a daughter of Mr. Langdon.) 

His horses were staked out on the grass to feed for the night. Dur- 
ing the night they both broke loose from their moorings and started 
for Iowa by the way of Nebraska City, through which they had come. 
But the distance being long, they stopj)ed and luxuriated upon the 
ricli pasture which the bottom lauds of the Nemaha valley afforded. 
There they remained for about two months in the vicinity of the- 
place where Beunet or Palmyra now is located, for there were none- 
to molest or make them afraid, unless it was the emigrant winding^ 
along his lonely way to the golden coast of California. One of these- 
corapanies went into camp about noon, and, while waiting for their 
teams to feed, they looked off over the valley and in the distance saw 
two objects which they took to be deer; so, taking their guns and 
some of their best horses, they started out to obtain some venison. But 
lo! it was a span of wild horses. Several hours were spent in captur- 
ing them. When captured they were tied behind one of the wagons 
and taken on towards the Eldorado. 

In the meantime my friend had advertised the loss of his horses,, 
and left cards of advertisement at all tiie ranches within fifty or one 
hundred miles along the old California emigrant route. These cards 
had put the ranchmen on the lookout, for a reward was offered. One 
day a man came from the crossing of the Weeping Water, which is 
about five miles west of where the town of Weeping Water now 
stands, and said, '' Your team is with a company going on to Califor- 
nia." My neighbor came to me in great haste, saying, "Brother 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 89 

Piatt, will you do a Christian act for me?" I said, "Yes, sir; if it 
is in my power." " It is in your power ; you have a good team, and 
I a light wagon and no team." I said, "What is it you want?" "I 
have heard from my team ; they are about a hundred miles from here, 
or will be by the time we overtake them." I said, " I will go." 

I need not give you all the details, but suffice it to say that we 
overtook the company Friday noon, saw and recognized the horses we 
were after. We did not molest the travelers, fearing they might give 
us trouble. We went on fifteen miles to a ranch where we knew they 
would stop for the night, at the crossing of Wahoo creek. Our 
plan of attack was as follows: We knew the horses would be fastened 
to the hindmost wagon, so we planted our "artillery" on the east 
side of the bridge. There were three of us. One had the shadow of 
a writ. He acted as constable, and while he stopped the driver of 
the team and read his writ, the owner of the horses was to untie them 
from the emigrants' wagon and transfer them to his own. In the 
meantime, the writer was to stand by the guns and apply the torch, if 
necessary. But thanks be to God, it was not necessary. We stayed 
all night, and camped with the company on the banks of the Wahoo, 
but kept an eye on the horses. In the morning, bidding good-bye to 
those bound for California, we turned our steps, not directly home- 
wards, but a little aside to see what were the religious wants of the 
country, and where we could strike most effectively a blow for the 
dear Master. Our third man, Mr. Flowers, took the horses we had 
found and went to his home on the Weeping Water. Dr. Hanly 
and myself went from where Ashland now is towards the present site 
of Lincoln, but night overtook us and we camped on the banks of 
Stevens creek, seven miles northeast of that place. This was Satur- 
day night. We arose early Sunday morning and went up to our friend 
Langdon's. Desiring to hold Sabbath services, and having sent no 
appointment in advance, it was necessary to reach there soon enough to 
circulate the word. We took breakfast with Mr. Langdon's family. 
Mr. Langdon sent his oldest son across Oak creek to notify the neigh- 
bors. It did not take long, as there were but two other families on 
the salt basin. Mr. Cox was the tony one, for he lived in a log house ; 
of the others, one lived in a dug-out, and the other abode in a tent. We 
went over to Mr. Cox's at 10 o'clock a. m., held religious services, Dr. 
Hanly and myself both speaking, after which we organized a Sabbath 
7 



90 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

school. That, so far as I know, was the first religious meeting held in 
what is now Lancaster county. At that and various other times, I saw 
the wolves, deer, and antelope, as well as the jack rabbit, bounding 
over the prairie where Lincoln now is built. 

We returned to our home by way of Weeping Water Falls, Avoca, 
and Wyoming. All of these places were without the preaching of the 
gospel, as well as the little town built at what was then called the Salt 
Creek Ford, and a neighborhood of farmers then called the Shaffer 
Settlement — these latter places now known as Ashland and Green- 
wood. 

When we arrived at home Dr. Hanly returned to farming and to 
the practice of medicine. The writer made arrangements to take up 
the work of preaching the gospel at the various places I have men- 
tioned, as well as at others. I visited these points occasionally during 
the fall and winter of 1861-62, though teaching most of that time in 
Iowa, where my family was living. In the spring of 1862 I received 
a commission to preach the gospel to the little church of seven mem- 
bers at Weeping Water and all adjacent fields. The commission, 
calling for three hundred dollars salary, was my authority from both 
God and man. I saddled my horse, put an old-fashioned saddle bag 
across the saddle, with a hymn book and a Bible and some tracts in 
one end and some clean linen in the other, and started forth on my 
mission. 

To relate to you the narrow escapes from drowning, the suffering 
from cold and heat, of storms in winter with the thermometer from 
ten to twenty degrees below zero, * * * ^f ^hole nights on the 
prairie with no companion but my faithful horse, listening to the 
howl of wolves and watching the gleaming eyes of the wild cat, then of 
battling with the terrible thunder storms in the darkness, with the vivid 
lightnings playing around, with sheets of water driving against me 
as I pressed on to find some bank or grove as a protection from its 
fury, would be to fill volumes. (The friends at Weeping Water have 
frequently asked for something of this kind to publish with other 
things in connection with their quarter centennial, but I have not 
granted their request. I have yielded to Brother Leavitt because he 
wanted the account only, as I understand, to read at a certain gather- 
ing. ) 

As I have said, I commenced labor under commission from the A. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 91 

H. M. S. ill the spring of 1862, at Weeping Water as a pivot, at Avoca, 
Wyoming, and a place near where Louisville now stands. There was 
a small mill for grinding grain at Weeping Water Falls, owned by- 
Brother Reed. To this mill the farmers, for forty and sixty miles 
around, had to come to get their grinding done, and as I met these 
people they would invite, yea urge me, with tears in their eyes, to 
come to their neighborhoods to preach the gosi:>el, saying they had 
not heard a gospel sermon for three years. O, I shall never forget 
how my heart yearned for those dear people. I could not say no, al- 
though my field now took in a part of three counties. Finally the 
church at Weeping Water said, " Brother Piatt, these calls are of and 
from God. We must not be too selfish. We will spare you one 
Sabbath in the month. Go." I was only too glad to go. My heart 
burned within me to tell of Jesus' love to those who so longed to hear 
the old, old story. This led me to take up the work along Salt and 
Pawnee creeks. And so the work spread and God gave me strength, 
and I worked on and on with a salary of three hundred dollars a year. 
The people boarded me among them. I would say I thought a tenth 
belonged unto the Lord, so I gave thirty dollars a year to the Lord 
out of my three hundred. I don't know now how, with a wife and five 
children, we lived, but we did. I want to put in here a testimonial 
to the advantage of a faithful, devoted, economical wife. By her fru- 
gality and care we lived. It is true we had no luxuries, and some- 
times not enough of the substantials, " but God will provide." Let 
me tell you how He did provide. Often when I was going away my 
wife would say to me, " The flour is nearly gone." I would say, " How 
long will it last ? I shall be gone two or four days," as the case might 
be, " will it last until I can get back ? " The answer would be, " Yes, I 
can use some shorts or corn meal with it and make it last." I would 
go on my way to distant fields to do pastoral labor, or fill week-day 
appointments, for I had many such. While thus laboring some good 
brother or sister in Christ, and ofttimes a man of the world, would ask, 
"How is the flour at home?" I would say, " Just out." "Here; take a 
little in a sack on your horse; I will be over soon and bring you a 
sack." And often with the sack came some potatoes and a piece of 
meat. So I would take the flour to my wife saying, " The Lord has 
provided and there is more to follow." 

I remember that in the fall and winter of '63-'64 a revival of re- 



92 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ligion began by my holding a series of meetings on Salt creek. It spread 
and spread throughout that whole region of country. People would 
come from five to ten miles every night to hear the gospel. Back- 
sliding Christians were aroused, sinners convicted to such a degree that 
I was called here and there on Salt, Pawnee, and Wahoo creeks, and 
along the Platte river, for there was no other minister in all that re- 
gion, and I was the only Congregational minister south of the Platte, 
in Nebraska. 

I often encountered Indians in my travels, and had them occasion- 
ally in my preaching services — quite unexpectedly sometimes, as on the 
occasion which I will relate. It was on Sabbath afternoon. I was 
holding service at a private house, Mr. Coleman's, for there were no 
churches or school-houses built then. It was two miles north of where 
Greenwood now is. The house was full of people, and as I stood in 
the doorway, I noticed my congregation looking past me towards the 
road. Finally I turned around, and lo, what a sight ! two large, power- 
ful Indian warriors stood right behind me leaning against the door- 
posts. They had their arms clasped over their breasts, and each held 
a large bow and a sharp, polished hatchet, and had a bundle of arrows 
strapped to his back. Behind them were two rows of like make and 
similarly armed extending clear to the road. There were in all four 
hundred of them. AVhat were they doing, you ask, and were we not 
afraid ? I answer, no. Those that were near enough to hear what 
was said stood perfectly still. They knew we were worshiping what 
they called the Great Spirit and therefore they were quiet. I thought, 
what an example to those more civilized. 

At another time a party of Indians stopped for a few days in that 
locality, and one of their pappooses died. They did not wish to take 
it with them, so they wrapped it in cloth and hid it up in the branches 
of a large tree that stood near the road. They were then going on a 
visit to another tribe. They came back in a few days and took the 
dead body away. Did you ever hear Indians wailing for their dead? 
If not, you do not know what a wailing for the dead is. I do not 
wonder that Jesus had to put the mourners out of the room when He 
went to raise the dead. At a distance of half a mile I have heard 
Indian women wailing, and sad and doleful is the sound. 

But we spoke of encountering storms. Let me tell you of one 
incident; then, if you have experienced anything of the kind, you can 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 93 

imagine my feelings. I had now moved my family back to Iowa that 
my children might go to school, for there were then no schools in this 
part of Nebraska. I had been on my field about three weeks holding 
meetings along Salt creek. Leaving Salt creek, I went to Weeping 
Water, and held a meeting on Sabbath morning, then went on to 
Avoca and held a meeting at 3 o'clock p. m. I staid all night at 
Mr. Welph's. I arose early Monday morning and prepared for de- 
parture home to Iowa by way of Nebraska City. I was the more 
anxious to go, as my little daughter lay very sick at home. 

The morning was a very strange one. It was very dark and some- 
what foggy, with a very peculiar cast of the atmosphere. It had been 
warm and was rather warm this morning, but apparently a change 
was coming. I started for Nebraska City, a distance of fifteen miles ; 
not far, unless you travel it in a fierce, blinding storm. I had gone 
about a mile when the wind sprang up from the northwest, and with 
it came the snow in blinding fury, while the air rapidly grew colder. 
When the storm first struck me I saw in the distance three covered 
wagons on the emigrant trail. I lifted my heart to God in prayer, 
and thanked him that I should have company, but I was doomed to 
disappointment, for before I could reach their track every trace of it 
was gone. I pressed on, but could see nothing of them. I suppose 
they turned oiF and went into camp there. I was on the boundless 
prairie with no house, no fence, no tree, no rock as a waymark, with 
but a vast expanse of snow — it was anything but beautiful snow then. 
It became colder and colder. No road was to be seen, and I had no 
compass to tell the direction. Then I felt a loneliness I never felt 
before or after. The thought came tome, " here I am in the world of 
more than 800,000,000 people, yet I am alone. I do not know where 
they are, and not one of them knows where I am." And then came 
the thought that I was lost on these prairies and must perish with 
hunger and cold. 

But how often is man's necessity God's opportunity ? I soon found 
it to be true in this way. Twice I had pulled on the right-hand line 
thinking my horse was not going in the right direction; but I had 
noticed each time that when I gave her the line again, she came in a 
half circle and went on. Just after this occurred a second time, I came 
to the side of a hill where the snow was blown away, and then I saw 
the wagon road. Like Paul I thanked God and took courage. Who, 



94 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

under like circumstances, would not? I said, " I will not touch those 
lines again until my noble, faithful horse brings me out safely," as I 
then knew she would do. So I put them over the dash board and 
sprang from the buggy, for I must not let myself freeze to death, and 
we wandered on, the horse taking the lead, and I following. By the 
way, you see I now had a buggy. Yes, my salary had been raised to 
$400, and I had bought a $20 buggy. But the wheels ran several 
ways and the bed had to be tied up. If I were to give you an idea, 
of how dense that storm was, I might do it, perhaps, .by saying that 
much of the time as I sat in the buggy I could not see the horse's 
head. About 4 o'clock we came out safely at what was called the 
Majors' farm, three miles west of Nebraska City. It was December,, 
and I reached the city a little after dark. The effects of that day's 
suffering are still with me as an inheritance from that early time, and 
will be with me as long as I remain in the body. 

I must not relate any more of these incidents, although they are 
many. Suffice it to say this much in the words of that grand apostle 
of the cross. Saint Paul, as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Sec- 
ond Corinthians. I have been "in journeyings often, in perils of 
waters"; once was I shipwrecked, not on the deep, but on the Mis- 
souri river, and was a day and a part of a night getting across. Yes, 
twice have I been in such perils, " in perils in the city, in perils 
in the wilderness, * * * jjj weariness and painfulness, in 
watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and 
thinly clad. Besides those things that are without, that which came 
upon me daily, the care of all the churches." 

Now, summing up the first chapter, what is the partial outcome of 
all this that I have related? The church at Weeping Water, organ- 
ized in 1860, was cared for, the church at Greenwood was organized 
in 1863, and those of Avoca and of Louisville in 1864. The churches 
of Sunrise, Ashland, Nebraska City, and other points were supplied^ 
and those of Lincoln, Plattsmouth, and others I cannot now name 
grew out of this work. 

In the year 1865 my health gave way. For months I had ridden 
in my buggy in the greatest agony. I could sleep neither night nor 
day except under the most powerful opiates. I wrote to the H. M. 
S. at New York, and also to Rev. Gaylord, then acting as superin- 
tendent, that I could hold out no longer ; they must get some one else 



HISTORICAL PAPEES. 95 

to take my field. No oue man could be found to take it. Finally 
two young men accepted, oue, Rev. Fred Ally, taking the eastern part, 
and Rev. E. C. Taylor the western. 

I had several times visited what is now Lincoln after my first Sab- 
bath there, which I have described, once in connection with Rev. 
Gaylord, of Omaha, to preach and to see about taking steps to or- 
ganize a church. Failing health compelled me to leave the field. 
The work of gathering, or rather organizing, fell to Brother Taylor. 

Thus endeth the first chapter. 



THE ROMANTIC HISTORY OF A MAN WELL KNOWN 
TO NEBRASKANS. 



Through the kindness of ex-Governor Furnas, the Omaha Herald is 
enabled to publish this morning an interesting chapter in the history of 
the Fontenelle family, so prominently connected with the history of 
Nebraska. The article is from the pen of Mrs. A. L. Thompson, of 
Chicago, a cousin of Henry Fontenelle, of the Omaha Indian Agency, 
and was written for the Herald at the request of Mr. Furnas, after a 
meeting and conversation with the lady at New Orleans. There are 
many people in Nebraska who will readily recall the Fontenelle fam- 
ily, and perhaps some of the incidents mentioned in the narrative 
which reads like a romance. 

THE FONTENELLES. 
On searching the records deposited in the old St. Louis cathedral of 
New Orleans can be found registered the baptism of Lucien Francois 
Fontenelle and Amelie Fontenelle, in 1803. They were the children 
of Frangois and Marie Louise Fontenelle, then residing in a place 
called the Burat Settlement, near Pointejila Hiiche, some miles below 
New Orleans. They were, however, originally from Marseilles, 
France. Some few years afterwards, one of those terrible hurricanes 
visited that section of country and the entire family, consisting of 
seven or eight persons, was drowned in the torrents of the Mississippi, 
and all traces of the plantation house were wiped out. At that time 
Lucien and Am6lie were residing in New Orleans, for the jiurpose of 



96 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

being educated, with their aunt, Madame Mercier, and were thus saved. 
Years went along till about 1816, when Lucien Fontenelle, who was 
then acting as clerk in some New Orleans banking house, left New Or- 
leans for the wild west. His aunt was a very austere, in fact, a cruel 
woman, and for some reason struck Lucien. That night he put up a 
small bundle of clothes, confided his secret to his old colored nurse, 
Sophie, and left New Orleans. Time rolled on, and meanwhile his 
sister Amelie married Henry Lockett, an eminent young lawyer of 
New Orleans, a nephew of Judge Henry Carleton, for many years 
judge of the supreme court of New Orleans. Fortune favored him 
and he became quite wealthy, having a family of daughters, who in 
time married also and settled in New Orleans. Twenty years after, 
in 1836, Mrs. Lockett one day was at home when the servant came 
up and told her that there was a gentleman in the parlor who desired 
to see her. On entering, the gentleman clasped her in his arms and 
called her sister, but she recoiled, absolutely denying she was his sis- 
ter, as her brother was a white man, and he was an Indian in ap- 
pearance. He insisted that he was Lucien Fontenelle, and asked if 
Sophie was still living. She had never left Mrs. Lockett from her 
childhood, and of course was called in to identify him. She hardly 
recognized him, but asked him to let her see his foot upon which was 
a mark she distinctly remembered. Upon taking off his boot the 
mark was there. He was a thorough Indian in looks. He told his 
sister he had gone to St. Louis, from there he had joined a fur com- 
pany, going as far north as Hudson's bay. Crossing the Rocky 
mountains, he passed all through what is now the state of Oregon and 
through Washington Territory, to say nothing of all the other western 
states, as he told. He could speak fifteen different Indian dialects. He 
was intimately acquainted with the Chouteaux family of St. Louis, in 
fact, expected at one time to marry into the family. 

On his return he seemed quite wealthy, having any amount of 
money about his person, and he was lavish with it. He said his 
home was in Bellevue. It was at that time, I think, in Missouri that 
he had married an Indian squaw, at which his sister was very indig- 
nant. He remained in New Orleans about six weeks, when he left 
for his home, promising to return again. Unfortunately, on his way 
he was taken ill, with cholera, I think, and died in Alton. Whether 
he was buried there or not I cannot say. At all events, a few months 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 97 

after he had left New Orleans for home a Catholic priest presented 
himself to Mrs. Lockett in New Orleans, calling himself Father De 
Smit, stating that he had been with Lucien during his last mo- 
ments, and that he had requested him to come to see her and ask if 
she would take his only daughter, and that his fortune be appropriated 
for the education, by this priest, of his children, three sons and one 
daughter. At- that time Mrs. Lockett was moving in the most aristo- 
cratic society, very wealthy, and had no need of the money left by 
her brother. So she told Father De Smit that she would not take 
the daughter, but that he was welcome to use the money for the chil- 
dren. She then thought that she was all that was left of the family 
and gave no further thought to the matter. 

In 1870 or 1871 there was a notice in some St. Louis paper asking 
about heirs to some property in Bellevue, Neb. Remembering that 
Lucien Fontenelle had resided there, inquiries were made as to what 
had become of his children. Finally, after corresponding with many 
persons, we got track of Father De Smit, to whom we wrote. He 
could only say that he had performed the marriage ceremony between 
Lucien Fontenelle and the Indian squaw; that there were three 
sous and one daughter, whom he had baptized in the Catholic faith; 
that Logan, one of the boys, had been killed in battle, and the others, 
he thought, were residing in Nebraska. After searching a long while 
for records of the property, as well as records of grants which Lucien 
had mentioned during his visit to his sister, nothing could be found 
further than that there had been a grant promised him for some serv- 
ice, but it did not pass congress, so the matter ended there. 

In 1874, about the last of September, a notice was seen in one of 
the daily papers announcing the arrival of some Indians from Wash- 
ington under the charge of Mr. Gellengham, and having as inter- 
preter Henry Fontenelle. A daughter of Mrs. Lockett's residing in 
Chicago, 111., saw the notice, and called at the St. James hotel, corner 
of State and Washington at that time, to see him, expecting to find 
perhaps a grandson, or perhaps only a cousin, of Lucien Fontenelle. 
Much to her surprise as well as joy, she found a son of her long-lost 
uncle, after a lapse of thirty-eight years. Since then they have cor- 
responded regularly. She has had a visit from one of his sous, Al- 
bert, who spent some two months or more with liis cousin in Chicago. 

Am61ie Fontenelle died a little over two years ago in Tallahassee, Fla., 



98 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

at the ripe age of eighty-one, still the same aristocratic French woman. 
Though fortune had fled at the time of the rebellion, she could never 
accustom herself to privations. She was connected to Hon. Pierre 
Soule, at one time member of congress, also to Jules Caire, notary 
public for years in New Orleans, and Dr. Armand Mercier, the most 
celebrated surgeon in New Orleans, is her first cousin. There are but 
two daughters left of the once large family of eleven children born to 
Amelie Fontenelle and Henry Lockett, one in New Orleans, the other 
in Chicago. 

The writer adds in a note : 

There are now living in Havre, France, two granddaughters of Mrs. 
Mercier, and second cousins to Henry, in great style. Their mother 
died some years ago, but they have a splendid residence in Havre, and 
are among what was once the nobility of the empire. 



OLD FORT CALHOUN. 



Fort Calhoun, Nebr., Sept. 15, 1890. 
To Prof. Howard, Secretary of the Nebraska Historical Society. 

Dear Sir: For many years it has not been known that any one 
who ever lived at Fort Atkinson, 1821, or Camp Hook, near the same 
date, or Fort Calhoun, 1822 to 1827, was anywhere within reach, till 
a few weeks ago Mr. Filer, editor of a serial history of the state, now 
running in the Blair Courier, unearthed a Captain Contal, who has 
been a soldier in the regular army seventeen years, and in the volun- 
teer service three years, and who was a small boy and the son of a 
drum major at the above named places. And at our special request, 
Mr. I. C. Brenbarger, of Blair, brought the captain down to see us, 
and we walked over the grounds of old Fort Calhoun. 

To begin at the beginning, it seems that a Colonel Leavenworth, 
some time about 1820, got into a little rumpus with the Indians some- 
where near here, and Colonel Atkinson was ordered to reinforce him. 
So the colonel, with ten companies of the Sixth infantry, boarded 
scows at St. Louis and proceeded up the river. These boats were long 
and uan-ow, sharp at both ends, and planked over in house form, with 
port-holes for gunners, and around both sides ran a plank walk, prob- 



HISTORICAL PAPEES. 99 

ably a foot wide, with cleats nailed cross-ways, and on these men 
walked with long poles in their hands, with sharp iron points, with 
which the boats were kept clear of obstructions, or sometimes pro- 
pelled, and in the center of each boat was also a tall mast, with sails 
for favorable weather. 

Either through failure to find the troops of Colonel Leavenworth, 
or from other cause, the party made a halt in what is now De Soto 
township, in this county, on a flat, now in the river, and at present 
known by the name of Shingle Point, and about three miles (as the 
crow flies) above the Council Point of Lewis and Clark, 1804. From 
here they were driven by high water and sickness to a place Captain 
Contal calls ''Hook Hollow," that we locate about one mile northwest 
of Council Point, on what is now Moore's creek, and from there they 
moved to the plateau on which Council Point was situated, and a half 
mile south. The river, the captain says, then ran close to the point 
of the blufi", and the landing was at a point now known as Perkins' 
mill site. 

The Pawnees, the captain tells us, were the only friendly Indians, 
and the fort had to choose a good point for defense, as well as to erect 
earth-works and rifle pits at various points. The captain and I to-day 
were in one of these pits at the southeast angle of the fort, made to hold 
a whole company of riflemen, and perhaps two or three companies 
from its size. Quite a number of rows of houses were still well defined, 
and we followed each in turn along the north bank of the little creek 
that comes from the old Elam Clark mill, where the post cellars were, 
and in a long line north and south, just west of the fort proper, were the 
laundry houses or residences of the soldiers with families, three washer- 
women being allowed to each company. The commandant lived in 
a house just at the northwest corner of the old fort proper, where now 
stand the remains of the old locust grove, planted at that time. Out- 
side of the fort, in various directions, were cattle stations, farm houses, 
and vidette stations. The captain states that the row of houses on 
Long creek may have been cattle stations, as the large droves of cat- 
tle were wintered on the present De Soto bottom between Moore's and 
Long creeks, in the rushes, cottonwood trees being cut down near 
spring each year for the horses and donkeys. 

Probably, after the first winter, four companies went up to the 
mouth of the Yellowstone, with headquarters here. 



100 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

At the fort we found Mr. Stevenson, who now owns a portion of 
the site, and who, the other day, cleared out one of the old cellars for 
his own use. Mr. S. was very kind and showed us a number of rel- 
ics recently picked up. A Spanish dollar, 1807; a picayune, or 6^- 
cent piece; a 24-pound solid shot; a part of a Franklin stove; an iron 
point from a pike pole; a part of a spade; some flints, etc. Mr. Bren- 
barger was kindly jjermitted to carry away a hammer, and we found 
several little articles that we were permitted to carry away with us.- 
From "Aunt " Falk we obtained one axe in good order, one part of an 
axe, a piece of delph containing the picture of a child and a goat, a 
part of a musket guard, and an ear-ring of brass with a pendant of 
wampum, for which we desire to express our thanks. 

This point. Captain Contal states, was the highest post on the Mis- 
souri river when first established, and was for the representatives of 
the great American Fur Company, and was the nearest trading post to 
Saute Fe, New Mexico. And here came the Spaniards and Mexicans 
with long lines of mules and burros, laden with furs and other peltry 
for trade, winding over the hills and coming to the trading house 
across what is now a part of Hiram Craig's orchard. Some portion 
of tiie trail is still known to Mr. Craig. 

Of one of these tricky Mexicans the father purchased his boy a 
burro, which the seller succeeded in stealing back again. The Indians 
in those days were constantly on the war path and several battles were 
fought with them. 

The Council House of hewn logs, was on the hill near the present 
cemetery, and probably on land now owned either by Judge Crounse 
or George Rohwer, and we have promised the captain to try to find it 
for him, as probably some brick or stone may still remain. 

By the kindness of Hiram Craig, we looked over the site of the old 
brick-yard and spring house — with the old well so often written about. 
From the well, water was hauled in barrels to the fort for the officers. 
Exactly what the spring house was for the captain cannot state, but 
probably for the officers too. Back of this was a garden, Mr. Craig 
states, and right here, about five blocks west of the present railroad 
station, were made all the brick for the fort. The clay was tramped 
with oxen, not many horses being kept about the fort ; but large droves 
of cattle were kept, besides milk cows, as oxen were needed for farm 
work ; also a supply of fresh beef must be kept up for the weekly issue 
for from 600 to 1,000 men. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 101 

Each company had its own gardens, and these were scattered about 
in various directions from the fort. Nearly every old gardener has 
still asparagus and horseradish formerly removed from these old gar- 
dens. 

The soldiers in these days received, for privates, five dollars per 
month and were allowed clothing, rations, and a gill of whisky per 
diem, the latter selling for twenty-five cents in Spanish coin, when not 
drank ; the only use for money being at the sutler's tent, or to gamble 
with, as we have heretofore stated ; the money was scattered over the 
fort from the latter pastime. 

The captain is now seventy-two years old and straight as an arrow, 
as jolly and good natured as a school boy, and can out-run or out- 
jump us who are twenty-two years younger. 

In regard to the duel, our account in Vol. 1, State Historical Socie- 
ty's Report, and his statement differ, but we are led to believe that more 
than one duel was fought. And what for so many years was only a 
legend, now is a fixed fact. 

Of the name of Fort Calhoun the government has no record. Fort 
Atkinson only being known on the books at Washington. The first 
camp was named after the commander. Colonel Atkinson. The sec- 
ond, Hook Hollow, from the deviation of the creek near the camp. 
And this fort after the first officer that died here, whose name was 
Calhoun. Hiram Craig states that a portion of Calhoun's tombstone 
was here when he came. 

Back in the hills at various points were established whipsaws, 
where lumber was gotten out for the use of the fort and the building 
of the barges that took them away. The river is now three miles east 
of the old landing. W. H. Woods, 

Ft. Calhoun, Neb. 



102 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



OLD FORT CALHOUN.* 



Eighteen miles north of Omaha, on the west bauk of the Missouri 
river, is the quiet, old village of Calhoun. Few people know that 
this sleepy hamlet has a most interesting history, that it is really the 
oldest white settlement in the state or in the Missouri valley. It is a 
fact, nevertheless, that old Fort Calhoun was the first military post 
established by the United States west of the Missouri river. 

But the site of Fort Calhoun has a history which antedates the 
establishment of the fort by nearly twenty years. In 1803 the gov- 
ernment sent out an expedition to explore and, if possible, discover 
the source of the Missouri river. This expedition, consisting of about 
•thirty soldiers and watermen, was under command of Captains Lewis 
and Clark. 

The expedition came up the river, and their tents were pitched on the 
west bank near a large clump of trees now growing in the edge of 
Judge Crounse's wheat field and about two miles from the center of 
the village of Calhoun. Here on the 3d of August, 1803, Lewis 
and Clark held a council with fourteen Otoe and Missouri Indians 
who had come to the spot the day before. They were accompanied 
by a Frenchman, who resided among them, and who acted as inter- 
preter for the council, which had previously been arranged by run- 
ners sent out for the purpose. 

At the appointed hour the Indians with their six chiefs assembled 
under an awning, formed with the mainsails of one of the boats, in 
the presence of the employing party, who were paraded for the occa- 
sion. The change in the government from France to the United 
States was announced to them, and they were promised protection. 
The six chiefs replied, each in his turn, according to rank, expressing 
joy and satisfaction at the change. They wished to be recommended 
to the great father, the president, that they might obtain supplies and 
facilities for trading. They wanted arms for defense, and asked me- 

* Reprinted from the Omaha Republican, July 28, 1889. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 103 

diation between themselves and the Mahas (or Omahas) with whom 
they were at war. 

Lewis and Clark promised to fulfill the request of the Indians, and 
wanted some of them to accompany the expedition to the next nation, 
but they declined to do so for fear of being killed. Numerous pres- 
ents were distributed among the Indians, and on account of the inci- 
dents just related the explorers were inclined to give the place the 
name of the Council Bluff, the situation of which, as they recorded 
it, was exceedingly favorable for a fort or a trading post. It is be- 
lieved that partly on account of this report General Atkinson was in- 
duced to select this spot in 1820 when the government decided to es- 
tablish a fort on the upper Missouri. 

The following letter, written by Colonel A. G. Brackett to the 
Omaha Repuhlican, nearly twenty years ago, will prove to be interest- 
ing to the reader. 

Judge Crounse, through whose kindness the letter was shown to the 
reporter, has been a careful collector of many valuable statistics, and 
his library is replete with rare and interesting memoranda. 

"Omaha Barracks, Neb., June 13, 1870. 

" Editor Republican : One of the most pleasant rides near Omaha, 
if not the most pleasant one, is that which leads up the river, past the 
barracks and the town of Florence, and across the bluffs to the town 
of Fort Calhoun, about sixteen miles distant. Every lover of nature 
must be delighted with it in this leafy month of June, when the roads 
are shaded in many places by magnificent trees, and the rolling prai- 
ries are clad in their richest garb of grass and flowers. 

"Upon ascending the hill and coming in sight of the broad plain 
upon which the town is situated a scene of beauty is revealed such as 
has no equal in Nebraska, and the fertile plains of Italy can furnish 
nothing to excel it. The wide stretching farms, with their careful 
cultivation, the deep foliage of the trees, and the distant blue outlines 
of the hills along the banks of the Missouri furnish a picture which 
enraptures those who gaze upon it for the first time. 

"But it is not alone the beauty of the scenery which renders this 
place attractive ; it has a history which is worth preserving. Here, 
fifty years ago, on what is the true Council Bluffs, the Sixth regiment 
of infantry built the first United States fort west of the Missouri 



104 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

river. It stood upon a bold bluff, and the river at that time rolled 
its turbid water close along its base. Now the river is four miles dis- 
tant, and the ancient channel is filled with a dense growth of trees, 
many of which are more than a hundred feet high. 
******* 

"Our party was made up of military men, and consisted of Gen- 
eral Palmer, Colonel Brackett, Captain Munsou, Lieutenant Irgens, 
and several others, who all felt an interest in the old and deserted fort 
which had gone to decay, and around whose walls and magazines the 
wild flowers grow and creeping vines find a resting place; it was the 
scene of martial deeds, where now sleeps a hamlet in profound repose, 
and here were congregated the warriors and the leaders of the wild 
tribes which roamed over the great prairies of the west. It is sad to 
look upon the ruins of by-gone days — to people again the scenes with 
busy actors who have long since rendered up their account, and a feel- 
ing of melancholy steals over the mind when we reflect that all human 
life that was manly and beautiful and worthy of admiration here at 
that time has vanished to return no more. 

" In the summer of 1820 Brevet Brigadier General Henry Atkin- 
son, colonel of the Sixth infantry, took possession of this place with 
his regiment and began building a fort. His supplies were brought 
up from St. Louis, then the nearest settlement. 

"This was on the south. Prairie du Chien was the nearest on the 
east, and the Hudson Bay Company's fort at Vancouver the nearest on 
the north, and the Spanish settlement at San Francisco the nearest on 
the west. It was as far away as can well be imagined, but it was in 
a world of beauty during the summer mouths, and was all in all a 

most magnificent frontier post. 

******* 

"The first fort built by General Atkinson was upon ground that was 
too low, and when the water rose in summer the works were swept 
away. He then moved to the bluffs, which overlook a magnificent 
stretch of country, where he built both safe and steadfast, and where 
the foundations may be seen to-day. The bricks which were used in 
the building were made near the site of the fort, and certainly none 
better were ever made, as their present condition will attest. It is said 
that the clay was placed in a large pen and kept wet while a herd of 
young cattle were driven through it repeatedly until it was fit for use. 



HISTORICAT. PAPERS. 105 

The bricks were theu burned twice as long as the time usually allowed 
the brickraaker and became very hard and durable. 

"The fort was first called Council Bluffs, from the site ; subse- 
quently it was called Fort Calhoun, in honor of Hon. John C. Cal- 
houn,* secretary of war; and still later Fort Atkinson, in honor of 
General Atkinson. From this fact some confusion as to locality and 
name has taken place. Another fort, named Fort Croghan, on the left 
bank of the Missouri, near the bluffs, was built in later times. But 
the matter is at rest now and only Fort Calhoun is known for this lo- 
cality. The present Council Bluffs is in Iowa, on the opposite side of 
the river, and twenty miles distant from the original Council Bluffs. 

"The fort was abandoned in the summer of 1824, when the troops 
moved down the Missouri river to its junction with the Mississippi, 
and took up quarters at Jefferson barracks, twelve miles below St. 
Louis. Since that time the fort has been going to decay, and the 
wood-work has long since mingled with the dust. 

" Such is old Fort Calhoun, by far the oldest settlement in Ne- 
braska. Of all the old inhabitants, not one remains, though it is said 
that one old man, who in his early youth was a resident of Fort Cal- 
houn, now lives near Tekamah. A. G. B." 

The nineteen years and more that have elapsed since the above let- 
ter was written have made still greater inroads upon the remains of 
the old fort. Nothing is now to be seen but a heap of earth and a 
few scattered brick-bats. Occasionally the plowmen in the field where 
the old fort stood turn up a cannon ball or the iron part of the old- 
fashioned horse-pistol, lost in the grass by some careless soldier. 

The quiet village of Calhoun, nestling beneath the ample shades of 
tall stately trees, presents a picture of rural contentment rarely met with 
in the west. The locality has become a wonderful fruit-producing 
region. Orchards, and vineyards, and bramble woods filled with 
berry bushes, laden with luscious fruit, are to be seen on every side 
Fine large country seats owned by many of the wealthy business men 
of Omaha, and well-to-do farmers of that community, grace the rich 
valley and the picturesque hills stretching for miles up and down 
the river, with their well-kept lands, large orchards, and splendid 
fields and pastures. From a high sharp hill in Judge Crounse's pas- 
ture a view may be obtained that is indeed enchanting. At this sea- 

*An error, as will be seen by consulting Mr. EUer's article in aaother part of this volume. 



106 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

son of the year the golden wheat fields contrast beautifully with the 
green pastures and leaf-covered trees, while the river, winding like a 
silver thread up the fertile valley, lends additional beauty to the pic- 
ture. From that commanding eminence the valley may be viewed for 
over forty miles, or from a few miles above Council Bluffs to a point 
over twenty above Calhoun. 

Missouri valley lies ten miles distant on the east bank of the river 
where the Northwestern railroad finds its outlet from the valley of the 
"Great Muddy" and makes away across the country towards the north- 
east. 

No richer or more beautiful scenery can be found along the Mis- 
souri river, and it is ample reward for a drive to tiie village of 
Calhoun. 



AEBOE DAY— PROGRESS OF THE TREE PLANTING 
MOVEMENT. 



To the Editor of the N. Y. Tribune — Sir : Arbor Day for economic tree- 
planting was started eighteen years ago in Nebraska, and liberal prizes 
were offered to the counties that should excel in this line. So great 
interest was excited that, according to the official reports, more than 
12,000,000 of trees were planted. The enthusiasm thus awakened has 
continued, so that now there are, according to ex-Governor J. Sterling 
Morton, the father of this movement, over 600,000,000 * trees growing 
in Nebraska which were planted by human hands. The "Timber 
Culture Act" helped on this great work. Three western states soon 
joined in this good work. But Arbor Day in schools was not then 
thought of, economic tree-planting being the only aim. Less than 
eight years ago, a resolution in favor of observing Arbor Day in 
schools in all our states and in the Dominion of Canada was adopted 
by the American Forestry Association in session at St. Paul, and a 
committee appointed to push that work. As their chairman, I pre- 
sented this subject personally or by letter to the governors and state 
school superintendents of our states and territories. The grand Arbor 
Day ceremonies of the Cincinnati schools then recently held, showed 
the value of such an observance. Then only four states kept an Ar- 
*The figures are quoted from a speech of Governor J. S. Morton some four or five years ago. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 107 

bor Day for practical work, with no reference to youth. Now Arbor 
Day in schools is observed in thirty-six states and territories and in 
the Dominion of Canada by legislative "act," or by special recom- 
mendation of the governor or school superintendent. It has already 
become one of the most interesting and widely observed of school holi- 
days. It should not be a legal holiday. At the outset, interviews 
with eminent officials in different states were not encouraging. Gov- 
ernors and school superintendents, who at first deemed it an unwise 
project, on fuller information worked heartily for its adoption. The 
logic of events has answered objections. Of the Atlantic states from 
Maine to Florida, only Virginia and North and South Carolina stand 
aloof. State School Superintendent Buchanan, of Virginia, advocated 
an Arbor Day law in his last report. Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mis- 
sissippi have not yet wheeled into line, but the state superintendent 
of Mississippi expresses the hope that his state will soon adopt this 
measure. When visiting the southern states three years since, and 
observing little interest in Arbor Day in the states last named, it was 
a pleasant contrast in Austin, Texas, to find the governor and state 
school superintendent ready to welcome this measure. Through their 
influence an act was passed and approved on February 22, 1889, set- 
ting apart Washington's birthday as Arbor Day in Texas. 

The testimony of a few state or territory school superintendents 
•will show the growing interest in Arbor Day. 

Alabama. — Solomon Palmer writes : " February 22 has been ob- 
served as Arbor Day since 1886. Thousands of trees have been 
planted as the result. It has been greatly enjoyed by the children, 
and has done good in building up a sentiment in favor of tree and 
shrub culture, and taking care of our immense forests." 

Maine. — "After three years' observance Arbor Day is growing 
more popular in favor through the efforts of the press, the granges, 
and the schools." 

Iowa. — April 27, 1888, our Arbor Day, was observed as the anni- 
versary of the birth of General Grant, and every school was urged to 
plant a Grant tree. In 1889, April 30 was observed as the one hun- 
dredth anniversary of the inauguration of the first president of the 
United States. Every school was invited to plant a Washington 
tree. The anniversary of Washington's birthday is now the favorite 
date of Arbor Day in the southern states. What lessons of patriot- 



108 NEBEASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ism are thus implanted ! What growth of mind and heart may come 
to youth who plant and care for trees as monuments of history and 
character ! 

Oregon. — Our Arbor Day law, passed in February, 1889, meets 
with great favor from school officers and teachers generally. It was 
observed by our leading schools with great interest, and the outlook 
is most promising. 

Arizona. — Nothing yet done in this line by law, but in Tucson, 
through the efforts of the superintendent of schools, the school trustees 
were led to expend over $500 for trees, which the school children 
planted on their Arbor Day. 

Missouri. — This observance was established by law less than two 
years ago, and already about 27,000 trees have been planted. The 
state school superintendent says: "Any teacher who has no taste for 
trees, shrubs, or flowers, is unfit to be placed in charge of children. 
About 27,000 trees have been planted through the influence of Arbor 
Day." 

Wyoming. — The school superintendent of the territory wrote : "I 
think it was observed by every school district in the territory last 
spring." 

Florida. — One of the pleasant experiences, in efforts to push this 
measure, has been the hearty co-operation often shown by prominent 
citizens. After a lecture at the Florida Chautauqua, De Funiak 
Springs, Governor Perry, who was in the audience, said to me in 
earnest tones: "Your Arbor Day plan is excellent. I will go for it." 
In a few weeks, not waiting for any legislative act, he issued an ad- 
mirable proclamation, strongly recommending its general observance. 
The results were so grateful a surprise (thousands of children, as well 
as great numbers of patrons and people having participated in the ex- 
ercises), that, in a formal, official letter, he congratulated the pupils 
and the people of the state on their grand response to his proclama- 
tion. 

Vermont. — The observance of Vermont's first Arbor Day was en- 
thusiastic in many towns. In Rutland, over 3,500 trees were set out, 
2,000 of them in the new village of Proctor — named for ex-Gov- 
ernor Proctor, now secretary of war, who exerted himself successfully 
to make the day a jubilee for all. 

California. — "The legislature passed an Arbor Day act in 1887, 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 109 

which the governor deemed child's play, aud did not approve. No 
other governor in this country has defeated an Arbor Day act. Arbor 
Day has been well observed by individual towns and cities." The 
State School Superintendent, Ira G. Hoitt, confidently expects the en- 
actment of the desired law by the next legislature. I was glad to see 
the prospective forests of the great tree-planter of the Pacific coast, 
Adolph Sutro. In 1886 he gave the children of San Francisco, num- 
bering 45,000, a tree each, requesting that they be planted first in 
flower pots and later set out in open ground. These were all very 
small trees, yearlings or two-year-old seedlings, of the kinds best suited 
to that soil and climate, chiefly pines, cypress, acacia, and eucalyptus. 
Mr. Sutro made a similar gift to the children of San Francisco in 
1887. He has made extensive plantations on his own grounds, and 
has also planted about 1,000 acres within the limits of the city of San 
Francisco, having in all set out about 2,000,000 trees. His interest 
in Arbor Day, and his disappointment at the temporary failure of the 
proposed Arbor Day act in California, may be inferred from a single 
sentence in a letter giving the above details: "I hope you will succeed 
in encouraging tree-planting all over the United States, especially 
among the growing up generations." California is teaching the east- 
ern states a much needed lesson in favor of planting many young 
trees. Experience in economic tree-planting on our western prairies 
also, and especially in the trans-Missouri river states, is decisive on 
this point. The many millions of planted trees in Nebraska and 
Kansas, for example, were set out when mere saplings. They are 
then more easily dug up with all their capillary roots, and therefore 
surer to grow. They cost less and are more cheaply transported aud 
planted. In ten years these " baby trees " will overtake those ten 
years older when planted. 

Maryland. — Arbor Day was observed with great interest in every 
<;ouuty, April 10, 1889. Invited to advocate this movement in Mary- 
land just before this date, I found the earnest efforts of Dr. Newell, 
the state superintendent, were cordially seconded by the press of Bal- 
timore, aud of the state, as well as by the school officials aud teachers 
generally. The results were a welcome surprise to all concerned in 
this work. 

In Illinois, 10,000 school districts observed Arbor Day in 1889. 

Indiana and Pennsylvania observe such a day both in spring and 



110 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

autumu. Pennsylvania is the banner state in this work by reason of 
the enthusiastic efforts of the late Dr. Higbee, who wrote more and 
spoke more in behalf of this observance than any other state school 
superintendent in this country, and hence over 300,000 trees were 
planted on the ten Arbor Days of Pennsylvania. Indeed the success 
or failure of this observance everywhere answers to the interest or in- 
difference of the state school superintendent. 

New York, though the last of the northern states to act in this 
matter, is the foremost in the liberal provisions of the Arbor Day law, 
which authorizes the state school superintendent to prescribe the exer- 
cises and print and distribute to the schools full circulars of instruc- 
tion. The programme proposed by Superintendent Draper, with 
choice selections in prose and poetry, was the most elaborate and at- 
tractive one of the kind ever issued in this country, or any other, for 
Arbor Day is now observed in several foreign countries. Fifty thou- 
sand of these programmes and 50,000 song supplements were circu- 
lated all over the state. Though so early in spring. May 3 proved 
too late for the best results, and though public interest centered in the 
*' Washington Centennial," 5,681 school districts reported as having 
observed the day, and planted 24,166 trees, besides vines, shrubs, and 
flowers. If those not reported planted a proportionate number, the 
total would be 45,568. It was the most successful beginning ever 
made in any state. All were invited to vote for a state tree. The 
retui'us received show that the sugar maple received 43 per cent of all 
votes cast, the oak 25 per cent, the elm 16 per cent, with scattering 
votes for other varieties. This year all are invited to vote for a state 
flower. B. G. Northrop. 

Clinton, Conn., Aj^ril 21, 1890. 



HISTOEICAL PAPERS. Ill 



WHAT CAUSES INDIAN MOUNDS. 



An article written for the Omaha Excelsior, by Alf. D. Jones. 



Indians usually settle in villages on a high plateau, where they have 
a fair view of the open surrounding country. Their object in so doing 
is to guard against surprise by an enemy. Their location is made 
near water and timber for convenience. In a prairie country they 
erect their habitations of forked trees for posts, poles for plates, stud- 
ding, and girders; poles, brush, and grass are used as sheeting, and 
dirt as weather boarding and shingles. A» opening is left, in the top 
for a window and chimney, and a hallway is made several feet in 
length, generally extending in the opposite direction from prevailing 
storms, and is usually closed with a skin or blanket. In that structure 
they cook, eat, live, and sleep, when at the village. Those habita- 
tions have no regularity of frontage, nor are they confined to streets, as 
among the whites, but are located very irregularly, over a large scope 
of the plateau, in hearing distance of each other. In time these Indian 
residences rot and fall, leaving a mound probably threj or four feet in 
height. Explorers have thought these mounds were the depositories of 
the dead aborigines. Persons who visit the Indian villages will arrive 
at a different conclusion. The squatter's sod house will present a sim- 
ilar appearance when it falls by the wear of time. When I came on 
to the plateau, now occupied by the city of Omaha, the evidence of 
a former village was very perceptible between Farnam, Davenport, 
Eighth, and Eleventh streets. 

Usually trading houses are to be found not far from the main bands 
of Indians. Where they locate in the midst of savage tribes they have 
to protect themselves by strongly fortified stockades, to secure them- 
selves from injury in times of danger or surprise. The remains of an 
old fortification of that kind was located between Ninth and Tenth, 
Dodge and Capitol avenue, in Omaha, 1853. They had located 
by a small grove of timber on the bank of the river which then ran 
immediately along the bluiF where Eighth street is now located. 



112 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Evideoces were then plain of the river having run there within the 
memory of steam-boatmen, in the peculiar curves of the river, sand 
terraces, and shifting currents to suit the caprice of the washings of 
the Big Muddy. 

For the reason that some Indian remains were found at the edge of 
one of the mounds located on the corner of Dodge and Eleventh streets, 
the impression was endeavored to be made that those mounds were the 
depositories of the deceased aborigines. To disprove that position I 
will assert that it is a well known fact that Indians always hunt for 
high ground on which to bury their dead. For instance, Indian re- 
mains were found buried on the high ridge at the corner of Harney 
and Seventeenth streets, up by Creighton College, Sulphur Springs, 
and many other high points around Omaha. 

S. E. Rogers erected a house over that Eleventh street mound and 
found nothing in it except the remains of cooking utensils, animals' 
bones, crockery, etc. — no human remains. I account for their being 
contiguous to that one mound by the fact that the Indian village 
had been occupied by one nation or band of Indians, and after the 
wickiups had fallen into decay some other band or nation of Indians 
occupied the hunting ground, and when they wanted to bury their 
dead they sought the highest surrounding ground, where happened to 
be that mound, and there deposited the dead. 

I have witnessed the excavation of several of those mounds in dif- 
ferent states and always found the same results. Some have suggested 
that the fortification remains were those of old Fort Croghau, which 
could not have been, because Fort Croghau was located on Cow island, 
several miles below, which was waslied away, and the soldiery went 
into George's Hollow, now in the southern part of Council BluiFs. 
The probabilities are that the old fort was that of Hart's trading 
establishment, and the Indian village that of the Otoes, which occupied 
this part of the country at the same time, and who were here as late 
as 1835. Hart's trading house, the fort and Otoe village, was located 
here about 1817, when Hart moved over into Iowa, above what is 
now the city of Council Bluffs. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 113 



THE FIRST POSTMASTER OF OMAHA. 



An article in the Omaha Excelsior, by Alf. D. Jones. 



Omaha's first postmaster, history tells us, was Mr. A. D. Jones. 
Mr. Jones, being asked about it, tells the story of a postoffice as fol- 
lows : 

"I obtained my commission as the first Omaha postmaster May 6, 
1854, through the intercession of Dr. Enos Lowe, Colonel Test, and 
Mr. Bernhart Heun, of Iowa, the latter being the representative in 
congress from the Fairfield district in the state of Iowa. My com- 
mission was signed by Franklin Pierce, president of the United States. 
On May 28, 1854, I erected the first postoffice building on the corner 
of Park Wild avenue and Pacific street, or not far from the northeast 
corner of Forest Hill, Mr. Herman Kountze's grounds, without the 
assistance of the government or donations from any source whatever. 
On the door frame of the building I wrote on a shingle, 'Postoffice, 
by A. D. Jones, Postmaster.' There was no mail route by way of ray 
office, and on application for mail carrier service I was informed that 
I could not have regular service until a route therefor was established, 
but that I might employ a special mail carrier and pay him out of the 
proceeds of the office. No person could be found who would carry 
the mail for the office proceeds. I therefore concluded to accommo- 
date my patrons by performing the duties of post carrier myself with- 
out compensation. I would go on foot to Council Bluffs, procure the 
mail and bring it to Nebraska, but having no safe place to keep it I 
carried it about my person, and in the capacity of a delivery clerk 
delivered it to whom it belonged, and, therefore, it was said I carried 
the mail in my hat, which was true when I had no other place to 
put it. 

"Notwithstanding I was the post carrier, postmaster, and delivery 
clerk, the annoyance was more than the labor. I faithfully served 
the government, accommodated the people, boarded myself, furnished 
my own clothes, purchased my own shoe leather, traveled the route of 



114 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

the postman, performed the duties of postmaster, hunted up the peo- 
ple to whom the mail belonged and tried to satisfy their wants, for all 
of which I received no money from the government, no thanks from 
the people. 

"When the burden became too irksome I located the postoffice at 
the Douglas house, at the corner of Harney and Thirteenth streets, 
with 'Squire David Lindley. The first postoffice boxes were four, 
contained in an ax-box divided into four compartments and nailed 
up against the wall. It was also found in a bushel basket in the mid- 
dle of the floor of a Mormon by the name of Mr. Frank, who re- 
sided on the southwest corner of Harney and Twelfth streets. 

"Fearing that there might be danger in such procedure I resigned, 
after getting 'Squire Lindley to take it, but when his commission came 
he would not have it. I then endeavored to find some other person 
who would receive it, but none were willing to accommodate the peo- 
ple except Mr. Frank, who accepted the office. He sold his house to 
Mr. W. W. Wyman, who also took the postoffice, put an addition to 
his house, and made it a regular postoffice well attended to. 

"Mr. Wyman afterwards erected a two-story brick house on the 
northwest corner of Douglas and Thirteenth streets and moved the 
office into it. Mr. Robinson got the office away from him and moved 
it down to the southwest corner of Faruam and Thirteenth streets, 
but the people remonstrated and the office was put back into Mr. 
Wyman's possession. Then Mr. Chas. Hamilton was appointed and 
moved the office to the northeast corner of Farnam and Thirteenth, 
and again the people petitioned and it went back to Mr. Wyman. 
Then Mr. George Smith was put in possession and the people remon- 
strated and wanted it to go back to Mr. Wyman, but the republicans 
had become too strong and Mr. Smith held it." 

By that time Omaha had grown large enough to affi)rd a postoffice 
not included in the family, and sufficiently remunerative to become 
the prey of politicians, so the story of a postoffice becomes common- 
place and not worth following further. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 115 



SUPREME JUDGES OF NEBRASKA. 



BY W. MORTON SMITH. 



In the rapid growth of Nebraska as a territory and state, little or 
no attention has been bestowed on matters of history, and historical 
records of any kind are very scarce. Anent the period in which the 
transition from territorial to state government occurred — the most 
important epoch in the short life of the state — there is a special 
dearth of authentic records, and for the incidents and experiences of 
this time one has to rely largely upon the personal reminiscences of 
those who were fortunate enough to have been residents of Nebraska 
prior to the adoption of the constitution of 1866. The dates are easily 
enough arrived at, but there is little other accurate data on record. 
The early history of the supreme court did not escape the general 
neglect, and if this brief sketch does not abound in details and par- 
ticulars it is partly due to the remissness of the early Nebraskans. To 
give a clear idea of the supreme court of to-day, it is necessary to go 
back to the beginning and trace its history down to the present time. 
In the original constitution, approved February 9, 1866, it was pro- 
vided that the supreme court of the state should consist of a chief 
justice and two associate justices, each to receive a salaiy of $2,000 
per annum. These judges, it was also provided, should hold the dis- 
trict courts of the state. The state was then divided into three judi- 
cial districts. The first district comprised the counties of Richardson, 
Nemaha, Otoe, Johnson, Pawnee, Gage, Jefferson, Saline, Fillmore, 
and Nuckolls; the second comprised the counties of Cass, Sarpy, 
Douglas, Saunders, Lancaster, Seward, and Butler; and the third in- 
cluded Washington, Dodge, Platte, Cuming, Burt, Dakota, Dixon, 
Cedar, L'Eau-Qui-Qourt, Kearney, Lincoln, Hall, and Buffalo. 
Each judge had one of these districts assigned to him by enact- 
ment of the legislature, and when the supreme court was not in session 
at the state capital, most of the time of the judges was spent in mak- 
ing the rounds of their respective circuits. As the district courts were 



116 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

held alternately iu the different counties, the judges were kept very 
busy, although in the early days the dockets were not overburdened 
with cases. During this period there were only two railroads in the 
state. The towns along the Missouri river were most of them acces- 
sible by rail, but the inland towns were only reached by long and 
dreary stage rides over the sparsely settled prairies. Many an inter- 
estiug story is told of these journeys, and while the lot of the circuit 
riders was uot an easy one, their life was relieved by frequent amusing 
experiences. Law, as it was known and practiced in Nebraska the 
first five years after the organization cf the state, was not a remark- 
ably profound study, and some queer scenes were enacted iu the court 
rooms of the pioneer days. Judge Maxwell is the only member of 
the present supreme court who was on the bench under the old regime, 
and the hardships and crudities, as well as the peculiarities and 
strange occurrences of the pre-amendment days, are still fresh in his 
mind. The judges then, as now, served six years, and although the 
legislature has since had the power to increase the number, this privi- 
lege has never been exercised. (A strong effort was made in this l)e- 
half at the last session of the legislature, but it was unsuccessful.) 
The supreme court, until the new capitol was built, held its sessions 
iu dingy and uncomfortable quarters iu the old clap-trap state house. 
Work iu the court of last resort did not at first accumulate very rap- 
idly, as the records show that only twenty cases were filed on trial iu 
the year 1868. It was several years before the number exceeded fifty. 
Beyond the clerk of the court, no assistants were allowed, and the 
judges seem to have had no difficulty in keeping up with their work. 
Indeed, it is probable that the labor in connection with the district 
courts was much more arduous than that of the higher tribunal. 

The first supreme bench was composed of Oliver P. INIasou, George 
B. Lake, and Lorenzo Crounse. Mason enjoys the distinction of being 
the first chief justice, although not elected to the office. In those days 
the chief justice was not chosen in rotation as now, but was elected to 
the office. William A. Little, a democrat, was nominated and elected 
chief justice. He died, however, before he could take his office, and 
Governor Butler appointed Mason, of Lincoln. Lake and Crounse 
were elected in 1867. Daniel Gantt and Samuel Maxwell went to 
the bench in 1873. Lake was re-elected. Amasa Cobb was elected 
iu 1878. Maxwell was re-elected in 1882, and M. B. Reese ascended 



HISTORICAL PA PEES. 117 

the bench in 1884. Of the above all are now living, with the excep. 
tion of Gantt, of Nebraska City, who died in 1878, while on the 
bench. Mason afterwards became a railway commissioner and is now 
living in Lincoln ; Lake is engaged in practice at Omaha ; Cronnse, 
after leaving the bench, was appointed clerk of the supreme court, and 
was afterwards elected to congress. He represented the state in the 
house at the time when Nebraska was only allotted one congressman. 
He was also, upon the expiration of his term, appointed United States 
revenue collector, and is now residing at Blair. The others are still 
serving on the bench. 

The convention of 1875 made very important changes in the con- 
stitution, some of which have been since deplored. Instead of being 
elected uniformly for a term of six years, it was provided that the judges 
should be classified by lot, so that one should hold his office for two 
years, one for four years, and one for six years. The judge having the 
shortest term to serve, not holding his office by appointment or election 
to fill vacancy, was made chief justice. This arrangement, as provided 
in the constitution, applied only to the judges elected at the first elec- 
tion after the adoption. Thereafter one judge has been elected every 
two years. Provision was also made for the division of the state into 
six judicial districts and for the election of judges for the same, thus 
relieving the supreme court judges of double duty. (The districts 
have since been doubled in number.) The salary, $2,000, was increased 
to $2,500, and provision was made for the appointment of a reporter 
who should also act as clerk of the supreme court and state librarian. 

Under these new conditions affairs speedily assumed a more busi- 
ness-like shape, and the court was thereby enabled to meet the 
increasing demands of the fast growing state. The court, as at 
present constituted, consists of Chief Justice M. B. Keese and Asso- 
ciate Justices Maxwell and Cobb. These judges have served in a 
trying time, a time when a radical change in the affairs of the ju- 
diciary had taken place immediately previous, and when the great 
inflow of population, with the consequent increase of litigation, im- 
posed heavy burdens on the court. They have been compelled to 
work without ceasing, summer and winter, and the onerous duties 
which have fallen to their lot have been performed most expeditiously. 
To-day there are few states in the union in which the supreme court 
calendar is as clean as in Nebraska. The court is now only about 



118 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

200 cases behind and can be said to be virtually up to date. If the 
rules are complied with an attorney can be sure of a hearing within 
six months from the filing of the papers, and cases frequently come 
up for trial in a much less time. From twenty cases in 1868, 
docket entries multiplied until the number of new cases filed for trial 
during the current year will be between 350 and 400. There has 
been a gradual increase since the organization of the court, with the 
exception of a period of about two years following the session of the 
legislature in 1885, when a law was passed providing that printed 
abstracts of all cases filed should be supplied for the convenience of 
the judges. This entailed a heavy expense and had the effect of di- 
minishing the number of docket entries. When the objectionable act 
was repealed the cases began to increase again. Cases are now heard 
by districts, and they are so arranged that all the cases from one county 
are docketed together, enabling an attorney interested in several suits 
to appear in them all without making more than one trip to the capi- 
tal. Two terms are held each year, one commencing in January and 
the other in September. During the term the court is generally in 
session four days of each week, business commencing at 8:30 o'clock 
A. M. After the adjournment in the afternoon the judges remain in the 
building frequently as late as 6 or 7 o'clock, finishing the day's work 
and preparing for the morrow. They are now allowed private secre- 
taries, who each get $4 per day for time actually employed, and when 
not on the bench the judges are at work on opinions, the transcribing 
of which constitutes the principal duty of the secretaries. Judge 
Ileese has modern ideas and uses a phonograph in dictating, his clerk 
afterwards transcribing with the aid of the machine. Judges Max- 
well and Cobb both dictate to long-hand writers. The office of su- 
preme court judge in this state is far from being a sinecure, as every 
one knows who has had occasion to be about the court room. 

