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

Sr&N 



/Gc: 978.2 N27f v. 16 
|Nebra5ka State Historical. 

Society. 
Publications of the Nebraska 

State Historical Society 



Compliments of the 

Nebraska State Historical Society 

CLARENCE S. PAINE, SECRETARY 



7 



COLLECTIONS 

NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL 

SOCIETY 



VOLUME XVI 



Nebraska State Historical Society 



Volume 16 Plate 1 




ASTORIAN MONUMENT, BELLEVUE, NEBRASKA 

Mrs. Eliza L. Chaffee, a pioneer of Bellevue, stands at the left of 
the monument 



COLLECTIONS 



OF THE 



Nebraska State Historical 
Society 



Edited by 

ALBERT WATKINS 

Historian of the Society 



LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 

The Nebraska State Historical Society 

1911 

VOLUME XVI 



Allen County Public Library 
900 Webster Street 4 

PC Sox 2270 
Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270 



EDITOR'S PREFACE 

This volume is a departure from the plan of former 
publications of the Society in two important respects. 
Heretofore the minutes of the business transactions have 
been incorporated with papers upon historical subjects in 
the same book, while here the policy of printing the two 
classes of matter in separate volumes has been inaugurated. 
The second departure appears in the greatly improved 
mechanical quality of the publication which is equal to 
the best of its class. The presentation of the program of 
the Astorian Centennial Celebration at Bellevue is a slight 
deviation from the new plan, but the addresses printed 
here are in the main of a historical character. The less 
formal matter and the business proceedings of the Society 
will be pubHshed separately. 

Much of the data of the contributed articles in this 
volume is based upon recollections of personal experiences 
of the writers. While a large part of the most valuable 
historical material comes from such sources, yet, obviously, 
it needs careful checking by reliable standards, such as 
public records and other accepted data. Accordingly the 
editor has aimed to supply this need in frequent foot notes, 
supplementary as well as critical. Some of these articles 
have required radical re-formation. Our earliest history 
is still subject to correction and amplification through data 
which doubtless await discovery, when financial means are 
afforded, in libraries at Washington, St. Louis, and other 
only less promising places. 

Albert Watkins. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Dedication of the Astorian Monument at Bellevue .... 1 

Address of Mrs. Orbal S. Ward 2 

Address of John Lee Webster, Presenting the Astorian Monu- 
ment TO THE State 4 

Address of Gurdon W. Wattles 6 

Historical Significance of the Celebration 

By Albert Watkins 15 

Address of Chancellor Samuel Avery 31 

The New World Movement 

By President George E. MacLean . . • 35 

Address of John Lee Webster 47 

Early Days In and About Bellevue 

By Edward L. Sayre 66 

Kansas-Nebraska Boundary Line 

By George W. Martin 115 

Nebraska and Minnesota Territorial Boundary 

By Albert Watkins 132 

Territorial Evolution of Nebraska 

By Albert Watkins 135 

Reminiscences of the Indian Fight at Ash Hollow, 1855 

By General Richard C. Drum 143 

The Battle Ground of Ash Hollow 

By Robert Harvey 152 

The Last Battle of the Pawnee with the Sioux 

By William Z. Taylor 165 

The Indian Ghost Dance 

By James Mooney 168 

Some Side Lights on the Character of Sitting Bull 

By Doane Robinson 187 

The Early Settlements of the Platte Valley 

By David Anderson 193 

The First Catholic Bishop in Nebraska 

By Rev. Michael A. Shine 205 



CONTENTS — Continued 

PAGE 

Birth of Lincoln, Nebraska 

By Charles Wake 216 

English Settlement in Palmyra 

By Rev. Richard Wake . 224 

History of Fort Kearny 

By Albert Watkins 227 

Missionary Life Among the Pawnee 

By Rev. John Dunbar 268 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Astorian Monument, Bellevue Frontispiece 

Dedication of Astorian Monument, Bellevue, Nebraska 47 

Plat of Bellevue and ^Vicinity 69 

General Richard C. Dnun 143 

Map of Ash HoUow Battle Field 151 

Sitting Bull (Tatanka lyotanka) 187 



THE ASTORIAN MONUMENT AT BELLEVUE 

On the 23d of June, 1910, the Historical Society 
dedicated a monument which had been erected under its 
auspices on Elk Hill at Bellevue, to commemorate the one 
hundredth anniversary of the organization of the Pacific 
Fur Company. The monument is of Wisconsin mahogany 
granite, six feet and four inches in height; the shaft rises 
five feet above the base, is three feet wide and ten inches 
thick and bears the following inscription: 

Commemorative of the Astorian Expedition organized 
June 23, 1810, by John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company. 
This Expedition discovered the Oregon Trail which spread 
knowledge of the Nebraska country leading to its occupancy 
by white people. The Fur Company was instrumental in 
establishing the first permanent white settlement in Nebraska 
at Bellevue. 

Erected June 23, 1910, by the Nebraska State Historical 
Society. 

The cost of the monument — $275 — was defrayed by 
private subscriptions, chiefly from citizens of Omaha, 
South Omaha and Bellevue. The dedicatory exercises 
were conducted at Bellevue in the afternoon and at Omaha 
in the evening. Mrs. Oreal S. Ward, representing the 
Daughters of the American Revolution, unveiled the 
monument; John Lee Webster, president of the Historical 
Society, then formally presented it to the state which was 
represented in the ceremony by Governor Ashton C. 
Shallenberger. The addresses at Bellevue follow. 



(1) 



ADDRESS OF MRS. OREAL S. WARD 

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Two weeks ago today, in the city of Kearney, I had 
the honor of unveiUng the first monument to mark the 
Oregon Trail in Nebraska, erected by the Fort Kearney 
Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Mr. 
Webster, President of the Nebraska State Historical Society, 
was one of the honored guests and gave a most interesting 
and eloquent address. On that occasion Mr. Webster 
asked me why the Daughters of the American Revolution 
.were undertaking this work. Perhaps the same question 
is in the minds of many of you here today, and T will gladly 
avail myself of this opportunity to answer it briefly. 

Twenty years ago a small number of patriotic women, 
realizing that historic landmarks and valuable relics and 
documents relating to the early life and struggles of our 
country were rapidly disappearing from view, organized 
the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution 
with the avowed object, expressed in its constitution: 
"To peipetuate the memory of the spirit of the men and 
women who achieved American independence by the ac- 
quisition and protection of historical spots and the erection 
of monuments; by the encouragement of historical re- 
search . . .; and by the promotion of celebrations of 
all patriotic anniversaries. ... To cherish, maintain, and 
extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true 
patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for 
mankind all the blessings of liberty." This is the object 
that is being carried forward today by 75,000 patriotic 

(2) 



ADDRESS OF MRS. OREAL S. WARD 3 

American women, the Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion. 

The perpetuation of history and patriotism go hand in 
hand, closely allied indeed. The mere desire to learn more 
of your country's past, its heroes and statesmen, its great 
battle fields, the victories on land and sea, springs from 
a patriotic impulse. The interest with which we read or 
listen to historical tales, the thrill of exultation over victories 
and heroic deeds, are a manifestation of the patriotic pride 
that lies deep in every American heart, whether we are 
conscious of it or not. To be a patriot one does not neces- 
sarily have to be a soldier or sailor and engage in actual 
warfare. The brave hearted men whom we are com- 
memorating here today fought their way foot by foot 
against wild beasts and merciless savage foes; they endured 
hunger, thirst, sickness; they faced death in many terrible 
forms; they left the great trail lined on either side by 
countless, nameless graves. These men were patriots and 
heroes; they overcame the great western wilderness and 
the trackless prairie; they left us this heritage : " Nebraska, 
the beautiful garden spot of the West." And so, in erecting 
these enduring monuments in loving memory and tribute, 
we are performing a patriotic duty, not only to them and 
to ourselves, but to future generations. 

"I pledge allegiance to my flag and the repubhc for 
which it stands: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and 
justice for all." 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER, PRESENT- 
ING THE MONUMENT TO THE STATE 

Governor Shallenherger: The Nebraska State Historical 
Society, assisted by the generous contributions of friends, 
has caused this monument, which has been unveiled in 
your presence, to be erected in commemoration of the 100th 
anniversary of the Astorian expedition as appropriately 
marking the beginning of Nebraska history. 

It has been the instinctive thought of all people and 
of all countries to erect monuments to designate the places 
where important events have occurred and in commemora- 
tion of historic movements. It was in the vicinity of where 
the little city of Bellevue now stands that John Jacob 
Astor's expedition, which came up the Missouri river, 
stopped for a time to make explorations and there the 
naturalists of the party went in pursuit of discoveries. 
They were pleased with the beautiful landscape view, 
with the high bluffs on either side of the river and with 
the wide, spreading valleys beneath. 

The State Historical Society has deemed it appropriate 
to erect this monument at this spot not only in memory of 
the John Jacob Astor expedition, but as the inception of a 
civil movement by which pioneers and emigrants of American 
blood and of American kindred moved westward across the 
Missomi and took possession of this land, as Moses sent 
his pioneers to explore the land of Canaan that the Israelites 
might take possession of it. 

From this historical beginning and within a period of 
a century the state of Nebraska has been brought into 
being and grown to her present immense proportions, 

(4) 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 5 

peopled with the best of America's noble men and women. 
Without these historic beginnings the state of Nebraska 
would not have a place in the Union and her cities would 
never have been built; the Bellevue college, with its 
hundreds of students coming from all parts of the state, 
would never have been erected, and the high pinnacle of 
ground upon which it stands would have remained as the 
sentinel ground for the uncivilized aborigines of the prairies. 
As our forefathers all along the Atlantic coast venerate 
the memories of their earliest settlers, may we likewise 
venerate those who in deed and spirit furnished the material 
for the beginning of our state history. It will not be strange 
if those who come a hundred years after our day shall look 
back through the pages of history to ascertain what we 
who are now here are doing on this occasion. It is fitting 
that such lasting memorials of human struggle and progress 
as this be cared for by the people; and so in this spirit 
and hope the Historical Society turns this monument over 
to the keeping of the state which is representative of the 
people's will. 

GOVERNOR SHALLENBERGER ACCEPTS THE 
MONUMENT 

Governor Shallenberger then accepted the monument 
on behalf of the state in appropriate words, and he also 
made an extended address at the exercises in the tent; 
but these addresses are not published here because both 
were extemporaneous and the stenographer who reported 
them has inexpHcably neglected to transcribe his notes. 



THE HISTORICAL ADDRESSES 

The exercises were continued under a great canvas in 
the city park where Mr. Webster made an introductory 
speech and addresses were dehvered by Gurdon W. Wattles, 
of Omaha; Albert Watkins, of Lincoln; and Governor 
Ashton C. Shallenberger. 

ADDRESS OF GURDON W. WATTLES 

It is eminently fitting that this centennial celebration 
should be held on these historic grounds. Bellevue may 
be properly designated as the cradle of the settlement of 
Nebraska. The tradition is that Manuel Lisa, viewing the 
beautiful scene from these hills, gave it the name of Bellevue 
and established a post here in 1805. It was here that 
Major Pilcher, Andrew Drips, Lucien Fontenelle and 
Peter A. Sarpy maintained from 1805 to 1840^ an outpost 
of civilization which was at once the seat of commerce 
between the Indians who inhabited this section and a 
refuge for the few adventurous whites who had come to 
trade or establish homes on the banks of the Missouri river. 
This early trading post was the first welcome sign of civil- 
ization to those returning from the wilderness that lay 
beyond. It was here that Burt, the first territorial governor, 
came; and but for his untimely death this would un- 
doubtedly have been the first capital of the territory. It 
was here that the first Presbyterian mission established in 



» There was no permanent post at Bellevue until about 1820. For 
remarks on this subject see foot note 3 of "Early Days In and About 
Bellevue", this volume. — Ed. 

(6) 



ADDRESS OF GURDON W. WATTLES 7 

the territory was established in 1841.2 The first court of 
record was opened here by Judge Fenner Ferguson in 
March, 1855.^ The first Republican convention met at 
Bellevue in August, 1859. 

It has been truly said that "God made the country, 
but men make cities". It cannot be denied that Bellevue, 
with its beautiful plateau, was designated by natui'e to be 
the site of a great city; and but for the activity of the 
early settlers in Omaha, this today would be the commercial 
center of Nebraska, while Omaha would be a struggling 
village. The future of Bellevue would no doubt have been 
settled but for the death of Governor Burt. Again, its 
future would have been fixed but for the change of plans at 
the last moment in the building of the Union Pacific bridge 
across the Missouri river. Bellevue may be poor in other 
respects, but it is rich in historic importance in the annals 
of our state. 

We celebrate today the centennial of the organization 
of the first commercial enterprise which had for its purpose 
the establishment of trade relations between the Indian 
tribes of the territory of the Louisiana Purchase and 
citizens of the United States.-* On June 23, 1810, John 
Jacob Astor, of New York city, signed the articles of in- 
corporation of the Pacific Fur Company, and immediately 



2 Mr. Wattles doubtless intended to say 1846; for September 2, of 
that year, Rev. Edward McKinney, representing the Presbyterian board 
of missions, arrived at Bellevue and soon after selected the site for the 
permanent mission house which was constructed during the two following 
years. Samuel Allis and John Dunbar began mission work at Bellevue, 
among the Pawnee Indians, in 1834. See Illustrated History of Nebraska, 
v. 1, p. 222; V. 2, pp. 253, 555, and foot notes. 

' It is shown in the Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 1, p. 252, that 
Mr. Poppleton's statement that the first session of a district court in 
Nebraska, which began at Bellevue, March 12, 1855, was the first session 
of a court of record in the territory, is incorrect, inasmuch as the supreme 
court had a session at Omaha, beginning February 19, 1855. — Ed. 

* As appears in the text just below, Astor's single, or at least prime 
object, was to get a footing in the then debatable Oregon country which 



8 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

thereafter began active preparations to build trading posts 
in the then unknown region west of the Missouri river. 
Mr. Astor was a German by birth, who had accumulated 
a large fortune as a merchant in the fur trade of the Great 
Lakes of the North. He conceived the idea of building at 
the mouth of the Columbia river a central trading post 
with many branches in the rich fur producing parts of the 
great Northwest. To accomplish this purpose two ex- 
peditions were started from New York in 1810, one by land 
and one by sea. 

It has been said that, "Truth is stranger than fiction". 
The history of these expeditions is a recital of adventures 
that surpass the wildest imagination of the novelist. The 
ship sent around Cape Horn finally reached the mouth of 
the Columbia river after a tempestuous voyage of nearly 
a year. A part of the crew were drowned in attempting 
to cross the bar at the mouth of this river, a part were left 
to establish a fort at Astoria, and the remainder were 
massacred by the Indians while anchored near the place 
where the city of Victoria now stands. One of the partners, 
seriously wounded, was able to reach the hold of the ship 
and set fire to the powder magazine. Scores of savages 
on board were killed by the terrific explosion which followed. 
Thus ended in disaster the well laid plans for loading this 
ship with furs in exchange for the merchandise it carried. 

The expedition by land went by way of Montreal and 
the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi river to St. 
Louis, thence up the Missouri, passing in the spring of 
1811 the place where we now stand. Hunting parties, sent 
out onto the great stretches of prairie lands in this vicinity, 
returned laden with deer, buffalo and antelope, which then 



lay entirely beyond the Louisiana Purchase. Astor's Company did not 
establish itself in the Missouri valley — that is, within the Purchase — 
until the spring of 1822. See Chittenden's discussion of this topic, 
History of the American Fur Trade, v. 1, pp. 311-320.— Ed. 



ADDRESS OF GURDON W. WATTLES 9 

roamed over these prairies unmolested save by the Indians, 
who were the only inhabitants of this vast region. Seven 
years earlier, Lewis and Clark, under commission of 
President Thomas Jefferson, had journeyed up the Missouri 
river, apprising the various tribes of Indians which they 
met of the transfer from France to the United States of 
the Louisiana Territory. Their journals record the fact 
that they had found rich lands suitable for cultivation 
along the western bottoms of the Missouri, where the 
Indians were cultivating corn. The Astor explorers visited 
the camps of the Pawnee and Omaha Indians and were 
well received by these, the only inhabitants of the territory 
which now constitutes Nebraska.' They found the Omaha 
suffering from the results of a scourge of smallpox which 
a few years before had ravaged their tribe of two-thirds 
its number, including their able and famous chief. Black- 
bird. They were shown the spot, on a high bluff overlook- 
ing the Missouri, where this great chief had been buried 
astride his favorite horse. Leaving the Missouri river at 
the Arikari Indian village near the present northern line 
of South Dakota, this expedition traveled by land across 
the deserts of Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Oregon, 
finally reaching the Columbia river, which they descended 
in boats, arriving at Astoria eleven months after leaving 
St. Louis. The hardships they endured can hardly be con- 
ceived by those who now ride across this country in four 
days, surrounded by the comforts of home life. 

Time will not permit a detailed account of the results 
of the great plans that were laid by Mr. Astor for the 
establishment of trading posts on the Pacific coast. Suffice 



* The Oto and Missouri and the Ponca were also permanent settlers 
at this time, the former on the Platte river, near the place where the bridge 
of the Union Pacific railroad is now situated in Saunders county, and the 
Ponca on the Niobrara river, near its mouth. See Illustrated History 
of Nebraska, v. 1, pp. 33, 36; v. 2, pp. 192, 225.— Ed. 



10 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

it to say that this enterprise was a succession of disasters 
which finally resulted in its abandonment and the loss of 
a million dollars to its promoter. Its only final practical 
result was to lay the foundation for the claim by our govern- 
ment to the great Oregon territory, which otherwise might 
never have been a part of the United States. It is interest- 
ing to note the comments and speculations of writers who 
made a careful study at the time of the diaries of these 
travelers. Washington Irving speaks of the vast plains 
west of the Missouri river as follows: "Such is the nature 
of this immense wilderness of the far West, which apparently 
defies cultivation and the habitation of civilized life. Some 
portions of it along the rivers may partially be subdued by 
agriculture; others may form vast pastoral tracts, like 
those of the East, but it is to be feared that a great part 
of it will form a lawless interval between the abodes of 
civilized men like the wastes of the ocean or the deserts of 
Arabia." In 1858 the North American Review said of this 
region: "The people of the United States have reached 
their inland western frontier, and the banks of the Missouri 
river are the shores at the termination of a vast ocean 
desert over one thousand miles in width, which it is proposed 
to travel, if at all, with caravans of camels, and which 
interposes a final barrier to the establishment of large 
communities, agricultural, commercial or even pastoral." 
With such opinions of the trans-Missouri country, 
which for many years were freely expressed by eastern 
writers, it is not to be wondered that settlement of the 
territory now comprising Nebraska was retarded. For fifty 
years after the Louisiana Purchase but little progress was 
made, so that in 1854, when Nebraska was admitted as a 
territory, although its boundaries included the present 
state and all of the Dakotas« and part of Montana, Wyoming 



Only that part — about a half — west of the Missouri river. — Ed. 



ADDRESS OF GURDON W. WATTLES 11 

and Colorado, its white population was less than 1,000. 
A few adventurers had settled along the western banks of 
the river, and the landing places of steamboats had taken 
the names of towns. 

Among the first settlers were many speculators, 
politicans and professional men, but few farmers. Terri- 
torial warrants at thirty cents on the dollar, land scrip at 
forty cents per acre, and town lots, were the early mediums 
of exchange. Many state banks were chartered with almost 
unlimited power of issue, but the panic of 1856 and 1857 
destroyed these banks and made worthless the city lots, 
so that these pioneers early learned the important lesson 
that the real value of this new country was in the products 
of the soil rather than in legislation or speculation. From 
that time forward the land came into active demand, and 
to this day it has been the source of all our growth and 
progress. 

To recite the history of the early settlements in Ne- 
braska would deal with all the passions, the disappoint- 
ments and the hopes of the human heart. Time will only 
permit the mention of a single experience, which has its 
counterpart in many other sections of the state. In the 
summer of 1854 there came from Quincy, Illinois, a party 
of twelve men seeking homes in the new territory of Ne- 
braska. They settled at Fontenelle and later organized 
and named Dodge county. Desiring to establish peaceable 
relations with the Omaha Indians they waited on Logan 
Fontenelle, chief of the tribe, and negotiated with him for 
the purchase of twenty miles square of the rich lands 
which surrounded the site which they had selected for their 
settlement. Fontenelle asked them the "enormous" price 
of $100 for this tract of land; but on being told that they 
proposed to name the town Fontenelle and the nearby 
stream Logan Creek, his heart was touched, and the price 
was reduced to $10, which was paid by J. W. Richardson, 



12 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the secretary of the settlers' club, and they then proceeded 
to establish then* colony. 

In July, 1855, a band of wandering Sioux Indians 
killed two of their number. The wife of one of the murdered 
men escaped, seriously wounded, and carried the informa- 
tion of the attack to the settlement. The call to arms was 
responded to by every member of the community, and 
while the Sioux warriors immediately retreated, the fear 
was imminent that they would return and again attack 
the settlement. It was necessary that one of the colony 
should be sent to Omaha for aid. The danger of this ride 
across the prairies was great. It might at any moment 
be terminated by hostile Indians concealed along the way. 
A volunteer was called for. A. N. Yost, entryman of the 
land where the city of Arlington now stands, then a young 
man, stepped forward and mounting his father's best 
horse started in the middle of the night on his perilous 
ride. We have read in history and story of the ride of 
Paul Revere, but it was accomplished with less danger than 
was to be anticipated on this ride of Mr. Yost through the 
uninhabited prairies that in 1855 lay for thirty miles 
between Omaha and Fontenelle. The distance was traveled 
that night with the speed of the wind, and the news of the 
Indian massacre was brought to General John M. Thayer, 
who immediately organized a company and marched forth 
to protect the lives of the settlers and, if possible, punish 
the Indians. 

In the contests for the future life of Bellevue I hear 
the voice of one man above all others, urging its cause; 
and ever since that cause was lost the struggling interests 
of this town have been nearest his heart. But for his 
influence the college that stands on yonder hill would never 
have been established nor maintained, notwithstanding the 
fact that no more fitting place could be found on Nebraska 
soil than this, the birthplace of the Protestant church in 



ADDRESS OF GURDON W. WATTLES 13 

Nebraska. Even in the closing years of his life Henry T. 
Clarke, the pioneer, proudly maintains the title of "The 
Father of Bellevue". 

Other names of these early settlers, many of them 
having passed to their future reward, come to me, and as I 
close my eyes and think for a moment of the part they 
played in the drama of life, I would that I could recall 
them all and give only a word of praise to each so justly 
due. Time will only permit the mention of a very few: 
J. Sterling Morton, than whom no country new or old 
could ever boast a more able, earnest, honest advocate; 
Governor Thomas B. Cuming, that brillliant master of 
men and affairs; George L. Miller, the "Father of Omaha" 
and its most earnest and consistent advocate; General 
John M. Thayer; Alexander Majors; Governor William 
A. Richardson; Governor Alvin Saunders; Judge Eleazer 
Wakeley; Edward Creighton; William A. Paxton; Robert 
W. Furnas; Augustus Kountze; each and all, with hundreds 
of others, who came in an early day to this new land to 
wrest it from savage life and turn it to the uses of civiliza- 
tion, played their part in one of the greatest transforma- 
tions that has ever been accomplished in any country in all 
history, a transformation which has changed a barren, un- 
inhabited desert into a rich garden; that has increased the 
wealth of this state in a period of fifty years to the incom- 
prehensible sum of $3,000,000,000; that has established 
business enterprises here with an annual income of $500,- 
000,000. Great cities have grown as by magic; the pastures 
of the elk and buffalo have been transformed into pro- 
ductive farms. 

The wresting from savage life of this great state and 
the building and maintenance of standards of civilization 
within its borders have done more to add to the sum total 
of human happiness than all the great military conquests 
of Napoleon, and though the officers and privates who 



14 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

assisted in upbuilding a civilization here have given the 
best years of then- lives and have died unknown and with 
their deeds unrecorded, yet fortunate indeed is he who 
has lived his life amid the stirring scenes of the building of 
a state surrounded by the inspiring influences of progress 
and life which cannot be found in the older countries of 
the world. 



HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE 
CELEBRATION 

By Albert Watkins 
You and I, my friends, are now confronted with the 
most difficult task of the day's ceremonies. It is my part 
to dehver some fifty minutes of facts in less than half that 
time and yours to receive them. In so far as "it is better 
to give than to receive", I have the better of you. Not 
that the story of the beginnings of Nebraska is inherently 
dull; on the contrary it fairly throbs with dramatic in- 
terest. No other field of exploration and early settlement, 
I think, can match ours of the Nebraska country, in respect 
to obstacles and hardships of the pioneers and the general 
capacity, the dauntless courage, the pathetic fortitude 
with which they conquered and endured them. Here is 
an exceeding rich and as yet unworked field for the great 
fictionist. Of the touching pathos of the Indian life, the 
relations of the invading white people to it and their own 
heroic failures and tragic triumphs there are 

"Poems unwritten and songs unsung 

Sweeter than any that ever were heard, 
Poems that wait for an angel's tongue. 
Songs that but long for a paradise bird". 

When these deeds, far finer and more daring than 
Othello's, are thus fitly told, Desdemona-like you'll love 
the doers, "for the dangers they had passed". 

My task is not alone positive, but in large part nega- 
tive. A high authority has but just remarked that, "One 
of the most important functions of the historian is to 
correct the errors of previous historians. It is an endless 

(15) 



16 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

task. " The historical traditions and hterature of Nebraska 
are naturally, still, plethoric of errors, partly because time 
enough for their correction has not yet elapsed, and partly 
through the extraordinary neglect of our earlier citizens to 
obtain and preserve authentic records and oral accounts 
which were within their easy reach. But the great Balzac 
has found a consolation excuse which places us in a privileged 
class. "To those who thoroughly examine the history of 
modern times it is evident that historians are privileged 
liars who lend their pen to popular beliefs exactly as most 
of the newspapers of the day express nothing but the 
opinions of their readers." 

Why do we celebrate such an occasion at all? This 
great and deeply concerned assemblage in itself answers 
the question. In view of this wide and lively interest in a 
purely historical ceremony animadversion upon the question 
why we are here would lag superfluous. And yet some 
brief reflections in that behalf will, I think, be both inter- 
esting and useful. All peoples, alike in childhood and 
maturity, are instinct with interest in the past. Not only 
some of the greatest nations, but the greatest men in them 
have from immemorial time formally reverenced their an- 
cestry. In his recent address at Oxford University, Mr. 
Roosevelt observed that more than ever before in the 
world's history we of today seek to penetrate the cause of 
the mysteries that surround, not only mankind, but all 
life, — both the present and the past. "We study the 
tremendous procession of the ages from the immemorial 
past." Before the invention of writing or printing as we 
know them the oriental ancients illustrated important histor- 
ical events upon bronze, their most practicable method of 
permanently preserving them. More aptly: the childlike in- 
stinct of the savages whom we dispossessed when we ac- 
quired this Nebraska Canaan had an extensive literature of 
history in pictorial form which, if less minute, was more 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 17 

powerfully suggestive than our own printed pages. The 
Sarcee Indians — a Canadian tribe — , for example, not 
only have a comprehensive oral history, consisting of stories 
of the most salient incidents of individual or social experience 
repeated to one another and so transmitted from generation 
to generation; but as occasion demands the people are as- 
sembled to receive as a legacy from the oldest chiefs the 
most important of these stories. At these formal history 
harvests a stenographer is always present, and with colors 
made from various herbs he paints the recitals in symbolic 
characters on a smoothly tanned deer hide. All the history 
of the tribe deemed worthy of foraial preservation is 
recorded in this rude chirography. I suppose that this 
history by natural selection is the best because it is what 
the people want the most; and though, compiled in this 
way, it is necessarily often very divergent from fact — as 
much so, perhaps, as the generally accepted history of 
earhest Bellevue — ; yet, for the same reason, it is the 
truer to instinct and to typical or rounded-up life. 

The history makers — or fakers — of this particular 
tribe expatiate mainly upon three topics — the battles they 
have fought, the scalps they have taken, and the horses they 
have stolen; and they esteem the several branches of this 
trinitarian career as about equally glorious. While the 
impulses and manifestations of civilized history differ 
little from those of savage annals, yet the contemporaneous 
records of a civilized society furnish full, and fairly reliable, 
source material; and, carefully read between lines, the 
daily entries and commentaries of the press are safe indices 
and correctives. The main difference between savage and 
civilized classification is that the latter substitutes the 
exploits of notorious politicians for those of notorious horse- 
stealers — a distinction in manifestation more than of kind 
or character. All the leading nations are today maintain- 

2 



18 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

ing schools at Athens to study with the inspu-ation of 
closest communion, the most informing and fascinating, 
perhaps, of all lessons in human history. 

In his remarkable discourse on history Emerson said: 
"There is one common mind to all individual men. Every 
man is an inlet to the same and to all of the same. He that 
is once admitted to the right of reason is made a freeman 
of the whole estate. What Plato has thought, he may 
think; what a saint has felt, he may feel. . . Who 
hath access to this universal mind, is a party to al that is 
or can be done. . . Of the works of this mind history 
is the record. . . The world exists for the education of 
each man. . . There is no age or state of society or 
mode of action in history to which there is not somewhat 
corresponding in his life. " And then the universal general- 
ization: "Time dissipates to shining ether the solid 
angularity of facts. No anchor, no cable, no fences avail 
to keep a fact a fact. Babylon and Troy and Tyre and even 
early Rome are passing already into fiction. *What is 
history,' said Napoleon, 'but a fable agreed upon?' . . . 
We are always coming up with the facts that have moved 
us in our private experience and verifying them here. All 
history becomes subjective; in other words, there is prop- 
erly no history; only biography." And Carlyle: "Biog- 
raphy is the only true history." 

And another well-known writer, pleading for better 
support of the American school at Athens and for its ex- 
cavating enterprise — literally delving into the past — 
observed: "All progressive peoples are interested today 
as never before in origins of all sorts. " And then he makes 
this peculiarly pertinent and practical point: "And since 
the law of evolution has become the law of life, we realize 
as never before that the past is not only the best prophet 
of the future; it is the only prophet." This is scientific 
verification of Patrick Henry's passionate plea for American 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 19 

independence: "I know of no way of judging the future 
but by the past." 

Seventy-five per cent of the books taken from our 
public libraries are works of fiction. Why this overween- 
ing interest in fiction? Because it is the history of typical 
human life and therefore truer than history proper. It is 
because human experience is generalized and illuminated 
in the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Aeneid (the only love 
story in Latin poetry); in Aeschylus, and Sophocles, and 
Shakespeare, that they are already immortalized; and for 
the same reason all great prose fiction is destined to become 
alike immortal. Even more pointed, perhaps, in sentiment 
and pathos, and certainly in aptitude, is the peroration of 
a speech made to the president of the United States by one 
of our Pawnee chiefs in 1820: "I know that the robes, 
leggins, moccasins, bear's claws, etc. (presents to the 
president) are of little value to you, but we wish you to 
have them deposited and preserved in some conspicuous 
part of your lodge, so that when we are gone, and the sod 
turned over our bones, if our children should visit this 
place, as we do now, they may see and recognize with 
pleasure the deposits of their fathers, and reflect on the 
times that are past." 

For reasons already suggested, students of early 
Nebraska history, in the present stage, know more, per- 
haps, that they don't know than that they do know. As 
early as the sixteenth century, probably. Frenchmen com- 
ing over from the Canadian country learned something of 
the upper Missouri valley. La Salle, passing down the 
Mississippi in 1682, under the reign of "the grand monarch", 
Louis XIV, claimed Louisiana for France "by right of 
discovery". This right consisted of might — the power 
of strong nations or peoples to appropriate without con- 
sideration the country of weaker ones. We may not com- 
placently say that this piracy was peculiar to uncivilized 



20 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

times; for our own eyes have witnessed its climax in the 
partition of Africa by and among the strongest of European 
nations. 

We know that in the eighteenth century Frenchmen 
were famiUar with and estabHshed, at least temporarily, 
trapping and trading posts along the Missouri river border. 
Before the middle of that century they had traversed the 
Nebraska country from east to west. As early as the 
sixteenth century Spaniards coming up from the Southwest 
had ventured into the plains country east of the Rocky 
mountains. That the Latin race preceded other peoples in 
the exploration and at least attempted colonization of the 
vast interior of the North American continent may perhaps 
be attributed to their superior imagination and religious 
missionary zeal. It has been strongly contended that the 
French had a much more comprehensive plan of coloniza- 
tion than the English, that while the latter were content 
with hanging on to the mere fringe along the Atlantic coast, 
the former occupied a greater part of the Mississippi valley 
with broad and practicable plans for its colonization; and 
that the fact that this vast country, once within their 
grasp, was lost to EngHsh speaking people is due, not to 
lack of foresight or misjudgment but to the accident of 
adverse European wars. "America", it is said, "was lost 
in Europe. " This seems very far-fetched. It is juster and 
more truthful, I think, to say that it became the particular 
care of the more steadfast Teutonic or English race to see 
to it that Latin holdings in America should be lost in 
Europe. To "bite off more than one can chew" may not 
be counted great or wise in a nation more than in an in- 
dividual. 

Boundaries in America were very indefinite when France 
laid claim to Louisiana, and its limits were not well defined 
until the next century. The Louisiana that America 
bought fromji France in 1803, briefly and roughly speaking, 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 21 

comprised the territory between the Mississippi river and 
the Rocky mountains, east and west, and the British 
possessions and the Gulf of Mexico north and south. 
Thomas Jefferson, at this time president of the United 
States, was perhaps the most alert and perspicacious of 
American statesmen. He at least is entitled to be called 
the greatest American expansionist. January 18, 1803, 
some six months before there was any particular thought 
or prospect in America of our acquisition of Louisiana, 
Jefferson sent a secret message to congress recommending 
that an exploring party ^ — afterward known as the Lewis 
and Clark expedition — should be sent out for the purpose 
of promoting trade in the Missouri river country. Though 
the Purchase had been secretly receded to France on the 
demand of Napoleon in 1800, it remained in the actual 
possession of the Spaniards until it was transferred to the 
United States; and Jefferson expressed the hope that 
Spain would take the proposed exploration in good part 
and regard it, as he blandly said, "as a literary pursuit". 
The expedition comprised forty-five men in all with 
three boats; one of them a keel boat, fifty-five feet long, 
drawing three feet of water, with twenty-two oars and a 
deck of ten feet in the bow, while the stern formed a fore- 
castle and cabin. The other two were perogues, large, 
canoe-like boats. Keel boats were the principal vessels for 
navigation of the rivers before steamboats came in. They 
ranged in length from fifty feet to seventy feet and were 
propelled by wind; by oars; by poling; by grappling 
hooks attached at the ends of small saplings, by means of 
which trees or other stationary objects were gi'asped, en- 
abhng the men holding the other ends of the poles to shove 
the boat forward; and by the cordelle which was a long 
rope attached to a perpendicular mast placed in the bow 
of the boat. Whenever it was convenient or necessary, a 
large part of the crew would traverse sandbanks or the open 



22 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

shore, dragging the boat after them by the cordelle. The 
expedition followed the Missouri river to its headwaters 
and immediately passed over the mountains and followed 
affluents of the Columbia to that river, down which it 
passed to its mouth. The party camped at "Whitefish 
camp" on the Iowa side which, according to tha latitude, 
41 degrees, 3 minutes, 19 seconds, was nearly opposite the 
present mouth of the Papillion about five miles above the 
mouth of the Platte. They remained there for rest and 
lajring in a stock of oars, cut from ash saplings, from July 
22 to July 28. From July 30 to August 3 they camped at 
Council Bluff, which, according to the latitude taken — 41 
degrees, 18 minutes, 1 second, was from ten to twelve 
miles below the reputed site now occupied by the hamlet 
of Fort Calhoun. 

The return of the expedition in 1806 incited general 
exploration of the Missouri valley and led to the formation 
of companies with considerable capital for the purpose of 
trapping and trading with the Indians. The two principal 
organizations were John Jacob Astor's American Fur Com- 
pany, organized in New York, and the Missouri Fur Com- 
pany, organized the same year — 1808 — in St. Louis. 
In less than twenty years the eastern company had driven 
the western one out of business, just as eastern capital 
continued to dominate and rule the west, at least until 
comparatively recent years. June 23, 1810, John Jacob 
Astor, promulgator of the American Fur Company, em- 
bodied his great idea of invading the Oregon country, in 
the organization of the Pacific Fur Company, the north- 
western arm of the American Fur Company. It should 
be noted here that occupation of the lower Missouri was 
subordinate or incidental to Astor's main and only definite 
purpose of establishing himself and American control in 
the already disputed Oregon country. This is shown in 
the sequel fact that his fur company did not establish 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 23 

itself on the Missouri until about twelve years after the 
founding of Astoria on the Columbia river. ^ In this view, 
however, the land expedition in 1811-12-13 was the fore- 
runner of the Oregon trail and, incidentally at least, it led 
directly to the continuous occupation of the Nebraska 
section of the Missouri shore which projected into per- 
manent settlement. In the fall of 1810 this company 
sent out an expedition under the leadership of Wilson Price 
Hunt, which wintered near the mouth of the Nodaway 
river, now in Missouri, and started on its way up the river 
in April, 1811. The expedition comprised about sixty men 
with four boats, one a very large keel boat. All of the 
boats were furnished with masts and sails. On the 28th 
day of April, the expedition camped on the eastern side of 
the river about three miles above the mouth of Papillion 
creek, also for the purpose of laying in a stock of oars and 
poles from the ash trees which Bradbuiy, the journalist of 
the expedition, observes did not grow above this place. 
This camp must have been near that of the Lewis and 



1 Washington Irving, a protege of Astor's — with more than a smack 
of toadyism — was no doubt as fully apprised of his patron's intentions 
as anyone but himself, and he undertook to disclose them in Astoria, 
his romantic history of the enterprise, "The main feature of his scheme 
was to establish a line of trading posts along the Missouri and the Columbia, 
to the mouth of the latter, where was to be founded the chief trading 
house or mart. Inferior posts would be established in the interior, and 
on all the tributary streams of the Columbia, to trade with the Indians; 
these posts would draw their supplies from the main establishment, and 
bring to it the peltries they collected." Accordingly two expeditions 
were sent out, one by sea and the other by land. "The former was to 
carry out the people, stores, ammunition, and merchandise, requisite for 
establishing a fortified trading post at the mouth of Columbia river. 
The latter, conducted by Mr. Hunt, was to proceed up the Missouri, and 
across the Rocky mountains, to the same point; exploring a line of com- 
munication across the continent, and noting the places where interior 
trading posts might be established." Thus Hunt's main, and perhaps 
only important, objective was to open a line of land communication with 
Astoria which was to be founded at once with tributary posts; whereas, 
posts along the route this side of the mountain divide "might" be estab- 
lished. 



24 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Clark expedition — perhaps on the same spot. On the 
morning of the 29th Bradbury was sent across to the west 
side, landing at or near the site of the subsequent Bellevue. 
He walked northward along the high ground until the 
boats overtook him in the afternoon. The party camped 
that night fourteen miles below the post or "wintering 
house" of Crooks and McClellan, which must have been 
situated somewhat below the Council Bluff of Lewis and 
Clark. Ramsey Crooks and Robert McClellan, two of the 
most intrepid and celebrated of the early trappers and 
explorers, had established this post in 1807. They were 
picked up by the Astorian expedition at another post about 
thirty miles below the fortieth parallel of latitude — now 
the Kansas-Nebraska line — and continued with the ex- 
pedition through to the Columbia river. It is practically 
certain that there was no post at Bellevue at this time. 
The Astorian expedition did not follow the route of Lewis 
and Clark to the headwaters of the Missouri river, but 
outfitted for an overland trip at the village of the Arikari 
Indians at the mouth of the Grand river, now in South 
Dakota, and a mile below the new bridge of the Pacific 
extension of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad. 
The expedition took a somewhat southwesterly course, 
reaching, and following, the Wind river to the mountains 
of that name, crossing over them to the Snake river and 
following with some deviations the subsequent route of the 
Oregon trail to the Columbia river and down that river, 
founding Astoria at its mouth. They reached the mouth 
of the Columbia in two parties early in January, and in 
February, 1812. June 28, 1812, six of the members of the 
expedition, under the lead of Robert Stuart, and including 
Crooks and McClellan, left Astoria with dispatches for 
New York. They followed substantially the line of the 
Oregon trail, wintering on the North Platte river, just west 
of Scott's Bluff. On March 8, 1813, they pursued their 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 25 

course down the Platte, stopping at the Oto village, then 
situated a short distance from the present site of Yutan, 
where they entered a canoe, passing in that down the 
Platte and Missouri rivers to St. Louis. This expedition 
therefore traversed the Oregon trail with the exception of 
the great cut-off from Grand Island to its eastern terminal 
at Independence, Missouri. 

On the 2d of April, 1811, Lisa, head of the Missouri 
Fur Company, moved in the main, perhaps, by fear that 
this new arrival, the American Fur Company, might en- 
croach upon their trapping and trading fields, and partly 
perhaps by the ostensible desire to unite the two forces 
the better to meet the hostile Sioux and Arikari, started up 
the river in a keel boat with twenty oarsmen and "a good 
mast and main and top sail"; according to Brackenridge, 
journalist of the expedition, "the best boat that ever 
ascended the river". There were twenty-five men in all 
on board : there was a swivel mounted on the bow and two 
brass blunderbusses besides. The boat was laden with 
merchandise of all kinds. It was some twenty days behind 
the Astorians, and Lisa put his well selected and very 
skilful voyageurs to their utmost limit of endurance, bribing 
them at intervals with the favorite drafts of whisky and 
promises of more. Hunt's slower party, even with its great 
lead, could not escape the vigilant Lisa, who not infre- 
quently kept on his way along the snaggy river even in the 
night, making sometimes as much as seventy-five miles in 
twenty-four hours. The Astorians were overtaken just 
beyond the big bend, about fifty miles this side of Ft. 
Pierre. The mediatory offices of the two journalists were 
called on to their limit to keep the two parties from hostile 
combat. Lisa's party passed this place on the 11th of May. 
On the morning of the 13th, Brackenridge significantly 
says, they passed "the river a Boyer and the houses of 
M'Clelland, who formerly wintered here"; additional evi- 



26 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

dence that Crooks and McClellan had no post any nearer 
Bellevue than this and that it was from ten to fifteen miles 
above Omaha. 

"Evolution is that process whereby organic forms are 
changed during descent." Let us follow the descent. The 
Missouri Fur Company sent an expedition of 150 men to 
the upper waters of the Missouri in 1809. The powerful 
and ferocious Black Feet Indians, who were the providence 
of the Oregon trail, discouraged the attempts of these men 
to gain permanent foothold there. Part of them retreated 
and another part, headed by the intrepid Henry, crossed 
the mountain divide in the fall of 1810 and estabhshed 
Fort Henry on Henry's fork of the Snake river. This was 
the beginning of the southern movement. In 1821 Pilcher, 
who succeeded Lisa as head of the Missouri Fur Campany, 
made another attempt at a foothold in the Black Feet 
country, but was forced back. Ashley, leader of the Rocky 
Mountain Fur Company, organized in 1822, was also 
beaten back in 1823. By this time Henry was discouraged 
about holding on to the upper Missouri and turned his 
attention to permanent exploitation of the Green river 
valley. In that year Provost made the important discovery 
of South Pass. In 1824, Ashley conducted an expedition to 
the lower fields along the regular trail except that he went 
to Council Bluff and from there west up the Platte valley. 
In 1830, his great lieutenants. Smith, Jackson and Sublette, 
went west with a train of fourteen wagons — the first to go 
to the mountains over the cut-off; that is, up the Little Blue 
valley to its head, across to the Platte, following the river to 
the mountains. In 1832 Bonneville also went over the cut- 
off and took a wagon train over the South Pass, the first 
wagons to cross the mountains. In 1832 Nathaniel Wyeth 
went over the cut-off through to Oregon, but did not take 
wagons over the mountainous part of the course. In 1836 
Marcus Whitman, one of the intrepid winners and founders 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 27 

of Oregon, went almost through to the Columbia with a 
wagon, thus demonstrating and illustrating the practicability 
of a transcontinental road for all purposes. The Oregon 
trail was now clearly outlined. It was thoroughly estab- 
lished in 1842 by the aggressive Oregon emigration. 

The Platte now becomes the thread and theater of 
Nebraska existence. In 1844 William Wilkins, secretary 
of war, recommended in his report that the Nebraska 
country should be organized as a territory and that it 
should be called Nebraska on account of the great river 
which bisected it. Stephen A. Douglas immediately fol- 
lowed up this first step by a second, in the introduction of 
a bill for the organization of Nebraska. The passage of 
the Nebraska bill. May 30, 1854, and of the Pacific railroad 
bill in 1862, was the culmination of this evolution. 

When Nebraska was first invaded by white people, 
Indian occupancy was arranged with reference to the 
Platte river. The Omaha were on the north side, extending 
from the Missouri river west to Shell creek, now in Colfax 
county. The Oto and Missouri were on the south side, 
their country extending from the Missouri west as far as 
the east line of the west tier of townships of the present 
counties of Jefferson, Saline, Seward and Butler. The 
Pawnee held the great central tract beyond the domain of 
the Omaha and the Oto and Missouri as far west as the forks 
of the Platte. The Cheyenne and Arapaho of the upper 
Arkansas held from the Pawnee west. They were bounded 
on the north and west by the North Platte down to its 
source in Colorado and wholly embraced the south fork in 
Nebraska and Colorado. The Shoshone and Bannock 
backed the North Platte on the west throughout its northerly 
course in Nebraska and Wyoming, meeting the western 
boundary of the Sioux at the mouth of the Sweet Water. 
The territory of this great nation bordered the North Platte 
from the western limits of the Pawnee. By a succession of 



28 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

treaties these Indian holdings in Nebraska were given up 
to the United States, the last in 1876. This completed the 
Indian evolution. 

The settlement and politics of the territory and state 
were fashioned about the Platte as a central thread. This 
river, which at first was the base of organization, soon 
became a positive repellent political force — between the 
North Platte and South Platte sections. The division took 
special form at first in the capital controversy which lasted 
a dozen years and culminated in a South Platte victory 
when the capital was removed to Lincoln in 1867. This 
political and, in general, social division has been recognized 
in some sort ever since but is gradually dying out. At the 
present time it is little more than a reminiscence or a 
nominal convenience. 

Both Bellevue and the Oregon trail were institutions 
and therefore were not created but grew. To assign the 
beginning of these institutions to any particular date, man, 
or influence would be like cataloging the milky way, or 
fixing a birthday for the universe. "The doctrine of 
special creations does not stand. " We celebrate at Bellevue 
because here, as our monument recites, it may fairly be said, 
was started the first permanent settlement in Nebraska. 
We know, rather indefinitely, that trappers and Indian 
traders squatted along the Nebraska shore of the Missouri 
in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The Missomi 
Fur Company was here some years before the American 
Fur Company which did not estabUsh itself in this region 
before 1822. Not far this side, or the other side, of 1830 
the American Fur Company became firmly established at 
Bellevue, and about the same time the Indian agency was 
moved here from Fort Atkinson, which was abandoned as 
a military post in 1827.^ These were the two great factors 



2 For a more extended discussion of this topic see foot note 3 of 
"Early Days In and About Bellevue", this volume. ^Ed. 



SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CELEBRATION 29 

that established Bellevue, and Peter A. Sarpy who came 
up from St. Louis, perhaps as early as 1823, as a represent- 
ative of the American Fur Company, was the connecting 
link between the squatter period of the commonwealth and 
its settled and more civilized development. The loss of the 
same factors which gave Bellevue life, commercially de- 
stroyed it. Soon after the organization of the territory in 
1854, the Oto and Missouri and the Omaha Indian tribes 
were removed to their reservations. The agency followed 
over to the Oto and Missouri reservation on the Blue river 
in 1856, and to the present Omaha reservation in 1857. 
The capture of the capital by Omaha in 1855 gave that 
place strength and courage to gain the eastern terminus of 
the Union Pacific railroad. Bellevue had hopes until the 
choice of the site for the bridge across the Missouri river 
was decided in favor of Omaha and against the vicinity of 
Bellevue in 1868. The growth of South Omaha immediately 
in its rear has left to Bellevue little more than the distinction 
of being the most beautifully situated hamlet within the 
state. 

The poets have anticipated our every sentiment and 
fancy; so I now speak out of the mouths of two of the 
greatest of these prophets. 

"While the ploughman, near at hand, 
Whistles o'er the furrowed land, 
And the milkmaid singeth blithe, 
And the mower whets his scythe, 
And every shepherd tells his tale 
Under the hawthorne in the dale. 
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures 
Whilst the landskip round it measures: 
Russet lawns and fallows grey 
Where the nibbling flocks do stray; 
Meadows trim with daisies pied; 
Shallow brooks and meadows wide; 
Towers and battlements it sees, 
Bosomed high in tufted trees." 



30 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

(Here the speaker waved toward the distant eastward 
range of wooded hills, described in Bradbury's journal). 

"Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn, 
No (Thy) sports are fled nor are (and all) thy charms with- 
drawn; 
Amidst thy bowers no (the) tyrant's hand is seen 
Nor (And) desolation saddens all thy green." 

This was the dread alternative: If Bellevue had not 
remained Bellevue it must have become Omaha — the 
evolutionized trading post; or, perhaps, more specifically, 
South Omaha, the modern mammoth charnel house. Look 
on this picture and then on that, ye of little faith in 
the eternal truth of compensation, in 'he ultimate triumph 
of poetic justice — though the grosser or material right be 
continually denied, — and doubt no longer that behind a 
frowning providence God indeed hides a smiling face. 
I am sure that, encompassed by this prodigality of Nature's 
charms, traditional South Platte feud quite forgets its 
humor, so that we of that section anticipatively rejoice 
with the increasing thousands who, sensible of the enchant- 
ment which the greatest practicable distance from our 
commercial capital — of necessity their business-hour camp- 
ing — lends to real living, will establish homes at this 
veritable "belle vue" reserved by a merciful but mis- 
apprehended providence, — a calm, a sure retreat from 
Omaha. 



THE EVENING ADDRESSES 

Following are the addresses delivered at the evening 
exercises in the Brandeis theater, Omaha, by Chancellor 
Avery, President MacLean and Mr. John L. Webster. 

ADDRESS OF CHANCELLOR SAMUEL AVERY 

However historians may differ in regard to the exact 
date of the first permanent settlement in our state, the 
anniversary exercises today may be regarded as commem- 
orative of the one hundredth anniversary of a distinct 
landmark in the settlement of the West. The organization 
on June 23, 1810, of the expedition by the Astor Company, 
resulted, as the inscription on the momument so well states, 
in a spread of the knowledge regarding the region com- 
prising our state among the people farther east. Therefore, 
without quibbling over the exact historical facts as to 
early settlements, we may by common consent consider 
this the birthday of the civilization which now exists in the 
state, and we may regard our present achievements as the 
result of a hundred years of development, slow for the 
first haK century, exceedingly rapid in the latter. 

Those who indulge in the pleasure of tracing out the 
remote history of states and institutions generally find 
that from the earliest beginning there is usually a period of 
very slow development; later when development has fairly 
started it often proceeds with almost meteoric swiftness. 
Thus Harvard University has made more visible advance- 
ment in the last twenty-two years than in the previous 
250 years of its existence. So Nebraska history may be 
divided into the following sections: The period of exceed- 

(31) 



32 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

ingly slow and obscure settlement from 1810 to the organ- 
ization of the territory in 1854; the continued, more rapid 
settlement and the founding of the institutions of the 
commonwealth from this time to its admission as a state in 
1867. Next, the period of rapid settlement and the oc- 
cupation of the best agricultural lands, the building of 
railroads and the founding of cities, from the early 70's to 
the end of the 80's, when this development was checked 
by the general hard times of the country; and, finally, 
from the end of the 80's to the present time — a period 
which represents the systematic, orderly growth of the 
state as a whole, the consolidation of business and in- 
dustrial enterprises, the accumulation of wealth and, per- 
haps, of importance to the future, the development of a 
state pride and a state consciousness. 

It would be inappropriate and unfair to the eloquent 
and learned gentlemen whom I shall have the pleasure of 
introducing, if I, as the presiding officer of this meeting, 
were to encroach to any great extent upon their time. But 
appreciating most highly the honor which has been con- 
ferred upon me by the committee in asking me to preside 
on this anniversary occasion, I cannot allow the opportunity 
to pass without presenting to you one of the thoughts which 
is almost always with me: what will the coming years 
mean to our state — what will be its future development? 
Will the state mean to us and those who come after us 
simply so much territory in the center of the Union? Will 
it mean to us simply a political organization, or will the 
word Nebraska convey to us the thought of certain ideals? 
In other words, are we continuing to develop a state con- 
sciousness, a state patriotism, and a state pride? Mr. 
Roosevelt has, I think, made it popular throughout the civil- 
ized world to preach a Httle on occasions like this; and so it 
is perhaps not unfitting that I follow, as best I may, his 
illustrious example. It seems to me that if we as citizens 



ADDRESS OF CHANCELLOR SAMUEL AVERY 33 

are to work out the destiny of this glorious state in a manner 
best conducive to her interests, "Nebraska" must signify 
to us certain high ideals; and if we, as citizens, do not 
cause her to attain to these ideals, Nebraska, with her 
wealth of soil and sunshine, will miss her greatest oppor- 
tunity. The first thing, it seems to me, that we should 
stand for in Nebraska is a spirit of good will, a spirit of 
helpfulness, and a spirit of cooperation throughout all parts 
of the state. I have seen in the Pacific Northwest com- 
munities of wide extent without, in my judgment, more 
than a fraction of the natural wealth and resources which 
we have, lifted into national prominence and into regal 
prosperity through the spirit of cooperation, mutual helpful- 
ness, and confidence which the inhabitants maintain for 
one another. In that country, too, we have seen an example 
of a city standing unselfishly for ideals. When the state 
university of Oregon was assailed by the uninformed, the 
selfish, the narrow-minded and the bigoted and an attempt 
was made to nullify the legislative appropriation through a 
referendum called by these various forces, the university 
was saved to the state and to the country through the noble 
generosity of the queenly city of Portland. I believe that 
if occasion should ever occur in Nebraska, as I hope it 
never may, it would call forth a similar act of devotion 
on the part of the metropolis, that the same splendid 
altruistic spirit would be shown towards any or all of the 
established enterprises that are working for the advance- 
ment of the state. 

Every right-minded citizen of the state of Nebraska 
should honor the memory of those early settlers who, with 
their farsighted view into the future, laid the foundations 
of this splendid commercial city. It is right and proper 
for us to idealize business; and we ought, for state patriotic 
reasons, to foster, so far as we can, the growth and develop- 
ment of this city, and of every city, and of every legitimate 



34 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

enterprise within our borders. We ought especially to be 
on oui' guard that there is no spirit of discord or bickering, 
or of strife, or enmity between the various parts of our 
commonwealth. 

In concluding, then, as to the future of our state, 
permit me to indulge in the prediction that long before 
the two hundredth anniversary of the event we celebrate 
today shall be observed, Nebraska, even more than it does 
at present, will present a spirit of unity and cooperation 
throughout the state, from Falls City to Crawford; from 
Dakota City to Benkelman; from Omaha to Scott's Bluff. 
The name Nebraska will suggest to all who may hear it 
thoughts of the stability of our commercial houses, the 
integrity of our business men, the soundness of our edu- 
cational institutions, the excellence of the products of our 
soil, the technical skill of our manufacturers. It will be 
synonymous with permanency, honor, and peace. These 
are the ideals of things which I think we may hope to 
attain more completely in the next century of our progress, 
and in so far as we have already attained them, can we 
especially felicitate ourselves on the results of the century 
which closes tonight. 



THE NEW WORLD MOVEMENT 
By President George E. MacLean 

Mr. Chancellor, Mr. President, Your Excellency, and Nebraska 
Neighbors: 

I was interested in a statement in the advertisement 
of this meeting that there would be cold air here — not 
hot air. (Laughter) I was immediately reminded of the 
little boy who was asked after coming from church what 
the text was. It was, as you know, the familiar, "Many 
are called, but few are chosen"; but the boy, perhaps with 
a premonition of meteorological conditions here tonight, 
answered , * ' Many are cold but few are frozen . ' ' The warmth 
of the welcome here makes me feel that it is well to ad- 
vertise cold, and not hot air, and that few will be frozen. 
The cordial words of the chancellor remind me that 
indeed he and I were "freshmen" together; he as an in- 
structor and I as an executive, and I learned then that 
"A" stood not only for Avery, but it stood for an "A No. 1 " 
trustworthy man. (Applause) Chancellor Andrews suc- 
ceeded me, and there was another man whose name began 
with A, and he also was "A No. 1". But dearest to us, 
surely, is this first chancellor, as far as I know, in the trans- 
Mississippi region who came up out of the state institution 
over which he presides. Generally we have been imported 
from the far East, as Regent Whitmore and I, for example, 
were imported from Massachusetts to this Mississippi valley. 
It was thought that you fast people needed something to 
moderate you, hence these importations from Massachusetts. 
But I congratulate you that the time has arrived when you 

(35) 



36 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

can supply your own leaders, and I see in it a sign of a 
new and prosperous era. 

It is recorded that the gentlemen of the committee 
invited to this celebration certain residents of Iowa as well 
as the people of Nebraska. They invited in particular 
people from Pottawattamie and Mills counties; and I noticed 
that they invited from Glenwood as well as from Iowa City. 
In short, they invited from the two towns in Iowa related 
to peculiar educational institutions — the one at Iowa City 
for higher learning and the one at Glenwood for the feeble- 
minded; or perhaps I have it mixed, as you may think 
before I conclude. This query is a sign of a new era, because 
we have learned today that nothing must be lost, and that 
even the feeble-minded have possibilities in them and that 
they are to be cared for under the aegis of these imperial 
states of ours. Then again, at the time you are celebrating 
there were frequent forays from Nebraska upon the part 
of the Osages into the land of the lowas; and just about 
one hundred years ago from this date the Osages returned 
from a successful foray into Iowa and brought back seven 
scalps. I hope there are at least seven of us here tonight 
from Iowa, and you know the pride of all of us in these 
magnificent middle western states. 

It has been my privilege now for twenty-six years to 
be in Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. Magnificent, 
mastodonic Minnesota; new, enchanting Nebraska; idyllic, 
ideaHstic Iowa — three beautiful sisters in the sisterhood 
of states at the heart of the continent promising leadership 
for the country. 

And so I am brought to the subject which I have 
chosen, "The New World Movement in this Middle West". 
Very properly President Roosevelt in one of his great 
addresses in Europe, celebrating the oncoming anniversary 
of the one hundredth year of the University of Berlin, took 
for his subject the "World Movement"; but we have 



THE NEW WORLD MOVEMENT 37 

something newer, and, if it be possible, something fresher in 
the "New World Movement" in this new or middle West. 

The phrase "world movement" meant something in 
the English people's language when the great Chatham 
framed the policies for England in 1763, after the British 
troops and our forefathers had overcome the French and 
made it to be true that this continent should be dominated 
not by the French but by the EngHsh. Chatham laid out 
the glorious world policy for England that finally brings 
it about that he who is to be crowned King of England 
takes his oath not only as King of England and of Great 
Britain, but as an emperor with dominions over the seas. 
So our Teutonic blood has been prepared among English 
speaking peoples for a world movement, a new movement 
to federate under the great idea of Teutonic civiHzation of 
"freedom, equality and enlightenment", in the phrase of 
the immortal Jefferson, the various nations of the world. 

In 1763-4 Captain Jonathan Carver of the British 
army, seeing that now the English and not the French 
were to rule this continent, proposed an expedition to the 
Pacific coast, and in 1774 aided secretly by the British 
government, such an expedition was organized to go to 
the Pacific coast to make the empire of Britain under 
Chatham's world policy continental in the new hemisphere. 
But the revolution, brought on in part by the foolish King 
George the Third, for a time shattered the progi-essive 
policies of the great Chatham and the common people of 
England, and so the expedition to the Pacific coast of 
Jonathan Carver never went through. 

But in 1787 the thirteen colonies, now independent 
states, the war of 1776 having concluded in 1783, found it 
necessary to provide for the great Northwest Territory 
that belonged to Virginia and in which several of the new 
states, even like Connecticut, had claims. But Washington, 
who had gone to Pittsburg through the wilderness, and the 



38 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

other fathers of the republic became conscious that there 
was a back land, a hinterland, more mighty than the 
Atlantic brim, that the original states controlled. And so 
in 1787 they adopted the great ordinance for the govern- 
ment of the Northwest Territory, and with wonderful 
foresight made it possible, without any statehood jealousy, 
that imperial states should be carved out of that territory 
having the same sovereignty and privileges as those states 
that had fought for the great cause of freedom. 

Jefferson, as early as 1790, was already planning for 
something beyond the Mississippi. He then had in view 
something upon the Pacific coast. He was secretly. nego- 
tiating with Spain in order that the new republic should 
not be hedged in upon its western border, and in order that 
there might be freedom of access to the great mouth of 
the Father of Waters. Already the merchants of Boston, 
those shrewd New Englanders, had an eye on the Pacific 
coast, gathering in the furs, trading with China and in the 
course of two or three years returning with their goods 
again to old New England. In 1792 there were not less 
than twenty-one American ships upon the Pacific coast 
doing business; and in that year Captain Gray of Boston 
discovered the great river Columbia and gave it its happy 
name. What wonder then that secretly a statesman like 
Jefferson, prompted by the progress of commerce, began 
to think of the Pacific coast. To be sure Jefferson had not 
as yet risen to the full vision. He spoke of the possibilities 
of an Atlantic confederacy and of a Pacific confederacy 
"bound to us", he said, "by ties of blood and of common 
interest, and of one family". Not yet was the thought 
that there should be one grand republic, but a Pacific 
republic and an Atlantic republic, with this great Meso- 
potamia as the dividing country. 

In 1792 Washington was interested in this movement 
towards the Pacific. In 1798 old John Adams of Massa- 



THE NEW WORLD MOVEMENT 39 

chusetts was again looking for the government to do some- 
thing to help break through to the Pacific, as the British 
government had planned in 1774. And in 1802, Jefferson, 
then president, despite his conservative idea that the best 
government was that which governed the least, started to 
negotiate secretly — as Gallatin advised him that it 
should not be a pubHc message — with Congress for an 
expedition to the Pacific. As you all know, in 1803 the 
great Napoleon was approached by the ambassador from 
this country to buy up this land that we know as the 
Louisiana Purchase. It was sold for a song, partly because 
the party of the first part was in need of ready cash, but 
more because that all-wise Napoleon was playing a game 
to down England. He said to himself, "If the United 
States, so recently in opposition to England, and which I 
want to stay for all time in opposition to England — if 
the United States can have that country it will make a 
balance of power inimical to England by which we of 
Europe may hold her in subjection." So diplomacy began 
with this mighty country here, as yet a wilderness, so full 
of possibihties for the ultimate story of the nations. 

