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

ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRAI 



3 1833 02595 0608 



Gc 978.2 N27p v. 17 
Nebraska State Hibtof^ical. 
Society. 

PUEUICATIONS OF THE NEBRASKA 

State Historical Society 



COMPLIMENTS OF THE 



Nebraska State Historical Society 



CLARENCE S. PAINE, SECRETARY 



COLLECTIONS 

NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL 

SOCIETY 



VOLUME XVII 



Allen County Public LiDfai| , 
900 Webster Street ^ 

PO Box 2270 
Fort Wayne, IN 46801-2270 



Nebraska State Historical Society 



Vol. 17 Plate 1 




^"^^J^^i^-urM^ 



COLLECTIONS 



OF THE 



Nebraska State Historical 
Society 



Edited by 

ALBERT WATKINS 

Historian of the Society 



LINCOLN, NEBRASKA 

The Nebraska State Historical Society 

1913 

VOLUME XVII 



Allen County Public Library 

900 Webster Street 

PO Box 2270 

Fort W2vne, IN 45801-2270 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 



The Work of the Historical Society 

By John Lee Webster, President 1 

Historical Sketch of Southwestern Nebraska 

By John F. Cordeal 16 

Nebraska, Mother op States 

By Albert Watkins 48 

Nebraska Territorial Acquisition 

By Albert Watkins 53 

Addresses by James Mooney 

Life Among the Indian Tribes of the Plains 88 

The Indian Woman 95 

Systematic Nebraska Ethnologic Investigation 103 

A Tragedy of the Oregon Trail 

By George W. Hansen 110 

The Oregon Recruit Expedition 

By Albert Watkins 127 

Influence of Overland Travel on the Early Settlement of 
Nebraska 

By H. G. Taylor 146 

Incidents op the Early Settlement of Nuckolls County 

By George D. FoUmer 156 

First Steamboat Trial Trip Up the Missouri 

By Albert Watkins 162 

Origin of Olatha, Nebraska 

By Cicero L. Bristol 205 

The Semi-Precious Stones of Webster, Nuckolls and Franklin 
Counties, Nebraska 

By Rev. Dennis G. Fitzgerald 209 

Historical Sketch of Cheyenne County, Nebraska 

By Albert Watkins 218 

Organization of the Counties op Kearney, Franklin, Harlan 
AND Phelps 
By Albert Watkins 228 



CO'NTENTS— Continued 

PAGE 

Annual Address of John Lee Webster, President, 1913 . . . 232 

Adventures on the Plains, 1865-67 

By Dennis Farrell 247 

An Indian Raid of 1867 

By John R. Campbell 259 

How Shall the Indian Be Treated Historically 

By Harry L. Keefe 263 

Importance of the Study of Local History 

By James E. Le Rossignol 285 

History 

By Right Reverend J. Henry Tihen 293 

The Pathfinders, the Historic Background of Western 
Civilization 
By Heman C. Smith 300 

An Interesting Historical Document 

By Albert Watkirs 308 

Memorabiua — Gen, G. M. Dodge 

By Albert Watkins 310 

A Study in the Ethnobotany of the Omaha Indians 

By Melvin Randolph Gilmore 314 

Some Native Nebraska Plants With Their Uses by the Dakota 

By Melvin Randolph Gilmore 358 



VI 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Portrait — John Lee Webster Frontispiece 

George Winslow. Original Marker at Winslow Grave. Present 

Monument at Winslow Grave 110 

The Steamer Yellowstone on April 19, 1833 131 

Snags (Sunken Trees) on the Missouri ... 199 



vu 



THE WORK OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Annual Address of John Lee Webster, President, 1912 

In the preparation of what I am about to say in this 
address, I had in mind a broader purpose than merely inter- 
esting the members of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society in the wealth of its possessions and the work it is 
doing. I wish as much as possible to interest all the people 
of the state in the variety and character of the material 
that has been collected and is preserved in the museum and 
in the extent and scope of the reference library of the 
society. I wished to create, if I could, in the minds of the 
people a desire to visit our rooms and to look at what we 
have. I hoped to induce the state to be sufficiently liberal 
in its appropriations to properly maintain and house these 
priceless records of its history. 

History, of all studies, "contains the greatest amount 
of instructions and of principles and of ideas in the facts 
which it relates." "Humanity, viewed as a whole, is the 
most interesting subject for man." " Every man that comes 
into the world should make himself acquainted with the 
place he occupies in the order of time, the increasing or 
decreasing of civilization, age by age." The picture of 
humanity should be painted with broad strokes, as a Turner 
would use the brush, for the eyes of the people to see and 
enjoy it. History develops thought because it contains the 
elements of reflection, and by this process it develops con- 
science in the people. These are but glimpses of some of 
the primary purposes of state historical societies which make 
them worthy of state support and of the patronage of the 
people. 
2 (1) 



2 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

What Shakespeare said of the players might appro- 
priately be said of the weekly and daily newspapers. They 
are the journals and diaries of the political, social, and 
business events of the time. In social science research the 
investigator goes to the newspapers to find the manner in 
which the people lived, their habits of life, the equipment 
of the social household, the schools of instruction, the 
growth of villages and towns, the advancement in local 
municipal government. They contain substantially the 
only record we have of the lives and hardships, the bravery, 
daring and adventures of the early pioneers. 

The State Historical Society has on its shelves more 
than four thousand bound volumes of newspapers. They 
have a value which, to the investigator of the events of the 
past, cannot be overestimated. To the social science 
teacher, and to the historian, they furnish the elementary 
data and are the primary source of information. They will 
be all the more valuable a hundred years from now, and 
they will be prized still more highly a thousand years hence. 

If it were possible to discover such a storehouse of in- 
formation in the ruins of Babylon or Nineveh or Pompeii 
as these newspaper files of the society contain of the present 
times, all the civilized nations would be anxious for their 
possession, the reading world would wish every page trans- 
lated into their respective languages, and the wealthy 
museums and historical societies would offer fabulous prices 
for their purchase. 

It is but natural for us to have a curiosity to know what 
manner of men may have peopled these prairies hundreds, 
yes, thousands of years ago. What men were here on these 
prairies in the age when the Duke of Normandy invaded 
England? What men were here, and what were they doing, 
and what was their manner of living, in the age when Charle- 
magne achieved his greatest conquests and became the 
despotic ruler of all Europe? Yes, more, what may have 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 3 

been the character of the people who roamed over these 
prairies, now comprising our state of Nebraska, in the days 
of old when the Pharaohs ruled over Egypt, or when the 
pjrramids were built? 

In the museum of the society there are some five 
thousand different specimens of stone implements, includ- 
ing stone axes, stone war clubs, household and mechanical 
utensils, and samples of pottery. Many of these were made 
by a people who lived at a time antedating any history we 
have of any of the Indian tribes of which we have any 
knowledge. How old may be some of these antique speci- 
mens and relics? No man knows. Centuries and centuries 
may have gone by since some of them were made. 

We know but little of these prehistoric people; but in 
a large number of specimens of stone implements stored in 
our museum there may be traced evidences that they pos- 
sessed some considerable degree of skill in workmanship. 
It is as fascinating to speculate on these ancient races who 
inhabited our wide domain of prairie in those olden days, 
whether nomads, barbarians, or Indians, as is the building 
of "airy castles in Spain." Their names are lost. Their 
language is lost. The time of their existence vague. They 
have vanished into the oblivion of the past. 

The questions still come back to us, "Whence came I? 
Whither am I going? " And again, " What is man, that thou 
art mindful of him?" Looking at these queries in the light 
of nature and from the pages of history, they apply equally 
to the ancient man of the prairies, whether red or brown, 
civilized or savage. In answer to these queries, to satisfy 
our curiosity, to please our indulgence in speculation, and 
to quicken our spirit for investigation, we are intensely 
interested in the examination of these specimens of stone 
implements which are preserved as a part of the property 
of the society for the general benefit of the people of the 
state. 



4 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

It is inconceivable that there ever was a time, however 
remote, when these prairies did not know of the tread of 
man. That they left no monuments or ruined castles does 
not discredit their existence; for neither did the ancient or 
the modern people who lived as nomads on the deserts of 
Africa, yet that land has been the home of wandering Moors 
and Arabs beyond the era of the world's earliest history. 

Some of these stone implements are rough in surface, 
as chipped from the ledges, similar to those which have 
been found among the human relics of the Cave Dwellers 
in Europe which followed soon after the age of the glaciers, 
a time so remote in the world's history that only geologists 
can speculate as to the degree of their antiquity. 

Rough arrowheads and spearheads mark the beginning 
of the savage man's faculty of invention. It has been sup- 
posed that the rough and crude arrowheads and spearheads 
preceded the use of coarsely chipped and unpolished stone 
hammers, stone hatchets and stone knives. It may have 
taken ages or centuries before this advancement in skill 
or design was acquired by these men of little intellect. 
This has been shown by archaeological discoveries in 
Europe, and why is it not equally true in America? 

As centuries went by, these ignorant people acquired 
a sense of beauty and likewise a development in the arts 
and invention, when the rough stone implements gave way 
to polished war clubs and polished knives and polished house- 
hold implements. The men and women began to clothe 
themselves with skins which had been dressed with bone 
scrapers and cut and shaped with stone implements, and 
sewed together with threads of sinew by the use of needles 
of bone. There came into use household pottery, which in 
a great measure superseded the stone household utensils. 
As the people first lived in caves there followed the ambition 
to have homes above ground, so there came the tepees, 
wigwams, tents and lodges. 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 5 

Many specimens of all of the articles and utensils 
which I have mentioned are found in the museum of our 
society. They are the historic evidences of development 
from the earliest primitive man who inhabited our prairies, 
down to the American Indian of the present day, and per- 
haps are the best and only evidence we have of the periods 
of advancement from the prehistoric age to the coming of 
the white man. 

Professor Agassiz said: "America is the first-born 
among the continents. Hers was the first dry land lifted 
out of the waters. Hers the first shore washed by the ocean 
that enveloped all the earth besides." If this be true, evi- 
dence may yet be forthcoming that will establish the fact 
that man is as old as the continent and that our prairies 
may have been the home of the human race as early as any 
other place in the world. 

So the curios — or many of them — found in our museum 
may be the possible human relics of a primeval race rather 
than that of the modern Indian; and this may also prove 
to be true of many of the chipped and unpolished arrow- 
heads and of the rough and crude stone implements. 

If here, as elsewhere, there were races more ancient 
than has hitherto been supposed, we can no longer look upon 
the western hemisphere as solitary and unpeopled, unknown 
and useless to man, until he, grown old in the east, was 
numerous enough and far enough advanced in intelligence 
and wants to wander abroad upon the face of the earth in 
search of a new home. 

Who now knows how great a story of the human race 
may yet be evolved from these thousands of stone imple- 
ments and stone arrowheads in the possession of the society? 
They are of great value now, but in the future they may 
become priceless as the basis for scientific knowledge, and 
the state should preserve them for the future of mankind, 
no matter how great the cost. 



6 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

We are all familiar, in a general way, with the high 
degree of civilization of the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish 
conquest. But prior to the Aztecs, Mexico was inhabited 
by another race of people commonly known as the Toltecs, 
and who are supposed to have built the great structures 
which are now known as the ruins of Mitla. 

According to Brasseur de Bourbourg, as quoted in 
Baldwin's Ancient America, there is historic data of the 
existence of the Toltecs as far back as 955 B. C. That same 
authority assumes that the Toltecs were either the de- 
scendants of, or were the successors of the mound builders 
of the Ohio and Mississippi valleys, and which people in- 
habited the territory extending westward into what is now 
Missouri and Iowa. Again we see that it would be no wild 
conjecture to believe that the Toltecs were visitors to our 
prairie lands in that same ancient period. 

I have been led into this digression because all of us, 
men, women and children alike, the cultivators of the farms, 
as well as inhabitants of the cities, the laborers and mechan- 
ics, as well as professional and business men, have a natural, 
inherent and almost unconquerable curiosity to know how 
far back through the cycle of time the human race may have 
been the possessors and occupants of the soil which makes 
up the acreage of the state of Nebraska. 

Many white men and many historical writers have 
accepted as a truth the saying that the Indians were a de- 
graded, brutal race of savages, whom it was the will of 
God should perish at the approach of civihzation. 

Bishop Whipple more correctly stated the truth when 
he said: "The North American Indian is the noblest type 
of a heathen man on the earth. He recognizes a great 
spirit. He believes in immortality; he has a quick intellect ; 
he is a clear thinker; he is brave and fearless, and until be- 
trayed he is true to his plighted faith. He has a passionate 
love for his children, and counts it joy to die for his people." 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 7 

Who has ever gazed upon a chiseled marble, or bronze 
figure of an Indian chieftain and did not recognize in the 
features and physique a remarkable strength of will and 
great force of character? Who was not impressed with 
its dignity in expression and commanding presence? The 
remaining tribes are but remnants, in many cases degraded 
remnants of a fast fading and disappearing race of people 
who were the original owners and possessors of this entire 
country. 

A writer of some merit, in describing the prairies as they 
extend westward from the Missouri river toward the moun- 
tains, said there was a time when they were under a mantle 
of idle silence, when these plains were treeless and water- 
less, when dead epochs might haunt them, and that in that 
bit of the early world they were "earth's virgin spaces." 

"Against this sweeping background the Indian loomed, 
ruler of a kingdom whose borders faded into the sky. He 
stood, a blanketed figure, watching the flight of birds across 
the blue; he rode, a painted savage, where the cloud-shadows 
blotted the plain and the smoke of his lodge rose over the 
curve of the earth. Here tribe had fought with tribe; old 
scores had been wiped out till the grass was damp with blood; 
wars of extermination had raged. Here the migrating 
villagers made a moving streak of color like a bright patch 
on a map where there were no boundaries, no mountains, 
and but one gleaming thread of water. In the quietness of 
evening the pointed tops of the tepees shone dark against 
the sky, the blur of smoke tarnishing the glow in the West. 
When the darkness came the stars shone on this spot of life 
in the wilderness, circled with the howling of wolves." 

The passing away of the red man presents a pathetic 
incident in the annals of time. His language will soon be 
lost, never to be spoken again. His history in his untutored 
age was not preserved and can never be written. In the 
museum of our society there is collected and arranged 
everything of interest that it has been possible to obtain 
relating to our native Indian tribes, of their curios, of their 



8 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

relics, of their implements, of their utensils, of their fabrics, 
of their habits, of their manner of dress, of their domestic 
life and of their historical traditions. 

To-day archaeologists and ethnologists are seeking 
with diligence to recover and preserve for our general infor- 
mation everything that it is possible to discover of other 
races of people who inhabited the earth in the centuries 
of the dim past, of races with whom the American people 
sustain no kinship or direct relationship. Do we not owe 
a greater obligation to the memory of the Indian tribes 
who were once the owners and the possessors of these lands, 
the inhabitants of the prairies which now are ours? That 
which was theirs has become our rich inheritance. We have 
borrowed the names of these Indian tribes and bestowed 
them upon our counties and towns and cities. Yet we 
seldom stop in the hurry of our march in business progress 
to give a thought to their existence or to erect memorials 
in their memory. 

It would be highly creditable to the citizens of Pawnee 
county if they should cause to be erected in the public 
square of Pawnee City a monument in memory of Pita 
Lesharu, who was a head chief of the Pawnee Indians. It 
should represent him as he was in life, with his commanding 
presence, his expressive features and dressed in his most 
elaborate costume, for he was a man who delighted in his 
personal appearance. The figure should stand upon a high 
pedestal, and drooping down behind him the favorite eagle 
feathers, a part of his head-dress, which was the tribal mark 
of his people. As he was the white man's friend, there should 
be carved on granite base the words frequently spoken by 
him: "The White Man I Love." 

In the museum of our society there are richly em- 
broidered garments made from buffalo skins, decorated with 
beads and porcupine quills and richly ornamented with 
colored paintings. These garments would now be more 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 9 

expensive to make, or to purchase, than the modern ball 
gown from a Parisian model house, yet these gowns were 
worn by the wife and daughter of the Ogalala Sioux chieftain, 
Red Cloud. Why should not Sioux county, which takes the 
name of his tribe, erect a statue of monumental size in 
memory of that great historic war chieftain, or, failing 
that, to erect a memorial to Spotted Tail, the hereditary 
chief of the Brule, who General Crook, in 1876, crowned 
"King of the Sioux?" 

Cheyenne county, to keep in remembrance the fact 
that its name is borrowed from an Indian tribe, should erect 
some proper memorial in memory of Chief Wolf Robe of 
the Cheyenne. The town of Arapaho should have a mem- 
orial to Chief Red Bear. The citizens of Otoe county should 
erect in its chief citj^ a monument that would be typical of 
the chieftains of the Otoe tribe of Indians. 

Lastly, but not least of all, does not the city of Omaha 
owe it to herself, in generous recognition of the natural pride 
her citizens feel in her borrowed name, to erect on some 
prominent site a heroic sized bronze equestrian statue of 
Wazhinga Saba (Black Bird), the earliest historic chief tain 
of the Omaha? This statue should represent him as he 
frequently appeared in life and as he was buried by direc- 
tions which he had given to his faithful followers, sitting on 
his favorite war horse, with one hand uplifted shading his 
eyes, gazing out toward the waters of the Missouri river 
watching for the coming of the white men. 

In the rooms of the society are diaries and journals of 
the earliest pioneers of Nebraska, and hundreds of articles 
which were used by these early settlers. There are tools 
that were used in the building of the first schoolhouses. 
There are parts of lumber from the earliest cabins. There 
are household utensils that were used in adobe homes upon 
the prairie. There are portraits of distinguished pioneers 
in pastel, crayon, and oil. In this museum is a collection of 



10 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

materials which give us a better history of the pioneers 
than has ever been written regarding them. The state owes 
a duty to the memory of its pioneers not only to maintain, 
but to enlarge this collection. In later ages it will be con- 
ceded that these pioneers were to Nebraska what the 
pilgrim fathers were to New England and what the cavaliers 
were to Virginia. 

They were a daring and intrepid class of men who took 
possession of these prairies from the Missouri river to the 
mountains. In their footsteps have followed the vast tide 
of emigration which has built up our cities, which has es- 
tabhshed our schools and colleges and universities and given 
us a population of more than a million and a quarter of 
people. The state of Nebraska owes it to itself to preserve 
in the archives of the Historical Society every record of the 
adventures and of the conquests of these pioneers upon 
the prairies and the uplands of our state. 

"The call of the West was a siren song in the ears of 
these pioneers. Their forefathers had moved from the old 
countries across the seas, from the elm-shaded towns of 
New England, from the unkempt villages that advanced 
into the virgin lands by the Great Lakes, from the peace 
and plenty of the splendid South. Year by year they had 
pushed the frontier westward, pricked onward by a ceaseless 
unrest, 'the old land hunger' that never was appeased. 
The forests rang to the stroke of their ax. The slow, un- 
troubled rivers of the wilderness parted to the plowing 
wheels of their unwieldy wagons. Their voices went before 
them into places where nature has kept unbroken her vast g 
and ponderous silence." co 

These pioneers changed this 'immense region from its lo 
desolation and ban-enness to a land where is now heard to 

CNI 

the voice of human gladness. Their conquest was the con- '^ 

CO 

quest of the virgin soil of the prairies, and their political eg 
achievement was the laying of the foundations of a new state. *" 

Patriotism is the life and support of our nation, and 
without history we would not have patriotism, for patriotism 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 11 

has its birthright in the spirit of history. It is a sentiment 
which has its inception in a reverence for the old historic 
beginnings. Blot from memory the historic knowledge of 
the past and we would not know the meaning of the word 
patriotism. 

In the museum there is a collection of objects, relics 
and curios, each one of which is a silent messenger telling 
a story of the revolutionary period, as Homer sang in song 
the siege of Troy in the lines of the Iliad. Perry's battle on 
Lake Erie is one of the most vivid historic events in the 
war of 1812. In the museum is a drum that was in that 
battle, and its martial music may have encouraged the 
men as the conflict went on to its ultimate victory. 

Volumes have been written about the hardships and 
travels of the emigrants crossing the prairies as they threaded 
their way westward across the plains and along the banks 
of the Platte river. The waving of the stars and stripes from 
the flag-staff at Fort Kearny was the most cheerful sight 
that came to the visions of the tired men and women as 
they traveled onward toward Oregon. In the museum is 
a part of that old flagstaff. 

The relics of the civil war which are collected in the 
museum must appeal to the pride of every Grand Army 
man and deeply touch the sympathies of all our citizens 
who had friends or relatives in that military service. In 
the museum there is the original roster of the First Nebraska 
volunteers. There is a flag carried by the Nebraska troops 
in their first battles of the civil war. There are samples 
of uniforms and firearms. There are swords which were 
carried by distinguished Nebraska commanders in the civil 
war. There hangs in a case a sword worn by that eminent 
Nebraska citizen, who was at one time governor, at one 
time United States senator, a statesman, and a soldier, 
Major General John M. Thayer. 



12 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

There is a piece of a tree taken from the battle-field 
of Chickamauga, filled with gunshot and pieces of shell. 
To the old soldier of Chickamauga it tells the story of that 
wonderful battle in which about one hundred thousand 
soldiers were engaged and in which the loss was about 
thirty-five thousand. It was of this battle that General 
Hill of the Confederate army said: "But it seems to me 
that the elan of the southern soldier was never seen after 
Chickamauga. The brilliant dash which had distinguished 
him was gone forever. He was too intelligent not to know 
that the cutting in two of Georgia meant death to all his 
hopes. He fought stoutly to the last, but, after Chicka- 
mauga, with the sullenness of despair and without the 
enthusiasm of hope." If that piece of tree in the museum 
could rise up and talk, it could tell such a thrilling story of 
the fierceness of the battle, and of the bravery and daring 
of the men of both the blue and the gray, that would surpass 
anything that has ever been written of the history of that 
battle and which would make material for a memorial day 
address superior to the speech of any orator. 

These military and patriotic relics stimulate our in- 
terest and sharpen our recollection of the historical times 
with which they are associated. They intensify and accen- 
tuate the intellectual and spiritual growth of our people, 
just as sculpture and art are the culmination of historical 
sequences. 

There are hundreds of autograph letters from the 
times of Charles I of England to the expedition of Lewis 
and Clark, and down to the life of our own most distinguished 
citizens. They bring to us messages through years of time 
and across boundless space. They excel the Marconi 
system; for they do more than repeat words and deliver 
messages. They bring back to memory all that we have 
ever heard and all that we have ever read of the person 
whose hand penned the signature. As we look at the letter 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 13 

it seems as if we could hear the voice of the writer speak 
to us. As we study the writing we can see the man step 
out of the misty past and walk into our presence, a living, 
moving being. 

In the basement of the new building (for want of a 
better place to exhibit them) are a thousand specimens of 
Nebraska birds and animals. There are beavers cutting 
down trees to build dams across the creeks and rivers, 
exhibiting a» degree of skill and judgment that is almost 
human. There are muskrats building their winter houses. 
There are wild game, and cranes, and eagles, and a rare 
specimen of the blue heron. There are many tiny warblers, 
dressed in a hundred brilliant colors, which chirp and 
twitter confidingly overhead. There are sandpipers bowing 
and teetering in the friendliest manner. There is the song 
sparrow, which sings happily through sunshine and through 
rain, sometimes mentioned as the winged spirit of cheerful- 
ness and contentment and whose songs are bubbling over 
with irrepressible glee. There is the blue jay, which sits 
high up in the withered cottonwood tree calling to its mate 
in a tone of affected sweetness. And there is the kingfisher, 
with his ruffled crest, which sits in solitary pride on the 
end of a branch of a tree. There is the robin with its white 
flecked throat and ruddy sienna breast, and a sparkle in 
its eye as it pours forth its whole soul in sweet cheery 
melody. There are many tiny, ruby-crowned brilliant birds 
that twitter among the trees, breaking occasionally into 
reckless song fantasia. There are garrulous beautiful tree 
sparrows, and the noisy blue jay, and woodpeckers with 
their crimson crests. 

There are more than four hundred varieties of birds 
found within the state which furnish music in the morning 
hours. There is the bluebird with cerulean plumes, of which 
Poet Rexford broke into rhapsody: 



14 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

"Winged lute that we call a bluebird, you blend in a silver 
strain 

The sound of the laughing waters, the patter of spring's 
sweet rain. 

The voice of the winds, the sunshine, and fragrance of blos- 
soming things; 

Ah, you are an April poem that God has dowered with 
wings." 

When walking through our newly grown Nebraska 
woodlands in the springtime, there may always be heard 
the tinkle or spray of bell-like tones coming down from 
the branches where the singers are poised unseen, which 
is "like walking through a shower of melody." And then 
there are the migrating birds with taste and fancy like 
our human travelers that spend their winters in the warm 
climates of the South. There are those that fly away to 
the high altitudes of the mountains, and to the colder 
regions of the North to escape the summer's hot sunshine. 
While some are gone upon their long journeys, others come 
to visit with us. 

" 'Tis always morning somewhere, and above 
The awakened continents, from shore to shore, 
Somewhere the birds are singing evermore." 

The nations of Europe collect their jewels and precious 
works of art and place them in fireproof permanent struct- 
ures where not only their own people but the visitors of the 
world may have the pleasure of seeing them. The vast 
quantity of curios and relics and other materials in the pos- 
session of our society are the "jewels and precious works 
of art" of our state. Nebraska should do what her sister 
states are doing, erect a memorial hall and state historical 
building, which should be commodious enough to answer 
all requirements, and of an architectural design which should 
be pleasing to the sight and a credit to the people. 

It was said of the citizens of Athens in the days of 
their highest intellectual attainments, that they could pass 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 15 

judgment upon the odes of Pindar, the tragedies of Soph- 
ocles, and the philosophy of Plato, because they had been 
privileged in childhood to study the history of Greece and 
to look upon the paintings of their greatest artists, which 
were hung upon the walls, and the exquisite sculpture work 
of Phidias which stood in the corridors of the Parthenon. 
So I would have placed in this Nebraska state historical 
building statues of the prominent men who have made 
Nebraska history. I would have in its corridors and on its 
walls works of art. I would have in its architecture imposing 
grandeur, and in its decorations, those things that appeal 
to the cultured taste of Nebraska people. 



HISTORICAL SKETCH OF SOUTHWESTERN 
NEBRASKA 

By John F. Cordeal 

[Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January 10, 1912.] 

It is my purpose to briefly outline the history of south- 
western Nebraska; and, as history is defined to be the true 
story of that which is known to have occurred, I shall read 
what I have to say so that if I shall say what is not true, I 
will not be in a position to equivocate when those who are 
better informed than I am attempt to correct my errors. 
In recounting the events of the past, our highest aim should 
be accuracy, and, as far as possible, I have gathered my 
material from original sources. 

If, at times, I stray beyond the boundaries of Nebraska, 
I do so merely because it seems necessary to an adequate 
comprehension of the subject. When some of the events 
of which I shall speak happened there was no Nebraska; 
when a part of them happened there was not even a United 
States; and, in any event, our state boundaries are but 
arbitrary lines. Save these incidental digressions, my story 
shall be confined to events which occurred, for the most 
part, in the valley of the Republican river, west of the 
one hundredth meridian. 

CORONADO 

If Coronado is correct in his assumption that in 1541 
he crossed the fortieth parallel of latitude, then he was 
the first white man to set foot upon the soil of Nebraska. 
Whether he did or not, we do not know. We have his asser- 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 17 

tion for it that he was here^; but modern authority is not 
agreed on the question, and as we are dealing with facts, 
the doubt that has been raised should render us cautious 
about accepting the explorer's uncorroborated statement. 
Perhaps future investigations will clear away our uncer- 
tainties. The journey of Coronado and his band, beginning 
in Mexico and terminating somewhere on the trans-Missouri 
plains and consuming nearly two years of time, is without par- 
allel in the annals of exploration. We cannot even form any 
conception of the difficulties that it involved; and, despite 
the motives that animated the leader and his followers, we 
are bound to yield them the tribute of our respect. If, as 



1 Coronado said that Quivira, " Where I have reached it, is in the 40th 
degree"; but F. W. Hodge, of the Bureau of American Ethnology, an 
acknowledged authority on the Coronado expedition, points out that the 
common error in determining latitude in the sixteenth century was about 
two degrees,. According to Hodge, Quivira where Coronado said he 
reached it was in fact in the 38th degree. 

The following letter to the editor, dated at Washington, February 
5, 1914, throws light on this interesting, though insoluble, and so fortunately, 
not very important question: 

"Answering your letter of February 2 I beg leave to say that the de- 
termination of the fact that the Spanish explorers were almost invariably 
two degrees out of the way in estimating latitudes was reached after the 
comparison of various early narrations and maps. I cannot explain why the 
error should have been so persistent, except, of course, that it resulted from 
the crude means at the disposal of the early explorers, although this would 
hardly account for the almost uniform exaggeration of two degrees. 

"Regarding my statement as to the trend of the evidence that Cor- 
onado did not enter Nebraska, you will observe from the chronicles of the 
expedition, that, after reaching Quivira, Coronado sent parties in various 
directions, one or more of which may have entered Nebraska, but there is 
no positive assertion that Harahey was visited, although Tatarrash (Tatar- 
rax) was sent for by Coronado and visited the latter. 

"I have found no reason to change my views on the above points 
since writing the account of Coronado's route in Brower's 'Harahey.' I 
should have been glad if the white man's history of Nebraska could have 
been traced definitely to 1541, but the only basis for this is the statement of 
the visit of the Harahey (Pawnee) Chief Tatarrash to Coronado while he 
was apparently in Kansas. 

Yours very truly, 

F. W. Hodge, 
Ethnologist-in-Charge." — (Ed.) 

3 



18 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

has been said, Coronado is right, and recent critics are wrong, 
then southwestern Nebraska was known to white men within 
a half century after the discovery of America, sixty-six years 
before the settlement of Jamestown, sixty-eight years before 
the Half Moon sailed up the Hudson river, and eighty years 
before the pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth Rock. 

MALLET BROTHERS 

In 1739, or nearly two centuries after Coronado's 
expedition had penetrated to the heart of the North Ameri- 
can continent, the Mallet brothers, two French explorers, 
attempted to reach Santa Fe by way of the Missouri and 
the Platte rivers. Realizing when they reached the forks 
of the Platte river that further pursuit of their course would 
not take them to their destination, they started in a south- 
westerly direction across the prairies, following, it is said, 
a more or less well defined trail that had been made by 
the Indian tribes in their migrations northward and south- 
ward. They named the streams and described the country 
through which they passed with some minuteness. When 
the opportunity comes to give closer attention to their 
records perhaps we may be able to determine, with reason- 
able certainty, the route they followed. That their way 
took them across the country embraced within the limits 
of this sketch, there can be little doubt; so that if it shall be 
decided, eventually, that southwestern Nebraska was not 
visited by Coronado, we have left the important fact that 
this section of the state was seen by white men before the 
revolutionary war.^ 

FREMONT 

Again a century elapsed before civilized men, save, 
possibly, French Canadian trappers, came to this region. 



2 As the writer hints, knowledge of this expedition is uncertain and 
gauzy — Ed. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 19 

In 1842 John C. Fremont followed the Platte river to its 
sources. In 1843 he started with a large party to ascend 
the Kansas river. Becoming impatient at the slow progress 
of his expedition, he pushed ahead with a small detachment. 
Taking a northwesterly direction, he crossed what is now the 
boundary line between Kansas and Nebraska, a few miles 
east of the southwest corner of this state. On the evening 
of the 25th of June he camped a short distance from the 
main Republican on a little creek, doubtless the Driftwood. 
Shortly after leaving the encampment, on the morning of the 
26th, he remarks that the nature of the country had entirely 
changed. Instead of the smooth, high ridges, over which 
they had been traveling, sand-hills swelled around them, and 
vegetation peculiar to a sandy soil appeared. 

When they reached the Republican river, they found 
that here its shallow waters flowed over a sandy bed between 
treeless banks, beyond which, to the horizon, rolled the 
sand-hills, clad with billowing grasses, and beautiful with 
flowers. Here the yucca, the cactus, the sagebrush and 
the poppy grew. Among the hills, tiny brooks, fed by 
never failing springs, threaded their way. Except for iso- 
lated groves that the fires had left, the land was untimbered. 
In places out-croppings of magnesia gave to limited areas an 
aspect almost Alpine. In places, where trampling hoofs 
had worn the grass, the wind had blown the sand away, 
leaving great basins, in which stood masses of clay that had 
been sculptured into fantastic forms. Around the ponds, 
formed by the rains, they found excellent pasture for their 
horses. Buffaloes in countless numbers were scattered 
over the country. 

For two or three days Fremont and his men traveled 
in Nebraska territory. Crossing the line into what is now 
Colorado, they continued their journey, finally reaching 
the Platte river. 



20 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
THE INDIAN TRIBES 

None of these explorers mentions the Indians, and yet 
we know the Indians must, at times, have frequented this 
country in large numbers, and that their villages were 
scattered along the streams. The Pawnee, who may be 
called the aboriginal Nebraskans, were divided into two 
clans, called the Grand Pawnee and the Republican Pawnee, 
the habitat of the latter being the Republican valley. The 
Sioux occupied western Nebraska north of the North 
Platte. The southwestern section of the state, includ- 
ing Dundy and Chase counties, together with the 
high plains of eastern Colorado, were occupied by the 
Arapaho and the Cheyenne, who, from a time antedating 
the coming of the white men, held the headwaters of the 
Republican and its largest western tributary, the French- 
man, against the aggressions of all other tribes. While we 
lack detailed information in regard to the encounters that 
unquestionably took place in this locality among the natives, 
we know this borderland was the scene of many conflicts; 
that incursions were made by war parties from each tribe 
into the territory claimed by the others; and that these 
invasions were repelled. 

No one who is familiar with the grassy, stream-threaded 
valleys of southwestern Nebraska can wonder that they 
were guarded jealously by the people who asserted posses- 
sory rights over them. They were the haunts of the wild 
game that swarmed on the prairies, which made them of 
value to a people who secured their living from the land. 
Here it was the buffaloes made their last stand, and here 
to-day antelopes may sometimes be found grazing in the 
meadows. 

Before the advent of railroads, southwestern Nebraska 
was out of the usual course of travel. The Oregon and 
California trails to the north and the Smoky Hill route to 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 21 

the south were the great highways between east and west, 
while the RepubHcan valley, being shunned by white men, 
was a refuge for the Indians when they were too closely 
pressed by the troops. This battle ground of the people 
who preceded us in its occupancy is strewn with the imple- 
ments of peace and war. After every rain, arrowheads 
may be found in the cultivated fields, and the winds uncover 
articles once used by members of a race that is gone. What 
stories these relics might tell if they but had the faculty 
of speech! 

BATTLE OF AUGUST 6, 1860 

For several years prior to the beginning of the civil 
war, bands of Kiowa and Comanche Indians had been rang- 
ing over the plains, slaughtering cattle, stealing horses, 
burning ranches and killing men. In the summer of 1860 
the government, determined to put an end to these atroci- 
ties, sent a detachment of troops, under the command of 
Captain Sturgis, in pursuit of the savages. The campaign, 
which necessitated a march from south to north across the 
state of Kansas, terminated on the 6th day of August, 
1860, in an engagement at a place that has not yet been, 
if indeed, it can ever be, more definitely located than 
"near the Republican fork," north of Beaver creek. 

Six companies of troops participated, and a number of 
Indian scouts accompanied the soldiers. The command 
started from the Arkansas river July 28th, and all but 
overtook the Indians on the morning of August 3d, on the 
banks of the Solomon river, in Kansas. Here they found 
large quantities of buffalo meat and hides and a number 
of lodge poles, which had been abandoned by the Indians 
in their hurried flight. The troops, wearied with a march 
of fifty miles in the preceding twenty-four hours, camped 
for the day and started north again about dark. Several 
times during the next two days they came upon small bands 
of Indians, with whom they skirmished; but they did not 



22 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

encounter the main body of the savages until the morning 
of the 6th. Soon after the troops left the camp on Beaver 
creek, a party of thirty or forty Indians appeared about 
a mile ahead of them. Lieutenant Fish was detailed with 
twenty men, on picked horses, to overtake the Indians if 
possible, and Lieutenant Ingraham followed with the 
advanced guard, with orders to keep in sight of Fish and go 
to his support if necessary. 

The pursuit was conducted with great energy, but after 
having been continued for eight miles, over a country 
intersected by ravines, no gain had been made upon the 
savages. About eleven o'clock in the morning the troops 
found it necessary to cross a small stream which they had 
been following; and, owing to the density of the timber 
along this stream and the belief that a large body of Indians 
was nearby, every precaution was taken, in crossing the 
wagons, to guard against surprise. Lieutenant Ingraham 
was ordered to reconnoiter the timber in the vicinity of the 
crossing, Lieutenant Stockton deployed his company to 
the front, as skirmishers, and the troopers stood ready to 
mount at the word of command. During the crossing of the 
creek, the Indian scouts with the troops became entangled 
with the hostile Indians, and Lieutenant Stockton went to 
their assistance. 

The number of Indians rapidly increased. A level 
plain, crossed by ravines, lay in front of the troops, and 
behind them was the timbered stream. Beyond the plain 
a range of low hills stretched parallel with the valley. From 
every draw and pocket the Indians, from six hundred to 
eight hundred in number, swarmed into the plain, appar- 
ently in a flank movement, while Captain Carr intended 
to attack in front. The entire command galloped for- 
ward, but before it reached the Indians they began to 
give way. Though the soldiers put their jaded horses to 
their topmost speed, the fresh ponies of the Indians were 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 23 

able to gain on their pursuers, though followed for fifteen 
miles. The long-range arms of the soldiers were, however, 
effective. The Indians crossed the Republican river and 
scattered among the hills on the north side, and further 
pursuit was impracticable. Twenty-nine of them were 
killed, and an unknown number were wounded in the en- 
counter. No fatalities were reported by their antagonists.^ 

THE INDIAN WAR OF 1865 

During the war of the rebellion, the Indians, taking 
advantage of the diversion of the small garrisons of the 
plains to the South, and incited to hostility by Confederate 
sympathizers, were very troublesome on the plains of 
Nebraska. To protect the frontier and the ''pilgrims," 
as the emigrants were called, detachments of soldiers were 
stationed at a number of places along the overland trails. 
Forts were established in the Platte valley, at intervals of 
a few miles, and squads of soldiers patrolled the most fre- 
quented routes of travel. Notwithstanding these pre- 
cautions, however, the Indians committed many depreda- 
tions on outl3dng ranches and the smaller parties of travelers . 

On the 29th day of November, 1864, occurred what has 
been termed the Chivington massacre, at Sand Creek, 
Colorado, in which the troops won a signal victory over the 
Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians.^ It was believed that 



* A full account of this expedition by its commander, Captain S. D. 
Sturgis, of the First cavalry, dated Fort Kearny, August 12, 1860, is pub- 
lished in the report of the secretary of war for 1860 — Senate Documents 2d 
Session 36th Congress, v. 2, p. 19, It appears that the boggy stream the 
command crossed on the day of the battle was a branch of Whelan's (Beaver) 
Creek. The fatalities of the attacking force were two friendly Indians killed, 
three officers wounded, and one missing. Companies A, B, C, D, E, and I 
composed the command. The fact that the Indians were pursued fifteen 
miles is some indication that the battle-field is in the southwesterly part of 
Red Willow county, since the Beaver and the Republican approach each 
other too closely east of that vicinity to fit the description. — Ed. 

* This shocking tragedy of the great Indian war which was precipitated 
in 1864 occurred about one hundred and seventy-five miles southeast of 



24 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

this punishment would put a stop to further hostihties by 
these two tribes; but on the 7th of January, 1865, the In- 
dians, to the number of more than one thousand, appeared 
suddenly before Fort Julesburg.^ In the battle that ensued, 
which continued for several hours, fourteen of the soldiers 
were killed, while the Indians are known to have lost at 
least fifty-six. After this engagement, the Indians dis- 
appeared from the vicinity of Fort Julesburg, and as it was 
reported they had gone down into the Republican valley 



Denver. It was denounced in severest language by officers of the depart- 
ment of the interior. N. G. Taylor, member of a special commission 
appointed to investigate the Indian troubles, called it, in his report, "the 
horrible Sand Creek massacre," and a "cold-blooded butchery of women 
and children, disarmed warriors and old men"; and General John B. San- 
born, member of a commission appointed by the president of the United 
States February 18, 1867, to investigate the causes of the incessant Indian 
hostilities, denounced the Sand Creek butchery still more severely. He said 
that the commanding officer of the post [Fort Lyon] guaranteed them pro- 
tection, designated a place for them to encamp on Sand Creek while the 
chiefs and young men were absent to bring in the hostiles and procure food 
for their people, and gave them a United States flag to indicate their friend- 
ship and insure their protection. While they were thus encamped and at a 
moment of their feeling of greatest security, United States troops were seen 
approaching, presumed by them to be on a friendly mission. White Ante- 
lope, who had made himself a servant of the whites on the plains, stepped out 
apparently to greet and welcome the troops, but was shot down like a dog 
and the massacre of women and children commenced. "Some twelve old 
men and about one hundred and fifty women and children were put to death 
by the troops. Helpless infancy and decrepit age shared the same fate. 
Women were scalped, disemboweled, and unseemly parts cut from their 
places and borne off on the pommels and saddles or bridles of horses." 
(These denunciations were copied from my "History of the Indian War on 
the Plains from 1864 to Final Peace," pages 20 and 54, and footnote 2, 
ms. Nebraska State Historical Society.) 

The troops engaged in the massacre comprised three companies of 
the First regiment Colorado cavalry and a detachment of the Third regi- 
ment Colorado cavalry, commanded by John M. Chivington, colonel of 
the First Colorado. (History of Nebraska, v. 2, p. 188, note.) — Eo. 

"• Though often called Fort Julesburg, this post was named Fort Sedg- 
wick by order of the war department, September 27th, 1864, immediately 
after its construction. See footnote 1 of Adventures On The Plains 1865-67, 
this volume. — Ed. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 25 

in southwestern Nebraska, those in authority determined 
to pursue them. 

Accordingly an expedition was fitted out, under the 
command of General Mitchell, which started from Fort 
Cottonwood" down what was termed the "Trader's Trail" 
on the 16th day of January, 1865. They went in a south- 
westerly direction until they reached the Kansas-Nebraska 
boundary, not far from the southwestern corner of the state, 
from which point part of the detachment continued for 
fifty miles down into Kansas. Returning to the Republican 
river, they followed that stream as far east as the mouth 
of the Medicine, when they turned north, reaching Fort 
Cottonwood on the 26th day of January. 

The sufferings of the men in this winter campaign of 
twelve days were almost unendurable. The weather was 
extremely cold, at one time the mercury registering twenty 
degrees below zero. The men had no shelter but their tents, 
and many nights they were compelled to sit by their camp 
fires to keep from freezing. We, who know the country as 
it is do-day, can scarcely realize what suffering such an 
adventure entailed. From morning till night the troopers 
rode over the plain in search of an elusive foe, whose presence 
they could feel but could not see, not knowing at what 
instant a savage and relentless horde might swoop down 
upon them. The prairies at this season are overpowering 
in their desolation. The stream, from bank to bank, is a 
sheet of ice. Through the leafless branches of the trees 
that fringe the river the winter winds wail dismally, after 
dark, to the accompaniment of that dolefulest of sounds — 
the coyote's cry. The hills that bound the valley are 



* According to Eugene Ware's story of the expedition in "The Indian 
War of 1864," pp. 454 and 458, it went from Fort Cottonwood to Jack 
Morrow's ranch, ten miles west, on the evening of the 15th and started 
from Morrow's, southwesterly, up Trader's Trail, on the 16th as the author 
says. — Ed. 



26 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

blanketed with snow which, when the sunHght falls upon 
them, accentuates their convolutions. At night the stars 
sparkle like diamonds in the frosty air. The blazing camp 
fire, around which the shivering soldiers huddled, intensified 
the surrounding gloom. Essential as was the warmth to 
their very being, it was still a signal that might have been 
read for miles and invited destruction. 

During the scout, as it was called, the soldiers often 
saw in the distance single Indians scuttling over the prairie, 
but seldom more than one at a time, although there were 
trails, made by the dragging lodge poles, leading in every 
direction. It did not matter that the troops feared to 
separate to follow these several trails, for upon them the 
capture or killing of the lone wanderers would have served 
no good purpose. One night a band of Indians rushed 
through the camp, discharging guns, breaking tent ropes, 
and pulhng up pegs; but they were gone — swallowed by the 
darkness — before the soldiers recovered from their sur- 
prise. 

GENERAL CARR'S BATTLE WITH SIOUX 

(JUNE, 1869) 

After the suppression of the rebellion, the trans-Mis- 
souri plains began to fill with settlers. A pressing Indian 
question arose. The policy of removing the Indians to 
reservations as rapidly as the extension of civilization re- 
quired was adopted, but for a time the task of controlling 
them seemed impracticable, and, despite aggressive military 
measures, the prairies became infested with predatory bands 
of savages who made frequent raids upon the defenseless 
settlers, stealing horses, killing cattle, murdering men, and 
carrying women into captivity. 

The mild climate and abundant game of the Republican 
valley attracted the Indians, and several bands of Sioux and 
Pawnee established themselves there. In 1868, when a part 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 27 

of the Indians went to the reservations set apart for all of 
these roving bands, certain of them, under the leadership 
of Pawnee Killer, The Whistler, Tall Bull, and Little Wound 
refused to go. They were joined by straggling members 
of the Cheyenne tribe, which had been driven south in the 
winter of that year. 

In June, 1869, an expedition commanded by Major 
General E. A. Carr, of the Fifth cavalry, marched into the 
Republican valley to clear it of the marauding outlaws. 
The command comprised eight companies of regular 
cavalry, and three companies of Pawnee scouts under 
Major Frank North. Striking a promising trail they 
followed for two days along the Republican and then 
turned north. After a pursuit of twenty m.iles in that 
direction on the last day, the savages were overtaken on 
the headwaters of the Republican. Af ler a desperate battle 
of several hours, the Indians, comprising Sioux and "Dog- 
soldiers," renegades from various tribes, led by Tall Bull, a 
Cheyenne, were completely routed. Fifty- two of them, in- 
cluding Tall Bull, were killed. One of two white women, 
captured by these Indians some time before on the Saline 
river in Kansas, was rescued by the soldiers, but the other 
was killed by her captors during the progress of the battle. 
Nine hundred dollars, nearly all of a sum of money found in 
the camp, was given to th- liberated woman. More than 
one hundred mules, three hundred horses and colts, a large 
quantity of powder, and about five tons of dried buffalo 
meat were captured. The mules and horses were distributed 
among the soldiers and scouts.^ 

It was hoped that this chastisement would have a 
salutary effect, but instead it thoroughly aroused the 



' The expedition comprised eight companies of the Fifth cavalry and 
three of Pawnee scouts — fifty in each company. It started from Fort 
McPherson on the 9th of June. On Sunday, July 11, the command marched 
northward twenty miles and surprised the Indians at their village in the 



28 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

hostility of the Indians. A few weeks after this battle the 
Buck party was \viped out of existence, and the Daugherty 
party miraculously escaped a like fate. However, this 



northwest corner of Colorado. General Carr called the battle-field Summit 
Springs because a fine spring of water was found on an adjacent sand-hill. 

The names of the two captured women were Mrs. Susannah Alderdice 
and Mrs. Wiechel. Tall Bull was keeping them as his wives and shot them 
both rather than to risk their being rescued. The soldiers and scouts 
captured about fifteen hundred dollars in gold, nine hundred dollars of which 
was given up and presented to Mrs. Wiechel. 

Under date of January 26, 1914, the adjutant general of the United 
States army (George Andrews) advises me that a pamphlet entitled " Record 
of Engagementr with Hostile Indians within the Military Division of the 
Missouri from 1868 to 1882," compiled at the headquarters of that division 
in 1882, contains the following: "July 11 (1869), the main village was 
completely surprised on 'Summit Springs,' a small tributary of the South 
Platte, in Colorado. Seven troops of the Fifth cavalry and three companies 
of mounted Pawnee scouts charged the village which, with its contents, 
was captured and burned. Fifty-two Indians were killed, an unknown 
number wounded, and seventeen captured, among the killed being 'Tall 
Bull,' the chief of the band. Two hundred and seventy-four horses, one 
hundred and forty-four mules, quantities of arms and ammunition and about 
$1,500 in United States money were among the most important items of 
the extensive captures. So perfect was the surprise and so swift the charge 
over a distance of several miles, that the Indians could do little but spring 
upon their ponies and fly, and the casualties to the troops were only one 
soldier wounded, one horse shot, and twelve horses killed by the hot and 
exhaustive charge. * * * " 

The adjutant general adds: "It appears from the official records 
that General Carr left Fort McPherson, Nebr., June 9, 1869, with the 
organizations that fought the engagement at Summit Springs. Tall Bull 
was chief of a tribe of Cheyenne Indians." 

General C. C. Augur, commander of the department of the Platte, 
in his report — dated October 23, 1869 — to the commander of the Military 
Division of the Missouri, said: 

"More than a year ago, when ' Spotted Tail' v/ent to the reservation 
set apart for all these bands, certain of them, under the leadership of Pawnee 
Killer, The Whistler, Tall Bull, Little Wound, and others, refused to go." 

■'When the Cheyennes were driven south last winter, Tall Bull and a 
few other prominent head soldiers joined these bands on the Republican, 
and it is these irregular and straggling bands that have committed all the 
depredations in Northern Kansas and Soutliern Nebraska during the past 
year. It was determined, therefore, to act aggressively upon these bands, 
and to endeavor to drive them from this country and force them to theii 
reservations. The assignment of the Fifth cavalry to my department 
fortunately gave me the means of doing this, and at the same time looking 
after other exposed points in the department. With this view, the expedi- 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 29 

seems to be the last time that the Indians resisted the 
miHtary in this part of Nebraska. Though both the Sioux 
and the Pawnee hunted here for three or four years after- 
wards,8 the settlers suffered no serious losses, except by the 
famous Cheyenne raid of 1878. 

tion commanded by Brevet Major General E. A. Carr, major Fifth Cavalry, 
was organized and started into the Republican country early in June." 
(Report of the Secretary of War, 2d Sess. 41st Cong., p. 71.) 

Major Frank North commanded the Pawnee scouts in the Summit 
Springs campaign; and he has left a full account of the battle in the 12th 
chapter of his memoirs, "A Quarter of a Century on the Frontier." He 
states that the expedition struck the Republican "near the mouth of Dog 
Creek." The context indicates that the creek in question was the Prairie 
Dog. The next incident related occurred while the command was in camp 
"near the mouth of Turkey Creek". "A few days after the command had 
left this camp" it was "scouting along the Beaver and Prairie Dog creeks;" 
and soon after, having moved westward up the Republican, it camped 
on the Black Tail Deer Fork. One of the rather numerous Turkey creeks 
of this part of Nebraska enters the Republican near the eastern boundary of 
Furnas county, at a point about a day's march west of the mouth of the 
Prairie Dog, and Deer creek enters the Republican about sixteen miles 
miles farther west. Mr. Cordeal, who has lived in Red Willow county many 
years, writes that he cannot find any trace of an affluent of the Republican 
called Dog creek in that part of the state. So it seems that the expedition 
did not march directly south to the Republican, but southwest instead. 
A Colton map published in the same year shows a Beaver creek entering 
the Medicine creek in Frontier county, and a later map shows another 
entering the Republican from the south in range 24 west; but it is not likely 
that either of these streams was referred to in the reports of General 
Carr's campaign. 

On the third of August, 1869, General C. C. Augur, commander of 
the department of the Platte, issued an order — number 48 — highly com- 
mending General Carr and his command for their conduct in the campaign 
in which he specially mentions Corporal John Kyle of Company M and 
Sergeant Mad Bear of the Pawnee scouts for bravery and gallant conduct. 
(Major North's memoirs, p. 146.) 

The Nebraska legislature, at its sixth session, on the 23d of February, 
1870, passed a resolution of thanks for General Carr, Major North and their 
command for their services in the campaign, "by which the people of the 
state were freed from the ravages of merciless savages." (Laws of Nebraska 
1870-71, p. 60.)— Ed. 

^ The famous treaty of April 29, 1868, with the Sioux, acknowledged 
their right to hunt along the Republican river. They relinquished the right 
in the treaty of June 23, 1875. (Eighteenth Report Bureau of American 
Ethnology, pt. 2, p. 882.) Such hunting as the Pawnee may have done in 
the same territory until they were removed from their reservation to Indian 
Territory in 1876, was by sufiferance and without legal right. — Ed. 



30 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
MASSACRE OF THE BUCK SURVEYING PARTY 

The disappearance of the Buck surveying party in the 
summer of 1869 is one of the mysteries of the plains. The 
party, consisting of twelve men, under the leadership of 
Nelson Buck, started from Fort Kearny for the Repubhcan 
country in the latter part of July. Application had been 
made to the military authorities for arms, but for some 
reason these were not furnished. After the party had pro- 
ceeded for some distance, Mr. Buck directed two of its 
members to return to Fort Kearny and there await fulfill- 
ment of his requisition. The others proceeded on their way, 
and, so far as is known, nothing was seen or heard of them 
again. 

Later in the season, when the continued absence of the 
men had been noted, it was discovered that none of the 
lines or corners that were to have been established by Mr. 
Buck could be found. This fact, coupled with the fact that 
although his trail had been seen and an empty water-keg 
found near one of his camps, no trace of the party had been 
discovered, and that General Duncan, who was out on 
a scouting expedition, had found two surveyor's tripods in 
an Indian camp that had been recently raided by him, led 
to the conviction that the members of the party had been 
massacred. 

Lieutenant Jacob Almy reported the capture, by a 
detachment of cavalry, on the 26th of September, 1869, 
of a squaw who told of an encounter between a party of 
white men and a band of Indians under Pawnee Killer and 
The Whistler which occurred while the Indians were cross- 
ing the Republican river between Frenchman's Fork and 
Red Willow creek to move over to the Beaver. It seems that 
four Indians, in advance of the main body of the savages, 
were attacked by the whites, and that three of the Indians 
and one white man were killed. The Indians pursued the 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 31 

aggressors in the direction of the Beaver, took their horses 
and rations, destroyed two wagons, and killed five of them, 
the remainder escaping. 

The story told by the squaw is corroborated in the 
account of an inquiry made by an employee of the govern- 
ment who was in charge of the agency to which the Sioux 
returned after their summer's campaign through the Re- 
publican valley. From an interview with Spotted Tail^" it 
was gathered that the Indians, some time in the month of 
August, attacked a party of about twelve surveyors near 
Beaver creek, and succeeded in killing six. The balance 
of the party retreated and entrenched themselves. Sub- 
sequently the Indians attacked them, but were repulsed 
with a loss of three killed. Spotted Tail reported that he 
did not know what became of the other whites, but thought 
they may have been killed by another band of savages. 
Another Indian told of the killing of eight whites on the 
Beaver and the escape of three others, of whose subsequent 
fate he did not know. This party had one wagon, which 
was run into the creek. Still another account of the affair 
is that, while Pawnee Killer's band was crossing the hills 
south of the mouth of Red Willow creek, on their way to 
the Beaver, they discovered a party of six white men with 
a team. A charge was made in which three Indians were 
killed. The whites finally gained the timber on Beaver 



^ Spotted Tail, or Sentegaleska, was chief of the Brule Sioux who were 
settled at an agency on Beaver creek — now in Sheridan county — in 1874. 
By virtue of a protest by the state of Nebraska that they were trespassers 
on her soil, they were removed in 1877. (Laws of Nebraska 1875, p. 338; 
History of Nebraska, v. 3, p. 369.) The location was also called Camp Sher- 
idan, because a detachment of soldiers was kept there to restrain the Indians 
who were inclined to hostility. Spotted Tail had the reputation of being 
so loyal to the whites as almost to imply his disloyalty to his own people; 
but probably he deserves the benefit of the doubt and to be credited with 
wise and impartial statesmanship. Dr. George L. Miller, editor of the 
Omaha Herald, in its weekly issue of September 4, 1874, said: "He is the 
truest friend of the white man and of peace on these borders that ever 
lived."— Ed. 



32 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

creek, where they made a stand. The Indians, in the mean- 
time, had increased their force to two hundred warriors. 
Frequent and desperate charges were made on the white 
men during the entire afternoon, and about sunset the last 
of the six was killed and scalped. Pawnee Killer, who led 
the fight in person, said the whites were very brave, and 
that many of his warriors were wounded. The three Indians 
killed were buried in trees on the south side of the Re- 
publican, just above the mouth of Red Willow creek. 

While these accounts, in some respects, seem irrecon- 
cilable, there can be little doubt that they are of the same 
affair. As the Buck party was the only party of white men 
in this vicinity at that time, and as all of its members dis- 
appeared, we are bound to believe — unless we concede that 
these stories are pure fabrications — that they were the 
victims of the tragedy recorded. Search for the bodies was 
made in the fall of 1869, but without avail. Recent inves- 
tigation leaves no room for question that the last stand of 
the whites was made at a place on the banks of Beaver creek, 
in Red Willow county, but where their bones lie now, no 
one knows. 

DAUGHERTY'S battle with the INDIANS 

It was probably after the massacre of the Buck party 
when, on the twenty-first day of August, 1869, W. E. Daugh- 
erty, who was in the field with a party of surveyors, had 
an encounter with the Indians. About six o'clock in the 
morning a small band of savages dashed into the surveyors' 
camp, shot one of their horses and stampeded the rest, 
which, however, were soon recaptured. The whites, realiz- 
ing that they were in the vicinity of a large body of Indians, 
decided to go to the nearest place on the Platte river where 
they could secure arms and ammunition for the purpose of 
equipping themselves, so as to be prepared to resist an at- 
tack. They had not proceeded far until they were sur- 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 33 

rounded by about one hundred and seventy-five Indians. 
Knowing them to be hostile, and that it would be useless 
to try to escape, the surveyors concluded to stop and to 
make the best defense they could. They turned their 
horses loose, and while the Indians were pursuing the 
animals the whites sought to entrench themselves. Daugh- 
erty himself has left the following description of the battle: 

"As soon as they got the stock they surrounded us 
and fought us in Indian style all day. Fortunately, none 
of us was seriously hurt, though one of the men was slightly 
wounded in the forehead by a glancing shot, and my brother 
was disabled for duty by the explosion of a cartridge in his 
face, which blinded him so he could not see for nearly the 
whole day. We disabled several of their horses and know 
that we shot twelve Indians, three of whom we know were 
killed — two of them lay in our sight all day, they not 
venturing to take them away until dark. Although their 
bullets rained around us all day like hail, not a man flinched, 
nor do I think one felt the least despondent. About dark 
they ceased firing and seemed by their actions to be station- 
ing sentinels in squads at different points, sounding as though 
the main body was stationed at a point about one hundred 
and fifty rods southwest of us, in a ravine. About dark 
we commenced digging with more energy to make them 
believe we intended to stay there; but at half past nine 
o'clock we left our little fort by crawling on our bodies 
about a mile, which we thought extremely dangerous, as 
the moon shone and it was almost as light as day, and we 
expected to crawl upon the Indians every moment. But 
we did not, and as soon as we had left a ridge of land between 
us and the Indians we skedaddled the best we could and 
arrived safely at the river the next day. I lost the entire 
outfit, not excepting anything. My brother and two other 
men are now out with a party of cavalry helping to rescue a 
part of our outfit." 

This fight is believed to have taken place in southern 
Chase or northern Dundy county; but, as has been said, it 
is not known exactly where it occurred. 



34 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
THE ROYAL BUCK EXPEDITION 

The incidents that have been recounted have a passing 
interest, because nothing that has to do with men is without 
interest; but they left no permanent mark upon the land, 
and were it not for the fact that we find in the dust-covered 
volumes of our libraries recital of their occurrence we would 
not, to-day, know they had happened. 

In the fall of 1871 a corporation called the Republican 
Valley Land Company was organized in Nebraska City for 
the purpose of exploiting the resources of southwestern 
Nebraska. Among the incorporators were J. Sterling Mor- 
ton, whose name is so intimately identified with the early 
history of eastern Nebraska, and W. W. W. Jones, who 
afterwards was state superintendent of public instruction. 
On the ninth day of November, 1871, a party of nine men, 
including officers and stockholders of the company, started 
from Nebraska City for the mouth of Red Willow creek. 
They traveled by railroad as far as Sutton, which was then 
the terminus of the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad; 
there they overtook their wagons, which had been sent on 
ahead to await their coming, and continued the journey in 
them. At that time the grading for the railroad between 
Sutton and Fort Kearny was nearly completed, but there 
were no towns in all that stretch of country. Settlers' 
cabins were scattered along the way, but beyond the fort 
few of these, even, were to be seen. 

Royal Buck, who was a member of the party and who 
afterwards settled in the valley, where he resided for a 
number of years and became an influential citizen, kept a 
diaryio in which he described the trip. His story is one of 
fascinating interest. The weather in the early winter of 
1871 was unusually severe. One storm after another swept 



10 A transcript of this diary is in the library of the Nebraska State His- 
torical Society. — Ed. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 35 

over the prairies. A tent was the only shelter for the men, 
while the horses were tied on the lee side of the wagons. 
A number of hunters were caught in the fearful storms, and 
the explorers passed many of them eastward bound, loaded 
with meat. They suffered from the severe cold, as few of 
them were prepared for it. None had tents, and only a part 
of them had sufficient food. Mention is made of one party 
that had nothing to eat but corn and meat and so sub- 
stituted parched corn for bread. The Buck party gave 
them a few quarts of beans and sent a pot of coffee to their 
camp, receiving in return a stock of buffalo meat. In 
another party there was a man who had been lost on the 
prairies in the storm and was badly frozen. He had been 
found accidentally as he was in his last sleep. Once, when 
storm-bound, for lack of a stove the men filled a camp 
kettle with coals, and stood, shivering, over it. Two of 
them extemporized a checker board on the end of a cracker 
box, and at that game whiled away the hours. 

The almost daily program was to arise about four o'clock 
in the morning, breakfast, feed their horses and be on their 
way as soon as it was light enough to see. Sometimes they 
camped at noon for lunch, and sometimes they pushed on 
till night. Sometimes the weather compelled them to lie 
by for a few hours. Game was plentiful, and when they were 
in the western country not a day passed that they did not 
see buffaloes, deer, elks, antelopes and wild turkeys. On 
the twenty-second day of November they reached Red 
Willow creek, and for several days camped on its banks. 
They selected a site for a town, and every member of the 
party chose a claim. To show of what stuff these men were 
made, I quote from the diary : 

I take spade and stakes and go out to plant peach pits 
and bulbs found in my carpet bag and wend my way to 
selected homestead, select the ground and shovel off the 
snow spade up a trench about ten feet long, plant in tulip 



36 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

bulbs and peach pits, and as I cover up the ground again 
with snow, and as I sit in the snow bank by the side of 
my planting I involantarily Hft up an audible prayer to 
my heavenly father to bless the planting — that fruit and 
flower may bloom together and gladen the hearts of house- 
hold and friends— that God also will bless the planting of 
the new town and those who have planted it and that all 
together may be prospered in all their plannings and that 
God may be glorified and his Kingdom be built up here 
on this virgin soil. And as I prayed a little bird lit upon 
my shoulder and chirped about my head & again rested 
on my coat as it was spread out on the snow. I am not 
superstitious — do not believe much in signs and omens, 
but it did seem that here was a significant expression — a 
promise of good. 

The homeward journey was attended with even greater 
hardships than the outward trip: cold, storms, deep snows 
made traveling difficult and dangerous. On Sunday, 
the third of December, an unusually violent storm forced 
them to seek shelter for the day. At the risk of being tedious 
I shall quote once more from the diary: 

Sunday 3. 

We are wakened at 3 o'clock this morning by the 
blowing of the wind, a regular north wester. It shakes 
our tent and the boys go out and drive additional stakes — 
the cooks get out at 5 o'clock and get breakfast and we 
all get around our camp fire to eat and all shivering and 
shaking. 

The wind blows fearfully and the snow is flying briskly 
and 0! how cold! We feel that we ought to drive 15 miles 
today, but is it safe? We wait two hours— it gets no better, 
teamsters say start and we strike tent and pack our baggage 
and drive a half mile and all say: No farther! turn to the 
timber. We drive to a cabin for hay and Mr. Ellis & 
myself seek shelter in it. We find a Wisconsin family by 
the name of Moss [Morse]. We take our blankets and 
stay — the wind is blowing and drifting and sifts through 
the logs and we keep our coats and wrappings on as we 
site around the cook stove — green wood! We shake and 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 37 

shiver as badly as in camp, and it is as hard to keep warm 
as any place we have been in. Mrs. M. gets supper con- 
sisting of fried bacon, corn griddle cakes, coffee, butter, 
potatoes. The latter we have not had before since we 
left home. We sit by the stove — our backs to the stove 
to eat and our fingers are so cold that we can hardly hold 
our knives and forks, but we eat a hearty meal and feel 
warmer. Our hostess is a 3^oung woman with bright eyes 
and curly hair with one child, a little boy 3 years old. 

At the end of the house is the horse shed — one horse 
is near dead and we hold a consultation and advise a rifle 
ball as cure and it is administered and the poor animal is 
out of her misery. Towards evening the sun comes out, 
wind goes down and sun sets clear, but 0, how cold! 

Our host has been out with his remain ng horse and 
drawn up a stick of dry wood and we get warm. In the 
evening Mrs. M. brings out a straw bed, we lay it on the 
dirt floor before the stove and with our blankets make a 
very comfortable bed. A Mr. Marsh — brother-in-law of 
Morse a young man about 30 takes the other side of the 
stove in front of the bed and sleeps on the floor. It is 
the calculation to keep a fire all night. 

Monday 4 

It is broad daylight before we peep out from our 
blankets — have had a good nights sleep, the fire is all out 
and has been since midnight. Soon a fire is built and we 
crawl out. The little dog put out in the evening is in the 
house this morning. ''How did he get in?" says Mrs. M. 
He must have found some hole says Mr. M. We have 
breakfast at 8 and prepare for a start. Our teams are 
pulling out and we hasten on our wrapings and bid good by 
and are off for Turkey creek towards Kearney. It is a 
clear cold day — the coldest of the trip, and the snow is 
drifted and very hard — so hard that it sometimes bears 
the horses and wagons. We all walk to favor the teams 
& we do it very comfortably, the snow is so hard. 

The party reached home without further adventures. 
To complete the story of this organized effort to colonize 
southwestern Nebraska, it need only be said that it failed. 
No town was built upon the site selected, and the company 



38 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

was disbanded. Several of the stockholders settled in that 
section, and one of the nine who was with this first party is 
still living in Red Willow county. In the spring of 1872 
and later the people flocked thither, settling first along the 
streams, but finally spreading over the divides, and to-day 
you will find the shacks of the pioneers scattered even among 
the sand-hills of the extreme western part of southwest 
Nebraska. 

PAWNEE-SIOUX MASSACRE, AUGUST 5, 1873 

On the fifth day of August, 1873, occurred the battle 
between the Sioux and the Pawnee Indians, in what has 
since come to be known as Massacre Canon, a ravine about 
four miles north of the subsequent site of Trenton, Hitch- 
cock county. The Pawnee— about two hundred and fifty 
men, one hundred women and fifty children — were on a 
buffalo hunt. On the third day of July they had left their 
reservation for the purpose of hunting in the Republican 
valley with the consent of the authorities and in charge of 
a special agent, a white man. Their hunt had been success- 
ful, and they were about to return to their reservation 
with the meat and skins of eight hundred buffaloes. 

The day before the battle they had come across from 
the Beaver and camped in the caiion. At the moment of 
the attack, which occurred in the early morning, most of 
the men of the tribe were hunting straggling buffaloes, and 
the women were making preparations for the day's journey. 
The Sioux, comprising six hundred members of the Ogalala 
and Brule bands, surprised the Pawnee, who briefly resisted 
but soon fled to avoid being surrounded and annihilated 
by overwhelming numbers. They abandoned all of their 
possessions, including their winter's supply of meat and 
other provisions, robes and saddles. The women and 
children, less able than the men to escape, suffered most in 
the ensuing slaughter. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 39 

According to the report of the Indian agent, ^^ twenty 
men, thirty-nine women and ten children — or sixty-nine in 
all — were killed, and eleven women and children captured. 
The latter were restored to the tribe, and about a dozen 
wounded were also taken home and recovered. Those who 
lived in the vicinity at the time remember the frenzied 
flight of the Pawnee through the valley, and their pitiable 
condition. It seems that the military authorities knew of the 
proximity of the Sioux and of the danger to the Pawnee. 
Major Russell, of the army, with sixty privates and twenty 
scouts, was camped within a few miles of the scene of the 
massacre, and was, at the time of its occurrence, on his 
way up the valley to intercept the Sioux. He met the 
fleeing Pawnee about ten miles from the battle field. When 
the Sioux saw the soldiers they stopped the pursuit and 
retreated to the northwest. The bodies of several Sioux 
warriors were subsequently found, suspended in trees, near 
the Frenchman. Those who visited the scene of the conflict 
a few days after it occurred found indescribable carnage 
and disorder. 

FAMINE OF 1874 

In the late summer and fall of 1871 a few homesteaders 
settled in what is now Furnas county, but, with possibly 
a single exception, no white man lived in southwestern 
Nebraska west of the one hundredth meridian at that time. 
During the next three years settlers swarmed in until, by 
the fall of 1874, they numbered — men, women and child- 
ren — not less than two thousand. Farming had been carried 
on with but indifferent success. The area under cultivation 
as early as 1872 was necessarily restricted. The following 



" Report of William Burgess, agent of the Pawnee, Messages and 
Documents 1873-74, pt. 1, p. 562. See also the statement of Barclay White, 
superintendent of the northern superintendency, ibid., page 554, and an 
interesting story of the battle by William Z. Taylor, in volume 16 of the 
society's Collections, page 165. — Ed. 



40 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

year drouth cut short the crops. In 1874 the grasshoppers 
came in clouds that darkened the sun and consumed every 
vestige of vegetation. The settlers in a new country are 
usually people of limited means, and under the most favor- 
able circumstances the struggle for existence is severe. 
With the base of supplies a hundred miles away and wagons 
the only means of transportation, and nothing grown to 
eke out the scanty supplies a few dollars possessed by the 
settlers would buy, to avoid starvation, their alternative 
was to abandon the country or ask for aid. 

The destitution on the western prairies in the fall of 
1874 was so appallingly universal as to attract the attention 
of the civilized world. Congress appropriated one hundred 
and fifty thousand dollars for the relief of the needy, and 
donations came from every corner of the nation. But for 
this charity, hundreds of people would have starved to death. 
The war department sent Colonel, afterwards General 
Dudley, 12 to investigate conditions. He reported that in 
Red Willow county, out of a total estimated population of 
eight hundred, five hundred and forty-four would require 
aid before the winter was half over; that three hundred 
would need assistance within twenty days; and that at the 
time of his visit more than one hundred were either already 
out of food or would be in less than five days. Some of the 
families had one or two cows and others a yoke of oxen or 
a horse, but many of them had worn down their animals 



12 Nathan A. M. Dudley was made brevet colonel March 13, 1865. 
July 1, 1876, he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the Ninth cavalry. He 
was brevetted brigadier general of volunteers January 19, 1865. Accord- 
ing to the report of the adjutant general, October 9, 1874, he was 
Major of the Third cavalry and in command of three companies of that 
regiment at Fort McPherson. (Report of the Secretary of War, 1874-75, 
V. 1, p. 72.) The federal congress appropriated thirty thousand dollars 
in money and clothing worth one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to be 
distributed among the people of the several states which had suffered 
from grasshoppers. The legislature of 1875 authorized the issue of bonds 
to the amount of fifty thousand dollars, their proceeds to be expended in 
providing seed for the sufferers.— Ed. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 41 

attempting to hunt buffalo and had no feed with which to 
recuperate them. The few hogs he saw were mere skeletons, 
having had no corn but had subsisted almost entirely on 
wild roots they found in the bottoms. Those who had 
property of this kind could not sell it if they would; for 
there were no buyers with money, and they would not have 
dared to sell, if there had been, for then they would have 
been without means to avail themselves of the assistance 
that was offered. 

Colonel Dudley reported, further, that only two hun- 
dred bushels of corn and less than one hundred bushels of 
potatoes, half-grown, had been raised during the preceding 
season in all the afflicted country. Little, or no wheat had 
been planted, as the settlers were too poor to buy seed. 
Such conditions afforded no gainful emplojrment, and no 
money or commodity to pay for it. In the early fall buffalo 
meat had been obtainable, but at the time of Colonel 
Dudley's visit the buffalo had abandoned this part of the 
country, and gone beyond the reach of the sufferers. Their 
homes were mostly board shacks, which were scant shelter 
from the biting winds that sweep over the prairies in winter. 
Fortunate were they who occupied dugouts or sod houses. 
Not infrequently sickness added to the misery caused by 
hunger and cold, or death had removed the mainstay of wife 
and children, and families subsisted upon the carcasses of 
animals that had died from natural causes. Unable even 
to buy ammunition for the hunt, the settlers set traps along 
the streams for such wild creatures as would walk into them. 
By the sale of occasional pelts, or their exchange for the 
barest necessities, and by eating the flesh of such of the 
trapped animals as were fit for food, they managed to survive. 
It should be noted that this section was remote from any 
railroad and that all imported supplies were hauled in 
wagons weary miles across the almost trackless prairies. 

Far into the following year rations were issued to the 
needy, under the supervision of the federal authorities. 



42 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

At times as many as three-fourths of the inhabitants of 

this region obtained their entire subsistence at the hands 

of charity. 

CHEYENNE RAID OF 1878 

After the settlement of southwestern Nebraska began, 
the people were singularly free from molestation by the 
Indians. Although in the early years the Indians ranged 
over the country west of the settlements, and sometimes 
small parties of savages were seen by the homesteaders, it 
was not until the early part of October, 1878, that a serious 
Indian scare occurred. A report that the Cheyenne were on 
the warpath sent the occupants of the outlying ranches 
scurrying to the towns, where preparations were made to 
repulse the expected attacks. 

The story of the flight of the Cheyenne from their 
reservation in the Indian Territory, upon which they had 
been placed two years before, to their old haunts in the 
Black Hills, is one of the most dramatic in history; but it 
shall not be told here. Suffice it to say that three hundred 
of that tribe, under the leadership of Dull Knife, Little 
Wolf, Wild Hog and Old Crow, comprising but eighty-nine 
warriors, the others being women and children, started from 
the Cheyenne and Arapaho agency on the ninth day of 
September, 1878, and crossed the Kansas-Nebraska bound- 
ary on the first day of October. They were pursued 
by detachments of soldiers and posses of civilians, and were 
overtaken and attacked at a place called Sand Creek in 
Kansas; but, eluding their pursuers, they continued on 
their course and were not brought to bay until they reached 
the northwestern corner of the state. There, in a winter 
campaign, they were practically exterminated. It is re- 
ported that they killed thirty-two people in Rawlins and 
Decatur counties, Kansas, just across the Nebraska line; 
but, so far as is known, only one man fell a victim to their 
vengeance in the adjacent part of Nebraska. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 43 

George Rowley, who kept a "cow camp" at Wauneta 
Falls, had been to Greeley, Colorado, for supplies. When 
he reached Ogalala on his return he learned the Cheyenne 
were on the warpath, and, alarmed for the safety of his 
family, he left his team and wagon and started for his home 
alone, on horseback. Two weeks after the passage of the 
Indians, his saddle, from which the leather had been cut, 
was found. This led to the discovery of his body, riddled 
with bullets, and hidden in a growth of sunflowers on the 
brink of a canon. It is believed that the Indians, seeing 
him coming along the cattle trail, which was a well-marked 
highway between Texas and Montana, concealed themselves 
in a pocket, and shot him to death as he passed. 

Records are extant which disclose that on this raid the 
Indians stole horses, killed cattle and destroyed other 
personal property of the settlers. Probably the only reason 
that comparatively few of the pioneers were killed is that 
most of them had been warned of the danger and fled to 
safety. This raid of the Cheyenne was the last hostile ap- 
pearance of the Indians in this part of the state. ^^ 



1' For a further account of the return trip of this band of forcibly exiled 
northern Cheyenne to their old home — for that it really was — see my 
history of the Indian war on the Nebraska plains, ms. pages 192, 200, and 
202. According to the report of the secretary of the interior, cited at page 
192, there were about three hundred Indians in all, eighty-seven of them 
warriors. General Terry says (page 200) there were about sixty men with 
their families. The agent at the Cheyenne and Arapaho agency in his 
report dated September 20, 1878, (House Executive Documents 1878-79, v. 
2, p. 49) says that this band of Northern Cheyenne wereseceders from the 
agreement of the majority to unite with the Southern Cheyenne, Major 
J. K. Mizner, of the Fourth cavalry says (ibid. ,p 48) that the band comprised 
eighty-nine men, one hundred and twelve women and one hundred and 
thirty-four children — about one-third of the entire Northern Cheyenne 
tribe. Major Mizner said they ran away on account of bad rations and the 
unhealthy condition of the country. General George Crook, commander 
of the Department of the Platte, in his report for 1879 (House Executive 
Documents 1879-80, v. 2, p. 77), with his characteristic courage and sense 
of justice, apologized for the flight of the fugitives, which he attributed to 
chills and fever and insufficient food. He chided the government for having 
forgotten the distinguished services of the exiles on its side in the campaigns 



44 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

It was customary for the old men of the Indian tribes 
unacquainted with the art of wiiting as we know it, to 
gather their clansmen around them for the purpose of 
relating to them the valorous deeds of their ancestors. 
From father to son the tales descended; and thus the 
chronicles of the tribes were perpetuated. In these days, 
when we have a press that records, daily, not only the 
happenings of our own people but of the whole world, we 
do not charge our memories with facts; and, anomalous as 
it may seem, we are better informed about what occurs in 
the antipodes, than about what transpires around us. 
Things that are of first importance to us are forgotten in the 
consideration we give to things that are of consequence to 
men who are naught to us. And yet with all our means for 
the preservation of facts, much of that which is of real signif- 
icance is left unrecorded. 

No history is fuller of tragedy and sacrifice, of poetry 
and romance, of sorrow and mystery, than that of the 
people who first came to the region of which I write. The 
pioneers of southwestern Nebraska, after crossing the great 
river that forms the eastern boundary of our state, drove 
their white-covered wagons across the frontier, beyond the 
outposts of civilization and the help of men, into a land 
that was uncharted as the ocean. They found a prairie 
stretching, like the ocean, away to limits of vision, the sur- 
face tossed, as if by the wind, into mighty waves that were 
crested, not with foam, but with flowers. They found the 
land tenanted by wild animals and by savage men, the up- 
lands teeming with buffaloes, the lowlands sheltering elks, 
deer, and antelopes. At night, out of the darkness that 



against the Sioux in 1876 and 1878. They surrendered to a detachment of 
soldiers under Major Carlton on the 23d of October, 1878, in the sand-hills, 
about forty miles southeast of Camp Sheridan. They were confined at 
Fort Robinson, and the undertaking to remove them again to Indian 
Territory on the 9th of January, 1879, was met with desperate and bloody 
resistance. — Ed. 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 45 

rimmed their camp fires, they heard the wail of the coyote. 
From the branches of the trees beneath which they sought 
shelter, they saw the eyes of some great cat, glowing like 
living coals. 

When they reached their chosen land, they unhitched 
their horses or unyoked their cattle, and turned them loose 
to graze. The first desire of every white man, indeed his 
first need, is to have a home. They selected the site for 
the dwelling they meant to raise. They cut the trees that 
nature had furnished for their use along the streams and 
from them fashioned their habitation, or they turned the 
prairie sod, and from it built a shelter from the sun and 
wind and rain, using poles to support the roof and the un- 
tanned skins of deer or buffaloes for door and windows ; or, 
like the wild creatures that had been in undisputed pos- 
session of the land since their first coming, they dug a cave 
in a canon's bank ; or they traveled wearily back, across the 
trackless plain, to the nearest railway station, where they 
loaded their wagons with boards with which they constructed 
shacks to shield them from winter's blasts. There were no 
carpenters, no artisans — none to help them but their com- 
rades. They learned the lesson of self-reliance, the first 
lesson of the pioneer, of which we of to-day know too little. 

In health, the life, though hard, had its compensations 
in the prairies, in the glorious sunshine, in the free, pure 
air of this westland; but in sickness there was no doctor 
who might be summoned by telephone, no one to administer 
comfort, but some kindly neighbor-woman with her homely 
remedies. And all that could be done for the dead was to 
lay them in the earth, on some lonely hillside, sometimes in 
a rude pine box to save them from molestation by prowling 
wolves, but often merely wrapped in blankets to protect 
the closed eyes from the pressing clods. Tears and a prayer 
were awarded the departed, and outpouring of sympathy 
from all the countryside for the living." Even to the poor 



46 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

sick Indian who came to their door the white settlers ex- 
tended the hand of charity. 

But all was not pain and sorrow. There were parties 
and social gatherings at the homestead houses. There 
were weddings and other joyous occasions. There were 
devotional services and times of thanksgiving, when the 
hearts of the pioneers were grateful for such blessings as 
they enjoyed. There were holiday seasons when, despite 
the poor harvest, the Christmas spirit prevailed. 

Carlyle said, "Happy the people whose annals are blank 
in history books." In the popular signification of the term, 
we have had no history. No armies have marched across our 
land ; no decisive battles have been fought upon our soil ; none 
of our people have done anything to achieve fame and honor. 
The writers of history find nothing in our homely annals 
worth recording; and yet our pioneers can chronicle events 
that have the profoundest human interest. The happenings 
of their daily life contribute to a story that is as thrilling and 
as tragic as any that is told. After all, who shall say they 
are too insignificant to warrant repetition? 

"All service ranks the same with God: 

God's, puppets, best and worst, 

Are we: there is no last nor first." 