In the present inadequate quarters the court is at a disadvantage, 
but the three judges, as they sit in solemn session, seem the very per- 
sonification of dignity and wisdom. They are all elderly men and 
possess the grim-visaged countenances of men whose lives have been 
mostly spent among musty tomes, aud who have lived apart from 
common, bustling humanity. Chief Justice Reese occupies the place 
of honor. He is the youngest member of the court, and is somewhat 
more uneasy than his grave colleagues. As he listens to the oft- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 119 

times dreary arguments of counsel, he gently strokes his short gray 
beard, a habit which has become characteristic. Occasionally he will 
leave the bench and go down on the floor for a few minutes. His 
attention is always on the matter before the court, however. On his 
right sits Judge Cobb, whose long beard is almost as white as the 
driven snow. Cobb is a singularly handsome old gentleman, of quiet 
manners and easy, graceful bearing. He has a thoughtful counte- 
nance and his features have the gentleness and repose which are com- 
monly supposed to belong to a poetic mind. His has been an event- 
ful life, but as he sits on the bench he is as calm and serene as a day 
in May. He listens to an argument with great patience, and remains 
almost entirely passive, apparently engrossed in deep thought. Judge 
Maxwell's place is to the left. He is the patriarch of the bench, and 
has become, through his long service, so accustomed to study and hard 
work that he is oblivious to most outside occurrences. Ail his time 
and thought are given to matters judicial, and he lives in law. As 
the senior member of this court he is treated with considerable defer- 
ence, and his opinions are said to bear great weight with his associates. 
So much for the work and personnel of the supreme court. Its decis- 
ions and opinions are a part of the public record, and speak for them- 
selves. 

OMAHA PUBLIC LIBRARY. 



BY MISS E. E. POPPLETON. 



Carefully preserved among the treasures of the Omaha public library 
is a soiled, brown, and ragged pamphlet, tenderly patched, and well 
guarded by stout, new covers from the further ravages of time. A 
duplicate was found recently among the relics hoarded by an old set- 
tler of antiquarian tastes ; the dust was shaken from its pages and it 
was laid beside one of its kindred, a new, bright little book, fresh 
from the hands of the printer, making a contrast most significant and 
well worth a moment's reflection. One was the "Ninth Annual Re- 
port of the Board of Directors of the Omaha Public Library," dated 
1886 ; the other, the first book catalogue of the Omaha Library As- 
sociation, prepared and issued in 1872. 

It is the purpose of this article to give the history of that body 



120 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

whose name stands upon the cover of the old catalogue, " The Omaha 
Library Association," and to present in detail the facts concerning the 
founding of the library and its existence from 1872 to 1877. 

Four names are closely identified with the first move toward the 
founding of a free library in Omaha, those of John T. Edgar, Nathan 
Shelton, Albert M. Henry, and Albert Swartzlander. The younger 
men held enthusiastic discussions of ways and means, while Mr. Ed- 
gar, who believed that there was no selfishness like the hoarding of a 
book, laid aside many of his own choice volumes and destined them 
for the shelves of the new collection. The matter took definite shape 
late in 1871. December 3 of that year "Articles of Incorporation of 
the Omaha Library Association " were adopted and were signed by 
the following: T, E. Sickles, St. A. D. Balcombe, H. Kountze, H. 
W. Yates, George L. Miller, John T. Edgar, Ezra Millard, Albert 
Swartzlander, N. Shelton, Charles H. Brown, Preston H. Allen, 
Albert M. Henry. 

The first meeting of the stockholders was held December 30, at the 
rooms of the board of trade. The first board of directors was then 
chosen as follows: A. J. Poppleton, St. A. D. Balcombe, H. W. 
Yates, John T. Edgar, John Patrick, A. Swartzlander, S. S. Caldwell, 
G. L. Miller, J. W. Gannett, N. Shelton, A. M. Henry. The first 
election of officers took place January 3, 1872, and resulted as follows : 
President, A. J. Poppleton ; vice president, N. Shelton ; treasurer, S. 
S. Caldwell; secretary, Albert Swartzlander ; corresponding secretary, 
A. M. Henry. 

At the same meeting steps were taken toward the collecting of 
books. A committee was appointed to wait on J. M. Pattee, who had 
recently offered a number of volumes to the city of Omaha, and also 
to examine a collection of 800 books held for sale by E. O. Crosby, 
of Fremont, Neb. The negotiations ended in the gift, under certain 
conditions, of the Pattee library from the city, and its acceptance by 
the association, March 2, 1872, and April 15, is recorded the purchase 
of 700 volumes from Mr. Crosby. April 15 also, Messrs. Edgar, 
Henry, Swartzlander, Shelton, and Brown reported that they had 
rented a library room of A. J. Simpson ; that they had arranged the 
books in proper divisions, and had them covered in cloth, catalogued 
and numbered, and that the same were now ready for use. 

Possessed thus of a habitation and a name, the library became at 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 121 

once a factor in the history of the town. The record of its private 
ownership covers a period of nearly six years — the names associated 
with it call up many and varied remembrances. Some are dead, some 
have removed to other cities, many are still a part of the best that is 
planned and executed in the town, and may look with satisfaction on 
the result of that small be^ ling made more than a decade ago. 

The following is a record of the officers from 1872 to 1877: 

Officers for 1872 — President, A. J. Poppleton; vice president, N. 
Shelton ; treasurer, S. S. Caldwell (resigned April 29), Lewis S. Reed; 
recording secretary, Albert Swartzlander; corresponding secretary, A. 
M. Henry. 

Officers for 1873 — President, A. J. Poppleton; vice president, N. 
Shelton; treasurer, Lewis S. Reed; recording secretary, Albert 
Swartzlander; corresponding secretary, A. M. Henry. 

Officers for 1874 — President, John T. Edgar ; vice president, N. 
Shelton; treasurer, Lewis S. Reed; recording secretary, W. O. Bar- 
tholomew; corresponding secretary, A. M. Henry (resigned May 9), 
Charles H. Brown. 

Officers for 1875 — President, John T. Edgar (resigned June 5), J. M. 
Wool worth ; vice president, N. Shelton ; treasurer, Lewis S. Reed ; 
recording secretary, W. O. Bartholomew; corresponding secretarv, A. 
M. Henry (resigned September 7), C. Wiltse. 

Officers for 1876 — President, J. M. Woolworth; vice president, N. 
Shelton; treasurer, Lewis S. Reed (resigned July 10), William Wal- 
lace; recording secretary, G. P. Stebbins; corresponding secretary, W. 
O. Bartholomew. 

Officers for 1877 to August 3 — President, J. M. Woolworth; vice 
president, N. Shelton; treasurer, William Wallace; recording secre- 
tary, G. P. Stebbins (resigned March 3), Leavitt Burnham ; corre- 
sponding secretary, W. O. Bartholomew. 

The special committees were as follows : 

Book committees: 1872— J. T. Edgar, J. W. Gannett, H. W. 
Yates; 1873— J. T. Edgar, J. W. Gannett, William Wallace; 1874 
—J. T. Edgar, J. W. Gannett, William Wallace; 1875— J. T. Ed- 
gar, B. H. Barrows, J. M. Woolworth; 1876— A. J. Poppleton, G. 
P. Stebbins, J. M. Woolworth; 1877— C. B. Wells, J. W. Gannett, 
J. M. Woolworth. 

Executive committees: 1872 — L. S. Reed, N. Shelton, A. Swartz- 
9 



122 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

lander; 1873— L. S. Reed, N. Shelton, A. Swartzlander; 1874— L. 
S. Reed, N. Shelton, T. L. Kimball; 1875— L. S. Reed, N. Shelton, 
W. O. Bartholomew; 1876— L. S. Reed, N. Shelton, W. Y. Morse; 
1877— William Wallace, K Shelton, L. Burnham. 

Lecture committees: 1872 — A. M. Henry, C. H. Brown, P. H. 
Allen; 1873— A. M. Henry, C. H. Brown, P. H. Allen; 1874— A. 
M. Henry, C. H. Brown, W. O. Bartholomew, C. H. Byrne, C. 
Wiltse; 1875— A. M. Heury, W. V. Morse; 1876— William Wal- 
lace, C. H. Brown, W. O. Bartholomew, F. H. Davis, Watson B. 
Smith; 1877— L. S. Reed, W. Y. Morse, W. O. Bartholomew, G. P. 
Stebbins, E. McShane. 

The following directors served at various times from 1872 to 1877: 
A. J. Poppleton, St. A. D. Balcombe, H. W. Yates, John T. Edgar, 
John Patrick, A. Swartzlander, S. S. Caldwell (resigned April 29), 
Lewis S. Reed, G. L. Miller (resigned February 24), Charles H. 
Brown, J. W. Gannett, K Shelton, A. M. Henry, William Wallace, 
T. L. Kimball, W. O. Bartholomew, C. H. Byrne, L. Weiustein, W. 
Y. Morse, J. M. Woolworth, B. H. Barrows, F. H. Davis, G. P. 
Stebbins, Watson B. Smith, E. McShane, Leavitt Burnham, C. B. 
Wells. 

First stockholders, reported May 13, 1872: John Patrick, J. F. 
Cummings, Charles H. Brown, J. E. Boyd, A. J. Poppleton, Stephens 
& Wilcox, St. A. D. Balcombe, G. L. Miller, H. Grebe, B. B. Wood, 
P. H. Sharpe, L. Richardson, A. Swartzlander, C. H. Frederick, A. 
M. Henry, W. O. Bartholomew, J. C. Thomas, O. P. Hurford, J. C. 
Cowin, J. T. Edgar, P. H. Allen, W. Y. Morse, W. G. Maul, Byron Reed, 
J. F. Sawyer,J. I. Redick, R. H. Wilbur, J. A. Harbach, H. R. A. Pundt, 
J. B. West, William France, F. W. Wessels, A. Tucker, Jonas Gise, 
George W. Doane, J. S. France, Carrie E. Wyman, E. G. Dudley, 
C. F. Manderson, Peck & Moore, T. E. Sickles, T. L. Kimball, J. 
W. Gannett, C. S. Stebbins, W. M. Foster, D. F. Carmichael, C. A. 
Gillespie, E. P. Yining, S. T. Josselyn, J. J. Brown & Bro., Ezra 
Millard, H. W. Yates, S. S. Caldwell, N. Shelton, Alex Hart, P. P. 
Shelby, J. J. Dickey, A. H. Cooley, C. W. Hamilton, E. F. Test, R. 
Swartout, R. H. Thomas, A. J. Yan Kuren, E. K. Long, F. R. Bul- 
lock, H. Brownson, W. H. H. Sisson, J. M. Eddy, J. H. Millard, H. 
Kountze, A. Kountze, O. F. Davis, G. F. Mayer, Kurtz, Mohr & 
Co., William Wallace, M. Hellman & Co., Frank Murphy, L. Wein- 



HISTORICAL PAPEES. 123 

5tein, L. Drake, F. C. Morgan, Max Meyer & Bro., W. Cleburne, A. 
Peycke, C. H. Byrne, L. S. Reed, E. MeShane, J. H. Green, E. L. 
Stone, A. S. Paddock, George W. Gray, E. O. Crosby. 

Much unrecorded service was rendered by friends of the library in 
Arranging and cataloguing the first books. In March the executive 
committee employed a temporary librarian, Mrs. Alleman, with the 
understanding that at the end of the month permanent arrangements 
would be made. Upon her withdrawal, Miss M. Louise Houey was 
elected, and served with great acceptance till the opening of the school 
jear drew her to other duties. In August her place was filled by the 
selection of Miss Delia L. Sears. This lady's term of service was a 
long one, covering the most prosperous and busy epoch in the career 
•of the Omaha Library Association. It ended December 5, 1876, when 
the board accepted Miss Sears' resignation, a vote of thanks being 
recorded in the minutes for her faithful performance of her duties. 
Miss \T. M. Allen succeeded to the position, and retained it under the 
•new management in 1877. 

The first home of the library was a small room in the second story 
of Simpson's block, on Fourteenth street, between Dodge and Douglas 
streets. The postoffice occupied the first story in that primitive time, 
and in the third was Simpson's hall, the scene of nearly all the enter- 
'tainments of those days. From this little room over the postoffice 
the first catalogue of books was issued early in 1872, showing a total 
■of 2,285 volumes. In February, 1874, the library was removed to 
the second story of R. M. Marshall's building on the north side of 
Dodge, between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets. Efforts were made 
•even at that early day to start a successful building scheme. In Octo- 
ber, 1875, Messrs. Shelton, Reed, and Morse were desired by their 
brother directors "to devise a plan and also the manner of raising the 
means to construct a library building." In November they asked for 
further time; in December they repeated that request. In February, 
1876, certain of their colleagues offered the following practical sug- 
gestion : 

^'Resolved, That it is expedient for the Omaha Library Association, 
in case a donation of a suitable site can be obtained, to undertake the 
■enterprise of erecting, maintaining, and managing an opera house." 

When the vote was taken two ayes were heard, but eight noes quite 
"vanquished them, and that was the end of what the secretary terms the 



124 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

" contemplated opera house." The library remained in Mr. Marshall's 
building through the residue of its ownership by the library associa- 
tion. 

Under the head of " Devices for Support " a long article might be 
written ; the record is one of a ceaseless activity. First in order come 
the public meetings "for the purpose of awakening an interest in the 
library." On December 30, 1871, Col. John Patrick presided over 
such a gathering, and speeches were made by A. J. Poppleton, Col. 
John Patrick, Dr. George L. Miller, O. F. Davis, C. H. Brown, N. 
Shelton, P. H. Allen, J. W. Paddock, and A. M. Henry. In the 
autumn of the next year, on a similar occasion, the speakers were J. 
M. Woolworth and A, F. Nightengale. Untiring efforts were made 
to secure subscribers to the stock. Mr. Shelton reported at one time 
that he had offered prizes as follows to persons who would procure 
annual subscribers to the library before the first of January, 1875 : 
$20 to the person getting the largest number; $10 to the person get- 
ting the next largest number, and $5 to the person getting the next 
highest number. But no person to get a prize who did not get more 
than ten subscribers. In addition thereto, all parties were to receive 
ten per cent on the amount of subscriptions obtained, without regard 
to numbers. 

As home entertainments George F. Mayer contributed a musical 
programme and the ladies of Omaha devised a promenade concert, 
"conducting it to a splendid success under great obstacles." Two 
short house lectures were given, as follows: 

Decembers, 1876, J. M. Woolworth, "An Afternoon in the Houses 
of Parliament." December 13, 1876, A. J. Poppleton, "Edmund 
Burke." December 22, 1876, John D. Howe, " Frauds." 

January 31, 1877, the Rt. Rev. James O'Connor, " The Greek 
Church." February 8, 1877, Chancellor E. B. Fairfield, " What I 
Saw in Rome." February 15, 1877, the Rt. Rev. R. H. Clarkson^ 
"Sydney Smith." 

All these gentlemen generously gave their services and the proceeds 
cleared the association from debt, and enabled it to commence the new 
year with a balance in the treasury. 

Under the head of "Entertainments From Abroad," the record of 
the secretary reads like a fairy tale and makes a resident of Omaha in 
these barren and degenerate times long to have seen the palmy days of 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 125 

the "Library Lecture Course." The lecture committees were bands of 
heroes who feared not. They dauntlessly corresponded with Gough 
and Henry Ward Beecher, with Schurz and Nast, and Fields, and 
when the honorable lecturer replied that he would come for $500 and 
expenses, the board directed that he be instantly secured. 

While the committee thus gathered the best names another group 
was taking equally energetic measures to get a "good house." 

" Resolved, That for the purpose of canvassing for the course of 
lectures the following division of labor be made : Poppleton and 
Yates to canvass Farnam street and to the alley each way; Edgar and 
Allen to canvass Douglas street and to the alley each way ; Shelton 
and Gannett to canvass railroad, express, and telegraph employes ; 
Brown and Swartzlander to canvass Dodge street, and lawyers, physi- 
cians, and officials ; Henry and Reed, Harney street and south, and 
the military." 

\Vhen all was done, first at Simpson's hall and afterwards at the 
Academy of Music, a splendid audience pushed its way up the steep 
inconvenient stairway and settled itself in the shabby room and there 
listened to the best that Boston or New York could have desired. One 
after another, musicians, divines, orators, and poets, came and gave the 
best they had, while the people listened and thought, and felt the heart- 
throb of the world which lies beyond the boundaries of Nebraska. 
The following is the list, so far as can be found, of entertainments 
from abroad given under the auspices of the association : Robert Coll- 
yer, Scott-Siddons, Anna Dickinson, Camilla Urso, Vescelius Sisters, 
Mendelssohn Quintette Club, Richings-Bernard Concert Troupe, Red- 
path Opera Troupe, Bret Harte, Lillian Edgerton, Lisle Lester, Dr. 
Cordova, Grace Greenwood, Mary Clemmer Ames, General Kilpatrick, 
William Parsons, Frederick Douglas, Schuyler Colfax, Richard A. 
Proctor, David Swing, James T. Fields, Charles Bradlaugh, Bayard 
Taylor, Gerald Massey, Thomas Nast, Carl Schurz. 

Many friends of the library sent gifts in the first days. Some are 
unrecorded. The li^t of donors shows the following names: A. 
Swartzlander, John T. Edgar, Dr. G. C. Monnell, George W. Gray, 
A. M. Henry, Mrs. William Cleburne, the Hon. John Taffe, N. Shel- 
ton, the Rev. A. F. Sherrill, J. M. Wolfe, David Collier, Senator P. 
W. Hitchcock, the Rev. F. J. Kelleher, C. H. Brown, W. C. Thomp- 
son, the Rev. G. D. Stewart, James M. Woolworth, Mrs. F. Stevens, 



126 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Thomas Holmes, Gen. E. F. Test, Gen. E. O. C. Ord, Unitarian As- 
sociation, Boston ; A. F. Nightengale, A. J. Poppleton, Y. M. C. A., 
F. C. Bullock, Mrs. E. B. Willis, Maj. J. H. Belcher, Omaha Na- 
tional Bank, Omaha Republican, Miss A. France, Miss D. L. Sears, 
Josiah Drake, Swedenborg Society, W. M. Tucker, Boston, W. H. 
"Woods, the Rev. J. M. Finnotti, Levi Bishop, Detroit. Senators 
Paddock and Hitchcock, in their public capacity, were mindful of the 
library and successive acknowledgments to them stand upon the rec- 
ord. At one of the earliest meetings the thanks of the board for a set 
of books were expressed to Col. Lorin Miller, and he was tendered the 
free use of the library. Some of the most valuable gifts have no rec- 
ord save the name as it stands in the donors' list. 

Many pages under one name attest the special generosity of ISIr. 
John T. Edgar. This writing Avould be sadly incomplete did it fail 
to note the faithful service which the library received from its most 
efficient friend. 

Mr. Edgar possessed an absorbing love for books and a great eager- 
ness to share his delight in them with others. He believed that they 
should be like the air and the sunshine, the common property of men- 
His father and grandfather before him had founded libraries, and the 
giving away of books was with Mr. Edgar a life-long habit. Between 
the years 1868 and 1874 he gave away 1,500 volumes, the larger 
part to the Omaha library. His face was always a familiar one in 
the little library room. He was for two years president, and during 
four years chairman of the book committee, withdrawing only when 
his departure for Syria made it inevitable. The following resolu- 
tions stand upon the records, dated April 6, 1875 : 

" Whereas, Our worthy superintendent, John T. Edgar, is obliged,, 
by his acceptance of the position of consul to Beirut, to resign hi& 
place among us, therefore, 

"Resolved, That in accepting his resignation we tender him our 
hearty thanks for his past services as member and president of this 
board, and for the frequent and generous donations of books in the past, 
and offer him our congratulations for the honorable position that the 
government of the United States has bestowed, and he has accepted,^ 
and express at the same time our sorrow and regret that it necessitates 
his withdrawal from our midst. 

"Resolved, That in his removal Omaha loses one of its most valued 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 127 

citizens, the cause of education in our city one of its greatest pro- 
moters, and our library its most efficient friend." 

^'Resolved, further, Tiiat he be hereby made an honorary member 
of this association for life." 

February 17, 1877, there was approved by the legislature of the 
state of Nebraska, an " Act to authorize incorporated towns and cities 
to establish and maintain free public libraries and reading rooms." In 
June of the same year the directors adopted the following resolution : 

"Whereas, It is evident that this association is not able to keep 
the library and reading room open with its present and prospective in- 
come, be it 

'^Resolved, That the president |)?'o ^em. appoint a committee of three 
to consult with the city council of Omaha and inquire whether it will 
establish and maintain a public library and reading room for the use 
of the inhabitants of this city, under the act of the legislature ap- 
proved February 17, 1877." 

The city signified its readiness to maintain such a library and read- 
ing room by an ordinance approved June 13. The stockholders ap- 
proved this proposed disposition of the library property June 21, and 
August 3 the board took the final action in the matter. August 6, 
1877, at a meeting of the first board of directors of the Omaha public 
library a certificate made by Leavitt Burnham, secretary of the 
Omaha Library Association, dated August 4, 1877, being a transfer 
of the books and property of the said association to the Omaha Library 
board, was read and ordered placed on file. 

On page 16 of the ninth annual report, recently issued from the 
Omaha public library, appear the following statistics : 

Number of uses of the book department of the library, 80,000 ; 
number of uses of the reference department, 35,255; number of uses 
of the reading room, 88,725 ; total number of uses of the Omaha 
public library during the year ending May 31, 1886, 214,070. 

The bequest of the Omaha Library Association has grown into a 
great educational institution, at once a school, college and university, 
which keeps open doors to every man, woman, and child who chooses 
to cross its threshold. It is now a potent influence in the life of the 
town. It is destined to become an ornament and a benefaction which 
fifty years hence will be the crowning pride of a great city, a lasting 
memorial to those who made the good beginning, and, like many an- 
other before them, builded better that they knew. 



128 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



JUDGE LYNCH'S COURT IN NEBRASKA. 



Written for the Omaha Sunday Republican, by Governor John M. Thayer. 



The mode of dispensing justice by lyueliing was not unknown in the 
early years of Nebraska. The recent case of lynching at Schuyler has 
recalled two instances, when citizens of Douglas county took upon them- 
selves the enforcement of the law, or rather the infliction of the law's 
vengeance upon the oiFenders. It would be more correct to say, the 
vengeance of the community, for that exceeded the punishment for the 
offenses alleged which the law would impose. 

A Mr. Taylor and his wife settled at an early day on the west side 
of the Big Papio, at the old military bridge, and kept a kind of way- 
farers' inn. They were quiet, respectable people, and furnished as 
good accommodations as could be expected in those early times. Con- 
gress had appropriated a sum of money for opening a road up and 
down the Missouri river, on the Nebraska side, bridging the streams, 
etc; also, for laying out a road and bridging the streams from Omaha 
westward to the Elkhorn river, at the old Elkhorn city, which was 
located about nine miles up the river from the present railroad bridge 
across the Elkhorn. The work was done under the supervision of the 
war department, and was for the better and quicker movements of 
troops, and indirectly for the benefit of travel and transportation over 
the plains. When the bridges over the Little and Big Papios were 
completed, that road became the great thoroughfare of travel north of 
the Platte, from the Missouri to the mountains. Taylor's, at the Big 
Papio, was the usual place for nooning when leaving Omaha in the 
morning, and for passing the night when leaving in the afternoon, and 
Elkhorn City was a day's drive out. 

When I arrived at Elkhorn City for the first time, in the spring of 
1855, on my way to the Pawnee village on the south side of the Platte, 
a little below Fremont, and, standing on the high level prairie over- 
looking the Elkhorn, had a full view up the valley of that river and 
the Platte, I felt as if my eyes had opened upon an enchanted laud. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 129 

There was stretched out before me the fairest, most magnificent land- 
scape view I had ever seen in nature or on canvas. It gave me a more 
enlarged view of the immensity of space than I had ever conceived. I 
passed many an hour afterward in enjoying the beauty of that scene, 
almost imagining I could outline the mountains beyond. There could 
have been no handsomer site for a town or city than that whereon 
Elkhorn City made a start, but when the railroad wound around it a 
few miles below, its tents were folded and it gradually stole away. 

Early one morning, a year or two before the war, Mrs. Taylor ar- 
rived in Omaha with the information that two burglars had entered 
the house kept by herself and husband at the military bridge the pre- 
vious night, and, with revolvers at their heads, had forced them to 
give up all the money they had. She stated that she was suddenly 
awakened from sound sleep by being rudely shaken, and on looking 
up two strange men were standing by the side of her bed, one having 
a light in his hand. They did not wear masks, and she had a full 
view of them and said she would recognize them the instant her eyes 
should rest upon them again. It seemed almost incredible that they 
used no disguise of any kind in such a daring undertaking, but such 
was the fact, and she was able to give a very accurate descrip- 
tion of them. There being but few settlements to the westward and 
very sparse ones at that, and nothing beyond them but the prairie 
wilderness, it was evident the robbers would not attempt to escape in 
that direction, and they could not cross the Platte as there were no 
ferries over that river. It was concluded they would attempt to cross 
the Missouri at Omaha, or make for some ferry up the river. Steps 
were taken at once to head them oif and capture them. Everyone 
engaged in the search, for such an event at that early day absorbed 
universal attention, and we considered ourselves, all of us, a kind of 
committee of public defense. Omaha was thoroughly searched, and 
two strangers were discovered answering to the descriptions given by 
Mrs. Taylor. In order to identify them beyond any doubt as the 
real culprits, it was determined to put them in a room with twenty- 
five or thirty persons, all of them unknown to Mrs. Taylor, and then 
take the latter into the room and see if she could recognize the burg- 
lars in that crowd. So about that number gathered in a large room 
upstairs in a frame building standing where Shiverick's furniture 
store now stands. I think A. D. Jones, Sam Brown, Hanscom, Pop- 



130 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

pleton, Miller, I^ymau Richardson, Jim Chapman, Sam Rogers, and 
Harrison Johnson were among the number, as were many others, in- 
cluding myself. 

We took positions in a line against the walls all around the room. 
I rather thought Poppleton, Miller, Hanscora, and some others felt a 
little nervous, and I am inclined to think I did myself, for it was not 
impossible for her to make a mistake, as it was possible the robbers 
might resemble some of us. The two strangers under arrest were led 
into the room and placed in the line with the others with several per- 
sons between them. Mrs. Taylor was then escorted into the room. 
Beginning at the head of the line she walked slowly along, gazing 
hard into the face of each one, but making no stop till she reached 
one man, when, the instant her eyes rested on him, she started back 
with a convulsive movement, and then stepped up before him, and 
pointing her finger in his face, screamed out: "You are one of the 
men who stood over my bed last night with a revolver at my head, 
and demanded my money; you are one of the villains, you are one of 
the villains." She was nearly overcome with the excitement of seeing 
him again. He was one of the two under arrest. She then moved 
along with the same deliberate step, peeping into the face of each suc- 
cessive person to whom she came till she reached one, when she 
screamed out as before: "You are the other man who robbed my 
house last night; I know you, I know you," and she again almost 
went into convulsions. He was the other one of the two under ar- 
rest. Her identification of them was complete, and left not a shadow 
of doubt as to their guilt. They were at once committed to jail, which 
was in the basement of the old court house, then not quite completed. 
The feeling ran very strong against them, and the whole town was 
very much excited. Fears were everywhere expressed that they would 
break out of the jail, or that they would manage to escape conviction, and 
if convicted would escape punishment, as we had no penitentiary and 
the jails were very insecure in those days. The general impression 
was, however, that the law would be left to take its course. Going to 
the court house early the next morning and opening the door, I was 
confronted with a horrible, ghastly sight. About five feet inside the 
hall, directly facing me, between the county clerk's and treasurer's 
offices, was hanging by a rope around his neck, suspended from a beam 
overhead, the dead form of one of the robbers. 



HISTOEICAL PAPERS. 131 

The job had been quietly and effectively done. No noise or dis- 
turbance of any kind had occurred during the night, no gathering of 
men had been noticed by any one. It was apparently as quiet a night 
as Omaha had known during its existence. It was evident that the 
execution was the work of only a few determined men, who were bent 
on making an example of evil doers, and giving such a warning that 
others would be inclined to steer clear of Nebraska. No one knew 
them, and no one seemed to be anxious to know who they were or 
manifested special desire to know, and very few questions were asked. 
But the excitement of the day previous was renewed ; it was the topic 
of conversation everywhere. It may be imagined that a small, new, 
and isolated community, as we were, would be a good deal moved by 
the enactment of such a tragedy in its midst. Who the parties were 
who performed the work of execution I never knew, and I did not 
desire to know, though I always thought I could name some of them, 
I felt grateful to them for not inviting me to take part in the affair. 
My recollection is, that there was a general commendation of the deed 
and a feeling of relief that one desperado was put beyond the power 
to do any more robberies. The life of his companion was spared, as he 
was quite young, and it became evident that he was but a tool in the 
hands of the one who was hung. He remained in jail some time 
longer, and was, I think, let off without trial. He enlisted in the 
First Nebraska regiment, which was about to depart for the seat of 
war in the south, and proved to be a good soldier. That was the first 
lynching in Douglas county, and, I am inclined to think, the first in 
Nebraska, though it was followed by another soon after. 

One Sunday morning, in a little opening in the timber on that very 
lonely road from Florence to Fort Calhoun, two human bodies were 
found dangling from the limb of a tree, stark dead. The locality be- 
ing within the limits of Douglas county, the coroner, on receiving the 
information, went up and removed the bodies to the jail in Omaha. 
When they arrived in front of the old court house, another hideous 
sight was presented. They lay in the bottom of a farm wagon, each 
with a coarse buffalo overcoat on, and their pants tucked into their 
bootlegs. They literally died with their boots on. They had been 
engaged in horse stealing, the horses being found in their possession. 
While people were looking at them, a team with two women drove up, 
and upon their looking at the faces of the dead, they began to sob 



132 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

aloud aud give way to expressions of terrible grief. They were the 
wives of the two men lying there fast in the clasp of death. It was 
found that they lived on the Iowa side of the river nearly opposite 
Calhoun, and the wives, hearing that their husbands had been hung, 
crossed over and followed the bodies to Omaha. All of them were 
young people. 

While they were looking at their husbands and crying bitterly, 
Col. Matt. T. Patrick came up, and looking at one of the women in- 
tently, recognized in'her an old schoolmate and friend whom he had 
known back in his native town in Pennsylvania. She was a bright, 
intelligent, handsome girl, and was of a good family and moved in 
the best circles in a country town. When the colonel came west she 
was still there, and he had no knowledge that she was in this region 
of country. It was some comfort to her to meet some one whom she 
had known before. After the inquest they returned to their desolate 
homes with their dead companions. No arrests were made, and no 
efforts to discover the lynchers. While probably most of the people 
would not engage in the hanging, they were willing it should be done 
and glad when it was done, for the feeling was that if summary ex- 
amples were not made we should be at the mercy of burglars and 
horse thieves. 

When a new town sprang up about the first signs to be noticed were 
*'Bauk" and "Saloon." These are generally in the van of civiliza- 
tion. Between the winters of 1855 and 1857 there were established 
three banks at Omaha, one at Florence, one at De Soto, one at Tekamah, 
one at Dakota City, one at Bellevue, one or more at Plattsmouth, and I 
do not remember how many at Nebraska City and Brown ville, and yet 
the census of 1860 showed a population of only 28,000 in the terri- 
tory. All of them were banks of issue, and had charters which had 
been granted by the legislature. It was not difficult to obtain the pas- 
sage of a bank charter at that time, especially if the applicant came 
"well heeled," to use a slang phrase. After the legislature one winter 
had adjourned, I expressed to a gentleman my surprise that he had 
been successful in procuring a bank charter in addition to so many, 
when he opened his little book and called my attention to a list of mem- 
bers with the amounts opposite their names. That, of course, made 
everything plain. For a couple of years money was truly easy; it 
fairly grew, and times were swimming; but there came a storm, a 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 133 

financial blizzard, and the people awoke as from a huge delusion. The 
banks disappeared, not 

" Like the baseless fabric of a vision, 
Leaving not a wreck behind," 

but leaving numberless wrecks, as reminders of times that had been, 
but, fortunately, were gone, to return no more. What a wild, reckless 
system of banking was the rage then ! We had the wildcat money, 
pure and undefiled. To cast back one's thoughts to what then pre- 
vailed, it seems like a wild financial farce. 

Greene, Moore, and Benton were engaged in banking in the build- 
ing now occupied by the United States National Bank, under the title 
of the " Western Fire Insurance Company," as near as I can recollect. 
Leroy Tuttle was its cashier. He came out from York state, and 
was a kind of protege of General Spinner, whose hieroglyphics, re- 
sembling lithographed chicken-tracks in ink, ornamented the green- 
backs for so long. When Spinner became treasurer of the United 
States, he called Tuttle to Washington and gave him a position in his 
office, wherein he became assistant treasurer. A. U. Wyman, then a 
young man in Omaha, accepted a position in the same office, and, as is 
well known, afterwards arose to the position of treasurer. 

Before the war there lived in Nebraska City, at the same time, four 
gentlemen, all of whom afterwards became delegates to congress from 
western territories. They were Hiram P. Bennett, Allen A. Bradford, 
Sam F. Nuckolls, and John F. Kinney. The first three were mem- 
bers of our territorial legislature. When the Pike's Peak excitement 
spread over the country Bennett pulled out for the newly-discovered 
gold fields of Colorado, followed by Bradford. During the session of 
congress of '61 and '62 Colorado was provided with a territorial 
organization, and Bennett was chosen the first delegate to congress. 
Bradford was a delegate to congress from Colorado at the time of the 
admission of Nebraska as a state. Nuckolls removed to Cheyenne, 
and was the first delegate to congress from Wyoming territory. Kin- 
ney, who had been chief justice of Utah, was elected delegate to con- 
gress from that territory, or, rather, it might be said, was appointed 
delegate by Brigham Young, for no one could be elected unless first 
selected by the master of the Utah hierarchy. Sterling Morton came 
very near making the number of five delegates from territories who re- 
sided at Nebraska City. He was the democratic candidate for that 



134 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

position in 1860 in Nebraska, and was declared elected by the canvass- 
ing board who were Buchanan officials of the territory, and the certifi- 
cate of election was given to him by the governor, Sam Black. Morton 
was in no hurry to forward the certificate to the clerk of the house of 
representatives at Washington and have his name entered upon the roll. 
In the meantime, Governor Black took offense at Morton and gave a 
certificate to S. G. Daily, his republican competitor for the position, 
bearing a later date, and revoking the former. Daily lost no time in 
filing his certificate with the clerk of the house. Col. John W. Forney, 
who placed his (Daily's) name on the roll. It is possible that the first 
certificate had been filed by Morton ; if so, Forney treated the second 
one as revoking the first, and entered Daily's name on the list of 
members and delegates of the forthcoming congress which convened 
in extra session, under Lincoln's proclamation, in July, 1861. Daily 
thus obtained the seat, and Morton became the contestant; the seat 
was awarded to Daily. 

It was a somewhat noteworthy incident, that Nebraska City fur- 
nished so many sons to the territories for delegates to congress. It 
was a still more noteworthy fact that in the spring of 1861, there 
lived at the old Herndon House hotel (now the U. P. headquarters), 
in Omaha, at the same time, eight persons, who afterwards became 
United States senators. They were Tipton, Hitchcock, Paddock, 
Saunders, Wm. Pitt Kellogg, Spencer, afterwards of Alabama, Bowen, 
now of Colorado, and myself. It would be difficult to find a similar 
instance. 



STORMY TIMES IN NEBRASKA. 



C. W. Bishop in Omaha Bee, January 20, 1889. 



The visitor to the Little Blue valley, who is acquainted with its 
early history and settlement, is constantly reminded of the pioneers 
who first settled it. It was along the banks of the little stream for 
which it was named that the first comers built their log cabins or rude 
" dug-outs," and, bravely facing the dangers of savage cruelty and the 
Jiardships of separation from civilized society, proceeded to lay the 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 135 

nigged foundation upon which has grown one of the most prosperous 
and beautiful portions of the state. 

Perhaps, excepting the banks of that turbid stream, the " Big 
Muddy," tliis river and valley forms one of the most interesting por- 
tions of Nebraska. The stream has its source in Adams county, near 
Hastings, and flows in a southeasterly direction for a distance of about 
sixty miles, where it leaves Nebraska and enters the sister state of 
Kansas. 

It is a very picturesque and beautiful little creek (for it can hardly 
be called a river), and its banks are bordered with a heavy growth of 
timber. This, in connection with a broad and fertile valley, extending 
on either side to the steep and broken bluffs, was very naturally chosen 
by the pioneers of southern Nebraska as the territory in which to open 
up new homes and found embryo settlements, which in after years 
were to expand into large and prosperous towns and cities. 

But this valley, with its hunting grounds abundantly supplied with 
game, and its waters with fish, was also the favorite resort of the nu- 
merous tribes of Indians who occupied this section of country and, nat- 
urally unwilling to relinquish tiieir rights to the hated paleface, they 
stubbornly contested every foot of the land before yielding the coveted 
prize into his hands. 

For years it was in the face of much danger that the settlements 
were pushed farther and farther out to the front, and much white 
man's blood has crimsoned the greensward of this valley, and many 
are the innocent women and children who have been dragged from 
their homes and cruelly murdered by the red demons of the plains. 
In each glen and on each rise of table land, as in the valley of the 
famous Mohawk, have been enacted some of the bloody tragedies of In- 
dian warfare. But, as has been the final result since the earliest con- 
tentions between the white and the red race, the latter has been 
obliged to seek new grounds to the westward, and the dearly purchased 
field was left in the hands of the brave men who had so bravely won it. 

To the Mormons is given the honor of first having opened up the 
route along this stream for general travel, though the "pathfinder," 
Gen. John C. Fremont, had passed along here with his surveying 
corps as early as 1842. The trail made by the Mormons in 1858, was 
the next year chosen by Butterfield as the route for his pony express 
from the Missouri river to Denver, Colorado. This scheme not pay- 



136 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

iug as well as was expected by the originators, was diseontiuued after 
about one year's existence. It was also along this same route that 
the great overland stage coaches, owned and operated by Russell, 
Majors & Waddell, rattled on over the virgin soil of Nebraska, as 
they made their trips from Leavenworth, Kansas, to the now "Queen 
City of the west," and at short intervals were located stations where 
horses were changed and meals taken by the employes and passengers. 
One of the most important of these stations was Oak Grove, situated 
in Nuckolls county, near the northeastern corner, oti the left-hand bank 
of the creek. This place was named by Fremont, and was so given 
from a large group of gnarled oak trees which stood by themselves a 
short distance from the river. At the present time but two or three 
of the old trees are standing, their comrades having met the fate of 
so many others of their kind, and a small grove of young oaks marks 
the spot where their sturdy ancestors reared their waving branches 
heavenward like mute witnesses to the bloody deeds that had been 
enacted almost in their cooling shades. It was at this place that the 
first permanent settlement in Nuckolls county was made in 1859 by 
the two Butler brothers, of Philadelphia, they having charge of the 
pony express station while that was in operation, and after that became 
defunct, the station was continued for the stage line till 1862, when 
one of the brothers died and the place was purchased by its present 
occupant and owner, Mr. George S. Corastock, the gentleman to whom 
we are indebted for the information contained in this article. 

This family consisted of the father, Mr. George Comstock, three 
daughters and four sons, one of whom was the purchaser of Oak 
Grove, and to them may fitly be given the title of the pioneers of 
Nuckolls county. After the purchase of the place Mr. Comstock 
continued to conduct the stage station till it was removed some miles 
to the west, when he turned the site into a ranch and trading post. 

To listen to the recital of the adventures and thrilling experiences 
of this family, who were acquainted with all the border heroes and 
desperadoes at that time, of whom "Wild Bill" and "Buffalo Bill" 
were the most noted, is far more exciting and interesting than a dime 
novel. 

Of all the adventures they had with the Indians, the most thrilling 
and trying occurred on the 10th of August, 1864. It will be re- 
membered that this is the year in which occurred the general uprising 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 137 

of the redskins from the border settlements of Minnesota to Den- 
ver, Colorado. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, the occupants 
butchered, the entire frontier desolated, and hundreds of families 
called upon to mourn for some loved one who had perished in the 
general massacre. 

As above stated, on the 10th of August, 1864, there appeared at 
Oak Grove a baud of about thirty-five Sioux and Cheyenne Indians 
under a one-eyed chief known as Two Face. The chief had been a 
caller at the store several times before, while leading small parties of 
his tribe on hunting expeditious along the Little Blue and the Repub- 
lican twenty miles to the south. Nothing was mistrusted by the set- 
tlers at the grove, and as the noonday meal was ready, the savages 
were, as usual, invited to partake. The invitation was accepted, but 
upon seating themselves it was noticed that they failed to remove their 
bows, quivers, and other arms, as was their custom when eating, and 
not till then did it flash upon the minds of the white occupants that 
their guests were on the war-path, and even then they were obliged to 
conceal their surprise, fearing that any betrayal of their discovery 
would bring on an attack prematurely; and this it was hoped to avoid 
at least till the red devils could be got outside, as they had every ad- 
vantage while in the room, and outnumbered the whites seven to one. 
The dinner being finished, each of the Indians was, according to the 
usual practice of the proprietor, presented with a portion of tobacco 
or some like present, when suddenly a signal was given by the treach- 
erous chief aud a volley fired upon the white inmates of the room. 
The fight having now opened, the fire was returned by the ranchmen, 
and they were successful in driving the war party from the store. In 
the melee two of the white men were killed outright and two seriously 
wounded. Two of the warriors also had their spirits sent to the 
happy hunting grounds by the unerring bullet of the pale-face. The 
names of the young men killed were Kelley and Butler, from Beat- 
rice. They had been making hay for the stage company a short dis- 
tance from the grove, and starting to return to Beatrice, had stopped 
for dinner, and were killed. One of the wounded men, George Hunt, 
recovered and is at present one of the most successful merchants of 
De Witt, this state. The Hon. Tobias Castor, also of De Witt, 
was present at the battle, and has since proven himself a better states- 
man than Indian fighter. To make the affair more serious to the 
10 



138 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

family besieged as they were, their father had early in the morning 
gone to a neighboring settlement, and it was supposed that he would 
be taken prisoner, and if not murdered outright be put to the many 
tortures which none but savage cruelty can devise and which they are 
so eager to apply. 

Several times during the afternoon attacks were made upon the log 
store by the Indians, each time led by the chief mounted upon a white 
pony. They gained nothing by these attacks, however, and several times 
one of their number was seen to toppl e forward and fall to the ground^ 
showing that the firing of the besieged party was not in vain. They 
at last withdrew, and for several hours none of them appeared in sight, 
when just at dark a white horse bearing a rider appeared and rode 
toward the building. Careful aim was taken by one of the Comstock 
boys, who thought it to be the chief reconnoitering preparatory for 
another attack. Wishing his aim to be sure, he paused a second to 
allow him to approach nearer, when one of the sisters suddenly re- 
membered that her father rode a white horse, and that this might be he. 
She accordingly called out: " Father, is that you?" and received an 
affirmative answer ; and this undoubtedly saved the old gentleman's 
life, as in a brief space of time the bullet that was meant for an In- 
dian chief would have imbedded itself in his heart. Strange to say 
the old gentlemen had seen no signs of Indians, though they must 
have been concealed on every side of him as he passed along the road 
home, for it was afterwards learned that they had murdered all the 
families along the valley for a distance of twenty miles in each direc- 
tion during the day, and Oak Grove was the only place attacked that 
held out against them. (Mr. Comstock now thinks that he was al- 
lowed to reach home unmolested, as he had always treated the In- 
dians kindly and squarely in all his dealings with them.) 

Upon his arrival it was decided that the attacking party of the after- 
noon had gone for reinforcements, and would soon return and over- 
power the small force at the ranch. Accordingly, preparations were 
hastily made for a departure. Having no way to carry them, and 
having no time to bury them, the two men who had been killed at 
noon were concealed in a small smoke house at the foot of the bluffs, 
thinking that perhaps this might escape the sight of the savages upon 
their return, and the morning sun of August 11 found the Comstock 
family, with the two wounded men, on their way to Kiowa, a small 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 139 

Station thirty-five miles to the southeast, where they knew a wagon 
train was on its way up the valley. They had left behind two young 
men who refused to accompany them. The dej^arture had been made 
none too soon, for when about fifteen rtiiles away, the fugitives looking 
back beheld their home with its thousands of dollars worth of prop- 
erty, which they were obliged to leave, ascending towards the heavens 
in smoke. About three hundred Indians had appeared, killed the 
two men left behind, and after having rifled the place applied the torch. 
The family expected to be pursued and perhaps massacred, but from 
the cause above given, knowing of the wagon train and fearing it 
was guarded by soldiers, the Indians allowed them to push on to 
Kiowa, where they met the train, which, we believe, learning from, 
them of the outbreak, faced about and put back with them to Leaven- 
worth. At Salina, Kan., the wounded man, Ostrander, died and was 
buried. In the following year, the Indian depredations having some- 
what subsided, the party returned to their old home to find only the 
ruins and the bleaching bones of the unfortunate victims of August 
10-11, 1864. In the latter part of the summer of 1865, as nearly all 
who had been driven from their homes the previous year had returned, 
Oak was rebuilt and a petition was sent to the postofiice department 
asking that a postoffice be established here to be known as the Oak 
Grove office, as the settlers were obliged to go to Kiowa, thirty-five 
miles distant, for their mail. The petition was granted, and thus the 
first postoffice in Nuckolls county was established at the above named 
place in the autumn of 1865. (The office is now known simply as 
Oak.) In a short time after this the Indians again became trouble- 
some and the entire valley was vacated, and once more the homes that 
had been founded with so much danger and hardship were left to the 
crafty savage, and till 1868 they held possession of this section of ter- 
ritory, committing their deeds of violence whenever a chance presented 
itself, and making frequent raids on the settlements farther east. In 
1868 they were, except some small bands, forced upon the reservations 
making it again safe for the whites to return. In the meantime, also, 
Two Face, the chief who had been the leader in all the attacks on the 
settlements, had been hanged at Kearney, having arrived there with a 
captive white woman, Mrs. Alderdau, who had been taken captive 
near Oak Grove. This woman was still retained by the Indians for 
some reason, and was subsequently killed by a squaw to prevent her 



140 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

falling into the hands of the soldiers when General Carr's command 
defeated a band of Sioux under Tall Bull at Summit Springs, on the 
South Platte. In the fall of 1868 the old gentleman, Mr. Comstock, 
with part of his family, returned to the old home of so many bloody 
scenes, and in 1872 was joined by his son, George S. Comstock, the 
owner of the place, and his family. In 1870 the Indians killed their 
last victim in this (Nuckolls) county, a Swede, living on a small tribu- 
tary of the Little Blue. 

Mr. Comstock is one of Nuckolls county's wealthiest and most 
prominent men. He, with his father and family, resides on the old 
ranch, having a large and commodious dwelling built only a short 
distance from where the old log structure, destroyed by the Indians, 
stood. Others of the family have large and nicely cultivated farms 
near by, and they can behold the reminders of the scenes of twenty- 
four or twenty-five years ago on every side. 

What a mighty change they have witnessed ! The war-whoop of 
the savage, and the smoke of the settler's burning cabin as it blazed up 
anew in the autumn breeze, have given way to the shriek and the smok- 
ing trail of the locomotive. Where the evening sun looked down upon 
the pony express rider as he goaded on his weary steed, or upon the 
heavy stage coaches lumbering slowly over the road, is now seen the long 
train of heavily laden freight cars, slowly bearing away the products of 
a most productive soil. With the speed of the wind, the long train of 
elegant passenger coaches, filled with human freight now dashes past, 
and the Indian trail is crossed and recrossed by the electric telegraph, 
over which are constantly flashing the thoughts and the wants of a busy 
and prosperous people. Where then were hunted the huge herds of 
buffalo are now seen large herds of domestic cattle feeding on the lux- 
uriant meadows, and beautiful farms with fields of waving grain, and 
neat little farm houses. Large towns and cities containing huge brick 
and stone business houses, churches, and elegant residences, have sprung 
up. Here and there are beheld nicely finished and furnished little 
school houses, in which the hardy little urchins, the productions of 
Nebraska's salubrious atmosphere, are receiving the education which 
shall fit them for her future leaders and statesmen. Prosperity and 
progression are all around. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 141 



COUNTY NAMES. 



BY M. B. C. TRUE. 



Editor State Journal: The broad territory of the state of Nebraska 
is nearly covered by organized counties. It is evident, in view of the 
great tides of immigration which are and have been surging westward, 
that the next legislature will be called upon to exhaust its direct power 
in the organization of counties, in the completion of that work. On 
that account it may not be amiss or obtrusive for me to make some 
suggestions concerning the matter of county names. 

At present, if I have counted correctly, the state contains seventy- 
seven organized counties. If the reservations of the Winnebago and 
Omaha Indians should hereafter be set off into a county, there is ter- 
ritory left for about six new counties. If the western portion of the 
state should prove capable of sustaining a farming population of rea- 
sonable density, then the large counties, Holt, Boone, Cherry, Custer, 
Lincoln, Keith, Cheyenne, Sheridan, Dawes, and Sioux,- must soon be 
divided and subdivided until the state will have over one hundred 
counties. 

Eleven counties are named for presidents of the United States: 
Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Polk, Fillmore, Pierce, Lin- 
coln, Johnson, Hayes, and Garfield. Nine statesmen of wide fame 
and great public service have honored Nebraska counties by the gift 
of their names: Blaine, Cass, Chase, Clay, Colfax, Douglas, Greeley, 
Seward, and Webster. Others less known, but whose rank is high as 
public servants, viz., Dixon, Dodge, Howard, Harlan, besides several 
already named, Hamilton, Knox, Franklin, and Wayne, bring revo- 
lutionary services as their countersign. Custer, Holt, Kearney, Sher- 
man, Sheridan, and Stanton find a place in the names of counties in 
recognition of their services in the war of 1861-5, though Kearney's 
services in the Indian wars of the frontier were eminent and entitled 
him to recognition. 

A nice, perhaps overwise, discrimination has selected seven only of 



142 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

the eleven who have filled the gubernatorial office of the state and 
fixed their names to counties : Burt, Richardson, Saunders, Butler, 
Furnas, Nance, and Dawes. Local politicians of the state, some of 
whom are in good repute outside state lines, were not overlooked. 
These are Brown, Cuming, Dawson, Dundy, Gosper, Hitchcock, 
Keith, Nuckolls, Sarpy, Thayer, and Wheeler. I do not know 
where to place Gage, Hall, Lancaster, Merrick and Phelps, 

There are several classes of county names that seem to be eminently 
appropriate. Antelope, Buffalo, and Loup (wolfj, represent the wild 
animals whose ])asturage was once the Great American Desert. Cedar, 
Cherry, and Red Willow evidently signify localities in which those 
woods grow. Saline designates a natural product of the state, which 
promises to be a valuable one, but the name has been misplaced, as 
there are no saline deposits in tne county of that name. Frontier and 
Valley would be well named if they fully designated actual condi- 
tions. Frontier county is not on the frontier. Two valleys tra- 
verse Valley. Cheyenne, Keya Paha, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee and 
Sioux counties perpetuate six of the Indian tribes whose royal do- 
mains were once inside this state. 

One who thoughtfully studies the nomenclature of the counties of 
Nebraska will be struck by the vacancies, by the names that are ab- 
sent. The name of Fremont, who, in 1842, traversed a portion of 
the state in his Rocky mountain explorations, and whose services to 
the nation and to the world in other lines have been eminent, has his 
name affixed to a thriving city, but not to a county. Wilkinson, 
who was territorial governor of Louisiana when the territory that is 
now Nebraska was attached to Louisiana for judicial purposes — the 
first attempt to organize a civil government in Nebraska — is unknown 
in our county or city names. It would seem that Governors Izard, 
Black, James, and Garber made as creditable records and bore as 
high characters as the seven others whose names have been used. 
Why these four were ignored or slighted does not appear. The omis- 
sion of their names appears to be invidious. 

One of the names most conspicuously absent is that of Charles 
Sumner. His name is not attached to a county, city, town, village, 
township, precinct, or postoffice in the great state of Nebraska. And 
yet, considering his services to the state, no one has so great claims to 
such recognition. Mr. Sumner had been in the United States senate 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 143 

but ten days when he made his maiden speech in that body, December 
10, 1851, The speech was in favor of resolutions of welcome to Kos- 
suth, who was then on his way to the United States. In that speech 
Mr. Sumner gave early currency to, if he did not actually coin, the 
phrase which the state of Nebraska has engrossed upon her great seal, 
" Equality Before the Law." This phrase expresses a cardinal prin- 
ciple in Mr. Sumner's life as in Nebraska's history. 

In January, February, and March, 1852, during the discussion of 
the " bill granting the right of way and making a grant of land to 
the state of Iowa, in aid of the construction of certain railroads in said 
state," Mr. Sumner took part three times. He supported the bill 
heartily and advocated at some length the principle of grants to aid 
railroads in the new states. The title which he gave to his remarks 
in favor of the bill was "Justice to the Land States and the Policy of 
Roads." When we remember that very few of the statesmen of the 
east and south at that time could discern the future greatness and 
prosperity of the great west, brought about by the land grant rail- 
roads, and further remember that settlements in Nebraska would have 
just begun to-day if the principles then advocated by Mr. Sumner had 
not been afterwards adopted by the national government, we can real- 
ize how much this state owes to him. 

But the great senator touches Nebraska's history at another point 
and still greatly to his credit. The constitution of the state of 1866 
restricted electoral and official privileges to white persons. When the 
bill for the admission of the state came before the senate the follow- 
ing winter Mr. Sumner secured an amendment practically eliminating 
the word "white" from the constitution of the state. He attempted 
a similar service for Colorado in the preceding summer, but congress 
was not then prepared to stand by him and his principles. At that 
time the republican party was trying to secure "equality before the 
law" to loyal white and black alike in the southern states, and Mr. 
Sumner, with conspicuous consistency, would not consent to even a 
slight departure from that line. Every sturdy loyalist owes a vote of 
thanks to the great senator for that persistent effort, made against 
some of his warmest friends. Somewhere upon the broad, free, and 
loyal plains of Nebraska his name should be carved, either in county 
or city, or both. Why cannot the next legislature do justice to the 
man who, by triple cords, is bound to the history of Nebraska? 



144 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

There is conspicuously another name that ought to be engraved 
upon the map of Nebraska in the name of one of its counties — Grant. 
Several precincts and townships already bear his name, but he is en- 
titled to have his name attached to a great and populous county. Hi& 
services to the nation deserve the recognition long delayed. 

The names of Meade, Farragut, Thomas, Hooker, Wilson, Wade, 
Phillips, and others might be given to counties in Nebraska with en- 
tire propriety and with great credit to the character of the people. 
The Ogallala, Omaha, and Ponca tribes of Indians will be remem- 
bered by the names which they have given to cities of the state, but 
the Santees, Winnebagos, and Paducas have not so far been honored 
as is their due. The few relics of Indian history remaining in the 
state, in the manner of tribes, chiefs, and localities, ought to be gath- 
ered up and preserved in local nomenclature. 



LIEUT. SAMUEL A. CHERRY. 



M. B. C. True in a recent issue of The State Journal had an article 
relative to the names of the counties of this state, their origin, etc.,. 
and in speaking of Cherry county he assumes that it was so named on 
account of the wood of that name. But such is not the case, as there 
is no wood of that nature in the county. Cherry county is named in 
memory of the late Lieut. S. A. Cherry, Fifth cavalry, who was killed 
near Rock creek, Dakota, about eight miles north of Fort Niobrara, 
May 11, 1881. 

The tragic death of Lieutenant Cherry recalls many thrilling inci- 
dents of the early establishment of Fort Niobrara, and the develop- 
ment of this portion of the state. The particulars surrounding Lieu- 
tenant Cherry's death are as follows: About the 8th of May reliable 
information reached Col. J. J. Upham, Fifth cavalry, then in com- 
mand at Fort Niobrara, of a plot to rob Col. T. H. Stanton, paymas- 
ter U. S. A., then en route from Omaha to pay the troops. He hav- 
ing to come from Neligh by stage the robbers had made arrangements 
to waylay him at Plum creek. Accordingly, Lieutenant Cherry, with 
a posse consisting of two reliable sergeants and several privates, was 
ordered to Long Pine to meet and escort Colonel Stanton back, which 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 145 

he did. The robbers, who were completely defeated by this timely 
movement on the part of the military, became desperate, and although 
few in numbers were of the most hardened characters. Having been 
frustrated in this they had to resort to some other method whereby ta 
make a raise. Pay-day night they carefully surveyed the surround- 
ings of the post trader's store, but precautionary measures prevented 
their making an assault ; accordingly they moved their base of opera- 
tions to a road ranch, four miles east of the point, just off the reser- 
vation, one of the hardest of the kind known to human depravity,, 
and owned and conducted by H. Casterline. The active participants- 
in the assault were "Tedde" Read, Dick Burr, and Private Johnson, 
of Troop F, Fifth cavalry. On the night of May 9, 1881, Private 
Johnson, being on guard, was stationed at post No. 2, in charge of 
the company's stables. During the time he was supposed to be on 
post, he with his confederates succeeded in getting into the troop stables- 
and each secured a mount from the best of the horses. They then 
proceeded to the ranch, entered in a body, and drawing their Winchest- 
ers ordered "hands up." The house was in a drunken revel, a dance 
was in progress, with Casterline behind the bar. On this demand all 
hands went up with the exception of Casterline's, who dropped be- 
hind the bar, two leaden messengers lighting directly over his head. 
Before his assailants had time to reload, he rose high enough to 
empty the contents of a double-barreled shot gun into the arm of 
Burr, and slightly wounded Johnson. Several shots were then ex- 
changed. Johnnie Bordeau, a half-breed from Rosebud, was shot in the 
head and killed instantly and two men were wounded, when the assail- 
ants withdrew, mounted their horses and made for the thick brush 
along the Niobrara river. The ranch then became a perfect bedlam. 
Women half-drunk and half-crazed ran across the prairies, men 
seemed to lose their wits, firing was done indiscriminately, the only 
wonder being that more were not hurt. Read and his confederates 
who assaulted the ranch did so intent on robbery. Casterline, who 
had something over $1,200 on his person, by his quick return fire 
succeeded in defeating their purpose and they were driven away with- 
out having accomplished their object. 

The next morning at sound of reveille all was active at Fort Nio- 
brara. The news of Johnson's having deserted his post, taking with 
him the three troop horses, saddles, and other equipments, had reached 



146 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

the commanding officer. Lieutenant Cherry, with a detail, was ordered 
in immediate pursuit. By eight o'clock on that beautiful morning of 
May 10, 1881, Lieutenant Cherry was in his saddle, with " long torn" 
across his saddle and with a belt full of 45-calibre cartridges encircling 
his waist, top boots, broad brimmed hat, a ruddy complexion, the very 
picture of health and soldierly vigor, ready and eager for the chase. 
It was not long before he disappeared from view, followed by a score 
of men, who had followed him before, and who were ready to follow 
him then. After examining foot marks he takes up the trail at the 
ranch ; all day long does he ride, first through sand hills, then through 
brush, through the river, cross and recross, sometimes following the 
trail, at others looking for it, all day long in momentary expectancy of 
their rising out of the brush or from behind some rock where a fight 
was inevitable, for he knew the men with whom he had to deal. He 
knew their character and was always in the lead ready to anticipate their 
movements. Thus did he keep up "double quick " all day until dark- 
ness forced him to call a halt and he struck camp at Sharp's ranch, a 
well known landmark about eighteen miles west of the fort. It would 
be hard to get at any estimate of the number of miles he led his men on 
that day. In camp that evening he summed up his day's work, and 
after consultation with Sergeants Harrington and Marback, concluded 
that the culprits had headed for Pierre, Dakota. Accordingly he made 
his arrangements to follow them, and next morning sent two men with 
pack horses for more rations and forage, they arriving at Fort Nio- 
brara about nine o'clock. These men had orders after loading to 
overtake him that night some fifty miles on the Pierre road. 

In the meantime a volunteer party had been organized under com- 
mand of First Sergeant Smith, Company B, Ninth infantry, among 
whom we recall John Guth, of Troop B, Sutcliflf of Troop F, Sergeant 
Polligree, Louis Bordeau, and "Thy," the Indian scout. This party 
left Fort Niobrara about six o'clock on the morning of May 12, start- 
ing north, scouting the country along the state line. 