We all know about the Lewis and Clark expedition of 
1804, — that Jefferson sent as soon as we owned the country, 
and that he had planned to send earlier. With wonderful 
heroism they followed up the Missouri and on through to 
Oregon. They made it possible for later expeditions like 
the Astorian in 1810, and finally in 1835 and 1836 for 
Marcus Whitman, the missionary of his country as well as 
of the cross, to claim Oregon for the United States.^ Thus, 



1 The Pacific Fur Company was organized for tliis northwestern 
undertaking in 1810, but the expedition started from its winter camp, 
near the mouth of the Nodaway river, about twelve miles above the site 
now occupied by the city of St. Joseph, Missouri, on the 21st of April, 
1811. Marcus Whitman first went to Oregon in 1836 as a missionary 
to Indians, and again with the great colony of 1843. His part in securing 
Oregon for the United States has been exaggerated. — Ed. 



40 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

ultimately, it was brought about that Great Britain, which 
had been conniving through her great fur traders, should 
not come south of what we now know as the north line of 
Washington. 

The "New World Movement", then, began in 1763, 
and it was a continental movement that, pivoted upon 
this Mississippi and Missouri valley, swung to the Pacific. 
It is a movement as full of romance as the original new 
world movement of 1492 in which there was a woman at 
the center, the glorious Queen Isabella; just as in this 
latest world movement there was an Indian woman, that 
guide of Lewis and Clark's, Sacajawea, to whom we have 
erected at last a monument. She led the white people 
through the land of her fathers to the Golden Gate. The 
glory of this new world movement appears in that it was 
not a movement of pirates, or of men going simply to get 
furs, or jewels, or gold ; but it was a movement of families. 
That grand old German thrift by which the man took the 
hausfrau with him, and wandered through the forests of 
Europe and conquered it, made this new world movement 
also a movement of families. 

Today it exhilarated me to meet one of your first settlers, 
who came up from Kentucky, — from that land where the 
English had broken over the mountains under the lead of 
brave men like Boone — and is still on the same farm 
where his father settled with him in 1854. He told me how 
they came with the prairie schooner, with three pairs of 
oxen and the whole family of seven; and I said, "Were you 
not afraid?" "Oh, no," he replied, "the Indians were 
reasonably friendly, and there were little places all along 
beginning from Keokuk as we went across Iowa until we 
came to our settlement on the Missouri river. " 

In our Iowa state house we have a magnificent paint- 
ing. It is not like the classical paintings of old, with some 
half draped goddess in the center, some idealization of 



THE NEW WORLD MOVEMENT 41 

humanity, but in the center there is a prairie schooner 
with the oxen in the foreground, and the pioneer with his 
whipstock raised, and the little children trotting along, 
the cattle following, and the prairie all blooming with the 
beautiful flowers of our western prairie. (Applause) 

This new world movement has then a high significance. 
First it meant freedom for all the land, true to the legend 
on the old Liberty Bell: "Proclaim liberty throughout all 
the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." As the people 
of Iowa in 1844, though the act had passed congress, would 
not accept admission to the Union, because their border 
did not go from the Mississippi to the Missouri, because 
they would be an imperial state; so in Nebraska, in 1867, 
you as a territory, having everything from the 40th parallel 
away to the Canadian border, and to the summits of the 
Rockies, a space out of which five states have been carved, 
would not stay your hand until you swept well on to the 
Rockies, while you let go of the frozen northlands. It 
was that spacious spirit of freedom that was abroad in 
1776. That spirit of freedom was, however, " constitutional", 
that is with clipped wings. The constitution of the United 
States was a compromise, purposely indefinite because of 
the slaves in the South. But the great Jefferson was for 
early emancipation of the slaves, and wanted not only a 
land of freedom from the Atlantic to the Pacific, but free- 
dom from slavery in the southland. 

This new world movement was different from all the 
great national movements of the old world where there was 
ever slavery at the beginning, until England, rather late 
and foremost of all, passed an act which read, " No slavery 
upon British soil." And so we had freedom in this world 
movement but without equality; the black man not upon 
an equality with the white man. This new world move- 
ment therefore had to go forward through conflict with 
the great John Marshall interpreting the constitution for a 



42 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

strong central government that looked towards ultimate 
equality and absolute freedom. And finally, as you all 
know, in 1854 when you were admitted as a territory there 
was a culmination in the Kansas-Nebraska bill of the 
conflict that had gone on since 1820, the time of the Mis- 
souri compromise with reference to slavery. That bill made 
it possible for popular sovereignty, as the great Stephen A. 
Douglas called it, to decide whether a state should be slave 
or free. Then it was that this new world movement had 
a fresh impetus from dear old New England, when in Boston 
the free state men went to work. 

In the museum of the State Historical Society of the 
university at Iowa City is John Brown's cannon. That 
cannon he left when he went on to Harper's Ferry because 
it was too inconvenient to take it. But that cannon was 
cast in Boston and sent out by the free soil men of Boston 
to John Brown with which to fight that Kansas might be 
settled by lovers of free men and that Kansas and Nebraska 
should not be slave states. 

In this crisis in the new world movement Nebraska 
had her part. And old Iowa, then relatively old, for 
decades count like centuries in these western states, old 
Iowa stood forth as the first free state in the Louisiana 
Purchase, committed to no slavery within her borders, 
helping Kansas and Nebraska to be settled by free men. 
And that great stiniggle in Illinois, the great debate between 
Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, was precipitated as we 
all know by this focusing of the interest. Douglas, grand 
man, had ever since 1844 annually introduced into congress 
a bill for the admission of Nebraska, and that Nebraska 
was to go away to the Pacific coast, for he too saw the 
vision of the whole land, settled for America. But he had 
to compromise, and offered popular or squatter sovereignty, 
and he prevailed, as we know, in 1854. But it worked the 



THE NEW WORLD MOVEMENT 43 

beginning of the going down of his sun, and the rising of 
that of Abraham Lincoln. 

And so, in 1854 and 1855, things worked rapidly. In 
the old capitol, the administration building today of the 
state university of Iowa, in 1856 the free soil party, known 
as the republican party, was organized, and in this state 
in the next year you organized this party that was to be 
against slavery. ^ 

The new world movement marches on. We come to 
see that not by votes, nor by diplomacy, nor by com- 
promise — because God's righteousness in the end is 
exact — but by the arbitrament of fratricidal war must 
the settlement come. And this world movement in 1861 
revealed to all the earth a new factor in civilization. The 
South and old England expected that the South would 
prevail. They had counted up carefully the population of 
the older states, but they failed to reahze that Iowa, then 
a state young and little thought of, would send seventy- 
eight thousand men to fight for the freedom of the slave 
and the preservation of the Union. They failed to see 
that territorial Nebraska with only thirty thousand in- 
habitants would send in 1861 and the years right after 
3,307 men to fight against the South. And these new 
middle western states held the balance of power in the 
field of battle. And out of the great West came the leaders 
Hke Grant; and the world's history turned upon a new 
pivot; and for the first time the Middle West in this new 
world movement had its significance to all the world. 
(Applause) 

And so equality was established in 1865, or with the 
emancipation proclamation in 1863, as liberty or freedom 
had been established in 1776 to 1783. 



- The first meeting or convention for organizing the republican 
party in Nebraska was held in Omaha, January 18, 1858. — Ed. 



44 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

What of this new world movement today? Is it of 
history past? Are we now to be commonplace? Are we 
now simply to make our millions? The Spanish-American 
war in 1898 brought about a coalescence of the old ideal of 
continental freedom with that of equality beyond domains 
pertaining to us, and for which in no way we were re- 
sponsible. And we could not bear that there should be 
atrocities under the old empire of Spain in Cuba; so a new 
thing was soon among the nations; namely war, not to 
exploit, not for conquest, not for addition to the country, 
but for humanity. War, simply on the basis of fraternity 
of humanity. (Applause) 

And then we withdrew from Cuba and proved to the 
prophets of evil that we were sincere as a nation. Today 
the American eagle spreads his wings from Porto Rico to 
the Philippines, and we know that it is not for imperial 
exploitation of weaker nations. In fact the missionaries 
had taught us that nations thrive by unselfishness in 
bearing the burdens of the weak, even as individuals thrive 
when they rise into a spirit of fraternity with their brother 
men. International fraternity is the culmination of the 
new world movement, but the end is not yet. 

I remember that this dream was in ail of us in a state 
of half consciousness in our great use of the word "Amer- 
ica". Many years ago when I matriculated in a German 
university the registrar asked me what my nationality was, 
and I answered proudly as a youngster, "America". With 
the politeness that can never be equaled by a Frenchman, 
and that a German sometimes has, he said, "From North, 
South, or Central America?" (Applause) I thought I 
would answer him and I said, "North America" with a 
tone of finality. He said with exceeding politeness, "From 
British North America, or from the United States of 
America?" At last I had learned the name of my country, 
and I said with humbled pride, "From the United States 



THE NEW WORLD MOVEMENT 45 

of America." (Applause) We had appropriated the 
whole hemisphere as Americans years ago. It was in om* 
blood and in the veins of Jefferson and Washington, and 
so on down the line. And now we are realizing that there 
is the Pan-American Congress, not for the subjection of the 
peoples of the republics of Central or South America, but 
for the federation of them. That is the Monroe Doctrine 
which has been carried out on this hemisphere for republics, 
for freedom, for equality, for fraternity. 

And the very culmination of this new world movement 
that had its first scene in this magnificent valley, and that 
we by our representatives are doing so much to carry 
upward I got some vision of last month at the Lake Mohonk 
sixteenth annual peace conference. It has been thought 
that the people who went there were sentimental dreamers, 
that they could hardly exist peaceably under the vigorous 
regime of the "big stick". But I discovered that that 
conference was made up of people of such common sense 
that the old Quaker who presided said: "The millenium 
is not. It seems that there are people of violence, and they 
are liable to be about us for a long time, and we must have 
a navy, and an army, and we want them to shoot straight 
when we have to do up those bad men. " I think that was 
pretty good peace doctrine. 

But what was the vision?: because this is an old and 
singular view of the peace movement. The vision sprang 
from this: Mr. Scott, by direction of Mr. Knox, the secre- 
tary of state, made the first official announcement to the 
conference at Lake Mohonk, that the secretary had sent 
an identical note to all the great powers proposing that 
there should be a permanent arbitral court of justice, into 
which all nations should go with all cases. Mr. Taft had 
advanced beyond Mr. Roosevelt in proposing that we shall not 
exempt questions of honor. Citizens take their cases that 
have to do with honor into courts, and nations are simply 



46 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

great aggregations of citizens. The proposition that justice 
shall be administered through an international permanent 
court has been considered favorably by most of the leading 
nations of the world. It is likely that the next Hague 
conference will prepare the way for the establishment of 
this supreme court of all nations for all international causes, 
and war in civilization will be no more. (Applause) 

This would be the final outcome of this new world 
movement that we in this Middle West have furthered as 
no other people. We have these great states with differing 
interests, but the mother states on the Atlantic seaboard 
had the unselfish policy. They and we have learned, 
despite our occasional blustering about the East and the West, 
that there is no longer any genuine sectionalism, that our 
larger interests are common, though they may vary about 
some items in the tariff. And it is not as it was in this 
state as late as 1896, in those terrible times of drought 
succeeding the panic, that we are bitter against the East. 

Today the East joins with the West in the admission 
of the last two continental states, there was no quarrel as 
to what would be the balance of the power in the United 
States senate. And he who wrote the "Winning of the 
West"; — he who had the rough riders at the wedding 
ceremony of his daughter and waived to them in the gallery; 
he has brought home to the East a sense that the West is 
contributing many leaders to the Atlantic seaboard today. 
And the men of the East come west and soon drop the New 
England lingo and are as good westerners as those born 
here. This is the new Americanism with a new inter- 
nationalism that takes up the isles of the sea, as little 
drops in the bucket, in the interest of ultimate federated 
republics the world 'round and universal peace. 

We cross the prairies, as of old 

The Pilgrims crossed the sea; 
To make the West, as they the East, 

The homestead of the free. 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 

Nebraska is a part of that vast plain between the 
Missouri river and the Rocky mountains, which, in an 
ancient geological period, was the bottom of an ocean. 
This inland sea extended from the Gulf of Mexico on the 
south, to the lake region on the north. In the strange 
climatic changes which took place, this plain had its trop- 
ical period, when vegetable forms flourished and animals 
lived which are now only found in Africa and South America, 
and some of which are extinct, belonging to the medieval 
world. In revolving time, other changes occurred and the 
regions of Arctic cold came where the tropical zone had 
been. The glaciers came down from the north and spread 
their deposits all over the vast plain from the mountains 
to the river. Following these geological and climatic 
changes there afterward came the great American desert 
when little sand dunes were seen everywhere, and the 
parching sun dried up the vegetation. 

A century ago the nation stretched out its hand into 
this desert, and created a fertile soil, and peopled it with 
America's noble men and women, who have erected homes, 
and school houses, and churches, and built towns and cities, 
and established marts, and created commercial arteries, 
until it has become a granary of the world and a garden of 
beauty. It is this Nebraska which today celebrates the 
one hundredth anniversary of the Astorian expedition, 
which appropriately marks the beginning of its history. 

The changes of conditions, from the time when this 
land rose up from the bottom of the sea, to become again 
buried under the glacial deposits, are no less wonderful 

(47) 



48 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

than the transition from the American desert to this paradise 
of states that has come within the one hundred years since 
the event which we are assembled to commemorate. 

The reaching out of the hand of the nation into this 
desert brings to our minds reflections upon the awakening 
of the great West from its primeval sleep of countless ages 
to welcome and receive the pioneer and the emigrant, when 
the great spirit of the Indian tribes, their God Manitou, 
was to give way to the persuasive influence of the mis- 
sionary priest with the cross in his hand, and the Christian 
religion, and the white man's God. 

On the 23d day of June, 1810, in the city of New York, 
John Jacob Astor and his associates signed the articles of 
agreement creating the Pacific Fur Company, and which 
provided that an exploration party, which starting from 
St. Louis, should -ascend the Missouri river, explore its 
regions and afterwards cross the mountains and uplands 
to the Pacific coast. 

The purpose of John Jacob Astor and of his exploring 
party was not one of conquest. It was not one of idle 
adventure. It was not one of discovery. It was not one 
of geographical exploration like that of Lewis and Clark. 
It was one prompted by business and commercial principles. 
It was to open up trade with the roving inhabitants of the 
country. It contemplated the establishment of fur trading 
stations, with the expectation that with these would come 
emigrants, the building of homes and the peopling of the 
country. It was within the contemplation of John Jacob 
Astor that what he planned would be the beginning of the 
establishment of civil society, and the physical develop- 
ment of the country. 

To appreciate the fulness of the purpose in the mind 
of John Jacob Astor we should have a reasonably fan- 
understanding of the environments of the times and of the 
political and social and commercial conditions that prevailed 
in 1810. 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 49 

The United States, all told, then had less than seven 
and one-half millions of people. They were clustered along 
the Atlantic seaboard. Their western settlements were 
but a fringe on the borders of the Mississippi. The mental 
vision of Astor spanned the continent. 

Henry Clay was just beginning his appeals to the 
American people for the vindication of American right to 
free ships upon the seas, and which were followed by the 
war of 1812. But Clay had no conception of the pos- 
sibilities of the lands west of the Missouri river, and the 
war with England was the death blow to Astoria. 

It then took longer to go from Boston to New York 
than it now takes to go from Boston to San Francisco. 
The Missouri river was then farther from these eastern 
cities than the Atlantic coast is from China today. 

Abraham Lincoln was then a poorly clad toddling babe 
on the soil of Kentucky, and it was fifty years before he 
developed to an appreciation of the necessity of a trans- 
continental railroad. 

James Madison was president of the United States, 
but he and his associates who framed the constitution, 
which in this later age spreads like a canopy across the 
American continent, did not know as much of the country 
west of the Missouri river as our school children of today 
know of the regions surrounding the north pole. 

Thomas Jefferson was living in retirement at Monti- 
cello. While he gave encouragement to the enterprise of 
John Jacob Astor, which would establish settlements upon 
the Pacific coast, it was with the thought that they should 
be of our people, of our blood, of our kindred, and who 
should establish for themselves the right of self-government 
but they were otherwise to be wholly unconnected with 
the United States of America. 

Irving said of Astor: "He considered his projected 
establishment at the mouth of the Columbia as the em- 

4 



50 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

porium to an immense commerce; as a colony that would 
form the germ of a white civilization; that would, in fact, 
carry the American population across the Rocky moun- 
tains and spread it along the shores of the Pacific, as it 
already animated the shores of the Atlantic." What 
John Jacob Astor began has made it possible for the present 
and all future generations living in the West to realize and 
enjoy the political, social, religious, educational and com- 
mercial advantages which flow from the very highest order 
of our modern civilization, and all a part of the American 
republic. 

It was in 1810 that Simon Bolivar, the George Wash- 
ington of South America, began that long period of revo- 
lutionary war which ultimately resulted in the overthrow 
of Spanish and Portugese rule in our southern hemisphere 
and in the establishment of numerous independent republics. 
In 1810 Napoleon was still carrying his warfare over the 
face of Europe; and it was two years thereafter before he 
began his fateful retreat from Russia after the burning of 
Moscow. But in our country, and west of the Missouri 
river, a different kind of warfare was to be begun and 
carried on for a century. It was to wage a war against the 
deserts on the plains, the forests on the mountains, and to 
settle there a better civilization than there was in Europe 
or South America. 

We, here today, may contemplate what millions of 
men have been employed in this warfare of settlement and 
of migration; what billions of money have been employed 
by way of improvements, and in rewarding the process of 
development; what farming districts, and what workshops, 
and what railroads have been created in the wilderness; 
what cities, with their busy thousands of inhabitants, have 
been built in what was once the solitude of these primeval 
lands; what states have been carved out of the prairies 
and mountains extending from the Missouri to the Pacific; 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 51 

what undreamed of commerce is transported by land, and 
then sent forth in the holds of ocean-going steamships that 
whiten what was at that time the unexplored Pacific 
ocean. 

Let us go back and glance at the desert and the arid 
regions as they existed at the time of John Jacob Astor's 
enterprise. Lieutenant Pike, who commanded two govern- 
ment explorations into these western regions, in his report to 
the war office said that these immense prairies "were in- 
capable of cultivation" and would have to be left to the 
"wandering and unciviUzed aborigines of the country". 
Major Long in his report to the United States of his ex- 
plorations into these regions, said of the prairies that they 
bear a manifest "resemblance to the desert of Siberia". 

Washington Irving, the historian of Astor's western 
enterprise and who tells us that he had the fullest opportu- 
nity for the examination of letters and reports of Astor's 
agents and correspondents, in speaking of the great Amer- 
ican desert, said: "It spreads forth into undulating and 
treeless plains, and desolate sandy wastes, wearisome to the 
eye from their extent and monotony, and which are sup- 
posed by geologists to have formed the ancient floor of the 
ocean, countless ages since, when its primeval waves beat 

against the granite bases of the Rocky mountains 

Occasionally the monotony of this vast wilderness is 
interrupted. . . . with precipitous cliffs and yawning 
ravines, looking like the ruins of a world; or is traversed 
by lofty and barren ridges of rock, almost impassable, like 
those denominated the Black Hills. Beyond these rise the 
stern barriers of the Rocky mountains, the limits, as it 
were, of the Atlantic world. . . . Such is the nature 
of this immense wilderness of the far West; which appar- 
ently defies cultivation and the habitation of civilized 
life." 

Washington Irving, like a prophet of evil, feared that 
this arid desert region might become the harbinger of a 



52 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

mongrel race of barbarians and land pirates who would 
forever separate the civilization of the east from the peoples 
that were to inhabit the Pacific coast. He said: "But it 
is to be feared that a great part of it will form a lawless 
interval between the abodes of civihzed man, like the 
wastes of the ocean or the deserts of Arabia; and, like 
them, be subject to the depredations of the marauder. 
Here may spring up new and mongrel races, like new 
formations in geology, the amalgamation of the 'debris' 
and 'abrasions' of former races, civihzed and savage; the 
remains of broken and almost extinguished tribes; the 
descendants of wandering hunters and trappers; of fugitives 
from the Spanish and American frontiers; of adventurers 
and desperadoes of every class and country, yearly ejected 
from the bosom of society into the wilderness." 

But we, the white men, are repeating in our age the 
same old story. Historians tell us that the glories of an- 
tiquity were highest in the lands of the desert. It was so 
in old Egypt and Palestine. It was so in Arabia, Persia 
and northern India. It was so in the lands of the Car- 
thaginians and of the Moors. As these desert lands were 
once the heart of the world, we are making the West the 
heart of the best grazing and the best producing harvest 
lands of the American continent. The old worlds lost, not 
because of their lands, but because of want of mental and 
physical energy in their people. Our experiment will 
permanently endure because it is the home of the golden 
period of our manhood. 

But again. We have had statesmen who did not want 
the West to become a part of our common country. We 
have had some who wished the top of the Rocky mountains 
might be the western barrier and border line of the United 
States. Senator Benton, in 1825, in a speech in the United 
States senate, said: "The ridge of the Rocky mountains 
may be named as a convenient, natural, and everlasting 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 53 

boundary. Along this ridge the western limits of the 
republic should be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god 
'Terminus' should be erected on its highest peak, never to 
be thrown down." 

In 1846 Senator Winthrop, of Massachusetts, quoted 
what Senator Benton had said, and added the following 
comment: "This country will not be straightened for 
elbow room in the West for a thousand years, and neither 
the West nor the country at large has any real interest in 
retaining Oregon." In 1843 Senator McDuffie, of South 
Carolina, said: "The whole region beyond the Rocky 
mountains, and a vast tract between that chain and the 
Mississippi, is a desert, without value for agricultural 
purposes, and which no American citizen should be com- 
pelled to inhabit unless as a punishment for crime. Why, 
sir, of what use will this territory be for agricultural pur- 
poses? I would not for that purpose give a pinch of snuff 
for the whole territory. I wish to God we did not own it. " 

Mr. William Sturgis, in speaking for the New England 
commerce before the Mercantile Library Association of 
Boston, said: "It would be a less evil for the Pacific 
ocean to flow eastward to the Rocky mountains than to 
convert that territory into new states for the Union." 

Mr. Tracy, a member of congress from New York, 
said: "Nature has fixed limits for our nation; she has 
kindly introduced as our western barrier, mountains almost 
inaccessible, whose base she has skirted with irreclaimable 
deserts of sand." 

These statesmen may have lived long enough to change 
their opinions, and we may condone what they then said 
because at that time a transcontinental railroad was con- 
sidered a chimera, and the electric telegraph had not 
become a means of communication. Thomas Benton, in a 
later part of his life had a brighter vision of the importance 
of the West, and pointed to it as the great commercial high- 
way to the old worlds of the far East. 



54 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Charles Sumner redeemed Massachusetts from the 
narrow views of Winthrop when he drew that beautiful 
contrast between the West and the East. "Our brethren 
and our children have done in the West what our fathers 
did in the East. Under new conditions, in a later age, on 
the shores of a more pacific sea, in a more genial clime, 
they are to repeat in the near future, the old and wondrous 
story. The world shall see in that far clime the streets of 
a wealthier New York; the homes of a more cultured 
Boston; the halls of a more learned Harvard; the work- 
shops of a busier Worcester." 

But we have Americans who can see in these arid and 
desert regions beauty and color and fascination and who 
would retain them for their mystery and charm. Van Dyke 
looked upon these scenes and wrote in that classic, "The 
Desert": "In sublimity — the superlative degree of 
beauty — what land can equal the desert with its wide 
plains, its grim mountains, and its expanding canopy of 
sky! You shall never see elsewhere as here the dome, the 
pinnacle, the minaret fretted with golden fire at sunrise 
and sunset; you shall never see elsewhere as here the sun- 
set valleys swimming in a pink and lilac haze, the great 
mesas and plateaus fading into blue distance, the gorges 
and canyons banked full of purple shadow. Never again 
shall you see such light and air and color; never such 

opaline mirage, such rosy dawn, such fiery twilight 

Look out from the mountain's edge once more. A dusk is 
gathering on the desert's face, and over the eastern horizon 
the purple shadow of the world is reaching up to the sky. 
The light is fading out. Plain and mesa are blurring into 
unknown distances, and mountain-ranges are looming dimly 
into unknown heights. Warm drifts of lilac-blue are drawn 
like mists across the valleys; the yellow sands have shifted 
into a pallid gray. The glory of the wilderness has gone 
down with the sun. Mystery — that haunting sense of 
the unknown — is all that remains." 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 55 

The nation again is stretching out its hand into these 
arid plains described by Van Dyke, and irrigation is chang- 
ing these vast plains into farms, orchards, and gardens. 
Again we see, as the sea receded, as the glaciers melted, 
the desert passes, and verdure and trees come to cover the 
land as the conquering heroes of old were adorned with 
chaplets of flowers. Water! Water! has become the 
master king of the desert. 

Virginia had her cavahers; New England her pilgrim 
Puritans; the West has had her pioneers: 

"They came as the winds come 
When forests are rendered. 
They came as the waves come 
When vessels are stranded." 

These pioneers were daring and intrepid men; men 
in whose life currents there flowed in modified and en- 
lightened form the elements of that spirit of old that led 
the Macedonian chieftain in his conquering career in Asia 
and won him the title of Alexander the Great; that dwelt 
in Rome and marched with Caesar's armies through the 
forests of Germany and the valleys of Gaul; that went with 
the Black Prince of Normandy when he crossed the North 
sea and vanquished the armies of Harold, and gave him 
the realm of England for a throne, and the name in history's 
page of William the Conquerer; that spirit of old that led 
Columbus across the trackless ocean to find a new con- 
tinent that the world might move onward, and without 
which America would have remained unknown. 

These were the men who laid the soHd foundations of 
the West; that West, where, in our day, evidences of refine- 
ment are seen everywhere; that West, which is moving the 
center of the country's social, commercial and political 
gravity farther westward every year, and presents untold 
possibihties for the future. 

For more than a hundred years the planters of Virginia 
and the Puritans of New England were European sentinels, 



56 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

standing guard over the Atlantic seaboard for old England. 
Our pioneers began as empire builders and in less than a 
hundred years have brought nineteen new states into the 
Union. They were as the Star of Bethlehem, leading and 
lighting the way for the twenty millions of people who are 
the citizens of these new states, and all under the American 
flag. 

These pioneers have made the desert an epitaph on 
the tombstone of time. Steam and electric forces are now 
ruling the West as they rule the East. With us the present 
is living history. The United States in this, the twentieth 
century, is flashing sunlight over the world. 

When the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads 
were chartered it was believed that they would open up 
to communication the lands on either side of them for a 
distance of two hundred miles. This meant an area of 
territory four hundred miles in width and extending from 
the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, a distance of eighteen 
hundred miles. This immense virgin territory which would 
thus be brought in touch with the outer world and opened 
to settlement was larger than England, and Scotland, and 
Ireland, and Spain, and Portugal, and Belgium, and the 
Netherlands combined. If the continent of Europe were a 
vast dial of a clock and the city of Omaha were in its center 
as the pivot point and this line of railroad were the minute 
hand, its sweep would reach across Russia and into the 
Arctic ocean on the north, across the Caspian sea into Asia 
on the east, reach across the Mediterranean and touch the 
shores of Africa on the south, and penetrate the waves of 
the Atlantic on the west. 

We have here at home the material for another con- 
trast. In 1864 the little town of Julesburg, now a station 
on the Union Pacific railroad, was an important stopping 
point of HoUaday's Overland Express. In that year there 
arrived at this shanty town 3,574 wagons of freight, guarded 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 57 

by 4,258 men, and hauled by 28,592 horses, mules and 
oxen. In 1864 that same Overland Express Company em- 
ployed between the Missouri river and the mountains 
15,000 men, and 20,000 wagons, and 150,000 animals. In 
that same year it transported to the West 100,000,000 
pounds of freight. Freight charges were seventeen cents 
a pound for every hundred miles, and passenger fares 
varied from thirty to fifty cents a mile. 

Today the Union Pacific hauls through the same 
station of Julesburg every year about 500,000 passenger 
and freight cars, and 5,000,000 tons of freight, and its 
passengers are carried in palaces of luxury at two cents a 
mile. Transition from Holladay's Overland Express of 
1864 to the Union Pacific of 1910 surpasses in existing 
reality anything in fancy word painting or in dream life 
found in any Arabian story. "Truth is stranger than 
fiction." 

It has been said that it is the happiest of all fates to 
be born in Massachusetts and to live in Nebraska. Yet it 
is true that we have only "crossed the threshold of our 
new epoch". The men who plow and plant and cultivate 
are writing Nebraska history on her imperishable earth. 

The prosperity of Nebraska springs from the soil and 
the seasons and the industry and the intelligence of her 
citizens. Her farmers plant in faith; they cultivate in 
hope; they reap in grace. They are the uncrowned kings 
of the day. Nebraska is wealthier than was any state in 
the Union at the time of the adoption of the federal con- 
stitution. Last year her products from the farms and 
factories exceeded six hundred millions of dollars. It was 
a sum of money exceeding two-thirds of all the trade which 
either Italy or Russia had with the outside world. It 
exceeded by nearly one-half the entire world trade of 
Switzerland. It was nearly twice as large as the entire 
world trade of Spain. Such is the Nebraska which has been 



58 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

carved out of the desert of Lieutenant Pike, and Major Long, 
and Washington Irving, and all of it since the signing of that 
contract in New York by John Jacob Astor. 

This state of Nebraska is also striking in the extent 
and measurement of her territory. She is equal in area 
to eight Vermonts; to ten Massachusetts; to fifteen Con- 
necticuts; to thirty-eight Delawares; to seventy Rhode 
Islands. If our United States senators were representatives 
of square miles of territory, Nebraska should have eight 
times as many senators as Vermont; ten times as many 
as Massachusetts; fifteen times as many as Delaware, and 
seventy times as many as Rhode Island. Our western 
states have been too anxious and over hasty to get into 
statehood. If the territory west of the Missouri river 
should attain a population exceeding by one-half the 
entire population east of the Missouri valley, nevertheless, 
the eastern states would maintain the balance of power in 
the United States senate. We have no remedy for this 
ultimate situation except to change the constitution, or by 
consent to create a larger number of smaller states out of 
those, which, in territory, are empires in themselves. 

The magnitude of the West is not appreciated by her 
own people and is not understood by our eastern friends. 
We speak of individual states by name, with but little 
comprehension of their extent of territory or of their pos- 
sibilities in either the near or the distant future. 

The Dakotas are known to thousands of our people 
simply by the name they bear. Yet acre per acre, England, 
Scotland, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands could be 
put within the boundaries of the Dakotas. We could put 
all these European countries within the states of Oregon, 
Washington and Idaho, and have enough land left to make 
a few more New England states. 

If Texas were a great inland sea and the republic of 
France were an island within it, the island would be so far 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 59 

from the shore at every point as not to be visible. The 
concession after the Mexican war and the Gadsden purchase 
added territory enough to the West to make one hundred 
states as large as Massachusetts. 

It has been said of Washington and Idaho and Oregon 
and parts of Montana and Wyoming that they have the 
productive capacity and the possibilities of an empire vast 
enough to furnish homes and sustenance for fifty millions 
of people. It is safe to say that there are other portions 
of the fertile West which have the soil and the climate to 
support one hundred and fifty millions more. 

What is this great West doing for the world today? 
There are illustrations which beggar description. It has 
been said that American energy sweeps the decks of the 
world's commerce. That energy comes from the West. It 
has been said that the cradle of today is rocking elements 
that will startle the world of tomorrow. Their discoveries 
are being made in the West. It has been said that " Electric 
words from the land shores jump into wireless aerial chariots 
and, in the twinkling of an eye, dance upon the decks of 
ships one hundred miles out at sea." 

It is from the West that there come the products of 
the soil and of the mines and of the ranges and the forests, 
the material that ladens these ships, that makes wireless 
telegraphy a useful instrumentality in the world's com- 
merce. 

There are miUions of people in the East who, by reason 
of misstatements which have engendered misconceptions, 
entertain the belief that the West is uninteresting and un- 
important. The sublime old Atlantic ocean and the quaint 
and interesting scenes of Europe have fascinations that lure 
our eastern friends in travel to the older countries of the 
East. Their course of reading and line of education have 
had closer affiliation with the ancient, than with the modern. 
They know more of the ruins of Greece and Italy than of 



60 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the rich productive lands west of the Missouri river. They 
know more of the history of olden cities which are fast 
going into decay than of the new cities of the West, such as 
Omaha, Denver, Portland or San Francisco. They know 
more of the history of the departed races of the Incas and 
of the Aztecs, brilliantly told by Prescott, than of the 
Indian races of our own country not yet extinct but fast 
disappearing, or than they know of the pioneers who have 
opened up the way to the occupation of one-half of the 
American continent. 

To these, our eastern friends, we would suggest that 
in many particulars the West is superior to the East. Our 
Atlantic seaboard travelers who luxuriate in the Alps 
during the summer may find grander and more majestic 
scenery in the Rocky mountains. Neither Europe, nor 
Asia, nor Africa can present anything in beauty of coloring 
or imposing grandeur equal to the Yellowstone park or the 
Grand Canon of the Colorado. The sweep of our broad 
plains and prairies is beyond comparison with the land- 
scapes of France, and is only excelled by the restless majestic 
sweep of the waters of the ocean. 

Our eastern fellow citizens, by reason of the damp, 
chilling colds of winter, the blasts that come from the 
ocean, and the air which at times is overburdened with 
moisture, seek more favorable climates for the preservation 
or restoration of health. Yet it is true that the arid regions 
of the higher altitudes of the West, all the way from Colorado 
to California, where the dry atmosphere does not carry 
germs of disease, and whose cold does not chill the marrow 
of the bones, is becoming known as a vast sanitarium. 
"Its pure, sweet air and sunny skies are instinct with the 
breath of life." 

If New England should awaken some morning and 
see that her barren waste lands had vanished from the 
vision and her rugged climate had taken its flight north- 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 61 

ward, and instead of these there had come to that same 
New England the dimate and diversified resources of states 
like Nebraska, Colorado, Washington or Oregon, they 
would grow dizzy in their rejoicings at the surrounding 
pleasures of climate and the vast possibilities of economic 
resources. 

There is more water power in the rivers that flow from 
the slopes of the Rocky and Sierra mountains than there is 
in all New England. These rushing mountain streams of 
the west are awaiting the coming of the mill owners to make 
the capital of the investors profitable. 

The forests in Maine and Michigan for more than a 
century furnished the lumber to supply the necessities of 
the eastern and middle states. But the new states of 
Washington and Oregon have larger trees and more ex- 
tensive forests than had the states of Maine and Michigan. 

There is more coal in Wyoming and Colorado than 
there is in Pennsylvania. There are out-croppings of more 
beds of iron on the slopes of the Rocky mountains than 
there are in all the states east of the Mississippi. England 
goes to South Africa with enormous outlay of capital and 
with great expense to maintain a protective army to acquire 
lands from which she can get her supply of gold to main- 
tain her standard of money. The United States for a cen- 
tury has been taking from the mountains of the West gold 
and silver which for ages had lain sleeping there awaiting 
the coming of the pioneer and the gold-digger, with the 
improved machinery and appliances of these modern times. 

But richer than all these are the vast productive 
resources of the soil. The cattle ranges, the products of 
the farms, the wealth that comes up out of the ground, 
repeating itself every year; these are exhaustless resources 
of wealth equaled nowhere else in the United States and 
surpassed nowhere in all the known lands of the earth. 

During the last half century we have built up a com- 
merce that has been pouring out its surplus in the mercan- 



62 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

tile channels of the East and, overflowing there, has spread 
itself out over the seas. New York and her Atlantic coast 
sisters may speak proudly of their harbors for great ocean 
vessels carrying the tonnage and the traffic of the world; 
but on the Pacific the West has a longer range of seacoast 
and better harbors, — from San Diego to the Golden Gate 
and from thence northward to Seattle. 

Now is the time for us citizens of the West to welcome 
our fellow citizens of the East with outstretched arms and 
tell them something of the opportunities and possibilities 
of the lands west of the Missouri river. We might remind 
them of a statement many times made that if the May- 
flower had landed on the Pacific coast instead of at Ply- 
mouth, San Francisco would have been the New York of 
America. We might remind them of what the British 
ambassador, Mr. Bryce, said in the American Common- 
wealth: "The West is the most American part of America. 
. . What Europe is to Asia, what England is to the rest of 
Europe, what America is to England, that the western 
states and territories are to the Atlantic states." 

The West is to the East what the vigorous atmosphere 
is to the lungs of man, furnishing nourishment to the 
physical system and stimulus to the healthful circulation 
of the blood which invigorates the body and brain. The 
eighty thousand miles of railroad traversing and penetrat- 
ing all the regions of these nineteen western states, which 
are largely capitalized and financiered in the city of New 
York and in return annually pour into the coffers of banks 
and trust companies of that great city their revenues and 
profits, are absolutely essential to the maintaining of that 
moneyed center. If this great West should be suddenly 
blotted out and that vast capitalization should disappear, 
and the revenues coming from these railroads should be 
stopped, havoc, bankruptcy and ruin would fall upon 
those moneyed houses. If the breadstuffs that come from 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 63 

the great West were suddenly cut off and the Atlantic coast 
states were required to go to Europe or South America 
and bring to them by the slow process of ocean-going 
transportation the necessary foodstuffs to sustain life, the 
burden and strain would be beyond anything I may venture 
in the way of description. If the annually produced and 
accumulated wealth of these western states, whose surplus 
products go into the marts of the world through the chan- 
nels of commerce centering in New York, were at once 
terminated, New York, as a city, would go into a panic. 

Cut off the resources, the commerce, and the wealth 
that comes from the territory west of the Missouri river 
and the Atlantic coast cities would begin a rapid depopula- 
tion. Had it not been for the possibilities of the West and 
what is actually being produced in the West, New York 
and her associate sister cities on the Atlantic coast might 
never have reached a population exceeding that which they 
had when the development of the West began a hundred 
years ago. Without the West, New York, Philadelphia and 
Boston might not have grown larger than the present cities 
of Omaha, Denver and San Francisco. So we say to the 
millions of New York, to the one and a half million of 
Philadelphia and to the million of Boston, "Wake up to 
the fact that you are beholden to the lands west of the 
Missouri river for your wealth and population." 

But it is to be remembered that the West is yet in its 
infancy. When we shall have had as much time for im- 
provement and development as the Atlantic coast states 
have had, we will become peopled as they are. We will 
have larger cities than they have. We will have all the 
refinements and advantages they enjoy. Within that 
period we may realize the prophecy of Andrew Carnegie 
that the United States will have a population of five hun- 
dred millions of people, every one an American, and all 
boasting a common citizenship. But when we do, two 



64 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

hundred millions of them will live west of the Missouri 
river. Another writer has said that if this country keeps 
on increasing in population at the same ratio as it has in 
the past, within one century in the future we will have a 
population of one thousand millions of people. Should 
that calculation be realized there will be found west of the 
Missouri river a population of four hundred millions of 
people; a population equal to that of all China; a popula- 
tion nearly double that of the Indian empire. 

I know that such speculations impress us now as dreams 
of the imagination or as hopes of the fancy, but their realiza- 
tion will be no more strange to the people of a century 
hence than the things which we witness around us every 
day would have been startling to the people of a century 
ago. From the American desert until now, and from now 
to a century hence is the march of progress under the hand 
of God. It is the American republic coming into her own, 
the ruling power, the mistress of the world. 

Before that ultimate day comes all of Asia will have 
adopted our systems of government and accepted the 
benefits and advantages of our higher civilization. 

Her lands will be cultivated as our lands, her people 
educated as our people. The products of her soil, the out- 
put of her mines and factories will come pouring into our 
western harbors. As this land came up from the bottom 
of the sea, and then passed into a tropical climate, and 
then into a glacial period, and then into the American 
desert, and then, when the hand of the nation had been 
stretched out into it, became a luxuriant garden of wealth 
and prosperity; so in time the United States of America 
will transfer its East to the West, and the chief trade of the 
country and her great cities will be found on its western 
coast. The state of Nebraska with its seventy-seven 
thousand square miles of territory and its successful, 
happy and prosperous population will be near the center 



ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 65 

of a more magnificent and overwhelming republic; the 
gateway of the vast trade from the East to the West; the 
source of internal wealth and power, and Omaha will be 
the gateway of all this immense commerce. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 

By Edward L. Sayre 

A portion of what follows has at different times been 
published in some form but not in a connected story, so 
far as the writer is aware. 

The intention is to give bits of history gathered from 
the files in the office of the secretary of state, journals of 
the territorial council and house of representatives, session 
laws of the legislature, records of Douglas county, of which 
up to June, 1857, the country around Bellevue v/as a part, 
and from records found in possession of individuals; so 
that all the data herein can be substantiated and the 
history as made by the ''old timers" be preserved without 
any attempt to make history, as was done last year when 
the "Centennial of the Settlement of Bellevue" was held, 
a centennial without foundation so far as written history 
has been found. 

It is proper to very briefly bring down the first knowl- 
edge we have of the inhabitants of the country at and after 
the time Manuel Lisa cried "Bellevue!" as he stood on 
the bluffs where the college is now located. That one 
French word certainly expressed a truth that all who have 
been there can heartily endorse. ^ 



1 The tradition that Lisa expressed this sentiment rests only upon 
unauthenticated tradition, precisely like the constantly repeated story 
that Belle\'ne was settled by white people in 1810, here criticized by Mr. 
Sayre, and which we know to be without foundation. The truth about 
this exclamation attributed to Lisa, so far as anybody knows, lies wholly 
in the fact that he might well have uttered it, — precisely the quality 
which makes all truly good fiction truer than a compilation of bare facts 
though never so well authenticated. — Ed. 

(66) 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 67 

The records of the Lewis and Clark expedition of 
1803 furnish our first information of inhabitants north of 
the Platte river in Nebraska, the travelers having held a 
council with the "Maha" tribe, now known as the Omaha. 
Just why or when the name was changed will not be considered 
here. That the two names were apphed to the same people 
is shown by the fact that treaties were made between the 
United States government and the "Mahas", July 20, 1815, 
and October 6, 1825, and with the ''Omaha", July 15, 1830, 
all of which were signed by Chief Opa-ton-ga or Big Elk, 
whose grave is on College Hill at Bellevue.^ 

The Omaha were recognized as owners and occupants 
of the land about Bellevue, and March 16, 1854, a treaty 
was made with them — approved by President Pierce on 
June 21, 1854 — whereby they ceded to the United States 
all interest therein. Article 13 of the treaty provided as 
follows: 

"The board of foreign missions of the Presbyterian 
church, have on the lands of the Omahas a manual labor 
boarding school, for the education of the Omaha, Ottoe 
and other Indian youth, which is now in successful opera- 
tion, and as it will be some time before the necessary build- 
ings can be erected on the reservation, and (it is) desirable 
that the school should not be suspended, it is agreed that 
the said board shall have four adjoining quarter sections 
of land, so as to include as near as may be all the improve- 
ments heretofore made by them; and the President is 
authorized to issue to the proper authority of said board a 
patent in fee simple for such four quarter sections." 



2 The treaty of July 20, 1815, was one of "peace and friendship" 
made at Portage des Sioux by William Clark, Ninian Edwards and Auguste 
Choteau, commissioners. Manuel Lisa was one of the witnesses. The 
treaty of 1825 was executed at Ft. Atkinson, on the part of the govern- 
ment by General Henry Atkinson and Benjamin O'Fallon. The treaty 
of 1830 was executed at Prairie du Chien by William Clark, superintendent 
of Indian Affairs, and Col. Willoughby Morgan for the government. These 
treaties are printed in volume 7 of the United States statutes at large, 
pp. 129, 282, 328. By the treaty of 1854 the Omaha ceded all the territory 



68 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The four quarter sections were selected, and when the 
government surveys of 1855-6 were completed, the "Mis- 
sion Reserve", as it was called, occupied portions of four 
sections, as shown by the plat on page 69. 

The reserve was used to fix the boundaries of the 
adjacent "squatter" claims, and these were used in turn 
to establish the lines of claims used by those next ad- 
joining them. In this way the locations of all squatter 
claims of which a description has been found were placed 
on the blue print map very accurately. 

While the Indians were still on the ground the fur 
traders came among them and established their trading 
posts, many of them taking Indian wives. Just when the 
trading post was established at Bellevue is not known. 
A thorough examination of the records kept by the fur 
companies might yield this interesting information. We 
do know that a post was there and for many years in charge 
of Peter A. Sarpy, up to and after the time that the city 
of Bellevue was platted.^ 



they claimed west of the Missouri river and south of the Aoway. The 
Platte river was its southern boundary, and it extended west as far as 
Shell creek, the eastern boundary of the Pawnee country. The Omaha 
afterward exchanged the remnant of their territory north of the Aoway 
for a reservation in the neighborhood of their old village which they still 
occupy. This treaty was executed in the city of Washington by George 
W. Manypenny, commissioner, and Logan Fontenelle, Joseph Le Flesche, 
and other chiefs of the tribe. [10 Stat., 1043.]— Ed. 

3 The Missouri Fur Company established the first important post 
at Bellevue, probably soon after 1820. Andrew Drips and Lucien Fon- 
tenelle, representing — at least in part — the American Fur Company, 
superseded the pioneer company in 1830. There were only squatter 
traders there before this. According to the earliest records so far avail- 
able, license running to traders at Bellevue — by that name — was first 
issued in 1825. Joshua Pilcher might have been at Bellevue for a few 
years after Lisa's death in 1820. There is sufficient evidence that there 
was no trader's, or other establishment on the site of the subsequent 
Bellevue when the Astorians passed it in 1811; and Astor's company did 
not establish or have a post along the Missouri river until eleven years, 
at least, after that time. 

The first post of any note in what is now Nebraska was the "winter- 
ing house" of Crooks and McClellan, established by them in 1807, and 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 69 

NebraskK State Historical Society Volume 16 Plate 8 



CL-A I M S 

Made by 

Squatter Sovereigns 

IN V/CINITy OF 

BELivuE Nebraska 

IN THE VeAFS 
lS5^}ie55,ie5£ AND 1857.1 



-\3=- 



Bridge "ort 



Cle^hc rn^ha rp, 





Part of plat of Bellevue and vicinity compiled by Edward L. Sayre, showing 
Mission Reserve and earliest Belleviie claims. 



70 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

After the fur traders came the missionaries, with the 
purpose of civilizing the Indians and teaching them the 
white man's way, and from the present prosperous con- 
dition of the Omaha it is evident the work they began was 
not thrown away.-* Then came the squatters with their 



occupied or used until they went with the Astorian expedition in the 
spring of 1811. This post was important chiefly on account of the im- 
portance of its founders. The first post, having regard both to permanency 
and prominence, was Lisa's, established for the Missouri Fur Company 
soon after 1812, five miles and a half below the original Council BlufiF. 
It was probably transferred to Bellevue by Joshua Pilcher, Lisa's successor 
in the Missouri Fur Company, soon after the latter's death in 1820. About 
the same time John Cabanne established Cabanne's post for the American 
Fur Company eighteen miles above Bellevue and near Lisa's — perhaps 
three miles below. According to Bradbury's rather indefinite account of 
the situation of the Crooks and McClellan post, Cabanne's post might 
have occupied the same site. Pilcher succeeded Cabanne as custodian of 
the post in May, 1833, and not many years after transferred it to Bellevue, 
probably consolidating it with the former Missouri Fur Company's post 
which through Fontenelle and Drips had come into the possession of 
the American Fur Company. 

The Nebraska Palladium, July 15, 1854, in the course of a historical 
sketch of Bellevue, says that the American Fur Company established a 
post there about the year 1810, and put it in charge of Joseph Roubidoux 
(founder of St. Joseph, Missouri), and that he was succeeded by John P. 
Cabanne at the end of six years. Now we have reliable information that 
Cabanne established the post named for him about 1822, which, according 
to the best available authority, was the year of the first occupation of 
that part of the Missouri river valley by the American Fur Company; 
and, as already pointed out, Cabanne remained in charge of his post until 
1833. In the same sketch the Palladium says that Peter A. Sarpy suc- 
ceeded Cabanne as custodian of the Bellevue post in 1824. Since Sarpy 
was right at hand it might be inferred that the editor of the Palladium 
obtained his information directly from him and that it is reliable. Still, 
since other material statements in the sketch are incorrect, according to 
our present knowledge, and since newspaper sketches of this sort are most 
noted for their errors, we cannot rely on the statement about Sarpy. It 
may be, however, that Cabanne was at Bellevue in 1824, that Sarpy 
relieved him and that he then established the post known by his name 
eighteen miles above. All we can safely say about the beginning of Belle- 
vue is that it was the place of the first permanent white settlement in 
Nebraska — emphasizing permanent — and that this regular occupation 
began not long after 1820.— Ed. 

^ It it doubtless true that such improvement as the Omaha have 
made is mainly due to general intelligence acquired in schools, public and 
special, and their constant contact with white civilization. — Ed. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 71 

claims and claim clubs. Upon the Indian title to the land 
being extinguished by the treaty of March 16, 1854, Col. 
Peter A. Sarpy, Stephen Decatur, Rev. William Hamilton, 
and other residents at the old trading post or Presbyterian 
mission, and some of the residents at Omaha, at Council 
Bluffs, St. Mary's, and Traders Point, on the Iowa side of 
the Missouri river, conceived the idea that they were 
entitled to three hundred and twenty acres of public land. 
This pretension was presumably based on the donation 
claim laws of Oregon, passed in 1850; at any rate claims 
were located by many, as hereinafter shown, and on October 
28, 1854, arrangements were made to organize a claim 
club for the protection of its members in holding claims. 
The rules for governing the club and its members, if any 
were adopted at that date, cannot now be found, but the 
following revision thereof is of record in volume H, page 
101, of deeds, in Douglas county. 

REGULATIONS OF THE BELLE VIEW CLAIM ASSOCIATION 

At a regular meeting of the Belleview Settlers Club, 
held at Belleview, February 10, 1855, Messrs. Gow, Cook, 
and Decatur, a committee appointed at the last meeting 
to revise the by-laws of the club, reported a series of articles 
which, when amended, were adopted as follows: 

Article I. This association shall be known and 
designated by the name and style of the Bellevue Settlers 
Club. 

II. The officers of this association shall be one presi- 
dent, one register, one marshal, and one treasurer. 

III. The duty of the president shall be to try and 
decide all disputes between members of the club in reference 
to claims or otherwise, and upon the demands of either 
party shall summon a jury of six persons to try all disputes 
in relation to claims, the jury to be selected as follows: 
viz., the president shall write down the names of eighteen 
persons (members of the association) and each party shall 
mark off alternately until six names are left, the defendant 
marking first (but the parties themselves may agi'ee upon 
any less number) and in case said persons are not present, 



72 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the president shall issue his order requiring said persons to 
appear before him to form a jury for the trial of said cause. 
Members of this club whose claims have been jumped or 
their rights interfered with subsequently to their becoming 
such members, shall be protected by the club in the same 
manner and to the same extent as in cases where the dis- 
putants are both members of the club. It shall be the 
duty of the president to preside at all meetings of the 
association, and in his absence, a president pro tem shall 
be appointed. 

IV. The duty of the register shall be to record all 
claims and other necessary matter, to act as secretary at 
all meetings of the association, and to act as president in 
the trial of claim disputes in the absence of the president 
or when he is a party interested. 

The marshal shall execute all orders and decisions of 
the president and juries, shall see that the laws of the 
association are observed, and shall have power if necessary 
to call upon members of this association to assist in execut- 
ing the same. 

The treasurer shall receive and disburse all moneys 
belonging to the association and shall be authorized to 
pay all drafts for the expenses of the association when 
presented to him, drawn by the register and countersigned 
by the president, and shall render an account of all moneys 
received and disbursed by him whenever required so to do 
by the vote of the association. 

V. We will recognize no claim made before the 
ratification of the late treaty with the Omaha, Ottoe and 
Missouri Indians. 

VI. We recognize the right of every resident of the 
United States of lawful age or who may be the head of a 
family, or who may be by a vote of the club admitted a 
member., to select, mark and claim three hundred and 
twenty acres of land, and who shall, within four months 
from this date or from the time of making his claim, pro- 
ceed to erect thereon a cabin or such other improvements 
as he may deem best and shall within four months there- 
after move upon and make his home on said claim. Single 
persons shall be allowed to hold claims by making im- 
provements thereon of the value of fifty dollars and by 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 78 

becoming a resident of the territory within the said eight 
months, whether Hving upon their claims or not, providing 
they continue to improve their said claims. 

VII. All claims must be well staked on the prairie 
and blazed in the timber, so that lines can be readily 
traced, and it shall be the duty of each claimant to register 
his claim with the description thereof, as near as may be, 
and he shall pay the register the sum of one dollar for 
recording the same. 

VIII. All persons failing to commence improving or 
entering upon their claims within the time specified in 
Article 6 shall forfeit their said claims, and it shall be 
lawful for any other person to enter them. 

IX. This association will not recognize the right of 
any person to hold more than one claim in Nebraska 
territory, nor the right to hold by companies. 

X. Any person to receive the benefit and protection 
of this association, must subscribe his name to the articles 
of this association, except excused by the association for 
some good reason, and is in honor bound when called upon 
to assist the marshal in the performance of his duties, and 
shall pay to the treasurer such sum or sums as may be 
voted by the association for contingent expenses. 

XL Any member having a claim dispute shall be 
entitled to a trial by making a complaint to the president 
in writing, containing a brief statement of his grievances. 
The president shall thereupon issue a summons requiring 
the defendant to appear before him at a certain time and 
place therein named, which time shall not be more than 
ten, nor less than three days from the time of serving the 
same, to answer to said complaint. 

XII. The regular meetings of this association shall 
be the last Saturday of each month, unless otherwise 
ordered by a vote of the association, and the president is 
authorized to call special meetings whenever he may 
think necessary. 

XI II. Each claimant shall at all reasonable times 
hold himself in readiness to point out the extent of his 
claim to any person who may wish to ascertain the fact. 

XIV. We agree upon the survey of the territory to 
mutually deed and re-deed to each other, so as to leave 
the land as near as possible as claimed. 



74 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

XV. The officers of this association shall receive a 
suitable compensation for their service, which sum shall 
be decided by the association. 

On motion, resolved that all rules adopted by this 
club at former meetings, not conflicting with the above, 
are retained. 

Wm. Gilmour, President. 
Wm. A. Griffin, Register. 
S. M. Breckenridge, Marshal. 
James C. Dellette, Treasurer. 

On motion, resolved that the thanks of the club be 
tendered the president, Wm. Gilmour, for the dignity and 
impartiallity with which he has exercised the duties of his 
office. 

On motion, resolved that the marshal be allowed three 
dollars per day for any and every day he shall be in active 
service for the club, a part of a day being considered as the 
whole, the fee to be paid by the party obtaining redress. 

On motion, resolved that the president when engaged 
in judicial duties shall receive the same compensation as 
the marshal. 

On motion, resolved that the treasurer may retain 5% 
of all moneys belonging to the club in his hands. 

On motion, resolved, that Wm. Bennett, a minor, be 
and is hereby declared a member of this club, and shall 
receive the protection of the same. 

On motion, resolved, that no person shall become a 
member of this society except at a regular meeting of the 
same and by a vote of the majority of the same admitting 
him. 

Resolved, that all persons who intend to record claims 
shall ffie descriptions of the lands intended to be claimed 
with the recorder, attaching their signatures to the same, 
and, provided different individuals ffie descriptions of the 
same land, then the one first on file shall have precedence 
on the record. 

Resolved, that all claims must be recorded at the 
regular meetings of the club and at no other time, and 
that the record shall be read to the entire club. 

On motion, resolved, that the limits of this society 
extend to the Platte river on the south, the Missouri river 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 75 

on the east, north to the south Hmits of the society of the 
Omaha City district, as declared by themselves, and running 
west fifteen miles from the Missouri river, then south to 
the Platte river. 

Stephen Decatur, Samuel Allis and Wm. Gilmour 
were appointed a committee to establish the northern limits 
of the society. 

Designated October 28, 1854. 

On motion the club adjourned to Saturday, the 24th 
of February, 1855. 

Wm. a. Griffin, Secretary. 
Wm. Gilmour, President. 

Received for record and recorded the 28th day of 
April, 1855, at 8 o'clock a. m. 

A true record. Attest, 

L. Richardson, Register of Deeds 

Evidently some members of the Settlers Club were 
not satisfied with its conditions and another meeting was 
held which, presumably, adopted a new set of rules which 
were recorded in volume A, page 116, of deed records of 
Douglas county. (James C. Dellette, treasurer of the Set- 
tlers Club, signs as secretary of this one). 

rules of the PLATTE VALLEY ACTUAL SETTLERS CLUB 

At a regular meeting of the Platte Valley Actual 
Settlers Club, held at Belleview on Saturday, May 5, '55, 
a large majority of actual settlers being present, the fol- 
lowing resolutions were unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, 1st. That the laws, regulations, etc., here- 
tofore adopted by this society and herewith attached, be 
recorded in the registers office at Omaha City. 

Resolved, 2d. That we earnestly protest against the 
laws there recorded, purporting to be from settlers here, 
while they were actually made by and with the help of 
residents from foreign states for mercenary purposes. 

BY-LAWS, ETC., OF THE SETTLERS CLUB 

Article 1st. This society shall be known as the 
Platte Valley Actual Settlers Club. Its territorial limits 
shall be from the mouth of the Platte river north along the 



76 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Missouri river to a point opposite "Indian Graves" 
about half way between Belleview and Omaha City, thence 
west fifteen miles, thence south to the Platte river and 
down such river to its mouth, the place of beginning. 

Article 2d. The officers shall be one president, one 
vice president, one marshal, and one secretary who shall 
act as recorder. 

Article 3d. The duty of the president shall be to 
preside at all regular and adjourned meetings, and all 
claim trials, etc. He is also authorized to call special 
meetings of the club to transact business. 

The vice president shall perform the duties of the 
president in cases of the absence or inability of the presid- 
ing officer. 

Article 4th. It shall be the duty of the marshal to 
enforce the decisions of the club and to keep order at its 
meetings. 

Article 5th. It shall be the duty of the secretary 
to keep the minutes of the club, to record all claims pre- 
sented by members of the club, for which he shall receive 
fifty cents for each claim, except the claims heretofore 
recorded by the old club, which shall be here inserted 
gratis. 

Article 6th. A claim shall not be more than 320 
acres, but may be held in two parcels, with not more than 
eighty acres of timber, but no one will be allowed to hold 
more than one claim, nor to hold claims by proxy. 

Article 7th. Residents of the territory of lawful age 
may hold claims. 

Article 8th. Claims shall be marked by blazing the 
lines in the timber and stakes on the prairie, sufficiently 
plain to be readily traced by those accustomed to trace 
lines. The corner stakes shall have claimant's name, 
number of acres, time of making, etc., well marked. With- 
in thirty days after making claims claimant shall begin his or 
her house or cabin thereon, and within thirty days more shall 
reside on his or her claim unless excused by a special vote 
of the club, and after residing thereon shall not leave it 
more than sixty days at any one time, but shall continue 
to make such improvements as will indicate his or her 
intention of making a permanent home. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 77 

Article 9th. Members having claims to record shall 
present them to the recorder, who shall file them and 
record the same at the first meeting thereafter. Those 
presented first have the precedence. 

Article 10th. Claimants having difficulties shall 
hand in a statement of their aggrievances to the president, 
who shall summon the parties before him in not less than 
three nor more than ten days. 

Article 11th. The president may try all disputes 
between settlers, but if required by either party, shall call a 
jury of six by writing the names of 18 members of this 
club, and the disputants shall mark off a name alternately 
until but six remain, defendant marking first. Disputants 
may agree on a less number. 

Article 12th. New members shall be elected by a 
vote of the club. 

Article 13th. The regular meetings of the club shall 
be the first Saturday of each month. 

Philander Cook, Pres. 
Jas. C. Dellette, Sec. 

Received for record and recorded the 10th day of 
May, 1855, at 11 o'clock a. m. 

A true record. Attest, 

L. Richardson, Register.* 

The settlers at Iron Bluffs, then a small village on the 
Elkhorn river, on sections 34 and 35, township 15 north, 
of range 10, east, in Douglas county (but which ceased to 
exist many years ago), organized a claim club, the record 
thereof being in volume A, page 196, deed records of Douglas 
county, the boundaries taking in all that part of Sarpy 
county west of the Bellevue Claim Club's territory.^ 
IRON BLUFFS ACTUAL SETTLERS CLAIM CLUB 

At a mass meeting of the resident claim holders, held 
at Iron Bluffs Ferry on the Elkhorn river in Nebraska 



* See Illustrated History of Nebraska for further accounts of claim 
clubs and additional light upon this one of the Bellevue propinquity.— Ed. 

6 See A, 332. In all references "A" means the volume of the Douglas 
county records, and figures refer to the page. — Ed. 



78 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

territory, July 19, 1855, called for the purpose of organizing 
a settlers club, A. R. Drake was called to the chair, and 
H. N. Cornell was appointed secretary. 

On motion a committee of three was appointed by 
the president to draft preamble and resolutions to be 
adopted at this meeting. Committee reported as follows, 
to- wit: 

Whereas, the territory of Nebraska is and has been 
declared open for settlement by our legally constituted 
and accredited representatives, and that we believe in 
squatter sovereignty, that the people have the right to 
make their own laws, and that for our mutual protection it 
becomes necessary for us to establish a code of laws, demo- 
cratic and equitable in themselves for the purpose of 
protecting actual settlers in the equitable possession of 
their claims. 

Therefore, resolved, that this society shall be known 
as the Iron Bluffs Actual Settlers Club. 

2d. Resolved, that the territorial boundaries shall be 
as follows, to- wit: Commencing at a point where the west 
line of the Platte Valley, Bellview and Indian Village Club 
strikes the Platte river, thence north on the west line of 
said society to a point east of Spoon Lake, thence west to 
the Platte river, thence down the Platte river to the place 
of beginning. 

3d. Resolved, that we recognize the right of all 
residents of the territory of lawful age, or the heads of 
families, to hold claims. That claims shall be made by 
blazing exterior lines in the timber and staking on the 
prairie, and by erecting mounds at convenient distances, 
so as to be readily traced by one accustomed to tracing 
lines. Corners shall be marked with claimant's name, 
time of making and No. of acres. Claims shall not contain 
more than 320 acres, but may be held in two parcels, and 
shall not contain more than eighty acres of timber. 

4th. Resolved, that any person making a claim shall 
within sixty days after making build a good comfortable 
dwelling house thereon and within four months shall be 
living on his or her claim, or have some good citizen thereon 
jn his stead, unless excused by vote of the club. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 79 

5th. Resolved, that [the] officers of this society shall 
be one president, one vice president, one marshal and one 
secretary who shall act as treasurer and recorder. 

6th. Resolved, that any person wishing to become a 
member of this club shall present his or her name at a 
regular meeting of the society, and may become a member 
by a vote of the meeting by subscribing his or her name 
to the rules and by-laws of the society. 

7th. The duty of the president shall be to preside at 
all regular and adjourned meetings, claim trials etc. He 
is also authorized to call special meetings of the club when 
he may see fit. 