The incidents that filled those early days did not con- 
stitute the sum of life. Aside from the human element that 
entered into the computation, the manifestations of nature 
cast spells that were felt but that cannot be defined. The 
expanse of prairie, the tree-bordered streams, the flooding 
sunlight, the cloud flecked sky, the chasing shadows, the 
slipping waters, the sifting snowflakes, the sparkling stars, 
the silent moonlight, the scent of the wild flowers, the sweep 
of the storm cloud, the flash of the lightning, the crash of 
the thunder, the hiss of the rattle snake — all inspired senti- 
ments that make the memory of those days, to those who 



SOUTHWESTERN NEBRASKA 47 

lived in them, pleasant to contemplate, and that will some 
day find expression in masterpieces of art and literature. 

The proudest distinction any of us can enjoy should be 
that of calling ourselves pioneers; but the honor should be 
reserved for those who endured the hardships and privations 
of frontier life; for those who prepared the way for things 
that, in a material sense, are better; for those who have 
made this country what it is. To the first settlers we, who 
find this land a fit place to abide, owe a debt of gratitude we 
cannot repay. 



NEBRASKA, MOTHER OF STATES 
By Albert Watkins 

Virginia was called the mother of presidents — before 
she lost her political "pull" through the errancy of rebellion 
and Ohio succeeded to it through strategic location and 
even more aptitude, or greed, in grasping opportunity than 
her venerable hegemonic predecessor had shown. So, also, 
prior to the prolific parturition of Nebraska's Titan terri- 
tory, the Northwest Territory was — or might have been — 
called the mother of states. The 265,878 square miles of 
the Northwest Territory produced the five medium sized 
states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin 
and contributed 26,320 square miles of the 83,531 contained 
in Minnesota. The 351,558 square miles of Nebraska 
Territory produced the three great states of Nebraska, 
South Dakota, and North Dakota; about three-fourths of 
the greater state of Wyoming; nearly all of the immense 
state of Montana; and made a considerable contribution 
to Colorado. 

Until the territory of Arkansas was formed, in 1819, all 
of the Louisiana Purchase north of the part now comprised 
in the state of Louisiana wa^ under a single territorial 
organization, bearing the successive names of The District 
of Louisiana, The Territory of Louisiana, and Missouri. 
Out of this vast territory of Missouri there have been created 
the states of Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and, in 
part, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, 
North Dakota and South Dakota. But the territory of 
Missouri, except that part in the neighborhood of St. Louis, 
was an unsettled wilderness occupied only by savage 

(48) 



NEBRASKA, MOTHER OF STATES 49 

Indians. White settlement, of economic and political im- 
portance, in the heart of this wilderness immediately 
followed the organization of Nebraska territory. 

The part of Oklahoma which lies outside the Purchase 
was known as the "Public Land Strip" or "No Man's 
Land." It forms the northwest projection of the state, 
contains approximately 5,580 square miles, and constitutes 
Beaver county. The southwest corner of the state of 
Kansas — west of the one hundredth meridian and south of 
the Arkansas river and containing 7,776 square miles — 
belonged successively to Spain, Mexico, and Texas, and 
was outside the Purchase. 

The original territories of Kansas and Nebraska 
extended from the Missouri river to the summit of the 
Rocky mountains. Kansas contained 126,283 and Nebraska 
351,558 square miles. From Kansas 44,965 square miles 
and from Nebraska 16,035 square miles were taken to form 
the territory of Colorado and remain a part of the state of 
Colorado. But the part of the territory of Kansas so in- 
corporated in Colorado which lies south of the Arkansas, 
containing approximately 7,000 square miles, is outside the 
Purchase; so that about 54,000 of the total 104,500 square 
miles comprised in Colorado belong to the Purchase. The 
corner of original Nebraska bounded on the north by the 
forty-second parallel of latitude, on the east by the one 
hundred and sixth meridian, and on the southwest by the 
continental divide, containing about 7,400 square miles — 
1,400 in Colorado and 6,000 in Wyoming — is outside the 
Purchase. Most of this fraction was comprised in the 
strip about three-fourths of a degree in width, extending up 
to the forty-second parallel — the northern boundary of 
Mexico prior to her war with the United States. This 
elongated projection was a part of Texas when that in- 
surgent offshoot of Mexico was annexed to the United 
States. It was given up to the mother country as a part 



50 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

of the compromise of 1850. Title to a small tract of this 
casual corner of Nebraska lying next to the divide, is traced 
directly to Spain. 

The western boundary of the Purchase, as fixed in 
our treaty with Spain, of February 22, 1819,^ did not 
constantly follow the Rocky mountain divide but, after 
reaching it at latitude 39° 20' and longitude 106° 15', near 
the subsequent site of Leadville, proceeded directly north 
to the forty-second parallel and thence directly west — 
crossing the mountains three degrees beyond — to the 
Pacific ocean. Prior to the treaty, the western boundary 
of the Purchase was, somewhat indefinitely of course, the 
watershed of the Mississippi; and, proceeding north- 
westerly from a point about one hundred miles west of the 
mouth of that river, it first struck the Rocky mountain 
range, at its southern limit by that name, near the thirty- 
sixth parallel of latitude — not far northeast of the sub- 
sequent site of Santa Fe. 

In the preliminary Oregon treaty of October 20, 1818, 
between Great Britain and the United States,- the "Stony 
Mountains" were acknowledged to be the western American 
boundary, by virtue of our purchase of Louisiana; and, 
accordingly, in the final treaty — June 15, 1846'' — the south- 
east corner of our new Oregon acquisition was fixed three 
degrees west of the right angle of the boundary line of the 
treaty of 1819 with Spain, and which subsequently became 
the northeastern limit of the state of Texas. The tradi- 
tional and natural western boundary of the Purchase — the 
summit of the mountains — was followed in the organization 
of the territories of Utah and Nebraska, in the main of 
Kansas and Montana, and, in part, of New Mexico. 
Nebraska contributed from its original territory 16,035 of 



1 U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 8, p. 252. 

2 Ibid., p. 248. 

3 Ibid., V. 9, p. 869. 



NEBRASKA, MOTHER OF STATES 51 

the 104,500 square miles contained in the territory of 
Colorado; 74,287 of the 97,883 square miles contained in 
the territory of Wyoming; 68,972 of the 150,932 square 
miles contained in the territory of Dakota — all of it west of 
the Missouri river; and 116,269 of the 143,776 square miles 
contained in the territory of Montana. The remainder, 
75,995 square miles, constituted the state of Nebraska. 
That part of the original territory of Nebraska bounded on 
the north by the forty-fifth, and on the south by the forty- 
third parallel of latitude; on the east by the twenty-seventh 
meridian, and on the west by the Rocky mountains — at 
the northwest by the thirty-fourth meridian — containing 
43,666 square miles, was first taken to form a part of 
Dakota, next to form a part of Idaho, next to form a part 
of the territory of Wyoming, and is now a part of the state 
of Wyoming. The part of original Nebraska bounded on 
the north by the forty-third parallel, on the east by the 
twenty-seventh meridian, on the south by the forty-first 
parallel and on the west by the Rocky mountains, con- 
taining 30,621 square miles, was first transferred to the 
territory of Idaho, next to the tenitory of Dakota, next 
to the territory of Wyoming, and is now a part of the state 
of Wyoming. 

Colorado, Wyoming, Dakota and Montana retained 
their territorial form when they became states, though 
Dakota was divided into the two states of North Dakota 
and South Dakota. The part of Montana which was not 
taken from Nebraska — 27,507 square miles — lies between 
the Rocky mountain divide and the Bitter Root mountains, 
and so is outside the Purchase. 

The act of March 2, 1861, which established the 
territory of Dakota, also added to Nebraska that part of 
Washington (4,638 square miles) and Utah (10,740 square 
miles), lying east of the one hundred and tenth meridian 
and between the forty-first and forty-third parallels of 



52 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

latitude. The Rocky mountain divide formed its eastern 
boundary, so that it was outside the Purchase. But this 
alien acquisition was only temporary. It was incorporated 
in the territory of Idaho in 1863, and in the territory of 
Wyoming in 1868.'' 



* The respective original areas of the territories of Nebraska and Kansas 
and the area of each of the parts of other territories taken from them are 
given in the Compendium of the Ninth Census (1870), pp. 540, 542 and 
voliime 1 of the same census, pp. 573-587. These areas have been slightly 
changed by subsequent surveys. In two instances the areas of small parts 
of these territories which are outside the Louisiana Purchase were obtained 
by the editor by counting the townships contained in them as they appear 
in reliable maps. They are, therefore, not entirely accurate. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 

By Albert Watkins 

Though Nebraska's parturition was prohfic beyond 
that of any other territory/ her state area has been in- 
creased only by the small tract above the Keyapaha and 
Niobrara rivers transferred from Dakota by the act of 
congress passed March 28, 1882, and accepted by an act 
of the legislature passed May 23, 1882.2 How Nebraska 
came by this quite important territorial acquisition and at 
the expense of Dakota, is an interesting and original inquiry. 

On the fifth of May, 1879, Alvin Saunders, United 
States senator from Nebraska and a member of the senate 
committee on territories, introduced a bill — s. 550 — to 
extend the northern boundary of the state of Nebraska, 
which was referred to the committee on territories of 
which the senator was a member. Following is a copy of 
the bill: 
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 

the United States of America in Congress assembled: 

That when the Indian title to all that portion of the 
Territory of Dakota lying south of the forty-third parallel 
of north latitude and east of the Keyapaha River and west 



1 See "Nebraska, The Mother of States," ante. 

- U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 22, p. 35; Laws of Nebraska 1882, p. 56. 
In the year 1867 the Missouri river cut directly across a projection of 
Union county, Dakota, containing about three sections which, according 
to the law of avulsion — abrupt cut-oflf — inconveniently remained a part of 
Dakota until it was detached and added to Nebraska by an act of congress 
passed April 28, 1870. By the act of February 9, 1871, the legislature of 
Nebraska accepted this gift of the freakish Missouri and attached it to 
Dakota county (United States Statutes at Large, v. 16, p. 93; Laws of 
Nebraska 1871, p. 131). For a further account of this incident see my 
footnote 3, Nebraska Constitutional Conventions, v. 3, p. 195. 

(53) 



54 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

of the Missouri River, shall be extingushed, the jurisdiction 
over such lands shall be, and hereby is, ceded to the State of 
Nebraska, and the northern boundary of the State shall be 
extended to said forty-third parallel, reserving to the United 
States the original right of soil in said lands, and disposing 
of the same. Provided, That this act shall not take effect 
until the President shall by proclamation declare that the 
Indian title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall 
it take effect until the State of Nebraska shall have assented 
to the provisions of this act.^ 

On the 20th of January, 1880, the bill was further con- 
sidered as follows: 

Mr. Saunders. I have the consent of the Senator who 
has the special order of the day in charge to call up the 
bill (S. No. 550) to extend the northern boundary of the 
State of Nebraska. 

Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. I ask for the regular 
order. I do not like to antagonize any gentleman. 

Mr. Saunders. This probably will not take three 
minutes; certainly not five. If it takes more than that 
time, I shall withdraw it. 

Mr. Davis, of West Virginia. Well, I give notice that 
I shall call for the regular order after the bill of the Senator 
from Nebraska is disposed of. 

Mr. McMillan [Minnesota]. I should like to ask the 
Senator from Nebraska to permit this bill to lie over until 
I have an opportunity of looking at it. 

Mr. Saunders. If the Senator is not satisfied, I will 
state that the bill was unanimously recommended by the 
Committee on Territories, with the amendment now pro- 
posed. There is no objection to it by any one. It was a 
unanimous report. The bill merely changes the line. 

Mr. McMillan. I reserve the right to object. 

Mr. Saunders It merely extends the Une between the 
Territory of Dakota and the State of Nebraska, a thing 
which would probably have been done when the State was 
admitted, only they did not know at the time where the 
rivers ran. 



' Congressional Record, v, 9, pt. 1, p. 1043. This copy was made from 
the original bill, on file in the Capitol at Washington. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 55 

The amendment reported by the Committee on Terri- 
tories was read, being to strike out all after the enacting 
clause of the bill, and in lieu thereof to insert: 

That the northern boundary of the State of Nebraska 
shall be, and hereby is, extended so as to include all that 
portion of the Territory of Dakota lying south of the forty- 
third parallel of north latitude, and east of the Keyapaha 
River and west of the main channel of the Missouri River; 
and when the Indian title to the lands thus described shall 
be extinguished, the jurisdiction over said lands shall be, 
and hereby is, ceded to the State of Nebraska, and the 
northern boundary of the state shall be, and hereby is, 
extended to said forty-third parallel, as fully and effectually 
as if said lands had been included in the boundaries of said 
state at the time of its admission to the Union; reserving 
to the United States the original right of soil in said lands 
and of disposing of the same: Provided, That this act, so 
far as jurisdiction is concerned, shall not take effect until 
the President shall, by proclamation, declare that the 
Indian title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall 
it take effect until the State of Nebraska shall have assented 
to the provisions of this act. 

Mr. McMillan. I shall be compelled to ask the Senator 
from Nebraska to permit this bill to lie over that I may 
have an opportunity to examine it. It is a matter of too 
much importance to be acted on hastily. 

Mr. McPherson [New Jersey]. Then I call for the 
unfinished business.* 

On the 3d of May the amendment or substitute was 
considered at length. Many of the most noted senators 
participated in the discussion, and gave Senator Saunders 
a severe giilling. 

The bill was reported from the Committee on Terri- 
tories with an amendment, to strike out all after the enacting 
clause and insert: 

That the northern boundary of the State of Nebraska 
shall be, and hereby is, extended so as to include all that 



* Ibid., V. 10, pt. 1, p. 410. 



56 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

portion of the Territory of Dakota lying south of the forty- 
third parallel of north latitude, and east of the Keyapaha 
River and west of the main channel of the Missouri River; 
and when the Indian title to the lands thus described shall 
be extinguished, the jurisdiction over said lands shall be, 
and hereby is, ceded to the State of Nebraska, and the 
northern boundary of the state shall be, and hereby is, 
extended to said forty-third parallel, as fully and effectually 
as if said lands had been included in the boundaries of said 
state at the time of its admission to the Union; reserving 
to the United States the original right of soil in said lands 
and of disposing of the same: Provided, That this act so 
far as jurisdiction is concerned, shall not take effect until 
the President shall, by proclamation, declare that the 
Indian title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall 
it take effect until the State of Nebraska shall have assented 
to the provisions of this act. 

Mr. Cockrell [Missouri]. I offer the following amend- 
ment — 

Mr. Saunders. Let me put in one from the committee 
first. The committee have authorized me to make another 
amendment, which I wish to move first. 

Mr. Cockrell. Very well. 

Mr. Saunders. I move to strike out the words "and 
hereby is" where they occur in lines 9 and 10, and where 
they occur in line 11, so as to read: 

The jurisdiction over said lands shall be ceded to the 
State of Nebraska, and the northern boundary of the state 
shall be extended to said forty- third parallel. 

The amendment to the amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Cockrell. I desire to insert in line 9, immediately 
after the word "extinguished", the words "if it shall ever 
be extinguished"; that is, if the Indian title shall ever be 
extinguished. 

Mr. Saunders. I have no objection to that amendment. 

The amendment to the amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Cockrell. At the close I move to add: 

Nor shall this act create any liability or obligation of 
any kind whatever on the part of the United States to 
extinguish said Indian title. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 57 

Mr. Dawes [Massachusetts]. I ask the Senator to 
add "or in any way affect the Indian title thereto." 

Mr. Coda-ell. I have no objection to that. 

Mr. Teller [Colorado]. Would that do any good? 

Mr. Dawes. I do not know that it would, but I do 
not think it would do any harm. 

Mr. Cockrell. There can be no objection to that, as 
a matter of course. 

Mr. Teller. It is well enough for Senators to look 
after the interests of these Indian reservations, but it does 
seem to me a remarkable thing that in the Senate we 
should put words into a bill that everybody admits will 
have no meaning whatever. Does anybody suppose that 
because we put this piece of land in the State of Nebraska 
the Government loses its title to the land or that the 
Indians lose any title they may have under any stipulation 
of a treaty? Then why put in these unmeaning and need- 
less words? 

The amendment to the amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Ingalls [Kansas]. I wish to know whether the 
words "and hereby is," after the amendment offered by 
the Senator from Nebraska, remain in any portion of the 
bill. I was not able to learn from the reporting of his 
amendment at the Clerk's desk. 

Mr. Cockrell. They remain in the fourth line. 

Mr. Ingalls. Those words, in my judgment, should 
also be stricken from that line. After the word "be", in 
line 4, I move to strike out the words "and hereby is." 

The amendment to the amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Thurman [Ohio]. I have never read this bill, but 
I have just heard it read at the desk, and it strikes me as 
something anomalous that requires explanation. Are we 
going to extend the line of a State to embrace territory 
within it, and at the same time say the State shall have 
no jurisdiction over the Indian territory thus acquired? 

Mr. Saunders. No jurisdiction until the Indian title 
shall have been extinguished. 

Mr. Thurman. But it is a mere promise to give the 
lands to the State in future. How can you extend the line 
of a State so as to include new territory and at the same 



58 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

time say the State shall have no jurisdiction over it. That 
passes my comprehension. 

Mr. Saunders. Probably as good an answer as I 
could give to the Senator from Ohio would be to say that 
the very same words were used in the act attaching the 
Platte district to the State of Missouri. That was done 
with the same provision exactly used in this bill, that the 
jurisdiction should not extend over the territory until the 
Indian title had been extinguished. 

Mr. Thurman. If it meant to say that the act should 
not take effect until that happened, and the President 
should make a proclamation to that effect, then I could 
understand it; but how you can include by words of present 
significance a territory in a State and at the same time say 
that the State shall have no jurisdiction at all, is what I 
cannot understand. AVhile I am up, as I know nothing 
about it, I wish to inquire of the Senator how much new 
territory does this embrace? 

Mr. Saunders. It will make somewhere probably about 
eighteen townships. The territory is about sixty miles 
long, a sort of irregular triangle. It is on an average 
about eight or nine miles wide and runs a length of sixty 
miles. It is one mile wide at the west end. The purpose 
is simply to straighten the line. I have a map of it here 
if any one wishes to look at it. 

Mr. Thurman, It is eight miles wide at one end and 
one mile at the other and sixty miles long? 

Mr. Saunders. Yes. There are about eighteen town- 
ships of land all told. 

Mr. Kirkwood [Iowa]. It runs up to the Niobrara 
River? 

Mr. Saunders. As the line of the State of Nebraska 
now stands it runs up the Missouri River to the mouth of 
the Niobrara River, and then up that stream until it comes 
to the mouth of the Keyapaha, then up the Keyapaha 
until it strikes the forty-third parallel of north latitude, 
then running west to the western boundary of the State. 
What we are asking is to extend that line east of [to] the 
Missouri so as to get on the forty-third parallel as the 
north line of Nebraska and the south line of Dakota. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 59 

Mr. Allison. May I ask the Senator from Nebraska 
what the character of this land is that is to be transferred? 

Mr. Paddock. About the average character of the 
whole Sioux reservation. It is a part of that. 

Mr. Saunders. There are two or three large streams 
running through it, furnishing bottom land. 

Mr. Allison. Good agricultural or pasture land? 

Mr. Saunders. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Teller. Good land? 

Mr. Saunders. I should like to read for the informa- 
tion of Senators the act to extend the western boundary of 
the State of Missouri to the Missouri River, which has 
been adapted to this case: 

Be it enacted, &c., That when the Indian title to all the 
lands lying between the State of Missouri and the Missouri 
River shall be extinguished, the jurisdiction over said lands 
shall be hereby ceded to the State of Missouri, and the 
western boundary of said State shall be then extended to 
the Missouri River, reserving to the United States the 
original right of soil in said lands, and of disposing of the 
same: Provided, That this act shall not take effect until 
the President shall, by proclamation, declare that the 
Indian title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall 
it take effect until the State of Missouri shall have assented 
to the provisions of this act. 

Approved June 7, 1836. 

Mr. Thurman. That is just as I suggested. The act 
itself was not to take effect until the Indian title was 
extinguished and the President should have issued his 
proclamation ; but if I understood this bill aright — perhaps 
I did not understand it correctly, as I have never seen it — 
it takes effect in presenti. 

Mr. Saunders. It is the same act. 

Mr. Thurman. I do not wish to interfere with the 
bill at all. The State of Nebraska is a very small State, 
and no doubt needs these two hundred and seventy square 
miles! 

Mr. Paddock [Nebraska]. I desire to state to the 
Senator from Ohio that the acquisition of the territory is a 
matter of very little account to the State of Nebraska; 
but a part of the boundary is on a dry creek a portion of 



60 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the year, and it is not a proper boundary. The Keyapaha 
is a very small, insignificant stream, and a dry creek is a 
very poor boundary for a State. The desire is that the 
established parallel, the forty-third parallel, shall be the 
boundary. That is the object sought to be accomplished, 
and not the acquisition of the territory, which is a matter 
of very small importance. 

Mr. Williams [Kentucky]. I want to say just one 
word. The proposition is merely to include this strip of 
land within the territorial limits of the State without bring- 
ing it under the lawful jurisdiction of the State until the 
Indian title shall be extinguished. That is the proposition. 

Mr. Paddock. Of course there will be no jurisdiction 
on the part of the State until the title is extinguished any- 
way. This is a defined permanent reservation, and of 
course the State would have no jurisdiction over it, even 
if it had been originally within its limits. 

Mr. Williams. I am not urging that as an objection 
to the bill, but as a reason why we should dispose of it. 

Mr. Dawes. I should like to inquire of the Senator 
from Nebraska whether this bill includes within the State 
of Nebraska the entire old Ponca reservation, so that no 
part of it is left out? 

Mr. Paddock. It does not interfere with the Ponca 
reservation at all. 

Mr. Dawes. It does not cut it in two? 

Mr. Saunders. Oh, no. 

Mr. Paddock. Not at all. 

The Presiding Officer. The question is on agreeing to 
the amendment of the committee as amended. 

The amendment, as amended, was agreed to. 

Mr. Teller. Let the bill be read as amended. 

The Chief Clerk read the bill as amended. 

The bill was reported to the Senate as amended, and 
the amendment was concurred in. 

Mr. Hoar [Massachusetts]. I should like to inquire 
of the Senator from Nebraska, is there not a jurisdiction 
in the United States, so far as offenses committed by white 
men are concerned, over the Indian reservation? 

Mr. Saunders. If so, it belongs to the Territory of 
Dakota. We are not interfering at all with the title. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 61 

Mr. Hoar. Then the difficulty suggested by the 
Senator from Ohio is not answered to my mind. I should 
like to know whether this becomes a part of the State of 
Nebraska; and if the State of Nebraska at once accepts, 
so far as jurisdiction is concerned, when the Indian title 
may not be extinguished for twenty years, under what 
authority can the United States punish one white man for 
an offense upon another in a State? If it is a part of the 
State, the United States cannot deal with this offense 
merely because it is on an Indian reservation. 

Mr. Saunders. How do they do mth the Indians 
residing in the State of New York? 

Mr. Hoar. The United States does not punish white 
men who commit offenses one on another on an Indian 
reservation in the State of New York. I do not under- 
stand that it does. 

Mr. Saunders. I ask the question for information. 

Mr. Hoar. I suggest why not strike out in the six- 
teenth and seventeenth lines the words "so far as juris- 
diction is concerned," the entire act to take effect when 
the President shall make his proclamation? That answers 
all the Senator's purpose. 

The Presiding Officer. Does the Senator from Mas- 
sachusetts offer an amendment? 

Mr. Hoar. Yes, sir; although I confess I do not 
understand the subject as well as the Senators in charge. 

Mr. Saunders. I think that this subject was thor- 
oughly discussed at the time the Platte purchase was 
added to the State of Missouri. 

Mr. Blaine [Maine]. Then why not employ the same 
language? 

Mr. Saunders. We have. 

Mr. Blaine. The exact language? 

Mr. Thurman. If the Senator will pardon me, he does 
not follow the language. The words "so far as jurisdiction 
is concerned" are not in the Missouri act. That is just 
what makes the distinction. 

Mr. Saunders. The Missouri act reads: 

Provided, That this act shall not take effect until the 
President shall by proclamation declare that the Indian 
title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall it taJke 



62 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

effect until the State of Missouri shall have assented to 
the provisions of this act. 

Mr. Hoar. My amendment makes this bill conform 
to that act. 

Mr. Paddock. There can be no objection to the 
amendment. 

Mr. Hoar. The Senator from Nebraska will observe 
that in his bill the words are not that the act shall have no 
effect but only that it shall not take effect' so far as the 
jurisdiction is concerned. Those words are not in the old 
Missouri act, not in the statute. Therefore the operation 
of this bill is to attempt to make the territory a part of 
a State and to provide that the State shall have no juris- 
diction over it. If it be a part of the State, certainly the 
United States can have no jurisdiction over it except as it 
has over all State territory. 

Mr. Saunders. What is the proposition of the Senator 
from Massachusetts? 

Mr. Hoar. The proposition is to strike out the words 
"so far as jurisdiction is concerned" from the bill, which 
makes it exactly correspond to the act to which the Senator 
says it does correspond. 

Mr. Saunders. I have no objection to that amend- 
ment. 

Mr. Blaine. The Senator from Nebraska will observe 
that the committee undoubtedly, when framing the bill, 
referred to that act. One of the most elaborately discussed 
propositions of that day was the Platte purchase. The 
wording of that act by Colonel Benton was done with great 
care and to avoid the very points which have come up in 
this discussion; and as it is a precedent of such great 
moment it seems to me it would be wise in our legislation 
to follow it. 

Mr. Saunders. The bill was intended to follow it 
exactly. 

Mr. Paddock. There can be no objection to the 
amendment of the Senator from Massachusetts. 

Mr. Saunders. There is no objection to the amend- 
ment. 

Mr. Teller. It seems to me that we shall get into 
trouble with this bill in the shape we are putting it in, at 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 63 

all events. This is well known to be on the southern line 
of a portion of the Territory of Dakota. From the present 
indications Dakota will be a State probably in the next 
two or three years. I have no doubt that Dakota has a 
population at this time sufficient to entitle her to a Repre- 
sentative in Congress, and I know they will be here at the 
next Congress asking to be admitted, and undoubtedly will 
be admitted. When the State of Dakota is admitted the 
Indian title will remain unextinguished. The Government 
will probably admit Dakota when it demands admission, 
with some provision with reference to the Indian lands and 
Indian title, and here will be a little strip of land a mile 
wide at one end and eight miles wide at the other which 
will be neither in a State nor in a Territory, which will 
neither be subject to the laws of Dakota nor to the laws of 
Nebraska. I should like to inquire in what kind of a con- 
dition the people who are living there, whether they be 
white or red, would be placed. 

Mr. Paddock. I do not think there is a single person 
living in the district of territory involved in this bill. So 
far as the intercourse laws are concerned, I should like to 
inquire of the Senator if he thinks a change of that district 
from the Territory to State limitations changes the state 
of the intercourse laws. 

Mr. Teller. That has not anything to do with the 
question. It will neither be in a State nor in a Territory, 
but will be between two States subject to the jurisdiction 
of neither. 

Mr. Paddock. I think the Senator's conclusion is a 
wrong one. 

Mr. Teller. It may be that it is wi'ong. 

Mr. Paddock. It certainly is wrong, because until 
the act itself takes effect the State does not obtain juris- 
diction; it is not a part of the State until the law takes 
effect; it is still within the limits of the Territory. 

Mr. Teller. If the honorable Senator from Nebraska 
will wait until I get through he will understand more about 
it, or less, I do not know which. 

Mr. Paddock. Less. 

Mr. Saunders. I cannot hear what the Senator says. 



64 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Mr. Teller. It is not my fault. I am talking as loud 
as any decent man ought to talk. 

This piece of ground will not be in Nebraska or Dakota, 
because we put in here a provision that it shall not be in 
Nebraska until the Indian title is extinguished. That is 
an indefinite period. It may be for a thousand years. 
Then it will not come into Dakota, because it would be 
very unfair when we admit the State of Dakota to include 
after the passage of this bill this very piece of ground in 
Dakota; and so where will it be? What government will 
have jurisdiction of it? Neither of the States. I suppose 
the General Government will, as a piece of ground that is 
included in neither State; and it will be a remarkable 
condition of affairs for the Government to have a little strip 
of ground a mile wide at one end and eight miles wide at 
the other and sixty miles long, without any government 
over it at all. The truth is, it ought to be put in the State 
of Nebraska, with some provision that the Government 
shall reserve the right to manage the Indians and take care 
of them as it does now. There is no objection to the 
Government having an Indian reservation within a State 
if when the Government puts it in the State the Govern- 
ment reserves the right to have exclusive control of the 
Indians, and that they have done in some instances in 
Nebraska, as I recollect in their organic act. 

Mr. Paddock. Does the Senator understand that 
every inch of this territory is now within the limits of the 
Sioux reservation? 

Mr. Teller. Certainly I do. 

Mr. Paddock. It is a part of the Sioux reservation. 
Therefore, of course, the intercourse laws are in force 
absolutely, and no other laws so far as that tract is con- 
cerned, and putting it into the State does not change the 
state of the law in respect of offenses that may be committed 
there. It will be in the Territory until this law takes 
effect. 

The Presiding Officer. The question is on the amend- 
ment of the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Hoar]. 

The amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Cockrell. Now let the bill be read as amended. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 65 

The Presiding Officer. The Secretary will read the 
bill as amended. 

The Chief Clerk read as follows: 

Be it enacted, &c., That the northern boundary of the 
State of Nebraska shall be extended so as to include all 
that portion of the Territory of Dakota lying south of the 
forty-third parallel of north latitude, and east of the Keya- 
paha River and west of the main channel of the Missouri 
River; and when the Indian title to the lands thus described 
shall be extinguished, if it shall ever be extinguished, the 
jurisdiction over said lands shall be ceded to the State of 
Nebraska, and the northern boundary of the State shall 
be extended to said forty-third parallel, as fully and effect- 
ually as if said lands had been included in the boundaries 
of said State at the time of its admission to the Union, 
reserving to the United States the original right of soil in 
said lands, and of disposing of the same: Provided, That 
this act shall not take effect until the President shall, by 
proclamation, declare that the Indian title to said lands 
has been extinguished; nor shall it take effect until the 
State of Nebraska shall have assented to the provisions of 
this act; nor shall this act create any liability or obligation 
of any kind whatever on the part of the United States to 
extinguish said Indian title, or in any way affect the Indian 
title thereof. 

Mr. Ingalls. I observe by an inspection of the map 
that this projected line bisects the Fort Randall military 
reservation. What I want to know is, this bill taking 
effect when the Indian title is extinguished, and the juris- 
diction of this entire country being then ceded to Nebraska, 
if by operation of law we shall not then give the reservation 
to Nebraska without intending to do so. 

Mr. Eaton [Connecticut]. "Reserving to the United 
States the original right of soil in said lands and of disposing 
of the same" is the language of the bill. 

Mr. Ingalls. But here is not only an Indian reservation 
but a military reservation that comes down south of this 
rectified frontier of Nebraska, and we provide that the 
entire jurisdiction of this territory shall be ceded to Nebraska 
when the Indian title is extinguished. Now, if we pass the 
bill in this shape do we not necessarily, without intending 



66 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

to do so, cede the portion of this military reservation that 
lies south of that line, and thereby perhaps very seriously 
interfere with the authority of the United States in that 
reservation? I suppose the intention of the Senator from 
Nebraska is to except from the operation of this act not 
only the Indian reservations, but the military reservations. 

Mr. Saunders. It was supposed that that was covered 
by saying that the right to dispose of the soil was reserved 
to the Government of the United States. 

Mr. Davis, of Illinois. It seems to me this bill is very 
immature and it ought to go back to the committee. I 
therefore move its recommittal to the Committee on Terri- 
tories. They can report it back in a better shape than it is 
now. 

The Presiding Officer. The Senator from Illinois 
moves that the bill be recommitted. 

The motion was agreed to.^ 

On the 22d of May the senate finally considered the 
bill as follows: 

The bill was reported from the Committee on Terri- 
tories with an amendment to strike out all after the enacting 
clause of the bill and to insert: 

That the northern boundary of the State of Nebraska 
shall be extended so as to include all that portion of the 



* Ibid., pt. 3, pp. 2960-62. 
The part of the Fort Randall military reservation, referred to by 
Senator Ingalls, which was included in the transfer from Dakota to Ne- 
braska, was bounded on the northeast by the Missouri river; on the south- 
east by a direct line starting from the Missouri river, in fractional section 
24, township 34, north, range 10, west of the sixth principal meridian, and 
running southwesterly to the southwest corner of section 3, township 33 
of the same range; on the southwest by a direct line running from the point 
last described northwesterly until it intersected the forty-third parallel of 
latitude in the middle of section 19, township 35, north, range 12, west; 
on the north by the forty-third parallel — from the point last described 
to its intersection with the Missouri river. The new territory was divided 
between Knox county and Holt county (Laws of Nebraska, 1883, pp. 199, 
201). Knox county retains its part of the acquisition; but all of Holt 
county's part of it, except the fractional townships lying between its north 
boundary line and the Niobrara river, was taken toward forming Boyd 
county. The southwestern corner of Boyd county lying south of the 
Keyapha river is outside the acquired territory in question. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 67 

Territory of Dakota lying south of the forty-third parallel 
of north latitude and east of the Keyapaha River and west 
of the main channel of the Missouri River; and when the 
Indian title to the lands thus described shall be extinguished, 
if it ever shall be extinguished, the jurisdiction over said 
lands shall be ceded to the State of Nebraska, and the 
northern boundary of the State shall be extended to said 
forty-third parallel as fully and effectually as if said lands 
had been included in the boundaries of said State at the 
time of its admission to the Union ; reserving to the United 
States the original right of soil in said lands and of disposing 
of the same: Provided, That this act shall not take effect 
until the President shall, by proclamation, declare that the 
Indian title to said lands has been extinguished; nor shall 
it take effect until the State of Nebraska shall have assented 
to the provisions of this act; nor shall this act create any 
liability or obligation of any kind whatever on the part of 
the United States to extinguish said Indian title or in any 
way affect the title thereto: And provided further, That 
this act shall in no way affect the right of the United States 
to control any military reservation, or any part thereof, 
which may now or hereafter be on said land. 

Mr. Edmunds [Vermont]. I move to amend the 
amendment where the subject of military reservations is 
spoken of by inserting after the word "military" the words 
"or other;" so as to include any lawful reservation, whether 
you call it a military reservation or one for some public 
building or an Indian reservation, &c. 

Mr. Saunders. That is all right. 

The President pro tempore. The amendment will be 
reported. 

The Chief Clerk. In line 24, after the word "military", 
it is proposed to insert "or other;" so as to read: 

That this act shall in no way affect the right of the 
United States to control any military or other reservation, 
or any part thereof, which may now or hereafter be on 
said land. 

The amendment to the amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Teller. I do not desire to obstruct the passage 
of this bill, but I made an objection to it the other day 
which I think still exists. Here is a proposition to take 



68 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

out from the Territory of Dakota a strip of country very 
narrow at one end and not very wide at the other, containing 
but a few [square] miles, and to leave it in such a condition 
that it will neither be in a State nor in a Territory should 
Dakota be admitted. It cannot be contemplated that the 
Government will extinguish the title of the Indians to this 
land for many years. When the State of Dakota comes 
here, which it will very shortly if we pay due regard to the 
wishes of the people there and the population is sufficient, 
we shall have the remarkable spectacle of a little strip 
that is neither in Nebraska nor Dakota nor anywhere else. 
I think it should be put in the State of Nebraska at once. 
I can see no reason why it should not be; and it certainly 
will be found eventually to make a great deal of trouble. 
But the Senators who have this bill in charge and who are 
especially anxious about its passage, do not seem to be 
willing that that should be done, I suppose for fear that it 
would embarrass the bill. I do not intend to make any 
factious opposition to it. I have just stated what I think 
about the measure. 

Mr. Allison [Iowa]. As I understand this bill, it makes 
no change whatever in the existing status until the Indian 
title shall have been extinguished; therefore I take it that 
if Dakota should be admitted as a State next year, this 
Territory would be within the boundary of Dakota for the 
time being. 

Mr. Teller. If that is the fact, we shall have a very 
remarkable condition of affairs. This will be in Dakota, 
and whether it remains in Dakota or not depends upon the 
action with reference to the extinguishment of the Indian 
title. Why not put it now in Nebraska? It will not inter- 
fere with the relations of the Indians to the Government. 
If it will, guard with such language as may be proper, and 
see that it shall not. 

Mr. Edmunds. It rather strikes me that it would be 
wise to fix a time within which the State of Nebraska shall 
assent as is provided in this amendment, because giving her 
an unlimited time within which to assent, it puts it con- 
ditionally out of our power and out of the power of Dakota 
in arranging for the admission of that State hereafter. 
Therefore I think it would be reasonable to provide where 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 69 

the assent of the State of Nebraska is spoken of — which is 
necessary as it changes her boundary — that that assent 
shall be given within a certain period of time. 

Mr. Saunders. I have no objection to that. 

Mr. Edmunds. When does the Legislature of Nebraska 
meet? 

Mr. Saunders. It meets next winter. 

Mr. Edmunds. If we provide that the assent shall be 
given within one year from the passage of this act, it would 
give the Legislature an opportunity to act. After the word 
"act", in line 19, I move to insert "which assent shall be 
given within one year from the passage hereof." 

Mr. Saunders. I have no objection to that. 

Mr. Edmunds. I think that is right. It will not 
embarrass it. 

The amendment to the amendment was agi'eed to. 

The President pro tempore. The question now is on 
the amendment reported by the Committee on Territories 
as amended. 

Mr. Dawes. Before we vote on it, I should like to 
hear the amendment read as amended. 

The Chief Clerk read the amendment as amended. 

The amendment, as amended, was agreed to. 

The bill was reported to the Senate as amended, and 
the amendment was concurred in. 

The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, 
read the third time, and passed. 

On the 5th of June the bill was taken up in the house 
and referred to the committee on the judiciary. ^ It had 
not been reported back when the forty-sixth congress 
finally adjourned on the 16th of June. 

On the first day of the first session of the 47th congress, 
Senator Saunders, who in the meantime had become chair- 
man of the senate committee on territories, introduced the 
bill avowedly in the form in which it had passed the senate 
at the last session, but as senate bill number 17.^ When 



• Ibid., pt. 4, p. 3644. 
' Ibid., pt. 5, p. 4220. 
" Ibid., V. 13, pt. 1, p. 3. 



70 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the senator undertook to call up the bill on the 31st of 
January, 1882, he explained his wish to have it considered 
hastily as follows: 

Mr. Saunders. This bill is the same exactly that 
passed the Senate unanimously at the last session of Con- 
gress after having been thoroughly canvassed, and it has 
been reported unanimously by the Committee on Terri- 
tories again. The hurry we have in this matter is that it 
cannot take effect, according to one of the conditions, 
until the Legislature of the State of Nebraska shall have 
acted on it, and the Legislature expects to be called to- 
gether early this spring. As the bill will have to go through 
the other House, and then notice must be given to the 
governor of Nebraska, I desire very much that the bill 
shall be allowed to go through this morning. I think there 
is no objection to it. 

But the wily senator from Vermont again interfered, 
and the following colloquy ensued: 

Mr. Edmunds. It is a pretty serious business to en- 
large or diminish the boundaries of a sovereign State, and 
it is still more serious if, as I have been told, this enlarge- 
ment of the boundaries of Nebraska is to take in both an 
Indian reservation and a military reservation; and before 
I vote to take it up, I should be glad to have the Senator 
from Nebraska tell us whether I am correctly informed 
that this is to bring within the jurisdictional territory of 
Nebraska a reservation already set apart for some Indians 
along that border. 

Mr. Saunders. It provides that it shall not take effect 
until the Indian title shall have been extinguished. 

Mr. Edmunds. That was not precisely the question. 
I asked whether this change of boundary does not bring 
into the State of Nebraska an Indian reservation already 
established, on which the Indians are living in peace and 
quiet. 

Mr. Saunders. It is called the Indian reservation, 
though it is that part which was held by the Poncas, and 
some mistakes were made, they claim, when it was turned 
over to the Sioux; but call it a reservation or what you 
please, it is no doubt a part of the Indian reservation, and 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 71 

in that regard it is provided that the bill shall not take 
effect until the Indian title shall have been extinguished. 

Mr. Edmunds. What is the object of this enlargement 
of the boundaries of the State of Nebraska? What good 
does it do? Why is it necessary? 

Mr. Saunders. It is merely to straighten the line and 
bring in a very irregularly formed piece of land. It will 
not help the Territory of Nebraska particularly. 

Mr. Ingalls. It is very important that all States 
should have straight lines, rectangular frontiers; but I am 
advised that this proposed change takes in the capital 
of the Territory of Dakota. Is that the case? 

Mr. Saunders. The capital of Dakota is on the east 
side of the Missouri River, and this all lies west of the 
Missouri River, so that it does not touch it or come within 
a long distance of it. 

Mr. Edmunds. Mr. President — 

The President pro tempore. The morning hour has 
expired. The Chair lays before the Senate its unfinished 
business. 

Mr. Saunders. I ask unanimous consent to take a 
vote on this bill this morning. 

Mr. Edmunds. The Senator cannot get it this morn- 
ing. The present boundary line of Nebraska follows the 
stream — 

Mr. Saunders. The bill is just to straighten that line. 
[Indicating on a map.] 

Mr. Kellogg [Louisiana]. I desire to inquire of the 
Chair if I have lost my opportunity now, the morning hour 
having expired, to call up a resolution? 

The President pro tempore. The Senator has. 

Mr. Kellogg. I desire to say that I yielded as a matter 
of courtesy to my good-natured friend from Nebraska, and 
I hope he will not ask me to do so again. 

Mr. Saunders. I only want to rectify this boundary. 

Mr. Edmunds. Regular order !^ 

Senator Saunders was sharply cross-examined on the 



' Ibid., pp. 745-46. The rather notorious carpetbag senator from 
Louisiana, William Pitt Kelogg, who engaged in this debate, had been a 
judge of the territorial court of Nebraska. 



72 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

bill, in committee of the whole, just before it was reported 
for a third reading. 

Mr. Saulsbury [Delaware]. I should like to ask the 
senator from Nebraska who has title or claim now to the 
land that it is proposed to incorporate into the state of Ne- 
braska? Is it public land? 

Mr. Saunders, It belongs to the government; that is, 
it is included in an Indian reservation. 

Mr. Saulsbury. Then this is a proposition to take 
part of an Indian reservation and incorporate it in the 
state of Nebraska? 

Mr. Saunders. The provision of the bill is that it 
does not take effect until the Indian title is extinguished, 
so that is all provided for in the bill. 

Mr. Saulsbury. Then it is to give the public lands to 
the state of Nebraska, which I understand has a large 
territory now? 

Mr. Saunders. No; under the bill the government 
will have the right to control the lands. 

Mr. Plumb [Kansas]. I should like to inquire why it 
is that the State of Nebraska has not by some home author- 
ity made some profert of its wishes in regard to this matter, 
and I should like to ask further what is the feeling of the 
people of Dakota about it? We are taking away what is 
apparently valuable property from the Territory of Dakota, 
which is here seeking admission as a State. It seems to 
me we ought to have regard for the wishes of those people, 
and the fact that the State of Nebraska apparently never 
has put in an appearance here or asked anything about it 
ought to enter into the considerations bearing upon this 
question. 

Mr. Saunders. This bill was before the Senate more 
than a year ago, almost two years ago, and it was thoroughly 
canvassed both in committee and in the Senate. Seven 
times, I think, it was up and finally it was adopted exactly 
as reported, and the amendments which have been agreed 
to this morning [February 3, 1882] were suggested by the 
Senator from Vermont, and remove all possible objection 
to the measure. So far as the territory is concerned it 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 73 

belongs to an Indian reservation, and there are no persons 
particularly affected by it, because there are no white 
people upon the reservation, and I do not know that there 
are any Indians on it now. 

The object of the bill is to straighten the line between 
Dakota and Nebraska. If the line had been straight, or if 
there had been a well-defined line, no bill would have been 
brought before Congress in regard to the matter. The bill 
provides that the line shall go up the Niobrara River to 
the mouth of the Keyapaha River. The Niobrara River 
in many places there is a very wide and shallow stream, 
changing its channel frequently. Sometimes in twenty- 
four hours the channel has been removed a quarter of a 
mile or more. So difficult has it been to decide what is the 
real channel of that stream, that one of the judges in that 
district told me himself that he had released a prisoner 
and refused to act upon the case because he would not take 
it upon himself to decide the northern boundary of Nebraska 
where it was the main channel of that stream, because it 
was so difficult to tell where the channel was. 

For these and other reasons, the main reason being to 
straighten the line (which would have been done when the 
act was passed originally if Congress had known anything 
about where it would be,) and not for the purpose alone of 
attaching territory to Nebraska, I ask for the passage of 
the bill. It does not affect anybody's interest particularly, 
but straightens the line and gives the map an appearance 
which it would not have without this enactment. 

Mr. Cameron, of Wisconsin. I desire to inquire of 
the Senator from Nebraska how extensive the territory is 
which it is proposed by the bill to transfer from the Terri- 
tory of Dakota to the State of Nebraska; that is, how 
many square miles does it contain? 

Mr. Saunders. I cannot tell exactly, but it is about 
forty miles in length and probably there is a mean width 
of about three miles, perhaps not quite so much. There are, 
I think, over two townships of land, but it is in such an 
irregular shape that I cannot tell exactly the quantity. 

Mr. Hale [Maine]. Is there any population there 
whatever? 



74 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Mr. Saunders. There is no population there, and no 
population is affected by the bill at all. 

Mr. Teller. I should like to inquire if the Indians are 
not affected by it? 

Mr. Saunders. Not the Indians themselves. 

Mr. Dawes. The Indians have all been removed to 
the Indian Territory. 

Mr. Edmunds. At the point of the bayonet. 

Mr. Dawes. They have been removed at the point of 
the bayonet, so that the bill does not affect them. 

Mr. Butler [South Carolina]. I think it is fair to say 
in behalf of the bill that it was considered by the Committee 
on Territories and unanimously reported favorably. My 
friend from Kansas [Mr. Plumb] made an inquiry as to 
what the feeling of tlie people of Dakota is upon the sub- 
ject. The only information I have on that point is that 
quite a large delegation of very intelligent gentlemen from 
Dakota was before the Committee on Territories, where 
this matter was informally discussed, although not specially 
with reference to this line, and no objection was made to it 
by them that I could hear. I think the bill is an entirely 
proper one for the reasons assigned by the chairman of 
the committee, and I hope the Senate will pass it. I do 
not see that it can affect the Indians, as their rights are 
thoroughly protected by the proviso. It simply straightens 
the line and gives sjrmmetry to the northern line of the 
State of Nebraska. That is about all there is in it. 

The bill was reported to the Senate as amended. 

Mr. Pendleton [Ohio]. Let the bill be read in full. 

The Acting Secretary read the bill. 

Mr. Edmunds. The Senator from Iowa [Mr. Allison] 
has just suggested to me, and I think with great wisdom, 
that this grant of territory should be subject to all the 
provisions in regard to the admission of the State of Nebraska 
into the Union. The only real point about it that I can 
now think of would be as to reserving the free navigation 
of the Missouri River. I do not remember how the old 
acts in regard to the States that border on the Mississippi 
and the Missouri run, whether their jurisdiction is extended 
to the center, to the main channel, or whether to the shore. 

Mr. Saunders. To the main channel. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 75 

Mr. Edmunds. If it is extended to the main channel, 
then there should be what was, I am sure, in the earlier 
acts in regard to these States, a provision that would 
make the whole of the river free for navigation, &c., to all 
the people of the United States. Undoubtedly if we had a 
provision subjecting this tract to all the conditions and 
limitations of the original act of admission, it would prob- 
ably cover the point, although I have not looked at the 
law. At any rate I will move to insert, after the word 
"Nebraska", in line 10, the words "and subject to all the 
conditions and limitations provided in the act of Congress 
admitting Nebraska into the Union." That will probably 
secure what I have in view. 

The President pro tempore. The question is on agi^eeing 
on the amendment of the Senator from Vermont. 

The amendment was agreed to. 

Mr. Dawes. I think the safeguards that have been 
put upon the bill are very desirable. As to the question 
of extending the boundary, I think any one who looks 
upon the map will see the propriety of it. The bill includes 
in the State of Nebraska just the old Ponca reservation, 
about which so much was said in the last Congress. It 
does not affect the title to that reservation, which has 
never by any legal means been taken out of the Ponca 
tribe. I suppose there can be no doubt in the mind of 
lawyers that it still remains there. The Ponca tribe have 
been driven off; no one inhabits the reservation now, and 
their dwellings, those that have not been carried over this 
river by enterprising settlers in Nebraska, have been swept 
down the river by the floods that have been described by 
the Senator from Nebraska. But the rights of the Indians, 
whatever they are, do not seem to be affected by the bill, 
and the straightening of the line of Nebraska does seem to 
be very desirable. I hope, therefore, the bill will pass. 

The President pro tempore. Does the Senator from 
Vermont propose any further amendment? 

Mr. Edmunds. I think that the provision we have 
inserted is adequate to the purpose I had in view. 

The bill was reported to the Senate as amended, and 
the amendments were concurred in. 



76 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The bill was ordered to be engrossed for a third reading, 
read the third time, and passed. ^^ 

In the house the bill was referred to the committee on 
the territories;" but it was sponsored by Mr. Valentine (then 
the sole member from Nebraska), though he was not a 



"> Ibid., p. 861. 

The queries of Senator Plumb and Senator Butler as to the reason 
why Dakota showed no interest in the proposed dismemberment of her 
territory are sufficiently answered, probably, in letters to the editor from Mr. 
Ed. A. Fry, founder of the Nebraska Pioneer, and now a resident of Yankton, 
under dates of September 12 and 14, and October 11, 1913. Mr. Fry said: 

"In regard to what we know of the 'Ponca Strip,' comprising the west 
part of Knox and all of Boyd, it was the child of the late Alvin Saunders 
while a member of the Indian and territorial committees in the U. S. senate, 
and was done to straighten out the Nebraska boundary to the Missouri 
river. I recall no opposition from Dakota Territory, but E. K. Valentine 
made a strenuous effort to get credit for it, and quite a controversy arose 
over it, in which I was a part. 

" Mr. [George W.] Kingsbury, who was editor of the Press and Dakotan 
at the time, tells me that there was no protest from South Dakota respecting 
the 'Ponca Strip.' The territory at that time was more interested in division 
than the 96,000 acres of land, and Senator Saunders was in position to aid 
them and did so. He says that Senator Plumb of Kansas, as the Congres- 
sional Record at that time will show, made some inquiries in debate, but 
beyond this no effort was made lest opposition might be made to division. 

" Mr. Van Osdel says there was no contention on the part of the South 
Dakota delegate. As before stated, he said statehood was uppermost in 
the minds of the leaders. Niobrara, of course, had a desire at that time to 
see this territory come into Nebraska on account of the Niobrara river, 
that it might come under the exclusive control of the state. The Ponca 
treaty did not even give Nebraska the river, reading to the south bank as 
the line of the Ponca possession. 

"As to Congressman Valentine's claim of the shifting channel of the 
Niobrara river, this is correct. It is liable to be on the opposite side of the 
stream over-night — this is where it spreads out to any extent. There are 
occasional confined rapids after the turn in the river about five miles above. 
These do not shift materially. It is a remarkable river, in that it seldom, 
if ever, leaves its banks unless gorged by ice. It is a spring-fed stream its 
whole length and is probably the least affected by drouth or flood of any 
stream known." 

Dakota was not divided until 1889, when it was changed from the 
territorial status into the states of North Dakota and South Dakota. 
Therefore, the delegate to congress was from Dakota and not from South 
Dakota as Mr. Fry inadvertently has it. 
" Ibid., pt. 2, p. 1501. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 77 

member of the committee. The colloquy in the house was 
brief: 

Mr. Valentine. I ask unanimous consent for the 
present consideration of a senate bill. If the house will 
give me a moment for a statement of the case, I think there 
will be no objection. 

The Speaker. The Clerk will read the title of the bill. 

The clerk read as follows: 

A bill (S. No. 17) to extend the northern boundary of 
the State of Nebraska. 

Mr. Valentine. I would like to have a moment to 
state the object of this bill. 

Mr. Springer [Illinois]. I reserve points of order. 

Mr. Bragg [Wisconsin]. And I reserve the right to 
object. 

Mr. Valentine. Mr. Speaker, it is intended by this 
bill to straighten the northern boundary of the state of 
Nebraska. A portion of the present northern boundary is 
down the Keyapaha and the Niobrara Rivers. The Niobrara 
is a shallow sandy stream, from half a mile to a mile and 
a quarter in width, full of timber islands. Under the 
present law the northern boundary of our state down that 
stream is the main channel of the stream. That channel 
shifts with the wind. When the wind is blowing from the 
north or the northwest the channel is upon the southern 
bank of the stream. If the wind shifts to the south or 
southwest the channel moves from half a mile to a mile 
and a quarter northward around these islands. It is very 
necessary to have a fixed, well-defined boundary line. I 
will add that there is no objection to this bill on the part 
of the people of Dakota who are as much interested in 
having this line straightened as are the people of Nebraska. 

Mr. Bunnell [Minnesota]. Has this bill been examined 
by the House committee? 

Mr. Valentine. Yes, sir; they have had it under con- 
sideration, and allowed me to take it from the hands of the 
committee to bring it up at this time. 

The bill was read, as follows: 

Be it enacted, &c., That the northern boundary of the 
State of Nebraska shall be, and hereby is, subject to the 



78 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

provisions hereinafter contained, extended so as to include 
all that portion of the Territory of Dakota lying south of 
the forty-third parallel of north latitude and east of the 
Keyapaha River and west of the main channel of the 
Missouri River; and when the Indian title to the lands 
thus described shall be extinguished, the jurisdiction over 
said lands shall be, and hereby is, ceded to the State of 
Nebraska, and subject to all the conditions and limitations 
provided in the act of Congress admitting Nebraska into 
the Union; and the northern boundary of the State shall 
be extended to said forty-third parallel as fully and effectu- 
ally as if said lands had been included in the boundaries 
of said State at the time of its admission to the Union, 
reserving to the United States the original right of soil in 
said lands and of disposing of the same: Provided, That 
this act, so far as jurisdiction is concerned, shall not take 
effect until the President shall, by proclamation, declare 
that the Indian title to said lands has been extinguished, 
nor shall it take effect until the State of Nebraska shall 
have assented to the provisions of this act; and if the 
State of Nebraska shall not, by an act of its Legislature, 
consent to the provisions of this act within two years next 
after the passage hereof, this act shall cease and be of no 
effect. 

Mr. Springer. How much territory is to be added to 
the State by this change? 

Mr. Valentine. About a township and a half. 

There being no objection, the Committee on the 
Territories was discharged from the further consideration 
of the bill; which was ordered to a third reading, read the 
third time, and passed. ^^ 

The process of coaching this measure followed, now 
and then, darksome ways. For example. Senator Saunders 
declared that the second bill — which was enacted — "is the 
same exactly that passed the senate unanimously at the 
last session of congress after having been thoroughly can- 
vassed. . ." On the contrary, it was the bill as it was 
originally reported, without the numerous amendments 



" Ibid., p. 2007. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 79 

which were made "after having been thoroughly canvassed" 
on the 3d of May, 1880. The bill, with amendments, which 
first passed the senate and to which Senator Saunders 
referred has already been copied (ante, pp. 66, 67, 68)." 

The bill which the senator offered the second time was 
as follows: 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That 
the northern boundary of the State of Nebraska shall be, 
and hereby is, extended so as to include all that portion of 
the Territory of Dakota lying south of the forty-third 
parallel of north latitude and east of the Keyapaha River 
and west of the main channel of the Missouri River; and 
when the Indian title to the lands thus described shall be 
extinguished, the jurisdiction over said lands shall be and 
hereby is ceded to the State of Nebraska, and the northern 
boundary of the State shall be, and hereby is, extended 
to said forty-third parallel as fully and effectually as if said 
lands had been included in the boundaries of said State at the 
time of its admission to the Union ; reserving to the United 
States the original right of soil in said lands and of disposing 
of the same: Provided, That this act, so far as jurisdiction 
is concerned, shall not take effect until the President shall, 
by proclamation, declare that the Indian title to said lands 
has been extinguished, nor shall it take effect until the 
State of Nebraska shall have assented to the provisions of 
this act." 

The words "hereby is" occurred three times in the 
bill before it was amended, in 1880, by striking them out. 
They were stricken out in only one instance, just before 
final passage. Thus the senator gained two important 
points, to which strong objections had been made in the 
debate on amendments, by slipping in cards from his sleeve. 



" The bill and the amendments adopted are printed on page 3644, pt. 
4, V. 10, Congressional Record. 

" The elimination of the amendments adopted (Congressional Record, 
V. 13, pt. 1, pp. 860-861) from the act as it passed (U. S. Statutes at Large, 
V. 22, p. 35) leaves the bill as it was introduced. 



80 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The words, "so far as jurisdiction is concerned/' which 
were stricken out at the instance of Senator Hoar before 
the passage of the first bill in the senate, slipped by on 
final passage through Saunder's masterly mistake as to 
the contents of the bill. By the same misapprehension the 
senator got rid of the amendments, "if it [the Indian title] 
ever shall be extinguished"; "nor shall this act create any 
liability or obligation of any kind whatever on the part 
of the United States to extinguish said Indian title or in 
any way affect the title thereto"; and "and provided 
further, That this act shall in no way affect the right of 
the United States to control any military or other reserva- 
tion, or any part thereof, which may now or hereafter be 
on said land." By leaving out the one year limit for ac- 
cepting another year was gained. Thus Senator Saunders 
got back by indirection most of that which had been directly 
taken from him and, in a way, got even with the irreverent 
eastern senators who had so inconsiderately put and kept 
him on the gridiron. 

There is an inexplicable discrepancy between Senator 
Saunders' estimates of the area of the proposed transfer in 
1880 and in 1882. In response to Senator Thurman's 
specific inquiry during the discussion of the first bill Saun- 
ders replied: "It will make somewhere probably about 
eighteen townships." ^^ To a like specific inquiry by Senator 
Cameron, of Wisconsin, during the debate of February 3d, 
1882, Saunders repHed: "There are, I think, over two 
townships of land, but it is in such an irregular shape that 
I cannot tell exactly the quantity." ^^ On the day the bill 



1' Congressional Record, v. 10, pt. 3, p. 2960. According to the census 
of 1880 the area of the state was 76,185 square miles, and by that of 1890 
it was 76,855 square miles. The difference between these sums, 670 square 
miles, or 18.6 townships, is approximately the area of the transferred terri- 
tory. According to the surveys, as indicated on the township plats, the 
total area of the addition appears to have been 406,566 acres, or 17.64 
townships. 

" Ibid., V. 13, pt. 1, p. 861. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 18 

passed the house — March 17, 1882 — to Mr. Springer's 
question, "How much territory is to be added to the state 
by this change?" Mr. Valentine repHed: "About a town- 
ship and a half."^^ The correctness of the Nebraska sen- 
ator's first estimate and the near agreement between his 
second and Valentine's estimate precludes the supposition 
that either was a clerical error. The original boundary line 
between Dakota and Nebraska followed the mid-channel 
of the Niobrara river, so that Nebraska acquired by the 
transfer only such islands as lay north of that line. 

The great and the near-great men who engaged in the 
debates alike lacked knowledge of the status or rights of 
the Indians in the debated territory. Senator Dawes, 
though chairman of the committee of Indian affairs and a 
general Indian godfather or philanthropist, very erroneously 
informed his uninformed colleagues that the bill included 
"just the old Ponca reservation," which was as discrepant 
from the truth as the information about the area of the 
whole tract offered by the members from Nebraska. Of 
the approximate total of 406,566 acres, the Ponca laid 
claim to only 96,000.'^ 

The claims of neighboring Indian tribes to lands 
naturally overlapped one another until the authority of the 
United States adjusted them, more or less arbitrarily, 
through treaties. Until the Fort Laramie treaty of 1851, 
the Ponka claimed the territory bounded by a line running 
westerly from the mouth of Aoway river to the Black Hills ; 
thence along the Black Hills to the source of White river; 
thence down the White river to the Missouri, which was 
their eastern boundary. '^ By the same treaty, a line drawn 



'' Ibid., pt. 2, p. 2007. 

18 Report of the secretary of the interior 1881, v. 2, p. 277; ibid., 1878, 
pt. 1, p. 467; ibid., 1879, v. 1, p. 78. 

" Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 
pt. 2, p. 819. 



82 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

southwesterly from the mouth of White river (now in 
South Dakota not far below the city of Chamberlain) 
through the forks of the Platte was fixed as the eastern 
boundary of Sioux territory and so the western boundary 
of Ponka claims.20 By the treaty of March 12, 1858, the 
Ponka ceded to the United States all lands they owned or 
claimed except a tract bounded as follows: "Beginning at 
a point on the Niobrara river and running due north so as 
to intersect the Ponca River twenty-five miles from its 
mouth; thence from said point of intersection up and 
along the Ponca River twenty miles; thence due south to 
the Niobrara River; and thence down and along said river 
to the place of beginning. . ." Through a mistake in the 
wording of the treaty this reservation was placed farther 
west than the contracting parties intended; consequently, 
in accordance with the request of the commissioner of 
Indian affairs, made on the 26th of July, 1860, the com- 
missioner of the general land office ordered that the east 
and west boundaries should be removed twelve miles east- 
ward. By this change the line between ranges 8 and 9 
west of the sixth principal meridian became the eastern 
boundary of the reservation.^^ By the treaty of March 10, 
1865, the Ponka ceded to the United States that part of 
their reservation west of the line between ranges 10 and 11 
and received as consideration therefor the tract between 
the Ponka river and the Niobrara river east of the line 
between ranges 8 and 9, subsequently the western boundary 
of Knox county. 22 

The recitation in the treaty that this cession was made 
also "by way of rewarding them for their constant fidelity 
to the government and citizens thereof, and with a view of 



2° Ibid. 

" Ibid.; Copy of treaty, U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 12, p. 997. 
22 Ibid., pp. 836-37; U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 14, p. 675; Report 
Secretary of Interior 1879, v. 1, p. 78. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 83 

returning to the said tribe of Ponca Indians their old bury- 
ing grounds and cornfields" is characteristically ironical, 
in view of the fact that, by an alleged mistake, the whole 
reservation, sacred and otherwise, was included in the 
great reserve assigned to the Sioux by the trouble-breeding 
treaty of April 29, I868.23 The bill of appropriations of 
1876 for the Indian department contained a proviso "that 
the secretary of the interior may use of the foregoing 
amounts the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars for the 
removal of the Poncas to the Indian Territory, and pro- 
viding them a home therein, with the consent of said band." 
The corresponding bill of 1877 contained an appropriation 
of fifteen thousand dollars "for the removal and permanent 
location of the Poncas in the Indian territory." 24 

The precedent condition of consent was omitted from 
the second removal measure because an agent of the depart- 
ment had failed, in the preceding January, to obtain it, 
though he resorted to intimidation to gain a nefarious end. 
Accordingly, in April and May of the same year, the Ponka 
were forced from their ancestral homes, literally "at the 
point of the bayonet", as asserted by Senator Edmunds 
and Senator Dawes." In 1879 sixty-five of the homesick 
exiles deserted from the new reservation in the Indian 
Territory, and by 1882 one hundred and sixty-eight of them 
had returned to their old reservation. 2 ^ A sense of this 
injustice gradually came to be comprehended, and at the 
second session of the 46th congress (Feb. 16, 1880) Senator 



" U. S. statutes at Large, v. 15, p. 636. 

» Ibid., V. 19, pp. 192,287. 

'^ Report of special investigation commission, in the report of the 
secretary of the interior 1881, v. 2, p. 278. 

26 Report of Secretary of Interior 1879, v. 1, pp. 21, 77, 179; ibid., 1882, 
V. 2, p. 176. For extended accounts of the removal, see reports of the 
secretary of the interior, 1877, pp. 417, 492; 1878, p. 466; 1879, v. 1, pp. 
21, 78, 179; 1880, v. 1, p. 110; 1881, v. 2, pp. 38, 186, 275; 1882, v. 2, 
pp. 52, 176. 



84 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Dawes introduced a bill (s. 1298) ^^ for the relief of the Ponka, 
which was referred to the select committee to examine 
into the removal of the Northern Cheyenne and by it 
reported back favorably, when it was placed upon the 
calendar where it rested. ^^ At the 3d session of the same 
congress (January 28, 1881) Senator Dawes introduced a 
bill (s. 2113) "to establish the rights of the Ponca tribe 
of Indians and to settle their affairs", which was referred 
to the same committee. ^^ On the 23d of February Senator 
Kirkwood, on behalf of a minority of that committee, 
introduced a bill (s. 2215) *'for the relief of the Ponca 
Indians." 30 On the 18th of December, 1880, President 
Hayes appointed a commission consisting of Brigadier 
General George Crook, Brigadier General Nelson A. Miles, 
William Stickney, of the District of Columbia, and Walter 
Allen, of Massachusetts, *'to ascertain the facts in regard 
to their [the Ponka's] removal and present condition, so 
far as is necessary to determine the question what justice 
and humanity require should be done by the government 
of the United States, and report their conclusions and 
recommendations in the premises." The commission made 
a majority and a minority report on the 25th of January, 
1881, which were referred to the committee named above. 
Both reports represented that the Ponka had been wrong- 
fully removed from their old reservation and recommended 
that, by way of restitution, one hundred and sixty acres of 
land, to be selected by them from their old reservation or 



" Congressional Record, v. 10, pt. 1, p. 912; ibid, pt. 4, p. 3950. The 
department of Indian affairs presented to congress a liberal bill for the 
same purpose on the 3d of February, 1879. (Report Secretary of Interior 
1879, V. 1, p. 78). 

-* Kirkwood of Iowa; Dawes of Massachusetts; Plumb of Kansas; 
Bailey of Tennessee; Morgan of Alabama. (Cong. Record, v. 10, pt. 1, 
p. 19 — 2d sess. 46th Congress). 

'» Ibid., V. 11, pt. 2, p. 988. 

»» Ibid., pt. 3, p. 1965. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 85 

from their new one in the Indian Territory, should be given 
to every member of the tribe and in addition thereto, that 
the annual appropriation of $53,000 should be continued 
for five years after the passage of an act allotting them 
lands, and that $25,000 should be appropriated for the 
purpose of providing farm implements, stock and seed.^^ 
Carl Schurz, secretary of the interior, was a firm friend of 
the Ponka, and in his reports for 1877, 1879, and 1880, he 
warmly advocated that they should be reimbursed for the 
loss of their reservation. 

The Sioux gave evidence of contrition on account of 
their part in the cruel treatment of this defenseless little 
band of former kinsmen, and on the 20th of August, 1881, 
representatives of the Ogalala, Brule, and Standing Rock 
tribes signed an agreement at Washington to relinquish 
enough of the old Ponka reservation to provide heads of 
families and males over twenty-one years of age, belonging 
to the Standing Bear band and residing on or near the old 
reservation, a section of land apiece. But the requisite 
signatures of three-fourths of all the adult male Sioux 
interested in the reservation were apparently not obtained.^^ 
It was not until 1888 that the demand of justice to the 
Ponka was substantially recognized. The act of congress 
of April 30 of that year, which divided the great Sioux 
reservation into six distinct reserves, contained the follow- 
ing provision: 

"Each member of the Ponca tribe of Indians now 
occupying a part of the old Ponca reservation, within the 
limits of said great Sioux reservation, shall be entitled to 
allotments upon said old Ponca reservation as follows: 



'» Senate Documents 1880-81, v. 1, doc. 30, pp. 1-13. The proceedings 
of the Commission, including the testimony of representatives of the tribe, 
are published in the same document, beginning at page 13, and in Senate 
Miscellaneous Documents, 1880-81, v. 1, document 49. 

32 House Executive Documents, 1881-82, v. 10, doc. 1, p. 39; ibid., 
1882-83, V. 11, p. 52. 



86 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

To each head of a family, one-quarter of a section; to each 
single person over eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a 
section; to each orphan child under eighteen years of age, 
one-eighth of a section; and to each other person under 
eighteen years now living, one-sixteenth of a section. . . . 
And said Poncas shall be entitled to all other benefits under 
this act in the same manner and with the same conditions 
as if they were a part of the Sioux nation receiving rations 
at one of the agencies herein named." 

The Sioux, however, refused to ratify this provision! 
and so it did not become effective. A provision for the 
same purpose was incorporated in the act of March 2, 1889, 
further dividing and curtailing the Sioux reservation; and 
it was accepted by the Sioux according to its conditions. 
By this act, each head of a Ponka family then occupying 
a part of the old Ponka reservation was granted three 
hundred and twenty acres of said reservation; each single 
person over eighteen years of age, one-fourth of a section; 
each orphan child under eighteen years of age, one-fourth 
of a section; and each other person under eighteen years 
of age now living one-eighth of a section.^^ Accordingly, 
27,236 acres of the land in question were allotted to one 
hundred and sixty-eight Indians,^^ and thereupon, on the 
23d of October, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison issued 
a proclamation which declared that "the Indian title is 
extinguished to all lands described in said act of March 28, 
1882, not allotted to the Ponca Indians. . ." In the proc- 
lamation the president reserved from entry "that tract of 
land now occupied by the agency and school buildings of 
the old Ponca agency, to- wit: the south half of the south- 
east quarter of section twenty-six, and the south half of 
the southwest quarter of section twenty-five, all in town- 



»» U. S. Statutes at Large, v. 25, pp. 99, 892. 

" Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1911, Interior Depart- 
ment, Administrative Reports, v. 2, p. 82. 



NEBRASKA TERRITORIAL ACQUISITION 87 

ship thirty-two north, range seven west of the sixth principal 
meridian." ^^ The act of 1889, cited above, provided for re- 
linquishment by the Sioux. 

This was the final act of the acquisition comedy, and 
also of the Ponka tragedy. Though the domains of the 
Ponka of Nebraska were greatly circumscribed by the 
white man's more urgent land-hunger and superior power, 
yet they received generous additional gifts in money and 
goods, and their selection of land is said to have been wise. 

" The Ponca Indians located at this agency are fortunate 
in having good land. Nearly all the land taken by these 
Indians is situated along the Niobrara or Running Water 
river and Ponca creek, and lies mostly in broad and fertile 
valleys, just undulating enough to have good drainage." 
"They have received a large body of the choicest land on 
the reservation." 3 6 

No longer harassed by Sioux ferocity or fear of rapine 
by their white fellow citizens, they are slowly increasing in 
numbers. Their aggregate in 1912 was three hundred." 



35 U. S. statutes at Large v. 26, p. 1560. 

" Statements of the agent and of the teacher, Report of the Secretary 
of the Interior 1890, v. 2, pp. 146, 147. 

5' Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs 1912, Interior Depart- 
ment, Administrative Reports, v. 2, p. 76. 



ADDRESSES BY JAMES MOONEY 

Of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, D. C. 

[Delivered at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January 10-11, 1911.] 

LIFE AMONG THE INDIAN TRIBES OF THE PLAINS 

It has been announced that I am to speak of my life 
with the Indian tribes of the plains. That is a very large 
subject and could not be exhausted in an evening's talk. 
I shall not attempt to go into details, but try merely to 
suggest a few things of Indian life that may help to give 
you an impression that an Indian community is not a mere 
aggregation of individuals, but is an organization, and 
that Indian life runs along channels as definite as those of 
civilized life. 

The Indian is more than an Indian; he is a member of 
a tribe; and each tribe is practically a small, distinct 
nation, usually with a distinct language. In North and 
South America we have nobody knows how many tribes, 
because they never have been counted. We have at least 
a thousand different languages: putting it in another 
shape, we may say there are a thousand ways to say the 
word "dog" in Indian. In Europe there are not more than 
fifty languages. In the United States we had over two 
hundred distinct Indian languages, each unintelligible to 
those speaking the others. Most of these languages are 
still in existence; but some of them have been wiped out. 

I have been with tribes all the way from Dakota to 
central Mexico, and west into Arizona and Nevada; but 
the most of my work and acquaintance has been with the 

(88) 



LIFE AMONG INDIANS 89 

tribes of the southern plains, more particularly with the 
Kiowa. After them I was, on the plains, chiefly with the 
Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, Sioux, Caddo, and Wichita. 
I have been with Navaho, Hopi, Piute, Pueblos, one or 
two tribes in Mexico and several remnant tribes; but of 
all I know best the Kiowa, having lived with them as a 
member of an Indian family for several years of my first 
western experience, and having visited them since every 
year, staying with them a large part of each year. 

The Kiowa originally came from the north, somewhere 
near the head of the Missouri river, but within the historic 
period they have ranged along the plains from the Black 
Hills in Dakota southward. They are great riders and make 
long distances in traveling. I have known of one band of 
them starting from Kansas to go up into Montana for a 
couple of years, while another band went south into Mexico; 
and while there made a raid on the city of Durango. So 
their range must have been something like two thousand 
miles north and south. As a general rule* they kept on 
the plains and did not go into timbered country. 

To go into detail of Indian life, as I have seen it, 
would take a long time. I might give you one or two days 
of the winter camp, and one or two days of the summer 
camp. It was customary, years ago, for the roaming tribes 
to stay out on the open priairie throughout the summer 
season. They scattered about, but generally camped near 
some convenient spring in the neighborhood of grass and 
timber. There parties from other tribes would come and 
visit them, sometimes hundreds together, and they would 
have a dance. The Kiowa now live in southwestern Okla- 
homa. Anadarko, their agency, has now about six thousand 
people. When I first knew it, it had about fifty whites — 
agency employees, two or three traders, and a few mis- 
sionaries — all the rest were Indians; but the Indians 
stayed there only a part of the time as a rule. Along late 



90 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

in the fall they would come down, one camp after another, 
all within a week or so, setting up their tipis close to 
Anadarko, in the timber along the bottom lands on the 
south side of the Washita river. Some of you have read 
General Custer's work, "My Life On The Plains", and 
will remember that he tells about the battles which he 
fought with the Cheyenne, Kiowa, and other tribes in this 
part of the country. 

In the winter camp the tipis were set up and strung 
out from five to eight miles along the river. Sometimes 
around the tipi they would build a windbreak, made of 
interwoven brush. If the timber was pretty close they did 
not need to make a windbreak. I first joined them in the 
winter camp and remember distinctly my first night there. 
The headman was presiding at the supper and dishing out 
soup, and he asked me if I did not think it was good; but 
I was wondering how it was possible for any one to eat it. 
The soup was made of jerked beef, cut into small pieces 
and cooked in«salted water. With the soup they had bread, 
made by mixing flour with water and frying it in a pan 
over a hole in the ground. In the Indian sign language 
the sign for bread is this — (indicating the smoothing of 
the cake with the hands). They call coffee "black soup". 

Our family had two tipis, each set up with twenty 
poles and with three beds around the circle inside. The 
old man had been one of the war chiefs in his best days, 
which gave him a reputation outside of his own tribe. He 
was known as one of their best story-tellers and master of 
ceremonies; and he was also a "beef chief" or distributor 
of the beef rations. He was the grandfather, and after we 
became acquainted he called me his son. He had three 
daughters and a son, all married, who with the husbands, 
wives and children made a family of sixteen, besides my- 
self. The Indians were constantly visiting from one camp 
to another, so that we were not all together all the time; 
but we usually had one or two visitors to make up. 



LIFE AMONG INDIANS 91 

In the center of the tipi there was a hole in the ground 
for the lire, where the cooking was done, and the three 
beds were facing it. The bed consisted of a platform 
about a foot above the ground, covered with a mat of 
peeled willow rods laid lengthwise, and looped up at one 
end in hammock fashion. You may have seen some of 
these Indian bed platforms in museum collections. The 
bed is covered with buffalo skins and there is a pillow at 
one end. If you ever have a chance to see one of these 
beds and examine it carefully, you will find that each of the 
willow rods is fastened to the other in a very unique way, 
the narrow top end of one rod alternating with the thicker 
bottom end of the next rod, so as to preserve an even 
balance. (Here the speaker gave a diagram, and described 
this bed platform, and the particular construction of it.) 

After dark we have supper, and then, when they are 
through telling stories and shaking the rattle, we go to bed. 

In the morning one of the women gets up and, in 
winter, takes her bucket and ax and goes down to the river 
for water. If it is not too cold she dips it up; if the river 
is frozen, she has to break the ice. While she is about 
that her sister has brought in some wood and made the 
fire. They do not pile the wood on as we do, but push the 
sticks endways into the fire. So arranged they give out 
a uniform heat. The tipi is very comfortable in winter, 
more so than most of the poorly built frontier houses. 
We had three women in our family besides the old grand- 
mother. While one went after the water and the other 
after the wood, the third prepared the breakfast. They 
make bread hot for every meal, baking it in the pan, with 
tallow for grease. The regular ration issue every two 
weeks consisted of beef, flour, coffee and sugar. A few 
days after the rations are issued the meat which is eaten 
with it gives out, and then there is only the flour and coffee. 
They use the black coffee, which is always made fresh. 



92 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Sometimes they have sugar, but never cream. The Indian 
woman is as good a coffee maker as you will find anywhere. 
When breakfast is ready they spread out a piece of canvas 
or something of the kind in front of the bed platforms and 
set out on it the dishes and cups. They have these things 
from the traders now. They formerly used bowls and 
spoons. The food is divided and handed around by the 
woman who is the head of the household. After the meal 
is over a cloth is passed around for a napkin. When they 
had nothing else, I have seen them use dry grass tied up 
into a knot. 

After breakfast they arrange the work for the day. 
The women look after the children and do the sewing. 
Their clothing is made of cheap calico or of buckskin, the 
latter being sewn with sinew taken from the backbone of 
the larger animals. An awl is used for a needle. Bead- 
work is done in the same way, the beads being strung on a 
sinew thread as a shoemaker handles his wax ends. While 
the women get to work, each man saddles his favorite pony 
and goes out to herd the range ponies. The Indian man's 
time is largely taken up with his pony. They are a worth- 
less set of horses, usually, as very few of them are fit for 
heavy work, but they answer for riding purposes. They 
keep one pony tied near the camp to use in rounding up 
the others. It is hard for them to give up their horses. 
The man in whose family I lived had about forty. As they 
have no corrals, the ponies graze wherever they can find 
gi-ass. 

The children go out and play. When there is snow on 
the ground they slide downhill. Sometimes they have 
little darts to slide along on the ice. The young men 
practice arrow throwing. Three or four get together with 
arrows about four feet long — not the kind that they use 
for shooting, but an ornamented kind for throwing. One 
of them throws the arrow as far as he can, and then the 



LIFE AMONG INDIANS 93 

others try how near to where the first arrow is sticking in 
the ground they can lodge their own. 

About the middle of the day they have dinner, which is 
about the same as breakfast. In the afternoon, if not too 
cold, the women take their work outside the tipi. After 
sewing perhaps an hour or so, they think it is about time 
to play, and so they start up the awl game. They play 
this game mostly in the winter. Upon the grass they 
spread a blanket, which has certain lines marked all around 
the edge, and a large flat stone at its center. There are 
four differently marked sticks, each one of which has a 
special name. They throw down all four sticks at once 
upon the stone and count so many tallies according to the 
markings on the sticks as they turn up. Each woman has 
an awl, and as she counts a tally she moves the awl up so 
many lines along the blanket. It sometimes happens that 
she scores a tally which brings her to the central line, when 
she is said to "fall into the river" and has to begin all 
over again. In this way they play until the game is finished, 
sometimes until nearly sunset, when it is time to think 
about supper. 

They usually have supper, when there is anything to 
eat, rather late and after dark. It is about that time that 
the Indian day really begins. When supper is nearly 
ready the old grandfather, sitting inside the tipi, which is 
open at the top, announces by raising his voice so as to 
be heard outside, that he invites certain of the old men to 
come and smoke with him. The announcement is carried 
all through the camp. Then the old men who have been 
invited get out their pipes and start for the first man's 
tipi, so that by the time supper is ready there are three 
or four old men of the tribe gathered together for the 
evening, all of them full of reminiscences and stories. 

The father of the family — not the old man, but the 
father of some of the children — usually takes that time to 



94 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

give the children a little moral instruction. It is not gener- 
ally known that the Indian father ever teaches his children 
about their duties; but he does, and it is usually done in 
that way and at that time, without addressing himself to 
any child in particular, and without any conversation in 
particular. Sitting there with his head down, without 
looking around, he begins a sort of recitation, telling the 
boys what they must soon be doing, and as men what 
might be expected of them. At another time the mother 
will tell the girls something to the same effect — what is 
expected of them now that they are growing old enough to 
know about these things. 

Supper is a little more formal than the other meals, 
especially when there are visitors. During the mealtime 
not very much is said; but after it is over the old man 
who has invited his guests gets out his pipe and tobacco 
pouch, and they get out their tobacco and light their 
pipes. The ordinary Indian pipe is of red stone. It has 
a long stem, and there is a projection below the bowl, so as 
to rest it upon the ground, because when the Indian smokes 
he is sitting cross-legged upon the ground; therefore the 
pipe is just the right length for this purpose. He lights his 
pipe, and then raises it in turn to each of the cardinal 
points. On one occasion I remember one of the old men 
in our camp holding up the pipe to the sky, and saying, 
"Behabe, Sinti!" (Smoke, Sinti!), addressing a mystic 
trickster of the Kiowa tribe, of whom they tell many funny 
stories and say that at the end of his life on earth he ascended 
into the sky and became a star, so they offer their pipe to 
him in smoking at night. Immediately after saying this 
he raised his pipe to the sky again, and said, "Behahe, 
Jesus!" (Smoke, Jesus!). When the pipe is lighted it is 
passed around, and each man takes a whiff or two and 
hands it on to the next; and so it goes around the circle. 
After it has gone a round or two they begin to tell of the 



THE INDIAN WOMAN 95 

old war times, just as grand army men tell stories of their 
war days. There are myths and fables, stories concerning 
warriors who have been noted for their bravery, and humor- 
ous stories which are told, usually by the old men, to amuse 
children. (Mr. Mooney here related one of these stories, 
similar to the fairy story of "Jack and the Beanstalk", 
and described a "hand game", similar to the game of 
"Button, button, who's got the button?") Stories are 
told by the old men and games played by the children 
until late in the night; and then, one after another, they 
retire. Those who remain are assigned their places for the 
night, the others going back to their own tipis, each one 
saying for goodby, simply, "I'm going out"; and so closes 
one of the winter nights. 