Cherry's detachment having gotten their animals loaded, had 
started for his camp, when about the noon hour Guth and Sutcliff 
came into the post at full speed, when Guth addressing the command- 
ing officer said : " Sir, I am ordered by Sergeant Smith to report that 
Lieutenant Cherry was shot and killed by Private Lock this morning, 
and that the sergeant is now standing guard over his remains near 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 147 

Rock creek ! " The report spread to the remotest parts of the post at 
once. All work was suspended, so eager was the entire populace to 
learn the particulars, whatever they might be. His fellow officers did 
not know how to view the situation. Circumstances seemed to indi- 
cate that Lieutenant Cherry was pressing the outlaws hard, and Lock 
being a confederate, realized this, killed him, and joined them. It 
was known that Burr was wounded in the fight at the ranch, which 
might have caused them delay in getting away and that Lock knew 
this. Lock was one of the most trusted men in the troop, and if he 
belonged to such a party of murderers, who among the troops might 
not. Thus all kinds of conjectures were introduced and discussed, 
until further developments, in a manner, explained them away. 

Not many minutes elapsed before new orders were issued, and B 
troop, Fifth cavalry (Montgomery), were in their saddles. Captain 
Montgomery taking half the troop, followed the guide of SutliiF in 
one direction, while Lieutenant Macomb with the other half went in 
another, with Guth for guide. Both parties, although scouting differ- 
ent parts of the country, reached Cherry's body at almost the same time. 
An escort wagon was then well under way, which upon arrival was 
brought into requisition to carry back to Fort Niobrara the remains 
of the soldier who but thirty hours before had left it the very picture 
of manly vigor and buoyant spirits, little dreaming of the fate which 
awaited him. Captain Montgomery commanded this solemn march 
to within about four miles of Fort Niobrara, when camp was pitched, 
the darkness of the night, through a country without roads, making 
it impossible to travel further. Leaving Lieutenant Macomb with 
the troop in charge of the remains, he came on into the post. Next 
morning Lieutenant Macomb selected Sergeant Kelligrew and Pri- 
vates Guth, Segar, McElwee, and scout " Thy," and turning over the 
remains to the charge of Sergeant Marbach, started in pursuit of Lock. 
Marbach arrived at Fort Niobrara a few hours later, when the re- 
mains were appropriately dressed and lay in state until the next 
morning. 

It would be hard to describe the deep grief and universal sorrow 
which overcame the entire garrison. Persons living isolated from the 
outside world, as were those of Fort Niobrara in '80 and '81, became 
much better acquainted and attachments grew very much stronger 
than under ordinary circumstances. They become like one large fam- 



148 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ily and this sudden demise of one of their number, particularly one of 
Cherry's disposition, so unexpected, struck to the hearts of all, and 
each felt that he had sustained a personal bereavement. On the morn- 
ing of May 14, impressive services were conducted by Rev. W. T. 
McAdam, post chaplain, in front of Cherry's quarters, after which his 
remains were followed to the cemetery, the troops marching " arms 
reversed." " After a short service at the grave, the appropriate salute 
was fired, after which, as a last token of soldierly love, and a fitting 
ending of the solemn services, the trumpeter sounded — taps. 

The following spring the remains were removed to La Grange, Ind., 
the home of his mother. 

Returning to Lieutenant Cherry's movements, on the morning after 
breaking camp at Sharp's ranch, it appears that he, intent on giving 
.the country a thorough search, divided his party into three squads, 
he taking with him Sergeant Harrington, Privates Conroy and Lock. 
About ten o'clock near Rock Creek, Sergeant Smith sent Guth to re- 
port to Lieutenant Cherry that he was in the field and get instructions 
as to what course to take. Guth, when within three hundred yards 
of Lieutenant Cherry, heard three reports in quick succession, and, 
seeing a man running across the country driving two horses, thinking 
him one of Read's party, pursued, and although the man escaped, 
Guth brought back the two horses. The man subsequently proved to 
be Sergeant Harrington, who said he thought he was being pursued 
by Read's crowd. By this time Sergeant Smith had arrived at the 
scene of the firing, where he found Lieutenant Cherry lifeless. 

Lock had trouble with his lead horse in Rock creek, and some 
words passed between him and Conroy. After riding a short distance 
from the creek. Cherry with Harrington at his right, Conroy and Lock 
in the rear, Lock, without a word, whipped out his revolver and shot 
at Conroy, but missed him. Cherry, hearing the report, looked back 
over his left shoulder and exclaimed : 

"What's that?" Lock answered that his piece had gone off acci- 
dentally. Instantaneously another report was heard and Cherry fell to 
the right of his horse dead. Lock had ridden up to his left and placed 
the pistol so close to his side that the powder burned his clothes. The 
ball grazed his arm and entered his side near his heart. Lock then 
turned again on Conroy, this time lodging a ball in his thigh, after 
which he put spurs to his horse and made for the hills west. Har- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 149 

rington became so completely dumbfouuded that he ran in another 
direction, coming into the post some time the next day, but never was 
able to give a coherent description of the tragedy. 

Lieutenant Macomb, after leaving Cherry's remains, went west 
scouting the country to Sharp's ranch, thence to McCaun's ranch, 
where he arrived next morning. Thence he learned that Lock had 
stopped there while he was in camp only a few miles distant, and that 
Lock had left the ranch going up the river. Rain, however, covered 
his trail, making it impossible to follow, and Macomb had to search 
in the general direction he understood Lock to be traveling, which he 
did for two days, but satisfying himself that Lock was not in that direc- 
tion, he returned to Fort Niobrara. Lock turned back a few miles from 
McCaun's, and that afternoon tjie mail carrier came into Fort Nio- 
brara and reported he had just seen him at Creighton's (now Gulick's) 
ranch. The commanding officer immediately detailed a party under 
Sergeant Marbach, who followed him three days through the sand 
hills south. Their horses giving out, the sergeant hired two cowboys, 
who followed him up, overtaking him at Jackson's ranch on the 
Bloody. Lock made no resistance, but begged them not to shoot. 
While he was being brought back he was in momentary dread of 
violence and begged piteously that the sergeant and his men would 
protect him. 

It will never be known whether Lieutenant Cherry met his death 
at the hands of a confederate of Read, or by a dethroned reason. Lock, 
on being captured, first pretended that he did not know anything of 
what he had done. When on being told that he had committed mur- 
der so foul, he merely said he was willing to pay the penalty. His 
friends knowing that he had been drinking hard for the past fortnight, 
reasoned that he, getting out away from drink after having had it for 
so long, riding so hard without any stimulants, had become crazed and 
was not conscious of the act at the time. The murder having been 
committed in Dakota he was taken to Deadwood for trial, but the 
evidence being so conflicting, the prosecution feared to push the case 
and a compromise was effected by which he pleaded guilty to man- 
slaughter and was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment, which he is 
DOW serving at Detroit, Michigan. 

It will be remembered Lieutenant Cherry concluded that the mur- 
derers had gone to Pierre, Dakota; also that they had murdered a 



]50 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

half breed named Bordeau. That proved the cause of their capture. 
The uevvs once at Rosebud, Indians and half-breeds started in all di- 
rections, and Tacket, one of their number, coming upon them at West 
Pierre, got the assistance of an officer, and the two, overtaking them in 
a skiif just as they were leaving shore, forced them back at the muzzles 
of their Winchesters, handcuffed and landed them in jail at Pierre. 
They were subsequently taken to Yankton, where Johnson was killed 
while trying to escape. Read was wanted at Deadwood for a murder 
in Dakota, for which he was executed in 1881. Burr disappeared and 
his whereabouts are not known. 

The torch was applied to the notorious ranch, presumably by the 
soldiers. 

Cherry's courage amounted almost to recklessness. For instance, 
at the time he was shot he was momentarily expecting to run upon the 
robbers and of course expected a fight. He had his gun loaded and 
was holding it in his right hand ready for any emergency. Although 
he had prepared himself it did not occur to him to instruct his men to 
be on the alert, and when Lock fired upon Conroy, Conroy's carbine 
Avas in the boot and his revolver in his saddle pocket, neither weapon 
of which could he get into position to defend himself. Harrington's 
gun was across his saddle, but strapped in the sling, where it rested 
easily, but in no position for immediate action. 

Had Lieutenant Cherry lived until July 16, 1881, he would then 
have seen five years of service with the Fifth cavalry. During that 
time he participated in the campaign of '77 against the Nez Perces; 
in that of '78 against the Bannocks, being placed in command of the 
Shoshone and Arapahoe scouts in the latter campaign — a merited com- 
pliment — by his regimental commander, General Merrit. He was 
adjutant to Major Thornburg, October, 1879, on his march to the 
rescue of Agent Meeker, of the Ute agency on White river, Colorado. 
In defense of that command, against a determined and sanguinary as- 
sault by the Utes under Chief Joseph, Major Thornburg was instantly 
killed, and Lieutenant Paddock, Fifth cavalry. Dr. Grimes, a surgeon, 
and several men were seriously wounded. Lieutenant Cherry, who 
commanded the skirmish line, distinguished himself by his brave 
demeanor, and held the Indians in check while the wagon train was 
neared to water and corralled, and breastworks thrown up from behind, 
thereby furnishing protection to the command for seven days, while 
waiting for reinforcements. 



HISTORICAL PA PEES. 151 

Thus ends the career of a soldier and a hero, but a man of unas- 
suming manner, genial and courteous to all, whose memory cannot be 
dimmed by lapse of years. 

The people who, through their "right of petition," had the select- 
ing of a name for the county were most of them acquainted with the 
subject of this sketch, and the name was selected by universal consent. 
They knew he shared with Captain Lawson, Third cavalry, the honor 
of saving Captain Payne, Fifth cavalry (when, after Major Thorn- 
burg's death, he had assumed command), from massacre at the hands of 
the Utes on the White river of Colorado the previous October. They 
knew that he was considered a hero, coming out of that fight with a 
record any soldier might be proud of. They knew the esteem in 
which he was held by his fellow officers, and in what respect and ad- 
miration his courage was regarded by his men. They therefore felt 
they were honoring their country by so doing. Had the war depart- 
ment followed a well established precedent, that gave Forts Phil. 
Kearney, D. A. Russell, Fred Steel, and many other military posts 
their name. Fort Niobrara would shortly thereafter have been changed 
to Fort S. A. Cherry. 



ORIGIN OF THE NAME OMAHA, ACCORDING TO THE 
INDIAN TRADITION. 



BY ALF. D. JONES, SECRETARY OLD SETTLERS' ASSOCIATION. 



Omaha, May 19. 

Editor Excelsior: In your last issue you exhibit some interest in 
the naval steamship "Omaha," apparently not only for the reason 
that it is a very fine vessel, but more particularly because it has been 
honored with the endearing name of our own city. Deeming the sub- 
ject of sufficient interest to your readers, I will endeaver to give you 
the Indian explanation of the word. The definition of Omaha, as 
communicated to me by a native interpreter of the Omaha nation of 
Indians, conveyed to my mind the following explanation: 

The Indians have a tradition that during the early history of the 
portion of the country west of the Missouri river there existed under 
the aboriginal government and customs, troubles, depredations, and 



152 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

consequent wars among themselves, conducted with considerable in- 
genuity, animation, and power between the braves of diiFerent na- 
tions. During one of those exciting and savage events transpiring 
between difi'ereut nomadic nations of that early period, when in the 
greatest heat of battle the earth suddenly opened, the ground sunk 
where the strife was greatest, and the locality of extermination be- 
came a living lake of turbulent waters in which was engulfed the 
entire force of the contending armies. All disappeared and were 
-drowned except one lone Indian who emerged from the fathomless 
■depths of that expansive abyss. 

As he arose above the agitated waters and left the splashing waves 
he looked around him with astonishment and exclaimed, "Omaha," 
meaning " I am the only one saved," or " above." The word was 
originally accented on the second syllable, and pronounced as if writ- 
ten " Mah-ha," so far as was observable by the ordinary listener, as 
the " O " was so indistinctly enunciated that it could scarcely be heard. 



OMAHA'S EARLY DAYS. 



By Alf. D. Jones, in Omaha Mercury, 1889. 



The center of attraction during the initiative steps taken toward 
laying out the city of Omaha was the original members of the Coun- 
cil Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry Company. William D. Brown was 
the owner of a claim of land over in the Council Bluffs bottoms on 
which I had laid out an addition to Council Bluffs for him, near the 
slough on the eastern side of the river. He was also the proprietor of 
a flat-boat ferry, for the authority of which I wrote the requisite 
papers and assisted him in procuring his charter from the Pottawat- 
tamie county commissioners. 

It was with much difficulty that he could navigate the river in con- 
sequence of the slough on the east side, the long sandbar in the mid- 
dle of the river and the low ground on the Nebraska side, and he 
therefore made but few trips, in which he propelled his boat with oars. 

I had suggested to him that the probability was that a town would 
be laid out on the Nebraska side and that his ferry privileges in the 
future would be of much importance. He then conceived the idea of 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 153 

starting a steam ferry. I listened to his suggestion and for the pur- 
pose of starting a town on the Nebraska side, in which I expected to 
be one of the parties, I introduced the subject to S. S, Bayliss and Mr. 
Jackson and got thera interested in the investigation. They became 
considerably encouraged to take hold and induced others to unite in 
the enterprise, and before I learned their progress they had agreed upon 
a union and I was left out. In June, 1853, they crossed the river in 
the flat-boat, went on to the plateau, out west of town, around by the 
point afterwards known as Forest Retreat, down by the Smelting 
works site, and recrossed the river. They then determined to organ- 
ize, lay out a town, and put in steam ferries. 

In July they organized with the following named members, all of 
whom were of Iowa: William D. Brown, Samuel S. Bayliss, James 
A. Jackson, Enos Lowe, Joseph D. Street, S. M. Ballard, Henn & 
Williams. Mr. Brown retained two shares and each of the other 
parties got one. Afterwards Tanner and Downs procured one of 
Brown's shares, and General Curtis the other. Dr. Lowe was president 
and was authorized to and did purchase the steam ferry, "General 
Marion," at Quincy, Illinois, and brought it up here in the fall of 
1853. The making of a grade across the slough was completed that 
year and preparations for landings on the banks of the river were car- 
ried forward. 

William D. Brown had been a sheriff in Henry county, a brick- 
maker in Mahaska, and a ferryman in Pottawattamie county, Sam- 
uel S. Bayliss came from Virginia, was going to California, and after 
getting as far as Kanesville (now Council Bluffs) concluded he could 
make a speculation by purchasing a Mormon claim on the Big Muddy 
at the foot of Miller's Hollow, which afterward was included within 
and became a prominent part of the city of Council Bluffs. James 
A. Jackson was an extensive general merchant in Miller's Hollow, 
just above Kanesville, which by my survey was included in Council 
Bluffs. Enos Lowe was a physician at Burlington, president of the 
senate, land officer at Iowa City, and at Council Bluffs president of 
the town company and surgeon in the army. S. M. Ballard was a 
physician at Council Bluffs and land speculator. Joseph D, Street had 
been an Indian agent and was a land officer at Council Bluffs. Henn 
& Williams were land agents at Fairfield. The former was a congress- 
man, and Jesse Williams had been secretary of the territory of Iowa. 
11 



154 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

The town company had a claim house consisting of logs, put up at 
the corner of Jackson and Twelfth streets in May, 1854, and in the 
previous March had employed me to explore the Elkhorn and select a 
ferry location on that stream, and a full report was made of the to- 
pography of the undulating country over which we passed, the names 
of the streams and the condition of the Elkhorn river and its valleys. 
They made an equitable division of the lots and made donations of 
lots to the Methodist church, Masons, and Odd Fellows. They 
erected a two-story brick house on Ninth street between Farnam and 
Douglas, and donated the use of it to the territory for the courts and 
legislature. It has since been torn down. They mapped out four 
public parks of one square each, two south and two north of the 
present railroad track, besides the Bluff park of one square in width 
between Eighth and Ninth streets, and extending from Jackson to 
Davenport streets, only one of which parks yet remains. 

Only two of the orignal company — Dr. Lowe and William D, 
Brown — ever resided in Omaha, and they did not move here until 
1857. My impression is that all are dead except James A. Jackson, 
who resides somewhere in the west among the cattle ranges. They 
had much difficulty in sustaining Omaha, an;l disbursed considerable 
money and donated many lots for its advancement. I defined the first 
exterior lines ever made of their claims and established the corner — 
in reality made for them the first claim ever made upon the plateau, 
in May 1854. While establishing the lines I was met near Sixteenth 
and Davenport by Mule Johnson, who informed me that I was in- 
truding upon his rights, as he claimed the quarter down to that cor- 
ner, including the present high school grounds, and I informed Dr. 
Lowe, who met Johnson at that corner, when excited words ensued 
between them, which resulted in a compromise. They agreed to di- 
agonally divide the quarter so as to give the company the high school 
square on which to locate the capitol. On the diagonal line from the 
high school to the corner of Jackson and Seventeenth I located Mar- 
ket street, which has now about all disappeared. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 155 



EARLY DAYS IN NEBRASKA. 



BY JAMES ILEE/ 



I resided in Otoe county from 1857 till the call for the Nebraska 
Second regiment of cavalry was made. I enlisted in Company F as 
a private and served fourteen months under you as colonel of said 
regiment. I resided about two miles west of the present town site of 
Syracuse — was among the less than a dozen settlers who first occupied 
that portion of the Nemaha valley. . It was twenty miles west of Ne- 
braska City, which place afforded us mail, milling, and trading facili- 
ties. 

Becoming convinced that the country could never be settled by the 
old method of fencing, I became an early advocate of the herd law, 
which made me somewhat obnoxious to cattlemen and old fogies who 
opposed the measure. After a couple of years' struggle, we succeeded 
in awakening an interest in the minds of prominent men in Nebraska 
City, who used their influence with the press to advocate the adoption 
of the fence law. In the fall of 1859 a call for a mass convention 
was made, in which convention it was decided by the republicans to 
draw party lines, and make the adoption of a herd law the issue. 
Your writer was chosen as one of the candidates to champion the 
cause. The results of the canvass showed a largely increased repub- 
lican vote, but failed by nine of electing. 

On returning home again from the service in 1864, 1 transferred my 
residence west into Lancaster county. By assisting John Cadraan and 
others, we succeeded in getting him into the legislature, and through 
him got a special land law for Lancaster and Seward counties. The 
rapid settlement of these two counties, by reason of this law, pur- 
chased the favor of a subsequent legislature to give to Nebraska an 
optional general law, which has, next to her railroads, made her what 
she is — a queen of western states. 

*This was written to ex-Governor Furnas, in response to a general request from him for notes, 
items, or descriptions of pioneer days in Nebraska. 



156 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

In 1860 the people of Otoe county began to agitate the project of a 
wagon road to Denver, or Pike's Peak, as it was then called. The 
herd law having been defeated the fall previous, and there being only 
a small belt of settlement, averaging but a few miles, west of the Mis- 
souri river, all of whom were opposed to the law (as they were pretty 
well provided with timber), I despaired of the country coming in my 
lifetime to a "paying importance." So I loaded my two wagons, by 
counsel of my wife, and started for Denver over the well-known 
" cut-off "' from Nebraska City to Fort Kearney. I was about the 
fifth team that passed over the route.* 

Our report with others proved satisfactory to Majors and Russell, 
who selected Nebraska City as their initial base and turned their 
great freight teams over it. They soon had a street across these wild 
prairies from forty to sixty feet wide, worn as hard as the street of 
an ordinary city, the entire way from the city to Kearney, and thence 
on, still wider, to Denver. With this great trade, Nebraska City felt 
secure in becoming the initial point for the Pacific railroad — being so 
much nearer to Chicago and eastern markets than any rival point — so 
secure, indeed, that her merchants and capitalists tied up their purse 
strings and refused to " come down " with inducements. The result 
bankrupted all her hopes of ever becoming anything more than a first- 
class county town, whilst Omaha "cast her bread upon the waters," in 
the proper time, and is now on the highway to the commercial su- 
premacy of the Missouri valley. 

*When near the present town of York, my little three-year-old daughter fell from the wagon 
and was run over by the right fore wheel. I took her up before the hind wheel had time to 
catch her, but after some muscular twitching of her whole body, she ceased to struggle and to 
all human appearance life seemed extinct. I laid her upon the ground and began pressing her 
breast and breathing into her nostrils, with the remark to my wife " I can't give her up," and 
after about five minutes' earnest effort, she caught her breath and continued to breathe. I 
went into camp and remained two weeks, at which time the child gave signs she would live. 
Being joined by David and William McWilliams, of Otoe county, we broke camp in their com- 
pany, ibr Denver. With the exception of an emigrant who lost his team over on the Platte, 
and who had become lost iu his search for his team, and who had been four days without food 
and water, who found my encampment and was refreshed, these were the only persons we saw 
for over three weeks. On arriving at Denver, and viewing the chances for business in the 
mining fields then worked, I decided to engage in the business of freighting. In a couple of 
weeks I started down the Watte, towards home. When near Lone Tree, we fell victims to In- 
dian rapacity, my wife receiving a wound from which she died. We reached our Nemaha 
home before her death. I am now looking at an arrow wound upon my person received at the 
same time. It was this suffering that gave me a zest for the Indian service. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 157 



PERSONAL SKETCH OF REV. MOSES MERRILL. 



The Rev. Moses Merrill was born December 15, 1803. He was 
the sixth of thirteen children. His father was Rev. Daniel Merrill, 
A. M., revolutionary soldier for three years in the Third Massachu- 
setts infantry, and afterward a graduate of Dartmouth College. His 
mother's name was Susannah (Gale) Merrill. 

The childhood home until March, 1814, of Rev. Moses Merrill, 
was in Sedgwick, Maine, where his father was pastor of the Baptist 
church. At that date the family removed to Nottingham West (now 
Hudson), N. H., where his father's ministerial labors were terminated 
in September, 1820, by recall to the Sedgwick pastorate. His son's 
school privileges were excellent, and included academy as well as dis- 
trict school instruction. His health, however, was not sufficient to 
warrant him in pursuing a college course. In appearance he was 
of florid complexion, rather small of stature, slender in form, neat in 
person, and somewhat diffident. He was so patient, that it was from 
this characteristic, noted by the Indians, that he was known to them. 
He early became a member of the church, and was licensed to preach 
in April, 1829. His young manhood was spent largely in teaching 
in or near Sedgwick. April 20, 1829, he left his home for Albany, 
N. Y., where he arrived on the 1st of May. Here he taught a select 
school until the 22d of September, when his effects were destroyed by 
fire. For a few weeks he conducted an evening school, but this was 
abandoned on the 16th of October. He then offered himself to the 
New York Baptist State Convention as a missionary among the In- 
dians of the state ; but no appointment was made. On the 28th of 
October he set out for Ann Arbor, Michigan Territory, where he 
arrived November 14. Here, with an elder brother — Rev. T. W. 
Merrill — a school was inaugurated, which was quite successful. Fre- 
quent preaching tours taught him the need of theological study ; and 
in February, 1830, he gave himself wholly to that and to preaching, 
preparatory to doing mission work among the Indians. On the 
1st of June, 1830, he was joined in marriage to Miss Eliza Wilcox. 



158 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

A correspondence with the Baptist Missionary Union was followed 
by the appointment of Mr. and Mrs. Merrill as missionaries at Sault 
Ste. Marie. There they went in the fall of 1832, reaching the sta- 
tion September 20. With them went the prayers and sympathies of 
the brethren in Sedgwick, Me., where they had spent a portion of this 
summer previous to and following ordination to the work. The en- 
suing spring they were expected by the board to settle with the Chip- 
pewas at the head of Lake Superior. Before spring this plan waa 
changed, and they were designated to go to the Shawanae Mission, Mo. 
After a brief stay there and a prospecting tour by Mr. Merrill, the 
missionary family, on the 26th of October, 1833, set out for Bellevue, 
Indian Territory (now Nebraska), 200 miles from any white settle- 
ment. This place, on the Missouri, near the mouth of the Platte 
river, they reached after severe hardships, on the 19th of November. 
(A beautiful view of this mission station may be found among the 
costly plates of the illustrated Volume of Travels by Maximillian^ 
Prince of Weid.) A school for Indian children was at once opened. 
Preaching by an interpreter speedily followed. The language was 
learned rapidly and reduced to writing. The Indians were visited, 
counseled, fed, and befriended. Along with the gospel they were 
offered the best medical treatment Mr. Merrill could give. 

The work of 1834, with the daily routine heretofore named, con- 
sisted in preparing an Otoe spelling book, a reading book making thirty 
pages duodecimo, and a hymn book. Also a manuscript for a second 
Otoe reading book. The Indians soon learned to sing the hymns of 
the little hymn book, wdtwhtl wdwdklha eva wdhonetl, 1834, 
J. Meeker, printer. 

The work of 1835 (teaching, reading to the Indians, preaching, vis- 
iting, ministering, etc., understood) was the removal of the Otoes to 
their new location, six miles from the mouth of the Platte river, on 
its northern bank. Here, in June, was built their village. On the 
13th of July, at Bellevue, the second son was born, Samuel Pearce 
Merrill, who writes this memorial. September 18 the mission family 
removed from Bellevue six miles, to the vicinity of the new Otoe 
village, into a log house sixteen feet square, just completed. Mean- 
while another and larger house was underway, and the Mission family 
occupied that the 4th of December. 

In 1836 the general work is like that gone before, only more ditfi- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 159 

cult and pressing. On the 14th of August was held the first exer- 
cise in Otoe at the school house. Quite well attended meetings 
occurred in Indian lodges. 

Similarly occupied was the year 1837. The translation and publi- 
cation of this pamphlet of Scripture was effected in June. On July 
24 the first address to the Indians in Otoe was given. The com- 
pletion of the additional mission buildings occupied some time. 

The year 1838 did not vary much from those preceding. Some 
Indians had learned to read, the Christian hymns were sung, but 
nothing further appeared than a growing knowledge of the truth. 
Mr. Merrill spent several weeks, from June onward, with the Otoes 
on their buffalo hunt. The seeds of disease (consumption) were there 
ripened. In 1839, with declining health, with greater turbulence on 
the part of the Indians, little result religiously was effected. On the 
6th of February, 1840, the spirit of this man of God passed from 
earth. His last words were that some one might be sent to take his 
place and lead those Indians to Christ. The Otoes who knew him as 
" The-one-who-always-speaks-the-truth," inquired if he whom they 
mourned had not a brother who would come and take his place. 

The journal record of hardships, losses, dangers, and narrow es- 
capes with life gives reasons enough for the quick termination of this 
mission by the death of its leader. And the scenes of lust, drunken- 
ness, lawlessness, and murder amid which the wife of this missionary 
employed herself in teaching these savages were enough to start the 
stoutest mind from its true center. Sickness, epidemics, cholera, and 
drunkenness worst of all, ravaged the tribe during these years. The 
missionary was buried on the east bank of the Missouri river, the 
Rev. John Dunbar, of the Presbyterian Board of Missions, officiating 
at the funeral. 



160 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF REV. MOSES MER- 
RILL, A MISSIONARY TO THE OTOE INDIANS 
FROM 1832 TO 1840. 



July 2, 1833. — To-day called on Mr. Joseph Charles, of Saint 
Louis; was very kindly received. He has a large garden, and he 
generously offered to put up for me the ensuing spring, without extra 
charge, any articles from his garden, as roots, plants, cious, etc., which 
I should wish. I am to write him early in the spring. Mr. Archi- 
bald E. Orme will aid in this concern. 

Mr. Charles is acquainted with Indian manners and prejudices. 
He gave me the following useful hints: First — Beware of making 
promises that may in some respects fail of being fulfilled. Second — 
Beware of handing out to them promises from government which 
may fail of being realized. Third — Do not be hasty in becoming 
familiar with the Indians or of inviting them as guests. Fourth — 
Have a full and fair understanding with the chiefs. See that the in- 
terpreters do not impose on you by giving false interpretations. Fifth 
— Beware of levity especially in presence of the Indians. Sixth — 
Be friendly — do, rather than propose to do. 

September 17, 1833. — Crossed the Platte river opposite the Otoe 
village. By imprudence in following Brother B. came near being 
drowned, but God preserved me. Rode all day with wet clothes. In 
the afternoon my horse was bitten by a rattlesnake. Was kindly re- 
ceived by Major Pitcher at the trading post. He gave me many kind 

assurances. 

******* 

September 20. — Rode eighteen miles to Otoe village. In the after- 
noon Mr. Ellsworth held a council with the Indians and negotiated a 
treaty. 

September 21. — Treaty signed — presents given — Buffalo dance. 

January 30, 1834. — Mischingayinge and Muskagaa called upon us 
and wished to pass the night. They are men of some distinction in 
the Otoe tribe, and aided us in getting Otoe words. They evidently 
worship the sun. Are pleasant, but beg for many things. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 161 

February 1. — Big Kaw, Warinase, and Voller, chiefs of the Otoe 
nation, accompanied by two or three others, called on me to-day. 
Appear very friendly. In the evening held a talk with them. 
Amidst other remarks, Big Kaw said he did not send the man for 
wine several days ago. They speak of Mr. Pitcher as being un- 
friendly. They indirectly asked for liquor. 

February 2. — Lord's Day. Meeting as usual — few present except 
Indian adults and children. In the evening held another talk at the 
request of the chiefs. It was to beg some corn and potatoes. They 
said they were very destitute ; said also that Big Kaw sent the man 
for wine above referred to. The last evening they agreed to send one 
or two children to live with me. 

February 3. — This morning they made preparations for leaving — 
begged for several things. They are evidently of their father, the 
devil, and his works they will do. God alone can change their 
hearts. My soul, hope thou in Him alone. 

* * * * *,;); ^ 

May 6, 1834. — Sent for my horse in order to visit the Otoe village, 
having heard that the Otoes have returned from the Pawnee village. 

May 8. — Found my horse. Made arrangements for leaving on the 
morrow. 

May 9. — Rode to the trading post eighteen miles from Bellevue, 
hoping to find company to the Otoe village. On my arrival found 
ten Otoe Indians had just come in to trade, and would return the 
next day. In the evening called on the Otoe and French interpreter, 
and obtained also a French and English interpreter, and made further 
translation of Scripture lessons. I have now the creation, a short ac- 
count of Christ's two prayers, and a blessing translated, besides some 
moral lessons. 

May 10. — At 9 A. m. set out from the trading house for tiie Otoe 
village in company with six Otoe men, all on horseback. The village 
is twenty-five miles distant — two rivers are to be crossed. Oncoming 
to the first river the Indians put our saddles and baggage in a skin, 
drawn up by a cord round the border of it, partly in the form of a 
boat. This was put into the water and drawn across by two Indian 
meu. They were obliged to swim only a short distance. I was 
drawn across in the same way. On our way we passed the remains of 
a human body. The chief man of our party told me he was an Omaha 



162 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

man killed two years ago by an Otoe. As we drew near to the second 
river, which is the La Platte, we halted to let our horses feed and rest. 
Whilst here one of the Indians informed me that the Otoe who killed 
the Omaha was present and pointed him out to me. He was a young 
man and did not at all blush ; but on the contrary, he himself showed 
me an ornament upon his legs which he had taken from the Omaha 
Indian. This was done in time of peace. The Otoes are a warlike 
tribe. I am informed that they have a feast of which those only are 
permitted to partake, who have obtained the appellation of "The 
braves" by killing some human being. We came to the Platte at 4 
p. M. This river is shallow, but wide, being half a mile across. The 
greatest depth of water where we crossed was not more than five feet. The 
water is low for the season. Our saddles were taken over as before ; I 
crossed on horseback. The bed of the river is sand, and is constantly 
changing. A person in crossing, unless he is acquainted with the 
river, and can judge accurately of the depth by the appearance of the 
water, is liablef to plunge in deep water before he is aware. Eight 
months ago whilst on a visit to this village, I came near being 
drowned, through the carelessness of my guide. We arrived at the 
village at 6 p. m. I was directed to the house of the principal chief. 
He was absent, but soon came in and welcomed me to his lodge. My 
horse was immediately unsaddled and taken care of by the wives of 
the chief. His house, which is among the largest of his village, is 
more than forty feet in diameter, of a circular form. These houses 
are built of posts seven feet long, set upright in the ground, upon 
which long poles are placed, reaching to the center of the roof which is 
oval. These poles are supported by beams and posts. They are then 
covered with hay and earth. At the center is a small aperture for 
the smoke to escape. These roofs are so flat that a person may walk 
over them with perfect safety. Throughout the day more or less 
Indians may be seen sitting upon them, and wrapped in their blank- 
ets or buffalo robes. The chief had been advised of my coming, and 
of my object, namely, to see the Indians and to increase my knowledge 
of their manners, customs, and language. I took with me no inter- 
preter, consequently could say but little to them. An English inter- 
preter for the Otoes is not to be found in this part of the country. 
There are several French interpreters, but ignorance of their language 
destroys their usefulness to me. I now find myself in a heathen 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 163 

lodge containing thirty souls, all gazing on me, and some trying to 
talk with me. The chief soon handed me some bread made of pounded 
corn and beans baked in the ashes. Shortly after eating the bread I 
was invited out to eat by the second chief. The repast consisted 
simply of one dish of boiled buffalo meat, without any article of food 
besides. They rarely, if ever, provide more than one dish or kind of 
provision at a meal or feast. This meat was served up in a large 
wooden bowl without knife or fork. We were all seated on the 
ground ; a kind of cushion was placed for me to sit on, and the bowl 
was placed between me and the first chief, who had been invited with 
me. (A family seldom has more than one bowl.) (The individual 
who gives the feast, unless a person of rank, does not eat with his 
guest, but waits until he is done.) No others ate till we were done. 

May 11. — Lord's day. Was invited out to eat four several times 
this morning. The principal chief accompanied me. At one of these 
feasts three chiefs were present. After the dish was removed I read to 
them my translation of the creation, and of the perfections of God ; also 
a ]>rayer. All listened attentively and with apparent j^leasure. The 
prayer contains requests for both temporal and spiritual blessings on 
the Otoes. These Indians appear to understand the meaning of 
prayer. They believe, as I am informed, that there are tv/o gods, 
one good and the other bad. And it is a common practice among them, 
when about to smoke, to offer some request to the good god, whom 
they call Waukundah, which signifies the master of life. They readily 
assent to the perfections of God. Passed most of this day at the house 
of Itan, the American name of the principal chief. Here I collected 
a few children together by showing them pictures. I then induced 
them to repeat after me the eight notes; after which they followed me 
in rising and falling them. This excited considerable interest. Itan 
was pleased and encouraged the children by occasionally taking a part 
with them. I also exercised them in saying over the alphabet. I 
had taken with me several cards, one of which contained the alphabet 
upon one side, and the eight notes on the other. Another exhibited 
the crucifixion of Christ. By the aid of these cards I was enabled to 
give them many ideas which I could not have done without them. 
They also serve to fix the attention. 

May 12. — 111 with headache and fatigue. Kead the creation and 
prayers to those in Itan's lodge. Was invited with Itan to take 



164 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

breakfast with one of his wives. He has five wives; two only live in 
his own lodge; the others have lodges of their own, to which they 
often invite the chief to eat witli them. The Indians are extravagant 
eaters, and seem to delight in nothing more than having a plenty to 
eat and nothing to do. It is now planting time. The men lay upon 
their couches or sit upon the ground and smoke their pipes all day 
long; while the women go from half a mile to two miles to plant their 
corn, often, too, carrying a babe with them. They are also required to 
bring their wood and water, which are half a mile distant. They carry 
large burthens. My heart is pained to see the task imposed upon 
these women. Oh, may the time soon come in which the men will love 
their wives as they love themselves ! The introduction of the gospel 
only can effect this. When I am invited out to partake of their scanty 
feasts, for which I have little relish, I take with me my manuscripts 
and cards and after eating, read my translation, then write Otoe words 
or sing with the children present. At evening was invited out to eat 
with another of Itan's wives, in company with himself. She is not 
more than twenty-five years of age, while he is more than fifty. The 
feast (so called by the Indians) consisted simply of boiled corn served 

up in a wooden bowl with a large horn spoon. 

***** * * 

May 13. — Rose early and walked out for prayer. Feel depressed 
in spirit in view of these perishing souls, and am faint in body for 
want of suitable food. After taking some food, I proposed to Itan 
and the second chief to visit the cornfield. I had brought with me 
a few seeds to plant. Their fields are not fenced. They lay on the 
margin of creeks. We walked a mile and came to Itan's field. Here 
were three of his wives and some others digging up the ground with 
large hoes. After we had put in the seeds I proposed to the chiefs to 
take hold with me for a few minutes and try the hoe. But they 
would not consent. (Yesterday I saw two instances of anger and 
some contention between adults.) (Read as usual.) In the evening 
an loway Indian from the white settlement arrived with whisky, 
which he proposed to exchange for horses, blankets, &c. I could talk 
enough Indian to make them understand that I considered whisky 
very bad. Itan joined with me in saying it was bad. They are, 
however, excessively fond of ardent spirits. I had before spoken 
with Itan relative to whisky as making them crazy, sick, and con- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 165 

tentious. He condemned it in the strongest terms. Said liis people 
were fools for ever getting it. I had been led to this conversation 
from learning that one chief and fifty men, all Otoes, had gone to the 
white settlements, taking with them seventy or eighty beaver skins, 
for the pnrchase of whisky. These skins are probably worth five 
hundred dollars. They have been absent ten days and are expected 
back five days hence. Itan spoke to me most decidedly against this 
course. He said he told them not to go ; and that they left the vil- 
lage in the night. I now said to myself, I shall see whether Itan is 
sincere in his remarks upon whisky. (These Indians are notorious 
liars.) 

[Mr. Merrill here refers to a loose sheet which seems to be lost.] 
May 14. — Before the rising of the sun, heard the voice of an in- 
toxicated Indian. Upon inquiry for the whisky I was informed that 
Itan had obtained some of it in exchange for a horse. This was sad 
intelligence; but was soon confirmed. In a few minutes I saw Itan 
and the next chief in rank walking together in a state of intoxication. 
Thus false are their professions of temperance. I have seen similar 
instances of falsehood in other chiefs. What else can be expected 
from the Indians at large? Itan had too much respect for me to 
make his house the scene of rioting. He resorted to the house of a 
brother. In the morning read as usual, and sung with the children. 
At 10 o'clock A. M. was invited out to eat, being faint for want of 
food. At 11 o'clock Itan and the second chief came into his lodge in 
company, both intoxicated. Itan had much to say of whisky, and 
spoke with great earnestness, addressing himself to me. He said it 
was bad — that the Indians did not make it, but that Americans made 
it. He now cursed the Americans for making whisky. I saw it 
would be of little use to say much at this time — felt depressed in 
spirit, and immediately withdrew and directed my course towards the 
river- The Indians saw that I was grieved. I had not gone twenty 
rods before I heard some one calling me. I looked back, and, to my 
surprise, saw it was the second chief, who had witnessed my retreat. 
He beckoned me to return. I returned to him and we sat down on 
the ground. I told him I felt very bad. He said whisky was very 
bad — that he had none. His object seemed to be to conciliate my 
feelings. He was but partially intoxicated. As soon as I saw his 
object I said a few words, then left him to continue my walk. After 



166 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

walking a mile, I stopped and called on the name of the Lord, and 
spread before Him the case of these poor, benighted heathens, so 
grossly imposed on by the lovers of gain. The white people have 
introduced ardent spirits among them, and created an appetite for it; 
and now, although they are forbidden by the laws of the land to take 
it into the interior for sale, yet they find ways to introduce it by oth- 
ers. May God increase abundantly the efforts put forth to check the 
distillation of liquor, until it shall be distilled only for the shelves of 
the apothecary. O blessed day! when will it come? I had not been 
at my place of retreat more than an hour before a young man, son of 
the second chief, came to me and sat down by me. I told him I was 
sorry about the whisky. I then read to him some of my translation. 
After this we walked in company to the village. Itan's lodge was 
now quiet. Some refreshment was set before me, of which I thank- 
fully partook. Not more than another hour had elapsed before Itan 
again entered his lodge. It was with difficulty he could walk. 
He now addressed one of his wives, and asked for something, I knew 
not what. As she did not readily get it he became angry, threw off 
his blanket, put back his hand for his knife to use violence. Two 
men immediately seized hold of his hands and confined him. It was 
not long before he became calm, and one man walked with him out 
of the lodge. Had no more trouble from the whisky. What I 
have seen of the effects of whisky has been accidental. The house 
of drunkenness presented, I have no doubt, a scene of wretchedness 
and strife. In the evening an Omahaw man came into the lodge and 
sung an Indian song to induce some one to give him food. He kept 
time with a kind of rattle made of a hundred small shells or pieces 
of horn attached to a stick by strings. Fatigued and distressed, I lay 
down on a few skins upon the ground to rest for the night. 

May 15. — In the morning walked out as usual for prayer. On my 
return found Itan in his lodge and sober. He again welcomed me by 
shaking hands. Felt depressed in spirits in view of yesterday's scenes, 
(and am faint for want of food. At 9 o'clock had handed me a small 
piece of bread). A young man interested himself in giving me Otoe 
words. It is a considerable part of my labor here to enlarge my Otoe 
vocabulary. The few sentences in Otoe forbidding drunkenness, theft, 
lying, and fornication, which I had with me are heard with attention 
and assented to. The agent of these Indians, who exerts a great in- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 167 

fluence among them, is known to be decidedly opposed to their getting 
ardent S[)irits. The agent is now absent. This may be a reason why 
they assent so readily to what I say on this subject. 

There is a class of men here called Washwahe, or medicine men. 
They are men advanced in life, and are the physicians of the tribe. 
To-day they had much to do for the wounded loway man before 
spoken of. I was permitted to witness only the closing exercises. The 
medicine men were sitting on one side of the lodge, and the sick man, 
naked, sitting upon the other side. When I entered the lodge the old 
men were singing, aided with beating of the drum, sound of rattles and 
small wind instruments. After the lapse of a few minutes, they com- 
menced dancing around the poor man, who was no doubt expecting to 
derive great benefit from these exercises. Near the sick man were 
placed several dishes with water. Whether or not this water was 
supposed to possess some peculiar virtue I do not know. But as they 
danced around, they took this water in their mouths, and occasionally 
would spurt it upon the head of the sick man. These exercises con- 
tinued half an hour after I entered the lodge. The spectators then 
dispersed and I followed them. How various are the delusions of 
benighted men ! I saw one of these medicine men perform the opera- 
tion of cupping on an infant at the breast. The incisions were made 
with a large penknife and the blood drawn with the mouth. This 
operation was performed four several times in succession on different 
parts of the body amidst the shrieks of the infant babe. In one in- 
stance I was applied to for medicine, which was administered with good 
success. In the evening was invited to eat with the young man that 
came to me yesterday in the field. 

May 16. — Soon after my morning walk I was invited out to eat 
with the chief. After reading my translation I collected together 
some children of the lodge and sang with them ; the chiefs in the 
meantime encouraged them by taking part. On my return to Itan's 
lodge, collected my little school together, which is now readily done. 
I told them I should return home to-morrow; and that the one who 
could this evening name the most letters should receive a present of a 
toy book. These children are ten in number. Three of them are 
more than twelve years of age, one of which is a son of Itan. Two 
of these oldest boys, after the others had dispersed for play, came to 
me as I lay upon my couch, fatigued and ill, for the purpose of learn- 



168 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ing more of the alphabet. They remained with me for an hour, ap- 
plying themselves closely, and of their own accord; in the meantime 
they sung once or twice. This sight gave me pleasure in the midst of 
my pain. In the afternoon was invited to eat with the second chief. 
I here witnessed an Indian dance of pleasure. It was performed by 
twelve young men. Their heads were adorned with feathers; their 
bodies were painted white and their faces red. (They had two poles 
eight feet in length, covered with red cloth, and adorned with feathers 
of different colors.) They stepped at the sound of the drum with fifes 
and rattles; their gestures were extremely awkward, and required a 
great deal of muscular strength ; they exhibited at various lodges. 
The young men spend much time in painting and decorating them- 
selves. (What can be done to enlist their attention? Means must be 
devised to induce them to read. Something inviting must be set be- 
fore them ; and much eifort put forth to accomplish this object.) 
(But what can be done without either an interpreter or a knowledge 
of their language?) 

At evening called the children together to read and receive their 
present. Two of them had learned twenty-two letters each. They 
can with me raise and fall the eight notes correctly. I was amused to 
see their friends come behind them and listen closely to ascertain 
whether or not the children did sing. Itan requested them to sing 
without my aid. They did so, and succeeded well. The Indians 
were much pleased with this performance. The chief then wished 
each one to sing alone. With this they complied, but not with so good 
success. I have also exercised the children on a church tune which 
they sing very well with rae. The Indians have a strong attachment 
to their children, and are extremely unwilling to be separated from 
them any length of time. In the dead of night some Indians came 
into Itan's lodge and sung Indian songs with beat of drum, sound of 
rattle, etc. 

May 17. — Arose as usual before others and walked out for prayer. 
On my return Itan, who had agreed to accompany me to my house, 
to see the school, his blacksmith, etc., asked me what I should give 
him for going in with me. I replied that I did not expect any com- 
pensation for visiting his village and could not make him any for 
visiting me. And that if he did not wish to go in I would excuse him, 
as some of his people were going in to-day. The Indians are extrav 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 169 

ugant beggars; and this was only a plea to get a present. I said no 
more and left him. I soon learned that he had sent for his horse, to- 
gether with mine, and was making preparations to go with me. Our 
horses were brought up late in the morning. Itan called the children 
together to read and sing before we left. At 12 o'clock, all things 
were in readiness, and we set out for ray residence accompanied by an 
old man and a youth. We crossed the Platte several miles below the 
former place of crossing it. Our horses were now compelled to swim. 
As we were late in starting, it was our expectation to encamp by the 
way. But having good success in getting over this river, I told them 
we could perform the route before sleeping. We had three other 
streams to cross, each of which required that we should take over our 
saddles and baggage by hand, and lead the horses. These streams are 
from two to four feet deep, the sides are extremely miry and the 
banks steep. At half-past 9 o'clock arrived at my residence in safety, 
and found my family usually well. Truly I can say, Hitherto hath 
the Lord helped me. 

* * * * >lc ^ ^ 

June 7. — The Otoe family left to-day for hunting. We had given 
a pair of pantaloons to a naked boy, but his friends said they were bad, 
and were unwilling that he should wear them because they were made 
of coarse cloth. Gave a girl, miserably clad, a calico dress. Had 
asked for a girl to live with us. They refused. After they had, as 
we supposed, all gone, the girl to whom we had given the dress re- 
turned to my house, and said she was going to live with me. She 
had, however, came without her dress or blanket. From this fact, 
and from other circumstances, we have full reason to believe it is a 
plan to get more clothing. 

* * * * * * * 

June 10. — The interpreter and a Frenchman are about sending to 
the settlement for provisions, etc. I called on the interpreter and ex- 
pressed a wish to him that he would get no more whisky. He re- 
plied that he did not know how it would be. I observed that I 
thought the agent would be sorry to learn, on his arrival, of their 
having whisky. 

June 12. — The horses were brought up and preparation made for 
the journey, but the guide refuses to go. * * * I learn that Itan 
and his band have gone east to the Missouri river to hunt buffalo. 
12 



170 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Several trappers have arrived to-day from above. There is a great 
scarcity of provisions, it is said. The Indians are living on roots. 
These men are from the Punkaws, a village of 800 or 1,000. 
They are a branch of the Kaw nation, it is said, and speak the 
same language with them, and with Omahaws. They have raised 
corn, these men inform me, but do not now. The Mendans and 
Grovouce, the Omahaws and Pawnees are the only Indian tribes 
north and west of us that raise corn. 

* * ****>{< 

June 20. — Saw an American, Mr. Greenwood, who has lived with 
Grovonts and Mandan Indians. He gives' a flattering description of 
that country, also missionary prospects. These tribes are stationary 
and live near together. They number 400 warriors each ; are friendly ; 
raise plenty of corn ; meat also is plenty. Mr. Greenwood has a Gro- 
vont woman with him. He understands and can speak the language 
of the Grovonts — his woman can speak the Mandan language, and 
understands English. He would engage as interpreter if wished. He 
has been in the country twenty-six years ; can speak most of the lan- 
guages of the upper Indian tribes. He says there is a Mandan inter- 
preter who is pious. His name is Kipp — is from New England. 
The Grovonts have just been troubled by the Sous, a powerful tribe 
of Indians. Mr. Greenwood says the language of the Mandans is ex- 
tremely hard to learn. He would serve as an interpreter for $400, 
and probably for $300, and would supply the mission family with 
buffalo meat. Mr. G. is not on friendly terms with the American 
Fur Company. He has just been fired on by the Saunte Sous and has 
lost his horses. 

* **>);***• 

October 2. — Through the kindness of God, reached home in safety. 
Found my family usually well and surrounded by Indians. They 
have taught them two tunes and two verses in Otoe. * * * 

October 3. — Sung with the Indians who are here waiting for the 
arrival of the agent. They are very fond of singing. The room is 
often filled, and mostly with men who engage in singing. Woruen 
and children join. 

October 4. — Teach them singing and reading. 

October 5. — Lord's day. Room mostly filled with Indians. First 
exercise in Otoe. Indians are attentive. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 171 

October 12. — Brethren Dunbar and Allis are with us. The agent 
and Lieutenant Lea excused themselves from attending worship. 

December 25. — Rode to Rubedouys, thirty-five miles. Learned 
that some Frenchmen left Mr. Roy's yesterday with whisky for the 
Otoes. 

December 26. — Started at daylight with the hope of overtaking- 
them. Hired an Indian guide. He went one mile and returned. I 
pursued my journey alone. After going twenty miles I lost my way 
and returned. I providentially reached a Sac lodge just at dark. 
Feel distressed in view of my detention. Pray the Lord to overrule 
it for good. In this fruitless ride I lost my tent, and had strong fears 
lest I should meet with difficulty in getting back again. But the 
Lord directed my way and preserved me. Last evening had a long 
season of singing with the Indians, most of whom are loways. I had 
been at Rubedouys but a few minutes before I heard an Otoe youth 
singing one of my hymns. I was immediately called on to lead in 
this exercise. In view of my delay, do deeply feel the importance of 
carefully improving every opportunity of accomplishing the work be- 
fore me. Through one delinquency, a great train of evils may follow. 
In the afternoon of this day, eight Otoes arrived at Mr. Roy's post. 
They had come sixty miles to exchange their furs for whisky. 

December 27. — This is not the house of God nor the gate of 
heaven. It is rather the house of Satan and the gate of hell. Dur- 
ing the past night the house has been in a bustle. So far as I could 
judge, whisky was bought and drank by the poor Indians. This is 
truly a work of darkness, but not altogether a work of darkness, for 
two kegs of whisky were carried from this house this morning by In- 
dians. At the same time several Indians at the house were drunk^ 
and one complained that the whisky was bad, because he had drank 
plentifully without becoming intoxicated. The laws of the land are 
thus set at defiance. A vicious appetite has been created by the whites, 
and is now taken advantage of to cheat and ruin these benighted 
souls. They are complaining of starvation, and at the same time 
leave their families to give away their little means of subsistence for 
whisky at an extravagant price. They will trade their horses, guns, 
and even their blankets for this poisonous drink. And in the midst of 
the enjoyment afforded by this beverage, they will quarrel, fight, and 



172 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

perhaps commit murder. How dreadful at the great day will be their 
condemuation, who carry ou this deadly traffic. Aud cau they be 
guiltless, who knowiug the evil, do not strive to correct it, but like 
the Levite and priest, pass by regardless of it? This evil saps the 
foundation of Indian reform. It is unsafe for the missionary to be 
with them at these seasons, and they often occur. Whilst the mission- 
ary is compelled to witness the sad consequences of this traffic upon 
the souls aud bodies of these heathen, he can do comparatively noth- 
ing to prevent it. He looks to God — he looks to his brethren — he 
looks to his ccuntry — he sighs and hopes the time is near when this 
snare of Satan will be broken asunder. Spent considerable part of the 
day in teaching the Indians to sing and read. The traders here in- 
form me that the Otoes sing my hymns very much. At evening, rode 
over to Eubedouy's at his request. He wanted aid in writing to Mr. 
Chouteau, the loway agent. Taught singing and reading as usual. 
Learned more of the impositions practiced on the poor Indians by 
wicked white men. * * * 

December 28. — In the morning saw a hasty separation of man and 
wife. The man (a French trader) told his Indian wife to be gone. She 
in a rage, scolded, then threw her knife at him, and in half an hour put 
up her articles and left the house, perhaps never to return, except on 
business. At noon recommenced my journey in company with nine 
Indians. They had four kegs of whisky. Called at some Sac lodges. 
Rode twenty miles. Camped by a small creek. After taking some 
refreshments I lay down to sleep. My companions in travel however 
were not inclined to sleep. They partook of their idolized beverage, 
at first moderately. I entreated them to lie down. They objected, 
saying we will not get drunk. They continued drinking and singing 
their own songs until one became intoxicated. I then arose, told them 
they were getting drunk, and I felt bad. As I arose, one of them 
was just getting the keg for another drink. I entreated them to de- 
sist. The Indian who had the keg now set it down. At this some 
were angry. The greater part, however, listened to me, or were silent. 
For some minutes the Indian stood by his keg waiting for direction to 
bring it forward, or to put it away. At length it was proposed that 
I should give them bread, and the keg should be put away. All but 
one consented to this, and the keg was put away. After I distributed 
the bread, I took the keg and put it by my pillow aud again lay down 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 173 

to rest. The Indians continued talking and singing until midnight, 
at which time most of them started on their journey, taking with them 
all their lohisky. It was a severely cold night. 

December 29. — Arose early and continued my journey in company 
with those that remained with me through the night. On asking 
why the others left in the night, I was informed that they were dis- 
pleased because I had stopped their drinking. After riding fortv 
miles we came to six Otoe lodges. Here we passed the night. I hat^ 
not been in a lodge but a short time before I was asked to sing. The 
children soon came in and joined in singing. Before I lay down the 
owner of the lodge and chief man of the place informed me that the 
Indians were going to drink whisky. He said they should not come 
into his lodge to disturb me. He accordingly left a man in his lodge 
to keep it quiet that I might sleep, whilst he went out to join the lov- 
ers of the inebriating cup. During the night he came in several times 
to see if all was quiet, himself being half intoxicated. 

December 30. — Through the night heard the voices of the drunk- 
ards ut the neighboring lodges. Early in the morning prepared to 
leave — saw some drinking Indians fighting, whilst others half 
drunken were separating them. I hastened away as fast as possible 
without receiving any harm. A drunken Indian once came into the 
lodge, but was immediately turned out. 

March 27, 1835.— OfiP at half-past 6. Met a pirogue going to Belle- 
vue, under command of Mr. Searcy, of Clay County. The boat con- 
tained eleven or twelve barrels of alcohol or whisky for Mr. Fonta- 
nelle, an Indian trader in the mountains. Alas for the poor French 
and Indians of the mountains. 

March 28. — Edward, an Omaha trader, informed me that the 
Omaha Indians sell corn at from 75 cents to %\ per bushel in trade. 
Calico is worth $1 per yard. 
* * ***** 

May 31. — Lord's day. Rev. Sam. Parker preached. Messrs. 
Dunbar and Allis present — these last mentioned have been at my 
house for several weeks. 

July 13, 1835.— At 9 o'clock p. m., Mrs. Merrill was safely deliv- 
ered of a fine son. I will again set up my Ebeuezer and say, Ilith- 



174 NEBRASKA STATE HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. 

erto hath the Lord helped me. * * * This child is a child of 
prayers. We asked of the Lord a son — He hath given us our request.* 
July 14. — At morning worship read 1st chapter of 1st Samuel, 
sung 127th Psalm L. M. ; Mr. and Mrs. Renz were present. In 
prayer dedicated our son to God. May he be the servant of God from 
the womb. Help thy servants to train him up for Thee. Help us to 
say, Do with him as seemeth Thee good. Preserve his life, his health, 
and prepare him for Thy service upon earth. 

July 13, 1836. — Birthday of our second son. Mrs. Merrill and 
myself have set apart the fore part of this day for fasting and prayer 
in behalf of this son, Samuel Pearce. Thanks be to the Lord, who, 
in answer to our petitions, gave us this dear child, and hast graciously 
preserved his life and rational powers, and restored his health. Our 
prayer is that he may grow up in the service of God. Holy Father, 
wilt Thou give Thy servants wisdom to train him up for Thee. May 
his heart be sanctified in early life, and, like Samuel of old, may he 
wait before the Lord. 

July 13, 1837. — Samuel P. Merrill is two years old to-day. Mrs. 
Merrill and myself, in accordance with our previous agreement, spent 
the morning in fasting and prayer for the welfare of this our son. 

* * * He is a pleasant and interesting child. He can repeat sev- 
eral lines of poetry. The Otoes learn him many foolish words, and 
often tease and fret him. 

* * * * * * * 

July 13, 1839. — Birthday of Samuel Pearce Merrill — he is four 
years of age. * * * We pray for wisdom to train him up for 
God. He has at times been desirous of getting a new heart, and 
asked his parents to pray for him. He has forgotten many hymns 
that he committed to memory. He is not prompt in obeying — is fre- 
quently corrected. 

September 18, 1835. — Removed my family to the mission station 
on tlie La Platte. * * * Many seem opposed to this location. 

September 20. — Lord's day. Meeting at my own residence, Avhich 
is a log building sixteen feet square, just erected by my men. 

*This sou of Mr. Merrill was the first white child born iu Nebraska. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 175 

October 13. — Doctor Whitman, a Presbyterian missionary, returned 
from the mountains. He had a prosperous journey. 

October 15. — * * * General Hughes with sixty loway Indians 
is at Bellevue for the purpose of making peace with the Omahaws. 

5lC * * * * * * 

November 12. — Have been thus far prospered in the erection of 
mission buildings. Have suffered for want of a more comfortable 
habitation. 

November 14. — Have labored hard to prepare my house as soon as 
possible for my family. 

December 4. — Removed my family into our dwelling house. 

May 15, 1836. — Doctor "Whitman arrived this evening. 

July 26, 1836.-0/ the Otoes' hunting. Most of the Otoes left for 
their summer's hunt the last of May. For some weeks previous they 
were very destitute of provisions. Most of the Otoes went west to 
the buffalo region — some south to hunt the deer and elk — a few east 
to hunt buffalo and elk. The family of Mehltrunca remained here 
through the summer, except being absent about two weeks. Itan with 
several lodges came in July 24th, — brought but little meat. The 
Otoes from the deer hunt at the south came in the 27th July — the 
Otoes from tlie buffalo hunt came in the 31st July — all complained 

of having little or no meat. 

******* 

August 2. — For several days past the Otoes have been drinking 
whisky and fighting. One Otoe man is dangerously stabbed. * * * 
Whilst drinking as above mentioned, an loway man fell into the fire 
-and was severely burnt. 

August 5. — Gave an Indian feast to the Otoe and Missouri chiefs, 
and eleven scholars. Our present number is fourteen. Some of the 
principle Otoe men were displeased at our partiality for our scholars 
in feeding them, and neglecting others. We believe that good will 
result from the labors of this day. The Otoes will see our object here 
more plainly. 

August 6. — In the spring the Otoes planted corn contrary to their 
instructions near to the village. The cattle soon destroyed several 
fields. The Otoes injured one ox. I told them that if the cattle ate 
up their corn, to let the cattle alone, and that I would give them from 
my field as large a piece as they destroyed. To-day those were called 



176 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

together whose fields were injured or destroyed, in order to accompany 
me to examine the fields and measure them. Eight fields were de- 
stroyed. The Otoes were very destitute of provision. I now feed 
several sick people. The Otoes are in great fear of the Sous. 

August 14. — Lord's day. At 11 A. M. had exercises in Otoe at the 
S. house for the first time; twenty-five or thirty were present. The 
chiefs promised to attend, but failed. Some loways arrived to-day 
Avith whisky, wishing to get horses. Four horses were soon given 
them. How wretched are these souls ! Complaining of starvation, and 
giving away horses for whisky! Many of them are sick — am daily 
administering to them, and giving to them a little hard corn. This is 
the third or fourth season of drunkenness since their return from 
hunting. 

August 21. — Lord's day. Yesterday and to-day at family worship 
several Otoes were present, and we read and sung in Otoe first. Met 
(for the first time) for religious worship, at an Otoe house (Wid- 
ronesd's), twenty-five or thirty present. Most are absent at their fields. 

All are quiet and some attentive. 