8th. It shall be the duty of the marshal to enforce 
the decisions of the club and keep order at its meetings. 

9th. It shall be the duty of the secretary to keep the 
minutes of the club, to record all claims presented by 
members, for which he shall receive one dollar for each 
claim recorded, and shall act as treasurer. 

10th. All claims filed for record shall be acted upon 
at the next regular meeting of the society and upon a 
majority vote shall be received for record. 

11th. Claimants having difficulty shall hand in a 
statement of their grievances to the president, who shall 
summon the parties to appear before him in not less than 
three nor more than ten days. The president may try 
said disputes, but if required by either party he shall call 
a jury of six by writing down the names of eighteen mem- 
bers of this club. Disputants shall mark off a name alter- 
nately until six remain, the defendant marking first, dis- 
putants may agree on any less number, and the decision of 
the jury must be unanimous to constitute a decision, and 
if said jury cannot agree, a new jury shall be chosen until 
a decision is made. 

12th. The regular meetings of the club shall be the 
last Saturday of each month. 

13th. Resolved, that the foregoing by-laws and reso- 
lutions can be altered and amended at a regular meeting 
by a two-thirds vote of all of the members. 

14th. Resolved, that the proceedings be signed by 
the officers and recorded in the recorder's office in Omaha 
City as the laws of this club. A. P. Drake, President. 

H. N. Cornell, Secretary. 



80 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

It is unfortunate that none of the records showing 
action of the above named clubs at their meetings can 
now be found. DiHgent inquiry among "old timers" of 
Sarpy county failed to discover any trace of them, but 
the search should be kept up by every member of this 
society and results filed with its collections. Very many 
claims were recorded in the county records at Omaha, 
some of which show a former record by the club recorders; 
but many of the claims cannot be shown upon a map 
without those original claim club records. There is no 
record of the D. E. Reed claim, but it is the boundary of 
so many others that it is easily located. Part of this claim 
and part of the I. H. Bennet claim were evidently jumped 
by Charles Christopher, for his description (Claims, 14) 
seems to cover portions of each of those; but the records of 
Sarpy county show that Daniel E. Reed received a patent 
for the southeast quarter of section 1, township 13, range 
13, which would be approximately the east half of his 
original claim. 

All descriptions of claims in the Bellevue district, of 
which any record was discovered follow, and a blue print 
map, showing their location, has been deposited with the 
State Historical Society. The first record was that of Dr. 
Charles A. Henry, which, according to some evidence at 
hand, originally belonged to Kinney, Greene & Co., and 
was jumped by Dr. Henry. 



A-5. Charles A. Henry Claim. Recorded March 3, 1855. 

Commencing at an oak tree 75 rods north of the 
northeast corner of the southeast quarter of Mission 
Reserve; thence north 135 rods to northeast corner of 
Mission Reserve thence to low water mark of Missouri river; 
thence down the Missouri river 320 rods; thence west 180 
rods to the southeast corner of William Hamilton's claim; 
thence north 185 rods to the northeast corner of William 
Hamilton's claim; thence west 140 rods to beginning, con- 
taining 320 acres, more or less. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 81 

Strangely enough the next claim recorded is that of 
George W. Hollister, who was killed by Dr. Charles A. Henry, 
April 20, 1855, accidentally he contended. Upon the trial Dr. 
Henry was acquitted and discharged. 
A'8. George W. Hollister Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by Geo. A. Izard's claim, on east 
by Missouri river and lands unknown, on south by Fla- 
vius Izard's claim, and on west by lands unknown, containing 
320 acres. 

(See A-18) 



A-10. G. F. Turner Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Commencing at a tree on the River Platte, running one 
mile north, thence east half mile to a stake marked, thence 
south one mile, thence half mile west to place of beginning. 
It is bounded on the west by Daniel P. Turner, on east by 
J. K. Skirvin, on the north by Mr. George Izard, and on 
the south by the River Platte, containing 320 acres. 



A'lO. J. K. Skirvin Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Commencing at a tree on the River Platte, running 
north one mile and from thence half a mile east to a stake 
marked, and from thence one mile south to a tree marked 
on the bank of the River Platte. It is bounded on the west 
by G. F. Turner, on north by M. W. Izard, on the east 
by Francis M. Privit, and on the south by the River Platte. 
Containing 320 acres. 



A-11. Wm. A. Griffin Claim. March 5, 1855. 

I hereby give notice that I will claim and offer for 
record at the next regular meeting of the Bellevue Settlers 
Club, 280 acres of land lying in Nebraska, and bounded as 
follows: Beginning at the northwest corner of Bellevue 
Mission Reservation, running north nearly one mile, thence 
west half mile, thence south nearly one mile, thence half 
mile to beginning. It is bounded on south by Dellette's 
claim, on the north by Wm. Gilmour's claim, pledging my- 
self not to run onto his claim as already surveyed. 

(Recorded Feby. 14, 1855, in Bellevue Settlers Club.) 
Wm. a. Griffin, Recorder. 



82 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

A'll. Daniel P. Turner Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Commencing at the River Platte, running one mile 
north to a stake, thence east half a mile, thence one mile 
south to the River Platte, there marked on a tree, and from 
thence half a mile west to place of starting. It is bounded 
on the west by J. S. Morton and P. Cook, on the north end 
by J. Enoch, and unknown, on the east side by G. F. Turner, 
and on south by Platte river. Containing 320 acres. 



A-12, P. A. Sarpy Claim. March 6, 1855. 

Bounded on the south by the Mission Reserve, on the 
west by lands unknown, on the north by Stephen Decatur, 
and on the east by the Missouri river. Containing 320 
acres. 



A-12. S. M. Breckenridge Claim.. March 6, 1855.^ 

(As recorded, page 29, Bellevue Settlers Club). 
Bounded on the east by the Missouri river, on south 
by Wales Sanford, on west and north unknown. Con- 
taining 320 acres. Said claim is one mile long east and 
west, and one half mile wide north and south. Made 
February 21, 1854, and recorded November 25, 1854. 



A-17. Joseph Bennet Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by Ansel Briggs, on west by 
R. J. Gilmore, on the south by H. P. Bennet and on the 
east by Bellevue Mission. Containing 320 acres. 



A-17. H. P. Bennet Claim-. March 5, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by Joseph Bennet, on the west 
by A. R. Gilmore, on the south by George Hepner, and on 
the east by D. E. Reed. Containing 320 acres. 



A-18. George Hepner Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by H. P. Bennet, on the east 
by E. Butterfield, and Wm. Bennet, on the south by Chas. 
F. Watson, and on the east by U. Upjohn. Containing 
320 acres. 



A-18. A. W. Hollister Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Assigned from Geo. W. Hollister, the north fractional 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 83 

half of section 27 and the east half of the northeast quarter 
of section 28, both in township 73, range 45. 

Note. — The sections, township, and range, above 
mentioned, were intended to continue the surveys in Iowa, 
across the Missouri river. 



A-16. Stephen Decatur Claim. March 5, 1855. 

As recorded on page 14 of the records of the Bellevue 
Settlers Club. Bounded on the north by Widow Thomp- 
son, on the east by lands unknown and Missouri river. 
On south by P. A. Sarpy and on west by Wm. Gilmour 
and C. E. Smith. Containing 320 acres. Claim being one 
mile long north and south and half a mile east and west. 



A-17. I. H. Bennet Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by Bellevue Mission, on the 
east by P. J. McMahon, on the south by D. E. Reed, and 
on the west by Bellevue Mission. Containing 300 acres. 



A-17. P. J. McMahon Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Now assigned to Messrs. Brown and Knipper. 
Bounded on the north by Jno. F. Kinney's claim, on 
the west by I. H. Bennet and D. E. Reed, on the south by 
Wm. R. English, and on east by Missouri river. Con- 
taining 820 acres. 



A'17. W. R. English Claim. March 5, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by P. J. McMahon, on the 
east by Missouri river, on the west by U. Upjohn and on 
the south by B. Tzschuck's claim. Containing 160 acres. 



A-19. Tyson and Sharp Claim. March 13, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by Joseph Dyson and Jonathan 
Tyson claims, on the west by John W. Winters, south by 
Platte river. Commencing on a large island at the south- 
east corner of Winter's claim, thence easterly along north 
shore of said river 80 chains, thence north 30 chains, thence 
westerly along north line of timber, thence southwest to 
beginning, being on the upper part of an island in Platte 
river. Surveyed by me October 11, 1854. 

0. N. Tyson, Surveyor. 



84 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

A-23. Fenner Ferguson Claim. March 11^, 1855. 

Beginning at a stake near a cottonwood tree 32 inches 
through, standing on west bank of the Missouri river, on 
the south Hne of A. W. Hollister's claim, thence west 69 
chains, thence south 67 chains and 16 Unks to the PappilUon 
Creek, thence down said creek as it winds and turns to 
the Missouri river, thence up the Missouri river to be- 
ginning. Containing 320 acres. 



A-23. Erastus N. Upjolm Claim.. March lU, 1855. 

Beginning at the southwest corner of lands claimed 
by Fenner Ferguson at a point on north side of Pappilhon 
creek, running thence north 67 chains and 16 links, thence 
east 40 rods, thence north 40 chains, thence west 20 chains, 
thence south 40 chains, thence west 25 chains to the east 
bank of the Pappillion creek, thence down the said Pap- 
pilhon creek as it winds and turns to the place of beginning. 
Containing 320 acres. 



A-2J^. Uriah Upjohn Claim. March IJf, 1855. 

Beginning at the northeast corner of the land claimed 
by George Hepner, thence east along the south line of D. 
E. Reed's claim one mile, thence south half mile, thence 
west one mile, thence north along the east line of said 
Hepner half mile to the place of beginning. Containing 
320 acres. 

Note. ^ See A-195 and comments thereon. 



A-62. Bridgeport Town Claim. March 30, 1855. 

A plat of Bridgeport Town Claim, situated 18 miles 
south of Omaha City and about 8 miles southwest of Bellevue, 
and about 8 miles northwest from Plattsmouth. Articles 
of association made and entered into by Isaac Tyson, 
Jonathan R. Tyson, Emery L. Sharp, and Benjamin A. 
Cleghorn, this day for the purpose of laying out and build- 
ing a town on the north bank of the Platte river about 8 
miles from its mouth in the county of Douglas, temtory of 
Nebraska, to be called Bridgeport. It is mutually agreed 
by the parties to this agreement that the expense and labor 
of the association are to be equally borne, and the profits 
and losses equally shared by them respectively. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 85 

That the town claim shall consist of nine hundred and 
sixty acres (960) bounded east by Joseph Dyson, south 
by the Platte river, west by John Newton, and 160 acres 
of timber land lying south of Dyson's, on the island in the 
Platte river. Said claim having been surveyed and recorded. 



A-80. James Hoive Claim. April 17, 1855. 

In Belle\aie district, commencing one and one-half 
mile south and 80 rods west of the lower ford of the Pap- 
pillion creek, at southwest corner of a little hardwood 
grove, thence north 160 rods, thence east 320 rods, thence 
south 320 rods, thence west 80 rods, thence north 160 
rods, thence west 240 rods to place of beginning. Con- 
taining 320 acres, and bounded on the south by J. S. 
Morton, east by U. Upjohn, north by John Moon, and 
west unknown. 



A-82. B. P. Rankin Claim. April 16, 1855. 

Lying between the Papeo and Platte rivers, com- 
mencing at a small tree on the Missouri river, the north- 
east corner, which tree is also the southeast corner of the 
Watson or Izard claim, running thence west one half 
mile, thence south, parallel with ridge which borders the 
marsh land on the Missouri river one mile, thence east 
one-half mile to said ridge. 



A-82. J. S. Morton Claim. April 16, 1855. 

Commencing on the Pappillion at the northwest corner 
of the Watson or Izard claim, thence up the Papillion 
to Jimmy Howe's line on the Papillion, thence west along 
Howe's line to the northeast corner of John Butcher's 
claim, thence south to Turner's southwest corner, or to a 
point on Turner's line, agreed upon, thence east along 
Turner's line to Kentuck's northeast corner, thence north 
to beginning. 

Note. — The two claims last above were apparently 
a partnership affair for on April 20, 1855, J. Sterling Morton 
made a quit claim deed to B. P. Rankin for "All my 
right, title and interest in the two claims near Bellevue, 
known as the Rankin and Morton claims. (Sevastapol & 
Inkerman)." 



86 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

A-83. S. A. Strickland Claim. April 17, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by James Tozier and on the 
west by P. Myers and on south and east by unknown. 
Commencing at a point on east and west line between 
Tozier and Strickland, as agreed upon by them, and running 
south one mile, thence east half mile, thence north one 
mile, thence west one-half mile. Containing 320 acres and 
known as the east part of the Hull & Bevens claim. 



A-90. Jonas Mitchell's Claim. April 19, 1855. 

Lies 4 miles southwest of the Omaha village on the north 
side of the Platte river, commencing at the southeast corner 
of McLaughlin's grove at a marked tree, running thence 
half mile west, thence one mile north, thence half mile 
east, thence one mile south to the place of beginning. 
Containing 320 acres. This claim was made on or about 
the 1st day of March, A. D. 1855. 



A'123. H. H. Smith's Claim. May 12, 1855. 

Bounded on the north by Farer, east by J. Tyson, 
south by Platte river, west by Old Missouri claim. Con- 
taining 160 acres. 



Note. — No record is found of original claim on the 
two following, but quit claim deeds for their conveyance 
appear. 
A-123. C. R. Lloyd to Simeon Alson. May 12, 1855. 

Land bounded on the north by P. Riley, east by Wm. 
S. Howe, south by Platte river, and west unclaimed, running 
north and south one mile, and east and west one-half mile. 
Containing 320 acres. Said claim known as Old Missouri 
Claim, about 7 miles southwest from Bellevue City. 



A-12Jf. Wm. L. Lloyd to Hyrum N. Smith. May 12, 1855. 
Land bounded on the west by Mr. D. Meier (?), 
north by Jos. Dyson, east by Isaac Tyson, and south by 
Platte river. Containing 80 acres. About 8 miles south- 
west from Belle\aie Citv. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 87 

A-132. Thomas McMaster's Claim. May 26, 1855. 

I have marked a claim to Grape Island, bounded by the 
Missouri and Platte rivers and a sand bar, 320 acres, which 
covers the whole island, except 80 acres claimed by Geo. 
F. Walbridge on west end of said island. 



A-133. Wm. A. Grifin. May 26, 1855. 

Beginning at the southwest corner of the Mission 
Reserve in Bellevue, thence south 40 rods, thence east one- 
half mile, thence north 40 rods, thence west one-half mile 
to beginning. Containing 40 acres. 



A-lJf.3. Claim of George L. Langley. June IJf, 1855. 

This is to certify that I claim a piece of land in 
Nebraska territory on the Platte river, some three miles 
from its mouth and bounded as follows, on the east by 
claim of Daniel Turner, on the north by claim of Cook 
and Tinkel, on the west by the claim of Jonathan Tyson, 
and on the south by the Platte river. Said claim is well 
staked and blazed and contains near 250 acres, more or 
less. Said claim was made originally by J. Sterling Morton 
and transferred to me by him March 8, 1855. 



Note. — The "claim" on the south side of the Pap- 
illion at its mouth is not recorded in the Douglas county 
records, but is referred to as bounding other claims. It 
seems to have been owned jointly by Governor Mark W. 
Izard and Eli Watson, as shown by the following quit 
claim deeds. 
A'l 60. Mark W. Izard to Roswell G. Pierce. June 19,1 855. 

Beginning on the west bank of the Missouri river, at 
the mouth of the Papillion Creek, running with the main 
channel of said creek up to the corner of the Morton claim, 
thence due Sv^uth 27 chains and 60 links to a stake, thence 
due east to the Missouri river, 95 chains and 35 links, 
thence up said river to beginning. 



A-161. Eli Watson to Rosivell G. Pierce. June 19, 1855. 

The undivided half of the following claim and premises 
in Douglas county, consisting of 320 acres, bounded as 
follows: (Same description as last above). 



88 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

A-176. William G. Preston's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

William G. Preston's claim in Nebraska, lying on both 
sides of the Papillion creek and bounded on the north by 
the claim of C. D. Robinson, on the east by E. P. Watson 
and Mr. Finney, the same being one mile north and south, 
by one-half mile east and west. Containing 320 acres of 
land. 



A-177. William R. Watson's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

Claim of William R. Watson in Nebraska, described 
as follows: The east half of section 19 in township being 
a continuation of township 73 north of range 44 west for 
the state of Iowa. 



A-177. James M. Pike's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

Beginning at stake and mound in valley on prairie 
southwest from the point where the Papillion first touches 
j;he bluff on south side west of Sailings Grove, and 
runs east 80 chains, to a stake and mound, thence north 
40 chains to stake on north side of creek, thence west, 
crossing the creek four times, 80 chains, thence south 40 
chains to beginning. Containing 320 acres. Situate in 
Bellevue district. 



A-177. Eli P. Watson's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

The N. W. i of section 18 and the S. W. i of section 17 
in township being a continuation of township 73 north of 
range 44 west of Iowa. 

A-178. S. M. Pike's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

Commencing at a stake in prairie, southeast from the 
south end of what is known as Sailings Grove, 8 chains, 
and runs thence west 40 chains to stake in valley, thence 
south 40 chains to stake on side hill, thence east 80 chains, 
thence north 16 chains to Spring branch, and 40 chains, to 
John Sailings southeast corner, thence west 40 chains to 
beginning. Containing 320 acres. Situate in Bellevue 
district. 



A-178. Chas. E. Watson's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

Being the S. E. i of section 20 and the S. W. I of 
section 21, township 73, north, of range 44 west, which 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 89 

said lines have been continued across the Missouri river, 
and go to make up fractional township numbered as above 
in Iowa. It is further bounded on the north by the city of 
Belleview, on the east by land claimed by F. Calkins, on 
the south by Job Moon and on the west by claim of William 
Bennet. 



A-178. Francis E. Caldwell's Claim. July 6, 1855. 

Being the N. W. | of section 29, and the N. E. | of 
section 30, in the township being a continuation of town- 
ship 73 north, of range 44, west, for the state of Iowa. 



A-179. George F. Wallhridge Claim. JuUj 6, 1855. 

Commencing at F. E. Caldwell's southeast corner, and 
runs south 26 chains to land claimed by J. Butcher, thence 
west along the north line of said Butcher and J. Enoch 
and P. Cook, 80 chains, thence north 27.50 chains to Cald- 
well's southwest corner, thence east along his south line 
80 chains to beginning. Containing 216 acres. 



A-189. James C. Dellette. July 13, 1855. 

Claim bounded on the east and south by the Mission 
Reserve, west by lands claimed by C. D. Keller, on the 
north by land claimed by William A. Griffin. Containing 
160 acres of land lying in a square form as near as may be. 



A-190. A. N. Briggs Claim. July 13, 1855. 

Commencing at the southwest corner of C. E. Watson's 
Claim, thence one-half mile south, thence one mile east, 
thence one-half mile north, thence one mile west to the 
place of beginning. Bounded on the north by C. E. Watson, 
on the west by Caldwell, on the south by James Howe, 
on the east unknown. Containing 320 acres formerly 
claimed by Joab Moon, a non-resident. This claim made 
June 15, 1855. 



A-195. Claim of H. T. Clarke. June 27, 1855. 

Beginning at the northeast corner of land claimed by 
George Hepner, thence east one mile along the south Une 
of D. E. Reed's claim, thence south half a mile bounded 
by T. G. Shoultz, thence west one mile bounded on the 



90 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

south by Calkins, thence north to the point of beginning. 
Containing 320 acres. 

Note. — This description is identical with that of the 
claim of Uriah Upjohn {A-2J^) who was a brother of the 
wife of Chief Justice Fenner Ferguson. Mr. Clarke stated 
that Upjohn made this filing for the benefit of Mrs. 
Ferguson who was not entitled to a claim and that upon 
the advice of J. Sterling Morton he (Clarke) jumped the 
claim. The records of Sarpy county show that Mr. Clarke 
received a patent for the northeast quarter of section 12, 
township 13, north, range 13, east, which very nearly 
corresponds with the east half of above claim. 



A-205. Almann Lockwood to Jmnes S. Allen. 

July 15, 1855. 
All title and estate, legal and equitable in the following 
premises, bounded and described as follows: On the north 
by the Missouri river, on the east by Widow Thompson 
(now J. J. Painter), on the south by C. E. Smith, on the 
west by Daniel Norton. Containing 320 acres. Reserving 
any stone coal mines that may be found. 



A-231. B. H. Hickman to B. G. Decker. August 7, 1855. 

My claim of 320 acres of land with the body of a house 
erected upon the same. Said claim lies in the big bend 
near Bellevue, about three-fourths of a mile from J. A. Pain- 
ter's claim, in said bottom, the above claim being fully 
marked and blazed. 



A-S32. Claim of L. L. Bowen. August 25, 1855. 

I make the following claim at or near Bellevue, Douglas 
county, Nebraska Territory, commencing at a point on 
the Missouri river where the original claim of Greene, 
Kinney & Company (afterwards jumped by Charles A. 
Henry, Anderson, Hamilton & Co.) touches said river, 
thence westerly along said line and the north line of the 
Mission Reserve as it now is, or may be hereafter estab- 
lished, to a point 188 rods from said starting point, thence 
north to the line of P. A. Sarpy's claim 82 rods, thence 
east along the south line of P. A. Sarpy's claim to the 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 91 

Missouri river, thence southerly and easterly to the place 
of beginning. Containing 100 acres more or less. 



A-^27. Claim of Rachel M. Larimer. April 22, 1855. 

Commencing at the southwest corner of B. P. Rankin 
claim, running east along the south line of said Rankin's 
claim to the Missouri river, thence south along the line of 
the Missouri river to the mouth of the Platte river, thence 
up the Platte river along the bank to the southeast corner 
of Jacob Skirvin's claim, thence north to place of be- 
ginning. Said claim contains 320 acres more or less. 



B-37. John Butcher to B. F. Jones. Janry. 18, 1856. 

Beginning at J. N. Enoch's southeast corner, running 
due east along line to B. P. Rankin's west line, thence north 
along said line to a stake about 200 yards north of said 
Rankin's northwest corner, thence west a half mile, or to 
J. N. Enoch's northeast corner, thence south to the place 
of beginning. Containing 320 acres more or less, or what 
I suppose to be. 



Claim Book-lJf. Chas. Christopher Claim. April 11, 1856. 

Bounded on the north by the Bellevue Mission prop- 
erty, east by the McMahon claim, on the south by Reed & 
Kinney's claim, and on the west by the east line of the 
claim known as the J. F. Bennet claim. The same con- 
taining 320 acres, lying and being in the county of Douglas 
N. T. and lying in township 13 north of range 13 East 
and township 13 north of range 14 east of the survey of 
the United States. 



Claims-^l. John C. Hileman's Claim. June 10, 1856. . 
Commencing at a mound on the township line one 
mile east of the mouth of Elkhorn river, running east from 
said mound 240 rods to a stake which is the northeast 
corner, thence commencing at said stake and running 
south 160 rods to another stake which is the southeast 
corner, thence commencing at said stake and running west 
240 rods to a section corner which the southwest corner, 
then commencing at said section corner and running north 
160 rods to the place of beginning. Containing 240 acres. 



92 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Timber claim lies immediately west of the mouth of the 
Elkhorn river on an island in Platte river, said island runs 
north and south. Containing about fifty acres, more or 



ClaimS'55. Claim of John W. Denton. July 5, 1856. 

I hereby declare that I have this day made claim to 
east half of section twenty-two (22) township fourteen 
(14) north, range twelve (12) east in Douglas county, 
and territory of Nebraska. 



Claims-55. Claim of Michael Flanigan. July 5, 1856. 

I do hereby declare that I have this day made claim 
to the west half of section twenty-two (22) township 
fourteen (14) north, range twelve (12) east in the county 
of Douglas, territory of Nebraska. 

Claims 58. Claim of Roht. M. Smith. July 17, 1856. 

The following is a description of land this day claimed 
by Robert M. Smith, viz: The east half of section 21 
(twenty-one) town 14 (fourteen) range 12 (twelve) east, 
Douglas county, N. T. Containing 320 acres be the same 
more or less. 



Claim-59. Claim of Wm. J. Curtice. July 17, 1856. 

The following is a description of land this day claimed 
by Wm. J. Curtice, viz: The west half of section 21 
(twenty-one) town 14 (fourteen) range 12 (twelve) east 
Douglas county N. T. Containing 320 acres, be the same 
more or less. 



Claim^-62. Claim of William Herold. August 1, 1856. 

I hereby certify that I have this day made claim to 
the following described tract of land, situated in the county 
of Douglas, territory of Nebraska, being the south half of 
section number seventeen (17) in township No. thirteen 
(13) north, of range No. twelve (12) east of the 6th 
Principal Meridian, by staking and marking the same 
according to law. And I do hereby declare my intention 
of holding the same as a claim on the public lands. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 98 

Claims-66. Claim of Richard Kimball July 28, 1856. 

I hereby certify that on or about the first day of 
August, A. D. 1855, I made claim to the following tract of 
land, to-wit: The northeast quarter of section eighteen 
range thirteen east all in township fourteen north 
by staking the same and causing the same to be surveyed, 
and making the improvements required by law. 



Claims-69. Claim of Wm. H. Watson. August 7, 1856. 

E. I sec. 14, town 14, N. R. 12 east, being 320 acres, 
lying on east side of J. T. Taylor's claim. 



Claims-69. Claim of Anthony Voll. August 19, 1856. 

This is to certify that I Anthony Voll have on the 
5th day of August 1856 made claim to the following 
lands, situated on Five Mile Creek in the county of Douglas, 
N. T. in Bellevue Club District. T. 14 N. range 11, 
east, commencing at the southwest corner of J. M. Becker's 
claim, running (south | mile, thence west one mile, thence 
north across the said creek) ^ mile, thence east one mile, 
thence south to the place of beginning, ^ mile, running so as 
to take in the creek all the way up, and a grove of oak timber 
with my name marked on two of the trees, containing 320 
acres, with the required improvements made on it. Sup- 
posed to be in sections 19 and 20 in the above said 
range and township. 



Claim^-70. Claims of Rickley, Burkley & Breidenbach. 

August 19, 1856. 
We the undersigned, S. S. Rickley, St. Burkley & John 
Breidenbach have staked off and ploughed on the same, 
and claim the following described land situated in Douglas 
County, N. T. in the Bellevue Club District, and in T. 14, 
N. R. 11, E. and commencing at the N. E. corner of J. M. 
Becker's claim of same date, in same township and range, 
thence running east | mile, thence north i mile, thence 
east I mile, thence north I mile, thence east ^ mile, thence 
north I mile, thence east one mile, thence south ^ mile, 
thence W. f mile thence south ^ mile, thence west ^ mile, 
thence north ^ mile thence east I mile, thence north | 
mile to place of beginning, so as to take in said creek length- 



94 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

wise in said claim, containing 320 acres each for said Rickley 
and Burkley and 280 acres for said Breidenbach, and are 
making the usual improvements thereon. Said lands are 
supposed to be in sections 10, 11, 14, & 15 of said township. 
Note. — The above description will not close. Some 
courses and distances were evidently omitted in recording. 



Claims-7S. Claim of J. M. Baker. August 19, 1856. 

I the undersigned J. M. Baker have staked off and 
claim the following land in Douglas County, N. T. to-wit; 
being 320 acres and situated in the Bellevue Club District 
in T. 14 N. R. 11 E. and commencing at a point S. E. some 
30 rods at a stake, of the west furthermost large tree in 
the 5 mile creek on Sec 20, about a half mile east of a 
grove on said creek, thence running north f mile thence 
E I mile, thence S. | mile, thence West I mile, thence 
south I mile, thence west | mile to place of beginning. 
And am making the usual improvements thereon. Sup- 
posed to be in Sections 17 and 20 as above. 



Claims-75. John McCoy's Claim. Sept. 6, 1856. 

This is to certify that I claim the north west I of Section 
23 and the north east | of Section 22, T. 14 north of range 
11 East. 



ClaimS'76. Nathan S. Whitney's Claim. September 6, 1856. 

This is to certify that I, N. S. Whitney, have this 6th 
day of Sept. 1856 made a claim on the following tract of 
land, described as follows, viz. south west \ of Section 7, 
north west \ of Sec 18 in town 14, north, R. 12 East. 



Claims-76. Thos. Paulsens Claim. Sept. 6, 1856. 

This is to certify that I, Thomas Paulsen have made a 
claim on the 10th of August on the following tract of land, 
described as follows: viz. S. W. I of Sec 14 and S E | of 
Sec 15, in town 14 N. R. 11, east. Surveyed by Mr. 
Dickson [Dickinson]. 



Claims-77. Preston McCoys Claim. Sept. 10, 1856. 

Preston McCoy of Omaha, Nebraska, hereby claims 
the following described piece of land, viz. The south west 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 95 

i of Sec. 23. Theeastiofsoutheastiof Sec. 22. The N E 
i of Sec. 27. The north h of N W i of Sec 26, in township 
14, N. range 11 east, County of Douglass, Territory of 
Nebraska. 



Clainis-78. John S. Blackburns Claim. Sept. 5, 1856. 

I have this day laid claim to the north half of section 
21, township 13, north or [of] range 12 east of the 6th prin- 
cipal meridian, the same adjoining Mallet and Vanensens 
Claims on the south. 

NOTE.^ — The record shows township 13, but it is 
probable that 15 was meant. 



Claims-79. George Johnston's Claim. August 27, 1856. 

This is to certify that I have this day made claim of 
the south east quarter of section twenty nine (29) and north 
east quarter of section No. thirty-two (32) in all three 
hundred and twenty acres (320) in T 14 N. R 12 E. in 
Douglas Co. N. T. 



Claims-80. W. H. Collier's Claim. Sept. 6, 1856. 

This is to certify that I, W. H. Collier this 25th day of 
July have made the following described claim on the 
public lands in Douglas Co. N. T. situated between the 2d 
and 3d PapilHon rivers, as follows. Commencing at the 
south west corner of Sec 8 T. 13 N. R 12 E and running 
North 1 mile, east | mile, south 1 mile and thence west 
1 mile, being the E -o- of said Sec 8. 



Claims'81. Wm.W. Dickinson's Claim. Sept. 22, 1856. 

This is to certify that I claim and desire to retain 
possession for settlement the N E | of Sec 17 and S E | 
of Sec 8 in town 14 north, range 12 east in Douglas County, 
Nebraska Territory. 



Claims'81 . Thos. D. Murray's Claim. Sept. 22, 1 856. 

This is to certify that I claim and desire to retain 
possession of for settlement of the North ^ of Sec 24 in 
town 14 north, range 11, east in Douglas County, Nebraska 
Territory, the same being surveyed and staked for me 
Sept. 20, 1856 by Wm. W. Dickinson, Surveyor. 



96 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Claims-81. Hiram Veith's Claim. Sept. 22, 1856. 

This is to certify that I claim and desire to retain 
possession of the east ^ of Sec 23 in town 14 north, range 
11, east, Douglas County, Neb Territory, the same being 
surveyed and staked out for me by Wm. W. Dickinson, 
Surveyor, Sept. 20, 1856. 



Claims-82. I. F. Collins Claim. Sept. U, 1856. 

West I of Section 29 town 14 north range 12 east, 
County of Douglas, Nebraska Territory. 



Claims-85. Parker, Rumhold & Co. Oct. 18, 1856. 

Know all men by these presents, that we have this 
day made claim to the following unimproved lands in the 
County of Douglas and Terr of Nebraska, namely, the 
South East quarter of Sec 18, township 14, north or [of] 
range 12 east and the south west quarter of Sec. eight 
township fourteen north twelve east. 

0. F. Parker, Wm. Rumbold & Co. 

Claims-86. Noble Chase Claim. Oct. 19, 1856. 

This is to certify that I have this day claimed a certain 
portion of the pubhc lands, being described as follows, 
viz: The west | of Sec 17, in township No. fourteen (14) 
range No. 12 East of the 6th P. Mer. 



Claims-89. J. P. Manning Claim. Nov. 11, 1856. 

J. P. Manning claims on the 10th day of November 
1856 the east § of Section 14, township 14, fourteen, north, 
range 12 east. 



Claims-90. W. R. Thrall Claim. Nov. 11, 1856. 

I hereby certify that I have this day laid claim to a 
certain tract of land lying in Tp. 14 N. R 10 E. commencing 
at the S E corner of Section 25, thence north ^ mile, and 
west for quantity, and in the above I claim 280 acres. 



Claims-92. Parker, Rumhold & Co. Oct. 22, 1856. 

We have this day made claim to the following unun- 
proved land, situated and being in the County of Douglas 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 97 

and Territory of Nebraska,, and described as follows, the 
South West quarter of Section Seven, Township Fourteen 
North, of Range Twelve, East, and the North half of the 
North West quarter of Section Eighteen, Township Four- 
teen North of Range Twelve East. — Oct. 21. 

0. F. Parker, Wm. Rumbold & Co. 



Claims-QJf. Hadeton Land Company Claim. Nov. 8, 1856. 

The Hazleton Land Company have this day claimed 
the following described land, the East half of the North 
West quarter of Section 20, Township 14, North, Range 12 
East, 80 acres. The West half of the North West quarter 
of Section 19, Township 14, North, Range 12, East, 80 
acres. Wm. A. Gwyer, 

Sec. Hazleton Land Co. 



ClaimS'lOO. J. M. Kuhn & Robertson's Claim. 

Dec. 10, 1856. 
I, J. M. Kuhn & J. Robertson have claimed Section 1, 
T 13, N. R 10 E. In connection with some thirty or forty 
acres of timber land, a part of which is on the east side 
of the Elkhorn river and opposite the timber of Shields, 
Stokes and McCune, and some being on island in said 
river, and joins on the North the timber of Mr. Jones 
across the river. 



Claims-117. Horace S. Hall. May 16, 1857. 

I hereby certify that I have this day staked off and 
laid claim to that portion of the unclaimed public lands of 
the Territory of Nebraska known as the West half of 
Section (34) Thirty-four Township (14) Fourteen range 
Eleven (11) East. Containing 320 acres. 



Claims-118. Franklin Smith Claim. May 16, 1857. 

Omaha, May 15, 1857. 

This is to certify that I have this day staked off and 
claimed the portion of the public lands of Nebraska, known 
as the South half {\) of. Section Twenty-eight (28) Town- 
ship 14, Range 11. 



98 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

ClaimS'119. John McQuay Claim. May 21, 1857. 

This is to certify that I have this day laid claim to 
the North half of Sec No. 28, Township 14, Range 11, 
East. 



Claims-120. D. D. Belden Claim. April 27, 1857. 

I hereby certify that on or about the 27th day of 
April A. D. 1857, I made claim to the following tract of 
Gov Land, to-wit: the E h of the South East \ of Sec 
No Twelve Township 14 North of Range 12 East and the 
South West \ and the West half of the South West \ of 
Sec 7 Township 14, north Range 13, East by staking the 
same and causing the same to be surveyed etc. All said 
land situated and lying in Douglas Co. N. Territory, 
supposed to contain 320 acres of land. 

Note.— The last description above probably meant 
for southeast quarter. 



Without going very extensively into the history of 
Sarpy county, the earliest part of it, down to June, 1857, 
when it was actually organized as a county, is in place 
here. There is some evidence that Governor Francis 
Burt, who arrived at the Mission House in Bellevue, 
Friday, October 6, 1854, and died there on the 18th of the 
same month, intended to locate the territorial capital at 
Bellevue.' If he had lived but a short time longer it is 
quite probable that the early counties would have had 
other names and positions on the map; but he performed 
no official act. Under the act creating Nebraska territory, 
upon the death or disability of the governor, the secretary 



' The organic act did not invest the governor with the power to fix 
upon the location of the capital, but it did authorize him to fix the time 
and place of the first meeting of the general assembly and to divide the 
territory into legislative districts and apportion members among them. 
The power to place the capital was given to the legislature. There is 
little room for doubt that if Governor Burt had lived about three months 
after assuming his office he would have designated Bellevue as the place 
of the first meeting of the legislature and would have apportioned its 
members fairly, thus giving the South Platte section, which favored Bellevue, 
complete control of the legislature. See Illustrated History of Nebraska, 
V. 1, pp. 173-222.~Ed. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 99 

of the territory assumed the duties of his office. Secretary 
Thomas B. Cuming arrived at Bellevue Mission Thursday, 
October 12, and as acting governor on the 18th issued a 
proclamation announcing the death of Governor Burt. 
November 23, 1854, acting Governor Cuming issued a 
proclamation calling an election to be held on December 
12, to choose members of the first legiskture, defining the 
boundaries of eight counties, giving their names. Douglas 
county, which contained the greater portion of the present 
Sarpy county, was bounded as follows: Commencing at 
the mouth of the Platte river, thence north along the 
west bank of the Missouri river to a point one mile north 
of Omaha City, thence west along the south boundary of 
Washington county twenty miles, thence south ten miles, 
more or less, to the Platte river, and thence east to the 
place of beginning. (Doubtless the last course intended to 
follow the channel of the Platte river, but if the wording 
was strictly construed a portion of the territory would be 
omitted. A map deposited with the State Historical 
Society shows the county with the theory that the river 
was the boundary line). 

The proclamation divided the county into two districts, 
the election for the northern district to be at Omaha, 
and for the southern at the Mission House in Bellevue. 
Isaiah Bennet, D. E. Reed and Thomas Morton were 
named as judges, and G. (George W.) Hollister and Silas 
A. Strickland as clerks for Bellevue precinct. The proc- 
lamation ordered that, "Said territorial legislature will 
convene on the 8th day of January . . aforesaid." December 
20, 1854, the acting governor issued another proclamation, 
ordering the legislative assembly to meet at Omaha City 
January 16, 1855 (instead of January 8, as originally in- 
tended), and that all proceedings of the assembly for the 
first session should be held at Omaha City. 

Believing they had been deceived and cheated — for 
under Cuming's scheme all the members from Douglas 



100 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

county were of course residents of Omaha — the citizens 
of Bellevue and vicinity immediately began seeking means 
whereby they could have a voice in political affairs. Ac- 
cordingly, February 1, 1855, house file No. 22, "An act to 
define the boundaries and estabUsh the seat of justice of the 
county of Douglas", was introduced in the legislature. The 
boundaries were as follows: ** Beginning at a point in the 
middle of the main channel of the Missouri river, opposite 
the middle of the main channel of the mouth of the Platte 
river, thence northwardly with the middle of the main 
channel of the said Missouri river to a point two miles 
north of the town of Florence, formerly known as Winter 
Quarters, thence west eighteen miles, thence south to the 
middle of the main channel of the Platte river, thence 
eastwardly with the middle of the main channel of said 
Platte river to the place of beginning in the middle of the 
main channel of said Missouri river. . ." 

February 6, 1855, the following petition was presented 
to the council and referred to a special committee: 
*'To the Honorable the Legislature of the Territory of Ne- 
braska: 

"Your petitioners, residents of that portion of the 
territory immediately north of and adjoining the Platte 
river, being desirous of being included in a county that 
will be from geographical position best suited to their 
present and future interests and having the county seat 
located at a point central and convenient of access, respect- 
fully petition your honorable body for the passage of a 
bill organizing Sarpy county with the following boundaries, 
viz.: Commencing at a point on the Missouri river due 
east of the Indian gi-aves, situated about half way between 
Omaha City and Belle^ale on the main travelled road, 
thence due west to the Elkhorn river, thence down said 
river to the Platte river, thence down said Platte river to 
the Mis£ouri river, thence up the Missouri river to the 
place of beginning, and establish the county seat of said 
county at Bellevue, and your petitioners will ever pray." 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLE VUE 101 

The petition was signed by Geo. W. Hollister, P. A. 
Sarpy, C. T. Holloway, F. Ferguson, Thos. Morton, Wm. 
Hamilton, Stephen Decatur and thirty -five others. 

The select committee reported February 7, presenting 
council file No. 37, **A bill for an act to organize the county 
of Sarpy and locate the seat of justice thereof", having the 
same boundaries as requested in the petition, and recom- 
mended its passage. This action moved the Omaha mem- 
bers to obtain from the house committee pn counties and 
county boundaries, February 12, a report of a substitute 
for house file No. 22, which was the original bill, except that 
the name ''Omaha" was substituted gfor^l** Douglas". 
February 23 council file 27 (the Sarpy county 'bill) was 
laid on the table by a vote of eight in favor to five against ; and 
house file 22 was amended by striking out ''Omaha" and 
inserting "Douglas" as the name of the county. On the 
24th the house concurred in the amendment, March 5 
Governor Mark W. Izard approved the act; and the hopes 
of Bellevue were gone for the time.^ 



8 February 10 the house committee on county boundaries and county 
seats offered as a substitute for house file 22 and for house file 18 which 
changed the name of Pierce county to Ottoe and defined its boundaries, 
a consolidation of the two bills in which the name of Douglas county was 
changed to Omaha. February 12, on motion of Decker, of Pierce county, 
the consolidation bill was divided into two bills, each resuming its original 
number [House journal, first general assembly, pp. 48, 50]. February 13 
house file 22, to define the boundaries of Omaha county and locate its 
seat of justice was passed [Ibid., p. 54]; and on the 15th house file 18, 
defining the boundaries and locating the seat of justice of Ottoe — orig- 
inally Pierce ^ county was passed [Ibid., p. 62]. February 23, a motion 
in the council by Bennet, of Pierce county, — now Otoe — to amend 
the Omaha county bill by fixing the south line of the county so as to be 
identical with the north line of the proposed Sarpy county, and the north 
line three miles north of Florence instead , of one mile north of Omaha 
City, as in Governor Cuming's proclamation, and two miles above 
Florence, as in the original bill, was lost by a vote of five to eight, namely: 
Bennet, Bradford and Cowles of Pierce; Nuckolls of Cass; and Sharp 
of Richardson, aye; Brown of Forney (now Nemaha), Clark of Dodge, 
Folsom of Burt, Goodwill, Jones, Richardson and Rogers of Douglas, and 
Mitchell of Washington. After substituting Douglas for Omaha as the 
name of the county the bill was passed; whereupon council file 37, the Sarpy 
county bill, was laid on the table by a vote of eight to five, as follows: 



102 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

At this session an attempt was made to create a new 
county which would cover a part of the present county of 
Sarpy, then included in Dodge county. February 1, 1855, 
Mr. Byers of Omaha introduced house file 24, "An act to 
define the boundaries and establish the seat of justice of 
Elk Horn county. Beginning at the southwest corner of 
Douglas county in the middle of the main channel of the 
Platte river, thence north with the west boundary of said 
Douglas county to the northwest corner of the same, thence 
west to the middle of the main channel of Platte river, 
thence eastwardly with the middle of the main channel 
of said Platte river to the place of beginning, is hereby 
declared to be a separate and distinct county to be known 
and called by the name of Elk Horn county, the county 
seat to be at the town of Elk Horn. February 2 the bill 
was read a second time and referred to the committee on 
county boundaries and county seats, and March 5, as 
recommended by the committee, was laid on the table.' 

The second session of the territorial legislature convened 
at Omaha City December 18, 1855, Bellevue being repre- 
sented in the house by L. L. Bowen, who on January 3, 
1856, introduced house file No. 17, "An act to define the 



Brown, Folsom, Goodwill, Jones, Mitchell, Richardson, Rogers, Sharp, 
aye; Bennet, Bradford, Clark, Cowles, Nuckolls, nay. It is remarkable 
that in the fierce sectional conflicts subsequent to the first struggle over 
the location of the capital, Nemaha county sided with the North Platte. 
This apparently indefensible action was the cause or occasion of Furnas's 
pohtical undoing. But the amendment by the council declaring that 
"nothing herein contained shall have the effect to change or alter the north 
line of Washington county as now established" was incorporated in the 
act. [Council journal, first general assembly, pp. 89-90.] A motion by 
Bradford, to substitute "Belleview" for Omaha as the name of the county, 
received only the mover's vote. Bellevue, whose bow of promise was 
brightest up to the time of the struggle for the capital, was doomed by 
the loss of that decisive battle to the lot of the deserted village. — Ed. 

' The index of the house journal drops this bill with the reference 
to the recommendation of the committee, March 9, that it be laid upon 
the table [p. 110], and no further action upon it appears to have been 
taken. — Ed. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 103 

boundaries and locate the seat of justice of the county of 
Sarpy". A motion to reject the bill was adopted by a 
vote of 13 to 11; January 4 Boulware's motion to recon- 
sider the rejecting motion was carried by a vote of 17 to 9. 
The bill was then referred to the committee on county 
boundaries and county seats, which, January 18, reported 
as follows: "The standing committee upon county boun- 
daries and county seats, to which was referred the bill 
entitled, *An act to define the boundaries and locate the 
seat of justice of the county of Sarpy, ' with sundry papers, 
etc., have had the same under consideration, and respect- 
fully beg leave to report as a substitute a bill entitled, 
'An act to create a new election district in the southern 
portion of Douglas county,' and unanimously recommends 
the passage of said substitute. 

'*Wm. Clancy, 

L. L. BOWEN, 

John Boulware, 
L. Harsh, 
Thomas Gibson, 

Committee." 
The substitute became house file No. 86, a bill en- 
titled, *'An act to create a new election district in the 
southern portion of Douglas county", as follows: 
Be it enacted by the council omd house of representatives of 
the territory of Nebraska: 
Section 1. All that portion of territory included 
within the following boundaries, to- wit: Beginning at a 
point in the middle of the main channel of the Missouri 
river, due east of a point in the middle of the main channel 
of the Platte river, where the same disembogues into the 
said Missouri river, thence up the middle of the main 
channel of said Platte river to a point where the north 
boundary line of the second tier of townships north of the 
third standard parallel crosses said Platte river, thence 
due east on said north boundary line to a point in the middle 
of the main channel of the Missouri river, thence down the 



104 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

middle of the main channel of said Missouri river to the 
place of beginning, shall be, and the same is hereby, erected 
into a separate election district for the purpose of electing 
councilmen and members of the house of representatives. 

Sec. 2. In making an apportionment of the repre- 
sentation of the legislative assembly, the territory included 
within the above described boundaries shall be treated as 
a separate and distinct district, and said apportionment 
to the same shall be in the ratio of the qualified voters 
residing within said limits. 

Sec. 3. For all election purposes other than those 
above specified, the said district shall be and constitute a 
a portion of Douglas county, in like manner as heretofore. 

Sec. 4. This act to take effect and be in force from 
and after its passage. 

The bill was read first time, rules suspended, read 
second and third tim^es by title, passed and title agreed to. 
It was passed by the council January 22, and approved by 
the governor January 22.1" 

In this way the wishes of the Bellevue people were 
again set aside, but they did not give up. A county of 
their own was wanted and finally obtained. The third 
session of the territorial legislature convened at Omaha, 
January 5, 1857. Mr. James A. Allen introduced a bill 
(afterwards known as council file No. 12) in the council, 
January 8, entitled, "A bill to erect the county of Omaha", 
which was read the first time and on January 9th read the 
second time and referred to the committee on county 
boundaries and county seats. 

The bill was as follows: 
Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives of 
the Territory of Nebraska: 

Section 1. That all that portion of territory included 
within the following boundaries, to-wit: beginning at a 
point in the middle of the main channel of the Missouri 
river, due east of a point in the middle of the main channel 
of the Platte river, where the same disembogues into the 



10 The bill was signed January 22 [House journal, second general 
assembly, p. 145]. — Ed. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 105 

said Missouri river, thence up the middle of the main 
channel of said Platte river to a point where the north 
boundary line of the second tier of townships north of the 
third standard parallel crosses said Platte river, thence 
due east on said boundary line to a point in the middle of 
the main channel of said Missouri river, thence down the 
middle of the main channel of said Missouri river to the 
place of beginning, be and the same is hereby created and 
erected a new county by the name of Omaha county. 

Sec. 2. That Leavitt L. Bowen, Chas. T. Holloway 
and Silas A. Strickland be and are hereby appointed com- 
missioners to locate the county seat of the county so to be 
erected. 

Sec. 3. That the first election for officers of said 
county shall be held on the fourth Tuesday of May next, 
and thereafter as prescribed by law. 

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, that an act en- 
titled, "An act to create a new election district in the 
southern portion of Douglas county", be and the same is 
hereby repealed. 

Sec. 5. That all acts inconsistent with this act are 
hereby repealed, and that this act shall be in force from 
and after its passage. 

January 13, the committee on county boundaries and 
county seats reported as follows: 

The committee on county boundaries and county 
seats, to whom was referred council bill No. 12, entitled, 
"An act to erect the county of Omaha", report that they 
have examined the same, and that the bill should pass and 
become a law for the following reasons: 

First. That that portion of the teiritory proposed 
by the bill to be erected into a county has been in several 
instances deprived of a representation in the legislature 
of the territory; that the interests of said territory are in 
a manner distinct and separate from other portions, and 
therefore should have a voice in the territory. 

Second. That it is anti-democratic to deprive any 
portion of the territory of her natural rights. 

Third. That it is not convenient for the people to 
do their public business where they do [not do] their 



106 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

private business, and that Omaha City is an inconvenient 
place for the people of said district to do their business. 

Motions to adopt the report, to lay on the table, to 
refer to the judiciary and the agriculture committees were 
lost, and finally it was referred to a select committee, con- 
sisting of Rogers, Allen and Bradford. 

January 19, Mr. Rogers, chairman of the select com- 
mittee, submitted the following minority report: 

Your committee to whom was referred council bill 
No. 12, entitled "A bill for an act to erect the county of 
Omaha," have had the same under consideration and beg 
leave to report as follows: That to erect a new county out 
of the territory of Douglas county, which is already one 
of the smallest counties of the territory and thereby reduce 
it in size to six townships, would be grossly unjust, op- 
pressive, tyrannical and anti-democratic. Unjust because 
if thus severed she would be robbed of one-half of her 
river front and thereby a very large share of her com- 
mercial advantages, which is a material element in the 
growth, importance, and destiny of any county or district 
of country. 

It would be unjust because no county has heretofore 
been restricted to so unjust and parsimonious a river front, 
for it has been heretofore in the history of the territory, 
as it should be, the constant aim to distribute, with as 
much justice and equality as possible, the commercial and 
other natural advantages among the family of counties 
thus far organized. To make Douglas county an exception 
to this just precedent of this legislative assembly would be 
an obvious wrong and a manifest injustice to the mind 
of any disinterested, unprejudiced party. To sever Douglas 
county, which does not now contain but twelve townships, 
when sixteen is the usual size, would not only be unjust to 
every voter in North Douglas and at least one-half of 
the voters of South Douglas, but clearly and manifestly 
oppressive,— oppressive by doubling the taxes of these 
two exceedingly small counties for the erection of two 
sets of county buildings and the expense incurred in sus- 
taining two sets of county officers, when it is fully known 
and clearly understood by this body that a very large 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 107 

majority of the people of the county are decidedly opposed 
to any severance of their county, or their legislation, which 
would impose upon them a grievious and burthensome 
taxation. The people of North Douglas are not alone in 
opposition to this uncalled for oppression, but we are 
clearly of the opinion that a very large minority, if not 
even an absolute majority of South Douglas are equally 
decided in their opposition to the severance of this county. 

In support of this opinion we would beg leave respect- 
fully to state that, although the census returns show South 
Douglas to have contained a fraction over four hundred 
and fifty voters, yet at the last election only a fraction 
over two hundred votes were cast. The reason for this 
large disparity between the showing of the census returns 
and the actual number of votes cast originated from the 
well understood and manifest reason that voters in the 
northern and western tier of townships of South Douglas 
take little or no interest in elections in the election district, 
from the fact that the place of voting is in some instances 
equally distant, and in others more remote from their 
place of habitation than Omaha City, where they are 
acustomed to trade and transact their county and other 
business. The citizens of the northern tier of townships 
who reside in the immediate vicinity of Omaha, their 
natural place of trade, as well as the citizens of the western 
tier of townships, who are not in the habit of trading or 
transacting business at any other point than Omaha, from 
the fact of its equal, if not greater proximity to their places 
of habitation than that of any other point where they could 
possibly procure supplies, would look upon any act of this 
legislature ostracising them from this county against their 
consent as tyrannical and abusive of their best interests. 

A majority of the committee to whom this bill was 
referred claim that in order to restore certain rights to 
South Douglas it is necessary to erect the county of Omaha 
out of the territory of the county of Douglas; that in order 
to restore those rights it is necessary to reduce her area to 
six townships; to rob her of one-half of her river front; 
to impose upon her voters against their will an unequal 
and unjust taxation. All this they claim to be necessary 
in order to restore certain rights which are said to be 



108 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

distinctive. What are the rights claimed to have been 
lost? Some time in November, 1854, the then acting 
governor issued a proclamation forming counties for the 
purpose of a first election. By that proclamation a county 
was formed north of Platte river and south of Omaha 
City for Bellevue. The same power that formed this 
county, in December, 1854, destroyed it, or it may be 
stated thus: The acting governor promised Bellevue a 
county but never gave it. The majority upon the above 
statement pretend rights existed and are lost, but must 
be regained. If the acting governor did a wrong act, did 
that create for them a right of any kind whatever? If 
this act did them injustice, is it even a reasonable pretext 
for them (I mean the two hundred odd voters above referred 
to) to come up to this body and through their representa- 
tives attempt to commit a much greater act of injustice 
against twelve hundred voters? These twelve hundred 
voters have never conceded to the two hundred voters of 
South Douglas, who sent a representation, having any 
distinctive or different right from what they themselves 
enjoy; neither can it be said that they have deprived the 
two hundred voters of any such rights. Since they have 
never acquired any distinctive right at the hands of the 
acting governor, from the hands of the majority, we reason- 
ably assert that they never had any such rights to lose. 
We think too that we have clearly and fully shown that 
these two hundred voters of South Douglas have not in 
justice any claim now to such distinctive rights, and further 
for this legislature to confer such rights we have shown 
would be to do so in direct opposition to the wishes of a 
very large majority of the voters of the county, and in 
direct opposition to their best interests. Such an act 
could not be denominated anything less than flagrant 
oppression, than tyrannical injustice. No one would deny 
that it would be tyrannical and anti-democratic for the 
representatives of North Douglas to vote on this bill con- 
trary to and in direct opposition to the best interests of 
and known wishes of a very large majority of the people of 
the whole county. This would be equally true of repre- 
sentatives of other counties who come up to this body and 
vote against the best interests of the almost unanimous 
voters of the county. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 109 

We say this would be as great an act of tyranny and 
as contrary to democratic principles as if the immediate 
representatives of the people had so voted. There can be 
no exception to this rule unless where the vote is for ferry 
charters or some other act for the benefit of immediate 
neighborhoods. 

In view of the above statement we recommend the 
indefinite postponement of council bill No. 12, entitled, A 
bill for an act to erect Omaha county. 

Sam'l E. Rogers, Chairman. 

The majority of the select committee submitted the 
following: 

MAJORITY REPORT 

The select committee to whom was referred a bill for 
an act to create the county of Omaha, beg leave to report 
that they have had the same under consideration and 
recommend its passage, without amendment, and for the 
following reasons, viz.: That the acting governor of 
Nebraska, prior to the past election, caused proclamation 
to be printed in the office of the Nebraska Palladium at 
Bellevue, defining the boundaries of Douglas county nearly 
as provided for in this bill for the county sought to be 
created hereby, but afterwards refused to issue said proc- 
lamation unless the citizens of said district would make to 
him a humiliating pledge as to their future political action, 
and therefore issued a proclamation making the north line 
of Douglas county one mile north of Omaha City, thus 
uniting those citizens with a community of different inter- 
ests and succeeding by means not necessary to mention 
here of depriving them of a representation in the first 
legislature of this territory. 

By reference to the first journals of the council of 
this territory we perceive that the citizens of this district 
humbly petitioned the legislature to grant them a county, 
which was refused, and the county of Douglas made yet 
a larger part by a proclamation of the governor, while 
the legislature w^as in session, extending Douglas county 
to a line north of the city of Florence, and afterwards 
by legislative action. 

And the majority of your committee further state that 
the county of Douglas has by its present boundary a much 



110 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

wider front on the Missouri river than any other county, 
extending from the Platte river to the fourth standard 
parallel, a distance of more than twenty-five miles. 

And further, the citizens of this district now seeking 
the passage of this bill under consideration, have and ever 
will have interests distinct from the remainder of the 
present Douglas county; that nearly in the center of the 
river boundary of this district is the flourishing city of 
Bellevue, the oldest city in the territory, which already has 
its hotels, mercantile establishments, banks, its attorneys 
and its churches, making it the center of business for the 
inhabitants of said district. Consequently your com- 
mittee readily perceive the necessity of giving to said in- 
habitants the privilege of transacting their legal business 
where their private business is done, and your committee 
are advised and believe the inhabitants of said district 
are nearly unanimous in favor of the proposed new county, 
and that the said district is capable of sustaining as great 
and probably a greater population than any other district 
of Nebraska. 

A. A. Bradford. 
J. S. Allen.1i 

On the 22d of January the president introduced a 
petition of Ai'chibald Wright and twenty-five others of the 
southern district praying for the erection of the county of 
Omaha out of said district; also petitions of H. T. Clarke 
and others, and Wm. W. Laughlin and others, to the same 
effect, — which were referred to the select committee. 
January 28, after consideration in committee of the whole, 
the council passed an amendment to strike out "Omaha" 
and insert "Sarpy". The boundaries of the original bill 
would have included all of the present city of South Omaha; 
so, to save as much territory as possible for Douglas county, 
Mr. Rogers of Omaha, January 29, offered as an amend- 
ment. 

Strike out section 1 and insert the following: 



" Council journal, third general assembly, pp. 50-52. — Ed. 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 111 

Be it enacted by the Council and House of Representatives 
of the Territory of Nebraska, 

That the territory included within the following bound- 
aries, to-wit: Commencing at a point where the Platte 
river empties into the Missouri river, thence northerly 
along the main channel of the Missouri river to a point 
where the center of township number fourteen north 
intersects the Missouri river, thence west along the center 
of township number fourteen north to the Platte river, 
thence along down the main channel of the Platte river 
to the place of beginning. 

The amendment was lost by a vote of six ayes to 
seven nays. The bill as amended to read "Sarpy county" 
was then, by a vote of seven ayes to six nays, passed by 
the council. 12 

In the house, January 29 and 30, many motions to 
reject, to adjourn, etc. (Mr. Downs of Otoe making a 
motion to adjourn sine die), were voted upon and lost. 
February 2, Mr. Armstrong, of Omaha, moved to amend 
the bill by striking out all after the enacting clause and 
inserting: 

Section 1. That the question of dividing the county 
of Douglas by erecting a new county out of the southern 
portion thereof shall be determined by the people of said 
county at the next election for members of the legislative 
assembly. 



»« Ibid., p. 73. It is worth while to note that Robert W. Furnas, 
of Nemaha county, voted against the bill which was a South Platte measure, 
showing that for North Platte favors in hand and in the bush he was sealed 
to that section. This vote is closely related to his opposition to the passage 
over the governor's veto of the bill to remove the capital to Douglas City 
on Salt Creek. The aggressive allegation of the Omaha Herald that 
citizens of Omaha subscribed and paid $3,000 in gold to Furnas for his 
friendly aid in the capital removal struggle forced Furnas to enter a libel 
suit against the Herald when he was a candidate for the office of governor 
in 1872. See History of Nebraska, v. 3. It is alike significant that W. 
A. Finney, member of the house from Nemaha county, took the same 
attitude toward the capital removal bill that Furnaa did and also per- 
sistently opposed the Sarpy county bill from first to last, while his col- 
leagues, Chambers and Lawrence, in harmony with their section of the 
territory, supported both bills. — Ed. 



112 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Sec. 2. At said election the legal voters in said 
county who are in favor of said division of the county 
shall place on their ballots the words "for a division of 
the county", and those legal voters who are opposed to 
said division of the county shall place on their ballots the 
words, "Against a division of the county." 

Sec. 3. When the election returns are canvassed in 
accordance with the ninth chapter of the first part of the 
code of Nebraska, if it shall appear that a majority of the 
votes have been polled for a division of the county, the 
fact shall be certified by the county clerk to the county 
commissioners who shall thereupon proceed to erect a 
new county to be named "Sarpy" out of that portion of 
Douglas county now embraced in the southern election 
district of said county. 

Sec. 4. If at the election as provided for in the 
second section of this act a majority of the legal voters 
shall vote against the division of the county, the said new 
county shall not be erected. 

The amendment was rejected by a vote of twenty-two 
ayes to ten nays. February 5, Mr. Strickland, as chairman 
of the committee on county boundaries and county seats, 
reported council file 12, "A bill for an act to erect the 
county of Sarpy", with the following amendments, recom- 
mending its passage. 

First. To the title add after the word "Sarpy", the 
words "and for other purposes". 

Second. In lieu of section 1 insert the following: 

Section 1. Be it enacted hy the Council and House 
of Representatives of the Territory of Nebraska, 

That all that portion of the territory included within 
the following boundaries, to-wit: Beginning at a point in 
the middle of the main channel of the Missouri river due 
east of a point in the middle of the main channel of the 
Platte river where the same disembogues into the Missouri 
river; thence up the middle of the main channel of the 
Missouri river to a point two miles due south of the north 
line of township number fourteen, north; thence due west 
on section lines to the middle of the main channel of the 
Platte river; thence down the middle of the main channel 



EARLY DAYS IN AND ABOUT BELLEVUE 113 

of said Platte river to the place of beginning; be and the 
same is hereby created and erected a new county by the 
name of Sarpy. 

Sec. 3. Add section 2 after the word "erected", and 
that said commissioners shall make said location on or before 
the first day of July next, and shall make a report of their 
acts and doings in the premises and file the same in the 
office of the register of said county. 

Sec. 4. That section four (4) be changed to section 
5 in the bill, and that the following be inserted as section 
four (4) : And be it further enacted that all that portion 
of the territory lying south of the fourth (4) standard 
parallel and east of the main channel of the Platte river 
and not included in the boundaries of this act of Sarpy 
county, be and the same are hereby declared to be a part 
and portion of the county of Douglas. 

Mr. Armstrong moved to amend the amendments of 
the committee by adding after the words "Douglas county" 
in the fifth section the words "Approved January 22, 1856, 
be and the same is hereby repealed, and the said county 
of Sarpy shall have a representation in the legislative 
assembly under the last census in the same ratio as pro- 
vided in the act hereby repealed." 

At this point Mr. S. E. Seely of Dodge county awoke 
to the fact that his county would lose some of its territory 
if the bill should pass and moved to amend by inserting 
after the word "lijie" in the twelfth line of the first section, 
the following words: "To the eastern boundary of Dodge 
county, thence south on said eastern boundary of Dodge 
county to the main channel of the Platte river, thence 
down said main channel to the place of beginning," and 
further by striking out all that portion which attaches a 
part of Dodge county to Douglas county. This amend- 
ment was rejected. February 6, the house passed the bill, 
as amended by the committee and Mr. Armstrong, by a 
vote of nineteen ayes to eleven nays. 



114 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The printed journal does not contain anything about 
the return of this bill to the council nor its action con- 
curring, but it was evidently done, because on February 9 
the governor sent formal notice of his approval. 