(Mr. Mooney now exhibited a number of views of 
Indian life and pictures of famous Indians, after which the 
meeting adjourned.) 



THE INDIAN WOMAN 

Among Indians particular attention is given to every- 
thing relating to the birth of a child. Even in cutting the 
wood and shaping the pieces for the cradle, the sticks are 
placed in the cradle as they grew upward in the living tree, 
in order that the child may grow in the same way. While 
the father is making the cradle, the mother is busy prepar- 
ing the little moccasins that the child will need. About the 
only sanitary precaution taken by the mother is the wearing 
of a tight belt about the body. When the child is born 
there is usually a woman nurse in attendance, a relative 
of the family of some professional ability. The newborn 
child is washed, usually in the running stream, and then 
is put into the cradle. It is not kept in the cradle through- 



96 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

out the day, but only while the mother is going from one 
camp to another. 

When the baby is about a year old its ears are pierced. 
In the summer season it often happens that a large party 
of visitors from some neighboring tribe will come down to 
dance for several weeks. Let us suppose that about five 
hundred Cheyenne are coming to visit with the Kiowa. 
The first intimation will be, as I have seen it, that a wagon 
drives up near to our camp and a strange man and woman 
get out, set up a little tent, and then sit down and await 
developments. Our women go into the tipi and prepare 
to receive them. After some time our man goes out to 
welcome the strangers and bring them up to our place for 
dinner. They cannot speak Kiowa ; but in the sign language 
they tell us that a large party of their own tribe are on the 
way and close at hand, to visit the Kiowa and dance in 
their various camps. About the middle of the afternoon 
there is a great noise in the distance, out on the prairie. 
We look out and see several hundred Indians coming, the 
women and children in wagons, and the men, all in full 
buckskin, riding ahead, shouting and firing guns. When 
they get in, the wagons are unloaded, the tipis are set up, 
and then the visiting and the dancing begin, to continue 
for several weeks, from one camp to another. The cere- 
mony of piercing the children's ears takes place at one of 
these dances. A priest of the visiting tribe does the work. 
The baby, dressed in a buckskin suit, is held up in the arms 
of its mother, and the old man pierces both of its ears with 
an awl. At that time, or very soon afterward, the grand- 
mother of the child, or some other older relative, gives the 
child its name. The name of a girl is not very apt to 
change, but the name of a boy changes as he grows up, 
according to circumstances. The old man who pierces the 
ears receives as a fee a horse, a blanket or some other 
valuable gift of that kind. After the ears are bored the 



THE INDIAN WOMAN 97 

father of the child asks the old man's prayers for the child, 
that it may have long life, health and success. He does 
this by laying both his hands upon the old man's head, 
who in turn puts his hands upon the head of the child, 
praying that it may grow up well formed and healthy and 
have long life. 

The little girl has playmates as soon as she is old 
enough to run around with her older sisters and cousins. 
They are fond of swimming and in summer the boys and 
girls are in the water almost half the time. The little 
girls play house, and, with their dolls and toys, go visiting 
from one camp, or one tipi, to another. When the little 
girl goes visiting she ties all her dolls upon a stick to show 
them to her girl playmates. She has her pets too, usually 
a pony and a small dog, each of which has a name. One 
name that I remember for a little dun-colored pet pony 
was Sai-guadal-i, which means "Red Winter Baby". A 
pet dog in our family was called Adal-kai-ma, which means 
"Crazy Woman". The name of the child might be given 
from some incident connected with its birth. Thus one 
little girl in our family was named Aismia, which means 
"Tipi Track Woman". She was so called because she was 
bom one night when her parents had camped on a former 
camp site, and had set up their tipi in the old tracks. The 
name of another little girl in our family was Imguana, 
which means "They are dancing". That is what might 
be called a medicine name, and has reference to a dream 
in which her gi-andfather had a vision of spirits in a dance. 

As the girl grows older, about eight or ten years, she 
begins to help her mother in looking after the affairs of the 
household and learns to sew and do different kinds of bead- 
work. All beadwork and blanket weaving are done with- 
out any pattern, the woman carrying the patterns in her 
mind. As the buffalo tribes of the plains were roving 
about most of the time, they could not keep breakable 



98 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

articles, and so did not make pottery. They had buckskin 
sewing and painted rawhide or panfleche work, such as 
vaHses and food bags. While learning to do all her mother's 
work, the little girl had also time to play. I have already 
spoken of the women's awl game. I have here some of 
their gaming outfits which may be seen after the meeting 
is over. Besides the awl game, the women have a foot- 
ball game of which they are very fond. The object in this 
game is not to send the ball as far as possible, but to keep it 
up in the air as long as possible by kicking it with the toe. 
Football and the awl game are the two most common 
games among the Indian girls, aside from playing with 
dolls and pets. 

At times the girls go down to the creek bottom and 
cut the bark of a particular tree that grows there, a very 
small bushy tree with glassy leaves and gummy sap. They 
make chewing gum by beating up this bark and washing 
away the woody fiber in the creek. Indian girls are as 
fond as other girls of chewing gum. By the time the girl 
gets to be about twelve years old she is considered a young 
woman, and her mother is constantly talking to her about 
the duties of women, particularly in married life. She is 
supposed by that time to have learned all the household 
duties and the buckskin sewing; but there are other special 
arts of an expert nature which she learns later. 

There is a puberty ceremony when the young woman 
comes to the proper age. This ceremony is often very 
arduous, especially with some tribes in southern California. 
With them a fire is built and a pit is dug and heated with 
hot stones from the fire. A bed of grass is laid on the 
bottom of the pit, and the young girls are stretched upon 
it and compelled to lie there almost without getting out 
for as long a time as a week. During this time they are 
not allowed to look at any one, and to prevent this a cover 
is placed over their eyes. All this time certain old women 



THE INDIAN WOMAN 99 

are going around the mouth of the pit reciting chants 
which bear upon the future duties of the young girls. 
The longer the girl endures this ordeal the greater the honor. 
In most tribes the performance closes with a dance termed 
a puberty dance. In this way it is announced throughout 
the tribe that the young woman has made her entrance 
into society, and the young men take notice of it. She 
has grown up knowing the young men of her own camp 
and others who may visit back and forth, but if some 
young man thinks she has a special preference for him, as 
he has for her, he undertakes to get an idea of the state of 
her mind. It is a point of etiquette among the plains 
Indians, in social matters, that if you do not see anybody, 
nobody sees you. They do not have assembly rooms and 
parlors to meet in, but come together as they are going 
about in ordinary camp life. So when a young man has 
taken a fancy to this particular girl and wants to know 
whether she has any reciprocal feeling for him, he finds 
occasion to meet her. Having his blanket wrapt arround 
him, as he comes up to the young girl he deliberately 
throws one end of it over her head. If she does not like 
him she forces him away. If she does like him she stands 
still, and with the blanket over both their heads they talk 
together awhile. There may be hundreds of people around, 
but nobody shows any sign of noticing. After they come 
to the conclusion that they like each other well enough to 
be married, the young man sends a friend to talk with her 
family, but more particularly to talk with her brother, as 
he usually assumes more control and authority over the 
girl than does her father or mother. If it seems all right 
and the girl is satisfied, they begin to bargain as to how 
much the young man ought to pay or give; that has been 
spoken of as buying a wife. A young woman often makes 
the boast that her husband has paid a large price, a con- 
siderable number of ponies, to get her. She would con- 



100 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

sider it a disgrace to be given over to her lover for a small 
consideration. 

When a young Indian man and woman marry in the 
Indian way, as a rule it is because they want to be together. 
I believe most of the tribes of the plains have polygamy; 
in some tribes it does not exist. Usually the man 
who marries the eldest daughter in a family has a prior 
claim on the other daughters, from which it happens in 
some cases that a man has two or three wives, all sisters. 
The theory is that mothers thus closely related will take a 
greater interest in all the children of the same family. 
At any rate, if a man has more than one wife, two of them 
are likely to be sisters. 

There is no formal method of divorce; but either 
party is at liberty to separate from the other. When the 
woman leaves she takes her children with her, and this 
custom applies to all the tribes that I know. When with 
the Hopi Pueblos of Arizona who lead a sedentary life, I 
had opportunity to witness their marriage ceremony which 
took about two weeks altogether. Outside of the regular 
marriage ceremony, as you might call it, all the various 
societies connected with the families of the two contracting 
parties took part. On this occasion nine societies par- 
ticipated, and the dances and other ceremonies occupied 
from ten days to two weeks. But with the tribes of the 
plains there is no formal announcement. The news spreads 
abroad rapidly, and it is well known when a man and 
woman are married, and equally well known when they 
separate. On an average an Indian man or woman of 
fifty years of age has been married about three times; 
that is to say, has been man-ied and separated three times. 
That is a fair average. Of course some couples live together 
all their lives. The grandfather and grandmother of the 
family with which I made my home among the Kiowa 
had never separated. 



THE INDIAN WOMAN 101 

The everyday work of the Indian woman is looking 
after the children, cooking, and making clothes. They 
have some work specialties, one of which is the art of 
cutting and fitting the tipi cover. This and other specialties 
are not part of the ordinary woman's knowledge but belong 
to work societies, for the women have their labor unions 
just as our tradesmen have. The women nurses in the 
Kiowa tribe, who look after the mother at the time of the 
birth of a child, belong to a society called the "Star Gh'l" 
or Pleiades society, taking their name and medical power 
from the Pleiads, who are believed to have been originally 
seven sisters of the tribe. If it is the ambition of a young 
woman to learn all that a woman should know, she joins 
the women's labor unions and work societies. If, for 
instance, she wants to learn how to cut out a tipi, which 
is an especially difficult operation, on the payment of a 
certain number of blankets the head woman of the tipi 
society agrees to teach her. She tells the young woman 
the names of the different parts and how to arrange the 
skins so that when cut out they shall make the tipi pattern. 
I have watched the building of a tipi from start to finish 
and think I am the only white man in the country who 
knows how to cut one out. It is not such a simple matter 
as one might think. The tipi, as you know, is of a general 
conical shape, but if you look at it closely you will see that 
it has not the same slope on all sides; there is one slope 
from top to back and a longer slope from top to front 
which gives it greater solidity when set up. For the 
ordinary tipi from twenty to twenty-two poles are required. 
They used to count one buffalo hide to a pole, so that it 
took twenty hides for a tipi of the usual size. 

Another part of woman's work is the dressing of these 
hides. This is a work of several days. After killing the 
animal, which must be done at the proper season to insure 
the best results, the skin is removed and scraped on both 



102 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

sides to remove the flesh and hair. It is then treated with 
a mixture of cooked lime, grease and soap root (3aicca), 
pounded up together and spread over the surface of the 
skin to render it soft and pHable. This application is 
repeated several times, together with a great deal of scrap- 
ing, stretching and soaking in water, before the work is 
done, the whole process taking about a week. 

Having prepared the skins, the woman of the house- 
hold gets a professional expert to fit and cut them out for 
the tipi. The woman who does this work is supposed to be 
of good disposition, because if any other kind of a woman 
builds the tipi, things will never go right inside. She 
spreads the skins out on the ground in order that they 
may be arranged to fit properly, one particular skin being 
chosen to go at the top of the tipi. When she has them 
all spread out in an approximate circle, she marks with 
some red paint on the end of a stick the lines along which 
the women under her supervision are to cut out the pattern. 
When the cutting is done she fits these pieces together and 
the women sew them into one piece to cover the poles as 
they are set up. The tipi is painted, by the men, to represent 
some vision of the owner or to depict some war scene. 
Everything relating to it is woman's work, including the 
interior furnishings. I have here some specimens of Indian 
women's work, beaded pouches, moccasins, dolls, and buck- 
skin sewing. 

The Pueblo tribes and the eastern tribes in the timber 
country make pottery. I have given particular attention 
to the process and find it to be essentially the same east 
and west. Much depends upon the proper selection of 
the clay, the mixing of the two different kinds and the 
burning. All of this work is done by women. Woman 
is the great industrial factor in Indian life. 

I have now described many of the things that concern 
the life of the Indian woman. On two occasions I was 



NEBRASKA ETHNOLOGY 103 

present at the death and burial of a woman in our tribe. 
In the case of one, immediately after death her two sisters 
took charge of the body and arrayed it in her best buckskin 
dress with all her personal adornments. Then some of the 
friends carried the body out to a cave in the hills, while 
others of the same camp took out her household belongings, 
dishes and such things, and they all went out together. 
The husband went on his pony. It was a simple matter 
to lower the body down into the cave and cover the open- 
ing with logs and large stones. Then the dishes and other 
property were destroyed beside the grave by breaking 
them to pieces with an ax. After the funeral the relatives, 
more particularly the women, show their giief by cutting 
of? their hair and gashing their faces, arms and legs repeat- 
edly with butcher knives, while waiting in solitary places 
night and morning on the hills for perhaps a month. I 
have even known a woman to cut off her finger on the 
death of a child. In our family they destroyed the property 
and cut off their hair, but I was able to persuade them 
not to gash themselves. 



SYSTEMATIC NEBRASKA ETHNOLOGIC INVESTIGATION 

I have been asked to say a few words this evening 
about a systematic Nebraska ethnological investigation. 
I do not know what your society is now doing along that 
line, but having had a little experience in the matter, I 
shall make a few suggestions as to method. 

In the first place, I should try to get legislative author- 
ity, and then try to interest as many people of the state of 
Nebraska as possible in this work. Ethnology means the 
science which treats of the division of mankind into races, 
their origin, distribution and relations, and the peculiarities 
which characterize them — that is, the study of tribes and 



104 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

races. It includes archaeology, anthropometry and psychol- 
olgy; and besides our Indian tribes it includes our white 
and colored population. A systematic ethnological in- 
vestigation should include and cover all these things. 
Having authority to do something, the first obvious step 
would be to have your state surveyor prepare a large map 
of Nebraska with all the ranges, townships, and eveiything 
else necessary for a survey sheet properly outlined, also 
indicating county lines, towns, and so on. Then go to the 
state school superintendent, explain the nature of the work 
to him and try to interest him, and get him to send out to 
the teachers of every district school in the state a circular 
letter, asking him to aid in the work by calling the attention 
of the pupils to what is proposed. This is something I 
have had occasion to do in our bureau, in an investigation 
of a similar character some years ago for the south Atlantic 
states. Draw up a circular letter covering the principal 
points of ethnological investigation. In this case it would 
relate to Indian tribes; but the circular letter should call 
for location of presumed Indian sites, archaeologic sites^ 
battle sites, camp sites and what might be called site.3 of 
supplies, as paint quarries, flint deposits, etc. 

The letter should call for names of streams and othei- 
places within the tenitory, of Indian origin or having an 
Indian connection. Have a paragraph also calling for 
names and addresses of any persons of Indian blood or any 
old settlers or frontiersmen living in the neighborhood. 
These circulars should be printed, two or three thousand 
of them, and mailed to those whose opportunity or business 
might give them knowledge of these things in their several 
localities. For instance, physicians who travel about and 
know nearly every family in certain country districts, 
postmasters, and ministers, ai-e generally interested in such 
things. I should try to have one circular sent, not only to 
every school teacher, but to every country minister through- 



NEBRASKA ETHNOLOGY 105 

out the whole state. I speak now of districts outside of 
large cities. 

Then, having sent out these circulars, sit down and 
wait a while for results. You will probably find that a 
large per cent of the circulars will not come back, and 
that a great deal of the information received will not be 
to the point. There are many ideas in connection with 
places, names and so on that have no valid foundation, 
and you will find a good many such theories set forth in 
the answers. Aside from all this, however, you will acquire 
a very large fund of information that you could not have 
obtained readily in any other way, and it will cover every 
nook and corner of the state. 

As a i-ule, besides the men who have given attention 
to such things, you can usually count upon a gi'eat deal of 
efficient field service from young university students. 
They like to see that their own county is properly repre- 
sented, and they have a sufficient amount of training in 
that direction to go at it in the right way, and many of 
them will post up for the occasion. You can get the pioneers 
and pioneer associations; you can get associations of doctors 
and ministers and others; and there is no reason why the 
lawyers should not take part in the work. 

Then, when these results begin coming in, send out 
your field force. A very essential thing to remember is 
that a large part of this ethnologic work is really Indian 
work. Go to the Indians and ask them for information; 
and hire an Indian to go around with you. Nebraska is 
particularly fortunate in still having representatives of 
each one of the native tribes, so that you do not have to 
begin, as you would if you were in an older state, by hunting 
up books and documents for information. And you have 
the younger generation of Indians, who have been educated 
as interpreters, whom you can get. In the northeast you 
have the Omaha tribe, and they have a particularly large 



106 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

proportion of intelligent old men and intelligent young and 
middle aged who can give information. On your northern 
border you still have the great tribe of the Sioux, who 
claimed to the South Platte. Down in Oklahoma are the 
Pawnee, who held the central region with the Kiowa and 
Cheyenne who ranged over the same region, and the Oto, 
who held the southeastern part of the state; and back in 
Colorado are the Ute, who used to come down from their 
mountains and raid them all. 

Mr. Gilder told you today of remarkable finds he had 
made along the Missouri river and in some cases gave his 
opinion as to the tribe that originated those things. It is 
hardly necessary to ascribe them to any of the tribes we 
know to-day, because before the historical period that 
region was occupied by more than one tribe that has now 
passed out of remembrance. 

You can get from the Omaha anything that is within 
the memory of their tribe. It is not a difficult matter to 
go down to the Pawnee and others in Oklahoma and find 
out all that they can tell of the central region, or to get 
one or two of them up into Nebraska. They are all able 
to tell their own story. 

You are also particularly fortunate that Nebraska is 
still a pioneer state, and you can get direct information 
from the first settlers. They are still here to tell their 
story, and you should secure this now, before it is too late. 

You should make it a point to get the real Indian 
name of all rivers and hills and places. Get them correctly; 
get the name from the Indian himself (he is the best author- 
ity), and not the modern name manufactured as a trans- 
lation by some white man. Get the real Indian name in 
scientific, phonetic spelling, and get the definite trans- 
lation. It is well to remember that the Indian tribes in 
this central plain originally had no fixed boundaries, and 
often the same territory was covered or claimed by two or 



NEBRASKA ETHNOLOGY 107 

more tribes. Consequently in getting these names from 
all of the tribes that ranged over the same country there 
may be some duplication. That does not matter so much, 
because it will be found that the names for the same place, 
in the various languages, have usually the same translation 
and are all indicated by the same signs in the sign language. 
For the Omaha territory get the Omaha names first. For 
the section of country claimed by the Pawnee put the 
Pawnee names first. Along with names of rivers, streams, 
hills, village sites and other places, you will get the names 
of plants, gods and notable heroes; and before you are 
done with it you will have a good deal of Indian mythology 
and Indian botanj?" and many other things that you were 
not expecting when you started out. In that way cover 
the whole state from the Indian to the pioneer, with battle 
grounds and camp sites, posts and trails. Locate all these 
things by definite range, township and quarter section, 
and on one or the other side of a river. Anything that 
concerns Nebraska history you should follow out. 

Some years ago in this way I made an archaeologic 
survey of the old Cherokee country in the southern Alle- 
ghanies. I located about one thousand sites of Indian 
archaeologic interest, village sites, mounds, quarries and 
stone graves. Each class was indicated on the map by 
means of a special symbol, and every site was numbered, 
with a separate series of numbers for each county. Cor- 
responding to each number there was a manuscript note 
descriptive of the site or ancient remains, with a statement 
that it was so many miles in a certain direction from the 
nearest postoffice and on a certain side of the creek. That 
is an important point which is often neglected in mapping 
out these things. A man may tell you that a certain site 
is twenty-five miles north of Omaha, but you are not sure 
then even what state it is in; and if you know that it is 
within the state, you are not certain what county it is in. 



108 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Get these things down exactly by state, county and quarter 
section, distance in certain direction from the nearest post- 
office, and on which side of the stream, if any. In order to 
follow up the investigation get the name and postoffice 
address of the man who owns the site, so that you can 
correspond with him or send somebody there to talk with 
him. In that way you can map out your ethnologic and 
archaeologic nomenclature and pioneer landmarks for the 
whole state. You will find in many cases that the emigrant 
trails and later railroad lines have followed the original 
Indian trails. You will also find that the trails lead to 
the village and battle sites. Get all the data relating to 
these things. 

Here again it is important that you call in the aid of 
the state to save archaeologic sites from the vandalism of 
ignorant people in order to preserve everything that is of 
sufficient importance for the state museum deposit. Espec- 
ially if it forms part of a chain of evidence, try to secure it 
from interference until the proper students come to examine 
it. Photograph every stage of the excavation, then take 
out what you find and put it into your museum. 

I believe I have suggested most of the things in con- 
nection with the archaeologic and Indian ethnologic survey 
of your state; but there is something beyond that which 
is growing rapidly in importance in this country. It has 
already been once or twice emphasized in these meetings 
that we are a new nation, a conglomerate, especially in these 
western states, from older nations. One of these days our 
children and their children will want to know concerning 
their forefathers, and what are the constituent racial 
elements that have combined to make up our present citi- 
zenship. It is still possible to fill in the record, especially 
here in Nebraska and Kansas and these younger western 
states. You can form some sort of impression of the line 
of general census work that would be required to make up 



NEBRASKA ETHNOLOGY 109 

such an ethnologic map for the state. Find out where 
your immigrants have come from and where they have 
settled — your Germans, Irish, Swedes, Danes, etc., and 
your native Americans by states, and tabulate the result 
and put it upon a map. Then you will not only know 
who were your aboriginal predecessors, but who were your 
immediate ancestors in this country, and you will have 
put upon map record everything possible of past, present 
or future ethnologic interest to the people of Nebraska. 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 
By George W. Hansen 

[Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historicai 
Society, January, 1912.] 

Upon a beautiful swell of the prairie between the forks 
of Whisky Run, five miles north and one mile west of 
Fairbury, Jefferson county, Nebraska, and close to the 
"old legitimate trail of the Oregon emigrants" a red sand- 
stone slab, twenty inches in height, of equal width, and six 
inches thick, marks a lone grave. An inscription cut in 
this primitive headstone reads: "Geo. Winslow, Newton, 
Ms. AE. 25." On a footstone are the figures "1849". 
A deep furrow marks the course of the oldest white man's 
highway in Nebraska through this still virgin meadow 
which overlooks the charming wooded valley of the Little 
Blue. 

The Oregon Trail had become well known some four 
or five years prior to 1849, when the rush to the California 
gold fields set in. A letter written by William Sublette 
and others, in 1830, and published with President Jackson's 
message, January 25, 1831, reads, in part, substantially 
as follows: On the 10th of April last (1830) we set out 
from St. Louis with eighty-one men, all mounted on mules, 
ten wagons, each drawn by five mules, and two light carts, 
each drawn by one mule. Our route was nearly due west 
to the western limits of the state of Missouri, and thence 
along the Santa Fe trail about forty miles, from which the 
course was some degrees north of west, across the waters 
of the Kansas and up the Great Platte river to the Rocky 
mountains, and to the head of Wind river where it issues 

(110) 



Nebraska State Historical Society 



Vol. 17 Plate 2 




GEORGE WINSLOW 

1824-1849 



XV 






/ 



KiEWTOKl, *^'\^- 













* '■ % 



ORIGINAL MARKER AT 
WINSLOW GRAVE 




PRESENT MONUMENT AT WINSLOW GRAVE 
Unveiled October 29, 1912 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 111 

from the mountains. This took us until July 16, and was 
as far as we wished the wagons to go, as the furs to be 
brought in were to be collected at this place. On the 
fourth of August, the wagons being loaded with furs, we 
set out on the return to St. Louis. Our route back was 
over the same ground, nearly, as going out, and we arrived 
at St. Louis on the 10th of October. The usual progress 
was fifteen to twenty-five miles per day, the country being 
almost all open, level, and prairie. The chief obstructions 
were ravines and creeks, the banks of which required 
cutting down. "This is the first time that wagons ever 
went to the Rocky mountains . . . ." 

To William Sublette, then, belongs the honor of making 
the first wagon track over this historic road to the Rocky 
mountains. 1 On the first of May, 1832, Captain Bonne- 
ville, with one hundred and ten men, "some of whom were 



1 The letter, a part of which is here restated, is a report to the secretary 
of the treasury signed by Jedediah S. Smith, David E. Jackson, and William 
L. Sublette, in the order named. Smith and Jackson, however, remained 
in the hunting grounds during the winter of 1829 while Sublette returned 
to St. Louis for an outfit for their new rendezvous in Pierre's Hole. They 
were partners and all celebrated traders and trappers in the Rocky moun- 
tain region. Their report is published as document 39, Senate Executive 
Documents, 2d session 21st congress, pp. 21-23, and in the Quarterly of 
the Oregon Historical Society, December, 1903, page 395. Their statement 
that the wagons of this expedition were the first that ever went to the 
Rocky mountains is erroneous. There were three wagons in William 
Bicknell's expedition of 1822, which passed up the Arkansas river to the 
mountains and thence south to Santa Fe. Numerous wagon trains passed 
over the trail to Santa Fe — which is situated at the southern extremity of 
the Rocky mountain range by that name — between 1822 and 1830. One 
of these trains, in 1824, contained twenty-five wagons. So far as is known. 
Smith, Jackson and Sublette's wagons were the first to reach the Rocky 
mountains over the route which came to be known as the Oregon trail 
about fifteen years later; but William H. Ashley took a mounted cannon 
to and beyond the mountains, presumably over this route, in 1826. This 
is regarded as the first vehicle on wheels to cross the plains to the mountains 
north of the Santa Fe Trail, because there is no proof or knowledge to the 
contrary. 

The statement in the report as to the place where the wagons were 
taken is hopelessly confused. "The head of Wind River, ... as far as 



112 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

experienced hunters and trappers," and a train of twenty 
wagons left Fort Osage — about twenty-two miles below the 
mouth of the Kansas river — arrived at the crossing of the 
Kansas on the 12th, reached Grand Island, about twenty- 
five miles below its head, on the 2d of June, and Green 
river on the 27th of July.^ The same year came William 
Sublette, a partner in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, 
in command of a party of sixty men carrying merchandise 
to the annual rendezvous of the company in the Wind river 
valley. At Independence, Missouri, he took under his care 
a party of New Englanders, fitted out and commanded by 



we wished the wagons to go," is a hundred miles north of "the Southern 
Pass, where the wagons stopped ..." 

Chittenden (History of the American Fur Trade, v. 1, p. 292, note) 
forces a guess that the authors of the report mistook the Popo Agie, whose 
headwaters are only fifteen miles from the South Pass, for the Wind river. 
But the head of the Popo Agie is about forty miles from the nearest point 
of the Wind river — too far, it would seem, to be mistaken for the main 
stream with which all three of the partners must have been familiar, since 
they had followed it to, or crossed it near its head, the year before, on 
their way to Jackson's Hole and Pierre's Hole. 

Only two years later than the date of the report Captain Bonneville 
shows that the Popo Agie and the Wind river were distinctively known. 
(The adventures of Captain Bonneville, pp. 235, 237.) Still, if Smith, 
Jackson and Sublette's statement is to be regarded at all it must be assiuned 
that they called Wind river the Popo Agie. Irving — in his Captain Bonne- 
ville — appropriately calls the Popo Agie the head of the Big Horn which 
is a direct continuation of it; but now the name Big Horn is applied to 
the river beyond the junction of the Wind and the Popo Agie, which occurs 
in Fremont county, Wyoming. 

Coutant's History of Wyoming (v. 1, p. 132) says that the rendezvous 
was at the mouth of the Popo Agie — which is fifty miles northwest of 
South Pass — and that the wagons were taken to the Wind river valley, 
that is to the rendezvous itself, which seems the most likely theory, though, 
unfortunately, no authority is given for it. — Ed. 

2 The Adventures of Captain Bonneville (Lippincott, 1871) pp. 39, 44, 
51, 79. Bonneville was granted leave of absence by the war department 
to explore "the territory belonging to the United States between our 
frontier and the Pacific." (Ibid., p. 502.) Pierre's Hole, the rendezvous 
of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, was his immediate objective. (Ibid., 
p. 41) The Columbia river region did not then belong to the United 
States. — Ed. 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 113 

Nathaniel J. Wyeth, whose name was given to a small 
creek now called Rock creek, in Jefferson county, Nebraska.^ 

In the year 1842, on the evening of the 22d day of 
June, John C. Fremont, his guide, Kit Carson, and ordinary 
employees — in all twenty-seven or twenty-eight,^ including 
the son of Senator Benton — made their bivouac at the same 
cold spring, by the side of which, seven years later, George 
Winslow died. The Fremont party took their mid-day 
meal at Wyeth's creek, a few miles east of the present town 
of Fairbury, and "John C. Fremont," "Christopher Carson/' 
and "1842", are carved on a rocky face of its bank. 

Fremont had no difficulty in following this path, for, 
as he says, "about three weeks in advance of us was 
Doctor Elijah White with a party of sixteen or seventeen 
families, one hundred and twenty-seven people in all, in 
heavy wagons on their way to Oregon." This caravan was 
the earliest organized home-seeking overland emigration to 
Oregon. 5 



3 Authorities generally agree that the number in Sublette's party was 
sixty-two. (Wyeth's Oregon, p. 47; History of the Northwest Coast, v. 2, 
p. 561.) John Ball says in his journal of the expedition that it followed the 
Big Blue and crossed over from its source to the Platte, and his estimate 
of distances agrees with this statement; but other circumstances indicate, 
though not conclusively, that he miscalled the Little Blue the Big Blue. — Ed. 

* The uncertainty arises from the fact that Fremont gives the number 
of his ordinary employees as twenty-one while his list of them contains 
twenty-two names. Randolph Benton was a lad of twelve years. — Ed. 

^ The author has a standard authority — F. G. Young, Quarterly of 
the Oregon Historical Society, December, 1900, page 350 — for his statement 
of the total number of the colony; but estimates vary greatly. The total 
niunber is commonly put at one hundred and twenty. (History of the 
Pacific Northwest, p. 175; Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, 
December, 1905, p. 386.) Eells in his "Marcus Whitman" (p. 125) says 
the number was "about a hundred and ten." In "Ten Years in Oregon" 
(p. 144), virtually Doctor White's autobiography, it is said that "additions 
were made to the party till it amounted to one hundred and twelve persons." 
Medorem (also variously spelled in the books Medorum, Medoram, etc.) 
Crawford, a member and historian of the expedition, gives the number as 
one hundred and five, and Gray (History of Oregon, p. 212) says that 
there were forty-two families and one hundred and eleven persons. The 
9 



114 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

In June, 1844, Doctor Marcus Whitman, pursuant to 
a request of the secretary of war, drafted a bill providing 
for the establishment of posts along the road to Oregon for 
the protection of emigrants. The first section of this bill 
provided that these posts should be established beginning at 
the present most usual crossing of the Kansas river, thence 
ascending the Platte on the southern boundary thereof. 
In his brief. Doctor Whitman suggested the crossing of 
the Blue, the Little Blue, and the junction of the road with 
the Platte as sites for such posts. He says: "I have, since 
our last interview, been instrumental in piloting across the 
route described in the accompanying bill, and which is 
the only eligible wagon road, no less than two hundred 
families, consisting of one thousand persons of both sexes, 
with their wagons, amounting in all to more than one 
hundred and twenty with six hundred and ninety-four oxen 
and seven hundred and seventy-three loose cattle. As 
pioneers, these people have established a durable road from 
Missouri to Oregon, which will serve to mark permanently 
the route for larger numbers each succeeding year."'' 



highest number of any authority is one hundred and sixty. See History of 
Oregon (Bancroft), v. 1, p. 256, footnote. It is there said that there were 
one hundred and twelve in the original organization which was increased 
on the road to one hundred and twenty-five. — Ed. 

6 The number of people and animals in this great expedition cannot 
be given accurately since they vary in the best accounts of it; but those 
here given are approximately correct. Dr. Whitman's statement that he 
piloted the expedition is misleading. Though, by common consent, his 
services as guide were of great value, yet he did not join the colony until 
the Platte river was reached, and he left it at Fort Hall to go in advance 
to the Columbia river — over the least known and probably most difficult 
part of the road. In "A Day with the Cow Column in 1843" (Quarterly 
Oregon Historical Society, page 381), Jesse Applegate, a member of the 
colony, and afterwards very prominent in Oregon, said: "From the time 
he joined us on the Platte until he left us at Fort Hall, his great experience 
and indomitable energy were of priceless value to the migrating column." 
In his "Marcus Whitman" (page 222) Eells, a strong partisan of Whitman's, 
explains why he left the expedition at Fort Hall. Doctor Whitman's bill 
provided for establishing "a chain of agricultural posts or farming stations", 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 115 

During the summers of 1844 and 1845 eight hundred 
wagons, with four thousand people, traveled over the Trail 
from Independence to the Columbia. In June, 1846, over 
three thousand people, with five hundred wagons, were 
upon the trail. In 1847 the high water-mark in the Oregon 
migration of the first decade was reached, five thousand 
people with eight hundred wagons making the journey. 
The California gold fever became epidemic in 1849 and 
1850, and in those years vast numbers of emigrants passed 
Winslow's grave.' 

Following the clue of the headstone, last summer I 
met George Winslow's sons, George E., of Waltham, Mass., 

and, as he describes their purpose, they would have been truly pioneer 
agricultural experiment stations, with military equipment also. — Ed. 

^ Many estimates of the amount of travel over the Trail have been 
published — some careful, some careless and none, possibly, quite accurate. 
Horace Greeley, who went to California by the overland route in 1859, 
estimates that thirty thousand people went over the road that year; and 
it appears that a third of them were bound for Oregon. (Bancroft's History 
of Oregon, v. 2, p, 4^5, note.) The Oregon emigration was as high as ten 
thousand in 1862 also. (Ibid., p. 493; History of Wyoming, Coutant, 
p. 379.) For estimates of emigration to Oregon, 1842-1852, by F. G. 
Young, see Quarterly Oregon Historical Society, December, 1900, p. 370. 
For estimates of emigration for 1844, 1845 and 1846, see Bancroft's History 
of Oregon, v. 1, pp. 446-572. The total overland emigration to the Pacific 
Coast in 1846 was 2,500. Bancroft (Ibid., p. 108) and The History of 
the Pacific Northwest (p. 209) say that the emigration of 1845 was three 
thousand, doubling the population, and greaterthan any that had precededit. 

A conservative estimate of the number of emigrants passing over 
the South Pass in 1849 puts it at 25,000, and in 1850, 40,000. (History 
of California — Bancroft — , v. 6, p. 159; v. 7, p. 696.) Major Osborne 
Cross, who went to Oregon in 1849 with the Mounted Rifles regiment, 
estimated the total number of overland emigrants to California that year 
at thirty-five thousand, a considerable part of whom took the Santa Fe 
route. He remarked that few of those on the upper route went to Oregon. 
(Senate Executive Documents, 1850-51, v. 1, doc. 1, p. 149.) F. G. Young 
estimated the number going to Oregon at only four hundred. (Quarterly 
of the Oregon Historical Society, December, 1900, p. 370.) According to 
the same authority — ibid., p. 354 — "after 1850 the Council Bluffs route 
had the largest transcontinental travel." The number going by the Council 
Bluffs route in 1849 and in 1850 and by the minor routes between that 
place and the eastern terminus of the trail would reduce the number passing 
up the Little Blue in the two years far below the total of 65,000 overland 
passengers. — Ed, 



116 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and Henry 0., at the home of the latter in Meriden, Conn. 
They were intensely interested in the incident of their 
father's death and in the protection of his grave. Henry 
Winslow will himself fashion a bronze tablet for the marker 
to be erected by the state of Nebraska. I learned from 
them that George Gould, the last survivor of the party, 
lives at Lake City, Minn. I now present to this society 
a daguerreotype portrait of him, taken in 1849, and a re- 
cent photograph ; also his diary covering the entire journey. 

From the Winslow memorial published in 1877, a 
copy of which I found in the Winslow home, and also in 
the New York city public libraiy, we learn that George 
Winslow was descended from Kenelm Winslow of Droit- 
witch, England, whose two sons, Edward and Kenelm, 
emigrated to Leyden, Holland, and joined the Pilgi^im 
church there in 1617. Edward came to America with the 
first company of emigrants in the Mayflower and was one 
of the committee of four who wrote the compact or magna 
charta, which was subscribed to by all before landing. He 
became governor of Plymouth colony in 1833. His brother 
Kenelm came to America in the Mayflower with the long- 
hindered remainder of the Pilgrim church on a later voyage. 
His son, Kenelm Winslow, was born at PljTnouth, Massa- 
chusetts, in 1635, and became the owner of large tracts of 
land. He bought a thousand acres at Mansfield, Connect- 
icut for one hundred and fifty dollars. He was fined ten 
shillings for riding a journey on the Lord's day, although 
he pleaded necessity and that it was not want of respect 
for religion, for on three occasions he went sixty miles 
that his children might not remain unbaptized. 

His son Josiah, born 1669, established the business of 
cloth dressing at Freetown, Massachusetts. He was a 
captain in the Massachusetts militia. His son James, 
born 1712, continued his father's business, and was a 
colonel in the Second regiment, Massachusetts militia. His 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 117 

son Shadrach, born 1750, gi-aduated at Yale in 1771 and 
became an eminent physician. Hs diploma, dated Septem- 
ber 11, 1771, in the possession of his grandson, is a relic of 
general interest, diplomas from Yale of that early date 
being very rare. At the outbreak of the revolutionary war, 
being a gentleman of independent fortune, he fitted out a 
warship, or privateer, and was comm ssioned to attack the 
enemy on the high seas. He was captured off the coast of 
Spain and confined in a dismal prison ship where he suffered 
much. His son Eleazer, born 1786, took up his abode in 
the Catskill mountains with a view to his health, hunting 
bears and wolves for which a bounty was then paid ; and 
while there, at Ramapo, New York, on August 11, 1823, 
his son George Winslow was bom. The family moved to 
Newton, Massachusetts, now a suburb of Boston, where 
George learned his father's trade — machinist and molder. 
In the same shop and at the same time David Staples and 
Brackett Lord, who afterward became his brothers-in-law, 
and Charles Gould, were learning this trade. In the 
organization of the Boston and Newton Joint Stock Associa- 
tion Mr. Lord was chosen captain and Mr. Staples one of 
the directors, the latter becoming the active man in the 
purchase of animals and supplies. Mr. Staples was later 
one of the organizers of the Fireman's Fund Insurance 
Company of San Francisco, and its first president. He 
was a delegate from California to the Republican national 
convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. 
George Winslow was mai'ried in 1845. His first son, 
George Edward, was born May 15th, 1846, and is now a 
manufacturer of electrical supplies in Waltham, Massa- 
chusetts. His second son, Henry 0., was born May 16th, 
1849, the day the father left the frontier town of Independ- 
ence, Missouri, driving his half-broken mules and white- 
topped wagon through the mud, hub deep, over the Oregon 
trail, bound for California. Henry 0. Winslow learned his 



118 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

father's trade, as did his two sons George and Carlton, and 
each of these men are managers of factories at Meriden, 
Connecticut, manufacturing silverware, brass and bronze 
goods and employing from nine hundred to one thousand men. 

The Boston and Newton Joint Stock Association con- 
sisted of twenty-five picked young men from Newton and 
the vicinity of Boston. The capital of the company was 
sufficient to pay the traveling expenses of the company to 
Independence, Missouri, and to purchase animals, wagons 
and supplies for the overland journey to California, each 
member paying three hundred dollars into the treasury. 
The incidents along the journey I obtain from Mr. Gould's 
excellent journal, from which I quote freely. They left 
Boston April 16, 1849, traveling by rail to Buffalo, taking 
the steamer Baltic for Sandusky, Ohio, and then by rail 
to Cincinnati, where they arrived April 20, at 9 o'clock 
p. m., making the journey in four and one-half days. 
Mr. Gould says they "found the city very regularly laid 
out and having a handsome appearance, but what appears 
very disgusting to eastern people is the filth and the hogs 
that roam the streets and seem to have perfect liberty 
throughout the city." 

They left Cincinnati April 23, on the steamer Griffin 
Yeatman, for St. Louis, and arrived there April 27. A 
bargain was stmck with the captain of the steamer Bay 
State to take them to Independence, Missouri, for eight 
dollars apiece. The boat was crowded, principally with 
passengers bound for California. They now saw specimens 
of western life on boats; a set of gamblers seated around 
a table well supplied with liquor kept up their games all 
night. Religious services were held on board on the sab- 
bath, Rev. Mr. Haines, of Boston, preaching the sermon. 
The usual exciting steamboat race was had, their boat 
leaving the steamer Alton in the rear, where, Mr. Gould 
remarks, "we think she will be obliged to stay." 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 119 

On May 3d, they landed at Independence, Missouri, 
pitching their tents and beginning preparations for the 
overland journey. This letter which I hold in my hand, 
yellowed with years, was written by George Winslow to his 
wife, from Independence, Missouri, May 12, 1849. 
Mrs. George Winslow gave it to her grandson, Carlton H. 
Winslow, in whose name it is presented to the Nebraska 
State Historical Society, together with an excellent copy 
of a daguerreotype of George Winslow taken in 1849. 

On May 16th, this company of intrepid men, rash with 
the courage of youth, set their determined faces toward the 
west and started out upon the long overland trail to Cali- 
fornia. By night they had crossed the "line" and were in 
the Indian country. They traveled up the Kansas river, 
delayed by frequent rains, mud hub deep, and broken 
wagon poles, reaching the lower ford of the Kansas on the 
26th, having accomplished about fifty miles in ten days. 
The wagons w^ere driven on flatboats and poled across by 
five Indians. The road now becoming dry, they made 
rapid progress until the 29th, when George Winslow was 
suddenly taken violently sick with the cholera. Two 
others in the party were suffering with symptoms of the 
disease. The company remained in camp three days, and 
the patients having so far recovered, it was decided to 
proceed. Winslow's brothers-in-law, Da\id Staples and 
Brackett Lord, or his uncle Jesse Winslow, were with him 
every moment, giving him every care. As they journeyed 
on he continued to improve. On June 5th, they camped 
on the Big Blue, and on the 6th, late in the afternoon, they 
reached the place where the trail crosses the present Ne- 
braska-Kansas line into Jefferson county, Nebraska. Mr. 
Gould writes: "The road over the high rolling prairie was 
hard and smooth as a plank floor. The prospect was 
beautiful. About a half hour before sunset a terrific thunder 
shower arose which baffles description, the lightning flashes 



120 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

dazzling the eyes, and the thunder deafening the ears, and 
the rain falling in torrents. It was altogether the grandest 
scene I have ever witnessed. When the rain ceased to 
fall, the sun had set and darkness had closed in." 

George Winslow's death was attributed to this exposure. 
The next morning he appeared as well as usual, but at 
three o'clock became worse, and the company encamped. 
He failed rapidly, and at 9 the next day, the 8th of June, 
1849, painlessly and without a struggle, he sank away as 
though going to sleep. He was taken to the center of the 
corral, where funeral services, consisting of reading from 
the Scriptures by Mr. Burt of Freetown, and prayer by 
Mr. Sweetser of Boston, Massachusetts, was offered. The 
body was then carried to the grave by eight bearers, fol- 
lowed by the rest of the company. Tears rolled down 
the cheeks of those strong men as if they were but children 
when each deposited a green sprig in the grave. 

For George Winslow the Trail ended here — upon this 
beautiful scene, in these green pastures. All the rest of 
his company traveled its tedious length across plains, 
mountains and deserts, and reached the fabled gardens 
and glittering sands of El Dorado, only to find them the 
ashes of their hopes. Peradventure the grave had been 
kind to Winslow, for it held him safe from the disillusions 
which befell the rest. ♦ 



winslow's last letter to his wife 

Letter No. 3. Direct your letters to Sutters Fort, 
California. 

Independence May 12 1849. 

My Dear Wife I have purposely delayed writing to 
you until now so that I might be enabled to inform you 
with some degree of certanity of our progress & prospects; 
after starting for this State we heard so many Stories that 
I could with no certanity make up my mind wether we 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 121 

should suceed in getting farther than here & of course felt 
unwilling to mail too many letters as we neared this Town 
lest we might return before they did. I am happy to say 
that I heard from you to day Uncle Jesse & Brackett were 
gratified by their wifes in the same maner. I am glad to 
hear that you are well. My health was never better than 
now. 

You ask me to tell you what they say out here about 
the route well those who have travelled it say we need 
borrow no trouble about forage; that Millions of Buffaloes 
have feasted on the vast praries for ages and now they 
have considerably dimmished by reason of the hunters &c. 
it is absurd to suppose that a few thousand emigrants can- 
not cross. I have conversed with Col. Gilpin a Gentleman 
who lives near by upon the subject and who has crossed 
to the Pacific five times: and his testimony is as above we 
all feel very much encouraged and every bod}^ says there 
is not a Co in town better fitted out than ours: we have 
bought 40 mules & 6 horses and will have two more horses 
by monday: our mules average us $52. each we have also 
4 waggons and perhaps may buy another: one of our 
waggons left Camp to day for the plaines 10 miles from 
here there to recruit up before starting, we shall probably 
get underway next Tuesday or Wednesday: as to your 
2d question vis. How I like to ride a mule. I would say 
that I have not ridden one enough to know and do not 
expect to at present as I have been appointed Teamster 
and had the good luck to draw the best waggon we have 
covered it to day in tall shape: the top has two thicknesses 
of covering so that it will be first rate in rainy weather or 
very warm weather also to sleep in nights. As to " camping " 
I never slept sounder in my life — I always find myself in 
the morning — or my bed rather, flat as a Pan Cake as the 
darned thing leaks just enough to land me on Terra Firma 
by morning — it saves the trouble of pressing out the wind 
so who cares; it is excellent to keep off dampness. 

We die' on Salt Pork, Hard & Soft Bread, Beans Rice 
Tea Hasty Pudding & Apple Sauce also smoked pork and 
Ham. Being out in the Air we relish these dainties very 
much. My money holds out very well after buying several 
articles in Boston and 'eating' myself on the road part of 



122 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the time I have about $15. on hand out of $25. which I 
had on leaving home. I have lost nothing except that 
Glazed Cup which was worth but little. Uncle Jesse 
Gould and Nichols are talking in our tent so I will defer 
writing more until morning. 

Sunday morning May 13. This is a glorious morning, 
and having fed and curried my mules and Bathed myself 
and washed my clothes I can recommence writing to you 
Elisa I will number this Letter 3 as I have sent you 2 before, 
the 2d from Sanduskey. I wish you would adopt the same 
system, then we may know if we receive every letter. We 
arrived here Friday P. M. May 4. Pitched our tents cooked 
and eat our supper & went to Grass, slept first rate, com- 
menced the next day to get ready to move on: it being 
considerable of a job & the season backward we shall not 
get fairly started before 15 or 16 the weather is now warm 
and the grass is growing finely. For two days we — or some 
mexicans that we engaged have been busily employed 
breaking 10 mules: it was laughable to see the brutes 
perform. To harness them the Mex's tied their fore legs 
together and throwed them down the fellows then got on 
them rung their ears (which like a niggers shin is the ten- 
derest part) by that time they were docile enough to take 
the Harness. The animal in many respects resemble a 
sheep: they are very timid and when frightened will 
sometime's kick like thunder: They got 6 harnessed 
into a team when one of the leaders feeling a little mulish 
jumped right straight over the other one's back. & one 
fellow offered to bet the liquor that he could ride an un- 
broken one he had bought: the bet was taken — but he 
no sooner mounted the (fool) mule than he landed on his 
hands & feet in a very undignified manner: a roar of 
laughter from the spectators was his reward. 

After they are broken they are of the two more gentle 
than the Horse I suppose by this time you have some 
idea of a Mule, we have formed a coalition with two 
other (small) companies (one of which Edward Jackson of 
Newton Con. belongs to) The other from Me. consisting 
of only 4 persons one of which is Col. Boafish whom we 
have selected for our military commander. He belonged 
to the New Eng. Regiment and fought under Gen. Scott 



A TRAGEDY OF THE OREGON TRAIL 123 

in Mexico. I think he is a first rate man for the office — by 
this union we have two Doctors and a man of miUtary 
experience. 

We found Samuel Nicholson here: his co. will start 
the fore part of the week. There has been some sickness 
here principally among the intemperate which is the case 
every where you know. Our Co. is composed mostly of 
men who believe that God has laid down Laws that must 
be obeyed if we would enjoy health — & obeying those laws 
we are all in the possession of good health. 

I see by your letter that you have the blues a little in 
your anxiety for my welfare. I think we had better not 
indulge such feelings. I confess I set the example. I do 
not worry about my self — then why should you for me — 
I do not discover in your letter any anxiety on your own 
account — then let us for the future look on the bright side 
of the subject and indulge no more in useless anxiety — it 
effects nothing and is almost universally the Bug Bear of 
the Imagination. 

The reports of the Gold regions here are as encouraging 
as they were at Ms. just imagine to your self seeing me 
return with from $10,000 to $100,000. I suppose by this 
time I may congratulate you upon possessing a Family 
circle without me: for you know we use to say it required 
three to make a circle and Edward always confirmed it by 
saj^ng 'No' I wish you would keep a sort of memorandum 
of kindnesses received. I shall write to Br. David to day 
requesting him to make great exersion to send you money 
when needful, you will of course inform him when that 
time arrives. I do not wonder that Gen. Taylor was 
opposed to writing long letters when on the Field. I am 
new writing at a low Box and am compelled to stoop to con- 
quer. I offer this as an appology for not writing more to you 
now: and writing so little to others I wish you would pre- 
serve my letters, as they may be useful for future reference. 
Although we shall leave probably before your next letter 
arrives I expect to get it as one of our Co. will not start 
till about the 23, but will overtake us as he will have no 
Baggage of importance: he is from Ohio. Lord & Uncle 
Jesse will write to day They are both up and dressed and 
go it like men at a days work Hough & Staples Have 



124 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

just returned from buying horses they have brought two 
with them: they are very beautiful I should like to send 
one home to Father we pay about $50. for them apiece: 
in Boston they would bring $150. Respects to all 

Yours truly 

George Winslow. 

LETTER FROM BRACKETT LORD DESCRIBING WINSLOW'S 
SICKNESS, DEATH AND BURIAL 

Fort Kearny June 17' 1849. 

My very beloved wife | It has thus far been a pleasure 
for me to write to you from the fact that I have had nothing 
to write that you would not with pleasure peruse but my 
dear wife the scene has changed and this letter will bear 

to you intellegence of the most unwelcome character 

intellegence of the most painful for me to write aad which 

will wring your hearts with anguish and sorrow 

George is dead what more shall I write what 

can I write but unpleasant as the news may be you 

will be anxious to hear the particulars. 

About the 27th of May he was taken with the diareahea 
which lasted several days and which visibly wore upon 
him. He was taken the day we crossed Kansas river. 
He however partially recovered but on the following Tues- 
day he ate some pudding for dinner which hurt him and 
about three o'clock in the afternoon he was taken much 
worse vomiting & purging also cramping; here we stopped 
he continued to grow worse & became very sick. Doct 
Lake Uncle Jessee Mr. Staples & myself watched with him 
during the night, about three o'clock in the morning we 
thought him dying I told him of the fact spoke to him of 
home, asked him if he did not wish to send some word to 
Eliza and his Father & mother & others — he did not leave 
any — seemed very sick. Wednesday morning appeared a 
little better and continued to improve so during the day— 
we remained camped during the day and untill Friday 
morning continued to improve so much so that he wanted 
to start on and the road being smooth we concluded to 
go on giving him as comfortable a bed as possible in one 
of our large waggons and I took charge of the wagon & 



A TRAGEDY OP THE OREGON TRAIL 125 

drove it all the time that he rode — that he might receive 
all the attention that our circumstances would allow — 
Evening he continued about the same — Saturday we 
travelled part of the day Doctor thought him improving. 
Sunday we moved a short distance to water and camped 
remained till Monday 10 o'clock A. M. George appeared 
much improved — we started on our journey he stood the 
ride much better than on the previous day we felt quite 
encourged all said that he was visibly improving. Tuesday 
we started at 6 o'clock A. M. George continued improving 
the day was pleasant till the afternoon & George continued 
in good spirits. At 5 o'clock P. M. there come up a most 
violent shower such an one you perhaps never saw, there 
is nothing on these plains to break the wind and it sweeps 
on most furiously the lightning is truly terrific & when 
accompanied with wind hail & rain as in this case it is 
truly sublime. To this storm I attribut G's death. I was 
however aware of its violence & guarded him as thougroughly 
as possible with our rubber blankets from all dampness that 
might come through our covered wagons George did not 
appear worse. Wednesday morning George remains about 
the same — travelled most of the day. 3 o'clock George 
appeared worse. I sent immediately for the Doctor who 
was behind. Camped as soon as we could get to water. 
George did not appear better. Uncle Jessee watched the 
first part of the night but George growing worse uncle 
Jessee called Staples & myself & we remained with him 
till he died. Thursday morning George was very sick & 
much wandering — did not know us only at intervals — 
seemed to fail very fast — continued to sink very fast — 
9 o'clock — George is dead — his body lays here in the tent 
but his spirit has fled — Our company feel deeply this 
solemn providence. I never attended so solemn funeral — 
here we were on these plains hundreds of miles from any 
civilized being — and to leave one of our number was most 
trying. The exercises at the funeral consisted in reading 
the scriptures and prayer: this closed the scene — we erected 
grave stones on which we inscribed "George Winslow 
Newton Mass aged 25 — 1849" my dear Clarissa you will 
sympathise deeply with Eliza in her affliction. What a 
pity that such a young family should be broken up. I hope 



126 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

that it may never be thus with us. George remarked 
several times during his sickness that he had a ways had 
a poor opinion of human nature but that he had received 
during his sickness more sjmipathy and attention than he 
supposed a member could receive. I am sorry that I have 
no particular word from him to send to Eliza or his Father 
and Mother or you — he left none. It was not because he 
did not think of home but because he thought he might 
get better — then at the last attack he was too sick to say 
anything: he used to say to me frequently "Lord if you 
are taken sick you will think more of your folks at home 
than yourself. I dont care anything about myself but my 
wife and my children they are dependent on me." I had 
every reason to know that he thought much of home and 
his folks though he said but little. I was with him most 
of the time during his sickness all the time days and most 
of the time nights. We did not leave him from the time 
he was taken sick till his death without a watch and here 
let me say that he seemed to sink away as though he was 
going to sleep and died without a struggle. We shall take 
care of all his things. It is most time for us to start and 
I must close this letter and leave it. I have not yet said 
anything to you and I cannot say much now but I can 
assure you in the first place that I am well and I hope 
that you are all well — dont let the children forget papa, 
we are getting along very well and determined if possible 
to go through. I hope that you will not give yourself 
much anxiety about us in regard to sickness. I think we 
have passed through the most of it all of our party are 
well. I must now close hoping that when I arrive in Cali- 
fornia I shall receive a letter from you. As to your getting 
along in my abscence do as you think best. 

Very affectionately yours, 

B. Lord 



THE OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 

By Albert Watkins 

The object of early travel from the Missouri river to 
the region beyond the Rocky mountains was, first, explora- 
tion, as in the example of the expeditions of Lewis and 
Clark, and Frm^ont; second, trapping and trading; third, 
the colonization of Oregon; fourth, the reaching of the Cali- 
fornia and intramontane go d mines; fifth, the trans- 
portation of soldiers and military supplies for the protection 
of these enterprises from hostile Indians. Prior to the 
period of transcontinental railroad building there were 
several rival experimental routes to the northerly part of 
those regions and, more particularly, to Oregon; but the 
Platte river route, known as the Oregon Trail, gained 
supremacy during the decade of 1830-1840, and held it 
until the opening of the Pacific roads north of the first 
(Union Pacific) line divided the traffic.^ The military 
department of the federal government, including its en- 
gineers, had faith in the superiority of upper routes while 
the general traffic persistently preferred the Platte route. 
In this test native instinct and experiment seem to have 
been wiser than science unassisted by experimental knowl- 
edge. 

On the 6th of February, 1855, congress appropriated 
thirty thousand dollars "for the construction of a military 
road from the Great Falls of the Missouri River, in the 
Territory of Nebraska, to intersect the military road now 



' For an account of the evolution of the Oregon Trail see History of 
Fort Kearny, Collections Nebraska State Historical Society, v. 16; The 
Evolution of Nebraska, Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical 
Association, 1909-1910, p. 126 et. seq. 

(127) 



128 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

established leading from Walla Walla to Puget's Sound", 
but no action was taken upon this scant allowance. In 
subsequent appropriations the eastern terminus of the road 
was fixed at Fort Benton, which was forty miles below 
the great falls and practically the head of navigation, and 
also an important post of the American Fur Company. 
It was only in very high water that boats could run to a 
point a little below the great falls. 

On the od of March, 1859, the federal congress ap- 
propriated one hundred thousand dollars "for the construc- 
tion of a military road from Fort Benton to Walla Walla", 
and another hundred thousand was appropriated for the 
same purpose by the act of May 25, 1860.^ Lieutenant 
John Mullan, of the Second artillery regiment, was detached 
to superintend the construction of the work.^ 

On the 31st of March, 1860, Pierre Choteau, Jr., of 



2 United States Statutes at Large, v. 10, p. 603; 11, p. 434; 12, p. 19. 
Fort Walla Walla, situated contiguous to the city of the same name on 
the Walla Walla river, about thirty-five miles above its mouth, was 
established as a military post September 23, 1856. Whitman's mission, 
at Waiilatpu, five miles farther down the river, was established near the 
close of 1836. The original Fort Walla Walla, a post of the Northwest 
Fur Company (British), was established at the junction of the Walla 
Walla and Columbia rivers in 1818. 

Fort Benton was established in 1846 by Alexander Culbertson, as a 
post of the American Fur Company. On the 17th of October, 1869, it was 
taken over for a military post of the United States. A town was laid out 
there in 1864 (Report of Secretary of the Interior, House Executive Docu- 
ments 1864-5, V. 5, p. 415). Trade and steamboat traffic fell off from the 
time that it became a military establishment; but they revived again in 
1882-83. The river trade was destroyed and the town crippled by the 
advent of the Great Northern railroad. (Forty years a Furtrader, v. 2, 
p. 258, note.) 

3 Lieutenant MuUan's regiment was already in Oregon on account of 
the Indian troubles. He received his instructions on the 15th of March, 
1859, had organized his party and started from Fort Dalles on the 8th of 
June and began the work of construction on the 25th. (Senate Documents 
1859-60, V. 2, doc. 2, p. 542; House Ex. Docs. 1859-60, v. 9, doc. 65, p. 108.) 
On the 19th of March the adjutant general of the army directed General 
W. S. Harney, then in command of the Oregon department, to provide 
MuUan's party with a military escort and supplies, (Ibid., p. 118.) 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 129 

St. Louis, contracted with Thomas S. Jesup, quartermaster, 
to transport from St. Louis to Fort Benton "about three 
hundred enlisted men, officers, servants, and laundresses, 
with their military stores and supplies, and to be paid 
one hundred dollars for each officer, fifty dollars per man, 
laundress, and servant, and ten dollars per hundred pounds 
for stores and supplies, including the subsistence of the 
men during the trip".^ 

General order number 37, dated at the headquarters 
of the army. New York, March 31, 1860, directed the two 
departments of the recruiting service to organize, at Fort 
Columbus and Newport Barracks,^ four companies of 
recruits — two at each post — of seventy-five men each, 
'*for the troops serving in the department of Oregon"; 
the recruits to be detached to Jefferson Barracks, near 
St. Louis, April 20th next; to move from St. Louis, April 
20th, by the Missouri river to Fort Benton; and thence to 
Fort Dalles by the route being passed over by Lieutenant 
Mullan of the Second artillery; arrangements for trans- 
portation beyond St. Louis to be made by the quartermaster- 
general; the four companies to be armed and equipped as 
infantry at Jefferson Barracks and supplies to be obtained 
at St. Louis. Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. 
Buchanan, Fourth infantry, was assigned to the command 
of the recruits, but was superseded by Major G. A. H. 
Blake, of the First dragoons. Colonel Joseph E. Johnston, 
acting inspector-general of the army, afterward a con- 



* House Executive Documents 1860-61, v. 8, doc. 47, p. 5. Lieutenant 
Mullan in a report of progress in the construction of the road, dated 
January 3, 1860, says (ibid., doc. 44, p, 33) that Choteau had agreed upon 
a price of thirty dollars per head for carrying the three hundred recruits; 
but this must have been an error. 

' Fort Columbus was situated on Governor's Island, New York, and 
Newport Barracks in Kentucky, on the Ohio river, nearly opposite Cin- 
cinnati. 

10 



130 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

federate general of our sectional war, was ordered to inspect 
the recruits prior to their departure.^ 

The official reports disclose the fortunes of the expedi- 
tion up the Missouri river and also its exploration purpose. 
For many years after the introduction of steamboats to 
the Ohio and the Mississippi, the more rapid and changeable 
current, the ubiquitous sandbar, whose formations were 
more fickle even than political personal preference or public 
opinion, and the equally numerous and more damaging 
snags of the Missouri were the preclusive bugbear of steam 
navigation. The first steamboat to tempt this triplex 
obstruction and destruction was the Independence which 
started from St. Louis on the 15th of May, 1819, reached 
Franklin on the 28th, whence it proceeded as far as Chariton, 
about thirty miles beyond, before returning to St. Louis.' 



* The minor officers were Captains John H. Lendrum, Third artillery, 
and Delancey Floyd Jones, Fourth infantry; First Lieutenants August V. 
Kautz, Fourth infantry, La Rhett L. Livingston, Third artillery, John C. 
Kelton, Sixth infantry; Second Lieutenant Edwin H. Stoughton, Sixth 
infantry — to report at Fort Columbus, April 15; Captain Thomas Hendrick- 
son, Sixth infantry, and First Lieutenants John T. Mercer, First dragoons, 
Benjamin F. Smith, Sixth infantry, George W. Carr, Ninth infantry, 
to report at Newport Barracks, April 15. {The Century, April 7, 1860, 
p. 79.) Brevet Second Lieutenants M. D. Hardin, C. H. Carleton, and J. J. 
Upham, of the Third artillery, Fourth and Sixth infantry, respectively, 
were assigned to duty with the recruits. (Ibid., April 14, 1860, p. 108.) 
Two detachments, two hundred and nineteen and one hundred and twenty 
strong, respectively, left Fort Columbus and Newport Barracks April 20. 
(Ibid., April 28, 1860, p. 164.) Brevet Second Lieutenant H. C. Pearce, 
First dragoons, was assigned to the detachment of recruits for Oregon. 
(Ibid., May 5, 1860, p. 189.) In the post returns of July, 1859, it appears 
that Lieutenant John S. Mason, of the Third artillery, was at Fort Colum- 
bus, New York, on general recruiting service. (House Executive Docu- 
ments 1859-60, V. 9, doc. 65, p. 197.) 

^ Franklin was situated on the north bank of the river, in Howard 
county, Missouri, two hundred and five miles, by the river, above St. 
Louis. Within a year after this demonstration of the practicability of 
steamboat navigation on the lower Missouri, Franklin became a very im- 
portant and thriving place, as the initial and outfitting point of the Santa 
Fe trail. It held this monopoly for six or seven years, when the overland 
initial terminal was pushed up the river about one hundred and eight 




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OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 131 

It was the public purpose that the both famous and 
infamous Yellowstone Expedition of the same year should 
demonstrate the practicability of steamboat navigation to 
the far upper Missouri; but of the four boats that entered 
the river only one, Major Long's Western Engineer, was 
able to get as far as the Council Bluff of Lewis and Clark; 
though the next year one of these failing boats, the Expedi- 
tion, reached the same point with a full cargo. In 1831 five 
steamboats made trips throughout the season from St. Louis 
to the settlements along the Missouri, Glasgow, successor 
to Chariton, and Boonville being the principal upper 
terminal points. By 1836 from fifteen to twenty boats 
were regularly engaged in this traffic. As early as 1829 
a packet boat ran regularly to Fort Leavenworth. In 1831 
the Yellowstone, built by the American Fur Company for 
the upper river fur trade, went as far as the site of the sub- 
sequent Fort Pierre in South Dakota, but it accomplished 
the latter part of the voyage only by much lightening and 
through the pertinacity of Pierre Choteau, Jr., who con- 
ducted the enterprise. The next season this boat reached 
Fort Union, at the mouth of the Yellowstone river. This 
was accounted a great triumph of transportation. Until 
1845 an annual voyage of the Yellowstone to the same 
point Was the limit of steamboat traffic to the high-up 
Missouri. In 1834 a boat had ventured as far as the mouth 
of Poplar river, about a hundred miles beyond the Yellow- 
stone; in 1853, another — the El Paso — went a hundred 
and twenty-five miles farther — a little beyond the mouth of 
Milk river; and in 1859, the Chippewa, one of the trinity 
of our Oregon recruit expedition, went still farther, to a 
point about seventeen miles below Fort Benton, the acknowl- 
edged head of navigation. The Mormon immigration to the 



miles farther, to Independence, and Franklin rapidly declined. In 1832 
the buildings were moved to a new location, two miles back from the river, 
which soon after carried away the original site. 



132 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Missouri river, beginning in 1846, and its subsequent settle- 
ment in Utah; the resulting traffic to Utah augmented by 
the transportation of vast quantities of military supplies 
to the army sent there in 1857 and 1858 to suppress the 
Mormon rebellion; the emigration to Oregon and California 
which reached a great volume in the latter half of the decade 
of 1840-50, and the establishment of a chain of military 
posts in the interior to protect this traffic from hostile 
Indians; the development of a considerable fur trade in 
the lower Rocky Mountain region; and the political 
organization and resultant rapid settlement of Kansas and 
Nebraska had created by 1860 a heavy business for regular 
lines of steamboats to Leavenworth, Atchison, St. Joseph, 
Brownville, Nebraska City, Omaha, and Sioux City. As 
far, then, as Sioux City our Oregon recruit expedition 
traversed familiar, and on to the Yellowstone not untried, 
waters. The experimental features of the journey were 
the extreme upper reaches of the possibly navigable Mis- 
souri and the testing of the relative practicability of the 
two routes to Oregon. 

The official records of the war department tell us that, 
on the 3d of May, 1860, a detachment consisting of thirteen 
officers, two hundred and twenty-two enlisted men, under 
Major George A. H. Blake, of the First dragoons,left 
St. Loui for Oregon, via Forts Union and Benton and the 
wagon road commenced by Lieutenant John Mullan from 
Walla Walla to Fort Benton. "The detachment embarked 
on three steamers and the march was undertaken to test 
the feasibility of that route to Oregon." The march was 
successfully accomplished and the command kept in good 
health, except some fifteen cases of scurvy and other dis- 
eases. The sick soldiers were sent back from Fort Benton 
on the returning boats. The expedition arrived at Sioux 
City May 23, the water being very low; Fort Randall, 
May 27, where it met a temporary rise of water from rains. 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 133 

which faciHtated progress; Fort Pierre June 2, noon, water 
very low again; mouth of Milk river, June 22; Fort Union 
evening of June 15; Fort Benton July 2, where the boats 
remained until Aug-ust 2.^ The Nebraska City News of 
February 23, 1861, notes, in a steamboat itinerary of 1860, 
that the fleet passed that place on the 15th of May. The 
Omaha Nebraskian of May 19, 1860, noted the passage of 
the fleet in its characteristically breezy style: 

"On the 16th inst. a fleet of Steamers, consisting of the 
Spread Eagle, Key West and Chippewa, touched at this 
port on their way to the head w^aters of the Missouri — 
distant over two thousand miles. Each boat was crowded 
to its utmost capacity, with United States troops whose 
destination is Oregon, and the Territory of Washington. 
They will ascend the Missouri as far as navigable by the 
steamers above mentioned, and from thence will be marched 
across the Mountains to the forts of their destination. It 
will be remembered that this is the same route that the 
Nebraskian recommended to Oregon emigrants some two 
years ago, and it is a source of some gratification to 
know that our suggestions are properly appreciated by the 
general government, and to believe that this is destined to 
be the traveled route to one, at least, of the Pacific States. 
The trial trip was made by two of the boats mentioned, 
last season, in taking up a party of Government explorers. 
They then ascended the Missouri higher than any attempt 
was ever before made to navigate it, but we understand 
this fleet expects to ascend one hundred and fifty miles 
nearer the source of this mightiest of streams. The distance 
from the head of navigation on the Missouri, to the head 
waters of the Columbia, is only about three hundred miles. 
If the Mississippi be the "Father of Waters" it is not too 
much to claim that the Missouri, is at least the mother, 
the grandfather, the grandmother, the great-grandfather, 
the great-grandmother, numberless uncles, aunts and 
cousins, besides not a few poor relations." 



* Senate Executive Documents 1860-61, v. 7, doc. 1, p. 131 — report of 
the adjutant general, S. Cooper. 



134 NEBRASICA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Alfred J. Vaughan, agent of the Blackfeet Indians, in 
a report to the superintendent of Indian affairs, dated at 
the agency, tells the following concise story of the voyage: 

"Blackfeet Farm, August 31, 1860. 

"Sir: In compliance with the regulations of the 
department, I have the honor to respectfully submit the 
following as my annual report for 1860: 

"The fleet of steamers for the Upper Missouri, viz: 
Spread Eagle, Captain Labarge, Chippewa, Captain Hum- 
phreys, and Key West, Captain Wright, all under the 
control of Mr. C. P. Choteau, of the firm of C. Chouteau, 
Jr., & Co., contractors of the government troop's stores and 
Indian annuities. The troops commanded by Major Blake 
left St. Louis on May 3. We arrived safe at Fort Randall 
after a tedious trip on account of the low stage of the river. 
At this point we met a rise, which enabled us to make the 
balance of the trip without any detention. We arrived at 
Fort Union on June 15, and, after discharging the Assina- 
boine annuities, went on our way rejoicing. 

"In due time we made Milk river; the landing of the 
steamer El Paso was passed: the steamer Spread Eagle 
accompanied us some ten miles further and then returned 
on her homeward way, having been ten miles further up 
than any side-wheel boat was before. 

"Our little fleet, now reduced to two, the Key West, 
commanded by Captain Labarge, in the van, boldly and 
fearlessly steered their way up what would seem to the un- 
initiated an interminable trip. At length the long expected 
goal is made, and on the evening of July 2 the two gallant 
crafts, amidst the booming of cannon and the acclamations 
of the people, were landed at Fort Benton with one single 
accident, and that was a man falling overboard, who 
unfortunately was drowned. 

"Without wishing to be thought invidious when all 
do v/ell, too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Captain 
Labarge and all the officers of the command for the untiring 
skill and energy displayed by them on this remarkable trip. 
Also to Mr. Andrew Dawson, partner, in charge of Fort 
Benton, for his forethought and sagacity in having wood 
hauled some sixteen miles below the fort, which enabled 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 135 

the two gallant crafts to land where no steamer was moored 
before."^ 

Periodical communications from the fleet published in 
The Century are full of interesting information. Following 
is a synopsis of one of these letters, dated "The Expedi- 
tion, — near Sioux City, la.. May 20, 1860," which was pub- 
lished in the issue of June 16: 

Left St. Louis May 31, have made nine hundred and 
fifty miles in seventeen days, average per day, fifty-six 
miles; on some days eighty miles; v/ater the lowest '"in the 
memory of the oldest inhabitant.' If we had only this 
boat" — the Chippewa — "and the Key West, both stern- 
wheelers, drawing thirty-two inches, loaded as they now 
are, we would have averaged seventy-five miles a day." 
The delays are all caused by waiting for the Spread Eagle, 
a side-wheeler, drawing four feet and intended to go only 
to Fort Union. i« 



5 Messages and Documents 1860-61, p. 306. 

I'' The statement by the correspondent of The Century, as early as 
May 20th, that the Spread Eagle was intended to go only to Fort Union 
seems questionable. An article in the Missouri Democrat, written by 
Mr. J. A. Hull and copied in the Peoples Press (Nebraska City) of July 19, 
1860, says: 

"The mountain fleet arrived at mouth of Milk river Friday June 22d, 
fifty days out from St, Louis, and as the river had commenced falling it 
was thought advisable to send the 'flagship* back. Accordingly we trans- 
ferred the balance of our freight to the Chippewa and Key West. Mr. 
P. W. [C. P.] Choteau then proposed that the Spread Eagle should make a 
pleasure trip above the point where the EI Paso landed several years since 
{1853]. And with the officers of the army, and most of the officers of the 
boats, we run about fifteen miles above El Paso point — the Spread Eagle 
has now been higher up the Missouri river than any other side wheeled 
boat, and Captain La Barge has the honor of being her commander. On 
our arrival at the point two guns were fired, a basket of champagne was 
drank by the officers and guests, and one bottle buried on the point. I 
suppose any one who goes after it can have it. The Spread Eagle could 
have very easily got higher up — indeed it was thought at one time she 
would reach Fort Benton, the river rose so rapidly, but Captain Choteau 
did not wish to risk so much merely for glory." 

In the same communication it is said that on the return trip the 
Spread Eagle arrived at Sioux City July 5, met the Florence at Florence 



136 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Have passed some very pretty towns, "especially 
Omaha City." The party consists of three hundred and 
forty recruits, "collected from all parts of the Union, and 
not very strictly selected either"; one hundred boatmen 
and fifty officers, "passengers, etc., gathered out of every 
nation under heaven." 

The writer correctly predicts the drying up of river 
traffic by railroads — now at St. Joseph, next at Sioux City, 
then when the Northern Pacific reaches Fort Union that 
will be the starting point for steamboats. 

Besides the soldiers there were about a dozen pas- 
sengers on the three boats, including Colonel Vaughn, 
agent of the Blackfeet, Major Schoonover, agent for the 
tribes near Fort Union, several employees of the American 
Fur Company, and two New York artists — Hays and Terry — 
going to Fort Union, "to paint our great animals of the 
plains from life." The officers included Major Blake, 
Captains Lendrum and Jones, Lieutenants Cass, Livingston, 
Smith, Kautz, Carleton, Upham, Hardin and Stoughton, 
and Doctors Head and Cooper, all going to the Columbia 
river, and Captain Getty and a lieutenant for Fort Pierre. 
The "navy of the Missouri" was under "Commodore 
Choteau", with Captains Labarge, Humphreys and Wright. 

The next letter, appearing in the issue of July 5, and 
dated June 2, at Fort Pierre, notes progress since May 20 
of six hundred miles, an average of only fifty miles a day. 
All agi'eed that starting so early was a mistake. If they 
had waited at St. Louis until about May 15, or until a 
rise of water began to show itself, two weeks time on the 
river would have been saved. There were only twenty-six 
inches of water on the bars at the Sioux City bend, so that 

on the 6th, passed the Emilia at Brownville on the 7th, and met the Omaha 
just below. 

The Omaha Nebraskian, of July 28, 1860, contains this notice: "The 
Chippewa from Fort Benton, touched at this point on her way down, on 
the 25th inst. We did not get her news." 



ORECxON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 137 

it was necessary to unload the Chippewa and lighten the 
Spread Eagle to get them over, causing a delay of three 
days in making thirty miles. Just above this point the 
fleet met a rise of eighteen inches, and the next day as 
much more, the increase alone being sufficient to float the 
two smaller boats. Consequently, for the following three 
days seventy-five miles a day was made, and Fort Randall 
was reached while the voyagers were "highly elated with 
the prospect of a quick voyage through." At the fort "the 
full band of the Fourth artillery greeted our arrival . . . and 
cheered us as we again started towards the wilderness with 
the echoes of 'Home Sweet Home' and 'The Girl I Left 
Behind Me'". About thirty miles farther on, a terrific 
storm of rain and hail forced the boats to lie by under 
shelter of bluffs for a day and a half; but while the resulting 
rise lasted ninety miles a day was made. "We travel, of 
course, only by day, though the high water and almost 
total absence of snags would make night travel easy if the 
channel were better known." 

Above Fort Randall it became difficult to obtain 
enough dry fuel for the boats. Betwen this post and Fort 
Pierre — two hundred and forty miles — "not a human being 
lives, except some white cedar log-cutters, and the reason 
of its desertion bj^ Indians is evident in the almost total 
absence of game". Fort Pierre was nearly half way — 1,450 
miles — from St. Louis to Fort Benton. 

The next letter — published in The Century July 26, 
1860 — was dated, "Missouri River, Fifty miles From 
Fort Marion, Nebraska, June 19, 1860." ^^ From Fort 



" This point was probably at Marion's Bend, about ten miles above 
the mouth of Poplar river, now in Valley county, Montana. The Spread 
Eagle, the slowest boat of the three, and the Chippewa made the voyage in 
1859 to a point "a few miles below Fort Benton" in ten days less time. 
The Spread Eagle went as far as Fort Union and there transferred her cargo 
of about one hundred and sixty tons to the Chippewa which completed 
the voyage, (Messages and Documents, 1859-60, pt. 1, p. 483.) 



138 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Pierre progress had been at the average rate of fifty-nine 
miles a day, "including long delays from being obliged to 
cut all our wood where it was often very scarce and from 
stopping to unload freight at the American Fur Company's 
Forts Clark and Berthold . . . The water has risen con- 
stantly and rapidly, so that it is higher now at Fort Union 
than ever before seen at the arrival of the arsenal of boats 
which have previously reached there only during its fall. 
And though the great river there divides, the Yellowstone, 
which had contributed half its volume, no longer helping 
us, yet the upper Missouri seems scarcely diminished in 
breadth or depth, the boats winding boldly along without 
fear of striking. The answer to the sounding-bell is almost 
invariably that forcible, if not exactly nautical phrase, *no 
bottom'." 

A letter dated "Mouth of Milk River, Nebraska, 
June 22, 1860", was published in the same issue of the 
magazine as the preceding. The Spread Eagle was to start 
back down the river from this point the next day. The 
expedition had already advanced two hundred and fifty 
miles above Fort Union, a comparatively high up point; 
but in that region of magnificent distances the superlative 
objective was still five hundred and thirty-two miles beyond. 
The correspondent was encouraged by progress already 
made to believe that "boats can easily be built which will 
make the trip from St. Louis to Benton, thirty-five hundred 
and fifty miles, in thirty days." Wood was scarce for about 
one hundred and fifty miles above and below Fort Pierre 
but increased in amount northward. Above the great bend 
(now in South Dakota) there were "large groves of that 
excellent wood, the red cedar, much of it now dead, and 
ready for fuel if there were inhabitants to cut it". Lieuten- 
ant Warren was in error in saying in his topographical 
report to congress that this valuable tree disappeared at 
the forty-sixth parallel, for it reappears again at the forty- 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 139 

seventh and becomes more abundant above the bend, 
growing thirty feet high and near a foot in diameter, accom- 
panied by the low carpet-Hke juniper. " Milk river is named 
from its whiteness, caused by a great quantity of alkaline 
mud it always contains, and which gives to the Missouri 
below most of its turbidity, in color like weak coffee and 
milk . . . Above the Musselshell it will be found quite 
clear . . . The artists left us last week having already painted 
some beautiful heads of animals." Our correspondent, 
whose name was concealed in the initial signature J. G. C., 
sketched views almost daily and also busily collected 
specimens of natural history. 

A letter published in the issue of August 2 informs us 
that the exped tion arrived at Fort Benton July 2, sixty 
days from St. Louis; and that boats of proper draught 
would have made the trip in thirty days. Assistant Surgeon 
S. F. Head, U. S. A., and Doctor Cooper of New York, were 
attached to the expedition. The issue of August 9 con- 
tained a etter dated "Camp near Fort Benton, Jul}'- 3, 
1860." The fleet advanced from Milk river at the average 
rate of sixty miles a day. Large groves of Oregon fir, 
excellent pitch pine, and red cedar began to appear a few 
miles above Milk river. They only bordered the river 
where tracts bare of grass protected them from fire. It 
was necessary to cordelle the boats up much of the rapids 
below Fort Benton, three hundred men hauling by the 
ropes "to help the steam." Lieutenant Mullan would not 
be able to get through — over his new road from Walla 
Walla — before the end of a month. He could get oxen 
enough for only twenty-five, instead of the needed forty 
wagons for transportation for the expedition. 

On the first of August Lieutenant Mullan's expedition 
arrived at the fort, "the road of six hundred and thirty- 
three miles from Fort Walla Walla to Fort Benton being 
opened". On his arrival he turned over all his wagon 



140 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

transportation to Major Blake; but he retained a force 
of about twenty-five men with which he returned over the 
road in advance of Major Blake's command, starting 
August 5— "having seen that the party to descend the 
Missouri were properly provided for their trip ..." He 
had previously reported that he had at Fort Benton "a 
ninety-foot keel boat, which I shall use in sending my 
party down the Missouri ".^^ 

On November 1, 1860, in a communication to the 
assistant adjutant general, headquarters department of 
Oregon, Lieutenant Mullan sought to demonstrate that in 
future it would be more economical to use Fort Snelling 
as a rendezvous for troops destined for the easterly posts 
of the department of Oregon, the supplies, however, to be 
transported by steamboat to Fort Union and Fort Benton. 
In the course of his demonstration he states the experimental 
case of transportation of troops via the Missouri: 

"As you are aware, during the summer of 1859 and 
1860 the Missouri river was proved to be navigable to 
within 100 miles of the Rocky mountains, and during the 
present season a military detachment of 300 recruits, under 
Major Blake, ascended in steamers as high as Fort Benton, 
where, taking land transportation, they moved safely and 
in good season to Fort Walla Walla. 