******* 

September 3. — Iskutupe, son of Jokdpe, died last night — he has 
been ill ten or fifteen days. Was under the care of Otoe physicians. 
Several times sent him coffee and bread. Twice by request gave him 
purgative medicine. His illness was ague and fever — at last fever 
only. He died immediately after coming out of their steaming house. 
This morning visited the house of mourning. It was painful to wit- 
ness the wailings of these heathen. They weep as they that have na 
hope. They say their friend is lost. Some old men who had killed 
their enemies and stolen horses, gave to the spirit of the deceased the 
virtue of these deeds of bravery that it might go happy to the world 
of spirits. For this gift the old men received presents of cloth. 
Wailing continued among the relatives till 11 o'clock A. M., at which 
time two persons took the body of the deceased, which was wrapped 
in a skin and blanket, and bore it slung on a pole, to the grave. After 
the body followed the relatives bearing articles and provisions for the 
deceased to be interred with the body. The body was placed in a 
sitting posture one or two feet underground, with a covering of poles,, 
mats, and earth. The relatives buried the body; none others except 
myself and wife were present. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 177 



September 5. — Administered medicine to the sick. For several 
days past have visited a sick woman with a child of ten days — she has 
the ague and fever, and is near to death. Her husband is also sick 
in another lodge. This woman lies day and night alone in a skin 
lodge, unable to help herself I have expostulated with her sister 
and relatives, but in vain. I have visited her twice a day and uni- 
formly find her alone, and miserably destitute of food and raiment — 
have occasionally sent her food, and have induced her friends to send 
her food. She lies without complaining of her situation. How 
wretched is the condition of the Indians in this life! * * * 

September 6. — Visited the sick at the village at 6 a. m., gave nine 
potions of medicines, returned at 10 a. m. wearied and faint. The 
woman spoken of yesterday is still alive, but dying. Sat by her 
a while. Some of her relatives came and looked into the lodge. I 
went out to them and tried to induce them to go in and sit beside her, 
but in vain. I heard others of her relatives, or the same, soon after, 
in another lodge lamenting her death — this was false ado. The poor 
infant (shall I say it?) was taken out of the lodge last night by the 
hungry village dogs, and eaten. Alas for the poor Indians! Their 
estate is darkness and death. The woman died before noon. * * * 
Messrs. Dunbar and Satterlee have arrived at Bellevue. 

October 14. — Visited Bellevue in expectation of attending the 
proposed treaty with the Sous, Omahaws, and Otoes. The agent and 
sub-agent, Major Pitcher, jiropose to give the above tribes in mer- 
chandise $4,500 for a quitclaim to all lands on the northeast side of 
the Missouri river. The agents also in the same treaty propose to give 
to the Otoes, in view of destitute situation by reason of removal, 500 
bushels of corn at their village next April, also give the Omahaws one 
farmer and break up and fence 100 acres of land. Thanks to the 
Lord who put this into the hearts of the agents. May this treaty be 
ratified in due time, and these poor Indians be benefited thereby. 

November 3. — For some time past have been assisting in complet- 
ing the school house, which was to have been done before this time. 

December 3. — Br. Curtis and wife have been waiting on the other 
side of the Platte till to-day for an opportunity of crossing over. 

December 15. — Am this day thirty-three years of age. In review- 



178 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ing the last year I see much cause of gratitude to God. He has at 
times caused me to rejoice in Him — He has preserved the lives of the 
mission family — He has given us general health — He has given us 
needed assistance in secular labors ; He has caused the earth to bring 
forth corn for us ; He has preserved our dwelling and substance, save 
one ox ; still more, He has located one-half the Otoe tribe at this 
place ; He has caused a field to be opened for them ; He has given us 
favor in their sight ; He has prospered us in some degree in teaching 
the youth, and imparting religious instruction ; He has caused the 
truth to make a deep impression on the minds of some of the mission 
family who were enemies to God ; He has sent on two servants to 
labor as missionaries among the Oraahaws; He has also preserved 
and provided for Moses D. [the eldest son, who was left in the east 
when his parents came as missionaries] ; He has prepared a sister in 
the flesh to die in peace with a glorious hope of future blessedness ; 
He has prospered His servants at home and abroad (I mean all His 
devoted children) in their work of faith and labor of love. What 
shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me? Thanks 
and praise be unto His blessed name. May a sense of His goodness 
rest upon me from this time forth, for it is of His mercies that I am 
not consumed. May the ensuing year be a year of the right hand of 
the Most High in building up His kingdom in this dark land. Help 
thy servant to be careless for the things of this world, and more for 
the things of the next — to have more regard for others and for the 
things of God, and less for myself — to have my missionary work con- 
tinually before. Leave me not to retaliate in any degree, but help 
me patiently to endure evil, and seek the good of those who may in- 
jure me. In short, quicken me, I beseech Thee, and help me to seek 
first Thy kingdom and righteousness. Amen and amen. 

December 19. — Br. Curtiss removed his family to the school house 
yesterday, having been with me two weeks. 

5(! ***** * 

March 12, 1837. — Feel depressed at times in view of my prospects 
among the Otoes. Have been three years in their country ; but what 
have I done for them? The first year and a half I was situated at 
the agency, twenty-five miles from the Otoe village. My means of 
support were so scanty that most of my time was necessarily taken up 
in attending to worldly matters, providing for my family. The next 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 179 

year was uiuch taken up in erecting mission buildings. Have ob- 
tained a scanty knowledge of the Otoe language. Have not the 
means of obtaining an interpreter. Cannot at home have access to 
one. Have not the means of obtaining the confidence of the Indians 
as practiced by the traders — namely, feeding them and giving pres- 
ents; and also by being familiar with them through an interpreter, or, 
what is still better, by a knowledge of their language. By adminis- 
tering to the sick I have gained the good will of many — by making 
some translations have prepared the way, I trust, for future good. 
What now are my prospects of benefiting the Otoes? I cannot ex- 
pect a good interpreter, nor can I expect the means of feeding the 
Otoes and making them presents. How then shall I gain their con- 
fidence, without which I cannot hope to benefit ? Their influence is 
now wholly on the side of sin and Satan. They are led away by 
their own lusts, and by wicked white men whose sole object is worldly 
gain. How shall this influence be brought over to the side of truth 
and righteousness ? The answer seems to be this, By the acquisition 
of the Otoe language, the faithful preaching of the word of God, ac- 
companied by the Holy Spirit to their hearts and consciences. If an 
interpreter could be obtained, yet the gospel could not be imparted by 
this channel in its purity. Even through a pious interpreter it might 
lose much of its excellence. When our Saviour sent forth His dis- 
ciples to preach the gospel he did not provide for them pious inter- 
preters, but gave them a knowledge of the language in which they 
were to preach. * * * 

March 18. — Several families have returned to the village this week. 
A young Otoe man accidentally shot to-day a daughter of Kratlgawa. 
Hopes of recovery are entertained. Other evils have occurred during 
my absence, namely, Itan accidentally shot a girl through the leg. He 
purposely stabbed a man (Tehokamdner) though not the person he 
intended (Wdkrerlkwa) it is said. Mekahl stabbed mortally Mr. 
Bebee, a Frenchman, at Mr. Roy's. Much intemperance has prevailed 
among the Otoes the past winter. Mr. Allis, [a missionary to the 
Omahas] and Fawfaw have been threatened by intoxicated Otoes. 
Some sober Indians have demanded food and were angry for denial. 
The traders have spoken against the missionaries, saying, God was 
angry with the Otoes for having such people with them, and therefore 
was killing them. Two of our scholars died the last fall. Most of 



180 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

those that died were taken ill at Roy's trading house. The Indians 

forget the evils they inflict on each other while intoxicated. 

* * * * * * * 

March 29. — Mr. Case [the farmer] had difficulty with Otoes yester- 
day and to-day. Kratlgawa and Hlcekeglka came to the other side of 
the Platte river and wished for a canoe, which belonged to Mr. Case, 
an Otoe farmer. He proposed to go with the canoe and bring them 
over, provided they would duly compensate him in advance. They 
did not do this, and he refused to let them have the boat. He had 
been using the canoe in the Platte, and as he was taking it to his house 
the Otoes seized the canoe and took it from him. He, however, at 
first resisted; one of the Otoes, Wdpohlgkl, drew his knife and threat- 
ened to stab him, at which Mr. Case struck him on the arm and 
knocked his knife out of his hand. The Otoe again seized the knife 
and renewed the attack. Mr. Case fled, the Indian followed, but be- 
ing outrun he took a bow with arrows from one near by him, and 
threatened to shoot, Mr. Case still running. This occurred yesterday. 
To-day Mr. Case has been in continual fear. Some whisky arrived 
this morning, and after Wdpohlgkl and others were drunk, he said he 
would kill Mr. Case, and made an attempt to break into his house, but 
was prevented from doing injury by Hlcekeglka. It is but a few weeks 
since an Otoe killed a Frenchman near ihe mouth of this river with- 
out any provocation. He was in a state of intoxication. Within a 
few mouths, knives have been drawn on Mr. Allis and Fawfavv at 
Bellevue, and on Robert Doherty and Mr. Case at the Platte river. 
To what will these things grow unless a speedy check be put upon 
them by punishing the murderer and aggressors (Mikahl). A pad- 
lock was shot from my corn house door by an angry Otoe. Another 
Otoe, a young man, came into my house in my absence and demanded 
bread. Mrs. Merrill gave him a piece, which he at first refused ; 
afterwards he took it and with violence threw it on the floor and de- 
manded more, which was refused him. He said he would kill both 
her and me. He soon went out and shot a ball through my wagon 
bed. He stated, and others have said the same, that Mr. Roy says, 
that it is not good for a teacher to be here, that God was angry with 
the Otoes for keeping him, and on that account was killing those that 
had been learning to read ; two of whom had died. Other Otoes say 
that Mr. Rubedouys tells them the same thing. This subject is not 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 181 

named to a few, but it appears that many, if not most of the Otoesare 
thus filled with prejudice against having a teacher; at least, this con- 
versation has this tendency. 

April 1. — Intemperance still prevails — Itan has come and the com- 
pany. It is said that he discharged his pistol this evening at Robert 
Doherty. Mr. Case appears to feel, as I understand, very unsafe at 
his residence. Considerable part of this week has been taken up in 
attending on the sick in my own family. * * * Itan and Hlce- 
keglka are at the village, together with forty or fifty others. One in- 
fant child recently died here. * * * 

April 3. — The Otoes are so troublesome that my neighbors have 
requested me to draw up a petition for the establishment of troops 
near here. This evening some of the Otoes broke into the dwelling 
house of Joseph L. Dougherty and stole sugar and bacon. Mr. Case 
has resolved upon removing from the Otoe village, so that the mission 
family alone will remain near the village, Messrs. Gilmore and Dough- 
erty having already commenced removing. 

April 9. — Most of our scholars are absent this week on a short 
hunt. Itau's wives have left him and their village. The agent is 
looked for daily. * * * 

April 14. — Two men from a trading expedition in the Indian coun- 
try called on me to-day. They state that one-half of the furs pur- 
chased in the Indian country are obtained in exchange for whisky 
They also* stated that the Shiennes, a tribe of Indians on the Platte 
river, were wholly averse to drinking whisky but five years ago — now 
(through the influence of a trader, Captain Gant, who by sweetening 
the whisky induced them to drink the intoxicating draught) they are 
a tribe of drunkards. 

April 27. — Three chiefs have come to the village and many Otoes. 
Most of our scholars are in and read daily. 

April 28. — Gave a second feast to scholars. The present week have 
had an average attendance of seventeen scholars, mostly young men of 
the first families. Thanks to God for present success. We hope soon 
to have a number able to read with readiness. Soon after dinner re- 
ceived intelligence that the wives of Itan, who absconded a few weeks 
ago, had returned, together with the two young men who had taken 
them. The chief had previously declared that he would kill one of 
the young men the first opportunity. He was not in the village at 



182 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

the time the young men came in. He had to pass the mission house 
after he received the intelligence; and as he passed, walking rapidly, 
Mrs. Merrill and myself went out to see him and dissuade him from 
his purpose. We pled with him, but in vain. We warned him of 
the consequences, but to no effect. He was determined upon revenge, 
and hastened on his way. The two young men, aware of the design 
of the chief, had entered the village singing the war song as a kind of 
challenge. They had taken their stand in some timber near the vil- 
lage with weapons of death. Mr. Martin Dorion, the interpreter, ac- 
companied the chief, endeavoring to pacify his rage and prevent strife; 
but to no purpose. The chief fired a musket at one of the young 
men, (and discharged a pistol at him afterwards) and missed him. In 
a moment one of the chief's friends shot the same young man, on 
which he fell. He, however, soon raised his rifle and shot the inter- 
preter through the right arm, and the chief through the body. Im- 
mediately, a brother or near relation of the one first wounded shot 
Itan a second time, on which another of Itan's friends shot him 
through the body. Soon a third young man shot Itan through the 
body. He then shared the same fate of his predecessor. These three 
young men are Otoes, and died the same evening. Their names are 
Wdkrerlkwa, Hrokajkone, and Hehakjifa. The men that shot them 
are Plgaifa, Hrvanufa, and Mokagawa. Itan died the same evening. 
It is said that twelve rifles and two pistols were discharged in this 
quarrel. Two of the young men shot were scholars, two of those that 
shot them also were our scholars. These latter two have fled to es- 
cape death. Alas for the poor Otoes ! 

April 29. — The Otoes are in great agitation, and full of revenge. 
One part are eager to revenge the death of their chief; the other part 
are equally eager to revenge the death of the young men. In some 
instances the same family are divided on this subject. It is said that 
two of three remaining chiefs are striving to restore peace. But so 
far all is vain. Many have fled for their lives. It appears that a 
grudge has long subsisted in the breasts of some against that part of 
the tribe called Missouri. Mehlhunca is represented as at the head 
of this matter, and is seeking the destruction of that part of the tribe. 
The first man of this part of the tribe came to the mission to-day for 
protection. It is firmly believed that there are many Otoes now in 
pursuit of those men .engaged in the contest — particularly those en- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 183 

gaged with the chief; and if they find them will certainly kill them. 
One young man to whom I had lent my horse to ride a short distance 
was fired at several times. 

* * 5); * * * * 

May 1. — A young Pawnee man has for same reason strayed here 
alone. He came to my house this morning. Soon after some Otoe 
young men came in and wished to decoy him out of my house for the 
probable purpose of taking his life. Have kept him in my cellar safe 
from harm. The old men (Otoes) wished me so to do. 

May 7. — Lord's day. Major Dougherty and Lieutenant Thomson 
arrived here. Brother Curtiss is about going to the settlement for 
men to erect a dwelling house. 

May 26. — Witnessed the delivery of annuities to the Otoes and Mis- 
souris. Counted the number of married men present — 190. There 
were probably ten or twenty absent. In the distribution of the an- 
nuities among themselves, there was at close much confusion and insub- 
ordination. The powder, lead, and tobacco were taken away without 
the knowledge or the consent of the chiefs, so that they and many 
others had very little, if any, of these articles. In the division of the 
flour, also, they were so furious that half a barrel was wasted, as I was 
informed. These last circumstances were not witnessed by me, as I 
left before the division, and soon after the delivery. The agent re- 
quired these Indians to make some reparation to J. Bernard for kill- 
ing his swine. He also reproved them for their intemperance. He 
also spoke to them of the importance of living in peace among them- 
selves. It is evident that there is much alienation of feeling among 
them. And more than this, they are still thirsting for the blood of 
one another. A horse was taken to-day from one party by the other. 
Another storm seems approaching which threatens to scatter, and per- 
haps destroy them. 

May 29. — To-day the agent delivered to the Otoes the balance of 
the 500 bushels due them by treaty. After this the chiefs and prin- 
cipal men, in council, requested the agent to deliver them their next 
year's annuities in money instead of goods. They also declared their 
wishes for peace. 



184 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

June 3. — Mr. Vasquez, from a trading fort on the south fork of the 
Platte, called on me to-day. His location is 500 miles above this 
place, and within ten or twenty miles of the mountains. One of his 
men found a shot gun and pouch ten or twenty miles above Grand 
Island, and sixty or eighty miles above the Pawnee villages, belong- 
ing, as they state, to Doctor Satterlee, who recently went out on the 
winter's hunt with the Pawnees as a physician and missionary. He 
left here last fall. In January he left the Pawnees in company with 
Mr. Sublette and two Pawnee men on a visit to the Shyenues — he 
spent one month at the fort above spoken of, and left there on the 
■30th of March to return to the Pawnees. The two men stated that 
they left the doctor six days' travel from the Pawnee villages with his 
horse unable to travel — it was done at his request, as they state. If 
the above statement be true, the doctor must have pursued his journey 
to this place, and there, in consequence of sickness or starvation, or by 
the hand of some ruffian, ended his toils upon earth. Doctor Satterlee 
had been in this country less than a year. 

The Omahaws received their annuities to-day. At the close of the 
day some disturbance took place between them and the Otoes, also 
among themselves. The agent had previously left on his return home. 
Alas for the poor Indians ! 

July 28. — A steamboat arrived at Bellevue with 100 Putawatamie 
Indians, accompanied by Gen. Atkinson, Col. Karney, Indians, and 
Dr. E. James, sub-agent. These Indians, with many others of the 
«ame tribe, are to locate on the other side of the Missouri. 

August 24, — Mehlhuuca, the second Otoe chief, called this morning 
as usual, and took breakfast. He returned yesterday from a visit to 
the trading post above, having been absent two days. He stated that 
the traders (La Force and Roy) told him it was bad for their teacher 
to live near them — that he (the chief) was no better for it — that I gave 
him not fine clothes, no sugar and coiFee — that I did not feed the Otoes, 
nor feed and clothe their children. After we had endeavored to do 
away the prejudice from his mind, and to show him the evil of in- 
temperance, I left him with Mrs. Merrill. He soon became angry; 
said he was going immediately to the trading post to get whisky in 
exchange for horses. How long shall this evil prevail here like an 
overflowing stream? O that God would, in mercy to these poor souls, 
speedily dry up the fountains of this poisonous stream. The chief ex- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 185 

pressed much opposition to the Piittawatomies, locating on the other 
side of the Missouri, and eating up their game. Our prospect of ben- 
■efiting the scholars is again cut off for awhile, as they fear, or dislike 
to come in such a state of things. Visited the sick this morning as 
usual, finding most of them better. O that God would raise up a 
•deliverer for this people; that is, an officer of government who would 
DOt fear to do his duty in prosecuting those who, regardless of the 
laws of their country, sell ardent spirits to their red brethren. The 
Otoes inform me that Mlscaifa with several other Otoes have robbed 
the caches of one of the Pawnee villages (I believe the Grand Pawnee 
village), and brought away five horses loaded with robes, coats of great 
men, etc. 

August 26. — Visited the sick this morning and administered to 
them. The chief accompanied me on my return home. He appeared 
•calm and conversed in good humor. He spoke of removing to the 
other side of the Platte river, and twelve or fifteen miles above. He 
said it was not good to live near the white people on account of the 
joung men, women, and children stealing from them. This was his 
pretended reason. He had before said that the white people did not 
give the Otoes food and clothing, and that the traders had told him 
that if he and his people would remove away from the white people 
(that is, the teacher, farmers, and blacksmith), they would make them 
presents. The true cause of all this complaint against the white peo- 
ple is evidently this : The white people use their influence in exposing 
intemperance, and consequently injure the trade of these retailers of 
ardent spirits. They therefore wish to get the Otoes by themselves. 
We have at present nine scholars — to these we give a piece of bread 
€very day they read. As soon as the other scholars come in we pro- 
pose doing as heretofore, namely, giving them a dinner once a week. 
This morning the scholars expressed much dissatisfaction because we 
■did not feed them abundantly, and said they would not read. The 
ohief, whom we have fed almost every morning, said it would be good for 
me to buy flour and pork and feed him, and not always give him corn 
bread and butter with a little dried beef. This chief has been seated 
with us at our table and partook with us. The traders do much to 
alienate these Indians from us. Our hope is in God alone. * * * 
In the afternoon. Dr. Edwin James and his wife and son called on us 
to pass the Sabbath. Walked with him to the village to see the sick. 
13 



186 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

he approved of the course I have pursued towards them. We called 
on the chief and had a talk; I acted as intepreter. The agent told 
him that he wished the Otoes not to visit the Puttawatomies much, as 
some of them are intemperate, and they might quarrel. 

August 29. — Visited the sick — two new cases of feverish habit ; 
administered to them as usual. At evening visited again. Re- 
ceived a letter from Dr. Whitman of May 5, 1837, dated Wieletpos, 
near Wallah Wallah, Oregon Territory. Mrs. Spaulding's health 
was improved by the journey. They arrived at Wallah W. on the 
3d September. At that place they found abundance of provisions. 
The missionaries have located themselves in two places. Dr. Whit- 
man has erected a habitation in Spanish style, namely, of clay bricks 
dried in the sun. They are twenty inches long, ten inches broad, and 
five inches thick. The doctor has put in twelve acres of corn and one 
of potatoes — had sowed peas and barley. The doctor has the aid of two 
Oroyhe men and a half-breed girl. He is located 300 miles by water 
from Vancouver. Freight one dollar per hundred. Articles cost 
him about the same as at Bellevue. Those Indians had not before 
cultivated corn — they now all labor without exceptions. They also 
look to the missionaries for instruction on all subjects, even how to 
inflict chastisements for offenses. 

August 30. — Brother Curtiss, a Baptist missionary, came early thi& 
morning, having lain out all night. He has selected his location on 
Blackbird creek, fifteen miles below the Omahaw village and about a 
hundred miles above the mouth of the Platte river, and one-fourth 
mile from the Missouri river, the main channel, however, being a mile 
from his location, being separated by an island. The company lost 
their way in going up and went out to the Platte river. The report 
of the 27tli inst., relative to the Sous killing six Americans at the 
Pawnee villages is contradicted. It is stated that Mr. Gray, a mis- 
sionary who accompanied Rev. Mr. Spauldiug and Dr. Whitman over 
the mountains last year, was returning with several Indians of that 
section to solicit more aid, and that 350 miles above here, on the Platte 
river, they were attacked by 200 Sous, who killed five of the Indians 
and took several of their horses. An Otoe from the buffalo hunt has 
come in to-day. He says the Otoe children and some adults have the 
sraall-pox. They are expected in within ten days. Br. Curtiss 
expects to remain from four to six weeks and then go again to his 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 187 

mission station, either with or without Sister Curtiss. She may re- 
main a short time longer. 

September 1. — Was called to visit a sick woman at Bellevue this 
morning. Mrs. Merrill accompanied me. Since the traders have 
spoken so much against reading, etc., the scholars have been less punc- 
tual in attendance. On our return were overtaken by an Otoe man 
who had been to the upper trading post (Roy's & Co.) He said Mr. 
Roy talked to him a long time and told him that I was continually 
sending letters to the agent, the president, and others, relative to the 
misconduct of the Otoes ; that if the Otoes did not have money soon 
(I do not not know whether reference was made to their payment next 
spring and the present scarcity of money, in consequence of which 
some Indians are paid in part with goods where money was due, or a 
payment sooner of which they have had no expectation, but probably 
the former, fearing that the Otoe payment might be made in part with 
goods, in which case he would lose his cash trade with them), I should 
be the cause of it ; that I was bad and ought to go away from the 
country, etc., etc. Mr. Roy told him, he said, to tell this matter to the 
chiefs and all. I told him these were false statements; that I was 
sorry that Mr. Roy had talked to him thus ; also, that one of the 
Pawnee teachers was expected to go among the Putawatomies, and that 
their agent wished for more teachers and would be glad to have me go 
there too. I told him I should not go, but would live with the 
Otoes. He said it was good for me, and that Mr. Roy's talk was bad. 

September 2. — Visited the sick this morning — have one patient only, 
son of the chief — he is threatened with the pleurisy. The chief and sev- 
eral others spoke to me relative to going to live with the Putawatomies. 
I told them I should not go. They replied with much interest that it 
was good to remain with the Otoes. * * * 

January 31. — Feel depressed in view of things here, and of my 
own want of faith and zeal. * * * My wish is to convey to these 
Indians the knowledge of salvation; but alas how is my time otherwise 
taken up ! First, I am called to visit the sick among the Indians ; 
second, among the white settlers around; third, attend to the Indians 
as they come and go, and taking charge of articles left by them when 
hunting ; fourth, attend on the calls of the agent, both when he is here 
and when absent; fifth, reading, talking, and preaching to the Indians; 
sixth, preaching to the whites ; seventh, correspondence; eighth, at- 



188 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

tending to the concerns of providing for my family, in getting a hired 
man and girl and in overseeing matters. Am now doing domestic 
labor. 

August 18. — Sent a request to Messrs Dunbar and Allis [Pres- 
byterian missionaries] and Curtiss, to attend a temperance meeting 
at the Otoe village on the 21st inst. Spoke to Robert to interpret for 
me on the Sabbath as in time past. Mrs. Merrill reproved him and 
Benjamin for passing a night in the village at a dance. They both 
took great offense. 

August 19. — Lord's day. Robert did not attend. Visited the vil- 
lage at 10 A. M. for the purpose of holding a meeting. Found them 
about collecting for a feast at the lodge of Joklpe. Spoke to them at 
length of the history of Job. At noon held Bible class, and at 3 p. 
M. held conference. * * * 

August 21. — The expected assistance at temperance meeting did not 
arrive. For this reason and some others, the meeting was deferred till 
tomorrow. Received a visit from Captain Gantt, Mr. Papin, and two 
daughters of Mr. Harding. 

August 22. — Temperance meeting at the lodge of the Pipestem at 3 
p. M. Thirty chiefs and braves present. Spoke to them of the two 
roads, temperance and intemperance. Showed them the result of tem- 
perance and intemperance, of giving their horses, etc., for ardent 

spirits. 

******* 

August 25. — It is said that fifty loways are near (at AVeeping Water) 
with fifteen kegs of whisky for the Otoes. They wish to obtain 
horses. At 11 o'clock a. m. gave a feast to twenty-five chiefs and 
braves in order that I might give them another talk on temperance. 
Endeavored to show them the folly of giving their horses for 
"whisky. I fear for the Otoes lest they give themselves up to intem- 
perance. My address was well received. At evening the loways came 
into the village with their whisky. It is said that a son of Pipestem 
whilst in a state of intoxication broke a keg of whisky. His father 
•came to the mission filled with fear for the consequences. 

August 26. — Lord's day. It is said the whole village, with few ex- 
ceptions have been drinking ; among them are a few temperance mem- 
bers. Two men have been stabbed and cut badly, Wdoka and Hajl- 
raka. Wdnimeuo has also been beaten, and his ear cut off. It is also 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 189 

said that the Otoes have given the lovvays (6) six horses. * * * 
The loways left the village last night from fear arising from the 
wounding of Wdjoka. Gave breakfast to eight or ten men who have 
not drank whisky. A little after noon Wdjoka died of his wounds^ 
His friends were greatly enraged, and for some time were bent on 
taking the life of the murderer. Shkeca is wounded; Wdnimeno, son 
of Carwtoifa, and, it is said, many others. 

August 27. — Gave a feast to fifteen scholars and five chiefs. The 
Otoes who have been intoxicated deny it. They are ashamed to have us 
know it. At evening eight or ten Sacks arrived with one keg or more 
of whisky. 

September 15th. — Visited the sick at the village twice to-day. In 
consequence of the late deaths the Otoes are dissatisfied with the 
whites. They say that they have listened to the whites and now they 
are dying off. The Otoes tell me that the traders say if I were not 
with them they would make presents of whisky to the chiefs. The 
Otoes also say that the Putawatomies and Winnebagoes tell them that 
they have killed many whites, and sing about it. It is positively af- 
firmed that one of the braves, Klhikaifa, who has recently lost a son, 
is getting up a war party against the Kansas. I spoke to the princi- 
pal chief of the importance of stopping it. Am informed that he 
sent a man to request him to desist. 

September 27. — Am informed that all the chiefs except Noakeglka 
have been intoxicated — there has been some quarreling among them. 
The Pipestera has fallen into the snare. * * * Have received a 
visit from Mr. Smith, a Catholic priest from the Putawatomies. He 
has sprinkled a hundred children and adults of the Putawatomies; 
has a small school — proposes, as soon as permanently located, to take 
a hundred children of different tribes and board them. He adminis- 
ters to the sick. 

February 11, 1839. — For three days the Missouri Indians have been 
removing over the Platte for the purpose of forming a separate village, 
either at the mouth of the Saline or near the mouth of the Platte. 

February 12. — To-day held a meeting at the mission house ex 
pressly for the women. The women absent themselves from the meet- 
ings on the Sabbath by the wish of the men. The room was filled 



1'90 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

•with them. Rejoice at this opportunity of teaching them the word 
of God. After meeting gave them a little bread. It is a custom 
among these Indians that whoever convenes them will give them 
something to eat. This feeling may be the greatest inducement for 
them to attend, but I pray it may not be the greatest good resulting 
from their assembling to hear the gospel. 

February 19. — Called the chiefs and principal men and proposed 
to them to open an English school at the school house for their chil- 
dren of from six or eight to ten or twelve years of age, including 
about twenty scholars. They were much pleased with this proposal. 
I informed them of the necessity of prompt attendance in consequence 
of the difficulty of obtaining the language. I proposed to give the 
children a little bread daily at the close of the school. I also told 
them that the white people would probably soon locate near them, 
and therefore it was of the more importance for their children to 
learn English, which would require several years. 
;Jt * * * * * * 

May 30. — Went up in the steamboat to the issue house. Before 
noon received a letter from Mrs. Merrill stating that the Otoes 
or other Indians had threatened to rob the mission house last night, 
and requesting my return. Accordingly returned ; after a season of 
conversation and prayer and consultation, thought the Otoes would be 
more peaceful, seeing they were detected in their trick. The few 
Otoes here said that the Sous were here, and so feigned themselves 
Sous, came round ray house at night before the doors were closed, 
and when Mrs. Merrill attempted to shut a door one pointed iiis gun 
at her to shoot her. My family remained in the chamber all night — 
had Otoes guns to defend themselves. Presuming they would be more 
quiet, I returned to Bellevue to pursue my journey to the settlement 
for medical advice. Had some query as to duty in the case. 

May 31. — Early in the morning left Bellevue in steamboat for 
Leavenworth. The Otoes renewed their attacks last night at my 
house — that is, they came round, pretending to be Sous. One of 
their party was providentially kept in the house this night. No at- 
tack was made. My family had continued alarmed throughout the 
night, expecting the Indians to break in and murder them. My fam- 
ily had some neighbors with them at night — kept in readiness for 
attack. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 191 



August 1. — The way before us is dark. We would cheerfully take 
iu Otoe children to board, clothe, and teach if we could remain here 
quietly. The young men are very impudent and troublesome, and no 
one to restrain them. To-day a boy of twelve or fourteen years was 
displeased with me because I did not buy of him an article which he 
wished to sell. After I went out he said, in the hearing of Mrs. 
Merrill, that he was angry and wished to kill a white man — he was 
brave, etc. As soon as I heard of his foolish talk, I told him to 
leave the house and not talk thus. Soon after he returned with a gun 
and an ill-disposed young man to revenge being turned out or sent 
out of the house. The young man came with his knife drawn to in- 
quire into the matter. I had just before conferred favors on this 
young man, and he had promised to do better. I now referred him 
to his promise, and the favor showed him. He yielded, and they went 
away. The chiefs are afraid to call these young men to account. We 
are thus, in a manner, at the mercy of these worthless young men. 
* * * We sometimes fear that we shall be compelled to leave, at 
least for a time, our field of labor. We hope the time is not distant 
in which these Indians will be brought into due subjection, that we 
may successfully pursue among them our labors. * * * j have 
a hired man, but I cannot safely leave home for a day lest they dis- 
turb my family. It is now with difficulty that I can get along with 
them. Formerly Mrs. Merrill felt perfectly safe day or night, with 
or without a hired man, but it is not so now. In many things they 
trample upon my property and rights unreproved, except that I and 
a few Otoes speak against it, which they heed not. They occupy my 
pasture with their cattle and horses when it suits their convenience, 
often leaving the fence thrown down. They steal my potatoes, pump- 
ions [pumpkins?], and corn by night. As we are alone, it would not 
be prudence to resist this theft. How long we shall be able to live 
quietly in our own habitation is uncertain. Indeed we are now often 
disturbed. My family fear these vagrant Otoes. These Indians do 
not feel friendly toward white people. They are ungrateful for fa- 
vors received. 



192 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



SOME INCIDENTS IN OUR EARLY SCHOOL DAYS IN 
ILLINOIS. 



BY W. H. WOODS. 



When making a short address in Illinois years ago, for convenience 
we divided the early inhabitants of the state as we knew them, 184^ 
to 1860, as spies, cavaliers, and puritans. By the former we mean of 
course the original hunters, trappers, and nomads who made no per- 
manent homes, and of course founded no schools. 

The cavaliers, who often settled in companies or colonies, and very 
often founded towns or villages, were nearly always invested with a 
certain love of education, and desired as a rule that their children might 
at least have a certain amount of preliminary knowledge of the three 
R's. Yet this love was not usually strong enough rooted to bring 
about the proper results. Well do we remember our first experience 
in one of these schools in the spring of 1849. We were then about 
ten years of age, and had already spent five years in two country 
schools in England ; one five miles from Manchester, and the other eight 
from Sheffield. In these two places the schools had been placed irj 
localities especially chosen for health and convenience of access; the 
teachers were both members of learned societies, who had grown gray 
in their respective offices; and expected to remain in office during life. 
But the school which we now attended was in a small building of one 
room put as far back in the scrub as it was thought safe to put it, and 
over a mile from the principal portion of the population, although the 
city boasted of over 1,200 inhabitants, of several successful manu- 
factories, stage and steamboat lines, and was at that time in a healthy 
stage of growth, with two or three new but very comfortable churches^ 
In three months we not only were blessed with three separate teachers,. 
but also with a vacation of a whole week for want of a pedagogue. But 
then this town was, as you can surmise, pro-slavery ; its principal traffic 
was with St. Louis, which was probably 100 miles away. 

In another place, not very far from Jacksonville, in one of the finest 
farm regions then in the state, we found a nice village with two stores^ 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 193 

a postoffice, stage office, hotels, blacksmith shop, and other conveniences, 
with a neat little frame church just outside the village, and a neat 
little well kept cemetery. The family in which we lived was possessed 
of several hundred acres of splendid land and a large amount of stock, 
a large orchard twenty-five years planted. Yet the children, as for 
many years past, walked four miles to school; three miles beyond the 
village, for over one mile of the way through a lonely piece of chap- 
arral, to a log school house set in the deep woods, close by a spring 
(the latter was considered of more importance than the good spelling 
of the teacher). The situation was so lonely, the woods so tall, and 
the place so eminently dangerous that we have known little chil- 
dren to go over a mile to the nearest house during a heavy rain rather 
than remain in the building or its immediate neighborhood. It may 
seem superficial to add that this neighborhood was also a pro-slavery 
one. 

But then, perhaps the strangest incident that we have time to re- 
cord was probably about 1854, on the prairies six or eight miles south 
of where now stands the flourishing city of Bushnell. On an ele- 
vated lift of prairie was a colony of people, originally, I think, from 
Ohio and Kentucky; and good, kind-hearted people we found them 
to be; probably nearly all the elder ones could read and write, but 
they maintained no school, although they had been settled for many 
years and were all of them at least above want. Just north of the 
colony lay a low piece of flat prairie, two miles wide, that it was im- 
possible to cross with a wagon ; on the north side lay another stretch 
of laud containing some clay, and although not so rich as the other 
it seemed to have a peculiar quality that was dear to the heart of a 
New Englander. At least two or three Puritan New Englanders pur- 
chased farms here in these cheaper lauds, and although quite poor, a 
school house very soon rose upon the edge of the swamp. But they were 
too poor to hire a teacher. So a visit was made to the other settle- 
ment ; a day was appointed when the citizens from both settlements 
came together with oxen and plowed a strip two rods wide through 
the tall grass, and two miles long for a footpath for the children. 
The next year the path was so filled up with bumblebees and rattle- 
snakes that it was necessary to open up the furrows anew. In an- 
other year a lean-looking New Englander had purchased a run-down 
farm on the south side and lived in a log cabin. In a few months a 



194 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

school district was formed and a neat frame building erected and a 
school begun. Other fanatics purchased other run-down farms, and 
in three years nearly the entire population had changed, and where 
one school had formerly barely had an existence, five schools dotted 
the prairies. The cavaliers had nearly all moved on in search of 
newer farms, where manure and New England farming were no longer 
a necessity. And although not strictly connected with this article, the 
reader will not be any more surprised than we were to know that dur- 
ing the war, in this particular region there was no draft necessary. 



PERSONAL AND OTHER NOTES OF THE EARLY DAYS. 



BY G. L. MILLEK. 



I read a telegram in the Republican of yesterday from Pierre, an- 
luouncing that there was great rejoicing among the cattle men because 
Mr. Lamar had revoked the order which was to compel them to re- 
move their herds from the Indian lauds. Pierre is the French name 
of a flourishing town on the Missouri river, which was taken from a 
military post, near the place upon which it is located, that was called 
Fort Pierre. It was the point upon which General Harney concen- 
trated a considerable force of troops, Maj. W. Wessells, father of Law- 
yer Wessells, commanding after the battle with the Indians, at Ash 
Hollow, thirty-one years ago. The only white people that were in 
that part of the Missouri valley, in those days, were soldiers and a few 
fur traders. The only cattle herds were buffalo and elk herds. 

I was spending an hour with Adjutant-General Drum, in the war 
office at AVashington, a few days ago, when the subject of his military 
life on the border and the battle of Ash Hollow came up. General 
Drum, who was then Lieutenant Drum, was there. He corrects some 
false impressions, and relates an anecdote of General Harney in con- 
nection with that fight. It was rumored at that time that General 
Harney betrayed Little Thunder into his camp before the attack, with 
deception, in order to gain an advantage. General Drum scouts the 
report as utterly groundless. He agrees that Indian women were 
killed, and says it was impossible to avoid it. The Indians were sur- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 195 

prised by a night march that was difficult and dangerous. General 
Drum relates an anecdote of General Harney as follows : 

After the battle, Lieutenant Drum, who was aid-de-camp and ad- 
jutant on Harney's staff, was ordered to count the number of Indians 
killed. He did so. The slain numbered exactly twelve. This did 
not suit General Harney, and, with violent oaths, he swore that more 
had been killed. "Report 200," thundered Harney. General Drum 
replied that he had been over the field personally with great care, and 
-that there were only twelve Indians killed in the fight, so far as he 
could discover, intimating that if any different report was made it 
must come from somebody else. 

I told the short story of my visit to Fort Pierre in some notes that 
were first printed in the Omaha Nebraskan, which was edited by Theo- 
dore H. Robertson, in the autumn of 1855, just about thirty-one 
years ago, and have repeated it in other publications perhaps too many 
times since. I will not go over it again now. It was a wild experi- 
ence with the then barren wilderness of that unsettled region of which 
all Nebraska was a part. It was my first contact with the army in 
whicli I was employed by the chief quartermaster of the expedition, 
Capt. P. T. Turnley, in a professional capacity to attend to the troops 
that were being transported to the scene of a probable Indian war on 
several steamers. " Billy " Wilcox of this city was at the wheel of 
one of them as a pilot, and it was sometimes interesting, as well as ex- 
citing, to hear him " talk back " to Captain Turnley, who insisted on 
being pilot himself two-thirds of the time in the struggle that had to 
be made by the old stern-wheeler, William Baird, to steam and spar 
over the sandbars. 

In those days Calhoun was the leading town in Washington county, 
and E. H. Clark constituted the principal population. From the 
earliest settlement of Nebraska he has been a prominent citizen of the 
county. His daughter Cora is postmistress of Blair. De Soto be- 
came the leading town in the county afterward, and a curious old 
town it was, when Mr. Thomas P. Kennard kept its leading tavern, 
George W. Doane practiced its law, George Scott was its chief banker, 
and our regretted friend Powell and Judge Wakeley, who was then 
associate justice of the territory, were leading citizens. Arthur Bird 
and Lucius Wakeley were sporting with Missouri river malaria and 
also their babyhood. Blair was an unborn place in those times. 



196 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Tekamah then consisted of Benjamin K. Folsom, Major Harring- 
ton, George Thomas, William Beck, Mr. Gibson, and a few more^ 
with a few wooden buildings with thin walls to mark their several 
abodes. J. N. H. Patrick and Augustus Kountze had not yet gone 
into the land business in the county of Dakota. Neither of them 
had arrived here in that year. They put in their lively appearance 
a year later, Mr. Kountze coming from Ohio, and Mr. Patrick from 
Pennsylvania. Augustus and Herman Kountze had not then begun 
to play ball with great banking institutions by pitching them out of 
Omaha from Broadway to Denver, nor had Mr. Patrick discovered 
"Happy Hollow" and himself as a suburban "land monopolist."' 
Robert and John Patrick had yet to become the manly, physical gianta 
that they now are. 

The germ of Sioux City had been platted by Dr. Cook, now na 
more. He had caused two or three log huts to be built on the bank 
of the river. It amused me at the landing to hear the hopeful doctor 
discourse upon the future town, which he was sure would be a large 
place, with "millions in it" for whomsoever should invest in its site at 
that time. Fortunate man he was to live to see Sioux City have a large 
population and business, and become the seat of as intelligent and re- 
fined a community as can be found in any part of this western 
country. 

Let us call up the roll of Omaha's dead to remember that the late 
and much-lamented Ezra Millard early saw the promise of Sioux 
City, and may be said to have begun his active life there. Dr. Cook's 
dream of the Pacific railroad as the future heritage of that place was 
not all a dream. The Sioux City branch, diverted from its true line 
in our state by the piracy of railway cormorants, became a reality long^ 
before Dr. Cook went out from among us. But Ezra Millard's quick 
eye saw that in Sioux City he was just 100 miles too far to the north- 
ward for the work he had set himself to do in the world, and he changed 
I his base and fortunes by coming to Omaha. With what energy and zeal 
and prudent forecast he, while caring for his own fortunes, promoted 
those of Omaha, all of us know who relied upon him for wisdom in 
counsel and ready courage in action. This people cannot place too 
many garlands upon the grave of Ezra Millard, who was a tower of 
strength to Omaha in the doubtful days, and who was the embodiment 
of social and manly qualities that placed him at the very front of our 
best citizenship. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 197 

I close these hasty uotes of men and things by making mention of 
the change in the proprietorship of the Omaha Rejjublican, which was 
the Nebraska Republican in 1858, when E. F. Schneider and H. J. 
Brown established it, the first number being issued twenty-eight years 
ago on the fifth day of last May. It was then, and long afterwards, 
a weekly paper. The late Dr. Gilbert C. Monell, the grandfather, on 
his mother's side, of Mr. G. M. Hitchcock, the accomplished editor of 
the Evening World, owned it in that year, and this marked the first 
change in its control as the organ of the republican party, and of one 
very lively republican faction. The next change came in August, 
1859, when Mr. E. D. Webster, an apt pupil of Thurlow Weed, came 
on the scene as the owner and editor of the paper, and also of the 
territorial republican machine, who changed the name of it from Ne- 
braska Republican to Omaha Republican, which was a good thing in 
itself. Mr. Webster was perhaps the strongest political manager of 
Mr, Weed's methods in politics who has ever been here since the 
Omaha Indians departed from their old haunts and village a few 
miles southwestwardly from Omaha. Under his control, when the 
civil war impended, the Republican was inclined, like Mr. Horace 
Greeley, to let " the departing sisters go in peace." 

The next change came in September, 1861, when Mr. Lincoln was 
in power, with Mr. Seward secretary of state, Mr. Webster having 
been called to Washington as his confidential secretary. Mr. E. B. 
Taylor of Ohio had been appointed register of the Omaha land office, 
and, accompanied by Mr. E. A. McClure, he came to Omaha, and the 
two gentlemen became the fourth company in the list of the Republi- 
can's owners and editors within three years. Soon after this transfer 
the paper was issued tri- weekly, the paper being reduced in size and issued 
in the evening. John Taffe became associate editor with Mr. Taylor, 
and they were a strong pair, as the Herald had reason to know in 
1865, when it appeared on the scene. It may be here stated that it 
has always been my own opinion that through all its numerous changes 
the Republican never has had so strong a political editor as E. B. 
Taylor, and I doubt if any other paper in the state ever had when 
Mr. Taylor was aroused to his best, although Mr. E, D. Webster was 
a readier and brighter man. His style was in clear-cut English, and 
when occasion called, he could deal with adversaries with argument 
and retort and humorous sarcasm that attracted the reader and was 



198 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

not always comfortable for his opponent. I was young and inexpe- 
rienced in the editorial calling, and my ambition,! presume, was partly 
gratified when I reached the point of securing the frequent attentions 
of Mr. Taylor. After January, 1864, I forgot to say , the Ee^mbliccm 
became a daily, and was published in the evening. 

The next change came in October, 1865, when Gen. H. H. Heath, 
who once commanded at Fort Kearney, became the editor, tiie firm 
being Heath, Taylor & Co. In 1866 General Heath retired and Mr. 
Taylor resumed the editorial charge, and the name of the paper was 
changed to Omaha Daily Republican. In April of the same year, 
Mr. St. A. D. Balcombe, who had been agent of the Winnebago In- 
dians, appeared on the scene, and Balcombe & Co. owned the concern, 
Mr, Taylor selling out to Mr. Balcombe in July following, who as- 
sumed control, editorial duties, etc., etc., as sole proprietor. But Mr. 
Taylor was needed again, and he resumed his old place as editor in 
1869, retiring again in 1870 to give place to Mr. John H. Teasdale 
of Ohio, who was brought here to write down the country. Mr. 
Teasdale's service continued only seven months, when Waldo M. Pot- 
ter of the New York Saraiogian was brought out, and again change 
came over the management if not over the spirit of the Republican, 
by being equal partner and editor-in-chief of the paper. Like Mr. 
Teasdale, he brought with him a high reputation as a writer, but, un- 
like Mr. Teasdale, he well deserved it. Mr. Potter was an excellent 
man and a strong editor. He retired and left the state in 1871, and 
was succeeded by Mr. C. B. Thomas, who was a brilliant writer, but 
I never regarded him as strong as either Taylor or Potter, although 
far more finished and graceful in style than either. The Tribune had 
been started with Mr. Thomas as editor and the papers consolidated 
under a hyphenated name. John Taffe again reappeared in the 
chair editorial, and in 1876 he was succeed by Mr. D. C. Brooks, 
who wrote with ability. In later years Mr. Casper E. Yost and Mr. 
Fred Nye have owned and managed the paper, with Mr. Nye as edi- 
tor, and now come Messrs. Rounds, Taylor, and Rothacker into the 
broader field of a state and city, whose strength and promise find no 
better expression, unless it be in the bank thermometer, than is found, 
in its enterprising newspapers. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 19^ 



PAPERS READ ON THE LAYING OF THE CORNER 

STONE OF THE LANCASTER COUNTY 

COURT HOUSE. 



Mr. Mason's address was in part as follows : 

Towards the latter part of June in the year of 1861, we chanced 
to meet Mr. William T. Donovan on the streets of Nebraska City, 
and upon learning that he lived on Salt creek in the neighborhood of 
the wonderful salt basins, we made arrangements to accompany him 
thither, that we might see for ourselves the country in which these 
wonderful basins were situated, and of which we had heard so much. 

If we remember rightly, after passing the major's farm four or five 
miles out, we passed over an unbroken wilderness, with the exception 
of Wilson's ranch, situated at Wilson creek, and also McKee's ranch 
on the Nemaha, where the widow McKee and her sons lived. This 
was twenty miles out, and near the present town of Syracuse. The 
next improvement that we found was that of John Roberts, on the 
Nemaha, near the present site of Palmyra, and five miles further to 
the west there lived a Mr. Meecham, a Mormon, who had been left 
by the wayside. These were all the people we saw until we reached 
Salt creek. After enjoying the hospitality of our friend's home for 
the night, a somewhat novel mode of conveyance was constructed for 
our trip to the basins. A tongue was fastened to the hind end of a 
wagon, and a pair of springs was made of some short ash sticks with 
a board across the ends of them for a seat; our carriage was com- 
plete with a team of oxen to draw us thither. On the 2d day of 
July, 1861, we followed the trail down Salt creek to the mouth of 
Oak creek, where we forded the stream. There was at that time on 
the west side of Salt creek a magnificent grove of honey locust tim- 
ber, and a little to the south of the foot of what is now known as 
O street, in the large bend of the creek, there were perhaps a hun- 
dred majestic elms and cottonwoods, with occasionally a hackberry 
and honey locust. Those lovely groves would now, if they had re- 
mained in their natural grandeur and beauty as we saw them then. 



200 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

be of priceless value to the city for a park. Joseph, the elder son of 
Mr. Donovan, was our teamster and guide. The big flies that in- 
fested the low bottoms were a great inducement for our oxen to move 
on, and at times our ride was quite exciting, as the oxen would first 
dart one way and then another to get the benefit of the brush that 
was scattered along to rid themselves of the flies. It brings peculiar 
thoughts to mind as we look around us and consider the changes that 
twenty-six years have wrought. 

There was one dim track that crossed the site of the future city 
from east to west that had been made by hunters and those in search 
of salt, besides the one mentioned running up and down the creek. 
As we viewed the land upon which now stands this great busy 
city, we had the exciting pleasure of seeing for the first time a large 
drove of beautiful antelope cantering across the prairie about where 
the government square now is. As we forded Salt creek, just by the 
junction of Oak creek, what a struggle we had in making our way 
through the tall sunflowers between the ford and the basin. There 
was something delightful about the scene that met our eyes. The 
basin was as smooth as glass, and resembled a slab of highly polished 
marble. 

The wrecks of several old salt furnaces and two old deserted cabins 
were the only signs of civilization. All was wild and solitary, but 
our soul was filled with rapturous delight. The geese and brant had 
undisputed sway, and the air was filled with their shrill notes. 

The nearest human habitation to either the basin or the present city, 
was that of our friend Donovan, on the Cardwell place on Salt creek, 
about five miles south of the ford. Joel Mason lived a mile further 
up. Richard Wallingford also lived just across the creek. John 
Cadman lived just across the county line, as the counties were first 
formed, in old Clay county, and where the village of Saltillo now 
stands. Dr. Maxwell lived in that neighborhood, also Festus Reed; 
and above Roca, J. L. Davison and the Pray family had located. 

Wm. Shirley, on Stevens creek, was the nearest settler to the east- 
ward. Charles Retslef and John Wedencamp, also Judge J. D. 
Maine, held the fort a little further up the creek, and Aaron Wood 
was located near the head of Stevens creek. John and Louis Loder 
lived down Salt creek near Waverly; also Michael Shea and James 
Moran. To the westward it was a complete wilderness. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 201 

Darwin Peckham (now of this city) commenced making salt on 
the 20th of August, 1861. Salt was very scarce during the war 
times; was high in price, and necessarily a great number of people 
came to scrape salt. They came from all the settled portions of the 
territory, from Missouri and Kansas, and as far east as central Iowa. 
Going for salt in those days was like going a fishing — it was all in 
luck. If the weather were perfectly dry they could get plenty of it, 
for it could be scraped up by the wagon load, but just a few minutes' 
rain would end the game. Men have been known to come a full hun- 
dred miles to arrive just in time to see a little rain clear all the salt off 
the basin in a moment, and they left to hold an empty sack; after 
the rain the basin would look as black as ink. Many farmers would 
bring their sorghum pans to make their salt, and when they had 
enough or were tired of making more, they would trade off their pans 
for salt. When the weather was dry many would scrape more than 
they could haul home, and they would trade off their scrapings at 
25 cents per 100, receiving in return boiled salt at $2 per 100. 
In dry times considerable salt was accumulated, and as soon as the 
first rain came, scrapings would be worth from 50 cents to $1 per 100. 
Pilgrims would grab for it. They brought all manner of provisions 
to trade for salt — meat, flour, chickens, butter, fruit, potatoes, eggs, 
and others were willing to go to the groves and cut and haul wood for 
it ; others would haul up a large pile of wood and then rent furnaces 
for the night and work all night and thus get a supply. So those 
that were situated there had salt to sell, scrapings to sell, furnaces to 
rent, and generally provisions to sell. Some even came and traded 
clothes for salt. One party brought two four-horse wagon loads, 
5,000 pounds of flour from Winterset, la., and he received an even 
exchange of 5,000 pounds of salt for it. It was a lively time, for 
hundreds were coming and going continually during the fall. 

Many distinguished men visited the salt basins during that fall, 
among whom were the Hon. J. Sterling Morton, Hon. P. W. Hitch- 
cock, afterwards United States senator, and his excellency, Governor 
Saunders. 

When the winter season began the salt business stopped, and the 

time was spent iu hunting, etc. On the first day of May, 1862, a 

county convention was held at the basin, and nearly every man in the 

county was there. The season of 1862 was exceedingly prosperous. 

14 



202 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Great numbers of people came and went every day. Numerous other 
furnaces were started, and the salt works presented quite the appear- 
ance of business. 

We live in what may be called the early age of this growing state, 
and we know that our posterity through all time are here to suffer 
and enjoy the allotments of humanity. We see before us the train of 
great events. We know and realize that our own fortunes have been 
happily cast. We do not read or contemplate the history of past 
events without feeling something of personal interest, without being re- 
minded that it has aifected our own fortunes and our own existence. 
It is more impossible for us to contemplate with unaffected minds the 
interesting scenes of the past in the growth and settlement of this 
state and this country. We cherish every memorial of the early set- 
tlers; we revere their fortitude and patience; we admire their enter- 
prise; we will teach our children to venerate their memory and wor- 
ship and obey the law. We lay the corner stone for the temple in 
which it shall be administered and interpreted. To us the story of 
the labors and the sufferings of the early settlers can never be with- 
out interest. In a time of extraordinary prosperity and general hap- 
piness, of national honor and distinction, and the universal prosperity 
of a young and growing state, we are brought together in this place 
by a love of order, by a reverence for law, by our admiration of justice^ 
to lay the corner stone of a temple consecrated to the administration 
of these sovereign virtues upon which the perpetuity of our institu- 
tions depend — the foundation, the corner stone of the court house you 
have now laid. With prayers to Almighty God for His blessing, and 
in the midst of these witnesses we have begun the work. It will be 
prosecuted to completion, resting upon a broad and solid foundation; 
rising high in massive solidity and unadorned grandeur, may it re- 
main so long as the work of man shall last, a fit temple for the ad- 
ministration of the civil law, our only sovereign king and ruler; and 
may that law be the expression of the ripest human intelligence, the only 
ruler of a sovereign state. Our object is by this edifice to provide a 
safe and suitable place for the preservation of the records of the past 
and the future, and to attest the importance of the achievements al- 
ready made in a respect for law and order, and to keep alive these senti- 
ments and to foster a constant regard for the principles of law as the 
sure salvation of freemen and a triumph over barbarism, anarchy. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 203" 

discord, and social ruin. In our reverence for law and its impartial 
administration we should call to our aid not reason alone, but senti- 
ment and imagination, for neither is wasted nor misapplied when ap- 
propriated to giving a right direction to human affairs. And let us 
here open the springs of feeling in the human heart in a love for dis- 
cipline, in a deep reverence for law, for social order, and a faithful 
administration of justice as God shall give us to know it. Let us not 
forget while we lay the corner stone and the foundation of this mag- 
nificent structure, the temple is a vain thing when compared with the 
human hearts and souls that erect it and the generation of worshipers 
that shall come after us. If the worshipers in the temple come to 
worship in a spirit of teachable humility, with pure hearts and clean 
hands, with developed intellects and enlightened conscience, the tem- 
ple is consecrated and made holy, and before it, as the symbol of ad- 
ministrative justice, men may then bow iu reverence ; but if it becomes 
the home of the money changers, and a den of thieves, it is a monu- 
ment of disgrace, an emblem of disease that indicates the decay of 
virtue and the approach of social ruin. To the bench and bar of 
Lancaster county, as high priests iu the ministrations of this temple, 
I commit the sacred, high, and holy duty of its preservation from 
dishonor. To you and Jthe people I commend a profound reverence 
and respect for law, and may each one and all when called to dis- 
charge the official duties within its sacred precincts feel that the place 
where they stand is holy ground. Let them remember that the seat 
of the law which they administer is in the bosom of God, and her 
voice the harmony of the world. 

THE BUILDING. 
The new court house will be a noble structure. The size is 150 
feet from north to south and 100 feet from east to west. A high 
basement and three full stories give an opportunity to use four floors 
for offices all through the building. The construction is absolutely 
fire proof. The outer walls are of rock-faced sandstone from Berea, 
O. The heavy inside walls of hard brick, laid in the best cement 
mortar, extend through to the roof. Wood is used only in the doors, 
windows, and furniture of the offices. The tile floors are supported 
by steel girders, arched between with brick. The slate roof is sup- 
ported by steel rafters, and all roof ornamentation is of iron and 
copper. 



204 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Bonds to the amount of $200,000 for the new building were voted 
on the 1st of July, 1887. Plans were advertised for immediately, 
and a few weeks later the design submitted by E. E. Myers, of De- 
troit, was accepted. His plans were remarkably fine, but the building 
could not be erected for the amount available, and after advertising 
and readvertising for a bid that would be within the bounds, the com- 
missioners finally, on the 3d of January, 1888, rejected the Myers 
plans and advertised for a new set. In the competition which fol- 
lowed, F. M. Ellis, of Omaha, was successful, and the contract for 
erecting the building was awarded to Mr. W. H. B. Stout, his bid 
being $167,497.42. This will leave a neat sum for furnishing the 
building and beautifying the grounds. 

The walls of the tower and many of the partitions are now com- 
pleted to the top of the first story, and several courses of stone are 
laid on the first story around the building. The interests of the 
county are looked after by Mr. Eugene Woerner, and it was the ver- 
dict of all who examined the building yesterday that all material and 
workmanship that have yet gone into the structure are the very best. 

HISTORICAL. 

The history of Lancaster county, prepared by County Clerk O. C. 
Bell and deposited in the stone, is as follows: 

Lancaster county was organized in 1859, and contains 864 square 
miles, and had a population at that time very limited. The history 
of the county from its organization is as follows: 

The first steps toward perfecting a county organization were taken 
in the fall of 1859, when a public meeting was held under the "Great 
Elm" on the east bank of Salt creek, near the northwest corner of the 
present Burlington & Missouri River railroad grounds, to consider the 
advisability of suchlaction. As a result of the meeting, "W. T. Donovan, 
J. J. Forest, and A. J. Wallingford were appointed a committee to 
select a site for a county seat. They chose a part of the present city 
of Lincoln, which was laid off in 1864, and named "Lancaster." 
Very soon thereafter an election was ordered by the county commis- 
sioners of Cass county, to which the unorganized county west was 
attached for judicial purposes, to be held at the house of William 
Shirley, on Stevens creek, October 10, 1859. At this election the 
following officers were elected: for county commissioners, W. T. Don- 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 205 

ovau, J. J. Forest, and A. J. Wallingford; county treasurer, Richard 
Wallingford; county clerk, L. J. Loder; recorder, J. P. Loder. A 
general election for Lancaster county was held October 9, 1861, at 
the house of Capt. W. T. Donovan, at which time twenty-three votes 
were cast, and resulted as follows: for delegate to congress, J. Sterling 
Morton, eleven votes ; Samuel G. Daily, twelve votes. 

In 1863 a part of Clay county, that part comprised in the south one- 
third of the present Lancaster county, was set off, giving to the county 
its present proportions, which is thirty-six miles north and south by 
twenty-four miles east and west. 

The following will show the roster of officers and the year in which 
they were elected, viz. : 

COUNTY COMMISSIONERS. 

1859— W. T. Donovan, J. J. Forest, and A. J. AVallingford. 
1863— William Shirley, Richard Wallingford, and John W. Prey. 
1864— William Shirley, P. S. Schamp, and John S. Gregory. 
1865 — John W. Prey, Richard Wallingford, and Aaron Woods. 
1866— John W. Prey, Aaron Woods, and Silas Pratt. 
1867— Aaron Woods, Silas Pratt, and W. R. Field. 
1868— Silas Pratt, W. R. Field, and John Prey, with P. H. Sud- 
duth to fill vacancy. 