It was thus that Sarpy county came into existence, 
and on May 25, 1857, an election was held for county 
officers which resulted in the choice of S. D. Bangs, county 
clerk; W. F. Wiley, county treasurer; John N. Enoch, 
sheriff; Wm. H. Cook, probate judge; C. D. Keller, 
register of deeds; H. A. Longsdorf, superintendent of 
pubhc instruction; W. H. Harvey, surveyor; and J. B. 
Glover, Robert McCarthy and Philander Cook, county 
commissioners. 

The organization of the county was completed June 10, 
1857, by the first session of the board of county com- 
missioners and the assumption of their duties by the other 
officers. A map accompanying this paper, and filed with 
the State Historical Society, shows the boundaries of Doug- 
las and Sarpy counties, created by the last act. The board 
of county commissioners on January 14, 1857, gave the 
Bellevue people a commissioner's district, as follows: It 
was ordered by the board that the county of Douglas be 
districted and organized according to section 2 of an act 
entitled, "County Commissioners", as follows: "District 
No. 1. Bounded south by Platte river and north by section 
line parallel with and two miles north of the township line 
between townships thirteen and fourteen, and east and west 
by the county boundaries." [Commissioner's Record A, 4.] 

As Sarpy county was soon after created, no election 
was held. Consequently "District No. 1" was not repre- 
sented by any one from the Bellevue end of the county. 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 

By George W. Martin^ 

Before any reference to boundary lines, permit me to 
congratulate you on the start you have made toward a 
home for your historical collection. There is no duty 
more important than that of preserving public archives or 
general records showing the advancement of your people 
in all lines of activity, there can be no interest of more 
value and pleasure than the use of such when needed, and 
there is nothing more exasperating than the need of some- 
thing you do not have. The extent and variety of a public 
collection, such as the state assumes to keep, is to meet 
the needs of the citizen who in the nature of things can not 
have everything at his home or place of business. I have 
experience every day with individuals who are amazed at 
the extent of the "trash", as they call it, that is stored, 
and I have enjoyed the discomfiture, if not the profanity^ 
of the same people, who call for the most insignificant and 
unheard of thing which we do not have. I maintain that 
the best thing a state has is its historical collection. Here 
all men and all interests end. Old records and papers with 
us have a commercial value to the individual, to say nothing 
of the instructive feature demanded by every patriotic 
citizen. 

Everybody concedes this. The only advice in order, 
therefore, is to go to the limit of liberality in providing a 
home and necessary conveniences for proper care. These 
twin states should keep abreast of each other. True, one 



1 Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January, 1910. 

(115) 



116 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

has been a trifle wild and reckless, but fifty years of state- 
hood has brought some dignity, sobriety and a steady step. 
Each state has started on the erection of a historical build- 
ing. The legislature gave the Kansas Society $200,000 for 
this purpose. This, it is estimated, will only enclose the 
building, which will be four stories and a basement. The 
plan with us is to place steel stacks upon the completion 
of the building sufficient to give us double the shelf room 
we now occupy. The building is to be partly occupied 
temporarily by other state interests; but ultimately there 
will be space for the Historical Society for thirty or forty 
years, and it is to be absolutely fireproof. We shall have 
foundation and walls sufficient to carry two or three ad- 
ditional stories. 

Barring ten years of hell we had on the border, from 
1855 to 1865, the history of Kansas is the history of Ne- 
braska. Four-fifths of our territory came into use and 
prominence after the close of the war between the states. 
We had the same task of opening up a new country. The 
noble red man caused us about the same anxiety. The 
development of these plains from the barrenness of fifty 
years ago to the service of mankind we see today will 
always far exceed battles and blood, raids and robbery. 
We have been slowly, but with increasing rapidity each 
year, reclaiming the most fertile and beautiful country on 
the face of the globe. Wonderful history has been made 
in these two states by men who established our schools and 
churches, built our railroads, opened our farms, improved 
our cattle and hogs, and who established large and small 
industrial plants. Such history is worth preserving with 
the utmost care. The individual without interest in history, 
while he may not so understand it, is without pride of 
ancestry. We start very enthusiastically with our building 
in Kansas, and I hope we will end up correspondingly. 
But, however rich, handsome and perfect we may do our 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 117 

task, I sincerely hope Nebraska may beat us. The story 
of your state deserves it. May this be the rivah-y between 
us! 

The fortieth parallel of north latitude was made the 
boundary line between the territories of Nebraska and 
Kansas by congress in the act of May 30, 1854. It seems 
that in the beginning the Missourians wanted the Platte 
river, but Hadley D. Johnson, representing more northerly 
interests, insisted upon the fortieth parallel. There were 
no surveys then, and there was no controversy about any 
portion of the lines. Neither was there any hundred- 
dollar-an-acre land; and so congress acted like the fellow 
who sold a quarter section and while the buyer was not 
looking slipped in the deed another quarter to get rid of it. 
Nebraska extended north to the British line, and west- 
ward took in a part of Colorado, the two Dakotas, and 
Montana and Wyoming.^ Kansas extended to the summit 
of the Rocky mountains, a few miles beyond the present 
city of Leadville. Immediately upon the passage of the 
Nebraska- Kansas act John Calhoun was made surveyor 
general of Nebraska and Kansas. A contract was made 
with John P. Johnson to establish this boundary line. It 
was concluded to make it the principal base line, where- 
upon to start the survey, both on the north in Nebraska 
and on the south in Kansas. The fortieth parallel was 
astronomically established in 1854 by Captain T. J. Lee, 
topographical engineer, U. S. A. The survey was started 
on the 18th of November, 1854. The party were eighteen 



* Approximately only half of the territory afterward called Dakota 
— that part lying west of the Missouri river — was included in Nebraska. 
(See "Nebraska and Minnesota Territorial Boundary", this volume; 
and the Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 1, p. 141.] Nearly one-fourth 
of Wyoming and that strip of Montana lying west of the Rocky mountains 
were not included in Nebraska. About one-third of Colorado was so 
included. — Ed. 



118 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

days running west 118 miles.^ When the Missouri river 
was closed to northern immigration in 1856 Nebraska City- 
was a port of entry for Kansas. 

There is an incident relating to the north boundary line 
of the state of Kansas scarcely known in her history, but 
in the history of the twin state of Nebraska it constitutes 
a very important chapter. January 17, 1856, J. Sterling 
Morton introduced in the lower house of the territorial 
legislature of Nebraska a resolution memorializing congress 
to annex to Kansas all that portion of Nebraska south of 
the Platte river because it would be "to the interests of 
this territory and to the general good of the entire Union". 
It was stated that the Platte river was a natural boundary 
mark — that it was impossible to either ford, ferry or 
bridge it; it was further thought that such a move would 
effectually prevent the eatablishment of slavery in either 
of the territories. This was postponed by a vote of 20 
to 5." The project slumbered until 1858. There was 
great bitterness between north and south Nebraska at that 
time, and the annexation sentiment seemed to grow. 

In those days Nebraska had other troubles than the 
unreliability of the Platte river. Kansas was torn to pieces 
by a great national issue, and our republican-populist 
war of 1893 had a precedent for ridiculousness in the con- 
troversy which divided the pioneers of Nebraska from 1855 
to 1858. Florence, Omaha, Plattsmouth, Bellevue and 
Nebraska City were contestants for the territorial capital. 
The story reads like a southwest Kansas countyseat fight. 
The first legislatm^e was called at Omaha, January 16, 1855. 
Omaha was full of people interested in rival towns, who 

•■' The contract for running the first 108 miles of the base line was let 
to Johnson November_2, 1854, but he executed it in such a bungling way 
that it was necessary to employ Charles A. Manners to do the work all 
over again. [See History of Nebraska, v. 1, p. 383, foot note, for full 
account.] — Ed. 

* Ibid., p. 396. 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 119 

made threats that the session should not be held. In 
January, 1857, the antagonism to Omaha assumed an 
aggressive character. A bill passed both houses of the 
legislature moving the session to a place called Douglas in 
Lancaster county.* This bill was vetoed by the governor. 
In 1858 a portion of the legislature seceded in a small riot 
but no bloodshed, and attempted to do business at a town 
called Florence. September 21, 1858, the fifth session met 
in peace at Omaha, and began to talk about bridging the 
Platte. Restlessness was common then, for the Kansas 
territorial legislature was also hard to please. The pro- 
slavery people left Pawnee to sit in Shawnee Mission, and 
the free-soilers would not remain at Lecompton, but in 
1858, 1859, 1860 and 1861 moved to Lawrence. 

About the beginning of the year 1859 several mass 
meetings were held, and congress was memorialized to in- 
corporate the South Platte country in the proposed state 
of Kansas. There was some dissent, of course, but the 
annexationists seem to have been quite lively. On the 
2d of May a mass meeting was held at Nebraska City, 
which invited the people to participate in the formation of 
a constitution at Wyandotte July 5, reciting "that the 
pestiferous Platte should be the northern boundary of a 
great agricultural and commercial state". They ordained 
that an election should be held in the several South Platte 
counties June 7. There are no results of the election given, 
but the History of Nebraska, page 401, volume 1, says 
that in the county of Otoe of 1,078 ballots cast at a previous 
election 900 electors signed a petition for annexation, and 
that this sentiment was representative of the whole South 
Platte district. Governor Medary's son and private secre- 
tary, on the 16th of May, 1859, had written a letter to the 
Nebraska people, urging them to elect delegates to the 



* This bill undertook to remove the capital itself to Douglas City. 
-Ed. 



120 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Wyandotte convention, and to proceed quietly, "as it 
would only create an unnecessary issue in southern Kansas 
at the time, were it freely talked of *.« 

On the 12th day of July, 1859, the following Nebraska 
men were admitted to seats on the floor of the Wyandotte 
constitutional convention, then in session, as honorary 
members, with the privilege of participating in the dis- 
cussion of the northern boundary of the state of Kansas, 
but not to vote: Stephen F. Nuckolls, Mills S. Reeves, 
Robert W. Furnas, Obadiah B. Hewett, Wilham W. Keeling, 
Samuel A. Chambers, Wm. H. Taylor, Stephen B. Miles, 
John H. Croxton, John H. Cheever, John B. Bennet and 
Jacob Dawson. In the archives of the State Historical 
Society we find the original application of the Nebraska 
people signed by Mills S. Reeves, John B. Bennet, Wm. 
H. Taylor, Samuel A. Chambers and Stephen B. Miles. 

On the 15th the Nebraska delegates were heard, and 
on the 16th during the consideration of the west boundary 
line of the state of Kansas, William C. McDowell of Leaven- 
worth, a democratic member, moved the following amend- 
ment: 

"Pro\dded however, that if the people of southern 
Nebraska embraced between the Platte river and the 
northern boundary of Kansas, as established by congress, 
agree to the same, a vote is to be taken by them both upon 
the question of boundar^^ and upon this constitution, at 
the time this constitution is submitted to the people of 
Kansas, and provided congress agree to the same, the 
boundaries of the state of Kansas shall be as follows: 
'Beginning at a point on the western boundary of the state 
of Missouri where the thirty-seventh parallel of north 
latitude crosses the same; thence west with said parallel 



* The writer of the article evidently supposed that J. Sterling Morton 
was the author of the account in the History of Nebraska of the annexation 
movement which he quotes from: whereas, as stated in the preface of the 
volume quoted from, Albert Watkins is the sole author of the history; 
that is, of the text and related foot notes. — Ed. 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 121 

to the twenty-fourth meridian of longitude west from 
Washington; thence north with said meridian to the middle 
of the south fork of the Platte river; thence following the 
main channel of said river to the middle of the Missouri 
river; thence with the middle of the Missouri river to the 
mouth of the Kansas river; thence south on the western 
boundary line of the state of Missouri to the place of 
beginning' ." 

After a short parliamentary wrangle about separating 
the north and west lines the convention voted that the 
northern boundary remain unchanged. 

The Nebraska City News, the organ of South Platte 
sentiment, was furious over the result. I quote: "The 
curious may wish to know why this rich boon was refused 
by the Black Republican constitutional convention of 
Kansas. It was for this reason: its acquisition, it was 
believed by those worthies, would operate against their 
party. They said South Platte Nebraska was democratic, 
and that being added to northern Kansas, which is largely 
democratic, would make Kansas a democratic state; would 
deprive the Black Republican party of two United States 
senators, a congressman and other officers. They were 
dragooned into this position too by the Republican party 
outside of Kansas. Kansas, they are determined at all 
hazards, shall be an abolition state. "^ 

It was a great deal amid the sentiment and passion of 
that hour to ask the free-soilers in the Wyandotte con- 
vention following the struggles of the border as far south 
as Fort Scott from 1855 to 1860, to go back on the people 
south of the Kaw for an unknown quantity in southern 
Nebraska. The delegates from Nebraska offered great 
things in a material way, but politics cropped out every- 
where, principally from outside of Kansas. There was no 
politics then but the slavery issue. Solon 0. Thacher said: 



^ Quoted in v. 1, p. 403, History of Nebraska, from the Nebraska 
City News, August 6, 1859.— Ed. 



122 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

"Chief among their arguments was one meeting an ob- 
jection which they supposed would be raised in conse- 
quence of the political character of the country proposed to 
be annexed; and we have been invoked by all the powers 
of logic and rhetoric to ignore the political aspect of the 
case — to lay aside whatever feelings might arise politically, 
and look at the question dispassionately. Now, sir, I say 
they urge an impossibility. Had these gentlemen from 
southern Nebraska seen the sky lurid with flames of their 
burning homes, the soil of their beautiful prairies crimson 
with the blood of their brothers and fathers, or their wives 
and children flying over the land for a place of refuge 

from crime and outrage they would not think 

of making such an appeal to us. . . Gentlemen must 
remember that this is the first time in the history of Kansas 
that southern Kansas has been represented in any delibera- 
tive body. Think you, sir, that the people who have just 
escaped from the prison house that has kept them so long 
can desire to re-enter the clammy dungeon." 

I have carefully looked through the files of several 
of the Kansas newspapers of that period and I find a 
singular indifference to the question of annexation. The 
Topeka Tribune and the Leavenworth Herald very freely 
supported it. The Lawrence Republican, T. Dwight 
Thacher's paper, was strongly opposed to it. There was 
little else considered then aside from slavery. The Le- 
compton Democrat favored the dismemberment of both 
Kansas and Nebraska and the formation of a new state 
lying between Kansas and the Platte rivers. The Repub- 
lican said this was hatched in Washington and nursed in 
the Blue Lodges of Missouri. Annexation would make 
southern Kansas a mere appendage to the north and com- 
pletely at its mercy. The editor of the Republican made a 
visit to southeastern Kansas and reported unanimous 
opposition to the movement, that the people there neither 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 123 

cared about nor knew the politics of the Nebraska men. 
A portion of the Nebraska movement was to make another 
state south of Kansas river to be called Neosho. In a 
speech before the convention Solon 0. Thacher said that 
three-fifths of the population of Kansas was south of the 
Kansas river. The Platte gave no river frontage, and would 
need an appropriation every year to make it navigable by 
catfish and polliwogs, and the movement would give 
Kansas four additional Missouri river counties north of 
the Kansas river which would not be desirable. A singular 
feature is that the free-soil legislature of 1859 petitioned for 
annexation, while free-soilers in the constitutional con- 
vention bitterly opposed it. The Lawrence Republican is 
the only paper that handled the subject with vigor. I 
quote as follows: 

"The proposed measure, if accompHshed, would destroy 
the community of interest which now exists between the 
various portions of Kansas. Our people are bound together 
as the people of no other new state ever were. Together 
they have gone through one of the darkest and bloodiest 
struggles for freedom that any people ever encountered; 
together they have achieved the most significant and far- 
reaching victory since the revolution; together they have 
suffered — together triumphed! At this late day, after 
the battle has been fought and won, and we are about to 
enter upon the enjoyment of the fruits of our perilous 
labors, we do not care to have introduced into our house- 
hold a set of strangers who have had no community or 
interest with us in the past, who have hardly granted us 
the poor boon of their sympathy, and who even now speak 
of the thrice honored and loved name of Kansas as a ' name 
which is but the synonym of crime and blood!' (Extract 
from a Nebraska City paper)." 

On the 23d of July McDowell renewed the subject in 
the Wyandotte convention by the following resolution: 

"Resolved, that congress be memorialized to include 
within the limits of the state of Kansas that part of southern 



124 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Nebraska lying between the northern boundary of the 
territory of Kansas and the Platte river." 

This was defeated on the same day by a vote of 19 
for and 29 against. The democrats refused to sign the 
constitution, and of those who did sign, four, S. D. Houston, 
J. A. Middleton, L. R. Palmer and R. J. Porter, voted to 
annex the South Platte country. 

Senator Green of Missouri, in opposing the admission 
of Kansas under the Wyandotte constitution, said that not 
over two-sevenths of Kansas could be cultivated, that 
"without this addition (south Nebraska) Kansas must be 
weak, puerile, sickly, in debt and at no time capable of 
sustaining herself." 

In the United States senate on January 18, 1861, he 
moved to strike out the proposed boundaries of Kansas 
and insert the following: 

"Beginning in the main channel of the north Fork of 
the Platte river at a point where the twenty-fifth meridian 
of longitude west from Washington crosses the same; 
thence down and along said channel to its junction with 
the main stream of the Platte; thence down and along 
the main channel of the Platte to the Missouri river; 
thence south along said river and the western boundary 
of the state of Missouri to the northern boundary of the 
Cherokee neutral land; thence west along said northern 
boundary the northern [southern] boundary of the Osage 
lands, and the prolongation of the same, to the twenty- 
fifth meridian of longitude west of Washington; thence 
north on said meridian to the place of beginning." 

This was defeated by a vote of 23 yeas to 31 nays, a 
greater number of the yeas being those who opposed the 
admission of Kansas under any circumstances. In support 
of this proposition Senator Green said: 

"It will be observed by an examination of the con- 
stitution adopted at Wyandotte, now pending before the 
senate, that about one-third of the territory of Kansas is 
cut off on the west. That includes the Pike's Peak region. 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 125 

where the first gold discovery was made, including the 
Gregory mines, and so on, cutting off that space of territory, 
which none of the other constitutions ever did. Owing to 
the character of the country that reduces it to too small a 
compass to constitute a good state. The gross area is 
about eighty thousand square miles; but the portion 
susceptible of settlement and habitation will not exceed 
forty thousand; and the best authority I have reduces it 
to thirty thousand out of eighty thousand square miles. 
After we pass west of the Missouri river, except upon a 
few streams, there is no territory fit for settlement or 
habitation. It is unproductive. It is like a barren waste. 
It will not even support cattle or sheep, or anything per- 
taining to the grazing business. There are no mineral 
resources in the state to supply any want of agricultural 
resources. Hence I propose to enlarge the boundary, not 
upon the west, but to take the present western boundary 
and prolong it northerly up to the Platte river; and then 
follow the line of the river to its junction with the Missouri 
line, and follow the Missouri line down. It will add to the 
territory about thirty thousand square miles, about two- 
thirds of which will be susceptible of settlement. It will 
then make a good, strong, substantial state. I have the 
privilege to state, in this connection, that nine-tenths of 
the people south of the Platte, in what is now called 
Nebraska, desire this annexation to Kansas." 

In the further discussion of the bill for admission, 
Stephen A. Douglas, January 19, 1861, summed up the 
trouble as follows: 

" There is no necessity for delaying this bill as it would 
be delayed by the adoption of the amendment. The senator 
from Missouri well knows that this Kansas question has 
been here for years, and no consideration on earth could 
suffice to stop it in this body three years ago, when it 
came under the Lecompton constitution. It was not 
stopped then to be amended for the want of judiciary or 
any other clauses; but it was forced through. We are 
told first, that Kansas must be kept out because her north- 
ern boundary is not right, when it is the same now as it 
was then; next, that she must be kept out because the 



126 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

southern boundary is not right, though it is the same now 
as it was then; again, she must be kept out because of the 
Indian treaties, though the same objection existed then as 
now; again, she must be kept out because she has not 
population enough, though she has three times as many- 
people as were there then; and, finally, this bill must be 
delayed now because it does not contain a judiciary clause. 
I do not understand why these constant objections are 
being interposed to the admission of Kansas now, when 
none of them were presented in regard to the Lecompton 
constitution, three years ago, nor in regard to the ad- 
mission of Oregon, which has since taken place. It seems 
to me that the fate of Kansas is a hard one; and it is 
necessary for these senators to explain why they make the 
distinction in their action between Kansas and Oregon, 
instead of my explaining why I do not make distinction 
between them." 

July 22, 1882, a reunion of the members of the con- 
stitutional convention was held at Wyandotte. Benjamin 
F. Simpson and John A. Martin made speeches. Martin 
was secretary of the convention, and afterwards served as 
colonel of the Eighth Kansas, and two times as governor. 
He said in his address that two influences induced the 
decision against the South Platte, one political and the 
other local and material. Many republicans feared that 
the South Platte country was, or would be likely to become, 
democratic. Lawrence and Topeka both aspired to be the 
state capital, and their influence was against annexation, 
because they feared it would throw the center of population 
far north of the Kaw. I quote: 

"Each party, I think, was guilty of one blunder it 
afterwards seriously regretted — the Republicans in refusing 
to include the South Platte country, within the boundaries 
of Kansas; the Democrats in refusing to sign the constitution 
they had labored diligently to perfect. I speak of what I 
consider the great mistake of the Republicans with all the 
more frankness because I was, at the time, in hearty sym- 
pathy with their action; but I feel confident that no 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 127 

Republican member is living today who does not deplore 
that decision. And I am equally confident that within a 
brief time after the convention adjourned, there were few 
Democratic members who did not seriously regret refusal 
to sign the constitution." 

I think the judgment of the people today would be 
that the convention did very well, that for homogeneous- 
ness of people and interests the boundary lines of Kansas 
encompass, encircle, sun-ound and hold more contentment 
and happiness than any other equal extent of territory. 
Imagine a northern boundary line as crooked as the Platte 
river, and a southern boundary as crooked as the Kansas 
and Smoky Hill. Imagine what an unwieldy and incon- 
gruous lot of people and territory there would be from the 
Platte to the south line of Kansas, and from the Missouri 
river to the summit of the Rocky mountains. Fifty years 
of development and history show that the convention made 
the state just right. Furthermore we have never heard of 
any unsatisfactory results from the shape of Nebraska, 
nor of any failure on the part of Nebraska people to manage 
the Platte river. I think that the Wyandotte convention, 
after fifty years, is entitled to the plaudit, "Well done, 
good and faithful servants". 

When we recall that Kansas is one of but twelve 
states in the Union that have lived under one constitution 
fifty years, the Wyandotte convention surely has this 
approbation. The following states have had their present 
constitutions in use for fifty years or more, barring amend- 
ments from time to time submitted to the people: Con- 
necticut since 1818, Delaware since 1831, Indiana since 
1851, Iowa, 1857, Kansas, 1859, Maine, 1819, Massachu- 
setts, 1820, Minnesota, 1857, Ohio, 1851, Oregon, 1857, 
Rhode Island, 1842, Wisconsin, 1848. In all of these, 
practically, there has been agitation looking toward con- 
stitutional revision, and in some instances constitutional 
conventions have met and revised the constitutions, but 



128 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the revision has been rejected by the people. For nearly 
two hundred years Rhode Island did business under her 
charter, obtained from Charles II, in 1663; and it was 
not until September, 1842, that a constitutional convention 
met and framed a constitution which was ratified by the 
people of that state. 

Of the members of the Wyandotte convention there 
still remain with us: John T. Burris of Olathe, aged 81 
years; Benjamin F. Simpson of Paola, aged 73 years; 
C. B. McClellan of Oskaloosa, aged 87 years; S. D. Houston 
of Salina, aged 91 years; Samuel E. Hoffman, 4450 West- 
minster Place, St. Louis, Missouri, aged 75 years; and 
Robert Cole Foster of Denison, Texas, aged 74 years. 
Their work was adopted by the people of the territory 
October 4, 1859, by a vote of 10,421 for to 5,530 against. 

In 1855 the territorial legislature of Kansas was in 
session at Shawnee Mission, only six miles from the now 
center of Kansas City, Missouri, and the Missouri legis- 
lature was in session at Jefferson City. In a sketch of 
Kansas City, Missouri, pubhshed in 1898, Judge H. C. 
McDougall says: 

"As one of the many evidences of the fatherly in- 
terest which the citizens of Missouri then had in the 
young territory of Kansas, it may be noted in passing 
that Hon. MobiUion W. McGee, a citizen of this state, 
who then resided where Dr. J. Feld now Hves, out at 
Westport, was a distinguished, and no doubt useful, 
member of the territorial legislature at Shawnee Mission. 
It would have been greatly to the interest of the pro- 
slavery party in Kansas to get Kansas City into that 
territory. The Missouri statesmen were then anxious to 
further the ends of their pro-slavery brethren in Kansas, 
and Col. Robert T. Van Horn and a then distinguished 
citizen of the territory of Kansas (whose name I cannot 
mention because for thirty years he and his family have 
been warm personal friends of mine) agreed that it would 
be a good thing all around to detach Kansas City from 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 129 

Missouri and attach it to Kansas territoiy. Hence, after 
visiting and conferring with the legislatures of Missouri 
and Kansas territory, and being thoroughly satisfied that 
the Kansas territorial legislature would ask, and the Mis- 
souri legislature grant a cession upon the part of the latter 
to the former of all that territory lying west and north of 
the Big Blue river from the point at which it crosses the 
Kansas line out near Old Santa Fe to its mouth, Colonel Van 
Horn was left to look after the legislatures and my other 
venerable friend was posted off to Washington to get the 
consent of congress to the cession. Congress was also at 
that time intensely proslavery and through Senator David 
R. Atchison, General B. F. Stringfellow and others con- 
gressional consent to the desired change could easily have 
been obtained. While agreeing upon everything else as 
to the rise and fall of this scheme, yet Colonel Van Horn says 
that upon arriving at Washington our Kansas friend met 
and fell in love with a lady with whom he took a trip to 
Europe, and was not heard from in these parts for over 
two years." 

Our Kansas friend was the first associate judge for 
the territory. And that is how Kansas missed having 
one of the greatest cities to be on the continent. We 
have reformed so often in Kansas and are working so 
vigorously at it now, oratorically and vociferously, with 
scare heads top of column on the first page, that such a thing 
as a Kansas man abandoning a public job today and run- 
ning off with a woman is most improbable. But fifty-three 
years ago I walked across Kansas City from the river to 
Westport, four miles, and I would not judge the man too 
harshly — there was then no ten thousand dollar front 
foot land in those hills. 

In March, 1879, there was again great interest in a 
movement on the part of Kansas City, Missouri, for an- 
nexation. The legislature passed a concurrent resolution 
declaring that the citizens of Kansas were not opposed to 
such a movement and authorized the appointment of a 

9 



130 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

committee of eight, three from the senate and five from 
the house, to investigate the subject. A memorial was 
presented to the legislature, signed by George M. Shelley, 
mayor, and three councilmen and a committee of five 
citizens, in which it was said: "We assure your honorable 
body that our people are earnest and sincere in their desire 
for annexation, and should the question be submitted to 
the electors of the territory proposed to be annexed, it 
would be ratified by a virtually unanimous vote. Already 
a memor'al to the Missouri legislature for such a sub- 
mission of the question has been circulated and largely 
signed by our people and will be duly presented by our 
representatives for the action of that honorable body." 
The legislature authorized the appointment of a com- 
mittee of three to confer with the citizens of Kansas City, 
Missouri. On the 7th of March a delegation of 125 repre- 
sentatives of the business and commercial interests of Kansas 
City visited Topeka. A great reception was held, and 
speeches were made by Governor St. John, Speaker Sidney 
Clarke, Lieut. Governor L. U. Humphrey, and Col. D. S. 
Twitchell. The Kansas City guests further resolved: 
"That we are more than ever convinced of the great and 
mutual advantages that would accrue to Kansas City and 
Kansas from a more intimate union with the young empire 
state." The Kansas City Times of March 7 published a 
map showing the change in the line desired by the people 
of that city. The proposed line followed the course of 
the Blue from a point on the state line near the southeast 
corner of Johnson county, running slightly east of north 
to the Missouri river, at this last point being a move six 
miles east, comprising about sixty square miles of territory. 
It is highly probable that the movement never reached 
Jefferson City. 

Verily, "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, 
rough hew them how we will", as Mr. Shakespeare said. 



KANSAS-NEBRASKA BOUNDARY LINE 131 

Charles Sumner thus described our situation: "The middle 
spot of North America — calculated to nurture a power- 
ful and generous people, worthy to be a central pivot of 
American institutions." William H. Seward said: "Kan- 
sas is the Cinderella of the American family." Surely we 
were cuffed about like a household drudge, and now we 
are feeding and leading the world. Again Seward said in 
Lawrence, September 26, 1860: "Men will come up to 
Kansas as they go up to Jerusalem. This shall be a sacred 
city." Henry Ward Beecher, whose bibles and rifles are 
a part of our history, said: "There is no monument under 
heaven on which I would rather have my name inscribed 
than on this goodly state of Kansas. " Abraham Lincoln at 
Springfield, Illinois, in 1857, said: "Look, Douglas, and 
see yonder people fleeing — see the full columns of brave 
men stopped — see the press and the type flying into the 
river, and tell me what does this! It is your squatter 
sovereignty! Let slavery spread over the territories and 
God will sweep us with a brush of fire from this solid globe. " 
At our quarter centennial celebration held in 1879, John 
W. Forney said: "If I had been commanded to choose one 
spot on the globe upon which to illustrate human develop- 
ment under the influence of absolute liberty, I could have 
chosen no part of God's footstool so interesting as Kansas. 
Yesterday an infant, today a giant, tomorrow — who can 
tell!" 

These excerpts will show the inspiration under which 
Kansas was born. The character of the proposed state, 
her institutions, a high ideal of public policy and morality, 
gave tone to all discussion, marred only by a suspicion 
on the part of some whether she could in a material sense 
maintain it at all. 

And so the only trouble we have ever had about the 
boundary lines of Kansas has been from the people on the 
outside endeavoring to get in. 



NEBRASKA AND MINNESOTA TERRITORIAL 
BOUNDARY 

By Albert Watkins 

Indiana territory was organized by act of congress 
May 7, 1800, effective July 4, 1800, out of the Northwest 
Territorj% comprising all of it down to the Ohio river and 
west of a line which ran north from the mouth of the Ken- 
tucky river to Ft. Recovery, passing through the strait of 
Mackinac; the western line was the western boundary of 
the original U. S. territory, that is, the Mississippi river, 
etc. (Mercer's Maps No. 21; U. S. Stat, at Large, v. 2, 
p. 58). Indiana became a state through the enabling act 
of April 19, 1816, and the joint resolution of congress, 
December 11, 1816. Its lower eastern boundary was 
extended to the Ohio line; its north boundary was pushed 
ten miles farther north ; othei-wise it retained its last ter- 
ritorial form. (Mercer's Maps Nos. 20 and 31; Stat. 3, 
p. 289, Ibid., p. 399). The part of the Northwest Ter- 
ritory east of Indiana became the state of Ohio in 1803 
(Mercer's Maps, 23: enabhng act, April 30, 1802, Stat. 
2, p. 173; supplementary act, February 19, 1803, Stat. 2, 
p. 201). The state was bounded on the north by Lake Erie 
and a line drawn due east from the southern extremity of 
Lake Michigan to an intersection with Lake Erie; on the 
east by Pennsylvania; on the south by the Ohio river; 
on the west by a line drawTi due north from the mouth of 
the Great Miami river to the north boundary line. 

Michigan territory was organized by act of January 
11, 1805; effective June 30 (2 Stat., p. 309), comprising 

(132) 



i 



NEBRASKA-MINNESOTA BOUNDARY 133 

the southern peninsula — its southern boundary being a 
line drawn from the extreme south bend of Lake Michigan 
east to intersect with Lake Erie — and a point cut off 
the northern peninsula by a line drawn from the northern 
extremity of Lake Michigan north to the Canadian line 
(Mercer's Maps No. 27). April 18, 1818 (3 Stat., 428-431), 
all the territory of Illinois north of the state and that 
strip lying between Lake Michigan and Lake Superior 
"which was included in the former Indiana territory" was 
added to Michigan (Mercer's Maps No. 34). June 28, 
1834 (4 Stat., 701), all territory north of the state of Mis- 
souri and of a line extended to the Missouri river, and east 
of the Missouri and White Earth rivers was added to 
Michigan for temporarj^ government (Mercer's Maps No. 
45). Michigan became a state by act of congress, January 
26, 1837 (Stat. 5, p. 144; Mercer's Maps, 48). 

Illinois territory was organized out of Indiana, Febru- 
aiy 3, 1809 — effective March 1 — (2 Stat, 514). The 
eastern boundary extended north along the Wabash river 
from its mouth to Post Vincennes, and from that post due 
north till the line left the Wabash and proceeded to the 
Canadian boundary. The new territory comprised all of 
the original Northwest Territory west of this line. A 
narrow strip on the northeast was left to Indiana (Mer- 
cer's Maps Nos. 28 and 36). Illinois became a state De- 
cember 3, 1818, by joint resolution of congress (3 Stat., 
536; enabling act, April 18, 1818, Ibid., p. 428; Mercer's 
Maps, 36). 

Wisconsin territoiy was organized by act of congress 
April 20 — effective July 3 — 1836 (5 Stat., p. 10). 
The eastern border of the territory, up to the northwest 
point of Lake Superior was the same as that of the state 
now; it comprised all of Michigan westward, including the 
territory northeast of the Missouri river. It became a 
state May 29, 1848 (Mercer's Maps Nos. 47 and 57; 
Stat. 9, p. 233). 



134 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Iowa territory was organized by act of congress June 
12 — effective July 3 — 1838 (5 Stat., 235), comprising 
all of Wisconsin west of the Mississippi river. It became 
a state by act of congress, December 28, 1846 (Stat. 9, 
pp. 56 and 117; Mercer's Maps, 50 and 55). 

Minnesota territory was organized by act of March 3, 
1849 (Stat. 9, 403), comprising all of Iowa territory not in 
the state of Iowa and all territory of Wisconsin not in- 
cluded in that state. These two tracts had been left over 
without organization since Iowa was admitted as a state 
in 1846, and Wisconsin in 1848 (Mercer's Maps, 58). 
This west boundary of Minnesota became the northeast 
boundary of Nebraska territory when it was organized 
May 30, 1854 (Mercer's Maps, 63). By act of congress. 
May 11, 1858, Minnesota became a state, leaving its 
western half nameless until it was included in Dakota 
territory March 2, 1861 (Stat. 11, p. 285; Mercer's 
Maps, 65 and 69). 



TERRITORIAL EVOLUTION OF NEBRASKA 
By Albert Watkins 

All of the Louisiana Purchase south of Mississippi 
territory and of an east and west line on the thirty-third 
parallel of latitude — the northern boundary of the present 
state of Louisiana — was called the Territory of Orleans; 
all above that Hne was called the District of Louisiana. 
The Sabine river was fixed upon as the west boundary of 
the Territory of Orleans (Mercer's Maps, No. 24 and 
description, p. 18). The executive power of the territory 
of Indiana was extended over the District of Louisiana 
and the judges and governor of Indiana were authorized 
to make all laws for the district and establish inferior 
courts; the judges of Indiana, or any two of them, to 
hold courts in the district. This first arrangement for the 
government of the Purchase was made by act of congress, 
March 26, 1804. (2 Stat., p. 287). March 3, 1805 (2 Stat., 
p. 331), the name District of Louisiana was changed to 
Territory of Louisiana. An independent governor was 
provided for the territory who with three judges was em- 
powered to make all laws. April 30, 1812, Louisiana 
became a state with its present boundary (2 Stat., pp. 
641, 701-704, 708; Mercer's maps, 29). June 4, 1812 
(2 Stat., p. 743), the name of the Territory of Louisiana 
was changed to Missouri, the act to take effect the first 
Monday in December of that year. 

By the treaty of February 22, 1819, between Spain 
and the United States, the boundary was run due north 
along the 23d meridian from the Red river to the Arkansas 
river, thence along the Arkansas to its source and thence 

(135) 



136 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

north to the forty-second parallel of latitude. Spain thus 
gained a considerable tract east of the original mountain 
boundary (Stat. 8, p. 252; Mercer's maps, 37). October 
20, 1818, the present northern boundary — the 49th 
parallel — between the British possessions and the United 
States from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky moun- 
tains was fixed (Stat. 8, p. 249; Mercer's maps, 35). 
June 15, 1846, the line was extended west to the Pacific 
ocean (9 Stat., p. 869; Mercer's maps, 54). By treaty 
of February 2, 1848, proclaimed July 4, same year, the 
Mexican — formerly Spanish — territory of Upper Cali- 
lifornia and New Mexico was annexed to the United 
States - and boundary lines defined. The 42d parallel 
was the northern boundary (Stat. 9, p. 922; Mercer's 
maps, 56). This treaty recognized the right of the United 
States to Texas which had been annexed by resolution 
of congress, December 29, 1845 (9 Stat., 108; Mercer's 
Maps, 53). By authority of an act of congress of Septem- 
ber 9, 1850, the United States acquired, by purchase, all 
that part of Texas lying north of latitude 36° 30' and that 
part west of longitude 103° and north of latitude 32°. By 
the same act New Mexico was organized as a territory. 
Its east and north boundary ran from the intersection of 
the 32d parallel of latitude with the 103d meridian north 
to the 38th parallel ; thence west to the mountains; thence 
south along the crest of the mountains to the 37th parallel; 
thence west along that parallel to the boundary line of 
California. (Stat. 9, p. 446; Mercer's Maps, 60). Utah, 
organized by an act of the same date, comprised all the 
territory north of New Mexico — up to the 42d parallel — 
and between the mountains on the east and California on 
the west. (Stat. 9, p. 453; Mercer's Maps, 60). A strip of 
the territory purchased from Texas, about three-fourths of a 
degree in width on either side of the 30th meridian, extended 
north to latitude 42°. Since the original territory of Ne- 



TERRITORIAL EVOLUTION OF NEBRASKA 137 

braska ran west to the summit of the mountains, it em- 
braced the uppermost part of this strip, which Texas had 
wrested from Mexico, and also the small northeastern 
corner of original Spanish — subsequently Mexican — 
territory east of the mountains and just below the 42d 
parallel. The part of original New Spain or Mexico, and 
Texas formerly comprised in Nebraska, now lies in Colorado 
and Wyoming. That part of this projection lying west 
of the mountains went to Utah. The "Public Land Strip" 
lying between the 100th meridian on the east, the 103d 
meridian — the east boundary of New Mexico — on the 
west, Colorado and Kansas — 37th parallel of latitude — 
on the north and the present line of Texas on the south — 
as fixed by act of congress, September 9, 1850 (9 Stat., p. 
446), was included in the territory of Oklahoma by its 
organic act of May 2, 1890 (26 Stat., p. 82). 

March 2, 1819,— effective July 4 — (3 Stat., p. 493) 
the territory of Arkansas was organized. It included all 
of the territory of Missouri south of 36° 30' (except the 
northeast corner between the Saint Francois river and the 
Mississippi river down to 36°) running to the west bound- 
ary of the Purchase according to the treaty of 1819 (Mer- 
cer's Maps, No. 38). March 6, 1820, congress passed an 
act enabling Missouri to become a state (3 Stat., p. 545), 
and, on complying with an additional condition of congress 
made March 2, 1821 (3 Stat., p. 645), the territory was 
admitted as a state, by proclamation of President Monroe, 
August 10, 1821 (3 Stat., p. 797, App. 2; Mercer's Maps, 
41). May 26, 1824, the western part of Arkansas territory 
was cut off leaving the western boundary forty miles west 
of Missouri; and May 28, 1828, the western cut-off was 
given to the Cherokee Indians with a strip added on the 
east, carrying their east line as far east as that of Missouri 
(4 Stat., p. 40, and 7 Stat., p. 311; Mercer's Maps, 43 and 
44), and it was also carried north to the thirty-seventh 



138 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

parallel. An act of congress of June 30, 1834 (4 Stat., p. 
729), provided, "that all that part of the United States 
west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Mis- 
souri and Louisiana or the territory of Arkansas . . . 
be taken and deemed to be the Indian country." This 
comprised all of the Purchase not specifically excepted. 

By act of congress, June 7, 1836 (5 Stat., p. 34), and a 
proclamation by the president, March 28, 1837 (Ibid.^ 
App. 1, p. 802), the "Platte Purchase" was added to the 
state of Missouri, extending its northwest boundary to the 
Missouri river (Mercer's Maps, 49). June 28, 1834, all 
the territory bounded on the east by the Mississippi river; 
south by the state of Missouri and a line drawn due west 
from the northwest corner of that state to the Missouri 
river; southwest and west by the Missouri river and the 
White Earth river; and north by the northern boundary of 
the United States was added to the territory of Michigan 
(Stat. 4, p. 701; Mercer's Maps, 45). Arkansas became a 
state with its territorial form June 15, 1836 (Stat. 5, pp- 
50 and 58; Mercer's Maps, 46). 

The Oregon treaty of June 15, 1846, definitely de- 
limited from the British possessions all that territory south 
of the forty-ninth parallel and the middle of the channel 
which separates the continent from Vancouver Island and 
Juan de Fuca strait down to the forty-second parallel — 
the northern line of the acquisition from Mexico — and 
west of the Rocky mountains, the western line of the 
Purchase (9 Stat., p. 869; Mercer's Maps, 54). By act 
of congress, August 14, 1848, this area was organized into 
a territory (Stat. 9, p. 323; Mercer's Maps, 58). 

By act of March 2, 1853, all of the territory of Oregon 
north of the Columbia river and the forty-sixth parallel — 
all west of the Purchase and north of the Columbia river — 
and the extension of that parallel from the point of its 
intersection with the river east to the Rocky mountains 



TERRITORIAL EVOLUTION OF NEBRASKA 139 

became the territory of Washington (Stat. 10, p. 172; 
Mercer's Maps, 61). 

Oregon became a state February 14, 1859, comprising 
its territorial area west of a line running due north to the 
mouth of the Owyhee river, continuing north along the 
Snake river to the mouth of the Clearwater river, thence 
due north to the British boundary Hne. The part east of 
its eastern boundary was added to Washington territory 
(Stat. 11, p. 383; Mercer's Maps, 66). 

May 30, 1854, the territories of Nebraska and Kansas 
were formed, comprising all of the Purchase west of the 
Missouri and White Earth rivers and north of the thirty- 
seventh parallel of latitude. Kansas included also that 
part of the former Spanish — later Mexican — territory 
west of the Purchase, lying between the 23d and 26th 
meridians and the 37th parallel of latitude and the Ar- 
kansas river and the narrow strip between the 26th meridian 
and the crest of the mountains, east and west, and the 
38th parallel and the Arkansas river, south and north. 
That is, Kansas extended on the south — 37th parallel 
of latitude — to the east line of New Mexico, three degrees 
of longitude beyond the Spanish line, as fixed by the treaty 
of 1819; and then, running north to the 38th parallel, 
proceeded west along that to the crest of the mountains — 
the original line of the Purchase. This had all belonged to 
Texas since 1845. That part west of the 25th meridian 
now belongs to Colorado (Stat. 10, pp. 277, 283; Mercer's 
Maps, 63). Kansas was admitted as a state January 29, 
1861, its area comprising all the territory between the 
fortieth and thirty-seventh parallels of latitude, the west 
boundary of the state of Missouri on the east and the 
twenty-fifth meridian west from Washington on the west 
(Stat. 12, p. 126; Mercer's Maps, 67). Nebraska was 
admitted to statehood by proclamation of the president 
March 1, 1867, in its territorial form (Stat. 14, App. 9, p. 820). 



140 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The territory of Colorado was formed by the act of 
February 28, 1861. Its northern boundary was the forty- 
first parallel; its southern, the thirty-seventh parallel; its 
eastern, the twenty-fifth meridian; and its western, the 
thirty-second meridian (Stat. 12, p. 172; Mercer's Maps, 
68). It became a state August 1, 1876 (Stat. 19, p. 665; 
enabling act, March 3, 1875, Stat. 18, pt. 3, p. 474; Mer- 
cer's Maps, 81). 

Dakota territory was organized by act of March 2, 
1861. It comprised all the territory west of Iowa and 
Minnesota and north of the forty-third parallel — except 
the strip between the parallel and the Keya Paha and 
Niobrara rivers — to the Rocky mountains on the west 
(Stat. 12, p. 239; Mercer's Maps, 69). The same act 
extended the boundary of Nebraska to take in the parts 
of Utah and Washington east of the thirty-third meridian 
and between the forty-first and forty-third parallels of 
latitude (same map). Thus, for a time, Nebraska territory 
extended outside the Purchase. Washington territory ran 
down on the east of the Oregon territory to the forty- 
second parallel, the north boundary of Utah. 

By act of March 3, 1863, the territory of Idaho was 
formed (Stat. 12, p. 808; Mercer's Maps, 72). It extended 
between the Canadian boundary on the north ; the twenty- 
seventh meridian on the east; the forty-first parallel — 
the Colorado boundary — west to the thirty-third meridian, 
north on that meridian to the 42d parallel, thence west to 
the southeast corner of Oregon. It ran west to the Oregon 
boundary, and the 40th meridian separated it from Wash- 
ington. It left Washington in its present form (Illustrated 
History of Nebraska, v. 1, p. 573). 

Montana territory was formed out of Idaho by the 
act of May 26, 1864. It was bounded on the east by the 
twenty-seventh meridian — the west side of Dakota — 
south by the forty-fifth parallel to the thirty-fourth merid- 



TERRITORIAL EVOLUTION OF NEBRASKA 141 

ian, then down to 44° 30', then west to the crest of the 
Rocky mountains; north along the crest of the Rocky 
mountains to the Bitter Root mountains, then, instead of 
following the crest of the Rocky mountains — the Pur- 
chase line — it followed the crest of the Bitter Root moun- 
tains to the thirty-ninth meridian and along that meridian 
to the British Hne (Stat. 13, p. 85; Mercer's Maps, 74). 
Also all of Idaho west of Dakota and Nebraska — the 
twenty -seventh meridian — between the forty-first and 
forty-fifth parallels, to the thirty- third meridian, with a 
northwest projection from the point where the thirty- third 
meridian intersects the crest of the Rocky mountains, 
along that crest to its intersection with 44° 30', thence east 
to the thirty-fourth meridian, then north to the forty- 
fifth parallel, was added to Dakota (Mercer's Maps, 74). 

July 25, 1868, the territory of Wyoming was formed 
out of this part of Dakota, except that a straight line on 
the thirty-fourth meridian made the west boundary, leav- 
ing Idaho in its present form (Stat. 15, p. 178; Mercer's 
Maps, 80). By act of March 28, 1882, that part of the 
territory of Dakota south of the forty-third parallel, east 
of its contact with the Keya Paha river was added to 
Nebraska (Stat. 22, p. 35; Mercer's Maps, 82). 

August 1, 1876, Colorado became a state in its terri- 
torial form (Stat. 19, p. 665; Mercer's Maps, 81). 

North Dakota and South Dakota became states 
November 2, 1889, taking in the full territorial area (Stat. 
25, p. 676; Procs. 5 and 6, Stat. 26, pp. 1548 and 1549; 
Mercer's Maps, 83). 

Washington became a state November 11„ 1889, with 
the same boundaries as the territory, the eastern boundary 
being the fortieth meridian (Stat. 25, p. 676; Proc. 8, 
Stat. 26, p. 1552; Mercer's Maps, 85). 

Montana became a state November 8, 1889, with its 
territorial area (Stat. 25, p. 676; Proc. 7, Stat. 26, p. 1551; 
Mercer's Maps, 84). 



142 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

By act of May 2, 1890, Oklahoma territory was organ- 
ized out of the Indian Territory (Stat. 26, p. 81; Mercer's 
Maps, 86). 

Idaho became a state July 3, 1890, with its territorial 
form (Stat. 26, p. 215; Mercer's Maps, 87). 

Wyoming became a state July 10, 1890, with its 
territorial form (Stat. 26, p. 222; Mercer's Maps, 88). 

The Cherokee outlet was opened to settlement Sep- 
tember 16, 1893, by proclamation of the president (Stat. 
28, p. 1222; Mercer's Maps, 89). It contained 8,144,682.91 
acres now in the state of Oklahoma. It was bought of the 
Cherokee Indians by authority of an executive order dated 
December 19, 1891 (Ex. Doc. 56, 1st Sess. 52d Cong.), and 
an act of congress March 3, 1893 (Stat. 27, p. 640), and 
lay between the 96th and 100th degrees of west longitude, 
the state of Kansas on the north and the territory of Okla- 
homa, the Creek nation and the Cheyenne and Arapaho 
reservations on the south. All of the Purchase, except the 
Indian Territory, had now become regularly organized 
under state or territorial government. Its organization 
under state government was completed by the admission 
of Oklahoma and Indian Territory as a state through the 
enabling act of June 16, 1906 (Stat. 34, pt. 1, p. 267), and 
the proclamation of the president November 16, 1907 
(Stat. 35, pt. 2, p. 2160). 

Note. — Mercer's Maps are in the library of the 
University of Nebraska. 



Nebraska State Historical Society 



Volume 16 Plate 




GENERAL RICHARD C. DRUM 
Died October 15, 1909 



REMINISCENCES OF THE INDIAN FIGHT AT 
ASH HOLLOW, 1855 

By General Richard C. Drum 

[General Richard C. Drum took part as a first lieutenant in Com- 
pany G, Fourth U. S. artillery; he remained with that company until ap- 
pointed captain and assistant adjutant general March 16, 1861 — retired 
as adjutant general, U. S. A., 1889, May 28. Written at the request 
of Mr. Robert Harvey of Lincoln, Nebraska.] 

The campaign against the Sioux in 1855 was laid out 
on a rather large scale for the time. The garrisons at 
Forts Kearny and Laramie were largely increased, and 
Fort Pierre was acquired and garrisoned by a regiment of 
infantry, with the view of operating against the Sioux 
from the north. General Harney, in July of that year, 
having waited at Fort Leavenworth until the infantry of 
the expedition had got into position and the grazing was 
sufficient for the mounted forces, left that post with the 
Second dragoons, under Lieutenant Colonel Cooke, and 
Light Company G, Fourth artillery, mounted and equipped 
as riflemen. 

The occasion of the expedition was the depredations 
by the Sioux on the Overland mail route between Fort 
Laramie and the South Fork of the Platte river, and the 
subsequent attack on a detachment under Lieutenant 
Grattan, in which the troops were defeated and the officer 
killed. 

Some time after the battle which occurred between 
Harney's forces and the Sioux, at a talk which he had with 
Little Thunder and his principal men, one of the chiefs 
said that the reason the Indians dared to risk incurring the 
displeasure of the Whites was that for some years they had 
seen so many people pass from the East to the West that 

(143) 



144 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

they thought they could whip all that were left in the East. 
This, of course, had reference to the great immigration 
from 1849 to 1853 and 1854. After this statement General 
Harney called back for a private talk one of the chiefs 
who wore the medal of the president, only given to those 
chiefs who had visited Washington to see the "Great 
Father." He said to him that he who had seen how many 
people there were in the United States could have corrected 
this impression, etc., to which the chief replied in substance 
that had any one told of all that he had seen while in the 
East he would have been disbelieved and consequently 
would have lost all power and authority among his people. 

General Harney's active force, consisting of the 
dragoons and artillery and the six regiments of infantry 
under Lieutenant Colonel Cooke, united at Fort Kearny 
and moved up the Platte. From rumors set afloat by the 
scouts everyone expected that we would meet the Indians 
at a place between the North and South Forks of the 
Platte, known as "Ash Hollow"— and as the command 
approached that point its movements and disposition had 
reference to the expected attack. 

We crossed the South Fork, but when we reached 
Ash Hollow the Indians, apparently, had left a day or 
two before. We continued the march to the North Fork 
and went into camp on that stream, a short distance 
above where the Hollow debouched on it. There was a 
stream entering the North Fork of the river from the 
northwest of which, at that time, we had no knowledge, 
its mouth being some miles above where we camped. 
That evening the scouts reported the Indians in camp 
about — miles up this stream. Arrangements were at once 
made to attack the Indians at daylight. At ten o'clock 
that night we forded the North Fork; and this, I may be 
permitted to say, was the most disagreeable night duty I 
ever performed, for we had to recross the stream on the 



INDIAN FIGHT AT ASH HOLLOW, 1855 145 

night of the battle, bringing with us the captives taken 
in the fight. At the point of crossing the river is very wide, 
interspersed with Uttle islands and full of quicksands — 
while recrossing that night, it was in the midst of one of 
the severest thunder storms, and intensely dark — and 
there was no landmark to guide the force composing the 
rear guard — the mounted part of which I had the com- 
mand — with the Indian prisoners. 

Any one familiar with this stream can appreciate the 
difficulty. Along the stream on which, we were informed, 
the Indians were camped, there was a high ridge of hills, 
running parallel with the general course of the river. The 
command of mounted men, the company of light artillery 
leading, moved up south of this range for several miles 
until we reached a depression, when we turned to the left 
and struck the stream a short distance above the Indian 
camp, where the force was dismounted and the men hidden 
as well as possible in the high grass. The Indians were 
still asleep and had no knowledge of our near proximity. 
The general plan of attack was for the mounted force to 
take position on the river above the Indian camp before 
daylight, at which time the infantry command would 
commence its march directly up the stream — called by 
us the "Blue river*' or in Indian, " Minne-to-wauk-pala " — 
and when it came within striking distance the mounted 
force would make the attack from above and try to hem 
the Indians between the two forces. 

The first knowledge the Indians had of our nearness, 
or of the contemplated attack, was the movement of the 
infantry up the Blue, and at once they commenced to 
strike their lodges. An Indian woman with two children 
who was making her escape up the stream saw us when 
she reached the high ground opposite where the mounted 
force was concealed and at once retraced her steps and 
alarmed her people. At once the chiefs donned their 

10 



146 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

"war bonnets" and rode down to a point on the stream — 
opposite — and commenced to utter challenges, etc. 

Being discovered, Lieutenant Colonel Cooke at once 
mounted his force and advanced on the Indians. The 
hostiles had taken a position on a hill immediately in the 
rear of their camp; the top of which was level and covered 
by a dense undergrowth. Lieutenant Colonel Cooke dis- 
posed of his forces in such a manner that if the Indians 
retreated in the direction of the North Fork part of his 
force of dragoons would be at once on their heels; if, 
instead, they retreated to the north another force of cavalry 
would be in close pursuit. 

The light artillery company under the command of 
Captain Howe was dismounted and engaged the Indians 
on foot; this advanced with remarkable coolness and 
steadiness, and after a short struggle drove the Indians 
from their position; they fell back to the foot of the hill 
where their horses were concealed, mounted and rode to 
the north, pursued by all the mounted force except a 
detachment of sixty-five men and a lieutenant — which 
was left to fight the Indians who had secreted themselves 
in the slopes of the hill. The Indians retreated through 
a gap in the range of hills bordering the river on the south 
and fell back about three miles to a range of hills in which 
they took up a strong position, the mounted force being 
in close pursuit and at once engaged them under Captain 
Steele. In the meantime General Harney — accompanied 
by the infantry — (who was too late to engage in the 
battle in the first position and too exhausted to join in 
the pursuit of the Indians to their second position) took 
up a stand on the highest of the hills where he could over- 
look the operations taking place under Steele and in [on] 
the hill where we first attacked the Indians. 

The officer left in command of the detachment in the 
first position soon found that the hill immediately facing 



INDIAN FIGHT AT ASH HOLLOW, 1855 147 

the river was a rotten limestone formation and filled with 
little caves, overgrown by a dense undergrowth which 
entirely hid the mouths of the caves, and that the shots 
heard — and felt — came from Indians hidden in them. 
The force was at once disposed at long intervals so as to 
cover the entire north face of the hill, and in this position, 
without cover of any kind, continued to engage the In- 
dians, until in passing round his line giving directions and 
encouraging his men in their exposed position he heard 
the piercing cry of a child, and at once sounded the signal 
to cease firing, and the men immediately brought their 
pieces to an order. This was the first indication that the 
women and children were concealed in the caves and 
under our fire. All the male Indians had, by this time, 
been killed except two, who, seeing the men bring their 
pieces to an order, jumped, raced, and thus got away. 
As it was, we killed twelve bucks and captured all the 
women and children in the caves, some of them being 
terribly wounded. 

Having completed the work assigned me I proceeded 
with my detachment and reported to General Harney 
who again detached me to report to and to reinforce Captain 
Steele. When I reported the day had far advanced, and 
Captain Steele, finding it impossible to dislodge the Indians, 
decided to withdraw and ordered me to cover his rear 
and follow over the ground pursued by the enemy in their 
retreat. When I moved out from Harney's headquarters 
down the steep slope, I said to the junior officer, Lieutenant 
Mendenhall, that there were evidently Indians in the deep 
grass just ahead of us, and as a small hill intervened, if 
he would move rapidly to the left I would make a dash 
toward the object, indicating Indians. He did so, and 
I rushed at the object and there found only a little child 
naked, save for a scarf around its waist in which a little 
puppy was \vrapped. I directed a sergeant to pick up 



148 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the child, which he attempted to do, but it bit and 
scratched him until he had to put it down. I then gave 
him my canteen in which I had a lemonade with a fair 
amount of whiskey in it, and as soon as the little thing 
tasted it she was appeased and allowed the sergeant to lift 
her in front of him on the saddle; and so we rode into the 
place where the first fight took place and thence to our 
camp on the North Platte; then later continued to the 
opposite shore near the mouth of the Blue. Here we re- 
mained during the construction of Fort Grattan situated 
at the mouth of Ash Hollow, and I got the company 
tailor to make her some garments out of my "hickory 
shirts", and a skillful man in the company made her a 
medallion from the tin foil in which I kept my tobacco, 
which delighted her as much as the food given her, especially 
the stewed dried fruit, which she ate ravenously. In a 
short time she suffered distressingly from what seemed to 
me like earache, and by the advice of the surgeon I sent 
her to the camp of the prisoners. To complete this part 
of my story, at the request of my and your friend, Mr. 
Harvey, I will add that the next spring, when I returned 
to my station after a leave of absence, I met the chief of 
guides, and he told me the five hostages given by the 
Sioux after their treaty were in confinement at Fort Leaven- 
worth and asked if I would not like to see them. Of 
course, I said I would, and went with him to their quarters. 
It is a difficult, and to me a very tiresome thing to converse 
with Indians through an interpreter, but I said the usual 
"How!" and among many questions inquired about the 
little girl, telling them how she fell into my hands, etc., 
and of my interest in her. These Indian hostages were the 
sons of five chiefs, and there was one woman with them 
who spoke aside to one of the young chiefs, who at once 
said, "Why does he ask?" I rephed that it was because 
I had captured the child and had become quite attached 



INDIAN FIGHT AT ASH HOLLOW, 1855 149 

to her. He immediately advanced and placing his hand 
on my shoulder said that she had died. This demon- 
stration, so unusual in an Indian, made me ask the guide 
who he was. He told me that he was Spotted Tail, the 
son of Little Thunder who commanded at the battle on 
the Blue Water. I have been told that Spotted Tail who 
succeeded his father. Little Thunder, as chief of the Brul6 
band of Sioux, never after engaged in hostilities against 
the whites, though it is believed by many that he had 
just cause to do so. 

When I returned to the scene where I had fought the 
Indians in their caves in the hills I commenced to remove 
the women and children and to take such care of them as 
circumstances permitted. Some of them were dreadfully 
wounded — even after all these years I could not go into 
the distressing details. There was one case in which 
those of us on the rear guard became much interested. 
It was that of a young woman with her first child who was 
badly wounded in both legs. She had evidently been 
holding her baby between her knees and the bullet had 
passed through her legs and through the child's knees. It 
was, no doubt, the shrill cry of this child, when hurt, that 
caused me. to cease firing and, as I mentioned before, gave 
me the first intimation of there being women and children 
among the Indians. 

In all my life I have never seen such grief as that of 
this poor woman. We did what we could with the means 
at our disposal (for the doctors were all with the troops 
who were returning to camp, so knew nothing of the dis- 
tressing condition of the wounded women and children). 
I had awnings put up on the slope to the stream so as to 
give them what shelter was possible and got water for 
them to drink and to bathe their wounds; but the woman 
who had been wounded, with her child, was aside from her 
companions and seemed helpless from intense grief. One 



150 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

of the soldiers kindly went to her assistance and when the 
water he used on her removed the dirt, I found that she 
was undoubtedly a white woman. I at once went to the 
commander of the rear guard, Major Samuel Woods, an 
old campaigner, and reported the fact. He gave me what 
directions he thought necessary and further developments 
convinced him, as well as myself, that the woman had 
evidently been captured in her childhood and grown up 
among the Indians; for in every respect she was a thorough 
hostile, except in the display of her grief at the loss of her 
child — for it is well known that the Indian is rarely 
demonstrative in sorrow. 

When General Harney concluded to build a temporary 
defensive work on the North Fork, opposite the mouth of 
Ash Hollow, he moved the mounted troops to the north 
side of the river, where they remained in camp until the 
work was completed, when the whole command moved on 
to Fort Laramie, sending the Indian prisoners back to 
Fort Kearny. 

The Indians engaged in the Blue Water battle were 
the Brule, the Ogalala and Minneconjou Sioux and a party 
of Northern Cheyenne, under Little Butte, who was killed 
in the action, the whole under command of Little Thunder, 
the chief of the Brule. 

[Copied from the manuscript of General R. C. Drum, 
adjutant general, U. S. A., retired. Langdrum Farm* 
1908]. 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 151 

Nsbnuka SUt« Historical Society Volume 16 PU U 6 






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Map of Ash Hollow battle field, made by Lieut. G. K. Warren, and re- 
traced by Robert Harvey. 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 
By Robert Harvey 

The battle of Ash Hollow was fought September 3, 
1855, between United States forces under General W. S. 
Harney, consisting of Companies E and K of the Second 
dragoons, Light Company G, Fourth artillery (mounted), 
Company E, Tenth infantry, under Lieutenant Colonel 
P. St. George Cooke, Companies A, E, H, I and K, Sixth 
infantry, commanded by Major A. Cady — nine com- 
panies in all — and the Brule Sioux under Little Thunder 
and a band of Ogalala, Minneconjou and Northern Cheyenne 
under Little Butte, all estimated at 700 warriors. 

During the half century and more since the battle it 
has been generally supposed, on account of its name 
that it took place in Ash Hollow, while in fact it occurred 
more than six miles to the northwest on the opposite side 
of the Platte river. ^ Ash Hollow begins about four miles 



1 The battle naturally and properly acquired the name of Ash Hollow 
because that was the familiar name of a famous point on the great Cali- 
fornia and Oregon road and it was the place nearest the battle ground 
that possessed a name, the actual vicinity of the struggle being unknown 
to white people. Colonel Steptoe's report of his expedition of 1854 says 
that Harney's recent conflict with the Brule Sioux was at Ash Hollow on 
the south bank of the north fork of the Platte and upon the emigrant 
road. Though Colonel Steptoe ought to have been more explicit yet, 
since Ash Hollow was really the base of the battle, and considering the 
relative unimportance of the affair which was not above a skirmish, the 
inaccuracy is not surprising. It appears that General Harney threw up 
earthworks a few rods east of the site of his Ash Hollow camp — as 
Warren's sketch places it — where he remained until October 1, when 
he resumed his march to Ft. Pierre. In 1904 the editor discovered the 
ridges and depressions which were the only remains or evidences of the 
fortification. The temporary post was very appropriately called Ft. 
Grattan in memory of the massacre which General Harney's expedition 
avenged. See Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 2, pp. 167, 168. — Ed. 