"This demonstrated that the Missouri river, together 
with the intervening land transit to the Columbia, could 
be used as a military line whenever the necessity for a 
movement existed, and provided the proper season for 
navigation be taken advantage of. But in future years, or 
until the condition of the interior shall guarantee an abun- 
dance of land transportation at the head of navigation on 
the Missouri, the element of uncertainty must ever enter 
into the movement of any body of troops to this coast via 
the Missouri and Columbia. During the last season it 
was practicable because we had land transportation at hand 
for the movement westward." 



13 House Executive Documents 1860-61, v. 8, pp. 32, 53, 54. 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 141 

This objection is probably overrated to accommodate 
a prepossession. 

In a letter following Lieutenant Mullan's, Colonel 
Wright of the Ninth infantry concurs in his views, and he 
adds that the passage of a body of troops from Fort Snelling 
to Washington Territory would have an excellent effect 
upon the Indians on the route, checking a disposition to 
commit hostilities. ^^ 

"A report on Lieutenant Mullan's Wagon Road" . . . 
by Major E. Steen to Quartermaster-General Joseph E. 
Johnston, dated at Fort Walla Walla January 5, 1861, 
states the case for the overland road in a manner which 
discloses a somewhat bitter feeling between partisans of 
the rival routes: 

"General: I take the liberty, and feel it my duty, to 
call your attention to the Fort Benton wagon road, as I 
believe, from experience in the service, and crossing the 
plains frequently for the last thirty years, that the cost 
of sending recruits or horses to this coast by that route will 
be ten times as much as by the route from Fort Leaven- 
worth, via Forts Riley, Laramie, Hall, and Boise, to this 
post; for by the boat to Benton each soldier will cost one 
hundred dollars, and each wagon the same; then to get 
mules or oxen for the wagons would be double the cost that 
it would be at Leavenworth. 



" Senate Documents 1860-61 (special session), v. 4, doc. 2, p. 3. 
John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, said in his report: "I took active 
measures to have a road constructed from Fort Walla- Walla on the Oregon 
river, across the mountain ranges to Fort Benton, on the head of the Mis- 
souri river . . . After a prosperous march of less than sixty days from Fort 
Benton |600 miles] the command arrived in safety and good condition at 
Fort Walla- Walla . . . Although the movement was an experiment alone, 
it has demonstrated the important fact that this line of intercommunication 
can be made available for moving large bodies of men from the Atlantic to 
the Pacific . . . With comparatively a small sum of money spent upon the 
removal of obstructions from the Missouri river and some additional 
expenditure on the road, this line would constitute a most valuable improve- 
ment, second only, and hardly second for military purposes, to any of the 
projected lines of railroads to the Pacific." (Senate Documents, 2d Sess. 
36th Cong., V. 2, p. 6.) 



142 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

"Purchase your horses, wagons, and oxen or mules to 
transport your supplies at Leavenworth, and if the trans- 
portation is not needed here on its arrival, it can be sold 
at public auction for its full value in the States. By this 
means each soldier will hardly cost ten dollars, whereas by 
the Benton route each one would cost three hundred by 
the arrival here. 

*'One more suggestion. Could not the one hundred 
thousand dollars already appropriated, and not yet ex- 
pended, be transferred to the old road I speak of? It is 
much the shortest and best route — and emigrants come 
through every season, arriving here by the end of September, 
their animals in very good condition. 

"A post is to be established at Boise in the spring, and 
there will always be troops at Fort Hall to protect emigra- 
tion, and all that is needed are ferries at these posts, and 
very little work on the road. 

'* There will then be grass, water, and all that is requisite 
for a military or emigrant road. 

"I do believe, if the one hundred thousand dollars is 
expended, and the Benton road finished, that not ten 
emigrants will travel it for twenty years to come. 

"But suppose you make the road from St. Paul to 
Benton, then you must establish a line of posts through the 
Sioux and Blackfoot country, requiring at least 1,500 
soldiers, at a cost of half a million annually, and there 
would be a war, at a cost of three or four millions more. 

"In a conversation with Major Blake, of the army, 
who came by the Benton route with 300 recruits last 
summer, he spoke favorably of the route, and said he would 
apply to bring over horses from St. Paul, via Benton, to 
this department. Now, I am satisfied that the cost by 
that route will be ten t mes as much as by the route from 
Leavenworth, via Laramie, Hall, and Boise; and, in addi- 
tion, the major's route is much the longest; and in the 
months of May and June, from St. Paul west, say one 
thousand miles, you have much wet and marshy prairie, 
which I consider impassable. 

"Starting in July, then, you could not come through 
in the same season; and wintering in the mountains north- 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 143 

east of us would cause much expense, the loss of many 
animals, and much suffering amongst the men." ^^ 

Against Major Steen's unsupported statement that the 
cost per soldier from Fort Snelling to Washington Territory 
would be three hundred dollars, Lieutenant Mullan shows 
an estimate in detail that it would be only fifty-four dollars. 
The road was used but little for military transportation, 
though, contrary to Major Steen's prediction, it became 
an important highway for emigrants to Idaho, Washington 
and Montana. 1^ The construction of the Northern Pacific 
railroad in 1883 in the main superseded the Mullan road. 
The arrival of the Northern Pacific railroad at Bismarck 
in 1873 greatly reduced the traffic from Sioux City, and the 
last through trip of a commercial steamboat from St. Louis 
to Fort Benton was made in 1878. Steamboat traffic on 
the river was reduced and its main initial points changed 
by the successive arrivals of railroads at the Missouri river 
from the east, — the Chicago & Northwestern at Council 
Bluffs in 1867; the Sioux City & Pacific at Sioux City in 
1868; the Northern Pacific at Bismarck in 1873; and the 
body blow was struck when the Great Northern reached 
Helena, Montana, in 1887. In his booklet, ''Nebraska in 
1857", James M. Woolworth said that Omaha "is at present 
the head of navigation of the Missouri river". A very 
promising commercial traffic by barges has recently been 
established between Kansas City and St. Louis. 

In explanation of the fact that the high up Missouri 
river points mentioned herein are placed in Nebraska, it 
should be said that until the territory of Dakota was 
estab ished, March 2, 1861, Nebraska territory extended 
north to the Canadian boundary and west to the Rocky 
mountains. The Lieutenant Warren mentioned became 
famous afterward in our sectional war. He was chief 



" Ibid., p. 1. 

'5 Bancroft's Works, v. 31, pp. 384, 406. 



144 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

engineer of the army of the Potomac and ordered the 
occupation of Little Round Top on the Gettysburg battle- 
field, a point of great strategic importance. He participated 
in the famous battle of Ash Hollow, Nebraska, in 1855, and 
made important surveys in the territory in 1857-58. The 
Century magazine was published at New York and gave 
special attention to military affairs. Copies of it are in 
the public library of Chicago. Its issue of June 16, 1860, 
describes the Spread Eagle as a side-wheel vessel drawing 
four feet ; therefore it could not keep up with the Chippewa 
and the Key West which had stern wheels and drew only 
thirty-two inches. According to Larpenteur, ^ « the Chippewa, 
the crack steamboat of the Missouri at that time, reached 
Fort Brule, six miles above Marias river and sixteen miles 
below Benton, July 17, 1859.1^ The boat was burned at 



'« Forty Years a Furtrader, v. 2, pp. 326, 446, notes. 

" In his report to the commander of the Military Division of the 
Missouri, dated October 20, 1869, General Winfield S. Hancock, com- 
mander of the Department of Dakota, gives interesting information about 
the navigation of the upper Missouri as follows: 

"The navigation of the Missouri River above Sioux City, and, 
indeed, above St. Louis, may properly be divided into two parts: one to 
the mouth of the Yellowstone, (Fort Buford,) north of St. Louis two 
thousand two hundred and thirty-five miles; or of Sioux City, one thousand 
two hundred and twenty-five miles; the other, above Fort Buford to Fort 
Benton, the head of navigation, seven hundred and twenty-six miles. 
Boats drawing three feet of water may reach the mouth of the Yellowstone 
at almost any time during the season for boating on the Missouri. The 
Yellowstone is the first great tributary the Missouri receives. It gives 
the character to the Missouri River below the point of meeting, gives it 
depth, and changes the color of its waters. The Missouri is a clear stream 
above its junction with the Yellowstone; below that point it is yellow and 
muddy as it appears at the mouth of the Missouri. Boats drawing eighteen 
inches can only reach Fort Benton when the year is a favorable one, after 
the first high water of spring, derived from the melting snows in the moun- 
tains. At Fort Buford, no doubt, will be the point, hereafter, where the 
larger boats will transfer their loads to craft more suitable for the Upper 
Missouri. The obstacles met with in a low stage of water are bowlders 
in the bed of the river, deposited there by floating ice, and which may be 
felt grating against the bottom of boats at many points during low water. 
The most noted obstacles of this nature are those at Dauphin Rapids, one 
hundred and fifty miles below Fort Benton, by water, and thence in a lesser 



OREGON RECRUIT EXPEDITION 145 

Disaster Bend, fifteen miles below the mouth of Poplar 
river, June 23, 1861. "She was a stern-wheeler, 160x32 
feet, owned by the A. F. Co., W. H. Humphreys master." 



degree to Cow Island Rapids, thirty-five miles below. When I passed 
down the river, 9th of July, 1869, the year being an unfavorable one for 
water, there having been during the winter but little snow in the moun- 
tains, we found there were but seventeen inches of water on Dauphin 
Rapids, and scarcely more at Cow Island. The steam boat "Only Chance", 
on which we were, drawing that number of inches light and empty, the 
passengers and baggage having been removed, passed over it with difficulty, 
and I believe was the last boat to pass over either rapids." (Report of 
the Secretary of War, 2d sess. 41st cong., v. 1, p. 61.) 



11 



INFLUENCE OF OVERLAND TRAVEL ON THE 
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF NEBRASKA 

By H. G. Taylor 

[Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January, 1912.] 

Surrounded with comforts of every description, nour- 
ished by a prosperity so prodigal that its resources seem 
exhaustless, conquering and successful, we of Nebraska are 
inclined to scorn the achievements of the past and claim 
for ourselves the credit of the accomplishments and high 
standing of our state. To be sure, there is reason for a 
vaulting pride. In point of educational efficiency Nebraska 
heads the list of states. In productivity of soils there is no 
state of the same area that is her superior, and in the 
intelligent treatment of these soils her citizens are abreast 
of the latest thought and method. In the number and 
quality of her horses, cattle, hogs and other live stock she 
finds a source of wealth and fame. In the character and 
prominence of her statesmen, educators and other leaders 
of thought she is unusually well favored. Pride in these 
things is pardonable because it forms. the basis of a firm 
and enduring loyalty, but it should not be indulged to the 
point of forgetting that others besides ourselves are respons- 
ible to a large degree for this happy condition. 

While over a million of us here in Nebraska are enjoying 
the comforts and privileges of modern life, we should be 
reminded now and then that many of our blessings are the 
fruits that have ripened from the sacrifices, privations, labor 
and forethought of the men and women who first came to 
this country and caught the vision of its possibilities. We 

(146) 



INFLUENCE OF OVERLAND TRAVEL 147 

need to return now and then to the altar of the past and be 
endowed therefrom with some of the fire that burned in 
the hearts of the pioneers. Through all of their vicissitudes 
their courage remained undaunted, and their spirits mounted 
to the vision that eventually became a reality. In the face 
of almost insurmountable difficulties they left the indelible 
imprint of their plans and work on the history of Nebraska. 

It shall not be the purpose of this paper to smother 
the pioneers with fulsome flatteries, simply because they 
came here first. There is really no honor or distinction in 
having lived in one community for a long period of time. 
Indeed, such an extended residence may suggest the impious 
thought that it was necessary because the pioneer did not 
have brains and energy enough to move to some other 
place. We can claim no credit for entering this world 
because the advent was not due to our own volition. For 
the same reason we may stay in one locality simply because 
it is more comfortable to do that than to go to another. 
But if the old resident has worked faithfully, if he has had 
foresight and energy enough to improve the raw conditions, 
then his deeds are entitled to recognition. And there have 
been thousands in Nebraska who are deserving of remem- 
brance at our hands. 

Little do we realize to-day, as we meditate complacently 
on the standing of our commonwealth, the dreary and for- 
bidding prospect that faced the pioneers when they came 
here in the sixties and seventies. Where we see paved 
streets, verdant fields and beautiful trees, they saw only 
pathless prairies, shifting sands and buffalo grass. Where 
we retire each night to the security and comfort of modern 
homes, they went to bed beside the trail, in dugouts and 
sod houses, secure only in the knowledge that their safety 
depended on the whims and designs of bloodthirsty Indians. 
Where we travel in palace car and automobile, they traveled 
by ox team and horseback, spending tedious months in 



148 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

journeys that we accomplish to-day in hours. Where we talk 
to-day with distant friends as soon as "central" can make 
the connection, they waited weary months on the occasional 
freighter and passing traveler. We see as much money in 
one month's income as they saw after a year's hard toil. 
We secure princely luxuries with less effort than it required 
for them to gain dire necessities. A vast contrast! you 
exclaim. Yea, verily, and the wonder increases when we 
recall that it covers less than fifty years of time. 

In view of what has been accomplished, we have a 
right to say that Nebraska was favored in the class of 
people who made the first settlement here, that they were 
above the average in intelligence, courage and general 
excellence. It took a certain degree of heroism to even 
contemplate getting here, to say nothing of staying here 
after the journey was completed. Only the virile, ambitious, 
hopeful ones would endure the hardships incident to a six 
month's overland journey through an uncharted wilderness, 
with no prospect at the .end but years of sacrifice and priva- 
tion. The gold seekers of 1849 were of this intrepid class. 
Bleaching bones from the Missouri river to California gave 
mute testimony to the stern nature of that journey. Ne- 
braska profited from this move westward because it lay 
in the path of the fortune hunters and the California trail 
extended from one end of the state to the other. A few of 
these daring prospectors stopped in the state for one reason 
or another on the outward journey; and many of them, 
disappointed in their futile search for wealth in the gold 
fields, returned to Nebraska to assist in developing an 
agricultural industry, the products of which surpass in 
wealth the gold produced in any state in the Union. Othef 
gold seekers hurried across the state to Colorado a little 
later and, finding the tales of the richness of the mines 
greatly exaggerated, returned to settle along the trail and 
establish homes. I need not dwell on the character of the 



INFLUENCE OF OVERLAND TRAVEL 149 

Mormon empire builders who crossed the state in 1847. 
Regardless of what we think of their religion, we cannot 
but marvel at their splendid courage and constructive 
ability. They were builders and developers the like of 
which the world has not often seen. Like the others men- 
tioned, their route led them across Nebraska, following 
what is now known as the old Mormon trail from Omaha 
and up the Platte valley.^ Few stopped on the outward 
journey, but many became dissatisfied with the life in 
Utah and, retracing their steps eastward, came once again 
to Nebraska, bringing with them their genius for develop- 
ment. They settled here and there along the trail and 
became thrifty and progressive ranchere and farmers. 

The first general movement westward began in the 
early sixties, and had it not been for the rude interruption 
of the civil war doubtless Nebraska would be ten years 
older in her development. In spite of the war, however, 
hundreds of prospective home builders found their way to 
the state during that decade; and among them were some 
of the sturdiest and most capable men the state has ever 
had. For example, J. Sterling Morton arrived in 1854. 
He was a man of power — brilliant, constructive and far- 
seeing. His influence is still a factor in shaping the develop- 
ment of the state. Of course we remember him best because 
of his consuming ambition to make this a land of trees. 
How well he succeeded we need to travel but a few hours 
to determine. Arbor Day is observed not only in Nebraska 
but everywhere in the United States, and nodding trees 
throughout the land whisper gentle tributes to the man 



^ The pioneer colony of Mormons marched from Winter Quarters 
(now Florence) by the Mormon road, along the north side of the Platte 
river; but continuous emigration passed over the Oregon Trail from its 
beginning at Independence and Westport, and also over the branches from 
their initial points on the Missouri river — at Leavenworth, Atchison, 
St. Joseph, Brownville, Nebraska City, Council Bluflfs, and other points 
still farther up the river. — Ed. 



150 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

whose enthusiasm and foresight did much to redeem the 
deserts and make the waste places habitable. It would 
come near the truth to say that he was the original con- 
servationist. Undoubtedly there would have been many 
trees in Nebraska had J. Sterling Morton never lived, but 
his example and energy brought them sooner and in greater 
numbers than would have been the case had he not lived. ^ 
Tree-planting is not the only service, however, for which 
Nebraska is indebted to Mr. Morton. As a politician and 
statesman he had ideals that were woven into the govern- 
mental design and that have an enduring permanence to 
this day. His honesty and frankness in political matters 
were unusual qualities in those days, and the "progressives" 
of to-day can draw upon his conception of public office with 
profit and advantage. 

Almost equally prominent with him was Robert W. 
Furnas. Mr. Furnas published the first agricultural paper 
in the state and always took a deep interest in its agri- 
cultural development. As we have indicated above, the 
state in those days was not very flattering in its promise 
of fertility and it took a man with a clear vision and much 
confidence to advocate improved methods and extensive 
farming. But, like other venturesome spirits who had been 
attracted by the call of the West, he had faith in the future, 
and eastern Nebraska particularly is indebted to him for 
his work in behalf of horticulture and agiiculture. 

Typical of the genius for overcoming obstacles that 
was characteristic of the men who carved this kingdom out 
of a wilderness was the projection and construction of the 
Union Pacific railroad. While by no means a Nebraska 
enterprise, this great undertaking was identified closely 
with the development of the state, and the story of the 



2 An account of the origin of Arbor Day and of its influence on tree 
planting may be found in the third volume of the history of Nebraska, 
page 327.— Ed. 



INFLUENCE OF OVERLAND TRAVEL 151 

making of this great thoroughfare is intermingled with the 
settlement of the state. No project could have presented 
a more discouraging aspect. General Grenville M. Dodge, 
who made surveys for the course of the road, says that 
when he first saw the country west of the Missouri river 
it was supposed to be without natural resources or produc- 
tivity, a vast expanse of arid plain. Tracts of shrubby 
sagebrush and tumbleweed wearied the eye with their 
ragged, endless monotony. High winds stripped the surface 
of the soil, and terrific wind storms drove clouds of dust 
about. One writer says that "scarcely a mile of the Pacific 
railroad was built without creating its story of courage, 
adventure and endurance. The history of the armed 
conquest of our national expanse is scarce fuller of romance 
than is that of its industrial conquests in the building of 
the railroads. As we see later, even this was a conquest, 
if not by arms, at least under arms." Every line had to 
be run within range of the muskets of guarding soldiers; 
there was not a moment's security. Men stacked their arms 
on new piles of earth and were ready at a moment's notice 
to fall in and fight for the territory they were sent to win. 
Handicapped by such obstacles, the men would have been 
justified in demanding a generous allowance for hasty work 
and faulty engineering, but they asked for no such considera- 
tion. On the contrary, their work was so well done that 
when a few years ago Edward Harriman commanded his 
engineers to shorten the Union Pacific line they found that 
modern engineering could improve but little on the route 
selected by the original engineers.^ The spirit that built 



3 Peter A. Dey was the first chief engineer of the Union Pacific rail- 
road, and he established the eastern end of the line. General Dodge suc- 
ceeded him in 1866 and directed, in the field, the greater part of the engineer- 
ing work to the end of the line. Silas Seymour was consulting engineer 
during the whole period of construction, and his influence in the choice 
of the line was, no doubt, great, though the main practical responsibility 
was borne, doubtless, by General Dodge. — Ed. 



152 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the Union Pacific was the spirit that settled Nebraska. 
Indeed, many of the very men who helped to build the one 
tarried to assist in the development of the other, lending 
their genius and courage to the making of a state. 

It was in the early seventies that the general settlement 
of the state began. Following the war the discharged 
soldiers, turning westward in search of homes, were attracted 
to Nebraska, and thousands of them arrived in a short time. 
No better citizens ever lived. Inured to hardships, schooled 
in discipline, abounding in patriotism, they had been tried 
in the fires of a mighty conflict and were fit subjects out of 
which to make a commonwealth. The majority of them 
were young men, and they had families. They came to 
make homes and there was nothing of uncertainty about 
their purpose. They were terribly in earnest; for they 
were without much means and their whole future depended 
on their efforts. They came largely in families, companies 
and a few colonies, which did much to create a home 
atmosphere from the beginning. It is not strange, there- 
fore, that their first concern was to establish schools and 
churches. The experience, for instance, of Samuel C. 
Bassett, of Buffalo county, furnishes a striking illustration 
of this early desire for educational advantages. Mr. Bassett 
reached Buffalo county with a colony, April 7, 1871. At 
that time but four claims had been filed in the United States 
land office, and not an acre of railroad land had been sold. 
The county had been organized less than one year.^ The 



* It is more accurate to say that Buffalo county was reorganized 
about a year before this time. The first territorial legislature passed an 
act, March 16, 1855, declaring that certain prescribed territory "is hereby 
organized into a county to be called Buffalo" and constituting Nebraska 
Center the county seat. (Laws of Nebraska 1-3 Territorial Sessions, p. 
339.) In 1859 the territorial canvassing board counted the vote purporting 
to have been cast in Buffalo county for a delegate to congress; but in the 
ensuing contest at Washington the house of representatives threw it out 
on the ground that the county was not organized at the time of the election. 



INFLUENCE OF OVERLAND TRAVEL 153 

families lived in the cars until they could build homes. 
On the 15th of April, 1871, before any members of this 
company had filed on homesteads, and while they were yet 
living in the cars, a meeting was held to consider the 
organization of a school district. On the 22d of April a 
meeting was held, school district officers were elected, and 
a tax voted to build a schoolhouse. Think of it! Within 
two weeks after the arrival of this little company of pioneers 
and before thej^ had even commenced to erect homes of 
their own, even before they were certain that they would 
have homes, taxes had been voted to build a schoolhouse! 
And in less than three months a term of school began in 
the wing of a private house, just completed. Do you 
wonder that Nebraska is able to boast of the lowest per- 
centage of illiteracy of any state in the Union?^ Is it sur- 
prising that the state is right in the forefront of all progress 



The county voted at the congressional elections of 1860 and 1866, and at 
the provisional state election, June 2, 1866. 

At the eighth session of the territorial legislature an act was passed, 
December 31, 1861, constituting Hall, Buffalo, Kearney, and Lincoln, 
counties a legislative district. (Laws of Nebraska Eighth Territorial 
Session, p. 107.) At the eleventh session of the territorial legislature an 
act was passed, February 12, 1866, authorizing the probate judge of Buffalo 
county "to appoint all officers in said county necessary to complete county 
and precinct organizations", who should hold their respective offices until 
their successors were elected and qualified. The probate judge was author- 
ized also "to demand and receive all the records . . . belonging to said 
county", and to keep them until the proper officers for their custody were 
elected and qualified. Thus Buffalo exercised distinct county functions 
intermittently from 1860 until its permanent organization in 1870. (Special 
Laws of the Eleventh Territorial Session, p. 710.) By the act of June 12, 
1867, Buffalo county was placed in the third judicial district. (Laws 
of Nebraska Third Session, p. 50.) By the act of February 10, 1871, 
Buffalo county was attached to Hall county for judicial purposes. (Laws 
of Nebraska 1870-71, p. 195.) By the act of February 27, 1873, terms of 
the district court to be held in Buffalo county were appointed. (General 
Statutes 1873, p. 260.)— Ed. 

^ The percentages of illiteracy in the three states having the lowest 
rate for the four decades ending 1880, 1890, 1900, 1910, are as follows: 
1880: Wyoming, 3.4; Nebraska, 3.6; Iowa, 3.9. 1890: Nebraska, 3.1; 
Wyoming, 3.4; Iowa, 3.6. 1900: Nebraska, 2.3; Iowa, 2.3; Oregon, 3.3. 



154 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

in educational matters and that other states are demanding 
our educators as fast as we can produce them? Our stand- 
ing in these things is not a matter of chance. It was de- 
termined by the men and women who had a passion for self- 
improvement and who laid a foundation so broad and deep 
that we could not overturn it if we would. To be sure, 
Nebraska is favored by many advantages in the way of 
geographical location, climatic conditions, soil fertility, 
transportation facilities and unlimited natural resources; 
but it took the vision, the foresight and the indomitable 
will of the pioneers to make them full measure of benefit. 
These little clusters of war veterans, with their families and 
friends, composed an influence that ramified into every 
part of the political, commercial, social and moral life of 
the community. 

It would be easy to cite other examples to show that in 
the play of the great forces that shaped the destiny of this 
nation Nebraska was favored as only one or two other 
states were favored; but we have indicated enough to 
show that Nebraska civilization grew from good seed, 
selected without a doubt by the great Agriculturist Himself 
and cultivated according to his eternal design. 

I cannot leave the subject, however, without turning 
my eyes for a moment from the past to the future. We 
must remember that the success of the pioneers depended 
almost wholly on the fact that they kept their eyes stead- 
fastly to the front; and we will not be true to the spirit 
that dominated them if we do not follow their example. 
It is our duty to acknowledge the obligation we owe to the 
men and women who handed us an empire, enduring and 
glorious, which they had fashioned out of a wilderness, but 
their splendid example will be lost if we halt, contented 



1910: Iowa, 1.7; Nebraska, 1.9; Oregon, 1.9. (Twelfth Census U. S. 
1900, V. 2, Population Part 2, p. c; Thirteenth Census, 1910, Abstract 
With Nebraska Supplement, p. 245) — Ed. 



INFLUENCE OF OVERLAND TRAVEL 155 

with what has already been accompHshed. Croly says, 
"All history is but a romance unless it is studied as an 
example." There is much of the desert to conquer yet, 
many streams to bridge, many schools to build, many farms 
to improve, many resources to develop, many wrongs to 
right and many problems to solve. The future has a 
challenge to strong men as compelling as any that came to 
the pioneers of fifty years ago, and it will be as rich as the 
past if we keep our minds open to the visions that they 
had and our hearts free to make them come true. In 
closing I am tempted to borrow a verse that the poet, 
Harry Kemp, has recently dedicated to Kansas, because 
it is expressive of the sentiments and aspirations of all 
loyal Nebraskans — 

"Let other countries glory in their Past, 
But Nebraska [Kansas] glories in her days to be, 
In her horizons, limitless and vast, 
Her plains that storm the senses like the sea: 
She has no ruins grey that men revere — 
Her time is Now, her Heritage is Here." 



INCIDENTS OF THE EARLY SETTLEMENT OF 
NUCKOLLS COUNTY 

By George D. Follmer 

[Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January, 1912.] 

In the winter of 1870-71 I started with a team and an 
old style mail buckboard from Grant, in Montgomery 
county, Iowa. I passed through Red Oak and Sidney, 
crossing the Missouri river at Nebraska City, and thence, 
by way of Beatrice, to Oak Grove Ranch in Nuckolls 
county. I struck the Oregon Trail at the Helvey Ranch 
on Big Sandy in Jefferson county. There were but few 
settlers between this point and Meridian where there was 
a small store and post office kept by Hugh Ross. From 
Meridian to Kiowa Ranch (in Thayer county, kept by E. 
Vanderwork) there were no settlements; and there were 
none along the trail between Kiowa Ranch and Oak Grove 
Ranch which was situated at the mouth of a large draw on 
the north side of the Little Blue river, in the northwest 
quarter of section 15, township 3, range 5 west of the sixth 
principal meridian. The ranch house was erected in Septem- 
ber, 1865, by E. S. Comstock. The stockade on the south 
side of the house was put up by Philip Michael in iVpril, 
1870. The house was twenty-four feet in length and four- 
teen in width, with an addition on the north side eight feet 
by ten feet. The main building had one story. 

About fifty feet a little east and south from the house, 
the first election for the organization of Nuckolls county 
was held under a large elm tree, on the twenty-seventh of 
June, 1871. Thirty- two votes were cast at this election. 

(156) 



SETTLEMENT OF NUCKOLLS COUNTY 157 

D. W. Montgomery drove to Lincoln to induce Governor 
W. H. James to order an election at which officers were 
chosen as follows: Judges of election, Philip Michael, Jonas 
Hannum, Alexander Naylor; clerks of election, Thomas 
B. Johnson, Charles W. Goodman; county officers: 
commissioners, Adam Simonton, Jonas Hannum, Alexander 
Naylor; clerk, Elbridge L. Downing; treasurer, Willis Henby; 
superintendent of public instruction, Charles W. Goodman; 
probate judge, Abner E. Davis; sheriff, A. Edwards; sur- 
veyor, D. W. Montgomery; coroner, James Candy. 

Mr. Thaine, who had homesteaded the south half of 
the southeast quarter and the south half of the southwest 
quarter of section 23, township 3, range 5, was killed by 
Indians in May, 1870 — the last person killed by Indians in 
Nuckolls county. The first white child born in the county 
after the organization was Ella Simonton. 

There were buffaloes, antelopes, elks, deer and wild 
turkeys in abundance in 1871, but the Oto and Omaha 
Indians soon chased them out. 

The nearest post office in 1871 and 1872 was at Meridian, 
thirty- two miles from Oak Grove Ranch. The nearest mill 
was at Beatrice. The first railroad in the county was the 
St. Joseph and Western, which was built across the north- 
east corner of the county about 1872. ^ At present Nuckolls 
county ranks third in the state in length of railroad track, 
having 141.59 miles. The Burlington & Missouri company 
has three lines, and the Chicago & Northwestern, Chicago, 
Rock Island & Pacific, Missouri Pacific, Santa Fe, St. 
Joseph and Grand Island have a single line each. Only one 
township is without a railroad. Nelson, the county seat, 
was surveyed in the winter of 1872 and 1873. The court- 



1 This road was built by the St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad Com- 
pany, and was opened to Hastings in 1872. It was called the St. Joseph 
& Western after it was taken over by the new company of that name in 
1877.— Ed. 



158 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

house was built in the spring of 1873. The first district 
court was held in a small frame building May, 1873, by 
Judge Daniel Gantt and prosecuting attorney A. J. Weaver. 
The county records were moved from D. W. Montgomery's 
residence on the n. w. | s. 8, t. 3, r. 5, to the new courthouse 
in September, 1873. The first female child born at the 
county seat was a daughter of J. M. Shank, and the first 
male child was C. S. Follmer. 

The first frame house in the county was built in 1871 
by D. W. Montgomery on the northwest quarter of section 
8, township 3, range 5. The siding, finishing lumber, and 
shingles were hauled from Fairbury, Jefferson county. 

The length of the Oregon Trail in Nuckolls county was 
about sixteen ipiles. It ran through the followng sections, 
townships and ranges: Sections 13, 14, 15, 16, 9, 8, 7, 6, 
township 3, range 5; n. e. i s. 1, t. 3, r. 6; sections 36, 35, 
26, 23, 22, 15, 16, 9, 8, 7, 6, t. 4, r. 6; n. | s. 2, t. 4, r. 7. 
The trail is nearly obliterated in this county but traces 
remain on the e. ^ of w. | of n. e. j, s. e. ^ of s. 14, t. 3, r. 5 
where it comes out of a draw; also on the n. e. j, s. e. I, 
s. 15, t. 3, r. 5, where it leaves the bottom to get on higher 
ground. Then again on the n. w. j, s. e. {, s. 15, t. 3, r. 5, 
as it comes out of the draw onto higher ground. The next 
point is on the n. w. | of n. e. I, s. 16, t. 3, r. 5, as it comes 
out of the draw on the south side. Then on the n. e. | s. 7, 
t. 3, r. 5, where it leaves the third bottom through a cut 
to the second bottom. It is visible again east of The 
Narrows, on the s. e. |, s. w. J, s. 6, t. 3, r. 5; also on the 
e. ^, s. w. J and n. ^ of n. w. I, s. 36, t. 4, r. 6. The last 
sign is where it leaves the Nine Mile Ridge on the west 
side of the n. | s. 1, t. 4, r. 7. 

The massacre on the Little Blue occurred on Sunday 
afternoon August 7, 1864. The attack seemed general 
along the Little Blue extending east within a mile of Kiowa 
Ranch in Thayer county. At this point one of the Eubank 



SETTLEMENT OF NUCKOLLS COUNTY 159 

boys was killed and scalped. Two of the Eubank boys 
were killed and scalped on n. ^ of n. w. J 16-3-5 and were 
buried under an elm tree on s. w. l of s. w. I 8-3-5 on the 
banks of the Little Blue. It is stated that nine of these 
were killed. William Eubank and the others were killed on 
n. w. I 7 & s. w. J 6-3-5, all on August 7, 1864. The 
wife and child of one Eubank boy and Miss Laura Roper 
were carried off captives. Because the child was fretful it 
was killed soon after starting. In about six months these 
women were exchanged near Denver, Colorado, for Indian 
prisoners.2 Those killed at Oak Grove Ranch August 7, 
1864, were W. R. Kelley and a man by the name of Butler* 
Those who escaped were E. S. Comstock sr.; Harry C. 
Comstock; J. M. Comstock, wife and child; Mrs. Francis 
Blush and child; Sarah Comstock; Mary Comstock; Ella 
Butler; Tobias Castor; George Hunt. A man by the 
name of Ostrander was wounded and died a short time 
afterward in Seneca, Kansas. George Hunt, at present 
county commissioner of Saline county, Nebraska, was 
wounded in the calf of the leg. 

The bodies of Kelley and Butler were put into the 
small smokehouse on Monday, August 8, before the people 
left. The building, smokehouse and stable were burnt 
sometime Monday. The bodies in the smokehouse were 
nearly cremated when found on Thursday, August 11, by 
J. M. Comstock, James Douglas, John Gilbert and others, 
who had returned to bury them. 

The size of the building burnt was 40 x 22, with a 
kitchen on west side, 40 x 12, and a bedroom on north side, 



2 Stories of this Oak Grove tragedy and the recovery of the captives 
are conflicting. Various authorities are cited in footnote 1 of my history 
of the Indian war on the Nebraska plains, ms. Nebraska State Historical 
Society. See, also, the account of Captain Henry E. Palmer, History of 
Nebraska, v. 2, p. 188, note; Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, p. 354; 
History of Wyoming (Coutant) p. 441. — Ed. 



160 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

12 X 22. The main building was two stories and was built 
by Charles and Preston Butler in 1859. 

The Emery incident occurred August 9, 1864. He 
saved nine stagecoach passengers by discovering an Indian 
pony in a clump of willows as he was about to descend 
into the bottom land. He coolly turned his four horses 
and started on the race for life. He was fortunate enough 
to meet George Constable's ox train. Constable, seeing 
him coming, corralled the train and saved all in the coach. 
E. Umphrey, and G. G. and Hattie Randolph presented 
Emery a short time before his death with a fine gold ring. 
It was lost in 1885. 

This incident was reported at the time to have taken 
place near the The Narrows; but it occurred on the south- 
west quarter of section 13, township 3, range 5, which is 
five to six miles east of The Narrows. George Constable 
was afterwards killed by the Indians on the divide between 
Elk Creek and the Little Blue and buried in the brakes 
of the Little Blue on the northeast quarter of section 35, 
township 4, range 6. A considerable number of wagons 
loaded with goods were burned on this quarter section. 
Pieces of crockery can now be found at this place. 

Following are the names of ranches from Kiowa, 
Thayer county, Nebraska, to Kearney, Nebraska; also those 
that had charge August 7, 1864. The location is given 
of those in Nuckolls county. Kiowa Ranch, Thayer county, 
James Douglas; Oak Grove Ranch, E. S. Comstock; Eu- 
bank Ranch, Eubanks, on the n. e. i, n. w. I s. 7, t. 3, r. 5; 
Ewing or Kelley Ranch, by W. R. Kelley, on the n. e. I of 
n. w. I s. 1, t. 3, r. 6; Little Blue station, by J. M. Comstock, 
on the s. e. I of n. e. i s. 35, t. 4, r. 6; Buffalo Ranch, by 
Milligan and Mudge, s. e. i, n. e. | s. 2, t. 4, r. 7; Liberty 
Farm, by Charles Emery; Pawnee Ranch, by Jas. Bainter; 
Spring Ranch, by Nute Metcalf ; Lone Tree Ranch, party 
not known by writer; Elm Tree Ranch, by William Moody; 



SETTLEMENT OF NUCKOLLS COUNTY 161 

Thirty-two Mile Creek Ranch by George and Ansel Corn- 
stock; Hook or Junction Ranch, by Hook. At this point 
the road from Omaha formed a junction with the Oregon 
Trail nine miles east of Kearney. The incidents along the 
Oregon Trail were given by a party who lived on the trail 
from 1862 till after the massacre, and who was at Oak 
Grove ranch Sunday morning, August 7, 1864. 



IS 



FIRST STEAMBOAT TRIAL TRIP UP THE 
MISSOURI 

By Albert Watkins 

If we do not wish to go so far with skepticism or 
cynicism as to endorse the old apothegm, "Might makes 
right", we may hit off a compromise by agreeing that, at 
any rate, might secures right and then find a good illustra- 
tion of our maxim in our western frontier conditions from 
the time of the treaty of 1783, which recognized the in- 
dependence of our colonies and the Mississippi river as our 
western boundary line, until the Oregon question was 
settled in 1846. For some time after the treaty of in- 
dependence England insolently kept up military establish- 
ments on our western frontier; and France and Spain, the 
other two great powers, continued to menace and snub us. 
We won their respectful consideration only when our 
gi'owing military might could command it. Even after the 
war of 1812-15, England continued to covet trade with 
our upper Missouri Indians and to take unwarranted 
liberties in that region. 

This mixed Indian-English question led to the estab- 
lishment, in 1819, of Fort Atkinson, the first military post 
within the Nebraska Country and the first of more than 
local importance on the Missouri river; and, incidentally, 
to the first attempt at steamboat navigation of the upper 
Missouri. The expressed expectations of the expedition, 
flowing from its ostensible objects, carry the mind back to 
the vaunted hopes and glories of the voyages of Columbus, 
Cabot, Magellan and others of the period of continental 
discovery and investigation. It was charged to spy out 

(162) 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 163 

the land with reference to topogi-aphy, animal and vegetable 
products, actual and prospective, and ascertain as certainly 
as practicable its northern boundary, the better to judge 
of and repress British encroachment ; to impress the Indian 
occupants with white prowess by means of military demon- 
strations and the wonderful method of transportation by 
steamboats; and, under this spell, to make favorable 
treaties with the Indians and ascertain the most favorable 
points for establishing military posts. The enterprise was to 
be a second edition of the Lewis and Clark expedition but 
with the impressive adjunct of the pomp and circumstance 
of power. In this respect it proved disastrously top-heavy ; 
in apter metaphor, perhaps, the tail so effectively wagged 
the dog as to effectually break the animal down long before 
the accomplishment of his ostentatious journey. This 
great conception for illuminating the magnificence of ends 
and means put the trans-Missouri country and, inclusively, 
the Nebraska section of it, in the public eye almost as con- 
spicuously as the Kansas-Nebraska bill did a generation 
later. 

President Monroe, in his message to congress, Novem- 
ber 16, 1818, said: "With a view to the security of om' 
inland frontiers it has been thought expedient to establish 
strong posts at the mouth of the Yellow Stone River, and 
at the Mandan village on the Missouri. It can hardly be 
presumed, while such posts are maintained in the rear of 
the Indian tribes, that they will venture to attack our 
peaceable inhabitants." ^ It was also contended that this 
movement would ultimately promote civilization of the 
Indians who would be unable to exist alongside of the 
civilized whites; to prevent their extinction they must be 
under dependent control of the United States. ^ No men- 
tion is made of establishing a post at Council Bluffs, whose 



1 state Papers, 2d Sess., 15th Cong., 1818-19, v. 1, doc. 2, p. 10. 
« Ibid. 



164 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

invention as a substitute for the original plan turned out to 
be the child of necessity. The president correctly forecasted 
the ultimate Indian policy; but he was mistaken in his 
forecast of its results, for the extennination he would have 
prevented, professedly, goes on inexorably, and no prac- 
ticable policy could have avoided it. 

Nile's Register, v. 15, p. 117, quotes from the St. Louis 
Enquirer an interesting statement of the objects of the 
expedition. A battalion of the Rifle regiment, three hundred 
strong, embarked at Belle Fontaine September 4, 1818, to 
ascend the Missouri to the mouth of the Yellowstone to 
establish a post there. This advance force was commanded 
by Lieutenant Colonel Talbot Chambers. The three 
captains were Martin, Merger and Riley. It was intended 
that the expedition should encamp for the winter at the 
mouth of the Kansas and continue its voyage in the spring. 
The officers were instructed to carry such seed grains as it 
was expected would thrive in that climate. Wheat, barley, 
rye and oats, it was believed, would do well there. "The 
Mandan .corn will find itself in its own climate" there. 
A reason for this provision was "that the post may have 
within itself some resource against the failure of con- 
tractors . . . Our fellow citizen, Manuel Lisa, so well known 
for his enterprise, will precede the expedition to prepare the 
Indians for its reception. He will quiet their apprehensions 
by showing the benevolent and humane intentions of the 
American government and will silence the British emissaries 
who shall represent the expedition as an act of war against 
the Indian nations. The establishment of this post will 
be an era in the history of the west. It will go to the source 
of the fatal British influence which has for so many years 
armed the Indian nations against our western frontiers. 
It carries the arms and power of the United States to the 
ground which has hitherto been exclusively occupied by 
the British North West and Hudson's Bay companies, and 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 165 

which has been the true seat of the British power over the 
Indian mind . . . The North West and Hudson's Bay com- 
panies will be shut out from the commerce of the Missouri 
and Mississippi Indians; the American traders will penetrate 
in safety the recesses of the rocky mountains in search 
of its rich fur; a commerce yielding a million per annum 
will descend the Missouri; and the Indians, finding their 
wants supphed by the American traders, their domestic 
wars restrained bj^ American policy, will learn to respect 
the American name." The article then proceeds to describe 
the Yellowstone in glowing terms. The same volume of 
the Register (p. 160) copies from the Inquisitor a private 
letter, dated Belle Fontaine, September 4, 1818, saying 
the troops, three hundred and fifty strong, left there on 
the 30th ult. ; their equipment was extensive, including six 
boats and a tender. They proceeded with ease. 

Captain (Brevet Major) Thomas Biddle, of the Rifle 
regiment, also a handy journalist-historian military attache 
of the expedition, at the request of Colonel Henry Atkin- 
son, its commander, reported to that officer^^ from " Camp 
Missouri", October 29, 1819, results of his pereonal observa- 
tions among the Osage, Kansas, Oto and Missouri, Iowa, 
Pawnee, and Omaha tribes of Indians and some account 
of the trade between whites and Indians. The history of 
the trade on the Missouri river under the Spanish and French 
colonial governments, "would be the recital of the expeditions 
of vagrant hunters and traders who never ventured up the 
river beyond a few miles of this place. The return of 
Captains Lewis and Clark, and the favorable account they 
brought with them of the rich furs to be obtained on the 
upper branches of the Missouri, and the respectful reception 
which their admirable deportment towards the natives had 



' state Papers 1819-20, 1st Sess., 16th Cong., doc. 47, p. 2; American 
State Papers, v. 6 — Indian Affairs, v. 2, p. 201. 



166 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

gained for them, encouraged Manuel Lisa, one of the most 
enterprising of these traders, to venture up the Missouri 
with a small trading equipment, as far as the Yellow Stone 
river," — in 1807. The party passed the winter of 1807-8 
"at the mouth of the Yellow Stone and Big Horn Rivers." 
John Coulter was dispatched by Lisa to the forks of the 
Missouri "to find the Blackfeet nation and bring them to 
his establishment to trade" — the first of these Indians 
which had been met having been friendly; but Coulter 
fell in with the Crows, who were attacked by Blackfeet; 
and he helped his hosts and so incurred the enmity of their 
assailants. Afterward they attacked Coulter, killing his 
companion; and soon attacked the whites without parley. 
This was the origin of the hostility, ''which has prevented 
American traders from penetrating the fur country of the Mis- 
souri." Lisa returned to St. Louis in 1808, and the Missouri 
Fur Company was organized in 1809; its object being "to 
monopolize the trade among the lower tribes of the Mis- 
souri" and to send a large party to the headwaters "capable 
of defending and trapping beaver themselves." The 
principal partners went up with a party of about one 
hundred and fifty and left small trading establishments at 
the Arikara, Mandan, and Gros Ventre villages. The main 
body wintered at Lisa's old trading post at the junction of 
the Yellowstone and the Bighorn. In the spring of 1810 
they went to the Three Forks of the Missouri, erected a fort 
and began trapping with good prospects; but soon the 
Blackfeet attacked them and killed thirty of their number. 
Then the whole party crossed the mountains southwardly 
and wintered on the waters of the Columbia, suffering great 
privations. A part returned discouraged down the Mis- 
souri, but others went south to Spanish settlements via the 
Rio del Norte. The company languished through 1812, 
1813, and 1814, and then expired. 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 167 

In 1808 another company of eighty men, headed by 
McClinnon [McClellan] and Crooks, soon after leaving Camp 
Missouri met the government boat which had returned 
home the Mandan chief taken to Washington by Lewis and 
Clark. The boat had been attacked by the Stricherons.* 
This hostility discouraged the party but they followed the 
Missouri Fur Company's party up the river in 1809. The 
Sconi Sioux stopped them; but they escaped and, returning, 
wintered— 1809-10 — at the Oto village. They attributed 
the Indian hostility to the Missouri Fur Company. In 1811 
these traders (apparently meaning "McClinnon" and 
Crooks) added Wilson P. Hunt to their association, "and 
appear to have acted under the direction of Mr. Astor of 
New York." They ascended again, "but they carried no 
goods nor made any attempts to trade or trap on the 
Missouri; whatever might have been their intentions, they 
were probably frustrated by the war of 1812. "^ All these 
disasters extinguished enterprise on the Missouri. Two 
companies since formed had dissolved, unsuccessful, and a 
third was in operation, independent of several individual 
traders; but there were no attempts to carry on trade 
beyond the Arikara, and traders did not often venture 
beyond the upper band of the Sioux. Traders cheated one 
another and set a bad example to Indians. They made the 
Omaha, and particularly Chief Big Elk, drunk with whiskey 
to get their furs.^ 



^Probably a misspelling of Starrahe, an early name of the Arikara. 

* It is asserted in historical documents and also by many local con- 
temporaneous persons that this Astorian expedition established a post at 
Bellevue which turned out to be the first permanent settlement in the 
territory now included in Nebraska. This statement of Biddle's is cu- 
mulative evidence that there is no foundation for the allegations in question. 
For a critical discussion of this topic see Collections Nebraska State Histor- 
ical Society, volume 16, page 68, footnote 3. 

• Augustus Choteau (State Papers 1815-16, 1st Sess., 14th Cong., v. 3, 
p. 104) says the Missouri river furs amounted in 1805 to $77,971, and 
now — 1815 — going no farther up than the Omahas and Poncas, and adding 



168 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Though this famous adventure became commonly 
known as the Yellowstone Expedition, the war department 
appears to have called it "the expedition to the Mandan 
villages on the Missouri river". January 15, 1820, Thomas 
S. Jesup, quartermaster-general, reported to John C. 
Calhoun, secretary of war, the agreement with James 
Johnson of Kentucky. The contract, signed December 2, 
1818, provided that Johnson should have two steamboats 
ready by March 1, 1819, "calculated to navigate the Mis- 
sissippi and its waters", which should be "charged with 
the transportation of provisions and munitions of war, 
detachments and their baggage, or other articles, to the 
military posts on said waters, viz: the mouth of the St. 
Peters, near the Falls of St. Anthony; the mouth of the 
Yellow Stone on the Missouri, and Bellepoint on the 
Arkansaw; and all other points, whether intermediate or 
beyond those enumerated ". If two boats were not sufficient, 



that of the St. Peters, Red, Crow's Wing, and "a great many more of the 
Mississippi", $150,000. William Clark, governor of Missouri Territory, 
said (ibid., p. 101) that Choteau had been familiar with Indians for fifty 
years, "a part of which time the greater part of the Indian trade of this 
country was conducted by him." Choteau contended that the reason why 
the United States factors could not compete with British traders' goods 
was that the former did not go to the Indians but they — the Indians — must 
go a long way to the factories and then got but limited credit, while the 
British traders followed them up and catered to their wants, especially in 
credit, without which they cannot go on their hunts. He thought that, 
with a store with a capital of $100,000 established at St. Louis by the 
government and conducted by thoroughly practical Indian traders, furs 
worth $200,000 could be brought annually from the Missouri river, between 
Cedar Island, above the Ponca, and headwaters. The Northwestern 
Company of Canada, he believed, was getting 200,000 pounds sterling from 
Indians in the neighborhood of the branches on the left side of the Missouri. 
The governor thought that such a company with a capital of six hundred 
thousand to a million dollars would "sweep the whole of the valuable fur 
trade of the Missouri and [upper] Mississippi rivers; expel all the petty, 
though now very powerful British traders, and bring into our markets 
immense quantities of the most valuable fur and peltries." (Ibid., p. 96.) 
Choteau thought the government ought to estabhsh this company, and 
Clark that it should receive "liberal aid and encouragement from the 
government." 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 169 

on due and reasonable notice, Johnson was to provide one 
other or more boats, "as the case may require." If, "upon 
experiment", it should be found impracticable to do all 
the transportation with steamboats then Johnson should, 
"in a reasonable time, say thirty days, provide a sufficient 
number of keel boats" to supply the deficiency. It was 
agreed that two arbitrators, one to be chosen by each 
party and a third bj^ the original two arbitrators in case 
they could not agree, should settle all differences about 
compensation "other than ordinary freight." 

Knox, Halderman & Co., of the town of St. Louis, 
agreed, July 1819, to furnish, from time to time and on 
ten days notice during the present year, such number of 
well rigged keel boats as might be required for the trans- 
portation of troops, provisions, and all other articles to the 
several military posts on the Mississippi and Missouri 
rivers." For the conveyance and safe delivery of such 
stores as may be delivered them for transportation to the 
Council Bluffs, the company was to be paid $5.50 per 
hundred pounds; to Martin Cantonment, $4 per hundred 
pounds. Whereas circumstances might render it necessary 
to send empty boats "some distance up the Missouri to 
take on board the troops, provisions, and other stores, now 
ascending," the company was to have $2,327.27 for every 
such boat of thirty tons and not over thirty-three tons 
thus freighted, if sent to Martin Cantonment, and $3,200 
if sent to the Council Bluffs; for each boat over thirty-three 
tons and not over thirty-six tons, $2,700 to Martin Canton- 
ment and $3,400 to Council Bluffs. In a contract signed at 
St. Louis, August 18, 1819, John Walls agreed to take a 
keel boat of at least thirty-five tons burden to the steam- 
boat Jefferson, "now lying near the mouth of Petite Bonne 
Femme creek (about one hundred and fifty miles above 
the mouth of Missouri) ", and there receive a full load of 
troops and provisions and other stores and proceed to 



170 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Martin Cantonment or the Council Bluffs, "as may be 
directed by the commanding officer of the expedition." ^ 

The signatories of the Johnson contract were James 
Johnson, principal, and William Ward, John T. Johnson, 
Joel Johnson, and Henry Johnson, sureties. Richard M. 
Johnson held their power of attorney. Thomas S. Jesup, 
quartermaster-general, signed for the United States.^ These 
Johnsons were a notable Kentucky family, and their 
dauntless spirit (as manifested in this hazardous pioneer 
adventure) had already won national fame for two of them. 
Richard Mentor Johnson, the most conspicuous personage 
of the family, was a leader in the movement of 1802 to 
raise a force of Kentucky and Tennessee frontiersmen to 
descend the Mississippi and compel the Spaniards to grant 
them the right of navigation to its mouth and facilities for 
trade at New Orleans. He was a member of the Kentucky 
legislature; then of the national house of representatives, 
from 1807 to 1819; of the United States senate from 1819 
to 1829; again of the house of representatives; vice presi- 
dent during Van Buren's presidency; and back to the 
state legislature again. But he won more fame in war than 
in politics. When the war of 1812 broke out he raised, and 
was colonel of, a regiment of Kentucky mounted riflemen; 
and the brilliant charge of his regiment brought victory at 
the battle of the Thames, in 1813. His successful hand-to- 
hand fight with an Indian chief, supposed to have been 
Tecumseh, the famous Shawnee chief, added additional 
glory to this exploit. 

There is an imposing monument of Colonel Johnson 
on the state house grounds at Frankfort, Kentucky; and 
it is related in Niles Register^ that a magnificent sword, 
manufactured by order of congress, was presented to him 



^ state Papers, 1st Session, 16th Congress, v. 3, doc. 50, pp. 5-10. 

8 Ibid., 2d Sess., 16th Cong., v. 8, doc. 110, pp. 7, 8. 

9 April 22, 1820, v. 18, p. 151. 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 171 

by the president of the United States. One side of the hilt 
bore the arms of the United States; on the other was this 
inscription: *' Voted by act of Congress to Col. Richard 
M. Johnson, in testimony of the sense of his gallantry in 
the battle of the Thames in Upper Canada, October 5th, 
1813." 

James Johnson was lieutenant colonel of the regiment; 
and while his brother was putting the Indian contingent 
of the enemy to rout he successfully charged the wing 
composed of British soldiers. After his remarkable cam- 
paign amidst the perils of steamboating on the Missouri 
river, he, also, entered politics and became a member of 
the lower house of the 19th Congress — 1825-6. Johnson 
county, Nebraska, was named for Richard M. Johnson, 
probably through the influence of early settlers from Indiana 
or Kentucky; and, on account of a like association, the 
county seat was named Tecumseh.^o The provision for 



1" The first legislative assembly of Nebraska, by the act of March 2, 
1855, defined the boundaries of Johnston county. The act designated 
John B. Robertson, Jesse Cowles and John A. Singleton as commissioners 
"to locate the seat of justice in said county", which "shall be called 
'Frances'". Robertson was a member of the house from Burt county; 
and Singleton a member of the house from Richardson county. Cowles 
was a brother of James H. Cowles, member of the house from Pierce, 
afterward Otoe county. 

Contemporary and other early historians fatuously alleged that 
Frances was the name of Colonel Johnson's wife and that the intended 
capital of Johnson county was her namesake. The fact that this state- 
ment has been accepted without contradiction illustrates the easy fallibility 
of history. Reliable information just obtained by the editor, from Ken- 
tucky, establishes the fact that Colonel Johnson was never married; 
though he lived out of wedlock with a woman — a negress, strange to say — to 
whose children he left his considerable fortune. It is probable that the 
legislature intended to name the coming county seat after Francis Burt, 
the first governor of the territory. The discrepancy in the speUing of the 
name should not be permitted to weaken this theory because misspelling 
was so common in the pubHc prints of those days that its occurrence in 
any given case might almost be presumed. For example: in the title of 
the act to establish the county and several times in its body the name of 
the county is spelled with a t, making it Johnston; while it is twice spelled 
without the t, making it Johnson, as it was doubtless intended to be. 



172 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

arbitration in the contract was doubtless due to recognition 
or anticipation of the gi^eat hazard and uncertainty of the 
undertaking; but, apparently, the Johnsons relied more 
upon their influence at Washington than upon judicial 



This first Johnston, or Johnson, county lay immediately west of 
Nemaha. By act of the second assembly it was absorbed by Nemaha and 
Clay. The third legislature — of 1857 — re-established Johnson county with 
its present territory, taken from the west end of Nemaha and the north 
side of Pawnee. The same legislature added the northeast corner of Pawnee 
county to Nemaha, making its south boundary line continuous with that 
of Johnson. A county government was at least formally organized near 
the end of the year 1856; but it was ignored by the act of 1857. Johnson 
county was also placed in the second judicial district by an act of the same 
session. It was first included in the legislative apportionment by Governor 
Izard in his election proclamation of May 30, 1857 (see Nebraska Advertiser, 
June 11, 1857), Johnson and Nemaha comprising the representative district, 
and was represented for the first time in the fourth legislative assembly, 
which convened December 8, 1857. Albert J. Benedict, Samuel A. Cham- 
bers, and John S. Minick, all residents of Nemaha county, were the members 
of the house of representatives from the district. The county participated 
in a general election, for the first time, in 1857, when it cast 70 votes. 
(Nebraska Advertiser, August 13, 1857; Records of Nebraska Territory, 
p. 140) Councilmen were elected in the even numbered years; but Gover- 
nor Richardson made no apportionment in his election proclamation of 
1858; yet the clerk of Nemaha county designated Nemaha and Johnson 
counties as a councilmanic district in his election notice, though without 
legal authority. (Nebraska Advertiser, June 24, 1858) An act of the 
second legislative assembly, January 26, 1856, authorized the governor 
of the territory to apportion the membership of the council and the house 
of representatives on the basis of a census to be taken between August 1st 
and September 1st, 1856, and fixed the number of the members of the house 
for the next session at thirty-five. (Laws of 2d session, p. 181) This act 
was the basis of Governor Izard's apportionment for the 3d assembly, 
(Nebraska Advertiser, Sept. 20, 1856), which convened January 5th, 1857. 
The organic act provided that the governor should apportion the districts 
for the first session; "but, thereafter, . . . the apportioning the representa- 
tion in the several counties or districts to the council and house of repres- 
entatives . . . shall be prescribed by law, as well as the day of the com- 
mencement of the legislative assembly ..." It is pretty clear that under 
this fundamental law the legislature could not deputize the governor to 
apportion the representation; and perhaps it was because Governor 
Richardson was a lawyer of ability that he did not undertake to make an 
apportionment in his election proclamation of 1858. In a newspaper 
clipping, pasted on the page of the Records of Nebraska Territory (p. 193) 
which contains a copy of the proclamation, it is said that, "We believe the 
former executive (Izard) issued proclamations for general elections, by 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 173 

adjustment; and so it seems as if they played a bold bluff 
from first to last. 

Items in the State Papers from time to time constitute 
an official account, in considerable detail, of the progress 
of the enterprise. 

State Papers, 1st session 16th Congress, v. 1, doc. 2, 
p. 11, the president's message, December 7, 1819, says: 
" The troops ordered to the mouth of the Yellow Stone, on 
the Missouri, have ascended that river to the Council 
Bluff, where they will remain until the next spring, when 
they will proceed to the place of their destination." This 
measure, the president says, has been executed in amity 
with the Indian tribes and promises to produce all the 
advantages which were contemplated by it. 

The president's message, Novemxber 14, 1820, says: 
"Our mihtary positions have been maintained at Belle 
Point, on the Arkansas, at Council Bluff, on the Missouri, 
at St. Peters on the Mississippi, and at Green Bay on the 



what authority we do not know. There is certainly nothing in the law 
requiring it. We speak by authority when we say that Governor Richardson 
understands the law and his duty better". The writer then says that it 
is the duty of county commissioners to issue election notices and urges 
them not to neglect it. The governor's proclamation in question gave 
notice that a territorial auditor would be elected on the day of the general 
election, to fill a vacancy. 

Nevertheless, Robert W. Furnas canvassed Johnson county in his 
campaign of 1858, as a candidate for councilman, and published the election 
returns from the two counties jointly for councilman and members of the 
house of representatives. (Nebraska Advertiser, July 22, and August 12, 
1858.) In the Advertiser of July 29, Furnas says, with emphasis, that he 
will be a representative "of the entire people of Nemaha county"; which 
suggests that he knew, or thought, that he would represent Johnson county 
only informally. The act of the fifth general assembly, November 3, 1858, 
apportioned members of the house of representatives, but not of the council; 
and Johnson, Clay, and Gage counties were constituted a representative 
district. This status continued until the ninth assembly — act of January 
28, 1864 — apportioned members of the council and house of representa- 
tives, constituting Pawnee, Gage, Johnson, Clay, and Jones the eleventh 
council district and Johnson a representative district. This apportionment 
was incorporated in the revised statutes of 1866. 



174 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Upper Lakes". Commodious barracks had been erected 
at most of them. No mention is made of the reason for 
the change to Council Bluffs. (Ibid., 2d Sess. 16th Congress, 
V. 11, doc. 2, p. 8). 

First land on the Missouri river purchased for military 
purposes at Belle Fontaine — "tract on the Missouri" — 
April 20, 1806, five acres; tract of five hundred French 
acres at same place, July 29, 1806. 

Ibid., 2d Sess. 16th Cong., v. 8, doc. 110, page 4. 
Proposals from sixteen persons for transporting military 
stores from St. Louis to Council Bluffs ranged from $3.25 
to $4 per 100 lbs. — among them one from Frederick Dent. 

P. 9. Thomas S. Jesup, quartermaster-general, pro- 
posed to allow Colonel James Johnson " thirty- three and 
one-third per cent in addition to the usual freight, for the 
stores and provisions transported to the Council Bluffs"; 
the usual freight to Martin Cantonment. 

Pp. 10, 11. Commodore John Rodgers and Gen. John 
Mason were agreed upon as referees with Walter Jones as 
umpire in place of William Wirt, attorney-general, who 
dechned to act. 

Only charges for transportation on the Missouri to be 
referred. The claim for detention at the mouth of the 
Missouri of the Expedition, $13,333.33; and the Johnson, 
$7,200, was to be referred; the award to be final. 

Ibid., p. 5. 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 175 
DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE 

Section 1. Contract between war department and 
James Johnson 

2. Mr. Johnson's case — correspondence, etc. 

3. " '' " depositions 

4. " " " opinion of William 

Pinkney 

5. " " " argument of Henry 

Clay. 

6. " " " letters of Col. Atkin- 

son 

7. Depositions on behalf of war department. 

8. Statement to referees on behalf of war 

department. 

9. Argument of William Wirt, attorney gen- 

eral. 

10. Documents of arbitrators. 

11. Award of arbitrators. 

12. Settlement under the award. 

P. 3. Silas Craig was the lowest bidder, but he was 
unable to furnish the security required, and the quarter- 
master at St. Louis gave the contract to Colonel James 
Johnson, the next lowest. 

P. 6. Contract. 

P. 8. Bond signed by WilHam Ward, John T. Johnson, 
Joel Johnson, Henry Johnson, as sureties, — penalty, $50,000. 

January 5, 1820, Thomas Jesup, quartermaster-general, 
proposed, among other things, to pay the usual freight 
from St. Louis to Martin Cantonment, Fort Osage, and the 
Council Bluffs, on the Missouri, and to allow thirty-three 
and one-third per cent in addition for the stores and pro- 
visions transported to Council Bluffs. 

P. 9. Referees named. 

P. 10. Final decision to refer to Commodore John 



176 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Rodgers, General John Mason, and William Wirt, attorney 
general of the United States. 

P. 11. Only charge for transportation so far as it 
relates to the operations on the Missouri river to be referred. 

It is agreed by both parties that claims for detention 
of the Expedition and Johnson at the mouth of the Mis- 
souri—the first for $13,333.33, the second for $7,200— and 
for detention of the Expedition, Jefferson, and Johnson up 
the Missouri, be referred. 

Award of arbitrators, or a majority of them, to be 
final. 

Ml-. Wirt declined to act as umpire (in January, 1820) ; 
probably because he was attorney-general, and by agi'eement 
of the parties the arbitrators named Walter Jones in his 
place. 

P. 12. Johnson's bill charged 16| cents for freight on 
the three steamboats and on six keel boats from Belle 
Fontaine to Council Bluffs. In each instance the quarter- 
master-general's memorandum was "usual price, 5| cents"; 
also fifty dollars each for three hundred officers and soldiers 
in the three steamboats from Belle Fontaine to Council 
Bluffs, as to which the quartermaster-general remarked, 
"fifty per cent too much." 

P. 13. September 30, 1819, James Johnson writes to 
Richard M. Johnson, his brother and attorney, a very 
vigorous denunciation of the alleged attempt of the Bank 
of St. Louis which has undertaken to attach his boats and 
provisions. He says the bank has already swindled him 
out of $50,000. 

Col. Talbot Chambers, of the Rifle regiment, com- 
manding at Belle Fontaine, charged that Johnson's steam- 
boats did not furnish proper accommodations for troops; 
to which Johnson replied that, "The accommodation of 
soldiers and boatmen must of necessity be very different 
from that which is prepared for ladies in a ball room, or 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 177 

even the silk stocking gentry of your luminous cities, not 
that soldiers are less meritorious than other classes of our 
fellow citizens; I should be the last to say, or believe so, 
for the soldier is his country's stay in the day and hour of 
danger. But the soldier expects to meet with difficulties 
and dangers and privations. He neither expects the silver 
spoon nor the silver slippers. Now, what is the fact in 
this case? The Expedition contained a plain, nice, level 
deck about 120 feet long, and it would have taken [but?] 
a day to have stretched the soldiers' tents on a ridge pole, 
to be fixed so as to form an awning; a detachment^had 
come on from Louisville in that way, comfortably. The 
soldiers appeared much pleased, and so did the officers, 
with their situation in the cabin." The charge that the 
soldiers could have no exercise he said went to the general 
question — the practicability of this mode of traveling — to 
be settled between the secretary of war and Colonel Cham- 
bers. He was at a loss to know how the soldiers on shore, 
pulling at the cordelle, could be more safe from Indian 
ambuscade than men in the center of the river on a 
steamboat, "particularly when the mattresses could all be 
thrown up in a few minutes, and we were provided with 
extra plank, which was intended to be thrown against the 
hand rails above, which would form a complete fortifica- 
tion against Indian bullets or balls." 

Johnson seems to have made one good point, namely, 
that while he considered that he was not bound to repack 
and resalt for the voyage up the Missouri the provisions 
which he delivered in good order, yet he was willing to 
furnish salt and hands and leave the question of expense to 
the secretary of war. 

There was flat contradiction as to whether a portion 
of the meats was good or bad. 

P. 17. The sheriff from St. Louis undertook to serve 
civil process on Johnson's representatives at Belle Fontaine 

13 



178 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

on the written permission of Colonel Chambers. "The 
sheriff was defeated by the firmness and decision of Captain 
Craig, and the government provisions being thus abandoned, 
by the orders of Colonel Chambers, were safely conveyed 
back to the Expedition." Johnson plausibly contended 
that^the goods were virtually delivered, except as to those 
that'might be found unfit when they were presented for 
inspection, and that no third party might interfere. He 
says he was threatened with force by the state authorities; 
but he prepared to resist under the United States flag. 

P. 19. May 20, 1819. Colonel Chambers requests 
Johnson (to forward, by keel boat, a partial supply of 
provisions to Martin Cantonment at once, "to save the 
battalion of riflemen stationed" there. This necessity, he 
says, was caused "by the failure of the steamboats and the 
uncertainty which exists of their being enabled to ascend 
the Missouri river ..." May 22d Colonel Chambers says, 
in reply to Johnson's inquiry of the same date whether the 
two steamboat loads of provisions which were at Belle 
Fontaine would be protected from arrest by the civil 
authority, "when delivered in the garrison," that he was 
not authorized to receive them until inspected and turned 
over by the commissary. Major Hemstead, or he was 
ordered to do so in writing by General Bissell. Johnson at 
once replies that he is ready for inspection. Chambers 
insists that the guard Johnson asks for will only protect 
property from injury, not from the civil authority of St. 
Louis. In view of the actual menace. Chambers' caution 
seemed justified. He refused to put the property in the 
storehouse previous to inspection ; therefore Johnson asked 
Major Whistler to deposit the goods as near the store as 
possible; but he declined on the 23d to formally recognize 
the'^offer to deposit the goods, much less to receive them. 
Colonel Chambers, on the 21st, wrote to General Bissell 
that the Expedition, a boat of two hundred tons, drawing 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 179 

seven feet, reached St. Louis on the 13th and Belle Fontaine 
on the 18th, taking five days to accompHsh twenty-five 
miles; "her machinery appears to be so feeble that it v/as 
with the utmost difficulty that she could reach this place," 
and the rapidity of the current could not be compared with 
that of the Missouri river; troops would be exposed to 
scorching sun by day and rain and dew by night on the 
open platform on the upper deck, and with no chance for 
exercise; the crew was inexperienced and the boat deficient 
in anchors and other appendages. 

" There exists but little doubt that she can never reach 
her destination. So soon as the annexed arrangements 
were [completed I?] immediately proposed to Colonel John- 
son, to have the provisions inspected and turned over to 
the commissary, in order to expedite; but, in consequence 
of a civil suit, which had been adjudged unfavorably to 
Colonel Johnson, which he determined to resist, by force, 
and the opinion which he entertains that he is not subject 
to the expense of repacking and rendering the provisions 
sure from becoming tainted, no progress had yet been 
made except the landing of a few barrels, which were im- 
mediately seized by a civil ofl^cer." 

From the apparent state of the provisions it was im- 
possible that they could be preserved one month. The 
few barrels weighed were deficient twenty pounds each "and 
the brine which I obtained from them was not only high 
colored, but the smell extremely offensive." He understood 
the civil authority at St. Louis was determined to arrest 
the progress of the boats unless the claims against Johnson 
were adjusted, and as he was equally determined to oppose, 
the expedition would be very much retarded. 

But Colonel Chambers had no legal right to anticipate 
all this, and the boats were, in fact, cleared. Colonel Cham- 
bers seemed to be in collusion with the bank, as Johnson 
charged, though Johnson also was a great bluffer. 

May 24, Johnson writes Chambers: "I am ready, at 



180 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

a moments warning, to ascend either of these rivers with the 
boats now here in the employment of government." 

July 4 Jesup writes Johnson — both being at Belle 
Fontaine — that his agent at Louisville had forced Captain 
Pickett, the quartermaster-general's assistant, to contract 
freight at three dollars a hundred from that place to St. 
Louis, whereas the regular rate from Pittsburgh to St. Louis 
was only a dollar and seventy-five cents. 

" It will not be in my power to make you any further 
advances; half the sum already advanced ought to have 
defrayed the whole expense of the expedition both on the 
Missouri and Mississippi. Congress at their last session 
appropriated one hundred and ninety thousand dollars for 
transportation, viz: one hundred and forty thousand dollars 
for the transportation of troops and stores, and fifty thou- 
sand for the transportation of provisions; of that sum you 
have received already upwards of one hundred and eighty 
thousand dollars, and you have furnished transportation 
for four companies of men only, and for about three hundred 
and thirty tons of provisions and stores . . . The season has 
so far advanced that delay can be no longer tolerated." 

Answering on the same date, Johnson says the three 
steamboats are here — at Belle Fontaine — ready and, he 
presumes, will proceed up the river in the morning. He 
whines for still more money. (There was, undoubtedly, 
corrupt carelessness in these advances.) He is ready to 
provide any amount of transportation needed on very short 
notice. 

July 9 Johnson writes the quartermaster-general that 
on that day he left the Expedition, Jefferson, and Johnson 
at St. Charles, their cargoes all safe and in good plight and 
the boats competent to oppose the rapid current of the 
Missouri with entire success. Yet the Jefferson and Johnson 
had already been aground. He left orders for them to 
proceed at once to Council Bluffs, as his pilots informed 
him that the water was deep enough. For a report of the 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 181 

committee of the house of representatives on the award, 
March 1, 1821, see Military Affairs, v. 2, p. 324. 

On the 9th Johnson rephes further to Jesup's strictures 
(p. 28), contending that his agreement with Pickett was 
fair and that the three steamboats took on three hundred 
and seventy-five tons in freight and men; when they left 
Belle Fontaine enough flour was left for a keel boat load. 
He had a boat ready to take it, except that a patroon had 
not returned with hands for loading from St. Louis; but 
Captain McGunnegle saw fit to give it to other boats which 
he said were ready, yet on that day they were still at the 
mouth of the river — waiting for hands. He contends that 
he lost half a month in vain efforts to unload and deliver 
his cargoes at Belle Fontaine. August 27 Jesup advises 
Johnson of a large sum advanced to him by order of the 
president; the quartermaster-general therefore calls on 
Johnson "for such sums as may be necessary to enable 
him (Captain McGunnegle) to dischar-ge the boats which 
were employed in consequence of the deficiency of your 
aiTangements " ; and he asks Johnson to give a mortgage 
or bill of sale on the Johnson and the Expedition as further 
security, the bond being only $50,000. (P. 31.) 

On the 28th Johnson denies that McGunnegle was 
compelled to employ any boats on account of deficiency in 
his arrangements. He was ready to give any additional 
security required ; but the property in question was already 
mortgaged to the government. There follows plenty of 
trouble about necessary supplementary keel boats. By 
August 31 Captain McGunnegle had heard, through a 
Frenchman w^ho left Martin Cantonment on the 20th, 
that the Expedition was taking out her cargo at Ft. Osage, 
being unable to proceed farther "for want of depth of 
water." He had met the Johnson about thirty miles below 
Fort Osage. (P. 34). 

Johnson undertakes to lay the foundation for further 



182 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

contracting next year by advising Calhoun, secretary of 
war, that proper inspection be made at Louisville as early 
as February and then, in case of disaster, the loss should 
be the contractor's. This year the Expedition arrived at 
Belle Fontaine about May 17 and the inspection, resalting, 
and repacking took sixty days, during which time the boat 
would have gone a thousand miles up the river. There 
were only five months with good water after ice was broken. 
His plan was to carry all provisions in flat bottom boats 
and keels to the mouth of the Ohio, there loading steam- 
boats and keels for the rest of the journey. (P. 42.) 

Pp. 44-58. On the 26th of November, 1819, Johnson 
sent from Great Crossings, his Kentucky home, to the 
secretary of war, a long story of his vicissitudes and the 
causes of delay in arriving at St. Louis. The Jefferson 
broke her piston head below St. Louis and was delayed a 
short time; the Calhoun failed in her boiler; the Expedition 
arrived May 12, lay two and one-half days to make repairs, 
arriving at Belle Fontaine the 17th, the Johnson about the 
21st, and the Exchange at St. Louis about the same time. 
It was intended that this boat should go no farther than 
Belle Fontaine. The Expedition, Johnson said, had taken 
a fourth more than her ordinary tonnage to Belle Fontaine, 
"through a current, universally admitted by navigators 
of that river, as difficult and rapid as any that we should 
encounter. The citizens generally partook of the joy, 
except a faction at St. Louis, composed of the friends of 
the poor old broken St. Louis Bank, to see a steamboat, 
carrying more than two hundred tons of actual cargo, 
ascending their waters." At Belle Fontaine he had told 
Colonel Chambers that the attempt of the bank to attach 
the property was indefensible, because he regarded it as 
government property, "as it was purchased by advances 
made to myself as contractor." He wanted Chambers to 
receive the cargo in keel boats direct from the Expedition, 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 183 

the inspection to be at Johnson's risk; but Chambers 
declined. Johnson puffs Col. Atkinson (p. 50) liberally, 
but ineffectually, and then he accuses him, as well as Jesup, 
Chamberlain, and Captain McGunnegle, of conspiring 
against himself. The Expedition, Jefferson, and Johnson 
all received their cargoes "composed of provisions, munitions 
of war, and military stores, and arrived at Belle Fontaine 
about the second of July, where a quantity of quarter- 
master's and hospital stores were put on board, and the 
baggage belonging to officers and soldiers." They set sail 
July 3. A few days before they set out Johnson found 
that he must have some more money to buy fuel; but 
Jesup refused the requested advance. August 30 Uriel 
Sebree sent word that, though one of Johnson's keel boats 
had arrived and was alongside the Jefferson, Captain Bliss, 
the commanding officer on board, did not think that his 
instructions permitted him to unload on Johnson's keel 
boat. The hands had been persuaded that they would not 
get paid and were not inclined to go on with Johnson's 
keel boats. 

P. 56. October 12, Johnson says: "Major Sebree, 
with the last article from on board the steamboat Expedi- 
tion and part from the steamboat Johnson, was a hundred 
miles above Martin's Camp with my keel boats, going on 
well." 

On the 16th Captain Craig had received every pound 
of cargo from the Johnson on Johnson's keel boats, and 
was going in person to Council Bluffs with all possible 
dispatch. Then Johnson drops into self-praise: 

"Long before this day (Nov. 26) every pound of pro- 
visions is at headquarters; this cargo was conveyed by my 
keel boats, which boats returned from the Council Bluffs, 
after having discharged their cargoes. The two last keel 
boats sent from Belle Fontaine may not have reached 
headquarters, but they must be near at hand. Thus, is 
this great concern closed, and I have conveyed from Belle 



184 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Fontaine, up the two rivers, nine hundred and eighty-seven 
tons, and could have conveyed much more if desired." 

(This was vain boasting considering that the great 
power of the government had advanced him extravagant 
remuneration and over $76,000 in excess; and that for many 
years trappers and traders had been successfully freighting 
in keel boats far beyond Council Bluffs.) 

"... It was generally feared that it was impracticable. 
It was admitted by all, except a squad at St. Louis, to be 
a most high-minded attempt to benefit the west in particular; 
and that squad was composed of those who were in the 
British interest, as I believe. But, as respected the success 
of the steamboats, this was thought out of the question: 
sir, may I be believed that I find very few indeed but what 
believed the same thing? Louisville, Cincinnati, and the 
whole country, contained the same sentiment. All this, 
I confess, did not change my belief that success was ours; 
and we have certainly succeeded as far as a trial could 
have been obtained. I can put the provisions as high up 
as the government requires next year. And, if I shall have 
your confidence and support, the world shall be deceived 
as to the fact of success, and that too in steamboats in part, 
and keel boats the balance. Many who own steamboats 
now believe in its practicability. I have broken the way 
at immense expense and risque." 

Halderman, "the great freighter", declined his offer of 
six cents a pound to carry goods to Martin Cantonment 
last fall, now he is apparently freighting half as far again 
for five and one-half cents. 

P. 59. May 20, Johnson was hoping at Belle Fontaine 
that the government boat commanded by Major Long 
would arrive and that Jesup and Colonel Atkinson would 
come on her. In another place he says their arrival would 
be his day of jubilee; but it was only a frost. 

P. 60. A sketch of General Jesup from the George- 
town Patriot. He entered the army in 1808 as an ensign 
or lieutenant; is now about thirty years old; was in the 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 185 

battles of Niagara, Chippeway, etc., in which he was 
severely wounded, having lost two fingers from his right 
hand. The objects of the expedition were "to ascertain 
the point where the Rocky mountains are intersected with 
the 49th degree of latitude, which forms the western 
[northern] boundary between the possessions of Great 
Britain and the United States; to inquire into the trading 
capacity and genius of the various tribes through which 
they may pass; and, finally, to investigate whatever may 
be novel or interesting in the geology, botany, mineralogy 
and natural history of those yet unknown regions." 

Johnson adduced a great mass of testimony to show 
that navigation on the Missouri was four or five times as 
difficult as on the Mississippi. Major Stephen H. Long 
(p. 73) said that, at a moderate stage, the velocity of the 
Ohio from Louisville was three miles and a quarter an 
hour; of the Mississippi, between the Ohio and the Mis- 
souri, four and a half miles; of the Missouri to Council 
Bluffs, during the navigable season, five and a quarter miles. 
Select French crews had voyaged from St. Louis to Council 
Bluffs in forty-five or fifty days. The journey required 
great skill in hands. 

P. 8L John O'Fallon testified that for nearly the last 
two years he had been "actively employed in transporting 
merchandise, etc., for the troops up the river Missouri, and 
the last year as high up as the Council Bluffs; which place 
I have once visited in that time . . . Owing to the great and 
extraordinary drought that prevailed, not only in the western 
country, but, I believe, throughout the United States, I 
was informed b}^ the oldest traders residing on the Missouri, 
that the river was lower, and its navigation worse than they 
ever knew it before." He had always doubted that any 
steamboat could navigate the Missouri with profit or 
safety; and Major Long concurred with him "after his 
arrival near the Council Bluffs." O'Fallon eulogized Major 



186 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Sebree, Johnson's agent, and Captain Craig, commander 
of the Expedition, for competency. He noticed that one of 
Halderman's boats, employed by the quartermaster at 
St. Louis, when it arrived at Council Bluffs from the 
Jefferson, had hardly twenty tons; while on the Mississippi 
or Ohio it would carry thirty tons. "Personally appeared 
John O'Fallon and made oath. On the Holy Evangelists of 
Almighty God", etc., was the form of oath in O'Fallon's 
deposition. 

Christopher Crow, ''clerk and steersman to the steam- 
boat Expedition, from Louisville until she stopped at Cow 
Island, in the Missouri", testified to the good condition of 
the Expedition and Johnson on their arrival at Belle 
Fontaine, and that repairs would not have detained them 
more than forty-eight hours. These boats failed to reach 
Council Bluffs "on account of the low water and nothing 
else." Atkinson issued his order that the Expedition should 
stop and the provisions be taken by keel boats, on account 
of the low state of the water. (P. 88) 

Andrew Johnson said, (p. 95) that it was necessary 
to lie by at night on the Missouri, but not on the Mississippi. 
It was necessary to clear the boiler of mud every two or 
three days. It takes about five days to go from Cow Island 
to Council Bluffs. A boat would last only half as long on 
the Missouri as on other streams. The Johnson's capacity 
was ninety tons; the Expedition carried two hundred and 
twenty-five tons and the Jefferson three hundred, to St. 
Louis. By a round trip on the Mississippi that season the 
Jefferson would have made, clear, $20,000 ; the Expedition, 
$22,000; and the Johnson, $10,000. 

James Taylor (p. 97) testified that the distance from 
the mouth of the Missouri to Council Bluffs was upwards 
of seven hundred and fifty miles. A. Johnson, agent for 
the contractor at St. Louis, dilates (p. 108) on the allegation 
that the army officers criticized the government for risking 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 187 

too much on Johnson's credit, alleging that he had drawn 
$180,000 more than he could account for and that Haider- 
man, who at first wanted to engage to furnish him with 
keel boats, afterward refused and was employed by Captain 
McGunnegle, representing the government, to supply 
them. 

P. 110. August 29, 1820 [1819], Captain Bliss, com- 
manding the Sixth infantry, ordered that "in consequence 
of the stoppage and final failure of the steamboat Thomas 
Jefferson, and the master and agent of the same having, 
on the 10th of July, declined, to the commanding officer, 
to navigate the same to Council Bluffs, the place of its 
destination, ... by the department order of the 3d of July 
last, Lieutenant Brown, quartermaster Sixth infantry, will 
immediately demand and receive from the master and agent 
of the said boat the provisions, stores and munitions of war, 
and all the property on board of it belonging to the United 
States, or the troops thereof, preparatory to its being 
loaded into keel boats, provided for that purpose by the 
quartermaster-general's department"; to which Sebree, the 
agent, presumptuously refused to accede, insisting on retain- 
ing forty tons to put on Colonel Johnson's keel boat, "now 
with said steam boat." 