1869— W. R. Field, John Prey, and Robert Faulkner. 
1870— W. R. Field, Robert Faulkner, and O. J. Martin. 
1871 — Robert Faulkner, O. J. Martin, and John D. Lottridge. 
1872—0. J. Martin, John D. Lottridge, and H. H, Spellmau. 
1873 — John D. Lottridge, H. H. Spellman, and J. Z. Briscoe. 
1874— H. H. Spellman, J. Z. Briscoe, and H. D. Gilbert. 
1875— J. Z. Briscoe, H. D. Gilbert, and W. E. Keys. 
1876— H. D. Gilbert, W. E. Keys, and J. H. Wilcox. 
1877— W. E. Keys. J. H. Wilcox, and H. D. Gilbert. 
1878— J. H. Wilcox, H. D. Gilbert, and J. H. McClay. 
1879- H. D. Gilbert, J. H. McClay, and W. J. Weller. 
1880— J. H. McClay, W. J. Weller, and W. E. G. Caldwell. 
1881— W. J. Weller, W. E. G. Caldwell, and H. C. Reller. 
1882— W. E. G. Caldwell, H. C. Reller, and W. J. Weller. 
1883— H. C. Reller, W. J. Weller, and W. E. G. Caldwell. 
1884— W. J. Weller, W. E. G. Caldwell, and IL C. Reller. 



206 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

1885— W. E. G. Caldwell, H. C. Keller, and Alba Browu. 
1886— H. C. Keller, Alba Browu, and H. H. Schaberg. 
1887 — Alba Brown, H. H. Schaberg, and Thomas J. Dickson. 
County Treasurers— 1859, K. Wallingford ; 1865, William Guy ; 
1867, Milton Langdon ; 1869, John Cadman ; 1871, K. A. Bain; 
1873, C. C.White; 1877, Louis Helmer; 1881, K. B.Graham; 1885, 
Jacob Rocke. 

County Clerks— 1859, L. J. Loder ; 1861, J. P. Loder; 1863, 
Milton Langdon ; 1867, S. B. Galey ; 1869, K. A. Bain; 1871, R. O. 
Phillips; 1875, W. A. Sharrer; 1877, K. D. Silver; 1879, L. E. 
Cropsey; 1881, J. H. McClay; 1885, O. C. Bell. 

County Superintendents— 1867, F. A. Bidwell; 1869, A. M. Ghost; 
1873, J. N. Cassell; 1875, A. G. Scott; 1877, S. G. Lamb; 1879, 
H. S. Bowers; 1885, F. D. McClusky. 

County Judges— 1861, FestusKeed; 1863, J. D. Main; 1865, Luke 
Lavender; 1867, John Cadman; 1869, S. B. Pound; 1871, A. L. 
Palmer; 1875, A. G. Scott ; 1877, J. R. Webster; 1879, J. E. Phil- 
pott ; 1881, C. M. Parker; 1887, W. E. Stewart. 

Sheriffs— 1861, J. P. Loder; 1863, Josiah Chambers; 1867, J. H. 
Hawks; 1869, Sam McClay ; 1877, J. S. Hoagland ; 1879, Gran En- 
sign; 1883, Samuel M. Melick. 

County Surveyors— 1865, P. S. Schamp; 1867, E. Tullis; 1869, 
Milton Langdon ; 1871, J. T. Murphey ; 1873, Tom I. Atwood ; 1875, 
J. P. Walton. 

Coroners— 1864, John Crim; 1871, F. G. Fuller; 1873, J. O. 
Carter; 1875, F. G. Fuller; 1875, J. W. Strickland ; 1876, L. H. 
Kobbins: 1877, E. T. Piper ; 1881, A. J. Shaw ; 1883. N. J. Beach- 
ley, 1885, E. T. Roberts; 1887, C. A. Shoemaker. 

Clerk of the district court— R. K Vedder; 1878, A. D. Burr; 
1884, E. R. Sizer. 

County Attorney — Royal J). Stearns. 

Register of Deeds — John D. Knight. 

The popular vote in 1860 was 23; 1865, 125; 1870, 1,116; 1875, 
2,360; 1880, 4,931; 1885, 5,108, and 1887, 6,670. 

The value of real estate and personal property in the county as 
returned by the assessors for the years 1874 to 1888, viz.: 1864, 
$36,616; 1865,1145,612; 1866, $202,647 ; 1867, $366,855; 1868, 
$467,425; 1869, $973,309; 1870, $1,526,099; 1871, $3,184,036; 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 207 

1872, $4,482,118; 1873, $4,269,865 ; 1874, $4,359,685; 1875, $4,- 
405,913; 1876, $3,836,124 ; 1877, $3,615,156; 1878, $3,801,342; 
1879, $3,768,626; 1880, $4,934,130; 1881, $5,189,790 ; 1882, $5,- 
217,380; 1883, $6,124,240; 1884, $6,345,330; 1885, $6,451,585; 
1886, $7,649,592; 1887, $9,342,135; 1888, $9,628,122. 

It has been ascertained from the records of the county judge's office 
that there was a marriage license issued on the 22d day of September, 
1866, by Judge L. Lavender, to Alexander Burd and Mathina Por- 
ter, who were married September 25, 1866, by J. H. Young. Since 
that time they have issued from that office 4,755 licenses, and during 
the year ending November 1, 1888, 495 licenses have been issued. 

The first letters of administration were issued to Henry Cramer's 
estate, April 17,1860, William Henicke, administrator, and since that 
time they have filled more than 7,000 pages of estate records. 

First case filed December 20, 1868, John D. Brown v. W. R. Field, 
the amount involved being $100, and since that time there have been 
more than 5,000 cases. 



HARDY PIONEERS OF DIXON COUNTY. 



BY W. HUSE. 



The first white settler in Dixon county arrived here about thirty 
years ago. John Stough and S, B. Stough, who came here in the lat- 
ter part of 1856, and B. Cavanaugh, who arrived in May, 1857, 
have given us a history of the condition of affi^irs here at that time. 
In May, 1857, the settlers were few and scattering, and we here give 
a list of them: 

Starting up South creek, the three nearest settlers to where Ponca 
now is were Adam Smith, John Bunce, and Gearhart Carson, who 
lived and "bached it" on the farm now owned by Wm. O'Conner. 
Ail these three settlers moved from here to Missouri several years 
ago, and still reside there. 

Next beyond the O'Conner farm, and on the place owned by Mr. 
Harry, lived a German, Christian Dugsheath. 

A short distance above and at the place now owned by John En- 



208 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ders, "old man" Coogler and John Snyder made their home. Near 
them, on what is called the Gorman place, Andrew Smith lived. 

An Englishman, Thomas Denning, lived opposite where the South 
creek Catholic church is. Near there, but on the east side of the 
creek, on the Lynch place, Bill Jones had pitched his tent. Then 
going up the creek one came to the places of Robert McKenna and 
Dan McKenna, the former of whom made the first kiln of brick in 
the county. They lived about three miles this side of Martinsburg. 
Both have since moved away, Robert to California and Dan to Mis- 
souri. 

Beyond the McKennas lived James Murphy, on the farm now 
owned by Tim Hurley and adjoining where the village of Martins- 
burg now is. Murphy afterwards moved to Dakota county and died 
there. 

There was no village of Martinsburg in 1857. Martinsburg was 
first laid out several years afterward by one Crockwell, a Mormon, 
and named by him Galena. No buildings were erected until a mill 
was built by J. Martin, who re-christened the town Martinsburg. 

A short distance from Martinsburg, on the place now owned by 
Wm. Gillan, his brother, Michael Gillan, lived. 

Adjoining the Gillan place was the farm of Dan Donlin. He was 
frozen to death several years afterwards, and his family now resides 
near Ponca. 

The next settler up the creek was James Stott, who lived on the P. 
G. Wright place. Mr. Stott soon after, in the summer of 1857, moved 
to Covington. He was afterwards county clerk of Dakota county, and 
receiver of the United States land office. He died in Dakota City 
about three years ago. 

A German, August Montauk, lived with Mr. Stott on his claim^ 
and moved to Covington with him. 

Next above was the claim of George Flowers, a German. He sold 
out to John and Barnard Kavanaugh in the spring of 1857. 

A short distance south lived two Germans named Fred and Chris 
Terror, who soon after moved away. 

There was no land surveyed at that time. Squatter sovereignity 
prevailed. A claim was supposed to contain 300 acres, more or less, 
generally more. 

Those were all the settlers on South creek in the spring of 1857. 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 209 

Two settlers lived on the Daily creek, viz., Pat Daily, who lived 
where Krause's place is, aud after whom Daily creek was named, and 
Owen Sweeney, who lived about a mile farther up the creek. Mr. 
Daily now lives below Jackson. 

Here in Ponca the first house was built in the fall of 1856. It was 
built by William Henry and Frank Hoese, and was not far from 
where our railroad depot now stands. 

Down the creek from Ponca Henry Parshal, Henry Ford, and 
Charles Buckmau and wife lived on the farm now owned by Uncle 
Deck Huddleston. 

At the mouth of the creek was the first sawmill ever built in the 
county. It was owned aud run by Aretus Whitcom, his son-in-law, 
Amos Dexter, and Daniel Bradford. A young man by the name of 
Preston Hotchkiss worked for them. All have since moved away 
The mill was burned in the winter of 1857-8, by the Indians, as was 
supposed. 

John Stough and S. B. Stough lived in the timber near Ponca 
landing. Up the creek towards Newcastle, James Clark, Marsh La- 
throp and Deacon Rahn lived near where E. M. Bisbee's farm is. 
James Alexander was here at the time on the same farm he occupied 
at the time of his death. John Sader and his family lived west of 
Newcastle and John Hardee and Wm. Fister had their claims close by. 

This list comprises all who lived here in the spring of 1857. Some 
have moved away, others have died, and now but few of those old 
settlers are left. 

At the time Cavanaugh moved here Judge Arnold came with him, 
and in the course of the summer several others found their way into 
the county. Among them were Edward Serry, Herman Beason, John 
Malone, A. Curry, John McKinley, Sam McKinley, Gustavus Smith, 
S. P. Baltzley, Henry Fuller, and Mr. Bramble. In 1858, N. S. 
Porter, E. M. Bisbee, C. W. Todd and many others arrived. Ponca 
then contained about ten souls, and the county had a population of 
about fifty. 

In those days everybody was hard up, yet they probably enjoyed 
life as well as they do now. There were lots of game and any quantity 
of Indians. At that time Sioux City was a steamboat town of five 
or six log buildings, most of which were taverns and saloons, and its 
inhabitants were generally considered a pretty tough set. Across the 



210 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

river the Indians as yet held undisputed sway. Elk Point and Ver- 
million and the many other enterprising cities of Dakota, were not 
born until years afterwards. 



NEBRASKA'S FIRST NEWSPAPER. 



William C. Upjohn, of Papillion, Neb., recently sent to the Pa- 
pillion Times a very interesting account of the first newspaper ever 
published in Nebraska. Mr. Upjohn has the first copy of the pap:;r 
struck off from the rude hand press. It was called the Nebraska Pal- 
ladium. It was published for the first time in Bellevue, November 
15, 1854, and was the first printed matter published in what was then 
the territory of Nebraska. According to Mr. Upjohn the event was 
appreciated as one of decided importance in the progress of the new 
country, and among those who gathered that November day thirty- 
two years ago to witness the birth of the typographical wonder, were 
Gov. T. B. Cuming and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Fenner Ferguson, the 
Rev. William Hamilton and wife, the Misses May and Amanda 
Hamilton, Dr. E. N. Upjohn, Congressman Bird Chapman, George 
W. Hollister, W. A. Griffin, and Theodore S. Gillmore. 

Dr. E. N. Upjohn gave a dollar for the privilege of turning the 
press for the first paper, which was then removed by Governor Cum- 
ing and passed to Chief Justice Ferguson, who read the following : 

" Thus quietly and unceremoniously was the birth time of printing 
in Nebraska. Thus was the Nebraska Palladium inaugurated into 
public service. This event, although to some it may seem unimportant 
now, will form an epoch in history which will be remembered ages 
after those present on this interesting occasion are no more. The 
Palladium is issued from Bellevue, a beautiful spot, amid the far off 
wilds of Nebraska ; issued in the very wake of heathen darkness, and, 
we might say, in its midst. We have taken joint possession with the 
aboriginal occupants of the soil. Our office is visited by the dark 
children of the prairie, whose curiosity prompts them to wituess the 
operation of the art by which thought is symbolized and repeated in 
ever-enduring forms on the printed page. As the Indian disappears 
before the light of civilization so may the darkness and error of the 
human mind flee before the light of the press of Nebraska." 



HISTORICAL PAPERS. 211 

In looking over the pages of this paper, says Mr. Upjohn, we find 
the name of but one man then in business in Sarpy (or Douglas county, 
as it was then) who still resides here — namely, Mr. Schimonski, of 
Bellevue. Perhaps all the adults who were here in 1854, and who 
still reside here, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. In con- 
clusion Mr. Upjohn states that he is in favor of the organization of an 
old settlers' association to revive the memories of 1855-56, many per- 
sons still being alive in the state who can speak of them with the in- 
terest of personal experience. 



II.-BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 



S. p. MAJORS.* 



Mr. Majors was a native of Kentucky, being born near Frauklin,^ 
in Simpson county, April 27, 1819. He worked on the farm until 
his sixteenth year, attending district school in winter. At the age of 
sixteen he engaged in the stone and brick mason work. In 1837 he 
removed to West Point, Lee county, Iowa, where he remained until 
1838, when he removed to Jeiferson county, in the same state, living 
on a farm, but devoting most of his time to masonry. 

In 1850 he removed to Liberty ville and engaged in mercantile busi- 
ness. He continued in this business until 1857, when he sold his 
stock and bought a farm, but soon bought another stock of goods and 
went into business again. In a few mouths he moved his goods to a 
small town on the line between Missouri and Iowa, where he remained 
but six months, when he removed his stock to Peru, Nemaha county, 
Nebraska, remaining himself in Iowa. He was admitted to the bar 
at Fairfield, and practiced law a year. He then removed with his 
family to Peru. At this place he continued in the mercantile business 
and the practice of law until 1863, when he sold his stock in Peru and 
bought in Brownville. After being in Brownville a year he moved 
back to Peru and opened a store. In 1866 he engaged in farmingand 
stock raising, in which business, in connection with the mercantile 
business, he continued until his death. 

At the age of twenty he was married to Miss Annie Browu, also a 
native of Kentucky. They have had a family of eleven children, but 
five of whom are living. Mr. Majors made a profession of religion 
at seventeen, and joined the M. E. church, where he has been a faith- 
ful, consistent member. Politically he was a democrat until the or- 
ganization of the republican party. He was a delegate to the first 
constitutional convention of Nebraska, and was chosen president. 

He was elected to the state legislature in 1870. As a member he 
was faithful and watchful. He viewed things from a common sense 

* These biographical notices are compiled from newspaper clippings made by ex-Goveraor 
Furnas. 

(215) 



216 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

platform and spoke and acted with dignity and decorum, becoming a 
representative of enlightened people. 

He was on the impeachment trial of David Butler. 

Perhaps he did more in getting our present State Normal building 
than any other man. He has held many prominent positions in Ne- 
braska, and is widely known. He is father of Hon. Thomas Majors, 
one of Nebraska's most prominent men. He owns a cattle ranch near 
Ainsworth, in care of his son, whom he was visiting at the time of 
his death. I have been acquainted with Mr. Majors several years and 
I don't think I have ever heard aught against him. Everybody that 
knew him was his friend. 

His wife has been unwell for some time, and being so old it is feared 
she cannot stand the shock. To her and his children the sympathy 
of many Nebraska people will be extended in full measure. 

A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE BY PROF. J. M. McKENZIE. 

A great sorrow has come to our community by the sudden death of 
one of our most honored and respected citizens. 

Having been intimately acquainted with Mr. Majors as a fellow cit- 
izen, a friend, and brother in the same church since 1866, I consider 
it a great privilege to be permitted to say a few words concerning his 
life as a citizen, friend, and Christian. He was a Kentuckian by 
birth, and possessed some of the traits of character that mark the citi- 
zens of that noble state. From his boyhood he was especially noted 
for his high sense of honor, and though not permitted the privileges 
of a scholastic education he was a great reader and was always well 
posted on the current events of the day. At the opening of the re- 
bellion his patriotism mastered his fatherly instincts, and he sent out 
his two sons with a father's blessing to defend the sacred rights of his 
country. He was always keenly alive to the best interests of the 
state and county in which he resided, and while he had no ambition 
for the honors and emoluments of office, he was an ardent republican 
and endorsed its principles with all his heart, and ever tried to carry 
them out. He was president of the first constitutional convention, 
and in 1871 he represented his county in the legislature, and the same 
year was again a member of the constitutional convention. In his 
place in the halls of legislation he was dignified, self-possessed, and 
active. When he spoke he invariably commanded the attention of 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 217 

the house, and few men wielded a greater influence on the floor than 
Hon. S. P. Majors. 

To him more than to any other one man belongs the honor of putting 
the State Normal School in a condition to claim the attention and sup- 
port of the state. Whatever he undertook he accomplished, and he left 
his office with a character unsullied, and a reputation for candor and 
probity that few of his fellows could boast. His name was frequently 
mentioned in connection with the gubernatorial chair, but he invaria- 
bly discouraged such allusions. He sought no such honors; he loved 
most of all his home and a spotless reputation. As a business man, 
Mr. Majors was far seeing and of a singularly good judgment. None 
that followed his advice ever had reason to regret it. True, he could 
not always avoid the mistakes of others, and was sometimes embar- 
rassed through the want of good judgment in other persons, but as a 
financier he had few equals. 

As a husband and father he was almost a model. He loved his 
family tenderly but not blindly. Whatever may befall any son or 
daughter of his, each will always confess his father's example by 
word and act was noble and elevating. Mr. Majors loathed anything 
like a dishonorable act, and no man living can say he intentionally 
did a wrong. Generous, often to a fault, he never let the poor leave 
his door unalmsed. 

But his character shone out most clearly in his life as a Christian 
man. At the early age of seventeen he professed religion and united 
with the Methodist Episcopal church, and since that time, for a term of 
fifty years, he has never dishonored his God or his church by any course 
of action. Most of that time he had been an officer in the church, 
and many a discouraged brother or sister has been cheered by his 
words of comfort. During the past year he has especially cheered the 
hearts of his Christian friends by his great activity in the cause of 
his Master. He has seemed especially anxious for the conversion of 
his neighbors and neighbor's children, and in laying him away to 
rest every one who knew him, saint or sinner, feels of a surety it is 
well with his soul. But who will fill his place? In the line of bat- 
tle when the fatal bullet strikes down a soldier his comrades press up 
and close up the gap, and while, in his case, he leaves noble sous to 
carry on his work in the state and social circle, yet who shall fill his 
place in the church? 
15 



218 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

The whole community feels the loss. "A prince in Israel hath 
fallen." The most sincere and heartfelt sympathy is extended to the 
bereaved and sorrowing widow and the afflicted family. 



JAMES W. SAVAGE. 



By the death of James W. Savage, which occurred at his home in 
Omaha on Saturday evening last, Nebraska loses a citizen who has 
been a prominent figure in legal, political, social, and educational 
circles throughout the whole history of the state. He came here in 
the year of the admission of Nebraska into the Union. He has re- 
sided here continuously since, and has been closely identified with the 
growth of the state and the development of its metropolis. Belong- 
ing to the minority party, he held few political offices, but neverthe- 
less wielded a marked influence in the formation of our institutions. 

As a lawyer he stood second to none in the commonwealth. As a 
public man his influence was for clean party management and honest 
government. He was esteemed by all who knew him as a type of 
the true American man. His tastes led him to literary pursuits as 
well as to close judicial analysis of the law. Year by year his rep- 
utation as a scholar widened, but his studies made him more or less of 
a recluse, and there are many of our younger public men who heard 
much about Judge Savage, but failed of an opportunity to make hi& 
acquaintance. 

Judge Savage sprung from sturdy Puritan stock. He is a descend- 
ant of Anne Hutchinson, the founder of a noted New England re- 
ligious sect, and many distinguished men and women belong to the 
family. The subject of this sketch was born at Bedford, New Hamp- 
shire, in 1826. He received his early education at Phillips Academy 
and was graduated from Harvard College in 1847. Three years later 
he began the practice of the law in New York City, where he remained 
until the outbreak of the rebellion. Entering the army a captain, he 
served for four years and was mustered out a colonel. In 1867 he 
removed to the infant state of Nebraska, locating in Omaha. He 
early became a leader in his profession, and would have held impor- 
tant public offices had not his party, whose nominee he was on several 
occasions, been in a hopeless minority. Nevertheless, he was selected 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 219 

a regent of the university in 1872, and three years later was elected 
judge of the third judicial district, overcoming an adverse majority 
at that time and again four years later. He made such an excellent 
judge that he would undoubtedly have been kept in the service in- 
definitely, had he not felt the strain to be too severe and resigned be- 
fore the expiration of his second term on the bench. 

Judge Savage always remained in touch with the college world, 
and was frequently called upon for addresses upon various subjects 
by the different organizations meeting at the university. It is known 
that during one of the periods in which the university was without a 
chancellor, this important position was offered to him in the hope 
that his acceptance would end the troubles which were less than ten 
years ago threatening the usefulness of the institution. It was im- 
possible for him to take upon himself the arduous duties of the place, 
however, greatly to the disappointment of the friends of the university. 

To Judge Savage the Nebraska State Historical Society is indebted 
for a number of papers costing a vast amount of research, and bear- 
ing the impress of a trained mind and a fine literary taste. His 
" Discovery of Nebraska," "A Visit to Nebraska in 1862," and " The 
Christening of the Platte," will not only be an invaluable part of the 
recorded history of the state, but will be read with pleasure and profit 
long after the state shall have forgotten the generation which knew 
the gentle, courteous jurist and scholar who was their author. 



I 



Bar addresses were delivered as follows: 
JUDGE WAKELEY. 

The lesson of death is ever before us. Perpetually the problem 
comes to us, why are the good, the noble, the honored taken from the 
full fruition of life, while the base and ignoble remain to occupy and 
trouble the earth? There is no answer except that He whose wisdom 
is unfailing. He whose justice is infinite, has so ordered the affairs of 
this world. 

The life and work of such men as James W. Savage answer the 
skeptic question, "Is life worth living?" And when such a man 
meets death with a Christian's serenity, and a soldier's courage, faith- 
ful to friendship, duty, and love until his last hours — even such a 
death attests the worth and nobility of life. If my friend could have 



220 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

known that I would speak these few words of him when he should 
be gone, he would have asked that I should utter no mere formal 
eulogium, nor one word of praise which I should not sincerely believe 
to be his due. Nor will I do so. But I may justly say this — and it 
is much to say with truth of any man — that from boyhood to the 
mature manhood in which he died, as student, as scholar, as lawyer, 
as soldier, as judge, as tenant of many official trusts, as philanthropist, 
as citizen mingling in business affairs, he took and bore his part con- 
scientiously, bravely, zealously, purely, and went to his end "leaving 
in life no blot on his name." 

We of Omaha knew Judge Savage by personal association for some 
twenty-three years. So much has been said of him here and else- 
where, that I will speak only, and speak but briefly, of two or three 
phases of his life in which I knew him best. You who met him at 
the bar knew with what courtesy, with what fairness, with what re- 
spect and deference to the court, yet with what firmness and faithful- 
ness to his cause, and with what general success he conducted his legal 
contests. And to all this his brethren of the bar have borne most 
ample testimony to-day. 

When, many years ago, in a convention for presenting a candidate 
forjudge of this court, I moved his nomination, I ventured to pledge 
that, if he should reach the place, his administration would be pure, 
wise, elevated, and enlightened — so free from guile, or suspicion, or 
unfairness, that the public would rest in absolute confidence of his 
judicial integrity. And so it proved. And so, again, the public 
trusted him. Twice he was chosen over a large political majority, at 
a time when party tests were somewhat stronger than they have been 
in later years. As a judge, you know that he was patient and cour- 
teous almost beyond the demands of the place. His learning, his 
clear judgment, his strong good sense, and his sure instinct and per- 
ception of the right and wrong of a controversy seldom permitted him 
to go far wrong. And there was ever an inherent dignity in his bear- 
ing and presence, that made his court room a fit sanctuary of justice. 
It was not the dignity of arrogance, or of pompousness, or pretense, 
or that which comes from the mere sense of authority. It came, 
rather from the consciousness that a great power for good and for jus- 
tice among men was in his hands ; that he was there to use it right- 
eously and fearlessly, and that he was secure from all bias or tempta- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 221 

tion to misuse or pervert it. It was the perception and recognition of 
this, in the judge, which made men ashamed to misbehave in his 
presence, and made them accept his judgments with seemly deference. 

We recall that during his incumbency and to the time of his resig- 
nation, eight years ago, he performed, alone, the judicial service for 
this district, where now the industry of four judges scarcely suffices 
for the work — a most forcible proof of a surprising increase of court 
business. And the bar has so increased, that not many of you here 
to-day were active practitioners before him when his service began. 
He had a warranted ambition for judicial preferment; and later be- 
came a candidate forjudge of the supreme court of Nebraska. Such 
was the public confidence in his merit and fitness, that he nearly at- 
tained the place against an adverse political majority of more than 
20,000 in the state. It was a lost battle, well fought ; and, as a true 
soldier, he accepted defeat. 

Without over-desire, or special aptitude for accumulating wealth, 
and abhorring all devious or extortionate methods of money-getting, 
he was content and proud to live by his honorable earnings, in the sim- 
plicity, the independence and real dignity of an American citizen and 
gentleman. Yet who, knowing him well, and thus knowing his gen- 
erosity, his sensibility, his sympathy with every form of need and suf- 
fering — brute or human — who, so knowing him, did not wish that his 
open hand had held some large share of the misused treasure heaped 
and hoarded in hereditary vaults, or held in the miser clutch of greed 
and avarice, or sown recklessly to the winds by speculative advent- 
urers. With him as its almoner, wealth would have sent out its ben- 
efactions widely and broadly for the blessings of the poor, the weak, 
the destitute and the stricken, and for the aid of religion, learning, 
literature, and art, wherever these potent agencies were working for 
the redemption, the betterment, and the elevation of men. In the 
broad humanity of his heart and his nature, these and kindred ends 
were among the chiefest and latest aspirations of his life. 

But the night hath come, and he can work no more. Through all 
his life he met unreluctantly the demands of duty whensoever or 
wheresover they came to him, and obeyed them with such ability and 
such understanding as were given to him. Finally, he heard the call 
of the Great Commander, and passed without fear and without falter- 
ing, from life to death and the hereafter. 



222 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ARTHUR C. WAKELEY. 

May IT Peease Your Honors and Gentlemen of the Bar : 
In so general an expression of sorrow at the loss of one of our oldest 
and most honored members, I feel that it would be ungrateful to the 
memory of a cherished friendship should I forbear some humble trib- 
ute of affection and respect. In common with the members of the 
bar, I feel that in the death of Judge Savage this community and the 
people of every class have lost a citizen whose wide pliilanthroi)y 
and whose cultured tastes have always been exerted for the public 
good; that this court has lost a jurist whose purity of life, and whose 
excellence of judgment have ornamented and exalted for so many 
years the bench upon which your honors sit. But more especially I 
feel that in his death every member of this bar has lost a valued per- 
sonal friend. I admired in him the incorruptible judge, the eloquent 
advocate, the lettered scholar, and the brilliant lawyer. But I love to 
remember him rather as a friend. I remember very well, your honors, 
the first case I ever tried in this court. It was in the old court house. 
Judge Savage was on the bench. He had appointed me to defend a 
prisoner in a criminal case, and I shall never forget the kindness and 
the consideration which he showed me in the conduct of that case, nor 
can I ever forget the graciousness with which he overlooked my inex- 
perience and the delicacy with which he relieved my embarrassment. 
It happened that I was afterwards associated with him in some cases 
and I also had the pleasure of seeing him in his home upon many 
occasions, and there was about him to me — and I have heard others 
say it also — a certain charm and sweetness of manner, a cordial affa- 
bility and sincerity of expression which seemed to lift young men into 
a higher zone and place them on his own high level. Always kind, he 
was always approachable. I know of many beginners at this i)ar to 
whom his help and kind encouragement have been a continual incen- 
tive. He was a comrade to us; we knew and felt proud of his com- 
radeship. He talked with us and we with him as freely and as famil- 
iarly as one young man might with another, yet in our eyes he never 
lost a perfect dignity and respect, and I doubt, your honors, wiiether 
there has ever been a member of this bar who was more in accord and 
symj)atiiy, more in touch, with its younger members and with young 
men everywhere than was Judge Savage. It is said that those who 
listened to Lord Chatham felt that there was somethintr finer in the 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 223 

man than anything he had said. And as often as I have listened to 
the eloquent words of him whose loss we mourn, I to-day could not 
but think there was that in the man himself which made them elo- 
quent. I never left his presence without a spur to nobler resolve and 
higher things. He has gone from us, but he has bequeathed to us 
the memory of a stainless life which will reign, an influence for good, 
when these scenes and the theatre of his achievements shall have en- 
tirely vanished. 

The eloquent Prentiss once said that " there is no appeal for relief 
from the great law that dooms us to the dust." But in looking 
though the record of his life, who is no more, we can almost say that 
where there is no error there need be no appeal. 



LEAVITT BURNHAM. 

To the many able and eloquent tributes of press and voice, paid to 
the memory of Judge Savage, I desire to add a single one — an inci- 
dent connected with his life and death. 

Within the garments last worn by him in active life, there was 
found, after his death, a poetic fragment — by the poet Tennyson — 
which is so suggestive of Judge Savage's clear faith and belief during 
life, and of the composure with which he met death, that I venture to 
present it here. It is entitled, "Across the Bar," and runs thus : 

Sunset and evening star, — 

And a clear call for me; 
And may there be no moaning of the bar, 

When I put out to sea. ' 

For such a time as moving, seems a sleep 

Too full for sound or foam, 
When that which drew from out the boundless deep 

Turns again — home. 

Twilight and evening bell, 

And after that — the dark. 
And may there be no sadness of farewell 

When I embark. 

For though from out my bourne of time and place 

The flood may bear me far, 
I hope to meet my pilot face to face, 

When I have crossed the bar. 



224 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

JOHN D. HOWE. 

The great master has said : 

Be chided for silence, 

But never taxed for speech. 

Ordinarily, on occasions like this, I have been forced to remain si- 
lent by an embarrassing consciousness that lost in feeling the power of 
speech. I owe to the memory of him who was for many years my 
near friend, no ordinary tribute. This obligation possesses the sanc- 
tion of a debt that must be paid. I should always chide myself if I 
should remain silent now. 

Others have spoken of Judge Savage as soldier, lawyer, and judge. 
That he was brave and faithful in all these characters, all know. But 
to be a soldier, lawyer, or judge requires little more than what is 
common-place in character or ability. I prefer to distinguish our de- 
ceased brother as a citizen and friend. For more than twenty years our 
friendship, that began at first sight, endured, and it strengthened with 
every passing year as surely as the seasons brought the flowers that 
bloom in the spring, the summer's wealth of harvests and the frosts of 
winter. 

The best achievement of any man in our favored country and time 
is to be great and true as a citizen. Special honors bring with them 
their own reward. They are embellishments. The citizen stands for 
character, uniform and constant, without reward save the conscious- 
ness within which one may only measurably, and to a very limited 
extent, share with another. It is the daily walk. The wearing out 
of one's shoes — a little to-day, a little to-morrow, and every day, till 
the end. Laurels and flowers are not flung in the pathway of any 
man every day ; they are the gifts of the holidays and the carnival 
days of his life. And so it is that the feet that walk true in the 
morning and at noon-tide and at sun-down — when rested and when 
weary — make foot-prints and path-ways which all may follow and by 
which none will be misled. 

The cheers and plaudits of the people spur one on to special en- 
deavor; they are rewards which many seek and none are indifferent 
to. But truer greatness is that of faithful citizenship, whose virtues 
are practiced in the by-ways that men walk in day by day. The 
tourist at Oxford is shown Addison's walk, a shady and retired place. 
Here, unknown, he meditated and wrought. In maturer, if not 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICrS. 225 

greater years, the light of his work, backward flung, redeemed the 
walk by the river's side. What a man is, is what he is when he is 
alone. To see him then is, as it Avere, to see him naked as he was 
born. There is then no aiFectation, or dishonesty, but the truth. 
Approximating this is the man in his "daily walk and conversation.'' 

The greatness of citizenship is the truest and best greatness, except 
only the greatness of unostentatious goodness. Among the greatest 
and best of the earth are many who have gone through life's long 
journey without cheer or plaudit, leaving names "writ in water" only. 
We all know of those whose lives were but the execution of missions 
to do good in the humbleness and shadow of obscurity. They were 
known to those only who loved them, and so honored them. The 
greatness of these surpasses the greatness of all others. Next to it 
comes the greatness of the citizen, pure and simple. But the springs 
of both are the same. The works of each are the outward evidences 
of the internal nature and spirit. Such are born, not made. Judge 
Savage was great in his citizenship, to which were added many graces 
of character that embellished his life and sweetened the lives of oth- 
ers — which drew to him men of many minds and made friends of all. 

As a result of no ordinary mental struggle in my endeavor to give 
form to my thought upon this aspect of his life, a picture formed it- 
self in my mind and persistently occupied it. It was of a field of 
undriven snow, without track or stain upon it. 

As a friend. Judge Savage was warm, loyal, steadfast, and honor- 
able. These words are few in number, but how powerful! I will 
not weaken their force by adding others. 

With such views as I have expressed, how is it possible for me to 
bring to this memorial meeting richer tribute than this, which goes to 
his truth as citizen and his loyalty as friend! If so be there is "a 
land that is fairer than day" — which is the fairest product of God's 
handiwork known to men — I can conceive of no purpose for which it 
could have been created if not to furnish an abiding place for such as 
the brother whom we mourn. As he penetrated the shadows of the 
dark valley, with the fortitude which the good man and citizen may 
always feel, let us indulge the hope, in the inspiration of our mother's 
faith, that a beacon was set in a window of the house of many man- 
sions, to guide him not to friendly shelter only, such as we offer the 
traveler benighted here below, but to the hospitality of God for life 
everlasting ! 



226 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

HENRY D. ESTABROOK. . 

There are reasons persoual and peculiar why I wish to add my 
voice to the heart-swell of sorrow that goes out from this community 
for the loss of Judge Savage. Much of what I wish to say may be 
considered by many as ill-timed, possibly indelicate. It may be so. 
I only know that the impulse which moves me to speak finds me in no 
condition to balance the niceties of conventioualityt I speak out of a 
full heart. 

I once wronged Judge Savage. The injury was public and docu- 
mentary. I wish my retraction to be equally public and matter of 
record. Thank God! I squared it with him before to-day! At the 
time of my advent to the bar, Judge Savage presided alone over this 
district and my first case in a court of general jurisdiction came on for 
trial before him and a jury. Like most beginners, I was ignorant 
and awkward in the presentation of my case. He was patient and long 
suffering. During the trial something occurred which I construed into 
a reprimand and it mortified me deeply. He evidently noticed my 
emotion, for at the noon recess he called me to him and asked if he had 
said or done anything to hurt my feelings. I said that he had. He 
stated that he was sorry; that it was unintentional; that he would 
not consciously wound the feelings of any member of the bar, much 
less a young man just starting upon his career. Nothing could have 
been kindlier. With atrocious audacity I replied that if he owed me 
an apology it was before the jury where the injury was done. His 
face flushed — as well it might, but he replied very gently that he was 
sorry he could not agree with me, and the matter dropped. I wish to 
be understood that he was wholly right and that I was altogether 
wrong. Unfortunately I did not always think so. This is my one 
excuse, the only mitigating feature of my subsequent conduct. I 
longed for a chance to get even. It came. Judge Savage was nom- 
inated by his party for the supreme bench. His cause was espoused 
by many republican papers throughout the state, including the Omaha 
Bee, upon the ground that a judicial contest should be essentially non- 
partisan, and that the paramount qualification of Mr. Savage for the 
position must be conceded by every citizen irrespective of politics. For 
several weeks the republican organs were nonplused. They dare not 
attack by so much as a syllable the entire fitness of the democratic 
candidate, physically, morally, intellectually. The campaign prom- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 227 

ised to be houorable, and cleaD, and fair, and impersonal. In the 
meantime I was at work upon au article attacking Judge Savage vic- 
iously upon numerous grounds and professing to prove my assertions 
from the records. How partial, garbled, and mendacious this attack 
was, goes without saying. I handed my screed to the Omaha Repub- 
lican. It was stereotyped and kept as standing matter in that paper 
throughout the campaign. Now I do not know that this article con- 
tributed one iota to the defeat of Judge Savage in that election. I do 
know that the authorship of the article having been revealed, I 
had the mean satisfaction of seeing those poisoned shafts strike and 
wound the object of the attack. His retaliation for this indignity — 
the only retaliation he ever made — was to leave me alone. The time 
came when I saw my action in its true light ; when I realized how 
much worse than a lie may be a half truth ; when I was capable ot 
estimating at its real value the royal nature of the gentleman whom I 
had sought to injure and to contrast that nature with the malignity 
and puerility of my own. I could endure it no longer. Something 
over a year ago, after years of separation and estrangement, I offered 
Mr. Savage my humble apologies, and the letter I received in reply 
was so generous, so kindly, so gentle, so tender, that I can never recall 
it without a lump in the throat and a suffusion of the eyes. As I re- 
read it the other day, perhaps for the twentieth time, there was a por- 
tion struck me as pathetically prophetic, and I venture to quote it. 
Speaking of himself he says : 

"My age and infirmities admonish me that I shall not long haunt 
the court house, and nothing has troubled me more lately than the 
thought that when I leave it forever I shall go without the regard of 
every member of the bar. I have good reason to hope now that I 
may take with me only good wishes and farewells. Let us meet once 
more on the old footing and look upou the past years only as au ugly 
dream." 

I knew Judge Savage after reading this letter if I never did before. 
Mr. Chairman, all young men choose their hero — either from the pages 
of history or from the persons immediately about them. The char- 
acter of this hero becomes at once their standard of excellence; his 
achievements their constant emulation. Now I know of no man either 
in the pages of history or out of them, whom I would sooner com- 
mend as a ])attern and exemplar to the younger members of this bar 



228 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

thau James W. Savage. And for the reason that his life and accom- 
plishments present no impossible ideal. The offices that he filled were 
none of them so exalted as to attribute his success to accident or super- 
human abilities, and if he had never filled an office, our veneration for 
his character and our sorrow for his loss would be the same; for we 
can all of us testify that Judge Savage borrowed no lustre, derived no 
factitious glamour from any position he ever occupied, He always 
dignified the place. Indeed he can scarcely be said to have aspired to 
office. The office rather aspired to him ; for such as he filled came to 
him as it were by the laws of moral gravitation. I would rather be 
Judge Savage as the Dean of Bellevue college, than the last two in- 
cumbents of the presidential chair! Mr. Savage was a great man in 
the best meaning of the phrase. His scholarship was ripe, his legal 
attainments more thau ordinary, his intellect strong and vigorous; 
assimilative, perhaps, rather than creative; but all these qualities, dom- 
inated by a moral force, a sensitive intuition of what was rigiit and an 
inflexible determination to maintain the right, that made him distinct- 
ively and essentially great. For "it is only noble to be good." The 
poet is right, and Judge Savage had, consciously or unconsciously, 
caught the spirit of that hero of heroes, that paragon of mankind who 
first revealed to us the beauty of holiness, the majesty of selfhood, 
the possibilities and glory of human character. For whence else came 
that gracious courtesy which he displayed at all times and to all alike? 
Whence that repose and simplicity of life which kept him aloof from 
the scramble of politics and the greed of office? Wiience that genial, 
happy, contented mind that brightened all about him and never shone 
with greater effulgence than in the hour of death ? Whence that sat- 
isfying success in life which inspired him, in those last dread moments, 
to utter words of hope and cheer and comfort, instead of that dismal 
wail of Disraeli's: "Youth is a blunder, manhood a struggle, old age 
a regret." Horrible summary! Old age had no regrets, for he had 
done his duty ! Time had, indeed, sifted ashes on his head, but the 
heart within him glowed to the very last Avith all the fervor and buoy- 
ancy of youth. Whence, I say, came that serene dignity, that placid, 
patient courage which enabled him, as the waters of Jordan splashed 
upon his feet, to gaze down into their pellucid depths without a tremor, 
without an effort to escape the rising tide? Ah, it is in these supreme 
moments that we see revealed, as by a lightning flash, the one iudubit- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 229 

able truth, that the thing, within the reach of all is, after all, the only 
thing on earth worth striving for ! 



GEORGE W. AMBROSE. 

Some years ago, on the sands of Fall river, near Newport, there was 
found a skeleton, encased in disjointed and corroded armor. The 
poet Longfellow, in that exquisite ballad entitled ' The Skeleton in 
Armour,' has caused the skeleton to speak, and he uses the following 
language : 

I was a Viking old! 

My deeds, though manifold, 

No Skald in song has told, 

No Saga taught thee! 
Take heed that in thy verse. 
Thou dost this man's true tale rehearse. 
Else dread a dead man's curse! 
For this I sought thee. 

So to-day I would give nothing but the true tale of this man's life, 
and utter nothing but the keenest expressions of regret at his death. 

Judge Savage and myself came to this city in the spring of 1867. 
I made his acquaintance upon the second day of his arrival, and from 
that day to the day of his death I am conscious that I was his friend, 
and believe that he was mine. In the twenty-three years of active 
professional labor at this bar, there never was a written stipulation be- 
tween us, there never was an angry or even a hasty word. We have 
often in familiar intercourse compared ideas on questions of law which 
have arisen, and in which one or the other of us had been actively en- 
gaged. At the formation of this court, under the constitution of this 
state, in the spring of 1867, Savage, Cowin, Chase, and myself were 
admitted to this bar upon our certificates of admission in other states. 
Savage was the first one of that quartette to die. Of the members of 
the bar then here, engaged in the active business of their profession, 
there are but four left. The business of this court was then attended 
to by Redick & Briggs, Poppleton, Woolworth, Doaue, Meredith, 
Howe, Esta brook, Brown, Swartzlander, and O'Brien. Of that 
number Briggs, Meredith, and O'Brien are dead. Redick, Brown, 
and Estabrook have retired long since from the active work of their 
professions; Doane is upon the bench; leaving Messrs. Poppleton, 



230 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Woolwortli, Swartzlander, and Howe the ouly four members then at 
the bar who are now engaged in the practice of their profession. 

These reminiscences and thoughts upon the past impress me with 
the idea that we are growing old. The words come to me like a wail; 
I feel that if I could I would put out my hands and push away this 
old man called "Time," drive away this silent feeling that as the 
clock upon the mantel ticks away, we are journeying very fast, and 
where ? Oh, if there was some fountain of youth, where the tired man 
might plunge and feel once more the bounding blood, drive away the 
care lines from the brow and tlie silver from the hair ! When our 
time shall have come, it will be then as it is now ; not one atom of the 
business world will cease its movements ; the laughter of the child at 
play will not be hushed, and the world will move on, and others will 
take our places and work, and the old man will rest beneath the sod, 
growing old no more. 

It is a great mistake to think that the best thoughts of man find 
utterance in human language. They come to us all in silent medita- 
tions and adoration, and no ear ever hears, and no heart is ever glad- 
dened except the heart of Him who is the Father of us all. . 

The nature of Savage was spiritual, earnest, highly poetic, and sym- 
pathetic ; and if the incandescent light of the past could be turned on,^ 
the glow would reveal that the unuttered thoughts of him we mourn 
were far brighter than any of those which have pleased us when we 
heard them. Savage was a copyist. Did you ever view the paintings 
of the old masters, by the side of which hung the copy ? Go look, if you 
never have, and observe that while the old is perfect and massive, the 
new, touched by a master hand as well, is resplendent with roseate 
hues, and a newer life, touched with the ever present. 

In such a sense he was a copyist. His mind was stored with the 
lore of the masters of literature. He made large drafts upon them, 
but what he brought to us from them was tinctured with a newer life 
and a holier purpose. 

" Noise and heat are born of earth, and die with time; 
The soul, like God, its source and seat, is solemn, still, silent, sublime." 

So with our brother. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 231 



AN ARMY REMINISCENCE. 



A writer who signed himself "C. K.," sent the following letter to 
a local paper a few clays after the death of Judge Savage : 

In the early mouths of 1865, Colonel Savage, with his command, 
the Twelfth New York cavalry, was iu advance of the army of General 
Schofield from Newbern, N. C, to Goldsboro. General Bragg was 
met about half way, at Kingston, and in a night attack upon tlie 
Union forces by eight separate charges was defeated. Early the fol- 
lowing morning Colonel Savage, with his command, moved out of 
Kingston on a broad turnpike road. When about one mile out a ter- 
rific explosion occurred at the head of his command. It was a torpedo, 
a thirty-pounder, whirling a horse and trooper into the ditch. For a 
minute the command was paralyzed. The writer galloped to the 
front, and, with a saber, found two more torpedoes of the same kind and 
removed them. From that time I took up torpedoes in front of the 
command of Colonel Savage for about two months, and no loss oc- 
curred thereafter. Three regiments of rebel cavalry were continually 
in his front and iu every engagement they were whipped. One morn- 
ing they ambushed the command of Colonel Savage. He knew they 
outnumbered his force three to one. How cool Colonel Savage looked 
when he saw his men fall but a few rods in advance. His order was^ 
" Half draw pistols and half draw sabers ! " The enemy beat a retreat, 
and from that eventful morning Colonel Savage ordered a charge upon 
these three regiments almost daily and never failed to jump them to 
the end of the road, and often captured many prisoners. This is a 
tribute to the memory of a gallant soldier, whose command was never 
put to rout. 



RESOLUTIONS. 

The trustees of Bellevue college met and passed the following reso- 
lutions : 

" Whereas, It hath pleased Almighty God to remove from us the 
Hon. James W. Savage, who for years has been a trustee of Bellevue 
college, be it by us 

"Resolved, That we place upon record our appreciation of his uni- 
form interest and faithfulness in the discharge of his duties as a mem- 



232 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ber of this board, his constant courtesy, his valuable advice, and his 
ready liberality. 

"Resolved, That we have this action spread upon our minutes, and 
that we furnish the same for publication in the Omaha daily papers." 

The Omaha public library and reading room was ordered closed 
from 12 o'clock to 6 on Tuesday, November 25, the day of the funeral. 
The directors passed the following resolutions: 

" The directors of the Omaha public library, in expressing their 
deep sorrow on account of the death of the Hon, James W. Savage, 
wish to show their high esteem for his rectitude of purpose, faithful- 
ness to duty, and kindly disposition, not only in all the relations of 
life, but especially in the discharge of all the labors pertaining to the 
work of our board. His enlightened and enthusiastic interest in 
the library work during a long period as a director, and including 
nine years' service as our president, has raised a debt of gratitude 
which this community can never discharge, therefore be it 

"fiesolved, That we hereby testify to his worth as a citizen, a neigh- 
bor, a friend, as a member of this board, and we tender to his rela- 
tives our heart-felt sympathy; and further, that as a testimony of our 
appreciation it is ordered that his portrait be procured and hung in 
the library, to the end that all may bear witness to our appreciation." 



CONGRESSMAN JAMES LAIRD. 



James Laird was born at Fowlerville, Livingston county. New 
York, June 10, 1849, and several years later accompanied his parents 
to Michigan, residing in Washtenaw and Lenawee counties. He en- 
listed July 24, 1861, in General Stockton's independent infantry, 
which a year later was changed to the Sixteenth Michigan infantry. 
He enlisted as a private, but was promoted to second lieutenant of 
Company G for gallant and meritorious conduct, and less than a year 
later, to captain of the company, serving until mustered out August 
26, 1865. During service in the war he received four musket shot 
wounds and a sabre cut, the latter at Laurel Hill, Va., May 8, 1864. 
At the battle of Gaines Hill he was shot through the body and left 
for dead on the field ; was picked up by the confederates, made pris- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 233 

oner, but thirty days later made his escape. After the war he turned 
his attention to the study of law at the Wesleyan college, Adrian, 
Mich. In 1868 he went to Ann Arbor University, Michigan, and 
continued his studies there. He graduated in the law college with the 
close of the term of 1871, and in June of that year was admitted to 
the Michigan state bar, after which he practiced law for a short time 
at Lansing. He came to Nebraska in July, 1872, located at Juniata, 
and at once began the practice of law in partnership with A. H. 
Bowen. In 1877 he associated himself with B. F. Smith. In 1879 
the firm moved their law office to Hastings. He has always taken an 
active interest in state politics, was a member of the state constitu- 
ional convention of 1875, and in 1880 was one of the republican 
presidential electors of Nebraska. In 1882 he was nominated by the 
republicans of the Second congressional district, and elected to the 
Forty-eighth congress, receiving 12,983 votes, as against 10,012 cast 
for S. V. Moore, the farmers' alliance candidate, and 3,010 votes cast 
for F. C. Harmon, democratic candidate. Renominated in 1884 for 
a second term, he was re-elected by a vote of 21,181 votes, against 
17,650 votes for John Stickel, anti-monopoly candidate, and 1,176 
votes for B. Crabbe, prohibitionist. In 1886 he was again renomina- 
ted and re-elected to the Fiftieth congress by a vote of 21,373, against 
16,315 votes for McKeighan, democratic and anti-monopoly. In 
November last Mr. Laird was elected for the fourth time, to the Fifty- 
first congress, by a vote of 27,950, against 19,120 for Hastings. Mr. 
Laird was not married, and no immediate relatives survive him. 

Hastings, Neb., August 17. 
The death of the Hon. James Laird has been expected in Hastings 
for nearly a year. The first evidences of his physical and mental de- 
cline showed themselves about a year ago. It then took the form of a 
steadily increasing melancholia, accompanied by irritability, which was 
at first attributed to an affection of the stomach. During the cam- 
paign of last fall Mr. Laird completely broke down. He took to his 
bed and prophesied his certain death, and it was with the greatest diffi- 
culty that during Senator Manderson's speech in Hastings Mr. Laird 
was induced to dress himself and make a few short words of address 
from the platform. The campaign over, he became morose, secluded 
himself in his room and required the constant attendance of a nurse. 
16 



234 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

The disease was plainly of nervous origin, and there were evidences 
of general paresis which were unmistakable. Change of air, and 
especially of surroundings being prescribed, he was taken to Eureka 
Springs in Arkansas, returning in January to Hastings very much 
worse than when he left. At the earnest solicitation of the Nebraska 
congressional delegation he was taken, in February, to Washington in 
the hopes that under the care of his old physician, Dr. Sowers, he 
might become convalescent. For a short time after his arrival he 
seemed to improve in health, especially after, by the imperative orders 
of his physician, a change in attendants was made and a Mr. Jacobson, 
of Hastings, was placed in charge of the sick room. All efforts, how- 
ever, to arouse him from the deep gloom which had settled over hi& 
mind were unavailing, while he was perfectly rational upon all sub- 
jects except his own condition. During the last month of his life he 
took some interest in political matters in the second district, dictating 
letters and endeavoring as best he could in his weak state to perform 
the duties of his office. He sank rapidly in strength. A visit of two 
mouths at Atlantic City, on the seaside, seemed to improve him greatly,^ 
and several weeks before his return home he took daily exercise in the 
open air, walking several miles at a stretch. Since his return to Hast- 
ings his decline has been rapid, and the death which he had anticipated 
for so long took place to-day at 10 o'clock. 

Mr. Laird had lived for many years in the second district of Ne- 
braska, and left behind him a large number of very warm friends, 
who will feel in his death a sense of personal bereavement. 

He was in his prime of a strong, vigorous, and aggressive nature. 
He was impetuous and never shunned a conflict. He was a hard 
fighter, fertile in political expedients, with a strong confidence in his 
own resources, and fully appreciative of those of his adversaries. On 
the platform he was a ready and forcible speaker. While lacking the 
arts of the finished orator, he made up for the deficiencies of early 
education by reading and mingling with men. He had a ])eculiar 
magnetism, which attracted others and held them when once won. 
While averse to compromise he often changed his enemies to personal 
friends by the charm of his manner and the warmth of his sympa- 
thies. In congress he attached himself to very many of the people 
in his district and state, especially the old soldier element, by the care- 
ful attention which he paid to all demands upon his time in the way 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 235 

of claims, pensions, and correspondence. He was methodical and 
prompt in all such matters, and as a consequence, secured results which 
told. 

He was comparatively a young man at the time of his death. He 
had lived at high pressure for years, throwing himself thoroughly into 
the enjoyments of life and drawing heavily upon his vitality at a time 
when men of less impetuous temperament would have been laying up 
a reserve for the future. There is a general expression of regret over 
his death among all classes in this community, where he was best 
known and where recollection of the failings which he had in common 
with many men is lost in remembrance of the hundreds of kindly acts 
which he did for those in need whenever it lay within his power to 
assist. 



EEY. WILLIAM S. HORN. 

Rev. William Stribling Horn was born in Kentucky, May 9, 1814, 
and resided there until he was twelve years of age, when with his 
parents he removed to Illinois and settled upon a farm near the present 
site of Beardstown, Cass county, then part of Morgan county. In 
1834 he was married in Bureau county, that state, to Miss Silvia 
Hall, one of the Misses Hall who were taken captive by the Indians 
during the Black Hawk war of 1832 after massacring their parents 
and ten other persons at the Hall homestead. After his marriage he 
resided in Cass county until the year 1844 or 1845, following the occu- 
pation of a farmer and local minister of the Methodist Protestant 
church, having entered the ministry at the age of twenty-two years. 
After leaving Cass county he removed with his family to Bureau 
county, where he lived until 1850, and during that year came west 
and settled in Atchison county, Missouri. In Bureau county, Illinois, 
and Atchison county, Missouri, he followed the trade of gunsmith 
and on Sabbath days filled the pulpit, his sons attending to the farm 
work. In 1854, when the first immigration to Nebraska began, he was 
one of a party to come to this state, and located a claim at the head 
of Honey creek, three miles southwest of Peru, now owned in part by 
A. J. Richardson. With his family he removed thereto May 5, 1856, 
being one of the earliest settlers. He subsequently sold this land to 



236 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

William and Samuel Chambers, and purchased his father's claims, 
one mile southeast of Peru, now owned by his son-in-law, R. T. Mc- 
Adaras. Rev. Horn was twice elected president of the Nebraska 
conference of the M. P. church, which position he filled with credit 
and honor, during which time he traveled over the state of Nebraska 
and Iowa in the interest of church work. About the time the capi- 
tal was transferred to Lincoln, he removed to that place and assisted in 
laying out the first plat of that city. He purchased a farm south of 
the town site, which place he made his home until five years ago, 
when he located in Lincoln, and three years ago he removed to Au- 
burn. At the time of his death, May 25, 1888, he was seventy-four 
years and seven days old. He leaves a wife and nine children ; seven 
sons and two daughters, two of his sons having died during boyhood. 
The funeral took place Friday last from his late residence in this city, 
Auburn, and the remains were conveyed to the cemetery of the M. P. 
church in London precinct and interred that afternoon, services being 
conducted by Rev. Strickler, of London. 

Mr. Horn's life has been one of activity and great usefulness. He 
was a devoted husband, a loving father, and a highly prized neighbor 
and friend, and his death is universally regretted, and to the sorrow- 
ing wife, sons, and daughters, and other near relatives much sym- 
pathy is extended. 



JOHN HETH. 



John Heth died at his late residence in this city on Tuesday last, 
January 14, after a long and painful illness, at the age of fifty-six 
years. He had suffered from organic disease of the heart for two 
years and more, and, for the most part during this time he was inca- 
pacitated for active business. He was a man of splendid physical 
strength and powers of endurance, and to this he owed a surprising 
resistance to the incurable malady from which he suffered. 

John Heth was a native of Virginia, and was born in Richmond 
on the 6th day of January, 1834. He was a son of John and Mar- 
garet Heth. He was educated at Hampden Sidney College, Virginia, 
and first engaged in civil engineering in West Virginia. Ill health 
turned his attention to the west, and he came out to the wild country 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 237 

in 1854, to Forts Atkinson and Riley, where his famous brother, Gen- 
eral Henry Heth of the old army, was then stationed. At this time 
he was a mere boy, but his genial and generous spirit, his cultivated 
manners and resolute energy, gave him a wide popularity in the army, 
and the following year (1855) he became a member of the firm of 
Dyer & Co., post traders at Fort Kearney. He became post trader 
soon afterwards in his own right and interest, in which capacity he 
did a lucrative business until he sold out at the outbreak of the civil 
war. It was at Kearney that Mr. Heth became widely known, in 
and out of the army, for those honorable and generous qualities which 
held and always preserved to him a large and influential circle of 
friends. Among them were the most distinguished soldiers, dead and 
living, of the army, including the famous Mexican hero, Charley May, 
Winfield Scott Hancock, Lee, Harney, Albert Sidney Johnston, Gen- 
eral E. B. Alexander, George H. Thomas, Fred Steele, John Gibbon, 
John E. Summers, and others too numerous to mention. In 1857 he 
was commissioned a lieutenant in the regular army by Mr. Buchanan, 
but did not enter active service and soon resigned. 

In February, 1859, he was united in marriage to Miss Martha 
Miller at Hedgeland, near Richmond, Ky. Mrs. Heth accompanied 
her husband to Kearney, where they resided until 1864, when Mr. 
Heth removed to Nebraska City and engaged in freighting across the 
plains, in mercantile pursuits in Nebraska City and in milling at Sy- 
racuse. It was here in Nebraska City and Otoe county that Mr. 
Heth and his family were perhaps best known in social life, and where 
many of their attached friends survive. The hold that he had upon 
that people was shown when Hon. O. P. Mason, Hon. D. P. Polfe, 
mayor of Nebraska City, Mr. Miller of Lincoln, and Robert Lorton, 
the foremost citizens of the state, braved the severest weather of the 
season and came all the way to Omaha to attend his funeral and to 
bear the pall at the bier and grave of their departed friend. 

In 1876 Mr. Heth removed his family to Lincoln, where he repre- 
sented the stock interests of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, 
and was traveling representative of several business concerns, remov- 
ing to Omaha several years ago, where he has since resided and where 
he has been in the service of the Union Stock Yards Company. Mr. 
Heth never sought public office or honor. He was a member of the 
State Historical Society, and when the Omaha natives of the south, 



238 NEBEASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

who include many of our first citizens, organized the Southern Society, 
Mr. Heth was chosen as its president. 

This is the simple record of the life of the dead Virginian, whose 
death is so widely regretted in this state and city, but it would not be 
complete without further mention of his qualities as a man by one who 
knew him intimately for nearly thirty years, who is glad to bear testi- 
mony to his natural nobility of character, to his generous nature and 
warmth of heart, to his devotion to his family and kindred, and to his 
loyalty to friends. A more elegant gentleman in point of considera- 
tion for others and in polished manners never lived among us than 
John Heth. It was his fortune to be the pioneer of pioneers of the 
trans-Missouri region. His life was full of proofs of his courage 
and daring in the long race conflict which it cost to subdue the coun- 
try from savagery to civilization, and his mind was a storehouse of 
memories of men and events who made this conquest possible in our 
day. 

Mr. Heth was a member of the Protestant Episcopal church. If 
his faith had fallen away in the latter years of his life, when the shad- 
ows began to darken, that faith returned to him in abundant meas- 
ure. ~ He died a Christain, urging those whom he so dearly loved and 
all friends, not to put the matter off as he had done. His death bed 
was one of calm resignation and serenity through all sufferings, and he 
was far more solicitous for others than he was for himself. 

A stricken wife, one daughter, Mrs. W. F. Vail, and two sons, 
John Harrison Heth and Stockton Heth, General Harry Heth, and 
one other brother and three sisters were the chief mourners at the 
grave of our departed friend. 

The funeral took place at Trinity Cathedral in this city, Omaha, 
on Thursday, January 16, at 1:30 p. m., Dean Gardner officiating. 
Notwithstanding the severity of the weather the church was well filled 
with a large and influential congregation who gathered to testify their 
respect for the dead and their sympathy with the bereaved family. 
Dean Gardner never read the beautiful church service more impress- 
ively. The pall was borne by Hon. O. P. Mason, and P. P. R. Millar, 
of Lincoln, Hon. D. P. Polfe, mayor of Nebraska City, and Robert 
Lorton of that place, and Hon. J. G. Megeath, B. B. Wood, P. J. 
Nichols, and Captain W. T. Wilcox, and the burial took place in For- 
est Lawn cemetery. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 239 



HON. N. B. LARSH. 