(152) 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 153 

south of the North Platte river, and the main canon is 
formed by the confluence of several branches which drop 
quite abruptly from the table-land, at an elevation of 
about five hundred feet, forming a broad flat ravine which 
runs almost north and debouches into the river valley. 
Its mouth is probably two hundred yards wide.* The 
river valley at this point is about a quarter of a mile wide. 
About half a mile up the caiion from its mouth there was 
a little round grove of ash timber, surrounded by gravel 
washed from the hills. In this beautiful oasis was a 
splendid spring of water and nearby a log house built by 
trappers in 1846. 

In his report of the battle to the war department, 
dated September 5, 1855, General Harney says that he 
arrived at Ash Hollow on the evening of the 2d, and ascer- 
tained that the Brule Sioux under Chief Little Thunder 
were encamped on Blue Water creek (Mee-na-to-wah-pah) 
about six miles northwest and four miles from the left 
bank of the North Platte. He at once made his dispositions 
for attacking them. The cavalry, under St. George Cooke, 
was ordered to make a detour over the table-land of Blue 
Water creek to intercept and attack the Indians from the 
north, while the infantry, under Major Cady, accompanied 
by General Harney, moved later and proceeded up the 
valley to attack from below, thus placing the Indians 
between two forces. The cavalry moved at three o'clock 
on the morning of the 3d, proceeded up the valley, ascended 
the bluffs and marched along the table-land, taking a 
favorable position to cut off the Indians from retreat to 
the Sand Buttes, the reputed stronghold of the Sioux. 



* The altitude of the plain at the head of the main branch of Ash 
Hollow, which the road follows, is 3,763 feet and that of the river bottom 
below, 3,314 feet. It is four miles from the point at which the hollow 
or canon begins to descend from the plain to the river. — Ed. 



154 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The infantry moved out of camp later and proceeded 
up the valley of the Blue Water; but before it reached the 
principal village the lodges were struck, and the Indians 
retreated rapidly up the valley in the direction of the 
mounted troops. Before collision of the hostile forces a 
parley was held between General Harney and Chief Little 
Thunder, in which the general explained the government's 
grievance, and in closing the interview told the chief that 
his people had depredated upon and insulted the whites, 
while quietly passing through the country; that they had 
wantonly, and in the most aggravated manner, massacred 
our soldiers, and now the day of retribution had come; 
that since Little Thunder had professed friendship for the 
whites he did not wish to harm him personally, but he must 
either deliver up the young men, whom he acknowledged 
he could not control, or they must suffer the consequences 
of their wrong doing in battle. " The chief, not being able 
to deliver up all the butchers of our people, however willing 
he might have been, returned to his band to warn and 
prepare them for the contest which must follow." Im- 
mediately after his departure the leading company, Captain 
Todd's, as skirmishers, supported by Company H, advanced 
and engaged the enemy in their last position on the bluffs 
on the right bank of the creek and drove them into the 
snare laid by the cavalry, which in turn charged them. 
They then retreated across the creek and assumed a strong 
position in the rugged bluffs beyond from which they 
could not be driven without heavy loss, whereupon the 
troops were withdrawn and returned to camp. 

The Indian loss in the engagement, as reported by 
General Harney, was eighty-six killed, including one chief, 
five wounded and about seventy women and children 
captured. The casualties of the troops were four killed, 
four severely wounded, three slightly wounded and one 
missing. A large amount of provisions and camp equipage. 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 155 

nearly all the enemy possessed, was captured and hauled 
to camp for the use of the troops. Lieutenant Drum, of 
the light artillery company, was detailed to care for the 
wounded of both combatants who were conveyed to im- 
provised hospital quarters on the banks of the Platte, 
where all received medical treatment by Assistant Surgeon 
Ridgely. 

The general included in his report a sketch of the 
ground on which the battle was fought, drawn by Lieuten- 
ant Warren, topographical engineer; he also forwarded a 
number of papers found in the baggage of the Indians 
taken, as shown by the marks and dates, at the time of 
the massacre and plundering of the mail in November, 
1854. There were also in possession of the officers and men 
the scalps of the two white women and remnants of cloth- 
ing, etc., carried away by the Indians engaged in the 
massacre of the detachment of twenty-six men under 
Lieutenant John L. Grattan.^ 



3 General Harney's report of the battle of Ash Hollow is published 
in full in the History of Nebraska, v. 2, p. 150, and in the report of the 
secretary of war — Jefferson Davis — for 1855, messages and documents 
1855-6, part 2, p. 49. General Harney's report was addressed to Lieuten- 
ant Colonel L. Thomas, Assistant Adjutant General, who endorsed it 
thus: "Respectfully forwarded to the adjutant general by direction of 
the general-in-chief (Winfield Scott) who highly approves of the conduct 
of Brevet Brigadier General Harney and his command. " General Harney's 
victory was freely denounced as an unwarranted butchery, especially by 
agents of the Indian bureau. Dr. Geo. L. Miller also denounced Harney 
for the massacre in his newspaper, the Omaha Herald, and in a paper 
published in the proceedings of the Historical Society, v. 3, p. 120, he 
marveled that General Harney could "shoot down not less than sixty 
Indians at Ash Hollow, including more than one woman, as a punishment 
for offenses which, in my belief, they never committed, without any com- 
puction of conscience or emotion of sympathy with human suffering". 
While Dr. Miller was partly right yet a more critical and general view 
of the incident shows that even if these Indians were not guilty of the 
Grattan massacre yet they were a bloodthirsty and murderous lot and it 
was necessary to punish them or else discontinue the westerly progress of 
white settlement. In the very nature of the case this drastic treatment 
of the unfortunate Sioux was inevitable. — Ed. 



156 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

So great had been my faith in the current report of 
the tragedy of Ash Hollow that on a hot July afternoon 
in 1869, in company with three others, I walked several 
miles through an Indian infested country to see the battle 
ground; and again, in 1874, with four others, camped a 
whole day on the ground and searched all over the field 
for evidences of the conflict, such as arrowheads, bullets, 
human bones, etc; and all we could find was a few bullets. 
After reading Harney's report, I learned that Lieutenant 
Drum, who commanded Company G of light artillery in 
the battle and was afterward adjutant general of the 
regular army, hved in the vicinity of Washington, D. C, 
and in March, 1907, I visited him with the purpose of 
getting further particulars of the battle. When I in- 
formed him of the object of my visit he repHed with much 
animation, "Part of my military life was spent in Nebraska, 
I loved its broad, fertile prairies and pure air, and I am 
always glad to welcome Nebraska people, among whom I 
have some warm personal friends." 

He then narrated his recollections of the battle, how 
the cavalry, to which his company was temporarily attached 
as mounted infantry, moved out in the night, crossing the 
river among a lot of small islands, or "towheads", marched 
over the table-land and descended into Blue creek valley 
through a hollow with a Httle brook, and concealed them- 
selves in the grass just above the upper camp of Indians, 
as day was beginning to dawn. The plan of battle was for 
the cavalry to gain possession of the creek above the 
Indian camp before daylight and wait the attack of the 
infantry from below, the mounted force to attack from 
above and try to hem the Indians between the two forces. 
The first information of the approach of the soldiers re- 
ceived by the Indians was given by a squaw and two 
children who were leading a pony toward their camp 
before daylight, and hearing the noise of the march, gave 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 157 

the alarm. Both parties were taken by surprise, and not 
daring to wait for the infantry to attack, Colonel Cooke 
made such a disposition of his force as to fight the Indians 
in front with the dismounted light artillery company, 
while the mounted dragoons could pursue, should they 
attempt to escape by either flank. The Indians took 
possession of a hill with a level summit immediately in the 
rear of their camp, when the light artillery company dis- 
mounted, engaged them on foot and after a short struggle 
drove them from their position. 

In the disposition of the attacking forces Captain 
Heth disobeyed orders, which enabled the enemy to throw 
a heavy volley of bullets and arrows into the artillery 
company, killing and wounding several men and affording 
the Indians opportunity to escape across the river to the 
left bank and into the bluffs. They were pursued by 
the mounted force to a strong position in the hills about 
three miles distant, from which they could not be dis- 
lodged. Lieutenant Drum was left in command of his 
company to finish the fight in the first position. When 
General Harney arrived he took a position on the highest 
hill, where he could overlook the operations of the cavalry 
under Captain Steele and the hill where Drum was trying 
to drive the enemy from the caves. 

When the fight along the front of the limestone bluff 
had progressed for some time the cry of a child was heard, 
the first intimation that women and children were con- 
cealed in the caves and behind the rocks. Orders were 
given to cease firing, which gave two Indians a chance to 
escape, but twelve warriors were killed and all the women 
and children were captured. On their return to camp 
Lieutenant Drum had charge of the wounded and captives. 
The first great battle in Nebraska Territory between the 
Sioux and the United States came to an end late in the 
afternoon with results already indicated. 



158 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

General Drum called my attention to several prominent 
topographical features of the country which might assist 
in identifying the battle field. His memory of the battle, 
though it had occurred fifty-two years before, was so vivid 
that I begged him to write out with his own hand a brief 
account of it for filing among the papers of the Historical 
Society. Though it was difficult for the aged veteran to 
write, on account of the crippled condition of his right 
hand, he generously complied with my request and his 
valuable contributions are a part of the records of the 
society, together with Lieutenant Warren's sketch obtained 
from the war department. 

On the fourth of July, 1908, I visited the valley of 
Blue Water creek, having with me Lieutenant Warren's 
sketch and Drum's narrative. The creek is a beautiful 
stream of clear, cold water, about two rods wide and two 
feet deep. The wagon road up the Blue leaves the Platte 
valley and ascends a long, easy slope to the summit of the 
ridge, forming the point or headland between the valleys 
of the two rivers. L^ooking northward from this summit 
there is a magnificient view of the Blue creek valley. 
About a mile northwesterly, on the right bank of the 
creek, stands the sentinel of the valley, a towering butte 
or sharply defined, flat-topped hill, separated by a few 
hundred feet from the main bluff. It forms the north 
end of a ridge which descends southeasterly to the valley, 
around which the creek flows, turning westward for a 
quarter of a mile, then south, washing the western base 
of a rocky point of the bluff on the east bank. This point 
is directly on the fourth standard parallel, between town- 
ships 16 and 17, north, range 42 west. 

A sandy draw descends from the western bluffs, 
crosses the valley and enters the creek south of the point. 
Lieutenant Warren's map shows the trail of the infantry 
column crossing to the west bank of the creek at the mouth 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 159 

of a ravine, then swinging around to the east and re- 
crossing to the left bank about a mile north of the rocky 
point and half a mile east of the butte. It then con- 
tinues in a northeasterly course across the valley into the 
bluffs in the direction tvken by the fleeing Indians, pursued 
by the infantry. Little Thunder's band of forty-one lodges 
is shown on the west side of the creek, two miles south. 
These Indians struck their lodges and retreated up the 
valley before their parley with General Harney, after 
which they took up a position on the high bluffs on the 
right bank. The conditions lead one to the conclusion 
that after the parley the troops ascending the valley crossed 
to the right bank to avoid the abrupt bluff of rotten stone 
along the west base of which the stream runs; proceeding 
up the valley they were again forced to swing to the east 
and recross to the left bank, after having driven the enemy 
from the bluffs on the right bank, the base of which is 
also washed by the creek. 

From this point, up the stream for five or six miles, 
the valley is about half a mile in width, without bushes or 
trees. Projecting rocks line the steep bluffs on either side 
with scattering small cedars along the slopes and consider- 
able thickets in the gulches. The valley is not fiat, but 
slopes from the bluffs to the first bench. Through the 
narrow, low bottom the creek turns and bends in sharp 
curves, which almost touch each other in opposite reaches. 
The landscape is pleasing and, coupled with the tragedy 
of more than half a century ago, it is extremely interesting. 
About a mile and a half north of the butte a caiion 
comes down from the eastern table-land, plowing its way 
through the rock and forming on the north, perpendicular 
walls and cliffs. In the bottom of the cafion runs a little 
spring brook on the bank of which, among the trees, is the 
house of Mr. S. P. Delatour, an intelligent cattleman of 
more than twenty years' residence in the valley. I lodged 



160 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

with him, and together we went over the ground covered 
by the sketch and narrative. Mr. Delatour said that 
when he settled there cedars filled the pockets and fringed 
the bluffs. These have all been cut away. The "rotten 
limestone" had disintegrated and been washed down, the 
creek in many places had changed its course, and the con- 
tinual grazing of the cattle had in some cases converted 
tule marshes into hay land. So when I came away it 
was with a feeling that little had been accomplished. 

In the latter part of October, while waiting for my 
train at Llewelljni, which ran only semi-weekly, I again 
visited the valley; and when I stood on the rocky point, 
crossed by the fourth parallel, and looked over the lower 
valley and the sand draw from the west, I perceived that 
the infantry's line of march, with its train of wagons had 
been directed across the creek to avoid the rocky bluff, and 
then swung to the right around the bend of the river, 
recrossing below the next bluff; and the commanding 
position of the butte — a veritable little round top — and 
the adjacent ridge, and I was satisfied that I looked upon a 
part of the battle field. I went up the valley nine miles 
to the "Big Gusher", a magnificient spring, situated 
beyond the outcropping rock and abrupt bluffs, compared 
my data with those Mr. Delatour had gathered since July 
from repeated examinations of the valley; and the next 
morning I examined the western bluffs and the river valley 
between the butte and Cheyenne Pass. Bearing in mind 
what Mr. Delatour had said about the transformation of 
shallow marshes into hay flats by the trampling of cattle 
I could see the opening or retreat of the bluffs where the 
Ogalala were camped, west of Cheyenne Pass. Between 
this and the butte there is apparently an old marsh and a 
slough on the right bank of the creek. About half a mile 
south of Cheyenne Pass, on the east side of the creek, a 
sand draw comes out of the bluffs, corresponding to the 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 161 

sand creek in Warren's map. Below Cheyenne Pass the 
creek runs tortuously in a southwesterly direction past a 
plat of low ground on the left bank, apparently at one 
time a shallow marsh with a short slough entering it, as 
shown in Warren's map. From this point the creek runs 
southeasterly past the northeast front of the butte to the 
point where the infantry is shown to have recrossed the 
creek, then westerly and southwesterly past the rocky 
point on the fourth standard parallel. The more the con- 
ditions and the topography of the country were studied, 
the more consistent did they appear; and I became con- 
vinced that the battle ground of Ash Hollow extended 
from the ridge on which the butte stood northward a mile 
and a half, and possibly two miles. 

Nevertheless, all the meager details of the topographical 
features in the printed reports and accompanying map, 
together with traditionary stories and the memories of 
actual participants, dimmed by the lapse of more than 
half a century, furnish inadequate data from which to 
locate all the prominent positions occupied by the com- 
manding forces. The point of attack in the morning by 
the cavalry on the upper camp, and that by the infantry 
on the Brule, on the high bluffs, are to my mind the two 
prominent positions which should be specially located. 

I am satisfied that I have located the bluffs occupied 
by the Brule when attacked by the infantry and from 
which they fled across the creek into the rough country. 
To fix upon the upper position is a more difficult task and 
will require careful study and perhaps the services of 
persons experienced in Indian warfare, or of an actual 
participant in the battle. 

I received the impression from General Drum that 
the Blue Water creek valley was about forty rods wide 
and bordered by high rugged bluffs and peaks. I found, 
however, that its width is nearer half a mile and that 
11 



162 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the bluffs are not so rocky and precipitous as he thought, 
there being only one peak or butte that attracts particular 
attention. Having a kodak with me, I took several views 
of the west bluffs and two of the rocky and precipitous 
bluff on the canon known as Cheyenne Pass, a copy of 
which I sent to General Drum to ascertain whether he 
recognized any of the landmarks. As I received no reply 
I am unable to claim any benefit from this part of my 
efforts. I have also had two other sets printed, one of 
which I have filed with my report on historic sites in the 
secretary's office. 

General Drum narrated a number of personal incidents 
of the battle, one of which, although told in his story of 
the battle, I will repeat, as told to me. 

"On our return from reinforcing Captain Steele", 
said the general, "riding down the steep hill from General 
Harney's headquarters, I saw a disturbance in the deep 
grass just ahead and said to the officer with me that there 
were Indians hiding and if he would make a rapid move- 
ment to the ];ight I would make a dash for the object. He 
did so and I made a rush but found only a little child, 
naked, excepting a scarf around its waist, in which was 
a little puppy dog. I told the sergeant to pick it up, 
and as he did so it scratched and bit like a wildcat. Having 
a lemonade in my canteen with a little whiskey, and know- 
ing the mollifying effects of the decoction on Indian 
temper, I handed it to the sergeant to give the waif a sip, 
which had a happy effect. He carried the foundling to 
camp and I had it cared for in my tent. I got the tailor 
to make a dress for it out of some hickory shirting and 
had its meals brought to my quarters with my own. The 
child relished the fruit and other delicacies which I specially 
ordered and the men gave it trinkets which pleased it 
very much; so that in a few days it appeared to be recon- 
ciled to its new mode of living. But soon the little thing 
became afflicted with the earache, and I sent for the surgeon 
who advised, since we could not understand each other's 
language and I was not prepared to care for such a patient, 



THE BATTLE GROUND OF ASH HOLLOW 163 

that I send it over to the captive Indian women who would 
know how to care for it. 

"The next spring, on my return from my leave of 
absence, I reported at Ft. Leavenworth, and as I passed 
down the street an officer hailed me and wanted to know 
if I did not want to see the hostages given up by the Indians 
as a guaranty of their future good behavior. I went with 
him and talked with the young Indians. Before leaving 
I inquired about the little child I had returned sick to the 
captives, when a woman placed her hand on the shoulder 
of a young, handsome and stalwart Indian and whispered 
to him. The young fellow came across the room, placed 
his hands on my shoulders and looked down into my face 
with a long and steady gaze, then dropped them and re- 
turned to the woman." 

While telling the story the general rose from his 
chair, placed his hands on my shoulders and dropping 
them in imitation of the Indian said: "When I returned 
the Indian's gaze, I thought I could see deep in his eyes and 
the expression of his face, a depth of feeling and emotion 
veiled in Indian stoicism I could not understand; but on 
inquiry who he was, I learned that he and the woman 
were the dead child's parents." 

When the general stood before me with his hands on 
my shoulders and looking into my face while telling the 
story, I thought I could see water springing into his eyes. 
"I became well acquainted with that Indian in after years", 
he continued, "and I often thought I would ask him if my 
caring for his child had any influence in making him a 
friend of the whites." The general then revealed the 
dramatic fact that the father of the foundling was no less 
a personage than Spotted Tail, who became the famous 
chief of the Brule Sioux and the steadfast friend of the 
whites. Those of us who were engaged in the surveying 
in Brule teiTitory during the Sioux wars, learned that 
when we were intercepted by Spotted Tail's men, no great 
harm would befall us. 



164 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Before taking my leave, the general said : " If it is the 
intention of the state of Nebraska, through its Historical 
Society, to erect a monument to the valor of the American 
troops at Ash Hollow, I want to enter my earnest protest 
in behalf of my comrades. Let the monument com- 
memorate the valor of the American soldiers and the 
bravery of the Sioux Indians." Should the society erect 
such a monument I hope that the request of General Drum 
will be respected. 



THE LAST BATTLE OF THE PAWNEE WITH 
THE SIOUX 

By William Z. Taylor 

During the heavy snow storm of April, 1873, I came 
to Lincoln from Burlington, Iowa, my former home, and 
as soon as the road was open we boarded the first train for 
Lowell, the end of the Burlington & Missouri railroad at 
that time. The next day we went by stagecoach to 
Orleans, in the Republican valley. A few days later we 
organized a party to explore the upper Republican country 
and to hunt buffaloes. On the 25th of April we went into 
camp at the mouth of the Frenchman river, in Hitchcock 
county. My health was poor, but stimulated by the in- 
vigorating air and the sight of the thousands of buffaloes 
scattered over the most beautiful part of Nebraska I had 
seen, I decided to take my homestead right there; and 
I incidentally laid the foundation for the future town of 
Culbertson. 

On the 4th of August, 1873, while we were building 
the first store in the new town of Culbertson, we learned 
that a band of about four hundred Pawnee, who had come 
from their reservation to hunt buffaloes, were in camp ten 
miles south on Driftwood creek. We drove to the camp 
and, finding that the Indians had gone northwest toward 
the Republican river, overtook and followed them until 
we came to the river where we left them. They crossed 
the river, went up what is now known as Massacre canon 
about three miles, and camped at a point between the 
Republican and Frenchman rivers, about ten miles west 
of Culbertson. Notwithstanding that the Indians were well 
loaded with the dried meat and hides from about three 

(165) 



166 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

hundred buffaloes, the sight of a herd the next morning in 
the northeast, toward the Frenchman, tempted their 
hunters, and many of them went in pursuit, leaving the 
old men, squaws and children to pack the ponies and 
follow. No sooner were the hunters out of sight than a 
band of Sioux, bloodthirsty enemies of the Pawnee, 
pounced on the helpless remnant in the canon below. 

About noon that day, while we were at work on our 
building at Culbertson, we saw about thirty Indians dis- 
mounted and lined up on the hill about three hundred 
yards to the northwest of us, and making great effort to 
attract our attention. Our party, six in number and well 
armed, formed in line in front of them and laid our guns 
on the ground, the Indians doing the same. Then one of 
our party picked up his gun to indicate that only one of 
them should take his gun. After some time they under- 
stood that we wanted them to meet one of us half way, 
which was done and they proved to be Pawnee. We 
motioned for them to all come down, and by this time many 
of the survivors of the battle were in sight and in less 
than an hour about two hundred of them had gathered 
around us. There were squaws, many of them with their 
papooses strapped to their backs, and old men and young, 
all crying and pleading for protection, making a pitiful 
sight indeed. Their story was short. The attack was 
made from the west bank of the canon, about the center 
of the camp, separating the occupants, a part of whom 
retreated northeast to the Frenchman and the rest down 
the canon to the Republican. They met again at and 
below the mouth of the Frenchman. The Sioux followed 
them until long after dark. The fight or massacre occurred 
about nine or ten o'clock on the morning of August 5, 1873. 
The next morning we were on the battleground early, and 
the sight that greeted us will never be forgotten. The 
dead were scattered along the narrow canon, half a mile 
or more. Seven bodies were piled in a pool of water, six 



LAST BATTLE OF PAWNEE WITH SIOUX 167 

behind a small knoll on the side of the canon, where they 
had taken refuge. Men, women and children lay scattered 
here and there, all scalped. One child about two years 
old had been scalped alive. About the 24th of the month 
a company of soldiers came from Ft. McPherson and buried 
the victims, sixty-five in number, in one hole in the side of 
the cailon, caving the bank in on them. The condition 
of the bodies after lying in the hot sun for twenty days 
must be imagined. We raised them up with a pitchfork, 
tied one end of a rope around each body, fastened the 
other end to the horn of a saddle and then dragged them 
to the grave. Several bodies were found afterward along 
the line of retreat, one of the wounded died near Culbertson, 
another at Indianola, and perhaps many others on the 
way to their reservation and after their arrival. Notwith- 
standing that the history fakers of the East would have it 
that the entire band was massacred, the loss did not exceed 
one hundred. The most notable of the dead were Sky 
Chief and Pawnee Mary, a white woman. 

It has been said that the loss of the Sioux was never 
known, but I think we have almost positive proof that only 
six of them were killed. During the month of September 
we were hunting on the Frenchman and camped one night 
in the mouth of a cafion, about three miles west of the 
place where Palisade is now situated. In this canon 
there were many large trees containing a considerable 
number of Indians, buried according to the Sioux custom 
of placing their dead on scaffolds in trees. Upon examina- 
tion we found six that had been dead only a short time, 
and they had been killed with bullets. All of the Pawnee 
were killed with arrows, for though the Sioux were well 
armed with guns they doubtless preferred to use bows 
and arrows, fearing that the reports of guns might bring 
back the Pawnee hunters. To make sure that we had 
found the Sioux that were killed in the fight we followed 
their trail which led direct to the battle field. 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 

[Address of Mr. James Mooney of the Bureau of 
American Ethnology at the annual meeting of the Nebraska 
State Historical Society, January 18, 1910.] 

The boy starting out in life is eager and enthusiastic 
for every new enterprise. As responsibilities and cares 
increase he tries to limit his duties, and after a time he 
begins to count the disappointments and wonder whether 
it is all worth while. Then, as the years go by, when his 
wife is gone, his children buried or married away from 
him and the old friends, who were his partners in the 
things of life, are dead,— after a while he comes to the 
place where his dearest joy is to sit down and dream of the 
days that are past. This is a natural thing and universal 
in its human application. If it has not come to each one 
of us, it surely will come. This is the whole meaning of 
the Indian ghost dance. It is the dwelling upon the 
days that have gone before, with the hope that if the past 
itself cannot return we may find something of it on the 
other side. We have parallels in earlier periods of our 
own history in the shape of religious revivals or spiritual 
ecstacies which spread over great areas or among several 
nations at once. There have been several similar revivals 
of Indian thought and fervor in different parts of America 
in aboriginal times. One notable instance occurs in the 
history of Peru where, in 1781, a descendant of the ancient 
Inca kings arose among the Indians, preaching the doctrine 
that the old native empire was soon to be restored and 
that the hated Spanish conquerers and the whole white 
race would disappear from the earth. The result was a 
terrible war ending at last in the capture and death of the 
Inca and his chief supporters. 

(168) 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 169 

When France surrendered Canada to England the 
native tribes continued the struggle on their own account 
for some years, owing largely to the influence of a prophet 
who had arisen among them preaching a return to the old 
Indian customs and warning them that they had lost their 
lands and dominion because they had abandoned their 
native customs for those of the white man. He taught 
that the only way to recover their lost heritage was to 
throw away the tools and customs of the white man and 
return to the Indian dress and life, even discarding guns 
for the old-time bow and arrow. It was a very hard thing 
for them to do, but in a large measure they did it. That 
doctrine was taken up by nearly every tribe from the 
Alleghenies — then the Indian frontier — to the head- 
waters of the Mississippi river. The result was Pontiac's 
war. The same doctrine of return to the old Indian life 
was revived by the Shawnee prophet forty years later, 
leading up to the battle of Tippecanoe and the general 
Indian aUiance against the Americans in the war of 1812. 

About the year 1888 we began to hear of an Indian 
prophet in Nevada who was preaching to the Indians some 
new revelation that was not clearly understood among the 
whites, but beUeved to be an incitement to a general up- 
rising along the western frontier. The agents and inter- 
preters, not knowing what it meant, as nobody did except 
the Indians themselves, magnified the matter in such a 
way that the western people became alarmed. The govern- 
ment was worried about it, and the Indian office made 
some inquiry, but with no great result. The war depart- 
ment sent an officer to the Kiowa and Cheyenne of Okla- 
homa to learn what it meant, and, altogether, it looked as 
though there might be trouble. 

Just at this crisis, in 1889, a treaty was negotiated 
with the Sioux, by which they sold one-half of then- great 
reservation, the remainder being cut up into five smaller 



170 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

reservations, and the ceded lands sold off to white settlers. 
The terms of this treaty had not been yet carried out, 
although the whites were already in possession of the 
lands thrown open. In addition to this cause of dissatis- 
faction, the rations were reduced without warning by 
about twenty per cent, so that when news of the new 
revelation reached the Sioux the ferment took on a critical 
aspect. As I was about to go to Oklahoma on ethnologic 
work, I asked to be allowed to look into the trouble. Per- 
mission was granted, and I left Washington in December, 
1890, the month in which the unrest among the Sioux 
culminated in the killing of Sitting Bull and the massacre 
of Wounded Knee. I went first to the Cheyenne and 
Arapaho. The papers were saying that those tribes were 
in such a threatening attitude on account of the news 
from the north that it would be necessary to disarm them, 
and that if it could not be done peaceably a great many 
things were going to happen. It did not seem, however, 
that there was occasion for so much alarm because we all 
know how easy it is to exaggerate if you do not know. 
The danger is always greater before you encounter it. 

At the Cheyenne agency I found things going on in 
the ordinary routine, except that the Indians were engaged 
in the ghost dance day and night. There was hardly a 
day when they did not dance, except that just at this 
particular period they had stopped for a while on account 
of a deep snow which compelled them to stay in their 
tipis. I began my inquiry in those two tribes because they 
were particularly interested in the new religion, and also 
because they had a large number of educated young men 
who could act as interpreters. Education seems to have 
stuck to the young men of the Cheyenne and Arapaho. 
They are more intelligent and reliable than those of some 
other tribes. The Arapaho are a particularly friendly 
people. Those of you who are acquainted with the history 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 171 

of that tribe remember that it was generally on the friendly 
side in the pioneer times; and as a tribe the Arapaho 
never made war against the government, notwithstanding 
that there are many brave men among them. They have 
no hostile record, but they have been able to see that 
civilization is superior to savagery and that it had come to 
stay, and they have honestly tried to meet it half way and 
adopt it. They are naturally accommodating, kindly, and 
of friendly disposition. The Cheyenne, living with them 
upon the same reservation, are a people of good intellectual 
power, but of very different temperament. They are a 
pugnacious people, stand upon their dignity, and always 
want to know what you want to do it for. It is hard to 
convince them and get their consent to a proposition. 

I found the two tribes thoroughly devoted to this 
new Indian religion. All the older ones, all the middle- 
aged, down to the boys and girls, even little children who 
were not much more than able to stand upon their feet, 
were in the dance day and night. They knew reports had 
gone abroad to the effect that they were contemplating 
mischief, but they knew the stories were untrue, so when they 
found that I had come out from Washington to investigate 
and to report the real truth, they were very anxious to 
explain conditions to me, so that Washington might know 
why they were dancing and that they were not going to 
hurt anybody. 

There was a camp of Indian policemen over near the 
agency; and as the Arapaho police considered themselves 
a part of Washington, several of them invited me to come 
to their tipis at night where they would explain the religion 
and give me the songs. So with the help of these young 
men as interpreters and a half dozen of my police friends — 
and they are my friends today after all these years — I 
got the story and the songs. Among the interpreters I 
may name Robert Burns, a Cheyenne, clerk at the agency, 



172 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and one of the best specimens of an educated Indian I 
ever knew. His father had been killed at the Chivington 
massacre. Among others were Jesse Bent, an Arapaho, 
with a strain of white blood from the Bent family; Grant 
Left Hand, son of the old head chief of the Arapaho; Paul 
Boynton, half Cheyenne and half Arapaho; and Clever 
Warden, nephew of the noted Arapaho chief, Powder Face. 
Altogether, about half a dozen of these young men volun- 
teered to help me. I did not have to ask them. They 
said, "We will help you. We are glad you are interested 
and we want the white people to understand." So we 
went out to the camp and they told me about the doctrine 
and the visions, sang the songs and explained them. They 
would give me one of the songs of the dance, reciting it 
word by word, while I wrote it down in the special alphabet 
which we have for recording Indian words, and repeating 
it patiently until I had it right. After we had been at 
work for a week or two I began to think about the business 
end of it and asked the police what I owed them. They 
said they did not want anything, that they were glad 
Washington had sent somebody out there to go back and 
tell the truth about their dance. So not one of them 
received a dollar or would take a dollar for his services. 
As a rule, of course, my Indian workers are paid for all they 
do, and never refuse money. Black Coyote, the head man 
of the Arapaho police, was one of those who had made a 
pilgrimage to the messiah in Nevada and received a message 
to teach the new religion to his people. The Arapaho are 
people of a spiritual tendency; and they were so much 
interested by the new religion that they took it upon 
themselves to be missionaries among the other tribes. As 
the Arapaho language is particularly suited to singing, the 
tribal songs were being sung by all the tribes in that section, 
whatever their language might be, including the Cheyenne, 
Arapaho, Caddo, Wichita, Kiowa, Comanche and one or 
two smaller tribes. 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 173 

After being some time with the Cheyenne and Arapaho 
I went down to the Kiowa and found there one of the head 
men who had recently been to see the messiah in Nevada. 
He was not so favorably impressed and came back and 
reported adversely, so the Kiowa had temporarily lost con- 
fidence in the revelation, but later they took it up again. 
Their neighbors, the Caddo and Wichita, were heart and 
soul in the movement, but the Comanche never took much 
interest in it. The Cheyenne were not much interested 
because in the first place, as I have said, they are par- 
ticularly proud and indisposed to take suggestions or advice 
from anybody else. Again, they have a very sacred medi- 
cine of their own, a bundle of "medicine arrows" around 
which all the ceremonial of the tribe centers. The Arapaho 
"medicine" is a sacred pipe which is kept by the band in 
Wyoming. The Comanche are skeptics by nature with 
very little ceremonial organization or ritual and no sun 
dance. They are a sort of Indian democrats, every man 
for himself. The Kiowa are strongly centralized, with 
their own tribal medicine and sun dance. They are open 
to suggestion and they took up this religion, dropped it 
when their delegate reported against it, and afterwards 
they lost confidence in him and his report and went back 
again to the ghost dance. The smaller tribes, having 
nearly lost their own old forms, were glad to take up the 
new ritual. 

I am speaking of the dance as a religion because it is 
the ritual part of the religion itself. It should be under- 
stood also that this ghost dance religion was not an old 
institution among these people, but was an entirely new 
Indian religion. The older people doubted; but afterward 
some accepted while others continued to regret it, causing 
a good deal of feeling between the two parties. Later it 
was accepted by nearly all the tribes of the plains from the 
Saskatchewan river on the north down to Texas, and from the 



174 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Missouri river on the east to the Sierra Nevada and Cali- 
fornia on the west. It never made much headwaj^ in 
Cahfornia, Arizona or New Mexico. Neither did the 
Omaha or Winnebago take much stock in it. In pursuing 
the investigation I visited most of the western tribes, so 
that I was able to map out the area of the dance. 

While talking in the Arapaho tipis when the snow was 
too deep for dancing, the Indians told me many strange 
things which I could not understand, about trances and 
visions, until one of the educated young men related his 
own experience in the dance, which at once convinced me 
that hypnotism was its basis and stimulus. When the 
Indians began dancing again I went out with them, day 
after day and night after night. I saw the dance among 
the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Caddo and Wichita, and 
in order to know and understand it more thoroughly I 
made myself a part of it. 

At that time these tribes were very strict in the cere- 
monial. They were taught that they must return as nearly 
as possible to the old Indian dress and customs; so they 
discarded hats in the dance. The Kiowa and Comanche 
at that time did not wear hats, but the Cheyenne and 
Arapaho did, excepting in the dance. Those who were 
recognized as masters of the ceremony and particularly 
those who had been to see the messiah, the originator of the 
doctrine, wore crow feathers instead of hats; and some 
of the older women who were recognized as leaders in the 
same way were also privileged to wear the feathers. The 
fact that women were permitted to enter the circle and 
perform in the same way as the medicine men themselves 
showed that the ghost dance religion was a new departure 
among Indians. The dancers wore full suits of buckskin, 
but did not wear hats. In those days every man, woman 
and child had a buckskin suit. Their faces were painted 
in various colors and patterns. The women wore shawls 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 175 

oraamented with ribbons and trimmed with little bells 
which jingled as they danced, broad belts studded with 
metal disks, and straps covered with German silver hanging 
at the side like sabers. They would begin the dance,— 
perhaps five hundred in one great circle — in the afternoon 
and keep it up until sundown; and after supper they would 
get together again and dance until about midnight and 
then disperse. In the dance they would sing songs that 
expressed the ideas of the new religion. They circled 
slowly around at first, but intermittently standing still 
with hands hanging by their sides. Then one of the leaders 
would start the song which all would repeat in a low tone 
and standing still. Then they would join hands and 
begin slowly circling around, singing as they went, the 
chorus gradually becoming louder until it could be heard 
several miles away. The performance had a weird aspect. 
The effect of the rythmic movement in a great circle, 
enhanced by strikingly picturesque apparel and loud, 
piercing song and all in the glamor of the boundless moon- 
lit prairie can only be feebly imagined. Inside the circle 
the leaders were going through their part of the per- 
formance. 

I shall now explain the meaning of it all as preached 
by the messiah, a young Piute, who lived in Nevada. He 
taught that the whole human race was of one kindred, 
and particularly that the Indians of the several tribes 
were all brothers and must give up tribal warfare and all 
thought of warfare with the whites. You can imagine 
what it meant to tell an Indian that he must quit thinking 
about war. It is all right for missionaries to tell him 
that, but when an Indian preached to Indians that they 
must quit fighting, that they must not kill one another, 
that they must not touch a white man, you can imagine 
what an entire change of the point of view of life that in- 
volved. It meant that they must forego the war dance and 



176 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the carrying of weapons in the ghost dance and, instead, 
cultivate a peaceful attitude of mind. The prophet taught 
that if they did these things, if they returned to the Indian 
dress and manner of life, if they wore the sacred feathers 
and danced this dance and sang these songs, and performed 
all the other requirements, after a while this old world 
would be done away with and instead of it there would 
be a new world which was being prepared for them, with 
their dead children, their fathers, mothers, and com- 
panions who had gone before, with the buffalo and other 
game, and the old Indian life in its entirety. The new 
world was already advancing from the west, and when it 
came it would push the white people before it to their 
own proper country across the ocean, and leave this country 
to the Indians, the original owners. When it arrived the 
feathers that the dancers wore on their heads would turn 
into wings by which they would mount up to the new 
earth. All this was to come without fighting, or any 
effort upon their part; they should only watch and pray 
in anticipation of it; and by doing as instructed, dancing 
and singing the songs, they would be enabled to see visions 
of what was to come, and to meet in advance and talk 
with their friends who had gone before. Consequently, 
they were all anxious to see the visions which appeared 
through the medium of hypnotism. 

The self-appointed leaders, generally men but some- 
times women, stood inside the circle as the dancers went 
round and round. All the songs were adapted to produce 
a sort of spiritual exaltation. They were sung with a 
certain formal step and measure, — rising and falling, and 
finally leading up to the highest pitch of excitement. As 
the dancers went round and round, first one and then 
another of the more sensitive subjects, perhaps those most 
anxiously praying to see some dead friends, would begin 
to lose control of themselves. As soon as this became 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 177 

noticeable one of the men inside the circle would come 
over to the subject, holding in his hand a black scarf, sug- 
gestive of a crow, the crow being regarded as a messenger 
from the spirit world. He would wave this scarf before 
the eyes of the subject until the latter would break away 
from his partners and stagger into the ring. Then stand- 
ing in front of the subject the hypnotizer would shake the 
black scarf in his face, crying, Huh! Huh! Huh! until it 
would have required a good deal of an effort even for a 
white man to keep his senses. 

On two occasions my partner in the dance, a woman 
in each case, was seized in that way so that I was able to 
mark the phenomenon. The first indication would be a 
slight tremor of the hand, soon becoming more pronounced 
until it was evident that the subject was under very strong 
excitement. In a Httle while she would loose her hold, 
break away and stagger into the circle. Then the leader, 
or, perhaps, two or three together, would come over to 
her and work for the purpose of bringing her into a trance 
condition so that she might have one of the visions and 
be able to tell her experience at the next dance. The last 
stage was usually a strong shaking of the whole body, 
particularly the arms, increasing in violence until finally 
rigidity followed. I saw subjects standing rigid for ten 
minutes with one arm uphfted and eyes closed, while some 
five hundred people were circling around, until at last they 
fell unconscious. That condition might last for half an 
hour. I have seen young men and women in all stages 
of the trance, — sometimes as many as twenty scattered 
about, some trembling, some rigid, and some stretched 
out unconscious on the ground. Those in the trance were 
left undisturbed so that there should be no interference 
with the vision. There was no fear that they would not 
come out of it safely. The exhibition was very weird and 
uncanny, but there was nothing dangerous in the excitement. 

12 



178 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

As the unconsciousness passed off, usually the subject 
would groan a few times, then gradually sit up, and after 
a while be able to get up and stagger away through the 
circle and probably go home. It was then assumed that 
the subject or victim had experienced a vision; and under 
the circumstances, doubtless, there generally was a vision 
of what was believed to be coming in the near future. 
The successful subject would incorporate his fancies into 
a song which he would sing at the next dance. It is very 
easy for an Indian to make up a song — all he needs is 
rhythm; he does not require rhyme. The new song would 
be taken up and sung for some weeks, perhaps until it 
was superseded, after a while, by a new one. There were 
specific opening and closing songs, but all the others varied 
according to the fancies of the dancer. 

I studied the dance in some twenty tribes in several 
different states and territories, — among them, the 
northern Arapaho. In this inquiry I visited Pine Ridge, 
South Dakota, shortly after the outbreak; and while the 
soldiers were still in camp there I went out to the Wounded 
Knee battle ground and talked with survivors on both 
sides of the fight, including Indians and interpreters. I 
am very glad to say as evidence of the closeness of my 
investigation that the war department corrected its list 
of killed from mine, which included both soldiers and 
civilians, and those who died later of wounds. In the 
same way I tried to get at the number of Indians killed 
in the fight which some placed as low as two hundred. 
For several reasons there was an effort to keep down the 
number, but I think three hundred Indians were killed at 
the Wounded Knee massacre. The fight was precipitated 
by a young Indian who lost his head and fired into the 
troops while the Indians were drawn up in a body to be 
disarmed. The troops fired back, and then indiscriminate 
firing began. When the Indians broke and ran for cover 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 179 

the machine guns opened up and killed everything in 
sight. That was on December 30, 1890. With the ex- 
ception of this trouble in the Sioux country the dance led 
to no serious result. One very important reason for the 
outbreak was the fact that the agent at Pine Ridge was a 
rank coward. If there had been such a man as McGilly- 
cuddy, or McLaughlin, in charge, there would not have 
been any trouble. 

Later, in the middle of winter, I went out to the Piute 
in Nevada to see the messiah who had started the ghost 
dance. I first stopped about two weeks with his uncle, 
an old Piute, at Walker River reservation. After this 
man thought he knew me pretty well he was willing to go 
with me out to Mason Valley, where his nephew lived, and 
get him to tell me the whole story. He said his nephew 
was a very great wonder-worker; that he had a repertoire 
of songs by which he could make it rain or snow or stop 
raining or snowing. There was a young white man up 
that way who knew a good deal of the Piute language 
and Jack Wilson, the messiah, and he volunteered to go as 
interpreter. The old man could not speak English at all. 
We had considerable difficulty in getting out to the camp, 
which was close to the base of the Sierras. Not to go into 
details, it was one of the coldest nights I ever experienced, 
New Year's Eve, with a deep snow on the ground and 
clumps of sage brush scattered about as high as a small 
house. The old Indian's eyes were bad. He lost his way 
in the dark, and it looked for a while as if he had lost the 
rest of us, but after floundering around in the sage brush 
and snow for several hours we at last struck the camp, 
and by good luck found the messiah himself. After some 
explanation from his uncle, because he was very suspicious, 
he said if I would come around the next day he would 
talk with me. 

I went out the next morning and talked with him 
about the dance and the religion, and then made his picture, 



180 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the only one ever made. From what he told me I decided 
that he was about forty years of age. He said his father 
had been a prophet before him, that a few years before the 
sun had died in the daytime (meaning that there had 
been an eclipse), that he had gone to sleep and in his sleep 
went up to heaven and saw the father and all the dead 
Indians. He talked with God and God told him all those 
things that he was now telling to the other Indians. He 
told him to get all the Indians together and teach them 
this dance and that after a while the new Indian world 
would come and they would be put upon it. He believed 
that he had a direct revelation from God and had been 
able to convince a large part of his tribe and delegates 
from other tribes who had come hundreds of miles across 
the mountains during the past summer and winter to sit 
at his feet and learn about the dance and then take the 
story of it back to their own people. 

The ghost dance excitement lasted two years or more 
but finally wore itself out and is now entirely out of vogue. 
It lived longest among the Arapaho, Caddo, and Wichita. 
The dance has gone, but the doctrine or the hope that it 
held out made a lasting impression and has brought about 
a permanently peaceful feeling among the Indians. The 
pictures which I made of this dance were the first of their 
kind, and we shall have an opportunity to see them to- 
morrow night. The songs frequently dwelt upon the old- 
time camp amusements. After a while they began making 
the old-time gaming instruments and would carry them in 
the dance as they sang. The dancers wore buckskin 
shirts painted with symbolic designs and carried black 
handkerchiefs to use in the hypnotic work and magpie 
feathers brought back from the Sierra Nevada by those 
who went to see the messiah. Later the Indians originated 
what they called the crow dance, something of a mixture 
of the ghost dance and the spectacular Omaha dance. 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 181 

The dance step was the same and the songs were very 
much of the same character in all the tribes. I shall give 
you a few specimens of the songs, which will close the 
evening's exercises. 

As I have said, the favorite songs were those of the 
Arapaho. I made most of my study in that tribe and 
know those songs best. I collected, also, a large number 
of songs among the Sioux and Caddo and among the Piute 
who originated the dance. The Comanche had very few 
songs because they did not keep up the dance long. The 
Kiowa and Cheyenne languages are not well adapted to 
singing; but the Caddo, the Sioux and the Arapaho lan- 
guages are very good for songs. 

I have today been asked to give my opinion of a cer- 
tain collection of Indian songs by Miss Natalie Curtis. It 
is the very best collection I know of thus far. Miss Curtis 
went among these same tribes and took down the music 
from their own singing, without harmonizing or other 
artificial change. Her transcription of the Indian words is 
according to scientific methods and her translations are 
literal renderings by the best interpreters. 

The opening song when I first went among the Arapaho 
was sung by all the other tribes also. It was superseded 
by another song. It begins and ends with certain un- 
meaning syllables to fill in the meter. The words mean: 
"My children, my children, here is another pipe. Thus 
I shouted when I made the world." "Pipe", with an 
Indian, means a pledge or revelation, as "Here is another 
revelation. " 

Among all the songs of the various tribes you learn 
soon to recognize the ghost songs by the meter. It is 
intended to fit a certain slow, constant dance step as the 
dancers go round in the circle. At first they sing low, and 
then, after a while, louder, and with a somewhat quicker 
movement, raising their voices as they go round. (Song). 



182 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Then another one, which I have heard them sing with 
tears rolling down their cheeks. It means: "My Father, 
have pity on me, I am hungry; everything is gone; I am 
thirsty and there is nothing. " (Song). Another one with 
just a Uttle bit quicker movement, which means: "My 
children, I am the one who flies around with the morning 
star upon my forehead." Thus says the Father. In 
Indian pictography, the morning star is usually painted as 
a Maltese cross. (Song). 

I might mention that the name "ghost dance" is a 
translation of the common name in the various Indian 
languages — Sioux, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and others. The 
Kiowa call it the "hand-clasping dance". 

The Caddo songs are very musical. I shall give you 
one illustration. It means: "The eagle is coming back 
again; he is coming from on high, from the home of the 
Caddo." (Song). 

To the Indian that means a great deal that the lan- 
guage does not exactly express. Among a number of tribes 
in the South the eagle is a very sacred bird and can only 
be killed for its feathers, by those who have certain "medi- 
cine" or a certain ceremonial by which to propitiate the 
eagle spirits and turn aside their vengeance. For a long 
time the Caddo had lost their old customs so that they 
had no eagle killer, but now they had learned the old 
ritual in a vision. So they sing, "The eagle is coming 
again, is coming from the home of the Caddo. " 

The closing song of the Arapaho dance, the one which 
is always sung at the end, means: "The crow has made 
the signal. When the crow makes me dance he tells me 
when to stop." After singing this four times as they 
circle around they take off their robes and shawls, shake 
them in the air and disperse. (Song). 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 183 

MR. MOONEY'S SECOND ADDRESS 

Mr. Mooney spoke again as follows on the evening of 
January 19, after an address by General Eugene F. Ware 
on the Indian War of 1864 in which he described a conference 
between representatives of the Sioux Indians on one side 
and Brigadier General Robert B. Mitchell and other army 
officers on the other. This council was held at Post of 
Cottonwood, afterward Fort McPherson, April 17, 1864.— Ed. 

The talk which General Ware has given us this evening 
was very interesting to me because it suggested several 
things within my personal knowledge, and I may speak of 
one or two. He mentioned the fact that the Indians in 
that conference seemed to be physically inferior to our men. 
That is a point which might easily be emphasized. One of 
the prevalent ideas about the Indian is that he lives to 
be very old and that he is almost a giant in physical strength. 
According to my observation that is not true. I have had 
occasion to study the life history of a number of Indians 
and I find as a rule that one who is considered one hundred 
years old is about sixty-five; and one who is called one 
hundred and twenty is probably about sixty-eight. If he 
is actually over sixty he is usually out of the race entirely. 
I made some study of Indian war customs, as embodied in 
their shield system, and found that the average age at 
which the Indian warrior retires from active life is about 
fifty years. We have more well preserved old men here 
tonight than there are in all the five tribes in western 
Oklahoma. The oldest man I have known in the Kiowa 
tribes who could give information as to his age, was the 
man with whom I lived. He was, as near as I can say, 
about eighty-two years old; and when he died he was ten 
years ahead of any man who came near him. 

General Ware said something about the Indian being 
a bluffer. So he is. I have always found that the civilized 
white man is superior to the Indian. I do not know that 
the average white man is really stronger by pounds of 



184 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

physical strength, if you could measure it that way, but 
measured by determination and will power to carry out 
what he started to do the white man is superior. General 
Ware also said somthing about the Indian sign language. 
I think there are probably some men here who know some- 
thing about that. Almost every Indian tribe speaks a 
distinct language. On the plains, being constantly in 
motion, they were continually meeting strangers, and 
having no common language they devised a sign language 
which was common to all the tribes of the plains, from the 
Saskatchewan on the north down into Texas. It still 
exists where different tribes are gathered near to each other 
upon reservations. On one occasion I was going with the 
son of the Arapaho chief to see an Arapaho dance. The 
young man had been educated in the East and spoke very 
good EngHsh. We were driving up along the south Canadian 
river, and after we got into the neighborhood of the camp 
we began looking around to find it, but without success. In 
the open country you can see a long way; and after some 
time we saw an Indian on horseback at a distance of a 
mile or more, too far away to speak. At close quarters the 
Indians use both hands, but for long distance talking you 
can use one hand. So my Indian friend stood up in the 
wagon and used one hand. An Indian driving on the 
plains is always looking around, and so the other man 
saw us about the same time that we saw him. Then my 
Indian did this (making a series of motions in the air). 
The other man replied with signs like this (another series 
of motions). Well, he told us that the Arapaho were 
having a dance on the north side of the river, and the 
Cheyenne another on the opposite side. We went and 
saw the dance. 

I shall explain a little further in regard to this sign 
language. There is a sign for every tribe on the plains. 
The sign made for the Cheyenne is this, (drawing one fore- 



THE INDIAN GHOST DANCE 185 

finger across another). It is sometimes interpreted to mean 
"striped arrows", because the Cheyenne were said to use 
turkey feathers for their arrows. I have no theory myself, 
but the sign means Cheyenne. The sign for the southern 
Arapaho is this, (rubbing the side of the nose with the index 
finger). There are various theories for the reason, but I 
do not believe any one of them can be proven, but it means 
southern Arapaho. For the northern Arapaho, in Wyoming, 
the sign is this, (tapping the left breast with bunched 
fingers). They all know the meaning of that as "mother 
tribe". The sign for the dance is this, (perpendicular hand 
raised and lowered several times to imitate Indian dance 
step). All these signs can be made with both hands, but 
it is easier to use one hand. For river there are several 
different signs, sometimes the water sign. For side, of 
course, you indicate whichever side you please. The 
nearby or near in time, that is right away sign, is this, 
(thumb and forefinger of both hands brought together and 
quickly drawn apart). The long time or far off sign is this» 
(same sign more slowly with hands drawn farther apart). 
The sign for the Sioux is this, (sweeping motion of hand 
across throat) ; and to show that it means the Indian tribe, 
the sign for man is made after it this way, (index finger 
thrown up, back out). This sign, (chopping movement of 
hand at right side of head, means hair cut short on right 
side), or Kiowa; this sign, (rubbing back of left hand with 
fingers of right), means "man of color of our own skin", 
or Indian. This sign, (index finger drawn across forehead) 
means a hat wearer; therefore a white man. This sign, 
(sweeping movement of open fingers downward at side 
of head), long flowing hair; therefore, woman. I have 
seen a great deal of the sign language in different tribes, 
and on one particular occasion saw a council carried on 
by five tribes entirely in the sign language. 



186 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

For a long time I had as interpreter an Indian who 
as a young man had been one of the hostiles and had spent 
several years in military confinement, and was afterward 
released and taken care of by a wealthy lady who started 
to educate him and send him to school. Six years after- 
ward he came back to his own tribe. Having lived in the 
East he knew the white man's civilization and was also 
quite a philosopher in his way. He would surprise me 
sometimes by the questions he asked. For instance, at 
one time he asked me what I thought of Josephus? The 
good lady who had taken him into her family had read to 
him Bible stories and the history of the Jews, and the 
history of Josephus was quite interesting to him. 

On one occasion as we were riding together, with 
nothing in particular to do except to talk, he said to me, 
"Mr. Mooney, tell me about Shylock and the pound of 
flesh". Another time he said, "Mr. Mooney, what is the 
reason that white men are always talking about money 
and business, Indians don't talk that way?" He was then 
owing the nearest trader three hundred dollars or more, 
and depending upon the next government payment to 
square up. 



Nebraska State Historical Society 



Volume 16, Plate 6 




SITTING BULL (Tatanka lyotanka) 

From an unpublished oil painting by C. S. Stobie (Montana Charlie) 
1891. The original in the D. Charles Bristol collection, Nebraska 
State Historical Society museum. 



SOME SIDELIGHTS ON THE CHARACTER 
OF SITTING BULL 

By Doane Robinson 

Perhaps no other American who has achieved great 
fame is more misapprehended than Sitting Bull, the high 
priest of the Hunkpapa band of the Teton Sioux. Few 
names are more familiar than his to the people of America 
and indeed of the civilized world, yet very few know what 
he really did to acquire fame; very few indeed have a 
just understanding of his real character. 

Sitting Bull was born of a low caste family, in June, 
1838, at the mouth of Medicine Creek, a dozen miles below 
the place which afterward became the site of Pierre, Hughes 
county. South Dakota. His parents resided on Grand 
river, situated in what is now the northern part of the 
state; but at the time of his birth they were fishing in 
Medicine Knoll Creek on the east side of the Missouri, 
while on a trading expedition to Fort George. He grew up 
at the family home on Grand river, a few miles above the 
subsequent site of the village of Little Eagle. He first 
attracted the attention of white men at the time of the 
Harney treaty council at Old Fort Pierre in March, 1856, 
having come there as "horseherd" to Chief Swan. He 
was a blustering, overgrown boy of eighteen, with a cunning, 
effeminate face, not at all in keeping with his sturdy body; 
and at that time possessed no social standing in the band. 
Swan would not permit him to associate with his family 
and his meals were passed out to him under the flap of the 
tipi. 

When the council broke up and the people were ready 
to return to their homes. Sitting Bull borrowed a horse 

(187) 



188 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

from Swan and struck off to the south and soon after 
returned with several horses which he had stolen from the 
Pawnee. This stroke of enterprise was his first passport to 
the consideration of his neighbors and the recital of his 
experiences on the trip his first attempt at public oratory. 
He was not slow to discover that he possessed natural gifts 
both as horse thief and orator. He accumulated horses 
and astonished his elders with the fervor of his impassioned 
addresses at the dances; but he was sternly denied a seat 
in the council. With a steady persistence which character- 
ized him throughout his life he determined to overcome 
the prejudice of the upper caste men. To accomplish this 
he must acquire fame either as a brave or as a medicine 
man. He engaged in some forays against enemies but 
with indifferent success; for he had no stomach for real 
warfare. His native cunning turned him more and more 
to the tricks of the conjurer and the .medicine man. From 
the first he was successful in this role. He persistently 
exercised his subtle talents and soon began to acquire 
fame as a prophet. Astuteness, luck and some advance 
information assisted him to prognosticate certain coming 
events with a precision which astonished and delighted his 
friends, and confounded the big chiefs who had super- 
ciliously ignored him. They were now compelled to recog- 
nize him as "big medicine". His oratory also increased in 
fervor and impressiveness and, aided by his legerdemain, 
he acquired almost supreme influence over his people. He 
hated the white man and loved the ways of his ancestors. 
HaK patriot and half demagogue, he harangued the Sioux 
upon their duty to drive the white invaders from the 
prairies until he had fomented a feeling of great hostility 
among them. He accompanied the war parties, incited 
them to valor, but invariably withdrew to make medicine 
when the fighting began. The old chiefs hated and sneered 
at him but were compelled to admit him to the council; 



CHARACTER OF SITTING BULL 189 

and he became the ruling mind of the nation. As he grew 
older he became more and more imbued with the heathen 
religion of his people and openly avowed himself the prophet 
of the God of the Dakotas, frequently proclaiming divine 
revelations. For his native religion he seemed to have 
real veneration. When he returned to his people in 1881, 
after his captivity at Fort Randall, he was well convinced 
that further open rebellion against the whites would prove 
futile, but he found that during his absence his people had 
fallen a good deal under white missionary influence; so 
he settled down among them at the old home on Grand 
river and set about to reestablish them in the religion of 
his fathers. 

In his diatribes against the whites and when he desired 
to drive his people into any revolutionary action, he was 
fierce and terrible in mein and with withering irony or 
dreadful invective forced them to his support; but in his 
home life, with his wives and children and his intimate 
neighbors, he was gentle as a refined woman. He set up an 
orphan asylum and adopted and reared as his own children 
eleven orphans, and every one of those still living would 
lay down his life today in defense of his memory. 

About the time of his return to Grand river and a 
life of peace. Miss Mary C. Collins, a missionary of the 
Congregational church, established a mission at Little 
Eagle, about ten miles from his camp. This Christian 
enterprise was very displeasing to him, and he harangued 
his people to avoid the influence of the missionary; never- 
theless she made some converts and soon drew a band of 
faithful friends around her. Though Sitting Bull had 
frequently seen Miss Collins he had never spoken to her, 
until one day he appeared upon his horse in front of her 
house bearing an infant in his arms; and he peremptorily 
demanded that she come out to him. Though she distinctly 
heard his call she paid no attention to it. After repeating 



190 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

it three times without effect, he dismounted and came in, 
angrily demanding to know why she had not obeyed his 
summons. Miss Collins patiently explained to him that 
he had been guilty of a grave breach of good usage; that 
gentlemen did not call ladies out, but came in to them. 
Sitting Bull replied that he was not aware of that regula- 
tion of polite society but that he would not forget it; and 
he never did. "Wenona", he said, addressing her by her 
Sioux name, "I am a great medicine man, but my child 
here is dying. I have exhausted my powers and can do 
nothing for it. If you can save my child I will admit 
that your medicine is superior to mine." Miss Collins, 
who is an accomplished physician, took the child from his 
arms, when it instantly went into a spasm. She discovered 
that its gums were swollen and black and catching up a 
lance scored them. She then placed the infant in a warm 
bath and it almost instantly fell into a quiet, refreshing 
sleep and was practically well from that moment. The 
incident made a strong impression upon Sitting Bull, and 
he could not do enough to show his gratitude. Shortly 
after he sent for the missionary and ceremoniously adopted 
her into the tribe as his sister and ever after addressed her 
by that title. 

For ten years they resided and labored side by side as 
the best of friends and yet the most inveterate rivals. 
Nothing of course afforded Miss Collins so much joy as to 
convert one of his followers to Christianity; and nothing 
else gave Sitting Bull such satisfaction as he felt when he 
could induce one of these converts to backslide. Thus 
conditions continued until 1890 when the messiah craze 
possessed the Sioux. Sitting Bull early obtained informa- 
tion of it and seemed to feel that his opportunity had come. 
It does not appear that he contemplated armed hostility 
to the whites, though his hatred had in no degree abated. 
His hope and ambition was to regain his old-time influence 



CHARACTER OF SITTING BULL 191 

over the Sioux and win them back to the heathen religion 
of which he deemed himself the high priest anointed of God. 
Early in the autumn of 1890 Sitting Bull began to proclaim 
that heavenly visions had been vouchsafed to him. He 
had been conveyed to the Rocky mountains, and there he 
had seen his deceased friends and neighbors restored to life 
and had been assured that within a brief period they would 
return to their homes and families. These alleged revela- 
tions naturally created a tremendous sensation among the 
Sioux. The heathen accepted them without question and 
the Christians were greatly disturbed, and most of them 
also, in a short time, were convinced. Sitting Bull set up 
a prayer tree, organized a dance, erected a large medicine 
tent for his own accommodation, and daily delivered new 
revelations to the people, who flocked in from every part 
of the reservation. The excitement was hourly augmented 
until Sunday, December 8, when Miss Collins went to 
Sitting Bull's camp as usual to hold Christian services in 
the little church which the faithful had provided. Of her 
ordinary congregation of more than one hundred, only 
three persons appeared; and the noise of the nearby dance 
drowned their hymns of devotion. The people were pos- 
sessed by a religious fervor bordering upon insanity. 

Leaving the church Miss Collins went to Sitting 
Bull's tent and demanded admission. He sent back word 
to her that he was engaged in his prayers and could not be 
disturbed. She was insistent and he came out to her and 
with much ceremony conducted her into the tent before 
he gave her permission to speak. When leave was granted 
she said: "Brother, you are deceiving and ruining your 
people. They have left their homes; their stock is neg- 
lected and djdng; many are in a starving condition; the 
soldiers are coming; blood will be shed and you will be 
held responsible for it. You must stop this nonsense and 
send the people home at once. " He listened gravely and 



192 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

replied: "Sister, I have gone too far; I cannot give it up; 
the people will laugh at me." "It makes no difference 
how much they laugh", retorted the missionary. "This 
thing must be stopped at once. Go out to them and tell 
them to stop dancing and go home." "Sister, I cannot", 
replied the old priest. "You must do it; you must do it 
right now; the soldiers are coming," she exclaimed. "I 
cannot, sister, I cannot, but you do it. Go to the people, 
sister, and tell them to go home; tell them that I, Sitting 
Bull, said it." Miss Collins went out to the dance, where 
men and women had danced for hours without rest. Many 
were falling from sheer exhaustion and others in feigned 
trances, among the latter was Louis Sitting Bull, a relative 
of the priest's. . Observing that he was feigning, she rushed 
at him, grasped him by the shoulder and accused him of 
playing a part. Her action had interrupted the dance 
and many were watching him. He smiled sheepishly in 
reply to her accusation, and the people seeing it, laughed 
derisively. That was the end. She commanded him to 
get up and assist in sending the people away; she declared 
the soldiers were coming, as she thought they were. That 
evening seventy-five wagonloads of people were sent out 
of Sitting Bull's camp. Only those Kving in the immediate 
neighborhood remained. Sitting Bull left the medicine 
tent and returned to his substantial house to sleep. There 
was no more dancing, though there was great excitement 
throughout the ensuing week, and Sitting Bull several 
times reasserted his revelation of the near approach of the 
departed friends. The story spread that Sitting Bull was 
about to go to Pine Ridge to join the dancers there. This 
was probably not true; but the Indian police, who kept 
the camp under surveillance, believed it; and the military 
authorities believed the time had come to place the old 
man under arrest. The plan to do so was carried out at 
four o'clock on Monday morning, December 15. The 
fatal result is familiar history. 