P. 112. Sebree states that he left Belle Fontaine 
July 5, on board the Thomas Jefferson, and proceeded to a 
point forty miles below Franklin, ^^ "which is about two 
hundred miles from the mouth of the river; the water 
then became so low that it was impossible for her. to proceed 



'1 According to Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, p. 439, note, this 
point was opposite the mouth of the Osage river; but that is about 
double the distance of Major Sebree's estimate. The same writer says, 
also, that the Jefferson was sunk here by a snag, but there is no men- 
tion of such an occurrence by Major Sebree and none in the comprehen- 
sive report of the investigation of the expedition. There is much mis- 
statement in the brief account of the expedition given by Houck's His- 
tory of Missouri, v. 3, p. 199. 



188 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

further up the river." Without delay he advised James 
Johnson of the impossibihty of going farther with the 
Jefferson, and Johnson replied that with a few days to 
provide hands he could furnish keel boats to take all the 
loading of the Jefferson, that one boat was sent at once, 
and another would start in a few days. But McGunnegle 
informed Johnson that unless he could start boats on 
Monday (it was then Saturday) the government would start 
its own boats. Sebree put three hundred and thirteen 
barrels of flour on Johnson's fifty ton boat. The rest went 
by government boats, sent by McGunnegle; and on account 
of orders given the officer commanding the detachment 
(Captain Bliss), "it was with some difficulty I obtained 
even that." 

Why, being cognizant of Johnson's overdraft, did not 
the officers get all they could out of him? seems a pertinent 
but not answerable query. 

Ibid. Thomas Hempstead testified that, from the rise 
in the spring to August 1st, the Missouri would afford ten 
to thirty feet of water and the cuiTent three and a half to 
seven miles an hour. 

P. 113. John Harris testified that boats the size of 
the Johnson carried ninety tons up and down the Mississippi 
and the Ohio; that the Expedition brought two hundred 
and twenty-five tons, and the Jefferson two hundred tons 
to St. Louis; but it would not answer to load them more 
than half that amount for the Missouri. The Expedition 
arrived at St. Louis May 12, and the Johnson May 17; 
they were detained near Belle Fontaine till July 5, but were 
ready with their crews to start on from the 17th of May, 
and in consequence of detention were prevented from 
reaching Council Bluffs — which is probably correct as to 
lateness of starting, though this explanation of the respons- 
ibility for it is at least doubtful. "The difficulties of the 
river increase very much from Cow Island . . ." 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 189 

P. 116. George Colefax testified that the Jefferson 
and the Expedition were entirely new for the Council Bluffs 
voyage and were of the first class. The damage to the 
Expedition from wear and tear in going to Cow Island 
was at least thirty per cent. The Johnson was a very fast 
boat. 

Six officers on board the Expedition gave Captain Craig 
and his outfit bright encomiums. Where there was sufficient 
depth of water he could out-run the keel boats and cut and 
load his own wood. Date lines designated Martin Canton- 
ment as "Camp Martin, Cow Island, on the Missouri 
river" — about ten miles above the site subsequently 
occupied by the city of Leavenworth. 

P. 118. Smith Calvert went on the Johnson in May, 
1819, from Louisville to Belle Fontaine. Both the Johnson 
and the Expedition were fine boats and were ready to pro- 
ceed at any time after arrival. He saw Colonel Atkinson's 
troops go by Colonel Johnson's warehouse at the mouth of 
the Missouri in keel boats after he had fallen back there 
from Belle Fontaine. St. Louis was fifteen to eighteen 
miles below the mouth of the Missouri. 

P. 128. Captain James McGunnegle testified that 
Gen. Jesup arrived at St. Louis about May twenty-eighth, 
Col. Atkinson June first, and the Sixth regiment at Belle 
Fontaine about June fifth. Shortly after the arrival of the 
troops he heard Col. Atkinson say that his movement was 
entirely depending upon the steamboats and supplies on 
board which would not be ready to move for ten or fifteen 
days; and, in the meantime, he would experiment with the 
apphcation of wheel power to propel the keel boats. This 
work was commenced by the troops about eight or ten 
days after their arrival and was not completed until one or 
two days after the steamboats reached Belle Fontaine from 
the mouth of Wood river. He thought it was about 
the twenty-seventh of June that the Expedition and Johnson 



190 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

were reported to be in readiness to sail from the mouth of 
Wood river to Belle Fontaine, The troops were employed 
in making wheels for the keel boats until a very few days 
before starting; "but this labor was never considered 
indispensable to the movement." He had frequently heard 
Col. Atkinson say that he could have moved within ten 
days after the infantry arrived but for the detention on 
account of boats and supplies. Andrew Johnson promised 
him that the Johnson would be sent below to get the troops 
and stores from the Jefferson. 

P. 125. H. J. Offutt, master of the Jefferson, tells a 
story of the difficulties of the Missouri on account of sand 
which cuts machinery, the many bars, shifting channels, 
planters — large trees fast in the sand — and the extreme 
rapid current. A double set of hands was required for keel 
boats. The crew of the Jefferson for a year cost $15,000; 
rigging and other outfits, $8,000; tonnage, 22,281.95; the 
vessel was inferior to none on the western waters; and her 
engine was one of the best and most powerful on western 
waters. It propels her with full cargo — 222 tons — on the 
Mississippi at all times, but can ascend the Missouri only 
with little more than half of full tonnage. A steamboat 
will last only four years on the Missouri; nearly double 
that time on the Mississippi. Anchors get caught in logs 
and can't be got loose and so are lost. The tonnage of the 
Expedition was little more than the Jefferson's; the John- 
son's was a hundred tons, and she was one of the fastest 
boats on the Mississippi river. 

P. 130. Colonel Talbot Chambers testified that during 
the last summer (1819) one keel boat, manned by a detach- 
ment of infantry under Captain Livingston, was sunk near 
Grand river; and another, loaded with munitions of war, 
about sixty miles below the Council Bluffs. Nothing of the 
cargoes of consequence was saved. In July the river was 
uncommonly high; in the fall proportionately low. At 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 191 

Fort Osage Captain Craig lost confidence and wanted to 
send the cargo by keel boats, but was overruled. There 
were three companies of riflemen — ninety men in each — at 
Cantonment Martin. 

P. 132. Capt. Craig says the Expedition arrived at 
St. Louis May twelfth or thirteenth, where they were 
detained, with their crews — at Belle Fontaine — until July 
fifth, and on that account prevented from reaching Council 
Bluffs with their loads, and probably returning. The 
Johnson could carry about ninety tons; the Expedition, 
two hundred and twenty-five; the Jefferson, two hundred, 
to St. Louis, but only half that on the Missouri river. 

P. 133. William Pinkney's *' letter and opinion", sub- 
mitted to the arbitrators, dated Washington, March 29, 1820, 
makes, pretty clearly, the point that the goods should pass 
an authorized inspection at St. Louis, and there Johnson's 
responsibility ended, except as to their transportation. 
Repacking and resalting were extraneous. If detained for 
any cause but his own negligence the contractor must be 
fully compensated. 

Pp. 140-157. Henry Clay's argument, dated Washing- 
ton, March 28, 1820, summarized the objects of the govern- 
ment of the United States: to establish a military post at 
the mouth of the Yellowstone river, the post to be "one of 
a line and part of a system whose object was a monopoly 
of the rich fur trade of the northwest, the suppression of 
British influence on the numerous and warlike Indian 
tribes who inhabit or hunt in those regions, and the com- 
munication of a just dread amongst them of the power and 
resources of the United States." Another object was 
exploration, "and particularly to determine if the benefits 
which the genius of Fulton has conferred upon our country 
and upon the world, in the improvement of navigation, 
could be realized on that great river. The conception of 
this daring enterprise was grand and worthy of the distin- 



192 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

guished individuals who preside over the department of 
war and the quartermaster's department, to whom the. 
merit of it is believed to belong." 

The great compromiser (this was the very year in 
which he won that vain title) followed this preliminary 
dish of taffy with the regular course of his argument. 
''Success," he contended, "required adequate means not 
measured out upon calculating parsimony, but liberally 
supplied, on a scale proportionate to the magnitude of the 
undertaking." Johnson was to furnish at least two steam- 
boats calculated to navigate the Mississippi "and its 
waters." Johnson complied with conditions "amply com- 
mensurate", at the mouth of the Missouri, "long before 
the arrival of Col. Atkinson with his regiment." The 
Expedition arrived at St. Louis May 12th; the Johnson, on 
the 17th; the Jefferson, "shortly after." Repairs necessary 
to continue the journey required not over forty-eight hours. 
The faults were (1) Col. Chambers' failure to cooperate in 
inspection; (2) the demand for resalting and repacking; 
(3) non-arrival of Colonel Atkinson and Gen. Jesup; (4) 
unavoidable delay "incident to the operation." 

It was nearly a month after the arrival of the steam- 
boats when Atkinson and his regiment and Jesup, with 
definite authority, came. "It would be monstrous to 
apply any huckstering principles to such a contract." 
It required only five days more to go from St. Louis to 
Cow Island than from Cow Island to Council Bluffs. In 
July and August of this year the quartermaster contracted 
for the transportation of provisions, etc., at five and one- 
half cents per pound on keel boats from Belle Fontaine to 
Council Bluffs; but they were only half loaded. He paid 
by capacity or tonnage of the boats, so that the real rate 
was eleven cents. Mr. Clay argued plausibly for an extra- 
contractual bonus for pioneer experiment. "In the mean- 
time the government is entitled to the everlasting gratitude 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 193 

of posterity for having demonstrated the interesting fact 
that the Missouri is navigable by steamboats .... That 
the whole of the voyage was not performed is not the fault 
of James Johnson. The non-performance of it proceeded 
from causes beyond his control. The stage of the water 
was such that he could make no further progress, and the 
prosecution of it was suspended by order of the officer of 
the government"; — which more than smacks of specious 
pettifogging. He might better have contended, frankly, 
that the United States ought to foot almost any bill, regard- 
less of contractual limitations, treating the undertaking as 
an extra-contractual enterprise. But he wished to "catch 
'em coming and going". Johnson, he insisted, was excused 
from executing his contract by act of God and was also 
entitled to detention damages as if the order to stop on 
account of low water was the fault of the other party. 
Good evidence was deduced that his own crew insisted that 
they could go no farther. "It is conceived that so much 
of the whole period of detention up the Missouri as, in 
navigable states of the river, would have been sufficient to 
complete the voyage, should be deducted, and the com- 
pensation for detention up the river to that extent reduced, 
in consideration of the admission of the charge for full 
freight." 

The contract contained the liberal clause, "such 
reasonable and further allowance" — beyond the usual 
compensation — "as may be equitable and just; provided, 
that if, in the arrangements and operations of the govern- 
ment, the said steamboats should be detained in their 
destination, from the want of concentration of the articles, 
etc. to be transported, or otherwise, and not imputable to 
the negligence of the said James Johnson". "Otherwise" 
contemplated "the arrangements and operations of the 
government", not the act of God. Moreover, all risks 
were discounted in the unprecedented rate. Clay, how- 

14 



194 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

ever, assumed that the detention at the mouth of the 
Missouri was not imputable to the fault or negligence of 
Johnson, and that but for it ''the voyage might unquestion- 
ably have been completed." If this is true, then the low 
water catastrophe might be imputed to the government. 
"The testimony shows that, in ordinary seasons, and but 
for the unexampled low state of the river, the voyage 
might have been completed". This was not relevant; 
because Johnson ran that risk himself. 

Colonel Atkinson's letters (pp. 159-171) illuminate the 
anti-Johnson side of the controversy. Though he arrived 
at St. Louis June first, he writes under date of June seventh. 
He says it will probably take a fortnight to finish inspecting 
the provisions intended for the supplies on the Missouri. 
Two of Johnson's boats arrived "a. few days before me". 
The Jefferson was lying one hundred and fifty miles below, 
in consequence of a part of her machinery having given way. 
In three or four days he will send off Colonel Chambers 
from Belle Fontaine, with two hundred and seventy men 
of his regiment, in four transport boats brought from 
Pittsburg, to join the part of the regiment at Cantonment 
Martin," with instructions to be ready to ascend with my 
regiment on its arrival there with steamboats. The rifle 
regiment will be transported in keel boats and my own in 
the four steamboats" — Expedition, Jefferson, Johnson, 
Calhoun — "attended by four keel boats ... I have not the 
least doubt of the practicabilitj^ of navigating the Missouri 
with steam power, notwithstanding the almost universal 
opinion to the contrary. My regiment and the detachment 
of the Fifth arrived this morning" [seventh], "and will 
probably reach Belle Fontaine today ... I do not think 
that we can get off sooner than a fortnight. Colonel 
Johnson will, most probably, not be ready earher . . . The 
steamboat under care of Major Long" (Western Engineer) 
"is a short distance below and will probably arrive to- 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 195 

day . . . The detachment of the Fifth regiment, under 
Captain Pelham, is at Belle Fontaine. The part of it 
intended for the rifle regiment will be immediately trans- 
ferred, and the remainder, with the detachment that 
accompanied my regiment, ordered up the Missouri, to 
join the Fifth." 

June 19. He is sorry that Johnson's steamboats have 
not all arrived. The Calhoun has not been heard from,^ 
but he will go in six or seven days ''with the three steam 
boats and four of our keels". The troops are ready but it 
will require several days to reload the steamboats. Only 
a part of the provisions necessary had arrived. He will 
certainly establish himself at Council Bluffs this season 
and very possibly carry the Rifle regiment to the Mandan 
villages. He will not risk too much nor leave anything 
undone that can be prudently accomplished. Long's 
"exploring steamboat" will start tomorrow — June 20. 

St. Charles, July 11. After exerting himself for more 
than a month he was not able to get from Johnson sufficient 
provisions to justify the movement until the second of July. 
Immediately on receipt of provisions he ordered the troops 
(the Sixth regiment) to embark, four companies on the 
three steamboats and four on keels started on the fourth 
and fifth. The keels made fine progress. Two steamers 
went aground the first day and were got off with much 
difficulty ; they all reached St. Charles on the eighth. On the 
10th the Jefferson was again delayed by broken machinery. 
He doubts that she will reach Council Bluffs, but thinks 
the others will. The Johnson is still short of necessary 
provisions. He regretted that anything relating to trans- 
portation connected with the expedition had been delegated 
to other hands — than the quartermaster-general's. 

Franklin, July 30. Four companies of the Sixth 
regiment in keels and one company and a half in the Expedi- 
tion arrived on the twenty-second. The other two steam- 



196 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

boats were sixty miles below. Those in keels went on, 
after a day to dry baggage. The Expedition was delayed 
till to-day to repair machinery. Doubts that either of the 
steamboats will reach their destination. The keels behind, 
with the residue of provisions, will insure reaching Council 
Bluffs in good season. He is waiting for the Johnson. 

Franklin, August 13. Colonel Chambers is now at 
Fort Osage, with a detachment of his regiment and four 
companies of the Sixth regiment. Three days ago the 
Expedition, with one company and a half, was progressing 
fifty miles below Fort Osage. The Johnson, with a com- 
pany, was progressing forty-five miles above Franklin, on 
the eleventh. He was advised by express two days ago 
that the Jefferson, with one company and a half on board, 
was aground forty miles below. The captain of the boat 
had notified the commanding officer of the troops that he 
could proceed no farther. Agreeable to special instinictions, 
left the commanding officer, he at once sent to St. Louis 
for keel boats to receive the Jefferson's cargo. A keel boat 
was also sent from Franklin this day to the Jefferson, for 
articles needed above for immediate use. The assistant 
deputy quartennaster-general had been advised to hold the 
boats in readiness "to meet any failure of the steamboats". 

Having arranged for forwarding the Jefferson's cargo. 
Colonel Atkinson intended to set out that day to join the 
Johnson at Fort Osage ''and from thence proceed in her 
to the Cantonment above". His arrangements would get 
the cargo up in good season if both the other boats failed. 
"The tardiness of the Jefferson would have authorized me 
to have discharged her two or three weeks ago, which 
would have been so much time saved. But, knowing as I 
did, that Colonel Johnson had drawn largely on account of 
transportation, I thought it most prudent, as I had yet 
time on my hands, to wait till a failure was acknowledged 
on the part of the boat, that he might not have the slightest 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 197 

reason to say that SLny interference on the part of the com- 
manding officer of the expedition caused to him a loss. 
Indeed, I have been careful to avoid giving him the smallest 
clue by which he could claim indemnity from government 
for losses which he must certainly sustain in his contract 
for transportation." Colonel Atkinson declares, now, that 
Colonel Johnson is greatly deficient in supplies furnished 
and (p. 164) gives specific figures. 

At Chariton, August 14. Advises the use of keel boats 
only, for future transportation, and not to be taken out of 
the hands of the quartermaster-general's department. 
Thinks he would fail in his object next year if supplies 
should be entrusted to Johnson. "The meat part of the 
ration could be abundantly and cheaply supplied in the 
neighborhood of Franklin. Fine pork could be bought at 
two dollars and a half a hundred, and beef at the same 
price." Colonel Atkinson left that day to join the Johnson 
at Fort Osage and take passage on her for Martin Canton- 
ment. 

Fort Osage, August 25. Arrived on the 23d. The 
detachment of the Rifle regiment and five companies of 
the Sixth regiment moved on that day, under Colonel 
Chambers, on the Expedition and keel boats, for Martin 
Cantonment. 

Martin Cantonment, September 6. An-ived on the 
31st ultimo. Colonel Chambers with the detachment of 
riflemen and five companies of the Sixth regiment, got there, 
with the Expedition, on the twenty-ninth. 

"The steamboat Expedition has halted here, it being 
deemed impracticable, in consequence of the lowness of the 
river, to get her to the Council Bluffs. The Johnson will 
probably be able to reach that point, as her draught of 
water is much fighter. The cargo of the Expedition has 
been reshipped in our transport boats and a keel employed 
by Colonel Johnson's agent, and, should the Johnson fail, 
I have ample means within my control to have her cargo 



198 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

taken up in good season. The Rifle regiment and the five 
companies of the Sixth embark today at one o'clock for the 
Council Bluffs. We shall, no doubt, make the march in 
twenty days. The infantry which were on board the 
steamboat Jefferson are charged with the safe conduct of 
the keels that received her cargo, and may be expected to 
join us above by the 15th proximo; those on board the 
Johnson will be up sooner; therefore, it may be safely 
calculated, that the principal part of the troops will be 
established at the Council Bluffs by the first of October, 
and the residue by the 20th, together with all our ordnance, 
munitions, and provisions for twelve months." 

Colonel Atkinson has requested Major O'Fallon, 
Indian agent, to inhibit all trade with the Pawnee till 
proper restitution is made for depredations against Major 
Biddle and party while on a tour through the Kansas 
country. 

Camp Missouri, near the Council Bluffs, October 3, 
1819. Arrived ''with the Rifle regiment and five and a half 
companies of the Sixth, at a point a few miles below this, 
early on the morning of the 29th ult., where we remained 
till yesterday morning to examine the neigboring country 
for the purpose of selecting a position to canton the troops. 
Having fixed on this place (an extensive rich bottom, 
covered with suitable timber for huts, situated a mile above 
the Council Bluffs) we reached it yesterday evening. To- 
morrow we shall commence hutting and probably cover 
ourselves in five weeks." Light Company A and part of B 
had left the steamboat Jefferson in keels, and were, on the 
7th ult., eighty miles below Fort Osage. ''They may be 
expected to reach this by the 20th instant, together with 
the cargo of the Jefferson escorted by Captain Bliss's 
command. Battalion company H is also behind. It was 
on board the Johnson, which broke part of her machinery 
thirty miles above Fort Osage. Keel boats were discharged 
from here some days ago and sent down to her; therefore 




fM 



o 

ay 
P5 

CO 
GO 

O 

CO 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 199 

the cargo and the company will no doubt be up in all this 
month." The colonel expects that a light boat will return 
to St. Louis a few days hence when he will give a detailed 
account. In the meantime he sends this letter by precarious 
means. 

Pp. 169-171. Camp Missouri, October 19, 1819. Has 
received a communication from Calhoun, secretary of war, 
dated August 18, which disclosed that his movements, 
up to July 11, were approved. The three steamboats all 
failed; — one below Franklin; another, near the mouth of 
the Kansas river, ''in the wilderness"; and the third at 
Cantonment Martin. One keel boat, with troops and pro- 
visions from the Jefferson, arrived on the 12th of October, 
another is near at hand. A third may be expected in four 
days, and the fourth, about the same time. The Expedi- 
tion's cargo has been brought up, and the boats sent for the 
Johnson's should arrive by the end of the month. Captain 
Bliss has lately come up in a keel from the Jefferson and 
gives information that all the boats with supplies will come 
through, except one that left Belle Fontaine September 15 
v,dth flour, vinegar, etc. On account of deficiency in meat, 
"an article the contractor fell far short in". Colonel Atkinson 
had beef cattle contracted for and driven to this place. 
Upwards of two hundred head had arrived which would 
make the supply ample. A keel boat from the Jefferson, 
"with such articles of the quartermaster's and ordnance 
stores as we should most want in making our first establish- 
ment", struck a snag about ten days ago near the mouth 
of the Platte, "whilst running under easy sail, in the middle 
of the river." It passed through her bow; and she im- 
mediately filled and sank in twelve feet of water. No lives 
were lost. Her crew abandoned her two days after. Colonel 
Atkinson at once sent Lieutenant Keeler, acting ordnance 
officer, well supplied with spare anchors, cable, etc., and a 



200 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

strong crew of soldiers, to try to raise the boat or as many 
of her articles as possible. 

Councils had been held with the Kansas, Oto and 
Missouri, Iowa, Grand Pawnee, Pawnee Loup, Pawnee 
Republic and Maha tribes; Colonel Atkinson attended 
councils with the last four named. The chiefs were invited 
to sit and eat with them. The agent. Major O'Fallon, had 
exhibited much talent in executing his duties. The Pawnee 
Republicans had returned the property stolen from Biddle. 
Barracks were up as high as the roofs "which will soon be 
put on". Boards for covering, floors, &c., are in a state of 
forwardness. Troops will be comfortably quartered next 
month. 

"The barracks are laid out as well for defense as for 
accommodation. They form a square, each curtain present- 
ing a front of five hundred and twenty feet, made of heavy 
logs, the wall about sixteen feet high and the whole of the 
roofs sloping to the interior. In the center of each curtain 
there is a projection twenty feet, its width twenty with a 
heavy ten foot gate in the front. These projections will 
be pierced with three embrasures for cannon, two raking 
the curtain each way from the center, and the other through 
the gate to the front. The upper part of the projection 
will have a second floor and still project over the lower part 
to afford loops to fire down through. It will be raised to 
barbet[te] height and will answer for cannon and musketry. 
The barrack rooms, the exterior of which form the curtains, 
are twenty feet by twenty and will be pierced with loop 
holes for small arms. When completed, no force will be 
able to carrj^ the work without the aid of cannon. As soon 
as the engineer, Lieut. Talcott, arrives, who took passage 
in the Johnson, you shall be furnished with a plan of the 
work and a topographical survey of the ground, the river, 
and the adjacent country." 

Hardhart, an Indian chief, had led the colonel to 
believe that an excellent road might be made with but 
little trouble from hence, on the north side of the river, 
across to Chariton, a distance of one hundred and eighty or 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 201 

two hundred miles. He would send an officer in four or 
five days, with a party of six or eight soldiers, to mark out 
a road by the nearest route. Pack horses and Hardhart as 
guide would accompany them. The road would afford 
easy communication to the post office at Chariton which 
might be kept up once a month and oftener if necessary by 
expresses "and which will be put in practice." Colonel 
Atkinson would return to St. Louis as soon as troops and 
boats arrived from below, "for the purpose of attending to 
the arrangements necessary for the completion of the expedi- 
tion next season". Troops in excellent health and all well 
disposed to do duty. 

P. 238. March 27, 1819, Secretary Calhoun orders 
Jesup to St. Louis with full discretionary powers in dis- 
charge of the duties of his office as to the important move- 
ments on the Mississippi and Missouri. 

Ibid. The secretary of war offered Johnson $160,000 
for all transportation on both rivers. His whole outfit, 
including price of boats and their expenses, did not exceed 
$190,000. He has his three steamboats left which, ad- 
mitting that they are depreciated in value, are now worth 
$70,000. 

$160,000, offered by secy, of war 
70,000, present value of boats 



230,000 

190,000 Outfit and Expenses 



40,000, sum cleared in less than 

one year. 

H. M. Brackenridge ascended from St. Louis to Fort 

Osage in twenty-five days; from Fort Osage to Council 

Bluffs in eighteen days — seven days less for the upper than 

for the lower part. 

Pp. 242-256, Jesup's brief or statement to the referees. 



202 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

"... It had been previously proven by a voyage to 
Chariton, performed by that very Independence, which, 
by the testimony of Captain OTallon, had been towed by 
the Expedition over the Falls of [the] Ohio, that the Mis- 
souri was well adapted to steamboat navigation . . . When 
the Expedition was unable to progress and was compelled 
to fall back to her anchoring ground, the Independence 
passed up the Missouri at the rate of one and a half knots 
an hour. This one fact is worth more in the investigation 
than volumes of vague opinion. It was never contemplated 
that the Expedition should wait the arrival of the Sixth 
regiment, but the plan was for the Rifle regiment to move 
whenever the depot of 480,000 rations, which Colonel 
Johnson, as subsistence contractor, had been required to 
establish, should be completed." 

Jesup continues: There were officers of every depart- 
ment at St. Louis: General Bissell, senior in rank to Jesup, 
and Colonel Atkinson commanded. Captain McGunnegle, 
one of the most efficient officers of the army, was at the 
head of the quartermaster's department; and if the con- 
tract had not been made void by Johnson's ow^n statement, 
the expedition might have progressed without either Colonel 
Atkinson or the quartermaster-general. The visit of the 
latter to St. Louis was not so much to direct operations as 
to provide for any failure. 

When offered, it was known to the oflncers of the 
government that the provisions were deficient in quantity 
if not in quality. Johnson was prevented from delivering 
goods by difficulty with the civil authority. It was his 
original purpose not to comply with his contract because 
it would be against his interest to do so. If Johnson had 
complied so that the start could have been made in April 
instead of July the plan would have been accomplished 
during that season. No steamboats were navigating the 
Missouri at the time the contract was made, so keel boat 
rates must have been meant as the ordinary rates. 0' Fallon 
was sutler to the troops at Council Bluffs when he testified 



FIRST STEAMBOATS UP THE MISSOURI 203 

and so was an interested witness. He received five and a 
half cents as an employe of the quartermaster's department 
to transport provisions and stores to the Council Bluffs. 
Now he thinks Johnson should get eighteen to twenty cents. 
Many witnesses for Johnson were interested. 

P. 258. Attorney General Wirt riddles the claim and 
especially as to the patriotism play. The award of the 
arbitrators (pp. 278-288) is very specious pleading for 
Johnson. 

Settlement, pp. 290-292, No. 12. 

Allowed for transportation of 102 troops at $50 

i( << (I a Qo '( << i' 

tt (( t( (t Q/? (( (( (t 

Allowed all he asked which overpaid him $76,372.65. 

Allowed for transportation of supplies on the Expedi- 
tion, Jefferson and Johnson from the mouth of the Missouri 
to Council Bluffs at the rate of 16^ cents a pound, and for 
transportation on the keel boats at the same price. The 
arbitrators allowed for all the goods transported by the 
government keel boats, contending that they infringed on 
Johnson's rights, amount $14,969.28. Allowed for detention 
above and below, $47,149.52. 

There was either great fatality or a great deal of 
fooling about Johnson's enterprise. On the twenty-fifth of 
July, 1820, it was announced in Nile's Register — v. 18, 
p. 360 — that the Calhoun left St. Louis about the first of 
June to ascend the Mississippi as far as the falls of St. 
Anthony — the first expedition of its kind ever attempted. 
And yet this picked vessel had not been able to reach 
St. Louis a year before undertaking this formidable trial 
trip. 

The same journal, volume 15, page 268, notes that 
"the new steamboat, Johnson, built by Colonel Johnson 
of Kentucky, passed Shawneetown October 1 (1818). It 
was "intended as a regular trader from Kentucky on the 



204 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Mississippi and the Missouri, as far up as the Yellow Stone 
river." Shawneetown is situated on the Ohio river, in 
southeastern Illinois. 

Ibid., V. 19, p. 47. "The steam boat Expedition, in 
the service of the United States and belonging to Col. 
James Johnson, lately arrived at the Council Bluffs on the 
Missouri, v^dth a large cargo in fine order." The date of 
this item, September 16, 1820, indicates that Johnson's 
"pull" with the government had not been weakened by 
the damaging showing of the military officers and the 
criticisms in congress. 



ORIGIN OF OLATHA, NEBRASKA 

By Cicero L. Bristol 

In the fall of 1856 we went to Salt creek, via Weeping 
Water, reaching that stream several miles below where 
Lincoln now is, and followed up to Mr. Etherton's (some 
two and a half miles below the present Roca) and on to 
Mr. John D. Prey's large two-story log house. It was on 
this trip that we located our claims and the town site of 
Olatha. 

We stayed about two weeks and returned eastward to 
spend the winter a few miles below Nebraska City, where 
there was a settlement of Wisconsin people. During the 
following winter we heard that the legislature had removed 
the capital from Omaha to Salt creek; the exact location 
we could not determine. But we decided to make a trip 
at once in order to save our claims. The snow was deep 
and was covered with glare ice thick enough to hold one 
for about two steps and let him down the third. All we 
had to guide us was the knowledge that Salt creek would 
stop us if we did not get too far south. 

We put long sharp spikes in the heels of our boots to 
prevent slipping. Each of us drew a hand-sled loaded 
with food, bedding, shovels, axes, guns, ammunition, etc. 
The party consisted of J. L. Davison, J. V. Weeks, J. S. 
Goodwin, and C. L. Bristol. The ice extended back from 
the Missouri river only fifteen or twenty miles, but the 
snow was deep all the way. The first night out a fierce 
blizzard started, and it was very cold. We faced the fearful 
storm until the night before we reached Salt creek. We 
were five days on the trip and came very near perishing. 

(205) 



206 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

In the spring, Marmaduke M. Shelley of Mississippi, 
who was hired by the government, surveyed the land in 
Clay county.^ The county seat of Clay county was Clayton, 
situated in the extreme southwest corner of the county. 
I was there canvassing for the office of county commissioner, 
and I found three or four houses. A county organization 
was claimed, and there was a county judge and sheriff 
whose names I do not remember. 

At the second election (I think in 1858) James S. 
Goodwin was elected county commissioner by a majority 
of nine votes over myself. At the same election Rev. Joel 
Mason, W. W. Dunham's brother-in-law, was elected 
county judge by a small majority, only three as I remember 
it. He did not move to Clayton, but went down there 
occasionally. He was a native of Tennessee, but a strong 
republican ; a man of almost gigantic stature and a tremend- 
ous worker. The first season he broke up eighty acres of 
sod, planted it to corn and harvested the crop without 
any assistance whatever. All this time he preached regularly 
and conducted a Sunday school and held prayer meetings 
each week. His farm was on the west side of Salt creek, 
below W. W. Dunham's place. He lived, however, on the 
east side with the Hiltons while I remained in the neighbor- 
hood. 

John Greenleaf Hilton, senior, was the father of Judge 
Hilton of Cincinnati, Ohio, a democratic politician known 
at that time all over the country. Mr. Hilton was a widower 
and lived at the home of his son Charles. Mrs. Mason and 
Mrs. W. W. Dunham were his daughters. The two Hiltons 
and Mr. Dunham were democrats. All were deeply religious, 
with the possible exception of Charles and his wife. A 



1 According to the township plats on file in the office of the commis- 
sioner of public lands and buildings, Richard Taylor and Thomas O'Neal 
were the contractors, and M. M. Marmaduke was their compass man. 
The surveying was begun July 13. 1857. — Ed. 



ORIGIN OF OLATHA, NEBRASKA 207 

regular debating society was organized and held regular 
meetings at the Hilton residence. Mr. Hilton, senior, 
although aged and somewhat decrepit, was mentally bright 
and a fine speaker. He and Mason were the leading debaters, 
but others, including myself, regularly took part. 

Marmaduke M. Shelley with my assistance surveyed 
into town lots forty acres of Olatha town site. The organizers 
of Olatha town site company were Jonathan L. Davison, 
Joseph V. Weeks, James S. Goodwin, John G. Haskins, and 
Cicero L. Bristol. The town site was located about three- 
quarters of a mile west of the ford across Salt creek. The 
ford was a few yards north of the spot where the present 
bridge at Roca is located. The Olatha quarries were only 
a few rods below this ford. Jonathan L. Davison and 
Joseph Van Renssellear Weeks each had a house on the 
town site. The Weeks famil}^ consisted of Mr. Weeks, Mrs. 
Weeks, three daughters and a son. Mr. and Mrs. Weeks 
were people of high character and unusual intelligence. 
The eldest daughter, Mary J., afterward became my wife. 

Among the few people in the neighborhood I remember 
the following, besides those already mentioned: A Mr. 
Woodruff and his son Charles from Ohio; a man named 
Jones and his son (a sailor) from Connecticut, and the 
Hiltons. All but the latter lived with the Etherton family. 
Mr. Woodruff and his son spent a year and a half drilling 
for coal which cropped out wthin two hundred yards of 
Etherton's house. The Ethertons were from Kentucky. 
They were the first settlers on Salt creek, next to the Preys. 
The family consisted of husband and wife, a son and 
daughter. They had a comfortable house and a very good 
blacksmith shop, and Mr. Etherton did blacksmithing for 
the settlers all along the creek. Neither husband nor wife 
could read or write, but they were deeply religious, and 
Mrs. Etherton found a tutor and learned to read the 
Testament. She said that was all the education she wanted. 



208 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Living near Olatha was another family by the name 
of Beach, including two little sons. They were unusually 
intelligent people, Mrs. Beach was a musician and a poet 
whose productions were published in eastern papers. They 
were strong spiritualists. 

A Scotch settlement consisting of several families was 
situated about nine or ten miles east of Olatha. 



THE SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES OF WEBSTER, 

NUCKOLLS AND FRANKLIN COUNTIES, 

NEBRASKA 

By Rev. Dennis G. Fitzgerald 

[A paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January, 1912.] 

At the end of May, 1906, I took up my residence in 
Red Cloud, Webster county, Nebraska. From the very 
first day of my residence in the county my attention was 
very closely attracted to its geological formation. To the 
south of the Republican river is a range of hills reaching 
into Kansas and extending from Hardy, Nuckolls county, 
northwestward along the course of the river for hundreds of 
miles. The country north of Red Cloud can not be seen 
from the town; so one beautiful summer evening I took a 
walk northward from the city, and at a distance of about a 
mile and a half my attention was suddenly arrested by a 
sand formation which extended east and west in well- 
defined strata. The formation was so regular in its irregular- 
ity that I at once perceived it to be the southern boundary 
of a great and ancient river. Further investigations showed 
beyond all doubt that before me, and to the east and the 
west, was the disturbed bed of this river, from two to three 
miles wide and of a very tortuous course. Here was a very 
interesting field for investigation. 

The sand formation was mixed, in places, with a 
coarse gravel, and in this coarse gravel were some pebbles 
of an unusual appearance which I brought home in my 
pockets and afterward sent to Tiffany & Co. of New York, 
who very graciously gave me much valuable information, 

15 (209) 



210 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and returned the stones by registered mail. Following is 
the letter, in part, I received from them under date of 
January 23, 1908: 

"Dear Sir:— The stones you sent us are chalcedony 
and jasper of value only as mineral specimens, and as such 
we could use a few for our collection. If you have any 
finer ones, we would be pleased to see them 

"Very truly yours, Tiffany & Co." 

Guided by this information I continued my prospecting, 
picking up in each trip better stones, a collection of which 
I sent to Tiffany and Company. The reply I received very 
agreeably surprised me, for they offered to buy the stones. 
The following is their letter: 

"Dear Sir: — We are in receipt of your stones and can 
give you $5 for the agates in the tin and paper box. The 
others we do not care for. Awaiting your pleasure we are, 

"Respectfully, Tiffany & Co." 

I wrote immediately accepting the five dollars for the 
stones. I continued my investigations and found a vast 
field containing many and various beautiful stones. I sent 
to Messrs. Tiffany and Company another collection in the 
early part of the following May, and here is their reply: 

"Dear Sir:— What you send us are agate pebbles and 
agatized wood, interesting, but not of such color as to have 
a gem value. Some of the State Geological people at 
Lincoln, Nebr., might be interested in them. We return 
them by registered mail. 

"Very truly yours, Tiffany & Co." 

I wrote to the department of the interior, sending a 
small box of Httle specimens and stating that Tiffany & Co., 
of New York, had given me certain information relative to 
similar stones. The answer is as follows: 

"Sir: — In reply to your letter of March 25, trans- 
mitting a package of minerals for identification: I can add 
nothing to the information you have already received 
through Tiffany & Company. Their statement that the 
pebbles consist of chalcedony and jasper is perfectly correct. 



SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES IN NEBRASKA 211 

To what extent they might be used for ornamental purposes 
would have to be determined by some manufacturing jeweler. 
Most of the material of that kind used in jewelry is cut 
and polished in Germany where labor is very cheap. That 
fact seems to limit the usefulness of such minerals when 
found in small specimens like those which you send. 

"Very respectfully, Geo. Chas. Smith, Director." 

I sent only small specimens but with the request for 
their return at my expense. They were not returned, so 
I presume that the director of the department kept them 
and, I trust, classified them as specimens from Nebraska. 
Soon after this I got the address of lapidaries in Denver, 
and from them I got further information. The collection 
which I now possess were mostly cut and polished by the 
George Bell Co., of Denver, Colorado. They also classified 
the specimens as I sent them in to be cut or polished. 

About this time I made the acquaintance of Mr. 
Herman Brown, living near Upland, Franklin county, who 
became intensely interested in the finding of those semi- 
precious stones; and he now possesses a very fine collection 
of cut stones, many of which he has had mounted, making 
very beautiful pieces of jewelry. He was especially for- 
tunate in the beautiful specimens of moss agate which he 
found in Franklin county, in the bed of the Thompson 
river [creek]. The coarse gravel was washed by heavy 
rains into the bed of the stream, and when the waters 
passed away the pebbles were left high and dry. Mr. Brown 
was in Red Cloud in December of 1909, and when he arrived 
home, he wi'ote me the following letter: 

"Dear Father: — Thinking perhaps I might have a 
few items interesting to you at this time, I am writing this. 
So first of my return trip : I took it very leisurely, arriving 
Sunday, just at night. I 'interviewed' several formations, 
finding ever something new; one place was especially 
noticeable for a few really fine specimens of jasper. 

"At one place that I hunted over a man came out from 
a nearby house, and wanted to know if there was * anything 



212 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

the matter with me'; then, when he came to understand 
something of what I was after, his tongue became loosened, 
and he proceeded to tell me all about it. I could not get 
a word in edgewise. He invited me into his house to see 
some 'rocks' he had. I was informed he had just returned 
from a trip about eighty miles east and eighty miles south 
from the state line into Kansas, where he had been visiting 
friends &c., and brought forth some peculiar specimens of 
clay, sand &c. and a specimen which really did interest me. 
He gave me a little piece I am sending you herein. He 
wanted to know if it was lava or petrified wood and said 
there was any amount of it, and in larger pieces, to be had. 
It was difficult to get an intelligent description of the 
formation. He said it was a very rough country where he 
was at. I am not sufficiently informed to judge, yet I 
thought it might be decomposed or partially rotted lava (?). 
If so, could it have come from 'Sappa Peak'? Perhaps, in 
the bounds of possibility. From his description I locate 
the place as approximately some eighty or more miles south- 
east of Red Cloud. He told me the county; I wrote the 
address on something which I am not able to find for you 
now. It was in the southwest corner of the county. Or 
is this only a piece of wood? 

"Well, I have only been able to extend my search 
upon one occasion, to a formation not before visited and 
situated northwest from Franklin. This locality was 
noticeable for some very beautiful and clear amber speci- 
mens of chalcedony found, and also some quite white and 
transparent. These have suggested to me a thought, in 
explanation say, perhaps many of these very light and 
transparent specimens of chalcedony were once the 'chryso- 
prase ' . The ' International ' is authority for this statement. 
I quote: ' Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony, the apple 
green color of which is due to the presence of a small quan- 
tity of nickel oxide .... Was much sought after as a gem- 
stone, but as it loses its color if kept in a warm place — is 
no longer much prized. 

"You may perhaps recall my comment that with the 
abundance of chalcedony everywhere in evidence we should 
find a complete collection of all varieties. I have everything 
but the chrysoprase. If this authority is correct, we can- 



SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES IN NEBRASKA 213 

not hope to find this stone in this exposed formation that 
has been open to many, many sun's heat. 

"I am sending in this mail a preliminary letter of 
inquiry to the Bell firm, Denver. A collection of some 
thirty-five really pretty specimens is tempting me to have 
them cut and polished, but there is one regret in that, 
with much diligent search, I have as yet not found the 
topaz stone. I am afraid it is not in the Franklin county 
formation .... 

"Youi'S sincerely, 

H. M. Brown, Upland, Nebr." 

Since the writing of this letter Mr. Brown has found in 
his county many specimens of the Topaz stone, both white, 
smoky and a plum color. 

In March, 1910, I received the following interesting 
letter: 

''Dear Father: It is now my endeavour to make 
answer to your interesting letter of February 9th, and 
chronicle many things passing by ... . 

"I could only spend the one day at Red Cloud and 
left next morning for Naponee where I spent a day exploring 
for specimens and can now report in some detail of the 
question you at one time raised as to 'how far west this 
formation extends'. As to Franklin county, I can say 
the 'drift' is found at about eight miles north of Riverton 
in series of gravel outcrops; going west it trends more 
southward and the gravel pockets occur in a series of 
recurring points to about three miles north of Franklin, 
at Bloomington two to three miles, and at Naponee about 
five to six miles, but rather 'peter out'. I penetrated a 
mile or more west of the county line without finding any- 
thing, and the formation at this edge (Naponee) contained 
but few specimens worth picking up. They are more 
plentiful working eastward, and evidences of volcanic 
action, it seems to me, are plainer. However, in all of 
Franklin county's deposits there occurs nothing quite like 
the formation north of Red Cloud . . . 

"With regards, your friend, 

"H. M. Brown, Upland, Nebr." 



214 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The specimen that Mr. Brown describes in his letter 
is a triangular piece of chalcedony, resembling a triangle in 
its original formation, and is amongst the collection of cut- 
stones now on exhibition in the State Historical Society's 
rooms. His letter also is interesting in telling us how far 
west the gravel formation extends — as far as he knows — 
where those semi-precious stones may be found. I have 
traced the formation as far east as Hardy, near the point 
where the Republican river turns south into Kansas. From 
this place west to Naponee is a distance of some seventy 
miles, and so in this extensive territory is found the sand and 
gravel formation containing an interesting variety of un- 
common stones. I do not on my own authority name 
these stones that I have found, but I rely upon the authority 
of Tiffany & Company, the geological department at Wash- 
ington, the Geo. Bell Company, of Denver, and others. 

According to the official list of stones discovered in the 
states, Nebraska has only been credited with two, namely, 
chalcedony and pearl; but I have found many other kinds 
in the past few years, about which there is no uncertainty, 
and a great number of others about which I am uncertain. 
The first lot of stones I sent to Tiffany and Co. were described 
as chalcedony, jasper and agates. The Geo. Bell Co., of 
Denver, have called the stones I have sent them topaz, 
clear and smoky ; moss agates, agatized and opalized wood ; 
the amazonite stone; the feldspar; and the jasper pebbles 
in many varieties. Not being certain of many other speci- 
mens, I withhold giving them a name. 

Whilst writing this paper, Mr. T. M. Draper, of Hum- 
boldt, Nebraska, has called on me and shown me some very 
small and beautiful rubies or garnets, and sapphires of a 
delicate canary color, Vs^hich he has discovered near Hum- 
boldt, in Richardson county, where he has also found 
traces of gold. 

It is a very easy matter to recognize precious or semi- 
precious stones when they are found in their original 



SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES IN NEBRASKA 215 

formation, and the text books on mineralogy are a very 
great help ; but it is a very different proposition to recognize 
those stones in a changed condition and in formations for- 
eign to their original surroundings. This leads me to 
observe two things: all the stones found, with very few 
exceptions, are fractured; and they are scattered over a 
very extensive distance. Sometimes one kind is found in 
one place and another in another place, and again many 
kinds are mixed together. Again, different kinds of stones 
are fused together and show the action of intense heat. 
I have found in certain places mica embedded in the stones 
and, in a few cases, pieces of mica so artistically arranged 
in pebbles as to rival the skill of the jeweler. 

Putting all these things together, I am forced to come 
to the conclusion that some great upheaval must have taken 
place in this territory in the very remote past. Most of 
us have come to the conclusion that volcanic action has 
been one of the causes that have brought together so many 
different specimens of an unusual quality. My investiga- 
tion, I may say here in passing, has been confined solely 
to what I could pick up on the surface of the ground, never 
having dug or sought for any specimens below the surface. 
What may be found by digging and sifting is a matter which 
concerns the future, and which may reveal more interesting 
specimens than have been already found. 

In stating that this territory was volcanic at one time 
I wish to have it understood that it was a very, very long 
time ago, even before the great volcanoes of Mexico were 
ever heard of and Mounts Aetna and Vesuvius were dormant 
and still. This being so, we can readily understand why 
nearly all the stones found are more or less fractured and 
why so many show evidences of intense heat. It may 
have been that when the waters which once covered 
Nebraska poured into the volcanoes, resulting continued 
eruptions threw up from the bowels of the earth, softened 



216 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

by heat, shattered by the fall from a great height, but the 
parts adhering as they cooled, the fractured specimens 
which we find to-day. 

Or it may be the action of water, of which we have 
undoubted proof, that has gathered them into the 
formations of sand and gravel in which we find them to-day. 
But, no matter what the agency, they are there in vast 
profusion, and how long they have been there no man may 
say. They are the pages of nature's book, and we can, if 
we please, read between the lines. To many they may be 
of no interest whatever, but to many others the source of 
great pleasure or intense delight. Some may despise them 
because they are a Nebraska product, but there are others 
who prize them because they are some of the multitudinous 
products of our great state. They are perhaps, after all, 
only indications of more precious things that a keener 
search may reveal. The pursuit of them has been a mix- 
ture of some labor and keen delight, and the elixir of life 
and health. 

I do not wish to pose here as a deep student of geology 
or mineralogy — for I have found both studies exceedingly 
difficult — , but as one who has made some observations in 
both fields I give to those who are interested the fruits of 
my discoveries, if they may be so called. I have purposely 
avoided all scientific expressions and names — and they are 
very abundant in the fields of geology and mineralogy — , so 
that the simplest may be able to follow me in what I have 
written, and that they may, if they feel so inclined, hunt 
for themselves in the pure country air of Nebraska things 
beautiful in what appears to be her unproductive and useless 
sandhills. 

A small beginning has been made, and no man knows 
to what it might lead. The sands of the Ganges have yielded 
precious things, and the wastes of Africa and South America 
have done the same. The "great American desert" has 



SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES IN NEBRASKA 217 

become a garden, and her gravel walks may yield up a 
multiplicity of precious stones. 

"Gems are mineral flowers, the blossoms of the dark, 
hard mines. They are the most lasting of all earthly objects, 
the most beautiful as well as the most unperishable form in 
which matter appears. 

"Gold will wear away; silver will tarnish; wood will 
decay; the granite stone itself will disintegrate; but jewels 
will continue unchanged for thousands of years. 

"Sjrmbols be they of eternal love and joy that is for- 
evermore." 



HISTORICAL SKETCH OF CHEYENNE 
COUNTY, NEBRASKA 

By Albert Watkins 

Cheyenne county was organized by authority of an 
act of the second state legislature approved June 12, 1867. 
This legislature was called in the third special session for 
the main purpose of passing laws for carrying on the new 
state government. The county comprised all the territory 
lying between the one hundred and second and the one 
hundred and fourth degrees of longitude and the forty-first 
and forty-second degrees of latitude. It was about one 
hundred and four miles in length and seventy in breadth, 
and its area exceeded that of twelve counties of the usual 
size. 

Perhaps the continuous Indian warfare at that time 
kept the scanty white population from organizing a county 
government until three years after the passage of the enab- 
ling act. On the fifth of July, 1870, David Butler, governor 
for the state, on the petition of " a large number of the citizens 
of the unorganized county of Cheyenne," issued a procla- 
mation^ ordering an election to be held at the post office in 
Sidney, on the fourteenth of August, 1870, for the purpose 
of choosing three county commissioners, a clerk, a treasurer, 
a sheriff, a probate judge, a surveyor, a superintendent 
of schools, a coroner, three judges of election and two clerks 
of election. The governor appointed Thomas Kane, Joseph 
Fisher, and Joseph C. Cleburne, judges, and A. F. Davis, 
and D. S. Martin, clerks of the preliminary election. Ac- 
cordingly, Andy Golden was elected treasurer; H. A. 



' "Messages & Proclamations", in the governor's office. 

(218) 



HISTORY OF CHEYENNE COUNTY 219 

Dygart, clerk; John G. Ellis, sheriff; D. M. Kelleher, 
probate judge; H. L. Ellsworth, Frederick Glover and C. 
A. Moore, commissioners; Alexander Miller, surveyor. 
Golden did not qualify for the office of county treasurer, 
and Thomas Kane was appointed to fill the vacancy. No 
county superintendent of schools was elected until 1871, 
presumably because the population was so sparse that the 
organization of schools was impracticable. On that far 
frontier individuals were so self-sufficient in administering 
justice that a coroner was needed even less than a superin- 
tendent of schools; so it appears that none was elected until 
1873. However, by a provision of the statute, the sheriff 
might act as coroner in case of need. 

By a general statute unorganized counties were at- 
tached to the next county directly east for judicial and reve- 
nue purposes. The northwest corner of the original Lincoln 
county was contiguous to the southeastern boundary of 
Cheyenne county. Buffalo county did not join Cheyenne, 
but was the next county from it directly east. By the act 
of February 15, 1869 ^ the *' county of Cheyenne" was 
attached to Lincoln county for judicial and revenue pur- 
poses. There was no election until 1870. By the act of 
June 6, 1871, Cheyenne was constituted "a separate county 
for judicial, election, and revenue purposes." 

The first general election in which Cheyenne county 
participated was that of 1870, October 11. The electors 
voted the straight ticket for state executive officers, uni- 
formly — eighteen for the democratic candidates and six- 
teen for the republican. David Butler was the republican 
candidate for governor, and John H. Croxton, of Nebraska 
City, the democratic candidate. John Taffe, of Omaha, 
republican candidate for member of congress, received 
fifteen votes, and George B. Lake, of Omaha, fusion can- 



2 Laws of Nebraska 1869, p. 249. 



220 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

didate of the democratic party, and the "people's reform 
party of the state of Nebraska," nineteen. 

According to the United States census of 1870 there 
were only fifty-two white inhabitants in the "unorganized 
northwest territory" — all that part of the state west of 
longitude one hundred and one degrees and thirty minutes — 
and Cheyenne county is not listed at all; but the United 
States census returns of 1880 give the population of the 
county in 1870 as one hundred and ninety, without explain- 
ing how or when it was ascertained. The state began to 
make annual enumerations in 1874, and that year the popu- 
lation of Cheyenne county was four hundred and forty- 
nine; it was four hundred and fifty-seven in 1875, four 
hundred and seventy-six (estimated) in 1876', eight 
hundred and ninety-nine in 1878*; by the United States 
census, 1,558 in 1880; by the state census 1,653 in 1885; 
by the United States census 5,693 in 1890; 5,570 in 1900; 
4,551 in 1910. 

On the sixth of November, 1888, a majority of the vot- 
ers of Cheyenne county authorized the creation of the coun- 
ties of Banner, Deuel, Kimball, and Scott's Bluff out of its 
own territory; and they were organized accordingly. By 
the United States census of 1890, Banner county contained 
a population of 2,435; Deuel, 2,893; Kimball, nine hundred 
fifty-nine; Scott's Bluff, one thousand eight hundred and 
eighty-eight; total, 8,175. This sum added to the popula- 
tion of the reduced Cheyenne county in 1890 — 5,693 — 
gives 13,868 as the population contained in the territory 
of the original Cheyenne county in 1890. Again, by author- 
ity of an election held November 3, 1908, Morrill county 
was formed out of Cheyenne, and by the census of 1910 the 
population of the new county was 4,584. This sum added 
to 4,551, the population of the reduced Cheyenne county for 



» Senate Journal 1877, p. 879. 

* Nebraska Legislative Manual 1877, p. 48. 



HISTORY OF CHEYENNE COUNTY 221 

1910, yields 9,135 as the population contained in the terri- 
tory of Cheyenne county as it was before Morrill county 
was taken from it. 

In 1880 the population of Sidney precinct was 1,173, 
and that of the town of Sidney, 1,069. In 1890 the popula- 
tion of Sidney precinct was 1,365. That of the town of 
Sidney was not enumerated singly. In 1900 the population 
of Sidney was 1,001; in 1910, 1,185. In 1880 the population 
of the several precincts was as follows: Sidney, one thousand 
one hundred and seventy-three; Lodge Pole, ninety-seven; 
Antelope, thirty-eight; Big Spring, ninety-nine; Court 
House Rock, eighty-five; Potter, sixty-six; total 1,558. 
Greenwood, a village in Lodge Pole precinct, had fifty 
inhabitants, and Camp Clarke, in Court House Rock 
precinct, forty-eight. 

Prior to 1876 the white population of the county was 
confined to ranchers along the Oregon and California road, 
who catered to the travelers, and employees at the stations 
of the overland stage company. Additions were caused 
also by the advent of the Union Pacific railroad. Sidney 
was started as a station of the road which reached its site 
in August, 1867. In 1876 Sidney became an important junc- 
tion and outfitting point of the large emigration to the Black 
Hills caused by important discoveries of gold. The effect 
of this movement is indicated by the large increase in the 
population of the county in 1878 over that of 1876. ^The 

^ Following is the progressive population of the territory of the original 
Cheyenne county: 

1880 1890 1900 1910 

Cheyenne 1558 5693 5570 4551 

Banner formed from Cheyenne, 1888. . 2435 1114 1444 

Deuel 

Kimball 

Scott's Bluff.. 

Morrill 

Garden " " Deuel, 



<< 




2893 


2630 


1786 


<( 




959 


758 


1942 


<< 




1888 


2552 


8355 


1908. 








4584 


1909. 


1558 






3538 




13868 


12624 


26200 



222 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

census of 1876 was taken, evidently, before the tide of travel 
had set in. Camp Clarke also became an important center 
of population and business through the same influence. 

Cheyenne county was appropriately named for the 
Cheyenne Indians, a tribe of the great Algonkian family. 
They lived on the lower Cheyenne river in the eighteenth 
century, but in the early part of the nineteenth century 
were driven into the Black Hills by the more powerful and 
relentless Sioux. About 1845 they had become wanderers 
between the north fork of the Platte river and the Arkansas, 
and in this way they became separated into two bands 
called Northern Cheyenne and Southern Cheyenne. The 
Southern Cheyenne united with the Arapaho, their kinsmen. 
In these migrations they roamed and hunted over the terri- 
tory afterward formed into Cheyenne county, and the 
vicinity of Julesburg was a favorite rendezvous. In 1865 
the Cheyenne at the Upper Platte agency numbered seven 
hundred and twenty ; those of the Upper Arkansas agency, 
1,600. The Arapaho of the South separated from the 
Cheyenne in 1872. At the same time the Arapaho at these 
agencies numbered respectively 1,800 and 1,500. In May, 
1877, nine hundred and thirty-seven Cheyenne were taken 
from Red Cloud agency to Indian Territory. In September 
of the same year about three hundred, under Dull Knife, 
came north to join the Sioux. They carried captives 
captured in the Custer fight the year before. Their total 
number has since became somewhat, but not greatly, 
reduced. The Cheyenne were fierce fighters. The men 
were noted for their fine physique and the women for their 
good looks. 

Early in the decade of 1860-1870 the Cheyenne and the 
Sioux began to resent the intrusion of the great number of 
white travelers and settlers into their territory, and in the 
summer of 1864 they began a concerted attack on the line 
of the California road, from the Little Blue valley four 



HISTORY OF CHEYENNE COUNTY 223 

hundred miles westward. The war continued with occa- 
sional cessation for about fifteen years. The construction 
of the Pacific railroad increased the hostility of the Indians, 
and their attacks were furious in 1867 while the Union 
Pacific railroad was passing through their country. The 
Cheyenne and Sioux cooperated in this long war. 

The most important military contest within the terri- 
tory which afterward comprised Cheyenne county is called 
the battle of Ash Hollow. This battle occurred on the third 
of September, 1855, at a point on Blue Water creek, about 
seven miles northwest of the mouth of Ash Hollow, between 
nine companies of United States troops commanded by 
General W. S. Harney and about seven hundred Brule, 
Ogalala, and Minneconjou Sioux and Northern Cheyenne. 
The Indians were decisively defeated with a loss of eighty- 
six killed and about seventy women and children captured. 
On the night before the battle General Harney's force 
camped at the mouth of Ash Hollow. 

In the early part of the decade of 1850-60 one Jules 
Benoit, or Bene, established a ranch on the south side of 
the Platte river about a mile east of the mouth of Lodge 
Pole Creek. s This place became an important station on the 
California road. Early in September, 1864, company F of 
the Seventh Iowa cavalry began the erection of sod build- 
ings for a military post at a point about one mile west of 
Jules Station and opposite the mouth of the Lodge Pole.^ 
The order to establish the post was issued May 19, 1864, 
and its official name was Camp Rankin until it was changed 
to Fort Sedgwick by an order of September 27, 1865, in 
honor of Major General John Sedgwick who was killed in the 
battle of Spottsylvania Court House, Virginia, in 1864. 
On the seventh of January, 1865, the company named 
attacked over a thousand Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians, 



6 The Indian War of 1864 (Ware), p. 427. 

^ Ibid., p. 326; Report of Secretary of War, 2d Sess., 40th Cong., p. 436. 



224 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

near the post, and were repulsed with a loss of fourteen 
killed. Fifty-six Indians were killed. 

On the sixth and seventh of February, 1865, a large 
force of Indians besieged two hundred men of the Eleventh 
Ohio cavalry, at Mud Springs, but the white soldiers held 
their post. On the second of February, 1865, about 1,500 
Cheyenne and Arapaho burned all the buildings at Jules- 
burg and attacked the fort, but did not succeed in capturing 
it before they discovered the near approach of Colonel 
Robert R. Livingston with a detachment of four hundred 
men of the Seventh Iowa cavalry and the First Nebraska 
veteran volunteer cavalry, when they abandoned the siege. 

The famous Oregon Trail traversed the territory after- 
ward formed into Cheyenne county, entering it from the 
east on the south side of the south fork which it crossed at 
various places not far beyond, reaching the north fork at 
Ash Hollow and following its bank until it crossed to reach 
the Sweetwater. The Mormon road, and later the Cali- 
fornia road, starting from Omaha, ran along the north side 
of the Platte until they crossed near Fort Laramie, crossing 
again at the bend of the river about one hundred and 
twenty-five miles farther on. 

The earliest travelers to and beyond the Rocky moun- 
tains followed the Missouri to its upper reaches. In 1824 
W. H. Ashley, a noted fur trader, led a party of three 
hundred men over the cut-off route afterwards called the 
Oregon Trail into the Green river fur fields. In 1830, William, 
Sublette, a former associate of Ashley's, took the first wag- 
ons — ten in number — to the mountains by this route. In 
1832 Nathaniel J. Wyeth, of Boston, and William Sublette 
went over the route with a party of about eighty men and 
three hundred horses. In the same year the famous Captain 
Bonneville took a train of twenty wagons. These were the 
first wagons to cross the Rocky mountains. The first 
organized band of Oregon emigrants, about a hundred and 



HISTORY OF CHEYENNE COUNTY 225 

twenty in number, went in 1842, and another company of 
about one thousand in 1843; and John C. Fremont, the 
famous explorer, followed closely after them. The road 
became known as the Oregon Trail about this time. About 
fifteen hundred Mormons went through on the north side 
of the river in 1847. The first band, numbering one hundred 
and forty-nine, passed the mouth of Ash Hollow on the 
opposite side of the river, on the 20th of May. In 1857, 
an army of 2,500, under command of Albert Sidney John- 
ston, afterward the famous confederate general, who was 
killed at the battle of Shiloh, marched over the road to quell 
the Mormon insurrection at Salt Lake City. About three 
thousand more soldiers were started from Fort Leavenworth 
in the spring of 1858, but the greater part of them were 
recalled at various points along the road. The remainder 
re-enforced Johnston's army at Salt Lake. In all 4,956 
wagons and carriages and 53,430 draught animals were 
required for this expedition. Not far from Fort Kearny, 
a band of Cheyenne successfully ran off eight hundred beef 
cattle which were being driven out in 1857, to supply the 
Salt Lake army. 

Lieutenant General Sherman, commander of the divi- 
sion of the Missouri, traveled over the trail, as far as Fort 
Laramie, in August, 1866, to make a personal military in- 
spection of that warlike part of his command. He traveled 
by railroad from St. Louis to St. Joseph, thence by steam- 
boat to Omaha, thence by the Union Pacific road as far as 
it was finished — to a point five miles east of Fort Kearny — 
thence by ambulance drawn by mules to Fort Laramie. 
On account of the continuing Indian hostilities, he went as 
far as Fort Sedgwick in 1867, and remained there from 
June 6 to June 22. 

Military posts were established all along the great 
highway to Oregon and California for the protection of 
travelers — Fort Kearny, the first, in 1848. In August and 

16 



226 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

September, 1864, Captain Shuman, of the Eleventh Ohio 
cavalry, built Camp Shuman at a point three miles west 
of the Scott's Bluff gap. The post was afterward named 
Fort Mitchell, for General Robert B. Mitchell then com- 
mander of the district. At the same time minor fortifica- 
tions were built at Ficklin's, and Mud Springs. Ficklin's 
was nine miles east of Scott's Bluff, and Mud Springs, 
at the north end of "Jules' Stretch," was eight miles east- 
erly from Coui'thouse Rock. This new route or cut-off 
was named for Jules, the ranchman. It crossed the south 
fork of the Platte river at his establishment, continued up 
the south bank of the Lodge Pole thirty-five miles, then 
across the stream and the high plateau thirty-two miles 
to Mud Springs in the valley of the North Platte. Passing 
about two miles southwest of Courthouse Rock, it inter- 
sected the old Ash Hollow road about midway between 
Courthouse Rock and Chimney Rock. 

Fort Grattan was built of sod at the mouth of Ash 
Hollow by General Harney's command, immediately after 
the battle of that name. It was abandoned on the first of 
the following October when the force left to occupy Fort 
Pierre on the Missouri river. Fort Grattan was named for 
Lieutenant John L. Grattan, who with a detachment of 
twenty-nine men was killed on the nineteenth of August, 
1854, by a band of over a thousand Sioux warriors, about 
six miles below Fort Laramie. General Harney pursued 
these Indians and punished them at Ash Hollow. 

Fort Sidney was established December 13, 1867, 
as a subpost of Fort Sedgwick and was known as Sidney 
Barracks. It became an independent post November 28, 
1870, and was abandoned June 1, 1874. Its reservation of 
six hundred and twenty acres was relinquished to the depart- 
ment of the interior November 14, 1894, except twenty acres 
of the northeast corner which was donated to Sidney for 
cemetery purposes, by act of congress, June 10, 1892. 



HISTORY OF CHEYENNE COUNTY 227 

In 1875 part of the building material of dismantled Fort 
Kearny was used in improvements of Fort Sidney. 

Cheyenne county contained the famous Wild Cat range 
of mountains which became celebrated by reports of the 
early travelers. Among the most noted peaks, near the great 
road, are Courthouse Rock and Chimney Rock, now in 
Morrill county, and Scott's Bluff, now in Scott's Bluff 
county. The two highest peaks in Nebraska are Hogback 
5,082 feet, and Wild Cat, 5,038 feet — both in Banner county. 
The plain of the northwest part of Kimball county attains 
the highest elevation of the state, 5,300 feet. 



ORGANIZATION OF THE COUNTIES OF KEAR- 
NEY, FRANKLIN, HARLAN AND PHELPS 

By Albert Watkins 

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, 1 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 outside 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 — April 25, 1861 — there were two hundred 
residents and a half dozen stores in Kearney City at that 
date. The opening of the Union Pacific railroad — in that 
part of the territory in 1866 — attracted business and 



1 Died at Cheyenne, Wyo., in 1911. D. W. Clendenan says he kept 
a saloon there and was called "Major" Talbot. 

(228) 



FOUR SOUTHWESTERN COUNTIES 229 

inhabitants from Kearney City. In 1860 it was not recog- 
nized 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, 
16; in 1866, 28. An act of the tenth territorial session, 
February 9, 1865, attempted to revive the organization of 
the county, by ordering a special election of county officers 
to be held on the second Monday in March, 1865, at the 
store of William D. Thomas, Kearney City. The act pro- 
vided that the notice of the election should be signed by 
the county clerk— James M. Pyper.^ There were no 
more 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 
proclamation 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. 

Franklin county was set off from the original Kearney 
county by an act of the last territorial legislature, passed 
February 16, 1867. A supplementary act of March 9, 
1871, "for the speedy organization of Franklin county", 
designated C. J. Van Laningham, D. Van Etten and R. D. 
Curry as county commissioners. These officers were 
directed to qualify as soon as practicable after the passage 
of the act and to call an election for county officers, giving 
fifteen days public notice of the time and place thereof. 
The commissioners were also authorized to submit the 
question of locating the county seat at the same election. 
January 14, 1871, Governor Butler issued a proclamation 
for an election of county officers to be held at the house of 
C. J. Van Laningham, in Franklin City, on Friday, March 



^ Laws of Nebraska, Tenth Territorial Session, 1865, p. 61). 



230 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

3, of that year; but evidently no election was held, and so 
the legislature intervened as already stated. 

May 20, 1872, Acting Governor James ordered an 
election of county officers for Harlan county, to be held 
June 29 of that year — ^for precinct No. 1, at the store of 
John McPherson ; for precinct No. 2, at the store of Frank 
A. Beiyon. Precinct No. 1 comprised all that part of the 
territory east of range 19, and precinct No. 2 that part 
west of range 18. The act of February 11, 1873, defining 
the boundaries of Phelps county, designated Edward 
Barnes, Caleb J. Dilworth, and J. Q. Mustgi^ove as county 
commissioners. They were required to qualify within sixty 
days after the passage of the act and to call an election for 
county officers, including county commissioners, within 
thirty days of their qualification. ^ 

An act of March 3, 1873, authorized Kearney county 
to fund its indebtedness by the issue of bonds to the amount 
of $20,000. 

The Nebraska State Journal of July 8, 1870, notes that 
F. A. Beiyon intends to go with a party from Lincoln to 
the Republican valley about the first of August. The 
Daily State Journal of April* 7, 1871, notes that Franklin 
county has completed its organization with the election of 
officers as follows: county commissioners, James Knight, 
Charles Vining, B. W. Powell; probate judge, C. L. Van 
Laningham; clerk, Matthew Lynch; sheriff and surveyor, 
Ernest Arnold; treasurer, John E. Simmons; super- 
intendent of public instruction, Richard Walters. 

The Daily Journal of January 10, 1871, notes that 
General Victor Vifquain is booming the settlement in the 
Republican valley. He says that not less than five hundi-ed 
claims had been taken the past year. The site of the new 



3 For a statement of votes cast at elections in Kearney county for 
1860, 1864, 1865 and 1866 see the Illustrated History of Nebraska, v. 1, 
pp. 439, 493, 505. 



FOUR SOUTHWESTERN COUNTIES 231 

town, called Napoleon, the future county seat of the county 
to be formed west of Franklin (Harlan), belonged to about 
thirty men. They had offered a mill site to the men who 
would build a mill upon it. General Vifquain insisted 
that Fort Kearny should be moved down into the Repub- 
lican valley because, traffic having ceased along the south 
side of the Platte, it was useless in its original position. 
But the new town was called Orleans instead of Napoleon, 
and Alma, situated about five miles east, became the county 
seat. 

In the Daily State Journal of June 22, 1872, a cor- 
respondent, writing under date of June 10, describes Kearney 
City. It was composed mostly of sod and log houses, **old 
and weather-beaten". There were about twenty-five 
houses in all, most of them in a decaying condition. There 
were innumerable old wagons and considerable other 
government property, which, the correspondent thought, 
would be "knocked down to the highest bidder one of 
these days". Moses Sydenham was booming Kearney City 
as the coming national capital. The office of his newspaper, 
the Central Star, was situated there. There was only an 
occasional settler along the road five miles west; and there 
were none on Plum Creek twenty-eight miles west. 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF JOHN LEE WEBSTER 
PRESIDENT, 1913 

[Read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical Society, 
January 16, 1913.] 

There is a well authenticated tradition among the 
Omaha Tribe of Indians, that, impelled by a spirit of migra- 
tion like that which has gone with the white man from the 
cradle of his life in the far east to his invasion of the red 
man's country, they took up their journey from their 
eastern home near the headwaters of the Ohio and followed 
that river to the union of its waters with the Mississippi, 
and thence up the eastern side of the Missouri, and eventu- 
ally permanently settled three and a half centuries ago in 
what afterward became known as the Nebraska region, 
and where they were subsequently found by the white man 
some two hundred and fifty years later. 

The Omaha, when they came into this region, were 
invaders of the hunting lands of the Sioux, and both tribes 
having warlike chieftains, they became inveterate enemies 
and continued in almost constant warfare. Within the 
memory of the white man the Sioux killed the Omaha chief- 
tain, Logan Fontenelle. I give this bit of Indian history 
because it finds its parallel in the invasion of the Indian 
lands by the white men at a later day. 

Let us pause a moment for a reflection. Three and a 
half centuries ago. When was that on the page of history? 
Queen Elizabeth was just beginning her reign. It was about 
the time of the birth of Shakespeare. The Pilgrims had 
not landed at Plymouth, nor had the cavaliers settled at 
Jamestown. It was a period full of historic interest in 

(232) 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 233 

Europe, yet these Indians did not know that there was a 
Europe. They could not have had a conception that in a 
later day a white race should come across the big waters 
and take possession of these lands which had been the 
homes of the Indians through the countless ages of the dim 
and mysterious past. Yet we have on Nebraska soil a 
remnant of that ancient tribe of people, a living link con- 
necting that remote past with our self -glorious present. 
I mention these incidents as a subject of more than passing 
interest and as an inviting and stimulating subject for 
historic research by our people. 

Afterward there came the pioneer days of the white 
man following in the wake of the Omaha Indian invasion 
of this western country. It may be said of the Indians and 
pioneers alike, that they both loved the serene quiet of the 
open expanse of the prairies; that they both sought happi- 
ness from nature and enjoyed the peace and harmony of 
the wilderness as if it were a celestial garden set apart for 
them when the work of the creation was finished. 

Those daj^s have now passed into history. They have 
become the subject of romance. By reason of changed 
conditions they are impossible of repetition. Their history 
is only to be gathered from relics and traditions and manu- 
scripts. Yet those days have for us a fascinating interest. 
They were at the beginning of the history of the progress 
of our people and the formation of our state. 

In 1878 a few of the strongest and most honored 
citizens of this state, prompted by a strong desire to see 
that these historic relics and traditions and manuscripts 
of the past should be collected and housed and preserved 
for the present and future ages, issued a call for the forma- 
tion of the Nebraska State Historical Society. Among that 
group of men were Thomas W. Tipton v/ho had been 
United States Senator from '67 to '75; Alvin Saunders 
and Algernon S. Paddock who then were United States 



234 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

senators; Robert W. Furnas who had been, and Silas 
Garber who then was governor; J. Sterling Morton the 
father of Arbor day, and who became a cabinet officer 
under Grover Cleveland; and George L. Miller the public 
spirited and forceful editorial writer of the Omaha Herald. 

These, with others who became associated with them, 
were men who cherished the remembrance of these Indian 
and pioneer days as memorable events in our early history, 
very dear to their hearts, and who were always prompted 
by a desire to do the most and the best that could be done 
for the general welfare of the people of our state. So they 
formed the Nebraska State Historical Society with the 
puiT)Ose, hope and expectation that all legends and tradi- 
tions of the original inhabitants should be collected, and the 
relics and material evidence of their lives, habits, customs 
and manner of dress, should be collected into its museum; 
and that biographies and memorials and historic materials 
of every character and sort relating to the pioneer days 
should be acquired and preserved under the auspices of 
the society. 

Their worthy aim and purpose was that there should 
be created and fostered a historic society, as an independent 
and self-controlled organization, which should be the 
custodian of the historic archives and a place to collect and 
give out information relating to the early history of these 
regions and of the passing and current events which have 
gone along with the making and development of our state. 
They believed, as Macaulay once said, that "a people 
that take no pride in the noble achievements of remote 
ancestors will never a(^hieve anything worthy to be remem- 
bered with pride by remote descendants." 

This society is still engaged in carrying on the work 
which its founders originated. How well, and how success- 
fully this has been done may be illustrated by a comparison 
taken from its records of some things it has accomplished. 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 235 

The minutes of the society in Januarj^ 1879, show that 
sixteen dollars was appropriated for the purchase of a single 
bookcase, presumably sufficient to contain all of its books 
and manuscripts. A report of 1885, seven years after the 
organization, states that the books and pamphlets of the 
society, catalogued and uncatalogued, all told, were four 
hundred and twenty-eight, and that the catalogue of 
Indian documents and relics which had been collected to 
that date was so limited, that it covered less than two 
pages of printed matter. To-day the society is in possession 
of fifty thousand books and pamphlets indexed according 
to titles, and has thirty-three thousand relics and imple- 
ments and articles of interest of various sorts on display in 
the cabinets in its rooms, and has about an equal number 
stored away in boxes for want of space to exhibit them. 
The enumerations given above do not include a vast number 
of letters, memorials, correspondence, and other valuable 
material relating to our early history. 

A large part of the society's collections are stored in the 
underground apartment of a building east of the capitol 
grounds, which is awaiting the erection of a superstruction, 
and the remainder which are on exhibition are in the base- 
ment of a building on the university grounds, the entrance 
to which is uninviting and so limited in accomodations that 
the property of the society cannot be shown to visitors with 
advantage. 

This collection of historic material is priceless to our 
people. If you ask me how I measure its worth, I answer, — 
"What is knowledge worth? what is education worth? 
what is history worth?" Take them all in all history is 
worth more than all the others, for without it the others 
could not exist. 

The days'of our pioneers stand out as bright spots in 
our western history. The day will come when the memories 
of their adventures, their hardships and their successes 



236 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

will be as dearly cherished by us as are the memories of 
the settlers at Jamestown to the people of Virginia, and the 
lives of the Pilgrims and Puritans are to New England. 

The West offered to the young pioneer opportunity for 
the most abundant gratification. There was ease in acquir- 
ing lands; there were unsettled modes of life; there was 
opportunity for adventure; there was a free field for 
struggle. The West was filled with alluring promises and 
bright hopes for the future. 

The young pioneer bid adieu to home — to its settled* 
prescribed, regular, inflexible modes of life, and its con- 
strained, contracted promises and slender hopes for the 
future — with a sense of relief. He preferred to try the new 
life of unformed society, to assert himself among the new 
forces, to impress them with his personality, to guide them 
by his intelligence, and to help in the making, and to be a 
part of the new state. At that time all of this western 
country, half the area of the continent, remained to be 
populated — land to be tilled, mines to be opened, prairies 
and uplands to become cattle ranges, cities to be built, 
arts to be cultivated and new states to be formed. That 
which was a waste, or a solitude, he made a part of the 
empire of man, ruled by the supremacy of law. 

The early Nebraska pioneers were men who possessed 
the indomitable Anglo-Saxon spirit of courage and ad- 
venture which irresistibly impelled them to cross the expanse 
of the prairies and plains, to search every solitude, to 
roam over lands that had rarely been moistened by rain. 
There had been no storms they did not encounter, and no 
hardships which they did not endure. On their travels 
westward they have sat by the camp fire at night, and 
while smoking in silence, lived again in memories their life 
at home. The husband, through the white moonlight that 
fell on the faces of his wife and child, thought of their 
wealth of heart and. deemed them as fair as the children of 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 237 

Eden. Our records tell the story of these pioneers when 
they camped on the hilltop, and when the shades of evening 
fell upon them they saw the Indian camp fires flicker in the 
valley below, their slender, ghostlike columns of smoke 
rising heavenward and floating away in a white cloud 
against the dark blue sky of the evening. They heard the 
soft, plaintive notes of the nighthawk and prairie owl which 
mingled with the prolonged cry of the wolf in the distant 
foothills. The night breeze sprang up, fanning the parched 
prairie with its cool breath. The stars came forth and the 
silver rim of the moon emerged above the dark clouds, 
outlining the crests of the hills in broken silvery lines as 
its full disk swept into view, flooding the valley and plains 
with strange ethereal light. 

The pioneer then learned the wild man's secret — that 
the stars sang to him as of yore, that the winds and the 
waters, that the animals, and rocks and trees spoke in 
harmonies not known to modern civilized man. 

The volumes of historical papers and manuscripts in 
the rooms of the society tell substantially all that is known 
of the rivers, of the uplands, and of the prairies, beautiful 
in their wilderness and impressive, as they are boundless, 
when they were the homes of the American Indians. They 
tell of the time when the territory west of the Missouri 
river was a solitude, save when here and there on its eastern 
fringe there was an embryo settlement, or a trapper's hut, 
or a missionary's abode. They tell of a time when the 
Nebraska territory extended northward to the British 
possessions and westward across the prairies, and over the 
mountains to the western limits of the Louisiana Purchase. 

They tell of the lives and the hardships of the pioneers 
who lived to see law and order, and the white man's civiliza- 
tion spread silently but steadily over this immense territorial 
realm, following the peaceful communities whose aggressive 
industry had conquered and settled localities along the 



238 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

virgin valleys and the hill slopes, protecting and shadowing 
the pioneer in his prairie dugout, the freighter on his lonely 
path to the outposts, and the miner in his far cabin on the 
mountain side, the herder in the solitudes of the unmeasured 
plains, the citizen wheresoever his remote home or rude 
abode — that same law and order and civilization which has 
made possible the cities which have sprung up like magic 
creations from the soil. They tell how that vast expanse 
of territory, from the Missouri to the coast, has been formed 
into new states and become the homes of millions of Amer- 
ican citizens. 

Our more recent books and publications give us the 
biographies of men whose boyhood days were over before 
the building of the first railroad and before electricity came 
into use — that mysterious thing that links the natural with 
the supernatural as it carries messages along telegraph 
wires or on lines of cable under the ocean, or the human 
voice through the telephone, or delivers its wireless messages 
as winged spirits unseen and unheard, a realization in our 
time of something more wonderful than the mythical legend 
of the daughters of Odin carrying through boundless space 
the souls of military heroes to the far off Walhalla. 

Why preserve the biographies and records of the days 
of these pioneers? Why concern ourselves with their hard- 
ships, their adventures, their impulses, their motives? Why 
dwell upon the influences, multitudinous and varied, which 
took them out into the wilderness and solitudes? I answer 
again, because they made history in the west as our fore- 
fathers made it in the east. Without them our cities would 
not be here, our railroads would not be here, our commerce 
would not be here, our prosperity would not be here, our 
state would not be here, and we ourselves would not be 
here. Ah, more! Out of the expanse of wild nature they 
extended the borders of the republic. 

There are some good citizens who are indifferent to 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 239 

the antiquities of the red man, who have no concern with 
anything relating to his past existence. They may ask the 
question why is it worth while to preserve the thirty 
thousand specimens of Indian reUcs, implements, utensils 
and apparel which the society has in its possession? I 
answer, they have a special value as they give us a lesson 
of human life. Nothing in the world's history, in so far as 
we know it, possesses so much interest as the beginning and 
the end of the existence of a race of people. We know little 
of when the life of the red man began, but we are the 
witnesses of his rapid disappearance. 

We little remember that these lands where the husband- 
men plow the fields and gather the harvests, were once the 
homes and hunting grounds of another and almost extinct 
race of people. It is a transition from a red man's village 
of tepees to a white man's city of brick and stone and steel 
buildings. Yet we take no account of the change. W^e have 
forgotten the red man, and many who do remember him 
measured him by our own self arrogant standard of ideals, 
and so regarded him as a useless encumbrance upon the 
lands he possessed, with no recognized right to live upon 
them when his occupancy stood in the way of the white 
man's invasion. 

When we listen to the Indian's side of the story we have 
presented to us another viewpoint of his rights. Standing 
Bear, a Ponka chieftain, who had been wrongfully and force- 
fully removed with his people to the Indian Territory and 
who afterward returned to his old home on his northern 
reservation, and was about to be again removed by the 
government's agents, spoke some caustic and severe truths, 
when he said to them, " You can read and write and I can't, 
you can think that you know everything and that I know 
nothing. If some man should take you a thousand miles 
from home, as you did me, and leave you in a strange 
country without one cent of money, where you did not 



240 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

know the language and could not speak a word, you would 
never have got home in the world. You don't know enough. 
This is my land. The Great Father did not give it to me. 
My people were here and owned this land before there was 
any Great Father. God gave it to me". 

As white men we measure our success and all that we 
do and all that we accomplish by the environments with 
which we are surrounded. By our commerce we trade with 
all the world, and we gather the articles that supply our 
necessities and luxuries from all the producing countries of 
the earth. Take us as we are, and we could not live without 
them. 

With the Indian it was not so. He lived in the land 
where God created him. He had no commerce. He had 
no mills or factories. He had the capacity to create for 
himself out of the products of nature what he needed to 
supply his wants. The Great Spirit seemed infinite and 
dwelt with him, and communed with him from the majestic 
mountains and spoke to him from the bright and beautiful 
stars. 