The sad news was heralded throughout Nebraska City at 7 o'clock, 
December 22, 1887, of the death of Dr. N. B. Larsh, whicli occurred at 
his residence at the hour mentioned, from a congestive chill. His 
wife and two daughters, Mrs. Fred Smith and Little Gwed, Drs. 
Watson and Herschy, and Mrs. Larsh were at his bedside in his last 
hours. It is a sad blow and causes general sorrow throughout the 
city. He was in his fifty-seventh year. He walked across the river 
yesterday and drove to Percival, la., to visit his daughter who was 
confined to her bed, and contracted a serious cold by the trip. Though 
feeling badly he was about the city attending to business all day un- 
til 5 o'clock, when he went home and was taken with the chill which 
-caused his death two hours later. Dr. Larsh was among the oldest 
residents, and had many friends throughout the state. He was su- 
perintendent of the insane asylum in 1871, when it was destroyed by 
fire, and has, during his residence in the state, been quite prominent 
in its politics. He was a life-long republican, and went out as sur- 
geon of the First Nebraska, under Colonel John M. Thayer, in the 
late war. His term of office as mayor of the city expires May 1, 1888. 
The sudden demise of so good a man causes much grief throughout 
the city. 

Dr. Larsh came to Nebraska City April 9, 1859, where he practiced 
until 1882, with the exception of three years' army service and two 
years as superintendent of the state insane asylum. In 1862 he en- 
tered the army as assistant surgeon of the First Nebraska, and served 
nearly three years. He was a member of the territorial legislature in 
1861-2, and of the state senate in 1872. He assisted in the organiza- 
tion of the State Medical Association, and was president and held other 
offices therein. He also held the position of alderman and other city 
offices. Dr. Larsh was born in Eaton, Preble county, O., January 6, 
1835, and lived there until 1857. Then he went to Darke county, and 
practiced for two years at Palestine, when he came to Nebraska City. 
He graduated from the Miami INIedical College at Cincinnati, March, 
1857. He was married at Nebraska Citv December 22, 1850, to Ella 



240 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

S. Armstrong, a native of Ohio. They had seven children. The 
doctor Avas a member of the A. F. and A. M. lodge, chapter and com- 
maudery of the Knights of Honor, and of the Royal Arcanum. At 
the time of his death he belonged to the state and county medical 
associations, and was mayor of Nebraska City. 



W. F. CHAPIN. 



The remains of W. F. Chapin, whose death occurred at Grand 
Island November 4, 1885, were brought from that place yesterday af- 
ternoon and taken to Greenwood, where they will be buried to-day. 

The name of W. F. Chapin is prominently connected with much of 
the early history of Nebraska and Lincoln. He came to the territory 
at an early day and settled at Stove creek in Saunders county, upon 
a homestead. He was a member of the last territorial legislature as 
a float representative from Saunders and Cass counties in 1867, and 
was in the chair at the time of the famous deadlock under a call of the 
house, which resulted in the drawing of pistols, and was one of the 
most exciting episodes in the legislative history of the state. He was- 
a fine parliamentarian and possessed of good ability, and always took 
an active part in the proceedings of the public bodies of which he 
was a member. 

In 1869 he was appointed receiver of the Lincoln land office, S. 
McConiga being register at the same time. In 1870, while still re- 
ceiver at the land office, he was elected the first mayor of Lincoln,, 
succeeding C. H. Gere, who as chairman of the board of trustees, 
had been the head of the city government. 

In 1872 he was a candidate before the republican convention for 
the nomination of governor and was defeated by Robert W. Furnas 
by a single vote. This closed his public career. He lived at Lin- 
coln until five or six years ago, when he moved upon his farm in 
Saunders county. He retained an office here as a partner of Judge 
Crooker until two or three years ago, when he moved to Grand Island. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 241 



DR. JAMES PORTER PECK. 



Dr. J. P. Peck died yesterday morning, February 20, 1887, at 
5:40 o'clock, at the family residence, 1724 Davenport street, in the 
sixty-sixth year of his age. Dr. Peck was the oldest practicing phy- 
sician in the city of Omaha, and a man well known and universally 
esteemed. His health had not been of the best for some time, but he 
attended to his daily duties until three Aveeks ago. At that time an 
affection of the heart developed, accompanied by sinking spells, and 
the symptoms gradually developed until several days ago, when the 
attending physicians pronounced recovery hopeless. He called in the 
services of Dr. Summers, and the following Monday, January 31, was 
critically examined. That day he walked out in the forenoon to his 
office in the Arlington block, and again in the afternoon, and that 
night was seized with another sinking spell, which confined him to the 
bed from which he never arose. Last Monday Dr. Peck's condition 
became worse and pneumonia set in. The disease progressed, in- 
volving both lungs, and the doctor gradually sank from the time of 
the development of pneumonia. His death had been constantly ex- 
pected for two days before the end came, but his great vitality pro- 
longed the final stroke. His death was painless, life quietly ebbing 
away without a struggle. 

James Porter Peck was born in Summit county, Ohio, October 11, 
1821. When an infant his family moved to Hudson, and in 1833, 
from Hudson to Cuyahoga Falls, both in Summit county. At the age 
often years Dr. Peck went into the office of the Ohio Observer to learn 
the printing business, and he worked at the trade most of the time 
until nineteen years old. While an employe of the Ohio Statesman 
at Columbus he began the study of medicine, devoting such leisure 
time thereto as he had. In the spring of 1842 he went to Chilli- 
cothe and regularly began the study of medicine, but from sickness 
was compelled to give it up for a vocation which would yield means 
of subsistence. In the same fall there was a division in one of the 
political parties, and Dr. Peck was em})loyed to run a campaign paper 
at Chillicothe. Afterwards, until the spring of 1848, he was employed 



242 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

as a dry goods salesman at Chillicothe and Circleville, when he went 
to Akron and resumed the study of medicine. In the cholera epi- 
demic of 1849, in company with his preceptor, Dr. Evans, he went to 
Sandusky, where the disease had been so fatal and the panic was so 
great that every physician had left the city, and business was sus- 
pended. In the spring of 1850 Dr. Peck graduated at the Cleveland 
Medical College, and in June was married to Miss Elizabeth II. 
Quies. He located at Akron and remained there until 1856, when 
with his wife and two sons he removed to Omaha. Dr. Peck was 
somewhat engaged in freighting in 1860 to 1866, but was always 
actively engaged in the practice of his profession. He was often 
called to great distances in important cases, and endured all the hard- 
ships incident to a new and sparsely settled country. 

Dr. Peck was one of the landmarks of Omaha, where he had lived 
for the last thirty years. He was a man of the strictest integrity and 
one of the purest of men. His professional brethren esteemed him 
highly, and those of the people who knew him placed the utmost con- 
fidence in him. The physicians of the city will meet to-night at the 
office of Dr. Tilden to take action on the death of Dr. Peck. The 
funeral will take place Tuesday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the family 
residence. 

The death of James Porter Peck probably comes as a personal be- 
reavement to more people in Omaha, outside of family and kindred, 
than that of any other medical man who has lived here since the early 
settlement. No man in all our wide professional acquaintance was 
ever more beloved by those who trusted their lives in his strong and 
gentle hands. Abundant opportunity for observing his manners at 
the bedside of tlie sick, his winning smile and kindly greeting, make 
plain the reason for this kind of feeling, which is as honorable to him 
as it is creditable to those who so warmly cherish it. Dr. Peck has 
been a conspicuous character among us for thirty years. The writer 
of this knew him intimately and well through the walks of his long 
and useful professional life, from the hour he came to this city in 1856 
to this sad day of his death, and it is no disparagement to others to 
say that he was, perhaps, for native strength of mind and ability to 
analyze the nature, and measure the force of the diseases which he was 
called upon to treat, the strongest man who has ever been among us. 
This does not mean that his favorite theories respecting alterative 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 243 

treatment were the best, or that he was always right. What is meant 
is that James Porter Peck was a man of such marked intellectual 
strength and well-balanced mental qualities that, when he was at his 
best in critical cases, he never had a superior, and it is a question if he 
ever had a peer, in Omaha. 

We have no heart to dwell upon the sorrow that comes upon the 
family and kindred who mourn the loss of a husband and father who 
loved as strongly and tenderly as he was loved in return. It will 
be comforting to them to know, what they have not the least occa- 
sion to be told, that thousands here are standing near to them in sym- 
pathy in this sad hour, and also with a sense of personal loss which 
moves them to keen regret. Friends have lost the professional guard- 
ian of their loved ones, one who never slept when he was needed, and 
who never wearied in the work of relieving and saving, and the com- 
munity a man, a citizen, and a physician, whose position and charac- 
ter made him something like a sturdy landmark in its social and 
professional life. From the wide circles in which he was always so 
welcome he will be sadly missed. Every respect will be paid to his 
memory by the members of the great profession of which he was in 
so many respects an ornament, and it will be tenderly cherished by 
those who knew the real charms of his personal character and appre- 
ciated his professional ability and worth. 



JAMES THO:\rAS ALLAN. 

James Thomas Allan, another of Omaha's oldest citizens, died sud- 
denly at 6:30 o'clock yesterday morning, November 21, 1885, at his 
residence, corner of Twentieth and Cummings streets. 

Mr. xlllan was born at Pontiac, Michigan, September 30, 1831. 
He was of Scotch descent, his father being a native of Glasgow. Af- 
ter receiving his education he engaged in mercantile pursuits in Pon- 
tiac, in which he developed business capabilities in a high degree. In 
1855, when the idea that the Indians were capable of civilization first 
began to spring into prominence, his father was sent to Bellevue, Ne- 
braska, to take charge of the Mission house in that place. He was 
accompanied l)y iiis son, who remained with him until 1859, when he 



244 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

came to Omaha. In that year he became manager of the old Hern- 
don house, and two years later assumed the proprietorship. Durino- 
his occupancy of the hotel it became one of the most famous hostel- 
ries in the west. Thomas Durant and George Francis Train were 
among its most frequent guests, and if some of its rooms could speak 
they could tell many stories of the plans which were discussed for the 
future of the Union Pacific road, and the doubts and fears which 
beset its officials in the early days of its inception. The hotel at that 
time was the center of life in the town. All the stage coaches started 
from its doors, and no ball or merry-making was considered a success 
unless held at the Herndon. Mr. Allan's kindness as a landlord is 
proverbial among the older citizens. After conducting the Herndon 
house for about six years, he and his brother-in-law went to Julesburg, 
Plum Creek, and Cheyenne, where they established similar houses. 
On his return to Omaha he was appointed superintendent of carriers, 
which position he held successfully under Mr. Kellom and Mr. Yost. 
His was the first appointment to that office in Omaha, and he started out 
the first carriers in the city. There never was a more popular official 
connected with the postoffice, and his resignation was a matter of 
great regret. Among the carriers themselves he was greatly beloved, 
both for his kindness of heart and his liberality. 

At the time of his death Mr. Allan was president of the State Hor- 
ticultural Society, of which he was one of the founders. He was for 
a long time secretary of the organization, and always took deep inter- 
est in its welfare, as well as that of the agricultural society, of which 
he was also a leading member. Mr. Allan was considered an author- 
ity on all matters pertaining to horticulture and agriculture, and had 
written much upon those subjects. His book entitled " Forests and 
Orchards" created a great deal of favorable comment. He was cor- 
respondent of the Journal of Forestry, Edinburgh, and of a French 
magazine, as well as a contributor to several American publications. 
He was an honorary member of nearly all the agricultural societies in 
the country, and was frequently consulted by the Department of Agri- 
culture and the Smithsonian Institution at Washington. Mr. Allan 
probably contributed as much to the welfare of Nebraska as any other 
one man. He was influential in getting the better class of settlers to 
come here. Such was his well-known probity and excellence of judg- 
ment that his advice was constantly sought by eastern caj)italists. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 245 

For several years he has beeu superintendent of tree planting on the 
Union Pacific road and has done eifective work in that direction. 

Mr. Allan's private character was irreproachable. He was devoted 
to his family and faithful to his friends. He was a whole-souled, 
earnest Christian man, and his death is deeply regretted by all who 
knew him. His health had been failing for some time and yesterday 
morning, unable to sleep, he arose at about 6:30 o'clock and started to 
go out on the lawn. Fifteen minutes later his daughter found his 
body lying upon the grass with life extinct. Dr. Mercer was at once 
summoned, but could do nothing for him. His death was probably 
caused by apoplexy. He leaves a widow and six children who have 
the profound sympathy of the entire community. 

It continues to be our melancholy duty to chronicle the departure 
of one after another of the men who assisted at the birth of Nebraska 
as a territory and of Omaha as a city. Only yesterday it was our sad 
duty to announce the death of Peter Hugus. To-day we record the 
death of James T. Allan, who died suddenly at his home in this city 
at the age of fifty-four years. Full particulars of the life and death 
of Mr. Allan will be found elsewhere in the Herald this morning. 

Mr. Allan had been prominent in Nebraska life for thirty years. 
He was a man of large intelligence and conspicuous usefulness. Few 
men were more zealous or able in discovering and publishing the agri- 
cultural and horticultural advantages of our state. He wrote and 
printed much in respect to its capabilities, and was always in advance 
of a distrustful public opinion in regard to them. He lived to see his 
most sanguine views and predictions of their extent more than realized. 
Mr. Allan was long prominent in the organization of the state that 
proved its claims to confidence in state and local exhibitions of what 
it could produce, and did much, in association with Governor Furnas 
and others, in giving them practical direction. Few men will be more 
missed from the influential circle in which he moved in this work for 
twenty years, and his death will be widely regretted in the state as 
well as in this city where he so long resided. 



246 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



MRS. MARY A. McCOMAS. 



Died, at the residence of her son-in-law, Robt. W. Furnas, Brown- 
ville, Nebraska, April 28, 1887, Mrs. Mary A. McComas, aged eighty 
years, three months, and twenty-eight days. She was the mother of 
Mary E. Furnas and E. M. McComas, her only living children, both 
residents of Brownwille. She has been a continuous resident of 
Brown ville since April, 1856 — ov^er thirty-one years. Her maiden 
name was Mitchell. She was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania. 
During her infancy her parents moved into Harford county, Mary- 
land, where she grew to womanhood. March, 1826, she and Daniel 
McComas were married. The following fall they moved to Greene 
county, Ohio, crossing the mountains in a private conveyance. From 
there they went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the husband died in 1835, 
leaving the widow with three small children. As a means of support- 
ing herself and children, she adopted the vocation of nursing the sick. 
Thus she became an expert in the use and administration of medi- 
cines, and treatment of diseases. Here the Good Samaritan traits and 
habits were formed, which characterized her whole life, ever after- 
wards. 

The endearing names " Aunt Mary," and "Grandma McComas," 
were household words in all families, in all places where she resided, 
for more than half a century. Few, if any, human beings adminis- 
tered more kind, genuine, Christian, pure angelic offices than did Mrs. 
McComas. The Florence Nightingales, during the carnage of war, 
did noble work in the military hospitals, and on the field of battle, 
which only their sex could do. These, however, were of comparatively 
brief duration. Grandma Comas devoted a whole lifetime, as it were, 
to the sick room, and by the death bed of her afflicted fellow beings, 
ameliorating in all possible ways their condition, and in a quiet, 
modest, unheralded manner, really, her left hand not knowing what 
her right hand did. All ages, sexes, and conditions of her race, were 
the recipients of her bounteous God-like deeds. 

The writer of this brief, feeble tribute would be remiss in duty, if 
in this connection he failed to acknowledge the j)ersonal life-saving 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 247 

deeds of this good womau. His first introduction to her was, when 
an orphan apprentice, alone among strangers, on a sick bed, with 
promise of fatal results. Here her omnipresent ministrations cooled 
parched lips ; her motherly hand bathed a fevered brow, softened a 
matted pillow; her presence frightened death from the door, causing 
him to live until life's fitful fever with her was ended, and as a 
mourner, with others, accompany her remains to the silent city of the 
dead, and, with her children, share in tears of sorrow. 

From early life she was a devoted member of the church, her daily 
walk giving evidence of the truthfulness of the Christian religion. 
She died, as she lived, in the fullest faith. Of late, feeling that 
the days of her active work and usefulness were over, she ofttimes ex- 
pressed not only a readiness and willingness, but even an anxiety to be 
called home, asking only that when the summons came, she might re- 
spond promptly and without suffering. This He in whom she placed 
her trust granted. She was sick but a few days, during which time 
there were no perceptible indications of suffering of any kind. She 
passed away as quiet and peaceful as the sleeping babe at a mother's 
breast. She well earned the beautiful Scriptural plaudit, " Well done, 
good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of thy Lord." 

She sleeps in yonder churchyard, on the hill, where heaven's winds 
Avill fan the verdant covering of her grave, and through the overhang- 
ing evergreen boughs, whisper fitting requiems, until the "dead shall 
be raised incorruptible." 



MRS. DOUGLASS. 



Mrs. Ozuba Douglass, the oldest woman in the west, and by far the 
oldest in Omaha, died at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. B. A. 
Hall, 2010 California avenue, yesterday. She was born May 8, 1786, 
at East Long Meadow, Mass,, and lived there until her folks moved 
to New York. In 1862 she came to Nebraska, and has lived here 
ever since. She was twice married, but both husbands died. Her 
mind was clear and she entertained a large circle of friends to within 
a few weeks of her death. 

The following descendants will attend the funeral at 4 o'clock this 



248 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

afternoon : Mrs. Hall, daughter; Mrs. M. E. Wilker, granddaughter; 
great great grandson, Mat Wilker, and the children of Mr. and Mrs. 
Mat Wilker, who are her great great grandchildren. At the time 
of her demise she lacked less than a month of being 102 years old. 
The funeral will take place from the residence at 4 to-day, and the 
remains will be buried in Prospect Hill. 



Our city papers published notices the past week of the celebration 
by Mrs. Ozuba Douglass of her 101st birthday. The Nemaha 
county papers made mention of the death, at Brownville, of Mrs. 
Mary A. McComas, mother of Mrs. Robert W. Furnas, at the age of 
eighty years. These names carried me back twenty-four years, to the 
period just after my arrival in Nebraska. For three months my 
home was on the Omaha Reservation, and there, in the family of 
Governor, then Colonel, Furnas, agent of the Omaha Indians, I met 
and knew Grandma McComas, as even then she was called by all who 
knew her well. To all around her she was a devoted mother and 
friend. Even the Indians came in for a share of her sympathies and 
ministrations, when in need and sickness. Although we have not 
met for many years, I still retain the most pleasant recollections of 
her kindly, thoughtful ways. One of the pioneer settlers of Nemaha 
county, she had hosts of friends there to pay her the last tribute of 
respect and affection. Up to within a very short time she has re- 
tained her faculties in a remarkable degree, and the news of her death 
comes unexpectedly to those who, like myself, were not near to note 
her recently failing health. 

A year or two later I first met Grandma Douglass, also on the res- 
ervation. I well remember that on her eighty-third birthday she 
drove, accompanied only by a five or six year old child, her great 
grandchild, I think, from the Reservation Mill to Decatur, a distance 
of about thirteen miles. Almost twenty-one years older is she than 
Grandma McComas, whom we accounted old, and yet living to add 
another year to her number. 



BIOGRAPHICAL, NOTICES. 249 



MRS. OEPHA C. DINSMOOR. 



Marked surprise and profound grief were felt in the city yesterday 
December 18, 1889, when it was announced that Mrs. Orpha C. 
Dinsmoor, wife of Dr. Charles M. Dinsmoor, had been stricken down 
by apoplexy. Only a day or so ago, in what apparently was her 
usual health and especially high spirits, Mrs. Dinsmoor had been 
greeted upon the streets; hence the report that she was no more seemed 
beyond belief. Inquiry revealed, however, that the report was true, 
and that one of the most prominent, notable, and good-doing women 
in all the state had indeed passed away. 

A rejiresentative of this paper called last evening at the family res- 
idence, northeast corner of Twentieth and Dodge streets, and found 
all, as may well be imagined, deep in the gloom of the terribly sud- 
den and bitter visitation. The bereaved husband seemed inconsolable 
and thoroughly prostrated. 

"I can give you the particulars better than any of the others/' re- 
marked the aged and kindly physician to the reporter, as the latter 
entered. Proceeding, the doctor said, though with much effort: 
" Mrs. Dinsmoor had a slight stroke a year ago and has been ailing 
ever since, occasionally feeling slight tinges of apoplexy in her left 
side, yet at the same time she had been very active in directing her 
household affairs, as well as her charity work. About three months 
ago paralytic symptoms became more noticeable, and during that time 
I have called as counsel a specialist of this city, under whose treat- 
ment she has practically remained. During the past three weeks she 
has seemed much better, and attended to her domestic affairs with less 
difficulty. Last Monday she was at the woman's suffrage convention, 
and in the evening attended the reception in the Paxton hotel and re- 
turned home in good spirits. Wednesday evening she seemed in usual 
health and Thursday afternoon attended the Ladies' Unity Club at 
Mrs. George A. Joslyn's. Returning home from Mrs. Joslyn's she 
appeared in better health and spirits than ever. She retired Thurs- 
day night feeling well, having been unusually cheerful while sitting 
with myself and several callers. This morning she arose at the usual 
17 



250 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

hour, breakfasted with the family and appeared to be in good spirits. 
Soon after breakfast she complained of numbness in her left side, and 
the servants assisted her to her room. On being asked how she felt 
she said that her left limb had given away, but that her head felt all 
right. After remaining with her for a time I went out to see about 
my horses, and upon returning found she had left her bed and gone to 
the front parlor, and was lying on the lounge. On inquiring why she 
left her bed she replied that the telephone rang and added that one of 
my patients wanted me to come to Kountze place immediately. I sat 
down beside her and almost immediately she became paralyzed 
throughout her left side and was unable to articulate for several min- 
utes. In the meantime my partner came into the room and she conversed 
with him soon after in her usual manner and apparently had recovered 
from the shock of a moment previous. She insisted on my going to 
make the call, notwithstanding I urged that I had better remain. 
Placing her in the special charge of a trusted servant I left her. This was 
at 9 o'clock. Soon after I left the house she arose from the lounge, seated 
herself in an easy chair, and dictated to Miss Helen Copeland four 
quite lengthy letters to persons with whom she was in correspondence 
regarding charity work. She then commenced a letter to a cousin 
who resides in Decatur, Ala., and among other things said therein that 
she never expected to see her again in consequence of age and infirmi- 
ties. At this point, and all of a sudden, Mrs. Diusmoor gave a scream 
and called for a stimulant. Miss Copeland at once saw that she was 
suffering from a stroke of, as she supposed, paralysis, but which proved 
to be apoplexy. I was immediately called by telephone, and came at 
once, accompanied by my partner, Dr. Humphrey. Upon our arrival 
we found her reclining in an easy chair, pulseless and unconscious. 
We lifted her to the bed where she expired within thirty minutes from 
the time she was stricken." 

After this recital, which will certainly be much appreciated by the 
many thousands of people, especially by reason of its coming from 
the doctor himself. Dr. Diusmoor referred the reporter to old and in- 
timate friends present for other particulars. 

Mrs. Dinsmoor was born in Randolph, Vt., December 2, 1828 — 
and by the way visited her native town and slept in the house where 
she was born last April. She was married in June, 1875, and with 
her husband came to Omaha in March, 1878. So very prominently 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 251 

identified was she in all charity works, public and private, during 
her residence in this city, that it seems almost needless to go into de- 
tails regarding her in that, her best known capacity. There is 
scarcely a charitable institution in the city or state which has not been 
benefited by Mrs. Dinsmoor's open and ample purse, her admirable 
executive ability and notable leadership. She also personally cham- 
pioned the interests of charity before the state legislature. Two years 
ago she appeared before that body in the interest of establishing a 
state home for dependent children, similar to the one located at Cold 
Water, Mich., and she had all her arrangements made to go to Lin- 
coln on Tuesday next to look up matters in connection with another 
eifort in this same direction. She was signally interested in the Mil- 
ford, Neb., home for unfortunate girls, and was very active in plan- 
ning an enlargement and general improvement of the institution. 
She was very active in establishing the Creche, a well known charity 
institution of this city. She was also an active member of the Ne- 
braska Humane Society, and the Woman's Suffrage Association. As 
a member of the latter she gained national honors in the campaign 
six years ago. Hardly a day passed that three, four, or a dozen poor 
people were not fed and clothed at her own private home. She was 
the teacher of people of all degrees, and the most learned were wont 
to seek her advice in state as well as home affairs. 



GEN. O. FUNKE. 



Otto Funke has for years been a familiar figure in our city and 
state. Few men, if any, of his nationality were more widely known 
and more highly esteemed throughout Nebraska. It has been known 
for more than a year with sorrow to his friends that he was failing in 
health and that his demise was a sure matter of time and the cruel 
ravages of relentless disease. Two years ago a cancerous growth be- 
gan to form on the base cf his tongue, and it was not long until its 
character and inevitable result were clearly understood. To the suf- 
ferer the prospect of death brought no terror. With a conscience 
void of offense he calmly awaited the hour of dissolution. His last 
days were made as cheerful as the untiring ministrations of love could 



252 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

render, and at last he sank peacefully to rest. The final moment wa& 
at 2:41 yesterday morning, the 27th of November, 1885. 

Otto Fiinke was born at Bourcheid, near Cologne, Germany, in 
April, 1833, and was, therefore, at the time of his death in his fifty- 
third year. His early life was spent in the fatherland, where he 
learned the printer's trade. 

In 1850, when but a lad of seventeen years, the deceased bid fare- 
well to the land of his birth, and friendless and alone, sailed for 
America to seek his fortune in the new world. Landing in New York 
city he sought employment at his trade, and for six or eight months 
worked as a journeyman printer. He enlisted shortly afterwards, and 
served a term in the United States regular army, after which he grad- 
ually drifted westward and finally located at Peoria, 111., where he 
was engaged in business until the opening of the rebellion, when he 
responded to the call for troops and entered the three months' service 
as a private. At the expiration of this time he returned to his home 
and raised a company of cavalry, which entered the service under his 
command as Company A of the Eleventh Illinois cavalry regiment 
commanded by Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll. General Funke rose 
successively through the different ranks in the military service from 
captain to colonel, and on March 13, 1865, received an honorable dis- 
charge as brevet brigadier general. 

At the close of the war the deceased returned to Peoria, and for a 
time was engaged in the hotel business. Later on he was appointed 
a government ganger at one of the distilleries, which position he held 
until a short time before his removal to Nebraska in 1869, when he 
settled, and has since resided in the city of Lincoln. 

In April, 1875, he was appointed postmaster under the administra- 
tion of President Grant, and held that office until 1881, when he was 
succeeded by General McBride, since which time he has engaged in 
mercantile pursuits until the period at which his health failed him. 

General Funke was married in 1856 near Pekin, 111., to Miss Kath- 
erine Miller, the result of the union being ten children, five of whom 
survive him, all residing in this city. They are Mrs. Sarah Outcalt, 
Miss Emma Funke, Mrs. Tillie Baum, Oscar Funke, and Miss Annie 
Funke. 

Besides these, the only blood relatives of the deceased in this coun- 
try are Fred and Carl Funke, brothers, both prominent business men 
of this city. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 253 



JOEL T. GRIFFIN. 



Entering the aveuue at Fairview farm to-day, the winds among ' 
the waving branches of the tall cedars which line it seemed to be 
sighing a requiem for the dead, a dirge for their dead planter, who, 
life's labor finished, was lying cold and still, surrounded by the 
grand monument, grander than marble, which he had in life erected 
to his memory, and which nature will maintain long after he is dust. 
Joel T. Griffin was born in Otsego county. New York, May 22, 1817. 
In 1835 he came with his father to Washtenaw county, Michigan, 
which was then considered in the far west. He was married in 1840 
to Miss Juliet C. Griffin, of Onondaga county, New York, and in 
1847 removed to Oakland county, Michigan, where he resided until 
1856. In May of that year he came to Nebraska, and after looking 
over the almost uninhabited prairie, he located on the highest hill 
without tree or shrub. His family arrived July 20th of the same 
year. In the prime and vigor of life, confident of his success and of 
the future of the region he gave his best energies to opening a farm, 
which was soon beyond any other in the country. His example was 
of great benefit to those around him, and more especially his forest 
planting, about the success of which the public- were in doubt. Now 
a grand, tall forest covers sixty acres, which in 1856 was bare prairie, 
swept by the fierce winds of winter and scorched by the hot suns of 
summer. Mr. Griffin has held prominent positions in public affairs, 
having been a member of the territorial legislature. He was elected 
to represent Douglas county in the first state legislature in 1867, and 
again in 1869. Omaha owes him a debt of gratitude for his effi)rts 
to secure the donation of Capitol square for school purposes. He was 
postmaster of Omaha during 1870 and 1871. His business trans- 
actions were stamped with honesty; he was generous to a fault, al- 
ways ready to lend a helping hand to those who .needed a lift, and 
ready to push forward any public enterprise. He always enjoyed the 
pleasures of home and looked forward to some years of quieter life. 
Still devoted to agriculture, he said a few months ago he was going to 
show by skillful management that 100 acres could be made as ])rofita- 



254 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

ble as 600. For some years he has been successfully engaged in stock 
raising. His domestic afflictions seemed to have a marked effect on 
him. The loss of a son in 1856, his daughter Etta, a very bright and 
promising girl of eighteen, in 1875, and the recent sad death of his 
son Jay, who was killed on the Utah & Northern railroad last No- 
vember, each in turn bowed him down with a burden of grief and 
years. There remains of the family, Mrs. Griffin, who, in this great 
affliction, has the tender sympathy of all who knew her; two sons^ 
Joel A. and Alfred; Mrs. Egbert, wife of the general superintend- 
ent of the Colorado Central railway, and Mary, all of whom were 
with him when he died. His last illness led to general debility, and 
he quietly passed away at 2 o'clock yesterday morning. As one after 
another of the pioneers who aided in bringing a great state into exist- 
ence pass away we regret they were not allowed to see more of the 
great future in which their early prophecies are being so grandly ful- 
filled. Yet a few days and the last of those who saw the first days 
of this city will have passed into that unknown land and be lost to 
mortal view. 



JOHN Mccormick. 



John McCormick, the particulars of whose illness were announced 
Sunday morning, died at his residence in this city at 4 A. M. yesterday^ 
Mr. McCormick was stricken with apoplexy Saturday evening, and 
was confined to his bed but about thirty-one hours, most of the time 
in a comatose condition. His sudden death is not only a sad affliction 
to his family and immediate friends, but also to a large circle of ac- 
quaintances with whom he had social or business relations, for he was 
one of the most active and best-known men in the city. For many 
years Mr. McCormick was to a great extent at the head and front of 
affairs in the then young city of Omaha. Public-spirited, liberal, and 
progressive, he stood high in the councils of those who fought the 
battles of our early existence. He was a great believer in Omaha and 
its future, and by his example in making permanent investments, did 
much to secure that stability which has been the secret of our success. 
As a business man he was safe and reliable ; as a friend, always staunch 
and true; and in his family relations most devoted and kind. His re~ 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 255 

moval from the scenes of his hardest commercial labors leaves a void 
that will be difficult to fill, as there are but few men who could exert 
the same influence and shape affairs so successfully as Mr. McCormick. 
The funeral will take place at 2 o'clock Wednesday (to-morrow) after- 
noon, from the family residence, corner of Dodge and Eighteenth 
streets. Following are a few points in the life of the deceased, which 
will be read with mournful interest: 

John McCormick was born at Johnstown, AVestmorelaud county, 
Pennsylvania, September 12, 1822, his father soon afterward re- 
moving with the family to Cadiz, Harrison county, Ohio. Mr. Mc- 
Cormick received his business training in a general country store, and 
about 1845 embarked in the same line on his own account. This he 
carried on prosperously until 1856, when he moved to Omaha, and 
engaged in banking and real estate operations. In March, 1859, in 
company with Mr. J. H. Lacey, still a resident of this city, he started 
the first exclusively wholesale grocery house, the firm being Lacey & 
McCormick. They did a large and lucrative business, and shortly 
afterwards the partnership was extended, two of Mr. McCormick's 
brothers taking equal interests in the concern, and the style being 
changed to John McCormick & Co. Mr. McCormick was married twice, 
his first wife being a Miss Miller, by whom he had a daughter, Miss 
Woodie McCormick. The second wife was Miss Elizabeth Miser, a 
sister of Mrs. J. H. Lacey; two sons, Charles and John, being the 
fruit of the union. 

In the business and social circles of Omaha the deceased was always 
a prominent character. When, in 1859, the present town site of 
Omaha was bought from the general government, John McCormick 
was the man selected to hold it in trust, and the entire property was 
deeded to him. At the proper time he transferred the title to D. D. 
Belden, then mayor, and from this source all our real estate titles start. 
Mr. McCormick was also quite prominent in the political affairs of 
the early days. He represented this district in the senate during the 
close of the territorial time, and was a member of the first city coun- 
cils. He was largely of a speculative turn of mind, and took heavy 
ventures in government contracts for supplies and transportation, and 
also in city real estate, all of which resulted profitably. Omaha's first 
grain elevator, which stood near the spot now occupied by the B. & M. 
freight depot, was built by John McCormick. At the time of his 



256 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

death he was an active partner in the elevator company at the Trans- 
fer, and the owner of valuable real estate on Farnam and other streets 
in the heart of the city, besides several tracts of land outside the city 
limits. 



ALEXANDER REED. 



Alexander Reed was born in Genesee county, New York, April 28, 
1832, and at the time of his decease at Eureka Springs, Ark., was 
nearly fifty-seven years of age. When he was eleven years of age his 
parents removed to Walworth county, Wisconsin. There he grew to 
manhood, sharing in the pleasures and privations of that then new 
country, attending school with Miss Mary L. Dodge, to whom he was 
married February 21, 1856. The young couple moved to Nebraska 
in June of 1857, locating on a farm little more than two miles west 
of Fort Calhoun village. It was there that he commenced to lay the 
foundation of future usefulness and extended business associations and 
acquaintance which covered over one-third of a century, terminating 
with his death. The early settlers were not slow to recognize his 
modest worth, correctness in business, and incorruptible rectitude of 
character, and in the fall of '63 he was elected county treasurer and 
removed to the county seat at De Soto, and held that office for twelve 
years in succession. In thisage of poj)nlarity, courting, and trickerv, 
that would seem simply impossible. Of such*arts he was guiltless as 
a child. Genuine, simple in habits and speech, true to his friends aud 
singularly happy in his home life, charitable to the needy, he gained 
friends and esteem by simply deserving and holding them by his cor- 
rectness in office or out. The value of such a man to the community 
cannot be estimated, and his decease is a loss greatly to be deplored. 
Men of his stamp are rare. Without making any profession he was 
a good Christian in all the essentials. He lived and died calmly and 
philosophically, "setting his house in order" before what proved to be 
his last journey, devising jointly by will a moderate fortune to his 
faithful wife and four surviving children, as follows: Edna M. Getty, , 
Louisa S. Sheen, Julia L. aud Mary A. Reed. 

We should have mentioned above that the family removed to Blair 
in 1869, and in that year he built the home occupied by the family 



BIO&RAPHICAL NOTICES. 257 

ever since. Eight years ago the family suffered a heavy bereavement 
in the death of Byron L. Reed, eight years of age, and a child of 
great promise. 



GUY A. BROWN. 



After an illness lasting for many months, Hon. Guy Ashton Brown, 
state librarian, clerk of the supreme court and official reporter, died 
yesterday morning, October 27, 1890, at 8 o'clock, of consumption, at his 
residence in Lincoln. He went to sleep at 5 A. m., and did not again 
awake. His death has been daily expected for the past ten days, and 
when the end came he was surrounded by all the members of the 
family. 

Guy A. Brown has been clerk of the supreme court since 1868, and 
was one of the best known men in the state. He was born at Batavia, 
N. Y., in December, 1846. His father was Joshua Lawrence Brown, 
judge of Genesee county. The son received his education at a village 
school and neighboring academy, finishing at a New England military 
academy. In 1862, when a lad of sixteen, he joined the Twenty- 
second battery of New York. This comi)any being consolidated with 
the One Hundred and Thirty-eighth New York volunteers, became 
Battery M of the Ninth New York artillery, and Guy Brown was 
made sergeant-major of the largest regiment in the army of the Poto- 
mac. In this capacity he ])erformed, in a great degree, the duties of 
the office of adjutant, while on duty, building and guarding the defense 
to Washington. When the regiment was ordered to the front the 
young sergeant-major was promoted to the office of adjutant over 
forty-eight ranking subaltern officers. Soon he was offered a position 
on the staff of his commanding general, but declined, preferring to 
iight'in the line with his comrades. Upon re-enlistment he was com- 
missioned captain for meritorious services, and assigned to Company 
M, of the Second New York artillery. He served in the campaigns 
from the Wilderness to the close of the war, participating in the bat- 
tles of Cold Harbor, the attack of Ream's Station, the disaster of Mo- 
uocacy, which made possible the preservation of the nation's capital; 
the victories in the Shenandoah valley, and the numerous other en- 
gagements. He was never absent a day from his commaml until he 



258 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

fell severely wounded at the beginning of one of the last battles ot 
the war. Captain Brown was brevetted major for gallant services in 
the field, and, returning home at the close of the conflict, he engaged 
in the crockery business at his native place. In 1867 he removed his 
establishment to Nebraska City, this state, and after a short mercantile 
career he was appointed clerk of the district court for Otoe county. 
Upon that position becoming an elective offic6, he entered the office of 
James M. Woolworth, in Omaha, studied law, and was admitted to 
the bar. In 1868 he was appointed clerk to the supreme court, re- 
moved to Lincoln, and performed the labor of editing one of the early 
volumes of the Supreme Court Reports. He was also librarian of the 
then law division of the state library; he was n>ade executive clerk of 
the house of representatives at its session of 1873, an office created by 
the exigencies of the time, never existing before or since. The same 
year he prepared the General Statutes of Nebraska. In 1875 he was 
chosen secretary of the Constitutional convention, and, under the new 
regime, became the first reporter, clerk of the supreme court, and state 
librarian, which triune office he held until his decease. 

Ready in a remarkable degree with his pen, more so than with his 
tongue, his first hurried composition of a paper was as complete as he 
could make it, interlineations and erasures were rare. His work on 
the twenty-three volumes of reports, his five various publications of 
the Annotated Statutes, his several editions of Index Digests, his labors 
as secretary of the committee of revision of 1877-9, the many public 
and especially legislative documents he drafted, to say nothing of those 
of a non-official character, attest his ability and industry in his special 
walk of life. He was wedded to work. He was never so unhappy 
as when he had nothing to do. A conscientious believer in the doc- 
trines of the Episcopal church, he gave much of his time and also of 
his purse to its establishment and support. A lay reader, he held serv- 
ices in its earliest missions, and as vestryman of the parish o? his 
residence did very much for its maintenance, while his advice, counsel, 
and assistance contributed materially to the spread of the church 
throughout the state, nor were his charities confined to his own de- 
nomination. His works followed his belief, and as far as his conscience 
directed, his life kept even pace with its dictates. He was married to 
the second daughter of Arba Holmes, Esq., of Nebraska City. He 
had four sons, three of whom are now living. He was of a nervous 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 259 

constitution, zealous in advocating his convictions, but avoiding quar- 
rels, choosing rather to compromise than to fight, incur enmity, or stir 
up bitterness. He was essentially a man of peace ; of few intimates, 
he was possessed of many friends; very affectionate to the few, most 
loving to his family. He was young in number of years, but in view 
of what he had accomplished in private life, in the church, and in the 
state, it cannot but be said that he had lived a long life — longer and 
of more benefit to his fellow men than it is the good fortune of many 
of more advanced years or wider experiences to have attained. 



COL. LORIN MILLER. 



Col. Lorin Miller, one of the oldest and most prominent citizens 
of Omaha, quietly breathed his last at 5:20 yesterday afternoon, July 
31, 1888, at the residence of Mr. F. E. Sanborn, 813 South Nine- 
teenth street. He had lived to the ripe old age of eighty-eight, and 
knew scarcely pain or sickness up to the day of his demise. The im- 
mediate cause of his death was the failure of heart action, caused by 
senility. His life has been a long and useful one. 

His ancestors lived for a number of generations in the state of 
Vermont. He first saw the light in Westmoreland, Oneida county, 
New York, in the year 1800. In early life he was a surveyor, and 
he has been an engineer in New York, Wisconsin, and other states. 
About 1830 he was married and three children blessed the union. He 
has seen many of the most thickly populated western states when they 
were in a state of nature and unmarked by the ax or the plow of the 
white man. When he passed through Illinois to Wisconsin at an early 
day he drove over the present site of Chicago when nothing was there 
but Fort Dearborn and the swamp. 

He came to Omaha October 19, 1854, and at that time the prairie 
grass swayed in the breeze where now stand the most stately buildings 
in the city. He first stopped at the Bedell house, which stood then 
at the corner of Harney and Eleventh streets. He was already past the 
meridian of life at the time, but his wife's health had been failing for 
some time and he hoped that a change to the prairies of the far, wild 
west would benefit her. But in this he was most bitterly disappointed, 
for in less than a year she was dead. It was a terrible blow to him. 



260 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

As the village of Omaha commenced to grow lie took an active inter- 
est ill all matters relating to her prosperity. He surveyed Jeffrey's 
addition and also the addition of Scriptown, which included a tract 
extending from Cuming to Fort streets. In this addition he purchased 
a block on Twenty-third and Charles streets, which is now valued at 
^50,000. In 1866-7 he held the position of mayor of Omaha and 
performed at the same time the duties of police magistrate. During 
his later years he did considerable newspaper work. The market 
reports in the paper were his particular hobby, and he took great in- 
terest in maintaining his department of the Herald. He also wrote the 
political history of seventy years ago. He had met nearly all the 
prominent men in public life in his day and in his wonderfully retent- 
ive memory were stored away a perfect cyclopedia of facts relating 
to their personal characteristics. He was a JeiFersonian democrat dyed 
in the wool, and when General Jackson became president he rode clear 
to Washington in a stage coach to congratulate him. When Cleve- 
land was inaugurated three years ago he again made a pilgrimage to 
Washington, but this time by rail. He is one of a very limited few 
Avho have called upon both Jackson and Cleveland. His three chil- 
dren are all living, the eldest, Dr. George L. Miller, being a well- 
known citizen of Omaha. His other two children, Mrs. Lysander 
Richardson and Mrs. Johnson, live respectively at Athol, Mass., and 
Geddes, N. Y. His wife was buried at Cardiff, N. Y., and in com- 
pliance with his expressed wish his remains will be laid by her side. 



STERLING PARKER ROUNDS. 

The angel of death visited the Republican yesterday. Sterling Par- 
ker Rounds, its president, and one of its editors and managers, died 
of heart disease at his residence on Farnam street last night at 8 
o'clock, surrounded by his devoted wife and family. 

Mr. Rounds took sick first on Saturday evening a week ago. He 
had been at the office during the day, but returned home in the even- 
ing feeling ill. About 8 o'clock he had a severe rigor, and by 4 
o'clock in the morning there was no doubt but that he had an ugly 
case of ])neumonia. Dr. Oscar Huffman was immediately called in. 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 261 

and his attentions were unremitting to the end. On Monday evening 
pleurisy set in, and the doctor remained at the house ali night. He 
got the pneumonia under control, and by Friday morning had con- 
quered the pleurisy. Then "a heart trouble, with which Mr. Rounds 
had been affected for years, began to make itself manifest, and helped 
destroy his sinking vitality. Everything that was possible was done 
to stimulate the action of the heart, but in vain. On Saturday it be- 
came evident that he Avas dying, and the members of the family were 
hastily called upon. The pneumonia and the pleurisy had been entirely 
overcome, and but for the latter complication there is no question but 
that the skillful medical attendance which Mr. Rounds received would 
have accomplished its purpose. 

At 6 o'clock his extremities began to get cold. They were bathed 
in alcohol and thoroughly rubbed, but at 7 his finger nails had turned 
purple. At a quarter to 8 he died. He had not been in pain for 
hours before his death. He passed away as peacefully as though he 
had fallen into a sleep. 

The remains will be taken to Chicago for burial on Tuesday morn- 
ing. Mrs. Charles H. Smith, his daughter in Denver, was telegraphed 
for, but she was sick in bed and unable to travel. Mr. Rounds' 
father, Lester Rounds, is still alive in Eureka, Wis. He has a sister 
in Illinois and a brother in Milwaukee. Mrs. Julia Bishop, Mrs. 
Rounds' sister, Mrs. O. H. Rothacker, his daughter, and his three 
sons, were present at the death bed. 

Funeral services will be announced hereafter. It is probable that 
brief services will be held at the family residence, 2413 Farnam street, 
after which the body will be taken to Chicago for burial. Mr. Rounds 
was a member of the Chicago Apollo commandery, Knights Tem])lar, 
and the funeral will be conducted by that organization. The Rev. Dr. 
Ryder will preach the funeral sermon. 

The following bri^f history, which appeared some four years ago, 
will be appropriate at this time. There were few more useful men in 
this world, and none more charitable to mankind or loyal to his 
friends : 

Mr. Rounds was born in the town of Berkshire, Franklin county, 
Vermont, on the 27th day of June, 1828, being now in his fifty-ninth 
year. The founders of the family in this country were two brothers 
Englishmen who came over in the early colonial times, both settling in 



262 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Rhode Island, one of whom removed to New Hampshire, and after- 
wards a portion of his family to Vermont. The descendants of the 
other brother removed to another New England state, and from them 
the descendants of both families gradually became a portion of the 
emigration which settled in the great west, a few of them going south. 

The great grandfather, grandfather, and several uncles of Mr. 
Rounds owned adjoining farms, and were the principal citizens of the 
town of Richford, Franklin county, Vermont, and all a healthy, large 
bodied, and liberty loving race of patriotic men, members of the fam- 
ily having been officers and soldiers in the revolutionary war, the war 
of 1812, the Mexican war, and later the rebellion, in which latter, 
whether soldiers or citizens, were true and loyal supporters of their 
country. It is rather a singular fact that all, or nearly all, were 
originally abolitionists, later whigs and republicans, and "stalwart" 
in physique as they are in politics. 

The lad was kept steadily at school until he was twelve years of 
age, proving a remarkably earnest and successful scholar, being at 
that age markedly proficient in all the branches of a good high school 
education, when his father and family moved from Vermont to what 
was then Southport (now Kenosha), Wis. 

Here he went through a course of study in higher mathematics, the 
languages, etc., at the academy of the lamented Governor Harvey, 
of Wisconsin. His father was anxious for him to become a member 
of the legal profession, but the lad had already formed that love for 
the "art preservative" which had grown with his growth and raised 
him from the lowly position of "ye printer's devil" to the honorable 
and important one he now occupies — the head of one of the most im- 
portant departments of our government, and beyond all comparison 
the largest printing and binding establishment in the world. His 
whilom tutor. Governor Harvey, having purchased the Southport 
American, as the first move in a long and successful political life, 
which elevated him to the gubernatorial chair of the state (and indi- 
rectly to his death at Pittsburg Landing, as one of the patriotic war 
governors during the "times that tried men's souls"), the youngster 
became an apprentice in that office, and for a period of five years car- 
ried papers and acted in all capacities of "devil," and during the last 
year of his time as foreman of the office. His name as a good printer 
having traveled to the capital of the state, he was offiired the fore- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 263 

mauship of the state printing office, then owned by W. W. Wyraan, 
at Madison, "Wis. Being 

"A youth resolved to see the world, 
Set out on foot to go, " 

and traveled to the capital, where, a boy himself, he found as his 
roller boys, helpers, and journeymen the two sons of the proprietor, 
one of whom is now the assistant treasurer of the United States, and 
the other the general western agent of the ^liltna Insurance Company. 

He worked here until the first daily paper of Wisconsin was started 
at Milwaukee, by the popular "Sons of Temperance" called the Old 
Oaken Bucket, which under his peculiar skill and a marked literary 
turn as a writer, and with the accomplished Rev. A. C. Barry as 
editor-in-chief, became a literary and pecuniary success. 

Every newspaper in the land knows the baneful influence of in- 
temperance, and the readers of the Cabinet — clippings from which 
frequently appeared in the Index — know that some of the strongest 
and most far-reaching appeals in behalf of temperance ever written 
to the " craft " were indited by the hand and heart of S. P. Rounds. 

We should have said that when he purchased the material for this 
office, he also added a "job" department, and at this time he estab- 
lished a reputation as being the finest printer in the west, and did 
work in this (then) little village far superior to anything west of 
Buffalo. 

Enjoying this reputation, and being ambitious for a larger field, he 
was induced to remove his office to Milwaukee, and consolidated it by 
purchase with the Commercial-Advertiser (now the Daily News) of 
that city. Here he increased his renown as a first-class printer, but 
having been unfortunate in his choice of a partner, through whom he 
became involved in pecuniary difficulties, he turned over his interests 
and office to him, taking his bond to pay all debts (which, by the 
way, he had mostly to discharge later on); and removing to Chicago, 
he placed his skill as an equal offset to the capital and business of James 
L. Laugdou, then the largest printing house in that city (1851), and 
in less than one year had more than doubled its business under the 
firm name of Langdon & Rounds. After a few years of marked 
prosperity the office was sold to Cook, Cameron &, Sheahan, who, 
with it, started what is to-day the Chicago Times. At this juncture 
Mr. Rounds purchased a new office, establishing at the same time the 



264 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

nucleus of his afterwards extensive " printers' warehouse." This busi- 
ness to-day, under the name of his successors, the Rounds Type and 
Press Company, extends from the Ohio to the Pacific coast, and is 
familiar as household words in every printing house in the great north- 
west. 

Right here an incident connected with the terrible conflagration of 
1871 may not be amiss. The fire destroyed all the newspaper and print- 
ing offices in the city. Mr. Rounds had just completed seven power 
printing presses, which, with the accompanying type, were marked and 
ready to ship to different customers in the west. He at once had them 
all unboxed and put in working order, and for several weeks, until 
new material could be got from the east, he printed the Tribune, 
Times, Post, Journal, and all the other principal publications; an act 
of neighborly accommodation and energy that was gratefully acknowl- 
edged by the entire press of the city. Indeed, it can be truthfully 
said that his whole life has been marked by such acts of kind- 
ness to his fellow craftsmen, with such aggregate "of real loss and ex- 
pense to him as would alone make him a very wealthy man ; and 
this was one cause of the magnificent and unprecedented endorse- 
ment that the entire press of the north, west, and many from the east 
and south, so heartily gave him for the present exalted and honora- 
ble position as United States public printer — the head of a department 
on the management of which the working and success of so many other 
departments largely depend. When Garfield was elected president, 
some of Mr. Rounds' friends, without his knowledge, announced him 
as a candidate for this office, and the nomination was at once taken up- 
and spread like a wild prairie fire among the press of the west, until 
nearly one thousand of its principal papers had strongly endorsed him. 

From this date up to the great fire in Chicago on that memorable 
9th of October, 1871, his business was a steady, forward march of 
success, until it was swallowed up by the fire fiend, and the labor of 
years went flying heavenward in the storm of fire which clothed the 
glorious western metropolis in sackcloth and ashes. 

Here his superior professional skill, his thorough practical educa- 
tion, his innate energy and business aptitude for the first time had a fit 
field for its exercise and development, and the result soon began to 
appear. His printing business yearly doubled and trebled, until it 
became the largest and most noted one in the northwest. His print- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES, 265 

ers' warehouse department kept pace until it extended to every village 
and city from the great lakes to the Pacific, one result of which was 
the complete fitting out of over 4,000 newspapers and hundreds of 
job printing houses. 

In 1856 he added the "Pioneer Electrotype Foundry," which is 
now one of the largest and most successful in the west. The same 
year he established the Rounds^ Printers^ Cabinet, now twenty-six 
years old, and universally acknowledged by the craft of this as well 
as foreign countries to be not only the largest and finest, but the most 
useful printers' journal in the world, and one which has done more to 
educate the taste and advance the standing of printing than all others 
combined. 

In 1868, in company with the lamented George W. Taylor, son of 
the printing press inventor and manufacturer, A. B. Taylor, Esq., of 
the well known "Taylor press" — he added the Pioneer Printing Press 
Manufactory to the northwest, which has grown into a heavy business, 
and the Chicago and New York "Taylor" presses are now running 
in almost every village from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 

In 1865 he added a complete book bindery, and from that time 
to the great fire his was the only house west of New York that could 
furnish the type and material for a book, print, bind, and electrotype 
it all under one roof. At this point of his history came the 

"Winter of his discontent." 

He had successfully weathered the financial crash of 1857-58, the 
bank failures of 1860-61, and many very heavy losses; but the grea 
holocaust of 1871 swept away his extensive and well-equipped store 
and establishment at 45 State street, causing him a loss of over $125,- 
000, and leaving him nothing but his press manufactory on the West 
Side. Hundreds of Chicago's plucky men succumbed to the blow ; 
but Mr. Rounds, after a brief hour's indulgence in the "blues," sus- 
tained by one of God's greatest blessings to man — a true and devoted 
wife — again buckled on the armor, and when the "hard times" of 
1873-'74-'75 came on he had once more fairly got his head above water. 

And it is a fact that President Garfield left among other nomination 

papers with his bosom friend. General Swaim, a written memoranda 

in his own hand to appoint Mr. Rounds to the position. Not only 

was Mr. Rounds backed by the entire power of the press, but by the 

18 



266 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

solid influence and petition of all the state officers, senatois, and rep- 
resentatives of his own state, by the business men, bankers, city- 
officials and judges of Chicago (where he has been in daily business 
for thirty-one years), but by prominent men, his entire state delegation, 
and a host of senators and members of congress from the country, 
all making in reality and truth the strongest indorsement any one ap- 
plicant for a position at the capital ever received. 

During his experience as a citizen of the city he has seen it grow up 
from a village of 30,000 inhabitants to a grand metropolis of 600,000; 
once meanwhile almost entirely destroyed; he has occupied many sta- 
tions of trust and responsibility, and among them president of the 
Illinois State Press Association, and one of its leading members and 
officers for years. He was president of the Northwestern Type Found- 
ers' Association, and also of the Chicago Employing Printers' Asso- 
ciation, and for many years an active, now "exempt," member of the 
fire department; he was also a member of Apollo coramandery of Knights 
Templar, and during all these years he has gained the solid respect and 
friendship of all with whom he came in contact, either in a business 
or social way, and even in a temporary absence from the city of his 
love he will be regretted by all. While he never has been an active or 
" ward politician," he has always been a most hearty and uncompro- 
mising republican, and his political ideas can be summed up by the 
record of his vote for president — Taylor, Scott, Fremont, Lincoln, 
Grant, Hayes, Garfield; and the fact that in all the thirty consecutive 
years he has voted in Chicago he has never "scratched" the straight 
republican ticket. 

When the war broke out he was for some years a sufferer from 
rheumatism, and though his heart was in the field, his body was forced 
to abide at home, but he was ably represented by twenty-six men he 
helped fit out from his large establishment, and his only brother* 
and this fact should, as it did, merit the hearty support of Generals 
Grant, Logan, Sheridan, and very many other officers and soldiers of 
the lesser degree, for the position fought for and won ! In his private, 
social, and business life he has ever been generous and liberal to a 
fault. With a large heart commensurate with his sturdy frame — 
no man or woman " under a cloud" ever appealed to him for aid with- 
out snccess, and to-day hundreds of successful editors and publishers 
now owning happy homes and a thriving business, owe it to his gen- 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 267 

erous aid and forbearance in times of trouble. Cordial, genial, and 
possessing a rare magnetism of mind and manner, he has built around 
him a bulwark of true and hearty friends, and it is without doub 
that he enjoyed the personal acquaintance with and the lively friend- 
ship of more editors and printers than any other man in America. And 
while they all know he is an uncompromising republican, in the mag- 
nificent press endorsement he received for the position he now occupies 
— and will no doubt most acceptably fill — among the heartiest and 
strongest may be found the leading democratic journals of the west, 
alongside those of his own strong political faith. In social life the 
warm heart and open hand of Mr. Rounds has won him countless 
friends all over the great west. 

Mr. Rounds served as public printer during President Arthur's 
term, and from March, 1885, until September 12, 1886, under Presi- 
dent Cleveland. When the former retired from office he paid him a 
very high compliment for the splendid record he had made in the 
government printing office. Quite naturally, when the democratic 
administration came in Mr. Rounds expected to retire. But the 
months passed away and there was no indication of a change. Mr. 
Rounds finally called upon the president and told him that he was 
ready to retire at any time he would select a successor. But President 
Cleveland said that he had never considered the matter. In the fol- 
lowing July Mr. Rounds and the writer visited Omaha and made a 
contract for the purchase of the Omaha Republican, and subsequently 
organized the Omaha Republican Company. Returning to Washing- 
ton he tendered his resignation as public printer, but was not relieved 
from duty until September 12, when he became a resident of Omaha. 
During his term as public printer he handled over $13,000,000, and 
within a few months after his retirement he received official notice that 
his accounts had been examined and every cent accounted for as ex- 
pended, in accordance with law. 

For many years Mr. Rounds has been a sufferer from palpitation of 
the heart, as it is commonly called. Last June he gradually grew 
worse, and in July went to Manitou Springs. Finding no relief, he 
finally went to Denver, where he consulted an eminent physician, who 
pronounced the disease diabetes. After about six weeks the disease 
yielded to treatment, and he returned to Omaha in October in im- 
proved health. The weather was very unfavorable week before last 



268 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

and he was suddenly taken with pheumonia and pleurisy, Saturday, 
December 10. Tliat was the last time he visited the Republican of- 
ifice. After a hard struggle his physicians carried him through the 
crisis, but his old heart trouble reappeared, with fatal result. 

There were few more useful men in the world than Sterling P. 
Rounds. He was a very industrious man, with generous impulses, 
which reached out to his fellow man and bound him as with hooks of 
steel. His residence in Omaha being brief, his personal acquaintances 
were necessarily limited. But those who knew him intimately were 
drawn to him by friendship's tenderest chords. He was a big hearted, 
Jionest, manly man, and one of God's true noblemen. 



CHARLES MORTER, SR. 



Mr. Charles Morter, Sr., who resides in the family of John Clem- 
■ents, is undoubtedly the oldest man in Burt county, and will make a 
close race for being the oldest man in the state. His life would 
make a romance of no little interest. He was born in Kiddiminster, 
England, in April, 1796. When a boy of but nine years he was ap- 
prenticed as a sailor in the English transport service. These ships 
are manned and supplied by the British government to furnish sup- 
plies for their armies during wars, and are of the greatest importance, 
and consequently subjected to the most danger from the enemy. He 
was in this service nine years, during which time they were engaged 
in furnishing supplies for the armies who were opposing Napoleon 
Bonaparte. Many was the yarn he was wont to spin of the long 
chases, of desperate hand to hand encounters to repel boarders, and of 
the terrible dangers they were subjected to in landing supplies. At 
the age of sixteen he weighed 200 pounds and was as lithe and sup- 
ple as a cat. After quitting the sea he learned the trade of silk 
weaving and became one of the finest workmen in the city in which 
he worked. He came to the United States in May, 1849. He lived 
three years in Ohio, came to Wisconsin, and was one of the early set- 
tlers of Burt county, Nebraska. He has always been accustomed to 
hard physical labor, is abstemious in his habits, and an extensive reader. 
When eighty years of age he was engaged in digging ditches and other 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 269 

equally hard labor. At that age he was able to read the finest print 
without the aid of glasses. He has never been unwell in his life, has 
always been a hearty eater and a man of inexhaustible strength. He 
has lived a life which for length, for health, and for purity is the lot 
of few. He has seen generations come and go. He has seen empires 
fall in pieces and republics spring up in their places. He has seen 
the United States grow from a few feeble colonies into the wealthiest, 
mightiest nation of the globe. He has seen all the phases and strug- 
gles which we have been through and of which we learn by history. 

He has been married three times and his descendants number fully 
one hundred. He has a son in Wisconsin, and Charles Morter of 
this place is his son, Mrs. Clements and Mrs. Walters, mother of the 
Southwell brothers, are his daughters. 

Of recent years he has been wont to express himself as ready and 
willing to meet the Silent Reaper. The friends of his youth and the 
companions of his maturity have long since returned to dust, and he 
sees an age peopled with a people so different from those with whom 
he grew into life that there is nothing common between them. The 
ways, the styles, the costumes which he knew as a boy and loved as a 
man have long since vanished, and he looks upon a world so changed 
in aspect, upon a people so different in their views and aims that he 
realizes that he is the lone representative of the dead past. One man 
of this age will by the aid of machinery perform as much as could be 
accomplished by five hundred when he was a boy. A journey that 
then consumed several days is now accomplished in as many hours, and 
this whole age moves, to him, in a like manner. Within the last year 
his faculties are beginning to fail, and the strong physique, which for 
nearly ninety-five years has battled with life, is beginning to succumb 
to the resistless attacks of nature. His mind, which has always been 
as clear and bright, is now like a dying ember, slowly growing dim- 
mer, but occasionally flashing out some of its former light. He will 
soon join those companions of his youth whom he has so far out- 
stripped in the race of life. Few of this generation can hope to at- 
tain the eminence of life on which he is now perched. Sic transit 
gloria mundi. 



270 KEBEASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 



MRS. ELIZABETH REEVES. 