THE EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF THE PLATTE 
VALLEY 

By David Anderson 

[Paper read before the annual meeting of the Nebraska 
State Historical Society January 18, 1910.] 

In the fall of 1859, after spending an exciting and ad- 
venturous summer in the newborn city of Denver, and the 
Rocky mountains, in company with some old Pennsylvania 
friends with whom I had crossed the plains from Leaven- 
worth City over the Smoky Hill route in the early spring, 
our party started from Denver with a mule team bound 
for Omaha. 

We followed the Pike's Peak trail, south of the south 
fork of the Platte river, to Julesburg, thence down the old 
California trail to Fort Kearny. Great herds of buffaloes, 
deer, elk and antelopes were constantly in view. The 
Cheyenne Indians, who roamed over the plains between 
Fort Kearny and Denver, were furiously engaged in 
attacking emigrant trains, burning ranches, and murdering 
the occupants. We had several skirmishes with the red 
devils who followed our trail for many days. 

Ten miles west of Dobytown was the famous Keeler 
ranch. Here we met the notorious Tom Keeler, the terror 
of the plains and especially of the Cheyenne Indians. 
With all his native rudeness and roughness, however, Mr. 
Keeler was one of the most hospitable and generous men 
that I ever met. His buildings were all of sod, and the 
dwelling house was tidy and inviting. Mr. Keeler was 
loyally and lovingly attached to his wife and children. 

One day during the war period a cavalcade of rebels 
who were fleeing from the draft in Missouri stopped at 
his wells to obtain water for themselves and animals. 

13 (193) 



194 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Their mules were decorated with the flags of the Con- 
federacy, and the men were lustily hurrahing for Jeff 
Davis. This exhibition aroused Tom Keeler's union feel- 
ings so intensely that he stood before the well with a gun 
in each hand, demanding that the rebel bunting should 
be removed before any union Nebraska water should be 
drawn. His wife also stood at the door, armed with a 
double-barreled shotgun. After very acrimonious dis- 
cussion the demand was complied with, and the boisterous 
fugitives cordially congratulated Keeler and his wife upon 
their courage and loyalty. 

A few weeks after we passed this ranch, Mr. Keeler's 
stables, containing forty head of horses together with 200 
tons of hay, were wantonly set on fire by the Cheyenne 
Indians and totally destroyed. In later years Mr. Keeler 
removed to eastern Nebraska and settled on the Elkhorn 
river, near Elkhorn City. In 1878 he met his death in a 
shotgun duel with Daniel Parmalee, a prominent citizen 
of Omaha. 

Dobytown, two miles west of Fort Kearny, contained 
about 300 people. The houses were built of adobe or sod, 
one story high. It was on the extreme western verge of 
civilization and was a great rendezvous for outlaws and 
gamblers, who practiced their nefarious arts on the un- 
sophisticated pilgrims. 1 



1 A nickname of Kearney City. The place was a sort of station 
and "resort" on the famous highway which was successively, according 
to the relative importance of its travel, the Oregon trail, the road to Cali- 
fornia and the road to Denver and Salt Lake City. These uses were more 
or less blended from about the time Fort Kearny was established — 1848. 
Kearney City was situated just outside the west boundary of the military 
reservation, two miles due west of the fort. Valley City, or Dog Town, 
the less important companion piece of Kearney City, was situated just 
outside the eastern reservation line. Civilian settlement within the reser- 
vation was of course interdicted, and obviously these places for sport and 
business would creep up as near the fort as possible. According to an 
unauthenticated statement in the Andreas history of Nebraska (page 1019) 
an adventurous company from St. Joseph, including Dr. Charles A. Henry 



EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF PLATTE VALLEY 195 

At a point opposite the fort the Platte river was three 
miles wide, containing numerous small islands and many- 
deep and treacherous channels; yet this was the only real 
safe fording place between Julesburg and the Missouri 
river. 

On arrival at the old Boyd ranch, eleven miles east of 
the fort, our team was so fatigued that we were compelled 
to rest for three days. Here James E. Boyd operated a 
small trading post and ranch, carrying on a large traffic 
with the officers and soldiers of the fort, making profitable 
contracts for supplying wood from the margin of the river 
and from islands which had been reserved by the govern- 
ment for military purposes, also for hay that grew abun- 
dantly on the Platte bottoms. While we tarried here the 
territorial election was held for choosing a delegate to 



and Benjamin P. Rankin, well known Nebraska territorial pioneers, 
founded Central City, near the subsequent site of Kearney City, in 1858. 
The act of the territorial legislature of January 10, 1860, which authorized 
the organization of Kearney county, "fixed and permanently located" 
its "seat of justice" at Kearney City, "as surveyed, platted and litho- 
graphed by the Kearney City company in the spring of 1859". It appears 
that some of the promoters of Central City abandoned its prospects, 
which, so far as we know, were all there was of it, and joined the Kearney 
City enterprise, in which Lorin Miller — Dr. George L. Miller's father — 
Dr. Charles A. Henry, James E. Boyd, and others were interested. The 
governor, Samuel W. Black, formally organized the county, in the year 
in which the act was passed by the appointment of county officers. The 
county commissioners were J. Tracy, Amos O. Hook, Moses Sydenham; 
clerk, Charles A. Henry; treasurer, John Holland; sheriff, Thomas Collins; 
probate judge, John Talbot. This Talbot is probably the man who was 
a sutler at the fort and whose widow now owns and lives upon the farm 
which includes the old site of Kearney City. The inhabitants were obliged 
to scatter in 1866 when the advent of the Union Pacific railroad drew 
business to points along its line on the north side of the river. Thus, in 
the year of the organization of the county, its population — by the 
United States census — was 474; in 1870, 58. In 1860, 111 votes were 
cast in the county — three for Samuel G. Daily and 108 for J. Sterling 
Morton, rival candidates for the office of delegate to congress. In 1864, 
61 votes were cast, three for Phineas W. Hitchcock and 58 for Dr. George 
L. Miller, also candidates for the office above named. In 1865 only 16 
votes were cast; in 1866, 28. There were no more election returns from 
the county after 1866 until 1872, when, under reorganization, 58 votes 



196 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

congress. This was the only polling place between Grand 
Island and Fort Kearny, a distance of thirty miles. The 
democratic candidate was Experience Estabrook of Omaha, 
and the repubhcan candidate was Samuel G. Daily. There 
were twenty- two votes cast at the Boyd ranch, eleven of 
them by officers and soldiers from the fort. Great interest 
was manifested in the contest. 

I speak with emphasis and pleasure of the strenuous 
and useful career of Mr. Boyd. He assisted in the con- 
struction of the Union Pacific roadbed; projected the first 
railway from Omaha to the north; established the first 
large pork packing plant at Omaha; and erected the first 
large theatre in the city. 



were cast. The new town had a boom in 1860; for, according to the 
Hunstman's Echo of November 2, of that year, "the adobe town of five 
hovels last spring has grown to forty or fifty buildings", about a dozen 
of them stores. The same paper, April 25, 1861, says there were then 
two hundred residents and half a dozen stores in the place. The original 
Kearney county — of 1860 — included the territory now comprised in 
the counties of Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, and Phelps. Franklin was 
formed by the act of the territorial legislature of 1867; Harlan by the 
act of 1871, and Phelps by the act of 1873. 

John K. Lamb, writing from Fort Kearny, April 11, 1860, to the 
Omaha Republican of April 18, 1860, remarked that Kearney City "is 
better known as 'Adobe Town' "; and he observed that Dr. Henry was 
doing a large business there. Testimony taken by Samuel G. Daily in 
his contest against Experience Estabrook for a seat in Congress tended 
to show that at the time of the election of October 11, 1859, there were 
at Kearney City "not over eight houses, not over fifteen residents, and 
not one acre of cultivated land or a farm house in the neighborhood of 
Kearny City". It also showed that at Nebraska Center, "the place 
named as the county seat (of Buffalo county), there was but one dwelling 
house, one store house, and one warehouse". [Statement by Representa- 
tive Campbell of Pennsylvania on behalf of Daily, Congressional Globe, 
1st ^session, 36th Congress, part 3, p. 2180.1 The returns of the election 
showed that 238 of the 292 votes of Buffalo county were cast at Kearney 
City. These were rejected because Kearney City, being situated south 
of the Platte river, was not within Buffalo county. 

By proclamation dated May 2, 1872, acting Governor William H. 
James ordered an election of county officers to be held "at the town of 
Lowell", June 17, 1872. — Messages and Proclamations, p. 93, in the 
governor's office. — Ed. 



EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF PLATTE VALLEY 197 

The Wood River plain, which we followed a distance 
of twenty miles, presented a magnificent view; but there 
were only half a dozen settlers in that long stretch. At 
Wood River Crossing "Pap" Lamb, well known along the 
Platte valley, was operating a ranch and stage station. 
About this time, the Western Stage Company, which was 
operating lines in Iowa, Wisconsin and other border states, 
established a route between Omaha and Pike's Peak — 
the name by which the Denver region was then generally 
known — and stations were established from ten to fifteen 
miles apart. Mr. Lamb's ranch was one of them, and he 
drove to the next station west. 

At Grand Island we found a small settlement, mostly 
of Germans. Koenig and Weibe, from Omaha, had estab- 
lished a general outfitting post and store. There was also 
a blacksmith shop, a cobbler shop, and a small home 
bakery, all prepared to care for the travelers. Mr. Fred 
Hedde, who in after years was so well and favorably known 
throughout Nebraska as a successful farmer, politician and 
newspaper man, was located on a homestead contiguous to 
this small village. During fifty years Mr. Hedde was 
closely identified with the upbuilding of Grand Island and 
Hall county. He lived almost to the present time, and 
died at the ripe age of eighty-five. 

Christian Menck was a homestead neighbor of Mr. 
Hedde's, both having come to Nebraska in 1857. In 1858 
Mr. Menck was married in Omaha, and he brought the 
first bride to Hall county. In 1908 Mr. and Mrs. Menck 
celebrated their golden wedding. Mr. Menck died Novem- 
ber 9, 1909. He always took a lively interest in the welfare 
of Hall county. 

Lone Tree Ranch was so called on account of a large 
soHtary cottonwood tree which stood upon the bank of the 
river near the subsequent site of Central City. Jason 
Parker, one of the best known ranchmen between Omaha 



198 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and Fort Kearny, was proprietor of this hostelry. As the 
country settled and developed, Mr. Parker became a for- 
ward and active citizen. In 1864 he was elected one of 
the first three commissioners of Merrick county. 

Columbus, ninety miles west of Omaha, near the 
junction of the Platte and Loup rivers, was the first real 
live town we had seen in the Platte valley. It was laid 
out on a grand scale in 1857, and the population was now 
about 200. Some ten or twelve sod and adobe houses, a 
large frame hotel — the American House — , and a port- 
able sawmill attracted attention and gave some dignity to 
the town. The hotel was owned and conducted by Mrs. 
Baker who in after years did much toward the upbuilding 
of the town. The sawmill was brought from Columbus, 
Ohio, by John Rickley, who came with the colony in 1851.'^ 
Mr. Rickley informed me that when the Pawnee Indians 
first saw the mill in operation they thought it was some 
monster, possessed by an evil spirit. Mr. Rickley was a 
leader among the few white settlers and was a man of 
energy, ability and some capital. These advantages made 
him the most conspicuous citizen of the central part of the 
territory at that time and for many years thereafter. 

Fifteen miles north of Columbus a large colony of 
Mormons settled on the banks of the Loup Fork river, near 
where Genoa now stands. Those Mormons were enroute to 
Utah in the summer of 1858=^ when they received orders 
from Brigham Young to halt and locate temporarily wher- 
ever they chanced to be and to remain until the United 
States government and the Mormon hierarchy had ad- 
justed the troubles which arose in 1857. 



* Columbus was laid out in 1857 and Mr. Rickley went there with 
a colony in that year. — Ed. 

3 This should be 1857. See Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 2, 
p. 153, and the History of Platte County (Taylor), p. 6,— Ed. 



EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF PLATTE VALLEY 199 

Henry J. Hudson, a leader in the colony, decided to 
remain in Nebraska, and he became a prominent citizen 
of Platte county and an important figure in the early history 
of central Nebraska. Mr. and Mrs. Hudson reared a 
family of fourteen children and lived to celebrate their 
golden wedding in 1905. 

Eight miles east of Columbus was situated the first 
frame residence we saw on our long journey. The house 
was a story and a half high with a porch in front and was 
built of Cottonwood lumber. It was occupied by William 
Fales, aged thirty years, and his wife of sixty years. They 
were Mormons of the Monroe colony. Their farm was 
afterward owned and occupied for sixteen years by David 
Anderson, the writer of this sketch, and his wife. It was 
known as the Pennsylvania Ranch. The best known ranch 
between Fort Kearny and the Missouri river was situated 
seven miles east of this old homestead. Joseph Russell, 
the proprietor, was an eccentric old Englishman, who had 
lived most of his life on the frontier and had become so 
infatuated with its quiet solitude that when the Union 
Pacific railroad came within three miles, and in sight of 
his home, he sold out and moved to a quieter place in a 
remote part of Missouri where, a few years after, he died. 

Three miles south of the Russell ranch was the well 
known Shinn's ferry which provided the only means of 
crossing the Platte river, except by fording, between 
Omaha and Denver. The boat was operated by David R. 
Gardner, the first settler of Butler county.^ Mr. Gardner 
founded the town of Savannah on the south bank of the 
Platte river in Butler county. He and his wife died in 



* It is seldom safe to designate any particular person as the first 
settler — as in this case. There were settlers in the north part of Butler 
county as early at least as 1857, though probably they did not remain 
permanently. Still others came and to stay in the same year as Mr. 
Gardner arrived, and it is not known which was technically the first. 
See the Centennial History of Butler County, by George L. Brown.— Ed. 



200 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

David City sometime in the decade of 1880-1890. The 
ferry boat was owned by Moses Shinn, a pioneer of Omaha 
and a prominent character and local preacher. It was 
said that he frequently conducted religious services in 
emigrant camps in western Iowa and in his exhortations 
admonished his hearers that to obtain a safe passport to 
heaven it would be necessary to cross the river at Shinn's 
ferry — at only $2.00 a team. 

Ten miles east of Russell's ranch was the cozy home 
and farm of Isaac Albertson. Mr. Albertson platted the 
town of Buchanan, named after James Buchanan, president 
of the United States,^ and was appointed the first post- 
master of the city. Judge Albertson was held in high 
esteem by his fellow men and died in Fremont in the year 
1898. Mr. and Mrs. Jacob King lived on a farm one mile 
east of Buchanan. 

At North Bend we pitched our tent beside the Mormon 
trail, near the north bend of the Platte river, close to the 



* Buchanan was platted April 27, 1856, by a company of Omaha 
men, among whom, besides Albertson, were Experience Estabrook and 
Lorin Miller. It was situated on the east bank of Shell Creek where the 
Union Pacific railroad crosses the stream. It never contained more than 
a very few inhabitants, though it kept the postoffice for about two years 
after the advent of the Union Pacific railroad — the mail bags being 
caught by the moving trains — when it was removed to the budding 
town of Scnuyler. [See "County of Colfax" and Taylor's History of 
Platte Countyl. Names of prominent democrats of the ante-war period 
which had been applied to counties and towns in Nebraska were not in- 
frequently superseded bj'^ names of prominent republicans, and so the 
new town bearing the Christian name of the then popular speaker of 
the house of representatives would be quite likely to draw what was 
left of the life of the old one with its then uninviting and, to many, 
repulsive name. When Buchanan was foolishly so named the unfortunate 
president had not earned ill repute. Likewise, when Schuyler was un- 
wisely so named, though Schuyler Colfax had already been guilty of the 
bribe taking by virtue of which Time, whose judgments are seldom un- 
just, has indelibly stained that name with disgrace, it had not been exposed 
by the startling proofs of the credit mobilier investigation in congress. 
The moral of all this illuminates the folly of crowding the names of poli- 
ticians upon towns and counties in Nebraska to the exclusion of beautiful 
and appropriate local names. — Ed. 



EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF PLATTE VALLEY 201 

little three-room frame house of Mr. and Mrs. Matthew 
Cottrell, who moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to Nebraska 
in 1857. They were a genial and staid couple of pioneers. 
Mr. and Mrs. Cottrell became very much attached to many 
of the Pawnee Indians who could be seen at all times of the 
year living in tipis near their home. Those Indians 
performed all of the manual labor for the Cottrells for 
several years and during the civil war. In 1863 Mr. Cottrell 
sold to the Union Pacific railway company forty acres of 
his homestead which is the site of the town of North Bend. 
Mr. Cottrell established the first eating house on the 
Union Pacific railroad. « He died many years ago, but 
Mrs. Cottrell still survives at the advanced age of ninety- 
one years, residing in her modest little home at North 
Bend. 

In Fremont we found a typical western border town. 
It contained ten or twelve log dwelHngs, among which was 
a small store or "shebang" kept by Smith Brothers, who 
came from Pennsylvania in 1856. The Turner tavern was 
a long, one-story log building, resembling an old-time 
country tavern. The interior was a combination of kitchen 
and dining room, with an old-fashioned fireplace. Another 
apartment was used as a parlor and sitting room, and it 
contained a large heating stove. Around this comfortable 
heater would circle the emigrants, traders, freighters and 
mountaineers to relate their adventures and exploits. The 
Smith Brothers, besides selling Hquors, molasses, tobacco, 
etc., to emigrants, had a very lucrative trade with the 
Pawnee Indians, who, up to 1860,^ had been camped 4,000 
strong on the high bluffs three miles east on the south side 
of the Platte river. The Smith Brothers, together with Rob- 
ert Kittle, Nye, Colson, and others, were the greatest factors 
in the early advancement and upbuilding of the present 



« It would be difficult to properly authenticate this assertion. — Ed. 
' The Pawnee were removed from this village in 1859. — Ed. 



202 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

beautiful and important city of Fremont. Judge J. B. 
Smith is still engaged in active business. He has always 
been a leading character in local affairs, pertaining to 
Fremont and Dodge county. 

Three miles east of Fremont, in a long, rude log house, 
lived the widow Keeler, mother of Tom Keeler. West of 
the highway, one mile, lived the Lee family, the pioneer 
farmers of Dodge county. About thirteen miles east of 
Fremont, on the Elkhorn bottom, we crossed the noted 
Rawhide Creek. Many stories are told of the origin of its 
name. One is that a fellow with a train of emigrants from 
Wisconsin to California threatened before leaving home to 
kill the first Indian he saw. When his train was crossing 
the bluffs east of the Elkhorn river, he deliberately, and 
without provocation, shot a Pawnee squaw whom he met 
on her way from the Pawnee camp to visit the Omaha tribe 
on the Missouri river. On hearing of the diabolical deed 
the Pawnee were so enraged that they surrounded the train 
in camp at the stream, threatening to kill the whole com- 
pany unless the guilty party was suiTendered to them. 
After a parley the criminal was finally given over to the 
Indians who skinned him alive in the presence of his travel- 
ing companions. Louis LaFlesche — a half-breed — , Spot- 
ted Tail, Crooked Hand and other members of the Pawnee 
tribe told me that the fur traders, on their annual trips 
from the mountains to dispose of their goods to Peter 
Sarpy and other traders on the Missouri river, often found 
this stream difficult to ford and were compelled to make 
ferry boats of buffalo and elk hides and that the trouble- 
some creek took its name from this custom. 

At the crossing of the Elkhorn river — at Elkhorn 
City — there was a ranch kept by Major Hartwell and a 
trading post kept by one Dennis, who was also postmaster. 
Here we met Sylvanus Dodge, father of General Grenville 
M. Dodge. Mr. Dodge was living on a homestead about 
a mile from the town. 



EARLY SETTLEMENTS OF PLATTE VALLEY 203 

After a journey of more than 500 miles over a level 
plain, we now began to travel over a bluffy country which 
continued to Omaha, a distance of twenty-two miles. We 
had the first square meal in four weeks at the Taylor 
ranch on Papillion Creek. Mrs. Taylor was noted for setting 
a good table. After supper our party voted it the best 
meal that they ever ate. It was about this time that the 
Taylors were robbed at midnight of several hundred dollars 
by a couple of footpads who stopped with them the night 
before, entertaining them delightfully by singing and a 
violin performance. A few days later Mrs. Taylor iden- 
tified the culprits in Omaha, and after a speedy trial they 
paid the usual penalty of lynch law. 

Sixteen miles out of Omaha was Ranch No. 1, kept 
by Captain Peter Reed who came from the Blue Juanita 
in Pennsylvania in 1857. When the war began, in 1861, 
he raised Company A of the Second Nebraska volunteers. 
After the war was over he entered the service of the Union 
Pacific railroad company and managed a section seven 
miles east of Columbus. He was transferred to Golden 
City, Colorado, where he superintended the construction 
of the mountain division of the railroad from Golden City 
up the Clear Creek valley to Idaho Springs and Georgetown. 
Mr. Reed died in Golden City in 1883. Mrs. Reed survives 
him, but she is now entirely blind and deaf. She lives with 
her granddaughter in Denver. 

Arriving in Omaha December 1, we stopped at the 
Fremont House, on Douglas street, conducted by WilHam 
M. Sweezy. Almost opposite the hotel was a carriage and 
wagon shop, operated by Andrew J. Simpson. Mr. Simpson 
worked industriously at his trade and employed two assist- 
ants. On the southeast corner of Douglas and 14th streets 
J. J. Brown and Brother were running a general outfitting 
store. On Farnam, between 13th and 14th, was the Com- 
mercial House, kept by Lacy & McCormick. It was also 



204 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

a general outfitting establishment. On the south side of 
that street was the grocery and dry goods store of the 
Megeath Brothers. On the northwest corner of 11th and 
Farnam, in a one-story frame building, the Kountze 
Brothers had established a general banking business. They 
bought from me $500.00 worth of gold dust which I brought 
from Denver in a small vial. 

The population of Omaha was then about 1,500. It 
was the principal outfitting place on the Missouri river for 
the western mines, and there was great activity eveiy 
day in the week. The few streets in the small business 
center were often congested by prairie schooners with 
mule and ox teams and a conglomeration of long-haired 
and heavy-bearded mountaineers, miners, emigrants, traders, 
Mexicans, Indians and half-breeds. 



THE FIRST CATHOLIC BISHOP IN NEBRASKA 
By Rev. Michael A. Shine 

[Paper read before the annual meeting of the Nebraska 
State Historical Society January 17, 1910.] 

The present state of Nebraska was theoretically in- 
cluded in the jurisdiction given to the first vicar apostolic 
in the New World, namely to Rt. Rev. Bernard Boil, 
Vicar of the Friar Minims of the Order of St. Francis de 
Paul, in Spain, who received his appointment from Pope 
Alexander VI, by a bull dated June 25, 1493, when he 
erected into a vicariate apostoHc "Those lands and islands 
which have been recently discovered in the western regions 
and the Oceanic Sea, as well as those that may yet be dis- 
covered". This vicar apostoHc, with twelve companion 
priests, sailed with Columbus on his second voyage to the 
New World in 1493. 

In the course of time this region passed successively 
under the jurisdictions of the bishops of Quebec; Havana, 
Cuba; New Orleans; and St. Louis, Missouri, until the 
year 1851. 

However, the first catholic bishop to personally step 
on and exercise jurisdiction over Nebraska soil was the 
Rt. Rev. John Baptist Miege, a Jesuit, native of France 
and the subject of this sketch. 

John B. Miege was born September 18, 1815, at 
La Foret, Upper Savoy, and was educated at Moutiers, 
Milan and Rome. He was received into the Society of 
Jesus on October 23, 1836, by Rev. Father Puty, S. J., at 
the novitiate in Milan, and he made his first vows on 
October 15, 1838. 

He was ordained a priest in Rome on September 7, 
1847, by Venerable Joseph Canali, the Patriarch of Con- 
stantinople. 

(206) 



206 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The revolution of 1848 closed the Jesuit houses in 
Italy, and Father Miege returned to France. His appeal 
to be sent on the Indian missions in America was granted 
and he arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, in the fall of 1849. 
His first charge was the Parish of St. Charles, Missouri, 
with Portage des Sioux as a mission; then he was trans- 
ferred to Florissant, Missouri, where he taught moral 
theology, and later he was sent to St. Louis university to 
fill the offices of professor and prefect of discipline. 

In May, 1849, the seventh provincial council of Balti- 
more convened and petitioned Pope Pius IX to establish 
the "Vicariate of the Indian Territory east of the Rocky 
Mountains". The Pope, acceding to this request, ap- 
pointed Father John B. Miege, S. J., as the first vicar 
apostolic. When the appointment papers were placed on 
his desk Father Miege paid no attention to them, thinking 
that some kind of a joke was about to be played upon 
him by his associates. However, he was induced to open 
and read the documents, and when he learned how serious 
and important they were, he declined to receive the honor, 
as he wished to remain a Jesuit, and he promptly returned 
the papers to Archbishop Kenrick. Nevertheless he was 
ordered by Rome to submit and accept the office, being 
assured that he would not be forced to sever his connection 
with the Jesuit order. He was consecrated as titular 
bishop of Messenia and vicar apostolic of the Indian 
territory east of the Rocky mountains on March 25, 1851, 
in St. Xaviers Church, St. Louis, by Archbishop Kenrick, 
assisted by Bishop Van de Velde of Chicago and Bishop 
St. Palais of Vincennes, Indiana, the sermon being preached 
by Rev. John Higginbotham of St. Louis, Missouri. 

On May 11, 1851, he left St. Louis by boat with Father 
Paul Ponziglione, S. J., for his new vicariate, and arrived 
at St. Marys Indian mission in Kansas on May 24, 1851, 
where he was given a rousing welcome and a hearty recep- 



FIRST CATHOLIC BISHOP IN NEBRASKA 207 

tion by the Indians and Jesuit fathers. Here he began his 
Episcopal labors and built a large church of hewn logs for 
a cathedral. Father DeSmet, with Major Fitzpatrick of 
the United States army and thirteen Indian chiefs as 
delegates from the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Oto and Sioux 
Indian tribes, on their way to Washington, D. C, from 
the great council held in Nebraska, arrived on October 11, 
1851, at St. Marys mission. 

Father DeSmet tells us that "Bishop Miege and the 
other fathers of the mission received us with great cor- 
diality and kindness We found the mission in 

a flourishing state; Every Sunday the fathers 

have the consolation of contemplating a beautiful con- 
gregation of Indians assembled in the wood-built cathedral, 
and on an average 120 piously approaching the holy com- 
munion. We spent two days visiting the mission. The 
Indian chiefs quitted the establishment with hearts over- 
flowing with delight and in the consoling expectation of 
having similar happiness in their own tribes at no very 
distant future." In 1852 we find the bishop hastening to 
the Missouri river with a physician for the relief of the 
cholera stricken Potawatomi pagan Indians, who were on 
their way from Michigan to Kansas, and bestowing on 
them such physical and spiritual aid as they required. 
For the first few years his labors were confined principally 
to the Indians in the present state of Kansas. 

In his report for the catholic directory of the year 
1853 he says: "The cathoHc population scattered over the 
vast extent of the upper country, in the Indian villages, 
forts and trading posts may not fall short of 3,000. It is 
our earnest wish to visit them as soon as possible." The 
above figures include trappers, traders, soldiers, Indians 
and half-breeds, as there were no permanent white settle- 
ments in the territory in those days. 



208 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

On May 19, 1853, the bishop, with Father DeSmet, 
sailed for Europe on the steamer Fulton, which crossed 
the Atlantic in a record breaking trip of eleven days. The 
bishop proceeded to Rome for his "ad limina visit" to the 
Pope and also to act as procurator for the Jesuit vice- 
province of Missouri, in the twenty-second general con- 
gregation of the Jesuit order. He assisted in the election 
of Rev. F. Beckx, S. J., as father general of the society, 
and having fulfilled the duties of his mission he returned 
by way of Paris to Havre, France. Here he met Father 
DeSmet with two scholastics, seven novices and four 
brothers of the Jesuit order, and all embarked November 
20, 1853, on the steamer Humboldt for New York city. 

The voyage was a very stormy one, and they were 
finally shipwrecked December 6, 1853, on the Three Sisters 
rocks, near Devils Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia. 
The steamer caught fire, "and for some time it was doubt- 
ful", as one of the party later remarked, "whether they 
should reach heaven by water or by fire". However, all 
escaped unhurt to some fishermen's boats, and a few hours 
after they were rescued by a steamboat from Halifax. 
Two days later they sailed for Boston, Massachusetts, 
thence by rail to Cincinnati and again by boat down the 
Ohio river and up the Mississippi river. The latter river 
was filled with floating ice, and in spite of the steamboat's 
efforts they were compelled to spend Christmas day, 1853, 
on a sandbar a few miles below St. Louis, Missouri. Rev. 
Father Jos. Zealand, S. J., president of Creighton college 
in 1883-4, and Father Charles Coppens, S. J., formerly 
professor of philosophy in the same institution, were among 
the thirteen companions on that eventful voyage. The 
only one now living is Father Chas. Coppens in Chicago, 
lUinois. In the early part of March, 1854, the bishop 
again arrived at St. Marys mission, Kansas. 



FIRST CATHOLIC BISHOP IN NEBRASKA 209 

While in Belgium, Father DeSmet wrote on June 30, 
1853, to the Brussels Journal about his travels among the 
Indians west of the upper Missouri river; and among 
other things he said: "I hope to return next spring with 
Bishop Miege, the vicar apostolic. We will be able to 
found missions for those nomadic tribes on a soil fertile 
enough to support them and thus removing occasion of 
war let civilization with the light of the faith dawn on 
these wastes." However, the throwing open of both 
Kansas and Nebraska for settlement and the rush of 
emigration prevented the proposed visit. 

In 1855 the Bishop transferred his episcopal see from 
St. Marys mission to Leavenworth, Kansas, and erected 
there a cathedral 24x40 feet. This year he made his long 
intended visit to Nebraska. In a letter written on Decem- 
ber 16, 1878, from Woodstock, Maryland, to Rev. R. A. 
Shaffel, S. J., president of Creighton college, he writes: 

"With regard to information on the first beginnings 
of the Church in Nebraska, my will is good enough but my 
memory is tricky and rebellious. I visited Nebraska three 
times; the first visit was, I believe, in 1855, when Omaha 
and Nebraska City were first started and beginning to look 
up. An encouraging letter from Governor Cuming had 
confirmed me in the plan I had already made of visiting 
the principal places in the territory that year. From 
St. Marys I went to Weston and through Missouri and 
Iowa. After many days camping and traveling, I arrived 
at the Missouri river opposite Omaha. The wind was so 
strong that the little steam ferry refused to move. A 
man took me across in a canoe, but not without many 
tribulations and an abundance of fresco work on my coat 
and pants from the muddy Missouri. At the Douglas 
House I found Mrs. Murphy and Mrs. Cuming who told 
me where to find Mr. Cuming. I found him, and he told 
me that two lots had been reserved for a Catholic church 
and that more could be secured if necessary. Being well 
pleased with the site of Omaha, I promised to send a priest 
there as soon as possible; and meanwhile I requested 
14 



210 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Father Tracey [TrecyJ of St. Johns, opposite Sioux City, 
on the Nebraska side, to do what he could for Omaha. 
In the spring of 1857 I went up again, found a little brick 
church built, but not plastered, and made the acquaintance 
of the excellent Creighton family and promised to obtain 
for Nebraska a resident vicar apostolic, which was done 
the following year through the provincial council of St. 
Louis. Of my third visit I have no distinct recollection 
as to dates. All I know is, that I visited Bellevue and could 
not go to Omaha; but I do not remember the reason or 
cause. Colonel Sarpy was willing to give me a big block 
in Bellevue, on condition that I would immediately put up 
a church. Not, of course, for the benefit of Catholics — 
there were none in the place — but to give a fair start to 
his speculation, which I firmly declined to' do." 

The exact day and month of the bishop's first visit to 
Omaha have not yet been ascertained; however, a quit 
claim deed for lots 5 and 6 in block 154, in Omaha City, 
dated May 30, 1855, was given to the bishop for church 
purposes by the Council Bluffs and Nebraska Ferry Co., 
and two years later it was supplemented by a warranty 
deed. 

We know that Father William Emonds was stationed 
at Council Bluffs, Iowa, as early as May 6, 1855, and that 
on May 8, 1855, he recorded the baptism of "Honorius 
Kenry, from St. Patricks church, Omaha City". 

Father Emonds in a letter dated November 25, 1878, 
in regard to his first mass in Omaha, says: 

"April or May was the month when the first Mass 

was said in Omaha, rather think May, 1855, It 

was in the court room of the old state house built of brick. 

Governor Cuming assigned us lots, a part 

of a so called park. We commenced digging the foundations, 

€tC." 

Another person, a lady who was present at the first 
mass, says: 

" It was a bright warm workday, the 14 or 15 of May, 
1855." 



FIRST CATHOLIC BISHOP IN NEBRASKA 211 

The Rev. Jeremiah Trecy, who was requested by the 
bishop to look after Omaha, began the mission of St. Johns, 
near the present city of Jackson, on June 24, 1855, St. 
Johns day; and he says in a letter written on August 4, 
1859: 

"The Second Mission in point of time is Omaha City. 

In July (1855) I visited this place. Father 

Emonds had visited this place a day or two before. I left 
it to him during his stay at Council Bluffs. The number 
of Catholics here then was about one hundred." 

The above statements present a chronological problem 
that no doubt further investigations will satisfactorily 
solve. 

It seems the foundations of this first proposed church 
(presumably St. Patricks) were never laid, and the project 
was abandoned for a time. In 1856 St. Marys church 
was erected on this same property and was dedicated in 
August by Rev. Thomas Scanlan of St. Joseph, Missouri. 
This was the first church erected within the present limits 
of Nebraska, under the jurisdiction of Bishop Miege, and 
the one he saw in the spring of 1857. 

Bishop Miege visited Omaha in June, 1858, and con- 
ferred the sacrament of confirmation on twenty-two persons, 
eleven males and eleven females. The record of this event, 
written in Latin, is preserved in the Omaha baptism register 
in St. Philomenas church. The handwriting is that of 
Rev. James Power who was then the pastor, and the record 
is translated as follows: 

"Most Rev. John B. Miege, Bishop in infidel regions, 
and Vicar Apostolic of the aborigines in the Territory of 
Kansas and Nebraska and of all the Faithful dwelling in 
these places, for the first time (primo) visited the Church 
of St. Mary, Omaha, and administered the Sacrament of 
Confirmation to those whose names are written below. In 
the month of June, 1858. 

James Power, Pastor." 



212 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Whether this was the second visit, referred to by the 
bishop, or another that escaped his memory, at the present 
writing I am unable to state. The jurisdiction of Bishop 
Miege in Nebraska extended from March 25, 1851, to May 
8, 1859. During that period the following Catholic clergy- 
men exercised the functions of the priesthood in this region: 

1 — Rev. P. J. DeSmet, S. J., celebrated the first mass 
in Nebraska on Sunday, September 14, 1851, on the Council 
plain at the junction of Horse Creek and the Platte river 
in Scotts Bluff county, in the presence of ten thousand 
Indians and the United States army officers. During the 
council he baptized over twelve hundred Indian children. 
Again in June and August, 1858, near Fort Kearny, he 
baptized 208 children of the Pawnee Loup, and a number 
of the Ogalala Sioux. 

2 — Rev. William Emonds, of the Diocese of Dubuque, 
attended Omaha from Council Bluffs, Iowa, from May to 
August, 1855, and among other baptisms he records the 
baptism of the "First White Child Born In Omaha", 
namely Margaret Ferry, born December 16, 1854, and 
baptized May 29, 1855. 

3 — Rev. Jeremiah F. Trecy, of the diocese of Du- 
buque, the founder and pastor of St. Johns, near Jackson. 
He labored in Nebraska from June 24, 1855, to 1860. In 
March, 1857, he lectured in New York City, to induce 
Irish settlers to come to Nebraska. At the end of his 
lecture he was severely denounced by Archbishop Hughes 
who disapproved of his plans. During the civil war Father 
Trecy was a chaplain on General Rosecrans' staff. 

4 — Rev. Thomas Scanlan, from St. Joseph, Missouri, 
the St. Louis diocese. He is said to have celebrated the 
second mass in Omaha and to have dedicated St. Marys 
church in 1856. 

5 — Rev. John Cavanagh, from the Chicago diocese, 
was the first resident pastor in Omaha, from October, 1856, 



FIRST CATHOLIC BISHOP IN NEBRASKA 213 

to April, 1857. He also attended Nebraska City. He left 
for New Orleans where he died in 1858. 

6 — Rev. Augustine Wirth, 0. S. B., from the Bene- 
dictine monastery at Doniphan, Kansas, visited the Ne- 
braska missions in August, 1857, and again in February and 
March, 1858. 

7 — Rev. George H. Plathe, of the diocese of Dubuque, 
administered some baptisms in Omaha in September, 1857. 

8 — Rev. James Power, from St. Joseph, Missouri, 
the St. Louis diocese, was the second resident pastor, from 
March to June, 1858. During his pastorate Bishop Miege 
conferred the sacrament of confirmation for the first time 
in Nebraska. 

9 — Rev. Hugh P. Kenny was sent by Bishop Miege 
as the first resident pastor of Nebraska City in August, 
1858. He remained only a few months. 

10 — Rev. Edmund Langenfelder, 0. S. B., from Doni- 
phan, Kansas, visited Nebraska City and Brownville in 
March, 1859, and administered some baptisms. 

11 — Rev. Francis B. Cannon, 0. S. B., from Doni- 
phan, Kansas, was the third and last resident pastor in 
Omaha under the jurisdiction of Bishop Miege. He re- 
mained as pastor from August, 1858, to June, 1859. 

Father Cannon in Omaha and Father Trecy at St. 
Johns, Dakota county, were the only priests in Nebraska 
when Bishop 0' Gorman took charge in May, 1859. The 
material prosperity of the church during the administration 
of Bishop Miege was very slow, owing to the many hard- 
ships, privations and lack of money among the pioneers. 
Consequently, in 1859, there was only a brick church, with 
an addition for a priest's residence, and a sixty acre cemetery 
in Omaha, and a frame church at St. Johns, in Dakota 
county. However, missions or stations had been estab- 
lished at Rulo, Brownville, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, 
Elkhorn, and other places. 



214 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Bishop Miege, as stated in his letter, asked for a 
division of his vast vicariate, and his wish was gi-anted in 
January, 1857; but his jurisdiction did not cease until the 
arrival of Bishop O'Gorman in May, 1859. 

The territory now forming the states of Nebraska, 
Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Montana was erected into 
the vicariate of Nebraska and taken from Bishop Miege; 
he retaining only the state of Kansas and a part of Colorado. 
In 1860 he made a trip across the plains to Denver, in his 
own conveyance, with a lay brother and administered 
baptism there for the first time on June 3, 1860. 

He completed the Leavenworth cathedral in 1868; 
and shortly afterwards, in order to help pay off the in- 
debtedness, he made a successful collection tour through 
South America. 

He resigned his see on December 14, 1874, and retired 
to the Jesuit house of studies at Woodstock, Maiyland, 
where he became spiritual adviser to the Jesuit scholastics. 

In June, 1877, he was sent to Detroit, Michigan, to 
open and conduct the Jesuit college there until 1880, when 
he again retired to Woodstock, Maryland. 

In the spring of 1883 he was prostrated by a stroke of 
paralysis, and later he suffered from a frightful burn, the 
result of an accident that deprived him of the full use of 
his hands. 

In appearance the bishop was tall and of commanding 
presence, being well proportioned and of handsome coun- 
tenance. As to his character, I quote the words of a dis- 
tinguished layman who knew him personally: "His noble 
quahties were numerous, as a religious, a priest, and a 
bishop. His virtue and genial disposition caused him to 
be regarded with confidence and affection by the young 
and with deepest veneration by the old. With the highest 
endowments of mind and character he combined the most 
imperturbable modesty and humility. He had the rare 



FIRST CATHOLIC BISHOP IN NEBRASKA 215 

gift of being able to adjust himself to humors and characters. 
But one of his finest characteristics was the depth of his 
sympathy springing from a broad warm human heart. " 

Bishop Miege died on July 20, 1884, and the remains 
of the first and pioneer Catholic bishop in Nebraska rest 
among his brethren in the Jesuit cemetery in Woodstock, 
Maryland. 

SOURCES CONSULTED AND USED IN THE COMPILATION 
OF THIS PAPER 

American Catholic Historical Society Records. Philadelphia. Vol. III. 

American Church History. O'Gorman. Vol. IX. 

Biographical Cyclopaedia (of Bishops). F. X. Reuss. 

Baptism Register. Omaha. 

Baptism Register. Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

Baptism Register. Jackson, Nebraska. 

Baptism Register. Nebraska City. 

Catholic Directories. 1850 to 1860. 

Catholic Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Rev. J. F. Kempker. 

Creighton University Reminiscences. Rev. M. P. Dowling, S. J. 

Western Missions and Missionaries. DeSmet, S. J. 

Deed Register number I. Douglas County, Nebraska. 

Diocesan Archives of Omaha, Nebraska. 

History of Catholic Church in the United States. 4 Vols. 

John G. Shea. 
Kansas Historical Collections. Vol. IX. 
Illustrated History of Nebraska. Watkins. 2 Vols. 
Woodstock Letters. Vols. IV, VI, XIII. 
Letter of Rev. Charles Coppens, S. J. 



BIRTH OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 
By Charles Wake 

[Paper read before the annual meeting of the Nebraska 
State Historical Society January 14, 1908.] 
Mr. President, Pioneers of Nebraska, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

When I returned to your city a few weeks ago after 
an absence of nearly forty years, I missed the once familiar 
faces of Elder Young, Dr. McKesson, John Cadman, Peter 
Schamp, Luke Lavender, and others of the pioneers who 
located the town of Lancaster, the county seat of Lancaster 
county. 

I have been able to find but three of these pioneers as 
yet. Judge Pound, and Edward Warnes, who live in the 
city, and Mr. Hawker, now living at Havelock. These with 
myself are all of the antediluvians who were here before 
the flood — of citizens who came in after the location of 
the capital. 

Mr. Warnes still lives on his homestead, a mile south 
of street, where he has been the past forty-five years, 
and enjoys the unique experience of having seen 50,000 
people settle around his once lonely cabin. 

Right now I would like to ask how many of you who 
are here present were here with me on that eventful day in 
July, 1867, when Governor David Butler, Secretary Kennard 
and Auditor Gillespie came out on the front steps of Captain 
Donovan's house and announced that Lincoln, the capital 
of Nebraska, was by their proclamation located right here 
where we are now assembled. Will those who were here 
that day please hold up your hands. 

Thank you. That is when our baby was born, and a 
right lusty youth it has become, worthy of the sturdy 
president whose name it bears. Since I promised Secretary 

(216) 



BIRTH OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 217 

Paine to give you some recollections of the early days of 
Lincoln I have carefully read the published history of the 
city, and I find that the ground has been fairly covered by 
the historian, but there are a few things omitted which I 
may be able to supply. 

The question has been asked, "How did a few poor 
homesteaders manage to donate 800 acres of land to the 
state of Nebraska in order to locate the capital at this 
point?" We were all poor enough in money, but rich in 
land, or, perhaps, we were "landpoor". The land we held 
had but little cash value. We had bought some of the best 
of it with "college scrip" at about sixty cents an acre, and 
the rest we had taken under the homestead and preemption 
laws. We made the donation in this way: Every settler 
within a few miles of Lancaster subscribed forty acres of 
land; then Dawson, Lavender and John Giles vacated as 
much of their farms as was needed to make the town site, 
and took other land and more of it in lieu of that which 
they relinquished. 

Lavender gave up the eighty acres of his homestead 
on which the capitol is built and got as a balance an eighty 
of James Young which joined him on the east and a thousand 
dollars in cash. His demand for that thousand dollars 
came near wrecking the whole scheme. He was told that 
if he did not moderate his demands the capital would be 
located elsewhere, but he declared that rather than move 
away from his home and get nothing for his improvements 
he would let the capital go to the Blue river or elsewhere. 
After some heated talk about a rope necktie, tar and 
feathers, etc., we surrendered and in some way managed 
to satisfy him. 

How this princely sum of a thousand dollars and some 
other hundreds needed to pay the government for its claim 
on these lands was obtained I have no knowledge. I 
remember that Elder Miller was deeply interested in the 



218 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

scheme but did not put in any money of his own. He 
asked me if I would not rather give $100 in cash than to 
give some of my land. I was willing but had not the 
money, so the Elder took my note and advanced the cash. 

If I remember aright, when I came to this place in the 
fall of 1866, there was but one house that had both a board 
floor and a shingle roof. Dawson and Lavender lived in 
log houses with shingle roofs, but earthen floor. Elder 
Young's house had a board floor, but the roof was of earth. 
Dr. McKesson lived in a dugout half a mile north of 
street. Mr. Hardenburg, who was interested in some salt 
works and kept a small store, had, I think, a stone house 
that was fairly comfortable and decently furnished. He 
was the one aristocrat of the town. He managed to sell 
out soon after and return to New Jersey. There was some 
timber in the county at that time and one or two saw 
mills. A man by the name of Cozad had one of these mills 
not far from where the Burlington depot now stands. 
Town lots were so cheap they were offered free to any one 
who would build a house worth $100. A friend of mine 
secured a fifty foot lot on these terms just east of the 
present Journal office. He borrowed a wagon and two yoke 
of oxen, and I went with him to a sawmill on Oak creek 
where he loaded on cottonwood boards with which we 
built a shanty about sixteen by twenty or twenty-four feet. 
The snow was deep, we were poor teamsters, and had 
many mishaps by the way, but finally completed our task 
and moved into the new house on the first day of March, 
1867 — a month long to be remembered by the early 
settlers of Nebraska, as every night the thermometer fell 
to zero or below. The last day of February was warm, the 
snow melted and every little ravine had a running stream. 

A poor man living at the salt basin driving an ox team 
could not force them through the broken ice and melted 
snow. He labored with them until he was soaking wet, 



BIRTH OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 219 

then the weather suddenly turned intensely cold and he 
got home at last so badly frozen that, after weeks of suffer- 
ing, he insisted that his feet should be amputated, and Doctor 
McKesson undertook the operation. He had no proper 
amputation saw, and I wish, right here, to correct a story 
that has often been told that the Doctor used a common 
handsaw for this surgical work. He borrowed the saw 
from my partner, Mr. Biles, who now lives in Los Angeles, 
California. It was a stiff-back saw with fine teeth, suitable 
for use in cabinet work, which Biles had brought from 
London, and though larger than a surgeon's saw it was 
very well adapted for such an emergency. One foot was 
taken off, but the patient was too weak to recover and 
died soon after. 

There is another item of interest which I do not find 
recorded in the history, an incident which reflects honor 
on one of the early settlers in the new city; and the only 
excuse I can see for its omission is the thought that honor- 
able deeds were so common in our midst that nothing else 
could have been expected of any of us. Yet I think the 
incident I am about to relate to you, and which doubtless 
some of you remember, is worthy to be spread on the 
records of this society; and when you erect that grand 
historical building which a generous legislature is going to 
pay for, I hope that somewhere in its marble halls there 
will be placed a memorial tablet to the memory of Darwin 
Peckham. Mr. Peckham was a carpenter and contractor, 
and he built the stone block of two stories still standing on 
the northeast corner of and 10th streets, which was 
occupied by the banking house of James Sweet and Brock, 
the grocery house of Rudolph, and the general store of 
Martin Pflug and Brother. Whilst Mr. Peckham was busy 
earning money for the support of his family and perhaps 
laying the foundation for a modest competence, it was 
reported one day that in one of the hotels a man was sick 



220 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

with smallpox. He was at once taken to a shanty on the 
outskirts of the town, and a volunteer nurse was called for. 
Mr. Peckham undertook this disagreeable and dangerous 
duty, caught the disease himself and barely escaped a 
horrible death. Mr. President, there are many men today 
wearing these bronze buttons in the lapels of their coats 
and drawing pensions from a grateful nation for heroic 
services on a hundred battlefields, who never performed a 
nobler deed, or suffered more for our common humanity 
than this unassuming citizen of whom I speak. 

The other day I stood on street and called the at- 
tention of a young law student to the lot on the corner 
of and Eleventh streets, on which stands part of Rudge 
& Guenzel's store, and told him that I stood by and saw 
that lot sold for $87.50; and he asked me why we did not 
all of us buy lots and grow rich by the investment. This 
is the question that naturally occurs to any one at this 
late day, and in self-defense it should be answered. 

Nebraska at that time was supposed to be a great 
desert, not only by eastern people, but those who lived in 
the towns along the Missouri river really thought there 
was no land worth cultivating as far west as Lancaster 
county. The location of the capital was regarded as a 
doubtful project, and men with money to invest stood by 
and saw these choice lots sold for a mere song. It must 
be remembered there was not a mile of railroad south of 
the Platte river; that a large part of Iowa was still a 
howling wilderness; and even on the grand prairie in central 
Illinois land could then be bought for five dollars an acre. 
Some of those who had faith in the city and made heavy 
investments came to grief when hard times came. One 
heroic woman told me the other day that she took in 
washing during several of those hard years so as to pay 
taxes and save the family property. 



BIRTH OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 221 

It is curious how soon people forget, and though the 
history I here referred to is fairly accurate there are a few 
errors in it I take the liberty of pointing out. Mr. Bashley, 
the first lumber merchant in your city, is called Larkley. I 
remember him well. One of his first sales was to me. He 
and his son drove two mule teams to East Nebraska City 
and hauled lumber to the salt basin where I built a salt- 
house for Tichenor & Green. Pine lumber came in with 
the advent of the capital. In Lancaster times we used 
Cottonwood and walnut. There was very fine walnut tim- 
ber at that time on the streams west of here. 

One curious error I notice recorded on page 154 of 
the history; not a matter of much consequence, but it 
might as well be put right. It is about the location of J. 
D. Minchall's first store. One man declared it was on P 
street, another said it was on 0, — yet on the very same 
page is a picture of the store he really occupied — on Ninth 
street, just north of Dr. Gilbert's drugstore. If my version 
of this matter needed confirmation it could be confirmed 
by Nelson Brock. He and I, and Robert Bain, once your 
county treasurer, boarded next door with Mrs. Doctor 
Gilbert, and if I remember rightly he improved his spare 
time courting Mrs. Gilbert's sister. Dr. Gilbert sold hard- 
ware as well as drugs. The hardware, and I think the 
building also, belonged to Humphrey Brothers of Nebraska 
City. The old store has been removed to Twelfth and Q 
streets, where it is now doing duty as a wagon shop. When 
I saw it the other day I was puzzled to make out how we 
used to sleep upstairs in it. There certainly was an up- 
stairs; but we must have been very careful those nights 
not to bump our heads against the rafters. 

In Lancaster times Jacob Dawson was postmaster 
and Judge Pound was his deputy. I am sorry the judge 
did not hold that position a year longer; if he had I should 
be $30 richer. The first Lincoln postmaster was a thief 



222 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and I lost that $30 in the mail and the postmaster was sent 
to the penitentiary for this and other robberies. Captain 
Donovan, his father-in-law, induced Governor Butler to 
procure his pardon and he disappeared. S. B. Pound, the 
young lawyer, had so good a reputation for honesty, even in 
that early day, that a jury of six men, of whom I was one, 
refused to give a verdict against his client on the sole 
ground that three of the men declared it to be their un- 
alterable conviction that Mr. Pound would not defend a 
case that was not absolutely correct and true. I am glad 
to know that after forty years the judge has not lived down 
his early reputation in a city where so many men have been 
wrecked. 

I have sometimes boasted to my children that I was 
one of the founders of the city of Lincoln and also an in- 
corporator of the State Historical Society; but on search- 
ing the records I find that your present association is of 
much more modern date, and I am forced to the conclusion 
that the old society died of neglect, and so we lost the block 
of lots which the commissioners donated to us when they 
laid out the city. That block is now occupied by farmers 
and others with loads of hay and many things more useful 
than ornamental. 

Mr. President, I am glad we have a historical society 
here in Nebraska and an industrious secretary to keep a 
record of these things, some of which may seem trivial, 
as the doings of very common people. President Lincoln 
once, said: "God must love the common people because he 
made so many of them." Whilst we have read much 
history that records the sayings and doings of kings and 
princes, who often were unworthy of the position they 
occupied, and of generals who led vast armies to fields of 
slaughter, and though we still admire the words of Long- 
fellow — 



BIRTH OF LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 223 

"Lives of great men all remind us 
We can make our lives sublime," 
I would add another sentiment for your consideration not 
expressed in melodious verse but in simple every day prose: 
** Lives of honest men and virtuous women ever remind 
us that we are citizens of this great republic, and we are 
expected to live worthy and useful lives." 



ENGLISH SETTLEMENT IN PALMYRA 
By Rev. Richard Wake 

[A a paper prepared for the Nebraska State Historical 
Society by Mr. Wake and read before the annual meeting 
of the Society, January 18, 1910, by his brother, Mr. 
Charles Wake.] 

Palmyra was from its beginning chiefly an English 
neighborhood. During the winter of 1855-56 the writer of 
this paper, an Englishman and pastor of a Methodist 
church in northern Illinois, being impressed with the great 
opportunities offered by the West to people with habits of 
thrift and industry, wrote a series of letters to the Christian 
World of London, setting forth the conditions in the states 
of Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, the two last mentioned 
having then large tracts of unoccupied government land. 
I wrote especially of the inducements presented to the farm- 
ing class in England, recommending that they and others 
possessed of small means should emigrate in companies to 
settle contiguously on these cheap lands, so that they might 
have from the beginning the advantages of society and 
thus be saved from the loneliness and consequent home- 
sickness to which the solitary settler is liable. I invited 
correspondence and hundreds of letters were received show- 
ing great desire to follow my suggestions. 

In April, 1866, I came west through Des Moines, 
Omaha, and Nebraska City, viewing the country yet un- 
occupied lying in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. As 
government land in Iowa had been withdrawn from market 
to await the building of the railroads to the Missouri and 
the selection of railroad grants, Nebraska offered the most 
promising field for settlement. Securing a three months' 
vacation from my parish, I made a long promised visit to 

(224) 



ENGLISH SETTLEMENT IN PALMYRA 225 

England and embraced the opportunity thus offered to 
perfect arrangements for bringing out a colony to settle 
in the vicinity of what afterward became the town of 
Palmjra. Many who were anxious to come could not 
dispose of their property in time to return with me; but 
on the first of August, 1866, 115 men, women and children 
sailed on the steamship Denmark from Liverpool, landing 
in New York on the 17th and reaching Chicago on Sunday, 
August 19. Here those who did not possess sufficient 
means to establish themselves on homesteads sought and 
found employment. As then there was no railroad west of 
Des Moines, the famiUes who intended to be farmers in 
Nebraska bought teams, weapons, and general outfits in 
Chicago, traveling overland from that city to their destina- 
tion, with Nebraska City as the .point for crossing the 
Missouri. 

Of the party thus arriving early in September, 1866, 
I recall the names of F. Lucas, C. Dorman, B. Dorman, 
Wm. Pell, Dawson Collins, W. A. Harris, J. Johnson, 
E. Burrows, A. J. Harris, R. Sears, R. R. Ward, W. Sanders, 
J. Richards, F. R. Strachan, John Harding, J. Maycock, 
Thos. Cole, Fr. Lovett and E. Comley. Of these, Messrs. 
Johnson and Sears, after seven or eight years residence in 
Otoe County, returned and are now (1909) living in Bed- 
fordshire, England. J. Harding opened a clothing store 
in Rulo, Nebraska. Dawson Collins established a music 
business in Nebraska City, and W. Sanders built a mill 
and elevator in Unadilla. Others of the party took home- 
steads in and around what is now Palmyra. Messrs. 
Burrows, Lucas and Dorman were among those who re- 
mained and who since have been known as among the most 
substantial citizens of Otoe county. 

In the spring of 1870 a second party arrived under 
the leadership of Rev. Thomas Bell of Penrith, Cumberland. 
In this party were Messrs. Rootham, father and son, Mr. 

15 



226 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

John Reed and others. These have all passed away, but 
members of their families still remain. 

So far as the writer has been able to ascertain, these 
settlers have done well. Though for some years they had 
to undergo the hardships and inconveniences inseparable 
from life in a new country, they have succeeded in making 
themselves good homes and have in some instances become 
quite wealthy. Not all immigrants are successful, often 
because they lack in themselves the qualities which insure 
success. But on the whole it may be claimed that the 
Palmyra pioneers have done well. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 
By Albert Watkins 

In the whole realm of nature, institutions and incidents 
are the result of more or less complex influences. The story 
of the beginning of an institution such as Fort Kearny is 
therefore a fragment of the history of human environment, 
desire, and endeavor. In former papers I have traced the 
evolution of communication between the settled easterly 
part of the country and the great Northwest which resulted 
in the establishment of the Oregon trail. This story begins 
with the French discovery and occupancy of the Mississippi 
valley and the later squatting of trappers and Indian 
traders, whose chief base of operation was St. Louis, along 
the Missouri river. In 1682 Ferdinand LaSalle, passing 
down the Mississippi river, laid claim to the vast territory 
lying, roughly speaking, between the great river and the 
Rocky mountains, east and west, and the British possessions 
and the Gulf of Mexico, north and south. This country 
was called Louisiana, in honor of the reigning French 
monarch, Louis XIV. There was more or less desultory 
squatting along the Missouri river as early as the latter 
part of the eighteenth century; but the American purchase 
of Louisiana in 1803 gave a strong impetus to the move- 
ment, and from that time there was a gradual growth of 
occupancy by white people. 

Six months before the great purchase was consum- 
mated, President Thomas Jefferson, probably the most 
astute and alert American expansionist, seems to have 
divined, intuitively, the American destiny of Louisiana; 
and so, moved in part at least by this premonition, it seems 

(227) 



228 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

reasonable to think, he proceeded to make arrangements 
for the Louis and Clark expedition. After Louisiana came 
into our possession, the expedition was sent out according 
to its original conception, its scope being only somewhat 
extended or broadened. 

Before this, operations along the Missouri river had 
been confined to individuals or, at most, small partnerships. 
Five years after the purchase — in 1808 — two strong 
companies were formed; and they together laid the founda- 
tion for the settlement of the upper half of the Purchase 
which eventually came under the territorial organization 
of Nebraska. Soon after 1840 the central belt of the 
Purchase came to be called "The Nebraska Country", 
after itsjprincipal river. One of these two great organiza- 
tions, the Missouri Fur Company, operated from the first 
along the Missouri river, and its representatives were 
therefore^he first settlers and agriculturists of Nebraska. 
The other and stronger one, the American Fur Company, 
whose' genius was John Jacob Astor, did not begin opera- 
tions along the Missouri until 1822. Its first object was to 
gain possession of Oregon; and the Astorian expedition of 
1810 was sent out for that purpose. In going out this 
famous expedition traversed the farther end of the Oregon 
trail. A part of the intrepid explorers, on their return in 
1812 and 1813, passed over the rest of the trail, — except 
that, instead of taking the cut-off from the head of Grand 
Island to a point on the Missouri river, now the site of 
Kansas City, they continued down the Platte river to its 
mouth. Of course there was afterward some deviation, 
for improvement, from the course of these Astorians, until 
they struck the headwaters of the Platte river; but the 
fact that the permanent line of this great national high- 
way deviated so little from that which the discoverers 
fumbingly followed, demonstrated that it was the most 
practicable road to the Columbia river. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 229 

Even after the Americans were victors in the revolution, 
the three leading European powers, Spain, France, and 
England, insolently disregarded our territorial limits and 
rights; and superior British aggression wiped Astor's rforth- 
western project off the American map. The purchase of 
Louisiana checked this European trespass, and the war of 
1812 almost put an end to it. But there still remained the 
vexatious question of the northwest boundary. The first 
military post in the Nebraska country, known as Fort 
Atkinson, was established partly with reference to British 
aggression from the north and partly for the protection of 
our frontier from hostile Indians of the upper Missouri. 
Eventually these Indians, and especially the ferocious and 
powerful Blackfeet, discouraged traders in that region, 
and drove them across the Rocky mountains into the 
Snake river and Green river basins. In 1823 a formidable 
expedition under Colonel Leavenworth was sent up the 
Missouri river from Fort Atkinson to punish the Arikari 
Indians, whose villages were situated near the place where 
the new bridge of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St, Paul rail- 
road crosses the river. In 1825 General Henry Atkinson 
led a force of 476 soldiers 120 miles above the Yellowstone 
to treat with the Indians and scare out British intruders. 
Two years later the fort was abandoned, and its equipment 
was carried down to its successor. Fort Leavenworth. 
This change illustrates an important stage in the evolution 
of traffic with the Northwest. While it is easy to see why 
Fort Leavenworth was established, it is not clear why 
military protection was so completely and abruptly with- 
drawn from the upper Missouri; but that question does 
not immediately concern our purpose. 

In 1823 General William H. Ashley, a leading spirit 
in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company which was formed in 
1822, was defeated in a battle with the treacherous Arikari, 
and his force of trappers and traders was badly cut to 



230 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

pieces. The next year, therefore, he evaded the Missouri 
field and the Missouri route, and instead followed the 
Oregon trail to the lower fields beyond the mountains, — 
except that he ascended to Fort Atkinson and thence 
followed westward along the Platte river. The lower 
transmontane fur fields were now so well established that 
they called for a direct route to the St. Louis market and 
base of supplies. Heretofore peltries had been shipped 
mainly in bull boats down the Big Horn and the Yellow- 
stone rivers to the Missouri and thence to St. Louis. 
Previous to 1830 pack animals had been used on the Oregon 
trail; but in that year three of Ashley's great lieutenants, 
Jedediah Smith, Daniel E. Jackson, and William A. Sub- 
lette took a train of fourteen wagons over the cut-off to 
the mountains. In 1832 the famous Captain Bonneville 
took a wagon train over the same route and through the 
south pass. These were the first wagons to cross the 
mountains. The same year Nathaniel Wyeth went over 
the cut-off through to Oregon ;i but he abandoned his 
wagons beyond the main mountain divide. In 1836 Marcus 
Whitman, the colonizer of Oregon, went through nearly 
to the Columbia river with a wagon. In 1842 the first 
company of Oregon emigrants, numbering 120, went 
through over the trail from their rendezvous near In- 
dependence. A still larger company, numbering about 
1,000, went in 1843. Dr. White's party of 1842 abandoned 
its wagons at Fort Hall, using pack horses the rest of the 
way. The party of 1843 took its wagons — about 120 — 
through to the Columbia. These were the first loaded 
wagons to pass over the entire length of the trail. The 
great highway had now won and deserved its name, — the 



» That part of Wyeth's Journal which no doubt described this section 
of' his route was, very unfortunately, lost. We have fairly credible state- 
ments that the party followed the Big Blue to its headwaters but circum- 
stances raise more than a suspicion that the Little Blue was meant but 
miscalled. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 231 

Oregon trail. It remained distinct and celebrated over all 
its course, from Kansas City to the Columbia river, until 
it was superseded by the Pacific railroads to a point where 
it left the line of the Union Pacific. Railroads have since 
traversed the remainder of the trail, closely or approxi- 
mately. Thus this great institution, like all other human 
institutions, owed its being to gradual growth and evolu- 
tion and gave it up by the same process. 