If the Indian were here to-day, he might walk into the 
museum of our historical society and point to a rope made 
of the hairs of a buffalo and truthfully say that it was 
woven by the fingers of Indian women at a time when there 
was no other method of manufacture known to his race. 
That rope of buffalo hair hanging in the cabinet is a specimen 
of native ingenuity which contrasts the life of a red man, 
in the days when we regarded the prairies as an uninhabit- 
able wilderness, with our days of civilized world affiliation. 

When the Indian looks at that rope he may say to the 
white man with some degree of plausibility: "What do you 
really know of life as it really is? You were not born under 
the open heavens; you have not slept on the hard, cold 
ground, exposed to inclement weather and nearly perishing 
of hunger and thirst. Could you feed and clothe yourself 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 241 

from the naked earth without the assistance of others? We 
have carried wood and water, cooked and fed and clothed 
ourselves from the materials gathered by our own hands. 
Where our tent was set at night or where the foot rested, 
that was home to us. We roamed at times, and then longed 
to lie down in the embrace of mother earth and breathe the 
smoke of the camp fire. But the wanderlust would come — 
a feeling of unrest — like that of the birds when the spell of 
spring or autumn comes upon them, and the migratory 
instinct seizes them, or like that of the great herds of rein- 
deer in the north which travel each year to the sea to drink 
of its salty waters, and which, if prevented, die. 

The aborigines were a people who never willingly sub- 
mitted to the rule of the white man, but tenaciously held to 
the ancient beliefs and customs of their forefathers. They 
were a proud spirited people whose chiefs had the personal 
dignity of born rulers and the fearless qualities of military 
commanders. 

We white men take just and honorable pride in our 
arts, and in our education, in our philosophies and in our 
scientific attainments, but the native Indian sage may ask 
how long these will continue to civilize us. He might call 
our attention to the writings of a sentimental American 
who has expressed the belief that unless the trend of modern 
materialistic tendencies becomes supplanted by something 
higher, the same fate that overtook the ancients must 
inevitably overtake us. 

We of to-day are apt to say: ''Behold the works and 
glories of the white man ! " But the Indian may say: "I see 
in your ancient past lands that are desolate and the ruins 
of your greatness. The same mountains that stood guard 
over those valleys and shadowed you in those prosperous 
ages now look down upon broken monoliths and remains of 
decaying temples. The mountains stand as permanently 
now as then, but overlook a desolation not much dissimilar 

17 



242 [NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

to the solitude of a deserted Indian habitation on our 
western plains". 

The Egyptians, once so highly civilized that they were 
the supreme rulers of the world, have gone, their buildings 
and temples have gone, and left us but a few crumbling 
ruins. They have left us no poetry, no works of literature, 
no paintings, no sculpture in marble or figures of bronze. 

The Carthaginians, once the rulers of Africa, with their 
cities and ships and commerce and conquering armies under 
a Hannibal, are no more ; and their lands have been despoiled 
by the invader, like unto the Indian lands. 

The Indian, when told of all that we may boast of 
among the past glories of our race, may answer in words of 
comment: "The sun shines alike on the just and the un- 
just, the white man and the red man, and the great world 
still continues to laugh and goes on its way in spite of men's 
philosophy". 

He might add, too, that his philosophy has taught him 
that one might as well expect the mountains to slip into 
the sea or the stars to stop in their courses as a man in love 
with his own ideal of a vision of beauty to listen to ethics. 
Why does the grass grow? Why do the birds sing? Why 
do the flowers turn to the sun? Answer these to the Indian 
and he will tell you why he loves his ancient and proud 
spirited independence. 

The white man may say to the Indian, "You make 
war", but he answers, "So do you. Our bad men may 
steal and murder, but so do yours. We love a personal 
liberty as well as you. We may have been guilty of in- 
describable tortures, but we refrain from referring to the 
pages of history that are filled with descriptions of yours." 
The Indian might plead the excuse that he had no means 
of enforcing obedience to law but force, but that white men 
had officers to maintain the peace and courts to administer 
the law. Then, too, if the Indian were a visitor to our 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 243 

museum he might point his finger to the slave shackles, 
which hang in a cabinet close to the thousands of specimens 
of Indian relics, and explain: "The red man never held an 
abject race of people in slavery as did the Americans for 
near a century of their boasted freedom". 

Standing today on the threshold, half way between 
savagery and civilization, and comparing the cruelties and 
the barbarisms of the one with the luxuries and vices of the 
other, the Indian may ask himself the question, "Which is 
preferable — civilization with its virtues as he sees it, or 
the simple life of his tribe?" The one may tell the time of 
the day by the sun and the stars, the other by his watch. 
The one listens to his music — the opera, the drama — and looks 
upon works of created art and reads his books, but the other 
answers, "But what harmony compares to nature? What 
books contain her hidden truths and mysteries?" The 
mechanical devices of the one are wonderful, but spiritually 
both stand where they began centuries ago. So the Indian 
chieftain said: "The great symphony of nature, the throbs 
of our mother earth, the song of the forest, the voices of 
the wind and the waters, the mountains and the plains, 
and the glory of the stars are grander by far and more 
satisfactory and enduring to him than the fancies and 
artificial harmonies created in the name of civilization". 

We should not judge the Indian too harshly. He had 
his standards, his ideals, and his philosophy. He cannot 
fairly be measured by our standards of life. His age was 
not our age. His civilization was not our civilization. His 
memory remains a story of human life. 

The collections, in the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, of books and pamphlets and manuscripts and relics 
are the only preservations we have of a historic past that 
can never come again. The original proud, romantic, 
vigorous and warlike Indians of the plains have disappeared 
forever. Their insignificant remnants are fast fading away 



244 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

or disappearing in our civilization. Their hunting grounds 
have become our tilled farm lands; their battle fields remain 
unmarked; their chieftain warriors have died and been 
buried without monuments; their languages have not been 
transmitted to a succeeding race. Aside from what has 
been collected and is being preserved in museums and our 
historical societies, the history of the aboriginal inhabitants 
of the soil has passed into legends and traditions without 
a Homer to write them in poetry or a Wagner to put them 
into music. 

The white race has a characteristic which distinguishes 
it from all other races of people, that of migration and in- 
vasion. It began its course in the earliest times in the 
lands of the east. It kept moving westward, leaving in its 
wake the ruins of its greatness. When it had peopled 
Europe it moved westward until it discovered and invaded 
and peopled America. Our western pioneers were the ad- 
vance guard of that movement which kept going onward 
in its westward course until it reached the waters of the 
Pacific. 

The white men in their march met the aboriginal red 
men and overwhelmed them. They found the arid lands 
of the prairies and conquered them with fertility. They 
have built towns and cities in places that were once a 
solitude. What was once a wilderness has become the 
homes of millions of men. But there are no more lands to 
invade; there are no more Indian tribes to conquer; there 
are no more opportunities for the pioneer. Beyond the 
Pacific waters are different races of people. The mighty 
Japan with her brown men, the populous China with her 
millions of yellow men stand as a bulwark against the white 
men's invasion. Our progress westward has become 
bounded by the waters of the ocean. 

These reflections cannot help but impress upon us the 
importance of collecting and preserving all that can be 



ANNUAL ADDRESS OF J. L. WEBSTER 245 

obtained relating to the history of a past which can never 
be repeated. The value of all the society now possesses will 
be enhanced many fold as the years more widely separate 
that past from the future. The white men are confronted 
with a conjectural problem of the future. We read in 
history's pages of the glories of ancient Greece, but we see 
her only in ruins. We read of the grandeur of Rome, but 
we see her in decay. If we would go back to more antecedent 
days we find evidences of civilization only by excavations 
of the remains of buried cities. Here on this continent we 
have seen another race, that has been the proud possessor 
of these lands for centuries, disappear. The red men were 
not able to maintain the supremacy of their race nor the 
lands of their birthright. When we look back over our past 
faded glory and departed grandeur we may well ask our- 
selves, "Will the white man be able to preserve his present 
high standard of civilization and progress and prosperity?" 

If he is to do so, he should preserve the history of the 
extinct race that dwelt on the American soil, just as he 
should preserve the history of his own past; for out of 
these he may gather the lessons of wisdom that will give 
him the essential promptings for his own preservation. 
This, in part, is the mission of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society. 

The Indian collections of the historical society will 
continue to become more valuable as antiquities. They 
will become more priceless than the mummies of Pharaohs, 
or the hieroglyphics from the Nile. They will become 
more interesting than the groves and temples of the Druids, 
the wonderworkers of the ancient Celts. This collection is 
all we have left to tell the story of the life of a human race 
that has been swept away by an all powerful and conquering 
white man. To them the heavens have been rolled away 
as a scroll. To them the moon and stars have gone back 
into utter darkness. 



246 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Putting all other considerations aside, the people of 
Nebraska, in this the age of their strong manhood and un- 
restrained prosperity, can do a no more commendable or 
worthy thing than to appropriate a part of their revenues 
for the preservation and housing of these valuable collec- 
tions of the historical society. 



ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS, 1865-67 
By Dennis Farrell 

I was a little over twenty-two years of age when I 
reached Leavenworth, Kansas, with the full intention of 
crossing the plains to California. I was slight of build but 
large in ambition, and, while I am not brave, I dared to 
go anywhere I felt like going. I was out to rough it, and 
hired to the government as one to help take six hundred 
head of horses to the different military posts between 
Leavenworth and Fort Laramie. We started on the 30th 
of April, 1865. There was a long rope fastened to the 
tongue of a wagon and stretching forward, and to this 
rope were tied one hundred horses by their bridles, with 
five men riders, one at the head of the line, three in the 
swings, and one on the wheel horse. 

Our trip was uneventful until we passed Fort Kearny. 
It was our custom to drive until about noon or later, and 
then, in order to give the horses water, an hour or two of 
rest and a chance to feed, we picketed them out. We used 
iron picket pins, a foot and a half long, driven well into the 
ground, and fifty feet of rope. Some of the men were 
always out among the horses to prevent them from tangling 
or being thrown by the ropes. About two daj^-s after we 
left Fort Kearny, suddenly the horses became excited and 
turned their ears toward the bluffs across the river where 
Indians were waving their red blankets and yelling their 
war cry at the top of their voices. The horses stampeded — 
I was in the midst of them and picket pins flying in the 
air — and ran toward the bluffs on our side of the river. 
Many of them were killed and many others so badly maimed 

(247) 



248 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

that they had to be shot. Our miUtary escort of cavalry- 
men and some of our own men followed, but failed to recover 
a large number of them. At the first alarm some one 
yelled, "Lie on your face!" and so I did, expecting every 
instant to be crushed by the horses or killed by flying 
picket pins. This was the only incident of note until we 
reached Julesburg, as Fort Sedgwick was then called, and 
I stopped at this place. The string of horses with which 
I was detailed was turned over to the commandant of that 
post. 

I found employment in the quartermaster's department 
under Captain Westbrook. In the fall I left the govern- 
ment employ and bought out old Sam Watt's interest in 
the eating house which was a part of the ranch he kept in 
the military camp at Julesburg. Sam Watt was also post- 
master. He was a Missourian, about fifty years old, and 
well posted on frontier life. He was about fifty years of 
age then; he told me about the old Frenchman, Jules, and 
how he was attacked and killed by the Indians and the 
ranch set on fire. Old Jules' ranch was about a mile and 
a half below or east of the fort proper, but inside of the 
four-miles circuit. The story of the cattlemen wearing his 
ears as watch guards is manufactured out of whole cloth, 
as there were no cattlemen on the plains at that time; 
there were nothing but bull-whackers, wagon-masters or 
mule-drivers. Sam Watt knew Jules personally, and I 
regret that I cannot recall, at this interesting period, some 
of the things he told me. In reading "The Great Salt Lake 
Trail" I find illustrations^ purporting to be Old Julesburg 



1 Fort Sedgwick was established May 19, 1864, as Camp Rankin, but 
was not constructed until September of that year when, on the 27th, it 
was christened Fort Sedgwick by the war department. The post was 
situated on the south side of the South Platte river, about a mile west 
of Julesburg. In 1867 the name was transferred to the station on the 
Union Pacific railroad situated, not opposite old Julesburg, but a little 
more than three miles farther east and on the north side of the river. 



ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS, 1865-67 249 

when, in fact, they are a picture of Jack Hughes' (of the 
firm of Hughes & Bissell of Denver) Julesburg of 1865 and 
1866. Hughes had a contract with the government to 
furnish so many hundred cords of wood. Old Julesburg 
did not have any frame houses, but one can see in the 
picture two of the old adobe houses. Old Julesburg was on 
the south side of the Platte, and when the railroad builders 
reached a point opposite with their track, they called their 
town New Julesburg, and, in order to sell lots, they adver- 
tised the great improvements they were going to make 
there at once. 

Captain Westbrook, quartermaster of the post, was 
a Californian. He was succeeded by Captain Neill, a West 
Point soldier from Pennsylvania. 

While keeping this eating place at the fort, I boarded 
some of the officers and occasionally served transient meals 

Lieutenant General William T. Sherman, writing from Fort Laramie, 
August 31, 1866, said that Fort Sedgwick "is sometimes called Julesburg, 
by reason of a few adobe houses called by that name, three miles from 
the post." (House Executive Documents 39th Congress, 2d Session, v. 6, 
doc. 23, p. 9.) This statement indicates that the site of old Julesburg had 
been abandoned and the name applied to the place which became a station 
on the Union Pacific railroad the next year. 

The first buildings for Fort Sedgwick were constructed of sod by 
Company F of the Seventh Iowa regiment, under Captain Nicholas J. 
O'Brien. Captain P. W. Neill was of the Eighteenth U. S. infantry, then 
in the Division of the Missouri, and the next year, under the reorganization, 
in the Department of the Platte. Captain Eugene F. Ware describes the 
manner of constructing the first buildings in his History of the Indian 
War of 1864, page 326. Lieutenant General William T. Sherman, writing 
from Fort Sedgwick, August 24, 1866, said: "The post was first built of 
sod, and now looks like hovels in which a negro would not go". (House 
Executive Documents 39th Congress, 2d Session, p. 6.) 

Jules was not killed by Indians, but by Jack Slade, a desperado, at 
his ranch near O'Fallon's Bluff. It is said that Slade shot off one of Jule's 
ears and wore it as a memento. This brutal incident is related in detail 
in the history of Nebraska, volume 2, page 180, note; and in "The Great 
Salt Lake Trail", p. 205. The pictures alluded to by Mr. Farrell are in 
the book last named, page 162. Captain Royal L. Westbrook was in the 
volunteer service. He was appointed assistant quartermaster from Cali- 
fornia in 1863. It does not appear that Captain Neill was in the quarter- 
master service. — Ed. 



250 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

to the passengers in the overland stages at two dollars per 
meal. This would seem high, but flour cost twenty-five 
dollars for a fifty-pound bag, and other necessaries were 
equally high. I remember the battle with the Indians nine 
miles west of the fort, near Ackerly's ranch. Two women 
were brought to the fort and placed in the hospital tent, 
where they were cared for. It was said one woman was 
scalped, and whether they lived or died I cannot say, but 
the reports of the hospital would show. I remember that 
one morning, about ten o'clock, the Indians made a great 
dash through the grounds of the fort, below on the Platte 
river; and for a time all was excitement with rumors that 
the fort was attacked. 

New rules were made at the fort that no private 
business should be carried on within the four-miles limit; 
therefore old Sam Watt, myself and others had to go. 
The reason for this was that Adams, Green & Co. became 
the sutlers at the fort. That was in the summer of 1866. 

While at the fort I built a ranch on the main road to 
Fort Laramie, twenty-two miles up Lodgepole Creek. This 
ranch was on the west side of the valley and close to a dry 
creek, that in the spring used to fill up and become a large 
stream. It drained a large valley directly back of my 
ranch in a northwesterly direction and nearly at right 
angles to Lodgepole Creek valley. Here the history of my 
settlement, or intended settlement in Nebraska begins. By 
some my ranch was called "Farrell's Ranch" and by others 
the "Twenty-two Mile Ranch". Most of the time at the 
ranch life was monotonous; then, again, wagon trains used 
to stop there and make things quite lively. This section of 
your state at that time had few ranchmen and no settlers. 
In the first place, the Indians would make it too uncomfort- 
able for anyone who tried to make a home there, as the 
Cheyenne wanted it for their hunting grounds, and it was 
pretty good for that use at that time. They had to go only 



ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS, 1865-67 251 

ten miles east or west to find plenty of antelopes and 
buffaloes. Farther northeast!?], toward Cheyenne, in the 
timber section, there were deer and moose. At the ranch 
we had no trouble in getting antelopes, as they used to 
show themselves on the bluffs on either side of the valley. 

One afternoon, about the last of August, 1866, I was 
riding on an Indian pony from my ranch to Julesburg. At 
a point about nine miles from Julesburg, as it was getting 
dark, I was traveling south, the creek at my left and the 
bluffs at my right, when suddenly my pony's head turned 
west toward the bluffs and his ears shot backward and 
forward very excitedly. He kept this up for quite a while 
and then began to increase his speed and tried to leave the 
road, making tow^ard the bluffs. I looked in the direction 
that he was trying to go and saw w^hat I thought was a 
band of Indians looming up on the crest of the bluff and 
riding parallel to my course, in the same direction. It 
seemed to me a race for life, and I desperately dug the 
spurs into the pony's flanks. I had a great struggle to 
keep him on the road. He seemed to want to go to the 
Indians, as I supposed because he was a real Indian pony. 
Soon my Indians left the bluffs and were heading me off, 
still gaining on me and getting closer to the road. I had 
hoped to beat them, but it was of no use. I then began to 
think of turning back as there seemed to be about a mile 
between us; just at this time they had reached the road 
and were crossing it and to my great relief and astonishment 
I discovered they were a herd of antelopes going down to 
the creek to water. I was almost paralyzed from excite- 
ment and exhaustion. 

There were three ranches between Julesburg and the 
divide — the point where the road left Lodgepole Creek and 
turned north toward the Platte or Mud Springs; there was 
one ranch at Mud Springs. The first ranch was twelve 
miles from Julesburg. It was a temporary affair, made of 



252 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

lumber, and did not last long. I cannot recall the ranch- 
man's name. My ranch was next, twenty-two miles from 
Julesburg; the next fifteen miles farther on, and Mud 
Springs was next to that. The ranch next beyond mine was 
kept by a Frenchman named Louis Rouillet (?) and Jim 
Pringle. They did a very large business. They afterward 
left the ranch and moved to Sidney Station, on the Union 
Pacific railroad, situated a few miles up the valley. The 
ranch at Mud Springs was kept by a man named James 
McArdle, who did a very good business. The last time I 
saw him he was starting for Texas. 

My ranch was built of sod. It was about 15x18 feet, 
and the walls were three feet thick. It had a rear and a 
front door and three windows, one on either side of the 
front door and the other on the south side, looking down 
the road. These windows were built like portholes, bevelled 
off on two sides and bottom, and each had two small panes 
of glass. I had heavy double battened doors, and the roof 
was of sod laid on poles. I began an addition to the ranch 
house, in the rear, which I never finished, but used it as 
a stable for my mules and ponies. On my way from Cali- 
fornia, twenty-four years ago, from the car windows I saw 
the walls of the ranch still standing. My two brothers 
lived with me at the ranch. I had quite a number of men 
working for me from time to time, making hay in summer 
and cutting wood in winter. I remember that the names 
of four of them were, Dickenson, Wiley, Tibbets, and 
Walden, but always called "blueskin". He was about 
sixty-five years of age. He drove a stage to and from 
Chillicothe, Ohio, before there were any railroads at that 
town. Tobacco juice was always running down his pro- 
truding chin. He was a peculiar character and chewed 
and swore by note. I also had a colored man, Dick Turner, 
who was very faithful and trustworthy. He went west 



ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS, 1865-67 253 

with Captain Greene to Fort Laramie and was on his way 
back to the states when I got him. 

In the summer of 1866 I cut and put up about twenty 
tons of hay. It was not of a very good quaUty. Some of 
it I used myself and some of it I sold, but most of it was 
overrun by freighters' cattle in the storms of the winter 
of 1866-67; some of the wagon masters would pay me a 
little for the hay they took and others nothing. There was 
an officer at the fort who, while he was supposed to be giving 
all his time to the government, did a little private business 
with a cattle train. I will not mention his name. His 
cattle not only used my hay in a big storm, in March, 1867, 
but destroyed what might have been used by myself; his 
wagon master gave me a receipt for the hay, but the gallant 
officer refused to pay. I brought suit in Julesburg, catching 
him over from the fort with his light wagon and tried to 
put a lien on it, but the lawyers discovered that there was 
no jurisdiction in such cases in that part of the territory, so 
I lost the claim. I mention this to show what law-abiding 
citizens there were in those good old days. In 1867 I cut 
and put up about fifty tons of hay and put it in two ricks, 
one of thirty, and the other of twenty tons. The larger 
rick was burned. 

In the summer of 1867, the men were making hay on 
the west side of the creek when the Indians made a dash 
down on them, but as the Indians had been seen before 
they left the bluffs and were delayed by high water in the 
creek, the men got away safely. 

Another day Dick, the colored man, was down fishing 
and before he discovered them the Indians were almost 
upon him, but on the other side of the creek. He ran so 
fast to the ranch that he dropped at the door and could 
hardly speak. Dick's steel trap down at the creek caught 
an otter by the hind leg and he would not be led or driven. 



254 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Every time Dick pulled him the otter made a dive for Dick 
and they kept up the game until they got to the ranch, 
and it seemed as though Dick was the worst used up of 
the two. 

We caught a coyote in the trap, and we thought we 
could tame him. We had made a house for him, but after 
keeping him several months we found he was just as wild 
as the day we caught him, so let him go. I got up one 
morning, early, as we had been annoyed all night by 
coyotes; we thought there were about a thousand of them, 
but, to our surprise, I found only two or three. I shot at 
them with my old musket, wounding one of them so badly 
that he had to drag his hind legs after him. He started to 
run up the cafion, and, thinking that a blow of the gun 
would kill him, I followed him nearly a mile as fast as I 
could run when he stopped and faced around to fight me. 
I was so exhausted that I could not raise my gun, so I 
made up my mind to let him go. 

I was attacked several times by the Indians, usually 
very early in the morning. According to the New York 
Herald "the Farrell Ranch was burned and they were 
killed and scalped". I came very near being killed one 
day while alone at the ranch. A half dozen Cheyenne, led 
by Chief White Eye, marched in without ceremony. They 
were somewhat friendly at first. The chief sat on the 
counter near a show case and demanded sugar and coffee 
and a silk handkerchief and other trinkets, and I got a pair 
of moccasins in exchange. The others wanted whisky. 
I had a loaded gun outside the counter, and one of the 
Indians picked it up and pointed it at me; but I lifted the 
lid of the counter and went out and took the gun from 
him, which made him very angry. Another of them caught 
a mouse and brought it over and put it under my nose, 
ordering me in broken English to eat it. By this time they 
were getting very ugly and demanded whisky. Two of 



ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS, 1865-67 255 

them started out of the back door to look around. I 
reached behind the counter and picked up my sixteen- 
shooter Henry rifle and leveled it at the fellow who put the 
mouse under my nose. He backed out of the door, and 
then I waved the chief to go after him. After a good deal 
of grunting he left. When outside, they mounted, yelled, 
shot at the ranch, whooped and rode away. 

Generals Sherman and Myers, while on their way to 
Fort Laramie (I cannot remember the date)^ went into 
camp just north of the ranch. General Sherman came to the 
ranch with his quartermaster and asked me if he could see 
the proprietor. I said, "You want to see me. General?" 
*'No", he said, ''I don't want to see you, I want to see 
the proprietor of the ranch". "But", I said, "I own this 
ranch". "You!" he said, "You! Why where did you 
come from?" I said, "I came from New York". "What, 
a New York boy out here keeping a ranch! Well! Well!" 
He got what he wanted. 

I had fifty cords of wood cut at Lawrence's Fork the 
winter of 1866-67 and when attempting to haul some of it 
my two hundred dollar mule was taken by the Indians (?) 
I suspect they were white Indians in uniform going to 
Fort Laramie. As the driver heard that the Indians were 
coming, he took to a place of safety and when he came out 

- General Sherman started from Fort Sedgwick to Fort Laramie on 
the 25th of August, 1866, and, at the rate he traveled, must have passed 
Farrell's ranch that day. (House Executive Documents, 39th Congress, 
2d Session, Doc. 23, p. 7.) Brevet Brigadier General William Myers, was 
quartermaster of the department of the Platte. 

A letter from the war department to the editor, under date of January 
19, 1914, says: 

"It does not appear from the records of this office that any of the 
companies of either the 13th or 18th regiment United States infantry, was 
stationed at Fort Sedgwick, Colorado, during any part of the year 1865, 
nor does it appear that Captain P. W. Neill, 18th Infantry, or that an 
officer named Royal L. Westbrook, was stationed at that fort in that year. 
Royal L. Westbrook was not an officer in the Regular Army. Nothing has 
been found of record to show for whom the fort referred to was first 
named." — Ed. 



256 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

he found the mule had been unhitched, and afterwards he 
learned that some of Uncle Sam's Indians had passed. 

I do not now recall the exact date of the Plum Creek 
massacre^ when they scalped Mr. Thompson, who, a few 
years ago sent his dried scalp from Australia to your 
society. A story of this incident in the New York Herald, 
copied from a paper in your city, recalled it to my mind, 
and I wrote to the editor of the Lincoln paper to strengthen 
the accuracy of the account, as I was on the train on which 
this man was taken to Omaha. I was permitted, with a 
few others, to go into the car where he lay. The man in 
charge of him raised a cloth from his head and allowed us 
to look at it. He lay motionless, as though dead, and I 
was always under the impression that he was dead until 
I read the Herald's article. I was on my way to Omaha 
to buy goods for my ranch. I dealt with Will R. King & Co., 
large wholesale merchants. The ranchmen from Mud 
Springs went down a few days ahead of me. We had our 
goods shipped to the end of the Union Pacific railroad, and 
there we loaded our teams. We traveled up the north side 
of the South Platte, but waited long enough to get a number 
of teams together to form a corral, as the Indians were ugly 
at that time. At the end of the second day's drive we 
went into camp, forming a close corral. Everything was 
very quiet, we had finished our supper and it was growing 
dark when, suddenly, the horses began to be very restless, 

3 "Plum Creek Massacre" should be confined to the tragedy near 
Plum Creek station which was an incident of the Indian outbreak of 
August 7, 1864. This station was on the old Oregon and California road, 
about a mile west of the mouth of the creek. It is said that eleven emigrants 
were massacred there. On the seventh of August, 1867, Indians attacked 
a freight train on the Union Pacific railroad, about six miles west of the 
new Plum Creek station, now called Lexington. This station is situated 
about three miles west and six miles north of the old station and on the 
opposite — north — side of the Platte river. According to contemporary 
reports, the Indians killed four men and destroyed ten cars and their 
contents. Thompson's scalp was deposited in the Omaha public library. 
—Ed. 



ADVENTURES ON THE PLAINS, 1865-67 257 

then to strain at their halters. We looked in the same 
direction they did and saw a band of Indians dashing down 
from the bluffs, waving red blankets and yelling as loud 
as they could. It seemed not more than five minutes 
before they were upon us. We grabbed our guns and 
rushed for cover — some into, and others under the wagons. 
The Indians dropped onto the off side of their ponies and 
rode so fast that it was next to impossible for us to hit 
them. They answered our fire mostly with bow and arrow. 
After a while, when it was quite dark, they rode away, 
as, probably, they were uncertain of our numbers. They 
scared us badly, for we thought they were some of the 
same band that committed the massacre at Plum Creek. 

When the Union Pacific road reached Julesburg the 
camp followers moved up with it and the bad element was 
increased by others of the same kind from below. The 
town was filled with gambling houses, and tough men and 
women from "Bitter Creek", as they used to say. 

At one time a telegraph operator sent up a notice from 
Julesburg that he and his friends were coming up to the 
ranch to clean me out, but they failed to come. At another 
time a young Pennsylvanian became crazed with Julesburg 
liquor and when he reached the ranch he wanted to run 
everybody and everything. I objected to the new manager, 
and then he grabbed the weights from the counter and let 
them fly at me, one after another. He next pulled a little 
pocket revolver, rushed at me and pressed it against my 
forehead; but just at that moment some one struck him 
and he fell to the floor, and then some of his friends took 
him out of the ranch. 

These were some of the little pleasantries of frontier 
ranching. 

In the fall of 1867, having left the ranch for lack of 
business, I moved down near the creek and near the hay 
which I afterwards sold at twelve dollars a ton to Captain 

18 



258 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

O'Brien. From there I moved to the Black Hills, between 
Laramie City and Cheyenne, where I stayed all winter. 
This ended my stay in Nebraska. I tried to file a govern- 
ment claim to the land on the bottom in front of the ranch, 
but it was only a squatter's right, and I never went any 
further in the matter. 

I served in the army from 1861 to 1863. 



AN INDIAN RAID OF 1867 

By John R. Campbell 

On the 24th of August, 1865, Peter Campbell with his 
wife, four daughters and three sons sailed from Glasgow, 
Scotland, on the steamship St. George for the purpose of 
settling in the United States. Their home had been in the 
hamlet of Lochgelly in the county of Fife. Mr, Campbell's 
aged father and other members of his family had already 
emigrated to this country. The Campbell family landed 
at Quebec, Canada, after an uneventful voyage of thirteen 
days. Travel by railroad was so much slower then than 
now that it seemed ages before they arrived at St. Joseph, 
Mo., then the farthest western limit of any railway. From 
that place they traveled by steamboat to Nebraska City. 
The water being low in the Missouri, the journey required 
eight days. Nebraska City being then a crowded outfitting 
place for a great deal of the westward overland travel, 
Mr. Campbell could not find suitable accomodations for 
the family ; but the dauntless Scot spirit rose to the emerg- 
ency, and the man with his wife and seven children proceeded 
to occupy a vacant lot with nothing to protect them from 
sun, wind, or rain; and their first scanty meal on Nebraska 
soil was procured here and there as they could buy it. 
They paid five cents a quart for water and for other things 
in proportion. But a kind brother Scotchman took them 
into his home. In a week's time the emigrants again 
started westward in a two-horse wagon. After ten or 
twelve weary days they arrived at Junctionville, situated 
near the place where Doniphan, Hall county, was after- 
ward built. 

(259) 



260 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Mr. Campbell's first care was to provide shelter for his 
family, as winter was approaching, and soon a log house, 
roofed with sod and chinked with mud, was ready for 
occupancy. In the middle of the unusually long, cold 
winter Mrs. Campbell succumbed to hardship, dying in 
January, 1866. The husband and children tenderly buried 
her in a rude, unpainted coffin in a lonely wilderness gi-ave. 
In the spring of 1867 Mr. Campbell went to Nebraska City 
where he filed a homestead claim and declared his intention 
to become a citizen of the United States. He brought back 
in his wagon groceries and household goods. Their crops 
of corn, oats, wheat and vegetables were very good that 
season and a ready market at good prices was found for 
their surplus. There were then less than a dozen settlers 
up and down the valley a distance of ten miles from the 
Campbell place. 

On the twenty-fourth of July, 1867, Mr. Campbell and 
his oldest son, a lad of fourteen, went to assist a farmer 
six miles away at his harvest which began that day. About 
three o'clock in the afternoon a horseman approached the 
harvesters at full speed to tell them that Indians were 
raiding the settlement. Mr. Campbell and his son at once 
mounted a horse and started for their home. They first 
came to a neighbor's house, about a quarter of a mile from 
their own, where they found the mother of the family lying 
dead on the threshold of the door, clasping her infant son 
in her arms; and nearby a son, fourteen years of age, lay 
shot through the thigh. 

They found their own home robbed and destroyed and 
all the family missing except a girl nine years old, who 
had managed to elude the Indians by hiding in a field of 
grain and then crawling for a quarter of a mile to get out 
of sight and afterward running four miles to notify the 
neighbor who rode to give the terrible news to Mr. Camp- 
bell, as already related. A search for the missing children — 



AN INDIAN RAID OF 1867 261 

two daughters and the two youngest sons — was at once 
organized. The settlers, convinced that the single company 
of soldiers at Fort Kearny^ could not afford them protection, 
decided to abandon their homes and by evening of the next 
day the reduced Campbell family, now comprising only the 
father and one son and the grandfather and a brother, were 
the only inhabitants left in the neighborhood. In about 
a w^eek Captain Wyman with a detail of six soldiers from 
Fort Kearny joined in the search for the missing children, 
exploring the country for a distance of twenty-five miles 
southward but without success. 

At last, about the 20th of September, news came 
through the little settlement at Grand Island that the prison- 
ers had been seen at a camp of a band of Oglala Sioux on 
the Solomon river. It was rumored also that government 
authorities were treating with these Indians for the purpose 
of recovering the prisoners. Soon after [September 25] a 
communication appeared in the Omaha Repuhlican, as I 
remember it, substantially as follows: 
"Dear Repuhlican: 

Here we are again in the place noted in bygone days 
as the city of the plains, but which now looks more like 
an Indian reservation. Leaving Omaha at 6 p. m. nothing 
worthy of note transpired until we reached Elm Creek. 
Here we were aroused by the whistle down brakes repeated 
several times. "Indians! Indians!" was repeated in every 
car. Guns and revolvers were soon ready for action but 
upon closer inquiry the cause of the alarm proved to be 
another train on the track ahead of us showing a red flag. 
Antelopes and buffaloes were seen at a distance, but too 



1 According to the report of Lieutenant-General W. T. Sherman, 
commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, dated October 1 
1867, there was only "a detachment of recruits" at Fort Kearny; and, 
according to the report of the adjutant general, dated October 20, the 
garrison then consisted of two companies of the Thirtieth infantry — 
seventy-two men — commanded by Captain (Brevet-Major) A. J. Dallas 
of the Twelfth infantry. (Report Secy, of War, 2d Sess., 40th Cong., 
pp. 40, 436.)— Ed. 



262 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

far for a trj^ of our Henry rifles. We reached North Platte 
in safety and were informed that the peace commissioners 
would be there and that Spotted Tail's band would arrive 
some time that day.^ The commission arrived at 2:10 p. m. 
and the Indians at 7:30. By the aid of our glasses we 
discovered them as they crossed the river. Soon there was 
a general rush to the camp, by men, women and children, 
to greet the brave soldiers who had been so successful in 
rescuing six captives out of the hands of the barbarous 
wretches." 

Four of the prisoners proved to be the Campbell 
children. They had suffered greatly from hunger and gen- 
eral ill treatment. In the early spring of 1868 the Campbell 
family abandoned their homestead and moved to Saunders 
county, Nebraska. 

Little more need be said — only a few lines in regard 
to the survivors. The father died in November 1875. 
Christiana, the oldest daughter, became the wife of J. P. 
Dunlap of Dwight, Nebraska. Jessie, the next oldest, died 
in St. Louis ten years ago. Agnes, the nine year old daughter 
who escaped from the Indians, died nine years ago. Peter, 
one of the boys, is now living at Weston, Nebraska, and 
Daniel, the other, is living in southern Illinois. John R., 
the oldest son of the family, is at present living in Omaha. 
Lizzie, the youngest daughter, died six yeai's ago. 



2 This peace commission was appointed by the president of the United 
States, July 20, 1867, and consisted of N. G. Taylor, commissioner of 
Indian affairs; J. B. Henderson, chairman of the senate committee of 
Indian affairs; S. F. Tappan, John B. Sanborn, and Generals W. T. Sher- 
man, W. S. Harney, C. C. Augur, A. H. Terry. According to the report 
of the commission, printed in the report of the secretary of the interior, 
3d session 40th congress, page 486, it left Omaha on the 11th of September, 
1867, bound for North Platte by the Union Pacific railroad.— Ed. 



HOW SHALL THE INDIAN BE TREATED 
HISTORICALLY 

By Harry L. Keefe 

[Read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical Society, 
January 16, 1913.] 

Among the many duties and responsibilities of the 
American people there is none more vital or far-reaching in 
scope and effect, than the obligation to fix and preserve 
the true relative and historical position of the American 
Indian. We do not realize the extent of the influence of 
this race on American life, socially, intellectually, econom- 
ically and spiritually, until we consider its varied mani- 
festations. Hardly a home in our land is without some 
specimen of Indian craft. Our language is interwoven with 
Indian conception, expressed in native phrase. Nearly 
every geographical feature and political division are stamped 
with an Indian name or tradition. Our literature is blended 
with Indian tales and stories of Indian life, from The Path- 
finder to My Friend, the Indian. Operas and plays 
portraying Indian character and Indian songs and harmony 
at the outset gained and continue to hold our favor. In 
the process of the settlement of our country Indians 
guided the white man across the pathless prairies 
and through the wilderness, in many instances without 
remuneration. Many more of the early white settlers would 
have perished but for the timely aid of the Indians. The 
corn furnished by the Indians kept the pilgrims of Plymouth 
alive through a severe winter. Raleigh's little band of 
settlers at Roanoke would have perished lacking provisions 
furnished by the natives. The Jamestown colony obtained 

(263) 



264 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

corn and other articles of food and knowledge of its cultiva- 
tion of Powhatan's band. The Plymouth colony was 
assisted in like manner by the Narragansetts. From Indians 
pioneer whites learned to girdle trees and make clearings 
for crops which were new to them. Colonies from the 
principal nations of Europe, otherwise well equipped, were 
yet largely dependent upon guidance by the natives 
who were skilled in utilizing the resources of the country. 
They adopted the Indian mode of travel, and the Indian 
system of flashes and signal fires was adopted and adapted 
by the white invaders. 

In fact, the white people came to America and com- 
placently possessed themselves of American soil for a pit- 
tance, sweeping aside any vestige of prior sovereignty; 
disregarding vested rights of possession, they destroyed the 
resources that had immemorially maintained these people, 
leaving them to live their former primitive life only in 
literature, song, and tradition. The only argument which 
has been used to justify the ruthless spoilation of these 
weaker people is that they were thereby civilized and their 
condition bettered. The weakness of this argument, for 
justification's sake, lies in this: The white people, the 
interested party, thus sets itself up as the judge of what 
was best for the Indians, assuming that a white civilization 
was his salvation. 

After fifteen years of professional life on an Indian 
reservation, bringing me in touch with a number of tribes, 
I have naturally given considerable study and thought to 
the status of these people and have considered what they 
have lost and what they have gained by the revolutionary 
change in their environment. I have endeavored to con- 
sider these changes from the standpoint of Indian philosophy 
and logic, and I have concluded that by far the greatest 
loss which the Indian has sustained is that of the right to 
develop, in his own way, a civilization fitted to himself. 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 265 

This right, I beheve, belongs to every people. A race 
occupying a defined territory and free from outside inter- 
ference, is bound in time to develop a civilization of its 
own, formed in a great measure by surrounding physical 
conditions. That civilization may not be the best, judged 
by the standards of another people; but it is the best for 
the man who, through heredity and environment, is its 
product and type. 

Now, is not the American Indian, who has given and 
sacrificed so much to life in our land, entitled to have 
preserved his true place in the history of the American 
people, which is in the making? While not criticising 
historical research which has accomplished a great deal, 
still there has not been due effort by those having the 
passing facts close at hand to reach and record the full 
data of our Indian character and life so that in the future 
the Indian may be seen as he was. 

In 1900 there were 270,544 Indians ennumerated in 
the United States; in 1911, 322,715. This does not cer- 
tainly show an increase of 52,000, because the difference 
may be accounted for in part by more careful enumeration. 
There has, however, been an actual increase in the past 
ten years, and possibly the increase will continue. Indians 
will never be separately enumerated again by the census 
bureau. Their tribal relations are rapidly passing, and in 
a few years they will pass entirely out of the influence of 
their former communistic life and assume individual 
responsibility. Very few white people realize the meaning 
of the change, in a single generation, from tribal, com- 
munistic Indian life to the white men's civilization, with 
radically different property rights and other social rela- 
tions — in short, different philosophy of life. Not realizing 
his drawbacks, we become impatient because the Indian 
does not at once assume the new role and become fired 
with our own ambitions and desires. The development 



266 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and civilization he had attained in his centuries of free 
life were fastened upon him, as similar characteristics 
became fastened upon the white race. Ought the Indian 
to be expected to drop in one short generation the influences 
of hereditj'' and environment, as the snake sheds its skin, 
and at once assume all of tKe qualities of an alien civiliza- 
tion? 

Ten years, at the utmost, will see the passing of the 
last Indian who came to manhood in the purely primitive 
Indian life, and with him will pass many of the traditions 
of that life. Unless steps are taken now to preserve these 
traditions, they will be forever lost. Does not the great, 
rich state of Nebraska, which took its name, the name of 
its streams, the name of its metropolitan city, and so much 
more from this vanishing race owe some duty in the preserva- 
tion of its character and traditions? I do not mean that 
nothing has been done ; but what has been accomplished is 
the result of the unsupported enthusiasm of a few in- 
dividuals. I am asking for a carefully planned, thoroughly 
executed system of research and conservation which will 
cooperate with the efforts made by the federal government 
through the Smithsonian institution, in placing Indian 
history in Nebraska in the position which it should occupy. 

By Indian history I do not mean merely a chronological 
account of the tribal movements, hunting trips, festivities 
and other incidents of these people, but a fuller and truer 
reflection of the eveiyday life of this race in its primitive 
station and up to the time that it began to be influenced 
by the white people, so that future citizens of Nebraska 
may see these early inhabitants of our territory in their 
everyday life as they came into the world, as the children 
played and were trained, as the people built houses and 
raised crops, clothed themselves, prepared for winter, 
protected their families, and as they loved their neighbor 
and worshipped their God. Let us see them not alone on 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 267 

parade and in powwow dress and feathers, but let us observe 
their life, for 365 days in the year 1800. 

Now this is not an easy task. It is hard to get through 
the Indian's shell. He is reticent, unpretentious. He cares 
nothing for our conventionalities. The most treasured 
memories I have of these people are of occasions when I 
have come close to individuals in their private personal 
and domestic affairs when they have talked to me freely 
of the white man and his ways and of the Indian and the 
''Indian way". Those are the little glimpses, the little 
incidents which bridge across the chasm between the races. 

People may live among the Indians for a lifetime and 
see the outward signs of their manners and customs and 
know nothing of the true, rich inwardness and the beauty 
and meaning of those things that appear to us meaningless. 
Many think that by assuming the white civilization, cruelly 
thrust upon them, the Indians were the beneficiaries, giving 
up nothing worth while, and falling heirs to the great 
blessing of citizenship and all of the other trappings of 
civilization. Such a view is hardly correct from the stand- 
point of the Indian. He had a means of livelihood in his 
primitive condition sufficient for that condition. He had 
a well defined attitude toward his neighbor. He was 
circumscribed by laws as well understood and as efficient 
for him as our own are for us. He had a philosophy in- 
tricate and deep, a religion w^hich satisfied the craving of 
the spirit; in short, he had surrounded himself with all of 
the means and equipment necessary to his well-being in 
that state of life. It required but the influences of a fixed 
habitation, the division of labor, competition, and an in- 
creased congestion of life to develop the true Indian civiliza- 
tion. The fixed habitation had been realized by many 
tribes. The cultivation of the soil was well developed, and 
the Indian was well on the way to his own development of a 
civilization when the white man came and changed the map. 



268 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

I am sorry that time will not permit me to discuss Indian 
industries and art and go into a better description of his 
products. He raised and developed six varieties of corn. 
He cured and preserved his meats. He planted, cultivated, 
gathered and preserved his potatoes, turnips, squash, 
berries and nuts. The Indian had a good knowledge of the 
medicinal qualities of many plants and applied them to 
human ailments very effectively, with little more necromancy 
than many of the white doctors now practice. But all of 
these subjects must be left to the historian. 

In 1847, at a meeting of the New York Historical 
Society, Peter Wilson, a Cayuga Indian, said: "The 
Empire State, as you love to call it, was once laced by our 
trails from Albany to Buffalo. Your roads still traverse 
the same lines of communication which bound one part of 
the Long House to the other. Have we, the first holders of 
this prosperous region, no longer a share in your history?" 

I believe you will all agree with me that the Indians 
of Nebraska have a large share in our history and more 
than has been so far recognized. 

No person realizes more than I do the many obstacles 
besetting the work of the investigator in these lines. Besides 
the reticence of the Indian, there is the difficulty of finding 
the person properly prepared and equipped who will give 
the time, care and patience to the work, who can lay aside 
sentiment, curiosity, and prejudice, who has the judgment 
to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials and to 
avoid tangents, and who is broad enough to grasp the 
whole scope, meaning, and import of Indian manners and 
customs and give them their true interpretation. He 
must be able to get the confidence of the older Indians. 
This you cannot buy. He must also be able to discount 
poor interpretation. He must abandon our intricate and 
extended method of many words and ask his questions 
candidly and directly. He must learn the Indian order of 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 269 

expression. In other words, he must be a trained and 
experienced sociologist and know Indian life. He must be 
equipped with the best facilities for recording, and he 
must be a true historian. Now where is the man and from 
whence will come the support? The labor is hard, but the 
reward is great. 

I shall feel well repaid if this paper accomplishes no 
more than to create enough interest to open the eyes of the 
members of this society to our duty to the Indians, histor- 
ically, and the opportunity now open, but passing, to 
perform that duty. If this interest is awakened, I know that 
action mil be taken and Nebraska will not forget her name- 
sake, and that Omaha will do her duty towards the people 
who gave her their land and their name. 



Continuing extemporaneously Mr. Keefe said: One of 
the most beautiful things in the Indian philosophy is his 
idea of the ownership of property. It was that the elements 
consisting of air, water, and land belong to all men; that 
every person has a right to take possession of so much of 
that air, so much of that water, and that land as he needs 
for his sustenance, and as long as he possesses them, or as 
long as he lives, he uses them for himself, but the moment 
he passes on, they go back to the community. 

That is the idea in a few words. The Indian is com- 
munistic, in a sense. He claims he has a right to hold his 
land or sell it if he wishes to. When he sells a piece of 
land and spends the proceeds of it, he does so just as freely 
with the last dollar as with the first. We blame him for it. 
Go back fifty years, and what did his father or his fore- 
fathers do? How did they live? What was their idea of 
land? It goes back to the communistic value. • It is of no 
value to him except as he lives upon it, uses it, and 
occupies it. 



270 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The Indian does not come into this life as you and I 
came in with generations and generations of people behind 
us. That love for the individual holding, with the idea of 
value, of a piece of land that you and I have, is not inbred 
in him. He loves his home just as much as anyone 
does, but without the idea of a homestead that is bred by 
generations into the Anglo-Saxon race. I have heard lots 
of people criticise Indians and say, "Why, just look at 
them! they sell the very last piece of land they have and 
buy horses!" And that is true. When they have enough 
horses they will buy more, and when they have bought 
them, they will borrow more money and buy more horses; 
that is traditional. The horse was the standard of value 
fifty or seventy-five years ago among them. The horse 
was their dollar of money. Do you wonder then at this 
prepossession? 

We are wont to look at the Indian as if he were on 
parade. We see him or his father as a show Indian, which 
he is not. I remember many incidents that led me to this 
belief. Lately it was my privilege to appear in a case in 
court, known as the "Standing Bear" case from the Ponka 
reservation, which had been pending for four years. Stand- 
ing Bear, as many of you know, was a Ponka chief. This 
case was the subject of considerable litigation, over the 
question of citizenship, in the federal court in Omaha. 
By the way, the president of this association appeared in 
the case as a defender of Standing Bear, but that was before 
I came to Nebraska. But Standing Bear did as all other 
good Indians did — left a family, and there has been some 
litigation over his estate. 

The testimony of one of his witnesses, known as 
Yellow Horse, a very careful old man about his statements, 
was taken at Niobrara about a year ago. The old man 
was sitting in the room where the evidence was being 
taken. A question was raised as to the age of a certain 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 271 

child at a certain time. You know with an Indian you can 
not say, referring to the year 1904 or 1905, such things 
were true. You must go back and say, "At the time the 
stars fell, then the Ponka were at such and such a place, 
were they?" Answer, "Yes, sir". "Very well, when they 
camped at such and such a creek (knowing what those 
days were) then was this boy living?" 

That is the way you have to bring out Indian testimony. 
I asked old Yellow Horse, who was watching the proceed- 
ings, the age of this boy at a certain time. They never 
put their hands this way (indicating). I said, "The boy 
was seven years old, was he"; and he said, "No". I said, 
"Was he six years old"; and he said, "No". Well, was 
he five years old and he answered, "No"; and so I went 
on down to three years, and Yellow Horse did not believe 
the child was three years old. I said to him, "Give us the 
age or size of the boy, and he held up his hands this way 
(indicating). I said, "Just hold them there", and went 
over and put my hands up and marked it about like that. 
Then I stepped back and said, "You say the boy was 
that tall at that time"? Old Yellow Horse looked at me 
and he said to the interpreter, " Oh, I thought I was sitting 
on the ground". He was sitting on the ground at the 
time he had referred to. He was sitting on the ground in 
the tepee and did not realize he was that much above 
the ground at the time he was being examined. 

There are dozens and dozens of those incidents oc- 
curring every day that bring a person in close touch with 
the simplicity of these people and at the same time with 
their truths. 

One night at ten o'clock, about four years ago, I was 
called up by telephone by a friend of mine on the reserva- 
tion. He said that an Indian boy by the name of William 
Cox had shot himself. The person telephoning was a young 
Indian woman, and she asked me to come over. She said 



272 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

this boy had been living with his grandmother, and she 
wanted me to come and bring a doctor. I went over with 
the doctor. The boy had killed himself and none of them 
had been anywhere near the corpse. By the way, he had 
been somewhat demented for years. It was the most weird 
thing I ever saw. The night was dark, with thunder and 
lightning, and we could hardly find our way with the rain 
falling. 

When we got where the boy was we found him in a 
little opening among some trees. He had shot himself 
with a shotgun, but none of the people had been anywhere 
near him. I assisted in getting the corpse into a room and 
helped prepare it for burial. We did this because the Indians 
are very careful about touching a dead body. I noticed 
they were especially careful in this case. This doctor, by 
the way, had some Indian blood. Just before I left and 
before locking the room, a very old lady came into the 
room with a blanket around her and, for the first time, 
approached the corpse, went to the feet, and lifting the 
sheet over the corpse did something. I did not show my 
curiosity but waited until she was gone out of the room ; then 
I looked to see what she had done, and I found that with 
a butcher knife she had slashed the feet of the dead body 
several times. I said nothing about it at the time. The 
doctor saw what had taken place. On our way home 
I asked the doctor what that meant, and she told me that 
this was the second instance of a suicide in the Omaha 
tribe in almost a generation. She said there is a tradition 
among the Indians that when a person takes his own life 
his spirit will return, and if the corpse is buried either with 
the face down, so that it cannot return, or the feet are 
slashed, so that the walking will be difficult, the spirit may 
not come back. I intended speaking something of Indian 
philosophy, but I want to say a word now concerning Indian 
literature. I believe that is one of the things we regret 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 273 

the most to see pass away unrecorded — Indian eloquence 
and Indian literature. I think the most touching thing I 
ever heard was an old man speaking at a funeral. At such 
times it is customary for one of the oldest men to address 
the audience or mourners. This was a wrinkled old man, 
always considered simple, of little or no business judgment, 
and who had always appeared to me as without very much 
force or character. He stood before the coffin that day and 
his speech was interpreted to me. 

The old man pushed back his hair and said: "My 
sister" (pointing to the corpse), "you have gone before; 
you have passed over the mountain. On its peak I am 
standing. I can look over into the world to which you 
have gone. I can look back into the world from which 
you have gone. I hear around you the voices of your 
children. You have gone before us. I hear the voices of 
your mother's children as they wept when she passed over 
the mountain. I hear the voices of your mother's mother's 
children as they wept. And such is the course of man. 
You have gone before. You were taken when the flowers 
were blooming in your life. I am left here when the leaves 
have fallen off their branches. We don't know why you 
were taken; we can only say that the One above knows 
why I was left standing here with the leaves falling upon 
my branches." 

While this interpretation is quite accurate, it has 
lost all its beauty in translation. It is the crudest kind of 
an interpretation, but is as near as I can give it. 

Indian life is full of that kind of beauty, with that 
kind of expressions, the nicest kind, the most direct. 

About two years ago I was in court when a lawyer 
in cross-examining an Indian witness queried: "Now, con- 
sidering your relations with the plaintiff, and the various 
transactions between you, what was your opinion as to the 
relative state of facts at the time those relations were 

19 



274 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

had?" — or something to that effect. The Indian looked 
at the lawyer a while and then said, "I think so". I am 
telling this to illustrate how often we approach these 
people with just such complicated ideas in our heads, 
which, often, we don't understand ourselves but expect 
them to understand. 

Another story illustrates the point directly. Some 
years ago a special agent came from Washington with a 
message to a certain western tribe. He attempted to 
impress upon the Indians a conception of the rich blessing 
they were enjoying through American citizenship; but of 
course they did not comprehend it. He assured them that 
the great father in Washington had given them all these 
blessings and the protection of the country backed by a 
great army and a great navy. " We have heard in Washing- 
ton", he said, "that some of you are living with two wives. 
We are pained to know that this is true". The Indians 
made little response until a man of middle age arose and 
said: 

"We are sorry to know that the great father feels this 
so deeply. It is true that some of us live with two women. 
It is true, but we keep those two women in the same tent, 
the same house. I find that some white men live with a 
woman as his wife in one house but has another wife some- 
times in another house, but does not say anything about 
it. Our fault must be because we have them both together 
in the same house and tell about it." 

Last Friday a young man and a young woman came 
to me, not together, separately as a friend. The young man 
was quite well educated. The young woman said she 
expected to be married. She did not tell the prospective 
husband's name but said only, "He will come". In an 
hour or so the young man came and said: "We are going 
to be married". He did not say to whom — only that she 
had been here. They asked me to go to Sioux City with 
them and help them to get a license. I replied, jokingly, 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 275 

" I will go with you but there is one thing that I always do 
in such circumstances, or if I have anything to do with the 
ceremony, I always kiss the bride." He did not know 
whether I was joking or not. He hesitated a long time 
before replying: "Well, we will see. I guess we have to 
have you go along and I guess, sir, that will be all right 
this time." 

I think one of the most amusing stories of Indian life 
that I have heard was told to me about two years ago, 
about an old man, a fine old character and philosopher, 
who had discovered the right way of living and who was 
bubbling over with good nature all the time, telling about 
some jokes that passed among them in early days. A 
young man called MAESHTIEGA (meaning a rabbit) had 
been married a few years and his wife was one of the sub- 
stantial kind with some very decided ideas. There was a 
little trouble council in which a man, after talking for some 
time with much agitation, said: "My friends, there is 
something I want to tell you all. My wife loves another 
man" — speaking his name. This seemed to have a de- 
pressing effect upon those present. Finally the speaker 
picked up his wife's blankets and laid them down at the 
feet of the other man, saying: "I have no ill will toward 
you or against either of you". 

In Indian life that was the bravest thing a man could 
do. It was one of the greatest acts of personal sacrifice 
that a man could make. It was very uncommon also; 
but, believing that his wife loved another man more than 
she loved him, he gave her to him. Among those present 
there was a flutter of excitement, showing sympathy and 
admiration for the husband for his bravery. Rabbit was 
looking on and listening. He realized what this man had 
done, the bravest thing that a man could do. Rabbit was 
a brave man himself, though he was so good-natured about 
it that the people did not take him seriously. But he got 



276 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

up, thinking he was going to make a name for himself, and, 
pointing to a certain man among them, said: "It is a 
great sacrifice that I am making but I give my wife to 
that man". There was no occasion for it. The old lady 
wrapped the blankets about her and said, "No you don't, 
I shall go to my father's tent". And she took her blankets 
and few belongings and went to her father's tent. Rabbit's 
bravery had been turned into ridicule; and the story goes 
that that night Rabbit was heard approaching the tent of 
his wife's father singing and calling her to come back. So 
the Omaha made up a little song about it of which I wish 
I could give you the translation. It was a very clever 
take-off on the old man's bravery. 

On the Omaha reservation we had another character; 
I am sure she was something like Mrs. Partington. She 
spoke English. I have never met another person who 
could twist great big words around as she could. My wife 
and I once called on the old lady and she gave me a present. 
Then she went over to my wife and said: "Now, Mrs. 
Keefe, you must not be jocose (meaning jealous) about this 
man." She was telling a short time before about her 
father, who was a fine old man. She said he told her that 
the people were not eating the right things, but were 
eating a lot of things out of tin cans, and that was not 
the right way. When he was young he did not eat meat, 
but he ate turnips and herbs and such things, and those 
old people who ate those things never died but these other 
people died, because they ate things out of stores and out 
of tin cans. Then she said to her father, "Those old 
people never die?" He said, "No; when I was a young 
man they never died." She replied, "My father, where 
are those old people that never died, where are they now?" 
And added: "Then father he can't talk any more." 

It is true that those people in the early days lived on 
what nature furnished. In fact, we hear people say after 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 277 

they come from the reservation, "How are these people 
going to support themselves, or is the government support- 
ing them? Where are they finding sustenance and how?" 
They supported themselves a long time before the white 
people came and very few of them ever perished from 
want. 

DISCUSSION BY MELVIN R. GfLMORE 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: 

We have a duty to perform in relation to the Indians 
who inhabited this country and these plains before the 
white man extended his powers thus far west. We should 
preserve a true portrayal of the Indian life. It is our duty 
to preserve for their descendants representations of what 
their ancestors were. How fascinating it would be if we 
could know what our ancestors were at a very early stage 
when they were in Europe living a wild life. How interest- 
ing it would be if we knew the manner of life of our ancestors 
who lived on the plains and in the forests of Germany and 
northwestern Europe. If the Romans who conquered us 
had only thought it worth while to preserve our songs, 
dances and stories, and the means of subsistence which we 
had, you can imagine readily the interest it would be to us. 
We owe it to the descendants of the aborigines of this 
country, that we have overturned and made into another 
country, to get a picture of their old life. We are fond of 
calling certain characteristics American in contradistinction 
to others of Europe. We speak of the American's love of 
personal independence. That is one of the personal char- 
acteristics of the Indians before they were made dependents. 
I suppose there were no more self-reliant people in the 
world than the Indians were before we came and changed 
them to what they are now, forcing them into a new mold. 
I think it is a wonderful thing that these people could be 
made over in one generation and are here at this time, 



278 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

taking their place as citizens under our form of government 
and working under our industrial system. 

I knew an old man who was of mature age when the 
tribe went upon the reservation. He lived the old life and 
was known as a good member of the tribe in the old way of 
life. When, in 1855, they were put upon the reservation, 
he, along with all the others, had to make his life all over 
again; and he succeeded to such an extent that he was as 
good a farmer as there was in the county. He could not 
read the Twentieth Century Farmer and got no help from 
farmers' institutes. He had to work out his own salvation. 
When he died he had a good farm and cultivated all the 
grains grown in our climate. He raised cattle, hogs and 
poultry. The care of poultry is the last thing an Indian 
will undertake, because to do so he must stay at home to 
watch the young chicks, and he does not like to be so 
bound down, but this man had all these things. 

There is no primitive people that has so strong a hold 
on our imagination as the American Indians. How large 
a place they occupy in the history of this country! I regret 
that there is so much fanciful writing concerning them. 
The truth would be more interesting and better reading 
than the wild fancies of \\Titers who wish to produce what 
they suppose readers require. There is so much quackery 
practiced by white people in their writing about the Indians. 
There are many people who go to the reservation, look at 
them, go away and write volumes when they do not know 
what they are writing about. The Indian had started in 
the'^way of agriculture. The greatest cereal in our country 
was developed from the wild state by Indian planters, 
laboriously working with rude tools. Think of the long 
generations and succession of ages required to develop 
maize — Indian corn. All evidences of botany, philosophy, 
ethnology, folklore, and every avenue of approach to the 
question leads to the conclusion that the native place of 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 279 

the wild plant that was developed into com was in the 
southern part of Mexico, among the Maya, a nation which 
had acquired a considerable degree of civilization. There are 
other plants that we have received from them. The bean — 
except the white navy bean, the soy bean, and perhaps one 
or two others from Asia; the potato from South America; 
the squash, red peppers, tomatoes, tobacco (though that is 
a gift of doubtful value) have come to us from the Indians. 

Of corn the PawTiee, Omaha, Ponka, and the Oto 
raised a number of varieties of all the different types that 
we have now. They cultivated fifteen kinds of beans, eight 
kinds of squash and one of melon. We have many medicines 
that we learned of from the Indians. A native Nebraska 
plant has become one of our best medicines. The old name 
was Echinacea angustifolia, but in the revised botanical 
nomenclature it is now called Brauneria pallida. It was 
known to the Indians many years ago, and Dr. Meyer, of 
Pawnee City, Nebraska, introduced it into our materia 
medica some years ago. The art of making sugar from 
trees (maple sugar) is of American Indian origin. The 
eastern tribes make it from the hard maple trees, but the 
tribes out here in Nebraska made sugar from the sap of 
the soft maple. The Omaha word for sugar is ZHA^NI, 
ZHA^ means wood, and NI means water. The very word 
shows that they had the article before they ever saw a white 
man. In the Dakota language the word for sugar is CHA^ 
HA^PI, wood juice, or tree juice, CHA^ meaning wood, 
and HA^PI meaning juice. They would not have so called 
it if they had first seen it as the white man's manufactured 
product. 

Mr. Keefe said something about taking possession of 
this country from American Indians. It is common to 
speak of the Indians as dirty, lazy beings, hanging around 
white settlements begging. I would ask you who the 
beggars were a hundred years ago? In Nebraska the 



280 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Indians were the independent people then. They knew how- 
to live under conditions prevalent at that time. We did 
not. We had to beg from them shelter, food and clothing. 
Our trappers and explorers could not have lived without 
the aid of the Indians. They were dependent upon them. 
We were the beggars then. We have destroyed the means 
of support they had. This is not the country now that it 
was to them at that time. It is wonderful that in one 
generation they could learn how to adapt themselves to 
these new conditions. They can not live now in the old way, 
because we have destroyed the resources they had. They 
have only just begun to adapt themselves to this new 
environment and to support themselves under these con- 
ditions. The woman's work then, as now, was much the 
same. Her job has not been changed. She was always, 
then and now, the home maker, but the man has been 
thrown out of a job because we have changed the conditions 
of life for him. He was a provider and defender under old 
conditions, as a hunter; but now he cannot provide because 
he does not know how under changed conditions. So it 
came to be said that the Indian "let the women do the 
work." The man's work is changed, so he must learn a 
new job. Imagine China coming over to America and 
overwhelming us and putting us on reservations and putting 
agents over us to mold us into the Chinese form of civiliza- 
tion. Imagine how reluctant we should be to take on that 
form of government and be molded that way, to wear our 
hair in a queue, to eat Chinese food, and wear Chinese 
clothes. How quickly we would go back to our old ways 
instead of the way the Chinese would want us to do. We 
would go back to our own way because it would be easier 
for us to act in our own way. I would not want to be made 
into a poor imitation of a Chinese; no more does the Amer- 
ican Indian want to be made into a poor imitation of a 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 281 

European. By that illustration you can see how hard it 
has been for them to learn a new job. 

Mr. Keefe said that the American Indian is entitled to 
have preserved his true place in history. The Indians have 
affection for their home land. They revere the graves of 
their ancestors. They commemorate localities indentified 
with incidents of their tribal history. We are strangers in 
this land; we have not been here so very long. We are 
not attached to it by a long line of ancestry as they are. 
The Pawnee were a Nebraska people. Their country was 
all the middle part of Nebraska. They love it as their 
fatherland. Even the children born since they left Nebraska 
have heard so much about the old home land that they 
think of it with affection and are always glad to talk about 
it with any one from Nebraska. Now they are carried 
away into another land where climate and water and con- 
ditions of life are different; and as it was not their own 
choice, they went away in 1875 about 2,200 strong; they 
are less than seven hundred now. Weakened by the change 
in climate, by being pressed into the arbitrary mold of our 
manner of life, and by homesickness for the fatherland, 
they have dwindled down to a small number. The Omaha 
are about as numerous as they ever were. They are still 
in their fatherland. The Pawnee are not so fortunate. 
Indians of many tribes have been taken from every part of 
the country — from timbered lands, prairie lands and the 
mountains — and dumped into Oklahoma. ■ We do not know 
the human interest that attaches to their former occupation 
and their early life in this land. We do not know how they 
lived. We do not know the songs they sang or the shrines 
they had. We do not know the holy places and the places 
of their graves. These would have been of great interest 
to us. I know it certainly would have been so to me. 

A student of the university came in and asked some 
questions concerning Indian geography and botany of 



282 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Nebraska, and when I answered her questions and extended 
remarks on the aboriginal geography and botany and 
showed their coiTelations with the Indian life of the state, 
she said: "Nebraska now means more to me and is dearer 
than ever before." So when all our people know there is 
something of human interest that attaches to Nebraska 
it will be dearer to us although it was not our ancestors' 
home. 

As to the difference between Indians and white people, 
it has been said, "The Indian is just humanity bound in 
red." There is another saying which might apply here: 
"The colonel's lady and JuHa O'Grady are sisters under 
the skin." Indians are different from us only superficially. 
We are brothers under the skin. 

I remember what an educated Omaha Indian woman 
said to me in speaking of the difficulty of being built over 
into a new form of life: "The Omaha have not had time 
to rightly learn the white man's civilization, because it has 
taken all their time and attention to keep from being 
cheated out of eveiy thing they have." Although her 
husband is a white man, and she was speaking to me, 
another white man, she said: "Sometimes I wish I might 
never see a white face again. " She was not thinking of her 
husband, nor of me as a white man. She thought of her 
husband as a husband and not as a white man, just as she 
thought of me as a friend, not as a white man. She was 
thinking of white men in the mass. If you lived on 
the reservation, as Mr. Keefe does, you would know how 
true that is. 

I wonder whether Mr. Keefe had the story of MA^- 
SHTI^GA correct or not. I heard it a little differently 
from his rendering. This is the story of the origin of a 
society in the Mandan tribe. A party were out scouting 
for the enemy, being in the enemy's country. One evening, 
at just about the beginning of the evening meal, as they 



THE HISTORICAL INDIAN 283 

were sitting around the fire, all at once they heard a voice 
singing a song of defiance. The leader put ashes over the 
fire to extinguish the light. Then they deployed around a 
wide circle and when they came together they were around 
a tree which showed marks of a fire on its bark about five 
feet high. At the foot of the tree there were ashes and 
burnt human bones. The leader said : " Here died a man " ; 
and out of this incident there sprung a society which I 
think is something like the society of the Knights of 
Pythias. It was founded on the sentiments of loyalty and 
devotion to duty and to each other. The society increased 
in numbers and spread to other tribes. A member of the 
society had the misfortune of which Mr. Keefe spoke. He 
made a feast to his companions in the society. He said to 
his wife, "Boil meat." That meant to make a feast for 
his companions. He invited them in. The woman went 
to the spring for water. One of his companions slipped 
away from the tent and, out of her sight, saw her talking 
with another man, her lover, by the spring. Afterwards 
she came back with the water. Her husband knew that he 
could not hold his wife's affections. The companion came 
back and told what he had seen, that she had been talking 
with this other man, her lover. The feast went on, and they 
were all seated about. The husband arose at the feast — he 
had sent some of his companions out to get and bring in 
this other man that had been talking to his wife and he 
had come in. The husband then arose and sang this song: 
"I spoke to the woman but she would not hear, so I give 
her to you." These words are all there is to the song and 
it is still sung among the Omaha today. Then he took her 
blankets over and laid them at the feet of the other man, 
his wife's lover, as Mr. Keefe narrated to you. It was 
considered as a great deed of resignation and an act of 
bravery. It was several generations ago that this original 
incident occurred. So MA^SHTP'GA, who was a member 



284 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

of the Mandan society in the Omaha tribe, thought it 
would be a brave act to do the same thing, and at a feast 
which he made to his companions of the Mandan society- 
he got up and sang this song. There was no cause for it, 
so she went to her father's lodge, and he had a much harder 
time wooing her back than he had to win her at first. 

We have cut the Indians off from the development of 
a civilization of their own in the beginning of their progress. 
If they had not been disturbed they would, of course — as 
we did, as the Chinese did, and as every other nation has 
done — have developed a civilization of their own along 
the line of resources and conditions of the country. We 
have developed our civilization under European conditions. 
We never can know what their civilization would have been. 
We do not know what shape it would have taken. They 
would have progressed; they were on the way. We are 
on the way, only a little farther along. They would have 
progressed to some form of civilization suited to their 
condition here. Of course, in time, there will be only one 
civilization over the whole world. 



IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY OF LOCAL 
HISTORY 

By James E. Le Rossignol 

[Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January 13, 1913.] 

Mr. Chairman, and Ladies and Gentlemen: 

Mr. Paine, your secretary, tells me that he would like 
to have an expression from an outsider on the subject of 
local history. I know little of history in general and less 
of local history and therefore think myself well qualified 
to speak as an outsider. True, I have read a great deal of 
the sort of history that was written thirty or forty years 
ago, before modern methods of investigation were well 
established, but now I know that most of the information 
thus obtained was quite unreliable, and I have not been 
able to improve my knowledge, or ignorance, in recent 
years. But I have, as you see, a proper spirit of humility, 
which should lead me in the right way, though it may not 
lead me far. Also I have much sympathy with historians, 
knowing the difficulty of their work of investigation and 
the still greater difficulty of arousing the public to a due 
appreciation of this great and important work. 

It was courageous in Mr. Paine to let an outsider like 
myself speak on this platform because he did not know what 
I might say. I might say something that I ought not to 
say. For example, I might say that history is no more 
important than political economy, but it would be an im- 
pertinence to make such a statement on this occasion, so 
I will not say it. I might say that all historians are liars, 
but I will not say that, either, for it is not true. To be 

(285) 



286 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

sure, some historians of the past, particularly biographers 
and genealogists, have told a good many lies, but they are 
all dead now, and we hope that they have long since expiated 
their faults and have been admitted to the historian's 
paradise. 

As to historians of the present day, they have only 
one virtue, the worship of truth, and no redeeming vices at 
all. They will tell the truth and shame the devil, and all 
their best friends as well. Nothing escapes the historian's 
searchlight, and, like the recording angel, he sets down 
everything — good, bad, and indifferent — in his book. I 
have a wholesome fear of the historian, for I realize that at 
this very moment he may be taking down all that I am 
saying and that at some future time, in this world or the 
next, my words may rise up in judgment against me. So 
I try to be careful as to what I say before an audience like 
this and am tempted to use words not to express thought 
but to conceal it. 

There is a good story about an Assyrian historian who 
used to write upon tables of clay, which were then dried or 
burned and piled away in the library. This Assyrian had a 
mortal enemy and spent many days thinking of the most 
cruel and unusual punishment that he could inflict upon 
him. Finally a brilliant thought came to him, and before 
the inspiration cooled he ran to his enemy with a brick 
and said: "Sir, you are the meanest man I know. I might 
curse your ancestors, but I will not. I might curse yourself 
and all your posterity, but I will do worse than that. 
Listen! tremble! I will write your evil deeds upon this 
brick, have it packed away in the royal archives, and when, 
five thousand years hence, men dig up the ruins of our 
city, they will read about your crimes and you shall be 
infamous forever." 

There is a moral in this story, for it shows very well 
the ethical value of history. The historian is the man with 



STUDY OF LOCAL HISTORY 287 

the searchlight who peers into everything and tells every- 
thing that he sees. Like the law, he is a terror to evil 
doers and a praise to them that do well, because he tells the 
truth. Publicity kills many social evils as sunlight kills the 
germs of many diseases, while it encourages good deeds as 
the sunlight gives life to grass and flowers. Common gossip 
contributes to this end. The press does much to make 
people respectable ; and history, by keeping a record of the 
words and deeds of men, helps them to realize the im- 
portance of life and the value of a good name. We live not 
only in the eyes of our friends and neighbors but in the 
sight of a larger world and in the view of future generations, 
and the thought of many eyes looking upon us and many 
minds pronouncing judgment upon us cannot but make us 
careful about what we say and do. 

In former times historians used to color and distort 
facts for the glorification of their friends and patrons; 
more recently they would pervert the truth for the edification 
of children and the development of patriotism; but now, 
in this age of science, the historian follows truth alone and 
worships the God of Things as they are, believing that 
honest character and worthy patriotism can never be built 
upon a foundation of lies. So the historian describes the 
Pilgrim Fathers as they were, gives a true picture of colonial 
life with light and shade, explains the right and wrong of 
the revolutionary war, the war of 1812, the civil war, doing 
justice to both sides and favoring none. He tells of the 
greatness and littleness of our heroes, shows the successes 
and failures of the past, and traces the path of progress as 
well as he can for example, warning and guidance to future 
generations. 

It used to be the custom to glorify the pioneer, to 
make of him a sort of saint or missionary who came to the 
western plains for the glory of God and the salvation of the 
Indian. There were saints and missionaries in those days, 



288 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

as now, but the typical pioneer was nothing of the sort; 
and to paint him with a halo about his head is to do him 
an injustice and make him ridiculous. The surviving 
pioneers do not desire such a picture and those who have 
passed into the eternal world do not need it. 

For all that, it is well to honor the pioneers, to treasure 
their memory, to be grateful to them for what they have 
done in making it possible for us to live in peace and comfort 
in this good land. The worship of ancestors is not altogether 
without a rational basis. If we honor our ancestors, our 
children will honor us, and there is something beautiful and 
inspiring in the thought of successive generations looking 
backward in appreciation of all that was good in their 
fathers and mothers, and looking forward in hope that their 
children and children's children will be still nobler and 
better than they. Family pride that is based upon honor 
and virtue is a good thing, and the just pride of a people 
in the character and achievements of their ancestors is a 
power that makes for good in the education of the rising 
generation. 

The people of the Old World understand the import- 
ance of this more than we do, and we must not be ashamed 
to imitate them. It is a fine thing to see, in cities like 
Edinburgh, Munich, and Geneva, how they remember 
their great men by monuments, statues, tablets, memorial 
windows, and records of every kind, in streets, churches, 
colleges, museums, libraries and many other places. As 
one walks along Princess street in Edinburgh, for example, 
and sees the noble monuments to Walter Scott, Robert 
Burns, Allan Ramsay, James Hogg and many more of the 
worthies of Scotland, one cannot but think how inspiring 
it must be to live in a place where the past is remembered 
and where citizens who serve their country well may hope 
to live in the thoughts of future generations. 

In this respect local history may be of greater ethical 



STUDY OF LOCAL HISTORY 289 

value than national or world history, for by it the work of 
obscure men and women of whom the world at large can 
never hear, may be noticed and remembered. To this end 
we need not only the history of the country as a whole, 
but the history of every state, city, town, county, church, 
society, and family ; and it should be the ambition of every 
man, woman and child to have a good name and an honor- 
able place in the little circle to which he belongs. 

If it is true that the study of local history can and will 
improve the character of individuals, it follows that it will 
also improve the government, which is in a large measure 
a reflection of the character of the people. It will develop 
local patriotism and a civic consciousness, without which, 
in a democratic country, good government is impossible. 
We of the West cannot deny that we are somewhat lacking 
in local pride. We are always talking of the places where 
we were born — of Chicago, New York, Philadelphia or 
Boston, instead of Omaha, Lincoln, Hastings or Beatrice. 
Our heart is in the place where we were born and brought 
up and not in the place where we live. We are pilgrims 
and strangers here. Lincoln is our dwelling place, but 
Boston is our home. This is not right. We need not forget 
our old home, indeed we cannot, but we must be loyal to 
the place where we live and work. Here is our home; here 
are our friends; here is our opportunity; our duty is here, 
and here we shall find our reward — the satisfaction that 
comes from honest effort, from the approval of our neigh- 
bors and the hope that the work of our hands will be estab- 
lished for good. 

We are not altogether responsible for our lack of local 
patriotism, which is largely the result of the unsettled con- 
dition of a new country; but we are responsible, in so far 
as that lack is due to our own selfish indifference and 
neglect. Time will work great change in this regard. Con- 
ditions will become more stable; migration will be relatively 

20 



290 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

less; the proportion of native born to the total population 
will increase; the people will have a stronger attachment 
to their native state; they will be less tolerant of bad 
government and more eager to make improvements of 
every kind, that the state may be a good place in which to 
live. All these things will come about in the course of 
time; but they will come much sooner if people are conscious 
of their need and willing to take measures for bringing 
about the results which they desire. Among these measures, 
I take it, none is more important than the works of an 
Historical Society, such as this. 

If the Nebraska State Historical Society did nothing 
more than make the state interesting to the people who 
live in it, it would be doing a work the value of which 
would far outweigh the cost. The West is a wonderful 
country, well named the Golden West. It has good soil, 
a fine climate, great fields of corn, cattle upon a thousand 
hills, splendid resources and prospects of every kind. In 
so far as material things are concerned the people of the 
West have everything that they need: food, shelter, 
clothing — all the necessaries and luxuries of life, not to 
mention automobiles, which some would place among the 
best things that the world can give. But it must be ad- 
mitted that something is lacking; it is hard to say what. 
Man cannot live by bread alone, nor even by automobiles. 
There are some higher values without which the lives of 
the richest must be bare and empty. 

The people of Europe may be poor in material wealth, 
but in their places of historical interest with all the senti- 
ments that attach to them they have treasures that money 
cannot buy. The Germans have the Rhine which, from 
Schaffhausen to Aachen, is an epitome of their history for 
two thousand years. The English have Cromlechs, Norman 
castles, Gothic cathedrals and historic remains of every 
kind, calling up memories of a great and glorious past. 



STUDY OF LOCAL HISTORY 291 

The Scots never cease to boast of their little hills and 
vales, their insignificant streams and barren moors, because 
they are full of memories of Bruce and Wallace, of Robert 
Burns and Walter Scott. The Irish may be exiled from 
their native land, but ever look back with pride and affection 
to the land of the shamrock, the hill of Tara, the lakes of 
Killarney. Memories such as these may not satisfy bodily 
hunger or thirst or protect against the winter's cold, but 
when people are fed and clothed and sheltered they feel 
the need of something that shall beautify and glorify life, 
make them proud of their fellow countrymen and willing 
to live and die for their native land. 

Nebraska is by no means without a history, as the mem- 
bers of this society well know ; and it is the purpose of the 
society to collect and preserve the records of the past, so that 
the people at large may know that they are living on historic 
ground, may take a greater pride in the state and be willing 
to make great^f sacrifices for the general good. Material 
prosperity is desirable, for it is the basis and foundation 
of higher things ; but very many of our fellow citizens have 
all the material wealth that they need, all the lands, houses 
and automobiles that they can use, and it is high time that 
they should take a greater interest in the cultural side of 
life, in science, art, literature, and history, without which 
a truly gi'eat civilization is impossible. 

Some fingal soul — a taxpayer, probably— may ask the 
very pertinent question, "Will it pay?" In answer to this 
question it would not be hard to show that all the money 
spent on the study of local history, like bread cast upon the 
waters, is likely to be returned many fold. Consider the 
value of real estate alone, a value that cannot exist unless 
people stay in the state, where they will not stay unless 
they find life worth living there. All the things that tend 
to make life interesting, to glorify and beautify life, such 
as parks and play grounds, beautiful streets and public 



292 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

buildings, churches, schools, colleges and universities, art, 
music, history, science, philosophy, religion, and a spirit 
of patriotism and good fellowship among the people; all of 
these things tend to keep the people of Nebraska at home 
and to increase the value of real estate. On the contrary, 
the lack of these things tends to drive people away to 
Colorado, California, or elsewhere, and to cause the value 
of real estate to come down. 

Again, it may be that through the works of the Histor- 
ical Society other important contributions will be made to 
the material wealth of the state and this in an unexpected 
direction. The researches of Mr. Gilmore, for example, 
show that most valuable results might follow from investiga- 
tions carried on in a purely scientific spirit. Mr. Gilmore 
has made a study of cei'tain food plants used by the Indians 
long before the arrival of the whites, and it may be that 
some of these plants will prove to be of great economic 
value and do much to solve the problem of the arid West. 
If so, the money spent on the Nebraska Historical Society 
will be returned a thousand fold. 

But even if this work should not pay in dollars and 
cents, if there should be no increase in the value of lands, 
or houses, or cattle, but only an improvement in the char- 
acter of the people, an addition to the beauty and dignity 
of life, a contribution to those spiritual values which make 
life worth living; even if nothing more than that should 
come of the study of local history, I am sure that the best 
citizens of Nebraska would agree with the members of the 
Historical Society in thinking that all the effort and sacrifice 
that had been made was well worth while. 



HISTORY 
By Right Reverend J. Henry Tihen, Bishop of Lincoln 

[Paper read at the annual meeting of the Nebraska State Historical 
Society, January 13, 1913.] 

One God, one human race, one scene of human 
activity — the world in which we live — one story of it all, 
that is history. One brotherhood that had its inception in 
the aeons of the past from the Fathers' creative hand, that 
has ramified and extended itself through the centuries to 
the present, maintaining its unity in its universality. The 
great family is still intact, the blood relationship of a 
common origin still exists, and man may not ignore this 
relationship nor attempt to rupture it, or, like the prodigal 
son, to set himself outside the fellowship of brother and the 
protecting love of Father. Distances of time and space 
are accidentals that may modify the manifestations of this 
relationship, but do not change its nature. The fur clad 
Laplander in his frozen house of the North and the naked 
negro in the jungles of Africa are bound together by this 
common tie. Nor does time essentially influence this 
relationship. What matter though a thousand years 
separate me from my brother man? He is still my brother 
because of the common Father to whom "a thousand 
years are as one day". From Adam the first as he walked 
forth from the creative hand of his God, through the ages 
of the past, the present and the future to last of mortals 
in his dying hour, when the world shall sink back into its 
original chaos, there runs this golden chain of humanity, 
each individual human being a link in this chain. No man 
may with impunity attempt to destroy this solidarity, this 

(293) 



294 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

eternal homogeneity of the race. No man can place him- 
self above it, no man may seek to place himself beneath it. 