Mrs. Elizabeth Reeves, mother of Mrs. Alfred D. Jones, and one of 
the pioneer settlers of Omaha, died at her son-in-law's residence, 2018 
Wirt street, at noon yesterday at the age of ninety-two. 

The deceased had always enjoyed good health up to a week or so 
ago, and death was caused by the gradual breaking down of an unus- 
ually strong constitution. Mrs. Reeves was born in October, 1799, 
in Grayson county, Virginia. She had always been a very active 
woman, and endured the hardships of the times in which she lived, 
and for more than fifty years had been a practical female physician. 

The deceased came to Omaha in 1854, and since that time has made 
her home with Mr. Jones. Many times Mrs. Reeves has asserted 
that she would live until 1892, but the angel of death traveled more 
rapidly than she had reckoned and her life went out only twelve hours 
before the bells rang in the new year. 

Deceased was a very kind and sympathetic woman, and leaves 
many friends, especially among the poorer classes, to mourn her death. 
It was the special life work of Mrs. Reeves to administer to the suf- 
fering poor, and her kindly face and helping hands were frequent vis- 
itors to their homes. 



MEYER HELLMAN. 

The ranks of the old settlers are fast being de})opulated by the 
reaper whose name is Death. The latest to respond to the summons 
is Meyer Hellman, who, calmly and peacefully, like a child asleep, 
passed away at 3:20 yesterday morning, after an illness of three weeks. 
For a week past it was thought that Mr. Hellman would recover from 
his throat affection, as he had at other times, for he has been a suf- 
ferer for years from the malady which finally refused to yield to the 
ministrations of the physicians, but he grew gradually worse and sank 
into unconsciousness an hour and a half before dissolution set in. 

At the time of his death his bedside was surrounded by the mem- 



I 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES. 271 

bers of his family, his wife; Blanche, his eldest daughter; Mabel, 
Selma, Lillian, Clarence, and his youngest child, Gracie, in addition 
to the attendants, who watched the growth of the disease from the 
moment he was compelled to take to his bed. 

Meyer Hell man was born at Miihlhausen, Germany, November 9, 
1834, and was therefore in his fifty-eighth year at the time of his 
death. He came to America in May, 1850, and located in Cincin- 
nati, where he entered business for a clothing house as its traveling 
representative. In his travels through the country he observed the 
growing power of the west, and believing that the "star of empire" 
was to the westward, finally decided to cast his fortunes in Omaha, 
then a very young village, and he located in the metropolis of Ne- 
braska in 1856. 

AYhere the First National Bank now stands a modest store was 
erected by M. Hellman & Co., the company until 1886 being Mr. 
Aaron Cahn, his brother-in-law, and for ten years the firm continued 
in business there. "With their success came increased property inter- 
ests, and not a great while after the firm had started in trade they had 
purchased the corner lot at Thirteenth and Farnam. 

In 1866 a disastrous fire swept away the one and two-story frame 
houses in the block where the Hellman store originally stood, and for 
a time the block was unoccupied. But the different lot owners got 
together and decided to build a brick block, M. Hellman & Co. tak- 
ing the southeast corner of Farnam and Thirteenth streets for their 
site. 

On August 15, 1871, M. Hellman was married to Miss Maria Rau, 
of Louisville, Ky. In addition to a wife and six children, Mr. Hell- 
man leaves a brother and two sisters to mourn his demise — Mr. Ben 
Hellman, of Cheyenne, who is now in the city, Mrs. Aaron Cahn, of 
Omaha, and Mrs. David Wise, of Cincinnati. 

He was one of the members of Capital lodge No. 3, Ancient Free 
and Accepted Masons, and for many years a member of the Royal 
Arch Chapter, of which bodies, as well as of the Temple Craft, he has 
been treasurer. He was also a member of the Veteran Free Masons 
of Nebraska. He was also a member of the Hebrew Benevolent 
Association. 



III.-COUNTY HISTORIES. 



THE HISTORY OF BUTLER COUNTY, 1876. 



BY GEOEOE L. BROWN. 



It is to be regretted that so little attention has been paid, among 
the nations of the earth, to domestic history. 

Of the exploits of war, the ups and downs of religions, the shift- 
ings of dynasties, we have had no lack. 

Poetry, prose, mythology, allegory, and romance have vied with 
each other in relating the great occurrences among men, covering a 
period of some thousands of years. 

If we choose to read we may learn what heroism, cunning, or cru- 
elty were displayed by the great captains and soldiers; what wisdom 
and learning by the philosophers; what tenets and doctrines by the 
popes and bishops; what statesmanship by the lords, senators, and 
•diplomats; or what discoveries by the adventurers; but where are we 
to go for the social manners and habits, and neighborhood doings of 
your ancient county, or patriarchy of England, Ireland, France, Ger- 
many, or China, from the earliest glimmerings of civilization down 
to the present ? An incomparable addition this would have been to 
our present stock of historical knowledge. 

Pity it is that some sufficient interest or inducement were not now 
present which should persuade or enable our generation and the suc- 
ceeding ones to inaugurate and continue such a system of historical 
record as we are thus seen to be in need of, for the profit and pleasure 
of posterity. 

A step in that direction has been suggested in connection with this, 
the centennial or one hundredth year of our national life, and has 
received the sanction of our president and the governors of all the 
states. 

Without the expectation of receiving any pecuniary or other re- 
turn for iiis labor and painstaking, save the personal gratification of 
having thus contributed his modest mite toward the accomplisiimeut 

(275) 



276 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

of this glorious work, the writer here presents what is intended to be 
a correct and impartial account of the brief political existence of 
Butler county. 

GEOLOGICAL. 

Though perhaps a little out of the usual way, a hint or so in refer- 
ence to our geological position may be of interest. According to re- 
ceived theories this portion of the continent we live on has been three 
times under water — or more accurately, through three water epochs. 
First, in common with the whole earth, under a universal briny ocean ; 
next, beneath an immense North American inland sea, formed by the 
"bulging" up of the Rocky and Appalachian mountain systems, and 
finally, under a lake a few hundred miles long north and south, and 
rather narrower east and west, formed by the general upheaval of the 
entire continent. Anterior to all this, however, an island had existed 
in the universal ocean, whose western shore was not far east of this lo- 
cality, so that, as it transpires, ancient " Butler county " occupied a 
position of honor near the wave- washed shore, in the old, original 
"Pacific," the inland sea and the "lake," their shore-line being com- 
mon and running in a north and south direction through "Saunders 
county." (May not the subsidence of these bodies of water have left 
standing in depressions pools of water containing concentrated solu- 
tions of saline, alkaline, and other matters, which, drying up, became 
the "alkali patches," "dry ponds," etc., scattered over this region ; or, 
penetrating the earth, gathered in reservoirs and subterranean streams^ 
as shown by the Lincoln artesian well?) 

The soil of the Platte valley is a rich, quick, sandy loam ; that of 
the tables and higher lands a clayey loam (the famous loess soil of 
central Europe), of great depth, superposed by a thick stratum of mel- 
low vegetable mould; while the broad creek bottoms are composed 
of "black soil" of marvelous fertility. 

The surface of the table-land is, approximately, 120 feet above the 
level of the Platte valley or bottom, and overlies the great common sand 
bed of the ancient sea or lake alluded to. This quicksand stratum is- 
frequently struck and penetrated by spade or well-auger in the ex- 
treme western portion of the county — always at a depth of about ninety 
feet — showing that twenty or thirty feet of this old sand level was 
cut out and carried down (from bluff to bluff) by the ancient Platte 
before it sank into its present narrow channel. 



> 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 277 

The black mould of the table-land extends about twelve inches from 
the grass roots, followed by three or four feet of darkish clayey soil, 
which exhibits a tendency to crumble into pea-sized cubes and other 
shapes on exposure to the sun and atmosphere. A soft yellowish 
clayey drift commences here and extends downwards about thirty feet, 
terminating in a thin stratum of blue, soapy, water-clay, which forms 
the bottom of our wells, except in the western townships, where it is 
frequently barren of water, in which event none is found short of the 
Platte level or thereabouts. 

Immediately overlying this "water sheet" is another "soil," ex- 
actly similar to the surface mould, and plentifully interspersed with 
snail and mussel shells, and fragments of rotted wood, unmistakably 
pointing to the existence of an ancient swampy forest thirty or forty 
feet beneath us. 

Thence downward to the sand bed we pass through a stretch of 
"whitish-yellow earth, full of chalk, lime, and coarse gravel seams, etc., 
with an occasional small boulder. 

Forty feet through gravel and sand fetch us to the immense blue- 
black clay stratum, where the second water sheet is found, and over 
which are scattered boulders and stones from two inches to two or 
three feet in diameter. In the next fifty feet, as shown by shafts at 
Skull and Deer creeks, the clay develops into shaly soap-stone, after 
which, thin strata of fossiliferous lime-rock, more soap-stone, some 
scales of half-formed soft coal, and here our geological knowledge 
awaits the further good offices of the spade, the drill, and the blast. 

The above, of course, includes a description of the Platte bottom, 
except as modified by the " wash " from the ridges and ravines adjacent 
to the table-lands and by rotted vegetation. Under the bluffs the 
■" made soil" is marvelously rich and productive. 

It is by no means settled among scientists that this is not a carbon- 
iferous region, Prof. Samuel Aughey, of the State University, having 
substantiated his position in relation to the existence of coal measures 
in the permian (flatly disputed by eastern geologists); besides, the 
known coal formations of Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas certainly ex- 
tend some distance into southeastern Nebraska. The railroads bring 
coal to our doors too cheaply to warrant the expense of going down 
into the earth far enough to solve this problem, but some day it will 
nevertheless be done. 



278 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



GEOGEAPHICAL. 

Butler is located in the eastern part of the state of Nebraska, lying^ 
about fifty-one miles west of the Missouri river, three hundred and 
fifty miles from the western limit of the state, and about midway 
north and south. Its northern border is washed by the celebrated 
Platte river, which separates it from Colfax and Platte, and it is 
bounded on the east by Saunders, on the south by Seward, and on the 
west by Polk. 

Climatically considered, its location is rather southward from the 
central portion of the north temperate zone, on the foot of the great 
Missouri slope of the Rocky mountain system, its isothermal position 
affording a climate mild enough for the growth of the tender vegeta- 
bles and fruits and coarser cereals indigenous to southern localities, 
and yet cool enough for wheat and other northern productions. 

Its altitude, 1,500 feet above sea level, and the contiguousness of 
the great plains, guarantees the continual presence of a clear, pure, and 
constantly moving atmosphere, thus rendering the existence of malaria 
and stagnant conditions impossible. 

A healthier country does not exist. 

This county is quite regular in shape, being " square " in all but its 
northern face, where the high-water mark of the Platte's southern 
shore forms the legal boundary line, as before stated. It comprises 
about 377,600 acres of land, about 500 acres being wild forest, and 
upwards of 10,000 tame forest and fruit trees, every square foot of the 
whole being tillable and fertile in the highest degree (creek beds ex- 
cepted), since nothing in the nature of a swamp, marsh, lake, or other 
waste exists within the county lines. 

It is watered by the Platte, the Blues, the Oaks, Skull, Bone, Wil- 
son, Deer, Plum, and other minor streams, together with their nu- 
merous branches. Well water is generally attainable at a depth of ten 
to sixty feet, and the construction of canals and mill-races from the 
Platte into the bottoms is only a question of time, capital, and public 
spirit. 

In an irregular line, from four to six miles south from the PJatte 
river bank, the bluffs or breaks spring suddenly and boldly up from 
the floor-like plain, affording a landscape spectacle of surpassing 
beauty, and one peculiarly different from any view east of the Mis- 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 27& 

souri. After pitching and tossing about promiscuously, these ridges — 
which constitute natural winding turnpikes or highways — and the in- 
terjacent ravines, abruptly cease, blending all at once in the perfectly 
level and beautiful table-land, acknowledged by all visitors to be un- 
surpassed for loveliness in this or any other state. Indeed, the con- 
trast thus presented is most enchanting to one just arrived from the 
wood-and-meadow counties of the east. 

Away to the southward and eastward lie the charming valleys of 
the Big Blue and the Oak, marked in summer time by a thread-like 
continuation of green groves and plum thickets winding through the 
nude plain. Approaching these — after crossing the table-land proper 
— you behold a moderately rolling surface stretching away to the 
southward, a region most admirably adapted to pasturage and agri- 
culture, and handsome to look upon withal. 

On the southern part of the slope lies the famous Speculators' Tract,, 
including the greater portion of four townships, especially prominent 
in Richardson precinct, or ranges 3 and 4 in town 13. 

These beautiful high prairie lands were purchased from the gov- 
ernment at various times during the years 1868 and 1869 with agri- 
cultural college scrip, military laud warrants, etc., etc., and are yet 
quite largely held by the original owners, although eight years have 
sped by since the beginning of these speculative investments in real 
estate "futures." These acres are held at cheap figures ($2.50 to 
$5.00), and in a few more years will be brought under tillage by 
home-seekers from the east, who indeed have already begun to make 
inroads thereon. 

They at present form excellent pasture grounds for the herds be- 
longing to the citizens who now thickly inhabit the adjacent territory,, 
and have been a material benefit to the homesteading community in 
the way of local revenue. It is to this source, and to the rather re- 
luctant donations of a celebrated railway corporation formerly own- 
ing the alternate odd sections contained in the northern three tiers of 
townships that the county owes many of her fine, elegantly-fur- 
nished school houses, and no inconsiderable share in the mainten- 
ance of its schools. 

Scarcely one-fourth of Butler county's area was government land at 
the date when the great influx of immigration set in, and it may be 
supposed that the residents of this minor fraction exercised the preroga- 



280 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

tive of elective franchise somewhat generously as regarded by the for- 
eign possessors of the major. 

Several long and expensive litigations ensued, notably, several with 
the Union Pacific Railway Company, wherein was involved the col- 
lection of nearly $6,000 for 1872, and upwards of $9,000 for 1873. 
Nevertheless the most part of the tax was collected, but not until the 
latter suit had meandered vexatiously through the various tribunals up 
to the supreme court of the United States. 

Of course the equities of these tax controversies are on the side of 
the citizens, notwithstanding apparent causes for complaint on the 
part of the various corporations and individuals whose ownership only 
awaited the arrival of the first purchaser, and who naturally fretted at 
the improvements not likely to enhance the value of their interests 
before such purchaser might arrive. 

OCCUPATION. 

Thence westward roll away thy fertile plains, 
That yield such bounty to the farmer's pains; 
Vast prairies sweep in seas of turfy soil, 
Where grasses spring without the aid of toil. 

Nineteen years ago that portion of the earth's surface which we 
have been attempting to describe had never yet been cumbered with 
human habitation save the dismal " tepee " or wick-ee-up." 

Conjecture would be a mild name for any attempt to historicise its 
previous existence. Only the meager gleanings from the great Book 
of Rocks, and the snatches of tradition from the unreliable and fast 
disappearing Pawnee are given us. What thousands of cycles and 
seasons its grassy carpet may have flourished and withered — what 
millions of years the floods and winds have been occupied in carving 
out the valleys, ravines, and basins, and fashioning the hills and 
plains — what infinite geological periods and forces were consumed in 
producing and disposing the material of which it and its substructure 
are composed, are matters not entirely within the ken or research of 
inferior intelligences. 

As remarked, what tribes or people may have existed here from 
that period of time when this region first became fitted for human 
existence down to, say 1750, we have not the benefit even of the 
mildest conjecture. But that this county, with the surrounding terri- 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 281 

tory, has been known and traversed by wandering bands of aboriginal 
beings for many ages is at least probable. 

While prehistoric Britain was yet peopled with hairy, long-armed 
savages, glimmerings of the slowly-rising sun of civilization had ap- 
peared in southern Europe and northern Africa. But in that era 
the western hemisphere was enshrouded in the blackness of darkness 
so far as the knowledge of any history-preserving people might have 
been concerned. What little has been gleaned regarding the ancient 
life of North and South America pertained only to a few isolated 
points; our predecessors made no sign. 

I believe the first people of whom we have any account as having 
been inhabitants of the tract now designated Butler county was an 
Indian tribe, known to us as Pawnees, of whom I shall therefore pro- 
ceed to give such meager facts as are at my command. 

THE INDIAN RACE. 

So far as may be learned from any vestiges now remaining, and 
from tradition, only three villages, or permanent homes of the aborig- 
ines, were ever located within the above described limits; and of these 
none were on the table-lauds, and none on any of the tributary 
streams, except very near their exodus into the Platte — these being 
the only places where water is always obtainable in mid-winter by a 
people who dig no wells. 

Traces of temporary residence are, however, plentiful along the line 
in which the Platte bluffs or breaks meet the table-land. These con- 
sist in an abundance of fragments of rude pottery, manufactured, 
presumably, from the peculiar blue clay outcropping from and under- 
lying the south bank of the Platte, together with shells, pebbles, 
pieces of flint, and arrow heads. 

The Paw or Pawnee nation, with its subordinate branches, was 
certainly a strong and numerous people but a hundred years since. 
What are left of the Paws now live in Kansas; of the Kittikoraks 
baud, in the Indian territory as do also the Pawnees proper, who, 
however, were only removed to that locality in 1875, having for many 
years occupied their fine reservation near Columbus. These latter an- 
ciently lived on Skull creek, near the spot where Linwood now stands, 
where they were frequently pounced upon by their murderous and 
outnumbering foe, the Sioux, their wick-ee-ups Idemolished, and their 
19 



282 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

squaws and pappooses strewn around the village mangled and dead ; 
though it was said by the "old men" of the Kittikoraks that, not 
many generations ago, the Pawnees were more powerful than the 
Sioux, and held the latter in abject terror and subjection, which lets 
in the supposition that these fiendish slaughterings, perpetuated in the 
name of Skull creek, may have avenged equally cruel precedents, 
dating many years back. 

Kittikorak's band lived for mauy years on the present site of Sa- 
vannah, which might have been chosen because it Avas a watering- 
place for buffalo and other game. A very aged Pawnee once said to 
Mr. D. R. Gardner, that Kittikorak's band went south when he was 
but seven years of age. This fixes the final desertion of the ancient 
city at about ninety years since, or near the year 1785, about the close 
of the Revolution — a period when Ohio and western Pennsylvania 
were about as thickly populated as western Dakota now is; hence Kit- 
tikorak may have been entirely oblivious of the white or Cherokee 
man at the moment when the "emigration fever" unsettled the con- 
tentment of his dusky followers, and caused them to give up those 
hundred or more smoking, long-tenanted lodges to the solitary revels 
of the little flea, and the muttering gibe of the wandering Sioux. 

No certain evidences of battle exist in or around the village; in- 
deed, the site seems to have been selected with an especial reference to 
preventing surprises — the inevitable concomitant of Indian warfare 
— as the steep river bank formed its northern face, while the level bot- 
toms extended four miles to the south, and to the eastward and west- 
ward indefinitely. 

The crumbled remains of the ancient lodges present an appearance 
similar to the common circus ring, only somewhat smaller. 

Half-rotted remains of upright posts may be found by digging in 
any of the old wells, and the interior or floor, for several feet beneath 
the surface, is a conglomeration of bone fragments, pieces of pottery, 
pebbles, large stones, etc. 

The door-way is plainly marked in each case, and was evidently a 
covered entrance or projecting hallway. The streets and play-grounds 
from long use are beaten deep into the earth, and wind around through 
the village without any regularity or system. 

According to living Pawnees they were a playful people, their 
games consisting of racing, wrestling, dancing, playing ball, arrow- 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 283 

shooting, and throwing the lance — the latter sport being a great 
favorite. 

The lance was a straight ash rod, wound with a rawhide thong and 
pointed with a stone or bone. The ring, from three to six inches in 
diameter, was also made of an ash sapling wound neatly with a green 
leathern string. In play, the ring was rolled swiftly along the smooth 
street by a fellow at the head ; arranged in line along the side were 
the contestants, each of whom tried to throw his lance through the 
ring as it passed him. 

A large rock, having a smooth depression in its upper surface, and 
which must have been brought from a distance, is pointed out as the 
corn-grinder, or city mills, over which many a squaw has crooned her 
melancholy airs, in years gone by. 

I suppose, of course, nothing is known of the origin of tiie Pawnee, 
nor of his first settlement in this portion of the Platte valley, nor of 
his previous wanderings up and down the earth; whether his ancestors 
straggled from the parent tribe in some far-off recess beyond the great 
mountains, down along the grassy banks of the sand-ridden Platte, to 
build up a new nation, new tongue, new customs, and new thoughts, 
flourish after their manner, and finally to be overpowered and reduced 
by the slaughterings of their enemies to a feeble, timid band, and, 
through the aid of bad whisky and worse tobacco, sink into the earth, 
hated, despised, and forgotten. 

Traces of that universal companion of the Indian — the bison, or 
buffalo — still remain in the " wallows" and crumbling bones on the 
prairies, and faint lines which mark the direction of their ancient 
trails along the hillsides, notwithstanding the obliterating effects of 
the perpetual recurring autumn fires and spring rains. 

CIVILIZATION. 

Probably the exploring party of Gen. John C. Fremont were the 
first whites who stepped upon Butler county soil. 

The Mormons next came, on their long, weary, and perilous jour- 
ney to Salt Lake, leaving their footprints in the shape of a winding, 
deeply-beaten roadway, familiarly known to early settlers as the " Old 
Mormon Trail." 

This historical trail enters the county in the southeast part of sec- 
tion 25, town 13, range 4, on the east, thence following up one of the 



284 NEBRASKA STATE HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. 

coutiuuous divides (peculiar to the "slope") to the table-land, aud 
thence around its northern edge to the point where Deer creek leaves 
the hills, where it descends another short divide to the Platte bottoms. 

Subsequently the overland travel to California, and later to Pike's 
Peak, aud the mouutains generally, threw an immense travel across 
the northern part of the county (as now bounded) and established two 
great trails, of which perhaps the most remarkable was first traveled 
by the military, aud is now, as then, called the "Old Government 
Eoad." 

This road also entered the county on the east, at a point near the 
line dividing Skull and Oak Creek precincts, winding in a very 
crooked manner along the divide to section 6, town 14, range 4 east 
— tiie site of Dave Read's Ranch, established 1862, and operated for 
five years thereafter — where it took up and followed the Mormon 
trail. 

The "Old Fort Kearney Road," or "Pike's Peak Trail," hugged 
the Platte, passing through the old sites of Waverly on Skull creek, 
and Ellsworth on Bone creek. "Gardner's Ranch," established in 
1859 by Mr. David R. Gardner, and afterwards the site of Savannah. 
In 1859 an addition was made to the travel on this famous overland 
thoroughfare by the location of "Shinn's Ferry" at a point midway 
between the county limits east and west, near the present residence of 
Mr. Tenuis Hoekstra on section 6, town 16, range 3 east. 

On the portion of the old government road, between Deer creek 
and the county line west, aud dispersed along the foot of the bluffs, 
or divides, were McCabe's ranch on Deer creek (1859), Thompson Bis- 
sell's on Elm creek (1859), and Simpson's, afterwards Grant's, a few 
miles west of Bissell's (1859). 

Mr. Thompson Bissell subsequently removed to Saunders county, 
where he still resides. Messrs. D. R. Gardner and David Read yet 
claim Butler for a home. They are among our very oldest citizens, 
and have been frequently vested with positions of honor and trust, by 
those who have since followed them into this prairie domain. 

Several graves of "Forty-Niners" may yet be seen on the hill 
])oints near McCabe's ranch, but of the latter little is visible beyond 
a profuse growth of gigantic weeds. 

Ranch life in Butler county covered a period of ten years, begin- 
ning with 1858, and ending about 1868, when the county was organ- 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 285 

ized, and "freighters'" customs and road laws gave way to legislative 
enactments. 

Although no longer traveled, these comparatively ancient roads are 
still plainly visible in their entire length, running at random through 
meadows, groves, and grain fields, always marked by clumps of huge 
wild sunflowers, endless patches of yellow Mayweed, cockle-burr, 
plantain, and other domestic growths, fetched from the trans-Missouri 
country by the cattle and mules of the freighters and emigrants. 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION. 

The county of Butler was organized June 26, 1856, by a proc- 
lamation of Governor Cuming. It is therefore just twenty years old 
in this centennial year. 

Its name was given in honor of Wm. O. Butler, of Kentucky, who 
was appointed by President Pierce to be territorial governor of Ne- 
braska, He, however, declined, and Frank Burt, of South Carolina, 
was named for the place. Burt was an invalid, and lived but a few 
months. He was succeeded by Cuming, who, by proclamation, set 
off and named a large number of counties in the eastern part of the 
state. Butler, Burt, Cuming, Cass, Pierce, Douglas, etc., were prom- 
inent democratic politicians, and hence very naturally became patro- 
nymics of our earlier counties. It will be seen that our county name 
is commemorative of the famous attempt to fasten slavery upon the 
territories — Kansas and Nebraska being the main battle ground — 
which resulted in the overthrow of slavery by the civil war, and the 
re-establishment of our national government on the one great prin- 
ciple of liberty enunciated in the celebrated instrument given us 
by Thomas Jefferson and his fellow members one hundred years 
ago. 

In 1857 the Waverly Town Com{)any, from Plattsmouth, arrived 
upon the banks of Skull creek — so named from the surprising num- 
ber of Pawnee skulls found strewn about near the ruins of an ancient 
village of that tribe, which once flourished near the spot where Lin- 
wood now stands. This was the first bona fide attempt to settle in 
this region, still, really in possession of the murderous, thieving Paw- 
nee, not to speak of an occasional visit by marauding bands of Sioux. 

Hultsizer, Barker, Garrison, and nine others were the members of 
this pioneer company, which, however, was short lived, owing to the 



286 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Pike's Peak excitement of the uext year (1858-9). These erected the 
first house in Butler county, about a half mile above the Linwood 
mills, on the west bank of Skull creek. At this date no white man 
had broken a permanent trail through the grass upon the Platte bot- 
toms (south side) exclusively, but the Mormon trail, and old govern- 
ment road had wound their lonely lengths in dusty majesty along the 
table-lands for many years prior. 

Soon after the advent and exodus of the Waverly company the 
families of Solomon Garfield and James Blair followed, and took up 
their lonely but rather romantic abode in the house alluded to. Both 
families still reside in the county, though Mr. Garfield has been dead 
some years, leaving Mr. Blair and Mr. D. R. Gardner to divide the 
honors appertaining to the responsible position of oldest citizen. 

In 1858 '' Mahala City " was made the county seat by a special act 
of the legislature. What vaulting ambitious and prospect ive fortunes 
were bound up in this little parchment city may never be known, as I 
cannot ascertain that it was even tangibly located. 

In 1859 an attempt was made to effect a county organization, in 
which the following named persons participated, viz.: John Beecroft, 
Thompson Bissell, William Bissell, James Blair, Solomon Garfield, 
William Earl, J. W^. Seeley, Simpson, Beardsley, and McCabe; but 
this organization was never perfected. 

On August 3d, 1860, a patent was issued, following the first entry 
of laud, which was made by Josiah W. Seeley by the "laying" of a 
military laud warrant issued to one William Bryant, on account of 
services in the war with Mexico — save an entry on the fractional 
southeast quarter of section 6, township 16, range 3, by S. D. Shinn. 
No other portions of Butler county soil were subjected to individual 
ownership by patent, deed, or otherwise, until the summer of 1867. 
During 1867-68, the "speculators' tract," previously alluded to, was 
entered. In 1869, the United States government passed over into the 
control of the Union Pacific Railroad Company about 97,000 acres, 
or nearly one-fourth of the entire county. Oue-sixteenth of the whole 
was set apart by congress for school purposes. In 1872, 5,760 acres, 
lying south of the Blue river, were donated to the Burlington & Mis- 
souri River Railroad Company. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 287 

PERMANENT SETTLEMEXT. 

These, then, were the videttes, the outposts of civih'zation, who, 
with a few persons subsequently arriving, held lonely possession of 
this county from 1858 to 1868 — ten years. The skirmish line of 
permanent settlers penetrated this region about the latter date, ten 
years since. As is usual with first comers, they avoided the high, 
broad prairies, tables, and benches, preferring to distribute themselves 
along the valleys of the various streams — snuggling into the little 
groves and nooks under the protection of the hills, in the vicinity of 
those prime necessities of frontier life — water and wood, each new ar- 
rival venturing a little further up the stream to the next thicket or 
spring. 

Thus such portions of the valleys and bottoms along the Platte, 
the Blues, Oaks, etc., as are within this county were first selected and 
occupied while the highlands were yet a howling wilderness, inhab- 
ited only by the antelope and coyote, with an occasional herd of buf- 
falo. 

In August, 1868, Butler county was permanently organized, and 
the first election held, showing a poll of seventy votes, indicating a 
population of about two hundred souls; for it must not be forgotten 
that at this early day a large percentage of the population were un- 
married young men. The county seat was located at Savannah, on 
the banks of the Platte. 

In 1869-1870 the advance columns of the great army of occupa- 
tion swarmed in, entirely absorbing the valleys, and soon after the 
tables and rolling lauds beyond the Platte blufis and breaks. The 
immediate cause of this remarkable influx of immigrants was, of 
course, the completion of the Union Pacific railroad, affording both 
an outlet and inlet to this heretofore isolated territory. 

During the summers of 1865^-70-71-72 inclusive, rather more than 
2,500 persons pitched their tents in this recent Canaan — a billow of 
human souls as it were, transforming it, as if by magic, from a mere 
uninteresting parallelogram of the "Great American Desert" into 
a very garden, with a population containing all the elements and con- 
ditions found in communities which have been generations growing 
up to their present estate. More than 40,000 acres of prairie sod 
were overturned by the plow, and hundreds of dwellings and school 
houses erected. 



288 



NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Twenty years ago we were a blank — a lonely, silent region of 
grass-covered hill, hollow, and plain, whose time-old solitude had been 
forever unbroken save by the whistling of the winds, the tramp of the 
bison, or the twang of the red man's bow-string. 

Five or six years later, a dozen or so persons had straggled hither, 
scattered at intervals along the old wagon-trails to the mountains; in 
1868 the number had increased to about 200; in 1870 to 1,260, by . 
the census; in 1873 to 3,800; in 1874 to 4,440; and in 1876 the as- 
sessor counted 4,695. 

Below is the census for 1875 and 1876 by precincts, viz. : 



Precinct. 1875. 

Linwood 724 

Bone Creek 404 

Savannah 239 

Pepper ville 357 



Summit 

Olive 

Franklin 

Skull Creek 



200 
350 
357 
390 



1876. 

753 

385 
256 
358 
220 
277 
428 
416 



Precinct. 1875, 1876. 

Oak Creek 245 262 

Center 269 258 

Union 284 252 

Reading 315 349 

Read 182 198 

Ulysses 107 216 

Richardson 57 67 

Total 4,480 4,695 



Gain in one year 215 

Gain in three vears 895 



The following is the nativity of 

Nativity. No. 

Alabama 1 

Arkansas 2 

California 8 

Colorado 

Connecticut 39 

Dakota 

Delaware 

Georgia 

Illinois 622 

Indiana 214 

Iowa 388 

Kansas 6 

Kentucky 60 



the inhabitants : 

Nativity. No. 

Maine 36 

Maryland 7 

Massach usetts 20 

Michigan 200 

Minnesota 23 

Missouri 58 

Nebraska .....959 

New Ham})sliire 8 

New Jersey 19 

New York 310 

North Carolina 7 

Ohio 295 

Pennsylvania 193 



• COUNTY HISTORIES. 289 

Nativity. No. j Nativity. No. 

Ehode Island 9 | Ireland 60 

Tennessee 10 ' France 4 

Texas 2 Austria 1 

Vermont 25 | Germany 196 



Virginia 55 

Wisconsin 150 

Canada 44 

New Brunswick 1 

England 43 

Wales 11 



Belgium 1 

Bohemia 563 

Holland 29 

Switzerland 1 

Denmark 1 

Sweden 6 



Scotland 13 I Australia 1 

Probably nine-tenths of those set down as natives of states and 
countries other than Illinois, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, and 
Ohio have really lived in those states many years before coming to. 
Nebraska. It is doubtful whether a solitary individual has emigrated 
to this county from Virginia or Kentucky direct, and certainly none 
from Ireland or England. 

Neither do the above figures convey a correct knowledge of the 
comparative numbers of the diiferent nationalities; since, for example, 
scarcely one-half of Irish name and descent were born in Ireland. 

This exhibit affirms the maxim that emigration goes in straight 
lines along the parallels of longitude, that more people go south than 
north, and that people from the prairie seek prairie homes. 

It will also be seen that nearly one thousand, or more than one- 
fifth of the above-recited population, were born beyond the ocean. 

The Bohemians are congregated in the northeast, among the hills 
and ravines of Skull and Bone creeks, and, as is generally true of 
foreigners, are industrious and economical to a fault. 

The first white child born in Butler county was Amanda Simpson, 
November, 1860. 

The political subdivisions are precincts, commissioner, and school 
districts. 

Originally the county was divided into quarters, each quarter con- 
stituting a precinct. They were called Skull Creek, Pepperville, 
Ulysses, and Oak Creek. 

On April 16th, 1872, the county was redivided into nine precincts^ 
each eight miles square, except as interfered with by the indentations 



290 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

of the Platte. These were named, commeuciug at the northeast and 
proceeding west, then east, etc., as follows : Linwood, Savannah, 
Pepperville, Summit, Center, Oak Creek, Richardson, Ulysses, and 
Road. 

On March 3, 1874, the county was again rearranged into precincts 
by calling each surveyed township a precinct, except Richardson, 
which includes two townships. 

Their names are as follows, following the order indicated above: 
Linwood, Bone Creek, Savannah, Pepperville, Summit, Olive, Frank- 
lin, Skull Creek, Oak Creek, Center, Union, Reading, Read, Ulysses, 
and Richardson. 

The origin of the several names is generally apparent. Three of 
them are in commemoration of old residents ; three are named for 
streams passing through them ; Linwood for the presence of linn or 
bass wood — very rare in Nebraska ; Savannah for an eastern town of 
that name; Summit for the former Wisconsin residence of C. C. Cobb, 
Esq., who established a mercantile business here in 1872; Center, 
from geographical position ; Reading, for a Michigan town of that 
name; and Ulysses, for Gen. U. S. Grant. 

The commissioners' districts are necessarily three in number — at 
first formed by setting oft' a strip on the south, eight miles wide, and 
dividing the residue of the territory by a north and south line running 
centrally through it. On October 1st, 1872, they were changed by 
setting up three equal divisions, each eight miles wide and running 
east and west. They are numbered first, second, and third, commenc- 
ing at the north. 

The first public house of any description was erected in the summer 
of 1867, on section 4, township 16, range 3. The materials used in 
its construction were small, unhewn logs ; the roof — as was the rule 
in those days, and indeed, until quite recently — was of poles, covered 
with sod ; its dimensions, about ten feet by twelve. In this unpre- 
tending edifice the first commissioners' meeting was held, and the first 
school taught. Miss Ada Vanderkolk (now Mrs. J. V. Wood) being 
teacher, and the juvenile members of the families of D. R. Gardner, 
James Blair, Wm. Butler, James Green, and Mrs. Solomon Garfield, 
pupils. This was a " subscription school," and the wages were set at 
$20 per month. 

In 1869 the present school system was inaugurated by blocking out 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 291 

iiiue school districts. At the first enumeration there were found to be 
153 children of school age (five to twenty-one). In 1870 the pupilage 
had increased to 204. In this year the first apportionment of state 
school moneys was made, the sum distributed to the several districts be- 
ing $1,114.50. The number of school districts, number of children of 
school age, and yearly apportionment are as follows, viz: In 1871, 
apportionment, $1,598.26; school districts, 27; children, 605. In 
1872, apportionment, $3,563.16 ; scliool districts, 49; children, 600. 
In 1873, apportionment, $3,746.41 ; school districts, 55 ; children, 
1,300. In 1874, apportionment, $4,195.27; school districts, 56; 
children, 1,600. In 1875, apportionment, $5,084.64; school dis- 
tricts, 62; children, 1,756. 

It will be seen that Butler county, during the last six years, has 
been the recipient of $19,302.24 from the general school fund of the 
state — a fund derived from the sale and lease of school lands, fines, 
dog-tax, etc., a fund which, though already munificent, is yearly 
increasing; a fund, it might in passing be remarked, which, if kept 
intact, constitutes our most solid safeguard against the sly encroach- 
ments of church, serfdom, bondage, aristocracy^ moneyed or otherwise, 
and all the other invidious enemies to the true genius of republican- 
democratic government, having their birth and growth in the darkness 
of popular illiteracy. 

There are now sixty school houses, fifty of which are neat and com- 
modious modern frame structures, valued at about $27,718.99, or an 
average of about $550 each. A feature of these schoolhouses, hardly 
to be expected in a pioneer country, is the elegant furniture and ap- 
paratus with which upwards of forty of them are supplied, averaging 
$180 each. 

The school revenue, from all local sources, for 1875, was $24,289.69 
— slightly under $14 per scholar. The average tuition was $5.89. 
There were eighty-eight qualified teachers, whose wages ranged from 
$20 to $40; averaging— males, $30; females, $26.50. 

Thereare thirty-four sections, or 21,760 acres, of school lands donated 
to the state by the national government for school purposes. About 
1,400 acres are timber and the remainder prairie. The prairie lands 
are valued at $7 per acre, and the timber lands $10 to $25; the whole 
being worth $154,210, approximately. Not more than six sections 
have yet passed iiito private hands. The manner of disposing of these 



292 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

beautiful and valuable lands is by sale or lease. Cash may be paid, 
or purchasers may have ten years in which to obtain title by the pay- 
ment of one-tenth in hand, and ten per cent yearly, in advance, during 
the remainder of the series, at the expiration whereof the residue must 
be paid, when the deed will pass. The purchaser has, however, the 
right to "pay out" the whole, or any less sum greater than the in- 
terest, at any stage of the purchase. 

Leases run for twenty-five years at six per cent of value yearly, ia 
advance, the lessee having the privilege to purchase at any time. 

At the first assessment for taxation in 1869, the county valuation 
(including Polk, Hall, and Merrick counties, then unorganized) was 
fixed at 11,546,716; in 1870, $1,540,526; in 1871, |973,8I4; in 1872, 
$1,059,388; in 1873, $942,168; in 1874, $1,880,834; in 1875, $1,- 
192,644,and the present year (1876) the nurnber of acres returned for 
taxation was 269,199, valued at $1,223,925 ; town lots 534, valued at 
$14,230; money invested in merchandise, $11,780; in manufacturing, 
$4,335. The horses were in number 1,91 5, value, $77,349; mules 168, 
value $8,320; cattle 3,704, value $51,987 ; sheep 266, value $296 ; hogs 
2,575, value $5,600; polls 807, and dogs 663; making the grand total of 
valuation $1,207,890, of which $75,240 was exempted on account of 
growing trees, according to the provisions of a very sensible legislative 
enactment of some years since. This, however, does not accurately 
indicate the extent of forest tree planting, as only a certain proportion 
is, for that purpose, taken into the account. There are in the neigh- 
borhood of 10,000 acres of trees, fruit and forest, growing in Butler 
county at this date. 

The grasshopper raid of 1874 made slight inroads upon the per- 
sonal property valuation ; besides this, the valuation per acre of lands 
was considerably reduced ; otherwise the figures for 1 876 would have 
largely exceeded the above. The valuation per acre of lands was 
formerly uniform at three or four dollars, but in 1875 there was in- 
augurated the more logical and legal system of assessing realty in ac- 
cordance with its bona fide values. 

An enumeration for the year previous to the locust raid would have 
shown a much larger exhibit in the way of stock, particularly swine, 
of which there were certainly a five times greater number than that 
expressed in the above figures. The great preponderance of dogs 
over sheep is rather humiliating, especially in a region so admirably 
calculated for the latter — a few years will see the order reversed. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 293 

The long debated questiou, " whether it is better to fence crops in 
and stock out, or vice versa/' was solved here by severing the Gordian 
knot with the keen-edged sword of necessity. There being nothing 
to build fences with, fences were not built, and lo! it is forthwith dis- 
covered that we can do very well without them. Such few animals as 
are required for immediate domestic use are retained in the desired lo- 
cality by means of a lariat, one extremity of which is fastened around 
the neck or horns of the animal, and the other to a stake which is 
firmly driven in the ground. But much the greater portion of the 
cattle are gathered in herds, from 50 to 300 or 400 in number, and 
placed under the control of a boy with a pony. This system of car- 
ing for stock is found to be every way superior to the costly and cum- 
bersome affairs of pastures and lanes. 

Only a few years since an occasional one of the immense Texan 
or Cherokee herds was driven as far east as Butler county, passing to 
and fro, from creek to creek, to the imminent danger and frequent de- 
struction of the small but precious corn fields and gardens by these 
lank, long-horned, fierce-natured creatures. 

It fell upon a certain well-remembered day in the summer of 1872 
that these chivalrous, freckled -faced sons of the sunny south were put 
to utter rout and confusion, since which time the voice of the Texan 
herder has been heard in the land no more. 

An intensely dismal, blinding fog had succeeded a fearful night- 
storm, which had the effect to stampede several thousand "steers," 
and disperse them over the plain and hills in every conceivable direc- 
tion. The word was 'passed from mouth to mouth, steeds were 
mounted and caparisoned, and then ensued such a carnage as one 
might wish not soon again to see. In short, several hundred of the 
aforementioned creatures were ruthlessly slain, butchered, and packed 
away in various receptacles, the flesh to be eaten and the hides to be 
sliced into lariats at some convenient season. In valley, on hill, and 
all over the plain they fell at the hand of the exasperated settler. 

Suffice it to say, arrests, prosecutions, and threatenings followed in 
due course of business, but for some occult reason no one was con- 
victed, and although the strict morality of the proceeding is question- 
able, it had the effect to rid the community of an abomination, both 
as regards the fierce, unruly nature of the cattle, and certain disagree- 
able propensities of the " herders." 



294 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

Next to the vast saving in the matter of fences was that of cheap 
house building. Nature seems to have provided some accessible 
means for the shelter of the moneyless man in every clime — the Esqui- 
maux had his hut of ice and snow, the Hottentot his bamboo and 
palm leaf, the North American Indian his capacious robe from the 
back of the plentiful bison — so the Nebraska pioneer, coming to a 
country where lumber was not to be had for the getting, finds that the 
sod beneath his feet has but to be plowed in strips and separated with 
the spade into oblong blocks, laid up into thick walls, smoothly plas- 
tered with a mixture of clay and ashes, and covered in an equally in- 
expensive and simple manner, whereupon he possesses a serviceable 
dwelling — sans mortar, square, plumb, or — greenbacks. 

More than nine-tenths of the citizens of this county have at one 
time or another since their arrival lived in a " sod-house" or " dug- 
out." 

These have now generally been replaced with neat frame dwellings, 
and in a few years the sod-house will only be remembered for the in- 
valuable service it rendered that large class who came hither with no 
shelter but a wagon-cover, and no capital except two willing hands. 

BUSINESS CENTERS. . 

Savannah was the first bona fide county seat, and during the years 
of 1869-'70-'71-'72 was a thriving village, containing a court house, 
hotel, two stores, blacksmith shop, and a dozen or so other buildings^ 
The site was owned by D. R. Gardner and Samuel AVoodard. 
Among the residents, besides the above named, were B. O. Perkins,. 
H. Pepper, Captains Samuel W. Roys and Andrew B. Roys, mer- 
chants ; Dr. D. H. Dickison, Dr. J. F. Gilbert, E. G. Paige, D. 
Bresee, blacksmith; M. Porter, shoemaker, etc. 

Here the courts and councils were held during the above specified 
years, and many a soul-thrilling episode of a political, social, or other 
nature transpired within the confines of this little prairie hamlet ere 
its dismantlement and removal to its successor, David City. 

Goldsmith's " Deserted Village" is chock-full of true poetical sen- 
timent, and has had many greater or lesser exemplifications all over 
the earth. Born in hope, nurtured in faith, and strangled in friend- 
ship while yet a lisping infant — green be her memory forever ! 

Linwood was begun in 1870-'71, on the old Waverly town-site. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 295 

This village is beautifully located on the east bank of Skull creek, 
on a little bench or plain under the bluffs, which lie to the south. 
Linwood has a fine school house, grist mill, several stores, groceries, 
etc. Here several considerable efforts to find coal have been made, 
but none of the shafts have been sunk deep enough to test practically 
the presence or non-presence of this valuable mineral, although the 
superficial indications are said to be quite favorable. Fred. Johnson, 
Josh. P. Brown, S. O. Crawford, Jehiel Hobart, Gilbert Hobart, John 
L. Smith, William Spring, and James McBride were some of the 
older citizens in and around the place. 

The following named are now engaged in the several pursuits indi- 
cated : ZuloflP & Robinson, millers; G. E. Richardson, J. Key, and 
A. Mares, merchants; J. Ellelek, blacksmith; Wm. Husenetter, 
pumps and lightning rods, etc. 

In June, 1868, Ulysses was laid out in a romantic little nook among 
the trees, on the south bank of the Big Blue river, and has steadily 
improved during each succeeding year, being now second in size and 
importance. J. M. Palmer was the original owner of the town-site» 
An excellent grist mill has been in operation here for several years. 
J. N. Batty, and H. Ellsworth, merchants ; F. H. Dawes, blacksmith ; 
Godfrey & Reyhardt, livery stable; Dr. S. W. Thrapp, J. M. Pal- 
mer, Thom. Shields, P. G. Dobson, George and Robert Read are 
among the earlier inhabitants of that vicinity, and further up the 
Blue were P. C. Patterson, W. C. Wills, J. H. Sisty, Col. A. Rob- 
erts, W. N. Thomas, etc. 

After a protracted and bitter struggle involving four elections, two 
under the general statutes (the second of these was discovered to have 
been held without legal authority), and two by virtue of a special act 
of the legislature, at the fourth and last election " the east one-half 
of the sout/nvesf. one-quarter and the icest one-half of the southeast one- 
quarter of section 19 north, of range 3 east, of the 6th pinncipal me- 
ridian, in Butler county, Nebraska/' was found to be the successful 
contestant, by a majority of thirty-nine votes. 

The new town was christened Davids City, in honor of Mr. Davids,, 
a friend and relative of Mr. Wm. Miles, patron and part owner of 
the site. The ground was immediately surveyed into blocks and lots, 
and a neat and commodious court house erected, to which the records 
and archives of the county were at once removed (August 6, 1873). 



296 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

David City (the "s" is dropped for convenience) soon became a stir- 
ring town — the metropolis — business, political, and social center of a 
splendid young county. 

It now numbers about 160 inhabitants, and has a weekly paper, 
the Butler County Press. Its first number was issued September 25, 
1873, under the auspices of G. W. Rutherford and Chas. D. Casper, 
but Rutherford presently retired from the firm in favor of Wm. J. 
Evans, and under this management the paper has since been con- 
ducted. Its political tone was originally republican, subsequently in- 
dependent, and now favors democracy. This paper has been kept alive 
through all conceivable vicissitudes by the indomitable will and en- 
ergy of Mr. Casper, added to the pecuniary and other assistance of 
Mr. Evans, and though erratic often and somewhat uncertain in its 
political tenets, the Press has exercised an influence in moulding and 
developing Butler county, and particularly David City, into their 
present condition of prosperity, second to no other one establishment 
or individual. 

Butler county has withstood fire, flood, devastating insects, snow, 
hurricanes, exorbitant ferry and railroad charges, and numerous other 
disheartening evils, insomuch that the marvel is, not how she has 
nevertheless never faltered nor fainted in her successful pursuit of 
j)rosperity, but how she has managed to escape utter annihilation ; and 
through all this went the little paper, never hesitating, never swerving 
— a course well deserving the mere tribute of praise from any source. 

Myers Bros. (John T. and and Thornton B. Myers) were the pio- 
neer mercantile firm in David City, at once removing their storehouse 
iiud contents from its old location in Savannah to the new town. 
Messrs. F. H. Angell and Hubbel Pepper soon followed, as also did 
Dr. G. H. Peebles, J. Dean & Son, W. Y. Turner, Wilmot & Thom- 
son, and others. The following are names of some of the business 
men and citizens of David City besides the above, at this writing, 
viz.; B. O, Perkins, hotel; Wm. Turner, hotel; Arthur J. Evans, 
county judge; Horace Garfield, John T. Myers, and H. C. Barnes, 
attorneys ; Drs. C. C. Cook, county clerk, and S. L. Brown, coroner; 
G. H. Peebles and T. B. Myers, practitioners; Jno. B. Morgan, agent 
for machinery; John Harper and Thomas Dowling, blacksmiths; 
H. T. Hawes, harness, etc. ; A. Wilde, shoemaker ; William Smith- 
sou, E. R. Manley, and J. C. Browning, carpenters; O. AV. Strond, 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 297 

painter; Wm. M. Bunting, county treasurer; J. C. Wonderlich, meat 
market; B. F. Rolph; A. Hill, sheriff; Geo. L.Brown, Lewis Brown, 
H. Boydston, A. J. Combs, superintendent of schools; J. D. Van 
Tassel, Frank Davis, Frank Flynn, P. Murphy, and John Bos, saloon. 

In 1874 David City was legally incorporated, and a council and 
other proper officers chosen. The first board under this corporation 
was made up of the following persons, viz.: B. O. Perkins, C. D. Cas- 
per, Geo. L. Brown, H. Pepper, and Wm. Turner. 

Lodge No. 31, I. O. O. F., was established at Savannah, 1872; Fi- 
delity lodge, A. F. and A. M., first chartered in 1875; a fine church 
building was erected by the M. E. Church Association in 1874; the 
Baptists, Catholics, and Congregationalists, etc., are numerously rep- 
resented, and efficiently organized. 

A County Agricultural Society was organized here under the pro- 
visions of the General Statutes, October 18, 1873. The following 
named officers were chosen, viz: O. H. Ford, president; J. Winship, 
D. P. Haynes, vice presidents; Geo. L.Brown, secretary; E. M. Per- 
kins, treasurer; board of managers. Miles AVarren, Jas. Blair, J. D. 
Brown, David Read, and G. McCarthy. The first annual fair under 
its auspices was held near David City in October, 1875. Though 
holden on the open prairie, with no enclosure save a single rope 
stretched around the stand and articles on exhibition, it was largely 
attended, and in all respects creditable and successful, the display of 
vegetables being especially remarkable. Corn was exhibited by Dr. 
S. L. Brown, grown within one-half mile of the fair grounds, of 
which fifty-three ears weighed a bushel — many of the ears grew from 
the stalk at a point eight feet above the ground, J. Y. Diemer, Esq., 
had on exhibition a squash weighing 239J pounds, one of six grown 
from two single seeds which weighed 1,100 odd pounds. The present 
officers of the society are Capt. A. F. Coon, president; John T.Myers 
(successor to H. C. Barnes), secretary; managers, John Tannahill, David 
Read, John France, S. C. Allen, and J. D. Brown. 

For two and a half years this young society has struggled on under 
circumstances most discouraging, but through the patience and persist- 
ence of a few individuals it has been landed upon a foundation of 
usefulness and success, and the writer has no more fervent wish than 
that the next (and better) centennial historian may find it still vig- 
orously alive. 
' 20 



298 NEBRASKA STATE HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. ' 

The order of Patrons of Husbandry has been represented by granges 
in every neighborhood, but has not yet been as effective in practical re- 
sults as it deserves. No protective association ever had a better right 
to succeed. Its day will yet come. 

Temperance lodges have been organized and sustained in various 
parts of the county, as also have lyceunis and other social organiza- 
tions. 

With a view to securing the seat of justice, upon its removal from 
Savannah, the village of Butler Center was founded on section 8, 
town 14, range 3, in 1870, by S. L. Russell and S. J. Olliver. Sev- 
eral stores and other business structures were erected, and Butler 
Center became the leading commercial and social point for the table- 
land country, which position she retained until the location of the 
county seat at David City, a few miles northwest, when her founda- 
tions were broken up, and her people, with a few exceptions, pulled 
up their stakes and set their faces toward the new made city. 

S. L. Russell, S. J. Olliver, J. L. Warner, John Merchant, Dr. J. 
J. Welch, Charles Wrede, W. Y. Turner, Thomas Dowling, Joseph 
Stevens, etc., were among those who resided here. 

In the following year Henniganville, afterwards " Ollie" (better 
known as "Section 6"), named for Peter Hennigan, planted her 
towers on a high hill, two miles westward from " Old " Butler 
Center, and lifted up her wee small voice in solicitation of the 
suffrages of the people touching the relocation of the county seat — 
becoming in very deed a most formidable rival in that long-to-be- 
remembered contest; in fact, receiving at one time (November 5th,, 
1872) a majority over all other points; but the election proved an 
egregious blunder on the part of the officials and everybody else, 
arising from a misconstruction of an ambiguous clause in the statute 
then in force concerning the relocation of county seats. 

This " bloodless war " brought out many amusing incidents, and 
not a little rancor of feeling. Several of my readers will recall the 
sudden appearance of a train of wagons, a mile or so in length (the 
" train ") slowly creeping over the table-land in the direction of Sa- 
vannah. This cavalcade of determined citizens proved to be a depu- 
tation in the interest of " Section 6," proceeding to that city in quest 
of the " archives." A " big council " followed, resulting in a truce, 
though many months ensued before all were convinced that there was 
no " job " in the transaction. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 299 

Messrs. J. D. Brown, Willis T. Richardson, John Groves, Richard 
Brooks, Thomas Riggs, Grove Disney, George Clapp, and a few other 
families had settled on Oak creek prior to the organization of the 
county in 1868. 

Two years later than this (1870) the first settlement was made upon 
the table-land jiroper. 

O. H. and J. C. Ford, George Fox, J. Zimmerman, Jacob Klein- 
hau, Thomas Dowling, William M. and John Bunting, J. D. Van 
Tassell, William Jackson, Thomas Preston, E. Ackerman, L. Ham, 
J. and E. Shotwell, Milo Yaw, and Lewis Brown came during that 
year, followed in the spring of 1871, by the "swarm" previously 
spoken of, including the writer. 

There are at this date seventeen postoffices in Butler county. They 
are: Linwood, Savannah, Patron, at the store operated under the aus- 
pices of the Grangers, on section 31, Savannah precinct; Alexis, at 
the residence of A. Gerrard on section 22, Pepperville precinct; Sum- 
mit, at the store of J. C. Paxton on section 26, Summit precinct; 
David City; Appleton, on section 6, Skull creek precinct; Skull 
creek, at the residence of George Wilson on section 22, in Skull creek 
precinct; Urban, at the residence of H. Allen on section 23, Oak 
creek precinct; Salona, at the residence of Thomas Logan on section 
10, Oak creek precinct; Hiawatha, at the residence of P. M. Morse 
on section 18, Oak creek precinct; Carmel, at the residence of R. M. 
Hawley on section 10, Center precinct; Cottonwood, at the residence 
of Wm. Roberts on section 18, Read precinct; Ulysses; Ora, at the 
store of J. W. Latta on section 20, Reading precinct ; Butler Center, 
at the residence of H. Moon on section 26, Center precinct ; and Lone 
Star, at the residence of J. C. Kerr on section 21, town 13, range 4, 
Richardson precinct. 

Eight mail routes intersect the county at various angles; three of 
the most important converging at David City. 

The grange store referred to has been in successful operation for 
several years, under the management of Messrs. George W. Steele, D. 
R. Gardner, O. Wright, and others. 

During eight years of organized political existence the following 
named persons have filled the several county offices, to-wit: 



300 



NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



DURING THE YEAES II 

H. Pepper, Clerk. 
D. R. Gardner, Treasurer. 
C C. Loom is, Probate Judge. 
William Butler, Sheriff. 
H. Pepper, Superintendent. 



38 (fractional)-1869. 

J. A. Taylor, Coroner. 

W. T. Richardson, Surveyor. 

James Green, 

Henry Wilson, V Commissioners. 

David Read, 



DURING 1870-71. 



H. Pepper, Clerk. 

D. R. Gardner, Treasurer. 

B. O. Perkins, Probate Judge. 
H. Garfield, Sheriff. 

E. G. Paige, Superintendent. 



J. A. Taylor, Coroner. 

W. T. Richardson, Surveyor. 

James Green, 

Henry Wilson, y Commissioners. 

David Read, 



DURING 1872-73. 



H. Pepper, Clerk. 

E. M. Perkins, Treasurer. 

B. O. Perkins, Probate Judge. 

James Darnell, Sheriff. 

W. J. Evans, Superintendent. 

S. L. Brown, Coroner. 



W. T. Richardson, Surveyor, 

Henry Wilson (1872),'^ 
David Read, ! Commis- 

A. F. Coon, and [ sioners. 

F. P. Steele (1873), j 



C. C. Cook, Clerk. 

W. M. Bunting, Treasurer. 

J. M. Wilkinson, Probate Judge. 

P. Murphy, Sheriff. 

W. J. Evans, Superintendent. 

S. L. Brown, Sr., Coroner. 



DURING 1874-75. 

W. T. Richardson, Surveyor. 



A. F. Coon (1874),^ 
F. P. Steele, { 

Adam Hall, and 

T.B.Myers (18 75) 



Commis- 
sioners. 



and for the years 1876-77 
he following have been selected, viz. : 

P. C. Patterson, Surveyor. 



C. C. Cook, Clerk. 

W. M. Bunting, Treasurer. 

A. J. Evans, County Judge. 

Abel Hill, Sheriff 

A. J. Combs, Superintendent. 

S. L. Brown, Coroner. 



Adam Hall (1876),^ 

T. B. Myers, } Commis- 

Wm. Butler, and f sioners. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 301 

Col. A. Roberts represeuted the thirteenth representative district in 
the legislature for the years 1871-72. 

George L. Brown, of David City, was made chief clerk of the 
house for the legislative session beginning January 7, 1875, and was 
elected state secretary of immigration February 24, 1875. 

Originally, 1871, Butler county formed a part of the thirteenth- 
representative district, comprising eight counties; also being a mem- 
ber of the ninth senatorial district, containing fifteen counties and an 
immense extent of unorganized territory. In the five years following 
this arrangement, an unprecedented immigration swelled the popula- 
tion of these and other western districts to such an extent that the 
existing apportionment became utterly inadequate to the proper repre- 
sentation of the widely separated interests growing up under the new 
order of things. In 1875 a new apportionment was set up (but not 
without some opposition from the eastern counties), and made a part 
of the new constitution, adopted in that year. By this system Butler 
county elects one representative in her own behalf, has a senator in 
conjunction with Polk county, and assists Platte and Colfax counties 
in the election of a float representative. 

By the same instrument the office of probate judge was abolished 
and that of county judge erected in its stead, and endowed with a 
somewhat larger and more varied jurisdiction. 

GENERAL REMARKS— INCIDENTS. 

People who traversed these parts in the old ranch days, and pre- 
viously thereto, believed the soil to be totally destitute of crop pro- 
ducing capabilities, and the country worthless for any of the ordinary 
purposes of civilization. Within the space of fifteen years, corn has 
been carted over these prairies — at this very moment "checkered o'er" 
with thousands of maize fields and wheat fields, waving in all the 
wealth and beauty of luxuriant growth — to Kearney, from Plattsmouth 
and points below, and sold for four and five gold dollars per bushel. 

An occurrence not one whit more remarkable, however, takes place 
in Nebraska every day — I allude to the eating of New York cheese, 
Maine sweet corn, Connecticut tomatoes and pickles, and the wearing 
of Massachusetts flannels in a land where vegetables yearly rot on the 
ground, ungathered, sufficient to supply any New England state, and 
where more acres of nutritious grasses annually wither and crackle in 



302 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

the autumn fires than would suffice to feed all New England's flocks 
for a score of years. 

Within a few hours of this writing I have partaken of " canned 
sugar corn " prepared on the Atlantic cost, and sold here for seventy- 
five cents per pint, or $16 per bushel, which can be grown in Butler 
county at a fair profit for twenty-five cents per bushel. 

The first session of court in the county was held in the court house 
at Savannah, May 20 1871. As may be supposed, the docket was 
not cumbered to any great extent with the names of litigants and 
attorneys. One case only was brought on for trial. This was in 
reference to the murder of one Edward McMurty (a citizen of what 
is now known as Pepperville precinct) by some Pawnee Indians. 
For some fancied insult to certain members of their tribe, who were 
in the habit of begging and pilfering among the settlers on the south side 
of the Platte, a party of the red-skinned assassins lay in wait for their 
victim at a secluded spot on the Stage Company's island, two miles 
south of Columbus, and upon his appearance riddled him with bullets 
and arrows, dragged his body to an out-of-the-way place, and anchored 
it out of view in a water-hole by means of a forked branch. 