The location of Fort Leavenworth was chosen chiefly 
in recognition of the new and growing traffic by the Platte 
route. It is not so easy to understand why the second 
military post in Nebraska was located at Table Creek, 
afterward the site of Nebraska City. In accordance with 
an act of congress, passed July 2, 1836, Colonel Stephen 
W. Kearny and Captain Nathan Boone were appointed 
commissioners to locate a certain road and incidentally to 
establish this post. They reported from Fort Leavenworth, 
April 25, 1838, that they had selected ''an eminence near 
the mouth of Table Creek as a site for the advance military 
post". The site was selected May 23, 1846, and the block- 
house, the first building, was erected in June. Colonel 
Kearny gave as the reasons for selecting this location that 
it would probably become the starting point from the 
Missouri river for the Oregon emigration and that it was 
in a dangerous Indian country. It did not become the 
starting point for Oregon emigration, but twelve years 
later it did become a very important starting point for 
carrying supplies to the military posts on the frontier and 
for the great Pike's Peak gold fields. In the meantime all 
danger from Indian hostility had vanished. The decision 
to establish the post at that place must have been merely 
half-hearted; for it was virtually abandoned within a 
few months, when its small garrison was diverted to the 
scene of the Mexican war, which had broken out in the 



232 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

meantime; and it was finally abandoned in about ten 
months after it was begun. 

In his report for 1840, the secretary of war recom- 
mended the construction of a fort "at the head of naviga- 
tion on the Kansas river" and another "northwest of Fort 
Leavenworth, at Table Creek, on the Missouri, below the 
mouth of the Platte river. To connect this last post with 
Fort Snelling, a post ought to be constructed at or near the 
forks of the Des Moines". As yet there was no clear 
vision or planning beyond the Missouri river. This harking 
back to conditions which existed before continuous and 
considerable travel over the Oregon trail had begun explains 
the mistake of first placing Fort Kearny so far from that 
highway soon to become of more importance than the 
border line of frontier settlement. 

There had been a more or less slumbering Oregon 
question between this country and Great Britain ever 
since the tentative or temporary open-door arrangement 
of 1818. President Monroe recommended in his last 
annual message — 1824 — the construction of a fort on 
the Columbia river to protect and forward American in- 
terests in the Oregon country. The genius of Wyeth and 
Whitman, which led them to take and stimulate active 
steps toward securing that region to the United States, 
challenged more positive official attention. In his report for 
1841,2 the secretary of v/ar recommended the construction 
of a chain of posts "from the Council Bluffs to the mouth 
of the Columbia, so as to command the avenues by which 
the Indians pass from the north to the south, and at the 
same time maintain a communication with the territories 
belonging to us on the Pacific". This reference to Oregon 
was put in diplomatic phrase. It was doubtless intended 
to be the main part of the question. President Tyler 
endorsed the recommendation in his annual message of 



2 House executive documents, 1841-42, v. 1, doc. 2, p. 61. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 233 

the same year.^ An interesting part of this recommendation 
is the approval of the plan of Colonel J. J. Abert, topo- 
graphical engineer, for establishing the proposed line of 
posts. In a report as chairman of the house committee on 
military affairs ^ N. G. Pendleton (of Ohio) gave an ex- 
haustive history and discussion of the Oregon question, in 
which he incorporated Colonel Abert's report of January 15, 
1842. The engineer pointed out that the most practicable 
route to the Columbia river lay through the pass in the 
Black Hills, at about latitude 44° 30'; thence between 
these hills and "Big Horn Mountain"; then crossed the 
Three Forks of the Missouri ; thence southwesterly to the 
headwaters of the Bitter Root; down that river to its 
junction with "Salmon or Lewis's river"; and down that 
river to the Columbia. Colonel Abert held that the start- 
ing point on the Missouri river ought to be as nearly op- 
posite the trend of the western trail as practicable, — at 
some point between the great bend and the mouth of the 
White river. Though the south pass had been in use for 
ten years, Fremont had not yet made it well known; so 
that Colonel Abert's route was far too high up. His plan 
involved the shifting of Fort Leavenworth back again to 
Council Bluff as the initial extreme frontier point of his 
route, and he emphasized the advantage of three hundred 
miles of river transportation to the point of departure 
above the great bend. The small garrison at Fort Leaven- 
worth would, he thought, be ample for the resuscitated post 
at Council Bluff; but he recommended a force of 500 foot 
and two companies of dragoons for the main post on the 
Missouri and a like force for the other principal posts at 
the mouth of the Columbia.^ In his annual message of 



3 House executive documents, 1841-42, v. 1, doc. 2, p. 41. 

* Report of committees, 3d session 27th congress, v. 1, No. 31. 

» Ibid., p. 46. 



234 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

1842* President Tyler approved these recommendations 
of the war secretary for estabhshing means of communica- 
tion "with our territories on the Pacific"; and though he 
would propose "nothing inconsistent with friendly nego- 
tiations, yet a prudent forecast points out the necessity 
of such measures as may enable us to maintain our rights". 
In his report for this year, the secretary of war repeats 
his recommendation of 1841.^ 

But by 1844 the Oregon emigration had become so 
important and had so distinctly marked out the lower and 
permanent trail, by way of the Platte river, that the secre- 
tary of war, in his report for that year,* not only recom- 
mended the appropriation of $100,000 "for erecting military 
posts from the Missouri river to the Rocky mountains", 
but also urged organization, under the name of Nebraska, 
of the territory which the Platte river and the Oregon 
trail bisected. He mentioned, as another incentive to the 
adoption of this line, the fact that "an excellent and more 
direct pass to Oregon" had been "discovered by recent 
exploration, about 150 miles southward of the great south 
pass". "The emigrants' trail to the Willamette", the 
secretary observed, "is at last traversed by every kind of 
conveyance." He said also that congress had been reluc- 
tant to enclose the territory west of the mountains owing 
to the "conflicting claims of a foreign nation". 

In his annual message of 1845^ President Polk recom- 
mended the estabhshing of a suitable number of stockades 
and blockhouse forts along the usual route between our 
frontier settlements on the Missouri and the Rocky moun- 
tains, and that an adequate force of mounted riflemen be 
raised to guard and protect the emigrants on their journey. 



« House executive documents, 1842-43, v, 1, doc. 2, p. 9. 
' House executive documents, 1842-43, v. 1, doc. 2, p. 189. 
8 House executive documents, 1844-45, v. 1, doc. 2. 
' House executive documents, 1845-46, v. 1, doc. 2. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 235 

He protested that this action would not violate existing 
treaty relations with Great Britain; but a little farther 
on he talks about "securing our rights in Oregon". Dur- 
ing this year Colonel Stephen W. Kearny led a military 
expedition over the trail from Fort Leavenworth to the 
Rocky mountains, returning by way of the Arkansas 
valley. In his report of the expedition^" he estimated 
that 850 men, 475 women, 1,000 children, 7,000 head of 
cattle, 400 horses and mules, and 460 wagons had passed 
over the trail during the season of 1845. The chief engineer 
of the United States army in his report dated November 9, 
1849, testified to the wisdom of establishing the posts on 
the Oregon route. "The events of the last eighteen months 
have added greatly to the importance of Forts Kearny 
and Laramie. Nearly 8,000 wagons, 30,000 people and 
80,000 draught animals have passed along this thorough- 
fare on the way to California, Oregon and Salt Lake."" 
Major Osborn Cross, who accompanied the rifle regiment 
in its march from Fort Leavenworth to Oregon in 1849, 
estimated that from 8,000 to 10,000 wagons with an average 
of four persons to the wagon, passed Fort Kearny and 
Fort Laramie that year — nearly all bound for California.^^ 

There were protests in both houses of congress in the 
discussion of the bill — passed May 19, 1846 — making 
an appropriation for a chain of posts, that no hostility to 
Great Britain was intended. But they also must be re- 
garded as largely diplomatic. 

In accordance with the act of congress a call was 
made on the state of Missouri, March 31, 1847, for a regi- 
ment of mounted volunteers, a part of which was to 
be used for estabhshing the new posts; but the exigency 
of the Mexican war drew the whole regiment to Santa Fe, 



'^^ House executive documents, 1845-46, v. 1, doc. 2, p. 212. 
" House executive documents, 1849-50, doc. 5, p. 225. 
»"^ Senate executive documents, 1850-51, doc. 1, p. 149. 



236 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and a battalion of similar troops was assigned to the duty 
in question. 

From the report of the adjutant general, November 
30, 1848, it appears that the rank and file of the regiment 
of mounted riflemen, originallj^ designed to establish the 
posts on the Oregon route, were discharged at the close of 
the war with Mexico, but several companies had been 
reformed in the process of reorganizing the regiment "two 
of which have relieved Lieutenant Colonel Powell at the 
new post established on the Oregon route at Grand 
Island ".13 

The records of the adjutant general's office of the 
state of Missouri show that Ludwell E. Powell, forty-one 
years of age, was mustered into service, August 30, 1847, 
at Fort Leavenworth, as a lieutenant colonel "in L. E. 
Powell's battalion, Missouri Mounted Volunteers, during 
the war with Mexico unless sooner discharged", and that 
he was honorably discharged at Fort Leavenworth, Novem- 
ber 11, 1848. During the month of July, 1848, Andrew W. 
Sublette, David McCausland, James Craig, William H. 
Rodgers, and Robert M. Stewart were mustered in as 
captains respectively of companies A, B, C, D, E, which 
formed the battalion. All of these officers were also honor- 
ably discharged at Fort Leavenworth, in the early part of 
November, except Captain Rodgers, who was "left sick at 
Savannah, Missouri". The five companies comprised 452 
men and twenty-five officers, 477 in alL^" 

In an order dated June 1, 1847, William L. Marcy, 
secretary of war, directed that the battalion should march 
to its destination as soon as practicable; that an engineer 
would be charged with the location and construction of the 
posts and that his requisitions for labor, services, and 
reconnoissance must be supplied by regular details from 



" House executive documents, 1848-49, v. 1, p. 162. 
" House executive documents, 1847-48, v. 2, p. 77. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 237 

the troops of the command. "The commanding officer 
will be responsible for the completion of the works and will 
urge upon the troops that it is their duty first to build and 
then to garrison them." On the 3d day of August, 1847, 
Lieutenant Colonel Clifton Wharton, of the First dragoons, 
in command at Fort Leavenworth, wrote to the adjutant 
general — R. Jones — urging that it was too late in the 
season for the command to proceed to Grand Island and 
that it would be better to winter at Table Creek. Four 
companies of the battalion had arrived at Table Creek 
and the fifth was daily expected. On the 20th of August 
the adjutant general wrote to Lieutenant Colonel Wharton 
that he approved of this arrangement; but by October 13 
he had changed his mind and on the ground that it would 
be very difficult, and not worth while, so late in the season, 
to construct quarters. It would be better to send the 
battalion back to Fort Leavenworth where it could be 
maintained more cheaply than at Table Creek. In reply 
Lieutenant Colonel Wharton wrote on the 27th of October 
that there was plenty of material upon the ground for the 
construction of barracks, etc., for the battalion, and that it 
would be the fault of the commander if the troops were 
not made comfortable for the winter. But he complained 
that Lieutenant Colonel Powell had been distributing his 
command "to a degree to retard the advancement even of 
temporary accommodations". One company had been 
detached, under order of the adjutant general, "to attend 
the Pottawattamie emigration". Another had been sent 
to Grand Island, on the requisition of the engineer officer, 
as an escort "for the purposes of a survey of the vicinity". 
At the instance of Major Harvey, superintendent of Indian 
affairs, Powell had sent heavy detachments from the 
remaining companies against the Sioux. 

A contract had already been made for 20,000 bushels 
of corn for Powell's command at 37^ cents a bushel — "a 



238 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

price which I think quite reasonable". The somewhat 
peppery Wharton disputed the statement of the adjutant 
general that Table Creek was not in the direct route traveled 
by the emigrants. He reminded him that "the Missouri 
river is crossed by these people at very many points", and 
from some personal experience, and much information from 
others, he had become satisfied that "a better starting 
point for the troops could not be selected". He boldly 
suggested that stories traveling over the long distance to 
Washington might not be disinterested and ought not to 
be credited without caution. On the 6th of November 
Lieutenant Colonel Wharton again writes that on the 2d 
he had received a communication from Lieutenant Colonel 
Powell stating that ''there are already some sixty good 
substantial log cabins, with straw and dirt roofs nearly 
completed", and that "my entire command will in a short 
tim^e be in very comfortable quarters". 

November 18, Lieutenant Colonel Wharton informs 
the adjutant general that the detachment which Lieutenant 
Colonel Powell had let go against the Sioux had returned, 
and, as he expected, "without seeing an Indian". Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Wharton complained also that Lieutenant 
Colonel Powell had ordered Lieutenant Daniel P. Wood- 
bury, engineer officer, to Washington without consulting 
him. On the 23d of September this engineer had been sent 
to Grand Island by Lieutenant Colonel Powell with an 
escort of five officers and seventy-eight men "for the 
purpose of a survey of the vicinity". The escort returned 
to Table Creek October 23. 

According to the record of the battalion it left Fort 
Leavenworth September 5, 1847, and arrived at Table 
Creek September 15. March 12, 1848, Lieutenant Colonel 
Powell relinquished command at Table Creek and left for 
Grand Island. April 28, 1848, eighteen officers and 375 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 239 

men left Table Creek for Grand Island where they arrived 
June 1. 

November 1, 1848, Captain Charles F. Ruff reported 
to the adjutant general that with his command, companies 
I and G, regiment of mounted riflemen, he arrived at 
"Fort Childs, Platte river", October 28, after having 
marched 280 miles from Fort Leavenworth in the most 
inclement weather. On his arrival he found that Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Powell, previously in command of the post, 
had left for Fort Leavenworth on or about October 9, leaving 
as a garrison one first lieutenant and eighteen privates. 
Captain Ruff immediately ordered this garrison to follow 
to Fort Leavenworth, October 30. He complained bitterly 
that his command would have to endure extreme hardships 
and, he feared, much suffering during the winter. They 
would be compelled to erect shelters for both men and 
horses, the weather was already exceedingly cold and the 
sod and sun-dried brick, the material of which the post 
was to be constructed, could not be procured or worked 
in the snow, which was threatening to come.^^ On account 
of the scarcity of forage, he had sent a part of the horses 
back to Fort Leavenworth, reserving only seventy-three, 
and he feared that the larger portion of these would perish 
of exposure on the prairies without shelter. The entire 
command, with the exception of a sufficient guard, was at 
work constructing shelters under the direction of First 
Lieutenant Woodbury of the engineer corps. Captain Ruff 
bitterly complained, also, that Lieutenant Colonel Powell 
had even ordered or permitted Assistant Surgeon Joseph 
Walker, U. S. A., to go with him to Fort Leavenworth, 
leaving the garrison entirely without medical attendance. 



1' Powell's command, for some unexplained reason, had done nothing 
toward erecting quarters, so that Captain Ruff's complaints had a more 
substantial basis than the natural or usual contempt of the regular for the 
volunteer. See Bancroft's Works, v. 25, pp. 689-91, for some rather in- 
accurate information. 



240 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The troops, being composed entirely of raw recruits, were 
especially in need of a medical officer. They were also 
absolutely suffering for want of good and sufficient clothing. 
Captain Ruff was informed that Lieutenant Colonel Powell 
had employed an experienced mountain trapper and trader 
as an express rider, at $50.00 a month — $55.00 for the 
winter months. As it would be impossible to procure mail 
during the winter "by means of any soldier of the com- 
mand", the captain had decided to retain this rider until 
his action could be passed upon by the secretary of war or 
the opening of safe travel in the spring. 

February 26, 1849, Captain Ruff again reported the 
condition of affairs at "Hd'q'rs. Squadron Mounted 
Riflemen, Fort Childs, Oregon Route". He urged the ab- 
solute necessity of mounted troops "to render the garrison 
effective amidst Indian tribes, who may be said to live on 
horseback". There should be two mounted companies and 
one company of infantry at this post, situated, as it was, 
"more than 200 miles beyond and west of the frontier of 
Missouri and of civilization, in the midst and on the very 
battle ground of the most numerous and at the same time 
the most inveterate enemies of each other (Pawnee and Sioux 
Indians), on the great and only traveled road from one- 
half of our continent to the other half, there is no post on 
the western frontier of equal importance to the safety of 
life and property — of a vast emigration and great trade". 

Captain Ruff pointedly asked whether Fort Kearny — 
at Table Creek — or Fort Leavenworth was to be the 
depot of supplies for Fort Childs. He thought that the 
Table Creek post should be abandoned. " The only possible 
good to be derived from occupying Fort Kearny is the 
obtaining the better road and direct route to this post and 
others on the Oregon route; a military garrison is not 
necessary there for the protection of the frontiers of Mis- 
souri, this post being for that purpose far more effectual 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 241 

with a garrison of mounted troops. If, on the other hand, 
Fort Leavenworth is to be the depot for this route, a 
survey of a practicable road should at once be directed 
either from this post to Fort Leavenworth or from Fort 
Leavenworth to this post; the present traveled route is 
totally impracticable for heavily loaded wagons; in con- 
sequence the supplies intended for this post will probably 
be transported by the Missouri river to Fort Kearny before 
the proper survey can be made. . . It is proper to add 
that Fort Kearny is fifty miles nearer to this post than 
Fort Leavenworth is." But the first Fort Kearny project 
had already been abandoned, virtually, the adjutant general 
having issued an order, dated June 22, 1846, to suspend 
work there "for the present"; and it was not resumed. 
The last remnant of the garrison left for Fort Leavenworth 
July 19, 1846. Subsequent operations at the short-lived 
fort were entirely incidental to the work of establishing its 
substitute on the Platte. Ten years later Table Creek, 
now become Nebraska City, was made a military depot 
and shipping point of supplies for the western posts. In 
1858-59 a vast amount of munitions was transported to 
Nebraska City by steamboats on the Missouri river and 
thence overland to Utah to supply the army stationed 
there on account of the Mormon rebellion. 

Lieutenant Colonel Powell dated his first return, — 
reporting the arrival of his command at Table Creek — 
''Fort Kearny, Missouri River, September 30, 1847." It 
is probable that this was the first formal application of the 
Kearny patronymic to a military post. 

Six months after the new post had been given a local 
habitation it received a name through an order of the 
war department, dated December 30, 1848: 

"The new post established at Grand Island, Platte 
river, will be known as Fort Kearny. 

By order: 
16 R. Jones, Adjutant General." 



242 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Until this formal designation the names of the post 
were of a catch-as-catch-can variety. In the statement of 
the distribution of troops contained in the report of the 
secretary of war for 1848 the fort is called "the post at 
Grand Island", while "Fort Childs" was a common desig- 
nation in the official correspondence. This name appears 
to have been applied, though without formal authority, by 
the soldiers who had more or less to do toward establishing 
the post. 

It appears from the report of the secretary of war for 
1846 that Colonel Childs cut an important figure during 
the Mexican campaign of that year. Brevet Brigadier 
General W. J. Worth, who commanded the assault on 
Monterey, September 20, 1846, reports ^^ that Lieutenant 
Colonel Thomas Childs, of the artillery battahon, — after- 
ward colonel of the Third artillery — was put at the head 
of the assaulting party. But General Kearny cut a still 
larger figure, and consequently his name cut out the lesser 
one and became perpetuated successively in the post, the 
county in which it was situated and the important town 
which sprang up on the line of the Union Pacific railroad 
on the opposite side of the Platte river. 

The spelling of the final name was more varied than 
the names themselves had been. Until 1857 the name was 
usually spelled correctly. In the official reports of that 
year the letter e is sometimes injected into the second syllable. 
In the reports of the war department for 1846 the name 
is uniformlj^ spelled as General Kearny wrote his name," 



1' Report of the secretary of war, house executive documents, 1846-47, 
V. 1, doc. 4, p. 102. 

" In a communication to the Nebraska State Historical Society, pub- 
lished in volume 3 of its Transactions and Reports, p. 317, Lieutenant 
Edgar S. Dudley expresses his opinion that General Kearny spelled his 
name with the additional e. But this unwarranted decision is based mainly 
upon the statement that the signature appears so spelled in volume 7, 
American State Papers (Military Affairs), p. 961. But this is a printed 
signature and so is of little evidential value. Examination of General 
Kearny's written signature at Washington shows that he left out the e, 
and tbifl spelling preponderates in the official publications. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 243 

without the second e; and it is so spelled in the reports of 
General Sherman and General Babcock for 1866. Un- 
fortunately the alien has become so firmly established that 
to oust it at this late day would be difficult, though not 
impracticable. That one of our most important historic 
memorials is thus a misnomer is certainly unfortunate. 
It is a great pity that the carelessness, or misapprehensive 
care, which is responsible for this misfortune, was not 
diverted to more effectually disguising the names of cheap 
politicians which are fastened upon many of our counties. 

The post on the Platte came to be commonly called 
New Fort Kearny to distinguish it from its predecessor at 
Table Creek. It is so called in the act of congress of 
February 17, 1855, which authorized the construction of a 
wagon road from Omaha to the fort, and in war department 
papers almost up to the time of its abandonment. After 
the real Old Fort Kearny had vanished from sight and 
faded in memory, popular carelessness and misapprehension 
insisted in contradictorily substituting the distinguishing 
adjective of its name for "New" which properly distin- 
guished the real New Fort Kearny on the Platte; and this 
misleading misnomer is getting almost as firmly fixed as 
the usurping e in the proper part of the name. 

Captain Ruff was deeply impressed with the humanity 
"of permitting to the commanding officers of the posts on 
this route the exercise of a sound discretion in making 
issues of provisions to emigrant parties of our own citizens 
who, either in returning from or going to Oregon, frequently 
stand in need of instant and substantial relief". Parties 
had passed during the last fall who would have perished 
from want but for the relief offered by private charity. 

According to the report of the adjutant general, 
November 28, 1849, Captain Ruff's command was soon 
relieved by one company of the First dragoons and two 
companies of the Sixth infantry. This third garrison was 



244 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

under Brevet Major Robert H. Chilton. Major Osborn 
Cross, quartermaster of the United States army, in his 
report of the march of the regiment of mounted riflemen 
to Oregon in 1849, said that the few buildings that were then 
inhabited were made of sv/ard cut in the form of adobes. 
The hospital was the only building in course of erection. 
Gardens had been started to little purpose, but he conceded 
that in time, when the qualities of the soil were better 
found out, vegetables w^ould be raised in abundance and 
also grain of every description. Colonel Bonneville — the 
famous "Captain Bonneville" who owes his fame to Wash- 
ington Irving, was commandant of the post at that time.'' 
Captain Ruff's command went to Oregon with the regiment 
of mounted riflemen to which it belonged. Brevet Brigadier 
General Joseph T. Totten, chief engineer of the United 
States army, in his report for 1849, said that in the fall of 
1848 three temporary buildings were erected at Fort 
Kearny for quarters for officers and men (two companies) ; 
a bakery, stables for the horses of one company each, also 
temporary, and a large adobe storehouse finished. During 
the season a hospital containing four rooms below and two 
attic rooms had been built, and a two-story building for 
soldiers' quarters was under way and would be finished 
before winter. A good temporary magazine had already 
been erected. During the year 1850 there were built a two- 
story building, seventeen by nineteen feet, with four rooms, 
for officers' quarters, two halls, a piazza front and rear 
and attic room; and a guardhouse fifteen by twenty-five 
feet. The roof of the adobe storeroom was covered with 
sheet lead. The three frame buildings erected the year 
before were now nearly finished. 

William Kelly, an English traveler, who passed over 
the trail in 1849, said of Fort Kearny that, "The states 
have stationed a garrison of soldiers in a string of log huts 
Li ^im 

" House executive documents 1850-51, v. 1, doc. 1, p, 138. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 245 

for the protection of the emigrants; and a most unsoldierly 
looking lot they were — unshaved, unshorn, with patched 
uniforms and lounging gait. Both men and officers were 
ill-off for some necessities such as flour and sugar, the 
privates being most particular in their inquiry for whiskey. " 
Captain Howard Stansbury, United States topographical 
engineer, who led an expedition over the trail to Salt Lake 
City in the same year, described the fort as follows: "The 
post at present consists of a number of long, low buildings, 
constructed principally of adobe, or sun-dried bricks, with 
nearly flat roofs; a large hospital tent; two or three work- 
shops, enclosed by canvas walls; storehouses constructed 
in the same manner; one or two long adobe stables with 
roofs of brush; tents for the accommodation of horses and 
men. " 

In October, 1863, eight companies of the Seventh Iowa 
cavalry regiment, which had been detailed from the South 
for the purpose of protecting the Nebraska frontier from 
Indians, arrived at Fort Kearny. Eugene F. Ware, a 
lieutenant in the regiment, who afterward became com- 
missioner of pensions and otherwise well known, described 
what he saw at and about the fort in his book, "The Indian 
War of 1864". At that time the two main roads from the 
Missouri, one of which started from Leavenworth and the 
other from Omaha, united at Kearney City or Dobj^own, 
and travel on the Omaha route crossed the Platte river 
opposite that noted and notorious emporium, and so 
about two miles east of the fort. "The volume of travel 
was much larger on the southern prong, and these two 
great currents of overland commerce meeting at Dobytown 
fixed the spot where the toughs of the country met and had 
their frolics. Large quantities of the meanest whisky on 
earth were consumed here, but, strange as it may appear, 
there were large quantities of champagne sold and drank 
here." Army officers and many wealthy travelers to and 



246 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

from the rich western gold fields were no doubt accountable 
for this esoteric taste. Supplies for the West in great 
quantities were stored in a vast warehouse at the fort. 
The commissary was authorized to sell provisions at cost 
to indigent and hungry persons on requisition by the post 
commander. These stores were kept mainly to supply 
western military posts in case of emergency. The post 
commander was also permitted to feed gratuitously hungry 
Indians of the propinquity. A number of barrels of whisky 
were among the stores in the warehouse, some of them 
having been there since 1849. 

"The post itself was a little old rusty frontier canton- 
ment. The buildings were principally made out of native 
lumber hauled in from the East. The post had run down in 
style and appearance since the regulars left it. The fuel was 
Cottonwood cordwood cut down on the island of the Platte. 
The parade ground was not very large, and had around it 
a few straggling trees that had evidently been set out in 
large numbers when the post had been made; a few had 
survived, and they showed the effect of the barrenness and 
aridity of the climate. They looked tough." 

It is popularly believed that the lines of great cotton- 
wood trees which now adorn the east and south sides 
of the parade ground were planted as early as 1849; but 
if this statement is correct many of them must have been 
planted much later. The largest building was on the 
south side of the square, and on its second floor there was 
a commodious room which appeared to have been used as 
an officers' club or assembly room. It was customary for 
officers who visited this room to wi'ite their names upon 
the large chimney breast which was faced with hard plaster. 
Among these names were many that became eminent 
during the civil war, including that of Robert E. Lee, the 
great commander-in-chief of the southern armies. The 
quadrangular earthworks, with bastions at each corner, a 
short distance east of the parade ground, are still prom- 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 247 

inently visible. It seems superfluous to say that steps 
should be taken to preserve this most interesting historic 
relic from further disintegration. 

The prospects of peace on the plains seemed so roseate 
in 1852 that the military authorities at Washington advised 
the withdrawal of troops from Fort Kearny and the construc- 
tion of a military post at the junction of the Republican and 
Kansas rivers which, it was contended, would afford protec- 
tion to both of the great trails, — the Oregon and the Santa 
Fe. Of course this view might be atttributed to usual 
long distance ignorance of western conditions, indicated by 
the failure to anticipate the great Indian war which broke 
out in 1864/3 or to the domineering aggression of the South, 
then at its worst. 

Though Fort Kearny continued to be an important 
military point up to about 1865, when the principal troubles 
with the Indians had been shifted farther west, north, and 
south, yet its garrisons were always relatively small, running 
as a rule from one to two companies. Its use was in the 
main for defensive protection of the great traffic over the 
Oregon and California roads and, later, of the construction 
of the Union Pacific railroad. 

On the 17th of May, 1866, General 0. E. Babcock 
arrived at Fort Kearny on a tour of inspection of military 
posts in the West. He observed that "the transitory state 
of affairs at Fort Kearny prevented the neat appearance 
that would otherwise characterize the post. I see no reason 
why this post should not be dispensed with, and the garrison 
sent to some point where they will be of service. Perhaps 
this cannot well be done before next spring." Fort Mc- 
Pherson, ninety miles beyond, now superseded Fort Kearny 
in importance, and the inspector complimented its appear- 



1' Report quartermaster general, house executive documents, 1852- 
63, V. 1, part 2, pp. 71, 127, and letter of T. T. Fauntleroy of First 
dragoons. 



248 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

ance and condition. It should be noted that in this report 
the name of the post is spelled correctly without the e in 
the second syllable.^o General William T. Sherman, who 
visited this part of his general command in the same year, 
observed that there was a great deal of travel by Fort 
Kearny. He found no trains of heavily loaded wagons on 
the north side of the Platte but many emigrants. The 
great bulk of travel that season left the Missouri river at 
Atchison and Nebraska City and followed the usual military 
route by the south side of the Platte. In a report from 
"Fort McPherson, Cottonwood", August 21, I866.21 General 
Sherman relates that General Grenville M. Dodge, engineer 
of the Union Pacific railroad, had given his party a special 
train and accompanied it to the end of the road, about 
five miles northeast of Fort Kearny. The depot of the road 
would be about four and a half miles from the fort. 
"We had to cross the Platte, as mean a river as exists on 
earth, with its moving shifting sands, and I feel a little 
lost as to what to say or what to do about Fort Kearny. 
It is no longer of any military use so far as danger is con- 
cerned, and now that the railroad is passing it in sight 
but with a miserable, dangerous and unbridgable river 
between, it must be retained for the sake of its houses and 
the protection of wagon travel, all of which still lies to the 
south side of the river. General Wessels commands and has 
two companies at Kearny and two companies thirty-five 
miles higher up at Plum Creek, where General Pope 
thought there was or might be danger from some roving 
bands of Indians which had hunted buffalo to the south 
over about the Republican. All of these companies belong 
to the Fifth United States volunteers (rebels) that I want to 
muster out and must muster out somehow this fall; but 
I will defer making an emphatic order until I look up the 



^'^ House executive documents, 2d session 39th congress, doc. 20, p. 2. 
-' House executive documents, 2d session 39th congress, doc. 23, p. 6. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 249 

line further and see where other troops are to come from 
to protect the stores and property. At Kearny the build- 
ings are fast rotting down and two of the largest were in 
such danger of tumbling that General Wessels had to pull 
them down, and I will probably use one of them to shelter 
some horses this winter and next year let it go to the prairie 
dogs, same of the temporary station at Plum Creek." 

General Sherman and his escort, armed with " Spencers ", 
proceeded up the valley to Fort McPherson in five spring 
wagons. The "rebels" in question were paroled con- 
federate prisoners who had been utilized for garrison duty. 
A trifling story has been repeated in several historical 
publications that when General William T. Sherman was 
at Fort Kearny in the summer of 1866 some of these adapted 
soldiers applied insulting epithets to him and that there- 
upon he petulantly decided that the post should be dis- 
continued forthwith. As General Babcock intimated, 
abandonment of the post had been contemplated by the 
war department for some time. It is interesting to note, 
incidentally, that on this trip of inspection General Babcock 
traveled by stage from Atchison and arrived at Fort Kearny 
May 17. 

Explanation of the presence of these confederate 
prisoners under enlistment in the army of the United States 
is an interesting story in itself. On the 25th of February, 
1865, the house of representatives passed a resolution 
requesting the secretary of war to make a report upon this 
subject of the enlistment of rebel soldiers. Secretary 
Stanton, responding on the 28th, said that in 1863 461 
confederate prisoners had been enlisted for the Third Mary- 
land cavalry and credited to that state, and eighty-two for 
the First Connecticut cavalry and credited to that state. 
This class of enlistments was stopped by an order of the 
war department, August 21, 1863; but afterward 120 
more prisoners were enrolled in the third Maryland regiment. 



250 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

All of the soldiers enlisted as above were paid the regular 
bounty. Afterward, at Point Lookout, Maryland, 1,105 
prisoners were enlisted for the First United States volunteers 
and 379 for the Second United States volunteers. These 
were not credited to any state, and enlistment was again 
stopped in September, 1864. The second regiment was 
sent by General Grant to the Northwest for service there. 
Under special instruction by President Lincoln, in Septem- 
ber and October, 1864, 1,750 more prisoners, held at Rock 
Island, Illinois, were enlisted and credited to the state of 
Pennsylvania, excepting twelve, which were credited to 
Ohio. These recruits received local bounties paid by the 
places to v/hich they were credited. On application of 
General Pope, of the department of the Missouri, they were 
ordered to his command and as we have seen, part of them 
were assigned to Fort Kearny.22 

Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican, 
observed that in 1865 there were two regiments of infantry, 
"all from the rebel army", among the troops on the plains. 
Mr. Bowles declared that they had cheerfully enlisted in 
the federal service, that they were all young but hardy 
looking men, and the colonel — probably of the Eleventh Ohio 
regiment — "testified heartily to their subordination and 
sympathy with their new service. They are known in the 
army as 'whitewashed rebs', or, as they call themselves, 
'galvanized Yankees '."23 Albert D. Richardson who was of 
the same party — with Bowles — relates that the four 
cavalrymen who escorted it and the soldiers who guarded 
the stations, "were all rebel prisoners or deserters who had 
taken the oath of allegiance and enlisted in the United 
States service. They styled themselves 'galvanized' Yan- 
kees; were faithful, prompt and well-disciplined. "** 



^ House executive documents, 1864-65, v. 13, doc. 80. 

*' Across the Continent, p. 11. 

2^ Beyond the Mississippi, pp. 328, 331. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 251 

Captain Henry E. Palmer, of Omaha, relates that in 
August, 1864, he was instructed by General Curtis, then 
head of the department of Kansas, to take command of a 
detachment of the Eleventh Ohio volunteer cavalry, sixty 
men, " every one of them lately confederate soldiers with John 
Morgan on his raid into Ohio, captured there and confined 
at Columbus. They had enlisted in the federal service 
under the pledge that they were to fight Indians and not 
rebels. I was to conduct these men to Fort Kearny and 
there turn them over to Captain Humphreville of the Elev- 
enth Ohio ".25 Captain Palmer's statement that these men 
were enlisted in an Ohio regiment conflicts with the report 
of Secretary Stanton. 

In March, 1865, Lieutenant Eugene F. Ware traveled 
from Seneca, Kansas, to Fort Kearny in company with 
six young soldiers who "had been selected from among 
the capable sergeants of the state regiments" for lieutenants 
of the Third United States volunteers; and he character- 
ized the adapted recruits of the regiment as follows: 

"These 'United States volunteers', as they were called, 
were soldiers recruited from the military prison-pens at 
Chicago and Rock Island, and were made up of men taken 
from the Southern Confederacy who were willing to go 
West and swear allegiance to the United States on the 
condition that they would not be requested to go South 
and fight their own brethren. They wanted to get out of 
prison, were tired of the war, didn't want to go back into 
the service, did not want any more of the Southern Con- 
federacy, did not want to be exchanged, and were willing 
to go into the United States service for the purpose of fight- 
ing the Indians. A detachment of these troops had gone 
up the road from Omaha, but I had not seen them. They 
were called 'galvanized Yanks'." 

General Sherman's observation that he found ranches 
every few miles, consisting "usually of a store, a house and 



» Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 2, p. 188. 



252 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

a big pile of hay for sale", illustrates the fact that the great 
through highway was a means of introducing interior 
Nebraska to the outside world, and also of starting settle- 
ment and agriculture here. The relentless, and by no 
means optimistic, old warrior shows us that graft is not 
indigenous to our degenerate days. Of Fort Sedgwick, 
just across the Nebraska-Colorado line, he said: "This is 
the post where wood is to be hauled sixty miles; cost last 
year $111.00 a cord, but this year $46.00 by contract. 
Hay is also an item, costing $34.00 a ton. " Then he goes 
on to say that in spite of these conditions the divergence 
of the Denver and Salt Lake and the Laramie roads — 
where Fort Sedgwick was situated — was a military point 
and must be held. 

General Augur, commander of the department of the 
Platte, in his report for 1870,2« said that under an order of 
the war department Fort Kearny and Fort Sedgwick had 
been abandoned as military posts, "being no longer neces- 
sary". The stores and material at Fort Kearny, not 
required by troops in the camp south of it, were transferred 
to Fort McPherson. "The buildings at Fort Kearny are 
very old and of little value and the lumber not worth 
moving. A vast amount of old iron has accumulated at 
this post which may be of some value when the railroad 
south of the Platte is completed to that point." 

Major George D. Ruggles, adjutant general, depart- 
ment of the Platte, in his report for the year 1875 to General 
George Crook, commander of the department, said : " Dur- 
ing the year (1875) the few buildings at Fort Kearny have 
been pulled down and removed to North Platte and Sidney 
Barracks. The reservation still belongs to the govern- 
ment. "27 



2« House executive documents, 1870-71, v. 1, doc. 1, p. 31. 
'^ Messages and documents — war department — 1875-76, p. 71. 
The report is dated September 16, 1875, at Omaha. 



\ 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 253 

The reservation proper of Fort Kearny, ten miles 
square, was situated in townships 7, 8, and 9, ranges 14, 
and 15 west. The northern part of the reservation — 
about one mile in width — lay north of the Platte river. 
The eastern limit of the islands pertaining to the reservation 
was about one mile east of the west line of range 12 ; the west 
boundary was about one mile east of the west line of range 
17, just beyond the head of Long Island. The east boundary 
intersected Elm Island. By order of the secretary of 
war, January 29, 1848, and of the adjutant general, February 
2, 1848, the officer in command was directed to set aside a 
reservation ten miles square. This reservation was sur- 
veyed by the war department in 1859 and connections 
made with the public surveys by Deputy Charles W. 
Pierce, under instructions from the United States surveyor 
general, dated May 24, 1859. The west Hne of the reserva- 
tion ran within a mile and a quarter of the west side of 
range 15, and it extended about the same distance on the 
east side beyond five sections of range 14. It ran ap- 
proximately one mile and a seventh into township 9, 
extended entirely across township 8, and two miles and 
six-sevenths into township 7. The flagstaff was situated 
near the southwest corner of section 22, township 8, range 
15 — approximately two miles from the west line of the 
reservation. The township lines of the reservation were 
surveyed in June and July, 1859, and the subdivisions 
August 25, 1859, by Charles W. Pierce. The original 
reservation, which was ceded by the Pawnee in a treaty 
made with Lieutenant Colonel Powell, August 6, 1848, 
extended from a point on the south side of the Platte river 
five miles west of the fort, thence due north to the crest 
of the bluffs north of the river, thence east along the crest 
of the bluffs to the termination of Grand Island, "supposed 
to be about sixty miles distant", thence south to the 
southern shore of the river, thence west along the southern 



254 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

shore to the place of beginning. That part of the reserva- 
tion south of the Platte river already belonged to the 
United States when the fort was established, having been 
ceded by the Pawnee in 1833. December 2, 1876, the 
reservation was relinquished to the interior department 
for disposal under the act of congress of July 21, 1876, 
which directed that it should be surveyed and offered to 
"actual settlers only at minimum price, under and in 
accordance with the provisions of the homestead laws". 
August 29, 1876, instructions were forwarded to the sur- 
veyor general to survey the reservation in accordance with 
the act of congress. 

The surveyor general of Nebraska, in his report for 
1860, stated that Wood River valley was the tract then 
most ehgible for survey, "by reason of its present population 
who have gone there without knowing it to be a military 
reserve, under the treaty with the Pawnee of the 6th day 
of August, 1848, and who were undisturbed because the 
officers at Fort Kearny did not themselves know that it 
was a reserve ".28 

Most of the earlier travel to Utah and the Pacific coast 
which passed, or started from points on the Missouri river 
north of the Platte river continued along its north side; 
but after the discovery of the Pike's Peak gold fields most 
of it crossed at Shinn's ferry, fifteen miles east of Columbus, 
or at a point opposite the fort. From the first, of course, 
more or less of the north side through traffic crossed to 
the south side because Fort Kearny was a convenient 
place to replenish supplies of various kinds. Kearney City 
was a by-product of the fort — the seat of such traffic, 
commercial or otherwise, virtuous and vicious, as might 
not properly be carried on at the post or within the reser- 
vation. 



2« Messages and documents, 1860-61, p. 178. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 255 

An act of the territorial legislature, passed January 10, 
^ 1860, authorized the organization of Kearney county and 
defined its boundaries, which included the territory now 
comprised in the counties of Franklin, Harlan, Kearney 
and Phelps. The act in question directed the governor to 
appoint county officers; and he thereupon commissioned J. 
Tracy, Amos 0. Hook and Moses Sydenham for county 
commissioners; Dr. Charles A. Henry, county clerk; John 
Holland, treasurer; Thomas Collins, sheriff; John Talbot, 
probate judge. Kearney City was designated in the act as 
the county seat. It was established by the Kearney City 
Company in the spring of 1859 and was situated just out- 
side the western line of the Fort Kearny reservation, two 
miles due west from the fort. It grew up on trade with 
the occupants of the fort and travelers to California, Oregon, 
Salt Lake City and the Pike's Peak gold fields. In the 
spring of 1860, according to a statement in the Huntsman's 
Echo — November 2, 1860 — there were only five ''hovels" 
in Kearney City; but by November of that year it had 
grown to forty or fifty buildings, about a dozen of them 
stores. According to the same paper — of April 25, 1861 — 
there were 200 residents and a half dozen stores in Kearney 
City at that date. The opening of the Union Pacific rail- 
road — in that part of the territory in 1866 — attracted 
business and inhabitants from Kearney City. In 1860 it 
was not recognized in the United States census while the 
population of the county was 469; so that the place grew 
up suddenly during the latter part of the year. At the 
election of 1860, 111 votes were cast in the county; in 
1864, 61; in 1865,^9 16; in 1866, 28. There were no more 



"An act of the legislature — tenth session — passed February 9, 
1865, attempted to revive the organization of the county by ordering a 
special election for county officers to be held on the second Monday of 
March, in that year, at the store of William D, Thomas, Kearney City. 
(Laws of Nebraska, 10th territorial session, p. 61 ] 



256 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

election returns from the county after 1866, until 1872, 
when, under reorganization, fifty-eight votes were cast. It 
appears that the county government was dormant in the 
intervening time. It was revived by authority of a procla- 
mation issued by Acting Governor William H. James, May 
2, 1872, ordering an election for county officers, to be held 
"at the town of Lowell", June 17, 1872. 

The name of the most notable soldier of the plains 
was passed around very much as was done by Council 
Bluffs. In 1866 a station called Kearny, or Kearny Station, 
was established on the Union Pacific railroad at a point 
opposite the fort. It became the first capital of Buffalo 
county and had prospects until, in 1872, the Burlington 
road from Plattsmouth intersected the Union Pacific at a 
point five miles west of the first railroad namesake and 
proceeded to take the lead in importance and gi'owth. The 
name of Kearny Station was changed to Buda and its 
rival was named Kearney Junction; but the needless 
second word has been happily dropped. 

The order of the secretary of war dated June 1, 1847, 
contemplated that the Missouri battalion should establish 
both Fort Kearny and Fort Laramie. We have seen that 
both Lieutenant Colonel Wharton and Captain Ruff charged 
Lieutenant Colonel Powell with serious lack of judgment 
and remissness of duty. Making due allowance for the 
usual antipathy of regulars for mere volunteers, it yet seems 
proper to attribute the early and abrupt dismissal of Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Powell and his command to these complaints. 
Nevertheless, it is proper to call him the founder of the 
post, though Lieutenant Woodbury, it seems, established 
its definite location, and with his engineer corps, under 
Captain Ruff's command, directed the first construction 
work. To Captain Ruff, then, and his heroic band of 
regulars must be awarded the honor of actually or materi- 
ally establishing the post and that under the most trying. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 257 

circumstances. Under date of November 18, 1847, Lieuten- 
ant Colonel Wharton complained that Powell had ordered 
the engineer to Washington; and he probably started soon 
after returning to Table Creek from his first visit to the 
site of the projected New Fort Kearny. For, in a letter 
dated at Washington March 2, 1848, he advises that if, as 
he evidently supposed, old Fort Kearny was to be abandoned, 
a large quantity of doors, window sashes, shingles, pine 
boards, etc., ought to be used in the construction of the new 
post; and March 20 the application was approved by the 
secretary of war. Thus, though Powell planted and Wood- 
bury watered, it was the modest and courageous Ruff who 
gave the increase. It is pleasant to discover that the records 
of the war department show that Captain Ruff must have 
possessed the sterling qualities which his services at Fort 
Kearny would imply. August 1, 1847, he received the title 
of brevet major for gallant conduct in the affair at San 
Juan de los Llanos, Mexico. He became major of the 
mounted rifles December 30, 1856; lieutenant colonel June 
10, 1861, and was retired March 30, 1864. He received the 
title of brevet brigadier general March 13, 1865, for faithful 
and meritorious service in recruiting the armies of the 
United States. 

While Woodbury achieved the same regular rank as 
Ruff — lieutenant colonel — , June 1, 1863, he rose a grade 
higher in meritorious distinction, — receiving the brevet 
rank of major general for meritorious services during the 
war. He became brevet colonel July 1, 1862, for gallant 
and meritorious service during the peninsular campaign; 
brevet brigadier general December 13, 1862, for the same 
merit at the battle of Fredericksburg; and August 15, 1864, 
brevet major general for meritorious services during the 
war. Major Thomas Childs attained the regular rank of 
major of the First artillery, February 16, 1847 ; brevet colonel. 
May 9, 1846, for gallant services at Palo Alto and Resaca 

17 



258 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

de la Palma. Stephen W. Kearny probably excelled them 
all in the merit of general service. His regular rank was 
brigadier general, attained June 30, 1846. He became 
brevet major general December 6, 1846. He died October 
31, 1848, just two months before the order was issued to 
confer his name upon the famous Nebraska post, — a 
mutual honor. 

In civil parlance we should call this a splendid quartet. 
In military terms it was a glorious one. I am sure that all 
who read this story will agree to these two suggestions: 
that restitution of the name of the most noted of these 
heroes to his accidental mis-namesakes — Kearney county 
and the beautiful memorial city across the Platte — be 
made as soon as practicable by dropping the e from its 
second syllable; and that a suitable monument be erected 
in memory of Lieutenant Colonel Powell, Captain Ruff, 
and Lieutenant Woodbury, actual founders of the post; — 
and if I were to select an inscription for such a monument 
the name of Captain Ruff, the actual builder, who performed 
his work under conditions which educed the finest strain 
of heroism and human sympathy, should lead all the rest. 

The adjutant general, in his report dated November 
28, 1849, said that, "as it may not be practical to provide 
sufficient quarters for the troops the present season, the 
commanding officer has been authorized to order one of 
the infantry companies to Fort Leavenworth". From 
1851 to 1857, inclusive, the garrison of Fort Kearny con- 
sisted of one company of the Sixth infantry under Captain 
Henry W. Wharton, except for the last year when First 
Lieutenant E. G. Marshall was in command. In 1858 the 
garrison consisted of one company of the Fourth artillery, 
under Captain J. P. McCown. Colonel E. V. Sumner is 
reported "on the Platte near Fort Kearny" with three 
companies of the First cavalry ;3o and three companies of the 



See Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 2, p. 153. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 259 

Third artillery were at a point on the Big Blue, 132 miles from 
Fort Leavenworth.'! In 1859 the garrison comprised one 
company of the Second dragoons and one of the Fourth artil- 
lery, under Major W. W. Morris. When the civil war broke 
out in the spring of 1861 there were two companies of the 
First cavalry and one of the Second dragoons under Captain 
Edward W. B. Newby. It appears that Captain Newby 
was ordered south with his command in the latter part of 
1861. Under him at Fort Kearny was Captain Charles 
H. Tyler. He was born in Virginia and sent to the military 
academy at West Point from that state. He had been 
promoted from a lieutenancy to his captaincy January 
28, 1861; but devotion to his state and section overcame 
his specific allegiance and his larger loyalty to the Union. 
Accordingly he started a little campaign of his own by 
spiking the cannon at the fort. Stories of this enterprise 
differ, some of them giving the number of disabled howitzers 
as ten and other accounts as fifteen. It appears from the 
army register that Captain Tyler was dismissed from the 
federal service June 6, 1861, doubtless on account of his 
disloyalty. Captain Newby, also, was born in Virginia, 
though he was appointed as a cadet at West Point from 
Illinois. Either on account of the influence of his northern 
environment or of differing temperament, he took the 
opposite course from that of Captain Tyler and appears 
to have had a creditable career in the federal army. He 
was commissioned captain of the First cavalry March 3, 
1865; captain of the Fourth cavalry August 3, 1861, doubt- 
less on the occasion of his leaving Fort Kearny and entering 
service in the South; major of the Third cavalry July 17, 
1862; retired September 25, 1863; died March 29, 1870.3' 



" Report of the secretary of war, 1858, v. 2, part 3, doc. 2, p. 782. 

'2 Moses Sydenham, who was at the post at the time, informed the 
present writer that the incident actually happened. 

Captain Tyler had a notable career in the confederate array. He 
rose- to the rank of brigadier general and as such served under several of 



260 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

In January, 1864, the First Nebraska veteran cavalry 
regiment returned from the South and on the 18th of 
August was ordered to Fort Kearny. Soon after the end 
of the civil war regular troops were again sent to the western 
plains on account of Indian troubles there. In the spring 
of 1866 General Babcock found Colonel Henry C. Carring- 
ton with his Eighteenth regiment of infantry temporarily at 
Fort Kearny, but the regular garrison consisted of two com- 
panies of the Fifth United States volunteers. There were 
six regiments of the regular army stationed at various points 
in the department of the Platte that year. According to 
reports of the adjutant general the garrison at the fort in 
1867 consisted of two companies of the Thirtieth infantry 
and recruits; in 1868, one company. Third artillery; 1869 
and 1870, one company, Ninth infantry, under Captain Ed- 
ward Pollock, who was therefore the last commandant at 
this famous post. Fort Kearny continued to be the most 
important point in the interior of the plains until the Pacific 
railroads were constructed, because it was the junction of 
the main branches of the wagon roads from the Missouri 
river by the central route to the Pacific coast; but as 
settlements proceeded westward and pushed the Indians 
before them the mihtary importance of posts beyond the 
first military establishment of the great trail naturally 



the famous military leaders of the Confederacy, including General Long- 
street and General Joe Wheeler. He was in Missouri under the commands 
of Marmaduke and Price in the latter part of 1864. He was a prisoner 
in 1862 and was exchanged in that year against a federal officer of like rank 
in a New York regiment. Consult general index, Records of the War of 
the Rebellion, in which he receives frequent mention. 

Not many years ago there would have been a sharp cleavage of pub- 
lic opinion touching the contrasting careers of these two notable soldiers. 
From one point of view Tyler would have been regarded as a martyr, of 
great spirit and devoted loyalty; from the other, as a traitor and an ingrate. 
And likewise Newby would have been ranked as a patriot or a ruthless in- 
vader. Now the good qualities will be generally conceded to both, and 
Tyler will be blamed only, or mainly, for bad judgment in his choice of 
alternatives. — Ed. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 261 

increased at its expense. Fort McPherson, ninety miles 
west of Fort Kearny, was established in 1863, and it soon 
overshadowed its more noted predecessor. In 1867 it was 
garrisoned by one company of the Third artillery and was 
headquarters for the Eighteenth infantry; in 1868 it con- 
tinued to be headquarters of the Eighteenth infantry and 
had a garrison besides of six companies of the Second cav- 
alry; in 1869 its garrison comprised seven companies of the 
Fifth cavalry and Ninth infantry. Fort Sedgwick, situated 
near old Julesburg, just west of the Nebraska line, also 
assumed more military importance than Fort Kearny at 
this time.33 



'^ statements of the distribution of troops at Fort Kearny and other 
posts named above appear in the house and senate executive documents 
as follows: 

House executive documents, 1848-49, v. 1, doc. 1, pp. 162, 164. 

House executive documents, 1849-50, v. 3, pt. 1, doc. 5, pp. 185, 188d, 
188e. 

House executive documents, 1850-51, v. 1, doc. 1, p. 110. 

House executive documents, 1851-52, v. 2, pt. 1, doc. 2, p. 195. 

House executive documents, 1852-53, v. 1, pt. 2, p. 56. 

House executive documents, 1853-54, v. 1, pt. 2, p. 116. 

House executive documents, 1854-55, v. 1, pt. 2, p. 56. 

House executive documents, 1855-56, v. 1, pt. 2, p. 134. 

House executive documents, 1857-58, v. 2, pt. 2, p. 72. 

House executive documents — report of secretary of war — 1858-59, 
V. 2, pt. 3, doc. 2, p. 782. 

Senate executive documents, 1859-60, v. 2, p. 600. 

Senate executive documents, 1860-61, v. 2, p. 216. 

Senate executive documents, 1861-62, v. 2, doc. 1, p. 54. 

House executive documents, 1866-67, v. 3, doc. 1, app. p. 5. 

House executive documents, 1867-68, v. 2, pt. 1, p. 436. 

House executive documents, 1868-69, v. 3, pt. 1, p. 734. 

House executive documents, 1869-70, v. 2, pt. 2, doc. 1, p. 154. 

Report of secretary of war, 3d session, 41st congress, 1870-71, 
V. 1, pt. 2, doc. 1, p. 70. 

In the civil war period there were frequent changes of garrisons at 
the posts. During a part of 1863 one company of the Second Nebraska cav- 
alry was stationed at the Pawnee agency. [House executive documents, 1863- 
64, v. 3, p. 369.] In October, 1863, a detachment of the Seventh Iowa cav- 
alry under Major Wood garrisoned Fort Kearny. In the latter part of 1864 
five companies of the First Nebraska cavalry were stationed at the fort, 
under command of Colonel Robert R. Livingston. In the spring of 1865 



262 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

In the report of the adjutant general for 1848, Captain 
Ruff's command of two companies of the mounted rifles 
were reported at Grand Island and also as enroute to the 
mouth of the Columbia. It had been ordered to "proceed 
with this command — that is the regiment of mounted 
riflemen under Colonel Loring — to Oregon early next 
spring by which time the regiment will be filled up to the 
lawful standard, the rank and file having been lately 
discharged by act of congress, August 14, 1848 ".^^ The 
quartermaster general in his report for 1850^^ said: "The 
regiment of mounted riflemen for which means of trans- 
portation and suppHes had been furnished before the com- 
mencement of the year were marched across the continent 
during the year and stationed in the territory of Oregon 
with the exception of two companies left at Fort Laramie 
on the route." According to the report of the adjutant 
general for 1849 two companies of mounted riflemen were 
at Fort Laramie; two at Fort Hall and six, under Colonel 
Loring, at Somona, California, on the way to Oregon. 
Captain Ruff's command — two companies of the rifle 
regiment and one of the Sixth infantry — started west 
before the main body of the regiment, under Colonel Loring, 
reached Fort Kearny, and Lieutenant Woodbury, the 
engineer, had already bought the post of the American Fur 
Company, to be used as the second of the new chain of 
military posts, when Colonel Loring arrived. On the 22d 
of June Major Cross said in the journal of the expedition: 
"We had now arrived at Fort Laramie, 639 miles from 
Fort Leavenworth (273 from Fort Kearny), a point where 
the government has established a military post, where two 
companies of the rifle regiment were stationed, which was 



Lieutenant Colonel Baumer was in command, Colonel Livingston being 
absent on an expedition up the North Platte. [The Indian War of 1864, 
pp. 429, 553.] 

'^ House executive documents, 1848-49, v. 1, doc. 1, p. 184e. 

35 Senate executive documents, 1850-51, v. 1, doc. 1, p. 123. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 263 

to be a resting place for us for a few days. "3*^ In 1850 there 
were two companies at Fort Laramie, three at the mouth 
of the Columbia river, and five under Brevet Major Ruff 
at Fort Vancouver. The Sixth infantry was the favorite 
regiment for the plains country. In 1848 there were two 
of its companies at Fort Scott, Kansas; three at Fort 
Leavenworth; one at Fort Atkinson, Iowa; two at Fort 
Crawford, Wisconsin; one with the Winnebago on the 
Mississippi; two at Fort SneUing, Minnesota. In 1849 
there was one company at Fort Scott; two at Fort Leaven- 
worth; two at Fort Kearny; one at Fort Laramie; three 
at Fort Snelling; one at Fort Ripley — formerly Fort 
Gaines. In 1850 there was one at Fort Scott; one at Fort 
Leavenworth; one on the Arkansas; two at Fort Kearny; 
one at Fort Laramie; one at Fort Clark; two at Fort 
Snelling; one at Fort Ripley. 

FORT KEARNY RESERVATION 

The following data relative to the reservation of Fort 
Kearny, Nebraska, were compiled from the township plats 
in the office of the commissioner of public lands and build- 
ings at Lincoln. 

The reservation was situated in townships 7, 8, 9 of 
ranges 14 and 15, west of the first principal meridian. Its 
west line ran within a mile and a quarter of the west side 
of range 15, and it extended about the same distance on 
the east side beyond five sections in range 14. It ran 
approximately 1 1-7 miles north into township 9, extended 
entirely across township 8, and 2 6-7 of a mile into town- 
ship 7, making in all a tract of 10 miles square. The ^ag- 
staff was situated near the southwest corner of section 22, 
township 8, range 15. In this range there were 1,108.64 
acres north of the Platte river, and 1,929.98 south of the 
river. 



'^ Senate executive documents, 1850-51, v. 1, doc. 1, p. 157. 



264 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The township Hnes of the reservation were surveyed 
in June and July, 1859, and the subdivisions August 25, 
1859, by Charles W. Pierce. The original reservation, out 
of which that part of the reservation proper lying north of 
the river was delimited, extended from the fort on the west 
along the south bank of the Platte river a distance of sixty 
miles and was bounded on the north by the line of the 
bluffs of the Platte valley. It was surveyed in 1866. After 
a request by the surveyor general of Nebraska that it should 
be thrown open to settlement," that part of township 9, in 
ranges 14 and 15, above the ten mile reservation, was 
surveyed in July and September, 1866; while townships 
7 and 8 of range 14, lying immediately south of the Platte 
and therefore within the original reservation, were surveyed 
in July and August, 1859. So, also, townships 8 and 9 of 
range 16, on both sides of the Platte and contiguous to the 
west line of the original reservation, were surveyed in June 
and August, 1859, resurveyed, 1877. A httle less than 
two sections deep of township 8, range 16, were north 
of the river. The subdivisions of the tract last described 
were surveyed in July and September, 1866. Township 9, 
range 13, north of the Platte, comprised in the original 
reservation, was surveyed in July and August, 1866; while 
township 8, ranges 12 and 13, south of the Platte, and so 
below the original reservation, were surveyed in 1859. A 
small corner of township 8, range 12, north of the Platte, 
was surveyed in 1866. Township 9 of range 12 north of 
the Platte — probably north of the original reservation — 
was surveyed in 1859. Range 12 is the west tier of Hall 
county; range 13 is the east tier, and range 16 the west 
tier of Buffalo county. In township 11, range 8, north of 
the Platte, no survey was made earlier than 1866; that 
part south of the Platte in 1865. In townships 13 and 14, 



"See index card, "Fort Kearny, 1848", library Nebraska State 
Historical Society. 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 265 

lange 8, the township Hnes were run in 1862; the sub- 
divisions in 1866. Township 9, range 10, west, a small 
corner northeast of the Platte, in 1866; all southwest of 
the Platte, in 1859. Township 10, range 10, immediately 
northwest of the Platte, in 1866; that part of the same 
tract southwest of the Platte, in 1859; townships 11 and 
12, north of the Platte, 1866. 

Township 8, south, and that part of township 9, south 
of the Platte, in range 11, were surveyed in 1859; that part 
of township 9, same range, north of the Platte, in 1866; 
township 10, range 11, both sides of the Platte, in 1866. 
Townships 11 and 12, range 11, all north of the Platte, in 
1866. Township 8, range 12, mostly south of the Platte, 
1859; a corner of that tract northwest of the Platte, in 1866; 
township 9, range 12, north of the Platte, 1866; — the 
southwest corner south of the Platte in 1859; townships 
10, 11, and 12, north of the Platte in 1866.^8 

Inquiry at the general land office, through the courtesy 
of Mr. Hitchcock, elicited the following official statements: 
Department of the Interior, General Land Office, 
Washington, D. C, April 13, 1910. 
Hon. G. M. Hitchcock, 

House of Representatioes. 

Sir: In response to the inquiry contained in your 
letter dated April 9, 1910, I have the honor to advise you 
that the foi-mer Ft. Kearney military reservation is 
shown by the records of this office to have been located on 
the South Platte River in Ts. 7, 8, and 9 N., Rs. 13 to 17 
W., Nebraska, embracing ten square miles,^^ including 
islands above and below the Post, containing 70,088 acres, 
exclusive of water. 



^^ See Transactions Nebraska State Historical Society, v. 2, 2d series, 
p. 53; J. P. Dunlap goes with a party to survey Buffalo county and Hall 
county into sections. The party was under Henry H. Hackbush, and it 
began "from the northwest corner of the reservation", June 24, 1866.^Ed. 

'^ This should be "embracing a tract ten miles square". The reserva- 
tion did not approach range 17, nor touch range 13. — Ed. 



266 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

A part of the lands were purchased on August 16, 
1848, from the Confederated Pawnees."" See Revised Indian 
Treaties, page 647. It was established by the War Depart- 
ment, according to the record, in 1847 or 1848 as Ft. 
Childs, a military station on route to Oregon, under author- 
ity contained in the Act of Congress approved May 19, 
1846 (9 Stats., 14). It was surveyed by the War Depart- 
ment in 1859, and connections made with the pubhc sur- 
veys, by Deputy Pierce, under instructions from the U. S. 
Surveyor General, dated May 24, 1859. 

On December 2, 1876, the reservation was relinquished 
to the Interior Department for disposal under the Act of 
Congress approved July 21, 1876 (19 Stats., 94). On 
August 29, 1876, instructions were forwarded to the U. S. 
Surveyor General to survey the reservation in accord- 
ance with the Act of Congress aforesaid, and further 
instructions were issued him on October 26, 1876. . . . 
Very respectfully, 
Fred Dennett, Commissioner. 