From these general fundamental principles of the 
solidarity of the human race, no matter where or when 
dispersed, there flows naturally, logically and rationally 
the interest that men take or ought to take in the doings 
of the race in its life story. That is history. A man in 
action is biographical history, a community in action is 
local history, a nation in action is a nation's history, and 
the world in action is universal history. The energies and 
the activities of the vast army of men and women of the 
past have woven the fabric of the world's story. It is all 
one. The men and women of to-day weave into that con- 
tinuous fabric their hopes and anxieties, struggles and 
victories of love and hate, of achievement and failure, and 
then retire from the scene of action, "to sleep with their 
fathers", and another generation takes their place, to work 
into the same fabric the story of the new achievements 
which the future bears in her womb, but hidden from the 
eyes of the present. And so on until the end of time, when 
the last page of the world's history shall have been written, 
the last thread of human activity woven into the great 
fabric of the world's life story, and a supreme judge shall 
pass on its merits. And who does not even now discern 
in this great fabric made by the men and women of all 
days in all the world, running through it all, clearly per- 
ceptible to the eye that is willing to see, the golden thread 
of an energ^T^ and activity that comes not from men, not 
even from the greatest of them, the golden thread of a 
Providence that "ordereth all things wisely and disposeth 
them sweetly", the superior power that is omnipotence, 
the intelligence of which it can truly be said that the ** wis- 
dom of men is only its folly". 

Here then the reason for history. Here its value. 
Here its commendation. Here the cause why the deeds of 



HISTORY 295 

men in any generation or place be not permitted to dis- 
appear, but be incorporated into the great acts of humanity. 

Naturally this general relationship of all men is sub- 
ject to intensification by circumstances and conditions of 
time and place. Family and community and nation are 
ties that bind closer and increase the interests men have in 
each other. So does time. Men are more interested in the 
affairs of to-day than of yesterday, more in those of this 
year and century than in those of last. Perhaps it is due 
to our innate weakness or selfishness that we truly care so 
little for anybody or anything except what is close to us 
in time and place. Some one has well said that no man can 
truthfully say that he is deeply concerned about the future 
of his great-gi-andchildren. This trait of human nature 
probably accounts for the fact that local and contemporary 
historj^ has more attraction for the average man than general 
and ancient. 

Yet we must in theory at least — even though we be not 
strong enough to "suit the action to the word" — hold to 
the solidarity of the great human family. It was a God 
who solicitously inquired, "Where is thy brother?" It 
was a murderer who answered, "Am I my brother's keeper? " 

It is to the credit of our day in the world's history that 
men realize more than ever this relationship and solidarity 
of the great human family. Fast trains and fast boats 
have virtually annihilated distance. Because of these the 
world is close to-day, geographically speaking. Telegraph 
and telephone and a perfect mail service have brought it 
close together, intellectually and socially. Over the sentient 
wire, in cable and on pole, comes the story of the heartbeat 
and the mind flashes of my brother in every part of the 
world. And back to him travels the news of myself. World- 
wide movements for world-wide betterments are probably 
only one of the natural and logical results of this nearness 
of mankind to itself. Peace movements and a general 



296 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

interest in the welfare of the masses rather than of the 
classes, sociological activity in general, the care of children, 
the housing of men and women, the banishment of factors 
that tend to shorten or destroy their lives are so many 
evidences of the quickened consciousness in our generation 
of the solidarity of our race. And we go beyond our age 
of the present we know into the past of which we know 
only a little. We have gone to the fountainheads for in- 
formation. We want to know something of the men and 
women of the past. We have ransacked the libraries, have 
noted the story of the printed page, of the musty manu- 
script, have looked everywhere on the surface of the earth 
for the signposts that would point the hand for us to the 
way in which our forefathers walked. Into the bowels of 
the earth have we gone for futher information. We got 
from the excavated ruins of the past the textbooks of 
another school, the story of another civilization. It is 
unfair to past generations to say that they were indifferent 
in these matters. There always was among men a certain 
regard and even veneration for the past; but the spirit of 
homogeneity was never so pronounced as it is to-day. *' Our 
great highways of commerce and civilization to-day are no 
longer, it has been well said, than those 'threads of soil', 
the Indian trails; but they are much wider, much smoother, 
far more serviceable and do more for us to-day, than did 
the beginning in trail-making for the men and women of 
that day. Braddock's road through the wilderness reached 
no farther than the trail he followed. The Cumberland 
Road was paralleled its entire distance by an Indian path 
which in turn was preceded by the track of the buffaloes 
to their salt-licks. Yet both were wide roads infinitely 
more useful and serviceable than their forerunners. Note 
the double ti-ack of one of our great railways, following the 
exact line of buffalo trails and Indian paths, to figure the 
difference in service to man." Through expansion of our 



HISTORY 297 

views with regard to our fellow men of the present and the 
past we should improve in service and use to them. 

I realize that, practical and utilitarian in view as 
Americans generally are, some in the audience are perhaps 
inclined to say to me: "These things about the past and 
the reason for the knowledge of general history are all very 
good in their way; but of what practical benefit are they?" 
In reply, permit me to cite a few authorities. Jowett tells 
us that: 

"The greatest changes of which we have had experience 
as yet are due to our increasing knowledge of history and 
of nature. They have been produced by few minds appear- 
ing in three or four favored nations in comparatively a short 
period of time. May we be allowed to imagine the minds 
of men everywhere working together during many ages 
for the completion of our knowledge? May not the increase 
of knowledge transfigure the world?" 

Another tells us: "Nothing is so likely to beget in us 
a spirit of enlightened liberality, of Christian forebearance, 
as a careful study of the history of doctrine". Another 
says: "A man who does not know what has been thought 
by those who have gone before him is sure to set an undue 
value upon his own ideas. All our hopes of the future 
depend upon a sound understanding of the past". "The 
thoughts that were developed in the past are of infinite 
consequence". "He who has learned to understand the 
true character and tendency of many suceeding ages is not 
likely to go very far wrong in estimating his own". Even 
poets are urged to study history as Wordsworth declares: 
"I hold that the degree in which poets dwell in sympathy 
with the past marks exactly the degree of their poetical 
faculty". "There are no truths which more readily gain 
the assent of mankind or are more firmly retained by them 
than those of an historical nature". Goethe declared that 
he who cannot give to himself a satisfactory account of at 
least 3,000 years of the world's history merely exists in 



298 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

darkness, cannot emerge into the full sunlight of human 
life. History broadens the mind, enlarges the viewpoint. 
A narrow, prejudiced mind cannot study history. The one 
or the other will be dropped". 

I will not tire you by further citations or arguments. 
Your very presence here under the auspices of a society 
that has for one of its objects the fostering of historical 
study and the membership of many of you in that organiza- 
tion is conclusive evidence of your views upon the subject. 
I do wish, however, in closing, to call attention to history's 
claim and service on the patriotic heart. As a nation 
making force, history stands out preeminent. The main 
influences working in the making of a nation may be said 
to be, ''(1st) physical environment; (2d) race; (3d) lan- 
guage; (4th) custom; (5th) religion; (6th) common 
interests; (7th) history, or the men who made it; (8th) the 
government". The history of the nations past and of the 
worlds past is its lesson for the present. " This solidarity in 
time, as it has been called, is no mere sentiment; or, if a 
sentiment, it is one that is strong enough to hold together 
in unit}^ of nationhood men who have little else in common. 
Thus the Swiss have no unity of language, or of race, or of 
religion; their government is most decentralized; their 
country is divided into well marked regions that differ in 
almost every respect and are well-nigh cut off from mutual 
intercourse. But the nation has common memories. It 
has not forgotten Morgarten and Sempach, where it over- 
threw the Austrians, nor Grandson and Morat where it 
ruined Charles the Bold. Nor must it forget the still more 
crucial struggles in which it weathered the nineteenth cen- 
tury. So too the three imperial eagles that divided the 
fallen Polish state could neither destroy the people nor 
tear up the pages of her history. They cannot debar her 
during the long night of her captivity from dreaming of the 
days when she vindicated her right to live against Russian 



HISTORY 299 

and German and Swede and became the bulwark of Christen- 
dom against the Turk." Brunetiere sums up the import- 
ance of history to a nation in the one sentence: ''There is 
no fatherland without a long history, which is at one and 
the same time its stay, its justification, the source of its 
life and of its perpetual rejuvenation". Here then is the 
additional fact that history in its making and in its study 
is the duty of the citizen as well as the privilege of the 
student. 

If there has been rhyme or reason, argument or senti- 
ment in aught I have said to you, then have I spoken a 
word in favor of the work in which the officers and members 
of the Nebraska State Historical Society have applied 
themselves so diligently in the past, a work of which every 
student and patriot will spontaneously saj^, "God speed it". 



THE PATHFINDERS, THE HISTORIC BACK- 
GROUND OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION 

By Hem an C. Smith 

[Read at the annual meeting of the State Historical Society of 
Nebraska, January 16, 1913.] 

Mark Twain is reported to have said, "Anybody can 
write a book, but to wTite a preface — ah, there's the rub". 
I strongly sympathize with this sentiment when asked to 
write a thirty minute paper on a subject which requires 
volumes to treat intelligently. Of course I can only present 
an introduction to this exhaustless subject. 

The children of modern Egypt, India, Persia, Palestine 
and other oriental countries, when studying the history of 
their several countries find a rich historic background which 
dates backward many centuries and furnishes inspiration for 
delightful research. The children of modern Europe have 
also a valuable heritage in their historic relation to classic 
Greece and Rome, and even our eastern states have the 
history of the colonial period of which we of the West can 
make no boast. True our western valleys are dotted with 
mounds, indicating a prehistoric civilization, and our 
western mountains reveal the strongholds of the Cliff 
Dwellers. Hence the study of occidental archaeology is of 
entrancing interest, rivaling the study of the same subject 
in the orient; yet our deductions therefrom are largely 
conjecture, and the historic value of these relics of antiquity 
is misty and uncertain as no generally accepted history of 
former ages has been transferred to this generation. 

We dream of the manners and customs of the people 
of antiquity who once inhabited our fertile valleys and 

(300) 



THE PATHFINDERS 301 

chiseled their habitation in the rocky ribs of our towering 
mountains. We ask, "Who were they? Wliither have 
they gone? Were they civihzed or barbarian? Were they 
Christian or heathen? What was the extent of their en- 
lightenment in arts and sciences?" We turn inquiringly 
to the contents of our large and accumulating libraries but 
find no answer. We speculate and conjecture, but our 
conjectures and deductions lack historic confirmation. 

Fortunately the early pioneers of western civilization, 
the pathfinders, who traversed our fertile plains and scaled 
our romantic mountains were dreamers. They dreamed of 
an Eldorado with mountains of gold and perpetual springs, 
whose crystal waters were a fountain of youth. Those 
dreams and the hope of their realization moved them to 
heroic efforts, nor did they falter when in the quest of the 
fondly cherished goal; they met suffering and sacrifices 
even to the facing of death itself. The love of gold is 
authentically declared to be the root of all evil, and yet, in- 
cidentally, good often springs from its quest — not always to 
those who make the sacrifice or bear the suffering, but 
frequently as a legacy to those who come after. 

To our immediate ancestors who were the first per- 
manent settlers of the west, great credit is due ; for without 
their great practical accomplishments, through sacrifice and 
suffering, their dreams would be like the baseless fabric of 
a night dream, "as when an hungry man dreameth, and, 
behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty; 
or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drink- 
eth; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul 
hath appetite." . . . 

As the streams that drain North America have a 
general trend toward the south, one would naturally suppose 
the course of migration would be either southward or north- 
ward; but some power not easy to explain had a stronger 
influence than the natural contour of the country, and the 



302 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

trend of migration was toward the west or northwest. 
This, however, has not been pecuHar to our western civiliza- 
tion, as the trend of civilization since history began has 
been westward. From its oriental cradle civilization has 
ever turned its face westward. There have, however, been 
a few exceptions to this general rule, as in the instance of 
Vasquez de Coronado, the earliest pathfinder among 
civilized men who traversed these western plains. Allured 
by the reports of vast wealth brought by Friar Marcos of 
Nice, he fitted out an expedition in a province of Western 
Mexico, and started February 23, 1540, through a trackless 
desert to the north and northeast. The reports of riches 
still spurred him on though often disappointed by finding 
abject poverty. 

The exact localities visited by Coronado are diflScult 
to determine, but all students are agreed that he was in the 
territory embraced in modern Kansas. Whether he ever 
entered the territory embraced in Nebraska is doubted, 
though presented as probable by some writers. Authors 
differ widely, and the destination of Coronado is located 
from Genoa, Nebraska, to Junction City, Kansas. On a 
map showing routes of all the principal explorers and early 
roads and highways, from data prepared by Frank Bond, 
chief clerk, issued in 1908 by the department of the interior, 
Richard Ballinger secretary, the route of Coronado crosses 
the line of Kansas and Nebraska and thence northeast to 
a point in Clay county, Nebraska, near the present location 
of Clay Center. According to the map his route crossed 
the south line of the state of Nebraska and the Republican 
river near the southeast corner of Harlan county. 

Some color to the approximate correctness of this 
theory is afforded by the finding of the old sword on the 
Republican river some years ago. The theory is rendered 
even more plausible from an account published in the 
fourteenth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology which 



THE PATHFINDERS 303 

claims to give distances, times and direction collated from 
all the accounts. Herrera, who accompanied the expedi- 
tion, speaks of finding a river of more water and more 
population than others before passed, and Coronado, in a 
letter to the king, said that after a journey of seventy- 
seven days, in which he traveled nine hundred and fifty 
leagues from Mexico, he came to the province called 
Quivii'a. "Where I reached it, it is in the fortieth degree. " ' 
(Page 582.) "After nine days march I reached some 
plains, so vast that I did not find their limit anywhere 
that I went, although I traveled over them for more than 
three hundred leagues". (Page 580.) 

Law's map of 1721 indicates that the French had then 
explored the Missouri river as far north as Pierre, South 
Dakota; but the records of their explorations are very 
meager and indefinite. It is well known that the elder 
Verendrye reached the Missouri river as early as 1738. 
The map issued by the department of the interior indicates 
that the Verendrye brothers, sons of the above, crossed the 
Canada line in 1743, in an effort to find the western ocean, 
and pursued a westerly course to a point near the later site 
of Fort Benton, Montana, and then turned south and east 
to the region of the Bad Lands, now in Wyoming, where 
they gave up the search and turned backward. - 

In 1769 Portalo, entering the territory of California 
below San Diego, traveled through the rich valleys of the 
Pacific slope to the region of San Francisco.^ 

In 1776-77, Dominguez and Escalente were exploring 
some of the more rugged sections of our mountain regions. 

1 See F. W. Hodge's statement, footnote p. 17, infra, that the fortieth 
degree of latitude in question was at that time equivalent to the thirty- 
eighth degree. — Ed. 

- For a sketch of these expeditions see "French Pathfinders" (Johnson) 
pp. 316-18; also South Dakota Historical Collections, v. 2, pt. 1, pp. 115, 
118, 119.— Ed. 

3 See Early Western Travels, v. 18, p. 283, note, for an account of 
Caspar de Portalo's expedition. — Ed. 



304 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Starting from Santa Fe they traveled westward through 
northern Arizona to a point in or near the southeastern 
corner of Nevada and thence in a northeastern course 
through the mountainous regions of southern Utah and 
on to a point nearly as far north as the south line of Wyoming, 
thence east and southeast through portions of Colorado 
and back into New Mexico.^ 

The Commercial Company, organized for the discovery 
of the nations of the Upper Missouri, in its three expeditions 
led by Clanmorgan and James Mackay in 1794-5, made 
extensive surveys of the Missouri river and tributaries as 
far north as the forty-seventh degree, in the vicinity of 
Bismarck, North Dakota.^ 

All these explorers by land added to the incentives of 
later brave spirits to make history for our western civiliza- 
tion. Add to these those who sailed our western waters 
following the Pacific coast and leaving no trail upon the 
trackless deep, but leaving impressions never to be ob- 
literated from the mind by their reports of these wonderful 
regions and we have a background for our history as rich 
and varied as any country on the globe. 

These, all of the eighteenth century, may be classed 
with the dreamers whose discoveries form our wonderful 
background of history; and yet, with few exceptions, they 
accomplished nothing practical towards the building up of 
civilization, and their work has perished, except so far as 



* See History of Utah (Bancroft), pp. 8-18. According to an accom- 
panying map, the route of the explorers extended no farther north than 
Utah Lake. — Ed. 

5 Zeno Trudeau, lieutenant-governor of Upper Louisiana, urged the 
organization of the Spanish Commercial Company for the purpose of dis- 
covery and trade on the upper Missouri. James Mackay was a member of 
an expedition which left St. Louis in August, 1795, under the aiispices of 
the company, the discovery of the Pacific ocean being one of its objects. 
(History of Missouri (Houck), v. 2, pp. 58, 70-71); also Annals of St. 
Louis 1804-1821 (Billon), p. 9; South Dakota Historical Collections, v. 1, 
p. 373; ibid., v. 3, p. 379.— Ed. 



THE PATHFINDERS 305 

they have served as examples for the practical generation 
following. With the beginning of the nineteenth century 
came what we might call the semi-practical dreamers; 
for, though largely controlled by dreams of gold and 
adventure, these expeditions contained many practical men 
who, seeing the value of the rich soils and varied resources 
of the country, dropped out by the way, forming colonies 
and settlements which became the basis of our practical 
western civilization. 

The Mormons are unique, not alone because of their 
peculiar doctrine, which it is not the purpose of this paper 
to discuss, but because it was not the love of gold, glory 
or adventure that caused them to join the company of 
pathfinders. Passing over their advent into the west — into 
Missouri in 1831 — their finding uncongenial surroundings 
there and subsequently in the state of Illinois, and the 
murder of their leading men in June, 1844, we find they 
became pathfinders in their search for a location where they 
could dwell in peace. Their advent into the world was 
received much as was the infant's by its elder brother who 
was led into the mother's room to greet the new arrival. 
He looked at it for a few minutes then exclaimed: "We 
didn't need that!" But room had to be made for the 
little fellow whether he was needed or not. So the Mormons, 
whether needed and worthy or not, they have made their 
place in history, so that now, neither the history of our 
western civilization, nor the history of the United States 
nor of the world can be written without recognizing them. 

In August, 1844, a company of these people under the 
leadership of James Emmett left Nauvoo, Illinois, and, 
following up the courses of the Mississippi and Iowa rivers, 
wintered in the vicinity of State Center, Iowa. The next 
spring, over the then trackless prairies of Iowa, they pro- 
ceeded westward into what is now South Dakota until 
their progress was impeded by the swollen condition of the 

21 



306 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Missouri and Dakota rivers, and so the succeeding winter 
was spent in Vermillion. In the spring of 1846 they sent 
emissaries back to Nauvoo who returned with the intelli- 
gence that the main body was on itsway westward and would 
cross the Missouri river somewhere about Sarpy's old 
trading point. This caused them to move again, this time 
southward, following the course of the Missouri river, I 
think on the east side, until they made a junction with the 
main body in the vicinity of Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

In 1845 another colony of these people, under Lyman 
Wight, one of the twelve apostles, leaving Black River, 
Wisconsin, a hundred miles above Prairie du Chien, drifted 
down the river on rafts of lumber to a point near Daven- 
port, Iowa, and, there exchanging lumber for outfits, passed 
through Iowa in a southwest direction, through northwest 
Missouri, Kansas and Indian Territory into Texas, where 
they founded settlements in Travis, Gillespie, Burnet and 
Bandera counties. 

The general exodus from Nauvoo began early in 1846 
and passed through the southern counties of Iowa, making 
settlements in Decatur and Union counties, and established 
Winter Quarters on what is now the site of Florence, 
Nebraska, just above Omaha. 

A vanguard was formed of the James Emmett company, 
before mentioned, and a company under Bishop George 
Miller. On July 7, 1846, this vanguard crossed the Missouri 
river with instructions to winter near Grand Island on the 
Platte river, but at the Pawnee village below Fremont 
they were visited by some Ponka chiefs who told them of 
good range for cattle on the Running Water, or Niobrara 
river. Bishop Miller, under the impression that the Ponka 
knew more about the country than Brigham Young, turned 
northward and wintered in the lands of the Ponka. In the 
spring of 1847 they returned to Winter Quarters, where 
James Emmett and his followers became identified with the 



THE PATHFINDERS 307 

main exodus to the west, while George Miller disagreed 
with the constituted authorities and proceeded south to 
join the Lyman Wight colony in Texas. The company 
under the leadership of Brigham Young, as is well known, 
followed up the north side of the Platte river which they 
crossed at Fort Laramie and struck the Oregon Trail, 
following it to the Rocky mountains. From the crossing 
of the Loup to Fort Laramie, they made their own road, 
though from a point just west of the east line of Deuel 
county, Nebraska, they paralleled the Oregon Trail on 
the opposite side of the river. 

All along the path of those Mormon parties through 
Iowa and Nebraska there were left men who were dis- 
satisfied with the administration of the leaders. These 
formed the nucleus of a protesting organization and made 
homes on what was then esteemed the desert, and also 
formed the beginning of many a pioneer settlement which 
turned attention to the cultivation of the virgin soil. I 
mention the Mormons particularly because the public is 
less acquainted with them than with others. Not from the 
Mormons alone, but from many of these pioneer companies 
of travelers have come the sturdy sons of toil. They have 
learned that there is more profit in the golden harvest 
than in the yellow dust for which the dreamer sought. To 
them we are indebted for the existence of our prosperous 
cities and towns, our smiling fields and richly laden orchards. 

Let us mark the trails of the dreamer so that we can 
follow with unerring certainty the footprints made on the 
old Spanish, Santa Fe, Oregon and other trails, while the 
more splendid monument of western civilization shall 
commemorate the deeds of the practical men who built 
our factories, our farms, our railroads, our churches, our 
schools, colleges, universities, and other evidences of 
advancing civilization. 



AN INTERESTING HISTORICAL DOCUMENT 
By Albert Watkins 

Below is a copy of a letter which I recently found in 
the collections of the Historical Society at Des Moines, 
Iowa. Thomas B. Cuming is still remembered by some of 
the oldest residents of Nebraska as the first secretary of 
the territory and the first real governor. Governor Burt 
died on the 18th of October, 1854, after having held the 
office nominally for two days only, when Secretary Cuming 
succeeded him according to a provision of the organic law, 
as acting governor. He continued in that office until the 
appointment of Governor Izard, February 20, 1855. The 
designation of Omaha as the first capital of the territory- 
was directly due to Acting Governor Cuming's Napoleonic 
management. 

Governor Cuming's wife was a sister of the late Frank 
Murphy of Omaha. 



Council Bluff City 
Nov. 30, -54 
Dear Genl. 

The county named after you in this territory extends 
from a point 60 miles west of the Missouri to the west 
boundary of U. S. lands (the 101° west longitude) bounded 
north by the Platte river, & south by the boundary between 
Kansas & Nebraska. It has the largest area of any county 
in the territory, and with the others is subject to alteration 
or abrogation by the Legislature. 

I shall send you, before long, a more substantial token 
of regard, in the shape of a certificate of stock in the future 

(308) 



AN HISTORICAL DOCUMENT 309 

Capitol — a slight memento of a friendship whose expression, 
with me, to all my friends, is moderateed only by circum- 
stances. 

In haste, Truly yrs — 
(Hon. Geo. W. Jones) T. B. Cuming 



George W. Jones, to whom the letter is addressed, was 
a United States senator from Iowa at the time in question. 
The other senator from Iowa was Augustus C. Dodge, and 
Bemhart Henn was the member of the House of Repres- 
entatives from the Council Bluffs district. These three 
were perhaps the most active lieutenants of Stephen A. 
Douglas in pushing through the bill for the territorial 
organization of Nebraska, and doubtless Cuming was under 
obligations to his "dear friend" Jones for his appointment 
as secretary of the territory. 

On the 10th of December, 1854, Acting Governor 
Cuming issued an order for the organization of Jones 
county, but, presumably, because it was ascertained that 
there were no people there to organize, the order was not 
executed. On the 26th of January, 1856, the legislature 
authorized the organization of Jones county, but the 
authority was not acted upon until September 28, 1864. 
On the 18th of Februaiy, 1867, Jones county was added to 
Jefferson county by an act of the legislature. Jones county 
was coextensive with the present Jefferson county. The 
original Jefferson county is now Thayer county. 

So long as, according to vicious custom, our counties 
commonly had to be named after politicians, we should all 
be grateful, I think, that the name of a politician of the 
very first class was in this case substituted for that of a 
politician of the second class; but the judicious will con- 
tinue indefinitely to grieve that the many available and 
musical local names, Indian and others, should have been 
neglected for the politician preference at all. 



MEMORABILIA— GEN. G. M. DODGE 
By Albert Watkins 

On the 30th day of December, 1909, I interviewed 
General Grenville M. Dodge at his home in Council Bluffs, 
Iowa. Though seventy-nine years of age, he was physically 
vigorous and his memory seemed to me to be remarkably 
clear. For an account of his western Indian campaigns in 
1864 and 1865 he referred me to Reports of Indian Wars 
of 1865, War of the Rebellion, vol. 48, pts. 1 and 2,— serial 
Nos. 101-102. General Dodge engaged actively in the 
project of constructing a Pacific railroad for as much as 
ten years before the passage of the act of 1862, which pro- 
vided for the building of the Union Pacific railroad. He is 
intimately acquainted with the movements, political or 
otherwise, toward that great purpose. He is positively of 
the opinion that no well defined railroad interest or organiza- 
tion, prospective or otherwise, undertook to influence or 
encourage Stephen A. Douglas or other political leaders in 
their struggle for procuring the territorial organization of 
Nebraska. He says that there was no such movement 
sufficiently well defined before the passage of the Kansas- 
Nebraska bill to warrant any effort toward obtaining 
political influence of the kind in question. This opinion of 
General Dodge corresponds with that which I have always 
held. 

In his Indian campaign of December, 1864, General 
Dodge opened the overland route across the plains which 
had been closed by the hostile Indians. The Arapaho, 
Cheyenne and Sioux were the hostile tribes, that first 
named being the fiercest and most aggressive. General 

(310) 



MEMORABILIA, GRENVILLE M. DODGE 311 

Dodge thinks that the peace policy of the federal govern- 
ment, which withdrew his army from the Indian campaign 
in 1865 at a time when there was a good prospect of soon 
subduing the Indians and in that way establishing lasting 
peace, was ill-advised and wrong, and that the great loss 
of property and life, culminating in the Custer massacre, 
was the legitimate fruit of that mistaken policy. According 
to the attitude of the local newspapers at the time, the 
peace policy was generally questioned or condemned by 
the people of the plains country. 

During this Indian campaign General Dodge named 
Fort Caspar, Wyoming, after Lieutenant Caspar Collins 
when he was killed by Indians, July 27, 1865. ^ Fort Caspar 
was a stockade fortification at the Platte bridge, a low, 
floating structure, built by the soldiers of his army. It was 
situated at, or near, the point where the Mormons crossed 
the North Platte river on their way to Salt Lake City. 

In 1865 General Dodge and his brother, Nathan P. 
Dodge, who also resided at Council Bluffs, lived in a cabin 
on the Elkhorn river about six miles above the present 
town of Elkhorn, which is a station on the Union Pacific 
railroad. Their farm or ranch lay alongside the California 
trail. 

In 1853 General Dodge assisted Peter A. Dey in running 
the line of the Mississippi and Missouri — now called the 
Rock Island — railroad. In 1854 he threw his influence 
in favor of the Mosquito creek entrance to the valley of the 
Missouri river instead of the Pigeon creek route. The 
former route was favored by Cook and Sargent, capitalists, 
of Davenport, Iowa, who were backing the enterprise. 
They had interests at Florence, Nebraska, and afterwai'd 



1 Coutant's History of Wyoming, v. 1, p. 478, copies the order of Major 
General John Pope, dated November 21, 1865, naming "the military post 
situated at Platte river bridge, between Deer and Rock creeks," Fort 
Caspar. 



312 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

owned the "wild cat" bank at that place. They intended 
that the road should eventually cross the river there; but 
General Dodge's influence prevailed, and the road came 
into Council Bluffs, and its trains now cross to Omaha as a 
result of his decision. 

General Dodge said that the claim, much exploited 
at the time, that the rock bottom of the river at Florence 
made a much easier and less expensive place for a railroad 
bridge was entirely without foundation in fact, because, 
as he ascertained, the alleged rock bottom was not stable 
enough to maintain the weight of a bridge with a current 
of water flowing under the stratum of rock. General Dodge 
also contends that there was no virtue in the same condition 
in favor of a crossing at Bellevue; that the only practical 
advantage of the rock bottom was to tend to prevent the 
shifting of the current at those places.^ 

General Dodge made the first reconnoissance for the 
discovery of a line for the Pacific railroad west of the 
Missouri river. At the instance of Henry Farnham, after 
whom Farnham street, Omaha, was named, General Dodge 
went up the Platte Valley in 1861 on the business in question. 
During his Indian campaign of 1865-66 he continued 
his investigations for the route for a Pacific railroad. In 
1864 he discovered the west side of the pass through the 
Rocky mountains, which the Union Pacific subsequently 
followed, and in 1865 he found the pass on this side. The 
grade of this passage was much more favorable than that 
of Cheyenne pass, about twenty miles above, or of the 
South pass. He named the new passage way "Sherman 
Pass" and had it accurately surveyed in 1866. His dis- 
covery of that route was not made known until the year 
last named. 



2 Professor Barbour, head geologist University of Nebraska, is very 
skeptical as to this statement that the rock bottom was not stable and 
that water flowed just below it. 



MEMORABILIA, GRENVILLE M. DODGE 313 

General Dodge says that at the time he and his brother 
lived on their ranch on the Elkhorn the Pawnee Loup had 
a regular village on the Beaver, near the place where the 
town of Genoa was afterward built. His brother, Nathan 
P. Dodge, had some doubt as to the accuracy of the general's 
memory upon this point. He himself supposed that the 
Pawnee were all settled at the village near Fremont. 



A STUDY IN THE ETHNOBOTANY OF THE 
OMAHA INDIANS 

By Melvin Randolph Gilmore, M. A. 

[A thesis submitted by Mr. Gilmore to the faculty of the University 
of Nebraska as part requirement for the degree of Master of Arts — June, 
1909.] 

This paper is intended to be a preliminary report of 
plants native to Nebraska, used in any way by the indigenous 
population of our state, in particular the people of the Omaha 
tribe; of the uses made of the native plants, methods of 
gathering and preparing, together with folk-notice of any 
plants not used; and also of native or introduced plants 
cultivated by the people before the advent of the white 
man. My purpose is to demonstrate the natural resources 
of our state and the resourcefulness of her native people. 
It may also serve to suggest the domestication of plants 
which might be valuable acquisitions to our gardens and 
orchards and which have the important property of being 
already adjusted to the conditions of our soil and climate. 

It would be a most interesting and instructive exercise 
to draw a mental picture of the economic conditions of this 
region before there came the varied and abundant crops of 
introduced cereals, vegetables and fruits which may be 
cultivated anywhere in our latitude, together with the great 
variety of products which our greatly improved transporta- 
tion facilities bring to our hand daily from the most distant 
places in all zones. We can scarcely imagine what the 
conditions of sustenance would be here if everything of 
origin foreign to Nebraska were eliminated. 

It is my purpose to preserve, so far as possible, a 
knowledge of the uses of plants native to our soil, in a stage 

(314) 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 315 

of culture and a set of conditions now vanished forever 
from the hills and valleys and plains of our state. The 
prompt prosecution of this work and its early accomplish- 
ment are very important and much to be desired, for the 
reason that the old people who alone possess this knowledge 
are year by year becoming fewer in number, and before 
long will all be gone, and with them, unless it be now 
recorded, will pass away all certain knowledge of the old- 
time lore. For the young people's time and attention are 
occupied in the schools of the white man and in learning 
his arts and in the practice of the same in making their way 
and filling their places as fellow citizens, neighbors and 
competitors with the white man, so that they have neither 
time, opportunity nor inclination to learn the things per- 
taining to a former time and conditions very different and 
now superseded. But, much as has been lost already, a 
vast amount of information is still available which can now 
be easily obtained by one who is in the confidence of the 
Indians, but which will soon be utterly lost to science 
unless prompt action be taken to preserve it. 

I found it difficult to obtain information as to the uses 
of plants in the industries and arts, which at first seems 
strange, but will not seem so when we consider that for 
more than half a century the Omaha have been limited to 
the bounds of their reservation — Thurston county, Ne- 
braska — and that for that period or longer their industries 
have been decadent and their products have been replaced 
by those of the white man. On the other hand, I was 
somewhat surprised at the store of information that is to 
be had as to the medical uses of plants; still perhaps that 
is not to be counted strange when we take note that among 
ourselves folk-remedies persist long after the rise of medical 
science. 

In my endeavor to obtain and record items of informa- 
tion on this subject I have at all times met the most courteous 



316 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

treatment on the part of all Omaha whom I interrogated, 
and with willing response to the full extent of their ability 
to serve my needs. All members of the tribe with whom 
I have come in contact have been kind, generous and 
patient in all efforts to aid me in my work, whether by 
directly imparting knowledge when they were able, or by 
referring me to those who could give certain information, 
by interpreting for me in talking with old people who could 
not speak English, by inviting me to ceremonials of their 
secret societies, to social gatherings; and in all other ways 
I was treated with uniform courtesy and hospitality. Among 
the many to whom I owe my thanks I would especially 
mention Mrs. Susan La Flesche-Picotte, M. D., her sister, 
Mrs. Walter Diddock, of Walthill, Nebraska, and their 
mother, Mrs. Mary La Flesche. Mrs. La Flesche is the 
widow of Joseph La Flesche or Iron Eye (I^SHTA-MA^'ZA), 
the last head chief of the Omaha. I owe much also to Mr. 
Francis La Flesche, of Washington, D. C, and his brother, 
Mr. Carey La Flesche, sons of Joseph La Flesche, to Mr. 
Alfred Blackbird, a great-grandson of Black Bird {WASH- 
INGA-SABE), who was head chief of the Omaha about 
one hundred years ago. Mr. Cyrus Blackbird {TCy^'WA- 
GAHE-ZHINGA, Little Village Maker), in recognition of 
my work, did me the honor to confer upon me the name 
of his great ancestor, WAZHINGA-SABE. I am much 
indebted also to Mr. George Miller, to Mr. and Mrs. Noah 
La Flesche, to WAJAPA, his son, Francis Fremont, and 
daughter. Miss Nettie Fremont, and others of the tribe. 
The Omaha are a tribe of the great Siouan stock which 
includes the confederacy of the ten tribes of the Sioux 
nation, and in addition to these the tribes of the Assiniboin, 
Omaha, Ponka, Osage, Kansa, Kwapa, Iowa, Oto, Crow, 
Missouri, Minetari, Winnebago, Hidatsa, Tutelo, Biloxi, 
Catawba, and others. The territorial seat of the Omaha 
was comprised within the region bounded on the north 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 317 

by the NIOBRARA (Spreading water), on the east by the 
NISHUDE (Smoky Water, the Missouri River), on the 
south by the NEBRASKA (Flat-water or Flat River), which 
we call the Platte, and on the west by the stream which 
we call Shell creek. Their neighbors on the west were the 
Pawnee nation with whom they were in political alliance 
although of an alien stock. To the south their neighbors 
were of their own stock, the Oto, Osage and Missouri, while 
to the east were their kinsmen, the Iowa. 

It is commonly thought that the aborigines of America 
subsisted almost wholly or very largely upon the products 
of the chase, but this is far from true, for many of the 
tribes were essentially agricultural. This is the more 
remarkable when we consider that these peoples passed, or 
were passing, directly from the hunter stage to the agri- 
cultural stage without coming by way of the commonly 
intermediate pastoral stage. And even the non-agricultural 
tribes made extensive use of wild seeds, fruits, berries, roots, 
and other vegetable products, either separately or in com- 
binations, with or without meats, fish or fowl. 

Now, taking up the particular uses of plants in domestic 
arts, I would mention first Cornus asperifolia, MA^SA- 
HTE-HI.^ The straight shoots were used for arrow shafts 
as indicated by the name MA^SA, arrow; HTE, real; 
HI, plant. Fraxinus viridis, T ASHIN A^GA-HI , was 
also used for arrow shafts and for bows. Another wood 



1 1 have tried to render the sounds in the Omaha words approximately 
by the following principles: 

1. All vowels to be given their sounds as in continental languages. 

2, The ^ above the line, e. g., MA^DE, has a vanishing sound, 
somewhat like the French n. 

,3. A lengthened vowel is shown by doubling, e. g., BUUDE. 

4. A consonant sound approximating the German ch or Greek X 
is shown by H, e. g., H.TE. 

It will be noted that the word HI recurs repeatedly in combinations, 
as HAZI-HI, TASPA^-HI. The word signifies plant. It is a general 
term covering herbs, shrubs, trees or vines. 



318 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

used for bows was Toxylon pomiferum, ZHO^-PAHIDHA- 
DHA, which was imported by trade with tribes to the 
southward. For fish weirs several species of Salix were 
used. Scirpus lacustris, SA-HI, was used for matting. 
Baskets were made from Salix fluviatilis and S. luteoseria. 
Ulmus americana and Quercus spp. were used for mortars 
for corn, a section of the trunk having been hollowed out 
for the purpose by fire. Pipestems were made from Frax- 
inus viridis, the drilling being done by means of a soft stick 
dipped in water and sharp sand and twirled by hand. Pipe- 
stems, arrow shafts, bows and other implements and 
utensils of wood were smoothed and polished by rubbing 
with Equisetum spp.yMA^'DE-IDHE-SHNAHA; MA^DE, 
bow; IDHE-SHNAHA, to smooth. 

It would be an interesting psychological study to 
account for the sacred or mystic character ascribed to 
certain plants used as ceremonial agents. 

Of such I mention first Lophophora williamsii Coult. 
{Echinocactus williamsii Lem.) This is not a native of 
Nebraska and was not anciently used in Nebraska, but its 
use has in modern time been introduced from the southern- 
tribes and ultimately from Mexico, where it was known 
and used immemorially. This is what has come to be 
commonly called the ''mescal". The mescal was intro- 
duced into the Omaha tribe in the winter of 1906-7 by an 
Omaha returning from a visit to the Oto in Oklahoma. He 
had been much addicted to the use of alcoholics and was 
told by an Oto that this plant and the religious cult con- 
nected therewith would be a cure. On his return he sought 
the advice and help of the leader of the mescal society in 
the Winnebago tribe, the Winnebago being neighbors of 
the Omaha on a contiguous reservation. These men and 
a few others of the Omaha who also suffered from alcoholism 
formed a society which has increased in numbers and 
influence against much opposition till it includes more than 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 319 

half of the tribe. The mescal plant and its cult appeal 
strongly to the Indian's sense of the mysterious and occult, 
and his appreciation of ceremonialism and symbolism. The 
Indian mind, being in that psychic stage which peoples all 
natural objects with spirits, quite naturally attributes to 
the mescal plant most wonderful properties and powers. 
As the Semitic and Aryan minds have found it possible to 
conceive that deity may be incarnated in an animal — in a 
human body, so to the Indian mind it seems just as reason- 
able to conceive that deity may dwell in a plant body. So 
he pays it divine honors and makes prayers to, or in con- 
nection with it and eats it or drinks a decoction of it in 
order to appropriate the divine spirit, to induce the good, 
and exorcise the evil, making its use analogous to the 
Christian use of bread and wine in the eucharist. 

James Mooney says: "The greatest of the Kiowa 

gods is the sun Next to the sun the buffalo and the 

'seni' or peyote plant claim reverence, and these may be 
reduced to the same analysis, as the buffalo bull in his 
strength and majesty is regarded as the animal symbol of 
the sun, while the peyote, with its circular disk and its 
bright center, surrounded by white spots or rays, is its 
vegetal representative." ^ The same author in an article on 
"The Mescal Plant and Ceremony", says: 

"The traders call it mescal .... The local Mexican 
name upon the Rio Grande is peyote, or pellote, from the 
old Aztec name, peyotl.' The u^e of the plant for medical 
and religious purposes is probably as ancient as the Indian 
occupancy of the region over which it grows. The cere- 
mony lasts from twelve to fourteen hours, beginning about 
nine or ten o'clock and lasting sometimes till nearly noon 
the next day. The worshippers sit in a circle around the 
inside of the sacred tipi, with a blazing fire in the center. 



2 Calendar History of the Kiowa Indians, 17th Annual Report Bureau 
of American Ethnology, p. 237. 

3 Therapeutic Gazette, Detroit, January, 1896, p. 7. 



320 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The exercises open with a prayer by the leader who then 
hands to each man four mescals which he takes and eats 
in quick succession, first plucking out the small tuft of 
down from the center. After this first round, the leader 
takes the rattle while his assistant takes the drum, and 
together they sing the first song four times, at the same 
time beating the drum and shaking the rattle. The drum 
and rattle are then handed to the next two, and so the song 
goes on round the circle. I know from experience that the 
mescal is a powerful stimulant and enables one to endure 
great physical strains without injurious reactions, in which 
it seems to differ from all other known stimulants." 

In Merck's Index, 1907, p. 66, I find this account of 
mescal: 

"Seed of Anhalonium lewinii {Lophophora lewinii) — 
Habitat: Mexico and southern United States. Etymology: 
Greek, 4»ep£iv, a crest or tuft, and \6<f>o^ to bear, i. e., 
tufted or crested. 'Mescale' is the Mexican name for the 
plant. The mescal button is top shaped and bears a ring 
of leaves bent around a tuft of short yellowish white filaments 
or hairs one-half inch in diameter. The button is one to 
one and one-half inches in diameter, one-fourth inch thick, 
with convex under surface, brittle and hard when dry, but 
soft when moist, very bitter, disagreeable taste and peculiar 
disagreeable odor. — Constit. Anhalonine, C12H15N03; mes- 
caline, C11H17N03; anhalinodine, C12H15N03; and lopho- 
phorine, C12H17N03. Cardiac and respiratory stimulant. — 
Uses: Neurasth., hyster., insomn., angina pect., and 
asthmatic dysnea. On being chewed the buttons cause a 
form of intoxication accompanied by most wonderful 
visions, remarkably beautiful and varied kaleidoscopic 
changes, and a sensation of increased physical ability, the 
physical and psychic functions however remaining un- 
impaired." 

For incense Juniperus virginiana, MAZI-HI, and 
Savastana odorata, PEZHE ZONSTA, have been of im- 
memorial use. Juniperus was used on the hot stones in the 
vapor bath, especially in purificatory rites. By the 
" MA^'CHU'IDHE-EDHE" (the bear-favored, i. e., those 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 321 

whose totemic vision had been the bear) the cedar branch 
was used as a badge and in connection with their sacred 
ceremonies. J. 0. Dorsey says: 

"In the Osage traditions cedar symboHzes the tree of 
Hfe. When a woman is initiated into the secret society of 
the Osages, the officiating man of her gens gives her four 
sips of water, symbohzing, so they say, the river flowing by 
the tree of hfe, and then he rubs her from head to foot with 
cedar needles, three times in front, three times at her 
back, and three times on each side." * 

Kroeber says, in speaking of customs in connection 
with death: "Immediately after the burial the relatives 
bathe because they have touched the corpse. For several 
nights they burn cedar leaves, the smoke or smell of which 
keeps the spirit away." * George A. Dorsey, writing of the 
sun dance ceremony,® and in discussing the symbolism of 
the seven trees used in the sun dance of the Arapaho,^ says 
of the cedar: "It is always green, is durable, pleasing to 
the eye, the gift of God. The twigs are used as incense." 
Populous sargentii, MAA-ZHA^', literally, "cottonwood", 
was used for the sacred pole and for the poles of the "buffalo 
tent", i. e., the temple of the divine powers of sustenance. 
It should be said, however, that use was not confined to 
the species sargentii, for any poplar was used ; but sargentii 
is common in the territory of the Omaha. 

Ritualistic use was made of Artemisia gnaphaloides 
especially, and, failing that species, other species of the 
same genus were used. It is commonly associated with 
sacred things and in rites of lustration for man or beast, 
as, if by accident a man should touch the sacred tent, or if 
a horse in grazing should touch it, in either case the man 
or the horse must be bathed with an infusion of Artemisia, 



* Siouan Cults., p. 391. 

° The Arapaho, p. 17. 

« Field-Columbian Museum Pub. Anthrop. Series, May, 1903, p. 300. 

' Ibid., p. 121. 

22 



322 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The display of sprays of the plant would indicate the sacred 
character of the article or place with which it was con- 
nected; thus when I entered the tent of meeting of the 
Mescal society and saw the ground decked with a covering 
of the plant in a circle about the fireplace in the center, 
I recognized that here its character as a symbol of sacred- 
ness had been transferred to the paraphernalia of this exotic 
cult. It is noteworthy that in the Hopi tribe a similar 
meaning was attached to the same plant. J. W. Fewkes 
says: "A sprig of this plant {Artemisia frigida) is attached 
to the paho or prayer emblem and is regarded as efficacious 
in petition for water." ^ Juniperus virginiana, MAZI-HI; 
Savastana odorata, PEZHE-ZONSTA; Populus sargentii, 
MAA-ZHU''; Zea mays, WAHABE; Typha latifolia, 
WAHABAGASKONDHE; Fraxinus viridis, TASHINA^- 
GA-HI; Salix spp., THIHSPA^, were used in various of 
the old time rituals, and now in modern time Lophophora 
williamsii has been used as has already been described. 
Salix spp. was used in the ritual of mourning. Young men, 
friends of the deceased or of the mourners, on the day of 
burial appeared before the lodge as the funeral procession 
was about to start for the grave and, having incised the 
left forearm, they inserted twigs of willow down which 
trickled their blood as a token of their sympathy with the 
living while they sang the tribal song to the spirit, a song 
of joyous melody intended to cheer the spirit of the deceased 
as he entered on the last long journey, J. 0. Dorsey says: 

"The Omaha have two sacred trees, the ash and the 
cedar. The ash is connected with the beneficent powers. 
Part of the sacred pole of the Omaha and Ponka was made 
of ash, the other part of cottonwood. The stems of the 
* WIN IB A WAWA^\ or 'sacred pipes of friendship', are 



8 A Contribution to Ethnobotany, American Anthropology, v. 9, 
(1896), p. 21. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 323 

made of ash. But the cedar is hnked with the destructive 
agencies, thunder, Hghtning, wars." * 

The leaf of Typha latifolia was used as one of the 
required articles in dressing the sacred pipes. 

One of the tribal fetishes of the Kansa was the sacred 
clamshell, kept wrapped in five coverings, as follows: 

1. The innermost covering, the bladder of a buffalo 

bull. 

2. A covering made of the spotted skin of a fawn. 

3. A covering made of braided stems of Scirpus 

lacustris. 

4. A very broad piece of deerskin. 

5. The outermost covering, made of braided hair from 

the head of a buffalo bull. 
Of the esthetic uses of plants it may first be stated as a 
rather notable fact that the Omaha never use flowers of 
any kind, either in personal adornment, in symbolism, or 
in mortuary customs. As a perfume for hair oil the petals 
of Rosa arkansana, WAZHIDE-HI, were used, and still 
more commonly for the same purpose the leaves of Monarda 
fistulosa, PEZHE-PA. Young men used as a perfume the 
seeds of Aquilegia canadense, INA-BTH(F-KITHE-SABE- 
HI, the method of preparation being by trituration with 
the teeth, the paste being then placed among the blankets 
or other effects. The fruits of Xanthoxylum americana, 
PAHIDHADHA or ZHO^'-PAHIDHADHA, were also 
used as a perfume by the young men. Galium triflorum, 
WAU PEZHE or WAU-INA-MA^'KA'', was used as a 
perfume by the women only. For this purpose it was 
gathered and used in its green state by tucking into the 
girdle. Savastana odorata, PEZHE ZONSTA, was of 
general use as perfume. The plants here named are the 
sources of some of the perfumes of the Omaha, and it 
should be noted that there are no heavy scents among 



» J. O. Dorsey, Siouan Cults., 11th Ann. Rep. Bur. Am. Ethnol., p. 390. 



324 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

them, but that all are of a fine, delicate, elusive, evanescent 
fragrance, a mere suggestion of an odor and yet pervasive. 

Sanguinaria canadensis was used as a red stain for the 
skin. 

Now to speak of the general utilities: the framework 
of the vapor bath lodges was made of young poles of various 
species of Salix. The inner bark of Tilia americana, 
HINDE-HI, was used for ropes and cordage and for 
baskets, as also the inner bark of Ulmus fulva, EZHO^ 
ZHIDE or EZH(y GTHIGTHIDE. Combs or hair- 
brushes were made by firmly binding together the grains 
of Stipa spartea, MIKA HI (MIKA, comb; HI, plant). 
Sinew was used for the binding substance, the points being 
broken or burned off, the grains forming the teeth, the 
awns, bent back, making attachment. As an agent for 
giving a black dye in tanning leather, the twigs of Acer 
saccharinum, WENU^ SHABATHE HI, (plant-to-make- 
black), were used. The twigs and bark, together with an 
iron stained clay from the lower portion of the Pierre shales 
exposed along the Niobrara river in northern Nebraska, 
were mixed with tallow and roasted in a pot. On sub- 
mitting a sample of the clay obtained from an Indian to 
Prof. N. A. Bengtson of the department of geography and 
economic geology. University of Nebraska, he returned the 
geological data upon it as just stated. The same being sub- 
mitted to Dr. Samuel Avery of the department of chemistry, 
he supplied the information that in connection with the 
bark ferrous-tannic acid is formed, and on exposure to the 
air ferric-tannic acid is formed, which is a still more intense 
black. He stated further that the same principle is at 
present used commercially in the manufacture of black ink. 
Snow shoes, SEHPBE, were made with rims of hickory, 
NO^SI HI, tied with thongs of rawhide woven across. A 
yellow dye was made from the leaf buds of Populus sargentii, 
MAA ZHCF. A yellow dye was also made from the inner 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 325 

bark of Rhus glabra, MI^BDI-HI. A black dye for por- 
cupine quills was made from the bark of Quercus rubra, 
BUUDE-HI. 

Passing to the native food plants, I mention first roots, 
bulbs and tubers. The bulbs and tops of Allium spp. were 
eaten both raw and cooked. The thickened roots of Apios 
apios, NU, were eaten after being boiled until the skin 
came off. The annual report of the commissioner of agri- 
culture for 1870 says: "Apios tuberosa, on the banks of 
streams and in alluvial bottoms, is the true 'pom.me de 
terre' of the French and the MODO, or wild potato, of the 
Sioux Indians and is used extensively as an article of diet . . . 
It should not be confounded with the groundnut of the 
south." Helianthus tuberosa, PA^HE, tubers were a com- 
mon article of food. The thickened root of Psoralea 
esculenta, NUGTHE, was eaten fresh and raw or dried and 
cooked with soup. This is the root called " pomme blanche " 
and "pomme de prairie" by the French voyageurs. The 
annual report of the commissioner of agriculture for 1870 
(p. 408), says: "... Indian turnip, pomme de prairie of 
the French, TIPSINNAH of the Sioux, who used it ex- 
tensively. Generally the size of a hen's egg, of a regular 
ovoid shape .... Indians of Kansas and Nebraska consider 
this root an especial luxury." 

The tubers of Sagittaria latifolia, SI^, were cooked 
and furnished a farinaceous food. I have not found that 
any plants were used as salads or relishes. As a pot herb 
Asclepias syriaca, WAHTHA-HI, was eaten at three stages. 
First, the young shoots were used much as we use the 
young sprouts of asparagus. Next, the inflorescences before 
the flower buds open are cooked as greens, and in the last 
stage the very young fruits are used in the same way. 
The bark of Ulmusfulva, EZHO'' ZHIDE, was cooked with 
rendering fat to give it a pleasant flavor, and also it was 
supposed that it gave the suet keeping quality. After 



326 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

cooking in the fat the pieces of bark are much prized by 
the children as special titbits. The nuts of Corylus americana, 
U^ZHINGA, and Juglans nigra, TDAGE, were eaten plain 
or prepared by mixing with honey. The fruits of Crataegus 
coccinea and C. mollis, TASPA^HI, were eaten fresh from 
the hand by children and also sometimes by adults in case 
of famine. Logan creek in northeastern Nebraska is called 
NI-TASPA^'-BATE by the Omaha in reference to the 
abundance of Crataegus growing thereon, BATE meaning 
groups or thickets. The fruits of Ribes missouriensis, 
PEZI; Rubus occidentalis, AGATHUNKEMONGE-HI; 
Fragaria virginiana, BASHTE-HI; Morus rubra, ZHO^ZI; 
and Lepargijraea argentea, ZHO^HOJE WAZHIDE, were 
eaten fresh and also dried for winter use. The fruits of 
Prunus besseyi, NA^PA-TANGA, were eaten fresh, those 
of P. virginiana, NA^PA-ZHINGA, were eaten fresh and 
also pounded up, pits and all, made into thin cakes, dried 
and used in winter with dried corn, or cooked alone with 
sugar. P. americana, KANDE, was eaten fresh, or, after 
being pitted, was dried for winter use. Vitis riparia and 
V. vulpina, HAZI, were eaten both fresh in season and 
dried for winter use. There is a certain wild bean which 
grows very generally over the continent from which the 
Omaha formerly obtained a considerable item of their 
alimentation. It is Falcata comosa (L.) They call the vine 
HI'^BTHI-HI and the fruits HI^'BTHI ABE. The plant 
grows most luxuriantly and fruits profusely. From the 
aerial, conspicuous flowers a great abundance of legumes 
is produced, each containing several grayish mottled beans 
about the form and size of lentils, but from geotropic, non- 
twining, leafless vines at the base of the plant are produced 
subterranean legumes each of which contains one bean 
which may attain a diameter of seventeen millimeters. The 
subterranean legumes are produced from cleistogamous 
flowers. The geotropic runners on which they are produced 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 327 

are leafless and colorless and form a perfect network on the 
surface of the ground beneath the twining vines. The sub- 
terranean beans are gathered by the field mice and stored 
by them in quantities from a quart to several quarts in a 
place. These stores w^re sought by the women, and after 
soaking the membranaceous hulls were rubbed off and the 
beans were boiled, affording an article of food similar in 
taste and quality to the common kidney bean. 

The acorn most used by the Omaha for food was that 
of Quercus rubra, BUUDE HI. All other species of Quercus 
were without differentiation called by them TASHKA-HI. 
The acorns were freed from tannic acid by boiling with 
wood ashes. Q. rubra is also called by the Omaha NU^'BA 
NAHADI, in reference to its characteristic in burning to 
flame again after it has apparently burned down to coals — 
NV'BA, twice; NAHADI, flames. 

The plant of first importance in aboriginal use was 
zea mays,^'^ which by all evidence of tradition, history, 
archaeology, meteorology, ethnology, philology and botany, 
had central and southern Mexico as its place of origin, as 
is so well shown by Harshberger in "Maize: A Botanical 
and Economic Study ".^^ But prior to the coming of Colum- 
bus it had been artificially distributed and cultivated over 
almost all the tropical and temperate regions of the western 
hemisphere. For the gift of this grain the whole modern 



If Brinton, "Myths of the New World" N. Y. 1873, says: "It (maize) 
was found in cultivation from the southern extremity of Chile to the 
fortieth parallel of north latitude, beyond which the low temperature 
renders it an uncertain crop." 

Le Page du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane, Tome III, p. 342, Paris, 

1758: " Le Mahiz ... est la nourriture principale des Peuples de I'Amerique." 

Lafitau, Moeures des Sauvages Ameriquains, Tome III, p. 57, Paris, 

1724: "La mais . . . lequel est le fondement de la nourriture de presque 

toutes les Nations sedentaires d'un bout de I'Amerique a I'autre." 

" Harshberger, v. 1, No. 2, Contributions from the Botanical Labora- 
tories of the University of Pennsylvania: "Maize originated in all prob- 
ability . . north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and south of the 22d degree 
north latitude, near the ancient seat of the Maya tribes." 



328 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

world is indebted to those remote and obscure toilers who 
labored all their lives and for many generations without 
thought of their incalculable service to humanity or of the 
richness of their contribution to the world's storehouse. 
But too often does it so occur that we complacently accept 
the good things that have come to us and to our times, 
congratulating ourselves upon our possessions and accom- 
plishments, and too seldom do we remember to bestow 
credit where it is due for legacies we have received from 
remote times and alien peoples. 

Another cereal which, though not cultivated, was by 
some tribes artificially distributed and formed a staple food 
for the tribes living in its range, was wild rice, Zizania 
aquatica. This formerly grew in the northeast part of the 
territory of the Omaha along the Missouri river to a very 
limited extent, but has been extinct there for many years, 
having been exterminated by the pasturing of cattle. It 
still grows in the ponds of the sand-hill region. The 
Omaha called it SPWANINDE. Of plants used for food 
my informants would often say: "We used to use this, but 
we don't now. Before the white man came we had to eat 
whatever we could get of just what grew in the country 
then." 

They had the beginnings of agriculture, cultivating 
many varieties of flint corn, flour corn, dent corn, sweet 
corn, and popcorn. They also raised beans, squashes, 
pumpkins, gourds, melons, and a kind of tobacco which 
was different from the tobacco of commerce to-day. They 
say it was milder. These crops they cultivated by means 
of digging sticks and hoes made of the shoulder blade of the 
buffalo fastened with rawhide to a wooden handle. For 
the rest of their vegetal food they depended upon wild 
fruits, seeds, nuts, roots, tubers and fungi. 

Sugar and syrup were obtained by boiling down the 
sap of Acer saccharinum, WENW-SHABATHE-HI, and of 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 329 

A. negundo, ZHABATE-ZHO^'-HI. Indeed the derivation 
of sugar from the maple tree is another of the contributions 
of the North American Indian to the benefit of the world. 
All the tribes dwelling in regions in which grew Acer sac- 
charum, A. saccharinum and A. negundo practiced this art, 
and European colonists learned it from them. In this con- 
nection it should be said that the Omaha word for sugar is 
ZHO^-NI—ZHO^, wood, and NI, water, showing that they 
had a w^ord for sugar, and also indicating the source of the 
article before contact with the whites. 

Of the use of fungi, MIKAI HTHI, as food, it may be 
said that meadow mushrooms were roasted, and certain 
mushrooms, TENI HAGTHE ZHA EGA, growing on de- 
caying wood, were boiled and seasoned with salt. To our 
mind, perhaps, the most curious fungal food is Ustilago 
maydis, WAHABE-HTHI (literally "corn sores"). This 
was cooked and eaten before the spores matured, "before 
it turns black", as my informant said. They say it tastes 
somewhat like corn and is very palatable. 

The Omaha had no alcoholic drinks previous to the 
coming of the white men, but they made hot aqueous 
drinks from the leaves of a number of plants, including 
Ceanothus americana, T ABE-HI; Verbena stricta, PEZHE 
MA'^KA^; Mentha canadense, PEZHE BTHO^\ {PEZHE, 
herb; BTifa^', fragrant) ; Rubusoccidentalis,AGATHU''KA 
MU^GI-HI; and the young twigs of Crataegus coccinea, or 
of C. mollis, TASPA^HI. 

Tobacco seems to have been firmly interwoven in the 
ceremonial life of all the tribes of Indians. In the old time no 
journey was undertaken by the Omaha without making an 
offering of tobacco in the following formula. The pipe was 
extended with the mouthpiece toward the sun with these 
words: "Ho, Mysterious Power, you who are the Sun. 
Here is tobacco. I wish to follow your course. Grant that 
it may be so. Cause me to meet whatever is good for me 



330 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and to pass around whatever is bad for me. In all the 
world you control everything that moves, including human 
beings. When you decide for man that his last day on 
earth is come, it is so. It cannot be delayed. Therefore, 
Mysterious Power, I ask a favor of you." In the cere- 
mony of the Hako among the Pawnee, corresponding to 
the Wawan Waan, or Pipes of Fellowship ceremony of the 
Omaha and the Calumet of some other tribes, tobacco 
holds a very important ceremonial place. In Part III of 
the seventh ritual in this ceremonial "The son takes a 
pinch of tobacco from the bowl of the pipe and passes it 

along the stem and offers it as the priest directs When 

the pinch of tobacco has been offered to the powers above, 
it is placed on the earth." In Newport's Discoveries in 
Virginia (1608) the writer says: "They sacrifice tobacco to 
the sun, fayre picture or a harmfull thing, — as a swoord or 
peece also: they strincle some into the water in the morning 
before they wash." 

One of the cultivated plants of the Omaha, as also of 
the other plains tribes, was a species of Nicotiana. The 
Omaha have now many years since lost the seed of it, but 
they told me that sometimes on visits to some of the northern 
tribes they receive presents of it, which they are always 
glad to get because they prefer its mild quality to the 
common tobacco of commerce. They all agree on the 
characteristics of the plant, and they told me that the 
Arikara still cultivate it. I wrote to the agent of Fort 
Berthold Reservation, North Dakota, where the Arikara 
reside, inquiring about the plant. It was not known to any 
of the government employes that the Indians there had any- 
such plant, but on inquiring they found it was true, and 
that it was grown by both Arikara and Grosventres. Mr. 
G. W. Hoffman, the agent, took the trouble to obtain for 
me some seed and specimens of the plant from a Gros- 
ventre by the name of Long Bear, a man seventy-three 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 331 

years of age in 1908, who kindly supplied the material for 
the purpose of my investigation. By comparison I conclude 
that it is Nicotiana quadrivalvis, which is described as being 
found in Mexico. This agrees with the traditions of the 
origin of the Arikara, who are an offshoot of the Caddo 
stock, coming originally from Mexico by way of Texas, 
Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and so to North Dakota. 
The other tribes of the Caddoan stock are Caddo, Hueco — 
from which Waco, Texas, is named — Wichita, and the 
Pawnee nation. The Omaha call the Arikara the Sand-hill 
Pawnee, referring to their relation to the Pawnee and to 
their former position in the sand-hills of Nebraska. 

Another substance used for smoking, either alone or 
mixed with tobacco, was the inner bark of Cornus amomum, 
NINIGA-HI-HTI ZHIDE. Straight growths of this shrub 
were cut and after scraping off the outer bark with a dull 
knife, the inner bark was scraped off which, after drying, 
was finely comminuted with a quantity of tobacco for 
smoking. It is commonly but erroneously said that Indians 
smoke the bark of "red willow". No species of Salix is 
ever used for smoking. The bark used for this purpose is, 
as just stated, that of Cornus amomum. When NINIGA- 
HI-HTI-ZHIDE could not be obtained, the leaves of 
Rhus glabra, MPBDI-HI, were used, being gathered for 
this purpose after they turned scarlet in autumn and 
prepared by stripping out the veins. The parenchymatous 
area of the leaf then made brittle by drying, was broken 
fine and used like the bark of Cornus. 

For the medicinal uses of plants it is not necessary to 
the Indian's mind that there should be any connection 
between the physical and chemical properties of plants and 
of the human body. His notions of disease are thoroughly 
demonistic, and his notion of medicine is of something 
occult, of mysterious power, and with his animistic ideas of 
the universe there dwell mystic powers in everything in 



332 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Nature, both plant and animal, and in inanimate objects. 
Indeed the demonistic notion of disease is not so far distant 
from our own stage of civilization. 

Dr. G. A. Stockwell, writing in Popular Science 
Monthly, 1866 (v. 29, p. 649), says: 

"The medicine of the Indian is his religion and philos- 
ophy, and it comprises everything in Nature, real or 
imaginary, superstitious or occult .... The savage knows 
absolutely nothing of the relationships between cause and 
effect, of the action of the remedies as remedies, of physio- 
logical conditions and phenomena, or indeed of any agency 
not directly born of the occult." 

Often the suggestion to the Indians of a plant as a 
remedial agent came from a dream or vision; and yet they 
have happened upon many remarkably useful therapeutic 
agents which have been adopted into our own materia 
medica, as, for example. Echinacea angustifolia, the uses of 
which the Indians of the plains have known for ages. 

In Lloyd Brothers' Bulletin for 1907-8 they say: "In 
the year 1897 we introduced to the medical profession a 
preparation of Echinacea angustifolia, a western plant 
native to Nebraska and other sections of the northwest. . . . 
The credit for discovering the qualities of the drug belong, 
however, to Doctor Meyer, who had used it since 1870." 
Dr. D. T. Powelson, in a paper read at a meeting of the 
Eclectic Medical Society of Pennsylvania, says: 

"The introduction of the remedy into professional 
practice is due conjointly to Dr. H. F. G. Meyer, of Pawnee 
City, Nebraska, and the late Professor King. Doctor 
Meyer had been using it for sixteen years previous to 
reporting it to Doctor King, his claim for it being as an 
antispasmodic and an antidote for blood poisoning; among 
his claims for it was also its action as an antidote for the 
poison of various insects and particularly to that of the 
rattlesnake." 

I must say that the origin of most, if not all, so-called 
"Indian medicines" sold as nostrums by street venders and 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 333 

others, lacks the slightest connection with any tribe of 
Indians; but the name Indian, having so large a place in 
the imagination and credulity of the common people, is 
used to foist upon the gullible buyers, to the mercenary 
advantage of the venders, articles either trivial or useless. 
Among the Omaha, and this is true also with other tribes, 
the efRcacy of a plant as a remedy was believed to lie in 
its specific use by the properly authorized persons in con- 
nection with the prescribed songs, prayers and other religious 
ceremonies. A plant useful for medicine was the property 
of some individual or of one of the secret societies which 
pertained to the religious political organization of the tribe 
and could be used only by them or by their authority and 
upon the payment of a fee, but could not even be offered 
by the proprietor unless requested by the sufferer or his 
friends, otherwise there was no virtue or healing power. 

Of plants used medicinally, one of the greatest im- 
portance is Echinacea angustifolia, called I^SHTOGAHTE- 
HI in reference to its use for sore eyes; called also MIKA 
EGA^TASHI, in reference to the use of its spiny cone for 
a comb by children in play. In medicine the part used was 
the root, macerated and applied as an antidote for snake 
bites, stings, and all septic diseases. It was applied to 
the hands and arms by the "mystery man" as a local 
anaesthetic to deaden sensation so that they might remove 
pieces of meat from the boiling pot without flinching — thus 
manifesting their "supernatural power" and so obtaining 
influence over the credulous. Two kinds were distinguished 
as NUGA, male, and MIGA, female, the apparent differences 
being the size, NUGA being larger, the small size or MIGA 
being considered the efficient medicine. 

It ought to be remembered that the Indian does not 
make specific distinctions in plants. He gives names to 
such as are useful to him in any way and to such as strike 
his fancy, while he ignores others which may be in the same 



334 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

genus. On the other hand, if he makes the same use of 
two or more species of the same genus, he will call both by 
the same name; for example, the Omaha use the acorns 
of Quercus rubra for food. They call this tree BUUDE HI. 
They do not make so much use of the acorns of any other 
oak, though they may use the timber. So all oaks except 
Q. rubra, BUUDE HI, are by them indifferently called 
TASHKA HI. So with Salix, Solidago and other genera, 
specific differences may not be noted. This may explain 
any uncertainty of specific indication in my list. The leaves 
of Amorpha canescens, TDE-HU^TO^-HI, were dried, 
powdered, and used to blow into cuts and open wounds, by 
their astringent property causing an incrustation. Also 
the very small ends of twigs were broken into pieces of 
five or six millimeters length and used as a moxa, being 
applied by sticking into the skin over a region affected with 
neuralgia or rheumatism and there burned. The fruits and 
roots of Rhus glabra were steeped together to make a wash 
for sores, probably their astringent quality being the agent 
sought. Mentha canadensis, PEZHE-NUBTHO^-HI, was 
used as a carminative. Acorus calamus (sweet flag), 
MA^KA^-NINIDA, was used to the same effect, and also 
as a tonic, the rootstock being chewed at will, or triturated 
and given in doses. 

For alleviation of colds in the head and for pain in any 
part, various plants were used in a manner of treatment 
called ASHUDE-KITHE. In this treatment the affected 
part was enveloped in a skin or blanket under which was 
placed a vessel of coals, and on the coals were placed some 
fat and the part of the plant to be used for medication. 
Thus the warm smoke of the root or other part of the plant 
was caused to permeate the affected part. For ASHUDE- 
KITHE the root of Silphium perfoliatum, ZHABEHOHO- 
HI, was very commonly used. A decoction was made from 
the leaves of Artemisia gnaphalodes, PEZHE HOTE, for 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 335 

use in bathing for fevers. The dried and powdered leaves 
of this plant were used for nasal hemorrhage, being applied 
by blowing into the nostrils. I suppose the astringent 
effect was sought, as well as the mechanical obstruction of 
the flow of blood, by the powder. 

The root of Caulophyllum thalictroides (blue cohosh), 
ZHU NAKADA TANGA ikfA^KA^, was the favorite 
febrifuge. The name indicates the value ascribed to it in 
this use— ZHC7, flesh or body; NAKADA, hot; TANGA, 
great; MA^KA-^, medicine; altogether signifying the 
medicine for great or severe fever. 

The inflorescences of Oxalis stricta (yellow sheep- 
sorrel), HADE SATHE, (sour grass), were used as a 
poultice for swellings. The fruits of Rhus glabra were used 
to make a poultice in case of poisoning. Dried and powdered 
they were used to blow into wounds and open sores for 
their astringent effect. The people were afraid to touch 
the leaves of Rhus toxicodendron, HTHI WAT HE (to make 
sore). The root of Lacinaria scariosa (button snake root, 
or blazing star), MA^KA^-SAGI (hard medicine), was 
powdered and applied in a poultice for external inflamma- 
tion and was taken internally for abdominal troubles. 
L. spicata they called TDE SINDE (buffalo tail) from the 
resemblance of its inflorescence, but it was not considered 
to have any medicinal value. 

The bark of Gymnocladus dioica (Kentucky Coffee 
Tree), NWTITA, was powdered and mixed with NIA- 
SHIGA MA^KA^, Cucurhita foetidissima, and the root of 
Lacinaria scariosa, MA^KA^-SAGI, and the mixture used 
for a tonic and appetizer. The root of Silphium laciniatum, 
ZHA-PA (bitter weed), was given to horses with their salt 
as a tonic. It was said to give them avidity for water and 
forage and make them take on flesh — a sort of aboriginal 
condition powder. 

A common ailment amongjthe Omaha is eye trouble, 



336 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

and for its alleviation various agents were employed, among 
them being the root of Echinacea angustifolia, the hips of 
Rosa arkansana, and various other plants. 

Concerning plants of miscellaneous mention, it may 
be said that when hunting buffaloes on the Platte and 
Republican rivers, on seeing Solidago spp., ZHA SAGE ZI 
(hard yellow weed), coming into bloom, the people would 
say: "Now our corn is becoming hard at home on the 
NI-SHUDE (Missouri river). Micrampelis lobata, WA- 
HTANGA-HI, was called by the people "ghost melons". 
I suppose the ghostly white, vapory appearance of the 
blooming vines as seen in the dusk of evening running over 
the bushes in the hollows of the hills, suggested the name; 
or perhaps the airy structure of the fruit itself after the 
decay of the parenchymatous tissue may have suggested it. 
The pits of Prunus americana, KANDE, were marked by 
burning to make a sort of dice for gambling. Charcoal 
from Acer negundo was used as the agent for the tribal 
tattooing of girls. Out on the buffalo hunt, when fuel was 
scarce, they sometimes utilized the great gnarled roots of 
Ceanothus americana for that purpose. The resinous 
exudation of Silphium laciniatum was very commonly used 
for chewing gum. The root of Lithospermum canescens, 
being red, was often chewed by children to color their gum. 
I was told by a woman of the I^KA SABE gens of the 
Omaha tribe that red corn was a tabu to her gens. Melilotus 
alba was introduced and very widely distributed over the 
Omaha reservation from the first establishment of the 
mission. There is a curious circumstance in this connection. 
Some of the plants sprang up about the mission, having 
come from the east in the effects of the missionaries. The 
Indians, coming to the mission, observed it and noticed 
that its odor resembled Savastana odorata, which they 
already used as incense, and being pleased with its odor, 
they also, I suppose, since they found it about the mission, 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 337 

naturally connected it with the white man's form of religion. 
So they often gathered and carried it home with them, and 
it has become very generally distributed over the reservation. 



ECONOMIC PLANTS BY FAMILIES 

1. EQUISETACEAE Michx. 

The genus Equisetum, of which several species as 
named below are found in the region occupied by the 
Omahas, is characterized by having cylindrical, hollow, 
simple or branched, green stems, the nodes being 
ringed by a whorl of scales or vestigial leaves, the 
internodes being fluted, the stem easily separable at 
the nodes, the whole plant being exceedingly siliceous. 
E. arvense L., E. hyemale L., E. Laevigatum A. Br., 
E. robustum A. Br., and E. variegatum, Schleich. 

2. PINACEAE Lindl. Juniperus virginiana L. (Red 

cedar), MAAZI. 

A small tree, about 5-10 m. in height. Leaves 
mostly opposite, subulate, spiny. Foliage blue-green 
when young, becoming rusty brown-green when old. 
Aments terminal, berry-like cones blue, glaucous. On 
islands in Platte river and in ravines in bluffs of 
Missouri river. 

3. TYPHACEAE J. St. Hil. Typha latifolia L. (Cat- 

tail), WAHAB-IGASKONTHE. 

Stems 1-2 in. high; flat leaves 6-25 mm. broad; 
spikes dark-brown, staminate and pistillate portions 
contiguous. 

4. ALISMACEAE DC. SagittariaarifoliaNutt. (Arrow 

leaf), SI"". 

Glabrous, terrestrial or partially submerged. 
Leaves broadly sagittate, acute at apex; basal leaves 
acute. Petioles outward curving. 



2S 



338 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

5. GRAMINEAE Juss. Savastana odorata (L.) Scribn. 

(Sweet grass) or (Holy grass), PEZHE ZONSTA. 

Sheaths smooth; lower leaves elongated, glossy, 
tender, fragrant. Found in infrequent patches among 
other herbage in partial shade near clumps of trees. 

Stipa spartea Trin. (Porcupine grass), MIKA-HI; 
MIKA, comb; HI, plant. 

Six to twelve dm. tall. Basal leaves one-third to 
one-half as long as the culm. Panicle 1-25 dm. long. 
Awn 1-2 dm. long, usually twice bent, tightly spiral. 
On prairies. 

Zixania aquatica L. (Wild rice), SI^'WANINDE. 

Erect from annual root, 9-30 dm. tall. Long flat 
leaves. Pistillate flowers on upper branches, staminate 
on lower. Of wide range in swamps. 

Zea mays L., (Maize) (Indian corn), WAHABE. 

Culms often several from the same fibrous root. 
Internodes alternately furrowed, sheathed by the 
bases of the leaves; aborted branches within the 
furrows. Leaves long, tapering to an acuminate point. 
Plant 1.5 to 2.5 m. high. Flowers monoecious, pro- 
tandrous. Staminate inflorescence terminal on central 
stalk, racemose-paniculate. Pistillate inflorescence 
axillary, spicate, sometimes branched. 

6. ARACEAE. Acorus calamus L., (Sweet flag), MA^- 

KAmiNIDA. 

Leaves linear, erect, 5-15 dm. tall. Leaves sharp- 
pointed and sharp-edged, closely sheathing each other 
and the scape. Flowers minute, greenish-yellow. 

7. CYPERACEAE. J. St. Hil. Scirpus lacustris L. 

(Great bulrush) (mat-rush), SA-HI. 

Perennial by rootstocks; culm terete, 1-3 m. tall. 
Umbel compound appearing lateral. In marshy places. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 339 

8. LILIACEAE. Adans. Allium spp. (Wild onions), 

MA^'ZH^'KA-MANTANAHA-HL Allium cer- 
num Roth., A. canadense L., A. mutahile Michx., 
A. nutallii S. Wats., A. reticulatum Don., and A. 
stellatum Ker. 

These are the species of the region and were all 
used without specific differentiation. 

9. SALICACEAE Lindl. 

Populus sargentii Dode (Populus deltoides Marsh), 
(Cottonwood), MAA-ZHO^. 

Large tree, younger bark grayish-green, dark and 
rough when old. Leaves glabrous, deltoid-ovate, 
coarsely crenate, in autumn turning clear, bright 
yellow before falling, apex abruptly acuminate. Young 
stems shining, light yellowish green. 

Salix luteosericea Rydb. 

Shrub, 1-6 m. high, grayish bark, leaves linear, 
yellowish silky; aments at ends of leafy branches. On 
sandbars. 

S. fluviatilis Nutt. 

Much branched shrub, 1-4 m. high in thickets on 
sandbars and along streams and ponds. Bark, brown 
or grayish. 

Both these species of Salix are commonly called 
sandbar willow, and by the Omaha THI 'HE SAGE- 
HI. 

10. JUGLANDACEAE Lindl. 

Juglans nigra L. (Black walnut), TDAGE. 

Large tree, rough, dark bark. Leaflets 13-23, 
pubescent beneath, rounded at base, apex acuminate. 
Fruit spherical, nut corrugated, slightly compressed, 
black. 



340 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Hicoria alba (L.) Britton. 

A large tree, foliage and twigs fragrant whea 
crushed; bark close, leaflets 7-9, long acuminate; but 
grayish-white, angled, pointed at summit. 

H. glabra (Mill) Britton. 

Tree, bark close, rough; nut brown, angled, 
pointed; astringent, bitter, inedible. 

H. laciniosa (Michx. f.) Sarg. 

Large tree, bark separating in long, narrow plates; 
leaflets 7-9; husk thick; nut oblong, pointed at both 
ends, yellowish-white. 

H. minima (Marsh) Britton. 

Slender tree, bark close, rough; leaflets, 7-9, 
long acuminate; husk thin, irregularly 4-valved; but 
short-pointed. 

All hickories are called N(y SI-HI. 

11. BETULACEAE Agardh. Corylus americana Walt., 

(Hazel-nut), mZHINGA. 

A shrub of variable height up to 25 m. Downy 
shoots, leaves and involucre, the latter open down 
to the slightly compressed globular nut. 

12. FAGACEAE Drude. Quercus rubra L., (Red oak), 

BUUDE-HI. 

Large tree in deep woods; bark dark, slightly 
roughened. Leaves dull green above, paler below; 
acorn ovoid, 2-3 cm. long, 2-4 times as long as saucer- 
shaped cup. 

Quercus spp. other than rubra, TASHKA-HI. 

13. ULMACEAE Mirbel. Ulmus falva Michx. (Red 

elm) (Slippery elm), EZHO'' GTHIGTHIDE. 

Large tree, twigs rough-pubescent; leaves ovate, 
rough-pubescent beneath, doubly serrate, acuminate at 
apex, obtuse inequilateral, cordate at base. Inner bark 
mucilaginous, may be stripped into long strands. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 341 

14. MORACEAE Lindl. 

Morus rubra L. (Red mulberry), ZHO^-ZI, (Yellow 
wood). 
Bark brown and rough; leaves ovate, nearly 
orbicular, scabrous above, pubescent beneath, acu- 
minate at apex. Fruit dark purple-red, pendulous. 

Toxylon pomiferum Raf. (Osage orange), (Bois d'arc), 
ZHO'^ZI-ZHU. ZH(F, wood; ZI, yellow; ZHU, 
flesh or body. 
A spiny tree, shrubby, leaves ovate, glossy, entire, 

acuminate at apex, base obtuse. Head of pistillate 

flowers ripening into a hard greenish-yellow, tubercled 

syncarp. 

15. RANUNCULACEAE Juss. Aquilegia canadensis L. 

(Wild columbine), INU-BTH(FKITHE-S ABE-HI. 
Glabrous, 2-6 dm. high, lower leaves biternate, 
upper leaves cunate, pale beneath, flowers nodding. 

16. BERBERIDACEAE T. and G. Caulophyllum thalic- 

troides (L.) Michx. (Blue cohosh), ZHU-NAKADA- 

TANGA-MA^KA''. ZHU, body or flesh; 

NAKADA, hot; TANGA, great; MA'^KA^, 

medicine. 

Glabrous, glaucous when young, 3-9 dm. high. 
A large triternate, nearly sessile leaf near summit, 
generally smaller, similar one near base of inflorescence. 
Flowers greenish-purple. In deep woods. 

17. PAPAVERACEAE B. Juss. Sanguinaria canadensis 

L. (Blood root). 
Rootstock horizontal, several cm. long, with thick, 
fibrous roots; juice red. Leaves palmately 5-9 lobed. 
Flowers white. Rich, damp woods. 

18. GROSSULARIACEAE Dumont. Rihes missouriensis 

Nutt, (Gooseberry), PEZI. 
Branches stout, gray shreddy bark; spines usually 
three together, stout, bristles on younger stems. 
Flowers white, fruit purple. River banks and thickets. 



342 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

19. ROSACEAE B. Juss. 

Rubtis occidentalis L., (Black raspberry), AGATHCN- 
KEMONGE-HI. 

Stems cane-like, recurved, often rooting at tip. 
Leaves pinnately 3-foliate, leaflets ovate, acuminate. 
Fruit purple-black, depressed hemispheric. 

Fragaria virginiana Duchesne (Wild strawberry), 
BASHTE. 

Rather stout, tufted, dark green; scape equal or 
shorter than leaves; fruit bright red, ovoid, delicious. 

Rosa arkansana Porter (Prairie rose), WAZHIDE. 

Erect 3-6 dm. high. Stems prickly. Leaflets 7-11, 
ovate; fruit globose. Prairies. 

20. POMACEAE L. 
Crataegus coccinea L. 

Shrub or small tree. Leaves broadly ovate, in- 
cised and sharply serrate. Fruit bright red, globose, 
or oval, rarely hairy. 

Crataegus mollis (T. & G.) Scheele. 

Shrub or small tree. Leaves broadly ovate, 
truncate at base, sharply serrate. Fruit, bright red, 
hairy. 

Note — Both these species are commonly called 
red haw, and by the Omaha TASPA^-HI. 