A change of venue was had on account of some supposed unfriend- 
liness of the deceased's relatives and neighbors, and the culprits were 
placed in the Omaha jail. Several trials were had, but the county 
officials ultimately wearied of drawing warrants for the payment of 
huge imaginary doctors' bills and other manufactured expenses on 
behalf of tiie prison officials, and the incarcerated braves were turned 
loose to join their dusky comrades in further noble and humanitarian 
exploits ! 

Much shorter and more satisfactory were the proceedings in the 
case of one Robert Wilson who killed Ransal B. Grant, proprietor of 
Grant's Ranch, a year or so previous, Wilson being hung to a neigh- 
boring tree and subsequently dropped into the Platte by way of 
burial. 

April 10, 1871, and April 14, 1872, are remembered as the days 
of the great snow storms, the like of whicii has not been known in 
this locality before or since. The former was the more tempestuous 
of the two, but of only twenty-four hours' duration, hence no consid- 
erable losses were sustained. The latter raged and "screamed" during 
three days and nights. Out of the uor'-nor'-west came the hurricane. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 303 

laden with suow particles as fiue as flour, penetrating the slightest 
crevice and searching out the remotest corner. Stables which were 
ordinarily sufficient for purposes of shelter were thus filled more com- 
pactly and solidly than could have been done by hand. Cattle and 
horses were led into dwelling-houses, and thus saved to the owners, 
which otherwise must certainly have perished. 

In many cases farmers found it impossible to go to their stables but 
ten or twelve rods distant, and upwards of two hundred head of stock 
perished from suffocation and exposure. 

In this country snow in quantity is the exception rather than the 
rule, wheat being frequently sown in February and March, hence the 
appearance of a "blizzard " at this season of the year is purely i)he- 
noinenal, and but a few hours elapsed after its close before the snow 
had entirely disappeared, and the springing grass had come out none 
the worse for its cold bath. 

Next to the grasshopper scourge of 1874 the autumn prairie fires 
have been most destructive. Several sweeping conflagrations have 
spread terror among our farmers in years gone by — notably one which 
occurred in October, 1872. This great fire came into Butler county 
from Polk, swept south, then north, and finally south again, literally 
singeing over the entire county, reaching out its fiery tongue over im- 
possible spaces, jumping hedgerows a hundred feet in width, and lick- 
ing up in its unimpeded course hundreds of acres of standing corn, 
more than five thousand bushels of wheat, and other grains in granary 
and stack, two hundred cords of wood and poles, one thousand tons 
of hay in stack, many reapers, mowers, plows, etc., while scores of 
horses, cows, and hogs v/ere roasted alive in pens and stables, and even 
in the fields. 

This transpired in the famous fire year (1872), when the very at- 
mosphere seemed laden with flame, as Chicago, Peshtigo, and other 
unfortunates can testify. The entire loss in Butler county was vari- 
ously estimated at $15,000 to $20,000 — a loss ten-fold more dam- 
aging, as destroying the pioneer's little all. It is a dampener on 
a man to look round over a blackened home — the melancholy remains 
of one, two, or three years of garnering, saving, and suffering upon 
the prairie. To be thus lauded, as it were, back upon the bed-rock of 
original pioneer helplessness and destitution, after having labored in 
season and ought of season to obtain a genuine start on the road to 



304 



NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



competence and comfort, is one of the buflfetings of life which men 
find it^ hard to "silver o'er" with aesthetic philosophy and "try, try 
agam" maxims. Happily, a recurrence is now rendered impossible 
by the greatly extended cultivated area, and precautionary measures. 
The grasshopper plague of 1874 was an occurrence which marked 
an era in the history of this county, and in the lives of all its inhab- 
itants. Of course it is painfully fresh in the memories of the present 
readers of this little book, how the countless millions of lean and 
hungry insects came down in great dark clouds upon us with not so 
much as a whisper of warning; how, save the ripe and half-harvested 
wheat, they devoured every green thing reared by the hand of man, 
stripping the leaves from the trees, great and small, laying bare as 
bean poles the thrifty half-grown corn-stalks, necessitating the abso 
lute slaughter of the swine— fat and lean; how the famous "Aid 
Society" came with its remarkable exhibitions of disgusting selfish- 
ness and open-hearted generosity, well paid chicanery and faithful 
labor unrequited and unthanked; how the ensuing winter wound its 
dreary length along, while the infrequent driblets of " relief coal " 
were lengthened out by the substitution of hay, weeds, corn-stalks, 
etc.; how eagerly, upon the approach of spring, the first appearance 
of the tender grass was watched and waited for in behalf of the starv- 
ing horses and cattle, and the first fruits of the garden and field, by 
their bean-and-meal fed masters. And then followed the abundant 
rains, the luxurious grass, and the marvelous prodigality of vegetable 
growth, insomuch that corn, in six months, fell from two dollars to 
fifteen cents per bushel, etc., etc. All this it would be satire to term 
history, so far as relates to those who will first peruse these lines; and 
let us fervently hope and pray that the recollections of it may grow 
dimmer and yet more dim as the months and years recede, and never, 
never be quickened by a similar event. 

Havmg written these few paragraphs concerning this little quadri- 
lateral of earth, only a score of years since a silent, unpeopled plain, 
but now the chosen home of nearly five thousand souls, each of whom 
has torn his heart and heritage from some bright particular spot in the 
direction of the rising sun to fix them firmly and finally in this new 
and beautiful land, I will close by saying that I have lived to see it 
pass, in this brief while, from that lonely and fruitless state into an 
industrious peace-loving community, whose thousand cottages glisten 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 305 

on tlie prairie's bosom, though later, not less brightly than the older, 
and periiaps grander, ancestral abodes scattered far asunder among 
the forests of Ohio, the hills of Pennsylvania, the inlets of Maine, or 
the hamlets of Bohemia. I have seen myriads of groves spring up 
and grow as luxuriant and beautiful, though perhaps not yet so stately 
and strong, as the sycamore or cypress of Indiana ; broad fields of 
wheat wave as proudly, and of maize tassels as gracefully bend in the 
summer breeze as ever they were known to do in Illinois or Tennessee ; 
and here on this modest page, in this centennial year, when the ora- 
tors, poets, and historians of this great republic are dividing their 
eloquence, inspiration, and research between complacent retrospect and 
hopeful forecast, let me record this prophecy — that, so surely as season 
follows season, to fair Nebraska, always slandered and often chastened^ 
prosperity ivill one day come. 



TRIBUTE TO THE MOTHERS AND WIVES OF THE 
PIONEERS— CUSTOMS AND CHARACTER- 
ISTICS OF THE PEOPLE. 



BY W. W. cox. 



[Extract from the History of Seward County.] 

The mothers and wives of the pioneers are justly entitled to kind re- 
membrance. They were devoted and self-sacrificing beyond measure* 
The labor they performed and the hardships they endured should live 
in the hearts of the people to the remotest generation. Here is a 
picture not overdrawn : A young bride of twenty has left her father's 
home of comfort and luxury in the east, and with her young husband 
has turned her face towards the setting sun with the determination to 
assist in hewing out a new home in the wilderness of the west. With 
no capital except a strong resolution to win and strong faith in the 
future, they bid adieu to friends and kindred, and with a steady eye 
fixed upon the star of empire they penetrate the wilderness. A little 
log cabin or a dug-out has been hastily built for shelter. A parlor, 
sitting room, kitchen, and bedroom are all combined in one. The 
bare walls of this rude home are brought in contrast in the mind of 



306 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

this young wife with the beautiful home of her childhood, but in her 
young breast " hope is like an anchor to the soul." When the first 
Sabbath dawns she may listen in vain for the sweet chimes of the 
church-going bell, but looking out on the broad expanse of prairie all is 
solitary. Sometimes with heaviness of heart she labors on and on, and 
cheers the faltering heart of her husband in his endeavors. The little 
means that they have brought are rapidly melting away before any re- 
turn for their labor is in sight. The beautiful garments of her youth 
are fading and becoming tattered. By and by she becomes a mother, 
and while the beautiful gift of heaven may bring joy and gladness, yet 
in the same train it brings anxieties and sorrows, a constant care by day 
and night. The young father must sometimes go long distances from 
home to be gone days at a time, to a mill fifty or hundred miles away, 
or to a city far away, and the young mother and her darling must 
stay weary days and long nights in a lonely home, with no protector 
but her God. And now comes a strolling band of hungry Indians to 
frighten and annoy her, and while her child is screaming with fright 
she must stand in the door and face these ferocious wild men. She 
must frequently leave her child to cry while she goes long distances 
after the cows, or to a distant spring for water, or carry the baby on 
her arm and a heavy bucket of water with the other. Then again 
harvest time comes, or something else occurs, when several work 
hands must be provided for, when with scanty means at command 
she must perhaps carry the babe upon her arm and with the other do 
the work of cooking for the hands. And again when night comes 
she must divide her bed and make beds upon the cabin floor for the 
men. As her husband keeps a "free hotel" for all strangers she must 
deny herself and little ones ease and comfort to wait upon strangers, 
and frequently make her children wait at meal time while strangers 
•eat their bread, and the mother and children make their meal from the 
scraps. This is no fancy sketch ; it has occurred ten thousand times, 
of which there are plenty of living witnesses. 

Oh, who but a mother can tell of the weariness of a mother's life on 
the frontier, so often struggling to keep the wolf from the door, so 
often beset with dangers, so often overworked with slavish labor, and 
so often over-wrought with anxious care. Xo wonder that untimely 
gray hairs appear, and that her cheeks are furrowed while she should 
yet be in the prime of her womanly strength and beauty. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 307 

Youug men and maidens of Nebraska, you have such pleasant 
homes today, will you please remember what it cost your mothers in 
the years goue by to prepare these homes for you. In your grateful 
hearts will you in a becoming manner reverence and love them? If 
you can fully realize what they have done for you in your imagination 
it will surround their gray heads with grace and beauty, intermingled 
with a halo of holy light. 

The clothing of the people during the first years of the settlement 
should perhaps receive some notice. It must be borne in mind that 
clothing was extremely high in price from 1863 to 1868. The com- 
monest calico was worth from forty to fifty cents a yard. A pair of 
brogan shoes cost five dollars; common domestic was worth from 
seventy-five cents to one dollar per yard, and all articles at about the 
same rate. Fine clothing was entirely out of reach of the common 
people, and was unseen in this country. The men were usually pro- 
vided with a (condemned) soldier's overcoat, which were the cheapest 
garments in the market. Condemned soldiers' blankets were also 
used to considerable extent. We have seen them made into over- 
shirts, and then made over into undershirts. We have also known 
them to be made into pants. Our hats and caps were just what hap- 
pened to come handy — sometimes caps of coon or badger-skins ; at 
other times some old garment would be ripped up and made into a 
cap ; occasionally a chip hat was seen, but usually in a weather beaten 
condition, and frequently it was minus a large part of the rim. A 
gray horse blanket frequently served as a coat. Mittens were made 
rudely of the skins of animals — elk, coon, or whatever came handy ; 
sometimes they were made of old bits of cloth, and faced, with pieces 
of old meal sacks, and meal sacks were frequently converted into 
pants. Strips of bedticking furnished us with suspenders. Our feet, 
perhaps, had the iiardest time of it, as they were brought more di- 
rectly into contact with frost and snow. The man that had a pair of 
good cowhide boots was fortunate, but he was an exception. We im- 
provised moccasins, which, at times, we were fortunate enough to trade 
for with the Indians ; then we would make them ourselves out of elk 
hides, or of cloth or sheep skins. Our poor feet were often in a sorry 
plight. 

If our wives were fortunate enough to have two calico dresses in 
one year, they were truly thankful. Sunbonuets of calico were com- 



308 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

iiionly worn to church, as well as the faded shawls of other years. 
Cloth slippers frequently served for shoes or moccasins. We have 
known the old chests to be rummaged, and old bed-spreads, such as the 
dear old grandmothers wove, brought out as a last resort and made 
into skirts and worn. In summer, men, women, young men, and 
maidens went barefoot to a great extent. 

Such clothing as we wore, even the best of us, would now be a 
laughing stock for you all, but then it was no laughing matter ; now 
it's no matter how much you laugh. Should you see one dressed in 
the usual garb of 1864 and 1865 you would certainly think it to be a 
scarecrow, yet we were powerless to have it otherwise. We all felt 
the sting of the situation. We had many of us been used to better 
fare. We had just as noble aspirations as any of our present people. 
We all wanted to do better, and just as soon as possible we did do 
better. 

Our food was usually plain and healthful. We used as a matter of 
necessity a great amount of corn bread and lye hominy. We gener- 
ally had a good supply of wild fruits, such as plums, grapes, goose- 
berries, elderberries, and raspberries. We made sorghum molasses 
for sweetening. Our new ground produced melons in grand profusion, 
and when we were fortunate enough to keep the Indians from stealing 
them, we enjoyed eating melons such as a king might admire. Our 
wives were almost universally good cooks, and they would come nearer 
getting up a good dinner out of poor material than most women do 
out of a well-supplied larder. At times our tables were supplied with 
delicious meats of antelope and wild turkeys, frequently of elk, and 
occasionally of buffalo. Then again we would have to depend upon 
smaller game, such as prairie-chickens, rabbits, squirrels, etc. After 
the first year pigs began to accumulate, also domestic fowls, and occa- 
sionally a beef would be slauglitered, and also vegetables were pro- 
duced, and the skies became brighter. 

Later comers usually brought a little money, and we proved a 
blessing to them, as we usually had something to sell them that they 
most needed, such as grain, hay, poultry, a pig, a cow, perhaps, some 
potatoes for seed, and we welcomed them heartily, for they brought 
us some money, which Ave sorely needed, and they brought us society, 
which we had longed for so patiently. They brought us hopes of 
schools and church privileges, for which we were hungry indeed. 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 309 

We began to renew our dilapidated clothing and live more like folks, 
and our lives were brighter and more cheerful for their coming. 

Visiting on the frontier was a feature worth noticing. With all 
our poverty, we enjoyed visiting one another. We made no fash- 
ionable calls, just to show what fine clothes we could wear. We were 
all ragged alike. When we went, we aimed to put in the whole day, 
and took the whole family, and we invariably had a good time. One 
feature of these visits was that our good wives all knew one another's 
circumstances. If the neighbor to be visited was out of butter or 
meat, or any other article necessary to make a square meal, it was 
never an offense to look the cupboard over and take such things along 
as would supply a deficiency. That would now be considered an in- 
sult. Then it was a most common thing to take a roll of butter, a 
piece of meat, a few eggs, or anything that parties were fortunate 
enough to have, and that was known to be lacking at the place to be 
visited. People were always welcome at their neighbors' hearths. 

We are a mixed multitude. We have drawn our population from 
nearly all of the southern and eastern states — have representatives 
from Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas. We have drawn more 
heavily on Illinois and Iowa than other states. Of our foreign-born 
people the Germans, perhaps, exceed all others, although we have 
quite a respectable number from England, Ireland, and Sweden, with 
a few from France. We have drawn from the best blood of all local- 
ities from which we have emigrated. It certainly is the best class of 
people of any state or country that have a longing for a home of their 
own and that have the courage to break away from old home and old 
associates and face the dangers of the wilderness and all the privations 
of the frontier for the sake of a home, and of such are the masses of 
our people. Our Germans are principally thoroughly schooled in 
American ways of life in Illinois and Iowa, where they had a long resi- 
dence prior to their coming here, and it is rarely that we find one that 
•cannot talk our language fluently and has not an intelligent idea of our 
institutions. They are most universally an energetic and thrifty peo- 
ple, stepping to the front as farmers and business men. They have 
done much towards developing and enriching the county. They sus- 
tain in their various denominations ten churches, each with a credit- 
able house of worship. Tiiere are quite a number of English people 
•who are among our most thrifty and valuable citizens. The same 



310 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

may be said of many Irish families, also Swedish, Danish, and French. 
All are represented by the intelligent and valuable of their respective 
countries. They are all here with a full purpose of becoming Amer- 
icans and identified with the institutions of their adopted home. They 
are all making rapid progress in adopting American ways and meth- 
ods, and we are fast becoming a homogeneous ])eople. There are a 
very few families of colored people, probably not to exceed six, and 
they are very worthy and industrious peoj)le. So far as we are advised,, 
all of them had been slaves when young, and it certainly is to their 
credit that they are doing so well. 

The Americans of course largely predominate in numbers, and they 
are universally intelligent and progressive, and a great mass of then:^ 
are prosperous. There are hundreds who came to the county with 
little more than their bare hands and with large families, who now 
have beautiful homes and a great abundance of this world's goods. 
Their children have grown up intelligently and the old folks are en- 
joying the fruits of a well-spent life. 

We have in all parts of the county great numbers of the old sol- 
diers, and it is a matter of pride that they are so universally respected 
and honored for the honorable part they had in saving for us a home 
and a country, and for their sterling qualities as citizens. 

The first marriage in the county as shown by the records was that 
of John W. Pitt and Miss Elva S. Long, at the residence of Samuel 
Long, on the 12th day of November, 186G. The ceremony was per- 
formed by C. J. Neihardt, justice of the peace. 

The first marriage in G precinct and city of Seward was at the 
house of Lewis Moffitt, on the 20th day of March, 1867. The con- 
tracting parties were David P. Imlay and Miss Mary Moffitt, W. 
W. Cox, justice of the peace, officiating. On the 20th of April,. 
1867, the second wedding in G precinct was that of James A. Brown 
and Miss Sarah Imlay, at the residence of the bride's father, one and 
one-half miles northeast of the present city. We had the honor ot" 
officiating on that occasion. 

We glean from the probate court records that the first letters of 
guardianship were issued by Judge Henry Wortendyke, on the 29th 
of January, 1879, to Sarah C. Wilcox, in matters of guardianship of 
the minor heirs of Syril Tift. 

The first term of the district court was held in Seward county, at 



COUNTY HISTORIES. 311 

Milford, November 15, 1869, Judge Geo. B. Lake presiding. Frank 
M. Ellsworth was appointed district attorney. First case on the docket 
was John W. Shields v. J. L. Bandy. The only state case was 
against W. H. Tiittle for an assault on Jonathan Gordon. Mr. Tut- 
tle got clear of the charge, but the prevalent impression was that he 
ought to have been fined for not doing a more thorough job. 

J. C. Cowin, of Omaha, was the first district attorney of the dis- 
trict who attended our court, which was held in the year 1870, at 
Milford. The first term held at Seward was in the spring of 1872^ 
Judge Lake on the bench. T. L. Norval was appointed district at- 
torney. At that term the famous Conrtwright injunction case came 
up, in which Judge Lake made the injunction against the Midland 
railroad and the county commissioners perpetual. 

Judge Lake held the officeof judge of this judicial district until the 
year 1876, when the districts were changed and the sixth district was 
formetl. Geo. W. Post was elected, and was re-elected and served 
until the spring of 1883, when he resigned, and T. L, Norval was 
appointed by Governor Dawes to fill the vacancy. Judge Norval was 
elected in the fall of 1883, and has held the office since that date, and 
was re-elected in the fall of 1887. M. B. Reese was elected district 
attorney, and held the office until 1882. Thos. Darnall was elected 
to the place in the fall of 1882, who held the place until January, 
1887, when the law took effect making county attorneys, at which 
time R. P. Anderson was elected to the office of county attorney. 

Prior to 1879 the county clerk performed the duties of district clerk. 
H. P. Lewis was appointed in 1879, and elected in 1880, and re- 
elected in 1882, after' which Geo. A. Merriam was elected, and was 
re-elected in November, '1887. 

The first meeting of the reunion of old settlers was held in the 
public square at Seward in October, 1884, with W. W. Cox, as presi- 
dent. The meeting was not largely attended, but was of great inter- 
est. Many touching incidents of early times were related. In 1885 
there was no meeting, but in October, 1886, the society was re-organ- 
ized and placed on a more permanent basis. Officers elected were : 
W. \V. Cox, president; Geo. A. Merriam, secretary, and Mrs. Thos. 
Graham, treasurer. The society that year opened a registry of the 
old settlers, giving name, time of settlement, where located, age, etc. 
Great numbers availed themselves of that privilege. A very large 



312 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

and enthusiastic meeting was held in Robert's grove, west of the city. 
The officers for 1887 were: J. H. Culver, of Milford, president; 
Geo. A. Merriam, secretary, and Mrs. Thos. Graham, treasurer. In 
October, 1887, the annual meeting was held at Milford, was very 
largely attended, and a very enjoyable meeting was held. Governor 
Thayer made the address of the day. Many new names were added 
to the registry. Officers elected for 188S were: W. R. Davis, presi- 
dent, and Geo. A. Merriam and Mrs. Graham were again re-elected, 
and Seward was chosen as the place of meeting for 1888. These 
meetings bid fair to grow in interest from year to year, and in the long 
years to come the registry will become of priceless value. The four 
counties of Butler, Polk, York, and Seward have held conjointly three 
reunions at Lord's grove near the four corners, where vast numbers of 
people of all these counties have held very profitable meetings. 

At the meeting in 1886 it was estimated that over four thousand 
were present. The meeting of 1887 was postponed on account of a 
heavy rain storm, and the adjourned meeting met with the same ob- 
stacle, when it was determined to defer the meeting to the summer of 
1888. 



IV.-PROCEEDINGS. 



SECRETARY'S RECORD, REPORTS OF OFFICERS, THE CONSTITUTION, 
AND LIST OF MEMBERS. 



21 



ANNUAL SESSION, JANUARY 13-14,1891. 



Tuesday Evening, January 13, 1891. 

The Society met in the chapel of the State University at 8 p. m., 
pursuant to the call of the Secretary, President Furnas in the chair. 
A quorum was found to be present. The call for the meeting was read 
by the Secretary, who also read the record of the preceding annual 
meeting, which was approved. President Furnas then delivered a 
short address on the progress and general condition of the Society. A 
detailed report was made by the Secretary, submitting several recom- 
mendations for consideration. On motion, the report was referred to 
a committee consisting of Rev. E. H. Chapin, Albert Watkins, and J. 
S. Kingsley. Tiie Secretary also presented a classified list of the 
members of the Society. On motion, the Secretary was instructed to 
enter on his record as charter members the names of the following 
persons, who, possibly through some error, are not credited in the 
Treasurer's books with payment of the admission fee: J. H. Ames, 
William Adair, J. H. Brown, J. J. Budd, E. S. Dundy, Silas Gar- 
ber, E. N. Greunell, William Gilmore, J. Q. Goss, A. G. Hastings, 
F. J. Heudershot, Geo. L. Miller, Theron Nye, and C. H. Walker. 

Likewise, on motion, it was voted that the name of James W. Sav- 
age be placed on the list of members. The membership, therefore, at 
this date stands as follows : 

Active members, 97 ; corresponding members, 3 ; honorary mem- 
bers, 4. 

The Treasurer then submitted his report, which was referred to a 
committee of audit consisting of Lorenzo Crounse and A. B. Show. 

Mr. Watkins, sub-committee, made an informal rejiort on the matter 
of the Historical Block, to the effect that it is doubtful whether the 
Society can show title to the block. 

A committee consisting of J. M. Woolworth, Lorenzo Crounse, 
and George L. Miller was appointed to prepare a memorial of the late 
James W. Savage. 

(315) 



316 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

The following persons were nominated as active members of the 
Society : J. A. Barrett, Mary Tremain, J. S. Kingsley, and D. E. 
Dungan, of Lincoln; Leavitt Buruham, of Omaha; J. P. Dunlop, 
of Dwight ; J. L. Edwards, of Pawnee City ; D. J. Jones and C. E. 
Chadsey, of Crete. The Secretary was instructed to cast the ballot of 
the Society for each of the persons named as an active member of the 
Society. The ballot being so cast, the persons named were declared 
elected. 

The chairman of the special committee appointed to consider the 
question of a more complete organization of the Society reported that 
no meeting had been held. Mr. S. L. Geisthardt then presented a 
draft of a new Constitution and By-Laws. Moved by the Hon. David 
Butler that it be referred to the special committee on more complete 
organization. Withdrawn. Moved by Professor Show that the pro- 
posed Constitution and By-Laws be read by the Secretary. The 
motion prevailed and the document was accordingly read. Governor 
Butler then renewed his motion to refer to the special committee, and 
after some discussion it was carried. 

Mr. Geisthardt moved that the first section of the By-Laws be 
amended to read as follows : "The regular meeting of the Society shall 
be held in Lincoln, at such place as the officers may select, on the 
second Tuesday of January, the second Wednesday of January, the 
second Tuesdays of May, July, and October, the hour to be designated 
by the Secretary in the notice of the meeting." After some discus- 
sion, the amendment was adopted. 

George E. Howard then moved that the following clause be added 
io the second section of the By-Laws immediately after the word 
*' Lincoln": "Provided, that, instead, the call may be made at any re- 
gular meeting, with one day's notice." The motion was adopted. 

The Secretary announced that the regular meeting would be held 
in the chapel of the State University on Wednesday evening, January 
14, at 8 p. M. 

Adjourned until 7:30 p. m., Wednesday evening. 



Wednesday Evening,- January 14, 1891. 
Met in the chapel of the State University at 7:30 p. m., pursuant 
to adjournment, President Furnas in the chair, and a quorum being 
present. 



PROCEEDINGS. 317 

On motion, the Society then proceeded to the election of officers for 
the ensuing year. The ballot resulted as follows: 

President — J. Sterling Morton. 

First Vice President — S. B. Pound. 

Second Vice President — Lorenzo Crounse. 

Treasurer — C. H. Gere. 

Secretary — George E. Ploward. 

Directors — P. W. Furnas, J. M. Woolworth. Chas. E. Bessey, T. 
L. Nerval, J. B. Diusmore. 

On motion of S. L. Geisthardt a vote of thanks was tendered to 
Hon. R. W. Furnas, retiring President, and founder of the Society, 
for his long and faithful service. 

The committee appointed to audit the Treasurer's account made the 
following report: 

Lincoln, January 13, 189L 

Your committee appointed to audit the report of the Treasurer of 
this Society would respectfully report that they have examined his 
accounts and vouchers, and find them correct in all particulars. 
They would therefore recommend that his report be approved. 

L. Crounse. 
A. B. Show. 

A valuable paper, contributed by Hon. W. H. Woods, on "Old 
Fort Calhoun," was presented l)y the Secretary. Ordered placed on 
file for publication. 

The Secretary then read a letter from Hon. A. D. Jones, suggesting 
a plan for the reorganization of the Society. On motion, the thanks 
of the Society were tendered Mr. Jones for his contribution. The 
Secretary was likewise ordered to convey to Hon. D. A. Campbell the 
thanks of the Society for his valuable gift of books and documents. 

Dr. J. S. Kingsley, for the committee appointed to consider the 
report of the Secretary, then submitted the following recommenda- 
tions : 

The points most desirable to recall to your attention are the follow- 
ing: 

1. Special attention should be given to collecting everything possi- 
ble relating to the archreology and ethnology of the state, and your 
committee would suggest the advisability of taking measures at the 



318 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

present time to collect the history of the Sioux uprising. The museum 
of the Society should contain an exhibit of the dress and accoutre- 
ments used in the ghost dance, while a full description of the dance 
would prove valuable material for history. 

2. The Society should accept with thanks the offer of the Regents 
of the University, of ample and commodious quarters in the pro- 
posed library building. 

3. The Secretary reports that an item of $2,500 for the Society, in 
addition to the printing, was put in the author's estimates made for 
the j)resent legislature. We would suggest that measures be taken to 
see that this item is not neglected in the committees. 

4. The Secretary points out that the greatest good the Society can 
accomplish lies in the direction of accumulating material for history, 
and he further states that continued growth can be best assured by 
paid assistance. He suggests two plans. According to the first the 
Society should obtain the services of an expert librarian at a liberal 
salary; the second recommends the election of a competent secretary 
with time for the work, and that he be given ample clerical assist- 
ance, so that by either plan the rooms of the Society may be kept 
open each day, and the correspondence necessary for accumulating ma- 
terial properly conducted. 

Your committee feel that the second of these plans is the more ad- 
visable. The Society is to be congratulated upon its present Secre- 
tary, who, without means and without assistance, has in six years 
built up a library of about four thousand volumes from a beginning 
of five volumes and a hundred and fifty pamphlets. They would 
recommend that he be given as large a salary as the Society can afford. 
They would also recommend that he be given such assistance as the 
funds will allow. Theyj would suggest that such assistance may be 
readily obtained among the graduate students of history and social 
and economic science in the University. Such assistants would bring 
to the Society just the training that is needed, and while conducting 
the clerical work necessary they would at the same time be in the 
best position to advance the knowledge of our history. Such posi- 
tions would be'of the nature of fellowships, the return for the emol- 
uments being made by clerical labor and by investigation, the latter 
being as important as the former. E. H. Chapin. 

J. S. KiNGSLEY. 

Albert Watkins. 



PEOCEEDINGS. 319 

On motion of H. W. Caldwell it was voted to consider the report 
seriatim. 

The first paragraph, containing the recommendation relative to the 
Sioux uprising, was agreed to. 

The second paragraph was adopted as the sense of the Society. 

The third paragraph was agreed to, and, on motion, Albert Wat- 
kins, J. S. Kingsley, and E. H. Chapin were appointed a committee 
on legislative appropriations. 

The fourth paragraph was also approved and the committee's report 
adopted as a whole. 

On motion, R. ^Y. Furnas, with such persons as he should see fit to 
appoint, was constituted a committee to co-operate with the Secretary 
in trying to secure relics and other historical materials relating to the 
Sioux and their recent uprising. 

D. A. Cline, H. W. Brown, C. N. Little, Mrs. C. N. Little and 
Mrs. E. L. Warner, were elected active members of the Society. 

A vote of thanks was tendered Dr. S. A. Green, of the Massachu- 
setts Historical Society, and Mr. D. A. Cline, for their gifts of books 
and pamphlets. 

Adjourned. 

Wednesday, 8 p. m., January 14, 1891. 

Met in regular meeting pursuant to the call of the Secretary, a quo- 
rum being present. In the absence of the President-elect, Hon. J. S. 
Morton, Gov. Furnas was chosen to preside. 

The special committee to whom at the preceding regular meeting 
was referred the proposed new Constitution and By-Laws submitted 
a report, suggesting several changes in details. The complete Consti- 
tution and By-Laws, as thus modified, were then read by the Secre- 
tary. 

On motion it was agreed that the regular meeting, on the second 
Tuesday in May, should be held in Lincoln, notice thereof to be given 
by the Secretary. 

Adjourned. 



320 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



EEGULAR MEETING. 



Tuesday Evening, May 12, 1891. 

Met in the chapel of the State University pursuant to the call of 
the Secretary, in accordance with the vote of the Society at the pre- 
ceding regular meeting, with a quorum present. Called to order at 8 
p. M. by ex-President Furnas, who introduced Hon. J. Sterling Mor- 
ton, President-elect. Mr. Morton then read as his inaugural address 
an interesting paper, entitled " Early Times and Pioneers." 

The Secretary then read a valuable paper, entitled " The Fort 
Pierre Expedition," prepared for the Society by Dr. G. L. Miller, of 
Omaha, at the request of President Morton. The Secretary also re- 
ported a second paper contributed by Dr. Miller, entitled " The Mil- 
itary Camp on the Big Sioux River in 1855." 

On motion a vote of thanks was tendered Mr. Morton and Dr. 
Miller for the papers submitted. 

The committee appointed to secure relics and a history of the Sioux 
uprising of 1890 reported that they had secured a ghost shirt and 
certain other articles of historical interest, and that Gen. Colby had 
consented to prepare a history of the campaign. 

W. H. Skinner, of Crete, was elected an active member. 

On motion the Constitution submitted at the preceding meetings was 
adopted without amendment. The salary of the Secretary was fixed 
at $500 a year ; and the By-Laws were then adopted as a whole, with- 
out further amendment. 

On motion of Prof. Caldwell, it was ordered that the Constitution 
and By-Laws should at once be put in force. 

By vote of the meeting. Dr. G. L. Miller was requested to try to 
secure for the cabinet of the Society certain collections in the posses- 
sion of Mrs. Gen. Crook. 

Governor Furnas was requested to edit the biographical portion of 
Volume III of the Transactions. 

Adjourned. 



PROCEEDINGS. 321 



CONSTITUTION OF THE NEBRASKA STATE HISTORI- 
CAL SOCIETY. 



I. — Name. 



The name of this Society shall be The Nebraska State Historical 
Society. 

II. — Objects. 

The object of this Society shall be, generally, to encourage historical 
research and inquiry ; to spread historical information and in particular 
in trust for the state of Nebraska; to establish a library appropriate 
to such purpose, and a cabinet of relics and antiquities with especial 
reference to this state, and to preserve and collect materials relating to 
the early history of this state. The library and other personal prop- 
erty of the Society and the office of the Secretary shall be located in the 
city of Lincoln. 

III. — Members. 

The Society shall consist of three classes of members : Active, cor- 
responding, and honorary. No one can be an active member who is 
not a resident of the state of Nebraska. Persons distinguished for 
literary or scientific attainments or for the promotion of historical 
study, may be elected honorary and corresponding members; they shall 
have all the privileges of the Society except voting and holding office, 
and shall be exempt from the payment of fees and dues. 

Members may be elected at any regular meeting. The election 
shall be by ballot, and three adverse votes shall reject. Active mem- 
bers shall pay an admission fee of two dollars, and shall be qualified 
as members on paying tiiis fee and making acceptance in writing. 

Any member may be dropped from the rolls or expelled at any 
meeting by a two-thirds vote of those present after not less than 
twenty days' notice of the charges against him and the time and place 
of trial by registered letter directed to him at his last known address. 

IV. — Officers. 

The officers of the Society shall be a President, two Vice Presi- 
dents, a Treasurer, and a Secretary, who shall be elected by ballot at 



322 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

the annual meeting, and hold the office until their respective success- 
ors are elected and qualified. The officers shall constitute the Board 
of Directors of the Society. A vacancy in any office may be filled 
by the Board of Directors for the unexpired term. 

The President shall preside at the meetings of the Society, and in 
general shall perform the duties usually incident to the office. 

The Vice Presidents, in the order of their election, shall have all 
the rights and duties of the President in his absence. 

The Treasurer shall collect and have charge of the funds of the 
Society ; he shall keep the moneys of the Society in its name in some 
safe banking house in the city of Lincoln; he shall keep a detailed 
account of receipts and expenditures; keep his books and accounts 
open for inspection by the Board of Directors ; make a full report to 
the Society at its annual meeting, and at all times when required, and 
pay no moneys except on warrants drawn by the President or a Vice 
President and countersigned by the Secretary. He shall give a bond 
for the faithful performance of his duties, in the sum of two thousand 
dollars, and such additional sum as the Society may require, with sure- 
ties to be approved by the Board of Directors, and file the same with 
the Secretary. 

The Secretary shall have the custody of the property of the Society 
and the general supervision and management of its work. He shall 
keep the records of the meetings of the Society and conduct its corre- 
spondence. In connection with the President he shall make the report 
to the governor required by law, and procure the publication of the 
same. He shall make a full report of his doings at the annual meet- 
ing, and perform such other duties as may be required by the Society. 

The Secretary and the Treasurer may each receive such salary as 
the Society shall by vote previously determine. No other officer shall 
receive any remuneration for his services, but may be allowed his 
actual expenses in performing the duties of his office. 

Any officer may be removed at any meeting by a two-thirds vote of 
those present. 

Officers pro tempore may be chosen by the Society at any meeting 
in the absence of the regular officers. 

v.— Seal. 
The Society shall have a corporate seal, of such design as it may 



PROCEEDINCxS. 323 

VI. — Meetings. 

The regular meetings of the Society shall be the annual meetings, 
which shall be held in the city of Lincoln on the second Tuesday in 
January. 

Special meetings may be called under the direction of the President, 
for the transaction of such business as may be specified in the notice 
thereof, and no other business can be finally disposed of at such 
meetings. 

Notice of all meetings shall be sent by mail by the Secretary to all 
active members at least ten days before the date of such meeting. 

Ten active members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of 
business. 

VII. — Amendments. 

This Constitution may be amended at any annual meeting by a two- 
thirds vote of those present; Provided, That the proposed amendments 
shall have been submitted in writing and entered on the minutes at a 
previous meeting, at least three months beforehand. The By-Laws 
which may be made by the Society may be amended or suspended at 
any regular meeting, or special meeting for that purpose, by a two- 
thirds vote; Provided, That the regular order of business may be 
varied at any meeting by a majority vote. 



BY-LAWS. 



1. The Treasurer shall give bond in the sum of two thousand dol- 
lars, with sureties to be approved by the Board of Directors, and the 
same shall be filed with the Secretary. He shall receive for his serv- 
ices the sum of twenty-five dollars per annum, payable on the first 
of January for the year preceding. 

2. The Secretary shall act as the librarian of the Society. He shall 
use his best efforts to promote the growth of the library and cabinets, 
and preserve a complete record of the articles received by the Society. 
Only members of this Society shall be entitled to draw books from 
the library; no manuscripts or articles from the cabinet shall be with- 
drawn from the custody of the Secretary ; he shall preserve all corre- 



321 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

spondence received in proper files and keep copies of all letters written 
by him. 

He shall receive for his services the sum of five hundred dollars 
per annum, payable in quarterly installments on the first day of 
April, July, October, and January for the quarter preceding. 

3. The President-elect shall appoint at each annual meeting the 
following standing committees, composed of three members each: 

A Committee on Publication, of which the Secretary shall be ex- 
qfficio chairman, to select and prepare all matter for publication, and 
supervise the printing thereof. 

A Committee on Library and Cabinet, to assist the Secretary in en- 
larging and preserving the Society's collections, and with him have 
general superintendence thereof. 

A Committee on Obituaries, whose duty it shall be to prepare 
memoirs of deceased members, and to collect materials for the same. 

A Committee on Programmes, of which the Secretary shall be ex- 
ojicio chairman, to arrange for suitable literary and other exercises 
at the various meetings of the Society. 

4. The regular meetings of the Society shall be held in the city of 
Lincoln, at such hour and place as shall be designated by the Secre- 
tary. 

5. The order of business at meetings shall be : 

(L) Roll call, or other proceedings to ascertain the names and 

number of members present. 
(2.) Reading of minutes. 
(3.) Reports of officers. 
(4.) Reports of standing committees. 
(5.) Reports of special committees. 
(6.) Communications and petitions. 
(7.) Election of members. 
(8.) Election of officers. 
(9.) Miscellaneous business. 
(10.) Adjournment. 

6. Cushing's Manual shall be authority on rules of order at the 
meetings of the Society. 



PROCEEDINGS. 325 

REPORT OF TREASURER. 



Lincoln, January 12, 1892. 
Hon. J. Sterling Morton, President State Historical Society. 

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the re- 
ceipts and expenditures of the Nebraska State Historical Society for 
the year ending with the present annual meeting, and to transmit 
herewith the books and vouchers for examination : 

receipts. 

Amount on hand January 14, 1891 $976 77 

State warrants received 1000 00 

Membership fees 20 00 

Interest on deposits 30 32 

Total $2036 09 

EXPENDITURES. 

Salary of Secretary $400 00 

Salary of Assistant Secretary 100 00 

Salary of Treasurer 25 00 

Indian relics 75 00 

Books, stationery, printing, express, and labor 419 94 

Total $1019 94 

Very respectfully, C. H. Gere, Treasurer. 



STANDING COMMITTEES. 



On Publication, the Secretary being ex-ojicio chairman : S. L. 
Geisthardt and A. J. Sawyer. 

On Library : A. B. Show, C. N. Little, and W. W. Cox. 
On Obituaries : R. W. Furnas, George L. Miller, and J. M. Wool- 
worth. 

On Programme, the Secretary being ex-ojficio chairman : C. E 
Bessey and Mrs. M. B. Newton. 

J. Sterling Morton. 

President. 



326 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 

LIST OF MEMBERS. 



ACTIVE. 



Adair, William, Dakota City. 
*Allan, J. T., Omaha. 
Ames, J. H., Lincoln. 
Barrett, Jay A., Lincoln. 
Bessey, C. E., Lincoln. 
Bowen, J. S. 

Bowen, William R., Omaha. 
Bowers, W. D., Seward. 
Broady, J. H., Lincoln. 
Brodfehrer, J. C, Dakota City. 
Brown, H. AV., Lincoln. 
Budd, J. J. 
* Butler, David. 
Caldwell, H. W., Lincoln. 
Canfield, James H., Lincoln. 
Chapin, E. H., Lincoln. 
Chapman, S. M., Plattsmouth. 
Child, E. P., Lincoln. 
Clarke, H. T., Omaha. 
Colby, Mrs. C. B., Beatrice. 
Cox, W. W., Seward. 
Cox, S. D., Lincoln. 
Craig, Hiram, Blair. 
Crounse, Lorenzo, Fort Calhoun. 
Davidson, S. P., Tecumseh. 
Dinsmore, J. B., Sutton, 
Doane, Geo. W., Omaha. 
Dougherty, M. A. 
Dundy, E. S., Omaha. 
Filer, W. H., Blair. 
Farnham, Geo. L., Peru. 
Furnas, R. W., Brownville. 
Gallagher, John, Falls City. 
Garber, Silas, Red Cloud. 
Gere, C. H., Lincoln. 



Geisthardt, S. L.,JLincoln. 
Gilmore, William, Plattsmouth. 
Goss, J. Q., Bellevue. 
Gregory, Lewis, Lincoln. 
Grennell, E. N., Fort Calhoun. 
Griggs, N. K., Beatrice, 
Hardy, H. W., Lincoln. 
Hartman, Chris., Omaha. 
Hastings, A. G., Lincoln. 
Hendershot, F. J., Hebron. 
Hiatt, C. W., Lincoln. 
Humphrey, A,, Lincoln, 
Jones, A. D., Omaha. 
Jones, W. W. W., Lincoln. 
Jones, D. J., Lincoln. 
*Kaley, H. S. 
Keim, A. R., Falls City. 
Kennard, T. P., Lincoln. 
La Master, J. E., Tecumseh. 
Leavitt, T. H., Lincoln. 

* Lemon, T. B. 
Lewis, F. W., Lincoln. 
Little, C. N., Lincoln. 
Little, Mrs. C. K, Lincoln. 
MacMurphy^ J. A., South Omaha. 
Maxwell, Samuel, Fremont. 
McConnell, J. L., Lincoln. 
Macfarland, J. D., Lincoln. 
Mclntyre, E. M,, Seward, 
McReynolds, Robt., Lincoln. 
Miller, Geo. L., Omaha. 

* Monell, G. S. 

Moore, Miss S. W., Lincoln. 
Morton, J. Sterling, Neb. City. 
MuUon, O. A., Lincoln. 



PROCEEDINGS. 



327 



Newton, Mrs. M. B., Omaha. 
Norval, T. L., Seward. 
Nye, Theron, Fremont. 
*Owen, 8. G. 
Paddock, J. W., Lincoln. 
Perry, D. B., Crete. 
Phoebus, J. S., Beaver City. 
Pound, S. B., Lincoln. 
Pound, Mrs. S. B., Lincoln. 

* Reed, Byron. 
Rich, E. P., Omaha. 

* Savage, James W. 
Sawyer, A. J., Lincoln. 
Shedd, H. H., Ashland. 
Show, A. B., Palo Alto, Cal. 
Shryock, L. B. W. 
Shugart, E., Beatrice 



Smith, W. H., Lincoln. 
* Stocking, Moses. 
*Taggart, J. M. 
Treeman, L. B., Lincoln. 
Tremain, Miss Mary, Lincoln. 
True, M. B. C, Tecumseh. 
Vifquain, Victor, Lincoln. 
Walker, C. H., Rising City. 
Watkins, Albert, Lincoln. 
Webster, J. R., Lincoln. 
Webster, J. L., Omaha. 
Whedon, C. O., Lincoln. 
Wheeler, D. H., Omaha. 
Whitney, Edson L., Wisner. 
Williams, O. T. B., Seward. 
Wilson, W. W., Lincoln. 
Woolworth, J. M., Omaha. 



Skinner, W. H., Crete. 

CORRESPONDING. 
>^ Andrews, Dr. Israel W. Macy, Prof. Jesse W., Grinnell, 

Darling, Gen. C. W ., Utica, N. Y. Iowa. 

HONORARY. 
Hamilton, Rev. William. Johnson, Hon. H. D., Salt Lake 

Fletcher, Miss Alice. City. 

Platte, Mrs. E. G., Tabor, Iowa. 



FORMER ACTIVE MEMBERS 
Aughey, Samuel, Hot Springs, 

Ark. 
Bennett, C. E., Providence, R. I. 
Cadman, John, Los Angeles, Cal. 
Chadsey, C. E., San Jose, Cal. 
Child, A. L., Kansas City, Mo. 
Church, G. E., Fresno, Cal. 
Croxtou, J. H., Denver, Col. 
Dudley, Lieut. E. S.,Los Angeles, 

Cal. 
Fifield, L. B., Minneapolis, Minn. 



REMOVED FROM THE STATE. 
Fulton, S. A., Marysville, Kan. 
Galey, S. B., Ashland, Oregon. 
Howard, G. E., Palo Alto, Cal. 
Kingsley, J. S., Salem, Mass. 
Manatt, I. J., Athens, Greece. 
Mathewson, H. P., Los Angeles^ 

Cal. 
Osborne, Geo. 
Thompson, S. R. 
Wilber, C. D. 
Warner, A. G., Washington, D. C. 



INDEX. 



22 



INDEX. 



Alabama, Arbor Day, 107. 

Allan, James Thomas, 243-245. 

Ambrose, George W., ou James W. Savage, 229-230 

American Forestry Association, referred to, 106. 

American Home Missionary Society, 87. 

Arbor Day, 106-110; observed in 36 states, 107. 

Arizona, Arbor Day, 108. 

Army, at Fort Atkinson, 23. 

Army reminiscence, An, 231. 

Atkinson, Gen. Henry, expedition under, 20; the journey, 20-22; the man, 22; 
fort built by, 104, 184. 

Bad Lands, Indians withdraw to, 35. 

Bar addresses on James W. Savage, 219-230. 

Beckett, William D., paper on Byron Reed, 72-78. 

Big Foot's Band, withdraw from the agency, 39; encamp on Wounded Knee 
creek, 40; prisoners of war, 41; the attack, 42. 

Bishop, C. W., stormy times in Nebraska, 134-140. 

Black Hawk and bands in the war of 1812, 19. 

Brooke, Gen., arrives at Pine Ridge, 34. 

Brown, Charles H., on constitutional and political struggles in Nebraska, 53. 

Brown, George L., History of Butler County, 275-305. 

Brown, Guy A., 257-259. 

Brown, William D., connection with Omaha's early history, 152-154. 

Brules, go to the Bad Lauds, 35; take possession of government cattle, 36; visited 
by peace parties, 36; dissensions with Ogallalas, 46; surrender, 47. 

Burnham, Leavitt, on James W. Savage, 223. 

Butler County, History of, 275-305; geology of, 276-277; geography, 278-280; oc- 
cupations, 280 -281; Indian race, 281-283; civilization, 283-285; political organi- 
zation, 285-286; permanent settlement, 287-294; business centers, 294-301; 
incidents, 301-305; census of, 288-289; origin of names, 290; schools, 290- 
292; Press, 296; county seat, 298; county court, 302. 

By-Laws of Nebraska State Historical Society, 323-324. 

Calhoun, Nebraska, 195. 

California, Arbor Day, 108-109. 

Camp Missouri, 19; established, 22; name changed, 23. 

Camp on the Missouri river. Our, 18-28. 

Campaign, presidential, of 1876, 69-70. 

Casey, Lieut., Death of, 45. 

€avaliers in Illinois, 193-194. 

(331) 



332 INDEX. 

Census of Butler county, 288-289. 

Chapin, W. F., 240. 

Chariton, Mo., Nebraska's nearest postoffice, 19. 

Cherry, Lieut. Samuel A., 144-151. 

Cheyennes taught intemperance, 181. 

Clark, Lewis and, conference with the Indians, 102-103. 

Cobb, Amasa, supreme court judge, 117, 119. 

Colby, Brig. Gen., in north Nebraska, 45. 

Comstock family, adventures with the Indians, 136-13U, 

Congregational churches organized, 94. 

Cook, Dr., founder of Sioux City, 196. 

Contal, Capt., 28, 100. 

Constitution of Nebraska State Historical Society, 321-323. 

Convention of 1875, effect on supreme judges, 117. 

Council Bluff, 22; the true, 103. 

County names, 141-144. 

Cox, W. "W., Tribute to the mothers and wives of the pioneers — Customs anfl 
characteristics of the people, 305-312. 

Croghan, Maj. George, at Fort Atkinson, 27. 

Cuming, Thomas B., 78-87; sketch of the life of, 80-82; character, 82-87. 

Curtiss, Mr., 186. 

Customs and characteristics of the people, 307-312. 

Davis, Jefferson, at Fort Atkinson, 27. 

Delegates to congress, in Nebraska, 133-134. 

Dinsmoor, Mrs. Orpha C, 249-251. 

District courts of Nebraska, 115-116. 

Dixon county, hardy pioneers of, 207-210. 

Douglass, Mrs., 247-248. 

Downs, Sergt. Hiram P., in charge of Fort Kearney, 11; characteristics, 11-12. 

Drum, General, 194-195. 

Early days, personal and other notes of, 194-198. 

Early institutions in Nebraska, 132. 

Edgar, John T., and the Omaha Library Association, 126-127. 

Electors, presidential, of Nebraska in 1876, 69-70. 

Eller, Wm. H., old Fort Atkinson, 18-28. 

Estabrook, Henry D,, on James W. Savage, 226-229. 

Eulogy on Thomas B. Cuming, 78-87. 

Florida, Arbor Day, 108. 

Fontenelles, The, 95-98. 

Fort Atkinson, name adopted for Camp Missouri, 22, 101; plan of, 23-24; military 
supplies, 24-25; materials for building, 26; farming 26; visitors at, 26-27; map 
of, 29. 

Fort Calhoun, 27-28, 101; Mr. Wood's letter on, 98-101 ; situation of, 99; curios- 
ities from, 100; reprint from Omaha Eepublican on, 102-106; history of site^ 
102-103. 

Fort Niobrara, connected with the name of Cherry, 144. 

Fremont, Gen. John C, at Oak Grove, 136. 

Funke, Gen. O., 251-252. 



INDEX. 333 

Gallagher, Agent, attempts to stop ghost dancing, 33. 

Gere, Chas. H. , report of, as treasurer, 325. 

Ghost dances, explanation of, 31-34. 

Grasshopper plague of 1874, 304. 

Greenwood, Mr., an interpreter, 170. 

Griffin, Joel L., 253-254, 

Hardy pioneers of Dixon county, 207-210. 

Harney, Gen. W. S., at Fort Atkinson, 27; anecdote of, 194-195. 

Hellman, Meyer, 270-271. 

Heth, John, 236-238. 

Hopkins, as the Messiah, 37. <« 

Horn, Rev. William S., 235-236. 

Howe, John D. , on James W. Savage, 224-225. 

Huse, W. , hardy pioneers of Dixon county, 207-210. 

Her, James, early days in Nebraska, 155-156. 

Illinois, Arbor Day, 109; some incidents of onr' early school days in, 192-194. 

Indiana, Arbor Day, 109-110. 

Indian mounds, what causes, 111-112; supposed to be graves. 111. 

Indian race in Butler county, 281-283. 

Indian troubles and battle of Wounded Knee, 30-50. 

Indians encountered on the journey to Salt creek, 12-13; method of stampeding 

horses, 15; ordered to the Pine Ridge agency, 34; attend religious services, 92; 

mourning the dead, 92; at Oak Grove, 137-139; hints for intercourse with, 

160; tribes in the northwest, 170; Missouris moving, 189. 
Indians in west and northwest, general condition of, 30-31. 
Iowa, Arbor Day, 107. 
loways, visit Otoes, 164, 176, 188. 
Itan, chief of Otoes, 163; death of, 181-182. 
James, Dr. E., visits Bellevue, 184; 185-186. 
Johnson, Colonel, steamers chartered of, 20. 
Johnston, Albert Sidney, at Fort Atkinson, 27. 
Jones, Alf. D., what causes Indian mounds, 111-112; the first postmaster of Omaha, 

113-114; origin of the name Omaha, according to Indian tradition, 151-152; 

Omaha's early days, 152-154. 
Judge Lynch's court in Nebraska, 128-134. 
Kearney, Col., 184. 

Kelley, W. F. , The Indian troubles and battle of Wounded Knee, 30-50. 
Kittikorak, 282. 

Laird, Congressman James, 232-235. 
Lancaster County, Papers read on laying the corner stone of the court house, 199- 

207; the building, 203-204; history of, 204-207. 
Langdon, George, Mr. Piatt's visit to, 89. 
Larsh, N. B , 239-240. 

Leavenworth, Col., Expedition under, 20; in command at Fort Atkinson, 23. 
Leavitt, T. H., Letter of, to Professor Howard, 87. 
Letter of transmittal to the Governor, 5. 
Lewis and Clark, conference with Indians, 102-103. 
Lewis, Capt. Meriwether, First mention of Fort Calhoun, 18. 



334 INDEX. 

Lincoln, First religious services at, 89. 
Little Blue river, 134-135. 
Little, Wm. A., 53-54. 
Maine, Arbor Day, 107. 

Majors, S. P., 215-218; life, 215-216; J. M. McKenzie on, 216-218. 
Mason, O. P., 51-61; appearance, 51-52; as a politician, 52-53; life of, 54-55; as 
a judge, 55; general characteristics, 57-58; as a lavryer, 58-59; idea of death, 
60; address on laying the corner stone of the court house, 199-203. 
Mason, Mrs. O. P., 58. 

Maryland, Arbor Day, 109. 

Maxwell, Samuel, supreme court judge, 116, 117, 119. 

McComas, Mrs. Mary, 246-247. 

McCormick, John, 254-256. 

McKenzie, J. M., characterization of S. P. Majors, 216-218. 

Members, 326-327. 

Merrill, Rev. Moses, personal sketch of, 157-159; extracts from the diary of, 160- 
191. 

Merrill, Samuel Pearce, 174. 

Messiah, Indians expect, 31-32; personated by Hopkins, 37. 

Miles, Gen., purpose of, 38. 

Millard, Ezra, 196. 

Miller, G. L., Personal and other notes of the early days, 194-198. 

Miller, Col. Loriu, 259-260. 

Missionary's experiences. A, 90-92. 

Missouri, Arbor Day, 108. 

Monroe's administration, line of military posts in northvrest, 19. 

Moran, Edward, 16-17. 

Mormons first open route along the Blue river, 135. 

Morter, Sr., Charles, 268-269. 

Morton, J. Sterling, From Nebraska City to Salt creek in 1855, 11-18. 

Nebraska, Early, 51; first constitution framed, 53; reminiscences of early days in, 
87-95; stormy times in, 134-140; first newspaper, 210-211. 

Nebraska City to Salt creek in 1855, 11-18; company, 12; Indians encountered, 
12-13; camping on Salt creek, 14; a call from Indians, 15; overtaken by Ed- 
ward Moran, 16. 

Nebraska State Historical Society, Officers, 7; Proceedings, 315-320; constitution, 
321-323 ; by-laws, 323-324; finances, 325. 

New York, Arbor Day, 110. 

Northrop, B. G., Arbor Day — Progress of the tree-planting movement, 106-110. 

Oak Grove, named by Gen. Fremont, 136; postoffice at, 139. 

Officers of Nebraska State Historical Society, 7. 

Ogallalas, dissensions with Brules, 46; come into the agency, 46. 

Old Fort Atkinson, 18-28; situation, 18-19. 

Old Settlers' Association of Seward county, 311-312. 

Omaha, The first postmaster of, 113-114; Public Library, 119-127; origin of tlie 
name accord. ng to Indian tradition, 151-152; early days, 152-154. 

Omaha Library Association, formed, 120; officers 1872-1877, 121-122; librarian, 
123; building schemes, 123; support, 124-125; negotiations with city coun- 
cil, 127. 



INDEX. 335 

Omaha Republican, history of, 197-198. 

Oregon, Arbor Day, 108. 

Otoes, visit to the whites, 160-161 ; drinking among, 161, 164-166, 171, 172-173, 
175, 188-189 ; houses of, 162 ; habits of eating, 163 ; religious ideas, 163 ; visit 
to the village, 161-169 ; treatment of the sick, 167, 177 ; tricks to obtain gifts, 
169; relations with, 178-179; evil disposition toward whites, 179-180, 184, 
190-191 ; quarrels among, 182; receiving annuities, 183 ; women taught, 189- 
190 ; children taught, 163, 167, 168, 190. 

Papers read on laying the corner stone of Lancaster county court house, 199-207. 

Peck, Dr. James Porter, 241-243. 

Pennsylvania, Arbor Day, 109-110. 

Person 1 1 and other notes of early days, 194-198. 

Pierre, 194. 

Pine Ridge Agency under protection of U. S. troops, 34-35 ; terror at, 45. 

Pitcher, Major, Indian agent, 177. 

Platte, Rev. M. F., Reminiscences of early days in Nebraska, 87-95. 

Poppleton, Miss E. E.. Omaha Public Library, 119-127. 

Prairie fires, 303. 

Puritans in Illinois, 193-194. 

Record of the Secretary, 315-320. 

Reed, Alexander, 256-257. 

Reed, Byron, 72-78 ; sketch of life of, 73-76 ; character, 76-78. 

Reese, M. B. , supreme court judge, 117, 119. 

Reeves, Mrs. Elizabeth, 270. 

Religious revival in eastern Nebraska, 92. 

Reminiscences of early days in Nebraska, 87-95. 

Report of Treasurer, 325. 

Resolutions on the death of James W. Savage, 231-232. 

Road from Nebraska City to Denver built, 156. 

Romantic history of a man well know to Nebraskans, 95-98. 

Rounds, Sterling Parker, 260-268. 

Sacs and Foxes in war of 1812, 19. 

Salt basins, settlements near, 199-200 ; business at, 201-202. 

Salt creek, from Nebraska City to, in 1855, 11-18, 

Savage, Judge James W., 61-71,218-232 ; death, 61-63 ; life, 64-65; as a soldier, 
65; as a scholar, 66 ; as a lawyer, 67 ; as a judge, 67-70 ; bar addresses on, 
219-230 ; an army reminiscence, 231 ; resolutions by trustees of Bellevue 
College, 231-232. 

Schools in England, 192 ; in Illinois, 192-194 ; in Butler county, 290-292. 

Senators, company of future, 134. 

Settlers on Salt creek, 89. 

Sioux, grievances of, 48 ; progress among, 50. 

Sitting Bull, death of, 36-37. 

Smith, W. Morton, supreme judges in Nebraska, 115-119. 

Soldiers, wages of, 101. 

Spaulding, Rev. Mr., 186. 

Standing committees, 326. 

Storm, Mr. Piatt's experience in, 93-94 ; in Butler county, 302-303. 



336 INDEX. 

Stormy times in Nebraska, 134-140. 

Sumner, Charles, and Nebraska history, 142-143. 

Supreme court docket, 117-118. 

Supreme judges of Nebraska, 115-119 ; provision concerning, 115 ; first bench, 116; 

afifected by convention of 1875, 117 ; appearance of, 118-119. 
Taylor, Mrs. , robbery of, 129 ; identifies the robbers, 129-130. 
Tekamah, Nebraska, 196. 

Thayer, Gov. John M., Judge Lynch's court in Nebraska, 128-134. 
Thompson, Mrs. A. L., Romantic History of a Man Well Known to Nebras- 

kans, 95-98. 
Traders, encourage Indians in drinking, 169, 171, 172, 181, 185; excite them 

against the whites, 184, 187. 
Treasurer, report of, 325. 
Treaty with Indians, 177. 

Tree-planting movement, progress of the, 106-110. 
Tribute to the mothers and wives of the pioneers, 305-307. 
Troops at Pine Ridge, position of, 38. 
True, M. B. C, county names, 141-144. 
Turnley, Capt. P. S., 195. 
Upjohn, Wm. C, 210-211. 
Vasquez, Mr., 184. 
Vermont, Arbor Day, 108. 

Wakeley, Judge, on James W. Savage, 219-223. 
Wallace, Captain, killed at Wounded Knee, 43. 
What causes Indian mounds, 111-112. 
Whitman, Dr., letter from, 186. 
Woods, W. H., letter concerning old Fort Calhoun, 98-101; Some incidents in our 

early school days in Illinois, 192-194. 
Wool, Gen. John E., at Fort Atkinson, 27. 
Woolworth, J. M., eulogy on Thomas B. Cuming, 78-87. 
Wounded Knee, Indian troubles and battle of, 30-50; 40-43. 
Wyoming, Arbor Day, 108. 



1897