Department of the Interior, General Land Office 

Washington, May 2, 1910. 
Mr. Albert Watkins, 

Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Sir: In reply to your letter dated April 18, 1910, I 
have to advise you, in addition to the details expressed in 
office letter "E" dated April 13, 1910, addressed to Hon. 
G. M. Hitchcock, House of Representatives, relative to the 
abandoned Ft. Kearney military reservation in Ts. 7, 8, 
and 9 N., Rs. 13 to 17 W., Nebraska, that the whole of 
the former military reservation including that part thereof 
ceded by the Indians, was relinquished and transferred to 
the custodv of the Interior Department for disposal under 
the Act of Congress approved July 21, 1876, (19 Stat., 94), 
according to the record. 

That portion of the land embraced in the reservation 
which was ceded by the Indians is referred to in Article 1 
of the Treaty of 1848, (See Revised Indian Treaties, 1873, 
page 647), as follows: 



This should be August 6. See 9 stat., p. 949, 



HISTORY OF FORT KEARNY 267 

"Article 1. The confederated bands of the Pawnees 
hereby cede and relinquish to the United States all their 
right, title, and interest in and to all that tract of land 
described as follows, viz: Commencing on the south side 
of the Platte River, five miles west of this post, 'Fort 
Childs'; thence due north to the crest of the bluffs north 
of said Platte River; thence east and along the crest of 
said bluffs to the termination of Grand Island, supposed 
to be about sixty miles distant; thence south to the southern 
shore of the Platte River; and thence west and along the 
southern shore of said Platte River to the place of be- 
ginning" 

The land embraced in the abandoned military reserva- 
tion including that part ceded by the Indians was surveyed 
under the direction and supervision of this office in 1877, 
for disposal under the law . . . 

Very respectfully, 

Fred Dennett, Commissioner. 

Note. — For a part of the official data about Old Fort Kearny, not orig- 
inally available, I am indebted to a valuable article in the Conservative 
of February 2, 1899. My belief that the article was prepared by Mr. A. T. 
Richardson almost assures the correctness of the data in question.— Ed. 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 
By Rev. John Dunbar 

Note. — The following was copied verbatim, including 
spelling and punctuation, from the original manuscript. — Ed. 

In 1834 on the day that is annually set apart in our 
churches for special prayer for the conversion of the world 
the Presbyterian church at Ithaca N. Y. determined to 
increase their efforts to promote that important object. 
The plan adopted at the time to augment their labors and 
contributions was this. The church unanimously resolved 
to select certain persons from her own bosom who, provided 
the project met with the approbation of the American Board 
and was deemed worthy of its patronage, should perform 
an exploring tour among the Indian tribes near and beyond 
the Rocky Mountains. Should a location be found in this 
vast and almost unknown country where it would be safe 
and desirable to commence a Mission it was to be forth- 
with occupied. The expenses of the exploring tour and of 
the Mission should one be established were to be defrayed 
by this church. The Mission was to be called "the Oregon 
Mission. ' ' Three persons, the number designated, were soon 
obtained to engage in this undertaking. One of these was 
a clergyman for sometime a resident in the place; the other 
two were young laymen. The church afterwards excused 
one of the laymen at his request, and adopted a son to 
supply his place. 

May 5th. of the same year Rev. Samuel Parker, Mr. 
Samuel Allis and myself started from Ithaca to perform the 
exploring tour already mentioned. We arrived at St. Louis 
May 23d. On making inquiries we were informed that the 

(268) 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 269 

party of traders whom it was designed we should accom- 
pany from that place to and beyond the Mountains had 
started 6 weeks before our arrival. They had been gone 
so long that we could not expect to overtake them, and as 
we were unacquainted, both with the way through the 
country, and with the mode of travelling and subsisting in 
it, we were advised to delay our undertaking till the ensuing 
spring. After we had gained what information we could 
relative to our enterprise at this place we did not deem it 
expedient to prosecute our exploring tour at present. Mr. 
Parker concluded it would most promote the cause in which 
he had engaged that he should return and procure other 
associates who with him should be at this place in season 
to have company beyond the Mountains and thus accom- 
plish the exploration of that remote region. It was thought 
advisable, that Mr. Allis and myself should proceed to the 
Pawnee country, and if we should find that people prepared 
commence a Mission among them. Of the Pawnees and 
the tribes in their vicinity we had received favorable in- 
telligence. 

We left St. Louis on 7th. and arrived at Liberty on 
14th June; a distance of 400 miles by the course of the 
river. Liberty is the most western village in the state of 
Missouri on the north side of that stream. Here we stopped 
a few days, and then proceeded to Cantonment Leaven- 
worth; 34 miles above Liberty and on the opposite side of 
the Missouri. We had intended to go directly up to the 
place of our destination, when we came to this place, but 
we could find no opportunity to get thither. It is rare 
that whites pass either up from, or down to the Canton- 
ment from the last of May till the first part of September. 
We were compelled to remain in the vicinity of Leaven- 
worth till the latter part of Sept. The way seemed to be 
hedged up before us. This was to us a time of deep anxiety 
and anxious suspense. We were fully aware that our 



270 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

patrons were expecting us to go forward in our work, but 
we seemed to be doing comparatively nothing. We did 
indeed visit some of the tribes in the vicinity of the Can- 
tonment, and endeavored to study Indian character, but 
this, at the time seemed to be accomphshing very little. 
Once during the time of our delay I made arrangements 
to accompany a wretched half starved party of Otoes, who 
had come down to the Cantonment to beg provisions, 
when they should return to their village. At their village 
I would be within 30 miles of the place I wished to visit. 
When I went to their camp in the early part of the day on 
which they assured me they would set out on their return, 
they informed me, they had determined to pay their friends 
the Konzas a visit and it would be several weeks before 
they would reach their place of residence on the Platte. 
The true reason however of their not wishing my company 
was that they were desirous to take home with them a 
quantity of whiskey, and they were fearful they might get 
into trouble about it should I be in the company. The 
next day I saw some of them coming up from the settle- 
ments in the border of the state having with them 6 or 8 
horses laden with the waters of death to the Indian. Some 
white man with a devil's heart had for a little paltry gain 
furnished these creatures, already sufficiently wretched, 
with that which is speedily working their destruction. 

We had not been at this place many days before Mr. 
AUis' health became impaired, and for several weeks the 
prospect of his ever benefitting the Indians directly by 
his personal efforts was darkened. At length his health 
began to mend, and before we were able to reach our 
destined field was fully restored. Now came my turn to 
lie and pine on a sickbed. My sickness was severe, but 
of short duration. My disorder yielded readily to medical 
treatment, but exposures, when recovering, brought on a 
second and third attack of the same disease. The strength 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 271 

of each in turn was prostrated, and we felt, that if God 
had any thing for us to do for the benefit of the Indians, 
he would spare us and give us strength to accomplish it; 
if he had not, his time for winding up our labors for the 
good of our fellowmen was the best time. We now saw 
our own weakness, and were made to feel, we could do 
nothing toward the accomplishment of our contemplated 
work without God. Here we were taught a useful lesson. 
We had been over anxious, and wished to do too much 
in our own strength. Now we felt, and afterwards were 
made to see, that God's way is the best way. 

Sept. 22. I started from the Cantonment, and on the 
2d. October reached Bellevue, at that time the seat of the 
government agency for the Pawnees, Otoes and Omahaws. 
This place is in the Otoe country, and about 200 miles 
above Leavenworth on the same side of the Missouri. It 
is 10 miles above the mouth of the Platte and 20 below 
the site of the Old fort called Council Bluffs. Here we 
found Rev. Mr. Merrill, his wife and a female assistant, 
who had come out in the autumn of 1833 as Missionaries 
to the Otoes under the patronage of the Baptist Missionary 
Society. Here were also the Otoe blacksmith his family 
and assistant. The Omahaws have a blacksmith and his 
assistant stationed at this place. The interpreter for the 
Otoes and Omahaws then resided here with his family. 
Half a mile below is the establishment of a gentleman who 
is engaged in the fur trade in the Mountains. Mrs. Merrill 
with her female associate had gathered the children of these 
families into a school which was at the time quite flourish- 
ing and numbered about 20 scholars. Their people, the 
Otoes then Hved 30 miles from them. At this time no 
missionaries, except the Methodist brethern who crossed 
the mountains the spring before, had penetrated the Indian 
country further than this place. The traders and others 
who have heretofore traversed this immense region have 



272 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

almost without an exception kept the knowledge they 
have acquired of the country and its inhabitants to them- 
selves, or communicated it only to their fellowtraders. 
In this country men may not unfrequently be met with 
who have spent 15, 20, or more years in it, who have tra- 
velled over almost every part of it, and who appear to be 
as well acquainted with its geography as we are with that 
of our native state. These men rarely travel beyond the 
limits of the Indian country, consequently their knowledge, 
not being committed to writing and diffused, dies with 
them and does not benefit the world. Those engaged in 
trade in this country may deem it to be for their interest 
to keep the world in ignorance of the geography and in- 
habitants of this extensive portion of our continent. Cer- 
tainly the conduct of many white men who live in, and 
of others who occasionally visit this country needs only 
to be known to be condemned in any decent society. Their 
deeds are deeds of darkness, and cannot bear the light of 
civilization merely. 

About the middle of October the Pawnees were called 
in to the agency to receive their annuities for the first time 
under the provisions of the treaty stipulated with them by 
commissioners on the part of our government the previous 
autumn. As many as 600, or 800 of the Pawnees were 
present at the time. The agent delivers the annuities to 
the chiefs, and they make such distribution of them among 
their people as they may think proper. The chiefs keep 
but few of the goods to themselves. The Pawnees receive 
of them, I think, in proportion to their rank and wealth. 
The annuities of the different bands of Pawnees come in 
distinct parcels. At this time they were highly gratified 
with the quantity of goods received. A better state of 
feeling among this people toward our government and 
its subjects never perhaps existed. 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 273 

We were now led to see that we had come to the 
Pawnees at precisely the right time to obtain a favorable 
introduction to them. Had we come earlier in the season, 
they would have been out on the prairie prosecuting their 
summer hunt, and we would have been unable to have 
gained access to them till they had returned to their villages. 
At this place we would not have had so favorable a place 
to have studied Indian character as we had had where 
we spent the summer. God brought us to this people 
just when they were best prepared to receive us. 

The first chief of the Pawnee Loups, soon after his 
arrival, having heard casually, that two missionaries had 
come who were desirous to go and live with the Pawnees 
and teach them a new religion, went to his father, the 
agent and requested that one of them might live with him 
and teach his people. When the agent communicated this 
intelligence it inspired us with hope and raised our ex- 
pectations of being yet in the hands of God instruments 
of good to this benighted people. Before the receipt of 
this intelhgence we were intending to spend the ensuing 
winter together and with the Grand Pawnees, but now, 
after prayerfully considered the subject in view of this 
unexpected opening, we concluded to separate and go with 
different bands, provided the chiefs of either of the others 
should apply for a missionary. 

The agent told us he would give us an introduction to 
the Pawnee chiefs, state our object in coming to live with 
them and recommend us to their good treatment in the 
evening after he had finished his business with them. 
Accordingly when he had completed his business the agent 
introduced us to the chiefs who were sitting about the 
council room, they all rose, passed round, shook hands 
with us and sat down again. The chiefs of the Grand 
Pawnees demanded a Missionary. We were now both 
spoken for, and the chiefs of the other bands would have 

18 



274 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

been pleased to have taken each a Missionary to Hve with 
them. 

The agent now proceeded to inform them we had 
come to tell them about God to teach them our religion 
and to learn their children to talk on paper like the white 
man does. He also told them that it would be pleasing 
to him to hear that we were well treated by them. The 
first chief of the tribe arose and made a speech the sub- 
stance of which was that he was very glad we had come to 
tell his people about God and the things of religion. He 
said his people were in the dark on these subjects their 
rehgious notions were vague and indistinct and they would 
receive gladly our instructions. He also said it was well 
we had come to live with them and teach their children, 
and promised that we should be well treated. Some of 
the other chiefs followed to pretty much the same effect. 
This was more than we had ever ventured to expect from 
these savage sons of the prairie. 

The next day we started from the agency to accom- 
pany our new acquaintances to their villages. We had 
not proceeded more than a mile before we came to the 
place where our respective guides and protectors separated 
each taking the trail that led to his own village. From 
this spot we were each alone with our savage companions. 
Mr. Allis was under the care of the first chief of the Pawnee 
Loups. My conductor and host was the second chief of 
the Grand Pawnees. Our trail crossed the Big Horn and 
Platte and led up to the Grand Pawnee village on the 
south side of that stream. The first and second days of 
our journey I ate nothing till night and slept on the ground 
under the spangled curtains of the heavens. In the after- 
noon of the third day we rode into the village and came 
to the old chiefs lodge. He dismounted and walked directly 
into his dwelling. Forthwith his daughter, a young woman 
of 22, made her appearance to unsaddle our horses and 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 275 

bring in our luggage. The young woman unsaddled and 
unbridled her father's horse, then attempted to do the 
same to mine. But my horse seemed to have a more just 
sense of propriety in this respect than prevails among the 
Pawnees. She did not succeed and I willingly removed 
the saddle and bridle myself. I now entered the lodge, 
and found the bearskin already spread for my reception. 
This was to be my chair and table by day and couch by 
night. The old chief had treated me with utmost kindness 
by the way and his family appeared highly pleased to 
welcome me to their humble mansion. The women com- 
menced expressing their good feeling by placing before me 
a large wooden bowl containing a good quantity of dried 
buffalo meat, and when I returned this, another bowl of 
equal dimensions, containing not a sparing portion of 
boiled corn and beans, was received in exchange. I was 
not long unemployed before a third bowl with liberal share 
of mush was presented. This was followed by a quantity 
of pounded corn, an ear of roasted corn, &c., and my 
eating for that day was finished. The news of my arrival 
having spread through the village, the next day before 
noon I had been to six different lodges to be feasted. Nearly 
my whole time had been occupied, and the fragments of 
time I was permitted to spend at my new home were 
chiefly taken up with the presentation of food by my kind 
hostess. This will serve as a specimen of my feasting 
during the five days we remained at the village. All, 
from the highest to the lowest, seemed to be perfectly kind 
and friendly, and apparently gratified, when they could 
do me a favor. 

The Pawnees are divided into four distinct bands. 
These are the Grand Pawnees, the Republican Pawnees, 
Pawnee Loups, and Tapage Pawnees. The Grand Pawnee 
village is on the south side of the Platte 130 miles from its 
junction with the Missouri. Tapage and a part of the 



276 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Republican band live in the same village on the north 
side of the Loup fork of the Platte 30 miles above its mouth. 
The other part of the Republican band live in a little 
village 4 miles above the Tapage on the same stream. 
The Pawnee Loups have a village on the Loup fork 3 miles 
above the Httle Republican village. The four villages 
have a population of 8,000, or 10,000 souls, and may all 
be visited by riding 30 miles. It may be questioned whether 
there be another spot in the whole Indian country where 
so many immortal beings may be visited with so little 
travel. 

The different bands intermarry. The chiefs of each 
band seem to be independent in managing the affairs of 
their respective clans. But when business of common 
interest is to be transacted a general council of the chiefs 
and others from the different bands is held. The first 
chief of the Grand Pawnees is the first chief of the nation. 
Jealousies often exist between the different clans, villages 
and chieftains. The Loups have longest been separated 
from the parent stock, and between this and the other 
bands there is a less intimate connection existing than be- 
tween either of the three other bands. Between the Loups 
and the other bands war has been waged. The Loups 
have been so long a distinct band, that their language has 
become dialectically different from that spoken by the 
others. The Rees, or Aricaras were once probably a band 
of Pawnees, but their separation has been of such long 
standing, that their language has become materially different 
from the Pawnee tongue, yet there is still a striking re- 
semblance. This tribe numbers from 2,000 to 3,000 — 
has been hostile to the whites, is poor and wretched and 
distinguished for the beauty of their females. 

The government of the Pawnees is exercised by the 
chiefs. Some of these possess a good degree of authority 
and influence over their people. Usually they are the 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 277 

fathers of their people, and instead of receiving any com- 
pensation for their services do much directly to promote 
the happiness of their subjects by feeding them and giving 
them presents. In the exercise of their authority they are 
generally mild, but when the occasion requires it, they are 
sufficiently severe. Instances have been known of life's 
having been taken to secure obedience. A man who per- 
sists in his disobedience is pretty sure not to escape a sound 
beating. The chiefs take a deep interest in the welfare of 
their people. I have known them to manifest much anxiety 
to benefit their people, and this too when they stood most 
in need of the sympathies and efforts of their rulers. Rank 
among the Pawnees is hereditary. A man is a chief because 
his father was. But all authority is conferred by the com- 
mon consent of the people. A man may be in rank a chief, 
yet have no authority. To be an authoritative chieftain 
a man must have rank, and be a favorite of his clan. Among 
the Pawnees a man becomes a brave by stealing horses and 
killing his fellowmen. It is not necessary however among 
those wild savages for a man to have contributed to the 
destruction and misery of so many of his fellowmortals to 
constitute himself a hero, as it is in lands denominated 
christian. 

The Pawnees make two hunts each year, the summer 
and winter hunt. To perform the winter hunt they leave 
their villages usually in the last week of October, and do 
not return to them again till about the first of April. They 
now prepare their cornfields for the ensuing season. The 
ground is dug up with the hoe, the corn is planted and 
well tended. When it has attained to a certain height, 
they leave it, and go out to their summer hunt. This is 
done near the last of June. About the first of September 
they return to their villages. Formerly the bufalo came 
down to and far below their villages. Now they are obliged 
to travel out from 10 to 20 days to reach them. The 



278 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

bufalo are rapidly diminishing and will in time become 
extinct. 

When they leave their villages to hunt the bufalo, 
they take every man and beast with them, and the place 
of their habitations is as desolate and solitary during their 
absence as any other spot on the prairie. When the time 
of their departure arrives all the furniture and provisions 
they wish to carry with them are packed on their horses. 
The residue of their scant furniture and provisions are 
concealed in the earth till their return. As each family 
gets ready they fall into the train, which frequently extends 
some miles. They travel of course in Indian file, and each 
boy, woman and girl, that has a horse to lead, walks in 
the trail before it. Their children who are yet unable to 
walk with them, the women either carry on their own 
backs, or pack them on their horses. The aged and infirm 
are obliged to travel with the others, and get along the 
best way they can. It is piteous to see the poor, wretched, 
crippled creatures drag themselves along. These start 
early and in the course of the day come to the next camp. 
They do not start very early in the cold season, but during 
the warm season they set off as soon as it is light, and 
sometimes before light and travel till 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4 
o'clock; then stop and turn their horses loose to feed. It 
is not customary with them to take any food till their 
days travel is ended. The women now set up their tents 
wood and water is brought and food prepared. They now 
eat till ample amends are made for the morning's fast. 
They travel from 8 to 20 miles a day. It frequently occurs, 
when they are travelling, that a horse gets frightened, 
jumps about breaks away from its leader, kicks till it has 
divested itself of every thing that was put on it, and then 
runs off at full speed. The unfortunate wife must now 
follow her horse till she can catch it, bring it back gather 
up her scattered utensils replace them on her horse, then 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 279 

follow the train. All the recompence she receives for her 
trouble is a severe chiding from her lazy husband who may- 
have been a witness to the whole transaction without 
having offered at all to assist his inferior half. They camp 
where there is both wood and water, when it can be done. 
When they come to the spot selected, each family chooses 
a site for their dwelling, and a populous village soon grows 
up in the midst of a solitary place. When they have 
traveled all day, and just at night come to the camping 
ground a scene usually ensues that beggars description. 
The horses are fretful and uneasy, the children, cold and 
hungry, the women, vexed and weary, the men illnatured 
and imperious. The dogs yelp and howl, the horses whinny, 
the mules and asses bray, the children cry, the boys halloo, 
the women scold, the men chide and threaten, no one 
hears and everything goes wrong. Tongue and ears at 
such a time are of but little use. 

The Pawnees kill the bufalo on horseback and with 
the bow and arrows. They throw the arrow with such 
force as sometimes to pass entirely through the bodies of 
those animals. They ride close alongside the bufalo, and 
while at full speed shoot their arrows into them. Gener- 
ally every arrow tells in the work of death. They are very 
strict in their regulations while killing the bufalo. A 
body of soldiers are enrolled whose duty it is in connection 
with the chiefs to take the charge of this business. They 
keep men out to look for the bufalo, and when a band of 
them is discovered to watch their movments. When ^ the 
village has come sufficiently near to a herd to warrant a 
hunt, the intelligence is proclaimed through the village by 
some old man designated for the purpose. All who wish 
to participate in the sport now catch their horses and 
prepare for the work of destruction. Two or three of the 
leading soldiers curiously painted and wearing a variety 
of ornaments ride out of the village bearing the soldiers 



280 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

escutcheon with about a dozen armed attendants and 
stop on some eminence till all the hunters have come up 
with them. The soldiers now move forward in the direction 
of the bufalo, and the hunters follow. Two old men bear- 
ing their gourds and medicine sacks run on foot at full 
speed before the hunters, sweating, singing and shaking 
their gourds. A man who should now have the temerity 
to ride before the soldiery would scarcely escape with his 
life. At any rate he would secure to himself a most savage 
flogging. Thus the soldiers and old men precede the 
hunters till they have come as near the herd as they can 
safely go without frightening them. The hunters are now 
drawn up in a line that all may have an equal opportunity 
of killing game. The word is given, the charge is made 
and in a few moments each is seen alongside the animal he 
has selected the fatal arrow flies, the wounded animal 
stops, — a second victim is marked out, and soon winged 
death overtakes it, — a third, fourth and sometimes a 
fifth fall before the swift destroyer, and in the short space 
of one hour a band of 200 bufalo are slain butchered and 
their flesh moving toward the dwellings of their destroyers. 
The Pawnees are excellent horsemen and with good horses 
deem it rare sport to kill the bufalo. The regulations of 
the soldiery are so strict, that it would not screen a man 
from punishment, who should go out and frighten a herd 
of bufalo, should he even plead that his family were starv- 
ing for want of food. This is a wise regulation, though it 
may appear uselessly severe. Did no such thing exist 
among them a part of them would starve to death. 

The food of the Pawnees consists principally of bufalo 
flesh and corn. The bufalo flesh is preserved by drying, 
and cooked in a variety of ways — usually boiled. They 
grow a good quantity of corn. This is harvested at different 
times and prepared in different ways. They usually have 
more corn than is sufficient for their own consumption. 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 281 

They also cultivate pumpkins, beans, watermelons, &c. 
At the proper seasons they dig a variety of edible roots. 
Their food is course, but wholesome. 

The men say their appropriate employments are hunt- 
ing — (taking the bufalo), and war. Consequently every- 
thing else that is to be done is the appropriate business of 
the women. The women are very laborious, but most 
abject slaves. One educated in our privileged land can 
scarcely form a conception of the ignorance, wretchedness 
and degraded servitude of the Pawnee females. We cannot 
contemplate the condition of these wretched creatures 
without being led to feel deeply that for all that is better 
in the condition of females in christian lands they are 
indebted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The female, no 
matter who she is, that, makes light of the christian religion, 
trifles with that which makes her to differ from the most 
abject slave and degraded heathen. 

I have wandered with these savage people during 
four of their hunting campaigns, — two winters and two 
summers. In their winter excursions, they kill as much 
meat, as they think they will need, as soon as may be after 
coming into the region of the bufalo. When this has been 
done they retire into winter quarters; that is, they go 
to some place where is wood, water and plenty of horse 
fodder. Here they remain till the feed for their horses 
becomes short. They then remove to another place, and 
do not return to their villages till the first of April; because 
their horses could not live there before that time. In the 
summer they stay no longer on the prairie than is necessary 
to procure a supply of meat. As soon as they can accom- 
plish this and return to their village their corn harvest is 
ready to be commenced. The first hunting tour I per- 
formed with them, they travelled, from the time they left 
their village, till they returned to it again in the spring, 
about 400 miles. During the first summer hunt I was 



282 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

with them they travelled 700 miles before returning to 
their village. During my second winter hunt they travelled 
900 miles. Second summer hunt 800 ms. Mr. AlHs has 
performed three hunting tours with the Loups and been 
treated with uniform kindness and respect. Said his host, 
the first chief of that band, in a conversation one day, any 
persons to injure that man, meaning Mr. A., must step 
over my dead body. I suppose Mr. A. was more beloved 
by the family of his host than any other member of it. 
All of us who have lived with them are constrained 
to say they are a kindhearted, liberal people, but they are 
heathen, darkminded heathen. 

Last spring the Pawnee Mission received its first re- 
inforcement; consisting of Dr. Saterlee and Mrs. AlHs. 
The wife of Dr. Saterlee deceased before reaching the 
Indian country. I was wholly unacquainted with either the 
Dr. or his lady, yet when I received the sad intelligence I 
could not but deeply sympathize with our bereaved brother 
in his affliction, and feel that the Mission had sustained a 
loss in our sister's early death. But I did not fully ap- 
preciate our loss till I had learned the character of that 
soulloving, amiable young woman. She seems to have 
been admirably fitted to have been useful in the sphere to 
which she had been assigned. She is happy now, and her 
afflicted partner is spared to do his master's work. Dr. S. 
spent the last summer with me anlong the Grand Pawnees. 
When I left him he was expecting to return and spend the 
winter with them. He is quite useful to them in the prac- 
tice of his profession. Mr. AUis spent the last summer at 
Bellevue, and was intending to remain there during the 
winter. 

Among the variety of vices that are practiced by the 
Pawnees is that of Polygamy. It is a common usage with 
them for the same man to marry all the sisters of the same 
family. When a young man wishes to enter the married 



MISSIONARY LIFE AMONG THE PAWNEE 283 

state, at the proper time, he puts on his bufalo robe with 
the fur side out, and draws it over his head and face so as 
to nearly conceal his visage. In this predicament he walks 
to the lodge of his intended fair one, enters it and sits 
down. No one speaks to him, nor does he utter a word 
till he leaves the lodge. But the object of his visit is under- 
stood by all the parties concerned. When he has sat in 
silence a while, he rises and leaves the lodge. After the 
lapse of a few days, he ventures to visit the dwelling of 
his beloved a second time, wearing his robe as before. 
When he enters the dwelling, if he sees the bearskin, or 
other skin is spread for his reception, he may now show 
his face and be seated, for this is a sure indication that 
his visits are not unacceptable; but if no seat is prepared 
for him, he may retire, his company is undesired. If he 
is favorably received the young woman soon takes a seat 
by his side. Her father also makes it convenient to be at 
home at the time. A conversation ensues between the 
young man and the young lady's father in the course of 
which the suitor asks the old gentleman's mind with respect 
to the proposed connection. The old man replies that 
neither he, nor his family have any objections to his be- 
coming their soninlaw. The old gentleman moreover tells 
his intended soninlaw to go home to his own lodge, make 
a feast, invite all his relatives and consult them with respect 
to his proposed marriage. In the meantime, he tells him, 
he will make a feast invite his daughter's relatives and 
consult with them concerning her marriage. If the relatives 
offer no objections on either side, the union follows as a 
matter of course without farther ceremony. This is fol- 
lowed by a series of feasts on the part of the bride. The 
parties thus brought together may have previously settled 
the marriage question between themselves, or they may 
have been wholly unacquainted. The husband comes to 
the lodge of his fatherlaw and lives in it with his wife. 



284 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The soninlaw on taking his wife gives his fatherinlaw from 
one to six horses according to his abihty for his daughter 
and the privilege of Hving in his lodge. Thus it is the 
case with the eldest daughter. The others are given to 
the soninlaw by their father as they become marriageable, 
and he receives in return a horse, or two for each of his 
daughters. The soninlaw has a particular portion of the 
lodge allotted to him, and it is [his] appropriate business to 
take care of all the horses that belong to the family. The 
eldest sister is the principal wife, and commands the 
younger, who seem to be little more than domestic slaves. 
It is a regulation among the Pawnees, rank being equal, 
the younger shall obey the elder. How little to be desired 
is the condition of the younger sisters in the Pawnee family 
and particularly of the youngest. 

ADDENDUM 

[The following letter, dated June 11, 1909, from B. S. 
Dunbar, now a resident of Manhattan, Kansas, and son of 
Rev. John Dunbar, is placed here because it is supple- 
mental to the foregoing paper. — Ed.] 

The mission and principal farm station were located on 
Plum Creek, and a smaller farm station was located on the 
Loup Fork, near the Pawnee Loup village, for the con- 
venience of that band of Pawnee. The first incident that 
I will mention is the death of Falki, chief of the Pawnee 
Loups, and of Marcellus IMathers, son of the farmer at the 
Loup Fork station. 

Falki went to Mathers' house and asked him for some 
powder which the government had promised the Indians; 
Mathers said that there was no powder there for them; 
and they had some words. At last Falki said he would 
take what powder there was there, and stepped towards a 
powderhorn that was hanging on the wall and reached 
toward it with his right hand, holding his blanket across 



ADDENDUM 285 

his chest with his left hand. Mathers picked up an ax 
and struck Falki on the chest, cutting off his left hand at 
the wrist and also cutting into his chest some. Falki 
then threw his left arm around Mathers' neck and took the 
ax away from him. At that moment Marcellus Mathers 
stepped into the door and Falki, on seeing him, let go of 
his father and followed Marcellus who ran around the 
house. Falki threw the ax at Marcellus, the edge striking 
him between the shoulders, injuring him so badly that he 
died in a few days. Falki then started to the village but 
fell from loss of blood. Some of his people saw him in 
time to get him home before he died. My father and 
Timothy E. Ranney helped to take care of Marcellus 
Mathers until he died. After Falki died the Indians were 
determined to kill Mr. Mathers; but the missionaries 
persuaded them to go on a hunt, and as soon as Marcellus 
died they got Mr. and Mrs. Mathers off to the settlements 
on the Missouri. 

I remember when a large body of Sioux warriors made 
an attack on the village nearest the mission ; I think it was 
about a mile away. The village was on the bottom and 
the Sioux were on the bluff overlooking it. The main body 
of Sioux remained on the bluff, but parties were constantly 
riding back and forth. I do not remember how many of 
the Pawnee were killed; but their loss was heavy. It 
was not known how many of the Sioux were killed, as they 
took their dead away with them. The shooting and shout- 
ing were plainly heard at the mission. 

The last incident I will mention took place at the time 
the mission was abandoned. The Pawnee had gone on 
their summer hunt and left a number of their children at 
the mission school. Some time before this occurred it had 
been decided that in case of alarm all the people were to 
repair to the farm station as there was a stockade around 
the buildings. One morning the alarm was given that the 



286 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Sioux were coming and all gathered at the farm station. 
The Pawnee children were put down in the cellar and the 
men, numbering between ten and fifteen, armed themselves 
and made the best showing they could. Father went to 
the gate and talked with the Sioux, as he understood the 
Indian language and ways better than the others. The 
Sioux chief wanted to come into the stockade, but he was 
kept out because he would be very apt to discover the 
Pawnee children, and if he did, it would be the end of 
them. After a while, some of the Sioux got the stable 
door open and stampeded the horses that belonged at the 
station, when the whole party took after them and thus 
ended the attack. 

That afternoon there was a council held, and it was 
decided to abandon the mission. I remember well how 
badly my mother felt about giving up the mission after 
doing, and going through so much, and when good results 
were just beginning to appear. 

I will give the names, as nearly as I can remember, of 
the people who were at the mission at the time it was 
abandoned. Rev. John Dunbar and Rev. Timothy E. 
Ranney, missionaries; George B. Gaston, Lester W. Piatt, 
farmers; Samuel Allis, teacher in Indian school; Peter 
Harness, blacksmith; Mr. Delaney, striker; Mr. Groves, 
Mr. Cline, and Mr. Petijohn, farm laborers; George Crow, 
laborer at the Missouri farm; Mr. Cleghorn, interpreter. 
Messrs. Dunbar, Ranney and Allis each had a wife and 
children, and Mr. Gaston a wife at the mission. 

Rev. John Dunbar moved to Andrew County, Missouri, 
and from there to Holt County, where he bought a farm 
and lived until 1856, when he moved to Brown County, 
Kansas, where his wife died, November 4, 1856, and he 
died November 1, 1857. Rev. T. E. Ranney went to the 
Choctaw mission. Mr. Gaston settled at Tabor, Iowa; 
Mr. Piatt at Civil Bend, Iowa; Mr. Allis in southwestern 



ADDENDUM 287 

Iowa; Peter Harness went to St. Joseph, Missouri; Mr. 
Pettijohn and George Crow went to Andrew County, 
Missouri. Crow was married there and afterwards moved 
to Nemaha County, Nebraska, where he was elected a 
member of the legislature in 1859. 

Of Mr. Dunbar's children, Jacob S., the oldest son, 
born October 27, 1837, now residing at Evans, Colorado, 
served over three years in the Second Kansas cavalry; 
John B., now a resident of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was 
born April 3, 1841, and served two enlistments in a Mas- 
sachusetts artillery regiment; Mary, the oldest daughter, 
was born December 13, 1842. She was married to Rev. 
S. H. Adams and now resides at Clifton Springs, New York. 
Bellevue was the birthplace of all these children. 



INDEX 



Abert, Colonel J. J.: Route to the 

Columbea, 233 
Adams, Rev. S. H.: 287 
Adobe Town: See Kearney City 
Agriculture, among Indians: 9, 280, 

281 
Albertson, Isaac: 200 
Allen, J. S.: 110 
Allen, James A.: 104 
Allen, James S.: 90 
Allis, Mrs. [Emeline]: 282 
AUis, Samuel: 7, 268, 270, 274. 282, 

287 
Alson, Simeon: 86 
American desert: 47, 51, 54, 64 
American Fur Company: 1, 22, 25, 

28, 29, 68, 70, 228 
Anderson David, Early Settlement 

of the Platte Valley: 193 
Annexation of Kansas City, Missouri, 

to Kansas: 128, 129 
Annexation of South Platte country 

to Kansas: 120-123 
Aoway: See Iowa 
Arapaho: See Indians 
Area of Nebraska: 58 
Arikari: see Indians 
Arkansas territory organized: 137 
Arlington (town): 12 
Ash Hollow: 144, 150, 152, 153, 156 
Ash Hollow battle field, map of: 151 
Ashley, General William H.: 26, 229 
Astor, John Jacob: 1, 4, 7, 8, 48, 49 
Astoria: 8, 24 
Astorian expedition: 1, 4, 24, 31, 39, 

70 
Atchison, David R.: 129 
Atkinson, General Henry: 67, 229 
Avery, Samuel, address by: 31 

Babcock, General O. E.: 247, 249 
Bain, Robert: 221 
Baker, Mrs.: 198 



Baker, J. M.: claim of, 94 

Bangs, S. D.: 114 

Bannock: see Indians 

Bashley, Mr.: 221 

Battle Ground of Ash Hollow, Robert 
Harvey: 152 

Becker, J. M.: 93 

Beckx, Rev. F., S. J.: 208 

Bell, Rev. Thomas: 225 

Belden, D. D.: claim of, 98 

Bellevue Claim Association: regula- 
tions of, 71 

Bellevue: 1, 4, 6, 7, 28, 29, 66-68, 
98, 271, 287; plat of, 69 

Bellevue trading post: 70 

Bennet, H. P.: claim of, 82 

Bennet, I. H.: 80; claim of, 83 

Bennet, Isiah: 99 

Bennet, John B.: 120 

Bennet, Joseph: claim of, 82 

Bennet, WiUiam: 82 

Bent, Jesse: 172 

Big Elk: 67 

Biles, Mr.: 219 

Birth of Lincoln, Nebraska, Charles 
Wake: 216 

Blackbird: 9 

Blackburn, John S.: claim of, 95 

Black, Samuel: 195 

Blue Water creek: 145, 148, 149, 

153-154, 158 

Boil, Rt. Rev. Bernard: 205 

Bonneville, Captain: 230, 244; ex- 
pedition of, 26 

Boone, Captain Nathan: 231 

Boulware, John: 103 

Bowen, Leavitt L.: 102, 103, 105; 
claim of, 90 

Boyd, James E.: 195, 196 

Boynton, Paul: 172 

Boyd ranch: 195, 196 

Bradford, A. A.: 110 

Breckenridge, S. M.: claim of, 82 



INDEX 



289 



Breidenbach, John: 93 
Bridgeport town claim: 84 
Briggs, Ansel: 82 
Briggs, A. N.: claim of, 89 
Brown, John: 42 
Brown, J. J.: 203 
Buchanan (town): 200 
Buffalo county: 265 
Burkley, St.: 93 
Burris, John T.: 128 
Burns, Robert: 171 
Burrows, E.: 225 
Butler county: 27, 199 
Butcher, John: 85, 91 
Burt, Francis A.: 6, 7, 98, 99 
Butterfield, E.: 82 

Cabanne, John: 70 

Cabanne's post: 70 

Cadman, John: 216 

Cady, Major A.: 152, 153 

Caldwell, Francis E.: 89 

Calhoun, John: 117 

California road: 193, 194 

Calkins, F.: 89 

Cannon, Rev. Francis B.: 213 

Capital controversy: 28, 118, 119 

Capital removal: 98-114 

Cavanagh, Rev. John: 212 

Carrington, Colonel Henry C: 260 

Central City: 195, 197 

Chambers, Samuel A.: 120 

Chase, Noble: claim of, 96 

Cheever, John H.: 120 

Cheyenne: see Indians 

Chief Swan: 187 

Childs, Major Thomas: 242, 257 

Chilton, Robert H.: 244 

Chivington massacre: 172 

Choteau, Auguste: 67 

Christopher, Charles: claim of, 91 

Claim clubs: 71 

Clancy, William: 103 

Clark, WUliam: 67 

Clarke, Henry T.: 13, 110; claim of, 

89 
Clarke, Sidney: 130 
Cleghorn, Mr.: 287 



Cleghorn, Benjamin A.: 84 

Cline, Mr.: 287 

Cole, Thomas: 225 

Colfax county: 27 

Collins, Dawson: 225 

Collins, I. F.: claim of, 96 

Collins, Mary C: 189, 190, 191 

Collins, Thomas: 195, 255 

Collier, W. H.: claim of, 95 

Colorado territory organized: 140 

Comley, E.: 225 

Commercial House: 203 

Company A, Second Nebraska Vol- 
unteers: 203 

Cook, P.: 82 

Cook, Philander: 77, 114 

Cook, William H.: 114 

Cooke, Lieutenant Colonel P. St. 
George: 143, 144, 146, 152, 153, 
157 

Coppens, Chas.: 208 

Cornell, H. N.: 78 

Cottonwood Post: see Fort McPherson 

Cottrell, Matthew: 201 

Council Bluflf: 22, 24, 26, 233 

Council Bluffs: 271 

Craig, James: 236 

Creighton, Edward: 13 

Crooked Hand: 202 

Crooks, Ramsey: 24 

Cross, Major Osborn: 235, 244, 262 

Crow, George: 287 

Croxton, John H.: 120 

Culbertson (town): 165, 167 

Cuming, Thomas B.: 13, 99 

Curtice, William J.: claim of, 92 

Curtis, Miss Natalie: 181 

Daily, Samuel G.: 195 

Dakota territory organized: 140 

Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion: 1, 2, 3, Ft. Kearny chapter, 2 

Dawson, Jacob: 217, 218, 221 

Decatur, Stephen: 71, 101; claim of, 
83 

Decker, B. G.: deed, 90 

Delaney, Mr.: 287 

Delatour, S. P.: 159, 160 



290 



INDEX 



Dellette, James C: 77, claim of, 89 

Denton, John W.: claim of, 92 

DeSmet, Rev. P. J.: 207, 212 

Dickinson, William W,: claim of, 95 

Dobytown: see Kearney City 

Dodge, Greenville M.: 202 

Dodge, Sylvanus: 202 

Dog Town: see Valley City 

Donovan, Captain: 216, 222 

Dorman, B.: 225 

Dorman, C: 225 

Douglas House: 209 

Douglas, Stephen A.: 27, 125 

Drake, A. R.: 78 

Driftwood creek: 165 

Drips, Andrew: 6, 68 

Drum, General Richard C, Rem- 
iniscences of the Indian Fight at 
Ash Hollow, 1855: 143 

Dudley, Lieutenant Edgar S.: 242 

Dunbar, B. S.: 285 

Dunbar, Jacob S.: 287 

Dunbar, Rev. John: 7, 287; Mis- 
sionary Life Among the Pawnee, 
268 

Dunbar, John B.: 287 

Dunbar, Mary: 287 

Dunlap, J. P.: 265 

Dyson, Joseph: 83 

Early Days in and About Bellevue, 

Edward L. Sayre: 66 
Early Settlements of the Platte 

Valley, David Anderson: 193 
Edwards, Ninian: 67 
Election districts: 1854, 99; 1855, 

103, 104 
Election judges: 1855, 99 
Elk Hill: 1 
Elkhorn City: 202 
Emonds, William: 210, 212 
English, W. R.: 83 
English Settlement in Palmyra, Rev. 

Richard Wake: 224 
Enoch, J.: 82 
Enoch, J. N.: 91, 114 

Fales, William: 199 
Falki, [Pawnee chief]: 285 



Feld, Dr. J.: 128 

Ferguson, Judge Fenner: 7, 90, 101; 
claim of, 84 

Five Mile Creek: 93 

Flanagan, Michael: claim of, 92 

Fontenelle [town]: 11 

Fontenelle, Logan: 11, 68 

Fontenelle, Lucien: 6, 68 

Forney, John W.: 131 

Fort Atkinson: 28, 67, 229 

Fort Calhoun: 22 

Fort Childs: 239, 240, 242 

Fort George: 187 

Fort Grattan: 148, 152 

Fort Hall: 262 

Fort Henry: 26 

Fort Kearny (old): 267 

Fort Kearny: 143, 144, 150, 194, 
196, 227, 232, 235, 240, 241, 243, 
247, 248, 251, 252, 254, 256, 258, 
260, 261; described, 244, 245, 248; 
rebel soldiers at, 249-251; reserva- 
tion, 253 

Fort Laramie: 143, 150, 235, 256, 262 

Fort Leavenworth: 143, 148, 231, 
232, 233, 237, 239, 241 

Fort McPherson: 167, 247, 248, 249, 
252, 261 

Fort Pierre: 25, 143 

Fort Randall: 189 

Fort Sedgwick: 252, 261 

Fort Sidney Barracks: 252 

Fort Snelling: 232 

Foster, Robert Cole: 128 

Franklin county: 196, 255 

Fremont (town): 201 

Fremont House: 203 

Frenchman river: 165 

Furnas, Robert W.: 13, 111, 120 

"Galvanized Yankees": 250, 251 

Game: 193 

Gardner, David R.: 199 

Gaston, George B.: 287 

Gibson, Thomas: 103 

Gilbert, Dr.: 221 

Gilmore, A. R.: 82 

Gilmore, R. J.: 82 



INDEX 



291 



Gilmour, William: 81 

Glover, J. B.: 114 

Grand Island: 197 

Grant Left Hand: 172 

Grape Island: 87 

Grattan, John L.: 155 

Greene, Kinney & Company: 90 

Griffin, William A.: claim of, 81, 87 

Groves, Mr.: 287 

Gwyer, William A.: 97 

Hackbush, Henry H.: 265 

Hall county: 265 

Hall, Horace S.: claim of, 97 

Hamilton, William: 71, 80, 101 

Hardenburg, Mr.: 218 

Harding, John: 225 

Harlan county: 196, 255 

Harness, Peter: 287 

Harney, General W. S.: 143, 144, 
146, 147, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155 

Harris, A. J.: 225 

Harris, W. A.: 225 

Harsh, L.: 103 

Hartwell, Major: 202 

Harvey, Major: 237 

Harvey, Robert, The Battle Ground 
of Ash Hollow: 152 

Harvey, W. H.: 114 

Hawker, Mr.: 216 

Hazleton Land Company: claim of, 
97 

Hedde, Fred: 197 

Henry, Andrew: 26 

Henry, Dr. Charles A.: 80, 194, 195, 
255 

Hepner, George: claim of, 82 

Herold, William: claim of, 92 

Heth, Captain: 157 

Hewett, Obadiah B.: 120 

Hickman, B. H.: deed, 90 

Hileman, John C: 91 

Historical Significance of the Cele- 
bration, Albert Watkins: 15 

History of Fort Kearny, Albert Wat- 
kins: 227 

Hitchcock, Phineas W.: 195 

Hoffman, Samuel E.: 128 



Holladay's Overland Express: 56, 57 
Holland, John: 195, 255 
Hollister, A. W.: claim of, 82 
HoUister, George W.: 81, 99, 101 
Holloway, Charles T.: 101, 105 
Hook, Amos O.: 195, 255 
Houston, S. D.: 124, 128 
Howe, Captain: 146 
Howe, James: 89; claim of, 85 
Howe, William: 86 
Hudson, Henry J.: 199 
Humphrey, Lieut. Gov. L. U.: 130 
Hunt, Wilson Price: 23 
Hunt's expedition: 22, 24, 25 
Huntsman's Echo: 196 

Idaho territory organized: 140 
Illinois territory organized: 133 
Independence, Mo.: 25 
Indian buffalo hunts: 277, 278, 279, 

280 
Indian characteristics: 186 
Indian courtship: 283 
Indian depredations: 194 
Indian Ghost Dance, James Mooney: 

168 
Indian ghost dances: 190-192 
Indian massacres: 12, 148-150, 157, 

162, 170, 172 
Indian missions: 189, 190, 206, 282, 

285 
Indian religions: 171, 172, 173, 176. 

181, 189, 191 
Indian reservations: 29 
Indian sign language: 184, 185 
Indian songs: 181, 182 
Indian treaties: 27, 28, 67, 169, 187 
Indian villages: 276 
Indian War of 1864, Eugene F. Ware: 

183 
Indianola (town): 167 
Indiana territory organized: 132 

INDIANS: 

Arapaho: 27, 170-174, 180; north- 
ern, 178 
Arikari: 9, 24, 25, 229 
Barmock: 27 



292 



INDEX 



Blackfeet: 26 

Brule Sioux: 149, 150, 152 ■ 

Caddo: 173, 174, 180 

Cheyenne: 27, 150, 152, 169-174, 
171, 193, 194 

Comanche: 172-174 

Kiowa: 169, 172-174 

Minneconjou Sioux: 150, 152 

Missouri: 9, 27, 29 

Ogalala Sioux: 150, 152 

Omaha: 9, 11, 27, 29, 174 

Oto: 9, 25, 27, 29, 270, 271 

Pawnee: 9, 19, 27, 165, 166, 167, 
188, 201, 269, 272, 273, 285; 
bands of, 275, 276 

Piute: 175 

Ponca: 9 

Shoshone: 27 

Sioux: 12, 25, 143, 166, 167, 169, 
170 

Wichita: 172, 173, 174, 180 

Winnebago: 174 
Iowa territory organized: 134 
Iron Bluffs: 77 
Iron Bluffs Actual Settlers Claim 

Club: 77; resolutions, 78 
Irving, Washington: 51 
Izard, Flavius: 81 
Izard, George A: 81 
Izard, Mark W.: 81, 87, 101 ' 
Jackson, Daniel E.: 230 

James, Gov. William H.: 196 
Jefferson county: 27 
Johnson, Hadley D.: 117 
Johnson, J.: 225 
Johnson, John P.: 117 
Johnston, George: claim of, 95 
Jones, B. F.: deed, 91 
Jones, R.: 237 
Julesburg: 56, 57 

Kansas-Nebraska bill: 42 
Kansas-Nebraska Boundary Line, 

Geo. W. Martin: 115 
Kearney City: 193, 194, 195, 196, 

245, 254, 255 
Kearney county: 195, 255, 256 



Kearney station: 256 

Kearny, Stephen W.: 231, 235, 258 

Keeling, William W.: 120 

Keeler ranch: 193, 194 

Keeler, Tom: 193, 194, 202 

Keller, C. D.: 114 

Kenny, Rev. Hugh P.: 213 

Kimball, Richard: claim of, 93 

King, Jacob: 200 

Kinney, John F.: 83 

Kittle, Robert: 201 

Koenig & Weibe: 197 

Kountze, Augustus: 13 

Kountze Brothers: 204 

Kuhn, J. M.: claim of, 97 

Lacy & McCormick: 203 

La Flesche, Joseph: 68 

La Flesche, Louis: 202 

Lamb, John K.: 196 

Lamb, "Pap.": 197 

Langenf elder. Rev. Edmund: 213 

Langley, George L.: claim of, 87 

Larimer, Rachel: claim of, 91 

Laughlin, Wi Kam W.: 110 

Last Battle of the Pawnee with the 

Sioux, William Z. Taylor: 165 
Lavender, Luke: 216 
Leavenworth, Colonel: 229 
Lee, Captain T. J.: 117 
Lee family: 202 
Lee, Robert E.: 246 
Lewis & Clark Expedition: 21, 24, 

39, 67 
Lisa, Manuel: 6, 25, 26, 66, 67 
Lisa's expedition: 25 
Little Blue: 26 
Little Butte: 150 
Little Eagle (Indian village): 187, 

189 
Little Thunder: 143, 149, 150, 153, 

154 
Livingston, Colonel Robert R.: 261 
Lloyd, C. R.: 86 
Lloyd, William: 86 
Lockwood, Almann: deed, 90 
Logan Creek: 11 
Lone Tree Ranch: 197 



INDEX 



293 



Longsdorf, H. A.: 114 
Long's expedition: 51 
Loring, Colonel: 262 
Louisiana purchase: 38, 39 
Lovett, Fr.: 225 
Lucas, F.: 225 

McCarthy, Robert: 114 
McCausland, David: 236 
McClellan, C. B.: 128 
McClellan, Robert: 24 
McCormick: see Lacy & McCormick 
McCown, Captain J. P.: 258 
McCoy, John: claim of, 94 
McCoy, Preston: claim of, 94 
McDougall, Judge H. C: 128 
McDowell, William C: 120 
McGee, Mobillion W.: 128 
McKesson, Dr.: 216 
McKinney, Rev. Edward: 7 
MacLean, George E.: address of, 35 
McMahon, P. J.: claim of, 83 
McMaster, Thomas: claim of, 87 
McQuay, John: claim of, 98 
Marcy, William L.: 236 
Majors, Alexander: 13 
Manners, Chas. A.: 118 
Manning, J. P.: claim of, 96 
Manypenny, George W.: 68 
Martin, George W., Kansas-Ne- 
braska Boundary Line: 115 
Martin, John A.: 126 
Martin Pfiug & Brother: 219 
Marshall, Lieut. E. G.: 258 
Maycock, J.: 225 
Medary, Gov.: 119 
Medicine Creek: 187 
Megeath Brothers: 204 
Meier, D.: 86 
Menck, Christian: 197 
Menck, Mrs. Christian: 197 
Mendenhall, Lieutenant: 147 
Merrick county: 198 
Merrill, Rev. [Moses]: 271 
Michigan territory organized: 133 
Middleton, J. A.: 124 
Miege, Rt. Rev. John Baptist: 205- 
215 



Miles, Stephen B.: 120 
Miller, Elder: 217 
Miller, Dr. George L.: 13, 155, 195 
Miller, Lorin: 195 
Minchall, J. D.: 221 
Minneconjou Sioux: see Indians 
Minnesota territory organized: 134 
Missionary Life Among the Pawnee, 

Rev. John Dunbar: 268 
Mission Reserve: 68, 69, 80, 81 
Missouri Fur Company: 22, 25, 26, 

28, 68, 228 
Missouri: see Indians 
Mitchell, General Robert B.: 183 
Mitchell, Jonas: claim of, 86 
Montana territory organized: 140 
Monuments: 1, 5 
Moon, Joab: 89 
Moon, Job: 89 
Moon, John: 85 

Mooney, James: address by, 183 
MooNEY, James, The Indian Ghost 

Dance: 168 
Morgan, Col. Willoughby: 67 
Mormons: 198, 199 
Mormon trail: 200 
Morris, Major W. W.: 259 
Morton, J. Sterling: 82, 118, 195, 

claim of, 85 
Morton, Thomas: 99, 101 
Myers, P.: 86 

Nebraska and Minnesota Territorial 
Boundary, Albert Watkins: 132 

Nebraska bill: 27 

Nebraska Center: 196 

Nebraska country: organization, 27 

Nebraska Palladium: 70, 109 

Nebraska State Historical Society: 
1, 2, 4 

Nebraska territory organized: 134, 
139 

Newby, Captain Edward W. B.: 259 

New Mexico territory organized: 136 

North Bend: 201 

Norton, Daniel: 90 

Nuckolls, Stephen F.: 120 



294 



INDEX 



O'Fallon, Benjamin: 67 

Oklahoma territory organized: 142 

Omaha: see Indians 

Opa-tan-ga: see Big Elk 

Oregon: 7, 53 

Oregon trail: 1, 2, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 

194, 231, 233, 234, 247 
Oregon treaty: 138 
Oto: see Indians 
Otoe county: 225 

Pacific Fur Company: 1, 7, 22, 39, 
48, 

Pacific railroad bill: 27 

Painter, J. A.: 90 

Painter, J. J.: 90 

Palmer, Captain Henry E,: 251 

Palmer, L. R.: 124 

Papillion creek: 203 

Parker, Jason: 197 

Parker, 0. F.: 96 

Parker, Rev. Samuel: 268 

Parker, Rumbold & Co.: 96 

Parmalee, Daniel: 194 

Paulsen, Thomas: claim of, 94 

Pawnee: see Indians 

Pawnee Mary: 167 

Pawnee mission: 282, 287; aban- 
doned, 286, 287 

Paxton, William A.: 13 

Peckham, Darwin: 219 

Pell, Wm.: 225 

Pendleton, N. G.: 233 

Pennsylvania ranch: 199 

Petijohn, Mr.: 287 

Phelps county: 255 

Pierce, Charles W.: 253, 264 

Pierce, Roswell G.: 87 

Pike, James M.: claim of, 88 

Pike, S. M.: claim of, 88 

Pike, Lieut. Zebulon: 51 

Pike's expedition: 51 

Pike's Peak trail: 193 

Pilcher, Major [Joshua]: 6, 26, 63 

Pine Ridge: 178, 179 

Plathe, Rev. George H.: 213 

Piatt, Lester W.: 287 

Plum creek: 248, 249 



Pontiac's war: 169 

Ponziglione, Father Paul, S. J.: 206 

Portage des Sioux: 67 

Porter, R. J.: 124 

Pound, Judge S. B.: 216, 221 

Powder Face: 172 

Powell, Lieut. Colonel: 236, 238, 

239, 241, 256, 258 
Powell, L. E.: 236 
Power, Rev. James: 211, 213 
Presbyterian Mission: 6, 7, 71 
Preston, William G.: claim of, 88 
Privit, Francis M.: 81 
Provost, Etienne: 26 
Puty, Rev. Father S. J.: 205 

Ranch No. 1: 203 
Rankin, Benjamin P.: 195 
Rankin, B. P.: 91; claim of 85 
Ranney, Rev. Timothy E.: 286, 287 
Rawhide creek: Indian origin of 

name, 202 
Reed, Daniel E.: 80, 99 
Reed, John: 226 
Reed, Captain Peter: 203 
Reeves, Mills S.: 120 
Reminiscences of the Indian Fight 

at Ash Hollow, 1855, General 

Richard C. Drum: 143 
Republican party: 43, 
Resources of the West: 57-63 
Richards, J.: 225 
Richardson, A. T.: 267 
Richardson, J. W.: 11 
Richardson, L.: 77 
Richardson, William R.: 13 
Rickley, John: 198 
Rickley, S. S.: claim of, 93 
Ridgely, Assistant Surgeon: 155 
Riley, P.: 86 

Robertson, J.: claim of, 97 
Robinson, C. D.: 88 
Robinson, Doane, Some Siddlights 

on the Character of Sitting Bull: 187 
Rodgers, WiUiam H.: 236 
Rogers, Samuel E.: 109 
Rootham, Messrs.: 225 
Roubidoux, Joseph: 70 



INDEX 



295 



Rudolph, [Mr.]: 219 

Ruff, Captain Charles F.: 239, 240, 

243, 256, 257, 258, 262 
Rumbold, William: 96 
Russell, Joseph: 199 
Russell's ranch: 200 

Sacajawea: 40 

Sailings Grove: 88 

St. John, John P.: 130 

St. Marys church (Omaha): 211 

St. Philomenas church (Omaha): 211 

Saline county: 27 

Sanders, W.: 225 

Sanford, Wales: 82 

Santa Fe: 247 

Sarpy county: organization of, 100- 

109, 111, 112, 113, 114 
Sarpy, Peter A.: 6, 29, 70, 71, 101; 

claim of, 82 
Satterlee, Dr. [B.]: 282 
Saunders, Alvin: 13 
Savannah: 199 
Sayre, Edward L., Early Days in 

and about Bellevue: 66 
Scanlan, Rev. Thomas: 211, 212 
Scenery of Nebraska: 60 
Schamp [Shamp], Peter: 216 
Scott's Bluff: 24 
Sears, R.: 225 
Seely, S. E.: 113 
Settlements in Nebraska: Bellevue, 

6; Fontenelle, 11 
Seward county: 27 
Shaffel, Rev. R. A.: 209 
Shallenberger, Ashton C: 1, 5, 6 
Sharp, Emery L.: 84 
Shell creek: 27, 68, 200 
Shelley, George M.: 130 
Shield, Stokes and McCune: 97 
Shine, Rev. Michael A., The First 

Catholic Bishop in Nebraska: 205 
Shinn, Moses: 200 
Shinn's Ferry: 199, 254 
Shoshone: see Indians 
Shoultz, T. G.: 89 
Simpson, Andrew J.: 203 
Simpson, Benjamin F.: 126, 128 



Sioux: see Indians 

Sitting Bull: 170, 186, 190 

Sitting Bull, Louis: 192 

Sixth U. S. infantry: 263 

Skirvin, Jacob: 91 

Skirvin, J. K.: claim of, 81 

Sky Chief: 167 

Slavery: 41, 42 

Smallpox: 9 

Smith Brothers: 201 

Smith, C. E.: 83, 90 

Smith, H. H.: claim of, 86 

Smith, Hyrum N.: 86 

Smith, Jackson & Sublette expedition: 
26 

Smith, Jedediah: 230 

Smith, Judge J. B.: 202 

Smith, Robert M.: claim of, 92 

Smoky Hill route: 193 

Some Sidelights on the Character of 
Sitting Bull, Doane Robinson: 187 
South Pass: discovered, 26 
Spotted Tail: 149, 163, 202 
Squatter claims: 68, 69 
Steele, Captain: 146, 147, 157, 162 
Steptoe, Colonel: 152 
Stewart, Robert M.: 236 
Strachan, F. R.: 225 
Strickland, S. A.: claim of, 86 
Strickland, Silas A.: 99, 105 
Stringfellow, General B. F.: 129 
Stuart, Robert: 24 
Sublette, Andrew W.: 236 
Sublette, William A.: 230 
Sumner, Colonel E. V.: 258 
Survey of base line: 117, 118 
Sweet, James: 219 
Sweezy, William M.: 203 
Sydenham, Mos es:195, 255, 259 

Table creek: 231, 232, 237, 241 

Talbot, John: 195, 255 

Taylor, William H.: 120 

Taylor, William Z.: 165 

Taylor ranch: 203 

Territorial Evolution of Nebraska, 

Albert Watkins: 135 
Thatcher, Solon 0.: 121 



296 



INDEX 



Thatcher, T. Dwight: 122 
Thayer, John M.: 12, 13 
The First Catholic Bishop in Ne- 
braska, Rev. Michael A. Shine: 205 
"The Nebraska Country": 228 
The New World Movement: 35 
Thomas, Colonel L.: 155 
Thomas, William D.: 255 
Thompson, Widow: 83, 90 
Thrall, W. R.: claim of, 96 
Tichenor & Green: 221 
Tippecanoe: battle of, 169 
Todd, Captain: 154 
Tozier, James: 86 
Tracy, J.: 195, 255 
Trading posts: 6, 24, 25, 68 
Trecy, Rev. Jeremiah: 210, 211, 212 
Turner, G. F.: 82: claim of, 81 
Turner tavern: 201 
Twitchell, Col. S. D.: 130 
Tyler, Captain Charles H.: 259 
Tyson, Isaac: 84 
Tyson, Jonathan: 83, 84 
Tyson, O. N.: 83 
Tyson and Sharp: claim of, 83 
Tzschuck, B.: 83 

Union Pacific eating houses: 201 
Union Pacific railroad: 29 
United States boundaries: 52, 53 
Upjohn, Erastus N.: claim of, 84 
Upjohn, Uriah: 82, 90; claim of, 84 

Valley City: 194 
Van Horn, Col. Robert T.: 128 
Veith, Hiram: claim of, 96 
Veil, Anthony: claim of, 93 

Wake, Charles, Birth of Lincoln, 
Nebraska: 216 

Wake, Rev. Richard, English Set- 
tlement of Palmyra: 224 

Wakeley, Eleazer: 13 

Walbridge, George F.: 87; claim of, 
89 

Walker, Joseph: 239 

Walker river reservation: 179 

Ward, Mrs. Oreal S.: 1; address of, 
2 

Ward, R. R.: 225 



Warden, Clever: 172 

Ware, Eugene F.: 245, 251: Indian 

War of 186 U, 183 
Warnes, Edward: 216 
Warren, Lieutenant G. K.: 155, 158 
W ATKINS, Albert: History of Fort 
Kearny, 227; Nebraska and Min- 
nesota Territorial Boundary, 132; 
Territorial Evolution of Nebraska, 
135 
Watson, C. E.: 89 
Watson, Charles E.: claim of, 88 
Watson, Charles F.: 82 
Watson, Eli P.: 87; claim of, 88 
Watson, William H.: claim of, 93 
Watson, William R.: claim of, 88 
Wattles, Gurdon W.: 7; address of, 6 
Webster, John Lee: 1, 2, 6; address- 
es of, 4, 47 
Wharton, Lieut. Colonel Clifton: 

237, 238, 256, 257 
Wharton, Captain Henry W.: 258 
White, Dr.: 230 
Whitefish camp: 22 
Whitman, Marcus: 26, 39, 230 
Whitney, Nathan S.: claim of, 94 
Wichita: see Indians 
Wiley, W. F.: 114 
Wilson, Jack: 179 
Winters, John W.: 83 
Wirth, Rev. Augustine: 213 
Wisconsin territory organized: 133 
Women and children in battle of 
Ash Hollow: 148, 149, 150, 157, 
162 
Woodbury, Lieut. Daniel P.: 238, 

256, 257, 258 
Woods, Major Samuel: 150 
Worth, General W. J.: 242 
Wounded Knee massacre: 170, 178 
Wyandotte convention: 120, 123, 126 
Wyeth, Nathaniel: 26 
Wyeth's expedition: 26 
Wyoming territory organized: 141 

Yost, A. N.: 12 
Young, Elder: 216 
Yutan: 25 

Zealand, Jos.: 208