21. DRUPACEAE DC. 

Prunus americana Marsh (Wild plum), KANDE. 

Shrub or small tree, branches thorny; leaves 
ovate, serrate, flowers white, fragrant, drupe yellow 
or red. 

P. hesseyi Bailey (Sand cherry), NO^TA-TANCA. 

Shrub, 3-12 dm. high, branches spreading or 
prostrate; leaves oval, apex and base acute. Flowers, 
white, in sessile umbels. Fruit edible, somewhat 
astringent, black or mottled brown. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 343 

P. virginiana (L.) (Choke cherry), A^C/^P A ZHINGA. 

Shrub or small slender tree, gray bark; leaves 
thin, broadly oval; flowers in loose racemes. Drupe 
nearly black, very astringent. 

22. CESALPINACEAE KI. and Darcke. Gymnocladus 

dioica(L.) Koch (Kentucky coffee tree), ATO^-T/rA 
HI. 

Large tree, rough bark, leaves large, leaflets 7-15, 
racemes many-flowered. Pod coriaceous, flat. Sweet- 
ish pulp between seeds. 

23. PAPILONACEAE L. 

Melitotus alba Desv. (Sweet clover), INU-BTHO^- 
KITHE-HI. 

Erect, 1-3 m. high, branching, white flowers in 
loose racemes. Leaves fragrant in drying. 

Psorales esculenta Parsh (Pomme de prairie), NUG- 
THE. 

1-5 dm. high, erect, from turning-shaped, farina- 
ceous root. Corolla blue. 

Amorpha canescens Pursh (Lead plant, shoe string), 
TDE-HV^TO^-HI. 

Bushy, white-canescent shrub, 3-9 dm. high. 
Leaves sessile or nearly so, leaflets 2-49, almost sessile. 
Spikes 5-18 cm. long, standard bright blue. 

Falcata comosa (L.) Kuntze (Hog peanut), HI^BTHI- 
HI. 

Sometimes perennial. Slender twining vines 
running over bushes, racemes of purplish or white 
flowers in great numbers; pods 2.5 mm. long, con- 
taining four or five grayish-mottled beans resembling 
lentils. From the base of the ascending stems leafless 
vines spread like a network over the ground, bearing 
geotropic cleistogamous flowers which produce each 
a single subterranean bean 6-17 mm. in diameter. 



344 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Apios apios (L.) MacM. (Ground nut), NU. 

Thick, perennial vines, pinnately 3-7 foliate leaves; 
rather large brownish-purple or red flowers. Rachis 
of inflorescence knobby. Stamens diadelphous (9-1). 
Rootstocks form chains of edible tubers. 

24. OXALIDACEAE Lindl. Oxalis stricta L. (Yellow 

sheep-sorrel), HADE-SATHE. HADE, grass; 

SATHE, sour. 
Stem commonly branched, spreading, 1-3 dm. 
long; fohage pale green; flowers pale yellow. Cap- 
sules columnar. 

25. RUTACEAE Jusa. Xanthoxylum americanum Mill. 

(Prickly ash), ZHO^'-PAHIDHADHA or WEDE- 

HOHO-HL 
A shrub; leaves pubescent when young, glabrous- 
when old, leaflets 5-11, ovate, opposite, dark green 
above, lighter beneath; flowers axillary or terminal, 
appearing before the leaves. 

26. ANACARDIACEAE Lindle. Rhus glabra L., (Sumac), 

MI'^BDI-HI. 
Shrub 6-60 dm. high; leaves alternate; leaflets 
11-31, dark green above, whitish below, sharply serrate; 
drupe covered with short reddish, acid hairs. 

Rhus toxicodendron L., (Poison oak). 

Low, erect. Leaflets ovate, mostly obtuse, often 
crenately lobed to resemblance of an oak. Fruit 
depressed globose. 

27. ACERACEAE St. Hil. 

Acer saccharinum L. (Silver maple), WENU^SHABE- 
THE-HL 
A tree with flaky bark, young growth distinctly 
reddish. Leaves deeply 5-lobed, green above, silvery 
white below. 

A. negundo L. (Box-elder), ZHABATA-ZHO^-HI. 

Bushy, gnarled and crooked tree, bark rough. 
Leaves 3-5 foliate, leaflets ovate, acute. Along streams. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 345 

28. RHAMNACEAE Dumort. Ceanothus americana L. 

(Jersey tea. Red-root), T ABE-HI. 

Stem ascending from deep reddish root, puberulent. 
Cymose panicles of white flowers. Fruit depressed, 
nearly black. 

29. VITACEAE Lindl. Vitis vulpina L., (Wild grape), 

HAZL 

Leaves thin, shining, terminal lobe commonly 
long; branches rounded or slightly angled, greenish, 
tendrils intermittent; berries bluish-black, 8-10 mm. 
diameter. 

SO. TILIACEAE Juss. Tilia americana L. (Linden, bass- 
wood), HINDE-HL 

Forest tree with spreading branches, leaves 5-13 
cm. wide, coriaceous, sharply serrate, abruptly acu- 
minate. River bottoms. 

31. CACTACEAE Lindl. Lophophora williamsii Coult. 

{Echinocactus williamsii Lem.) {Anhalonium wil- 
liamsii Eng.) (Mescal), MA^ KANAKA. 

Note — MA^KA^, medicine; AKA, a word which 
gives a suggestion of personality, regarded as distinctly 
different from any other medicine. 

"Napiform cactus" with fissured top, hardly ris- 
ing above the ground, producing a handsome pink 
flower in early summer, with flattened tubercules 
arranged in ribs. — (Havard). 

32. ELEAGNACEAE Lindl. Lepargyraea argentea (Nutt) 

Greene (Buffalo berry), ZHO'^HOJE-WAZHIDE. 

Shrub 2-6 m. high, thorny; leaves oblong, obtuse 
at apex, cuneate narrowed at base, densely silvery- 
scurfy on both sides; flowers fascicled at nodes; fruit 
ovoid, scarlet, acid, edible, 4-6 mm. long. 



346 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

33. CORNACEAE Link. 

Cornus asperifolia L'Her (Dogwood), MA^SA-HTE- 
HI. 

Shrub, 0.8-3 m. high; leaves broadly ovate, pale 
beneath, rather dense cymes 3-7 cm. broad; fruit 
globose, light blue. 

C. amomum L. (Kinnikinnik), NINIGA-HI-HTE- 
ZHIDE. 

A shrub 1-3 m. high; bark dark red in winter, 
grayish in summer; leaves petioled, ovate, acuminate 
at apex; flowers white, in compact cymes; fruit 
globose, light blue. 

34. OLEACEAE Lindl. Frazinus viridis Michx. (Green 

ash), TASHINANGA-HL 

A tree 20 m. or more in height; leaves glabrous, 
bright green; leaflets 7-9, occasionally coated with 
pale tomentum below. 

35. ASCLEPIADACEAE Lindl. Asclepias syriaca L. 

(Common milkweed), WAH'DHA-HI. 

Stem stout, simple 9-15 dm. high; leaves ovate, 
densely pubescent beneath, soon glabrous above; 
corolla green-purple; hoods ovate, lanceolate with a 
tooth on each side. 

36. VERBENACEAE J. St. Hil. Verbena stricta Vent. 

(Hoary vervain), PEZHE MA'^KA''. 

Perennial, soft-pubescent; stem 4-angled, leafy, 
strict, 3-8 dm. high; leaves ovate, laciniate, spikes 
mostly sessile. Corolla purplish-blue. 

37. LABIATAE B. Juss. 

Monarda fistulosa L. (Wild bergamot. Horse-mint), 
PEZHE-PA. 

Perennial, fragrant, villous-pubescent, 6-9 dm. 
high; leaves thin, lanceolate - acuminate, serrate; 
corolla purplish. Dry hills. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 347 

Mentha canadensis L. (American wild mint), PEZHE- 
NUBTHO"^. 
Perennial by suckers; leaves varying, ovate- 
oblong to lanceolate, tapering at both ends. Very 
fragrant. 

38. SOLANACEAE Pers. Nicotiana quadrivalvis Pursh. 

Herb about 2 dm. high; viscid-pubescent, low 
branching. Leaves oblong, or uppermost lanceolate; 
lower ovata-lanceolate; both ends acute. Calyx teeth 
much shorter than the tube, about equalling the 4- 
celled capsule. Tube of corolla about 2 cm. long; 
5-lobed limb 8-5 cm. in diameter. Cultivated by 
Indians from the Missouri river to Oregon ; their most 
prized tobacco. Perhaps derived from N. bigelovii 
Watson. 

39. RUBIACEAE B. Juss. Galium triflorum Michx. 

(Fragrant bedstraw), WAU-PEZHE or WAU- 
INU-MA'^KA''. 
Perennial, procumbent, shining, delicately fra- 
grant in drying; leaves in 6's. In deep woods. 

40. CAPRIFOLIACEAE Vent. Symphoricarpos sym- 

phoricarpos (L.) MacM. (Coral berry). 
Shrub 6-15 dm. high. Leaves oval, entire, 
glabrous above or nearly so, soft-pubescent, whitish 
below. Corolla pinkish, berry purphsh-red, ovoid, 
globose. 

41. CUCURBITACEAE B. Juss. Micrampelis lobata 

Michx.) Greene. 
Stem nearly glabrous, angular and grooved, 
chmbing on bushes to height of 4-7 m.; leaves thin, 
sharply and deeply 8-7 lobed; copious and pretty 
white flowers, fruit ovoid, greenish-white, spiny, dry 
and bladdery after opening. 

42. COMPOSITAE Adans. 

Lacinaria scariosa (L.) Hill (Button snake-root, 

Blazing star), MA'^KA^'-SAGI, "the hard medicine." 

Stout stem 3-18 dm. high; lanceolate leaves, or 



348 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

lower spatulate oblong very numerous scales of the 
involucre, with rounded tips, often purple on the 
margins. Flowers bluish-purple. 

L. spicata (L.) Kuntze (Dense button snake-root. 
Blazing star), TDE-SINDE, "buffalo tail." 
In low grounds, 6-18 dm. high, dense spike, 1-4 
dm. long. Flowers blue-purple. 

Solidago (Golden rod), ZHA-SAGI-ZI, "hard yellow 
weed." 

Perennial erect herbs, sometimes woody at base, 
mostly simple stems, alternate simple, toothed or 
entire leaves; small heads of both tubular and radiate 
yellow flowers in panicles, thyrsi, or capitate clusters. 
Bracts of involucre imbricated in several series, outer 
successively shorter. 

Numerous species of Solidago are found in Ne- 
braska, including S. arguta Ait., S. canadensis L., S. 
missouriensis Nutt., S. mollis Bartl., S. nemoralis Ait., 
S. rigida L., S. rupestris Raf., and S. serotina Ait., the 
latter being the state flower. 

Silphium perfoliatum L. (Cup plant), ZHABAHOHO- 
HI. 

Stem square, glabrous, branched above or simple, 
1-2.4 m. high, around which ovate, coarsely toothed 
leaves are connate into cup holding rainwater. Moist 
soil. 

S. laciniatum L. (Compass plant), (Pilot weed), ZHA- 
PA. 
Rough, very resinous 2-5 m. high, basal leaves 
pinnatafid; stem leaves alternate, vertical, edges 
tending to north and south. 

Helianthus tuherosus L. (Jerusalem artichoke), 
PA^'HE. 
Perennial by fleshy, thickened, root-stocks, ending 
in ovate, edible, tubers. Stems branched above, 2-3.5 
m. high; leaves ovate, acuminate, upper alternate, 
lower opposite. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 349 

Artimisia gnaphaloides Nutt. (Prairie mugwort) 
PEZHE-HOTE. 
Perennial; stem white-tementose, much branched, 
3-12 dm. high; heads numerous, erect, spicate- 
paniculate. Dry prairies. 



Of fungi they had found the useful qualities of the 
meadow mushroom and the several species of mushrooms 
which are found growing on decaying wood in the wood- 
land along the Missouri river. Ustilago maydis was used 
for food while still firm, before maturity. 



PLANTS ARRANGED ACCORDING TO USES AMONG 
THE OMAHA 

I. 

DOMESTIC USES 

1. IMPLEMENTS 

For War, Hunting and Fishing 
Arrow shafts: Cornus asperifolia, MA^SA-HTE- 

HI. 
Bows, Fraxinus viridis, TASHINANGA-HI; Toxy- 

lon pomiferum, ZHO^-ZI ZHU. 
Fish weirs, Salix spp. 
For Household Employments 

Matting: Scirpus lacustris, SA-HI. 
Basketry: Salix fluviatilis, S. luteosericea, THIHE' 
SAGE-HI. 
Mortars for corn : Ulmus americana, EZHO^ -SKA- 
HI; Quercus spp., TASHKA-HL 
Pipestems: Fraxinus viridis, TASHINANGA-HI. 



350 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

2. CEREMONIAL AGENTS 

Incense : Juniperus virginiana, MAAZI-HI; Sava- 
stana odorata, PEZHE ZONSTA. 

Sacred tent: Populus sargentii, MAA-ZHO^. 

Ritual: Artemisia ludoviciana, A. gnaphalodes, 
PEZHE HOTE; Populus sargentii, MAA-ZHO^; 
Salix spp.; Juniperus virginiana, MAAZI- 
HI; Zea mays, WAHABE; Savastana odorata, 
PEZHE-ZONSTA; Typha latifolia, WAHABE 
GASKONTHE; Fraxinus viridis, Lophophora 
williamsii Coult. {Echinocactus williamsii Lem.), 
MA^'KA^'AKA. 

Note — All plants in this table are native to Nebraska 
and of aboriginal use, except Lophophora, which is not 
native nor of ancient use, but was imported in modern times 
for use in the borrowed cult of the "Mescal Society", and 
Toxylon pomiferum which in aboriginal time was imported 
from southern Oklahoma. 

3. ESTHETIC USES 

Perfumes for hair-oil: Rosa arkansana, WAZHIDE, 
Monarda fistulosa, PEZHE -PA. 

Perfumes for general uses: Aquilegia canadensis, 
INUBTHO''KITHE-S ABE-HI; Xanthoxylum 
americana, ZHO'^-PAHI-DHADHA, Galium 
triflorum, WAU-INU-MA^'KA'' or WAU- 
PEZHE. 

Skin stain: Sanguinaria canadensis. 

4. GENERAL USES 

Vapor bath lodges: Salix spp. 

Fibres and cordage: Ulmus fulva, ZHO^GTHI- 
GTHIDE {ZHO'', wood; GTHIGTHIDE, slip- 
pery); Tilia americana, HINDE-HI. 

Snow shoes: Hicoria spp., NO^ SI-HI. 

Hairbrushes: Stipa spartea, MIKA-HI. 

Dyes: Rhus glabra, MI^BDI-HI; Quercus rubra, 
BUU DE-HI; Acer saccharinum, WENU^- 
SHABETHE-HI; Populus sargentii, MAA- 
ZHO^; Juglans nigra, TDAGE; Acer Sac- 
charinum, WENV'-SHABE-THE-HI. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 351 

II. 

FOODS 

1. FOODS PROPER 

Roots, bulbs and tubers: Allium spp., MA^ZHO^- 
KA-MANTANAHA-HI; Apios apios, NU; 
Helianthus tuberosa, PA^HE; Psoralea esculenta, 
NU-GTHE; Sagittaria latifoUa, SI^. 

Potherbs and greens: Asdepias syriaca, WAHTHA, 

Bark: Ulmus fulva, ZHO^'-GTHIGTHIDE. 

Fungi: Ustilago maydis, WAHABE-HTHI. 

They also used the meadow mushroom and the 

several species of edible mushrooms which are 

found on decaying wood in the woodland along the 

Missouri river. 

Fruits, seeds and nuts: Corylus americana, U^- 
ZHINGA; Juglans nigra, TDAGE; Quercus 
rubra, BUUDE; Crataegus mollis, C. coccinea, 
TASPA^; Fragaria virginiana, BASHTE; Le- 
pargyraea argentea, ZHO^-HOJE-WAZHIDE; 
Prunu^ besseiji, NO^PA TANG A; P. virginiana, 
NO^PA ZHINGA; P. americana, KANDE; 
Ribes missouriensis, PEZHI; Rubus occidentalis, 
AGATHUNKEMONGE-HI; Falcata comosa, 
HI^BTHI ABE; Viburnum lentago, Vitis vul- 
pina, HAZI; Zea mays, WAHABE; Zizania 
aquatica, SI^'WANINDE. 

Sugar and syrup: Acer saccharinum, WENU- 
SHABATHE'HI; A. negundo, ZHABATE- 
ZHO'^-HI. 

2. BEVERAGES 

Ceanothus americana, T ABE-HI. 

Crataegus mollis, C. Coccinea, TASPA^-HI. 

Mentha canadensis, PEZHE NUBTHO''. 

Verbena stricta, PEZHE-MA'^KA''. 

Rubus occidentalis, AGATHUNKEMO^'GE-HI. 

3. SMOKING 

Nicotiana quadrivalvis, Cornus sericea, NINIGA- 

HIHTE-ZHIDE. 
Rhus glabra, MI'^BDI-HI. 



352 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

III. 

MEDICINES 

1. PROPERTIES and USES 

Anaesthetic (local) : Echinacea angustifolia. 
Antitode for snakebites, stings and septic condi- 
tions: Echinacea angustifolia. 
Astringent for wounds and open sores: Amorpha 

canescens, TDE HU'^TO'^-HL 
Carminative: Mentha canadensis, PEZHE NUB- 

THO^. 
Febrifuge : Artemisia gnaphalodes, PEZHE-HOTE; 

Caulophyllum thalictroides, ZHU NAKADA 

TANGA MA'^KA''. 
Moxa: Amorpha canescens, TDE-HU^TO^-HI. 
Poultice: Oenothera rhomhipetala, WEOSHI; As- 

clepias tuber osa, KIU-MAKA^; Oxalis stricta, 

HADE SATHE; Rhus glabra, MFBDI-HI; 

Lacinaria scariosa, MA^KA^-SAGI. 
Tonic: Acorus calamus, Silphium laciniatum (for 

horses), ZHA PA. 
Smoke treatment: ASHUDE-KITHE; S. per- 

foliatum, ZHABAHOHO-HI. 

2. DISEASES 

Abdominal troubles: Lacinaria scariosa, MA^- 

KA'^-SAGI. 
Eye troubles: Echinacea angustifolia, Symphori- 

carpos symphoricarpos, Rosa arkansana, WA- 

ZHIDE. 
Fever: Caulophyllum thalictroides, ZHU NAKADA 

TANGA MA^KA^; Artemisia gnaphalodes, 

PEZHE HOTE. 
Headache: Artemisia gnaphalodes, PEZHE HOTE; 

Monarda fistulosa, PEZHE-PA. 
Inflammation : Lacinaria scariosa, MA^KA^-SAGL 
Nasal hemorrhage: Artemisia gnaphalodes, PEZHE 

HOTE. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 353 

IV. 
PLANTS OF CASUAL MENTION 

1. Solidago spp., ZHA SAGE ZI. 

2. Micrampelis lobata, WAHA TANGA-HI. 

3. Prunus americana, KANDE. 

4. Acer negundo, ZHABATA-ZHO^'-HI. 

5. Ceanothus americana, T ABE-HI, 

6. Silphium laciniatum, PEZHE-PA. 

7. Zea mays (red variety), W AH ABE. 

8. Melilotus alba, IN U-BTHO'' -KIT HE-HI. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY ON ECONOMIC BOTANY OF 
AMERICAN ABORIGINES 

1. Barrows, D. P., Ethnobotany of Coahuilla Indians of 

California, Chicago, 1900, 1-82. 

2. Blankenship, J. W., Economic Plants of Montana. 

Bui. 56, Mont. Agric. Coll. Exp. Sta., Bozeman, 
Montana. 

3. Carr, L., The Food of Certain American Indians and 

Their Method of Preparing it. Proc. Amer. Antiq. 
Soc, Worcester, Mass., 1895 (reprint 1-36). 

4. Chamberlain, L. S., Plants Used by Indians of Eastern 

North America. American Naturalist, 1901, v. 35, 
1-10, Boston. 

5. Chamberlain, A. F., Maple Sugar and the Indians. 

American Anthropologist, 1891, No. 4, 381-383. 
Wash. 

6. Chestnut, V. H., Plants Used by Indians of Mendocino 

County, California, Cont. from U. S. Nat. Herb., 
V. 7, Wash. 

7. Cook, 0. F., Food Plants of Ancient America. Smith- 

son. Rep., 1903, 481-497. Wash., 1904. 



24 



354 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

8. Coville, F. V., Notes on Plants Used by the Klamath 

Indians of Oregon. Cont. from U. S. Nat. Herb., 
V. 5, Wash. 
Panamint Indians of California. Amer. Anthrop., 
1892, No. 15, 551-561, Wash. 

Wokas, a Primitive Food of the Klamath Indians. 
Rep. U. S., Nat. Mus., 1902, 725-739, Wash., 1904. 

9. Dorsey, James Owen, Siouan Cults. Eleventh Ann. 

Rep. B. A. E., Wash., 1894. 
Omaha Sociology. Third Ann. Rep. B. A. E., Wash., 
1894. 

10. Dorsey, George A., Field-Columbian Museum Pub- 

lications, Anthropological Series, May, 1903. 

11. DeCandolle, Alphonse, Origin of Cultivated Plants. 

12. Dunbar, John B., The Pawnee Indians. Magazine of 

American History, v. 5, No. 5, Nov. 1890. 

13. Ellis, Havelock, Mescal; A New Artificial Paradise. 

Ann. Rep. Smithson. Inst., 1897. Wash. 

14. Fletcher, AHce C, The Hako; A Pawnee Ceremony. 

Ann. Rep. Bureau of Am. Eth., 1904, Wash. 

15. Fewkes, J. W., A Contribution to Ethnobotany. 

Am. Amthrop., v. 9:21, (1896). 

16. Goodale, George L., Some Possibilities of Economic 

Botany. Amer. Jour, of Science, v. 42:271, New 
Haven, 1891. 

17. Grinnell, George Bird, Some Cheyenne Plant Medi- 

cines. Am. Anthrop., v. 7, n. s., 1905, p. 73. 

18. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. 

Bulletin 30, B. A. E., Wash. 

19. Hansen, N. E., The Western Sand Cherry. Bui. 87, 

South Dakota Agric. Coll. Exp. Sta., June, 1904. 

20. Harshberger, J. W., Maize; An Economic and Botanic 

Study. Cont. from Bot. Lab. Univ. of Pennsylvania. 
V. 1, No. 2, 1893. 

Purposes of Ethnobotany. Botanical Gazette, v. 21, 
No. 3, p. 146, Madison. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 355 

21. Havard, V., Surgeon U. S. A., Food Plants of North 

American Indians. Bui. Torrey Bot. Club., v. 22; 
No. 3, 1895, p. 121. 

Drink Plants of the Indians. Am. Jour. Pharm., 
May, 1897, p. 265. 

22. Henshaw, H. W., Who Are the American Indians? 

Amer. Anthrop., v. 2, No. 3, p. 197 (July, 1889). 

23. Hrdlicka, Ales, Physiological and Medical Observa- 

tions Among the Indians of Southwestern United 
States and Northern Mexico. Bui. 34, Bureau of 
Am. Eth., 1908, Wash. 

24. Hough, Walter, Environments and the Indians. Amer. 

Nat., V. 11, May, 1898, p. 137. 

25. Jenks, Albert Ernest, Wild Rice Gatherers of the 

Upper Lakes. Ann. Rep. Bureau of Am. Eth., 
1897-8, pt. 2, 1013-1137, Wash., 1900. 

26. Josselyn, John, New England Rarities. London, 1672 

Reprint, Boston, 1865. 

27. Kroeber, A. L., The Arapaho. Bui. Am. Mus. Nat. 

Hist., V. 18 (1902). 

28. Lloyd Brothers' Bulletin, 1907-8. 

29. Lloyd Brothers' Publications, No. 75, 85. 

30. Mason, 0. T., Migration and the Food Quest. A 

Study of the Peopling of America. Amer. Anthrop., 
V. 7, 0. S. 

31. Matthews, Washington, Ethnography and Philology 

of the Hidatsa Indians. Rep. U. S. Geol. Survey, 
1877, Wash. 

Was Willow Bark Smoked by the Indians? Amer. 
Anthropologist, v. 5, n. s., 1903, p. 170. 

32. Merck's Index, 1907, p. 66. Subject: Anhalonine. 

33. Mooney, James, The Mescal Plant and Ceremony. 

Therapeutic Gazette, Jan. 1896, p. 7, 3d series, 
V. 12, No. 1, Detroit. 

A Kiowa Mescal Rattle. Am. Anthrop., v. 5, o. s., 
Oct. 1893, p. 377. 



356 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Cherokee Theory and Practice of Medicine. Jour, 
of Amer. Folklore, v. 3, 1890, p. 44, Cambridge. 
Calendar History of Kiowa Indians. Seventeenth 
Ann. Rep. Bureau of Am. Eth., p. 238, Wash. 

34. Newberry, J. S., Food and Fibre Plants of North 

American Indians. Popular Science Monthly, v. 32, 
p. 31, New York. 

35. Palmer, Edward, Surgeon U. S. A., Food Products of 

North American Indians, Rep. U. S. Com. Agric, 
1870, p. 412, Wash. 

Plants Used by Indians of the United States. Amer. 
Naturalist, 1878, v. 12, 593-596, 646-655, Phila. 
Customs of the Coyotero Apaches. Amer. Jour. 
Pharm., v. 50, p. 586. 

36. Powers, Stephen, Aboriginal Botany. Proc. Calif. 

Acad. Sci., 1873-4, v. 15, p. 373. 

37. Rau, Charles, Ancient Aboriginal Trade in North 

America. Smithson. Rep. 1872, Wash. 

38. Rhind, William, Vegetable Kingdom. London, 1868. 

39. Stevenson, Matilda Coxe, The Zuni Indians. Twenty- 

third Ann. Rep. B. A. E., 1901-2, 1-634, Wash., 
1904. 

40. Sturtevant, Lewis, Indian Corn and the Indian. 

Amer. Naturalist, v. 19, No. 3, p. 15, March, 1885. 
Kitchen Garden Esculents of American Origin. 
Amer. Naturalist, v. 19. 

41. Stockwell, G. A., M. D., Indian Medicine. Popular 

Science Monthly, v. 29, p. 649, (1886). 

42. Stickney, G. P., Indian Uses of Wild Rice, Amer. 

Anthrop., v. 9, p. 115, (1896). 

43. Trumbull, J. Hammond, Vegetables Cultivated by the 

American Indians. Bui. Torrey Bot. Club, Jan., 
1876; April, 1876. 

44. Thomas, Cyrus, Agriculture Among the Indians. 

Twelfth Ann. Rep. Bureau of Am. Eth., p. 615, 
Wash. 



ETHNOBOTANY OF OMAHA INDIANS 357 

45. Thompson, Charles Henry, Cacti Cultivated Under 

the Generic Name Anhalonium. From the Ninth 

Ann. Rep. Missouri Bot. Garden. St. Louis, 1898. 

Note — This report is of special interest in that it 

contains an excellent plate of Lophophora williamsii and one 

of L. lewinii as they are therein specifically distinguished. 



SOME NATIVE NEBRASKA PLANTS WITH 
THEIR USES BY THE DAKOTA^ 

By Melvin Randolph Gilmore, M. A. 

[Being the result of inquiry among the Oglala Dakota 
on Pine Ridge Reservation, August, 1912.] 

MONOCOTYLEDONEAE 

I. ALISMACEAE. Sagittaria sp. PSHITOLA. 

Tubers used for food after boiling till the peeling 
slips off. 

II. LILIACEAE. Yucca glauca. HUPESTULA. 

The root was used like soap in washing the scalp. 
The Indians said, '*It makes the hair grow." The 
most ordinary saponific was the ashes of deciduous 
trees. 

Another use for Yucca was in the contrivance of 
a fire-making apparatus, on the high plain where wood 
was absent. The hard sharp-pointed leaves were very 
firmly bound into a slender bundle forming the fire- 
drill to be twirled by the hands. The hearth was made 
of the peeled and well dried stem of the plant, a de- 
pression was cut in one side in which the point of the 
drill was inserted and twirled until it smouldered, when 
the breath was blown upon it till flame sprang up. 

Another use was in tanning hides. The roots of 
Yucca were boiled hard and, after cooling, the decoction 



^ In spelling the Dakota words in this paper I have used the letters ac- 
cording to their continental values instead of the English, for the sake of 
clearness. Each vowel forms a syllable. The letter "h" with a dot over 
it represents the German sound of "ch." An apostrophe after a letter 
represents an explosive sound of that letter. 

(358) 



NATIVE PLANTS OF NEBRASKA 359 

was sprinkled over the hides after they had been 
treated with the brain-hver-marrow dressing. 

III. ARACEAE. Acorus calamus. SP'KPELA TA 

WOTE. (Food of the muskrat). 

The root was gathered and dried and taken as a 
carminative and also chewed at will for its agreeable 
aromatic flavor. 

IV. TYPHACEAE. Typlia latifolia L. WIHUTA HU. 

The down was used for filling pillows and especially 
for padding cradles and quilting baby wrappings. 

Children used the leaves in playing at making 
mats and so forth, but because of their brittleness after 
drying they were not put to serious purpose by adults. 
From the name, WIHUTA HU, it would seem to have 
been in common use to spread at the bottom of the 
tipi, for WIHUTA means the bottom of a tent and 
HU means plant stem. 

V. CYPERACEAE. Scirpus lacustris L. PSA. 

The tender white part of the base of the stem was 
eaten fresh and uncooked. 

The long stems were made into a ball by bending 
over the base of several together, then the remaining 
length of stems was braided into a swinging handle, 
the whole contrivance forming the instrument of a 
children's game. 

Mats for household use were woven from the 
stems after they were first pressed flat between thumb 
and fingers. 

VI. POACEAE. Savastana odorata. 

This grass was used in propitiatory rites in order 
to enlist the good offices of the divine mediator, 
WOHPA, in the cause of the person who was offering 
worship to a benevolent deity. 



360 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Zizania aquatica L. PSI^. 

The grain formed an important and prized item of 
food, so important as to give the name PSI'^-HNA- 
KETU-WI to the month of the Dakota calendar cor- 
responding to September; PSI'', rice; HNAKETU, 
to lay up to dry; WI, moon. 

VII. RANUNCULACEAE. Thalictrum purpurascens L. 

WAZIMNA. 

When the fruits approach maturity in August the 
tops are broken off and stored in bags for their agree- 
able odor, being rubbed and scattered on the clothing 
at any time when the effect is desired. They say that 
the fragrance is emitted more when the substance is 
dampened, and that it is LILA WASHTEMNA— very 
fragrant. They speak of a number of plants as being 
WASHTEMNA which we Europeans do not think of 
as remarkable for fragrance. But with them whatever 
gives a suggestion of the fresh outdoors is WASH- 
TEMNA, though its odor be ever so evanescent and 
slight. 

VIII. SALICACEAE. Populus sp. WAGA CHA^\ 

The wood was used for fuel. The standing trees 
of large size were sometimes made depositories of 
dead bodies in the tree burial of old times. The body 
might be placed in the hollow trunk of a tree or laid 
on a support placed across branches. Green cotton- 
wood bark was fed to their horses. They said it was 
as good for horse feed as the white man's oats. In 
spring when sap was abundant young sprouts were 
sometimes peeled and the inner bark was eaten by 
people because of its sweet taste and agreeable flavor. 
Even in winter the inner bark was chewed to extract 
its sweetness, and after chewing the fibre was rejected. 

A very interesting and charming use for the leaves 
was had by children in play. They tore the leaf down 



NATIVE PLANTS OF NEBRASKA 361 

a little way from the tip along the midrib, and at an 
equal distance from the tip they tore the leaf in a 
little way from the margin of each side and turned 
back these two parts to represent smoke flaps, then 
turned the two margins of the leaf together and pinned 
them so with a splinter and had a realistic toy tipi. 
Children would make a number of such tipis and set 
them in a circle, just as the tribal encampment was 
set in a circle. It is interesting to note this manifesta- 
tion of the inventive genius and resourcefulness of the 
Indian child mind thus reacting to its environment 
and providing its own amusement. Children some- 
times gathered the fruits of the cottonwood before 
they were scattered by the wind and used the cottony 
seeds like gum for chewing. 
Salix fluviatilis Nutt. WAHPE POPA. 

The stems were peeled and woven into baskets. 

IX. NYCTAGINACEAE. Allionia nyctaginea Michx. 

(Wild Four-O'clock). POIPIE. 
The root was boiled and used as a febrifuge. It 
was also boiled with Brauneria pallida root for a 
vermifuge. It was taken for four nights and next 
morning "the worms came away". If one has "the 
big worm" (tape-worm) "it comes away too". Boiled 
with Brauneria it was applied to swellings of Hmbs, 
arms or legs, always being applied by rubbing down- 
ward, never upward. 

X. CHENOPODIACEAE. Chenopodium albidum L. 

WAHPE TOTO. 
The young plants were boiled for food. 

XI. POLYGONACEAE. Rumex altissimus (wood). 

SHIAKIPI. 

The green leaves were bound on boils for the 
purpose of drawing them out. Dried leaves were 



362 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

crushed up and bound on with green leaves for the 
same purpose. 

XII. MALVACEAE. Malvastrum coccineum (Pursh.) A. 

Gray. HEYOKA TA PEZHUTA. 

Used to deaden sensation of pain, so that, when 
rubbed on hands and arms by jugglers, they were able 
to pick up boiling meat from the pot to the mystifica- 
tion of onlookers. 

XIII. ULMACEAE. Celtis occidentalis L. (Hackberry). 

YAMANUMANUGAPI CHA^\ 
The fruits were pounded up as were the cherries 
and dried for use as a condiment for seasoning the 
meat in cooking. 

XIV. MORACEAE. Humulus lupulus L. (Hops). CHA^ 

lYUWE. 

The fruits were boiled to make a drink used as a 
remedy for fever and for intestinal pains. 

XV. CONVOLVULACEAE. Cuscuta sp. (Dodder). 

My Oglala informant knew nothing about it, but 
my interpreter, who was an Apache, said his tribe call 
it "rattlesnake food". 

They said that rattlesnakes take it into their dens 
for food. 

XVI. SOLANACEAE. Physalis heterophylla. (Ground 

cherry) . TAMANIOHPE. 
Made into a sauce. When plentiful enough they 
are sometimes dried for winter use. 
Physalis lanceolata. (Inedible groundcherry). Also 
called TAMANIOHPE by the Dakota. 
The only use of this species is by children in play. 
They inflate the large persistent calyx with the breath 
and pop the same by suddenly striking it on the fore- 
head or hand. 



NATIVE PLANTS OF NEBRASKA 363 

XVII. ASCLEPIADACEAE. Asdepias syriaca L. (Big 

milkweed). WAHCHAH CHA. 
So named from the bursting out of the ripened 
pods like a flower, WAHCHA. Used for food, the 
sprouts in early spring, later the bud clusters, and last 
the young seed pods, while firm and green, are cooked 
by boiling, usually with meat. 

XVIII. SCROPHULARIACEAE. Pentstemon grandi- 

florus Nutt. WAHCHAHSHA. 
The root was boiled and used for pains in the 
chest. 

XIX. VERBENACEAE. Verbena stricta Vent. (Common 

wild Verbena). CHA'' HALOGA PEZHUTA. 
The leaves are steeped and the infusion taken for 
stomach ache. 

XX. LAMIACEAE. Monarda fistulosa L. (Horsemint). 

HEHAKA TA PEZHUTA (medicine of the red 

elk). 

Flowers and leaves boiled together in an infusion 
to be taken for abdominal pains. 

Bachelors carry bunches of it in their clothes for 
the pleasant fragrance. 
Monarda fistulosa L. (var.?) 

Used as the Omaha use it for a perfume. 
Hedeoma sp. (Pennyroyal). MA^'KA^'CHIAKA, 

Used in form of an infusion for colds; also used 
as a flavor and tonic appetizer in diet for the sick. 
Mentha canadensis L. (Wild mint). CHIAKA. 

It was used as a flavor for meat. In cooking or in 
packing dried meat wild mint was laid in alternate 
layers with the meat in the packing case. CHIAKA 
was also used to make a hot aqueous beverage like tea. 



364 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

XXI. ROSACEAE. Amelanchier alnifolia. (June berry). 

WIPAZUKA. 

I did not see any of the fruit but heard mention 
of it as being gathered along the streams. 
Prunus americana Marsh. (Wild Plum). KA^TE. 

Used fresh, raw or made into a sauce, or boiled 
and pitted and dried for winter use. Dried plums are 
called KA^'SHTAGIYAPI. In the days of buffalo 
hunting the scrapings of the hides in preparing them 
for tanning were saved and mixed with the plums and 
dried together. When asked if the scrapings of the 
hides of domestic cattle are now so used the Indians 
replied that they do not taste so good and so are not 
desirable. 

Plum seeds are used to make the playing pieces of 
a certain game in a manner like dice. Three pairs of 
pieces are used in this game, the devices being burned 
on the plum pit. The pieces are cast in a small basket 
woven of willow withes. The play is made by striking 
against the ground the bottom of the basket containing 
the plum pits. 
Prunus besseyi Bailey. (Sand cherry). AO^YEYAPI. 

Used for food in fresh state or dried for winter, 
first being pitted as are the plums. 
Prunus melanocarpa (A. Nels.) Rydb. (Western choke- 
cherry). CHA^'TA. 

Used for food in fresh state, or prepared for winter 
use by pounding to a pulp with a stone mortar and 
pestle. The entire cherry, pit and all, is pulped and 
formed into small cakes and dried in the sun. 

The cherries are prepared thus in large quantities, 
the cherry harvest being an event of great importance 
in the domestic economy of the people, so great that 
the month in which the cherries ripen is called in the 
Dakota calendar by the name of that fruit, "Ripe 



NATIVE PLANTS OF NEBRASKA 365 

cherry month", CHA'^PA SAP A WI, literally, "Black- 
cherry moon". The people travel for miles to the 
streams where the cherries are abundant and there go 
into camp and work up the cherries while they last, or 
until they have prepared as great a quantity as they 
require. The sun dance began on the day of the full 
moon when the cherries were ripe. 
XXII. PAPILIONACEAE. Melilotus alba L. (Sweet 
clover). 
Has been introduced as a weed and the Dakota, 
noting the likeness of its odor in withering to that of 
sweet grass, Savastana odorata, gather handfuls of it to 
hang up in their houses for the pleasure of its fragrance. 
Astragalus crassicarpus Nutt. (Buffalo pea. Ground 

plum). PTE TA WOTE, literally ''Buffalo food", 

PT^, buffalo; WOTE, food; TA, sign of the genitive 

case. 
Sometimes eaten raw and fresh by people. 
Astragalus canadensis L. 

An infusion was made from the root to be used as 
a febrifuge for children. 
Glycyrrihiza lepidota Pursh. (Wild licorice). WI 

NAWIZI, "jealous woman". 
The leaves are chewed to make a poultice for 
sores on horses. The root is kept in the mouth for 
toothache; "it tastes strong at first, but after a while 
becomes sweet." The leaves are steeped and applied 
to the ears for earache. 
Psoralea esculenta Pursh. (Pomme blanche, Pomme de 

prairie). TIP SI LA (Oglala dialect; TIPSINA 

(Yankton dialect). 

The roots were an important item of the vegetal 

diet. They were peeled and eaten fresh, or dried for 

winter use. For drying they were peeled and braided 

into festoons by their tapering roots, or were split into 



366 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

halves or quarters and after drying were stored in any 

convenient container. 

Psoralea floribunda Nutt. TICHANICHA-HU. 

Two other plants (unidentified) and root of P. 
floribunda boiled and used as a remedy for consump- 
tion. In summer, garlands were made of the tops of 
this plant and worn like hats in hot weather. 
Parosela enneandra (Nutt.) Britton. 

The root said to be poisonous. By the description 
of its effect as given by my informant, the wife of Fast 
Horse of the Oglala tribe of Dakota, I think that it 
must be a powerful narcotic. 

Parosela aurea (Nutt.) Britton. PEZHUTA PA, 
(bitter medicine). 

The leaves were used to make an infusion to drink 
in cases of stomach ache and dysentery. 

XXIII. CACTACEAE. Opuntia humifusa. V'KCHELA 

TA^'KA, (big cactus). 

Large yellow blossoms. 

The fruits of this cactus were stewed for food and 
sometimes eaten raw. They were also dried for winter. 
The cactus fruit is called TASPU^. Sometimes when 
food was very scarce the stems of this cactus were 
cleared of their spines and roasted for food. 

XXIV. ACERACEAE. Acer negundo L. (Boxelder). 

CHA^ SHUSHKA. 
Sugar was made from the sap of this tree by 
gashing in the spring. The Dakota word for sugar is 
CHA^ HA^PI, which is significant of the aboriginal 
sugar-making process. CHA^ is the Dakota word for 
wood or tree, HA^PI is the word for juice, so the con- 
ventionalized term for sugar indicates its origin from 
tree sap. Box elder wood was used to obtain charcoal 
for tattooing. 



NATIVE PLANTS OF NEBRASKA 367 

XXV. ANCARDACEAE. Rhus glabra L. (Smooth 

Sumac). CHA''' ZIZI. 

The leaves when turning scarlet in the fall were 
gathered and dried for smoking. 
Rhus trilohata Nutt. CHA''' WISKUYE SHA. 

The ripe, red fruits were boiled very thoroughly 
with the fruits of Lepargyraea argentea to make a red 
dye. The Rhus fruits were probably used for effect 
as a mordant, though they may also have contributed 
to the color effect as well. 

XXVI. JUGLANSDACEAE. Juglans nigra L. (Black 

walnut). CHA^'SAPA. 
By the description of my informant I thought a 
certain tree found growing on WAZI WAKPA (Solo- 
mon River?) far south from the winter camp of the 
Dakota must be black walnut. His wife said a black 
dye was made from the roots of the tree. Afterwards 
by specimen it was identified as black walnut, but the 
San tee Dakota call the walnut HMA. 

XXVII. CORNACEAE. Cornus amomum Mill. (Kin- 

nikinnik.) CHA'' SHASHA. 
The inner bark was dried for the purpose of smok- 
ing. 

XXVIII. RUBIACEAE. Galium triflorum Mich. 
Among stores of perfume plants was one which by 

odor and by usual appearance of broken fragment I 
judged to be this plant, and as it grows in the country 
of the Dakota was probably used by them, since it 
was so used by the Omaha. 

XXIX. CAPRIFOLIACEAE. Symphoricarpos symphori- 

carpos L. MacM. KA'^TO-HU. 
The green, inner bark was used together with root 
of Brauneria pallida to make a decoction for sore eyes. 
The leaves of this plant were also used alone for the 



368 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

same purpose. The wood was used to make charcoal 
used in tattooing. 

XXX. ASTERACEAE. Gutierrezia sarothrae (Pursh.) 
Britton and Rusby. PEZHI ZIZI, (yellow herb). 

Used as a medicine for horses in case of too lax a 
condition of the bowels. The flowering tops of the 
herb are boiled and the horses are caused to drink the 
bitter infusion by being kept from drinking other 
water. 

Grindelia squarrosa (Pursh.) Dunal. PTE ICHI 
YOHA. 

The tops are used to make an infusion which is 
given to children for stomach ache. 
Ratihida columnaris (Sims.) D. Don. (Prairie Cone- 
flower). WAHCHA-ZI-CHIKALA. 

The leaves were used to make a hot aqueous drink 
like tea, merely as a food accessory. The flowers are 
used as an auxiliary to other plants (not yet identified), 
in preparation of a remedy for chest pains and other 
ailments, and, with certain others (also unidentified), 
as a remedy for wounds. The people said of it that 
it is LILA WASHTEMNA— very pleasant to smell. 
Brauneria pallida (Nutt.) Britton. (Nigger-head, 
Black Sampson.) ICHAHPE-HU. 

The root was used for all sorts of ailments. It 
was applied to areas of inflammation to relieve the 
burning sensation. It was said to give a feeling of 
coolness. It was probably used as an antidote for snake 
bites as with other tribes, though my informant did not 
seem to know of that use, which I thought strange, as 
the knowledge of this property of it is so common 
among the Omaha. My interpreter, a Mexican Indian, 
volunteered the information that it was used by his 
people for snake bites. 



NATIVE PLANTS OF NEBRASKA 369 

Helianthus tuberosus L, (Jerusalem artichoke.) PA^- 
Gl-HU. 
The tubers were boiled for food, sometimes fried 
after boiling. They said that too free a use of them 
in the dietary caused flatulence. 

Helianthus annuus L. (Sunflower.) W ARCH A ZI, 
(yellow flower). 
An infusion used for chest pains was made from 
the heads, they first being cleared of involucral bracts. 
When the sunflower grew large and was in full flower 
the people would say, "Now the buffalo are fat and 
the meat is good". 

Ambrosia artemisiaefolia L. (Ragweed.) PEZHJJTA 
PA, (bitter medicine). 

An- infusion was made from the leaves and small 
tops of this plant to be taken as a remedy for bloody 
flux, and also to stop vomiting. 
Boebera papposa (Vent.) Rydb. (Fetid marigold.) 
PIZPIZA TA WOTE, (Prairie-dog food). 

They say it is found more abundantly than else- 
where about prairie dog towns, and that it is a choice 
food of this animal. 

It is used in conjunction with Gutierrezia sarothrae, 
PEZHI ZIZI, in making a medicine for cough in 
horses. 
Artemisia sp. (Mugwort, Wild sage, Wormwood). 

Short Bull, the well-known Brule chief, said the 
larger Artemisia {Artemisia gnaphaloides) was used by 
men in purificatory rites, as in case of unwitting in- 
fraction of a tabu. In the Dakota mythology the 
T0^\ or immaterial essence or spirit of Artemisia is 
repugnant to malevolent powers, wherefore it is proper 
to use it in exorcising evil spirits, either by burning 
the herb or in lustrations with an infusion of it. Short 

25 



370 NEBRASKA STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

Bull said the little sage (Artemisia carta Pursh.) is 
used in purificatory rites by women after menstruation. 



INDEX 



Ackerly's ranch: 250 
Adams, Green & Co.: 250 
Adventures on the Plains, 1865-67, 

Dennis Farrell: 247 
Alderdice, Mrs. Susannah: 28 
Allen, Walter: 85 
Alma: 231 

Almy, Lieutenant Jacob: 30 
American Fur Company: 131, 138 
An Indian Raid of 1867, 

John R. Campbell: 259 
An Interesting Historical Document, 

Albert Watkins: 308 
Anadarko (Oklahoma): 89 
Andrews, George: 28 
Annual address of John Lee Webster, 

President 1913: 232 
Applegate, Jesse: 114 
Arbor Day: 150 
Arnold, Ernest: 230 
Ash Hollow: 144, 223, 226 
Ashley expedition: 224 
Astorian expedition: 167 
Atchison: 132 
Atkinson, Colonel Henry: 165, 175, 

183, 184, 189, 192, 194, 196, 198, 

199, 202 
Augur, Gen. C. C: 28, 262 
Avery, Dr. Samuel: 324 



Bainter, James: 160 

Banner county: 220 

Barnes, Edward: 230 

Bassett, Samuel C: 152 

Beaver creek: 21, 22, 23,' 29, 30, 31 

Beach family: 208j 

Beatrice: 157 

Beiyon, Frank A.: 230 

Belle Fontaine: 164, 174, 176, 189, 

194 
Bellevue: 167 
Bene: see Benoit 



Benedict, Albert J.: 172 

Bengtson, Prof. N. A.: 324 

Benoit, Jules: 223, 226, 248; death 
of, 249 

Benton, Randolph: 113 

Botany of American Aborigines, 
Bibliography on Economic; 353 

Biddle, Major Thomas: 165, 198 

Big Blue river: 113, 119 

Big Elk: 167 

Big Horn river: 112 

Bissell, General: 178, 202 

Black Tail Deer Fork creek: 29 

Blackbird, Alfred: 316 

Blake, Major G. A. H.: 129, 132, 134, 
136, 140 

Bliss, Captain: 183, 187, 198 

Blue Water creek: 223 

Blush, Mrs. Francis: 159 

Bonneville, Captain: 224 

Boonville (Missouri): 131 

Boston & Newton Joint Stock Asso- 
ciation: 117, 118 

Boyd county: 76 

Brackenridge, H. M.: 201 

Bristol, Cicero L., Origin of Olatha, 
Nebraska: 205 

Brown, Herman M.: 211 

Brown, Lieutenant: 187 

Brownville (Nebraska): 132 

Buchanan, Lieutenant Colonel Robert 
C: 129 

Buck, Nelson: 30; surveying party, 
massacre of: 30 

Buck, Royal: 34 

Buffalo county, organization of: 152 

Buffalo Ranch: 160 

Burgess, William: 39 

Burlington & Missouri River Rail- 
road: 34 

Burt, Mr.: 120 

Burt, Governor Francis: 308 

Butler, Charles: 160 



871 



372 



INDEX 



Butler, David: 157, 218, 219 
Butler, Ella: 159 
Butler, Preston: 160 

C. Choteau, Jr., & Co.: 134 
Camp Rankin: 248 
Campbell family: 259, 260 
Campbell, John R., An Indian Raid 

of 1867: 259 
Campbell, Peter: 259, 260 
Campbell, Mrs. Peter: 260 
Calhoun (steamboat): 194, 195, 203 
California road: 224 
Calvert, Smith: 189 
Camp Clarke: 222 

Camp Martin: see Martin Cantonment 
Camp Missouri: 165, 167, 198, 199; 

barracks at: 200 
Camp Ruskin: 223 
Camp Sheridan: 44 
Camp Shuman: 226 
Candy, James: 157 
Carlton, Major: 44 
Carr, Major General E. A.: 22, 27, 

28, 29, 130 
Carson, Kit: 113 
Cass, Lieutenant: 136 
Castor, Tobias: 159 
Chambers, Lieutenant Colonel Talbot : 

164, 176, 178, 190, 192, 196, 197 
Chambers, Samuel A. : 172 
Chariton (Missouri): 130, 131, 200, 

201, 202 
Charleton, Lieutenant C. H.: 130, 136 
Chase county: 20, 33 
Cheyenne county: 219, 220; deriva- 
tion of name: 222; organization: 

218; population: 221 
Cheyenne pass: 312 
Cheyenne raid of 1878: 42 
Chief White Eye: 254 
Chimney Rock: 226 
Choteau, August: 167, 168 
Choteau, C. P.: 134, 135, 136 
Choteau, Pierre Jr.: 128, 131 
Chippewa (steamboat) : 131,133, 134 

135, 136, 137, 144, 
Chivington, John M.: 24 



Chivington massacre: 23 

Clay county: 172, 206 

Clay, Henry: 175, 192, 193 

Clayton: 206 

Cleburne, Joseph C: 218 

Coal in Nebraska: 207 

Colefax, George: 189 

Collins, Lieutenant Caspar: 311 

Collins, Thomas: 228 

Comstock, Ansel: 161 

Comstock, E. S., Sr.: 156, 159, 160 

Comstock, George: 161 

Comstock, Harry C: 159 

Comstock, J. M.: 159, 160 

Comstock, Mary: 159 

Comstock, Mrs. Sarah: 159 

Constable, George: 160 

Cooper, Doctor: 136, 139 

CoRDEAL, John F., Historical Sketch 

of Southwestern Nebraska: 16 
Coronado: 18; route of: 16, 17 
Coulter, John: 166 
Council Bluffs: 131, 169, 175, 195, 

198, 202, 203 
Council Bluffs route: 115 
Courthouse Rock: 226 
Cow Island: 186, 188, 189 
Cow Island rapids: 145 
Cowles, James H.: 171 
Cowles, Jesse: 171 
Cox, William: 271 
Craig, Captain: 178, 183, 186, 189, 

191 
Craig, Silas: 175 
Crawford, Medorem: 113 
Crook, General George: 43, 84 
Crow, Christopher: 186 
Croxton, JohnH.: 219 
Culbertson, Alexander: 128 
Curry, R. D.: 229 
Cuming, Thomas B.: 308; letter to 

George W. Jones: 309 

Dallas, Captain A. J.: 261 
Daugherty, W. E.: 32; battle with 

the Indians: 32; surveying party: 

28 
Dauphin rapids: 144, 145 



INDEX 



373 



Davis, A. F.: 218 

Davis, Abner E.: 157 

Davison, Jonathan L.: 205, 207 

Dawes, Senator: 81 

Dawson, Andrew: 134 

Dent, Frederick: 174 

Deuel county: 220 

Dey, Peter A.: 151, 311 

Dickenson [Mr.]: 252 

Diddock, Mrs. Walter: 316 

Dilworth, Caleb J.: 230 

Disaster Bend: 145 

Dodge, Augustus C: 309 

Dodge, General Grenville M.: 151, 

310, 312 
Dodge, Nathan P.: 311, 313 
Dog creek: 29 
"Dog-soldiers": 27 
Doniphan: 259 
Douglas, James: 159, 160 
Douglas, Stephen A.: 309 
Downing, Elbridge L.: 157 
Draper, T. M.: 214 
Dudley, General Nathan A. M.: 40, 

41 
Dull Knife: 42, 222 
Dundy county: 20, 33 
Duncan, General: 30 
Dunham, W. Y^f.: 206 
Dunham, Mrs. W. W.: 206 
Dunlap, J. P.: 262 
Dygart, H. A.: 219 

Economic plants by families: 337 

Edwards, A.: 157 

El Paso (steamboat): 131, 134 

Ellis, Mr.: 36 

Ellis, John G.: 219 

Ellsworth, H. L.: 219 

Elm Tree Ranch: 160 

Emery [Bob]: 160 

Emery, Charles: 160 

Emilie (steamboat): 136 

Emmett, James: 305, 306 

Etherton [Mr.]: 205 

Eubank Ranch: 160 

Eubank, William: 158 

Ewing Ranch: see Kelley Ranch 



Expedition (steamboat): 131, 174, 
176, 178, 183, 188, 189, 190, 203, 
204 

Farnham, Henry: 312 

Farrell, Dennis, Adventures on the 

Plains, 1865-67: 251 
Farrell's Ranch: 250, 254 
Fewkes, J. W.: 322 
Ficklin's: 226 
First Steamboat Trial Trip Up the 

Missouri, Albert Watkins: 162 
Fish, Lieutenant: 22 
Fisher, Joseph: 218 
Fitzgerald, Rev. Dennis G., The 

Semi-precious Stones of Webster, 

Nuckolls and Franklin Counties, 

Nebraska: 209 
Florence (steamboat): 135 
Floyd, John B.: 141 
FoUmer, C. S.: 158 
FoLLMER, George D., Incidents of 

the Early Settlement of Nuckolls 

County: 156 
Fontenelle, Logan: 232 
Fort Atkinson: 162 
Fort Benton: 127, 129, 131, 132, 

133, 134, 137, 141, 144 
Fort Berthold: 138 
Fort Boise: 141 
Fort Brule: 144 
FortBuford: 144 
Fort Caspar: 311 
Fort Clark: 138 

Fort Columbus (New York): 130 
Fort Cottonwood: 25 
Fort Dallas: 128, 129 
Fort Grattan: 226 
Fort Hall: 114, 141 
Fort Julesburg: 24 
Fort Kearny: 23, 30, 34, 225, 227, 

231, 247, 261 
Fort Laramie: 141, 225, 247, 255; 

treaty of: 81, 82, 83 
Fort Leavenworth: 131, 141, 225 
Fort Lyon: 24 
Fort Marion: 137 
Fort McPherson: 27, 28, 40 



374 



INDEX 



Fort Mitchell: 226 

Fort Osage: 112, 175, 191, 196 

Fort Pierre: 131, 133, l36, 137, 138 

Fort Randall: 132, 134, 137 

Fort Riley: 141 

Fort Robinson: 44 

Fort Sedgwick: 24, 223, 226, 255; 

history of: 248 
Fort Sidney: 226, 227 
Fort Snelling: 140 
Fort Union: 131, 132, 134, 135, 136, 

138 
Fort Walla Walla: 128 
Forts: see Camps 
Franklin City: 229 
Franklin county, geology of: 211; 

organization of: 229 
Franklin (Missouri): 130 
Fremont, Francis: 316 
Fremont, John C: 19, 113 
Fremont, Nettie: 316 
French explorers: 303 
Frenchman river: 20 
Frenchman's Fork (creek) : 30 
Fry, Ed A.: 76 
Furnas, Robert W.: 150, 173, 234 

Garber, Silas: 234 

Gantt, Judge Daniel: 158 

George Bell Co.: 211 

Getty, Captain: 136 

Gilbert, John: 159 

GiLMORE, Melvin R.: 277, 292; 
A Study in the Ethnobotany of the 
Omaha Indians: 314; Some Native 
Nebraska Plants With Their Uses 
by the Dakota: 358 

Glasgow (Missouri): 131 

Glover, Frederick: 219 

Golden, Andy: 218 

Goodman, Charles W.: 157 

Goodwin, James S.: 205, 206, 207 

Gould, George: 116 

Grand Island: 112 

Grasshopper devastation: 40 

Grattan, Lieutenant John L. : 226 

Greeley, Horace: 115 

Green river: 112 



Halderman, [Mr.]: 184, 186, 187 

Hall county: 152 

Hancock, General Winfield S.: 144 

Hannum, Jonas: 157 

Hansen, George W., A Tragedy of 

the Oregon Trail: 110 
Harahey: 17 
Hardhart: 200, 201 
Hardin, Lieutenant, M. D.: 130, 136 
Hardy (Nebraska) : 209 
Harlan county, organization of: 230 
Harney, General W. S.: 128, 223, 262 
Harris, John: 188 
Haskins, John G.: 207 
Head, Dr. S. F.: 136, 139 
Helvey Ranch: 156 
Hemstead, Major Thomas: 178, 188 
Henby, Willis: 157 
Henderson, J. B.: 262 
Hendrickson, Captain Thomas: 130 
Henn, Bernhart: 309 
Henry, Dr. Charles A.: 228 
Hilton, Charles: 207 
Hilton, John Greenleaf: 206, 207 
Historical Sketch of Cheyenne County, 

Nebraska, Albert Watkins: 218 
Historical Sketch of Southwestern Ne- 
braska, John F. Cordeal: 16 
Historical Society, Work of, John Lee 

Webster; 1 
History, Right Reverend J. Henry 

Tihen: 293 
Hodge, F. W.: 17 
Hogback peak: 227 
Holland, John: 228 
Hook, Amos O.: 228 
How Shall the Indian be Treated 

Historically, Harry L. Keefe: 263 
Howard county (Missouri): 130 
Hughes, Jack: 249 
Hull, J. A.: 135 
Humphreys, Captain W. H.: 134, 

136, 145 
Hunt, Wilson P.: 167 

Illiteracy, by states: 153 
Importance of the Study of Local 

History, James E. Le Rossignol: 

285 



INDEX 



375 



Incidents of the Early Settlement of 

Nuckolls County, George D. Foll- 

mer: 156 
Independence (Missouri): 115, 119, 

149 
Independence (steamboat): 130 
Indian battles: 

Ash Hollow: 223 

August 6, 1860: 21 

Carr's with the Sioux: 26 

Julesburg: 224 

Mud Springs: 224 
Indian manners and customs: 

Agriculture: 268, 279, 317, 328 

Beverages: 329 

Breakfast: 91, 92 

Civilization: 267 

Clothing: 324 

Ceremonies: 98, 330 

Death and burial: 103, 273, 321, 

322, 360 

Courtship: 99 

Dyes: 324, 325, 367 

Foods: 325, 326, 327, 328, 334, 

358, 359, 361, 363, 364, 366 

Games: 92, 93, 98 

Gum chewing: 98 

Hand work: 318 

Instruction: 94, 98, 101 

Language: 88 

Literature: 273 

Marriage: 100 

Medicines: 314, 332, 334, 361, 362, 

368 

Men's work: 92, 102 

Perfumes: 323, 359, 360, 363, 367 

Pets: 97 

Play: 361, 362 

Religion: 319, 320, 321, 273 

Tanning: 101, 358 

Tipi, description of: 91 

Visiting: 96 

Winter camp: 92 

Women's work: 97, 101, 102, 280 

Work societies: 101 
Indian massacres: 

Chivington: 23 

Custer: 311 



Junction ville, 1867: 260, 261 
Little Blue, 1864: 158, 159 
Pawnee-Sioux: 38 
Plum Creek: 256 

Indian molestations: 253, 254, 255, 

256 
Indians: 

Arapaho: 20, 23, 89, 222, 223, 310 

Arikara: 167 

Assinaboine: 134, 316 

Biloxi: 316 

Blackfeet: 134, 166 

Brule Sioux: 31, 85 

Caddo: 89 

Catawba: 316 

Cheyenne: 20, 23, 27, 28, 42, 43, 

89, 222, 223, 310 
Comanche: 89 
Crow: 166, 316 
Dakota: 358 
Hidatsa: 316 
Hopi: 89 
Iowa: 316 
Kansa: 316 
Kiowa: 89 
Kwapa: 316 
Minetari: 316 
Missouri: 316, 317 
Navajo: 89 
Ogalala Sioux: 85 
Omaha: 167, 232, 315, 316 
Osage: 316, 317 
Oto: 279, 316, 317 
Pawnee: 20, 26, 39, 279, 306, 317 
Pawnee Loups: 313 
Ponka: 84, 87, 167, 168, 270, 279, 

306, 316 
Piute: 89 
Pueblo: 89 
Sioux: 20, 26, 27, 31, 38, 85, 89, 222, 

232, 310; Standing Rock tribes: 

85 
Stricheron (Starrahe): 167 
Tutelo: 316 
Wichita: 89 
Winnebago: 316, 318 
Indian Woman, James Mooney, 95 



376 



INDEX 



Influence of Overland Travel on the 
Early Settlement of Nebraska, H. G. 
Taylor: 146 

Ingraham, Lieutenant: 22 

Iron Eye: 316 

Izard, Governor: 308 

Jackson's Hole: 112 

James, Acting Governor William H.: 

229, 230 
Jefferson (steamboat): 176, 183, 186, 

188, 189, 190, 203 
Jefferson Barracks: 129 
Jefferson county, original: 309 
Jesup, General Thomas S.: 129, 168, 

170, 174, 175, 184, 189, 192, 202 
Johnson (steamboat): 174, 176, 183, 

188, 189, 190, 203 
Johnson, Andrew: 186, 190 
Johnson, Henry: 170, 175 
Johnson, James: 168, 170, 174, 175, 

176, 193 
Johnson, Joel: 170, 175 
Johnson, John T.: 170, 175 
Johnson, Richard Mentor: 170, 171, 

176 
Johnson county, history of: 172 
Johnston, Albert Sidney: 225 
Johnston, Colonel Joseph E.: 129 
Johnston, Thomas B.: 157 
Jones, Captain Delancey Floyd: 130, 

136 
Jones, George W.: 309 
Jones, W. W. W.: 34 
Jones, Walter: 174 
Jones county, organization of: 309 
Jules station: 223 
Julesburg: 224, 248, 251 

Kane, Thomas: 218, 219 

Kautz, Lieutenant August V.: 130, 

136 
Kearney City: 228 
Kearney county: 153; organization 

of: 228, 229 
Keefe, Harry L., How Shall the Indian 

be Treated Historically: 263 



Keeler, Lieutenant: 199 

Kellogg, William Pitt: 71 

Kelleher, D. M.: 219 

Kelley, W. R.: 159, 160 

Kelton, John C: 130 

Keyapaha river: 53 

Key West (steamboat): 133, 134, 

135, 144 
Kimball county: 220 
King, Professor: 332 
Kinnikinnik: 367 
Kiowa (Nebraska): 160 
Kiowa Ranch: 156, 158, 160 
Kingsbury, George W.: 76 
Knight, James: 230 
Knox, Halderman & Co.: 169 
Knox county: 76 
Kyle, Corporal John: 29 



Labarge, Captain: 134, 185, 136 

La Flesche, Carey: 316 

La Flesche, Francis: 316 

La Flesche, Joseph: 316 

La Flesche, Mrs. Mary: 316 

La Flesche, Noah: 316 

Lake, George B.: 219 

Leavenworth: 132 

Lendrum, Captain John H.: 130, 186 

Le Rossignol, James E., The /m- 

portance of the Study of Local 

History: 285 
Lexington: 256 
Liberty Farm: 160 
Life Among the Indian Tribes of the 

Plains, James Mooney: 88 
Lincoln county: 153, 219 
Lisa, Manuel: 164, 166 
Little Blue river: 113, 115 
Little Blue Station: 160 
Little Wolf: 42 
Little Wound: 27, 28 
Livingston, Colonel Robert R.: 224 
Livingston, Lieutenant La Rhett L.: 

130, 136 
Logan creek, Indian name of: 326 
Lodgepole creek: 251 



INDEX 



377 



Lone Tree Ranch: 160 

Long Bear: 330 

Long, Major Stephen H.: 184, 186, 

196 
Lord, Brackett: 119 
Lowell, (town): 229 
Lynch, Matthew: 230 

McArdle, James: 252 
McClinnon, [Mr.]: 167 
McGunnegle, Captain: 183, 188, 189, 

202 
McPherson, John: 230 
Mackay, James: 304 
Mad Bear, Sergeant: 29 
Mallet Brothers: 18 
Marias river: 144 
Marion's Bend: 137 
Marsh, Mr.: 37 
Martin, Captain: 164 
Martin, D. S.: 218 
Martin Cantonment: 169, 174, 175, 

184, 189 
Martin's Camp: 183 
Mason, Rev. Joel S.: 206, 207 
Mason, Mrs. Joel: 206 
Mason, General John: 174, 176 
Mason, John S.: 130 
Massacre Canon: 38 
Memorabilia — Gen. G. M. Dodge, 

Albert Watkins: 312 
Mercer, JohnT.: 130 
Merger, Captain: 164 
Meridian: 156, 157 
Mescal: see Peyote 
Metcalf, Nute: 160 
Meyer, Dr. H. F. G.: 279, 332 
Michael, Philip: 156, 157 
Miles, General Nelson A.: 84 
Milk river: 131, 134 
Miller, Alexander: 219 
Miller, Bishop George: 306 
Miller, George: 316 
Miller, Dr. George L.: 31, 234 
Milligan [Mr.]: 160 
Minick, John S.: 172 
Mississippi and Missouri railroad: 311 
Missouri Fur Company: 166, 167 
Missouri river, Indian name: 317 



Missouri river, navigation of: 127, 

162 
Mitchell, General: 25 
Mizner, J. K.: 43 
Montgomery, D. W.: 157, 158 
Moody, William: 160 
MooNEY, James: 319; Life Among 

the Indian Tribes of the Plains: 88; 

The Indian Woman: 95; Systematic 

Nebraska Ethnologic Investigation: 

103 
Moore, C. A.: 219 
Mormon road: 224 
Mormon trail: 149, 225, 307 
Mormons, expedition to Texas: 306; 

western exodus: 306 
Morrill county: 220 
Morrow's ranch. Jack: 25 
Morton, J. Sterling: 34, 149, 150 
Moss [Morse] family: 36 
Mudge [Mr.]: 160 
Mud Springs: 224 
Mud Springs ranch: 251 
Mullan, Lieutenant John: 128, 129, 

132, 139 
Murphy, Frank: 309 
Mustgrove, J. Q.: 230 ' 
Myers, Brevet Brigadier General 

William: 255 

Napoleon (town): 231 

Naponee (Nebraska): 213 

Native Nebraska plants: 
Acer saccharinum: 324, 328 
Acer negundo: 366 
Acorus calamus: 334, 359 
Allionia nyciaginea: 361 
Allium spp.: 325 
Amelanchier alnifolia: 364 
Amorpha canescens: 334 
Apios apios: 325 
Apios tuberosa: 325 
Aquilegia canadense: 323 
Artemisia gnaphalodes: 321, 334 
Asclepias syriaca: 325, 363 
Astragalus canadensis: 365 
Astragalus crassicarpus: 365 
Brauneria pallida: 361, 368 



378 



INDEX 



Native Nebraska plants: {Continued 
Caulophyllum thalictroides: 335 
Ceanothus americana: 329, 336 
Celtis occidentalis: 362 
Chenopodium albidum: 361 
Corylus americana: 326 
Cornus amomum: 331, 367 
Cornus asperifolia: 317 
Crataegus coccinea: 326, 329 
Crataegus mollis: 326 
Cucurbita foetidissima: 335 
Cuscuta sp.: 362 
Echinacea augustifolia: 332, 336 
Equisetum spp.: 318 
Falcata comosa: 326 
Fragaria virginiana: 326 
Fraxinus viridis: 317, 318, 322 
Galium triflorum: 323, 367 
Glycyrrhiza lepidota: 365 
Grindelia squarrosa: 368 
Gutierrezia sarothrae: 368 
Gymnocladus dioica: 335 
Hedeoma sp.: 363 
Helianthus tuberosa: 325 
Humulus lupulus: 362 
Indian tobacco: 331 
Indian turnip: 325 
Juglans nigra: 326, 367 
Juniperus virginiana: 320, 322 
Kinnikinnik: 367 
Lacinaria scariosa: 335 
Lophophora ivilliamsii: 322 
Lepargyraea argentea: 326 
Lithospermum canescens: 336 
Malvastrum coccineum: 362 
Melilotus alba: 365 
Mentha canadense: 329, 334, 363 
Micrampelis lobata: 336 
Monarda fistulosa: 323, 363 
Morus rubra: 326 
Nicotiana: 330 
Opuntia humifusa: 366 
Oxalis stricta: 335 
Parosela aurea: 366 
Parosela enneandra: 366 
Pen^stemon grandiflorus: 363 
Physalis heterophylla: 362 
Powww d« prairie: 325 



Pomme de terre: 325 
Populus sp.: 360 
Populus sargentii: 321, 322, 324 
PruTiMS americana: 326, 336, 364 
PmriMS besseyi: 326, 364 
Prunus melonacarpa: 364 
Prunus virginiana: 326 
Psoralea: 325 
Psoralea esculenta: 365 
Psoralea floribunda: 366 
QwercMS r«6m; 325, 327 
Ratibida columnaris: 368 
jR?iMS ff?a6ra; 325, 331, 334, 335, 367 
Kibes missouriensis: 326 
Rosa arkansana: 323, 336 
Rw6ms occidentalis: 326, 329 
Rwmex altissimus: 361 
Sagittaria latifolia: 325 
Sagittaria sp.: 358 
SaKx; 319, 324 
Salix fluviatilis: 361 
Sahx spp.: 322 
Sanguinaria canadensis: 324 
Savastana odorata: 320, 322, 359 
Scirpus lacustris: 323, 359 
Silphium laciniatum: 335, 336 
Silphium perfoliatum: 334 
Solidago spp.: 336 
Siipa spartea: 324 
Symphoricarpos symphoricarpos: 

367 
Thalictrum purpurascens: 360 
Tz'h'a americana: 324 
Toxylon pomiferum: 318 
T^/p^o latifolia: 322, 323, 359 
C/ZmMS /ttZ2;o; 324, 325 
Ustilago maydis: 329, 349 
Ferfeena stricta: 329, 363 
Vtiis riparia: 326 
Viiis vulpina: 326 
Wild potato: 325 
Xanthoxylum americana: 323 
Yucca glauca: 358 
Zea mai/s; 322, 327 
Zizania aquatica: 328 
Nauvoo (Illinois): 305, 360 



INDEX 



379 



Navigation of Missouri river: 181, 

193 
Naylor, Alexander: 157 
Nebraska Center: 152 
Nebraska City: 132, 205, 259 
Nebraska-Dakota boundary line: 81 
Nebraska, Mother of States, Albert 

Watkins: 48 
Nebraska, original area of: 48, 49; 

original boundaries of: 49, 50, 51, 

52 
Nebraska Territorial Acquisition, 

Albert Watkins: 53 
NeiU, Captain P. W.: 249, 255 
Nelson (Nebraska): 157 
Nemaha county: 172 
Newport Barracks (Kentucky): 130 
Newspapers, value of preserving: 2 
Niobrara river: 53, 76, 87; meaning 

of Indian name: 317 
North, Major Frank: 27, 29 
North Platte river: 20 
Northwest P\ir Company: 128 
Nuckolls county: 156; geology of: 

214; organization of: 156 

Oak Grove Ranch: 156, 157, 159, 160, 

161 
O'Brien, Captain Nicholas J.: 249, 

258 
O'Fallon, Captain John: 185, 202 
O'Fallon, Major: 198, 200, 202 
O'Fallon's Bluff: 249 
Offutt, H. J.: 190 
Olatha (Nebraska) : 205, 208 
Olaiha, Nebraska, Origin of, Cicero 

L. Bristol: 205 
Old Crow: 42 
Omaha: 132, 205 
Omaha City: 136 
Omaha (steamboat): 136 
Omaha Nebraskian: 133 
O'Neal, Thomas: 206 
Only Chance (steamboat) : 145 
Oregon emigration: 114, 115 
Oregon Recruit Expedition, Albert 

Watkins: 127 
Oregon Trail: 113, 114, 115, 117, 127, 

149, 156, 158, 161, 224, 307 



Oregon Trail, A Tragedy of, George 

W. Hansen: 110 
Organization of the Counties of Kearney, 

Franklin, Harlan and Phelps, Albert 

Watkins: 228 
Origin of Olatha, Nebraska, Cicero L. 

Bristol: 205 
Orleans: 231 



Pacific railroad: 312 
Paddock, Algernon S.: 233 
Palmer, Henry E.: 159 
Pathfinders, The Historic Background 

of Western Civilization, Heman C. 

Smith: 300 
Pawnee Killer: 27, 28, 30, 31, 32 
Pawnee Ranch: 160 
Pawnee scouts: 27, 28, 29 
Pawnee-Sioux massacre: 38 
Pawnee village on the Beaver: 313 
Pearce, H. C: 130 
Pelham, Captain: 195 
Peyote: 319 

Phelps county, organization of: 230 
Picotte, Mrs. Susan La Flesche, M. D.: 

316 
Pierre's Hole: 111, 112 
Pinkney, William: 175 
Plants Arranged According to Uses 

Among the Omaha: 349 
Platte river: 19 
Plum Creek station: 256 
Ponca Indian commission: 84 
Ponca reservation: 81, 82 
"Ponca Strip": 76; area of: 80 
Pope, Major General John: 311 
Poplar river: 131, 137 
Popo Agie river: 112 
Powell, B.W.: 230 
Prairie Dog creek: 29 
Prey, John D.: 205 
Pringle, Jim: 252 
Pyper, James M.: 229 



Quivira: 17 
Randolph, G. G.: 160 



380 



INDEX 



Republican river: 19, 20, 30 
Republican Valley Land Company: 

34 
Red Willow creek: 30, 35 
Red Cloud (Nebraska) : 209 
Red Willow county: 23, 40 
Richardson county, geology of: 214 
Riley, Captain: 164 
Robertson, John B.: 171 
Roca (Nebraska) : 205 
Rock creek: 113 
Rock Island railroad: 311 
Rocky Mountain Fur Company: 112 
Rodgers, Commodore John: 174, 176 
Roper, Laura: 159 
Ross, Hugh: 156 
Rouillet, Louis: 252 
Rowley, George: 43 
Royal Buck expedition: 34 
Russell, Major: 39 

St. Joseph: 132 

St. Joseph & Denver City Railroad 
Company: 157 

St. Joseph & Western railroad: 157 

St. Paul (Minn.): 142 

Salt creek: 205; ford: 207 

Sappa Peak: 212 

Sanborn, General John B.: 24, 262 

Sand creek (Colo.): 23 

Sand creek (Kansas): 42 

Sand creek massacre: 24 

Santa F6 trail: 110, 130 

Sarpy's trading point: 306 

Saunders, Alvin: 69, 76, 78, 80, 233 

Schoonover, Major: 1S6 

Schurz, Carl: 85 

Scott's Bluff county: 220 

Sebree, Major: 183, 186, 187, 223 

Sedgv/ick, Major General John: 223 

Semi-precioiis Stones of Webster, 
Nuckolls and Franklin Counties, 
Nebraska, Rev. Dennis G. Fitz- 
gerald: 209 

Sentegaleska: see Spotted Tail 

Seymour, Silas: 151 

Shank, J. M.: 158 

Shell creek: 317 

Shelley, Marmaduke M.: 206, 207 



Sherman, Lieutenant General William 

T.: 225, 249, 255, 262, 312 
Shuman, Captain: 226 
Sidney: 218, 221 
Sidney Station: 252 
Simmons, John E.: 230 
Simonton, Adam: 157 
Simonton, Ella: 157 
Singleton, John A.: 171 
Sioux City: 132 

Sioux reservation, division of: 85 
Smith, Lieutenant Benjamin P.: 130, 

136 
Smith, George Charles: 211 
Smith, Heman C, The Pathfinders, 

The Historic Background of Western 

Civilization: 300 
Solomon river: 21 
Some Native Nebrai^ka Plants With 

Their Uses by the Dakota, Melvin 

Randolph Gilmore: 358 
South Pass: 112, 312 
Southern Pass: 112 
Southwestern Nebraska, Historical 

Sketch of, John F. Cordeal: 16 
Spotted Tail: 28, 31, 262 
Spread Eagle (steamboat): 133, 134, 

135, 137, 138, 144, 160 
Standing Bear: 239, 270 
Staples, David: 119 
State Center (Iowa) : 305 
Steen, Major E.: 141, 143 
Stickney, William: 84 
Stockton, Lieutenant: 22 
Stoughton, Lieutenant Edwin H.: 

130, 136 
A Study in the Ethnobotany of the 

Omaha Indians, Melvin Randolph 

Gilmore: 314 
Sturgis, Captain S. D.: 21, 23 
Sublette, William: 224 
Summit Springs: 28 
Sutton (Nebr.): 34 
Sweetser, Mr.: 120 
Sydenham, Moses: 228, 231 
Systematic Nebraska Ethnologic In- 
vestigation, James Mooney: 103 



INDEX 



881 



Taffe, John: 219 

Talbot, John: 228 

Talcott, Lieutenant: 200 

Tall Bull: 27, 28 

Tappan, S. F.: 262 

Tatarrash: 17 

Taylor, H. G„ Influence of Overland 

Travel on the Early Settlement of 

Nebraska: 146 
Taylor, James: 186 
Taylor, N. G.: 24, 262 
Taylor, Richard: 206 
Taylor, William Z.: 39 
Tecumseh: 171 
Terry, General A. H.: 43, 262 
Thaine, Mr.: 157 
Thayer county: 309 
The Whistler: 27, 28, 30 
Thirty-two Mile Creek Ranch: 161 
Thomas, William D.: 229 
Thompson [Mr.]: 256 
Tibbets [Mr.]: 252 
Tiffany «& Co.: 210, 214 
TiHEN, Right Reverend J. Henry, 

History: 293 
Tipton, Thomas: 233 
Tracy, T.: 228 
"Traders Trail": 25 
Trading posts: 166 
Trudeau, Zeno: 304 
Turkey creek: 29, 37 
Turner, Dick: 252 

Twenty-two Mile Ranch: see Farr ell's 
Ranch 



Umphrey, E.: 160 
Upham, Lieutenant J. J.: 130, 136 
Union Pacific railroad: 312 
Upland (Nebraska): 211 

Valentine, E. K.: 76 

Van Elten, D.: 229 

Van Laningham, C. J.: 229, 231 

Vanderwork, E.: 156 

Vaughan, Alfred J.: 134, 136 

Vifquain, General Victor: 230 

Vining, Charles: 230 



Wajapa: 316 

Waiilatpu: 128 

Walden [Mr.]: 252 

Walls, John: 169 

Walters, Richard: 230 

Ward, William: 170 

Ware, Captain Eugene F.: 249 

Warren, Lieutenant: 138, 144 

Wash-inga-sabe: 316 

Watkins, Albert, First Steamboat 
Trial Trip Up the Missouri: 162; 
Historical Sketch of Cheyenne County, 
Nebraska: 218; An Interesting His- 
torical Document: 308; Memora- 
bilia—Gen. G. M. Dodge: 310 
Nebraska, Mother of States: 48 
Nebraska Territorial Acquisition 
53; The Oregon Recruit Expedi- 
tion: 127; Organization of the 
Counties of Kearney, Franklin, 
Harlan and Phelps: 228 

Watt, Sam: 248, 250 

Weaver, A. J.: 158 

Webster John lee. Annual Address, 
1913: 232; The Work of the His- 
torical Society: 1 

Webster county, geology of: 209 

Weeks, Joseph V.: 205, 207 

Weeks, Mary J.: 207 

Westbrook, Captain: 248, 249 

Westbrook, Royal L.: 255 

Western Engineer (steamboat): 131, 
194 

Westport: 149 

Whelan's creek: see Beaver creek 

Whistler, Major: 178 

White Antelope: 24 

White, Barclay: 39 

White, Doctor Elijah: 113 

Whitman, Marcus: 114 

Whitman's Mission: 128 

Wiechel, Mrs.: 28 

Wight, Lyman: 306 

"Wild cat" bank, Florence: 312 

Wild Cat mountains: 227 

Wild Cat peak: 227 

Wild game: 35, 44, 157, 251, 253, 
254 



382 



INDEX 



Wild hay: 253 

Wild Hog: 42 

Wiley [Mr.]: 252 

Will R. King& Co.: 256 

Wind river: 111 

Winter Quarters: 149, 306 

Winslow family: 117 

Winslow, George: 110, 116; last letter 

to his wife: 120 
Winslow, George E.: 115 
Winslow, Henry O.: 116 
Winslow, Jesse: 119 
Wirt, Attorney General William: 

174, 176, 203 



Woodruff [Mr.j: 207 
Woodruff, Charles: 207 
Woolworth, James M.: 143 
Wright, Captain: 134, 136 
Wright, Colonel: 141 
Wyeth, Nathaniel J.: 113, 224 
Wyman, Captain: 261 



Yellow Horse: 270 
Yellowstone (steamboat) :^131 
Yellowstone expedition :7 130, 168 
Young, Brigham: 306 
Young, F. G.: 115